In many most important respects no two men could be more unlike; but, for the present, Carlyle seems to have seen in Goethe a proof that it was possible to reject outworn dogmas without sinking into materialism.
His expostulations perhaps prove him to have been " the best general in his army," but he was dragged northwards to Inverness, and with depleted ranks of starving men, outworn by the fatigue of a long night's march to surprise Cumberland at Nairn, he stood on Culloden Moor in defence of Inverness, his base and only source of supplies (16th of April 11746).
The work was characteristic of his self-centred isolation: ultra-romantic at a time when Romanticism was already an outworn fashion, remote alike from the spirit of the age and from that of Goethe.
Yet the figure of Zeus had almost faded from the religious world of Hellas some time before the end of paganism; and Lucian makes him complain that even the Egyptian Anubis is more popular than he, and that men think they have done the outworn God sufficient honour if they sacrifice to him once in five years at Olympia.
Questions of permanent and present interest took the place of outworn scholastic problems. The disputants ranged themselves under the rival commentators, Alexander and Averroes; and the immortality of the soul became the battle-ground of the two parties.