Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/178

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CHARLES GODFREY LELAND.

Born at Philadelphia, August 15, 1824. Died at Florence, March 20, 1903.

American bom, but living and dying in Europe, a graduate of Princeton, a student of Heidelberg, of Munich, and of Paris, a barrister, an educationalist, a traveller, a volunteer soldier both in the States and in Europe, a skilled handicraftsman, a fair designer, and an excellent companion, Charles Godfrey Leland would have been a man of mark even had he not been also one of the first humorous poets of his time and country, and a devoted explorer in the enchanted fields of linguistic and folklore.

His extraordinary aptness for strange tongues, and his easy and complete comprehension of the structure and thought-mode of these, are proved by his Pidgeon-English Sing-Song^ his Gypsy verse, and the inimitable and delightful Breifmann ballads, as well as by his discovery of Shelta and his translation of Algotiqiiin legends and Romagnese spell-songs. He had in his folklore studies his own w^ay of going to work. He possessed the necessary gift of being able to collect, for his persuasive tongue, fine presence, and quiet revelation of immense and well-remembered stores of facts and legends, opened to him paths firmly closed to others. He could and did make careful and exact notes, but when he put his results before the public he liked to give them the seal of his own personality and to allow his fancy to play about the stories and poems he was publishing, so that those who were not able quickly to distinguish what was folklore and what was Leland were shocked, and grumbled (much to his astonishment and even disgust) and belittled his real achievements. He thought clearly, and many of his " guesses " have been or are being con- firmed. He was a strong advocate for progress of the right kind both in learning and in life, and would fain have instituted many useful reforms. He was full of life and energy and observation, a big handsome man of engaging manners, to whom the young and the simple were magnetically drawn. His treasury of