Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/179

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Obituary. 163

anecdote was rich and varied, and his memory exact and trust worthy. He Uved a full life. He wrote much and easily. His translations of Heine are among the most felicitous that have appeared in any tongue, and his version of Scheffel excellent. He has told part of his own life-story in his pleasant " Memoirs." The wide range of his acquaintance (for he knew the chief English men of letters, politics, and science as well as he knew the chief English gypsies) gave him a wonderful experience of human life and a quiet and convincing philosophy. People liked to talk to him as well as to hear his talk, and he was a good listener as well as a good talker.

His best verse was as good as Lowell's, his best prose a great deal better, both in substance and expression. To have created Breitmann and Ping-Wing is to have impressed his contemporaries as few of his countrymen have done.

He possessed the linguistic gifts of Palmer, but with finer literary instinct. He had something of Burton in his delight in natural human beings other than to the ordinary frock-coated, tall- hatted, and tight-waisted, high-heeled European types, and he had something of Schuchardt's warm instinct for the " tongues of transition " and the " life of transition " between indigenous and imported civilisation. The broken Greek of the Gospels would have interested him more than the choice Attic of Sophokles, a true folklorist in this, that the untouched byways were his favourite paths. He was too comprehensive in mind to become, like Lowell, a distinguished satirist ; he saw too much of both sides to admit that there was no good at all in the adversary. He fought in the Civil War, and he spoke the truth fearlessly in politics, but these were duties, and his pleasure lay in the obser- vation of humanity. Easy of access (but never permitting himself to be bored) and delighting in good fellowship, few of the really distinguished figures of his day but were pleased to number Leland among the friends they would gladly welcome.

His views on education I have not to do with here, but I may spend a line in recording my belief in the soundness of their tendency, and to notice that the opinion of experts both here and on the Continent is in their favour.

Leland is gone, Breitmann is left to us, an historic figure, the successor of Plautus, swaggering mercenary, of Shakespere's pedantic Fluellen, of Scott's shrewd Dalgetty, with an individuality

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