Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/85

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73
THE IMPORTATION OF GERMAN

Founder of the Christian religion. He took the Phoenix to be a myth under which the Egyptian priests had couched a theory of comets; and, in short, adopted fancies which might be admired in provincial circles, but would hardly have excited respect in a German University. His English, when he wished to be impressive, was of the fine old Johnsonian variety. Wieland, he says, 'conceals beneath the enthusiasm of a Wesley the scepticism of a Hume. He binds his brow, indeed, with the clusters of Engedi, strews along his path the roses of Sharon, and culls the sweetest lilies of the valley of Tirzah; but he employs them rather as the gift of human than of angelic hands, rather as the luxuries of taste than of faith. With him, Magdalene, Salome, and the younger Maria rather resemble the clad Graces pursuing Apollo in the dance, and scattering perfumes in his way, or the Gopia listening with mingled love and devotion to the hymnings of Krishna, while Cama strains his cany bow and mixes for the nuptial feast his cup of five-fold joy, than'—in short, the Christian saints. It is not surprising that a gentleman who supposes that he must twist language into contortions of this kind in order to be eloquent, should be also very dry when he