The varied sources of his work and its worthlessness as a transcript of actual Celtic poems do not alter the fact that he produced a work of art which by its deep appreciation of natural beauty and the melancholy tenderness of its treatment of the ancient legend did more than any single work to bring about the romantic movement in European, and especially in German, literature.
The Stoic doctrine of the worthlessness of ordinary human virtue, and the stern paradox that all offenders are equally, in so far as all are absolutely, guilty, find their counterparts in Christianity; but the latter (maintaining this ideal severity in the moral standard, with an emotional consciousness of what is involved in it quite unlike that of the Stoic) overcomes its practical exclusiveness through faith.
With this dualism and the recognition of the worthlessness and absolutely vicious nature of the material world is combined a decided spiritualism.
At the gambling table he was unfortunate, and there can be little question that he was fleeced both in London and in Paris by unscrupulous players of his own social rank, who took advantage of his generosity and whose worthlessness he knew.
Armfeldt says our army is cut in half, and Paulucci says we have got the French army between two fires; Michaud says that the worthlessness of the Drissa camp lies in having the river behind it, and Pfuel says that is what constitutes its strength; Toll proposes one plan, Armfeldt another, and they are all good and all bad, and the advantages of any suggestions can be seen only at the moment of trial.
It's bad.... he reflected, but while he was thinking this (the reflection was still incomplete), he caught himself smiling and was conscious that another line of thought had sprung up, and while thinking of her worthlessness he was also dreaming of how she would be his wife, how she would love him become quite different, and how all he had thought and heard of her might be false.