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Title: The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1838
Author: Gillman, James, 1782-1839
Language: English
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            '... But some to higher hopes
  Were destined; some within a finer mould
  Were wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame:
  To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds
  The world's harmonious volume, there to read
  The transcript of himself ....'








The more frequently we read and contemplate the lives of those eminent
men so beautifully traced by the amiable Izaak Walton, the more we are
impressed with the sweetness and simplicity of the work. Walton was a
man of genius--of simple calling and more simple habits, though best
known perhaps by his book on Angling; yet in the scarcely less
attractive pages of his biographies, like the flowing of the gentle
stream on which he sometimes cast his line, to practise "the all of
treachery he ever learnt," he leads the delighted reader imperceptibly
on, charmed with the natural beauty of his sentiments, and the
unaffected ease and simplicity of his style.

In his preface to the Sermons of (that pious poet and divine,) Dr.
Donne, so much may be found applicable to the great and good man whose
life the author is now writing, that he hopes to be pardoned for quoting
from one so much more able to delineate rare virtues and high
endowments: "And if he shall now be demanded, as once Pompey's poor
bondman was, who art thou that alone hast the honour to bury the body of
Pompey the great?" so who is he who would thus erect a funeral pile to
the memory of the honoured dead? ...

With the writer of this work, during the latter twenty years of his
life, Coleridge had been domesticated; and his intimate knowledge of
that illustrious character induces him to hope that his present
undertaking, "however imperfectly it may set forth the memory he fain
would honour," will yet not be considered presumptuous; inasmuch as he
has had an opportunity of bringing together facts and anecdotes, with
various memoranda never before published, some of which will be found to
have much of deep interest, of piety and of loveliness.

At the same time he has also been desirous of interweaving such
information as he has been enabled to collect from the early friends of
Coleridge, as well as from those of his after-life. Thus, he trusts, he
has had the means of giving, with truth and correctness, a faithful
portraiture of one whom he so dearly loved, so highly prized. Still he
feels that from various causes, he has laboured under many and great

First, he never contemplated writing this Memoir, nor would he have made
the attempt, had it not been urged on him as a duty by friends, whom
Coleridge himself most respected and honoured; they, "not doubting that
his intimate knowledge of the author, and dear love to his memory, might
make his diligence useful."

Secondly, the duties of a laborious profession, rendered still more
arduous by indifferent health--added to many sorrows, and leisure (if
such it might be called,) which permitted only occasional attention to
the subject--and was liable to frequent interruptions; will, he flatters
himself, give him a claim to the candour and kindness of his readers.
And if Coleridge's "glorious spirit, now in heaven, could look down upon
him, he would not disdain this well meant sacrifice to his memory--for
whilst his conversation made him, and many others happy below, his
humility and gentleness were also pre-eminent;--and divines have said,
those virtues that were but sparks upon earth, become great and glorious
flames in heaven."




SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, the subject of this memoir, was born at Ottery
St. Mary, Devonshire, the 21st October, 1772. His father, the Rev. John
Coleridge, was vicar of Ottery, and head master of Henry VIII Free
Grammar School, usually termed the King's School; a man of great
learning, and one of the persons who assisted Dr. Kennicott in his
Hebrew Bible. Before his appointment to the school at Ottery he had been
head master of the school at South Molton. Some dissertations on the
17th and 18th chapters of the Book of Judges, [1] and a Latin grammar
for the use of the school at Ottery were published by him. He was an
exceedingly studious man, pious, of primitive manners, and of the most
simple habits: passing events were little heeded by him, and therefore
he was usually characterized as the "absent man".

Many traditional stories concerning his father had been in circulation
for years before Coleridge came to Highgate. These were related with
mirth in the neighbourhood of Ottery, and varied according to the humour
of the narrator.

To beguile the winter's hour, which, however, was never dull in his
society, he would recall to memory the past anecdotes of his father, and
repeat them till the tears ran down his face, from the fond recollection
of his beloved parent. The relation of the story usually terminated with
an affectionate sigh, and the observation, "Yes, my friend, he was
indeed an Israelite without guile, and might be compared to Parson
Adams." The same appellation which Coleridge applied to his father will
also, with equal justice, be descriptive of himself. In many respects he
"differed in kind" from his brothers and the rest of his family, but his
resemblance to his father was so strong, that I shall continue this part
of the memoir with a sketch of the parent stock from which he sprung.

The Rev. John Coleridge had been twice married; his second wife, Anne
Bowdon, by whom he had a large family, was the mother of my friend, and
seems to have been peculiarly fitted for the wife of a clergyman who had
a large family and limited means. Her husband, not possessing that
knowledge usually termed worldly wisdom, she appeared to supply the
place of the friend, which such a man required in his wife. He was
better fitted for the apostolic age, so primitive was he in his manners
and uneducated in the fashions and changing customs surrounding him: his
companions were chiefly his books, and the few scholars he had to
educate. To all around him he was extremely kind and amiable, and
greatly beloved by the flock over whom he presided as pastor. For each
individual, whatever his rank, he had a kindly word of greeting, and in
sickness or distress he was an attentive friend. His richer and more
educated neighbours visited him, and shared the general pleasure and
amusement excited by his simple and peculiarly absent manners.

It is said of him, that on one occasion, having to breakfast with his
bishop, he went, as was the practice of that day, into a barber's shop
to have his head shaved, wigs being then in common use. Just as the
operation was completed, the clock struck nine, the hour at which the
bishop punctually breakfasted. Roused, as from a reverie, he instantly
left the barber's shop, and in his haste forgetting his wig, appeared at
the breakfast table, where the bishop and his party had assembled. The
bishop, well acquainted with his absent manners, courteously and
playfully requested him to walk into an adjoining room, and give his
opinion of a mirror which had arrived from London a few days previously,
and which disclosed to his astonished guest the consequences of his
haste and forgetfulness.

On another occasion he dined with the bishop, who had great pleasure and
delight in his society, when the following ludicrous scene took place.
The bishop had a maiden daughter, past the meridian of life, who was
always glad to see and converse with the "dear good old man" (his usual
appellation), and who was also kind enough to remind him of his little
'Forgets' in society, and rouse him from his absent moods. It not
being the fashion in his day for gentlemen to wear braces, his
small-clothes, receding from his waistcoat, left a space in his black
dress, through which often appeared a portion of his linen. On these
occasions, the good lady would draw his attention to this appearance, by
saying in an under tone, "A little to this side, Mr. Coleridge," or to
that, as the adjustment might require. This hint was as instantly
attended to as his embarrassed manner, produced by a sense of the
kindness, would permit. On the day above alluded to, his kind friend sat
next to him, dressed, as was then the fashion, in a smart party-going
muslin apron. Whilst in earnest conversation with his opposite
neighbour, on the side next the lady appeared the folds of his shirt,
through the hiatus before described, so conspicuously as instantly to
attract her notice. The hint was immediately given: "Mr. Coleridge, a
little on the side next me;"--and was as instantly acknowledged by the
usual reply, "Thank you, ma'am, thank you," and the hand set to work to
replace the shirt; but unfortunately, in his nervous eagerness, he
seized on the lady's apron, and appropriated the greater part of it. The
appeal of "Dear Mr. Coleridge, do stop!" only increased his
embarrassment, and also his exertions to dispose, as he thought, of his
shirt; till the lady, to put a stop to the titter of the visitors, and
relieve her own confusion, untied the strings, and thus disengaging
herself, left the room, and her friend in possession of her apron. [2]

Mrs. Coleridge, the mother of my friend, and of whom I have already
spoken, had naturally a strong mind. She was an uneducated woman,
industriously attentive to her household duties, and devoted to the care
of her husband and family. Possessing none, even of the most common
female accomplishments of her day, she had neither love nor sympathy for
the display of them in others. She disliked, as she would say, "your
harpsichord ladies," and strongly tried to impress on her sons their
little value, in their choice of wives. As a clergyman's wife her
conduct was exemplary; the father of my friend had a fortune in such a
woman, and she found in him, with all his peculiarities, a kind, sweet
tempered, engaging husband. She was, I should add, a very good woman,
though like Martha, over careful in many things, very ambitious for the
advancement of her sons in life, but wanting perhaps that flow of heart
which her husband possessed so largely. But "imperfection cleaves to
mortality." Such, as given in this brief sketch, were the parents of the
subject of this memoir. [3]

I have heard Coleridge relate the following anecdote of his father. The
old gentleman had to take a short journey on some professional business,
which would detain him from home for three or four days: his good wife,
in her care and watchfulness, had packed a few things in a small trunk,
and gave them in charge to her husband, with strong injunctions that he
was to put on a clean shirt every day. On his return home, his wife went
to search for his linen, when, to her dismay, it was not in the trunk. A
closer search, however, discovered that the vicar had strictly obeyed
her injunctions, and had put on daily a clean shirt, but had forgotten
to remove the one underneath. This might have been the pleasantest and
most portable mode of carrying half a dozen shirts in winter, but not so
in the dog-days.

As a preacher, he was peculiar: it is said, that the poor idolized, and
looked upon him with great reverence; and when death removed this
distinguished and eminent scholar from among them, his successor had
little chance of pleasing to the same extent. In their great admiration
of him, they would often say, "How fine he was in his discourse, for he
gave us the very words the spirit spoke in," viz. the Hebrew, with which
he frequently indulged them in his sermons, and which seems greatly to
have attracted the notice of the agricultural population, who flocked
from the neighbourhood, to the town in which he resided. Excited and
stimulated by curiosity, this class of persons might attend the church,
and in listening for the Hebrew they would perhaps be more attentive,
and carry away some useful portions of the English from this amiable and
accomplished pastor.

As a schoolmaster his singularities were of the same character,
manifesting the same simplicity and honesty of purpose. I have before
stated that he wrote a Latin Grammar for the use of his school, and
instead of the word ablative, in general use, he compounded three or
four Latin words [4] as explanatory of this case. Whether the mothers
were startled at the repetition of these words, and thought of the
hardships their sons would have to endure in the acquirement of this
grammar, I can only conjecture; but it seems he thought it his duty to
explain to the ladies, in justice to their feelings, his learned reasons
for the alteration he had made in the name of this case.

I had often pressed him to write some account of his early life, and of
the various circumstances connected with it. But the aversion he had to
read or write any thing about himself was so great, that I never
succeeded, except in obtaining a few notes, rather than a detailed
account. There would be little either useful or interesting in any
account of Coleridge's life, which a stranger to him could give;
therefore, from the best authorities with which I am acquainted, and
from an intimacy of nearly twenty years, is this memoir of my late
lamented friend compiled. He commences one of the notes above alluded
to, with his early childhood.

  "I was," says he, "the last child, the youngest child of ten by the
  same mother, that is to say, John, William (who died in infancy),
  James, William, Edward, George, Luke, Ann, Francis, and myself, Samuel
  Taylor Coleridge, beneficially abridged Esteese [Greek: estaesae],
  i.e. S. T. C., and the thirteenth, taking in three sisters by my dear
  father's first wife,--Mary, afterwards Mrs. Bradley,--Sarah, who
  married a seaman and is lately dead, and Elizabeth, afterwards Mrs.
  Phillips--who alone was bred up with us after my birth, and whom alone
  of the three I was wont to think of as a sister, though not exactly,
  yet I did not know why, the same sort of sister, as my sister Nancy.

  Being the youngest child, I possibly inherited the weakly state of
  health of my father, who died at the age of 62, before I had reached
  my seventh year; and from certain jealousies of old Molly, my brother
  Frank's dotingly fond nurse, (and if ever child by beauty and
  loveliness deserved to be doted on, my brother Francis was that
  child,) and by the infusions of her jealousy into my brother's mind, I
  was in earliest childhood huffed away from the enjoyments of muscular
  activity from play, to take refuge at my mother's side, on my little
  stool, to read my little book, and to listen to the talk of my elders.
  I was driven from life in motion, to life in thought and sensation. I
  never played except by myself, and then only acting over what I had
  been reading or fancying, or half one, half the other, with a stick
  cutting down weeds and nettles, as one of the seven champions of
  Christendom. [5] Alas! I had all the simplicity, all the docility of
  the little child, but none of the child's habits. I never thought as a
  child, never had the language of a child. I forget whether it was in
  my fifth or sixth year, but I believe the latter, in consequence of
  some quarrel between me and my brother, in the first week in October,
  I ran away from fear of being whipped, and passed the whole night, a
  night of rain and storm, on the bleak side of a hill on the Otter, and
  was there found at daybreak, without the power of using my limbs,
  about six yards from the naked bank of the river."

  "In my seventh year, about the same time, if not the very same time,
  i.e. Oct. 4th, my most dear, most revered father, died suddenly. O
  that I might so pass away, if like him I were an Israelite without
  guile. The image of my father, my revered, kind, learned,
  simple-hearted father is a religion to me!"

Judge Buller who had been educated by his father, had always promised to
adopt the son, at least to educate him, foreseeing that Samuel, the
youngest, was likely to be left an orphan early in life. Soon after the
death of the Rev. John Coleridge, the Judge obtained from John Way,
Esq., one of the governors of Christ's Hospital, a presentation to that
school, and young Coleridge was sent by the Judge and placed there on
the 18th July, 1782. "O! what a change!" [6] he goes on in the note
above quoted.

  "Depressed, moping, friendless, poor orphan, half starved; (at that
  time the portion of food to the Bluecoats was cruelly insufficient for
  those who had no friends to supply them)."

In the late Mr. Charles Lamb's "Works" published in 1818, there is an
account of the school, entitled "Recollections of Christ's Hospital." In
1823 there is a second essay on the same subject by Lamb, under the
assumed title of "Elia,"--Elia supposed to be intimate with Lamb and
Coleridge. This second account, entitled "Christ's Hospital
five-and-thirty years ago," gave umbrage to some of the "Blues," as they
termed themselves, as differing so much from the first in full praise of
this valuable foundation, and particularly as a school from which he had
benefited so much. In the preface to the second series, Elia says,

  "What he (Elia) tells of himself is often true only (historically) of
  another; when under the first person he shadows forth the forlorn
  state of a country boy placed at a London school far from his friends
  and connexions,"

which is in direct opposition to Lamb's own early history. The second
account, under the personification of Elia, is drawn from the painful
recollections and sufferings of Coleridge while at school, which I have
often heard him relate.

Lamb told Coleridge one day that the friendless school boy in his
"Elia," (soon after its publication) was intended for him, and taken
from his description of the Blue-coat school. After Coleridge's death,
Lamb related the same circumstance to me, that he had drawn the account
from Coleridge's feelings, sufferings, &c., Lamb having himself been an
indulged boy and peculiarly favoured through the instrumentality of a

  "I remember," says Elia, "Lamb at school, and can well recollect that
  he had some peculiar advantages, which I and others of his
  schoolfellows had not. His friends lived in town and were at hand, and
  he had the privilege of going to see them almost as often as he
  wished, through some invidious distinction which was denied to us. The
  present treasurer of the Inner Temple can explain how it happened. He
  had his tea and hot rolls in the morning, while we were battening upon
  our quarter of penny loaf--our 'crug' moistened with attenuated small
  beer in wooden piggins, smacking of the pitched leathern jack it was
  poured from. On Monday's milk porritch, blue and tasteless, and the
  pease-soup of Saturday, coarse and choking, were enriched for him with
  a slice of 'extraordinary bread and butter,' from the hot-loaf of the
  Temple. The Wednesday's mess of millet, somewhat less repugnant--(we
  had three banyan to four meat-days in the week)--was endeared to his
  palate with a lump of double-refined, and a smack of ginger, (to make
  it go down the more glibly) or the fragrant cinnamon. In lieu of our
  'half-pickled' Sundays, or 'quite fresh' boiled beef on Thursdays,
  (strong as caro equina), with detestable marigolds floating in the
  pail to poison the broth--our scanty mutton crags on Fridays--and
  rather more savoury, but grudging, portions of the same flesh,
  rotten-roasted or rare, on the Tuesdays (the only dish which excited
  our appetites, and disappointed our stomachs, in almost equal
  proportion) he had his hot plate of roast veal, or the more tempting
  griskin (exotics unknown to our palates), cooked in the paternal

  "I (Coleridge) was a poor friendless boy, my parents, and those who
  should have cared for me, were far away. Those few acquaintances of
  their's, which they could reckon upon being kind to me in the great
  city, after a little forced notice, which they had the grace to take
  of me on my first arrival in town, soon grew tired of my holiday
  visits. They seemed to them to recur too often, though I thought them
  few enough; one after another, they all failed me, and I felt myself
  alone among six hundred playmates--O the cruelty of separating a poor
  lad from his early homestead! The yearnings which I used to have
  towards it in those unfledged years! How in my dreams would my native
  town come back (far in the west) with its churches and trees and
  faces! To this late hour of my life, and even to the end of it did
  Coleridge trace impressions left by the painful recollection of these
  friendless holidays. The long warm days of summer never return but
  they bring with them a gloom from the haunting memory of those 'whole
  day's leave', when by some strange arrangement, we were turned out for
  the live-long day, upon our own hands whether we had friends to go to
  or none. I remember those bathing excursions to the New River, which
  Lamb recalls with such relish, better, I think, than he can--for he
  was a home-seeking lad, and did not care for such water-parties. How
  we would sally forth into the fields; and strip under the first warmth
  of the sun; and wanton like young dace in the streams; getting
  appetites for the noon; which those of us that were penny less (our
  scanty morning crust long since exhausted) had not the means of
  allaying--while the cattle, and the birds, and the fishes were at feed
  about us, and we had nothing to satisfy our cravings; the very beauty
  of the day, and the exercise of the pastime, and the sense of liberty
  setting a keener edge upon them! How faint and languid, finally, we
  would return toward nightfall to our desired morsel, half-rejoicing,
  half-reluctant, that the hours of uneasy liberty had expired.

  "It was worse in the days of winter, to go prowling about the streets
  objectless; shivering at cold windows of print-shops, to extract a
  little amusement; or haply, as a last resort, in the hope of a little
  novelty, to pay a fifty times repeated visit (where our individual
  faces would be as well known to the warden as those of his own
  charges) to the lions in the Tower, to whose levee, by courtesy
  immemorial, we had a prescriptive right of admission."

In short, nearly the whole of this essay of Elia's is a transcript of
Coleridge's account of the school. 'Never was a friend or schoolfellow
more fondly attached to another than Lamb to Coleridge. The latter from
his own account, as well as from Lamb and others who knew him when at
school, must have been a delicate and suffering boy. His principal
ailments he owed much to the state of his stomach, which was at that
time so delicate, that when compelled to go to a large closet (shoe-bin,
its school name,) containing shoes, to pick out a pair easy to his feet,
which were always tender, and he required shoes so large that he could
walk in them, rather than with them, and the smell, from the number in
this place, used to make him so sick, that I have often seen him
shudder, even in late life, when he gave an account of it. In this note,
continuing an account of himself at school, he says,

  "From eight to fourteen I was a playless day-dreamer, a 'helluo
  librorum', my appetite for which was indulged by a singular incident:
  a stranger, who was struck by my conversation, made me free of a
  circulating library in King Street, Cheapside."

The incident, indeed, was singular: going down the Strand, in one of his
day-dreams, fancying himself swimming across the Hellespont, thrusting
his hands before him as in the act of swimming, his hand came in contact
with a gentleman's pocket; the gentleman seized his hand, turning round
and looking at him with some anger, "What! so young, and so wicked?" at
the same time accused him of an attempt to pick his pocket; the
frightened boy sobbed out his denial of the intention, and explained to
him how he thought himself Leander, swimming across the Hellespont. The
gentleman was so struck and delighted with the novelty of the thing, and
with the simplicity and intelligence of the boy, that he subscribed, as
before stated, to the library, in consequence of which Coleridge was
further enabled to indulge his love of reading.

In his bathing excursions he had greatly injured his health, and reduced
his strength; in one of these bathing exploits he swam across the New
River in his clothes, and dried them in the fields on his back: from
these excursions commenced those bodily sufferings which embittered the
rest of his life, and rendered it truly one of sickness and suffering.
When a boy he had a remarkably delicate, white skin, which was once the
cause of great punishment to him.

His dame had undertaken to cure him of the itch, with which the boys of
his ward had suffered much; but Coleridge was doomed to suffer more than
his comrades, from the use of sulphur ointment, through the great
sagacity of his dame, who with her extraordinary eyes, aided by the
power of glasses, could see the malady in the skin deep and out of
common vision; and consequently, as often as she employed this
miraculous sight, she found or thought she found fresh reasons for
continuing the friction, to the prolonged suffering and mortification of
her patient. This occurred when he was about eight years of age, and
gave rise to his first attempt at making a verse, as follows:

  "O Lord, have mercy on me!
  For I am very sad!
  For why, good Lord? I've got the itch,
  And eke I've got the 'tad',"

the school name for ringworm. He was to be found during play-hours often
with the knees of his breeches unbuttoned, and his shoes down at the
heel, [7] walking to and fro, or sitting on a step, or in a corner,
deeply engaged in some book. This had attracted the notice of Middleton,
at that time a deputy grecian, and going up to him one day, asked what
he was reading; the answer was "Virgil." "Are you then," said M.
"studying your lesson?" "No," said C., "I am reading it for pleasure;"
for he had not yet arrived at Virgil in his class studies. This struck
Middleton as something so peculiar, that he mentioned it to the head
master, as Coleridge was then in the grammar school (which is the lower
part of the classical school), and doing the work of the lower boys. The
Rev. James Bowyer, who was at that time head master, a quick discerning
man, but hasty and severe, sent for the master of the grammar school,
and inquired about Coleridge; from him he learnt that he was a dull and
inapt scholar, and that he could not be made to repeat a single rule of
syntax, although he would give a rule in his own way.

This brought Coleridge before Bowyer, and to this circumstance may be
attributed the notice which he afterwards took of him: the school and
his scholars were every thing to him, and Coleridge's neglect and
carelessness never went unpunished. I have often heard him say, he was
so ordinary a looking boy, with his black head, that Bowyer generally
gave him at the end of a flogging an extra cut; "for," said he, "you are
such an ugly fellow!"

When, by the odd accident before mentioned, he was made a subscriber to
the library in King Street,

  "I read," says he, "'through' the catalogue, folios and all, whether I
  understood them, or did not understand them, running all risks in
  skulking out to get the two volumes which I was entitled to have
  daily. Conceive what I must have been at fourteen; I was in a
  continual low fever. My whole being was, with eyes closed to every
  object of present sense, to crumple myself up in a sunny corner, and
  read, read, read; fancy myself on Robinson Crusoe's island, finding a
  mountain of plumb-cake, and eating a room for myself, and then eating
  it into the shapes of tables and chairs--hunger and fancy!"

In his lad-hood he says,

  "My talents and superiority made me for ever at the head in my routine
  of study, though utterly without the desire to be so; without a spark
  of ambition; and, as to emulation, it had no meaning for me; but the
  difference between me and my form-fellows, in our lessons and
  exercises, bore no proportion to the measureless difference between me
  and them in the wide, wild, wilderness of useless, unarranged
  book-knowledge and book-thoughts. Thank Heaven! it was not the age nor
  the fashion of getting up prodigies; but at twelve or fourteen I
  should have made as pretty a juvenile prodigy as was ever emasculated
  and ruined by fond and idle wonderment. Thank Heaven! I was flogged
  instead of flattered. However, as I climbed up the school, my lot was
  somewhat alleviated."

When Coleridge arrived at the age of fifteen, he was, from the little
comfort he experienced, very desirous of quitting the school, and, as he
truly said, he had not a spark of ambition. Near the school there
resided a worthy, and, in their rank of life, a respectable middle-aged
couple. The husband kept a little shop, and was a shoemaker, with whom
Coleridge had become intimate. The wife, also, had been kind and
attentive to him, and this was sufficient to captivate his affectionate
nature, which had existed from earliest childhood, and strongly endeared
him to all around him. Coleridge became exceedingly desirous of being
apprenticed to this man, to learn the art of shoemaking; and in due
time, when some of the boys were old enough to leave the school, and be
put to trade, Coleridge, being of the number, tutored his friend Crispin
how to apply to the head master, and not to heed his anger should he
become irate. Accordingly, Crispin applied at the hour proposed to see
Bowyer; who, having heard the proposal to take Coleridge as an
apprentice, and Coleridge's answer and assent to become a shoemaker,
broke forth with his favourite adjuration, "'Ods my life, man, what d'ye
mean?" At the sound of his angry voice, Crispin stood motionless, till
the angry pedagogue becoming infuriate, pushed the intruder out of the
room with such force, that Crispin might have sustained an action at law
against him for an assault. Thus, to Coleridge's mortification and
regret, as he afterwards in joke would say,

  "I lost the opportunity of supplying safeguards to the understandings
  of those, who perhaps will never thank me for what I am aiming to do
  in exercising their reason.

  "Against my will," says he, "I was chosen by my master as one of those
  destined for the university; and about this time my brother Luke, or
  'the Doctor,' so called from his infancy, because being the seventh
  son, he had, from his infancy, been dedicated to the medical
  profession, came to town to walk the London Hospital, under the care
  of Sir William Blizard. Mr. Saumarez, brother of the Admiral Lord
  Saumarez, was his intimate friend. Every Saturday I could make or
  obtain leave, to the London Hospital trudged I. O the bliss if I was
  permitted to hold the plasters, or to attend the dressings. Thirty
  years afterwards, Mr. Saumarez retained the liveliest recollections of
  the extraordinary, enthusiastic blue-coat boy, and was exceedingly
  affected in identifying me with that boy. I became wild to be
  apprenticed to a surgeon. English, Latin, yea, Greek books of medicine
  read I incessantly. Blanchard's Latin Medical Dictionary I had nearly
  by heart. Briefly, it was a wild dream, which gradually blending with,
  gradually gave way to a rage for metaphysics, occasioned by the essays
  on Liberty and Necessity in Cato's Letters, and more by theology.
  After I had read Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary, I sported
  infidel! but my infidel vanity never touched my heart:"

nor ever with his lips did he for a few months only support the new
light given him by Voltaire.

  "With my heart," says he, "I never did abandon the name of Christ."

This reached Bowyer's ears, and he sent for him: not to reason with him,
as teachers and parents do too often, and by this means as often
increase the vanity of these tyro-would-be-philosophers; but he took the
surest mode, if not of curing, at least of checking the disease. His
argument was short and forcible.

  "So, sirrah, you are an infidel, are you? then I'll flog your
  infidelity out of you;"

and gave him the severest flogging he had ever received at his hands.
This, as I have often heard Coleridge say, was the only just flogging he
had ever given him: certainly, from all I ever heard of him, Bowyer was
strictly a flogging master. Trollope, in his History of Christ's
Hospital, page 137, says of him,

  "His discipline was exact in the extreme, and tinctured, perhaps, with
  more than due severity." [8]

Coleridge, in his 'Biographia Literaria', after paying a just compliment
to Bowyer as a teacher, says,

  "The reader will, I trust, excuse this tribute of recollection to a
  man, whose severities, even now, not seldom furnish the dreams by
  which the blind fancy would fain interpret to the mind the painful
  sensation of distempered sleep, but neither lessen nor diminish the
  deep sense of my moral and intellectual obligations."

He had his passionate days, which the boys described as the days he wore
his Passy wig (passy abbreviated from passionate). "Sirrah! I'll flog
you," were words so familiar to him, that on one occasion, some female
relation or friend of one of the boys entered his room, when a class
stood before him and inquired for Master--; master was no school title
with Bowyer. The errand of this lady being to ask a short leave of
absence for some boy, on the sudden appearance in town of his country
cousin, still lingering at the door, after having been abruptly told to
go, Bowyer suddenly exclaimed, "Bring that woman here, and I'll flog

Coleridge's themes in his fifteenth year, [9] in verse as well as prose,
marked him as a boy of great talent, but of talent only according to his
own definition of it (vide "Friend," vol. iii. edit. 1818). His verse
was good, his prose powerful, and language correct, and beyond his years
in depth of thought, but as yet he had not manifested, according to the
same test, anything of genius. I met among some of his notes, written at
the age of fifty-one, the following critique on one of his schoolboy

  "This theme was written at the age of fifteen: it does not contain a
  line that any schoolboy might not have written, and like most
  school-poetry, there is a putting of thoughts into verse. Yet such
  verses as a striving of mind and struggles after the intense and
  vivid, are a fair promise of better things."

The same observation might be made in the intense application of his
intellectual powers in search of truth, at the time he called himself an
infidel; in this struggle of mind was the "fair promise of better
things." It was the preparation necessary for such a mind; the breaking
up and tilling of the soil for the successful germination of the seeds
of truth.

The sleeping powers of thought were roused and excited into action.

Perhaps this may be considered, as entering too early into the history
of his mind in boyhood: to this I reply, that the entire man so to
speak, is to be seen even in the cradle of the child. [10]

The serious may be startled at the thought of a young man passing
through such an ordeal; but with him it was the exercise of his
strength, in order that he might "fight the good fight," and conquer for
that truth which is permanent, and is the light and the life of every
one who comes into the world, and who is in earnest search of it.

In his sixteenth year he composed the allegory of "Real and Imaginary
Time," first published in the Sibylline Leaves, having been accidentally
omitted in the Juvenile Poems,--

  "On the wide level of a mountain's head,
  (I knew not where, but 'twas some fairy place)
  Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread,
  Two lovely children run an endless race,
        A sister and a brother!
        That far outstripped the other;
  Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
  And looks and listens for the boy behind;
        For he, alas! is blind!
  O'er rough and smooth with even step he passed,
  And knows not whether he be first or last." [11]

in which may be traced the first dawnings of his genius. He pictures to
himself a boy returning to school after the holidays; in his day-dreams
making plans for the future, and anticipating the pleasure he is to
enjoy on his return home; his vivid thoughts, and sanguine expectations
"far outstripping" the reality of time as marked by the watch or
almanack. Real time is personified as a blind boy steadily pursuing his
path; whilst imaginary time is represented as a fleeting girl, looking
back and listening for her brother whom she has outrun. Perhaps to Mr.
Bowyer's excellent method of instruction may be attributed this early
developement of his genius. Coleridge remarks of him,

  "He was an admirable educer, no less than educator of intellect; he
  taught me to leave out as many epithets as would make eight syllable
  lines, and then ask if the exercise would not be greatly improved."

Although in this year he began to indulge in metaphysical speculations,
he was wedded to verse, and many of his early poems were planned; some
of which he finished, and they were published in the "Juvenile Poems,"
on his entry into life; but as many more were scattered among his
friends, who had greatly increased in number. About this time he became
acquainted with a widow lady,

  "whose son," says he, "I, as upper boy, had protected, and who
  therefore looked up to me, and taught me what it was to have a mother.
  I loved her as such. She had three daughters, and of course I fell in
  love with the eldest. From this time to my nineteenth year, when I
  quitted school for Jesus, Cambridge, was the era of poetry and love."

It has been observed, that about this sixteenth year, he first developed
genius, and that during this early period of his life, his mind was
incessantly toiling in the pursuit of knowledge. His love of reading
seemed to have increased in proportion to his acquirements, which were
equally great: his representing himself as an infidel was better perhaps
understood by his master, who believed it to be only puerile vanity; and
therefore Coleridge considered the flogging he received on this
occasion, a just and appropriate punishment; and it was so, for as a boy
he had not thought deep enough on an equally important point, viz., what
is Fidelity, and how easily, he particularly might mistake the
genuineness of sincere 'fidelity' for mere outward forms, and the simple
observance of customs. Perhaps I might have been disposed to pass over
this era with a slighter notice, which he in his simplicity of character
thought it right to record. He was always honest in every thing
concerning himself, and never spared self-accusation, often, when not
understood, to his own injury. He never from his boyhood to his latest
life, received kindness without grateful feelings, and, when he believed
it coupled with love, without the deepest sense of its value; and if the
person possessed sensibility and taste, he repaid it tenfold. This was
the experience of nearly twenty years intimate knowledge of his

His description of his first love was that of a young poet, recording
the first era of the passion, the fleeting dream of his youth--but not
that love which he afterwards records in the Geneviève when he says,

  "All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
  Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
  All are but ministers of love,
  And feed his sacred flame."

First love, so seldom the mature love of future days, is a flower of
premature growth and developement, on which fancy exercises itself in
castle-building, and is in unison with that age when youth flings his
limbs about in the air, as an exercise to rid himself of the superfluous
volition, the accumulation of which gives him a sensation of uneasiness;
and these simple and unreserved accounts of Coleridge's infidelity, and
also of his first love-fit, should be put down merely as mental
exercises. The lines above quoted, belong, I have said, to the maturer
mind; they are thoughts which, unlike the sportive dace on the surface
of some calm lake, may rather be compared to the inhabitants of the deep
waters beneath.

  "How often will the loving heart and imaginative spirit of a young man
  mistake the projected creature of his own moral yearning, seen in the
  reflecting surface of the first not repulsive or vulgar female who
  treats him affectionately, for the realization of his idea. Reversing
  the order of the Genesis, he believes the female the original, and the
  outward reality and impressment of the self-constructed 'image', of
  the ideal! He most sincerely supposes himself in love--even in cases
  where the mistake might have been suspected by one curious fact--that
  his strongest emotions on love, were when absent from the imagined
  object. But the time comes, or may come, when the same feeling exists
  equally in presence and absence, in health and in sickness; when he
  verily 'is' in love. And now he 'knows' himself to be so, by the 'so'
  being--he can even prove it to his own mind by his certainty, his
  'intuition' of the essential difference, as actually as it is
  uncommunicable, between it and its previous subjective counterfeits,
  and anticipations. Even so it is with friends.--O it is melancholy to
  think how the very forms and geniality of my affections, my belief of
  obligation, consequent gratitude and anxious sense of duty were wasted
  on the shadows of friendship. With few exceptions, I can almost say,
  that till I came to H----, I never 'found' what FRIENDS were--and
  doubtless, in more than one instance, I sacrificed substances who
  loved me, for semblances who were well pleased that I should love
  'them', but who never loved nor inwardly respected ought but
  themselves. The distinction between 'the' friends and 'the' love is,
  that the latter we discover by itself to 'be', alone itself--for it is
  in its nature unique and exclusive. (See Improvvisatore in the
  'Amulet' of 1826 or 7).

  "But of the former we discover the genuineness by comparison and
  experience--the reason is obvious--in the instances in which the
  person imagined himself to 'be in love' with another (I use this
  phrase 'be in love with' for the want of any other; for, in fact, from
  the absence in our language of any appropriate exponent of the thing
  meant), it is a delusion in toto. But, in the other instance, the one
  half (i.e. the person's own feelings and sense of duty with acts
  accordant) remains the same (ex. gr. S.T.C. could not feel more
  deeply, nor from abatement of nervous life by age and sickness so
  'ardently') he could not feel, think, and act with a 'more' entire
  devotion, to I.G. or to H.G. than he did to W.W. and to R.S., yet the
  latter were and remain most honourable to his judgment. Their
  characters, as moral and intellectual beings, give a dignity to his
  devotion; and the imperishable consciousness of his devout and almost
  enthusiastic attachment to them, still sanctifies their names, and
  makes the men holy and revered to him." [12]

Had Coleridge in early or even in later life paid an insincere, because
undeserved, deference to outward show, and to the surface opinions
counterfeiting depth, so attractive to the superficial observer--added
to which, had he possessed a portion of that self-regarding policy which
frequently aids success--he might have been idolized where he was
neglected, and rewarded, if I might so profane this word, with high
worldly honours in other quarters. But it was otherwise; and could a
crown of gold have been offered him for the crown of glory of which he
was in earnest search, he would have refused the exchange. The
difference between time and eternity had already taken root, and he felt
the mighty import of these words too strongly to have lost sight of
their practical use; all that his health and powers would allow him to
acquire he did acquire, and freely gave all he had for the benefit of

He says, "From the exuberance of my animal spirits, when I had burst
forth from my misery and moping and the indiscretions resulting from
those spirits--ex. gr. swimming over the New River in my clothes, and
remaining in them;--full half the time from seventeen to eighteen was
passed in the sick-ward of Christ's Hospital, afflicted with jaundice
and rheumatic fever." From these indiscretions and their consequences
may be dated all his bodily sufferings in future life: in short,
rheumatism sadly afflicting him, while the remedies only slightly
alleviated his sufferings, without hope of a permanent cure; though
confined to his bed, his mind, ever active, still allowed him time to
continue the exercise of his intellectual powers, and afforded him
leisure for contemplation. Medical men are too often called upon to
witness the effects of acute rheumatism in the young subject: in some,
the attack is on the heart, and its consequences are immediate; in
others, it leaves behind bodily sufferings, which may indeed be
palliated, but terminate only in a lingering dissolution.

I have often heard Coleridge express regret that he had not cultivated
mathematics, which he believed would have been of important use in life,
particularly had he arrived so far as to have mastered the higher
calculus; but he was, by an oversight of the mathematical master,
stopped on the threshold. When he was commencing Euclid, among some of
its first axioms came this:--"A line is length without breadth." "How
can that be?" said the scholar, (Coleridge); "A line must have some
breadth, be it ever so thin." This roused the master's indignation at
the impertinence of the scholar, which was instantly answered by a box
on the ear, and the words, hastily uttered, "Go along, you silly
fellow;" and here ended his first tuition, or lecture. His second
efforts afterwards were not more successful; so that he was destined to
remain ignorant of these exercises of the logic of the understanding.[A]
Indeed his logical powers were so stupendous, from boyhood, as never to
require such drilling. Bowyer, his classical master, was too skilful in
the management of youth, and too much interested in the success of his
scholars to overlook what was best fitted for them. He exercised their
logical powers in acquiring and comparing the different classics. On
him, as a teacher, Coleridge loved to dwell; and, with his grateful
feelings, ever ready to acknowledge the sense of his obligations to him,
particularly those relating to his mental improvement, he has, in his
Biog. Lit. vol. i. p. 7, expressed himself in these words:

  "He early moulded my taste to the preference of Demosthenes to Cicero,
  of Homer and Theocritus to Virgil, and again of Virgil to Ovid. He
  habituated me to compare Lucretius, (in such extracts as I then read,)
  Terence, and, above all, the chaster poems of Catullus, not only with
  the Roman poets of the, so called, silver and brazen ages; but with
  even those of the Augustan æra: and, on grounds of plain sense and
  universal logic, to see and assert the superiority of the former in
  the truth and nativeness, both of their thoughts and diction. At the
  same time that we were studying the Greek tragic poets, he made us
  read Shakespeare and Milton as lessons; and they were lessons too,
  which required most time and trouble to 'bring up' so as to escape his
  censure. I learnt from him that Poetry, even that of the loftiest,
  and, seemingly wildest odes, had a logic of its own, as severe as that
  of science; and more difficult, because more subtle, more complex, and
  dependent on more, and more fugitive causes."

In early life he was remarkably joyous; nature had blessed him with a
buoyancy of spirits, and even when suffering, he deceived the partial
observer. He delighted many of the strangers he met in his saunterings
through the cloisters, arrested and riveted the attention of the passer
by, whom, like his "Ancient Mariner," he held by a spell. His
schoolfellow, Lamb, has mentioned him, when under the influence of this
power, as the delight of his auditors. In the Elia, he says,

  "Come back into memory like as thou wert in the dayspring of thy
  fancies, with hope, like a fiery column before thee, the dark pillar
  not yet turned ... How have I seen the casual passer through the
  cloisters stand still, entranced with admiration, (while he weighed
  the disproportion between the 'speech' and the 'garb' of the
  mirandula,) to hear thee unfold, in deep and sweet intonations, the
  mysteries of Iamblichus [14] or Plotinus, (for even in those years
  thou waxedst not pale at such philosophic draughts); or reciting Homer
  in his Greek, or Pindar, while the walls of the old Grey-Friars
  re-echoed to the accents."

Middleton was not prepared to sympathise in these flights, considering
them subversive of the dignity of a Grecian. [15] Middleton was then on
the threshold of the College, and lads in this situation seemed called
upon, to preserve with dignity their honours, and with more outward
forms than suited their age. This at the time rendered them stiff and
unfamiliar, so much so, that within the walls, and in the neighbourhood,
it was mistaken for pride, and the words "Proud as a Grecian," were
proverbial. These boys had the dignity of their rising prospects
therefore to support--they were the aristocracy of the school. This was
a task ill suited to Coleridge; and his flights of fancy, as Lamb termed
them, would only produce a shrug of Middleton's shoulders, and a dread
at the prospect of the falling dignity of the school. Middleton's Poem,
in Mr. Trollope's [16] History of Christ's Hospital, and its companion
that of Coleridge, characterize the two youths, and plainly point out
that the selection of these poems was influenced more by a merit
belonging purely to talent than from any display of genius in either.
The verses of Middleton are more indicative of strength than of power;
they are the verses of a well-tutored youth, of commanding talents.
Those of Coleridge show more of fancy, but do not exhibit the power he
possessed at that age, which will be seen by comparing this poem with
many written by him at an earlier period, and now published among his
"Juvenile Poems." Middleton being older than Coleridge was elected
first, viz. 26th September, 1788, to Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Coleridge left Christ's Hospital for Jesus' College, Cambridge, 7th
September, 1790, [17] taking leave of his school-fellows in the
following sonnet:--

  Farewell, parental scenes! a sad farewell!
  To you my grateful heart still fondly clings,
  Tho' fluttering round on Fancy's burnish'd wings,
  Her tales of future joy Hope loves to tell.
  Adieu, adieu! ye much loved cloisters pale!
  Ah! would those happy days return again,
  When 'neath your arches, free from every stain,
  I heard of guilt, and wonder'd at the tale!
  Dear haunts! where oft my simple lays I sang,
  Listening meanwhile the echoings of my feet,
  Lingering I quit you, with as great a pang,
  As when ere while, my weeping childhood, torn
  By early sorrow from my native seat,
  Mingled its tears with hers--my widow'd parent lorn.

'Poetical Works', vol. i. p. 31.

[Footnote 1: Bishop Berkeley, in his work ("Siris") commences with a
dissertation on Tar Water, and ends with the Trinity. The Rev. John
Coleridge commences his work, entitled "A miscellaneous Dissertation
arising from the 17th and 18th chapters of the Book of Judges," with a
well written preface on the Bible, and ends with an advertisement of his
school, and his method of teaching Latin.]

[Footnote 2: In 1809, the above whimsical stories were related to me by
a gentleman, born in the town of Ottery, and by marriage closely related
to the Rev. John Coleridge. While Coleridge resided at Highgate, he also
repeated the stories which had grown up with him from boyhood as here
related, himself believing them true; but a near relation has lately
assured the writer, that some of these stories are told of another most
respectable clergyman, residing at that time in the neighbourhood, and
'he' believes that they properly belong to him. It is commonly remarked
that very studious men, either from inattention, or from ignorance of
the conventional forms of society, are regardless of what passes before
them. Paying, perhaps, too much attention to their inward feelings or
thoughts, seemingly day-dreaming--and this may frequently give rise to
the stories to be found in many towns besides Ottery. Still, however,
thoughtful and contemplative persons are often the quickest observers of
the weaknesses of human nature, and yet as they usually make the
greatest allowances for every infirmity, they are often impartial
judges, and judicious counsellors. The Rev. John Coleridge, though
sometimes an absent man, was a most valuable pastor, and on all fitting
occasions a good man of business, having conducted several difficult
matters of controversy for his parish with great satisfaction to the

[Footnote 3: Such at least were the recollections of this extraordinary
boy of seven years of age.]

[Footnote 4: Quale--quare--quidditive.]

[Footnote 5: He had, before he was six years old, read three times
through the Arabian Nights, or rather one of the volumes.--See "'The
Friend'," vol. i. p. 252, ed. 1818.]

[Footnote 6: I insert a similar observation on his feelings when he
first left home. "When I was first plucked up and transplanted from my
birth place and family, at the death of my dear father, whose revered
image has ever survived in my mind, to make me know what the emotions
and affections of a son are, and how ill a father's place is likely to
be supplied by any other relation. Providence (it has often occurred to
me) gave the first intimation, that it was my lot, and that it was best
for me, to make or find my way of life a detached individual, a Terræ
Filius, who was to ask love or service of no one on any more specific
relation than that of being a man, and as such to take my chance for the
free charities of humanity."]

[Footnote 7: Whatever might have been his habits in boyhood, in manhood
he was 'scrupulously' clean in his person, and especially took great
care of his hands by frequent ablutions. In his dress also he was as
cleanly as the liberal use of snuff would permit, though the
clothes-brush was often in requisition to remove the wasted snuff.
"Snuff," he would facetiously say, "was the final cause of the nose,
though troublesome and expensive in its use."]

[Footnote 8: "Jemmy Bowyer," as he was familiarly called by Coleridge
and Lamb, might not inaptly be termed the "plagosus orbilius" of
Christ's Hospital.]

[Footnote 9: In his biographical sketch of his literary life, he informs
us that he had translated the eight Hymns of Synesius from the Greek,
into English Anacreontica, before his fifteenth year.]

[Footnote 10:

  ... the childhood shews the man,
  As morning shews the day ...

'Paradise Regained', book iv. v. 220.]

[Footnote 11: Aldine Edition, Vol. i. p. 6.--Pickering, London, 1834.]

[Footnote 12: Extract of a note written Dec. 1829.]

[Footnote 13:

  "'Thought' and 'attention' very different things.--I never expected
  the German (viz. selbst-mühige Erzeugung dessen, wovon meine Rede war)
  from the readers of the 'Friend'.--I did expect the latter, and was

  "This is a most important distinction, and in the new light afforded
  by it to my mind, I see more plainly why mathematics cannot be a
  substitute for Logic, much less for Metaphysics--i.e. transcendental
  Logic, and why therefore Cambridge has produced so few men of genius
  and original power since the time of Newton.--Not only it does 'not'
  call forth the balancing and discriminating powers ('that' I saw long
  ago), but it requires only 'attention', not 'thought' or

  "In a long-brief Dream-life of regretted regrets, I still find a
  noticeable space marked out by the Regret of having neglected the
  Mathematical Sciences. No 'week', few 'days' pass unhaunted by a fresh
  conviction of the truth involved in the Platonic Superstition over the
  Portal of Philosophy,

  [Greek: Maedeis age_ométraetos eisít_o].

  But surely Philosophy hath scarcely sustained more detriment by its
  alienation from mathematics."

MS. Note.]

[Footnote 14:

  "In my friendless wanderings on our leave-days, i.e. the Christ
  Hospital phrase, not for holidays altogether, but for those on which
  the boys are permitted to go beyond the precincts of the school (for I
  was an orphan, and had scarce any connexions in London), highly was I
  delighted, if any passenger, especially if he drest in black, would
  enter into conversation with me; for soon I found the means of
  directing it to my favourite subjects--

    Of Providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate,
    Fix'd fate, free will, fore-knowledge absolute,
    And found no end, in wandering mazes lost."]

[Footnote 15: The upper boys of the school selected for the University
are so termed, though wearing the same coloured dress, but made of more
costly materials.]

[Footnote 16: In a note on the History, p. 192, Mr. Trollope makes the
following observation:

  "From this book" (a book in which the boys were allowed to copy their
  verses when considered good) "the verses referred to in the text were

They will be found in the Literary Remains, vol. i, p.33.  Trollope

  "These verses are copied not as one of the best, but of the earliest
  productions of the writer."]

[Footnote 17: Entered at Jesus' College, Feb. 5th, 1791, at the age of
19.--College Books.]



At Cambridge, whither his reputation had travelled before him, high
hopes and fair promises of success were entertained by his young friends
and relations. He was considered by the "Blues," as they are familiarly
termed, one from whom they were to derive great immediate honour, which
for a short period, however, was deferred. Individual genius has a cycle
of its own, and moves only in that path, or by the powers influencing
it. Genius has been properly defined 'prospective', talent on the
contrary 'retrospective': genius is creative, and lives much in the
future, and in its passage or progress may make use of the labours of

  "I have been in the habit," says Coleridge, "of considering the
  qualities of intellect, the comparative eminence in which
  characterizes individuals and even countries, under four
  kinds,--genius, talent, sense, and cleverness. The first I use in the
  sense of most general acceptance, as the faculty which adds to the
  existing stock of power and knowledge by new views, new combinations,
  by discoveries not accidental, but anticipated, or resulting from

  'Friend', vol. iii. p. 85, edit. 1818. [1]

Coleridge left school with great anticipation of success from all who
knew him, for his character for scholarship, and extraordinary accounts
of his genius had preceded him. He carried with him too the same
childlike simplicity which he had from a boy, and which he retained even
to his latest hours. His first step was to involve himself in much
misery, and which followed him in after life, as the sequel will
evidence. On his arrival at College he was accosted by a polite
upholsterer, requesting to be permitted to furnish his rooms. The next
question was, "How would you like to have them furnished?" The answer
was prompt and innocent enough, "Just as you please, Sir!"--thinking the
individual employed by the College. The rooms were therefore furnished
according to the taste of the artizan, and the bill presented to the
astonished Coleridge. Debt was to him at all times a thing he most
dreaded, and he never had the courage to face it. I once, and once only,
witnessed a painful scene of this kind, which occurred from mistaking a
letter on ordinary business for an application for money. [2] Thirty
years afterwards, I heard that these College debts were about one
hundred pounds! Under one hundred pounds I believe to have been the
amount of his sinnings; but report exceeded this to something which
might have taxed his character beyond imprudence, or mere want of
thought. Had he, in addition to his father's simplicity, possessed the
worldly circumspection of his mother, he might have avoided these and
many other vexations; but he went to the University wholly unprepared
for a College life, having hitherto chiefly existed in his own 'inward'
being, and in his poetical imagination, on which he had fed.

But to proceed. Coleridge's own account is, that while Middleton,
afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, remained at Pembroke, he "worked with him
and was industrious, read hard, and obtained the prize for the Greek
Ode," [3] &c. It has been stated, that he was locked up in his room to
write this Ode; but this is not the fact. Many stories were afloat, and
many exaggerations were circulated and believed, of his great want of
attention to College discipline, and of perseverance in his studies, and
every failure, or apparent failure, was attributed to these causes.
Often has he repeated the following story of Middleton, and perhaps this
story gave birth to the report.

They had agreed to read together in the evening, and were not to hold
any conversation. Coleridge went to Pembroke and found Middleton intent
on his book, having on a long pair of boots reaching to the knees, and
beside him, on a chair, next to the one he was sitting on, a pistol.
Coleridge had scarcely sat down before he was startled by the report of
the pistol. "Did you see that?" said Middleton. "See what?" said
Coleridge. "That rat I just sent into its hole again--did you feel the
shot? It was to defend my legs," continued Middleton, "I put on these
boots. I am fighting with these rats for my books, which, without some
prevention, I shall have devoured."

There is an anecdote related of Coleridge while at College, and which I
have heard him frequently repeat, when called upon to vouch for its
truth. His fellow students had amused themselves, when he was in
attendance at Lecture, by stealing a portion of the tail of his gown,
and which they had repeated so frequently, as to shorten it to the
length of a spencer. Crossing the quadrangle one day with these remains
at his back, and his appearance not being in collegiate trim, the Master
of Jesus' College, who was ever kind to him, and overlooked all little
inattentions to appearances, accosted him smartly on this occasion--"Mr.
Coleridge! Mr. Coleridge! when will you get rid of that shameful gown?"
Coleridge, turning his head, and casting his eyes over his shoulders, as
if observing its length, or rather want of length, replied in as
courteous a manner as words of such a character would permit, "Why, Sir,
I think I've got rid of the greatest part of it already!"

Such were Coleridge's peculiarities, which were sometimes construed into
irregularities; but through his whole life, attracting notice by his
splendid genius, he fell too often under the observation of men who
busied themselves in magnifying small things, and minifying large ones.
About this period, that Volcano, in which all the worst passions of men
were collected, and which had been for some time emitting its black
smoke, at length exploded and rent society asunder. The shock was felt
throughout Europe; each party was over-excited, and their minds
enthralled by a new slavery--the one shouting out the blessings of
liberty and equality--the other execrating them, and prophesying the
consequences that were to follow:--

  "There's no philosopher but sees
  That rage and fear are one disease;
  _Tho' that may burn, and this may freeze_,
  They're both alike tho ague."

'Mad Ox'.

Combustibles composed of such ardent and evil spirits soon blaze out;
yet the evil does not stop when the blaze has ceased; it leaves an
excitement which is constantly disclosing itself in a restless morbid
vanity, a craving for distinction, and a love of applause, in its way as
dangerous as the thirst of gain, and the worship of the mammon of

Alas! the circulation of such anecdotes as have been here related of
Coleridge when at College, and his inattention to some of the minor
forms of discipline, were sufficient for illnatured persons to transform
into serious offences, particularly when coupled with the disappointed
hopes of zealous friends. At this period, in which all men who were not
senseless, or so indifferent as nearly to be senseless, particularly the
young men of our Universities, all embraced a party, and arranged
themselves under their different banners. When I now look around me, and
see men who have risen to the highest offices of the different
professions, in the church, the law, or in physic, formerly only known
by the name of Citizen John, &c. &c., _now_ my Lord so and so, or your
Grace the----, it seems like a dream, or at least a world of fleeting
shadows. Sir James Mackintosh, in a letter to Mr. Sharp, states what he
conceived to be the errors of both parties, so far as they arose from
errors of judgment:

  "The opposition mistook the moral character of the revolution; the
  ministers mistook its force: and both parties, from pique, resentment,
  pride, habit, and obstinacy, persisted in acting on these mistakes
  after they were disabused by experience. Mr. Burke alone avoided both
  these fatal mistakes. He saw both the malignity and the strength of
  the revolution. But where there was wisdom to discover the truth,
  there was not power, and perhaps there was not practical skill, to
  make that wisdom available for the salvation of Europe.--'Diis aliter
  visum!' My fortune has been in some respects very singular. I have
  lately read the lives and private correspondence of some of the most
  memorable men in different countries of Europe, who are lately dead.
  [4] Klopstock, Kant, Lavater, Alfieri, they were all filled with joy
  and hope by the French revolution--they clung to it for a longer or a
  shorter time--they were compelled to relinquish their illusions. The
  disappointment of all was bitter, but it showed itself in various
  modes, according to the variety of their characters. The series of
  passions growing out of that disappointment, was the not very remote
  cause of the death of Lavater. In the midst of society, Alfieri buried
  himself in misanthropic solitude; and the shock, which awakened him
  from the dreams of enthusiasm, darkened and shortened his days. In the
  mean time the multitude, comprehending not only those who have neither
  ardour of sensibility, nor compass of understanding to give weight to
  their suffrage, but those also whom accident had not brought into
  close and perpetual contact with the events, were insensibly detached
  from the revolution; and, before they were well aware that they had
  quitted their old 'position', they found themselves at the antipodes."

The excitement which this state of things produced might have been
highly advantageous to some, and even quickened their intellectual
powers, particularly those destined either for the bar or the senate,
but certainly not those intended for the church.

The revolution [5] and its consequences engrossed the thoughts of all
men too much for the calmer pursuits of life; and the minds of the young
especially were so absorbed by passing temporal events, as to leave but
little time for the contemplation of the deeper and more serious affairs
of futurity. However, Coleridge appears in his political opinions to
have leaned too much to the side of democracy; but this was so prevalent
and so much a fashion, particularly in those filled with enthusiasm,
that it seemed a natural consequence in any young man possessing even
ordinary intellect. Middleton, his friend, passed on without attaching
himself to either party. His manners (as I have before noticed) were
austere and sedate. He steadily persevered, without deviation, in his
studies, though chance did not always favour him, nor crown him with the
success he merited. He was a good and amiable man, and an affectionate
friend; but early want of success in his academical exertions rendering
him melancholy, this by sympathy was soon imparted to his friend. After
Middleton's departure, the keen desire which Coleridge previously felt
for the possession of honours abated, and he became indifferent to
them--he might at this time have been idle, but never vicious. The men
who often appear to be the gayest and lightest of heart, are too
frequently melancholic; and it is a well-known fact, that the best comic
actors are the greatest sufferers from this malady, as if it seemed an
essential qualification for that department of histrionic excellence, in
which the greatest animal spirits are personated and successfully
imitated. Coleridge, at this period, delighted in boyish tricks, which
others were to execute. I remember a fellow-collegiate recalling to his
memory an exploit of which he was the planner, and a late Lord
Chancellor the executor. It was this: a train of gunpowder was to be
laid on two of the neatly shaven lawns of St. John's and Trinity
Colleges, in such a manner, that, when set on fire, the singed grass
would exhibit the ominous words, Liberty and Equality, which, with able
ladlike dexterity, was duly performed.

The writer of the College Reminiscences in the Gentleman's Magazine,
December, 1834, a first-form boy with Coleridge at Christ's Hospital,
was well acquainted with his habits, and speaks of his having gained the
gold medal in his freshman's year for the Greek Ode, but does not notice
his having been locked up in his room for that purpose.

  "In his second year he stood for the Craven scholarship--a university
  scholarship, for which under-graduates of any standing are entitled to
  become candidates. This was in the winter of 1792. Out of sixteen or
  eighteen competitors, a selection of four were to contend for the
  prize, and these four were Dr. Butler, late head-master of Shrewsbury,
  Dr. Keate, the late head-master of Eton, [6] Dr. Bethell, the present
  Bishop of Bangor, and Coleridge. Dr. Butler was the successful

Coleridge always spoke of this decision as having been in every way
just, and due to Butler's merit as a clever and industrious scholar.

  "But pause a moment," says this writer, "in Coleridge's History, and
  think of him at this period! Butler! Keate Bethell! and Coleridge! How
  different the career of each in future life! O Coleridge, through what
  strange paths did the meteor of genius lead thee! Pause a moment, ye
  distinguished men! and deem it not the least bright spot in your
  happier career, that you and Coleridge were once rivals, and for a
  moment running abreast in the pursuit of honour. I believe that his
  disappointment at this crisis damped his ardour. Unfortunately, at
  that period, there was no classical tripos; so that, if a person did
  not obtain the classical medal, he was thrown back among the totally
  undistinguished; and it was not allowable to become a candidate for
  the classical medal, unless you had taken a respectable degree in
  mathematics. Coleridge had not the least taste for these, and here his
  case was hopeless; so that he despaired of a Fellowship, and gave up
  what in his heart he coveted--college honours and a college life. He
  had seen Middleton (late Bishop of Calcutta) quit Pembroke under
  similar circumstances. Not _quite_ similar, because Middleton had
  studied mathematics so as to take a respectable degree, and to enable
  him to try for the medal; but he failed, and therefore all hopes
  failed of a Fellowship--most fortunately, as it proved in after-life,
  for Middleton, though he mourned at the time most deeply, and
  exclaimed--'I am Middleton, which is another name for misfortune!'

    'There is a Providence which shapes our ends,
    Rough-hew them how we will.'

  That which Middleton deemed a misfortune drew him from the cobwebs of
  a college library to the active energies of a useful and honoured

If, as Shakespeare observes, "there be a providence which shapes our
ends," such words as "fortunate" or "unfortunate," in their customary
use, will be found, on closer attention, and deeper thought, worthless
and full of error. We have each our part allotted to us in the great
drama of life.

But to return to Coleridge.

  "When he quitted college, which he did before he had taken a degree,
  in a moment of mad-cap caprice, and in an inauspicious hour!

    'When,' as Coleridge says, 'I left the friendly cloisters, and the
    happy grove of quiet, ever-honoured Jesus' College, Cambridge.'

  Short, but deep and heartfelt reminiscence! In a Literary Life of
  himself, this short memorial is all that Coleridge gives of his happy
  days at college. Say not that he did not obtain, and did not wish to
  obtain, classical honours! He did obtain them, and was eagerly
  ambitious of them; [7] but he did not bend to that discipline which
  was to qualify him for the whole course. He was very studious, but his
  reading was desultory and capricious. He took little exercise merely
  for the sake of exercise; but he was ready at any time to unbend his
  mind in conversation; and, for the sake of this, his room (the
  ground-floor room on the right hand of the staircase facing the great
  gate,) was a constant rendezvous of conversation-loving friends; I
  will not call them loungers, for they did not call to kill time, but
  to enjoy it. What evenings have I spent in those rooms! What little
  suppers, or 'sizings', as they were called, have I enjoyed; when
  Æschylus, and Plato, and Thucydides were pushed aside, with a pile of
  lexicons, &c. to discuss the pamphlets of the day. Ever and anon, a
  pamphlet issued from the pen of Burke. There was no need of having the
  book before us. Coleridge had read it in the morning, and in the
  evening he would repeat whole pages verbatim."

Then came another disturbing cause, which altered the course of his path
in life, and this was Frend's trial. [8]

  "During it," to resume the quotation, "pamphlets swarmed from the
  press. Coleridge had read them all; and in the evening, with our
  negus, we had them 'vivâ voce' gloriously."

Coleridge has recorded that he was a Socinian till twenty-five. Be not
startled, courteous reader! nor ye who knew him only in his later life,
if the impetuous zeal and ardour of his mind in early youth led him
somewhat wide of those fixed principles which he adopted in riper years.

To quote his own words, written soon after he left college, and
addressed to the late Rev. George Coleridge,

  "If aught of error or intemperate truth
  Should meet thine ear, think thou that riper age
  Will calm it down, and let thy love forgive it!"

There is one incident very characteristic of him, which took place
during this trial. The trial was observed by Coleridge, to be going
against Frend, when some observation or speech was made in his favour; a
dying hope thrown out as it appeared to Coleridge who, in the midst of
the Senate, whilst sitting on one of the benches, extended his hands and
clapped them. The Proctor in a loud voice demanded who had committed
this indecorum. Silence ensued. The Proctor in an elevated tone, said to
a young man sitting near Coleridge, "'Twas you, sir!" The reply was as
prompt as the accusation; for, immediately holding out the stump of his
right arm, it appeared that he had lost his hand,--"I would, sir," said
he, "that I had the power."--That no innocent person should incur blame,
Coleridge went directly afterwards to the Proctor, who told him that he
saw him clap his hands, but fixed on this person who he knew had not the
power. "You have had," said he, "a narrow escape."

The opinions of youth are often treated too seriously. The matter of
most importance to ascertain when they need correction, is, whether in
these opinions they are 'sincere'; at all events, the outbursts of youth
are not to be visited as veteran decisions; and when they differ from
'received' opinions, the advice offered should be tempered with
kindliness of feeling and sympathy even with their failings.
Unfortunately for Coleridge, however, he was to be exempted from those
allowances made for others, and was most painfully neglected by those
who ought to have sympathized with, and supported him; he was left "to
chase chance-started friendships."

Coleridge possessed a mind remarkably sensitive, so much so, as at times
to divest him of that mental courage so necessary in a world full of
vicissitude and painful trial; and this deficiency, though of short
duration, was occasionally observed in early life. At the departure of
Middleton, [9] to whom he had always looked up, whose success he had
considered morally certain, and whose unexpected failure was therefore
the more painful to his feelings, he became desponding, and, in
addition, vexed and fretted by the college debts, he was overtaken by
that inward grief, the product of fear, which he, in after life, so
painfully described in his Ode to Dejection:--

  "A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,
  A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
  Which finds no natural outlet, no relief,
  In word, or sigh, or tear."

Such "viper thoughts" did at this time coil around his mind, and were
for him "Reality's dark Dream." In this state of mind he suddenly left
Cambridge for London, and strolled about the streets till night came on,
and then rested himself on the steps of a house in Chancery Lane, in a
reverie of tumultuous feelings, speculating on the future. In this
situation, overwhelmed with his own painful thoughts, and in misery
himself, he had now to contend with the misery of others--for he was
accosted by various kinds of beggars importuning him for money, and
forcing on him their real or pretended sorrows. To these applicants he
emptied his pockets of his remaining cash. Walking along Chancery Lane
in the morning, he noticed a bill posted on the wall, "Wanted a few
smart lads for the 15th, Elliot's Light Dragoons;"--he paused a moment,
and said to himself,

  "Well, I have had all my life a violent antipathy to soldiers and
  horses, the sooner I can cure myself of these absurd prejudices the
  better, and I will enlist in this regiment."

Forthwith he went as directed to the place of enlistment. On his
arrival, he was accosted by an old sergeant, with a remarkably
benevolent countenance, to whom he stated his wish. The old man looking
at him attentively, asked him if he had been in bed? On being answered
in the negative, he desired him to take his, made him breakfast, and
bade him rest himself awhile, which he did. This feeling sergeant
finding him refreshed in his body, but still suffering apparently from
melancholy, in kind words begged him to be of good cheer, and consider
well the step he was about to take; gave him half a guinea, which he was
to repay at his convenience, with a desire at the same time that he
would go to the play, and shake off his melancholy, and not return to
him. The first part of the advice Coleridge attended to, but returned
after the play to the quarters he had left. At the sight of him, this
kind-hearted man burst into tears--"Then it must be so," said he. This
sudden and unexpected sympathy from an entire stranger deeply affected
Coleridge, and nearly shook his resolution; still considering the die
was cast, and that he could not in honour even to the sergeant, without
implicating him, retreat, he preserved his secret, and after a short
chat, they retired to rest.

In the morning, the sergeant, not unmindful of his duty to his
sovereign, mustered his recruits, and Coleridge, with his new comrades,
was marched to Reading. On his arrival at the quarters of the regiment,
the general of the district inspected the recruits, and looking hard at
Coleridge with a military air, enquired, "What's your name, sir?"
"Comberbach," (the name he had assumed.) "What do you come here for,
sir?" as if doubting whether he had any business there. "Sir," said
Coleridge, "for what most other persons come, to be made a soldier." "Do
you think," said the general, "you can run a Frenchman through the
body?" "I do not know," replied Coleridge, "as I never tried, but I'll
let a Frenchman run me through the body before I'll run away." "That
will do," said the general; and Coleridge was turned into the ranks.

The same amiable and benevolent conduct which was so interwoven in his
nature, soon made him friends, and his new comrades vied with each other
in their endeavours to be useful to him; and being, as before described,
rather helpless, he required the assistance of his fellow-soldiers. They
cleaned his horse, attended particularly to its heels, and to the
accoutrements. At this time he frequently complained of a pain at the
pit of his stomach, accompanied with sickness, which totally prevented
his stooping, and in consequence he could never arrive at the power of
bending his body to rub the heels of his horse, which alone was
sufficient to make him dependent on his comrades; but it should be
observed that he on his part was ever willing to assist them by being
their amanuensis when one was required, and wrote all their letters to
their sweethearts and wives. [10]

It appears that he never advanced beyond the awkward squad, and that the
drill-sergeant had little hope of his progress from the necessary
warnings he gave to the rest of the troop, even to this same squad to
which he belonged; and, though his awkward manoeuvres were well
understood, the sergeant would vociferously exclaim, "Take care of that
Comberbach, [11] take care of him, for he will ride over you," and other
such complimentary warnings. From the notice that one of his officers
took of him, he excited, for a short time, the jealousy of some of his
companions. When in the street, he walked behind this officer as an
orderly, but when out of town they walked abreast, and his comrades not
understanding how a soldier in the awkward squad merited this
distinction, thought it a neglect of themselves, which, for the time,
produced some additional discomfort to Coleridge.

I believe this officer to have been Capt. Ogle, [12] who I think visited
him in after life at Highgate. It seems that his attention had been
drawn to Coleridge in consequence of discovering the following sentence
in the stables, written in pencil, "Eheu! quam infortunii miserrimum est
fuisse felicem!" but his more immediate discovery arose from a young man
who had left Cambridge for the army, and in his road through Reading to
join his regiment, met Coleridge in the street in his Dragoon's dress,
who was about to pass him, but, said he,

  "No, Coleridge, this will not do, we have been seeking you these six
  months; I must and will converse with you, and have no hesitation in
  declaring that I shall immediately inform your friends that I have
  found you."

This led to Coleridge's return to Cambridge. The same story is also
related and made the ground work of some scene in a novel, without the
names, by his early friend, Charles Lloyd--he who was included by
Canning in the Anti-jacobin with Coleridge, Mr. Southey, and Lamb. He
returned to Cambridge, but did not long remain there; and quitted it
without taking a degree.

It has been observed, that men of genius move in orbits of their own;
and seem deprived of that free will which permits the mere man of talent
steadily to pursue the beaten path. Coleridge had very early pictured to
himself many of the advantages of mechanical employment, its immunities
and exemptions from the sufferings consequent on the laborious exercise
of 'thought'; but yet he never shrank from the task apparently allotted
to him; he was made to soar and not to creep; even as a young man, his
acquirements were far beyond the age in which he lived. With his amiable
qualities, and early love of domestic life, he would have been well
content to tread an humbler path, but it was otherwise ordained!

However excellent for the many, the system adopted by our universities
was ill suited for a mind like Coleridge's, and there were some who felt
that a College routine was not the kind of education which would best
evolve, cultivate, and bring into training powers so 'unique'. It has
been repeated, 'ad nauseam', that great minds will not descend to the
industrious accumulation of those acquirements best suited to fit them
for independence. To say that Coleridge would not 'condescend' would be
a calumny,--nay, when his health permitted, he would drudge and work
more laboriously at some of the mechanical parts of literature, than any
man I ever knew. To speak detractingly of great and good men is
frequently the result of malice combined with egotism. Though it would
be injustice not to admit that he has had warm admirers and deeply
affectionate friends, it is much to be regretted that there have been
persons who have strangely maligned Coleridge, and who have attributed
to him vices of which he was innocent. Had these vices existed, they
would not have found any unfair extenuation in this memoir, nor would
they have been passed over without notice. In answer to calumnies at
that time in circulation, (and with sorrow and just indignation it is
added that these reports originated with some who called themselves his
friends; but, alas! most false and hypocritical!) the following minute
from his notes is quoted:

  "My academic adventures and indiscretions must have seemed
  unpardonable sins," that is, as they were related by the tale-bearers
  and gossips of the day. "I mention these," adds he, "because the only
  immoralities that can without the grossest slander be laid to my
  charge, were all comprised within the space of the last two years of
  my College life. As I went to Cambridge innocent, so I dare affirm,
  from the first week of my acquaintance with Robert Southey to this
  hour, Southey himself cannot stand more clear of all intention at
  violations of the moral law: but, in fact, even during my career at
  Jesus, the heaviest of my offences consisted in the folly of assuming
  the show of vices, from which I was all but free, and which in the
  comparatively few exceptions left loathing and self-disgust on my
  mind. Were I, indeed, to fix on that week of my existence, in which my
  moral being would have presented to a pitying guardian angel the most
  interesting spectacle, it would be that very week [13] in London, in
  which I was believed by my family to have abandoned myself to
  debauchery of all kinds, and 'thus' to have involved myself in
  disreputable pecuniary embarrassments. God knows, so intense was my
  mental anguish, that during the whole time I was physically incapable
  even of a 'desire'. My whole body seemed stunned and insensate, from
  excess of inward suffering--my debts were the 'cause', not the effect;
  but that I know there can be no substitute for a father, I should
  say,--surely, surely, the innocence of my whole 'pre' and 'post'
  academic life, my early distinction, and even the fact, that my
  Cambridge extravagations did not lose me, nor cool for me, the esteem
  and regard of a single fellow collegiate, might have obtained an
  amnesty from worse transgressions."

Coleridge, who had desponded at the fate of Middleton, after the
unsuccessful attempts he made to obtain a fellowship, lost all hope of
procuring an income from the college, and as, through the
instrumentality of Frend, with whom an intimacy had now taken place, he
had been converted to what in these days is called Unitarianism, he was
too conscientious to take orders and enter the Established Church. These
circumstances opened to him new views, and effected a complete change in
his course of life, and thus his former objects and plans were set
aside. The friendship between Coleridge and Southey having greatly
increased, and still continuing to increase, and Coleridge being easily
led by the affection of those he loved, for which he had a constant
yearning, determined to follow literature in future life as a
profession, that appearing to him the only source of obtaining an
honourable livelihood.

Here there was no "mad caprice," but he calmly decided to leave
Cambridge and join Southey in his plans for the future, and commence the
profession on which they had mutually agreed. He went to Oxford to visit
Mr. Southey, and thence to Wales, and thence to Bristol (Mr. Southey's
native place), at which city they conjointly commenced their career in
authorship, and for the first few months shared the same room.

The times were still tumultuous; for although the great hurricane of the
revolution ceased abroad, yet, like mighty waters that had been once
agitated by a storm, tranquillity was not restored, nor was there any
prospect of an immediate calm. The 'Habeas Corpus' act was at this time
suspended, and the minister of that day, Mr. Pitt, had struck the panic
of property among the wealthy and affluent. During the time of danger,
when surrounded by government emissaries, these youthful poets gave
lectures on politics, and that with impunity, to crowded audiences.
Coleridge met with one interruption only, and that from a hired partizan
who had assayed a disturbance at one of these lectures, in order to
implicate him and his party, and by this means to effect, if possible,
their incarceration. The gentleman who mentioned this in the presence of
Coleridge (when with me at Highgate) said--He (Coleridge) had commenced
his lecture when this intended disturber of the peace was heard uttering
noisy words at the foot of the stairs, where the fee of admission into
the room was to be paid. The receiver of the money on the alert ascended
the stairs and informed Coleridge of the man's insolence and his
determination not to pay for his admission. In the midst of the lecture
Coleridge stopped, and said loud enough to be heard by the individual,
that before the intruder "kicked up a dust, he would surely down with
the dust," and desired the man to admit him. The individual had not long
been in the room before he began hissing, this was succeeded by loud
claps from Coleridge's party, which continued for a few minutes, but at
last they grew so warm that they began to vociferate, "Turn him
out!"--"Turn him out!"--"Put him out of the window!" Fearing the
consequences of this increasing clamour, the lecturer was compelled to
request silence, and addressed them as follows: "Gentlemen, ours is the
cause of liberty! that gentleman has as much right to hiss as you to
clap, and you to clap as he to hiss; but what is to be expected,
gentlemen, when the cool waters of reason come in contact with red hot
aristocracy but a hiss?" When the loud laugh ended, silence ensued, and
the rebuke was treasured and related. [14]

The terms aristocrat, democrat, and jacobin, were the fashionable
opprobrious epithets of the day; and well do I remember, the man who had
earned by his politics the prefix of jacobin to his name, was completely
shunned in society, whatever might be his moral character: but, as might
be expected, this was merely ephemeral, when parties ran high, and were
guided and governed more by impulses and passion than by principle.

  "Truth I pursued, as Fancy sketch'd the way,
  And wiser men than I went worse astray."

Men of the greatest sense and judgment possessing good hearts are, on
the review of the past, more disposed to think 'well' of the young men
of that day, who, from not exercising their reason, were carried into
the vortex of the revolution. Much has been written on the proposed
scheme of settling in the wilds of America;--the spot chosen was
Susquehannah,--this spot Coleridge has often said was selected, on
account of the name being pretty and metrical, indeed he could never
forbear a smile when relating the story. This day-dream, as he termed
it, (for such it really was) the detail of which as related by him
always gave it rather a sportive than a serious character, was a subject
on which it is doubtful whether he or Mr. Southey were really in earnest
at the time it was planned. The dream was, as is stated in the "Friend,"
that the little society to be formed was, in its second generation, to
have combined the innocence of the patriarchal age with the knowledge
and general refinements of European culture, and "I dreamt," says he,
"that in the sober evening of my life I should behold colonies of
independence in the undivided dale of industry." Strange fancies! 'and
as vain as strange'! This scheme, sportive, however, as it might be, had
its admirers; and there are persons now to be found, who are desirous of
realizing these visions, the past-time in thought and fancy of these
young poets--then about 23 years of age. During this dream, and about
this time, Southey and Coleridge married two sisters of the name of
Fricker, and a third sister was married to an Utopian poet as he has
been called, of the name of Lovel, whose poems were published with Mr.
Southey's. They were, however, too wise to leave Bristol for America,
for the purpose of establishing a genuine system of property--a
Pantisocracy, which was to be their form of government--and under which
they were to realize all their new dreams of happiness. Marriage, at all
events, seems to have sobered them down, and the vision vanished.

Chimerical as it appeared, the purveyors of amusement for the reading
public were thus furnished with occupation, and some small pecuniary
gain, while it exercised the wit of certain anti-Jacobin writers of the
day, and raised them into notice. Canning had the faculty of satire to
an extraordinary degree, and also that common sense tact, which made his
services at times so very useful to his country; his powers seemed in
their full meridian of splendour when an argument or new doctrine
permitted him rapidly to run down into its consequence, and then
brilliantly and wittily to skew its defects. In this he eminently
excelled. The beauties of the anti-Jacobin are replete with his satire.
He never attempted a display of depth, but his dry sarcasm left a sting
which those he intended to wound carried off 'in pain and mortfication'.
This scheme of Pantisocracy excited a smile among the kind-hearted and
thinking part of mankind; but, among the vain and restless ignorant
would-be-political economists, it met with more attention; and they,
with their microscopic eyes, fancied they beheld in it what was not
quite so visible to the common observer. Though the plan was soon
abandoned, it was thought sufficient for the subject of a lecture, and
afforded some mirth when the minds of the parties concerned in it
arrived at manhood. Coleridge saw, soon after it was broached, that no
scheme of colonizing that was not based on religion could be
permanent.--Left to the disturbing forces of the human passions to which
it would be exposed, it would soon perish; for all government to be
permanent should be influenced by reason, and guided by religion.

In the year 1795 Coleridge, residing then at Clevedon, a short distance
from Bristol, published his first prose work, with some additions by Mr.
Southey, the "Conciones ad Populum." In a short preface he observes,

  "The two following addresses were delivered in the month of February,
  1795, and were followed by six others in defence of natural and
  revealed religion. 'There is a time to keep silence,' saith King
  Solomon;--but when I proceeded to the first verse of the fourth
  chapter of the Ecclesiastes, 'and considered all the oppressions that
  are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were
  oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their
  oppressors there was power,' I concluded this was _not_ the 'time to
  keep silence;' for truth should be spoken at all times, but more
  especially at those times when to speak truth is dangerous."

In these addresses he showed that the example of France was a warning to
Great Britain; but, because he did not hold opinions equally violent
with the Jacobin party of that day, he was put down as an anti-Jacobin;
for, he says, "the annals of the French revolution have been recorded in
letters of blood, that the knowledge of the few cannot counteract the
ignorance of the many; that the light of philosophy, when it is confined
to a small minority, points out its possessors as the victims, rather
than the illuminators of the multitude. The patriots of France either
hastened into the dangerous and gigantic error of making certain evils
the means of contingent good, or were sacrificed by the mob, with whose
prejudices and ferocity their unbending virtue forbade them to
assimilate. Like Samson, the people were strong, like Samson, they were
also blind:" and he admonishes them at the end of the third lecture to
do all things in the spirit of love.

  "It is worthy of remark," says he, in a MS. note, "that we may possess
  a thing in such fulness as to prevent its possession from being an
  object of distinct consciousness. Only as it lessens or dims, we
  reflect on it, and learn to value it. This is one main cause why young
  men of high and ardent minds find nothing repulsive in the doctrines
  of necessity, which, in after years, they (as I have) recoil from.
  Thus, too, the faces of friends dearly beloved become distinct in
  memory or dream only after long absence." Of the work itself he says,
  "Except the two or three pages involving the doctrine of philosophical
  necessity and Unitarianism, I see little or nothing in these
  'outbursts' of my 'youthful' zeal to 'retract', and with the exception
  of some flame-coloured epithets applied to persons, as to Mr. Pitt and
  others, or rather to personifications (for such they really were to
  'me') as little to regret. Qualis ab initio [Greek: estaesae] S.T.C.
  [15] When a rifacimento of the 'Friend' took place, [1818] at vol. ii.
  p. 240, he states his reasons for reprinting the lecture referred to,
  one of the series delivered at Bristol in the year 1794-95, because,
  says he, "This very lecture, vide p. 10, has been referred to in an
  infamous libel in proof of the author's Jacobinism."

When the mind of Coleridge was more matured he did not omit this truth,
which has never been refuted, that the aristocratic system "had its
golden side, for the noblest minds; but I

  "should," continues he, "act the part of a coward if I disguised my
  conviction that the errors of the aristocratic party were as gross,
  and far less excusable than those of the Jacobin. Instead of
  contenting themselves with opposing the real blessing of English law
  to the 'splendid promises of untried theory', too large a part of
  those who called themselves 'anti-Jacobins', did all in their power to
  suspend those blessings; and they furnished 'new arguments to the
  advocates of innovation', when they should have been answering 'the
  old ones!'"

But, whatever were his opinions, they were founded on 'principle', and
with the exception of the two above alluded to, he ought never to be
accused of changing. Some years since, the late Charles Matthews, the
comedian, (or rather, as Coleridge used to observe, "the comic poet
acting his own poems,") showed me an autograph letter from Mr.
Wordsworth to Matthews' brother, (who was at that time educating for the
bar) and with whom he corresponded. In this letter he made the following
observation, "To-morrow I am going to Bristol to see those two
extraordinary young men, Southey and Coleridge," Mr. Wordsworth then
residing at Allfoxden. They soon afterwards formed an intimacy, which
continued (though not without some little interruption) during his life,
as his "Biographia Literaria" and his will attest.

Mr. Coleridge's next work was the "Watchman" in numbers--a miscellany to
be published every eighth day. The first number appeared on the 5th of
February, 1796. This work was a report of the state of the political
atmosphere, to be interspersed with sketches of character and verse. It
reached the 10th number, and was then dropped; the editor taking leave
of his readers in the following address:

  "This is the last number of the Watchman. Henceforward I shall cease
  to cry the state of the political atmosphere. While I express my
  gratitude to those friends who exerted themselves so liberally in the
  establishment of this miscellany, I may reasonably be expected to
  assign some reason for relinquishing it thus abruptly. The reason is
  short and satisfactory. The work does not pay its expences. Part of my
  subscribers have relinquished it because it did not contain sufficient
  original composition, and a still larger because it contained too
  much. I have endeavoured to do well; and it must be attributed to
  defect of ability, not of inclination or effort, if the words of the
  prophet be altogether applicable to me, 'O watchman! thou hast watched
  in vain!'"

Mr. Coleridge has given us in the "Biographia Literaria" a very lively
account of his opinions, adventures, and state of feeling during this
canvass in quest of subscribers.

"Towards the close of the first year, that inauspicious hour," (it was,
indeed, and for several reasons an "inauspicious hour" for him,) "when I
left the friendly cloisters, and the happy grove of quiet, ever-honoured
Jesus' College, Cambridge, to set on foot a periodical, entitled the
'Watchman,' that (according to the motto of the work) 'all might know
the truth, and that truth might make us free!'

  "With a flaming prospectus 'Knowledge is power,' &c. and to cry the
  state of the political atmosphere and so forth, I set off on a tour to
  the north, from Bristol to Sheffield, for the purpose of procuring
  customers, preaching by the way in most great towns, as a hireless
  volunteer, in a blue coat and white waistcoat, that not a rag of the
  woman of Babylon might be seen on me; for I was at that time, though a
  Trinitarian (i.e. ad normam Platonis) in philosophy, yet a zealous
  Unitarian in religion; more accurately, I was a psilanthropist, one of
  those who believe our Lord to have been the real son of Joseph, and
  who lay the main stress on the resurrection rather than on the
  crucifixion. Oh! never can I remember those days with either shame or
  regret, for I was most sincere! most disinterested! My opinions were,
  indeed, in many and most important points erroneous, but my heart was
  single! Wealth, rank, life itself then seemed cheap to me, compared
  with the interests of (what I believe to be) the truth and the will of
  my Maker. I cannot even accuse myself of having been actuated by
  vanity; for, in the expansion of my enthusiasm, I did not think of
  myself at all.

  My campaign commenced at Birmingham, and my first attack was on a
  rigid Calvinist, a tallow-chandler by trade. He was a tall dingy man,
  in whom length was so predominant over breadth, that he might almost
  have been borrowed for a foundry poker. O that face! a face, [Greek:
  kat' emphasin!] I have it before me at this moment. The lank, black
  twine-like hair, pingui-nitescent, cut in a straight line, along the
  black stubble of his thin gunpowder eyebrows, that looked like a
  scorched aftermath from a last week's shaving. His coat collar behind
  in perfect unison, both of colour and lustre, with the coarse, yet
  glib cordage that I suppose he called his hair, and which with a
  'bend' inward at the nape of the neck, (the only approach to flexure
  in his whole figure) slunk in behind his waistcoat; while the
  countenance lank, dark, very 'hard', and with strong perpendicular
  furrows, gave me a dim notion of some one looking at me through a
  'used' gridiron, all soot, grease, and iron! A person to whom one of
  my letters of recommendation had been addressed, was my introducer.

  It was a 'new event' in my life, my first 'stroke' in the new business
  I had undertaken of an author; yes, and of an author on his own
  account. I would address," says Coleridge, "an affectionate
  exhortation to the youthful literati on my own experience. It will be
  but short; for the beginning, middle, and end converge to one charge.
  NEVER PURSUE LITERATURE AS A TRADE. [16] My companion," says he,
  "after some imperfect sentences, and a multitude of hums and hahs,
  abandoned the cause to his client; and I commenced an harangue of half
  an hour to Phileleutheros, the tallow-chandler, varying my notes
  through the whole gamut of eloquence, from the ratiocinative to the
  declamatory, and, in the latter, from the pathetic to the indignant.
  My taper man of lights listened with perseverant and praiseworthy
  patience, though (as I was afterwards told, in complaining of certain
  gales that were not altogether ambrosial,) it was a melting day with
  him. And what, sir! (he said, after a short pause,) might the cost be?
  only FOURPENCE, (O! how I felt the anti-climax, the abysmal bathos of
  that FOURPENCE!) 'only fourpence, sir, each number, to be published on
  every eighth day'. That comes to a deal of money at the end of a year;
  and how much did you say there was to be for the money? Thirty-two
  pages, sir! large octavo, closely printed. Thirty and two pages? Bless
  me, why except what I does in a family way on the sabbath, that's more
  than I ever reads, sir! all the year round. I am as great a one as any
  man in Brummagem, sir! for liberty and truth, and all them sort of
  things, but as to this, (no offence, I hope, sir!) I must beg to be
  excused. So ended my first canvass."

  Much the same indifference was shewn him at Manchester, &c., but he
  adds:--"From this rememberable tour, I returned nearly a thousand
  names on the subscription list of the 'Watchman;' yet more than half
  convinced that prudence dictated the abandonment of the scheme; but
  for this very reason I persevered in it; for I was at that period of
  my life so completely hagridden by the fear of being influenced by
  selfish motives, that to know a mode of conduct to be the dictate of
  'prudence', was a sort of presumptive proof to my feelings, that the
  contrary was the dictate of 'duty'. Accordingly, I commenced the work,
  which was announced in London by long bills in letters larger than had
  ever been seen before, and which (I have been informed, for I did not
  see them myself) eclipsed the glories even of the lottery puffs; but,
  alas! the publication of the very first number was delayed beyond the
  day announced for its appearance. In the second number, an essay
  against fast days, with a most censurable application of a text from
  Isaiah, for its motto, lost me near five hundred of my subscribers at
  one blow.

  In the two following numbers, I made enemies of all my Jacobin and
  democratic patrons; for, disgusted by their infidelity and their
  adoption of French morals, and French philosophy, and, perhaps,
  thinking that charity ought to begin nearest home, instead of abusing
  the government and the aristocrats chiefly or entirely, as had been
  expected of me, I levelled my attacks at ''modern patriotism',' and
  even ventured to declare my belief, that whatever the motives of
  ministers might have been for the sedition (or as it was then the
  fashion to call them) the gagging bills, yet the bills themselves
  would produce an effect to be desired by all the true friends of
  freedom, as far they should contribute to deter men from openly
  declaiming on subjects, the 'principles of which they had never
  bottomed', and from 'pleading 'to' the 'poor and ignorant', instead of
  pleading for them.'

  At the same time I avowed my conviction, that national education, and
  a concurring spread of the gospel were the indispensable condition of
  any true political amelioration. Thus, by the time the seventh number
  was published, I had the mortification (but why should I say this,
  when, in truth, I cared too little for any thing that concerned my
  worldly interests, to be at all mortified about it?) of seeing the
  preceding numbers exposed in sundry old iron shops for a penny a
  piece. At the ninth number I dropped the work." He never recovered the
  money of his London publisher, and but little from his subscribers,
  and as he goes on to say:--"Must have been thrown into jail by my
  printer, for a sum between eighty and ninety pounds, if the money had
  not been paid for me by a man, by no means affluent, a dear friend who
  attached himself to me from my first arrival at Bristol, who continued
  my friend with a fidelity unconquered by time, or even by my own
  apparent neglect; a friend from whom I never received an advice that
  was not gentle and affectionate." (p. 177.)

Coleridge's reputation from boyhood quietly increased, not through the
favor, but the censure of reviewers. It was this which, contrary to
their wishes, diffused his name as poet and philosopher. So long as
there are readers to be gratified by calumny, there will always be found
writers eager to furnish a supply; and he had other enemies,
unacquainted with the critical profession, yet morbidly vain, and
because disappointed in their literary hopes, no less malignant.

Alas! how painful it is to witness at times the operation of some of the
human passions.--Should envy take the lead, her twin sisters, hatred and
malice, follow as auxiliaries in her train,--and, in the struggles for
ascendancy and extension of her power, she subverts those principles
which might impede her path, and then speedily effects the destruction
of all the kindly feelings most honourable to man.

Coleridge was conscientiously an opponent of the first revolutionary
war, because he abhorred the principles; and it was part of his
political creed, that whoever ceased

  "to act as an 'individual' by making himself a member of any society
  not sanctioned by his government, forfeited the rights of a citizen."

He was at that time "a vehement anti-ministerialist," but, after the
invasion of Switzerland, a more vehement anti-Gallican, and still more
intensely an anti-Jacobin:

  "I retired," said he, "to a cottage at Stowey, and provided for my
  scanty maintenance by writing verses for a London Morning Paper. I saw
  plainly, that literature was not a profession by which I could expect
  to live; for 'I could not disguise from myself', that whatever my
  talents might or might not be in other respects, yet they were not of
  that 'sort' that 'could enable me to become a popular writer'; and
  that whatever my opinions might be in themselves, they were almost
  equi-distant from all the three opposite parties, the Pittites, the
  Foxites, and the democrats. Of the unsaleable nature of my writings I
  had an amusing memento one morning from our servant girl. For
  happening to rise at an earlier hour than usual, I observed her
  putting an extravagant quantity of paper into the grate in order to
  light the fire, and mildly checked her for her wastefulness; La, Sir!
  (replied poor Nanny) why, it is only WATCHMEN."

  There was at last a pause, as each party seemed worn out; for, "the
  hand of Providence had disciplined 'all' Europe into sobriety, as men
  tame wild elephants by alternate blows and caresses: now, that
  Englishmen of all classes are restored to their old English notions
  and feelings, it will with difficulty be credited, how great an
  influence was at that time possessed and exerted by the spirit of
  secret defamation (the too constant attendant on party zeal!) during
  the restless interim, from 1793 to the commencement of the Addington
  administration, or the year before the truce of Amiens."

In short, the exhaustion which had followed the great stimulus, disposed
individuals to reconciliation. Both parties found themselves in the
wrong, the one had mistaken the moral character of the revolution, and
the other had miscalculated its physical resources. The experiment was
made at the price of great, we may say, of almost humiliating
sacrifices; and wise men foresaw that it would fail, at least, in its
direct and ostensible object. Yet it was purchased cheaply, and realized
an object of equal value, and, if possible, of more vital importance;
for it brought about a national unanimity, unexampled in our history
since the reign of Elizabeth; and Providence, never failing to do his
part when men have done theirs, soon provided a common focus in the
cause of Spain, which made us all once more Englishmen, by gratifying
and correcting the predilections of each party. The sincere reverers of
the throne felt the cause of loyalty ennobled by its alliance with that
of freedom while the 'honest' zealots of the people could not but admit
that freedom itself assumed a more winning form, humanized by loyalty,
and 'consecrated' by 'religious principle'.

During this calm and rest, and while the political fever was subsiding,
Coleridge retired, as he informs us, "to a cottage in Somersetshire, at
the foot of Quantock," to devote himself to poetry, and to the study of
ethics and psychology, to direct his thoughts and studies to the
foundations of religion and morals.

  "During my residence here," he says, "I found myself all afloat;
  doubts rushed in; broke upon me 'from the fountains of the great
  deep',' and ''fell from the windows of Heaven'.' The fontal truths of
  natural religion and the books of Revelation alike contributed to the
  flood; and it was long ere my ark touched on an Ararat, and rested.
  The idea (viz. the law evolved in the mind) of the Supreme Being
  appeared to me to be as necessarily implied in all particular modes of
  being, as the idea, of infinite space in all the geometrical figures
  by which space is limited." He goes on to state at this period, about
  the latter end of the year 1796, "For a very long time I could not
  reconcile personality with infinity; and my head was with Spinosa,
  though my whole heart remained with Paul and John. Yet there had
  dawned upon me, even before I had met with the Critique of Pure
  Reason, a certain guiding light. If 'the mere intellect' could make no
  certain discovery of a holy and intelligent first cause, it might yet
  supply a demonstration that no legitimate argument could be drawn from
  the mere intellect 'against' its truth. 'And what is this' more than
  St. Paul's assertion, that by wisdom (more properly translated by the
  powers of reasoning) no man ever arrived at the knowledge of God? Man
  asks what is wisdom? and whence comes it? In Job, chap. 28th, it is
  stated, 'But to man he said, the fear of the Lord is wisdom for THEE!
  And to avoid evil, that is 'thy' understanding.'"

Such were his philosophical opinions before his final conversion to the
whole truth in Christ. He was contending for principles, and diligently
in search of truth for its own sake;--the one thing only permanent, and
which carries with it its "own exceeding great reward." Such was the
state of his religious feelings and political opinions before his visit
to Germany.

There is a general observation or experience he has recorded, not only
so applicable to him at that time, but equally to each stage of his
career in life, as not to be lost sight of by his friends and admirers,
when assailed, as he was, by opposing party-spirits, which, like
opposite currents, were contending for the mastery.

To avoid one party lest he should run on Scylla, he excited and provoked
the jealousy and neglect of the other, who might have wrecked him on
Charybdis. These were well-known dangers; but, as all navigable seas
have their shoals often invisible; in order to avoid the effects of
these jealousies, he selected from each party, men of experience to give
him the soundings, and thus prevent him from wrecking his barque on
rocks and quicksands; for, without such information, there could be
little chance of escape.

In so doing, be lost his popularity with the many, though these were
evils he might perhaps have conquered (but still speaking figuratively);
his crew (his great inward aid) had differed too seriously among
themselves, and were under the influence of conflicting feelings.

His whole mind was bent on the search after those truths that alone can
determine fixed principles, and which not long after became to him an
unerring guide. They were for him what the needle is to the mariner.

The observation alluded to is as follows:

  "All my experience, from my first entrance into life to the present
  hour, is in favour of the warning maxim, that the man who opposes in
  toto 'the political or religious zealots of his age, is safer from
  their obloquy than he who differs from them but in one or two points
  only' IN DEGREE."

This is a truth too important to pass lightly over, as in this consisted
much of that feeling which prevented his being popular, (for unless an
individual goes the whole length of the party who may choose to adopt
him, he is discarded, and it is well for him if he is not persecuted and
held up to public ridicule). [17]

Zealots are usually superficial, but in herds they are found to support
each other, and by their numbers assume an imposing air.--One weak man
cannot stand, but three may.--By this mode of congregating, they are
more easily managed by their leaders, whose impulses they obey, and to
whom they become willing slaves. Men who sacrifice the many to the few,
have been held out by almost every writer, where moral and political
subjects have been introduced, as warnings to those liable to fall into
their snares, but which have seemingly been put forth to little purpose.
The necessity, therefore, for a continuation of instruction on such
important moral truths, is still required; for, in the contending
currents, so much mischief is often produced, that to divert these
conflicting opinions, and to try to bring them into unity, Coleridge
thought it a duty to employ his strength of intellect; he hoped to
preserve a principle which he deemed so useful to mankind.

The foot of Quantock was to Coleridge a memorable spot; here his studies
were serious and deep; protected by one of the kindest of friends, and
stimulated by the society also of a brother poet, whose lays seemed to
have inspired his song, and also to have chimed in with it; for although
it has been shewn that his poetic genius first dawned in his 16th year,
yet after he left College, and during his residence at this place, [18]
it seemed suddenly to have arrived at poetic manhood, and to have
reached this developement as early as his 25th year. In his more serious
studies he had greatly advanced, and had already planned and stored up
much for his future life. It will often be repeated, but not too often
for a society so full of sciolists and disbelievers,--men who are so
self-satisfied as not to require teaching,--that Coleridge never was an
idle man; and that, if nothing else remained, the progress he made in
intellectual acquirements during his residence at Stowey and his short
stay in Germany, might be instanced. Before he quitted this country to
embark in fresh studies we have his own statement:

  "I became convinced, that religion, as both the corner-stone and the
  key-stone of morality, must have a 'moral' origin; so far, at least,
  that the evidence of its doctrines could not, like the truths of
  abstract science, be 'wholly' independent of the will.

  It was therefore to be expected, that its 'fundamental' truth would be
  such as MIGHT be denied, though only by the fool, and even by the fool
  from madness of 'heart' alone!

  The question then concerning our faith in the existence of a God, not
  only as the ground of the universe by his essence, but by his wisdom
  and holy will as its maker and judge, appeared to stand thus: the
  sciential reason, the objects of wit are purely theoretical, remains
  neutral, as long as its name and semblance are not usurped by the
  opponents of the doctrine; but it 'then' becomes an effective ally by
  exposing the false show of demonstration, or by evincing the equal
  demonstrability of the contrary from premises equally logical. The
  'understanding', meantime suggests, the analogy of 'experience'
  facilitates, the belief. Nature excites and recalls it, as by a
  perpetual revelation. Our feelings almost necessitate it; and the law
  of conscience peremptorily commands it. The arguments that all apply
  to, are in its favor; and there is nothing against it, but its own

  It could not be intellectually more evident without becoming morally
  less effective; without counteracting its own end by sacrificing the
  'life' of faith to the cold mechanism of a worthless, because
  compulsory assent. The belief of a God and a future state (if a
  passive acquiescence may be flattered with the name of 'belief') does
  not, indeed, always beget a good heart; but a good heart so naturally
  begets the belief, that the very few exceptions must be regarded as
  strange anomalies from strange and unfortunate circumstances.

  From these premises I proceeded to draw the following
  conclusions,--first, that having once fully admitted the existence of
  an infinite yet self-conscious Creator, we are not allowed to ground
  the irrationality of any other article of faith on arguments which
  would equally prove 'that' to be irrational, which we had allowed to
  be 'real'. Secondly, that whatever is deducible from the admission of
  a 'self-comprehending' and 'creative' spirit, may be legitimately used
  in proof of the 'possibility' of any further mystery concerning the
  Divine Nature.

  "Possibilitatem mysteriorum (Trinitatis, &c.) contra insultus
  infidelium et hereticorum a contradictionibus vindico; haud quidem
  veritatem, quæ revelatione sola stabiliri possit;" says Leibnitz, in a
  letter to his duke. He then adds the following just and important
  remark. "In vain will tradition or texts of Scripture be adduced in
  support of a doctrine, 'donec clava impossibilitatis et
  contradictionis e manibus horum Herculum extorta fuerit.' For the
  heretic will still reply, that texts, the literal sense of which is
  not so much above as directly against all reason, must be understood
  figuratively, as Herod is a Fox, &c.

  These principles," says he, "I held philosophically, while in respect
  of revealed religion, I remained a zealous Unitarian. I considered the
  idea of a Trinity a fair scholastic inference from the being of God,
  as a creative intelligence; and that it was therefore entitled to the
  rank of an esoteric doctrine of natural religion: but seeing in the
  same no practical or moral bearing, I confined it to the schools of
  philosophy. The admission of the Logos, as hypostasized (i.e. neither
  a mere attribute nor a personification), in no respect removed my
  doubts concerning the incarnation and the redemption by the cross;
  which I could neither reconcile in 'reason' with the impassiveness of
  the Divine Being, nor in my moral feelings with the sacred distinction
  between things and persons, the vicarious payment of a debt and the
  vicarious expiation of guilt.

  A more thorough revolution in my philosophic principles, and a deeper
  insight into my own heart were yet wanting. Nevertheless, I cannot
  doubt, that the difference of my metaphysical notions from those of
  Unitarians in general 'contributed' to my final re-conversion to the
  'whole truth' in 'Christ;' even as according to his own confession the
  books of certain Platonic philosophers (Libri quorundam Platonicorum)
  commenced the rescue of St. Augustine's faith from the same error,
  aggravated by the far darker accompaniment of the Manichean heresy."

Perhaps it is right also to state, that no small share of his final
reconversion was attributable to that zeal and powerful genius, and to
his great desire that others should become sharers in his own
acquirements, which he was so desirous to communicate. During his
residence at the foot of Quantock, his thoughts and studies were not
only directed to an enquiry into the great truths of religion, but,
while he stayed at Stowey, he was in the habit of preaching often at the
Unitarian Chapel at Taunton, and was greatly respected by all the better
and educated classes in the neighbourhood.

He spoke of Stowey with warmth and affection to the latest hours of his
life. Here, as before mentioned, dwelt his friend Mr. Thomas Poole--the
friend (justly so termed) to whom he alludes in his beautiful dedicatory
poem to his brother the Rev. George Coleridge, and in which, when
referring to himself, he says,

  "To me the Eternal Wisdom hath dispensed
  A different fortune and more different mind--
  Me from the spot where first I sprang to light
  Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fix'd
  Its first domestic loves; and hence through life
  Chasing chance-started friendships. A brief while
  Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills;
  But, like a tree with leaves of feeble stem,
  If the clouds lasted, and a sudden breeze
  Ruffled the boughs, they on my head at once
  Dropp'd the collected shower; and some most false,
  False and fair foliaged as the Manchineel,
  Have tempted me to slumber in their shade
  E'en mid the storm; then breathing subtlest damps,
  Mix'd their own venom with the rain from Heaven,
  That I woke poison'd! But, all praise to Him
  Who gives us all things, more have yielded me
  _Permanent shelter_; and beside one friend, [19]
  Beneath the impervious covert of one oak,
  I've raised a lowly shed, and know the names
  Of husband and of father; not unhearing
  Of that divine and nightly-whispering voice,
  Which from my _childhood to maturer years_
  Spake to me of predestinated wreaths,
  Bright with no fading colours!"

These beautiful and affecting lines to his brother are dated May 26th,
1797, Nether Stowey, Somerset. In his will, dated Highgate, July 2nd,
1830, he again refers to this friend, and directs his executor to
present a plain gold mourning ring to Thomas Poole, Esq., of Nether

  "The Dedicatory Poem to my 'Juvenile Poems,' and my 'Fears in
  Solitude,'[20] render it unnecessary to say more than what I then, in
  my early manhood, thought and felt, I now, a gray-headed man, still
  think and feel."

In this volume, dedicated to his brother, are to be found several poems
in early youth and upwards, none of later date than 1796.

  The "Ode," he says, "on the Departing Year, was written on the 24th,
  25th, and 26th of December, 1796, and published separately on the last
  day of that year. 'The Religious Musings' were written as early as
  Christmas 1794."

He then was about to enter his 23rd year. The preface to this volume is
a key to his opinions and feelings at that time, and which the foregoing
part of this memoir is also intended to illustrate.

  "Compositions resembling those of the present volume are not
  unfrequently condemned for their querulous egotism. But egotism is to
  be condemned only when it offends against time and place, as in a
  history or epic poem. To censure it in a monody or sonnet is almost as
  absurd as to dislike a circle for being round. Why then write sonnets
  or monodies? Because they give me pleasure when, perhaps, nothing else
  could. After the more violent emotions of sorrow, the mind demands
  amusement, and can find it in employment alone; but full of its late
  sufferings, it can endure no employment not in some measure connected
  with them. Forcibly to turn away our attention to general subjects is
  a painful and most often an unavailing effort.

    'But O! how grateful to a wounded heart
    The tale of misery to impart
    From others' eyes bid artless sorrows flow,
    And raise esteem upon the base of woe.'


  The communicativeness of our nature leads us to describe our own
  sorrows; in the endeavour to describe them, intellectual activity is
  exerted; and from intellectual activity there results a pleasure,
  which is gradually associated, and mingles as a corrective, with the
  painful subject of the description. 'True,' (it may be answered) 'but
  how are the PUBLIC interested in your sorrows or your description'?'
  We are for ever attributing personal unities to imaginary
  aggregates.--What is the PUBLIC, but a term for a number of scattered
  individuals? Of whom as many will be interested in these sorrows, as
  have experienced the same or similar.

      'Holy be the lay
      Which mourning soothes the mourner on his way.'

  If I could judge of others by myself, I should not hesitate to affirm,
  that the most interesting passages in our most interesting poems are
  those in which the author developes his own feelings. The sweet voice
  of Cona [21] never sounds so sweetly, as when it speaks of itself; and
  I should almost suspect that man of an unkindly heart, who could read
  the opening of the third book of 'Paradise Lost' without peculiar
  emotion. By a law of nature, he, who labours under a strong feeling,
  is impelled to seek for sympathy; but a poet's feelings are all
  strong.--Quicquid amat valde amat.--Akenside therefore speaks with
  philosophical accuracy when he classes love and poetry as producing
  the same effects:

    'Love and the wish of poets when their tongue
    Would teach to others' bosoms, what so charms
    Their own.'

    'Pleasures of Imagination'.

  There is one species of egotism which is truly disgusting; not that
  which leads to communicate our feelings to others, but that which
  would reduce the feelings of others; to an identity with our own.

  The atheist who exclaims 'pshaw,' when he glances his eye on the
  praises of Deity, is an egotist; an old man, when he speaks
  contemptuously of love verses is an egotist; and the sleek favourites
  of fortune are egotists when they condemn all 'melancholy
  discontented' verses. Surely it would be candid not merely to ask
  whether the poem pleases ourselves, but to consider whether or no
  there may not be others, to whom it is well calculated to give an
  innocent pleasure.

  I shall only add, that each of my readers will, I hope, remember, that
  these poems on various subjects, which, he reads at one time and under
  the influence of one set of feelings, were written at different times
  and prompted by very different feelings; and, therefore, that, the
  supposed inferiority of one poem to another may sometimes be owing to
  the temper of mind in which he happens to peruse it."

In the second edition (the second edition was published in conjunction
with his friends Charles Lloyd and Charles Lamb) is added the following:

  "My poems have been rightly charged with a profusion of
  double-epithets, and a general turgidness. I have pruned the
  double-epithets with no sparing hand; and used my best efforts to tame
  the swell and glitter both of thought and diction. This latter fault,
  however, had insinuated itself into my Religious Musings with such
  intricacy of union, that sometimes I have omitted to disentangle the
  weed from the fear of snapping the flower. A third and heavier
  accusation has been brought against me, that of obscurity; but not, I
  think, with equal justice. An author is obscure, when his conceptions
  are dim and imperfect, and his language incorrect, or inappropriate,
  or involved. A poem that abounds in allusions, like the 'Bard' of
  Gray, or one that impersonates high and abstract truths, like
  Collins's 'Ode on the Poetical Character,' claims not to be popular,
  but should be acquitted of obscurity. The deficiency is in the reader;
  but this is a charge which every poet, whose imagination is warm and
  rapid, must expect from his 'contemporaries'. Milton did not escape
  it; and it was adduced with virulence against Gray and Collins. We now
  hear no more of it, not that their poems are better understood at
  present, than they were at their first publication; but their fame is
  established; and a critic would accuse him self of frigidity or,
  inattention, who should profess not to understand them: but a living
  writer is yet sub judice; and if we cannot follow his conceptions or
  enter into his feelings, it is more consoling to our pride to consider
  him as lost beneath, than as soaring above, us. If any man expect from
  my poems the same easiness of style which he admires in a
  drinking-song for him, I have not written. Intelligibilia, non
  intellectum adfero.

  I expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings; and I
  consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has
  been to me its own 'exceeding great reward;' it has soothed my
  afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has
  endeared solitude; and it has given me the habit of wishing to
  discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds

We seem now to have arrived at that period of Coleridge's life which a
profound student of his poetry, and himself a pleasing and elegant poet,
has considered the period of the "Annus Mirabilis." "The Manhood," he
observes, "of Coleridge's true poetical life was in the year 1797." This
is perfectly true, and at that period he was only twenty-five, as before
stated. He was, as is proved in his earlier poems, highly susceptible
and sensitive, requiring kindness and sympathy, and the support of
something like intellectual friendship. He tells us that he chose his
residence at Stowey, on account of his friend Mr. Poole, who assisted
and enabled him to brave the storm of "Life's pelting ills." Near him,
at Allfoxden, resided Mr. Wordsworth, with whom, he says,

  "Shortly after my settlement there, I became acquainted, and whose
  society I found an invaluable blessing, and to whom I looked up with
  equal reverence as a poet, a philosopher, or a man. His conversation
  extended to almost all subjects except physics and politics; with the
  latter he never troubled himself."

Although Coleridge lived a most retired life, it was not enough to
exempt him from the watchfulness of the spies of government whose
employment required some apparent activity before they could receive the
reward they expected. Nor did he escape the suspicion of being a
dangerous person to the government; which arose partly from his
connexion with Wordsworth, and from the great seclusion of his life.
Coleridge was ever with book, paper, and pencil in hand, making, in the
language of, artists, "Sketches and studies from nature." This
suspicion, accompanied with the usual quantity of obloquy, was not
merely attached to Coleridge, but extended to his friend, "whose perfect
innocence was even adduced as a suspicion of his guilt," by one of these
sapients, who observed that

  "as to Coleridge, there is not much harm in him; for he is a
  whirl-brain, that talks whatever comes uppermost; but that Wordsworth!
  he is a dark traitor. You never hear _him_ say a syllable on the

During this time the brother poets must have been composing or arranging
the Lyrical Ballads, which were published the following year, i.e. 1798.
Coleridge also in 1797 wrote the "Remorse," or rather the play he first
called Osorio, the name of the principal character in it, but finding
afterwards that there was a respectable family of that name residing in
London, it was changed for the title of the Remorse, and the principal
character, Osorio, to Ordonio. This play was sent to Sheridan.

The following remarks were given in Coleridge's "Biographia Literaria,"
which wholly clears him from the suspicion of being concerned in making
maps of a coast, where a smuggler could not land, and they shew what
really was his employment; and how poets may be mistaken at all times
for other than what they wish to be considered:

  "During the first year that Mr. Wordsworth and I were neighbours, our
  conversations turned frequently on the two cardinal points of
  poetry,--the power of exciting the sympathy of a reader by a faithful
  adherence to the truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest
  of novelty by the modifying colours of imagination. The sudden charm
  which accidents of light and shade, which moonlight or sunset diffused
  over a known and familiar landscape, appeared to represent the
  practicability of combining both. These are the poetry of nature. The
  thought suggested itself (to which of us I do not recollect) that a
  series of poems might be composed of two sorts. In the one the
  incidents and agents were to be, in part at least, supernatural; and
  the excellence aimed at was to consist in the interesting of the
  affections by the dramatic truth of such emotions as would naturally
  accompany such situations, supposing them real; and real in 'this'
  sense they have been to every human being who, from whatever source of
  delusion, has at any time believed himself under supernatural agency.
  For the second class, subjects were to be chosen from ordinary life:
  the characters and incidents were to be such as will be found in every
  village and its vicinity, where there is a meditative and feeling mind
  to seek after them, or to notice them when they present themselves.

  In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads,' in which it
  was agreed that my endeavours should be directed to persons and
  characters supernatural, or at least romantic; yet so as to transfer
  from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth
  sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing
  suspension of disbelief for the moment which constitutes poetic faith.
  Mr. Wordsworth, on the other hand, was to propose to himself, as his
  object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to
  excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the
  mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the
  loveliness and the wonders of the world before us,--an inexhaustible
  treasure; but for which, in consequence of the feeling of familiarity
  and selfish solicitude, we have eyes yet see not, ears that hear not,
  and hearts that neither feel nor understand.

  With this view I wrote the 'Ancient Mariner,' and was preparing,
  among other poems, the 'Dark Ladie' and the 'Christabel,' in which I
  should have more nearly realized my ideal than I had done in my first
  attempt: but Mr. Wordsworth's industry had proved so much more
  successful, and the number of his poems so much greater, that my
  compositions, instead of forming a balance, appeared rather an
  interpolation of heterogeneous matter.

  Mr. Wordsworth added two or three poems written in his own character,
  in the impassioned, lofty, and sustained diction, which is
  characteristic of his genius. In this form the 'Lyrical Ballads' were
  published, and were presented by him as an 'experiment', whether
  subjects, which from their nature rejected the usual ornaments and
  extra-colloquial style of poems in general, might not be so managed,
  in the language of ordinary life, as to produce the pleasurable
  interest which it is the peculiar business of poetry to impart.

  To the second edition he added a preface of considerable length, in
  which, notwithstanding some passages of apparently a contrary import,
  he was understood to contend for the extension of the style to poetry
  of all kinds, and to reject as vicious and indefensible all phrases
  and forms of style that were not included in what he (unfortunately, I
  think, adopting an equivocal expression) called the language of 'real'
  life. From this preface, prefixed to poems in which it was impossible
  to deny the presence of original genius, however mistaken its
  direction might be deemed, arose the whole long-continued controversy.
  For, from the conjunction of perceived power with supposed heresy, I
  explain the inveteracy, and in some instances, I grieve to say, the
  acrimonious passions, with which the controversy has been conducted by
  the assailants." (Vol. ii. p. 1.)

There are few incidents in the life of the literary man to make any
narrations of sufficient importance or sufficiently amusing for the
readers, and the readers only of works of amusement. The biography of
such men is supposed to contain the faithful history and growth of their
minds, and the circumstances under which it is developed, and to this it
must be confined.

What has been done by Coleridge himself, and where he has been his own
biographer, will be carefully noticed and given here, when it falls in
with the intention and purposes of this work; for this reason the
Biographia Literaria has been so frequently quoted. Coleridge had passed
nearly half his life in a retirement almost amounting to solitude, and
this he preferred. First, he was anxious for leisure to pursue those
studies which wholly engrossed his mind; and secondly, his health
permitted him but little change, except when exercise was required; and
during the latter part of his life he became nearly crippled by the
rheumatism. His character will form a part in the Philosophical History
of the Human Mind, which will be placed in the space left for it by his
amiable and most faithful friend and disciple, whose talents, whose
heart and acquirements makes him most fit to describe them, and whose
time was for so many years devoted to this great man. But, to continue
in the order of time, in June, 1797, he was visited by his friend
Charles Lamb and his sister.

On the morning after their arrival, Coleridge met with an accident which
disabled him from walking during the whole of their stay. One evening,
when they had left him for a few hours, he composed the poem, "This
Lime-tree Bower my Prison," in which he refers to his old friend, while
watching him in fancy with his sister, winding and ascending the hills
at a short distance, himself detained as if a prisoner:

      "Yes! they wander on
  In gladness all; but thou, methinks, most glad,
  My gentle-hearted Charles! for thou hast pined
  And hunger'd after nature, many a year;
  In the great city pent, winning thy way
  With sad yet patient soul, through evil, and pain,
  And strange calamity! Ah! slowly sink
  Behind the western ridge, thou glorious sun!
  Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb,
  Ye purple heath flowers! richlier burn, ye clouds!
  Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves!
  And kindle, thou blue ocean! So my friend
  Struck with deep joy may stand, as I have stood,
  Silent with swimming sense; yea, gazing round
  On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
  Less gross than bodily; and of such hues
  As veil the Almighty Spirit, when yet he makes
  Spirits perceive his presence."

During his residence here, Mr. William Hazlitt became acquainted with
him, which is thus vividly recorded in the 'Liberal':

  "My father was a dissenting minister at Wem, in Shropshire; and in the
  year 1798, Mr. Coleridge came to Shrewsbury, to succeed Mr. Rowe in
  the spiritual charge of a Unitarian congregation there. He did not
  come till late on the Saturday afternoon before he was to preach, and
  Mr. Rowe, who himself went down to the coach in a state of anxiety and
  expectation, to look for the arrival of his successor, could find no
  one at all answering the description, but a round-faced man, in a
  short black coat (like a shooting jacket), which hardly seemed to have
  been made for him, but who appeared to be talking at a great rate to
  his fellow-passengers. Mr. Rowe had scarcely returned to give an
  account of his disappointment, when the round-faced man in black
  entered, and dissipated all doubts on the subject, by beginning to
  talk. He did not cease while he stayed, nor has he since that I know
  of. [22]

  He held the good town of Shrewsbury in delightful suspense for three
  weeks that he remained there, 'fluttering the proud Salopians like an
  eagle in a dove-cot;' and the Welsh mountains, that skirt the horizon
  with their tempestuous confusion, agree to have heard no such mystic
  sounds since the days of

    'High-born Hoel's harp or soft Llewellyn's lyre!'

  My father lived ten miles from Shrewsbury, and was in the habit of
  exchanging visits with Mr. Rowe, and Mr. Jenkins of Whitchurch (nine
  miles further on), according to the custom of dissenting ministers in
  each other's neighbourhood. A line of communication is thus
  established, by which the flame of civil and religious liberty is kept
  alive, and nourishes its mouldering fire unquenchable, like the fires
  in the Agamemnon of Æschylus, placed at different stations, that
  waited for ten long years to announce, with their blazing pyramids,
  the destruction of Troy.

  Coleridge had agreed to come once to see my father, according to the
  courtesy of the country, as Mr. Rowe's probable successor; but in the
  meantime I had gone to hear him preach the Sunday after his arrival. A
  poet and a philosopher getting up into a Unitarian pulpit to preach
  the gospel was a romance in these degenerate days,--which was not to
  be resisted.

  It was in January, 1798, that I rose one morning before daylight, to
  walk ten miles in the mud, to hear this celebrated person preach.
  Never, the longest day I have to live, shall I have such another walk
  as this cold, raw, comfortless one, in the winter of the year 1798.
  'Il y a des impressions que ni le tems, ni les circonstances peuvent
  effacer. Dussé-je vivre des siècles entiers, le doux tems de ma
  jeunesse ne peut renaître pour moi, ni s'effacer jamais dans ma
  mémoire.' When I got there, the organ was playing the 100th psalm;
  and, when it was done, Mr. Coleridge rose and gave out his text,--'He
  departed again into a mountain 'himself alone'.' As he gave out this
  text, his voice 'rose like a stream of rich distilled perfumes;' and
  when he came to the two last words, which he pronounced loud, deep,
  and distinct, it seemed to me, who was then young, as if the sounds
  had echoed from the bottom of the human heart, and as if that prayer
  might have floated in solemn silence through the universe. The idea of
  St. John came into my mind, 'of one crying in the wilderness, who had
  his loins girt about, and whose food was locusts and wild honey.' The
  preacher then launched into his subject, like an eagle dallying with
  the wind. The sermon was upon peace and war--upon church and
  state--not their alliance, but their separation--on the spirit of the
  world, and the spirit of Christianity, not as the same, but as opposed
  to one another. He talked of those who had 'inscribed the cross of
  Christ on banners dripping with human gore.' He made a poetical and
  pastoral excursion,--and to show the fatal effects of war, drew a
  striking contrast between the simple shepherd-boy, driving his team
  afield, or sitting under the hawthorn, piping to his flock, as though
  he should never be old,' and the same poor country lad, crimped,
  kidnapped, brought into town, made drunk at an alehouse, turned into a
  wretched drummer-boy, with his hair sticking on end with powder and
  pomatum, a long cue at his back, and tricked out in the finery of the
  profession of blood:

    'Such were the notes our once loved poet sung;'

  and, for myself, I could not have been more delighted if I had heard
  the music of the spheres. Poetry and Philosophy had met together.
  Truth and Genius had embraced under the eye and with the sanction of
  Religion. This was even beyond my hopes. I returned home well
  satisfied. The sun that was still labouring pale and wan through the
  sky, obscured by thick mists, seemed an emblem of the 'good
  cause'; and the cold dank drops of dew, that hung half melted on
  the beard of the thistle, had something genial and refreshing in


  "On the Tuesday following, the half-inspired speaker came. I was
  called down into the room where he was, and went half-hoping,
  half-afraid. He received me very graciously, and I listened for a long
  time without uttering a word, and did not suffer in his opinion by my
  silence. 'For those two hours (he was afterwards pleased to say) he
  was conversing with W. H.'s forehead.' His appearance was different
  from what I had anticipated from seeing him before. At a distance, and
  in the dim light of the chapel, there was to me a strange wildness in
  his aspect, a dusky obscurity, and I thought him pitted with the
  small-pox. His complexion was at that time clear, and even bright,

    'As are the children of yon azure sheen.'

  His forehead was broad and high, as if built of ivory, with large
  projecting eyebrows, and his eyes rolling beneath them like a sea with
  darkened lustre.

    'A certain tender bloom his face o'erspread;'

  a purple tinge, as we see it in the pale, thoughtful complexions of
  the Spanish portrait painters, Murillo and Velasquez. His mouth was
  rather open, his chin good-humoured and round, and his nose small.

  Coleridge in his person was rather above the common size, inclining to
  the corpulent. His hair (now, alas! grey, and during the latter years
  of his life perfectly white) was then black, and glossy as the raven's
  wing, and fell in smooth masses over his forehead. This long liberal
  hair is peculiar to enthusiasts." [23]

  (The Liberal, vol. ii. pp. 23-27.)

He used, in his hours of relaxation, to relate the state of his
feelings, and his adventures during the short time he was a preacher.
His congregations were large, and if he had the power of attracting one
man of such talents from a distance, it may well be understood how the
many near the chapel flocked to listen to him; in short, if one is to
give credence to current report, he emptied churches and chapels to hear
him. If he had needed any stimulus, this would have been sufficient, but
such a mind so intensely occupied in the search after truth needed no
external excitement.

He has often said, that one of the effects of preaching was, that it
compelled him to examine the Scriptures with greater care and industry.

These additional exertions and studies assisted mainly to his final
conversion to the whole truth; for it was still evident that his mind
was perplexed, and that his philosophical opinions would soon yield to
the revealed truth of Scripture.

He has already pointed out what he felt on this important question, how
much he differed from the generally received opinions of the Unitarians,
confessing that he needed a thorough revolution in his philosophical
doctrines, and that an insight into his own heart was wanting.

  "While my mind was thus perplexed, by a gracious providence," says he,
  "for which I can never be sufficiently grateful, the generous and
  munificent patronage of Mr. Josiah and Mr. Thomas Wedgewood enabled me
  to finish my education in Germany. Instead of troubling others with my
  own crude notions, and juvenile compositions, I was thenceforward
  better employed in attempting to store my own head with the wisdom of
  others. I made the best use of my time and means; and there is
  therefore no period of my life on which I can look back with such
  unmingled satisfaction."

He quitted Clevedon and his cottage in the following farewell lines:--

  "Ah! quiet dell! dear cot, and mount sublime!
  I was constrain'd to quit you. Was it right,
  While my unnumber'd brethren toil'd and bled,
  That I should dream away the entrusted hours
  On rose-leaf beds, pampering the coward heart
  With feelings all too delicate for use?
  Sweet is the tear that from some Howard's eye
  Drops on the cheeks of one he lifts from earth:
  And he that works me good with unmoved face,
  Does it but half: he chills me while he aids,--
  My benefactor, not my brother man!
  Yet even this, this cold beneficence
  Praise, praise it, O my Soul! oft as thou scann'st
  The Sluggard Pity's vision-weaving tribe!
  Who sigh for wretchedness, yet shun the wretched,
  Nursing in some delicious solitude
  Their slothful loves and dainty sympathies!
  I therefore go, and join head, heart, and hand,
  Active and firm, to fight the bloodless fight
  Of Science, freedom, and the truth in Christ.
  Yet oft when after honourable toil
  Rests the tired mind, and waking loves to dream,
  My spirit shall revisit thee, dear cot!
  Thy jasmin and thy window-peeping rose,
  And myrtles fearless of the mild sea-air.
  And I shall sigh fond wishes--sweet abode!
  Ah! had none greater! And that all had such!
  It might be so, but, oh! it is not yet.
  Speed it, O Father! Let thy Kingdom come."

He drew his own character when he described that of Satyrane, the
idolocast or breaker of idols, the name he went by among his friends and

  "From his earliest youth," says he, "Satyrane had derived his highest
  pleasures from the admiration of moral grandeur and intellectual
  energy; and during the whole of his life he had a greater and more
  heartfelt delight in the superiority of other men to himself than men
  in general derive from their belief of their own. His readiness to
  imagine a superiority where it did not exist, was for many years his
  predominant foible; his pain from the perception of inferiority in
  others whom he had heard spoken of with any respect, was unfeigned and
  involuntary, and perplexed him as a something which he did not
  comprehend. In the child-like simplicity of his nature he talked to
  all men as if they were his equals in knowledge and talents, and many
  whimsical anecdotes could be related connected with this habit; he was
  constantly scattering good seed on unreceiving soils. When he was at
  length compelled to see and acknowledge the true state of the morals
  and intellect of his contemporaries, his disappointment was severe,
  and his mind, always thoughtful, became pensive and sad:--_for to love
  and sympathize with mankind was a necessity of his nature_."

He sought refuge from his own sensitive nature in abstruse meditations,
and delighted most in those subjects requiring the full exercise of his
intellectual powers, which never seemed fatigued--and in his early life
never did sun shine on a more joyous being!

  "There was a time when, though my path was rough,
  This joy within me dallied with distress,
  And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
  Whence fancy made me dreams of happiness:
  For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,
  And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seem'd mine.
  But now afflictions bow me down to earth
  Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth,
      But oh! each visitation
  Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
    My shaping spirit of imagination.
  For not to think of what I needs must feel,
    But to be still and patient, all I can;
  And haply by abstruse research to steal
    From my own nature all the natural man--
  This was my sole resource, my only plan:
  Till that which suits a part infects the whole,
  And now is almost grown the habit of my soul." [24]

It was indeed an inauspicious hour "when he changed his abode from the
happy groves of Jesus' College to Bristol." But it was so ordained! He
sought literature as a trade,--and became an author:

  "whatever," he would say, "I write, that alone which contains the
  truth _will live, for truth only is permanent_. The rest will
  deservedly perish."

He wrote to supply the fountain which was to feed the fertilizing
rills,--to develope the truth was that at which he aimed, and in which
he hoped to find his reward.

On the 16th of September, 1798, he sailed from Great Yarmouth to
Hamburg, in company with Mr. Wordsworth and his sister in his way to
Germany, and now for the first time beheld "his native land" retiring
from him.

In a series of letters, published first in the "Friend," afterwards in
his "Biographia Literaria," is to be found a description of his passage
to Germany, and short tour through that country. His fellow passengers
as described by him were a motley group, suffering from the usual
effects of a rolling sea. One of them, who had caught the customary
antidote to sympathy for suffering, to witness which is usually painful,
began his mirth by not inaptly observing,

  "That Momus might have discovered an easier way to see a man's inside
  than by placing a window in his breast. He needed only to have taken a
  salt-water trip in a pacquet-boat."

Coleridge thinks that a

  "pacquet is far superior to a stage-coach, as a means of making men
  open out to each other. In the latter the uniformity of posture
  disposes to dozing, and the definiteness of the period at which the
  company will separate, makes each individual think of those 'to' whom
  he is going, rather than of those 'with' whom he is going. But at sea
  more curiosity is excited, if only on this account, that the pleasant
  or unpleasant qualities of your companions are of greater importance
  to you, from the uncertainty how long you may be obliged to house with

On board was a party of Danes, who, from his appearance in a suit of
black, insisted he was a "Docteur Teology." To relieve himself of any
further questioning on this head, he bowed assent "rather than be

  "Certes," he says, "We were not of the Stoic school; for we drank, and
  talked, and sung altogether; and then we rose and danced on the deck a
  set of dances, which, in _one_ sense of the word at least, were very
  intelligibly and appropriately entitled reels. The passengers who lay
  in the cabin below in all the agonies of sea-sickness, must have found
  our bacchanalian merriment

      a tune
    Harsh and of dissonant mood for their complaint.

  I thought so at the time; and how closely the greater number of our
  virtues are connected with the fear of death, and how little sympathy
  we bestow on pain, when there is no danger."

The Dane soon convinced him of the justice of an old remark, that many a
faithful portrait in our novels and farces, has been rashly censured for
an outrageous caricature, or perhaps nonentity.

  "I had retired to my station in the boat when he came and seated
  himself by my side, and appeared not a little tipsy. He commenced the
  conversation in the most magnific style, and a sort of pioneering to
  his own vanity, he flattered me with _such_ grossness! The parasites
  of the old comedy were modest in comparison."

After a ludicrous conversation which took place, he passes on to the
description of another passenger, an Englishman, who spoke German
fluently and interpreted many of the jokes of a Prussian who formed one
of the party.

  "The Prussian was a travelling merchant, turned of threescore, a hale,
  tall, strong man, and full of stories, gesticulations, and buffoonery,
  with the soul as well as the look of a mountebank, who, while he is
  making you laugh, picks your pocket. Amid all his droll looks and
  droll gestures, there remained one look untouched by laughter; and
  that one look was the true face, the others were but its mask. The
  Hanoverian (another of the party) was a pale, bloated, young man,
  whose father had made a large fortune in London as an army contractor.
  He seemed to emulate the manners of young Englishmen of fortune. He
  was a good-natured fellow, not without information or literature, but
  a most egregious coxcomb. He had been in the habit of attending the
  House of Commons; and had once spoken, as he informed me, with great
  applause in a debating society. For this he appeared to have qualified
  himself with laudable industry; for he was perfect in Walker's
  Pronouncing Dictionary, and with an accent that forcibly reminded me
  of the Scotchman in Roderick Random, who professed to teach the
  English pronunciation; he was constantly _deferring_ to my superior
  judgment, whether or no I had pronounced this or that word with
  propriety or 'the true delicacy.' When he spoke, though it were only
  half a dozen sentences, he always rose; for which I could detect no
  other motive, than his partiality to that elegant phrase, so liberally
  introduced in the orations of our British legislators, 'While I am on
  my legs.'"

Coleridge continues his description of the party, and relates a quarrel
that ensued between a little German tailor and his wife, by which he was
the gainer of a bed, it being too cold to continue much longer on deck:

  "In the evening the sea rolling higher, the Dane became worse, and in
  consequence increased his remedy, viz. brandy, sugar, and nutmeg, in
  proportion to the room left in his stomach. The conversation or
  oration 'rather than dialogue, became extravagant beyond all that I
  ever heard.' After giving an account of his fortune acquired in the
  island of Santa Cruz, 'he expatiated on the style in which he intended
  to live in Denmark, and the great undertakings he proposed to himself
  to commence, till the brandy aiding his vanity, and his vanity and
  garrulity aiding the brandy, he talked like a madman.

  After this drunken apostrophe he changed the conversation, and
  commenced an harangue on religion, (mistaking Coleridge for "un
  Philosophe" in the continental sense of the word) he talked of the
  Deity in a declamatory style very much resembling the devotional rants
  of that rude blunderer Mr. Thomas Paine, in his 'Age of Reason'. I
  dare aver, that few men have less reason to charge themselves with
  indulging in persiflage than myself; I should hate it, if it were only
  that it is a Frenchman's vice, and feel a pride in avoiding it,
  because our own language is too honest to have a word to express it

  At four o'clock I observed a wild duck swimming on the waves, a single
  solitary wild duck. It is not easy to conceive, how interesting a
  thing it looked in that round objectless desert of waters."

The cry of 'land' was heard soon afterwards, and in a short time they
dropped anchor at Cuxhaven, and proceeded from thence in a boat to
Hamburg. After this he travelled on to [25] Ratzeburg, and then took up
his residence with a pastor for the purpose of acquiring the German
language, but with what success will be presently shown. He soon after
proceeded through Hanover to Göttingen.--Here he informs us he regularly

  "attended lectures in the morning in physiology, in the evening an
  natural history under BLUMENBACH, a name as dear to every Englishman
  who has studied at the university, as it is venerable to men of
  science throughout Europe! Eichorn's Lectures on the New Testament
  were repeated to me from notes by a student from Ratzeburg, a young
  man of sound learning and indefatigable industry, who is now I believe
  a professor of the oriental languages at Heidelberg."

Few persons visit Gottingen without ascending the Brocken.

At the close of one of their academic studies, equivalent to, what in
this country is called a term, it was agreed that the following party
should visit the Hartz Mountains, &c. Namely, Coleridge, the two Parrys
of Bath, Charles and Edward, sons of the celebrated physician of that
name, the son also of Professor Blumenbach, Dr. Carlyon, Mr. Chester,
and Mr. Greenough. Coleridge and the party made the ascent of the
Brocken, on the Hanoverian side of this mountain. During the toil of the
ascent, Coleridge amused his companions with recapitulating some
trifling verses, which he was wont to do some twenty years afterwards to
amuse children of five and six years old, as Miss Mary Rowe, Tity Mouse
Brim, Dr. Daniel Dove, of Doncaster, and his Horse Nobbs. It should,
however, be observed, that these Dr. Carlyon seemed to think worth
notice, while the Christabel and Ancient Mariner were probably but
little to his taste. His dress, a short jacket of coarse material,
though convenient, was not quite classical in a party of philosophical
erratics in quest of novelty. This tale of Dr. Daniel Dove, of
Doncaster, has given a frame and pegs, on which some literary man has
founded a story, and on which he has hung the contents of his scrap
book. The invention is not Coleridge's; and the writer believes the
story itself to be traditional. The following account of his ascent up
the Brocken was written by himself, soon after his return from Germany:


  "Through roads no way rememberable, we came to Gieloldshausen, over a
  bridge, on which was a mitred statue with a great crucifix in its
  arms. The village, long and ugly; but the church, like most Catholic
  churches, interesting; and this being Whitsun Eve, all were crowding
  to it, with their mass-books and rosaries, the little babies commonly
  with coral crosses hanging on the breast. Here we took a guide, left
  the village, ascended a hill, and now the woods rose up before us in a
  verdure which surprised us like a sorcery. The spring had burst forth
  with the suddenness of a Russian summer. As we left Göttingen there
  were buds, and here and there a tree half green; but here were woods
  in full foliage, distinguished from summer only by the exquisite
  freshness of their tender green. We entered the wood through a
  beautiful mossy path; the moon above us blending with the evening
  light, and every now and then a nightingale would invite the others to
  sing, and some or other commonly answered, and said, as we suppose,
  'It is yet somewhat too early!' for the song was not continued. We
  came to a square piece of greenery, completely walled on all four
  sides by the beeches; again entered the wood, and having travelled
  about a mile, emerged from it into a grand plain--mountains in the
  distance, but ever by our road the skirts of the green woods. A very
  rapid river ran by our side; and now the nightingales were all
  singing, and the tender verdure grew paler in the moonlight, only the
  smooth parts of the river were still deeply purpled with the
  reflections from the fiery light in the west. So surrounded and so
  impressed, we arrived at Prele, a dear little cluster of houses in the
  middle of a semicircle of woody hills; the area of the semicircle
  scarcely broader than the breadth of the village.


  "We afterwards ascended another hill, from the top of which a large
  plain opened before us with villages. A little village, Neuhoff, lay
  at the foot of it: we reached it, and then turned up through a valley
  on the left hand. The hills on both sides the valley were prettily
  wooded, and a rapid lively river ran through it.

  So we went for about two miles, and almost at the end of the valley,
  or rather of its first turning, we found the village of Lauterberg.
  Just at the entrance of the village, two streams come out from two
  deep and woody coombs, close by each other, meet, and run into a third
  deep woody coomb opposite; before you a wild hill, which seems the end
  and barrier of the valley; on the right hand, low hills, now green
  with corn, and now wooded; and on the left a most majestic hill
  indeed--the effect of whose simple outline painting could not give,
  and how poor a thing are words! We pass through this neat little
  town--the majestic hill on the left hand soaring over the houses, and
  at every interspace you see the whole of it--its beeches, its firs,
  its rocks, its scattered cottages, and the one neat little pastor's
  house at the foot, embosomed in fruit-trees all in blossom, the noisy
  coomb-brook dashing close by it. We leave the valley, or rather, the
  first turning on the left, following a stream; and so the vale winds
  on, the river still at the foot of the woody hills, with every now and
  then other smaller valleys on right and left crossing our vale, and
  ever before you the woody hills running like groves one into another.
  We turned and turned, and entering the fourth curve of the vale, we
  found all at once that we had been ascending. The verdure vanished!
  All the beech trees were leafless, and so were the silver birches,
  whose boughs always, winter and summer, hang so elegantly. But low
  down in the valley, and in little companies on each bank of the river,
  a multitude of green conical fir trees, with herds of cattle wandering
  about, almost every one with a cylindrical bell around its neck, of no
  inconsiderable size, and as they moved--scattered over the narrow
  vale, and up among the trees on the hill--the noise was like that of a
  great city in the stillness of a sabbath morning, when the bells all
  at once are ringing for church. The whole was a melancholy and
  romantic scene, that was quite new to me. Again we turned, passed
  three smelting houses, which we visited;--a scene of terrible beauty
  is a furnace of boiling metal, darting, every moment blue, green, and
  scarlet lightning, like serpents' tongues!--and now we ascended a
  steep hill, on the top of which was St. Andrias Berg, a town built
  wholly of wood.

  "We descended again, to ascend far higher; and now we came to a most
  beautiful road, which winded on the breast of the hill, from whence we
  looked down into a deep valley, or huge basin, full of pines and firs;
  the opposite hills full of pines and firs; and the hill above us, on
  whose breast we were winding, likewise full of pines and firs. The
  valley, or basin, on our right hand, into which we looked down, is
  called the Wald Rauschenbach, that is, the Valley of the Roaring
  Brook; and roar it did, indeed, most solemnly! The road on which we
  walked was weedy with infant fir-trees, an inch or two high; and now,
  on our left hand, came before us a most tremendous precipice of yellow
  and black rock, called the Rehberg, that is, the Mountain of the Roe.
  Now again is nothing but firs and pines, above, below, around us! How
  awful is the deep unison of their undividable murmur; what a one thing
  it is--it is a sound that impresses the dim notion of the Omnipresent!
  In various parts of the deep vale below us, we beheld little dancing
  waterfalls gleaming through the branches, and now, on our left hand,
  from the very summit of the hill above us, a powerful stream flung
  itself down, leaping and foaming, and now concealed, and now not
  concealed, and now half concealed by the fir-trees, till, towards the
  road, it became a visible sheet of water, within whose immediate
  neighbourhood no pine could have permanent abiding place. The snow lay
  every where on the sides of the roads, and glimmered in company with
  the waterfall foam, snow patches and waterbreaks glimmering through
  the branches in the hill above, the deep basin below, and the hill

  Over the high opposite hills, so dark in their pine forests, a far
  higher round barren stony mountain looked in upon the prospect from a
  distant country. Through this scenery we passed on, till our road was
  crossed by a second waterfall; or rather, aggregation of little
  dancing waterfalls, one by the side of the other for a considerable
  breadth, and all came at once out of the dark wood above, and rolled
  over the mossy rock fragments, little firs, growing in islets,
  scattered among them. The same scenery continued till we came to the
  Oder Seich, a lake, half made by man, and half by nature. It is two
  miles in length, and but a few hundred yards in breadth, and winds
  between banks, or rather through walls, of pine trees. It has the
  appearance of a most calm and majestic river. It crosses the road,
  goes into a wood, and there at once plunges itself down into a most
  magnificent cascade, and runs into the vale, to which it gives the
  name of the 'Vale of the Roaring Brook.' We descended into the vale,
  and stood at the bottom of the cascade, and climbed up again by its
  side. The rocks over which it plunged were unusually wild in their
  shape, giving fantastic resemblances of men and animals, and the
  fir-boughs by the side were kept almost in a swing, which unruly
  motion contrasted well with the stern quietness of the huge forest-sea
  every where else.


  "In nature all things are individual, but a word is but an arbitrary
  character for a whole class of things; so that the same description
  may in almost all cases be applied to twenty different appearances;
  and in addition to the difficulty of the thing itself, I neither am,
  nor ever was, a good hand at description. I see what I write, but,
  alas! I cannot write what I see. From the Oder Seich we entered a
  second wood; and now the snow met us in large masses, and we walked
  for two miles knee-deep in it, with an inexpressible fatigue, till we
  came to the mount called Little Brocken; here even the firs deserted
  us, or only now and then a patch of them, wind shorn, no higher than
  one's knee, matted and cowering to the ground, like our thorn bushes
  on the highest sea-hills. The soil was plashy and boggy; we descended
  and came to the foot of the Great Brocken without a river--the highest
  mountain in all the north of Germany, and the seat of innumerable
  superstitions. On the first of May all the witches dance here at
  midnight; and those who go may see their own ghosts walking up and
  down, with a little billet on the back, giving the names of those who
  had wished them there; for 'I wish you on the top of the Brocken,' is
  a common curse throughout the whole empire. Well, we ascended--the
  soil boggy--and at last reached the height, which is 573 toises above
  the level of the sea. We visited the Blocksberg, a sort of
  bowling-green, inclosed by huge stones, something like those at
  Stonehenge, and this is the witches' ball-room; thence proceeded to
  the house on the hill, where we dined; and now we descended. In the
  evening about seven we arrived at Elbingerode. At the inn they brought
  us an album, or stamm-buch, requesting that we would write our names,
  and something or other as a remembrance that we had been there. I
  wrote the following lines, which contain a true account of my journey
  from the Brocken to Elbingerode.

    I stood on Brocken's sovran height, and saw
    Woods crowding upon woods, hills over hills;
    A surging scene, and only limited
    By the blue distance. Wearily my way
    Downward I dragged, through fir groves evermore,
    Where bright green moss moved in sepulchral forms,
    Speckled with sunshine; and, but seldom heard,
    The sweet bird's song become a hollow sound;
    And the gale murmuring indivisibly,
    Reserved its solemn murmur, more distinct
    From many a note of many a waterbreak,
    And the brook's chatter; on whose islet stones
    The dingy kidling, with its tinkling bell,
    Leapt frolicksome, or old romantic goat
    Sat, his white beard slow waving. I moved on
    With low and languid thought, for I had found
    That grandest scenes have but imperfect charms
    Where the eye vainly wanders, nor beholds
    One spot with which the heart associates
    Holy remembrances of child or friend,
    Or gentle maid, our first and early love,
    Or father, or the venerable name
    Of our adored country. O thou Queen,
    Thou delegated Deity of Earth,
    O 'dear, dear' England! how my longing eyes
    Turned westward, shaping in the steady clouds
    Thy sands and high white cliffs! Sweet native isle,
    This heart was proud, yea, mine eyes swam with tears
    To think of thee; and all the goodly view
    From sovran Brocken, woods and woody hills
    Floated away, like a departing dream,
    Feeble and dim. Stranger, these impulses
    Blame thou not lightly; nor will I profane,
    With hasty judgment or injurious doubt,
    That man's sublimer spirit, who can feel
    That God is every where, the God who framed
    Mankind to be one mighty brotherhood,
    Himself our Father, and the world our home.

  We left Elbingerode, May 14th, and travelled for half a mile through a
  wild country, of bleak stony hills by our side, with several caverns,
  or rather mouths of caverns, visible in their breasts; and now we came
  to Rubilland,--Oh, it was a lovely scene! Our road was at the foot of
  low hills, and here were a few neat cottages; behind us were high
  hills, with a few scattered firs, and flocks of goats visible on the
  topmost crags. On our right hand a fine shallow river about thirty
  yards broad, and beyond the river a crescent hill clothed with firs,
  that rise one above another, like spectators in an amphitheatre. We
  advanced a little farther,--the crags behind us ceased to be visible,
  and now the whole was one and complete. All that could be seen was the
  cottages at the foot of the low green hill, (cottages embosomed in
  fruit trees in blossom,) the stream, and the little crescent of firs.
  I lingered here, and unwillingly lost sight of it for a little while.
  The firs were so beautiful, and the masses of rocks, walls, and
  obelisks started up among them in the very places where, if they had
  not been, a painter with a poet's feeling would have imagined them.
  Crossed the river (its name Bodi), entered the sweet wood, and came to
  the mouth of the cavern, with the man who shews it. It was a huge
  place, eight hundred feet in length, and more in depth, of many
  different apartments; and the only thing that distinguished it from
  other caverns was, that the guide, who was really a character, had the
  talent of finding out and seeing uncommon likenesses in the different
  forms of the stalactite. Here was a nun;--this was Solomon's
  temple;--that was a Roman Catholic Chapel;--here was a lion's claw,
  nothing but flesh and blood wanting to make it completely a claw! This
  was an organ, and had all the notes of an organ, &c. &c. &c.; but,
  alas! with all possible straining of my eyes, ears, and imagination, I
  could see nothing but common stalactite, and heard nothing but the
  dull ding of common cavern stones. One thing was really striking;--a
  huge cone of stalactite hung from the roof of the largest apartment,
  and, on being struck, gave perfectly the sound of a death-bell. I was
  behind, and heard it repeatedly at some distance, and the effect was
  very much in the fairy kind,--gnomes, and things unseen, that toll
  mock death-bells for mock funerals. After this, a little clear well
  and a black stream pleased me the most; and multiplied by fifty, and
  coloured ad libitum, might be well enough to read of in a novel or
  poem. We returned, and now before the inn, on the green plat around
  the Maypole, the villagers were celebrating Whit-Tuesday. This Maypole
  is hung as usual with garlands on the top, and, in these garlands,
  spoons, and other little valuables, are placed. The high smooth round
  pole is then well greased; and now he who can climb up to the top may
  have what he can get,--a very laughable scene as you may suppose, of
  awkwardness and agility, and failures on the very brink of success.
  Now began a dance. The women danced very well, and, in general, I have
  observed throughout Germany that the women in the lower ranks
  degenerate far less from the ideal of a woman, than the men from that
  of man. The dances were reels and waltzes; but chiefly the latter.
  This dance is, in the higher circles, sufficiently voluptuous; but
  here the emotions of it were far more faithful interpreters of the
  passion, which, doubtless, the dance was intended to shadow; yet, ever
  after the giddy round and round is over, they walked to music, the
  woman laying her arm, with confident affection, on the man's
  shoulders, or around his neck. The first couple at the waltzing was a
  very fine tall girl, of two or three and twenty, in the full bloom and
  growth of limb and feature, and a fellow with huge whiskers, a long
  tail, and woollen night-cap; he was a soldier, and from the more than
  usual glances of the girl, I presumed was her lover. He was, beyond
  compare, the gallant and the dancer of the party. Next came two boors:
  one of whom, in the whole contour of his face and person, and, above
  all, in the laughably would-be frolicksome kick out of his heel,
  irresistibly reminded me of Shakespeare's Slender, and the other of
  his Dogberry. Oh! two such faces, and two such postures! O that I were
  an Hogarth! What an enviable gift it is to have a genius in painting!
  Their partners were pretty lasses, not so tall as the former, and
  danced uncommonly light and airy. The fourth couple was a sweet girl
  of about seventeen, delicately slender, and very prettily dressed,
  with a full-blown rose in the white ribbon that went round her head,
  and confined her reddish-brown hair; and her partner waltzed with a
  pipe in his mouth, smoking all the while; and during the whole of this
  voluptuous dance, his countenance was a fair personification of true
  German phlegm. After these, but, I suppose, not actually belonging to
  the party, a little ragged girl and ragged boy, with his stockings
  about his heels, waltzed and danced;--waltzing and dancing in the rear
  most entertainingly. But what most pleased me, was a little girl of
  about three or four years old, certainly not more than four, who had
  been put to watch a little babe, of not more than a year old (for one
  of our party had asked), and who was just beginning to run away, the
  girl teaching him to walk, and who was so animated by the music, that
  she began to waltz with him, and the two babes whirled round and
  round, hugging and kissing each other, as if the music had made them
  mad. There were two fiddles and a bass viol. The fiddlers,--above all,
  the bass violer,--most Hogarthian phizzes! God love them! I felt far
  more affection for them than towards any other set of human beings I
  have met with since I have been in Germany, I suppose because they
  looked so happy!"

Coleridge and his companions in their tour passed through a district
belonging to the elector of Metz, and he often repeated the following
story, which one of the party has since related in print; that, going
through this district, chiefly inhabited by boors, who were Romanists,
of the lowest form of this persuasion of Christians, the party fatigued
and much exhausted, with the exception of Blumenbach, arrived somewhat
late, though being a summer evening, it was still light, at a Hessian
village, where they had hoped, as in England, to find quarters for the
night. Most of the inhabitants had retired to rest, a few only loitering
about, perhaps surprized at the sight of strangers. They shewed no
inclination to be courteous, but rather eyed them with suspicion and
curiosity. The party, notwithstanding this, entered the village
ale-house, still open, asked for refreshments and a night's lodging, but
no one noticed them. Though hungry, they could not procure any thing for
supper, not even a cup of coffee, nor could they find beds; after some
time, however, they asked for a few bundles of straw, which would
probably have been granted, had not Coleridge, out of patience at seeing
his friends' forlorn situation, imprudently asked one of them, if there
lived any Christians in Hesse Cassel? At this speech, which was soon
echoed by those within the house to the bystanders without, the boors
became instantly so infuriated, that rushing in, the travellers were
immediately driven out, and were glad to save themselves from the
lighted fire-wood on the hearth, which was hurled at them. On this they
went to seek a spot to bivouac for the night. Coleridge lay under the
shelter of a furze-bush, annoyed by the thorns, which, if they did not
disturb his rest, must have rendered it comfortless. Youth and fatigue,
inducing sleep, soon rose above these difficulties. In the ascent of the
Brocken, they despaired of seeing the famous spectre, in search of which
they toiled, it being visible only when the sun is a few degrees above
the horizon. Haué says, he ascended thirty times without seeing it, till
at length he was enabled to witness the effect of this optical delusion.
For the best account of it, see the Natural Magic of Sir D. Brewster,
[26] who explains the origin of these spectres, and shews how the mind
is deluded among an ignorant and easily deceived people, and thus traces
the birth of various ghost stories in the neighbourhood, extending as
far in Europe, as such stories find credence.

  "In the course of my repeated tours through the Hartz," Mr. Jordan
  says, "I ascended the Brocken twelve different times, but I had the
  good fortune only twice (both times about Whitsuntide), to see that
  atmospheric phenomenon called the Spectre of the Brocken, which
  appears to me worthy of particular attention, as it must, no doubt, be
  observed on other high mountains, which have a situation favourable
  for producing it. The first time I was deceived by this extraordinary
  phenomenon, I had clambered up to the summit of the Brocken, very
  early in the morning, in order to wait there for the inexpressibly
  beautiful view of the sun rising in the east. The heavens were already
  streaked with red: the sun was just appearing above the horizon in
  full majesty, and the most perfect serenity prevailed throughout the
  surrounding country. When the other Hartz mountains in the south-west,
  towards the Worm mountains, lying under the Brocken, began to be
  covered by thick clouds; ascending at this moment the granite rocks
  called the Teufelskauzel, there appeared before me, though at a great
  distance towards the Worm mountains, the gigantic figure of a man, as
  if standing on a large pedestal. But scarcely had I discovered it when
  it began to disappear; the clouds sank down speedily and expanded, and
  I saw the phenomenon no more. The second time, however, I saw the
  spectre somewhat more distinctly, a little below the summit of the
  Brocken, and near the Heinrichs-höhe, as I was looking at the sun
  rising about four o'clock in the morning. The weather was rather
  tempestuous, the sky towards the level country was pretty clear, but
  the Harz mountains had attracted several thick clouds which had been
  hovering around them, and which, beginning to settle on the Brocken,
  confined the prospect. In these clouds, soon after the rising of the
  sun, I saw my own shadow of a monstrous size, move itself for a couple
  of seconds exactly as I moved, but I was soon involved in clouds, and
  the phenomenon disappeared."

It is impossible to see this phenomenon, except when the sun is at such
an altitude as to throw his rays upon the body in a horizontal
direction; for, if he is higher, the shadow is thrown rather under the
body than before it. After visiting the Hartz, Coleridge returned to
Göttingen, and in his note-book in a leave-taking memorial as well as
autograph, the following lines were written by Blumenbach, the son:--

  "Wenn Sie, bester Freund, auch in Jhrer Heimath die
  Natur bewundern werden, wie wir beide es auf dem Harze
  gethan haben, so erinnern Sie sich des Harzes, und ich darf
  dann hoffen, das Sie auch mich nicht vergessen werden.

  "Leben Sie wohl, und reisen glücklich,



  If you perchance, my dearest friend, should still continue
  to admire the works of nature at your home, as we have done
  together on the Hartz; recall to your recollection the Hartz,
  and then I dare hope that you will also think of me.

  Farewell, may you have a prosperous voyage.

  (Signed) yours, BLUMENBACH.

Coleridge returned to England after an absence of fourteen mouths, and
arrived in London the 27th November, 1799.

He went to Germany but little versed in the language, and adopted the
following plan of acquiring it, which he recommends to others

  "To those," says he, "who design to acquire the language of a country
  in the country itself, it may be useful, if I mention the incalculable
  advantages which I derived from learning all the words that could
  possibly be so learnt, with the objects before me, and without the
  intermediation of the English terms. It was a regular part of my
  morning studies for the first six weeks of my residence at Ratzeburg,
  to accompany the good and kind old pastor, with whom I lived, from the
  cellar to the roof, through gardens, farm-yards, &c., and to call
  every the minutest thing by its German name. Advertisements, farces,
  jest-books, and conversation of children while I was at play with
  them, contributed their share to a more homelike acquaintance with the
  language, than I could have procured from books of polite literature
  alone, or even from polite society."

In support of this plan, he makes a quotation from the massive folios of
Luther--a passage as he calls it of "_hearty_ sound sense," and gives
the simple, sinewy, idiomatic words of the "original," with a
translation of his own:

  "For one must not ask the letters in the Latin tongue, how one ought
  to speak German; but one must ask the mother in the house, the
  children in the lanes and alleys, the common man in the market,
  concerning this; yea, and look at the _moves_ of their mouths while
  they are talking, and thereafter interpret. They understand then, and
  mark that one talks German with them."

Whether he owed his successful acquirement of the language to these
plans adopted by him, or whether to his extraordinary powers of mind, it
must be left to others to judge. To form any thing like an accurate
opinion, it may be necessary to re-state, that during this fourteen
months' residence, he acquired such a knowledge of the German, as
enabled him to make that extraordinary translation of the Wallenstein,
(which will be presently noticed), reading at the same time several
German authors, and storing up for himself the means of becoming
familiar with others, on subjects in which the English language was
deficient. In addition to what in this short period he effected, I may
say that some part of this time was employed in receiving many lessons
from professor Tychsen, in the Gothic of Ulphilas, which, says he,

  "sufficed to make me acquainted with its grammar, and the radical
  words of most frequent occurrence; and with the occasional assistance
  of the same philosophical linguist, I read through Ottfried's Metrical
  Paraphrase of the Gospel, and the most important remains of the

Coleridge's Biographia contains the history and developement of his mind
till 1816, when it was published; he called it his Literary Life, but of
necessity it is intermixed with his biography, as he must have found it
impossible to separate them. He had even half promised himself to write
his own biography, but the want of success in his literary labours, and
the state of his health, caused him to think seriously that his life was
diminishing too fast, to permit him to finish those great works, of
which he had long planned the execution. The conception of these works
was on such a scale, that even his giant intellect, with his great and
continuous powers of application, could not have executed them. But to
continue.--On his return to London, his first literary occupation was
the translation of the Wallenstein, which he effected in six weeks, in a
lodging in Buckingham-street, in the Strand; it was printed and
published in 1800.

The MS. was purchased by Longman's house under the condition that the
English Version and Schiller's Play in German were to be published at
the same time. The play, as is well known to all German readers, is in
three parts; the first part, the Camp, being considered by Coleridge as
not sufficiently interesting to the British public to translate, it was
not attempted; the second part, the Piccolomini, was translated with the
occasional addition of some lines, in order to make out the thought when
it appeared to require it, particularly in the Horological scene of the
Watch Tower. In the last part the Death of Wallenstein is equally free,
but the liberties taken with this play are those of omission.

German was not at that time cultivated in England, and the few plays
which were translated, were but bad specimens of German Literature. The
Wallenstein is an historical play, without any of those violent tragic
events which the public expect to find in German plays, and this was one
cause perhaps of disappointment.--It is a play of high thoughts--
ennobling sentiments, and for the reflecting individual with good
feelings, one of those plays, by which, even without reference to the
story, the head and the heart are both benefited. There is no violent
excitement produced, and in quiet thought one can dwell on it with
pleasure. Coleridge truly prophesied its fate, for when translating it,
he said it would fall dead from the press, and indeed but few of the
copies were sold;--his advice to the publishers, whom he had forewarned
of this failure, was to reserve the unsold copies, and wait till it
might become fashionable. They however parted with it as waste paper,
though sixteen years afterwards it was eagerly sought for, and the few
remaining copies doubled their price; but now that the German language
has become more general, and the merit of this translation been
appreciated, it has been reprinted with success.

Since the visit of these remarkable men to Germany, the taste for German
literature has each year slowly increased, so as to make it almost
appear that they have given the direction to this taste, which in
England has caused a free inquiry into the writings of German authors,
particularly of their poets and philosophers for the one class; and also
into the interesting tales and stories to be found for the many who
require such amusement.

The edition of Wallenstein, 1800, contains the following preface, which
was afterwards abridged, but is here given as it was originally written;
the first criticism on it was wholly made out of this preface, and these
lines were quoted by the reviewer, in condemnation of the play and the
translation, though it is well known that the critic was ignorant of
German. The date of the MS. by Schiller is September 30th, 1799, the
English is 1800. Coleridge indeed calls it a translation, but had it
been verbatim, it would have required much longer time; take it however
as we will, it displays wonderful powers; and as he noticed in a letter
to a friend, it was executed in the prime of his life and vigour of his
mind. Of the metre of this drama he spoke slightingly, and said
according to his taste,

  "it dragged, like a fly through a glue-pot. It was my intention," he
  writes, "to have prefixed a life of Wallenstein to this translation;
  but I found that it must either have occupied a space wholly
  disproportionate to the nature of the publication, or have been merely
  a meagre catalogue of events narrated, not more fully than they
  already are in the play itself. The recent translation, likewise, of
  Schiller's History of the Thirty Years' War, diminished the motives
  thereto. In the translation, I have endeavoured to render my author
  literally, wherever I was not prevented by absolute differences of
  idiom; but I am conscious, that in two or three short passages, I have
  been guilty of dilating the original; and, from anxiety to give the
  full meaning, have weakened the force. In the metre I have availed
  myself of no other liberties, than those which Schiller had permitted
  to himself, except the occasional breaking up of the line, by the
  substitution of a trochee for an iambus; of which liberty, so frequent
  in our tragedies, I find no instance in these dramas.

  The two Dramas, Piccolomini, or the first part of Wallenstein, and
  Wallenstein, are introduced in the original manuscript by a prelude in
  one act, entitled Wallenstein's camp. This is written in rhyme, and in
  nine syllable verse, in the same lilting metre (if that expression may
  be permitted) with the second eclogue of Spencer's Shepherd's
  Calendar. This prelude possesses a sort of broad humour, and is not
  deficient in character, but to have translated it into prose, or into
  any other metre than that of the original, would have given a false
  idea, both of its style and purport; to have translated it into the
  same metre, would have been incompatible with a faithful adherence to
  the sense of the German, from the comparative poverty of our language
  in rhymes; and it would have been unadvisable, from the incongruity of
  those lax verses with the present state of the English public.
  Schiller's intention seems to have been merely to have prepared his
  reader for the tragedies, by a lively picture of the laxity of
  discipline, and the mutinous disposition of Wallenstein's soldiery. It
  is not necessary as a preliminary explanation. For these reasons it
  has been thought expedient not to translate it.

  The admirers of Schiller, who have abstracted their idea of that
  author from the Robbers, and the Cabal and Love plays, in which the
  main interest is produced by the excitement of curiosity, and in which
  the curiosity is excited by terrible and extraordinary incident, will
  not have perused, without some portion of disappointment, the dramas
  which it has been my employment to translate. They should, however,
  reflect, that these are historical dramas, taken from a popular German
  history; that we must therefore judge of them in some measure with the
  feelings of Germans, or by analogy with the interest excited in us by
  similar dramas in our own language. Few, I trust, would be rash or
  ignorant enough, to compare Schiller with Shakspeare, yet, merely as
  illustration, I would say, that we should proceed to the perusal of
  Wallenstein, not from Lear or Othello, but from Richard the Second, or
  the three parts of Henry the Sixth. We scarcely expect rapidity in an
  historical drama; and many prolix speeches are pardoned from
  characters, whose names and actions have formed the most amusing tales
  of our early life. On the other hand, there exist in these plays more
  individual beauties, more passages the excellence of which will bear
  reflection than in the former productions of Schiller.

  The description of the Astrological Tower, and the reflections of the
  young lover, which follow it, form in the original a fine poem, and my
  translation must have been wretched indeed, if it can have wholly
  overclouded the beauties of the scene in the first act of the first
  play, between Questenberg, Max. and Octavio Piccolomini.

  If we except the scene of the setting sun in the Robbers, I know of no
  part in Schiller's plays, which equals the whole of the first scene of
  the fifth act of the concluding play. It would be unbecoming in me to
  be more diffuse on this subject. A translator stands connected with
  the original author by a certain law of subordination, which makes it
  more decorous to point out excellencies than defects; indeed, he is
  not likely to be a fair judge of either. The pleasure or disgust from
  his own labour, will mingle with the feelings that arise from an after
  view of the original poem; and in the first perusal of a work in any
  foreign language, which we understand, we are apt to attribute to it
  more excellence than it really possesses, from our own pleasurable
  sense of difficulty overcome without effort. Translation of poetry
  into poetry is difficult, because the translator must give a
  brilliancy to his language without that warmth of original conception,
  from which such brilliancy would follow of its own accord. But the
  translator of a living author is encumbered with additional
  inconveniences. If he render his original faithfully, as to the
  'sense' of each passage, he must necessarily destroy a considerable
  portion of the 'spirit'; if he endeavour to give a work executed
  according to laws of 'compensation', he subjects himself to
  imputations of vanity, or misrepresentation. I thought it my duty to
  remain by the sense of my original, with as few exceptions as the
  nature of the language rendered possible."

About this time, or soon after his return from Germany, the proprietor
of the Morning Post, who was also the editor, engaged Coleridge to
undertake the literary department. In this he promised to assist,
provided the paper was conducted on fixed and announced principles, and
that he should neither be requested nor obliged to deviate from them in
favour of any party or any event. In consequence, that journal became,
and for many years continued, 'anti-ministerial, yet with a very
qualified approbation of the opposition, and with far greater
earnestness and zeal, both anti-jacobin and anti-gallican. As
contributors to this paper, the editor had the assistance of Mr.
Wordsworth, Mr. Southey, and Mr. Lamb. Mr. Southey, from his extreme
activity and industry, with powers best suited for such employment, with
a rapidity and punctuality which made him invaluable to the proprietor,
was the largest contributor. The others not possessing the same
qualifications, although extremely powerful in their way, were not of
the same value to the proprietor.

To Coleridge, he continued liberal and kind, and Coleridge appreciated
his talents; often has he been heard to say, if Mr. Stuart "knew as much
of man as he does of men, he would be one of the first characters in
Europe." The world, and even that part of it, who either receive
pleasure, or are benefited by the labours of literary men, often seem to
forget how many there are who being compelled to work during the week
for the provision of the week, are (if not possessed of much bodily
strength) unfit to continue further mental exertions; nor can they find
the leisure and repose necessary to produce any work of importance,
though such efforts must always be found so much more congenial to the
feelings of a man of genius. Whatever his enemies or his more envious
friends may choose to have put forth, it was to him a most painful
thought, particularly as he had made literature his profession, to have
lived in vain. This feeling sometimes haunted him, and when the feelings
are gloomily disposed, they often become in their turn depressing
causes, which frequently ended in a deep and painful sigh, and a renewal
of his laborious and inspiring thoughts as an antidote. The severest of
his critics have not pretended to have found in his compositions
triviality, or traces of a mind that shrank from the toil of thinking.

A respectable portion of literary talent will secure the success of a
newspaper, provided that it impartially adheres "to a code of
intelligible principles previously announced, and faithfully referred to
in support of every judgment on men and events." Such were the opinions
and feelings by which the contributors to this paper, as well as the
proprietor was influenced during this period; and to these causes, as
well as from the talents of the editor and of the writers, it mainly
owed its success. Papers so conducted do not require the aid of party,
nor of ministerial patronage. Yet a determination to make money by
flattering the envy and cupidity, and the vindictive restlessness of
unthinking men, seems frequently to have succeeded, not confining itself
to the daily press, but diffusing itself into periodicals of a different

  "I do derive," says Coleridge, "a gratification from the knowledge,
  that my essays have contributed to introduce the practice of placing
  the questions and events of the day in a moral point of view. In
  Burke's writings, indeed, the germs of all political truths may be
  found. But I dare assume to myself the merit of having first
  explicitly defined and analysed the nature of Jacobinism; and in
  distinguishing the Jacobin from the Republican, the Democrat, and the
  mere Demagogue," ('vide Friend'.)

Whilst Coleridge retained the opinions of the Unitarians, or rather
preached among them, they hailed him as the rising star of their
society, but when he seceded from them on his change of opinions, many
of them bruited his name in execration. Not so was it with Mr. Estlin
and other amiable and intelligent men, they understood him, and felt he
had acted on the full conviction of his mind, and that he was acting
conscientiously when he declined the opportunity of possessing a fixed
income, of which he stood so much in need. Those who knew him, knew how
much he suffered, and how painful it was for him to have differed with
such a friend as Mr. Estlin, one to whom he had been indebted for many
kind offices: But Coleridge was too sincere a man to dissemble.--There
were however others, who, from motives and feelings not honourable to
them, dissemblers even in Unitarianism, who sought every opportunity of
defaming him, and attempted to strip him of his virtues, and of his
genius, by calumny and detraction. In this, however, they were foiled.
On the other hand, the party more inclined to favour fanaticism, were so
indiscreet in their praise as to become in their turn equally injurious
to his character, and verified the old adage, that indiscreet friends
are too often the worst of enemies; for this party considered his
conversion as nothing less than a special miracle. It was impossible for
a mind so philosophical and so constituted, to remain long in the
trammels of a philosophy like Hartley's, or to continue to adhere to
such a substitute for Christianity as Unitarianism; like the
incarcerated chicken, he would on increase of growth and power, liberate
himself from his imprisonment and breathe unencumbered the vital air,
the pabulum of animal life, which by parallel reasoning, Coleridge was
aiming at in a spiritual life. From such a substitute for Christianity,
that imitation so unvitalizing in its effects, the studiously
industrious and sincere man will recoil; but the vain and superficial
man will find much in it for the display of his egotism, and superficial
knowledge. Often did he remark when conversing on these subjects, there
was a time, when

  "I disbelieved down to Unitarianism, it would have been _more honest_
  to have gone farther, to have denied the existence of a GOD! but that
  my heart would not allow me to do."

But to this subject we shall have occasion to return. The mind which
grows with its culture, seeks deeper research, and so was it with his.
Certainly, one of the effects of his visits to Germany, was to root up
whatever remained of the Mechanical Philosophy of Hartley, after whom he
had named his eldest son, and to open to his mind in philosophy new and
higher views, and in religion more established views. But change with
the many, though the result of conviction and the growth of truth, is
still a change; and with the unthinking, it deteriorates from the
character of a man, rather than as it should do elevate him,

       ... unless _above_ himself he can
  Erect himself, how mean a thing is man!


In the years 1783, 1784, and 1786, Bishop Horsley wrote some of the
tracts in controversy with Priestley, upon the historical question of
the belief of the first ages in OUR LORD'S Divinity, which are collected
in one volume, with large additional notes, dated 1789.

In a memorandum 'book', made by Coleridge, it appears that he never saw
nor read this volume, till some time in 1805; therefore his views were
not altered by the bishop's reasoning, but had undergone a great change

Horsley's writings carry with them a conviction of their truth. His
clear though concentrated style rivets the attention, and forcibly
impresses the mind, with his depth of learning, and at the same time
inspires the feeling of its practical utility. He was an opponent most
aptly suited to Priestley. The times however greatly favoured the
latter; the discoveries of Lavoisier, led the way to the study of
chemistry, which became fashionable and generally cultivated, and with
its brilliancy dazzled the multitude. Priestley displayed considerable
expertness and fitness for the practical application of the discoveries
of others; and he added also to the new mass of facts, which were daily
presenting themselves, and thus science became enriched, enriching at
the same time the pockets of the manufacturers, exciting national
industry, and adding considerably to the national property. Priestley's
researches and discoveries gave an irresistible weight to his name, and
had an undue influence, as we shall presently see, in the arguments or
opinions he advanced. This, Horsley foresaw, and felt, and therefore
built his arguments on the permanent, in order to subdue the creatures
founded on the impermanent and other worthless idols of the mind's

How the world were delighted and wonder-struck by the supposed
discovery, that it was the province of vegetable life to supply the
vital air, which animal life destroyed! Priestley was hailed as the
wonder of his age, and for a while its oracle. He was however no
ordinary being, and even his enemies admitted him to be a kind and moral
man. His intellectual powers will speak for themselves. We have now had
sufficient experience to see how shifting all kind of theory must be
when left to the will and ingenuity of man only--and how unsafe a guide
in questions of importance as the one now referred to. Horsley saw the
weak points of Priestley's argument, and was not to be dazzled and put
aside by Priestley's philosophical display. Horsley fearlessly entered
into this controversy, like a man who felt his own strength, and
particularly the strength of his cause; though he needed not the courage
of a Luther, he was apparently a man who possessed it, if called on. He
used the best means to silence his adversary [27], with the Bible before
him as his shield, (but at the same time his support as well as
defence,) from behind which he assailed his opponent with his Biblical
learning so powerfully, that his first attack made Priestley feel the
strength of his adversary. In vaunting language, Priestley made the best
defence which he thought he could, but not the most prudent, by
promising to answer his opponent so efficiently, as to make him a
convert to his doctrines. But in this vaunting prediction, that he would
not only answer his opponent satisfactorily, to all who were interested
in the controversy, but convert him to his opinions, it need not be
added he failed, so completely, and at the same time displayed such a
"ridiculous vanity," as to deprive him of that influence which he had so
overrated in himself. Horsley's letters seem particularly to have
attracted Coleridge's attention, and to have caused him to make one of
his concise, pithy and powerful notes as a comment on this letter of
Horsley's, entitled, "The Unitarian Doctrine not well calculated for the
conversion of Jews, Mahometans, or Infidels, of any description." [28]

The following is Coleridge's Comment on the Letter, to which allusion
has been made, and from the date seems to have been written during his
residence at Malta:

  "February 12, 1805.--Thinking during my perusal of Horsley's letters
  in reply to Dr. Priestley's objections to the Trinity on the part of
  Jews, Mahometans, and Infidels, it burst upon me at once as an awful
  truth, what seven or eight years ago I thought of proving with a
  'hollow faith', and for an 'ambiguous purpose', [29] my mind then
  wavering in its necessary passage from Unitarianism (which, as I have
  often said, is the religion of a man, whose reason would make him an
  atheist, but whose heart and common sense will not permit him to be
  so) through Spinosism into Plato and St. John. No Christ, no God! This
  I now feel with all its needful evidence of the understanding: would
  to God my spirit were made conform thereto--that no Trinity, no God!
  That Unitarianism in all its forms is idolatry, and that the remark of
  Horsley is most accurate; that Dr. Priestley's mode of converting the
  Jews and Turks is, in the great essential of religious faith, to give
  the name of Christianity to their present idolatry--truly the trick of
  Mahomet, who, finding that the mountain would not come to him, went to
  the mountain. O! that this conviction may work upon me and in me, and
  that my mind may be made up as to the character of Jesus, and of
  historical Christianity, as clearly as it is of the logos, and
  intellectual or spiritual Christianity--that I may be made to know
  either their especial and peculiar union, or their absolute disunion
  in any peculiar sense. [30]

  With regard to the Unitarians, it has been shamelessly asserted, that
  I have denied them to be Christians. God forbid! For how should I know
  what the piety of the heart may be, or what quantum of error in the
  understanding may consist, with a saving faith in the intentions and
  actual dispositions of the whole moral being, in any one individual?
  Never will God reject a soul that sincerely loves him, be his
  speculative opinions what they may: and whether in any given instance
  certain opinions, be they unbelief, or misbelief, are compatible with
  a sincere love of God, God only can know. But this I have said, and
  shall continue to say, that if the doctrines, the sum of which I
  'believe' to constitute the truth in Christ, 'be' Christianity, then
  Unitarianism' is not, and vice versâ: and that in speaking
  theologically and 'impersonally', i.e. of Psilanthropism and
  Theanthropism, as schemes of belief--and without reference to
  individuals who profess either the one or the other--it will be absurd
  to use a different language, as long as it is the dictate of common
  sense, that two opposites cannot properly be called by the same name.

  I should feel no offence if a Unitarian applied the same to me, any
  more than if he were to say, that 2 and 2 being 4, 4 and 4 must be 8."

  Biog. Lit. vol. ii. p. 307.

[Footnote 1: In his 'Literary Life,' Mr. Coleridge has made the
following observation regarding talent and genius:

  "For the conceptions of the mind may be so vivid and adequate, as to
  preclude that impulse to the realising of them, which is strongest and
  most restless in those who possess more than mere 'talent' (or the
  faculty of appropriating and applying the knowledge of others,) yet
  still want something of the creative and self-sufficing power of
  absolute 'Genius'. For this reason, therefore, they are men of
  'commanding' genius. While the former rest content between thought and
  reality, as it were in an intermundium of which their own living
  spirit supplies the 'substance', and their imagination the
  ever-varying 'form'; the latter must impress their preconceptions on
  the world without, in order to present them back to their own view
  with the satisfying degree of clearness, distinctness, and

Vol. i. p. 31.]

[Footnote 2: In consequence of various reports traducing Coleridge's
good name, I have thought it an act of justice due to his character, to
notice several mistatements here and elsewhere, which I should otherwise
have gladly passed over.]

[Footnote 3: Coleridge was always most ready to pass a censure on what
appeared to him a defect in his own composition, of which the
following is a proof:--In his introductory remarks to this Greek
Ode, printed in the Sibylline Leaves, he observes:

  "The Slaves in the West Indies consider Death as a passport to their
  native country. This sentiment is expressed in the introduction to the
  'Greek Ode on the Slave Trade,' of which the Ideas are better than the
  language in which they are conveyed."

Certainly this is taking no merit to himself, although the Ode obtained
the Prize.]

[Footnote 4:

  "At the beginning of the French Revolution, Klopstock wrote odes of
  congratulation. He received some honorary presents from the French
  Republic (a golden crown, I believe), and, like our Priestley, was
  invited to a seat in the legislature, which he declined: but, when
  French liberty metamorphosed herself into a fury, he sent back these
  presents with a palinodia, declaring his abhorrence of their
  proceedings; and since then he has been more perhaps than enough an
  Anti-Gallican. I mean, that in his just contempt and detestation of
  the crimes and follies of the revolutionists, he suffers himself to
  forget that the revolution itself is a process of the Divine
  Providence; and that as the folly of men is the wisdom of God, so are
  their iniquities instruments of his goodness."

'Biographia Literaria,' vol. ii. p. 243.]

[Footnote 5: Coleridge in the 'Friend,' says:

  "My feelings, however, and imagination did not remain unkindled in
  this general conflagration (the French Revolution); and I confess I
  should be more inclined to be ashamed than proud of myself if they
  had. I was a sharer in the general vortex, though my little world
  described the path of its revolution in an orbit of its own. What I
  dared not expect from constitutions of government and whole nations, I
  hoped from Religion."]

[Footnote 6: This is a mistake. The candidate was Mr. Bethell, one of
the members for Yorkshire, and not the Bishop of Bangor, as is commonly
supposed. Bishop Bethel himself, not long ago, told me this.]

[Footnote 7: The writer of the article above quoted followed Coleridge
in the school, and was elected to Trinity College a year after. As I
have before observed, he seems to have been well acquainted with his
habits; yet, with regard to his feelings on certain points, as his
ambition and desire for a college life, I think he must have
misunderstood him. Ambition never formed any part of Coleridge's
character. Honours, titles, and distinctions had no meaning for him. His
affections, so strong and deep, were likely to be his only stimulants in
the pursuit of them.]

[Footnote 8: Frend's trial took place at Cambridge, in the
Vice-Chancellor's Court, in the year 1793, for sedition and defamation
of the Church of England, in giving utterance to and printing certain
opinions, founded on Unitarian Doctrines, adverse to the established
Church.--'Vide' State Trials. Sentence of banishment was pronounced
against him: which sentence was confirmed by the Court of Delegates, to
which Mr. Frend had appealed from the Vice-Chancellor's Court. He then
appealed from the decision of the Court of Delegates, protested against
the proceedings, and moved this cause to the Court of King's Bench. This
Court, after an examination of the case, decided, that the proceedings
at Cambridge having been strictly formal, they had no power to
interfere, and therefore the sentence against Frend remained in full
force. Being a Fellow of Jesus' College at the time that Coleridge was a
student, he excited the sympathies of the young and ardent of that day.]

[Footnote 9: The repetition of Middleton's name, so frequently occurring
may appear to a stranger unnecessary; but Middleton, loving Coleridge so
much, and being his senior in years, as well as in studies, was to him,
while at school and at college, what the Polar Star is to the mariner on
a wide sea without compass,--his guide, and his influential friend and

[Footnote 10: There is another incident which I shall here relate that
raised him in the esteem of his comrades. One of them was seized with
confluent small-pox, and his life was considered in great danger. The
fear of the spread of this had produced such alarm in his quarters, that
the sufferer was nearly deserted. Here Coleridge's reading served him;
and, having a small quantity of medical knowledge in addition to a large
share of kindness, he volunteered his services, and nursed the sick man
night and day for six weeks. His patient recovered, to the joy of
Coleridge and of his comrades. The man was taken ill during a march, and
in consequence of the fears of the persons of the place, he and
Coleridge (who had volunteered to remain with him) were put into an
out-building, and no communication held with them--Coleridge remaining
the whole time in the same room with the man (who, during part of his
illness, was violently delirious) nursing and reading to him, &c.]

[Footnote 11: In a published letter to a friend is the following

  "I sometimes compare my own life with that of Steele (yet oh! how
  unlike), led to this from having myself also for a brief time 'borne
  arms', and written 'private' after my name, or rather another name;
  for being at a loss when suddenly asked my name, I answered
  'Comberbach', and verily my habits were so little equestrian, that my
  horse, I doubt not, was of that opinion."]

[Footnote 12: Capt. Nathaniel Ogle sold out of the 15th Dragoons, Nov.
19th, 1794.

Comberbacke enlisted at Reading, Dec. 3rd, 1793, commanded at this time
by Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Churchill, who was a Major in the regiment
at the time Comberbacke was discharged at Hounslow, on the 10th of
April, 1794, according to the War-Office books.]

[Footnote 13: Probably the week in which he enlisted.]

[Footnote 14: A gentleman much interested in these lectures, who was
also present, has given the following version of the story, and it is so
well done, that I am desirous of inserting it:--

  "In all Mr. Coleridge's lectures he was a steady opposer of Mr. Pitt
  and the then existing war; and also an enthusiastic admirer of Fox,
  Sheridan, Grey, &c. &c., but his opposition to the reigning politics
  discovered little asperity; it chiefly appeared by wit and sarcasm,
  and commonly ended in that which was the speaker's chief object, a
  laugh. Few attended Mr. C.'s lectures but those whose political views
  were similar to his own; but on one occasion, some gentlemen of the
  opposite party came into the lecture-room, and at one sentiment they
  heard, testified their disapprobation by the only easy and safe way in
  their power; namely, by a hiss. The auditors were startled at so
  unusual a sound, not knowing to what it might conduct; but their noble
  leader soon quieted their fears, by instantly remarking, with great
  coolness, 'I am not at all surprised, when the red hot prejudices of
  aristocrats are suddenly plunged into the cool waters of reason, that
  they should go off with a hiss!' The words were electric. The
  assailants felt, as well as testified their confusion, and the whole
  company confirmed it by immense applause! There was no more hissing."]

[Footnote 15: This note was written at Highgate, in a copy of the
'Conciones ad Populum'.]

[Footnote 16:

  "With the exception of one extraordinary man, I have never known an
  individual, least of all an individual of genius, healthy or happy
  without a profession, i.e., some 'regular' employment, which does not
  depend on the will of the moment, and which can be carried on so far
  'mechanically', that an average quantum only of health, spirits, and
  intellectual exertion are requisite to its faithful discharge. Three
  hours of leisure, unannoyed by any alien anxiety, and looked forward
  to with delight as a change and recreation, will suffice to realize in
  literature a larger product of what is truly genial, than weeks of
  compulsion. Money, and immediate reputation form only an arbitrary and
  accidental end of literary labour. The 'hope' of increasing them by
  any given exertion will often prove a stimulant to industry; but the
  'necessity' of acquiring them will, in all works of genius, convert
  the stimulant into a 'narcotic'. Motives by excess reverse their very
  nature, and instead of exciting, stun and stupify the mind; for it is
  one contra-distinction of genius from talent, that its predominant end
  is always comprised in the means; and this is one of the many points,
  which establish an analogy between genius and virtue. Now, though
  talents may exist without genius, yet, as genius cannot exist,
  certainly not manifest itself, without talents, I would advise every
  scholar, who feels the genial power working within him, so far to make
  a division between the two, as that he should devote his 'talents' to
  the acquirement of competence in some known trade or profession, and
  his genius to objects of his tranquil and unbiassed choice; while the
  consciousness of being actuated in both alike by the sincere desire to
  perform his duty, will alike ennoble both. 'My dear young friend,' (I
  would say), suppose yourself established in any honourable
  occupation. From the manufactory or counting-house, from the
  law-court, or from having visited your last patient, you return at

  'Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of home
  Is sweetest...'

  to your family, prepared for its social enjoyments, with the very
  countenances of your wife and children brightened, and their voice of
  welcome made doubly welcome by the knowledge that, as far as 'they'
  are concerned, you have satisfied the demands of the day, by the
  labour of the day. Then, when you retire into your study, in the books
  on your shelves, you revisit so many venerable friends with whom you
  can converse. Your own spirit scarcely less free from personal
  anxieties than the great minds, that in those books are still living
  for you! Even your writing-desk, with its blank paper and all its
  other implements, will appear as a chain of flowers, capable of
  linking your feelings, as well as thoughts to events, and characters,
  past or to come: not a chain of iron which binds you down to think of
  the future and the remote, by recalling the claims and feelings of the
  peremptory present: but why should I say retire? The habits of active
  life and daily intercourse with the stir of the world, will tend to
  give you such self command, that the presence of your family will be
  no interruption. Nay, the social silence, or undisturbing voices of a
  wife or sister will be like a restorative atmosphere, or soft music
  which moulds a dream without becoming its object. If facts are
  required to prove the possibility of combining weighty performances in
  literature with full and independent employment, the works of Cicero
  and Xenophon among the ancients; of Sir Thomas Moore, Bacon, Baxter,
  or, to refer at once to later and contemporary instances, Darwin and
  Roscoe, are at once decisive of the question."

'Biog. Lit.']

[Footnote 17: Tale and novel writing of second-rate order, somewhat
spiced and stimulating, are sure to succeed, and carry 'of course'
popularity with their success, by advertising the writer. Of this there
is an instance in Coleridge's own works. The "Zapoyla," entitled a
"Christmas Tale," (and which he never sat down to write, but dictated it
while walking up and down the room,) became so immediately popular that
2000 copies were sold in six weeks, while it required two years for the
sale of 1000 copies of the "Aids to Reflection," which cost him much
labour, and was the fruit of many years' reflection.]

[Footnote 18: i.e. Nether Stowey, at the foot of the Quantock Hills.]

[Footnote 19: Thomas Poole, Esq.]

[Footnote 20: The following lines are here referred to

  "And now, beloved Stowey! I behold
  Thy Church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elms
  Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend;
  And close behind them, hidden from my view,
  Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe
  And my babe's mother dwell in peace. With light
  And quicken'd footsteps thitherward I tend,
  Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
  And grateful, that by nature's quietness
  And solitary musings, all my heart
  Is soften'd, and made worthy to indulge
  Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human kind.

Nether Stowey,

April 28th, 1798." ]

[Footnote 21: Ossian.]

[Footnote 22: This ill-natured remark requires no comment: but I would
fain recommend the reader to peruse the beautiful and faithful portrait
of him in the Preface to the second edition of the "Table Talk," Murray,
Albemarle Street.]

[Footnote 23: He was not an enthusiast in the sense this individual used
the word; in whatever studies he was engaged, he pursued them with great
earnestness, and they were sufficient to excite his powerful and
sensitive intellect, so as to induce an observer not well acquainted
with him to form this opinion. In the character of preacher, he
exhibited more the character of philosopher and poet, never manifesting
that sectarian spirit, which too often narrows the mind, or perhaps is
rather the 'result' of a narrow mind, and which frequently seems to
exclude men from the most substantial forms of Christianity, viz.
"Christian charity and Christian humility." His religion was the very
opposite of a worldly religion, it was at all times the religion of

This visit to Shrewsbury, as the probable successor of Mr. Rowe, was
undertaken by the advice of Mr. afterwards Dr. Estlin, a Unitarian
dissenter and preacher in Bristol, a man possessed of great kindness and
of great influence among this sect, to whom Coleridge had been indebted
for many kind offices; the result of this visit forms a part of the

[Footnote 24: 'Poetical Works,' vol. i. p. 238.]

[Footnote 25:

  "No little fish thrown back into the water, no fly unimprisoned from a
  child's hand, could more buoyantly enjoy its element than I this clear
  and peaceful home, with the lovely view of the town, groves, and lake
  of Ratzeburg."]

[Footnote 26: From the earliest periods of authentic history, the
Brocken has been the seat of the marvellous. On its summits are still
seen huge blocks of granite, called the Sorcerer's Chair and the Altar.
A spring of pure water is known by the name of the Magic Fountain, and
the Anemone of the Brocken is distinguished by the title of the
Sorcerer's Flower. These names are supposed to have originated in the
rites of the great Idol Cortho, whom the Saxons worshipped in secret on
the summit of the Brocken, when Christianity was extending her benignant
sway over the subjacent plains. As the locality of these idolatrous
rites, the Brocken must have been much frequented, and we can scarcely
doubt that the spectre which now so often haunts it at sunrise, must
have been observed from the earliest times; but it is nowhere mentioned
that this phenomenon was in any way associated with the objects of their
idolatrous worship. One of the best accounts of the Spectre of the
Brocken, is that which is given by M. Haué, who saw it on the 23rd May,
1797. After having been on the summit of the mountain no less than
thirty times, he had at last the good fortune of witnessing the object
of his curiosity. The sun rose about four o'clock in the morning through
a serene atmosphere. In the south-west, towards Achtermannshöhe, a brisk
west wind carried before it the transparent vapours, which had yet been
condensed into thick heavy clouds. About a quarter past four he went
towards the inn, and looked round to see whether the atmosphere would
afford him a free prospect towards the south-west, when he observed at a
very great distance, towards Achtermannshöhe, a human figure of a
monstrous size. His hat having been almost carried away by a violent
gust of wind, he suddenly raised his hand to his head, to protect his
hat, and the colossal figure did the same. He immediately made another
movement by bending his body, an action which was repeated by the
spectral figure. M. Haué was desirous of making further experiments, but
the figure disappeared. He remained however in the same position
expecting its return, and in a few minutes it again made its appearance
on the Achtermannshöhe, when it mimicked his gestures as before. He then
called the landlord of the inn, and having both taken the same position
which he had before, they looked towards the Achtermannshöhe, but saw
nothing. In a very short space of time, however, two colossal figures
were formed over the above eminence, and after bending their bodies, and
imitating the gestures of the two spectators, they disappeared.
Retaining their position and keeping their eyes still fixed upon the
same spot, the two gigantic spectres again stood before them, and were
joined by a third. Every movement that they made was imitated by the
three figures, but the effect varied in its intensity, being sometimes
weak and faint, and at other times strong and well defined----. "Vide
Sir D. Brewster's Natural Magic, p. 128.]

[Footnote 27: Horseley appears to have been in his way a Christian
Hercules, and well adapted for cleansing even an Augean stable of

[Footnote 28: "Letter sixteenth," p. 264. ed. 1789, in Bishop Horsley's
'Tracts' in controversy with Dr. Priestley.]

[Footnote 29: This observation, it is presumed, alludes to the time when
he was 'preaching' Unitarianism.]

[Footnote 30: Written in 1805.]

[Footnote 31:

  Alas! for myself at least I know and feel, that wherever there is a
  wrong not to be forgiven, there is a grief that admits neither of cure
  nor comforting.

'Private Record, 1806.']

[Footnote 32: It appears that Mr. Alexander Macauley, the secretary, an
honest and amiable man, died suddenly, without "moan or motion," and
Coleridge filled his situation till the arrival of a new secretary,
appointed and confirmed by the ministers in England.]

[Footnote 33: 1805.

  "For months past so incessantly employed in official tasks,
  subscribing, examining, administering oaths, auditing," &c.]

[Footnote 34: April 22, 1804.

  "I was reading when I was taken ill, and felt an oppression of my
  breathing, and convulsive snatching in my stomach and limbs. Mrs.
  Ireland noticed this laborious breathing."]

[Footnote 35: I would fain request the reader to peruse the poem,
entitled "A Tombless Epitaph," to be found in Coleridge's 'Poetical
Works', 1834, page 200.]

[Footnote 36: Coleridge when asked what was the difference between fame
and reputation, would familiarly reply, "Fame is the fiat of the good
and wise," and then with energy would quote the following beautiful
lines from Milton:--

  Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
  Nor in the glistering foil
  Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies:
  But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
  And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
  As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
  Of so much fame in Heaven expect thy meed.


[Footnote 37: "The following memoranda written in pencil, and apparently
as he journeyed along, but now scarcely legible, may perhaps have an
interest for some readers:--

  "Sunday, December 15th, 1805.

  "Naples, view of Vesuvius, the Hail-mist--Torre del Greco--bright amid
  darkness--the mountains above it flashing here and there from their
  snows; but Vesuvius, it had not thinned as I have seen at Keswick, but
  the air so consolidated with the massy cloud curtain, that it appeared
  like a mountain in basso relievo, in an interminable wall of some

[Footnote 38: The order for Coleridge's arrest had already been sent
from Paris, but his escape was so contrived by the good old Pope, as to
defeat the intended indulgence of the Tyrant's vindictive appetite,
which would have preyed equally on a Duc D'Enghien, and a contributor to
a public journal. In consequence of Mr. Fox having asserted in the House
of Commons, that the rupture of the Truce of Amiens had its origin in
certain essays written in the Morning Post, which were soon known to
have been Coleridge's, and that he was at Rome within reach, the ire of
Buonaparte was immediately excited.]

[Footnote 39: Though his Note Books are full of memoranda, not an entry
or date of his arrival at Rome is to be found. To Rome itself and its
magnificence, he would often refer in conversation. Unfortunately there
is not a single document to recall the beautiful images he would place
before your mind in perspective, when inspired by the remembrance of its
wonder-striking and splendid objects. He however preserved some short
essays, which he wrote when in Malta, Observations on Sicily, Cairo, &c.
&c. political and statistical, which will probably form part of the
literary remains in train of publication.

Malta, on a first view of the subject, seemed to present a situation so
well fitted for a landing place, that it was intended to have adopted
this mode, as in 'The Friend', of dividing the present memoir; but
this loss of MS. and the breaches of continuity, render it

[Footnote 40: At this time all his writings were strongly tinctured with

[Footnote 41: Each party claimed him as their own; for party without
principles must ever be shifting, and therefore they found his opinions
sometimes in accordance with their own, and sometimes at variance. But
he was of no party--his views were purely philosophical.]

[Footnote 42: The character of Buonaparte was announced in the same

[Footnote 43: Those who spoke after Pitt were Wilberforce, Tierney,
Sheridan, &c.]

[Footnote 44: This speech of Mr. Pitt's is extracted from the 'Morning
Post', February 18th, 1800.]

[Footnote 45: The following exquisite image on Leighton was found in one
of Coleridge's note books, and is also inserted in his Literary

  "Next to the inspired Scriptures, yea, and as the vibration of that
  once struck hour remaining on the air, stands Archbishop Leighton's
  commentary on the first epistle of Peter."]

[Footnote 46: In his later days, Mr. Coleridge would have renounced the
opinions and the incorrect reasoning of this letter].



Mr. Coleridge once met Mrs. Barbauld at an evening party. He had not
long been present, and the recognition of mere acquaintanceship over,
than, walking across the room, she addressed him in these words:

  "So, Mr. Coleridge, I understand you do not consider Unitarians

  "I hope, Madam," said he, "that all persons born in a Christian
  country are Christians, and trust they are under the condition of
  being saved; but I 'do' contend that Unitarianism' is not

  to which she replied,

  "I do not understand the distinction."

This want of knowledge of the difference, is common to many very clever
and very amiable persons of this creed. It is hoped that we are not
always to be tried by our speculative opinions, for man is frequently
constituted higher and better than the principles he sometimes adopts.

Coleridge frequently observed,

  "I do not so much care for men's religious opinions,--they vary, and
  are dependant on that which usually surrounds them-but I regard with
  more attention what men _are_."

He extended his kindness to all he believed to be good, whatever their
creed, and when in his power, his aid. When injured, he immediately
forgave, as he hoped to be forgiven, [1] and when reviled and
persecuted, he never became 'persecutor'. Of him it may be said,
what he himself observed of the pious Baxter, that "he came a century
before his time." The Western world however seems to have better
appreciated the works of Coleridge, than most of his countrymen: in some
parts of America, his writings are understood and highly valued.

In 1801, he settled at Keswick, in a house, which if not built, was at
least finished for him, by a then neighbour (a Mr. Jackson,) and for a
time he occupied a part of it. But here his health greatly failed, and
he suffered severe rheumatism from the humidity of a lake country, which
was the main cause of his leaving Keswick for Malta.

It has been already observed, that when a youth at school, he had, from
imprudent bathing, become a rheumatic subject, and during the rest of
his life, remained liable to most painful affections of that disorder.

In 1803, the fear of sudden death induced him to insure his life, that
his family might not be left, dependant on his friends. In 1804, his
rheumatic sufferings increasing, he determined on a change of climate,
and accepted an invitation from his friend, Sir John, then Mr. Stoddart,
residing at Malta, where he arrived in May. He soon became acquainted
with the governor of the island, Sir Alexander Ball, who was greatly
attached to Coleridge, and whose character has been so well described by
him in The Friend. During a change of secretaries, [2] Coleridge, at
the request of Sir Alexander, officiated, pro tempore, as public
secretary of that island; and there was found in him--what at that time
was so much required--an able diplomatic writer in this department of
correspondence. The dignities of the office he never attempted to
support: he was greatly annoyed at what he thought its unnecessary
parade, and he petitioned Sir Alexander to be released from the
annoyance. There can be no doubt that, to an individual accustomed to
public business, his occupation might appear light, and even agreeable;
but his health, which was the object of this change, not being much
benefited, and the duties of the employment greater than he was equal
to, made it for him an arduous one. [3] He seemed at this time, in
addition to his rheumatism, to have been oppressed in his breathing,
which oppression crept on him imperceptibly to himself without suspicion
of its cause yet so obvious was it, that it was noticed by others "as
laborious;" [4] and continuing to increase, though with little apparent
advancement, at length terminated in death.

  "Friday afternoon, four o'clock, April 18,1804. The Speedwell dropped
  anchor in the harbour of Malta: one of the finest in the world, the
  buildings surrounding it on all sides, of a neat ever-new-looking
  sand-free-stone. Some unfinished, and in all, the windows placed
  backward, looked like Carthage when Æneas visited it-or a 'burnt out'

  Saturday, April 19.--In the after-dinner hour walked out with Mr. and
  Mrs. Stoddart, towards the Quarantine harbour. One's first feeling is,
  that it is all strange, very strange; and when you begin to understand
  a little of the meaning and uses of the massy endless walls and
  defiles, then you feel and perceive that it is very wonderful. A city
  all of freestone, all the houses looking new like Bath; all with flat
  roofs, the streets all strait, and at right angles to each other; but
  many of them exceedingly steep, none quite level; of the steep
  streets, some, 'all' stepped with a smooth artificial stone, some
  having the footpath on each side in stone steps, the middle left for
  carriages; lines of fortification, fosses, bastions, curtains, &c. &c.
  endless:--with gardens or bowling-grounds below; for it is all height
  and depth--you can walk nowhere without having whispers of suicide,
  toys of desperation. Expletive cries of Maltese venders shot up,
  sudden and violent. The inhabitants very dark, almost black; but
  straight, cleanlimbed, lively, active,--cannot speak in praise of
  their cleanliness--children very fair--women from the use of the
  faldetto, or cloak-hooding their heads, as women in England in a
  shower throw over their aprons, and from the use of always holding it
  down to one side of the face, all have a continued languishing manner
  of holding their heads one way--picturesque enough as expressive of a
  transient emotion, but shocking and inelegant in 'all' and always. The
  language Arabic, corrupted with Italian, and perhaps with others.

  Sunday, April 20, 1804.--Went to church, plain chapel with a picture
  behind the pulpit, which I was not close enough to see, and at the
  other end in a nitch, a 'cross painted'! Was it there before? or was
  it in complaisance to Maltese superstitions?--Called on Sir A.
  Ball--there I met General Valette, and delivered my letter to him,--a
  striking room, very high; 3/4ths of its height from the ground hung
  with rich crimson silk or velvet; and the 1/4th above, a mass of
  colours, pictures in compartments rudely done and without perspective
  or art, but yet very impressively and
  imagination-stirringly--representing all the events and exploits of
  the Order.--Some fine pictures, one by Correggio, one of a Cain
  killing Abel, I do not know by whom.

  Monday, April 21, 1804, Hardkain.--Sir A. Ball called on me, and
  introduced me to Mr. Lane, who was formerly his tutor, but now his
  chaplain. He invited me to dine with him on Thursday, and made a plan
  for me to ride to St. Antonio on Tuesday morning with Mr. Lane,
  offering me a horse. Soon after came on thunder and storm, and my
  breathing was affected a good deal, but still I was in no discomfort.

  April 22, Tuesday morning, six o'clock, was on horseback, and rode to
  St. Antonio.--Fields with walls, to keep the fort from the rain--mere
  desolation seemingly, and yet it is fertile. St. Antonio, a pleasant
  country-house, with a fine but unheeded garden, save among the low
  orange and lemon trees, still thick with fruit on many of the trees,
  fruit ripe, blossoms, and the next year's fruit. Pepper-trees very
  beautiful, and the locust-tree not amiss. Visited St. John's--O

  Wednesday, April 23.--General Valette I called on at his
  country-house, just out of the gates, near the end of the Botanic
  Garden, and it is the pleasantest place I have seen here. The
  multitude of small gardens and orangeries, among the huge masses of
  fortifications, many of them seeming almost as thick as the gardens
  inclosed by them are broad. Pomegranate in (beautiful secicle) flower.
  Under a bridge over a dry ditch saw the largest prickly pear. Elkhorns
  for trunk, and then its leaves--but go and look and look.--(Hard
  rain.) We sheltered in the Botanic Garden; yet reached home not

The simplicity of Coleridge's manners, and entire absence of all show of
business-like habits, amongst men chiefly mercantile, made him an object
of curiosity, and gave rise to the relation of many whimsical stories
about him. But his kindness and benevolence lent a charm to his
behaviour and manners, in whatever he was engaged. From the state of his
own lungs, invalid-like, he was in the habit of attending much to those
about him, and particularly those who had been sent to Malta for
pulmonary disease. He frequently observed how much the invalid, at first
landing, was relieved by the climate and the 'stimulus' of change; but
when the novelty, arising from 'that' change, had ceased, the monotonous
sameness of the blue sky, accompanied by the summer heat of the climate,
acted powerfully as a sedative, ending in speedy dissolution,--even more
speedy than in a colder climate. The effects on Coleridge seemed to run
parallel to this. At first he remarked that he was relieved, but
afterwards speaks of his limbs "as lifeless tools," and of the violent
pains in his bowels, which neither opium, ether, nor peppermint,
separately or combined, could relieve. These several states he minuted
down, from time to time, for after-consideration or comparison. He most
frequently sought relief from bodily suffering in religious meditations,
or in some augmented exercise of his mind:

  "Sickness, 'tis true,
  Whole years of weary days, besieged him close,
  Even to the gates and inlets of his life!
  But it is true, no less, that strenuous, firm,
  And with a natural gladness, he maintained
  The citadel unconquered, and in joy
  Was strong to follow the delightful muse."

  'Tombless Epitaph'. [5]

The citadel did, indeed, remain unconquered even to his 'last' hour--he
found in religious meditation and prayer that solace and support which,
during a life of misery and pain, gave him his extraordinary patience
and resignation. If an ejaculation escaped him, it was usually followed
by some moral or religious reflection, as thus runs one of his

  "O me miserum! Assuredly the doctrine of grace, atonement, and the
  spirit of God interceding by groans to the spirit of God, (Rev. viii.
  26.), is founded on constant experience, and even if it can be ever
  'explained away', it must still remain as the rising and setting of
  the sun itself, as the darkness and as the light--it must needs have
  the most efficient character of reality,--quod semper, quod ubique,
  quod ab omnibus! Deeply do I both know and feel my weakness--God in
  his wisdom grant, that my day of visitation may not have been past."

Lest some 'will-worshiping' individuals, inflated by vanity, and
self-righteousness, should misunderstand or misconstrue him, the
following lines are copied from his poems:--


  "Frail creatures are we all! To be the best,
    Is but the fewest faults to have:--
  Look thou then to thyself, and leave the rest
    To God, thy conscience and the grave."

  'Poetical Works.'

There is not, perhaps, to be found on record a more perfect example of
humility and charity, than that which he exhibited and sustained for so
long a period of suffering and trial. Surely he could not be compared to
the generality of his fellows--to men who, though possessing great
worldly reputation, never gave him their support; but, on the contrary,
were sometimes even ready to whisper down his fair name!

  "For whispering tongues can poison truth;
  And constancy lives in realms above."


Some of these might be well meaning enough to believe, that in giving
publicity to what they _erroneously_ considered moral infirmities, (not
possessing the knowledge to discriminate between moral and physical
infirmities), they were performing a religious duty--were displaying a
beacon to deter others from the same course. But in the case of
Coleridge, this was a sad misconception. Neither morally nor physically
was he understood. He did all that in his state duty could exact; and
had he been more favoured in his bodily constitution, he would not have
been censured for frailties which did not attach to him.

Alas! how little do the many know of the hearts of truly great men!
Least of all could such men as Coleridge be known by modern pharisees.

  "It is no uncommon thing," says an affectionate and kind-hearted
  friend, whose genius is rarely equalled, "to see well intentioned men
  please themselves with the feeling that they are not as others; that
  they are the favorites of Heaven, and washed clean by special
  dispensation from the spots of frail mortality; who more-over assume
  that they possess the most delicate feelings; but then those feelings
  are under such admirable discipline, that they can, with the most
  exquisite suffering, cry over their own sentences, shed tears of pity
  and blood for their duty, make a merit of the hardness which is
  contrary to their nature, and live in perpetual apprehension of being
  too tender-hearted. It is wonderful with what ingenuity these people
  can reconcile their flexible consciences to acts at which their
  inferiors might blush or shudder, and no less fearful to reflect how
  many poor wretches, not wholly past hope or reformation, may have been
  sent to their last account, with all their imperfections on their
  heads, to satisfy the religious or political fears of these pharisees.
  The patrons and employers of spies, we may expect to make the greatest
  sacrifice to _expediency_,--a word which every man will explain after
  his own way."

To have written during his life any thing like an eulogy on Coleridge
would have been most painful to him, yet he must have felt, that he
deserved well of his fellow beings; for fame, and fame only, he
observes, is the aim and object of every good and great man, though it
is too often confounded with mere reputation. When a youth, he had
learnt how to value that bubble reputation, its fleeting character, but
the love of which, in some men, is so injurious both to head and heart.
Reputation, "the morrow's meal," the "breakfast only," the furnisher of
the tinsel ornaments, or at most of some of the worldly agreeables, sown
perhaps for future worldly enjoyment. 'He' laboured for riches of
another kind, and _stored_ them, in the hope of receiving a more
permanent reward:

  "By fame of course," says Coleridge, "I mean any thing rather than
  reputation, [6] the desire of working in the good and great
  permanently, through indefinite ages, the struggle to be promoted into
  the rank of God's fellow-labourers. For bold as this expression is, it
  is a quotation from Scripture, and therefore justified by God himself,
  for which we ought to be grateful, that he has deigned to hold out
  such a glory to us! This is however only one consistent part of the
  incomprehensible goodness of Deity in taking upon himself man."

His note-books abound with "his hints and first thoughts; "as he says,
his "Cogitabilia rather than actual cogitata à me,"--not always to be
understood as his fixed opinions, but often merely suggestions of the
disquisition, and acts of obedience to the apostolic command of "Try all
things, hold fast that which is good." Among them is the following
characteristic of the man and his feelings, noted down for some future

  "Würde, Worthiness, VIRTUE, consist in the mastery over the sensuous
  and sensual impulses; but Love requires INNOCENCE. Let the lover ask
  his heart whether he could endure that his mistress should have
  'struggled' with a sensual impulse for another, though she overcame it
  from a sense of duty to him? Women are LESS offended with men, from
  the vicious habits of men in part, and in part from the difference of
  bodily constitution; yet still to a pure and truly loving woman it
  must be a painful thought. That he should struggle with and overcome
  ambition, desire of fortune, superior beauty, &c. or with desire
  objectless, is pleasing; but 'not' that he has struggled with positive
  appropriated desire, i.e. desire 'with' an object. Love in short
  requires an absolute 'peace' and 'harmony' between all parts of human
  nature, such as it is, and it is offended by any war, though the
  battle should be decided in favour of the worthier.

  This is perhaps the final cause of the 'rarity' of true love, and the
  efficient and immediate cause of its difficulty. Ours is a life of
  probation, we are to contemplate and obey 'duty' for its own sake, and
  in order to this we, in our present imperfect state of being, must see
  it not merely abstracted from, but in direct opposition to the 'wish',
  the 'inclination'. Having perfected this, the highest possibility of
  human nature, he may then with safety harmonize 'all' his being with
  it; 'he may' LOVE!--To perform duties absolutely from the sense of
  duty, is the 'ideal', which perhaps no human being ever can arrive at,
  but which every human being ought to try to draw near unto. This is in
  the only wise, and verily, in a most sublime sense to see God face to
  face; which, alas! it seems too true, that no man can do and 'live',
  i.e. a 'human' life. It would become incompatible with his
  organization, or rather it would 'transmute' it, and the process of
  that transmutation to the senses of other men would be called
  'death'.--Even as to caterpillars; in all probability the caterpillar
  dies, and he either does not see, which is most probable, or at all
  events he does not see the connection between the caterpillar and the
  butterfly, the beautiful Psyche of the Greeks.

  Those who in this life 'love' in perfection--if such there be--in
  proportion as their love has no struggles, see God darkly and through
  a veil:--for when duty and pleasure are absolutely coincident, the
  very nature of our organization necessitates that duty, will be
  contemplated as the symbol of pleasure, instead of pleasure being (as
  in a future life we have faith it will be) the symbol of duty. This
  then is the distinction between human and angelic 'happiness'. Human
  happiness--humanly happy I call him, who in enjoyment finds his duty;
  angelically happy he, who seeks and finds his 'duty' in enjoyment.
  Happiness in general may be defined--not the aggregate of pleasurable
  sensations, for this is either a dangerous error and the creed of
  sensualists, or else a mere translation or wordy paraphrase--but the
  state of that person who, in order to enjoy his nature in its highest
  manifestations of conscious 'feeling', has no need of doing wrong, and
  who in order to do right is under no necessity of abstaining from

On the arrival of the new secretary at Malta, Mr. Coleridge left it,
September 27, 1805, and after a day's voyage, arrived at Syracuse. He
remained in Sicily a short time only, for he was eager to visit the
"eternal city" (Rome,) in which he staid some months. The next date
marking his progress, is the 15th December, 1806, Naples,--the usual
place of the residence of travellers during summer. [7] This gap in his
minutes is partly filled up by his own verbal account, repeated at
various times to the writer of this memoir. While in Rome, he was
actively employed in visiting the great works of art, statues, pictures,
buildings, palaces, &c. &c. observations on which he minuted down for
publication. Here he became acquainted with the eminent literary men at
that time collected there, and here he first saw the great American
painter Alston, for whom he always cherished an unfeigned regard. The
German poet Tieck, he then for the first time also saw, and many others
of celebrity. To one of them he was mainly indebted for his safety,
otherwise he might have terminated his career in the Temple at Paris:
for to Buonaparte, through one of his industrious emissaries, Coleridge
had become obnoxious, in consequence of an article written by him in the
Morning Post. This salutary warning he obtained from the brother of the
celebrated traveller, Humboldt, of whom he had enquired, whether he
could pass through Switzerland and Germany, and return by that route to
England. Humboldt then informed Coleridge, that having passed through
Paris on his journey to Rome, he had learnt that he, Coleridge, was a
marked man, and unsafe: when within the reach of Buonaparte he advised
him to be more than usually circumspect, and do, all in his power to
remain unknown. [8] Rather unexpectedly, he had a visit early one
morning from a noble Benedictine, with a passport signed by the Pope, in
order to facilitate his departure. He left him a carriage, and an
admonition for instant flight, which was promptly obeyed by Coleridge.
Hastening to Leghorn, he discovered an American vessel ready to sail for
England, on board of which he embarked. On the voyage she was chased by
a French vessel, which so alarmed the American, that he compelled
Coleridge to throw his papers overboard, and thus to his great regret,
were lost the fruits of his literary labours in Rome. [9]

In 1806 he returned to England, and took up his residence for a time at
Keswick, but was more generally with his friend Wordsworth, then living
at Grassmere.

At Grassmere he planned 'The Friend', for which Mr. Wordsworth wrote a
few contributions; and receiving occasionally some little assistance
from other writers, he was enabled to furnish the quantity of valuable
matter which appeared in that publication. Some of his earnest admirers,
and those too persons best acquainted with his works, are disposed to
give this the preference.

His friend, Lamb, who is justly considered a man of exquisite taste,
used to say, in his odd and familiar way, "Only now listen to his talk,
it is as fine as an angel's!" and then, by way of a superlative, would
add, "but after all, his best talk is in 'The Friend'."

To the Lake Edition of this work, as it has been termed, is appended the
following prospectus, addressed to a correspondent

  "It is not unknown to you, that I have employed almost the whole of my
  life in acquiring, or endeavouring to acquire, useful knowledge by
  study, reflection, observation, and by cultivating the society of my
  superiors in intellect, both at home and in foreign countries. You
  know too, that at different periods of my life, I have not only
  planned, but collected the materials for many works on various and
  important subjects: so many indeed, that the number of my unrealized
  schemes, and the mass of my miscellaneous fragments, have often
  furnished my friends with a subject of raillery, and sometimes of
  regret and reproof. Waiving the mention of all private and accidental
  hinderances, I am inclined to believe, that this want of perseverance
  has been produced in the main by an over-activity of thought, modified
  by a constitutional indolence, which made it more pleasant to me to
  continue acquiring, than to reduce what I had acquired to a regular
  form. Add too, that almost daily throwing off my notices or
  reflections in desultory fragments, I was still tempted onward by an
  increasing sense of the imperfection of my knowledge, and by the
  conviction, that in order fully to comprehend and develope any one
  subject, it was necessary that I should make myself master of some
  other, which again as regularly involved a third, and so on, with an
  ever-widening horizon. Yet one habit, formed during long absences from
  those with whom I could converse with full sympathy, has been of
  advantage to me--that of daily noting down, in my memorandum or common
  place books, both incidents and observations, whatever had occurred to
  me from without, and all the flux and reflux of my mind within itself.
  The number of these notices and their tendency, miscellaneous as they
  were, to one common end ('quid sumus et quid futuri gignimur,' what we
  are and what we are born to become; and thus from the end of our being
  to deduce its proper objects), first encouraged me to undertake the
  weekly essay, of which you will consider this letter as the

  Not only did the plan seem to accord better than any other with the
  nature of my own mind, both in its strength and in its weakness; but
  conscious that, in upholding some principles both of taste and
  philosophy, adopted by the great men of Europe, from the middle of the
  fifteenth till toward the close of the seventeenth century. I must run
  counter to many prejudices of many of my readers (for old faith is
  often modern heresy). I perceived too in a periodical essay, the most
  likely means of winning instead of forcing my way. Supposing truth on
  my side, the shock of the first day might be so far lessened by
  reflections of the succeeding days, as to procure for my next week's
  essay a less hostile reception, than it would have met with, had it
  been only the next chapter of a present volume. I hoped to disarm the
  mind of those feelings, which preclude conviction by contempt, and as
  it were, fling the door in the face of reasoning, by a 'presumption'
  of its absurdity. A motion too for honourable ambition was supplied by
  the fact, that every periodical paper of the kind now attempted, which
  had been conducted with zeal and ability, was not only well received
  at the time, but has become permanently, and in the best sense of the
  word, popular. By honourable ambition, I mean the strong desire to be
  useful, aided by the wish to be generally acknowledged to have been
  so. As I feel myself actuated in no ordinary degree by this desire, so
  the hope of realizing it appears less and less presumptuous to me,
  since I have received from men of highest rank and established
  character in the republic of letters, not only strong encouragements
  as to my own fitness for the undertaking, but likewise promises of
  support from their own stores.

  The 'object' of 'The Friend' briefly and generally expressed is--to
  uphold those truths and those merits against the caprices of fashion,
  and such pleasures, as either depend on transitory and accidental
  causes, or are pursued from less worthy impulses. The chief 'subjects'
  of my own essays will be:--

  The true and sole ground of morality, or virtue, as distinguished from

  The origin and growth of moral impulses, as distinguished from
  external and immediate motives.

  The necessary dependence of taste on moral impulses and habits; and
  the nature of taste (relatively to judgment in general and to genius)
  defined, illustrated and applied. Under this head I comprise the
  substance of the Lectures given, and intended to have been given, at
  the Royal Institution, on the distinguished English Poets, in
  illustration of the general principles of Poetry, together with
  suggestions concerning the affinity of the Fine Arts to each other,
  and the principles common to them all: Architecture; Gardening; Dress;
  Music; Painting; Poetry.

  The opening out of new objects of just admiration in our own language,
  and information of the present state and past history of Swedish,
  Danish, German and Italian literature, (to which, but as supplied by a
  friend, I may add the Spanish, Portuguese and French,) as far as the
  same has not been already given to English readers, or is not to be
  found in common French authors.

  Characters met with in real life; anecdotes and results of my life and
  travels, &c. &c. as far as they are illustrative of general moral
  laws, and have no immediate leaning on personal or immediate politics.

  Education in its widest sense, private and national sources of
  consolation to the afflicted in misfortune or disease, or dejection of
  mind from the exertion and right application of the reason, the
  imagination, and the moral sense; and new sources of enjoyment opened
  out, or an attempt (as an illustrious friend once expressed the
  thought to me) to add sunshine to daylight, by making the happy more
  happy. In the words 'dejection of mind,' I refer particularly to doubt
  or disbelief of the moral government of the world, and the grounds and
  arguments for the religious hopes of human nature."

The first number, printed on stamped paper, was dated June 8th, 1809. He
commences this work with the following motto:

  "Whenever we improve, it is right to leave room for a further
  improvement. It is right to consider, to look about us, to examine the
  effect of what we have done. Then we can proceed with confidence,
  because we can proceed with intelligence. Whereas, in hot
  reformations, is what men more zealous than considerate, call 'making
  clear work', the whole is generally so crude, so harsh, so indigested;
  mixed with so much imprudence and so much injustice; so contrary to
  the whole course of human nature and human institutions, that the very
  people who are most eager for it, are among the first to grow
  disgusted at what they have done. Then some part of the abdicated
  grievance is recalled from its exile in order to become a corrective
  of the correction.

  Then the abuse assumes all the credit and popularity of a reform. The
  very idea of purity and disinterestedness in politics falls into
  disrepute, and is considered as a vision of hot and inexperienced men;
  and thus disorders become incurable, not by the virulence of their own
  quality, but by the unapt and violent nature of the remedies."

  ('Burke's speech on the 11th of February, 1780'.)


  "Conscious that I am about to deliver my sentiments on a subject of
  the utmost delicacy, I have selected the general motto to all my
  political lucubrations, from an authority equally respected by both
  parties. I have taken it from an orator, whose eloquence enables
  Englishmen to repeat the name of Demosthenes and Cicero, without
  humiliation; from a statesman, who has left to our language a bequest
  of glory unrivalled and all our own, in the keen-eyed, yet far-sighted
  genius, with which he has made the profoundest general principles of
  political wisdom, and even the recondite laws of human passions, bear
  upon particular measures and passing events. While of the harangues of
  Pitt, Fox, and their compeers on the most important occurrences, we
  retain a few unsatisfactory fragments alone, the very flies and weeds
  of Burke shine to us through the purest amber, imperishably enshrined,
  and valuable from the precious material of their embalment. I have
  extracted the passage not from that Burke, whose latter exertions have
  rendered his works venerable as oracular voices from the sepulchre of
  a patriarch, to the upholders of the government and society in their
  existing state and order; but from a speech delivered by him while he
  was the most beloved, the proudest name with the more anxious friends
  of liberty; while he was the darling of those who, believing mankind
  to have been improved, are desirous to give to forms of government a
  similar progression. From the same anxiety, I have been led to
  introduce my opinions on this most hazardous subject, by a preface of
  a somewhat personal character. And though the title of my address is
  general, yet, I own, I direct myself more particularly to those among
  my readers, who, from various printed and unprinted calumnies, have
  judged most unfavourably of my political tenets; aid to those whose
  favour I have chanced to win in consequence of a similar, though not
  equal mistake. To both, I affirm, that the opinions and arguments, I
  am about to detail, have been the settled convictions of my mind for
  the last ten or twelve years, with some brief intervals of
  fluctuation, and those only in lesser points, and known only to the
  companions of my fire-side. From both and from all my readers, I
  solicit a gracious attention to the following explanations: first, on
  the congruity of the following numbers, with the general plan and
  object of 'The Friend;' and secondly, on the charge of arrogance or
  presumption, which may be adduced against the author for the freedom,
  with which in these numbers, and in others that will follow on other
  subjects, he presumes to dissent from men of established reputation,
  or even to doubt of the justice, with which the public laurel-crown,
  as symbolical of the 'first' class of genius and intellect, has been
  awarded to sundry writers since the revolution, and permitted to
  wither around the brows of our elder benefactors, from Hooker to Sir
  P. Sidney, and from Sir P. Sidney, to Jeremy Taylor and Stillingfleet."

The work ceased at the 27th number, March 15th, 1810. As is usually the
case when authors become their own publishers, there was a pecuniary
loss; but as long as printing lasts, it must remain a record of his

Yet the critics, if critics they were worthy to be called, discovered
only feebleness of mind, when in the attempt to make themselves
acquainted with his principles, they professed, either through
ignorance, or indolence, not to understand him. When his mental powers
had so far advanced, he felt a conviction of the truth of the Triune
power, [10] and at once saw that there was no important truth, in which
this Triad was not contained. As ours was a constitutional government,
composed of three great powers (of the three great estates of the realm,
as Queen Elizabeth would say, the church, the nobles, and the
commonalty,) when these, Coleridge observed, were exactly balanced, the
government was in a healthy state, but excess in any one of these
powers, disturbed the balance and produced disorder, which was attended
by dissatisfaction and discord. A political writer, he laboured to
maintain this balance; and when either power was threatened by any
disturbance, threw in a counterweight, sometimes on one side and
sometimes on another, as he, according to his philosophical opinions,
thought they deserved either censure or praise. [11] For this 'apparent'
fluctuation he was termed, by those men who never understood his
principles, vacillating and inconsistent: but he cast his "bread upon
the waters," and in due time it returned to him.

There must come a time when the works of Coleridge will be fairly
weighed against the agreeable time-killing publications of our day;
works for which their frivolous authors have reaped an abundant harvest
while this giant in literature gained scarcely a dwarf's portion. But
Truth, though perhaps slowly, must finally prevail. Mr. Coleridge
remarks, that for his own guidance he was greatly benefited by a
resolve, which, in the antithetic and allowed quaintness of an adage or
maxim he had been accustomed to word thus:

  "until you 'understand a writer's ignorance', presume yourself
  'ignorant of his understanding'."

This was for him a golden rule, and which, when he read the
philosophical works of others, he applied most carefully to himself. If
an unlearned individual takes up a book, and, on opening it, finds by
certain characters that it is a book on Algebra, he modestly puts, it
down with perhaps an equally modest observation. "I never learned the
Mathematics, and am ignorant of them: they are not suited to my taste,
and I do not require them." But if perchance, he should take up a
philosophical work, this modesty is not exercised: though he does not
comprehend it, he will not acknowledge the fact; he is piqued however,
and not satisfied with a mere slighting observation, but often ends, as
disappointed vanity usually does, in shallow abuse. The political, the
critical, the philosophical views of Coleridge, were all grand, and from
his philosophical views he never deviated; all fluctuating opinions
rolled by him, not indeed unheeded, but observed with sympathy and with
regret, when not founded on those permanent principles which were to
benefit and give good government to man.

Coleridge, it is well known, was no adept in matters of business, and so
little skilled in ephemeral literature as not to be able to profit by
any weekly publication. The first edition of The Friend was published
weekly, on paper with the government stamp, and that reached, as before
related, its twenty-seventh number.

Such a work was not suited to his genius: in fact, no periodical which
required rapid writing on slight amusing subjects, with punctuality in
publication, which demanded steadiness of health, and the absence of
those sedative causes arising, in part, from his benevolent heart and
sensitive nature, ever would have suited him. To write like a
novelist--to charm ennui--is that which is required of a modern author
who expects pecuniary recompense. Although he needed such recompense,
the character of his genius unfitted him for the attainment of it; and
had he continued the work, the expenditure would have ended in still
greater pecuniary loss. One of his last political essays is that taken
from the Morning Post, of March 19, 1800, on the character of Pitt. [12]
These Essays were soon forgotten, though this, at the time, was much
read and admired as part of the history of the man and his political
feelings. It was the effect which Buonaparte believed to have been
produced by these on the public mind that tempted him to try to
incarcerate Coleridge. Some time after, Otto, the French ambassador at
our Court, was ready with a bribe, in the hope to obtain from Coleridge
a complimentary essay to his sovereign. The offer of the bribe would
have deterred him from writing any more on the subject. Had he been
willing to sell himself--to write a flattering character of the great
hero--to raise that hero in the estimation of Europe, he would have been
amply recompensed.

In his 'Biographia Literaria,' he says,

  "But I do derive a gratification from the knowledge, that my essays
  have contributed to introduce the practice of placing the questions
  and events of the day in a moral point of view, in giving dignity to
  particular measures by tracing their policy or impolicy to permanent
  principles, and an interest to principles by the application of them
  to individual measures. In Mr. Burke's writings, indeed, the germs of
  almost all political truths may be found. But I dare assume to myself
  the merit of having first explicitly defined and analysed the nature
  of Jacobinism; and that in distinguishing the jacobin from the
  republican, the democrat and the mere demagogue, I both rescued the
  word from remaining a mere term of abuse, and put on their guard many
  honest minds, who even in their heat of zeal against jacobinism,
  admitted or supported principles from which the worst part of that
  system may be legitimately deduced."

With this view the following Essays and Observations have been
republished here,--as illustrative of his early opinions to be compared
with those of his more advanced life,--to shew the injustice of his
political opponents, who never seemed to have troubled themselves about
principle,--and the necessary growth of intellectual power giving deeper
insight, with the additional value of experience and its consequences.


  From the Morning Post, March 19, 1800.

  "Plutarch, in his comparative biography of Rome and Greece, has
  generally chosen for each pair of lives the two contemporaries who
  most nearly resembled each other. His work would perhaps have been
  more interesting, if he had adopted the contrary arrangement, and
  selected those rather who had attained to the possession of similar
  influence, or similar fame, by means, actions, and talents the most
  dissimilar. For power is the sole object of philosophical attention in
  man, as in inanimate nature; and in the one equally as in the other,
  we understand it more intimately, the more diverse the circumstances
  are with which we have observed it co-exist. In our days, the two
  persons who appear to have influenced the interests and actions of men
  the most deeply, and the most diffusively, are beyond doubt the Chief
  Consul of France and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and in these
  two are prerented to us similar situations, with the greatest
  dissimilitude of characters.

  William Pitt was the younger son of Lord Chatham; a fact of no
  ordinary importance in the solution of his character, of no mean
  significance in the heraldry of morals and intellect. His father's
  rank, fame, political connections, and parental ambition, were his
  mould; he was cast, rather than grew.

  A palpable election, a conscious predestination controlled the free
  agency, and transfigured the individuality of his mind; and that,
  which he 'might have been', was compered into that, which he 'was to
  be'. From his early childhood it was his father's custom to make him
  stand up on a chair, and declaim before a large company; by which
  exercise, practised so frequently, and continued for so many years, he
  acquired a premature and unnatural dexterity in the combination of
  words, which must of necessity have diverted his attention from
  present objects, obscured his impressions, and deadened his genuine
  feelings. Not the 'thing' on which he was speaking, but the praises to
  be gained, were present to his intuition; hence he associated all the
  operations of his faculties with words, and his pleasures with the
  surprise excited by them.

  But an inconceivably large portion of human knowledge and human power
  is involved in the science and management of 'words'; and an education
  of words, though it destroys genius, will often create, and always
  foster, talent. The young Pitt was conspicuous far beyond his fellows,
  both at school and at college. He was always full grown: he had
  neither the promise nor the awkwardness of a growing intellect.
  Vanity, early satiated, formed and elevated itself into a love of
  power; and in losing this colloquial vanity, he lost one of the prime
  links that connect the individual with the species, too early for the
  affections, though not too early for the understanding. At college he
  was a severe student; his mind was founded and elemented in words and
  generalities, and these two formed all the superstructure. That
  revelry and that debauchery, which are so often fatal to the powers of
  intellect, would probably have been serviceable to him; they would
  have given him a closer communion with realities, they would have
  induced a greater presentness to present objects. But Mr. Pitt's
  conduct was correct, unimpressibly correct. His after-discipline in
  the special pleader's office, and at the bar, carried on the scheme of
  his education with unbroken uniformity. His first political
  connections were with the reformers; but those who accuse him of
  sympathising or coalescing with their intemperate or visionary plans,
  misunderstand his character, and are ignorant of the historical facts.

  Imaginary situations in an imaginary state of things rise up in minds
  that possess a power and facility in combining images. Mr. Pitt's
  ambition was conversant with old situations in the old state of
  things, which furnish nothing to the imagination, though much to the
  wishes. In his endeavours to realise his father's plan of reform, he
  was probably as sincere as a being, who had derived so little
  knowledge from actual impressions, could be. But his sincerity had no
  living root of affection; while it was propped up by his love of
  praise and immediate power, so long it stood erect and no longer. He
  became a member of the Parliament, supported the popular opinions, and
  in a few years, by the influence of the popular party, was placed in
  the high and awful rank in which he now is. The fortunes of his
  country, we had almost said the fates of the world, were placed in his
  wardship--we sink in prostration before the inscrutable dispensations
  of Providence, when we reflect in whose wardship the fates of the
  world were placed!

  The influencer of his country and of his species was a young man, the
  creature of another's predetermination, sheltered and weather-fended
  from all the elements of experience; a young man, whose feet had never
  wandered; whose very eye had never turned to the right or to the left;
  whose whole track had been as curveless as the motion of a fascinated
  reptile! It was a young man, whose heart was solitary, because he had
  existed always amid objects of futurity, and whose imagination too was
  unpopulous, because those objects of hope to which his habitual wishes
  had transferred, and as it were 'projected', his existence, were all
  familiar and long-established objects! A plant sown and reared in a
  hot-house, for whom the very air, that surrounded him, had been
  regulated by the thermometer of previous purpose; to whom the light of
  nature had penetrated only through glasses and covers; who had had the
  sun without the breeze; whom no storm had shaken; on whom no rain had
  pattered; on whom the dews of Heaven had not fallen! A being who had
  had no feelings connected with man or nature, no spontaneous impulses,
  no unbiassed and desultory studies, no genuine science, nothing that
  constitutes individuality in intellect, nothing that teaches
  brotherhood in affection! Such was the man--such, and so denaturalized
  the spirit, on whose wisdom and philanthropy the lives and living
  enjoyments of so many millions of human beings were made unavoidably

  From this time a real enlargement of mind became almost impossible.
  Pre-occupations, intrigue, the undue passion and anxiety, with which
  all facts must be surveyed; the crowd and confusion of those facts,
  none of them seen, but all communicated, and by that very
  circumstance, and by the necessity of perpetually classifying them,
  transmuted into words and generalities; pride; flattery; irritation;
  artificial power; these, and circumstances resembling these,
  necessarily render the heights of office barren heights; which command
  indeed a vast and extensive prospect, but attract so many clouds and
  vapours, that most often all prospect is precluded. Still, however,
  Mr. Pitt's situation, however inauspicious for his real being, was
  favourable to his fame. He heaped period on period; persuaded himself
  and the nation, that extemporaneous arrangement of sentences was
  eloquence; and that eloquence implied wisdom.

  His father's struggles for freedom, and his own attempts, gave him an
  almost unexampled popularity; and his office necessarily associated
  with his name all the great events that happened during his
  administration. There were not however wanting men who saw through
  this delusion: and refusing to attribute the industry, integrity, and
  enterprising spirit of our merchants, the agricultural improvements of
  our landholders, the great inventions of our manufacturers, or the
  valour and skilfulness of our sailors, to the merits of a minister,
  they have continued to decide on his character from those acts and
  those merits, which belong to him, and to him alone. Judging him by
  this standard, they have been able to discover in him no one proof or
  symptom of a commanding genius. They have discovered him never
  controlling, never creating, events, but always yielding to them with
  rapid change, and sheltering himself from inconsistency by perpetual
  indefiniteness. In the Russian war, they saw him abandoning meanly
  what he had planned weakly, and threatened insolently. In the debates
  on the Regency, they detected the laxity of his constitutional
  principles, and received proofs that his eloquence consisted not in
  the ready application of a general system to particular questions, but
  in the facility of arguing for or against any question by specious
  generalities, without reference to any system. In these debates he
  combined what is most dangerous in democracy with all that is most
  degrading in the old superstitions of monarchy; and taught an
  inherency of the office in the person, in order to make the office
  itself a nullity, and the premiership, with its accompanying majority,
  the sole and permanent power of the state. And now came the French
  Revolution. This was a new event: the old routine of reasoning, the
  common trade of politics, were to become obsolete. He appeared wholly
  unprepared for it: half favouring, half condemning, ignorant of what
  he favoured, and why he condemned, he neither displayed the honest
  enthusiasm and fixed principle of Mr. Fox, nor the intimate
  acquaintance with the general nature of man, and the consequent
  'prescience' of Mr. Burke.

  After the declaration of war, long did he continue in the common cant
  of office, in declamation about the Scheld and Holland, and all the
  vulgar causes of common contests! and when at least the immense genius
  of his new supporter had beat him out of these 'words' (words
  signifying 'places' and 'dead objects', and signifying nothing more),
  he adopted other words in their places, other generalities--Atheism
  and Jacobinism--phrases, which he learnt from Mr. Burke, but without
  learning the philosophical definitions and involved consequences, with
  which that great man accompanied those words: Since the death of Mr.
  Burke the forms, and the sentiments, and the tone of the French have
  undergone many and important changes: how, indeed, is it possible that
  it should be otherwise, while man is the creature of experience! But
  still Mr. Pitt proceeds in an endless repetition of the same 'general
  phrases'. This is his element: deprive him of general and abstract
  phrases, and you reduce him to silence; but you cannot deprive him of
  them. Press him to specify an 'individual' fact of advantage to be
  derived from a war, and he answers, Security! Call upon him to
  particularize a crime, and he exclaims--Jacobinism! Abstractions
  defined by abstractions; generalities defined by generalities! As a
  minister of finance he is still, as ever, the words of abstractions.
  Figures, custom-house reports, imports and exports, commerce and
  revenue--all flourishing, all splendid! Never was such a prosperous
  country as England under his administration! Let it be objected, that
  the agriculture of the country is, by the overbalance of commerce, and
  by various and complex causes, in such a state, that the country hangs
  as a pensioner for bread on its neighbours, and a bad season uniformly
  threatens us with famine. This (it is replied) is owing to our
  PROSPERITY,--all 'prosperous' nations are in great distress for
  food!--Still PROSPERITY, still GENERAL PHRASES, unenforced by one
  single image, one 'single fact' of real national amelioration; of any
  one comfort enjoyed, where it was not before enjoyed; of any one class
  of society becoming healthier, or wiser, or happier. These are
  'things', these are realities, and these Mr. Pitt has neither the
  imagination to body forth, or the sensibility to feel for. Once,
  indeed, in an evil hour, intriguing for popularity, he suffered
  himself to be persuaded to evince a talent for the real, the
  individual; and he brought in his POOR BILL!! When we hear the
  minister's talents for finance so loudly trumpeted, we turn
  involuntarily to his POOR BILL--to that acknowledged abortion--that
  unanswerable evidence of his ignorance respecting all the fundamental
  relations and actions of property, and of the social union!

  As his reasonings, even so is his eloquence. One character pervades
  his whole being: words on words, finely arranged, and so dexterously
  consequent, that the whole bears the semblance of argument, and still
  keeps awake a sense of surprise; but when all is done, nothing
  rememberable has been said, no one philosophical remark, no one image,
  not even a pointed aphorism. Not a sentence of Mr. Pitt's has ever
  been quoted, or formed the favourite phrase of the day, a thing
  unexampled in any man of equal reputation; but while he speaks, the
  effect varies according to the character of his auditor. The man of no
  talent is swallowed up in surprise; and when the speech is ended, he
  remembers his feelings, but nothing distinct of that which produced
  them: (how opposite an effect to that of nature and genius, from whose
  works the idea still remains, when the feeling is passed away, remains
  to connect itself with the other feelings, and combine with new
  impressions!) The mere man of talent hears him with admiration; the
  mere man of genius with contempt; the philosopher neither admires nor
  contemns, but listens to him with a deep and solemn interest, tracing
  in the effects of his eloquence the power of words and phrases, and
  that peculiar constitution of human affairs in their present state,
  which so eminently favours this power.

  Such appears to us to be the prime minister of Great Britain, whether
  we consider him as a statesman or an orator. The same character
  betrays itself in his private life; the same coldness to realities, to
  images of realities, and to all whose excellence relates to reality:
  he has patronized no science, he has raised no man of genius from
  obscurity, he counts no one prime work of God among his friends. From
  the same source, he has no attachment to female society, no fondness
  for children, no perceptions of beauty in natural scenery; but he is
  fond of convivial indulgences, of that stimulation, which, keeping up
  the glow of self-importance, and the sense of internal power, gives
  feelings without the mediation of ideas.

  These are the elements of his mind; the accidents of his fortune, the
  circumstances that enabled such a mind to acquire and retain such a
  power, would form the subject of a philosophical history, and that too
  of no scanty size. We can scarcely furnish the chapter of contents to
  a work, which would comprise subjects so important and delicate as the
  causes of the diffusion and intensity of secret influence; the
  machinery and state intrigue of marriages; the overbalance of the
  commercial interest; the panic of property struck by the late
  revolution; the short-sightedness of the careful; the carelessness of
  the far-sighted; and all those many and various events which have
  given to a decorous profession of religion, and a seemliness of
  private morals, such an unwonted weight in the attainment and
  preservation of public power. We are unable to determine whether it be
  more consolatory or humiliating to human nature, that so many
  complexities of event, situation, character, age, and country, should
  be necessary in order to the production of a Mr. Pitt."

On the day following the editor promised the character of Buonaparte,
but the surmise of a visit from the French minister, then at our court,
was sufficient to put a stop to its publication; accordingly it 'never
appeared'. Coleridge was requested by the proprietor and editor to
report a speech of Pitt's, which at this time was expected to be one of
great éclat.

Accordingly, early in the morning off Coleridge set, carrying with him
his supplies for the campaign: those who are acquainted with the gallery
of the house on a press night, when a man can scarcely find elbow room,
will better understand how incompetent Coleridge was for such an
undertaking; he, however, started by seven in the morning, but was
exhausted long before night. Mr. Pitt, for the first quarter of an hour
spoke fluently, and in his usual manner, and sufficiently to give a
notion of his best style; this was followed by a repetition of words,
and words only; he appeared to "talk against time," as the phrase is.
Coleridge fell asleep, and listened occasionally only to the speeches
[13] that followed. On his return, the proprietor being anxious for the
report, Coleridge informed him of the result, and finding his anxiety
great, immediately 'volunteered' a speech for Mr. Pitt, which he wrote
off hand, and which answered the purpose exceedingly well: it is here
presented. The following day, and for days after the publication, the
proprietor received complimentary letters announcing the pleasure
received at the report, and wishing to know who was the reporter. The
secret was, however, kept, and the real author of the speech concealed;
but one day Mr. Canning calling on business, made similar inquiries, and
received the same answer. Canning replied, "It does more credit to the
author's head than to his memory.

  [14] The honourable gentleman calls upon ministers to state the object
  of the war in one sentence. I can state it in one word: it is
  Security. I can state it in one word, though it is not to be explained
  but in many. The object of the war is security: security against a
  danger, the greatest that ever threatened this country; the greatest
  that ever threatened mankind; a danger the more terrible, because it
  is unexampled and novel. It is a danger which has more than menaced
  the safety and independence of all nations; it is a danger which has
  attacked the property and peace of all individuals; a danger which
  Europe has strained all its sinews to repel; and which no nation has
  repelled so successfully as the British; because no nation has acted
  so energetically, so sincerely, so uniformly on the broad basis of
  principle; because no other nation has perceived with equal clearness
  and decision the necessity, not only of combating the evil abroad, but
  of stifling it at home; because no nation has breasted with so firm a
  constancy the tide of jacobinical power; because no nation has pierced
  with so steadfast an eye, through the disguises of jacobinical
  hypocrisy; but now, it seems, we are at once to remit our zeal and our
  suspicion; that Jacobinism, which alarmed us under the stumbling and
  drunken tyranny of Robespierre; that Jacobinism, which insulted and
  roused us under the short-sighted ambition of the five Directors; that
  Jacobinism, to which we have sworn enmity through every shifting of
  every bloody scene, through all those abhorred mockeries which have
  profaned the name of liberty to all the varieties of usurpation; to
  this Jacobinism we are now to reconcile ourselves, because all its
  arts and all its energies are united under one person, the child and
  the champion of Jacobinism, who has been reared in its principles, who
  has fought its battles, who has systematised its ambition, at once the
  fiercest instrument of its fanaticism, and the gaudiest puppet of its

  The honourable gentleman has discovered, that the danger of French
  power and French principles is at an end, because they are concentred,
  and because to uniformity of design is added an unity of direction; he
  has discovered that all the objects of French ambition are
  relinquished, because France has sacrificed even the 'appearances' of
  freedom to the best means of realising them; in short that now, for
  the first time, Jacobinism is not to be dreaded, because now, for the
  first time, it has superadded to itself the compactness of despotism.
  But the honourable gentleman presses hard, and requires me to be
  definite and explicit. What, says he, do you mean by destroying the
  power of Jacobinism? Will, you persevere in the war, until you have
  received evidence that it is extinct in this country, extinct in
  France, extinct in the mind of every man? No! I am not so shamefully
  ignorant of the laws that regulate the soul of man. The mind once
  tainted with Jacobinism can never be wholly free from the taint; I
  know no means of purification; when it does not break out on the
  surface, it still lurks in the vitals; no antidote can approach the
  subtlety of the venom, no length of quarantine secure us against the
  obstinacy of the pestilence.

  Those who are now telling us, that all danger from revolutionary
  principles is now passed by, are yet endeavouring to call up again the
  very arguments which they used at the commencement of the war, in the
  youth and rampancy of Jacobinism; and repeat the same language, with
  which they then attempted to lull the nation into security, combined
  with the same acts of popular irritation. They are telling us, that
  ministers disregard peace; that they are prodigal of blood; insensible
  to the miseries, and enemies to the liberties of mankind; that the
  extinction of Jacobinism is their pretext, but that personal ambition
  is their motive; and that we have squandered two hundred millions on
  an object, unattainable were it desirable, and were it not
  unattainable, yet still to be deprecated. Sir, will men be governed by
  mere words without application? This country, Sir, will not. It knows
  that to this war it owes its prosperity, its constitution, whatever is
  fair or useful in public or domestic life, the majesty of her laws,
  the freedom of her worship, and the sacredness of our firesides. For
  these it has spent two hundred millions, for these it would spend two
  hundred millions more; and, should it be necessary, Sir, I doubt not
  that I could find those two hundred millions, and still preserve her
  resources unimpaired. The only way to make it not necessary is to
  avail ourselves of the hearty co-operation of our allies, and to
  secure and invigorate that co-operation by the firmness and vigour of
  our own conduct. The honourable gentleman then comes back upon me, and
  presses me upon the supposed dissonance between our views and those of
  our allies. But surely there may allowably exist in the minds of
  different men different means of arriving at the same security. This
  difference may, without breaking the ties of effective union, exist
  even in this house; how much more then in different kingdoms? The
  Emperor of Russia may have announced the restoration of monarchy, as
  exclusively his object. This is not considered as the ultimate object
  by this country, but as the best means and most reliable pledge of a
  higher object, viz. our own security, and that of Europe; but we do
  not confine ourselves to this, as the only possible means.

  From this shade of difference we are required to infer the
  impossibility of cordial co-operation! But here the honourable
  gentleman falls into a strange contradiction. He affirms the
  restoration of   monarchy an unjust object of the war, and refuses
  expressly and repeatedly to vote a single farthing on such a ground;
  and yet the supposed secession of Russia from the allied powers, the
  secession of that government, whose 'exclusive' object is the
  restoration of monarchy, is adduced by him as another and equal ground
  for his refusal. Had the Emperor of Russia persevered in directing his
  utmost forces to the attainment of that object, to which Austria will
  not pledge herself, and which the honourable gentleman considers as an
  unjust object, then the honourable gentleman would have been
  satisfied. But I will not press too hard on the honourable gentleman,
  or lay an undue weight on an inadvertence. I will deal most fairly
  with him if I did believe, which I do not, that Austria saw no
  advantages in the restoration of monarchy, yet still I would avail
  myself of her efforts, without changing my own object. Should the
  security of Britain and Europe result from the exertions of Austria,
  or be aided by her influence, I should think it my duty to advise his
  Majesty to lend the Emperor every financial assistance, however those
  exertions and that influence might spring from principles not in
  unison with our own.

  If the honourable gentleman will tell me, that the object of Austria
  is to regain the Netherlands, and to reconquer all she may leave lost
  in Germany and Italy, so far from feeling this as a cause of distress,
  I feel it a ground of consolation, as giving us the strongest
  assurance of his sincerity, added to that right which we possess of
  believing Austria sincere, from our experience that Austria, above
  all, must know the insecurity of peace with Jacobins. This, Sir, would
  be a ground of consolation and confident hope; and though we should go
  farther than the Emperor of Germany, and stop short of Russia, still,
  however, we should all travel in the same road. Yet even were less
  justifiable objects to animate our ally, were ambition her inspiring
  motive, yet even on that ground I contend that her arms and victories
  would conduce to our security. If it tend to strip France of territory
  and influence, the aggrandisement of Austria is elevated by comparison
  into a blessing devoutly to be wished! The aggrandisement of Austria,
  founded on the ruins of Jacobinism, I contend, Sir, to be a truly
  British object. But, Sir, the honourable gentleman says, he thinks the
  war neither just nor necessary, and calls upon me, without the
  qualifying reservations and circuitous distinctions of a special
  pleader; in short, without BUTS or IFS, to state the real object; and
  affirms that in spite of these buts and ifs, the restoration of
  monarchy in France is the real and sole object of ministers, and that
  all else contained in the official notes are unmeaning words and
  distinctions fallacious, and perhaps meant to deceive. Is it, Sir, to
  be treated as a fallacious distinction, that the restoration of
  monarchy is not my sole or ultimate object; that my ultimate object is
  security, that I think no pledge for that security so unequivocal as
  the restoration of monarchy, and no means so natural and so effectual?
  'but' if you can present any other mode, that mode I will adopt. I am
  unwilling to accept an inadequate security; but the nature of the
  security which it may be our interest to demand, must depend on the
  relative and comparative dangers of continuing the war, or concluding
  a peace. And 'if' the danger of the war should be greater than that of
  a peace, and 'if' you can shew to me that there is no chance of
  diminishing Jacobinism by the war, and 'if' you can evince that we are
  exhausting our means more than our enemies are exhausting theirs, then
  I am ready to conclude a peace without the restoration of monarchy.

  These are the 'ifs' and the 'buts', which I shall continue to
  introduce, not the insidious and confounding subtleties of special
  pleading, but the just and necessary distinctions of intelligible
  prudence; I am conscious of sincere and honest intentions in the use
  of them, and I desire to be tried by no other than God and my country.
  But are we not weakening ourselves? Let any man calmly, and with the
  mind of an Englishman, look round on the state of our manufactures,
  our commerce, on all that forms and feeds the sources of national
  wealth, and to that man I can confidently leave the following
  questions to be answered. From the negotiations at Lisle to the
  present moment has England or France weakened itself in the greater
  degree? Whether, at the end of this campaign, France is not more
  likely to suffer the feebleness ensuing on exhausted finance than

  If Jacobinism, enthroned in Buonaparte, should resist both the
  pressure of foreign attack, and its own inherent tendencies to
  self-destruction, whether it must not derive such power of resistance
  from the use of such revolutionary and convulsive efforts, as involve,
  and almost imply a consequent state of feebleness? And whether
  therefore, if any unexpected reverse of fortune should make it
  expedient or necessary for us to compromise with Jacobinism, it would
  not be better for us to compromise with it at the end of the campaign,
  than at present? And by parity of reasoning, whether it be not true
  (even on the supposition that Jacobinism is not to be routed,
  disarmed, and fettered); yet, that even on this supposition, the
  longer we defer a peace, the safer that peace will be!

  Sir, we have been told that Jacobinism is extinct, or at least dying.
  We have been asked too, what we mean by Jacobinism? Sir, to employ
  arguments solely to the purposes of popular irritation is a branch of
  Jacobinism? It is with pain, Sir, that I have heard arguments
  manifestly of this tendency, and having heard them, I hear with
  redoubled suspicion of the assertions, that Jacobinism is extinct. By
  what softer name shall we characterise the attempts to connect the war
  by false facts and false reasoning with accidental scarcity? By what
  softer name shall we characterise appeals to the people on a subject
  which touches their feelings, and precludes their reasoning? It is
  this, Sir, which makes me say, that those whose eyes are now open to
  the horrors and absurdities of Jacobinism are nevertheless still
  influenced by their early partiality to it. A somewhat of the
  'feeling' lurks behind, even when all the 'principle' has been
  sincerely abjured. If this be the case with mere spectators, who have
  but sympathised in the distance, and have caught disease only by
  'looking on', how much more must this hold good of the actors? And
  with what increased caution and jealousy ought we not to listen to the
  affirmation, that Jacobinism is obsolete even in France? The
  honourable gentleman next charges me with an unbeseeming haughtiness
  of tone, in deeming that the House had pledged itself to the present
  measure by their late vote for the continuance of the war. This is not
  accurate. I did not deem the House pledged: I only assigned reasons of
  'probability', that having voted for the continuance of war, they
  would deem themselves inconsistent if they refused assent to those
  measures by which the objects of the war were most likely to be
  realised. My argument was, not that the House had pledged itself to
  this measure directly, but only as far as they must perceive it to be
  a means of bringing the war to that conclusion to which they have
  pledged themselves: for unless gendemen will tell me, that though they
  cannot prevent votes in favour of the war, they will yet endeavour to
  palsy the arm of the country in the conduct of it; and though they
  cannot stifle the vast majority of suffrages to the plan, they will
  yet endeavour to way-lay it in its execution; unless the gentlemen
  will tell me so themselves, I will not impute it to them. (Here Mr.
  Pitt made a short reply to some observations of Mr. Bouverie in the
  early part of the debate, and then proceeded.) It was said of himself
  and friends (and often said) by a gentleman who does not now commonly
  honour us with his presence here, 'We are the minority who represent
  the opinions of the country.' In my opinion a state of universal
  suffrage, formal or virtual, in which, nevertheless, the few represent
  the many, is a true picture of Jacobinism. But, however this may be,
  if smallness of number is to become a mark and pledge of genuine
  representation, that gentleman's friends must acquire the
  representative character in a continual progression; for the party has
  been constantly decreasing in number, and both here and out of this
  House, they are at present fewer than they ever were before. But they
  vote for peace, and the people wish for peace; and therefore they
  represent the opinions of the people. The people wish for peace--so do
  I! But for what peace? Not for a peace that is made to-day and will be
  broken to-morrow! Not for a peace that is more insecure and hazardous
  than war. Why did I wish for peace at Lisle? Because war was then more
  hazardous than peace; because it was necessary to give to the people a
  palpable proof of the necessity of the war, in order to their cordial
  concurrence with that system of finance, without which the war could
  not be successfully carried on; because our allies were then but
  imperfectly lessoned by experience; and finally, because the state of
  parties then in France was less Jacobinical than at any time since
  that era. But will it follow that I was then insincere in negotiating
  for peace, when peace was less insecure, and war more hazardous;
  because now with decreased advantages of peace, and increased means of
  war, I advise against a peace? As to the other arguments, it is of
  less consequence to insist upon them, because the opposition implied
  in them holds not against this measure in particular, but against the
  general principle of carrying on the war with vigour. Much has been
  said of the defection of Russia, and every attempt made to deduce from
  this circumstance so misnamed causes of despair or diminished hope. It
  is true that Russia has withdrawn herself from confident co-operation
  with Austria, but she has not withdrawn herself from concert with this
  country. Has it never occurred, that France, compelled to make head
  against armies pressing on the whole of her frontiers, will be
  weakened and distracted in her efforts, by a moveable maritime force?
  What may be the ultimate extent of the Russian forces engaged in this
  diversion, we cannot be expected to know, cut off as we are from the
  continent, by the season and the weather. If the Russians, acting in
  maritime diversion on the coast of France, and increased by our own
  forces, should draw the French forces from Switzerland and Italy, it
  does not follow that the Russians may be greatly, and perhaps equally
  useful to the objects of the campaign, although they will cease to act
  on the eastern side of France. I do not pretend to know precisely the
  number and state of the French armies, but reason only on
  probabilities; and chiefly with the view of solving the honourable
  gentleman's difficulty, how the Russians can be useful, if not on the
  continent. It is unnecessary to occupy the time and attention of the
  House with a serious answer to objections, which it is indeed
  difficult to repeat with the same gravity with which they were
  originally stated.

  It was affirmed, gravely affirmed, that £12,000,000 would be wanted
  for corn! I should be happy, if, in the present scarcity, corn could
  be procured from any, and all parts of the world, to one-third of that
  amount. It will not be by such arguments as these, that the country
  will be induced to cease a war for security, in order to procure corn
  for subsistence. I do object, that there is unfairness both in these
  arguments in themselves, and in the spirit which produces them. The
  war is now reviled as unjust and unnecessary; and in order to prove it
  so, appeals are made to circumstances of accidental scarcity from the
  visitation of the seasons. The fallacy of these reasonings is equal to
  their mischief. It is not true that you could procure corn more easily
  if peace were to be made to-morrow. If this war be unjust, it ought to
  be stopped on its own account; but if it be indeed a war of principle
  and of necessity, it were useless and abject to relinquish it from
  terrors like these. As well might a fortress, sure of being put to the
  sword, surrender for want of provision. But that man, Sir, does not
  act wisely, if, feeling like a good citizen, he use these arguments
  which favour the enemy. God forbid, that an opposition in opinion
  among ourselves should make us forget the high and absolute duty of
  opposition to the enemies of our country. Sir, in the present times,
  it is more than ever the bounden duty of every wise and good man to
  use more than ordinary caution in abstaining from all arguments that
  appeal to passions, not facts; above all, from arguments that tend to
  excite popular irritation on a subject and on an occasion, on which
  the people can with difficulty be reasoned with, but are irritated
  most easily. To speak incautiously on such subjects, is an offence of
  no venial order; but deliberately and wilfully to connect the words,
  war and scarcity, were infamous, a treachery to our country, and in a
  peculiar degree cruel to those whom alone it can delude, the lower
  uneducated classes. I will not enlarge upon that subject, but retire
  with a firm conviction that no new facts have occurred which can have
  altered the opinion of this House on the necessity of the war, or the
  suitableness of similar measures to the present to the effectual
  carrying of it on, and that the opinion of the House will not be
  altered but by experience and the evidence of facts."

The following paragraph is extracted from private memoranda, and was
intended for publication ten years afterwards, in the Courier Newspaper,
in which he wrote a series of Essays to Judge Fletcher, which were at
that time acknowledged by the most able judges to be prophetic. But it
must be remembered he never wrote for party purposes. His views were
grounded on Platonic principles keeping the balance of the powers, and
throwing his weight into the scale that needed assistance.


  "Every brutal mob, assembled on some drunken St. Monday of faction, is
  '_the People_' forsooth, and now each leprous ragamuffin, like a
  circle in geometry, is at once one and all, and calls his own brutal
  self 'us the People.' And who are the friends of the People? Not those
  who would wish to elevate each of them, or at least, the child who is
  to take his place in the flux of life and death, into something worthy
  of esteem, and capable of freedom, but those who flatter and infuriate
  them as they do. A contradiction in the very thought. For if really
  they are good and wise, virtuous and well-informed, how weak must be
  the motives of discontent to a truly moral being!--but if the
  contrary, and the motives for discontent proportionally strong, how
  without guilt and absurdity appeal to them as judges and arbiters! He
  alone is entitled to a share in the government of all, who has learnt
  to govern himself--there is but one possible ground of a right to
  freedom, viz. to understand and revere its duties."

As specimens of his political writings I select the following, and leave
party men to criticise them--Coleridge being of no party, but guided, as
will sufficiently appear to those who have read his works with
attention, solely by philosophical principles, from which he never
swerved. Nor did he desire the praise of men, merely because they were
in power; still less that of the multitude. For this reason, I repeat,
these fragments are given, as illustrative of Coleridge's political
views, and to shew how easily the harmony of the constitutional balance
may be disturbed by party zeal. His opinions were often misunderstood
even sometimes by kindly-disposed individuals, when 'theirs' were not
founded on certain data, because their principles were not derived from
permanent sources. The doctrine of expediency was one he highly
censured, and it had existed long enough to prove to him that it was
worthless. What one set of well-intentioned men may effect, and which
for a time may have produced good, another set of men by the same
doctrine, 'i.e.' of expediency may effect, and then produce incalculable
mischief, and, therefore, Coleridge thought there was neither guide nor
safety, but in the permanent and uncontrovertible truths of the sacred
writings, so that the extent of this utility will depend on faith in
these truths, and with these truths, his name must 'live or perish'. But
some part of Coleridge's writings requiring too much effort of thought
to be at once thoroughly understood, may therefore have been found
distasteful, and consequently have exposed his name to ridicule, in some
cases even to contempt; but the application Coleridge has made of these
truths to the duties and various circumstances of life will surely be
found an inestimable blessing. They were truly his rock of support, and
formed the basis of the building he was endeavouring to raise.

In the year 1807, he wrote those weekly Essays of the Friend, which were
published about this time, and thus gave to the world some of his rich
intellectual stores. The following letter, which he addressed to Mr.
Cottle, will shew the progress of his mind from Socinian to Trinitarian
belief at that period of his life:

  "Bristol, 1807.


  To pursue our last conversation. Christians expect no outward or
  sensible miracles from prayer. Its effects, and its fruitions are
  spiritual, and accompanied, says that true Divine, Archbishop
  Leighton, 'not by reasons and arguments but by an inexpressible kind
  of evidence, which they only know who have it.'

  To this I would add, that even those who, like me I fear, have not
  attained it, may yet presume it. First, because reason itself, or
  rather mere human nature, in any dispassionate moment, feels the
  necessity of religion, but if this be not true there is no religion,
  no religation, or binding over again; nothing added to reason, and
  therefore Socinianism (misnamed Unitarianism) is not only not
  Christianity, it is not even 'religion', it does not religate; does
  not bind anew. The first outward and sensible result of prayer, is, a
  penitent resolution, joined with a consciousness of weakness in
  effecting it, yea even a dread, too well grounded, lest by breaking
  and falsifying it, the soul should add guilt to guilt; by the very
  means it has taken to escape from guilt; so pitiable is the state of
  unregenerate man.

  Are you familiar with Leighton's Works? He resigned his
  archbishoprick, and retired to voluntary poverty on account of the
  persecution of the Presbyterians, saying, 'I should not dare to
  introduce Christianity itself with such cruelties, how much less for a
  surplice, and the name of a bishop.' If there could be an intermediate
  space between inspired, and uninspired writings, that space would be
  occupied by Leighton. No show of learning, no appearance, or
  ostentatious display of eloquence; and yet both may be shown in him,
  conspicuously and holily. There is in him something that must be felt,
  even as the scriptures must be felt. [15]

  You ask me my views of the 'Trinity'. I accept the doctrine, not as
  deduced from human reason, in its grovelling capacity for
  comprehending spiritual things, but as the clear revelation of
  Scripture. But perhaps it may be said, the 'Socinians' do not admit
  this doctrine as being taught in the Bible. I know enough of their
  shifts and quibbles, with their dexterity at explaining away all they
  dislike, (and that is not a little) but though beguiled once by them,
  I happily, for my own peace of mind, escaped from their sophistries,
  and now, hesitate not to affirm, that Socinians would lose all
  character for honesty, if they were to explain their neighbour's will
  with the same latitude of interpretation, which they do the

  I have in my head some floating ideas on the 'Logos', which I hope,
  hereafter, to mould into a consistent form; but it is a gross
  perversion of the truth, in 'Socinians', to declare that we believe in
  'Three Gods', and they know it to be false. They might, with equal
  justice, affirm that we believe in 'three suns'. The meanest peasant,
  who has acquired the first rudiments of Christianity, would shrink
  back from a thought so monstrous. Still the Trinity has its
  difficulties. It would be strange if otherwise. A 'Revelation' that
  revealed nothing, not within the grasp of human reason!--no
  religation, no binding over again, as before said: but these
  difficulties are shadows, contrasted with the substantive, and
  insurmountable obstacles with which they contend who admit the 'Divine
  authority of Scripture', with the 'superlative excellence of Christ',
  and yet undertake to prove that these Scriptures teach, and that
  Christ taught, his own 'pure humanity!'

  If Jesus Christ was merely a Man,--if he was not God as well as Man,
  be it considered, he could not have been even a 'good man'. There is
  no medium. The SAVIOUR 'in that case' was absolutely 'a deceiver!'
  one, transcendently 'unrighteous!' in advancing pretensions to
  miracles, by the 'Finger of God,' which he never performed; and by
  asserting claims, (as a man) in the most aggravated sense,

  These consequences, Socinians, to be consistent, must allow, and which
  impious arrogation of Divinity in Christ, (according to their faith,)
  as well as his false assumption of a community of 'glory' with the
  Father, 'before the world was,' even they will be necessitated to
  admit, completely exonerated the Jews, according to their law, in
  crucifying one, who 'being a man,' 'made himself God!' But, in the
  Christian, rather than in the 'Socinian', or 'Pharisaic' view, all
  these objections vanish, and harmony succeeds to inexplicable
  confusion. If Socinians hesitate in ascribing 'unrighteousness' to
  Christ, the inevitable result of their principles, they tremble, as
  well they might, at their avowed creed, and virtually renounce what
  they profess to uphold.

  The Trinity, as Bishop Leighton has well remarked, is, 'a doctrine of
  faith, not of demonstration,' except in a 'moral' sense. If the New
  Testament declare it, not in an insulated passage, but through the
  whole breadth of its pages, rendering, with any other admission, the
  Book, which is the Christian's anchor-hold of hope, dark and
  contradictory, then it is not to be rejected, but on a penalty that
  reduces to an atom, all the sufferings this earth can inflict.

  Let the grand question be determined; Is, or is not the Bible
  'inspired?' No one Book has ever been subjected to so rigid an
  investigation as the Bible, by minds the most capacious, and, in the
  result, which has so triumphantly repelled all the assaults of
  Infidels. In the extensive intercourse which I have had with this
  class of men, I have seen their prejudices surpassed only by their
  ignorance. This I found conspicuously the case in Dr. D. (Vol. i. p.
  167) the prince of their fraternity. Without, therefore, stopping to
  contend on what all dispassionate men must deem, undebatable ground, I
  may assume inspiration as admitted; and, equally so, that it would be
  an insult to man's understanding to suppose any other Revelation from
  God than the Christian Scriptures. If these Scriptures, impregnable in
  their strength; sustained in their pretensions by undeniable
  prophecies and miracles; and by the experience of the 'inner man', in
  all ages, as well as by a concatenation of arguments, all bearing upon
  one point, and extending, with miraculous consistency, through a
  series of fifteen hundred years; if all this combined proof does not
  establish their validity, nothing can be proved under the sun; but the
  world and man must be abandoned, with all its consequences to one
  universal scepticism! Under such sanctions, therefore, if these
  Scriptures, as a fundamental truth, 'do' inculcate the doctrine of the
  'Trinity;' however surpassing human comprehension; then I say, we are
  bound to admit it on the strength of 'moral demonstration'.

  The supreme Governor of the world, and the Father of our spirits, has
  seen fit to disclose to us, much of his will, and the whole of his
  natural and moral perfections. In some instances he has given his
  'word' only, and demanded our 'faith'; while, on other momentous
  subjects, instead of bestowing a full revelation; like the 'Via
  Lactea', he has furnished a glimpse only, through either the medium of
  inspiration, or by the exercise of those rational faculties with which
  he has endowed us. I consider the Trinity as substantially resting on
  the first proposition, yet deriving support from the last.

  I recollect when I stood on the summit of Etna, and darted my gaze
  down the crater; the immediate vicinity was discernible, till, lower
  down, obscurity gradually terminated in total darkness. Such figures
  exemplify many truths revealed in the Bible. We pursue them, until,
  from the imperfection of our faculties, we are lost in impenetrable
  night. All truths, however, that are essential to faith, 'honestly'
  interpreted; all that are important to human conduct, under every
  diversity of circumstance, are manifest as a blazing star. The
  promises also of felicity to the righteous, in the future world,
  though the precise nature of that felicity may not be defined, are
  illustrated by every image that can swell the imagination: while the
  misery of the 'lost', in its unutterable intensity, though the
  language that describes it is all necessarily figurative, is there
  exhibited as resulting chiefly, if not wholly, from the withdrawment
  of the 'light of God's countenance', and a banishment from his
  'presence!'--best comprehended in this world, by reflecting on the
  desolations which would instantly follow the loss of the sun's
  vivifying and universally diffused 'warmth'.

  You, or rather 'all', should remember, that some truths, from their
  nature, surpass the scope of man's limited powers, and stand as the
  criteria of 'faith', determining, by their rejection, or admission,
  who among the sons of men can confide in the veracity of heaven. Those
  more ethereal truths, of which the Trinity is conspicuously the chief,
  without being circumstantially explained, may be faintly illustrated
  by material objects.--The eye of man cannot discern the satellites of
  Jupiter, nor become sensible of the multitudinous stars, the rays of
  which have never reached our planet, and, consequently, garnish not
  the canopy of night; yet, are they the less 'real', because their
  existence lies beyond man's unassisted gaze? The tube of the
  philosopher, and the 'celestial telescope',--the unclouded visions of
  heaven, will confirm the one class of truths, and irradiate the other.

  The 'Trinity' is a subject on which analogical reasoning may
  advantageously be admitted, as furnishing, at least, a glimpse of
  light, and with this, for the present, we must be satisfied. Infinite
  Wisdom deemed clearer manifestations inexpedient; and is man to
  dictate to his Maker? I may further remark, that where we cannot
  behold a desirable object distinctly, we must take the best view we
  can; and I think you, and every candid and inquiring mind, may derive
  assistance from such reflections as the following.

  Notwithstanding the arguments of Spinosa, and Descartes, and other
  advocates of the 'Material system', (or, in more appropriate language,
  the 'Atheistical system!') it is admitted by all men not prejudiced,
  not biassed by sceptical prepossessions, that 'mind' is distinct from
  'matter'. The mind of man, however, is involved in inscrutable
  darkness, (as the profoundest metaphysicians well know) and is to be
  estimated, (if at all) alone, by an inductive process; that is, by its
  'effects'. Without entering on the question, whether an extremely
  circumscribed portion of the mental process, surpassing instinct, may,
  or may not, be extended to quadrupeds, it is universally acknowledged,
  that the mind of man, alone, regulates all the voluntary actions of
  his corporeal frame. Mind, therefore, may be regarded as a distinct
  genus, in the scale ascending above brutes, and including the whole of
  intellectual existences; advancing from 'thought', (that mysterious
  thing!) in its lowest form, through all the gradations of sentient and
  rational beings, till it arrives at a Bacon, a Newton, and then, when
  unincumbered by matter, extending its illimitable sway through Seraph
  and Archangel, till we are lost in the GREAT INFINITE!

  Is it not deserving of notice, as an especial subject of meditation,
  that our 'limbs', in all they do, or can accomplish, implicitly obey
  the dictation of the 'mind'? that this operating power, whatever its
  name, under certain limitations, exercises a sovereign dominion, not
  only over our limbs, but over all our intellectual pursuits? The mind
  of every man is evidently the moving force, which alike regulates all
  his limbs and actions; and in which example, we find a strong
  illustration of the subordinate nature of mere 'matter'. That alone
  which gives direction to the organic parts of our nature, is wholly
  'mind'; and one mind, if placed over a thousand limbs, could, with
  undiminished ease, control and regulate the whole.

  This idea is advanced on the supposition, that 'one mind' could
  command an unlimited direction over any given number of 'limbs',
  provided they were all connected by 'joint' and 'sinew'. But suppose,
  through some occult and inconceivable means, these limbs were
  dis-associated, as to all material connexion; suppose, for instance,
  one mind, with unlimited authority, governed the operations of 'two'
  separate persons, would not this, substantially, be only 'one person',
  seeing the directing principle was one? If the truth, here contended
  for, be admitted, that 'two persons', governed by 'one mind', is
  incontestably 'one person'; the same conclusion would be arrived at,
  and the proposition equally be justified, which affirmed that,
  'three', or, otherwise, 'four' persons, owning also necessary and
  essential subjection to 'one mind', would only be so many diversities,
  or modifications of that 'one mind', and therefore the component
  parts, virtually collapsing into 'one whole', the person would be
  'one'. Let any man ask himself, whose understanding can both reason,
  and become the depository of truth, whether, if 'one mind' thus
  regulated, with absolute authority, 'three', or, otherwise, 'four'
  persons, with all their congeries of material parts, would not these
  parts, inert in themselves, when subjected to one predominant mind,
  be, in the most logical sense, 'one person'? Are ligament and exterior
  combination indispensable pre-requisites to the sovereign influence of
  mind over mind? or mind over matter? [16]

  But perhaps it may be said, we have no instance of one mind governing
  more than one body. This may be, but the argument remains the same.
  With a proud spirit, that forgets its own contracted range of thought,
  and circumscribed knowledge, who is to limit the sway of Omnipotence?
  or, presumptuously to deny the possibility of 'that' Being, who called
  light out of darkness, so to exalt the dominion of 'one mind', as to
  give it absolute sway over other dependent minds, or (indifferently)
  over detached, or combined portions of organized matter? But if this
  superinduced quality be conferable on any order of created beings, it
  is blasphemy to limit the power of GOD, and to deny 'his' capacity to
  transfuse 'his own' Spirit, when, and to whom he will.

  This reasoning may now be applied in illustration of the Trinity. We
  are too much in the habit of viewing our Saviour Jesus Christ, through
  the medium of his body. 'A body was prepared for him,' but this body
  was mere matter; as insensible in itself, as every human frame when
  deserted by the soul. If therefore the Spirit that was in Christ, was
  the Spirit of the Father: if no thought, no vibration, no spiritual
  communication, or miraculous display, existed in, or proceeded from
  Christ, not immediately and consubstantially identified with JEHOVAH,
  the Great First cause; if all these operating principles were thus
  derived, in consistency alone with the conjoint divine attributes; of
  this Spirit of the Father ruled and reigned in Christ as his own
  manifestation, then, in the strictest sense, Christ exhibited 'the
  God-head bodily,' and was undeniably ''one' with the Father;'
  confirmatory of the Saviour's words; 'Of myself,' (my body) 'I can do
  nothing, the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.'

  But though I speak of the body, as inert in itself, and necessarily
  allied to matter, yet this declaration must not be understood as
  militating against the Christian doctrine of the 'resurrection of the
  body'. In its grosser form, the thought is not to be admitted, for,
  'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,' but, that the
  body, without losing its consciousness, and individuality, may be
  subjected, by the illimitable power of Omnipotence, to a sublimating
  process, so as to be rendered compatible with spiritual association,
  is not opposed to reason, in its severe abstract exercises, while in
  attestation of this 'exhilarating belief', there are many remote
  analogies in nature exemplifying the same truth, while it is in the
  strictest accordance with that final dispensation, which must, as
  Christians, regulate all our speculations. I proceed now to say, that:

  If the postulate be thus admitted, that one mind influencing two
  bodies, would only involve a diversity of operations, but in reality
  be one in essence; or otherwise, (as an hypothetical argument,
  illustrative of truth) if one preeminent mind, or spiritual
  subsistence, unconnected with matter, possessed an undivided and
  sovereign dominion over two or more disembodied minds, so as to become
  the exclusive source of all their subtlest volitions and exercises,
  the 'unity', however complex the modus of its manifestation, would be
  fully established; and this principle extends to DEITY itself, and
  shows the true sense, as I conceive, in which Christ and the Father
  are one.

  In continuation of this reasoning, if God who is light, the Sun of the
  Moral World, should in his union of Infinite Wisdom, Power, and
  Goodness, and from all Eternity, have ordained that an emanation from
  himself (for aught we know, an essential emanation, as light is
  inseparable from the luminary of day) should not only have existed in
  his Son, in the fulness of time to be united to a mortal body, but
  that a like emanation from himself (also perhaps essential) should
  have constituted the Holy Spirit, who, without losing his ubiquity,
  was more especially sent to this lower earth, 'by' the SON, 'at' the
  impulse of the Father, then, in the most comprehensive sense, God, and
  his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are ONE. 'Three Persons in
  one God,' and thus form the true Trinity in Unity.

  To suppose that more than ONE Independent Power, or Governing mind
  exists in the whole universe, is absolute Polytheism, against which
  the denunciations of all the Jewish, and Christian Canonical books
  were directed. And if there be but ONE directing MIND, that Mind is
  GOD!--operating, however, in Three Persons, according to the direct
  and uniform declarations of that inspiration which 'brought life and
  immortality to light.' Yet this divine doctrine of the Trinity is to
  be received, not because it is, or can be clear to finite
  apprehension, but, (in reiteration of the argument) because the
  Scriptures, in their unsophisticated interpretation expressly state
  it. The Trinity, therefore, from its important aspects, and Biblical
  prominence, is the grand article of faith, and the foundation of the
  whole Christian system.

  Who can say, as Christ [17] and the Holy Ghost proceeded from, and are
  still one with the Father, and as all the disciples of Christ derive
  their fulness from him, and, in spirit, are inviolately united to him
  as a branch is to the vine, who can say, but that, in one view, what
  was once mysteriously separated, may, as mysteriously, be recombined,
  and, (without interfering with the everlasting Trinity, and the
  individuality of the spiritual and seraphic orders) the Son, at the
  consummation of all things, deliver up his mediatorial kingdom to the
  Father, and God, in some peculiar, and infinitely sublime sense,
  become All 'in' All!

  God love you,

  S.T. COLERIDGE." [18]

Those who are acquainted with Mr. Coleridge's maturer view of the
doctrine of the Trinity, will not need to be informed that this letter
does not convey his later conviction in regard to this awful mystery,
and will know that his philosophic meditations rested essentially in the
same faith that dictated the Article of the Church of England on this

Mr. De Quincey has made several mistatements in a memoir on Mr.
Coleridge, which he wrote in Tait's Magazine; but it may be only fair
first to quote a few interesting remarks, with which he begins:

  "In the summer season of 1807 I first saw this illustrious man, the
  largest and most spacious intellect in my judgment that has ever yet
  existed amongst men. My knowledge of his works as a most original
  genius began about the year 1799."

A little before that time, Wordsworth published the "Lyrical Ballads,"
in which was the Ancient Mariner of Coleridge, and to which Mr. De
Quincey attributes the unfolding of his own mind; this confession is by
no means humiliating, for many persons of the highest reputation have
made similar acknowledgments, and some there are still living who have
the courage and integrity to do so now.

  "I found (says this gentleman) that Professor Wilson, as well as
  myself, saw in these poems 'the ray of a new morning;'--and to these
  names may be added that of the celebrated Sir Walter Scott."

The admiration of Mr. De Quincey was so great that inquiring where
Coleridge was to be found, and learning that he was in Malta, he
contemplated an immediate visit to that island, but the fear of a French
prison reconciled him to remaining in England. When on a visit in 1807
(to a relation), at the Hot Wells, he learnt that Coleridge was staying
with a friend not far from Bristol. This friend was Mr. Poole of Nether
Stowey, and thither he bent his steps. In this house Mr. De Quincey
spent two days, and gives, from his own knowledge, a sketch of Mr.
Poole's person and character very descriptive of the original. Coleridge
often remarked that he was the best "ideal for a useful member of
parliament he ever knew;"

  "a plain dressed man leading a bachelor life," as Mr. De Quincey
  observes, "in a rustic old fashioned house, amply furnished with
  modern luxuries, and a good library. Mr. Poole had travelled
  extensively, and had so entirely dedicated himself to his humble
  fellow countrymen, who resided in his neighbourhood, that for many
  miles round he was the general arbiter of their disputes, the guide
  and counsellor of their daily life; besides being appointed executor
  and guardian to his children by every third man who died in or about
  the town of Nether Stowey."

Such in few words was the individual whom Coleridge, in his social hours
and in the full warmth of friendship, would most eloquently and
feelingly describe. [19]

Mr. De Quincey having been informed that Coleridge was at Bridgewater,
left Nether Stowey for that place, in search of him. The meeting and the
description recall him forcibly to the minds of those who twenty years
after were so intimately acquainted with him:

  "In Bridgewater I noticed a gateway, standing under which was a man
  corresponding to the description given me of Coleridge whom I shall
  presently describe. In height he seemed to be five feet eight inches,
  (he was in reality about an inch and a half taller,) though in the
  latter part of life, from a lateral curvature in the spine, he
  shortened gradually from two to three inches. His person was broad and
  full, and tended even to corpulence; his complexion was fair, though
  not what painters technically style fair, because it was associated
  with black hair; his eyes were large and soft in their expression, and
  it was by the peculiar appearance of haze or dreaminess which mixed
  with their light that I recognized my object. This was Coleridge; I
  examined him steadily for a moment or more, and it struck me he
  neither saw myself, nor any other object in the street. He was in a
  deep reverie; for I had dismounted, made two or three trifling
  arrangements at the inn door, and advanced close to him, before he
  seemed apparently conscious of my presence. The sound of my voice
  announcing my name first awoke him; he started, and for a moment
  seemed at a loss to understand my purpose, or his own situation, for
  he repeated rapidly a number of words which had no relation to either
  of us; very likely trying a metre, or making verse, a frequent
  practice of his, and of Mr. Wordsworth's. There was no mauvaise haute
  in his manner, but simple perplexity, and an apparent difficulty in
  recovering his position amongst daylight realities. This little scene
  over, he received me with a kindness of manner so marked, that it
  might be called gracious. The hospitable family, with whom he was
  domesticated, were distinguished for their amiable manners, and
  enlightened understandings; they were descendants from Chubb, the
  philosophic writer, and bore the same name. For Coleridge they all
  testified deep affection and esteem, sentiments which the whole town
  of Bridgewater seemed to share, for in the evening, when the heat of
  the day had declined, I walked out with him; and rarely, perhaps
  never, have I seen a person so much interrupted in one hour's space as
  Coleridge on this occasion, by the courteous attentions of young and
  old." [20]

This appears so faithful a portraiture of Coleridge that it is
impossible to read it without once more beholding him as in a mirror.
Continuing his description, he speaks again of his extreme courtesy, and
of his easy and gentlemanly manner of receiving strangers. A friend of
mine seldom speaks of the past in connexion with Coleridge's name, but
he reminds me of a visit he once made to me during my absence at the sea
shore, and of the courteous grace he displayed in doing the honours of
the house.

In every thing wherein the comfort or happiness of others were
concerned, Coleridge ever evinced how entirely he could devote himself
to those he loved or who might require his sympathy:

  His own fair countenance, his kingly forehead,
  His tender smiles, love's day-dawn on his lips--
  The sense, the spirit, and the light divine,
  At the same moment in his steadfast eye
  Were virtue's native crest, the innocent soul's
  Unconscious meek self-heraldry--to man
  Genial, and pleasant to his guardian angel!
  He suffered, nor complained; though oft with tears
  He mourned the oppression of his helpless brethren;
  Yea with a deeper and yet holier grief
  Mourned for th' oppressor; but this
  In sabbath hours--a solemn grief,
  Most like a cloud at sunset,
  Was but the veil of purest meditation,
  Pierced through and saturate with the intellectual rays
  It softened.

  'Literary Remains', vol. i. 277.

These were characteristic beauties, that shone forth in Coleridge, and
were deeply felt by all who were attached to him.

With regard to the charge made by Mr. De Quincey, of Coleridge's so
borrowing the property of other writers as to be guilty of 'petty
larceny'; with equal justice might we accuse the bee which flies from
flower to flower in quest of food, and which, by means of the instinct
bestowed upon it by the all-wise Creator, extracts its nourishment from
the field and the garden, but 'digests' and 'elaborates' it by its own
'native' powers.

Coleridge 'began' the use of opium from bodily pain (rheumatism), and
for the same reason 'continued' it, till he had acquired a habit too
difficult under his own management to control. To him it was the thorn
in the flesh, which will be seen in the following notes

  "I have never loved evil for its own sake: no! nor ever sought
  pleasure for its own sake, but only as the means of escaping from
  pains that coiled around my mental powers, as a serpent around the
  body and wings of an eagle! My sole sensuality was 'not' to be in

  'Note from Pocket Book, "The History of my own mind for my own
  improvement," Dec. 23, 1804.'

  "I wrote a few stanzas [21] three and twenty years ago, soon after my
  eyes had been opened to the true nature of the habit into which I had
  been ignorantly deluded by the seeming magic effects of opium, in the
  sudden removal of a supposed rheumatic affection, attended with
  swellings in my knees, and palpitations of the heart, and pains all
  over me, by which I had been bed-ridden for nearly six months.
  Unhappily, among my neighbour's and landlord's books were a large
  parcel of medical reviews and magazines. I had always a fondness (a
  common case, but most mischievous turn with reading men who are at all
  dyspeptic) for dabbling in medical writings; and in one of these
  reviews I met a case, which I fancied very like my own, in which a
  cure had been effected by the Kendal Black Drop. In an evil hour I
  procured it:--it worked miracles--the swellings disappeared, the pains
  vanished; I was all alive, and all around me being as ignorant as
  myself, nothing could exceed my triumph. I talked of nothing else,
  prescribed the newly-discovered panacea for all complaints, and
  carried a bottle about with me, not to lose any opportunity of
  administering 'instant relief and speedy cure' to all complainers,
  stranger or friend, gentle or simple. Need I say that my own apparent
  convalescence was of no long continuance; but what then?--the remedy
  was at hand and infallible. Alas! it is with a bitter smile, a laugh
  of gall and bitterness, that I recall this period of unsuspecting
  delusion, and how I first became aware of the Maelstrom, the fatal
  whirlpool, to which I was drawing just when the current was already
  beyond my strength to stem. The state of my mind is truly portrayed in
  the following effusion, for God knows! that from that moment I was the
  victim of pain and terror, nor had I at any time taken the flattering
  poison as a stimulus, or for any craving after pleasurable sensations.
  I needed none; and oh! with what unutterable sorrow did I read the
  'Confessions of an Opium-eater,' in which the writer with morbid
  vanity, makes a boast of what was my misfortune, for he had been
  faithfully and with an agony of zeal warned of the gulf, and yet
  wilfully struck into the current!--Heaven be merciful to him!"

  'April, 1826'.

  "Oh! (will a vain imagination whisper) that in the outset of life I
  could have 'felt' as well as known the consequences of sin and error
  before their tyranny had commenced! Though, compared with the average
  of my fellow men, not a sinful man, yet I feel enough to be assured
  that few indeed are there who might not from their sins or sinful
  infirmities gain a tongue of flame, wherewith to warn men of the
  deadly poison of all, even the least offence. Of all divines, Luther
  felt most deeply the terrors of the LAW; and for that reason, the
  unutterable goodness and love of the dispensation of grace!--To be one
  with God the Father--an awful thought beyond all utterance of the awe
  which it inspires, but by no means wild or mystical. On the contrary,
  all our experience moves in this direction. In reason, in science, who
  shall set bounds to the possible progress of man, as long as he is no
  longer in himself, but in the truth and power of truth. The moment
  that disease reduces himself to himself, the sage who was able to
  weigh the planets, and foresee their movements centuries and
  millenniums to come, trembles in his ignorance of the next five
  minutes, whether it shall be pain and terror, or relief and respite,
  and in spirit falls on his knees and prays. Prayer is the mediation,
  or rather the effort to connect the misery of self with the
  blessedness of God; and its voice is--Mercy! mercy! for Christ's sake,
  in whom thou hast opened out the fountain of mercy to sinful man. It
  is a sore evil to be, and not in God; but it is a still more dreadful
  evil and misery to will to be other than in God; and yet in every act,
  in which the gratification of the sensual life is the 'ultimate end',
  is the manifestation of such a will. Imagine a----, first in his
  noblest hours, in the laboratory or the observatory--an unfolder and
  discoverer--and then on a sick bed, from the consequences of his own
  indiscretions. Place both states of the same man, that of the spirit
  and that of the self-seeking self, clearly and in detail before your
  mind:--if you can do this, you need no more."

  'January 7, 1830'.

  "There is a passage in the Samson Agonistes, in which Milton is
  supposed on sufficient grounds to have referred to himself, that in
  which the chorus speaks of strictly temperate man 'causelessly
  suffering' the pains and penances of inordinate days. O! what would I
  not give to be able to utter with truth this complaint! O! if he had
  or rather if he 'could' have presented to himself truly and vividly
  the aggravation of those pains, which the conscience of their having
  originated in errors and weaknesses of his own. I do not say that he
  would not have complained of his sufferings, for who can be in those
  most trying sufferances of miserable sensations and not complain of
  them, but his groans for the pain would have been blended with
  thanksgivings to the sanctifying Spirit. Even under the direful yoke
  of the necessity of daily poisoning by narcotics it is somewhat less
  horrible, through the knowledge that it was not from any craving for
  pleasurable animal excitement, but from pain, delusion, error, of the
  worst ignorance, medical sciolism, and when (alas! too late the plea
  of error was removed from my eyes,) from terror and utter perplexity
  and infirmity;--sinful infirmity, indeed, but yet not a wilful
  sinfulness that I brought my neck under it. Oh, may the God to whom I
  look for mercy through Christ, show mercy on the author of the
  'Confessions of an Opium Eater,' if, as I have too strong reason to
  believe, his book has been the occasion of seducing others into this
  withering vice through wantonness. From this aggravation I have, I
  humbly trust, been free, as far as acts of my free will and intention
  are concerned; even to the author of that work I pleaded with flowing
  tears, and with an agony of forewarning. He utterly denied it, but I
  fear that I had even then to 'deter' perhaps not to forewarn. My own
  contrasted feelings soon after I saw the Maelstrom to which the
  current was absorbing me, are written in one of my paper books." [22]

  'Jan. 7, 1830'.

Having referred to the accusations of plagiarism brought against
Coleridge, it will not, I trust, be deemed inappropriate, to introduce
from the British Magazine, No. 37, the concluding part of a critique
ably written by the Rev. Julius Hare, who has selected with great
discrimination several passages from the "Friend," which must come home
to the heart of every good man, and this I feel the more impelled to do,
as it is a moral lesson to biographers--perhaps to us all:

  "An inquisitiveness into the minutest circumstances and casual sayings
  of eminent contemporaries is indeed quite natural: but so are all our
  follies: and the more natural they are the more caution should we
  exert in guarding against them. To scribble trifles, even on the
  perishable glass of an inn window, is the mark of an idler: but to
  engrave them on the marble monument sacred to the memory of the
  departed great, is something worse than idleness. The spirit of
  genuine biography is in nothing more conspicuous than in the firmness
  with which it withstands the cravings of worthless curiosity, as
  distinguished from the thirst after useful knowledge. For in the first
  place, such anecdotes as derive their whole and sole interest from the
  great name of the person concerning whom they are related, and neither
  illustrate his general character nor his particular actions, would
  scarcely have been noticed or remembered, except by men of weak minds.
  It is not unlikely, therefore, that they were misapprehended at the
  time; and it is most probable that they have been related as
  incorrectly, as they were noticed injudiciously. Nor are the
  consequences of such garrulous biography merely negative. For as
  insignificant stories can derive no real respectability from the
  eminence of the person who happens to be the subject of them, but
  rather an additional deformity of disproportion, they are apt to have
  their insipidity seasoned by the same bad passions that accompany the
  habit of gossiping in general: and the misapprehensions of weak men,
  meeting with the misinterpretations of malignant men, have not seldom
  formed the ground work of the most grievous calamities. In the second
  place, those trifles are subversive of the great end of biography,
  which is to fix the attention and to interest the feelings of men on
  those qualities and actions which have made a particular life worthy
  of being recorded. It is no doubt the duty of an honest biographer to
  portray the prominent imperfections as well as excellencies of his
  hero. But I am at a loss to conceive how this can be deemed an excuse
  for heaping together a multitude of particulars, which can prove
  nothing of any man, that might not be safely taken for granted of all
  men. In the present age--emphatically the age of personality--there
  are more than ordinary motives for withholding all encouragement from
  the mania of busying ourselves with the names of others, which is
  still more alarming as a symptom, than it is troublesome as a disease.
  The reader must be still less acquainted with contemporary literature
  than myself, if he needs me to inform him that there are men who,
  trading in the silliest anecdotes, in unprovoked abuse and senseless
  eulogy, think themselves nevertheless employed both worthily and
  honourably if only all this be done in good set terms, and from the
  press, and of public characters,--a class which has increased so
  rapidly of late, that it becomes difficult to discover what characters
  are to be considered as private. Alas! if these wretched misusers of
  language and the means of giving wings to thought, and of multiplying
  the presence of an individual mind, had ever known how great a thing
  the possession of any one simple truth is, and how mean a thing a mere
  fact is, except as seen in the light of some comprehensive truth--if
  they had but once experienced the unborrowed complacency, the inward
  independence, the homebred strength, with which every clear conception
  of the reason is accompanied,--they would shrink from their own pages
  as at the remembrance of a crime.--For a crime it is (and the man who
  hesitates in pronouncing it such, must be ignorant of what mankind owe
  to books, what he himself owes to them in spite of his ignorance) thus
  to introduce the spirit of vulgar scandal, and personal inquietude
  into the closet and the library, environing with evil passions the
  very sanctuaries to which we should flee for refuge from them. For to
  what do these publications appeal, whether they present themselves as
  biography or as anonymous criticism, but to the same feelings which
  the scandal bearers, and time-killers of ordinary life seem to gratify
  in themselves and their listeners; and both the authors and admirers
  of such publications, in what respect are they less truants and
  deserters from their own hearts, and from their appointed task of
  understanding and amending them, than the most garrulous female
  chronicler of the goings-on of yesterday in the families of her
  neighbours and townsfolk?

  'As to my own attempt to record the life and character of the late Sir
  Alexander Ball, I consider myself deterred from all circumstances not
  pertaining to his conduct or character as a public functionary, that
  involve the names of the living for good or for evil. Whatever facts
  and incidents I relate of a private nature must, for the most part,
  concern Sir Alexander Ball exclusively, and as an insulated
  individual. But I needed not this restraint. It will be enough for me,
  as I write, to recollect the form and character of Sir Alexander Ball
  himself, to represent to my own feelings the inward contempt with
  which he would have abstracted his mind from worthless anecdotes and
  petty personalities; a contempt rising into indignation if ever an
  illustrious name were used as a thread to string them upon. If this
  recollection be my Socratic Demon, to warn and to check me, I shall,
  on the other hand, derive encouragement from the remembrance of the
  tender patience, the sweet gentleness, with which he was wont to
  tolerate the tediousness of well meaning men; and the inexhaustible
  attention, the unfeigned interest, with which he would listen for
  hours, when the conversation appealed to reason, and like the bee,
  made honey, while it murmured.'

  I have transcribed this passage from the original edition of the
  Friend, No. 21, and not from the reprint, where it stands in vol. ii.
  pp. 303-307; because in the latter, the last paragraph, in itself a
  beautiful one, and to our present purpose particularly appropriate, is
  left out. For if Coleridge could imagine 'the inward contempt with
  which Sir Alexander Ball would have abstracted his mind from worthless
  anecdotes and petty personalities,--a contempt rising into
  indignation, if ever an illustrious name was used as a thread to
  string them on,' well may those who knew Coleridge conceive the grief,
  the grief and pity, he would have felt, at seeing eminent powers and
  knowledge employed in ministering to the wretched love of
  gossip--retailing paltry anecdotes in dispraise of others,
  intermingled with outflowings of self-praise--and creeping into the
  secret chambers of great men's houses to filch out materials for
  tattle--at seeing great powers wasting and debasing themselves in such
  an ignoble task--above all, at seeing that the person who thus wasted
  and debased them was a scholar, and a philosopher whose talents he
  admired, with whom he had lived familiarly, and whom he had honoured
  with his friendship."[23]

There is one part of Coleridge's character not to be passed by, although
so overlaid by his genius as rarely to be noticed, namely, his love of
humour and of wit, of which he possessed so large a share. As punsters,
his dear friend Lamb and himself were inimitable. Lamb's puns had
oftener more effect, from the impediment in his speech their force
seemed to be increased by the pause of stuttering, and to shoot forth
like an arrow from a strong bow--but being never poisoned nor envenomed,
they left no pain behind. Coleridge was more humorous than witty in
making puns--and in repartee, he was, according to modern phraseology,
"smart and clever." Staying a few days with two friends at a farm-house,
they agreed to visit a race-course in the neighbourhood. The farmer
brought from his stud a horse low in stature, and still lower in
flesh--a bridle corresponding in respectability of appearance, with a
saddle equally suitable--stirrups once bright, but now deeply
discoloured by rust. All this was the contrivance of the farmer, and
prudently intended for his safety. He had heard previously of
Coleridge's want of skill in riding, and had therefore provided him with
a beast not likely to throw him. On this Rosinante the poet mounted, in
his accustomed dress, namely, a black coat, black breeches, with black
silk stockings and shoes. His friends being trusted with more active
steeds, soon outstripped him. Jogging on leisurely he was met by a
long-nosed knowing-looking man, attired in a 'sporting' dress, and an
excellent equestrian. Seeing this whimsical horseman in shoes, he
writhed, as Coleridge observed, his lithe proboscis, and thus accosted

Pray, sir, did you meet a tailor along the road?"

"A tailor?" answered Coleridge; "yes!"

"Do you see, sir! he rode just such a horse as you ride! and for all the
world was just like you!"

"Oh! oh!" answered Coleridge, "I did meet a person answering such a
description, who told me he had dropped his goose, that if I rode a
little farther I should find it; and I guess by the arch-fellow's looks,
he must have meant you."

"Caught a tartar!" replied the man, and suddenly spurring his horse,
left him to pursue his road. At length Coleridge reached the
race-course, when threading his way through the crowd, he arrived at the
spot of attraction to which all were hastening. Here he confronted a
barouche and four, filled with smart ladies and attendant gentlemen. In
it was also seated a baronet of sporting celebrity, steward of the
course, and member of the House of Commons, well known as having been
bought and sold in several parliaments. The baronet eyed the figure of
Coleridge as he slowly passed the door of the barouche, and thus
accosted him:

"A pretty piece of blood, sir, you have there?"

"Yes!" answered Coleridge.

"Rare paces, I have no doubt, sir!"

"Yes," said Coleridge he brought me here a matter of four miles an

He was at no loss to perceive the honourable member's drift, who wished
to shew off before the ladies: so he quietly waited the opportunity of a
suitable reply.

"What a fore-hand he has!" continued Nimrod, "how finely he carries his
tail! Bridle and saddle well suited! and appropriately appointed!"

"Yes," said Coleridge.

"Will you sell him?" asked the sporting baronet.

"Yes!" was the answer, "if I can have my price."

"Name your price, then, putting the rider into the bargain!"

This was too pointed to be passed over by a simple answer, and Coleridge
was ready.

"My price for the 'horse, sir', if I sell him, is 'one hundred'
guineas,--as to the 'rider', never having been in parliament, and never
intending to go, 'his' price is not yet fixed."

The baronet sat down more suddenly than he had risen--the ladies began
to titter--while Coleridge quietly left him to his chagrin, and them to
the enjoyment of their mirth.

We are now arrived at that period of Coleridge's life, in which it may
be said, he received his first great warning of approaching danger. But
it will be necessary to review his previous state of health. From
childhood he discovered strong symptoms of a feeble stomach. As observed
in the account of his school experience, when compelled to turn over the
shoes in the shoe closet, exhausted by the fatigue, and overpowered by
the scent, he suffered so much, that in after years the very remembrance
almost made him shudder. Then his frequent bathing in the New River was
an imprudence so injurious in its consequences, as to place him for
nearly twelve months in the sick ward in the hospital of the school,
with rheumatism connected with jaundice. These, to a youthful
constitution, were matters of so serious a nature, as to explain to
those acquainted with disease the origin and cause of his subsequent
bodily sufferings. His sensitiveness was consequent on these, and so was
his frequent incapability of continuous sedentary employment--an
employment requiring far stronger health in an individual whose
intellectual powers were ever at work. When overwhelmed at College, by
that irresistible alarm and despondency which caused him to leave it,
and to enlist as a soldier in the army, he continued in such a state of
bodily ailment as to be deprived of the power of stooping, so that
'Cumberback',--a thing unheard of before,--was compelled to depute
another to perform this part of his duty. On his voyage to Malta, he had
complained of suffering from shortness of breath; and on returning to
his residence at the Lakes, his difficulty of breathing and his
rheumatism increased to a great degree. About the year 1809, ascending
Skiddaw with his younger son, he was suddenly seized in the chest, and
so overpowered as to attract the notice of the child. After the relation
of these circumstances to some medical friend, he was advised by him not
to bathe in the sea. The love, however, which he had from a boy, for
going into the water, he retained till a late period of life. Strongly
impressed with this feeling, he seems to have written the poem, entitled
"On Revisiting the Sea Shore:"

  "Dissuading spake the mild physician,
   Those briny waves for thee are death,
   But my soul fulfilled her mission,
   And lo! I breathe untroubled breath." [24]

In the year 1810, he left the Lakes, in company with Mr. Basil Montagu,
whose affectionate regard for Mr. Coleridge, though manifested upon
every occasion, was more particularly shown in seasons of difficulty and
affliction. By Coleridge, Mr. Montagu's friendship was deeply felt,--and
his gentle manners and unremitted kindness had the most soothing effect
upon the sensitive and grateful mind of Coleridge. He remained for some
time at Mr. Montagu's house. He afterwards resided at Hammersmith, with
an amiable and common friend of his and Mr. Southey's,--Mr. Morgan, with
whom they had formed an intimacy in Bristol. Whilst here he delivered a
course of lectures at the London Philosophical Society. The prospectus
was as follows:

  "Mr. Coleridge will commence, on Monday, November 18, 1811, a Course
  of Lectures on Shakspeare and Milton, in illustration of the
  principles of poetry, and their application, as grounds of criticism,
  to the most popular works of later English Poets, those of the living
  included. After an introductory lecture on False Criticism (especially
  in poetry), and on its causes; two thirds of the remaining course will
  be assigned,

  1st, to a philosophical analysis, and explanation of all the principal
  'characters' of our great dramatist, as Othello, Falstaff, Richard the
  Third, Iago, Hamlet, &c.; and

  2nd, to a critical 'comparison' of Shakspeare, in respect of diction,
  imagery, management of the passions, judgment in the construction of
  his dramas, in short, of all that belongs to him as a poet, and as a
  dramatic poet, with his contemporaries or immediate successors,
  Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford, Massinger, &c. in the endeavour
  to determine what of Shakspeare's merits and defects are common to
  him, with other writers of the same age, and what remain peculiar to
  his own genius.

  The course will extend to fifteen lectures, which will be given on
  Monday and Thursday evenings successively."

Mr. Coleridge afterwards delivered another course of lectures at the
Royal Institution. Dr. Dibdin, one of his auditors, gives the following
account of the lecturer: [25]

  "It was during my constant and familiar intercourse with Sir T.
  Bernard, while 'The Director' was going on, that I met the celebrated
  Mr. Coleridge--himself a lecturer. He was not a 'constant'
  lecturer--not in constant harness like others for the business of the
  day. Indisposition was generally preying upon him, [26] and habitual
  indolence would now and then frustrate the performance of his own
  better wishes. I once came from Kensington in a snow-storm, to hear
  him lecture upon Shakspeare. I might have sat as wisely and more
  comfortably by my own fire-side--for no Coleridge appeared. And this I
  think occurred more than once at the Royal Institution. I shall never
  forget the effect his conversation made upon me at the first meeting.
  It struck me as something not only quite out of the ordinary course of
  things, but as an intellectual exhibition altogether matchless. The
  viands were unusually costly, and the banquet was at once rich and
  varied; but there seemed to be no dish like Coleridge's conversation
  to feed upon--and no information so varied and so instructive as his
  own. The orator rolled himself up, as it were, in his chair, and gave
  the most unrestrained indulgence to his speech, and how fraught with
  acuteness and originality was that speech, and in what copious and
  eloquent periods did it flow! The auditors seemed to be rapt in wonder
  and delight, as one conversation, more profound or clothed in more
  forcible language than another, fell from his tongue. A great part of
  the subject discussed at the first time of my meeting Mr. Coleridge,
  was the connexion between Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton. The speaker
  had been secretary to Sir Alexander Ball, governor of Malta--and a
  copious field was here afforded for the exercise of his colloquial
  eloquence. For nearly two hours he spoke with unhesitating and
  uninterrupted fluency. As I retired homewards (to Kensington), I
  thought a second Johnson had visited the earth, to make wise the sons
  of men; and regretted that I could not exercise the powers of a second
  Boswell, to record the wisdom and the eloquence which had that evening
  flowed from the orator's lips. It haunted me as I retired to rest. It
  drove away slumber: or if I lapsed into sleep, there was
  Coleridge--his snuffbox, and his 'kerchief before my eyes!--his mildly
  beaming looks--his occasionally deep tone of voice--and the excited
  features of his physiognomy.--The manner of Coleridge was rather
  emphatic than dogmatic, and thus he was generally and satisfactorily
  listened to. It might be said of Coleridge, as Cowper has so happily
  said of Sir Philip Sidney, that he was 'the warbler of poetic prose.'

  There was always 'this' characteristic feature in his multifarious
  conversation--it was delicate, reverend, and courteous. The chastest
  ear could drink in no startling sound; the most serious believer never
  had his bosom ruffled by one sceptical or reckless assertion.
  Coleridge was eminently simple in his manner. Thinking and speaking
  were his delight; and he would sometimes seem, during the more fervid
  movements of discourse, to be abstracted from all and every thing
  around and about him, and to be basking in the sunny warmth of his own
  radiant imagination."

The manuscript of 'The Remorse' was sent to Mr. Sheridan, who did not
even acknowledge the receipt of the letter which accompanied the drama;
he however observed to a friend, that he had received a play from
Coleridge, but that there was one extraordinary line in the Cave Scene,
'drip, drip'--which he could not understand: "in short," said he, "it is
all dripping." This was the only notice he took of the play; but the
comment was at length repeated to the author, through the medium of a
third party. The theatre falling afterwards into the hands of Lord Byron
and Mr. Whitbread, his Lordship sent for Coleridge, was very kind to his
brother poet, and requested that the play might be represented: this
desire was complied with, and it received his support. Although Mr.
Whitbread [27] did not give it the advantage of a single new scene, yet
the popularity of the play was such, that the principal actor, who had
performed in it with great success, made choice of it for his
benefit-night, and it brought an overflowing house. [28]

In consequence of the interest Lord Byron took in the success of this
tragedy, Coleridge was frequently in his company, and on one occasion,
in my presence, his Lordship said, "Coleridge, there is one passage in
your poems, I have parodied fifty times, and I hope to live long enough
to parody it five hundred." That passage I do not remember; but it may
strike some reader.

In a letter of Coleridge's to a friend, written April 10th, 1816, he
thus speaks of Byron:

  "If you had seen Lord Byron, you could scarcely disbelieve him--so
  beautiful a countenance I scarcely ever saw--his teeth so many
  stationary smiles--his eyes the open portals of the sun--things of
  light, and for light--and his forehead so ample, and yet so flexible,
  passing from marble smoothness into a hundred wreathes and lines and
  dimples correspondent to the feelings and sentiments he is uttering."

Coleridge, in the preface to 'The Remorse', states that the

  "tragedy was written in the summer and autumn of the year 1797, at
  Nether Stowey, in the county of Somerset. By whose recommendation, and
  of the manner in which both the play and the author were treated by
  the recommender, let me be permitted to relate: that I knew of its
  having been received only from a third person; that I could procure
  neither answer nor the manuscript; and that but for an accident, I
  should have had no copy of the work itself. That such treatment would
  damp a young man's exertions may be easily conceived: there was no
  need of after-misrepresentation and calumny, as an additional

Coleridge contributed many pieces to Southey's 'Omniana', (all marked
with an asterisk,) and was engaged in other literary pursuits; he had
notwithstanding much bodily suffering. The 'cause' of this was the
organic change slowly and gradually taking place in the structure of the
heart itself. But it was so masked by other sufferings, though at times
creating despondency, and was so generally overpowered by the excitement
of animated conversation, as to leave its real cause undiscovered. [29]
Notwithstanding this sad state, he rolled forth volumes from a mind ever
active--at times intensely so,--still he required the support of those
sympathies which "free the hollow heart from paining."

Soon after the performance of 'The Remorse', he retired with his kind
friend, Mr. Morgan, to the village of Calne, partly to be near the Rev.
W.L. Bowles, whose sonnets so much attracted his attention in early
life. While residing here, he opened a communication with Mr. Gutch, a
bookseller, at Bristol, and in consequence, he collected the poems
published by the title of 'The Sibylline Leaves', and also composed the
greater part of the 'Biographia Literaria'. Here he likewise dictated to
his friend, Mr. Morgan, the 'Zapolya', which was submitted to Mr.
Douglas Kinnaird, who was then the critic for Drury Lane.--Mr. Kinnaird
rejected the play, assigning some ludicrous objections to the
metaphysics. The subject is alluded to by Coleridge at the end of the
Biographia Literaria, and with that allusion I close the present chapter:

  O we are querulous creatures! Little less
  Than all things can suffice to make us happy:
  And little more than nothing is enough
  To make us wretched.

[Footnote 1:

  Alas! for myself at least I know and feel, that wherever there is a
  wrong not to be forgiven, there is a grief that admits neither of cure
  nor comforting.

'Private Record, 1806.']

[Footnote 2: It appears that Mr. Alexander Macauley, the secretary, an
honest and amiable man, died suddenly, without "moan or motion," and
Coleridge filled his situation till the arrival of a new secretary,
appointed and confirmed by the ministers in England.]

[Footnote 3: 1805.

  "For months past so incessantly employed in official tasks,
  subscribing, examining, administering oaths, auditing," &c.]

[Footnote 4: April 22, 1804.

  "I was reading when I was taken ill, and felt an oppression of my
  breathing, and convulsive snatching in my stomach and limbs. Mrs.
  Ireland noticed this laborious breathing."]

[Footnote 5: I would fain request the reader to peruse the poem,
entitled "A Tombless Epitaph," to be found in Coleridge's 'Poetical
Works', 1834, page 200.]

[Footnote 6: Coleridge when asked what was the difference between fame
and reputation, would familiarly reply, "Fame is the fiat of the good
and wise," and then with energy would quote the following beautiful
lines from Milton:--

  Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
  Nor in the glistering foil
  Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies:
  But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
  And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
  As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
  Of so much fame in Heaven expect thy meed.


[Footnote 7: "The following memoranda written in pencil, and apparently
as he journeyed along, but now scarcely legible, may perhaps have an
interest for some readers:--

  "Sunday, December 15th, 1805.

  "Naples, view of Vesuvius, the Hail-mist--Torre del Greco--bright amid
  darkness--the mountains above it flashing here and there from their
  snows; but Vesuvius, it had not thinned as I have seen at Keswick, but
  the air so consolidated with the massy cloud curtain, that it appeared
  like a mountain in basso relievo, in an interminable wall of some

[Footnote 8: The order for Coleridge's arrest had already been sent
from Paris, but his escape was so contrived by the good old Pope, as to
defeat the intended indulgence of the Tyrant's vindictive appetite,
which would have preyed equally on a Duc D'Enghien, and a contributor to
a public journal. In consequence of Mr. Fox having asserted in the House
of Commons, that the rupture of the Truce of Amiens had its origin in
certain essays written in the Morning Post, which were soon known to
have been Coleridge's, and that he was at Rome within reach, the ire of
Buonaparte was immediately excited.]

[Footnote 9: Though his Note Books are full of memoranda, not an entry
or date of his arrival at Rome is to be found. To Rome itself and its
magnificence, he would often refer in conversation. Unfortunately there
is not a single document to recall the beautiful images he would place
before your mind in perspective, when inspired by the remembrance of its
wonder-striking and splendid objects. He however preserved some short
essays, which he wrote when in Malta, Observations on Sicily, Cairo, &c.
&c. political and statistical, which will probably form part of the
literary remains in train of publication.

Malta, on a first view of the subject, seemed to present a situation so
well fitted for a landing place, that it was intended to have adopted
this mode, as in 'The Friend', of dividing the present memoir; but
this loss of MS. and the breaches of continuity, render it

[Footnote 10: At this time all his writings were strongly tinctured with

[Footnote 11: Each party claimed him as their own; for party without
principles must ever be shifting, and therefore they found his opinions
sometimes in accordance with their own, and sometimes at variance. But
he was of no party--his views were purely philosophical.]

[Footnote 12: The character of Buonaparte was announced in the same

[Footnote 13: Those who spoke after Pitt were Wilberforce, Tierney,
Sheridan, &c.]

[Footnote 14: This speech of Mr. Pitt's is extracted from the 'Morning
Post', February 18th, 1800.]

[Footnote 15: The following exquisite image on Leighton was found in one
of Coleridge's note books, and is also inserted in his Literary

  "Next to the inspired Scriptures, yea, and as the vibration of that
  once struck hour remaining on the air, stands Archbishop Leighton's
  commentary on the first epistle of Peter."]

[Footnote 16: In his later days, Mr. Coleridge would have renounced the
opinions and the incorrect reasoning of this letter].

[Footnote 17: Article ii.

  The Son which is the word of the Father, 'begotten' from
  Everlasting of the Father, &c.

Art. v.

  The Holy Ghost 'proceeding' from the Father and the Son, &c.]

[Footnote 18: It was a favourite citation with Mr. Coleridge,

  "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one."

Vide St. John, xvii. 2.]

[Footnote 19: At Mr. Poole's house, Mr. De Quincey remained two days. Of
his visit he gives a full account; at the same time charging Coleridge
with the meanness of plagiarism, but which charges since their
publication have been ably refuted in an article in the British
Magazine, signed J.C.H. Vide No. 37, page 15.]

[Footnote 20: Vide 'Tait's Magazine', No. 8.]

[Footnote 21: These have not been found.]

[Footnote 22: This little Paper Book has not yet been found.]

[Footnote 23: In the 'Quarterly Review' for July, 1837, will be
found an able article on the 'Literary Remains of S.T. Coleridge,'
and on "Mr. Cottle's Early Recollections," in which are extracted these
very paragraphs from the "Friend," but which had been sent to the press
before this number appeared.]

[Footnote 24: This poem is supposed to have been written in 1813, when
on a visit to some friends at Bexhill, Sussex.]

[Footnote 25: 'Reminiscences of a Literary Life', Vol. i. p. 253.]

[Footnote 26: If "indisposition were generally preying upon him," as at
this time was indeed the fact, could this occasional failure in the
delivery of a lecture (though naturally very disappointing to his
audience,) be fairly attributed to indolence?]

[Footnote 27: About this time, when party spirit was running high,
Coleridge was known to be the author of the following Jeu d'Esprit,

  "Dregs half way up and froth half way down, form Whitbread's Entire."]

[Footnote 28: It was Mr. Rae who took it for his benefit, some time
after Mr. Coleridge's residence at Highgate.]

[Footnote 29:

  "'My heart', or 'some part' about it, seems breaking, as if
  a weight were suspended from it that stretches it, such is the
  'bodily feeling', as far as I can express it by words."

Letter addressed to Mr. Morgan.]



I now approach one of the most eventful epochs in the Life of Coleridge,
and, I may well add, of my own.

In the year 1816, the following letter was addressed to me by a
physician: [1]

  Hatton Garden, 9th April, 1816.


  A very learned, but in one respect an unfortunate gentleman, has
  applied to me on a singular occasion. He has for several years been in
  the habit of taking large quantities of opium. For some time past, he
  has been in vain endeavouring to break himself off it. It is
  apprehended his friends are not firm enough, from a dread, lest he
  should suffer by suddenly leaving it off, though he is conscious of
  the contrary; and has proposed to me to submit himself to any regimen,
  however severe. With this view, he wishes to fix himself in the house
  of some medical gentleman, who will have courage to refuse him any
  laudanum, and under whose assistance, should he be the worse for it,
  he may be relieved. As he is desirous of retirement, and a garden, I
  could think of no one so readily as yourself. Be so good as to inform
  me, whether such a proposal is absolutely inconsistent with your
  family arrangements. I should not have proposed it, but on account of
  the great importance of the character, as a literary man. His
  communicative temper will make his society very interesting, as well
  as useful. Have the goodness to favour me with an immediate answer;
  and believe me, dear sir, your faithful humble servant,


I had seen the writer of this letter but twice in my life, and had no
intention of receiving an inmate into my house. I however determined on
seeing Dr. Adams, for whether the person referred to had taken opium
from choice or necessity, to me he was equally an object of
commiseration and interest. Dr. Adams informed me that the patient had
been warned of the danger of discontinuing opium by several eminent
medical men, who, at the same time, represented the frightful
consequences that would most probably ensue. I had heard of the failure
of Mr. Wilberforce's case, under an eminent physician at Bath, in
addition to which, the doctor gave me an account of several others
within his own knowledge. After some further conversation it was agreed
that Dr. Adams should drive Coleridge to Highgate the following evening.
On the following evening came Coleridge 'himself' and alone. An old
gentleman, of more than ordinary acquirements, was sitting by the
fireside when he entered.--We met, indeed, for the first time, but as
friends long since parted, and who had now the happiness to see each
other again. Coleridge took his seat--his manner, his appearance, and
above all, his conversation were captivating. We listened with delight,
and upon the first pause, when courtesy permitted, my visitor withdrew,
saying in a low voice, "I see by your manners, an old friend has
arrived, and I shall therefore retire." Coleridge proposed to come the
following evening, but he 'first' informed me of the painful
opinion which he had received concerning his case, especially from one
medical man of celebrity. The tale was sad, and the opinion given
unprofessional and cruel--sufficient to have deterred most men so
afflicted from making the attempt Coleridge was contemplating, and in
which his whole soul was so deeply and so earnestly engaged. In the
course of our conversation, he repeated some exquisite but desponding
lines of his own. It was an evening of painful and pleasurable feeling,
which I can never forget. We parted with each other, understanding in a
few minutes what perhaps under different circumstances, would have cost
many hours to arrange; and I looked with impatience for the morrow,
still wondering at the apparent chance that had brought him under my
roof. I felt indeed almost spell-bound, without the desire of release.
My situation was new, and there was something affecting in the thought,
that one of such amiable manners, and at the same time so highly gifted,
should seek comfort and medical aid in our quiet home. Deeply
interested, I began to reflect seriously on the duties imposed upon me,
and with anxiety to expect the approaching day. It brought me the
following letter:

  42, Norfolk Street, Strand, Saturday Noon.

  [April 13, 1816.]


  The first half hour I was with you convinced me that I should owe my
  reception into your family exclusively to motives not less flattering
  to me than honourable to yourself. I trust we shall ever in matters of
  intellect be reciprocally serviceable to each other. Men of sense
  generally come to the same conclusions; but they are likely to
  contribute to each other's enlargement of view, in proportion to the
  distance or even opposition of the points from which they set out.
  Travel and the strange variety of situations and employments on which
  chance has thrown me, in the course of my life, might have made me a
  mere man of 'observation', if pain and sorrow and
  self-miscomplacence had not forced my mind in on itself, and so formed
  habits of 'meditation'. It is now as much my nature to evolve the
  fact from the law, as that of a practical man to deduce the law from
  the fact.

  With respect to pecuniary remuneration, allow me to say, I must not at
  least be suffered to make any addition to your family expences--
  though I cannot offer any thing that would be in any way adequate to
  my sense of the service; for that indeed there could not be a
  compensation, as it must be returned in kind, by esteem and grateful

  And now of myself. My ever wakeful reason, and the keenness of my
  moral feelings, will secure you from all unpleasant circumstances
  connected with me save only one, viz. the evasion of a specific
  madness. You will never 'hear' any thing but truth from
  me:--prior habits render it out of my power to tell an untruth, but
  unless carefully observed, I dare not promise that I should not, with
  regard to this detested poison, be capable of acting one. No sixty
  hours have yet passed without my having taken laudanum, though for the
  last week comparatively trifling doses. I have full belief that your
  anxiety need not be extended beyond the first week, and for the first
  week, I shall not, I must not be permitted to leave your house, unless
  with you. Delicately or indelicately, this must be done, and both the
  servants and the assistant must receive absolute commands from you.
  The stimulus of conversation suspends the terror that haunts my mind;
  but when I am alone, the horrors I have suffered from laudanum, the
  degradation, the blighted utility, almost overwhelm me. If (as I feel
  for the 'first time' a soothing confidence it will prove) I
  should leave you restored to my moral and bodily health, it is not
  myself only that will love and honour you; every friend I have, (and
  thank God! in spite of this wretched vice [2] I have many and warm
  ones, who were friends of my youth, and have never deserted me,) will
  thank you with reverence. I have taken no notice of your kind
  apologies. If I could not be comfortable in your house, and with your
  family, I should deserve to be miserable. If you could make it
  convenient, I should wish to be with you by Monday evening, as it
  would prevent the necessity of taking fresh lodgings in town.

  With respectful compliments to Mrs. Gillman and her sister, I remain,
  dear sir,

  Your much obliged,


On the evening appointed, Coleridge came, bringing in his hand the proof
sheets of 'Christabel', which was now for the first time printed. The
fragment in manuscript was already known to many, for to many had
Coleridge read it, who had listened to it with delight--a delight so
marked that its success seemed certain. But the approbation of those
whom, in the worldly acceptation of the term, we call 'friends', is not
always to be relied upon. Among the most plausible connexions, there is
often a rivalship, both political and literary, which constrains the
sacrifice of sincerity, and substitutes secret for open censure. Of this
melancholy fact Coleridge had seen proof. The Fragment had not long been
published before he was informed, that an individual had been selected
(who was in truth a great admirer of his writings; and whose very life
had been saved through the exertions of Coleridge and Mr. Southey,) to
"'cut up'" Christabel in the Edinburgh Review. The subject being
afterwards mentioned in conversation, the reviewer confessed that he was
the writer of the article, but observed, that as he wrote for the
Edinburgh Review, he was compelled to write in accordance with the
character and tone of that periodical. This confession took place after
he had been extolling the Christabel as the finest poem of its kind in
the language, and ridiculing the public for their want of taste and
discrimination in not admiring it.--Truly has it been said,

  "Critics upon all writers there are many,
  Planters of truth or knowledge scarcely any."

Sir Walter Scott always spoke in high praise of the Christabel, and more
than once of his obligations to Coleridge; of this we have proof in his
Ivanhoe, in which the lines by Coleridge, entitled "The Knight's Tomb,"
were quoted by Scott before they were published, from which
circumstance, Coleridge was convinced that Sir Walter was the author of
the Waverly Novels. The lines were composed as an experiment for a
metre, and repeated by him to a mutual friend--this gentleman the
following day dined in company with Sir Walter Scott, and spoke of his
visit to Highgate, repeating Coleridge's lines to Scott, and observing
at the same time, that they might be acceptable to the author of


  Where is the grave of Sir Arthur O'Kellyn?
  Where may the grave of that good man be?--
  By the side of a spring, on the breast of Helvellyn,
  Under the twigs of a young birch tree!
  The Oak that in summer was sweet to hear,
  And rustled its leaves in the fall of the year;
  And whistled and roar'd in the winter alone,
  Is gone,--and the birch in its stead is grown.--
  The Knight's bones are dust,
  And his good sword rust;--
  His soul is with the saints, I trust.

  'Poetical Works', Vol. ii. p. 64.

The late Mr. Sotheby informed me, that, at his house in a large party,
Sir Walter made the following remark:

  "I am indebted to Coleridge for the mode of telling a tale by question
  and answer. This was a new light to me, and I was greatly struck by

Yet when Sir Walter said this, he must surely have forgotten many of our
ancient and most beautiful ballads, in which the questions are so
significant, and are made to develope the progress of the fable more
clearly than could be affected by the ordinary course of narration. In
fact every lover of our old poetry will recollect a hundred pieces in
which the same form of evolution is observed. Thus in 'Johnie of Breadis

  "What news, what news, ye grey-headed carle,
  What news bring ye to me?"

And in 'Halbert the Grim':

  "There is pity in many,--
    Is there any in him?
  No! ruth is a strange guest
    To Halbert the Grim."

Scott particularly admired Coleridge's management of the supernatural.
The "flesh and blood reality," given to Geraldine, the life, the power
of appearing and disappearing equally by day as by night, constitutes
the peculiar merit of the Christabel: and those poets who admire, and
have reflected much on the supernatural, have ever considered it one of
the greatest efforts of genius. But the effect has ever been degraded by
unnatural combinations. Thus on the stage, where such creations are the
most frequent, it has been the custom for stage-managers to choose
'male' actors for the female parts. In 'Macbeth', men are called on to
stir the caldron and other witcheries requiring muscular power. Again,
when Macbeth listens to those extraordinary beings, who, with muttering
spells, with charms, foreknowledge and incantations imperfectly
announced to him his fate; he, with an air of command, says, "Speak!"
&c. They shew their power, and give their best answer by disappearing.
The manner of representing this is unnatural, as exhibited by our
managers. Coleridge observed, that it would be better to withdraw the
light from the stage, than to exhibit these miserable attempts at
vanishing, [3] though could the thought have been well executed, he
considered it a master-stroke of Shakspeare's. Yet it should be noticed,
that Coleridge's opinion was, that some of the plays of our
"myriad-minded" bard ought never to be acted, but looked on as poems to
be read, and contemplated; and so fully was he impressed with this
feeling, that in his gayer moments he would often say, "There should be
an Act of Parliament to prohibit their representation." [4] Here 'he'
excelled: he has no incongruities, no gross illusions. In the management
of the supernatural, the only successful poets among our own countrymen
have been Shakspeare and Coleridge. Scott has treated it well in the
Bride of Lammermoor, and in one or two other works.

Of the Christabel, as now published, Coleridge says, "The first part was
composed in 1797." This was the Annus Mirabilis of this great man; in it
he was in his best and strongest health. He returned from Germany in
1799, and in the year following wrote the 'second' part, in the preface
to which he observes, "Till very lately my poetic powers have been in a
state of suspended animation." The subject indeed remained present to
his mind, though from bad health and other causes, it was left as a mere
fragment of his poetic power. When in health he sometimes said, "This
poem comes upon me with all the loveliness of a vision;" and he
declared, that though contrary to the advice of his friends, he should
finish it: At other times when his bodily powers failed him, he would
then say, "I am reserved for other works than making verse."

In the preface to the Christabel, he makes the following observation:

  "It is probable," he says, "that if the poem had been finished at
  either of the former periods, 'i.e'. 1797 and 1800, or if even the
  first and second part of this fragment had been published in the year
  1800, the impression of its originality would have been much greater
  than I dare at present expect. But for this, I have only my own
  indolence to blame. The dates are mentioned for the exclusive purpose
  of precluding charges of plagiarism or servile imitation from myself.
  For there is among us a set of critics who seem to hold, that every
  possible thought and image is traditional; who have no notion that
  there are such things as fountains in the world, small as well as
  great; and who would therefore charitably derive every rill, they
  behold flowing, from a perforation made in some other man's tank. I am
  confident, however, that as far as the present poem is concerned, the
  celebrated poets whose writings I might be suspected of having
  imitated, either in particular passages, or in the tone and the spirit
  of the whole, would be among the first to vindicate me from the
  charge, and who, on any striking coincidence, would permit me to
  address them in this dogged version of two monkish Latin hexameters:

    'Tis mine and it is likewise your's,
    But an if this will not do;
    Let it be mine, good friend! for I
    Am the poorer of the two."

  I have only to add, that the metre of the Christabel is not, properly
  speaking, irregular, though it may seem so from its being founded on a
  new principle; namely, that of counting in each line the accents, not
  the syllables. Though the latter may vary from seven to twelve, yet in
  each line the accents will be found to be only four. Nevertheless,
  this occasional variation in the number of syllables is not introduced
  wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence
  with some transition in the nature of the imagery or passion."

In conversation many of his brother poets would, like the reviewer, echo
his praises, while in secret, they were trying to deprive him of his
fair fame.

It has been said, that "Coleridge never explained the story of
Christabel." To his friends he did explain it; and in the Biographia
Literaria, he has given an account of its origin. [5]

The story of the Christabel is partly founded on the notion, that the
virtuous of this world save the wicked. The pious and good Christabel
suffers and prays for

  "The weal of her lover that is far away,"

exposed to various temptations in a foreign land; and she thus defeats
the power of evil represented in the person of Geraldine. This is one
main object of the tale.

At the opening of the poem all nature is laid under a spell:

    'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,
    And the owls have awak'ned the crowing cock;
    And hark, again! The crowing cock,
    How drowsily it crew--

    Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,
    Hath a toothless mastiff-bitch,
    From her kennel beneath the rock
    Maketh answer to the clock,
    Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;
    Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
    Sixteen short howls, not over loud;
    Some say, she sees my lady's shroud.

    Is the night chilly and dark?
    The night is chilly, but not dark.
    The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
    It covers but not hides the sky.
    The moon is behind, and at the full;
    And yet she looks both small and dull.
    The night is chill, the cloud is gray:
    'Tis a month before the month of May,
    And the Spring comes slowly up this way.

The spell is laid by an evil being, not of this world, with whom
Christabel, the heroine, is about to become connected; and who in the
darkness of the forest is meditating the wreck of all her hopes

    The lovely lady, Christabel,
    Whom her father loves so well,
    What makes her in the wood so late,
    A furlong from the castle gate?
    She had dreams all yesternight
    Of her own betrothed knight;
    And she in the midnight wood will pray
    For the weal of her lover that's far away.

    She stole along, she nothing spoke,
    The sighs she heaved were soft and low,
    And naught was green upon the oak,
    But moss and rarest misletoe:
    She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,
    And in silence prayeth she.

There are persons who have considered the description of Christabel in
the act of praying, so far from the baron's castle, too great a poetical
license. He was fully aware that all baronial castles had their chapels
and oratories attached to them,--and that in these lawless times, for
such were the middle ages, the young lady who ventured unattended beyond
the precincts of the castle, would have endangered her reputation. But
to such an imaginative mind, it would have been scarcely possible to
pass by the interesting image of Christabel, presenting itself before
him, praying by moonlight at the old oak tree. But to proceed:

    The lady sprang up suddenly,
    The lovely lady Christabel!
    It moaned as near, as near can be,
    But what it is, she cannot tell.--
    On the other side it seems to be,
    Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree.
    The night is chill; the forest bare;
    Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
    There is not wind enough in the air
    To move away the ringlet curl
    From the lovely lady's cheek--
    There is not wind enough to twirl
    The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
    That dances as often as dance it can,
    Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
    On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
    Hush, beating heart of Christabel!
    Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
    She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
    And stole to the other side of the oak.
         What sees she there?
    There she sees a damsel bright,
    Drest in a silken robe of white,
    That shadowy in the moonlight shone:
    The neck that made that white robe wan,
    Her stately neck and arms were bare;
    Her blue-veined feet unsandal'd were.
    And wildly glittered here and there
    The gems entangled in her hair.
    I guess, 'twas frightful there to see
    A lady so richly clad as she--
      Beautiful exceedingly!

This description is exquisite. Now for the mystic demon's tale of art:

    Mary mother, save me now!
    (Said Christabel,) And who art thou?
    The lady strange made answer meet,
    And her voice was faint and sweet:--
    Have pity on my sore distress,
    I scarce can speak for weariness:
    Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!
    Said Christabel, How camest thou here?
    And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
    Did thus pursue her answer meet:--

    My sire is of a noble line,
    And my name is Geraldine:
    Five warriors seized me yestermorn,
    Me, even me, a maid forlorn:
    They chok'd my cries with force and fright,
    And tied me on a palfrey white.
    The palfrey was as fleet as wind,
    And they rode furiously behind.
    They spurred amain, their steeds were white:
    And once we crossed the shade of night.
    As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,
    I have no thought what men they be;
    Nor do I know how long it is
    (For I have lain entranced I wis)
    Since one, the tallest of the five,
    Took me from the palfrey's back,
    A weary woman, scarce alive.
    Some muttered words his comrades spoke
    He placed me underneath this oak,
    He swore they would return with haste;
    Whither they went I cannot tell--
    I thought I heard, some minutes past,
    Sounds as of a castle bell.
    Stretch forth thy hand (thus ended she)
    And help a wretched maid to flee.

    Then Christabel stretched forth her hand
      And comforted fair Geraldine:
    O well, bright dame! may you command
      The service of Sir Leoline;
      And gladly our stout chivalry
    Will he send forth and friends withal,
      To guide and guard you safe and free
    Home to your noble father's hall.
    She rose: and forth with steps they passed
    That strove to be, and were not, fast.
      Her gracious stars the lady blest
      And thus spake on sweet Christabel:
      All our household are at rest,
    The hall as silent as the cell;
      Sir Leoline is weak in health,
    And may not well awakened be,
      But we will move as if in stealth,
    And I beseech your courtesy,
    This night, to share your couch with me.

    They crossed the moat, and Christabel
    Took the key that fitted well;
    A little door she opened straight,
    All in the middle of the gate;
    The gate that was ironed within and without,
    Where an army in battle array had marched out.
    The lady sank, belike through pain,
    And Christabel with might and main
    Lifted her up, a weary weight,
    Over the threshold of the gate:
    Then the lady rose again,
    And moved, as she were not in pain.

    So free from danger, free from fear,
    They crossed the court: right glad they were.

Following the popular superstition that dogs are supposed to see ghosts,
and therefore see the supernatural, the mastiff yells, when Geraldine

    Outside her kennell, the mastiff old
    Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.
    The mastiff old did not awake,
    Yet she an angry moan did make!
    And what can ail the mastiff bitch?
    Never till now she uttered yell,
    Beneath the eye of Christabel.

Geraldine had already worked upon the kindness of Christabel, so that
she had lifted her over the threshold of the gate, which Geraldine's
fallen power had prevented her passing of herself, the place being holy
and under the influence of the Virgin.

    "Praise we the Virgin all divine,
    Who hath rescued thee from thy distress,
    Alas! Alas! said Geraldine,
    I cannot speak for weariness.
    They pass the hall that echoes still,
    Pass as lightly as you will!
    The brands were flat, the brands were dying,
    Amid their own white ashes lying;
    But when the lady passed there came
    A tongue of light, a fit of flame;
    And Christabel saw the lady's eye,
    And nothing else saw she thereby
    Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall,
    Which hung in a murky old nitch in the wall.
    O! softly tread, said Christabel,
    My father seldom sleepeth well."

Geraldine, who affects to be weary, arrives at the chamber of
Christabel--this room is beautifully ornamented,

    "Carved with figures strange and sweet,
    All made out of the carver's brain,
    For a lady's chamber meet
    The lamp with twofold silver chain
    Is fasten'd to an angel's feet."

Such is the mysterious movement of this supernatural lady, that all this
is visible, and when she passed the dying brands, there came a fit of
flame, and Christabel saw the lady's eye.

    The silver lamp burns dead and dim;
    But Christabel the lamp will trim.
    She trimm'd the lamp and made it bright,
    And left it swinging to and fro,
    While Geraldine, in wretched plight,
    Sank down upon the floor below.
    O weary lady Geraldine,
    I pray you drink this cordial wine,
    It is a wine of virtuous powers;
    My mother made it of wild flowers.
    And will your mother pity me,
    Who am a maiden most forlorn?
    Christabel answer'd--Woe is me!
    She died the hour that I was born,
    I have heard the grey-hair'd friar tell,
    How on her death-bed she did say,
    That she should hear the castle bell
    Strike twelve upon my wedding-day.
    O mother dear! that thou wert here!
    I would, said Geraldine, she were!

The poet now introduces the real object of the supernatural
transformation: the spirit of evil struggles with the deceased and
sainted mother of Christabel for the possession of the lady. To render
the scene more impressive, the mother instantly appears, though she is
invisible to her daughter. Geraldine exclaims in a commanding voice

    "Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine!
    I have power to bid thee flee?"
    Alas! what ails poor Geraldine?
    Why stares she with unsettled eye
    Can she the bodiless dead espy?
    And why with hollow voice cries she,
    "Off, woman, off! this hour is mine--
    Though thou her guardian spirit be,
    "Off, woman, off! 'tis given to me."

Here, Geraldine seems to be struggling with the spirit of Christabel's
mother, over which for a time she obtains the mastery.

    Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,
    And rais'd to heaven her eyes so blue--
    Alas! said she, this ghastly ride--
    Dear lady! it hath wilder'd you!
    The lady wiped her moist cold brow,
    And faintly said, "'Tis over now!"

    Again the wild-flower wine she drank,
    Her fair large eyes 'gan glitter bright,
    And from the floor whereon she sank,
    The lofty lady stood upright
    She was most beautiful to see,
    Like a lady of a far countrée.

    And thus the lofty lady spake--
    All they who live in the upper sky,
    Do love you, holy Christabel!
    And you love them, and for their sake
    And for the good which me befell,
    Even I in my degree will try,
    Fair maiden to requite you well.
    But now unrobe yourself: for I
    Must pray, ere yet in bed I lie.

    Quoth Christabel, so let it be!
    And as the lady bade, did she.
    Her gentle limbs did she undress,
    And lay down in her loveliness.

But all this had given rise to so many different thoughts and feelings,
that she could not compose herself for sleep, so she sits up in her bed
to look at Geraldine who drew in her breath aloud, and unbound her
cincture. Her silken robe and inner vest then drop to her feet, and she
discovers her hideous form:

    A sight to dream of, not to tell!
    O shield her, shield sweet Christabel!
    Yet Geraldine nor speaks--nor stirs;
    Ah! what a stricken look was hers!

She then lies down by the side of Christabel, and takes her to her arms,
saying in a low voice these words:

    In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell,
    Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel!
    Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to-morrow,
    This mark of my shame, this seal of my sorrow;
    But vainly thou warrest,
    For this is alone in
    Thy power to declare,
    That in the dim forest
    Thou heardst a low moaning,
    And found'st a bright lady, surpassingly fair
    And didst bring her home with thee in love and in charity,
    To shield her and shelter her from the damp air.

The conclusion to part the first is a beautiful and well drawn picture,
slightly recapitulating some of the circumstances of the opening of the


    It was a lovely sight to see,
    The lady Christabel, when she
    Was praying at the old oak tree.
    Amid the jagged shadows
    Of mossy leafless boughs,
    Kneeling in the moonlight,
    To make her gentle vows;
    Her slender palms together prest,
    Heaving sometimes on her breast;
    Her face resigned to bliss or bale--
    Her face, oh call it fair, not pale,
    And both blue eyes more bright than clear,
    Each about to have a tear.

    With open eyes (ah woe is me!)
    Asleep and dreaming fearfully,
    Fearfully dreaming, yet I wis,
    Dreaming that alone which is--
    O sorrow and shame! Can this be she,
    The lady who knelt at the old oak tree?
    And lo! the worker of these harms,
    That holds the maiden in her arms,
    Seems to slumber still and mild
    As a mother with her child.

    A star hath set, a star hath risen,
    O Geraldine! since arms of thine
    Have been the lovely lady's prison.
    O Geraldine! one hour was thine--
    Thou'st had thy will! By tairn and rill,
    The night-birds all that hour were still.

At the ceasing of the spell, the joyousness of the birds is described,
and also the awakening of Christabel as from a trance.--During this rest
(her mother) the guardian angel is supposed to have been watching over
her. But these passages could not escape coarse minded critics, who put
a construction on them which never entered the mind of the author of
Christabel, whose poems are marked by delicacy.

The effects of the apparition of her mother, supposed to be seen by
Christabel in a vision, are thus described:

    What if her guardian spirit 'twere,
    What if she knew her mother near?
    But this she knows, in joys and woes,
    That saints will aid if men will call:
    For the blue sky bends over all!

Here terminates the first canto.

The passage from this sleep and the reappearance by day-light of
Geraldine, has always been considered a master-piece.

The second part begins with a moral reflection, and introduces Sir
Leoline, the father of Christabel, with the following observation, on
his rising in the morning:

    Each matin bell, the Baron saith!
    Knells us back to a world of death.
    These words Sir Leoline first said
    When he rose and found his lady dead.
    These words Sir Leoline will say
    Many a morn to his dying day.

After a popular custom of the country, the old bard Bracy is introduced.
Geraldine rises, puts on her silken vestments--tricks her hair, and not
doubting her spell, she awakens Christabel,

    "Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel?
    I trust that you have rested well."
    And Christabel awoke and spied
    The same who lay down by her side--
    O rather say, the same whom she
    Rais'd up beneath the old oak tree!
    Nay fairer yet, and yet more fair!
    For she belike hath drunken deep
    Of all the blessedness of sleep!
    And while she spake, her looks, her air
    Such gentle thankfulness declare;
    That (so it seem'd) her girded vests
    Grew tight beneath her heaving breasts.
    "Sure I have sinn'd!" said Christabel,
    "Now heaven be prais'd if all be well!"
    And in low faultering tones, yet sweet,
    Did she the lofty lady greet;
    With such perplexity of mind
    As dreams too lively leave behind.

Christabel then leaves her couch, and having offered up her prayers, she
leads fair Geraldine to meet the Baron.--They enter his presence room,
when her father rises, and while pressing his daughter to his breast, he
espies the lady Geraldine, to whom he gives such welcome as

  "Might beseem so bright a dame!"

But when the Baron hears her tale, and her father's name, the poet
enquires feelingly:

    Why wax'd Sir Leoline so pale,
    Murmuring o'er the name again,
    Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine?

    Alas! they had been friends in youth;
    But whispering tongues can poison truth;
    And constancy lives in realms above;
    And life is thorny; and youth is vain;
    And to be wroth with one we love,
    Doth work like madness in the brain.
    And thus it chanc'd, as I divine,
    With Roland and Sir Leoline.
    Each spake words of high disdain
    And insult to his heart's best brother:
    They parted--never to meet again!
    But never either found another
    To free the hollow heart from paining--
    They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
    Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
    A dreary sea now flows between;--
    But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
    Shall wholly do away, I ween,
    The marks of that which once hath been.

Sir Leoline gazed for a moment on the face of Geraldine, and the
youthful Lord of Tryermaine again came back upon his heart. He is then
described as forgetting his age, and his noble heart swells with

He then affectionately takes Geraldine in his arms, who meets the

    "Prolonging it with joyous look,
    Which when she viewed, a vision fell
    Upon the soul of Christabel,
    The vision of fear, the touch and pain!
    She shrunk and shudder'd and saw again
    (Ah woe is me! Was it for thee,
    Thou gentle maid! such sights to see?)

Geraldine then appears to her in her real character, ('half' human
only,) the sight of which alarms Christabel. The Baron mistakes for
jealousy this alarm in his daughter, which was induced by fear of
Geraldine, and had been the sole cause of her unconsciously imitating
the "hissing sound:"

    Whereat the Knight turn'd wildly round,
    And nothing saw, but his own sweet maid
    With eyes uprais'd, as one that pray'd.

This touch, this sight passed away, and left in its stead the vision of
her guardian angel (her mother) which had comforted her after rest, and
having sought consolation in prayer, her countenance resumes its natural
serenity and sweetness. The Baron surprised at these sudden transitions,

  "What ails then my beloved child?"

Christabel makes answer:

              "All will yet be well!"
    I ween, she had no power to tell
    Aught else: so mighty was the spell.

Yet the Baron seemed so captivated by Geraldine, as to "deem her a thing
divine." She pretended much sorrow, and feared she might have offended
Christabel, praying with humility to be sent home immediately.

    Nay--by my soul!" said Leoline.
    "Ho!--Bracy, the bard, the charge be thine!
    Go thou with music sweet and loud
    And take two steeds with trappings proud;
    And take the youth whom thou lov'st best
    To bear thy harp and learn thy song,
    And clothe you both in solemn vest
    And over the mountains haste along.

He is desired to continue his way to the castle of Tryermaine. Bracy is
thus made to act in a double capacity, as bard and herald: in the first,
he is to announce to Lord Roland the safety of his daughter in Langdale
Hall; in the second as herald to the Baron, he is to convey an apology
according to the custom of that day,

    "He bids thee come without delay,
    With all thy numerous array;
    And take thy lovely daughter home,
    And he will meet thee on the way,
    With all his numerous array;
    White with their panting palfrey's foam,
    And by mine honour! I will say,
    That I repent me of the day;
    When I spake words of fierce disdain,
    To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine!--
    For since that evil hour hath flown,
    Many a summer's sun hath shone;
    Yet ne'er found I a friend again
    Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine."
    The lady fell, and clasped his knees,
    Her face upraised, her eyes o'erflowing,
    And Bracy replied, with faltering voice,
    His gracious hail on all bestowing:--
    Thy words, thou sire of Christabel,
    Are sweeter than my harp can tell.
    Yet might I gain a boon of thee,
    This day my journey should not be,
    So strange a dream hath come to me:
    That I had vow'd with music loud
    To clear yon wood from thing unblest,
    Warn'd by a vision in my rest!

The dream is then related by Bracy; it is an outline of the past, and a
prophecy of the future.--The Baron listens with a smile, turns round,
and looks at Geraldine,

    "His eyes made up of wonder and love;
    And said in courtly accents fine,
    Sweet maid, Lord Roland's beauteous dove,
    With arms more strong than harp or song,
    Thy sire and I will crush the snake!"
    He kissed her forehead as he spake,
    And Geraldine in maiden wise,
    Casting down her large bright eyes;
    With blushing cheek and courtesy fine,
    She turn'd her from Sir Leoline;
    Softly gathering up her train,
    That o'er her right arm fell again;
    And folded her arms across her chest,
    And couch'd her head upon her breast.
    And look'd askance at Christabel--
    Jesu, Maria, shield her well!

Then takes place that extraordinary change which, being read in a party
at Lord Byron's, is said to have caused Shelley to faint:

    A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,
    And the lady's eyes, they shrunk in her head,
    Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye,
    And with somewhat of malice, and more of dread
    At Christabel she looked askance!--
    One moment,--and the sight was fled!
    But Christabel in dizzy trance,
    Stumbling on the unsteady ground--
    Shudder'd aloud, with a hissing sound;
    And Geraldine again turn'd round,
    And like a thing, that sought relief,
    Full of wonder and full of grief;
    She roll'd her large bright eyes divine,
    Wildly on Sir Leoline.

    The maid, alas! her thoughts are gone,
    She nothing sees--no sight but one!

The look, those shrunken serpent eyes, had made such a deep impression
on Christabel,

    That all her features were resign'd
    To the sole image in her mind:
    And passively did imitate
    That look of dull and treacherous hate.
    And thus she stood in dizzy trance,
    Still picturing that look askance.

    But when the trance was o'er, the maid
    Paus'd awhile and inly pray'd,
    "By my mother's soul do I entreat
    That thou this woman send away!"
    She said, and more she could not say,
    For what she knew she could not tell
    O'er master'd by the mighty spell.

The poet now describes the Baron as suffering under the confused
emotions of love for Christabel, and anger at her apparent jealousy, and
the insult offered to the daughter of his friend, which so wrought upon
him that,

    He roll'd his eye with stern regard
    Upon the gentle minstrel bard,
    And said in tones abrupt, austere--
    "Why, Bracy? dost thou loiter here?
    "I bade thee hence!" The bard obey'd,
    And turning from his own sweet maid,
    The aged knight, Sir Leoline
    Led forth the lady Geraldine!

Here ends the second canto.

In the conclusion to the second canto, he speaks of a child and its
father's fondness, so often expressed by "you little rogue," " you
little rascal," with an endearing kiss, says:

    A little child, a limber elf,
    Singing, dancing to itself;
    A fairy thing with red round cheeks,
    That always finds and never seeks;
    Makes such a vision to the sight,
    As fills a father's eyes with light;
    And pleasures flow in so thick and fast
    Upon his heart, that he at last
    Must needs express his love's excess,
    With words of unmeant bitterness.

The following relation was to have occupied a third and fourth canto,
and to have closed the tale.

Over the mountains, the Bard, as directed by Sir Leoline, "hastes" with
his disciple; but in consequence of one of those inundations supposed to
be common to this country, the spot only where the castle once stood is
discovered,--the edifice itself being washed away. He determines to
return. Geraldine being acquainted with all that is passing, like the
Weird Sisters in Macbeth, vanishes. Re-appearing, however, she waits the
return of the Bard, exciting in the mean time, by her wily arts, all the
anger she could rouse in the Baron's breast, as well as that jealousy of
which he is described to have been susceptible. The old Bard and the
youth at length arrive, and therefore she can no longer personate the
character of Geraldine, the daughter of Lord Roland de Vaux, but changes
her appearance to that of the accepted though absent lover of
Christabel. Next ensues a courtship most distressing to Christabel, who
feels--she knows not why--great disgust for her once favoured knight.
This coldness is very painful to the Baron, who has no more conception
than herself of the supernatural transformation. She at last yields to
her father's entreaties, and consents to approach the altar with this
hated suitor. The real lover returning, enters at this moment, and
produces the ring which she had once given him in sign of her
betrothment. Thus defeated, the supernatural being Geraldine disappears.
As predicted, the castle bell tolls, the mother's voice is heard, and to
the exceeding great joy of the parties, the rightful marriage takes
place, after which follows a reconciliation and explanation between the
father and daughter.

Lamb, who visited us soon after Coleridge's death, and not long before
his own, talking of the Christabel, observed, "I was very angry with
Coleridge, when I first heard that he had written a second canto, and
that he intended to finish it; but when I read the beautiful apostrophe
to the two friends, it calmed me." He was one of those who strongly
recommended Coleridge to leave as a fragment what he had so beautifully
begun. With the first edition of the Christabel was given Kubla Khan,
the dream within a dream, written in harmonious and fluent rhythm.
'The Pains of Sleep' was also added. This is a poem communicating a
portion of his personal sufferings. [6] All these were published in

In the introduction to 'The Lay of the last Minstrel', 1830, Sir
Walter says,

  "Were I ever to take the unbecoming freedom of censuring a man of Mr.
  Coleridge's extraordinary talents, it would be on account of the
  caprice and indolence with which he has thrown from him, as in mere
  wantonness, those unfinished scraps of poetry, which, like the Tasso
  of antiquity, defied the skill of his poetical brethren to complete
  them. The charming fragments which the author abandons to their fate,
  are surely too valuable to be treated like the proofs of careless
  engravers, the sweepings of whose studies often make the fortune of
  some pains-taking collector. And in a note to the Abbot, alluding to
  Coleridge's beautiful and tantalizing fragment of Christabel, he adds,
  Has not our own imaginative poet cause to fear that future ages will
  desire to summon him from his place of rest, as Milton longed

    'To call up him who left half told
    The story of Cambuscam bold.'"

Since writing the preceding pages, I have met with a critique on the
Christabel, written immediately after it was published, from which I
select a few passages, in the hope that they may further interest the
admirers of this poem:

  'The publication of Christabel cannot be an indifferent circumstance
  to any true lover of poetry--it is a singular monument of genius, and
  we doubt whether the fragmental beauty that it now possesses can be
  advantageously exchanged for the wholeness of a finished narrative. In
  its present form it lays irresistible hold of the imagination. It
  interests even by what it leaves untold.--The story is like a dream of
  lovely forms, mixed with strange and indescribable terrors. The scene,
  the personages, are those of old romantic superstition; but we feel
  intimate with them, as if they were of our own day, and of our own
  neighbourhood. It is impossible not to suppose that we have known
  "sweet Christabel," from the time when she was "a fairy thing, with
  red round cheeks," till she had grown up, through all the engaging
  prettinesses of childhood, and the increasing charms of youth, to be
  the pure and dignified creature, which we find her at the opening of
  the poem. The scene is laid at midnight, in the yet leafless wood, a
  furlong from the castle-gate of the rich Baron Sir Leoline, whose
  daughter, "the lovely Lady Christabel," has come, in consequence of a
  vow, to pray at the old oak tree, "for the weal of her lover that's
  far away." In the midst of her orisons she is suddenly alarmed by a
  moaning near her, which turns out to be the complaint of the Lady
  Geraldine, who relates, that she had been carried off by warriors, and
  brought to this wild wood, where they had left her with intent quickly
  to return. This story of Geraldine's easily obtains credence from the
  unsuspecting Christabel, who conducts her secretly to a chamber in the
  castle. There the mild and beautiful Geraldine seems transformed in
  language and appearance to a sorceress, contending with the spirit of
  Christabel's deceased mother for the mastery over her daughter; but
  Christabel's lips are sealed by a spell. What she knows she cannot
  utter; and scarcely can she herself believe that she knows it.

  On the return of morning, Geraldine, in all her pristine beauty,
  accompanies the innocent but perplexed Christabel to the presence of
  the Baron, who is delighted when he learns that she is the daughter of
  his once loved friend, Sir Roland de Vaux, of Tryermaine.--We shall
  not pursue the distress of Christabel, the mysterious warnings of
  Bracy the Bard, the assumed sorrow of Geraldine, or the indignation of
  Sir Leoline, at his daughter's seemingly causeless jealousy--what we
  have principally to remark with respect to the tale is, that, wild and
  romantic and visionary as it is, it has a truth of its own, which
  seizes on and masters the imagination from the beginning to the end.
  The poet unveils with exquisite skill the finer ties of imagination
  and feeling by which they are linked to the human heart.

  The elements of our sensibility, to all that concerns fair
  Christabel, are of the purest texture; they are not formally announced
  in a set description, but they accompany and mark her every movement
  throughout the piece--Incessu patuit Dea.--She is the support of her
  noble father's declining age--sanctified by the blessing of her
  departed mother--the beloved of a valorous and absent knight--the
  delight and admiration of an inspired bard--she is a being made up of
  tenderness, affection, sweetness, piety! There is a fine
  discrimination in the descriptions of Christabel and Geraldine,
  between the lovely and the merely beautiful. There is a moral
  sensitiveness about Christabel, which none but a true poet could
  seize. It would be difficult to find a more delicate touch of this
  kind in any writer, than her anxious exclamation when, in passing the
  hall with Geraldine, a gleam bursts from the dying embers.

  Next in point of merit to the power which Mr. Coleridge has displayed,
  in interesting us by the moral beauty of his heroine, comes the skill
  with which he has wrought the feelings and fictions of superstition
  into shape. The witchlike Geraldine lying down by the side of
  Christabel, and uttering the spell over her, makes the reader thrill
  with indefinable horror.

  We find another striking excellence of this poem, and which powerfully
  affects every reader, by placing, as it were before his eyes, a
  distinct picture of the events narrated, with all their appendages of
  sight and sound--the dim forest--the massive castle-gate--the angry
  moan of the sleeping mastiff--the sudden flash of the dying
  embers--the echoing hall--the carved chamber, with its curious
  lamp--in short, all that enriches and adorns this tale, with a
  luxuriance of imagination seldom equalled.' [7]

Whilst in the full enjoyment of his creative powers, Coleridge wrote in
a letter to a friend the following critique on "the Hymn before Sunrise
in the Vale of Chamouni," which is supposed to have been composed about
the time of the Christabel, though not published till 1816, in the
Sibylline Leaves. It will serve to shew how freely he assented to the
opinions of his friends, and with what candour he criticised his own
poems, recording his opinions whether of censure or of praise:--

  "In a copy of verses, entitled 'a Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of
  Chamouni,' I describe myself under the influence of strong devotional
  feelings, gazing on the mountain, till as if it had been a shape
  emanating from and sensibly representing her own essence, my soul had
  become diffused through the mighty vision and there,

    'As in her natural form, swell'd vast to Heaven.'

  Mr. Wordsworth, I remember, censured the passage as strained and
  unnatural, and condemned the hymn in toto, (which, nevertheless, I
  ventured to publish in my 'Sibylline Leaves,') as a specimen of the
  mock sublime. It may be so for others, but it is impossible that I
  should myself find it unnatural, being conscious that it was the image
  and utterance of thoughts and emotions in which there was no mockery.
  Yet, on the other hand, I could readily believe that the mood and
  habit of mind out of which the hymn rose, that differs from Milton's
  and Thomson's and from the psalms, the source of all three, in the
  author's addressing himself to 'individual' objects actually present
  to his senses, while his great predecessors apostrophize 'classes' of
  things presented by the memory, and generalized by the understanding;
 --I can readily believe, I say, that in this there may be too much of
  what our learned 'med'ciners' call the 'idiosyncratic' for true
  poetry.--For, from my very childhood, I have been accustomed to
  'abstract', and as it were, unrealize whatever of more than common
  interest my eyes dwelt on, and then by a sort of transfusion and
  transmission of my consciousness to identify myself with the object;
  and I have often thought within the last five or six years, that if
  ever I should feel once again the genial warmth and stir of the poetic
  impulse, and refer to my own experiences, I should venture on a yet
  stranger and wilder allegory than of yore--that I would allegorize
  myself as a rock, with its summit just raised above the surface of
  some bay or strait in the Arctic Sea, 'while yet the stern and
  solitary night brooked no alternate sway'--all around me fixed and
  firm, methought, as my own substance, and near me lofty masses, that
  might have seemed to 'hold the moon and stars in fee,' and often in
  such wild play with meteoric lights, or with the quiet shine from
  above, which they made rebound in sparkles, or dispand in off-shoot,
  and splinters, and iridiscent needle shafts of keenest glitter, that
  it was a pride and a place of healing to lie, as in an apostle's
  shadow, within the eclipse and deep substance-seeming gloom of 'these
  dread ambassadors from earth to heaven, great hierarchs!' And though
  obscured, yet to think myself obscured by consubstantial forms, based
  in the same foundation as my own. I grieved not to serve them--yea,
  lovingly and with gladsomeness I abased myself in their presence: for
  they are my brothers, I said, and the mastery is theirs by right of
  older birth, and by right of the mightier strivings of the hidden fire
  that uplifted them above me."

This poem has excited much discussion, and many individuals have
expressed different opinions as to its origin. Some assert that it is
borrowed from our own great poets; whilst German readers say, that it is
little more than a free translation from a poem of Frederica Brun. That
it is founded on Frederica Brun's poem cannot be doubted; but those who
compare the two poems must at once feel, that to call Coleridge's a
translation, containing as it does new thoughts, exciting different
feelings, and being in fact a new birth, a glorification of the
original, would be a misuse of words. I insert the following note of
Coleridge's, which appears applicable to the subject:

  "In looking at objects of nature, while I am thinking, as at yonder
  moon dim-glimmering through the dewy window-pane, I seem rather to be
  seeking, as it were 'asking', a symbolical language for something
  within me that already and for ever exists, than observing any thing
  new. Even when that latter is the case, yet still I have always an
  obscure feeling, as if that new phoenomenon were the dim awaking of a
  forgotten or hidden truth of my inner nature.--It is still interesting
  as a word, a symbol! It is the [Greek: logos], the Creator! and the
  Evolver! What is the right, the virtuous feeling and consequent
  action, when a man having long meditated and perceived a certain truth
  finds another, a foreign writer, who has handled the same with an
  approximation to the truth, as he had previously conceived it? Joy!
  Let truth make her voice audible! While I was preparing the pen to
  write this remark I lost the train of thought which had led me to it.
  I meant to have asked something else, now forgotten for the above
  answers itself--it needed no new answer, I trust, in my heart."

  '15th April, 1805'.

Coleridge, who was an honest man, was equally honest in literature; and
had he thought himself indebted to any other author, he would have
acknowledged the same.

Born a poet, and a philosopher, by reflection, the mysterious depths of
nature and the enquiry into these depths were among his chief delights.
And from boyhood he had felt that it was the business of this life, to
prepare for that which is to come. His schoolfellow, Lamb, also
observed, that from his youth upward, "he hungered for eternity,"
sincerely and fervently praying to be so enlightened as to attain it.

Though usually described "as doing nothing,"--"an idler," "a dreamer,"
and by many such epithets--he sent forth works which, though they had
cost him years of thought, never brought him any suitable return. In a
note written in 1825, speaking of himself, he says,

  "A man of letters, friendless, because of no faction: repeatedly, and
  in strong language inculpated of hiding his light under a bushel, yet
  destined to see publication after publication abused by the Edinburgh
  Review, as the representative of one party, and not even noticed by
  the Quarterly Review, as the representative of the other--and to
  receive as the meed of his labours for the cause of freedom against
  despotism and jacobinism, of the church against infidelity and schism;
  and of principle against fashion and sciolism, slander, loss, and

If, however, we were to collect the epithets applied to Milton in his
time, they would now appear incredible;--so when the misconceptions
arising from slander shall have ceased, the name of Coleridge will be
enrolled among those of our most illustrious men. The poet has said of
Gay, "in wit, a 'man'; simplicity, a 'child'."

But such was the extent and grasp of Coleridge's intellectual powers,
that of him it may be said, "In wit, a giant; in simplicity, a very
child." Though conscious of his own powers, with other men, he walked
most humbly, and whatever their station or acquirements, he would talk
to them as equals. He seemed but slightly connected with the things of
the world, for which, save the love of those dear to him, he cared but
little, living in this affection for his friends, and always feeling and
acting in the spirit of that humility he has so beautifully described.
"That humility which is the mother of charity," and which was in-woven
in his being, revealing itself in all his intercourse throughout the
day--for he looked on man as God's creature. All that he thought and
taught was put forth in the same spirit and with the strongest sense of
duty, so that they might learn of him with pleasure. Whatever be
considered the faulty part of his own character, he freely acknowledged
to others, with an admonition to avoid the like. His sensitive nature
induced a too great proneness to a self-accusing spirit; yet in this was
there no affected humility, though it might unfortunately dispose some
to think evil of him where little or none existed, or form an excuse to
others for their neglect of him. With respect to other men, however, all
his feelings and judgments ever gave proof of the very reverse. The
natural piety of his mind, led him most frequently to dwell on the
thought of time and eternity, and was the cause of his discussions
'ending' generally with theology.

During the first week of his residence at Highgate, he conversed
frequently on the Trinity and on Unitarianism, and in one of these
conversations, his eye being attracted by a large cowry, very handsomely

  "Observe," said he, "this shell, and the beauty of its exterior here
  pourtrayed. Reverse it and place it to your ear, you will find it
  empty, and a hollow murmuring sound issuing from the cavity in which
  the animal once resided. This shell, with all its beautiful spots, was
  secreted by the creature when living within it, but being plucked out,
  nothing remains save the hollow sound for the ear. Such is
  Unitarianism; it owes any beauty it may have left to the Christianity
  from which it separated itself. The teachers of Unitarianism have
  severed from 'their' Christianity its 'Life', [8] by removing the
  doctrine of St. John; and thus mutilated, 'they' call the residue the
  religion of Christ, implying the whole of the system, but omitting in
  their teaching the doctrine of redemption."

This illustration reminds me of what took place between two men well
known in the literary world, who were at a dinner party together, both
dissenters,--one a Unitarian. In the evening, tea was brought on a large
silver waiter. They were popular writers of the day. One of them
observing the salver facetiously cried out, "See how we authors swim."
"Read the inscription on it," said the kindhearted Unitarian: his friend
did so, and seeing that it had been presented in token of satisfaction
for his friend's labours in the "Improved Version of the New Testament,"
emphatically exclaimed, "Take it away! I am a Unitarian, because I am a
Trinitarian; you have hitherto at least adopted a misnomer." Twenty-five
years since the Unitarians were of two creeds; one class materialists,
the other immaterialists, but both agreeing that Christ was only an
inspired 'man'. If I am rightly informed, they are not more orthodox at
the present day.

When Coleridge was among the Unitarians, his deeper course of reasoning
had not yet commenced. During his school education he became a Socinian;
the personality of the Trinity had staggered him, and he in consequence
preached for a short time at different Unitarian meetings; but in the
course of examination, he found that the doctrines he had to deliver
were mere moral truths, while he was "craving for a 'faith'," his heart
being with Paul and John, though his head was with Spinoza. In after
life, speaking of his conversion to Christianity, he often repeated--He
did not believe in the Trinity, because to him at that time, the belief
seemed contradictory to reason and scripture. "What care I," said he,
"for Rabbi Paul, or Rabbi John, if they be opposed to moral sense." This
was going a step beyond the Socinians, but this step was the means of
his being reclaimed from error, for having by his course of reasoning
gradually diminished "even this faith," that which remained with him was
so small, that it altogether sank into unbelief; and he then felt
compelled to retrace his steps from the point whence he had started. Led
by further enquiries after truth, deeper meditation revealed to him the
true value of the scriptures; and at the same time his philosophic views
enlarging, he found that the doctrine of the Trinity was not contrary to
reason--to reason in its highest sense; and he then discovered how far
he had misbelieved, or had been, as he stated, puffed up by Socinian
views. On quitting Shrewsbury and returning to Bristol, he seceded from
the Unitarians, and observed, that if they had attempted to play the
same tricks with a neighbour's will, which they had done with the New
Testament, they would deserve to be put in the pillory. He continued
attached to the writings of St. John and St. Paul, for thirty-four years
of his life, [9] and having grown in strength with increase of years, he
died in the faith of these apostles. And yet but lately did it appear in
print, that "he was ever shifting his opinions."

When at Cambridge, his acquaintance with Mr. Frend led him to study the
philosophy of Hartley, and he became one of his disciples. Perhaps the
love of Coleridge for his college, "the ever honoured Jesus," might have
had some share in the cause of his early predilection in favour of
Hartley. He too was the son of a clergyman, was admitted to Jesus at the
age of fifteen, and became a fellow in 1705. According to the account
given of him by his biographer, Coleridge in several respects seems to
have resembled him. All his early studies were intended to fit him for
the church, but scruples arose in his mind, because he could not
conscientiously subscribe to the thirty-nine articles: he therefore gave
up all thoughts of the clerical profession, and entered the medical, for
which, as Coleridge himself states, he also had had the most ardent
desire. Hartley, when he had taken his degree, practised physic; and his
knowledge, his general acquirements, his sensibility, and his
benevolence, made him an ornament to the profession. In this profession
too, Coleridge, had circumstances allowed him to enter it, must have
been pre-eminent. Hartley, like Coleridge, was formed for sympathy and
all the charities of life--his countenance was benign--his manners were
gentle--and his eloquence pathetic and commanding. He first practised at
Newark, and afterwards removed to Bury St. Edmonds, where he ended his
career, dying in 1757, at the age of fifty-two. He was much afflicted
with stone, and was in part the means of procuring from the government
five thousand pounds for Mrs. Stevens, as a reward for the secret of
preparing the solvent, sold and advertised in her name. In 1740, he
published the work on which his fame rests, under the title of
'Observations on Man, his frame, his duty, and his expectations.' In it
he expounded his doctrine of vibrations, and attempted by reasoning to
explain the origin and propagation of sensation, built on gratuitous
assumption of certain vibrations of the brain and nerves, coupled by
association. Coleridge on his visit to Germany, soon made himself master
of this subject. In his Biographia Literaria, he devotes a chapter to
the examination of the work, and having seen the hollowness of the
argument, abandoned it. While in Germany, Coleridge also studied Des
Cartes, and saw the source of Locke's Theory, from which he entirely
differed. He next turned his attention to Spinoza, but with a mind so
logically formed, and so energetic in the search after truth, it was
impossible for him to dwell long on a philosophy thus constructed--and
Coleridge was still left to yearn for a resting place on which to base
his faith. After he had successively studied in the schools of Locke,
Berkeley, Leibnitz, and Hartley, and could find in one of them an
abiding place for his reason;

  "I began," says he, "to ask myself, Is a system of philosophy, as
  differing from mere history and classification, possible? If possible,
  what are its necessary conditions? I was for a while disposed to
  answer the first question in the negative, and to admit that the sole
  practicable employment for the human mind was to observe, to
  recollect, and to classify. Christianity however is not a theory, or a
  speculation, but a life--not a philosophy of life, but a life and a
  living process." [10]

Spinoza being one of the writers which Coleridge, in his passage from
Socinianism to Christianity, had studied, the reader will probably be
interested with the following note, written by himself on the subject:

  "Paradoxical, as it assuredly is, I am convinced that Spinoza's
  innocence and virtue, guarded and matured into invincible habit of
  being, by a life of constant meditation and of intellectual pursuit,
  were the conditions or temptations, 'sine quibus non' of his forming
  and maintaining a system subversive of all virtue. He saw so clearly
  the 'folly' and 'absurdity' of wickedness, and felt so weakly and
  languidly the passions tempting to it, that he concluded, that nothing
  was wanting to a course of well-doing, but clear conceptions and the
  'fortitudo intellectualis'; while his very modesty, a prominent
  feature in his character, rendered him, as it did Hartley, less averse
  to the system of necessity. Add to these causes his profound
  admiration of pure mathematics, and the vast progress made in it so
  unspeakably beneficial to mankind, their bodies as well as souls, and
  souls as well as bodies; the reflection that the essence of
  mathematical science consists in discovering the absolute properties
  of forms and proportions, and how pernicious a bewilderment was
  produced in this 'sublime' science by the wild attempt of the
  Platonists, especially the later (though Plato himself is far from
  blameless in this respect,) to explain the 'final' cause of
  mathematical 'figures' and of numbers, so as to subordinate them to a
  principle of origination out of themselves; and the further comparison
  of the progress of this SCIENCE, ('pura Mathesis') which excludes all
  consideration of final cause, with the unequal and equivocal progress
  of those branches of literature which rest on, or refer to final
  causes; and that the uncertainty and mixture with error, appeared in
  proportion to such reference--and if I mistake not, we shall have the
  most important parts of the history of Spinoza's mind. It is a duty
  which we owe to truth, to distinguish Spinoza from the Voltaires,
  Humes, and the whole nest of 'popular' infidels, to make manifest how
  precious a thing is the sincere thirst of truth for the sake of truth
  undebased by vanity, appetite, and the ambition of forming a sect of
  'arguescents' and trumpeters--and that it is capable, to a wonderful
  degree, of rendering innoxious the poisonous pangs of the worst
  errors--nay, heaven educing good out of the very evil--the important
  advantages that have been derived from such men. Wise and good men
  would never have seen the true basis and bulwark of the right cause,
  if they had not been made to know and understand the whole weight and
  possible force of the wrong cause; nor would have even purified their
  own system from these admissions, on which the whole of Spinozism is
  built, and which admissions were common to all parties, and therefore
  fairly belonging to Spinoza.--Now I affirm that none but an eminently
  pure and benevolent mind could have constructed and perfected such a
  system as that of the ethics of Spinoza. Bad hearted men always 'hate'
  the religion and morality which they attack--but hatred dims and
  'inturbidates' the logical faculties. There is likewise a sort of
  lurking terror in such a heart, which renders it far too painful to
  keep a steady gaze on the being of God and the existence of
  immortality--they dare only attack it as Tartars, a hot valiant
  inroad, and then they scour off again. Equally painful is
  self-examination, for if the wretch be 'callous', the 'facts' of
  psychology will not present themselves--if not, who could go on year
  after year in a perpetual process of deliberate self-torture and
  shame. The very torment of the process would furnish facts subversive
  of the system, for which the process was instituted. The mind would at
  length be unable to disguise from itself the unequivocal 'fact' of its
  own shame and remorse, and this once felt and distinctly acknowledged,
  Spinozism is blown up as by a mine."

Coleridge had a great abhorrence of vice, and Spinoza having, in his
writings, strongly marked its debasing effects, he was from sympathy on
these points led to study his philosophy: but when on further research,
he discovered that his ethics led to Pantheism and ended in the denial
of the Deity--he abandoned these views, and gave up the study of
Spinoza. Perhaps the contemplation of such writers led him to compose
the following lines:

  But some there are who deem themselves most free,
  When they within this gross and visible sphere
  Chain down the winged thought, scoffing ascent,
  Proud in their meanness: and themselves they cheat
  With noisy emptiness of learned phrase,
  Their subtle fluids, impacts, essences,
  Self-working tools, uncaused effects, and all
  Those blind Omniscients, those Almighty slaves,
  Untenanting creation of its GOD.

  SIBYLLINE LEAVES--('Destiny of Nations'.)

The errors of this writer, however, as before observed, produced this
great advantage; he recommenced his studies with greater care and
increased ardour, and in the Gospel of St. John, discovered the
truth--the truth, as Wordsworth powerfully sings,

  "That flashed upon that inward eye,
  Which is the bliss of solitude."

Having now discovered in the Scriptures this truth, to him at that time
new and important, he pursued his philosophical researches--continually
finding what he sought for in the one, borne out and elucidated by the

After he had corrected the proof sheets of the 'Christabel', the
'Sibylline Leaves', and the 'Biographia Literaria'; they were brought to
London, and published by Rest Fenner, Paternoster Row. [11]

One of those periodical distresses, which usually visit this country
about once in nine years, took place about this time, 1816,--and he was
in consequence requested by his publisher to write on the subject. He
therefore composed two Lay Sermons, addressed to the higher and to the
middle classes of society, and had the intention of addressing a third
to the lower classes. The first sermon he named "the Statesman's Manual,
or the Bible the best guide to political skill and foresight." The
pamphlet was as might have been expected, "cut up." He was an unpopular
writer on an unpopular subject. Time was, when reviews directed the
taste of the reading public, now, on the contrary, they judge it
expedient to follow it.

But it may be well to place before the reader the expression of
Coleridge's own feelings, written after these several attacks, it may
also serve to show the persecution to which he was liable:

  "I published a work a large portion of which was professedly
  metaphysical. (First Lay Sermon.) [12]

  A delay," said he, "occurred between its first annunciation and its
  appearance; and it was reviewed by anticipation with a malignity, so
  avowedly and so exclusively personal, as is, I believe, unprecedented
  even in the present contempt of all common humanity that disgraces and
  endangers the liberty of the press. 'After' its appearance the author
  of this lampoon was chosen to review it in the Edinburgh Review: and
  under the single condition, that he should have written what he
  himself really thought, and have criticised the work as he would have
  done had its author been indifferent to him, I should have chosen that
  man myself, both from the vigour and the originality of his mind, and
  from his particular acuteness in speculative reasoning, before all
  others. But I can truly say, that the grief with which I read this
  rhapsody of predetermined insult, had the rhapsodist himself for its
  whole and sole object: and that the indignant contempt which it
  excited in me was as exclusively confined to his employer and
  suborner. I refer to this Review at present, in consequence of
  information having been given me, that the innuendo of my 'potential
  infidelity,' grounded on one passage of my first Lay Sermon, has been
  received and propagated with a degree of credence, of which I can
  safely acquit the originator of the calumny. I give the sentences as
  they stand in the Sermon, premising only that I was speaking
  exclusively of miracles worked for the outward senses of men. It was
  only to overthrow the usurpation exercised in and through the senses,
  that the senses were miraculously appealed to. REASON AND RELIGION ARE
  THEIR OWN EVIDENCE. The natural sun is in this respect a symbol of the
  spiritual: Ere he is fully arisen, and while his glories are still
  under veil, he calls up the breeze to chase away the usurping vapours
  of the night season, and thus converts the air itself into the
  minister of its own purification: not surely in proof or elucidation
  of the light from heaven, but to prevent its interception. Wherever,
  therefore, similar circumstances coexist with the same moral causes,
  the principles revealed, and the examples recorded, in the inspired
  writings, render miracles superfluous: and if we neglect to apply
  truths in the expectation of wonders, or under pretext of the
  cessation of the latter, we tempt God and merit the same reply which
  our Lord gave to the Pharisees on a like occasion.'

  In the sermon and the notes both the historical truth and the
  necessity of the miracles are strongly and frequently asserted. 'The
  testimony of books of history (namely, relatively to the signs and
  wonders with which Christ came,) is one of the strong and stately
  'pillars' of the church; but it is not the 'foundation'.' Instead,
  therefore, of defending myself, which I could easily effect by a
  series of passages, expressing the same opinion, from the fathers and
  the most eminent protestant divines, from the Reformation to the
  Revolution, I shall merely state what my belief is, concerning the
  true evidences of Christianity.

  1st. Its consistency with right reason, I consider as the outer court
  of the temple, the common area within which it stands.

  2ndly. The miracles, with and through which the religion was first
  revealed and attested, I regard as the steps, the vestibule, the
  portal of the temple.

  3rdly. The sense, the inward feeling, in the soul of each believer, of
  its exceeding 'desirableness'--the experience, that he 'needs'
  something, joined with the strong foretokening, that the redemption
  and the graces propounded to us in Christ are 'what' he needs--this I
  hold to be the true foundation of the spiritual edifice.

  With the strong 'a priori' probability that flows in from 1 and 3, on
  the correspondent historical evidence of 2, no man can refuse or
  neglect to make the experiment without guilt. But,

  4thly, it is the experience derived from a practical conformity to the
  conditions of the gospel--it is the opening eye; the dawning light;
  the terrors and the promises of spiritual growth; the blessedness of
  loving God as God, the nascent sense of sin hated as sin, and of the
  incapability of attaining to either without Christ; it is the sorrow
  that still rises up from beneath, and the consolation that meets it
  from above; the bosom treacheries of the principal in the warfare, and
  the exceeding faithfulness and long-suffering of the uninterested
  ally;--in a word, it is the actual _trial_ of the faith in Christ,
  with its accompaniments and results, that must form the arched roof,
  and the faith itself is the completing keystone. In order to an
  efficient belief in Christianity, a man must have been a Christian,
  and this is the seeming argumentum in circulo, incident to all
  spiritual truths, to every subject not presentable under the forms of
  time and space, as long as we attempt to master by the reflex acts of
  the understanding, what we can only 'know' by the act of 'becoming'.
  'Do the will of my Father, and ye shall know whether I am of God.'

  These four evidences I believe to have been, and still to be, for the
  world, for the whole church, all necessary, all equally necessary; but
  that at present, and for the majority of Christians born in Christian
  countries, I believe the third and the fourth evidences to be the most
  operative, not as superseding, but as involving a glad undoubting
  faith in the two former. Credidi, ideóque intellexi, appears to me the
  dictate equally of philosophy and religion, even as I believe
  redemption to be the antecedent of sanctification, and not its
  consequent. All spiritual predicates may be construed indifferently as
  modes of action, or as states of being. Thus holiness and blessedness
  are the same idea, now seen in relation to act, and now to existence."

  Biog. Liter. Vol. ii. p. 303.

His next publication was the 'Zapolya', which had a rapid sale, and he
then began a second edition of the 'Friend'--if, indeed, as he observes,

  "a work, the greatest part of which is new in substance, and the whole
  in form and arrangement, can be described as an edition of the former."

At the end of the autumn of 1817, Coleridge issued the following
prospectus, and hoped by delivering the proposed lectures to increase
his utility; they required efforts indeed which he considered it a duty
to make, notwithstanding his great bodily infirmities, and the heartfelt
sorrow by which he had, from early life, been more or less oppressed:--

  "There are few families, at present, in the higher and middle classes
  of English society, in which literary topics and the productions of
  the Fine Arts, in some one or other of their various forms, do not
  occasionally take their turn in contributing to the entertainment of
  the social board, and the amusement of the circle at the fire-side.
  The acquisitions and attainments of the intellect ought, indeed, to
  hold a very inferior rank in our estimation, opposed to moral worth,
  or even to professional and specific skill, prudence, and industry.
  But why should they be opposed, when they may be made subservient
  merely by being subordinated? It can rarely happen that a man of
  social disposition; altogether a stranger to subjects of taste (almost
  the only ones on which persons of both sexes can converse with a
  common interest), should pass through the world without at times
  feeling dissatisfied with himself. The best proof of this is to be
  found in the marked anxiety which men, who have succeeded in life
  without the aid of these accomplishments, shew in securing them to
  their children. A young man of ingenuous mind will not wilfully
  deprive himself of any species of respect. He will wish to feel
  himself on a level with the average of the society in which he lives,
  though he may be ambitious of 'distinguishing' himself only in
  his own immediate pursuit or occupation.

  Under this conviction, the following Course of Lectures was planned.
  The several titles will best explain the particular subjects and
  purposes of each; but the main objects proposed, as the result of all,
  are the two following:

  I. To convey, in a form best fitted to render them impressive at the
  time, and remembered afterwards, rules and principles of sound
  judgment, with a kind and degree of connected information, such as the
  hearers, generally speaking, cannot be supposed likely to form,
  collect, and arrange for themselves, by their own unassisted studies.
  It might be presumption to say, that any important part of these
  Lectures could not be derived from books; but none, I trust, in
  supposing, that the same information could not be so surely or
  conveniently acquired from such books as are of commonest occurrence,
  or with that quantity of time and attention which can be reasonably
  expected, or even wisely desired, of men engaged in business and the
  active duties of the world.

  II. Under a strong persuasion that little of real value is derived by
  persons in general from a wide and various reading; but still more
  deeply convinced as to the actual 'mischief' of unconnected and
  promiscuous reading, and that it is sure, in a greater or less degree,
  to enervate even where it does not likewise inflate; I hope to satisfy
  many an ingenuous mind, seriously interested in its own development
  and cultivation, how moderate a number of volumes, if only they be
  judiciously chosen, will suffice for the attainment of every wise and
  desirable purpose: that is, 'in addition' to those which he studies
  for specific and professional purposes. It is saying less than the
  truth to affirm, that an excellent book (and the remark holds almost
  equally good of a Raphael as of a Milton) is like a well-chosen and
  well-tended fruit-tree. Its fruits are not of one season only. With
  the due and natural intervals, we may recur to it year after year, and
  it will supply the same nourishment and the same gratification, if
  only we ourselves return with the same healthful appetite.

  The subjects of the Lectures are indeed very 'different', but not (in
  the strict sense of the term) 'diverse': they are 'various', rather
  than 'miscellaneous'. There is this bond of connexion common to them
  all,--that the mental pleasure which they are calculated to excite is
  not dependant on accidents of fashion, place or age, or the events or
  the customs of the day; but commensurate with the good sense, taste,
  and feeling, to the cultivation of which they themselves so largely
  contribute, as being all in 'kind', though not all in the same
  'degree', productions of GENIUS.

  What it would be arrogant to promise, I may yet be permitted to
  hope,--that the execution will prove correspondent and adequate to the
  plan. Assuredly my best efforts have not been wanting so to select and
  prepare the materials, that, at the conclusion of the Lectures, an
  attentive auditor, who should consent to aid his future recollection
  by a few notes taken either during each Lecture or soon after, would
  rarely feel himself, for the time to come, excluded from taking an
  intelligent interest in any general conversation likely to occur in
  mixed society.



  LECTURE I. 'Tuesday Evening, January' 27, 1818.--On the manners,
  morals, literature, philosophy, religion, and the state of society in
  general, in European Christendom, from the eighth to the fifteenth
  century (that is, from A.D. 700 to A.D. 1400), more particularly in
  reference to England, France, Italy, and Germany: in other words, a
  portrait of the (so called) dark ages of Europe.

  II. On the tales and metrical romances common, for the most part, to
  England, Germany, and the North of France; and on the English songs
  and ballads; continued to the reign of Charles the First.--A few
  selections will be made from the Swedish, Danish, and German
  languages, translated for the purpose by the Lecturer.

  III. Chaucer and Spenser; of Petrarch; of Ariosto, Pulci, and Boiardo.

  IV. V. and VI. On the Dramatic Works of SHAKSPEARE. In these Lectures
  will be comprised the substance of Mr. Coleridge's former Courses on
  the same subject, enlarged and varied by subsequent study and

  VII. On Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger; with the
  probable causes of the cessation of Dramatic 'Poetry' in England with
  Shirley and Otway, soon after the Restoration of Charles the Second.

  VIII. Of the Life and 'all' the Works of CERVANTES, but chiefly of his
  Don Quixote. The Ridicule of Knight-Errantry shewn to have been but a
  secondary object in the mind of the Author, and not the principal
  Cause of the Delight which the Work continues to give in all Nations,
  and under all the Revolutions of Manners and Opinions.

  IX. On Rabelais, Swift, and Sterne: on the Nature and Constituents of
  genuine Humour, and on the Distinctions of the Humorous from the
  Witty, the Fanciful, the Droll, the Odd, &c.

  X. Of Donne, Dante, and Milton.

  XI. On the Arabian Nights Entertainments, and on the 'romantic' use of
  the supernatural in Poetry, and in works of fiction not poetical. On
  the conditions and regulations under which such Books may be employed
  advantageously in the earlier Periods of Education.

  XII. On tales of witches, apparitions, &c. as distinguished from the
  magic and magicians of asiatic origin. The probable sources of the
  former, and of the belief in them in certain ages and classes of men.
  Criteria by which mistaken and exaggerated facts may be distinguished
  from absolute falsehood and imposture. Lastly, the causes of the
  terror and interest which stories of ghosts and witches inspire, in
  early life at least, whether believed or not.

  XIII. On colour, sound, and form, in nature, as connected with POESY:
  the word, 'Poesy' used as the 'generic' or class term, including
  poetry, music, painting, statuary, and ideal architecture, as its
  species. The reciprocal relations of poetry and philosophy to each
  other; and of both to religion, and the moral sense.

  XIV. On the corruptions of the English language since the reign of
  Queen Anne, in our style of writing prose. A few easy rules for the
  attainment of a manly, unaffected, and pure language, in our genuine
  mother-tongue, whether for the purposes of writing, oratory, or
  conversation. Concluding Address."

These lectures, from his own account, were the most profitable of any he
had before given, though delivered in an unfavorable situation; but
being near the Temple, many of the students were his auditors. It was
the first time I had ever heard him in public. He lectured from notes,
which he had carefully made; yet it was obvious, that his audience was
more delighted when, putting his notes aside, he spoke extempore;--many
of these notes were preserved, and have lately been printed in the
Literary Remains. In his lectures he was brilliant, fluent, and rapid;
his words seemed to flow as from a person repeating with grace and
energy some delightful poem. If, however, he sometimes paused, it was
not for the want of words, but that he was seeking the most appropriate,
or their most logical arrangement.

The attempts to copy his lectures verbatim have failed, they are but
comments. Scarcely in anything could he be said to be a mannerist, his
mode of lecturing was his own. Coleridge's eloquence, when he gave
utterance to his rich thoughts, flowing like some great river, which
winds its way majestically at its own "sweet will," though occasionally
slightly impeded by a dam formed from its crumbling banks, but over
which the accumulated waters pass onward with increased force, so
arrested his listeners, as at times to make them feel almost breathless.
Such seemed the movement of Coleridge's words in lecture or in earnest
discourse, and his countenance retained the same charms of benignity,
gentleness, and intelligence, though this expression varied with the
thoughts he uttered, and was much modified by his sensitive nature. His
quotations from the poets, of high character, were most feelingly and
most luminously given, as by one inspired with the subject. In my early
intimacy with this great man, I was especially struck with the store of
knowledge he possessed, and on which I ever found one might safely rely.
I begged him to inform me by what means the human mind could retain so
much, to which he always gave the following answer:

  "The memory is of two kinds," (a division I have ever found useful),
  "the one kind I designate the passive memory, the other the creative,
  with the first I retain the names of 'things', 'figures', and
  'numbers', &c. and this in myself I believe to be very defective. With
  the other I recall facts, and theories, &c. by means of their law or
  their principle, and in tracing these, the images or facts present
  themselves to me."

Coleridge, as a motto to the first essay in 'The Friend', quotes the
following observation from the life of Petrarch:

  "Believe me," says this writer, "it requires no little confidence to
  promise help to the struggling, counsel to the doubtful, light to the
  blind, hope to the desponding, refreshment to the weary; these are
  great things if they are accomplished, trifles if they exist but in
  promise. I, however, aim not so much to prescribe a law for others, as
  to set forth the law of my own mind." At this Coleridge always aimed,
  and continuing the quotation from Petrarch, "Let the man who shall
  approve of it, abide, and let him to whom it shall appear not
  reasonable, reject it. 'Tis my earnest wish, I confess, to employ my
  understanding and acquirements in that mode and direction in which I
  may be able to benefit the largest number possible of my

Such was Coleridge's wish, and with this view, and with this end, he
constantly employed his time.

His mind was occupied with serious thoughts--thoughts connected with the
deep truths he was endeavouring to inculcate. His heart was from his
early youth full of sympathy and love, and so remained till his latest
hour. To his friend, when in trouble or sorrow, this sympathy and solace
were freely given; and when he received, or thought he received, a
benefit, or a kindness, his heart overflowed with gratitude--even slight
services were sometimes over-valued by him. I have selected the
following from among many letters written at different periods, as
characteristic of the man, and evincing those religious, grateful, and
affectionate feelings which are so strongly marked in all he has ever
written, for, from his youth upward, he was wedded to the lovely and the
beautiful. In his letters, these feelings were occasionally expressed
with much liveliness, terseness, and originality.

In doing this, I believe, I must anticipate some of the incidents of his
life; the first letter written was addressed to a friend, who was in
great anguish of mind from the sudden death of his mother, and was
written thirty years before his decease:

  "Your letter, my friend, struck me with a mighty horror. It rushed
  upon me and stupified my feelings. You bid me write you a religious
  letter; I am not a man who would attempt to insult the greatness of
  your anguish by any other consolation. Heaven knows that in the
  easiest fortunes there is much dissatisfaction and weariness of
  spirit; much that calls for the exercise of patience and resignation;
  but in storms, like these, that shake the dwelling and make the heart
  tremble, there is no middle way between despair and the yielding up of
  the whole spirit unto the guidance of faith. And surely it is a matter
  of joy, that your faith in Jesus has been preserved; the Comforter
  that should relieve you is not far from you. But as you are a
  Christian, in the name of that Saviour, who was filled with bitterness
  and made drunken with wormwood, I conjure you to have recourse in
  frequent prayer to 'his God and your God,' [13] the God of mercies,
  and father of all comfort. Your poor father is, I hope, almost
  senseless of the calamity; the unconscious instrument of Divine
  Providence knows it not, and your mother is in heaven. It is sweet to
  be roused from a frightful dream by the song of birds, and the
  gladsome rays of the morning. Ah, how infinitely more sweet to be
  awakened from the blackness and amazement of a sudden horror, by the
  glories of God manifest, and the hallelujahs of angels.

  As to what regards yourself, I approve altogether of your abandoning
  what you justly call vanities. I look upon you as a man, called by
  sorrow and anguish and a strange desolation of hopes into quietness,
  and a soul set apart and made peculiar to God; we cannot arrive at any
  portion of heavenly bliss without in some measure imitating Christ.
  And they arrive at the largest inheritance who imitate the most
  difficult parts of his character, and bowed down and crushed under
  foot, cry in fulness of faith, 'Father, thy will be done.'

  I wish above measure to have you for a little while here--no visitants
  shall blow on the nakedness of your feelings--you shall be quiet, and
  your spirit may be healed. I see no possible objection, unless your
  father's helplessness prevent you, and unless you are necessary to
  him. If this be not the case, I charge you write me that you will

  I charge you, my dearest friend, not to dare to encourage gloom or
  despair--you are a temporary sharer in human miseries, that you may be
  an eternal partaker of the Divine nature. I charge you, if by any
  means it be possible, come to me. I remain, your affectionate,



  Accept my thanks for your kind remembrance of me, and for the proof of
  it in the present of your tribute of friendship, I have read it with
  uninterrupted interest, and with satisfaction scarcely less
  continuous. In adding the three last words, I am taking the word
  satisfaction in its strictest sense: for had I written pleasure, there
  would have been no ground for the limitation. Indeed as it was, it is
  a being scrupulous over much. For at the two only passages at which I
  made a moment's 'halt' (viz. p. 3, [14], and p. 53, last line but
  five,) she had seldom--oppressive awe, my not 'objection' but
  'stoppage' at the latter amounted only to a doubt, a 'quære', whether
  the trait of character here given should not have been followed by
  some little comment, as for instance, that such a state of feeling,
  though not desirable in a regenerate person, in whom belief had
  wrought love, and love obedience, must yet be ranked amongst those
  constitutional differences that may exist between the best and wisest
  Christians, without any corresponding difference in their spiritual
  progress. One saint fixes his eyes on the 'palm', another saint thinks
  of the previous 'conflict', and closes them in prayer. Both are waters
  of the same fountain--'this' the basin, 'that' the salient column,
  both equally dear to God, and both may be used as examples for men,
  the one to invite the thoughtless sceptic, the other to alarm the
  reckless believer. You will see, therefore, that I do not object to
  the sentence itself; but as a matter of 'feeling', it met me too
  singly and suddenly. I had not anticipated such a trait, and the
  surprise counterfeited the sensation of perplexity for a moment or
  two. On as little objection to any thing you have said, did the
  'desiderium' the sense of not being quite satisfied, proceed in regard
  to the 44. p. 3. In the particular instance in the application of the
  sentiment, I found nothing to question or qualify. It was the rule or
  principle which a certain class of your readers might be inclined to
  deduce from it, it was the possible generalization of the particular
  instance that made me pause. I am jealous of the disposition to turn
  Christianity or Religion into a particular 'business' or line. 'Well,
  Miss, how does your pencil go on, I was delighted with your last
  landscape.' 'Oh, sir, I have quite given 'up' that, I have got into
  the religious line.' Now, my dear sir, the rule which I have deduced
  from the writings of St. Paul and St. John, and (permit me also to
  add) of Luther, would be this. Form and endeavour to strengthen into
  an habitual and instinct-like feeling, the sense of the utter
  incompatibility of Christianity with every thing wrong or unseemly,
  with whatever betrays or fosters the mind of flesh, the predominence
  of the 'animal' within us, by having habitually present to the mind,
  the full and lively conviction of its perfect compatibility with
  whatever is innocent of its harmony, with whatever
  contra-distinguishes the HUMAN from the animal; of its sympathy and
  coalescence with the cultivation of the faculties, affections, and
  fruitions, which God hath made 'peculiar' to 'man', either wholly or
  in their ordained 'combination' with what is peculiar to humanity, the
  blurred, but not obliterated signatures of our original title deed,
  (and God said, man will we make in our own image.) What?--shall
  Christianity exclude or alienate us from those powers, acquisitions,
  and attainments, which Christianity is so pre-eminently calculated to
  elevate and enliven and sanctify?

  Far, very far, am I from suspecting in you, my dear sir, any
  participation in these prejudices of a shrivelled proselyting and
  censorious religionist. But a numerous and stirring faction there is,
  in the so called Religious Public, whose actual and actuating
  principles, with whatever vehemence they may disclaim it in words, is,
  that redemption is a something not yet effected--that there is neither
  sense nor force in our baptism--and that instead of the Apostolic
  command, 'Rejoice, and again I say unto you, rejoice'; baptized
  Christians are to be put on sackcloth and ashes, and try, by torturing
  themselves and others, to procure a rescue from the devil. Again, let
  me thank you for your remembrance of me, and believe me from the hour
  we first met at Bristol, with esteem and regard,

  Your sincere friend,


  Ramsgate, 28th Oct. 1822.


  Words I know are not wanted between you and me. But there are
  occasions so awful, there may be instances and manifestations of
  friendship so affecting, and drawing up with them so long a train from
  behind, so many folds of recollection as they come onward on one's
  mind, that it seems but a mere act of justice to oneself, a debt we
  owe to the dignity of our moral nature to give them some record; a
  relief which the spirit of man asks and demands to contemplate in some
  outward symbol, what it is inwardly solemnizing. I am still too much
  under the cloud of past misgivings, too much of the stun and stupor
  from the recent peals and thunder-crush still remains, to permit me to
  anticipate others than by wishes and prayers. What the effect of your
  unwearied kindness may be on poor M.'s mind and conduct, I pray
  fervently, and I feel a cheerful trust that I do not pray in vain,
  that on my own mind and spring of action, it will be proved not to
  have been wasted. I do inwardly believe, that I shall yet do something
  to thank you, my dear--in the way in which you would wish to be
  thanked--by doing myself honour.--Dear friend and brother of my soul,
  God only knows how truly, and in the depth, you are loved and prized
  by your affectionate friend,


During the first lecture of the course in 1817, a young man of modest
demeanor sent him a letter, and afterwards introduced himself, stating
ti that he was a student in literature, and from his conversation, he
struck Coleridge as one much more attached to the better part of our
nature than to the love of gain. An intimacy consequently took place,
and Coleridge addressed many letters to him, from which will be selected
such as are critical or autobiographical. Fortunately they have been
preserved, and are too valuable not to form a part of this volume.

The following is an answer to the first letter Coleridge received from

  "Wednesday Morning, Jan. 28th, 1818.


  Your friendly letter was first delivered to me at the lecture-room
  door on yesterday evening, ten minutes before the lecture, and my
  spirits were so sadly depressed by the circumstance of my hoarseness,
  that I was literally incapable of reading it. I now express my
  acknowledgments, and with them the regret that I had not received the
  letter in time to have availed myself of it.

  When I was young I used to laugh at flattery, as, on account of its
  absurdity, I now abhor it, from my repeated observations of its
  mischievous effects. Amongst these, not the least is, that it renders
  honourable natures more slow and reluctant in expressing their real
  feelings in praise of the deserving, than, for the interests of truth
  and virtue, might be desired. For the weakness of our moral and
  intellectual being, of which the comparatively strongest are often the
  most, and the most painfully, conscious, needs the confirmation
  derived from the coincidence and sympathy of the friend, as much as
  the voice of honour within us denounces the pretences of the
  flatterer. Be assured, then, that I write as I think, when I tell you
  that, from the style and thoughts of your letter, I should have drawn
  a very different conclusion from that which you appear to have done,
  concerning both your talents and the cultivation which they have
  received. Both the matter and manner are manly, simple, and correct.

  Had I the time in my own power, compatibly with the performance of
  duties of immediate urgency, I would endeavour to give you, by letter,
  the most satisfactory answer to your questions that my reflections and
  the experience of my own fortunes could supply. But, at all events, I
  will not omit to avail myself of your judicious suggestion in my last
  lecture, in which it will form a consistent part of the subject and
  purpose of the discourse. Meantime, believe me, with great respect,

  Your obliged fellow-student of the true and the beseeming


  "Sept. 20th, 1818.


  Those who have hitherto chosen to take notice of me, as known to them
  only by my public character, have for the greater part taken out, not,
  indeed, a poetical, but a critical, license to make game of me,
  instead of sending game to me. Thank heaven! I am in this respect more
  tough than tender. But, to be serious, I heartily thank you for your
  polite remembrance; and, though my feeble health and valetudinarian
  stomach force me to attach no little value to the present itself, I
  feel still more obliged by the kindness that prompted it.

  I trust that you will not come within the purlieus of Highgate without
  giving me the opportunity of assuring you personally that I am, with
  sincere respect,

  Your obliged,


Following the chronological order I proposed, I am led to speak again of
Lamb, who having at this time collected many little poems and essays,
scattered in different publications, he reprinted and published them in
two small volumes, which he dedicated to Coleridge; and those of my
readers who have not seen this work will, doubtless, find it
interesting. The simplicity of this dedication, and above all the
biographical portion of it, seem to render it appropriate to this work,
and it is therefore subjoined.



  You will smile to see the slender labors of your friend designated by
  the title of 'Works'; but such was the wish of the gentlemen who have
  kindly undertaken the trouble of collecting them, and from their
  judgment could be no appeal.

  It would be a kind of disloyalty to offer to any one but yourself, a
  volume containing the 'early pieces' which were first published among
  your poems, and were fairly derivatives from you and them. My friend
  Lloyd and myself came into our first battle (authorship is a sort of
  warfare) under cover of the greater Ajax. How this association, which
  shall always be a dear and proud recollection to me, came to be
  broken;--who snapped the three-fold cord,--whether yourself (but I
  know that was not the case,) grew ashamed of your former
  companions,--or whether (which is by much the more probable) some
  ungracious bookseller was author of the separation, I cannot
  tell;--but wanting the support of your friendly elm, (I speak for
  myself,) my vine has, since that time, put forth few or no fruits; the
  sap (if ever it had any) has become in a manner dried up and extinct:
  and you will find your old associate in his second volume, dwindled
  into prose and criticism. Am I right in assuming this as the cause? or
  is it that, as years come upon us, (except with some more
  healthy-happy spirits,) life itself loses much of its poetry for us?
  we transcribe but what we read in the great volume of Nature: and, as
  the characters grow dim, we turn of and look another way. You,
  yourself, write no Christabels, nor Ancient Marriners, now. Some of
  the Sonnets, which shall be carelessly turned over by the general
  reader, may happily awaken in you remembrances, which I should be
  sorry should be ever totally extinct--the memory

  Of summer days and of delightful years.

  Even so far back as to those old suppers at our old----Inn, when
  life was fresh, and topics exhaustless,--and you first kindled in me,
  if not the power, yet the love of poetry, and beauty and kindliness,

  What words have I heard Spoke at the Mermaid?

  The world has given you many a shrewd nip and gird since that time,
  but either my eyes are grown dimmer, or my old friend is the same, who
  stood before me three-and-twenty years ago--his hair a little
  confessing the hand of time, but still shrouding the same capacious
  brain,--his heart not altered, scarcely where it "alteration finds."

  One piece, Coleridge, I have ventured to publish in its original form,
  though I have heard you complain of a certain over-imitation of the
  antique in the style. If I could see any way of getting rid of the
  objection, without re-writing it entirely, I would make some
  sacrifices. But when I wrote John Woodville, I never proposed to
  myself any distinct deviation from common English. I had been newly
  initiated in the writings of our elder dramatists; Beaumont, and
  Fletcher, and Massinger, were then a 'first love'; and from what I was
  so freshly conversant in, what wonder if my language imperceptibly
  took a tinge? The very 'time', which I had chosen for my story, that
  which immediately followed the Restoration, seemed to require in an
  English play, that the English should be of rather an older cast, than
  that of the precise year in which it happened to be written. I wish it
  had not some faults which I can less vindicate than the language.

  I remain, my dear Coleridge, Yours, with unabated esteem, C. LAMB.

In Feb. 1819, application was made to Mr. Coleridge to give a course of
lectures at the Russell Institution, to which he sent the following
reply, addressed to Mr. Britton:

  Highgate, 28th Feb., 1819.


  First permit me to remove a very natural, indeed almost inevitable,
  mistake, relative to my lectures; namely, that I 'have' them, or that
  the lectures of one place or season are in any way repeated in
  another. So far from it, that on any point that I had ever studied
  (and on no other should I dare discourse--I mean, that I would not
  lecture on any subject for which I had to 'acquire' the main
  knowledge, even though a month's or three months' previous time were
  allowed me; on no subject that had not employed my thoughts for a
  large portion of my life since earliest manhood, free of all outward
  and particular purpose)--on any point within my habit of thought, I
  should greatly prefer a subject I had never lectured on, to one which
  I had repeatedly given; and those who have attended me for any two
  seasons successively will bear witness, that the lecture given at the
  London Philosophical Society, on the 'Romeo and Juliet', for instance,
  was as different from that given at the Crown and Anchor, as if they
  had been by two individuals who, without any communication with each
  other, had only mastered the same principles of philosophical
  criticism. This was most strikingly evidenced in the coincidence
  between my lectures and those of Schlegel; such, and so close, that it
  was fortunate for my moral reputation that I had not only from five to
  seven hundred ear witnesses that the passages had been given by me at
  the Royal Institution two years before Schlegel commenced his lectures
  at Vienna, but that notes had been taken of these by several men and
  ladies of high rank. The fact is this; during a course of lectures, I
  faithfully employ all the intervening days in collecting and digesting
  the materials, whether I have or have not lectured on the same subject
  before, making no difference.

  The day of the lecture, till the hour of commencement, I devote to the
  consideration, what of the mass before me is best fitted to answer the
  purposes of a lecture, that is, to keep the audience awake and
  interested during the delivery, and to leave a sting behind, that is,
  a disposition to study the subject anew, under the light of a new
  principle. Several times, however, partly from apprehension respecting
  my health and animal spirits, partly from the wish to possess copies
  that might afterwards be marketable among the publishers, I have
  previously written the lecture; but before I had proceeded twenty
  minutes, I have been obliged to push the MS. away, and give the
  subject a new turn. Nay, this was so notorious, that many of my
  auditors used to threaten me, when they saw any number of written
  papers on my desk, to steal them away; declaring they never felt so
  secure of a good lecture as when they perceived that I had not a
  single scrap of writing before me. I take far, far more pains than
  would go to the set composition of a lecture, both by varied reading
  and by meditation; but for the words, illustrations, &c., I know
  almost as little as any one of the audience (that is, those of
  anything like the same education with myself) what they will be five
  minutes before the lecture begins. Such is my way, for such is my
  nature; and in attempting any other, I should only torment myself in
  order to disappoint my auditors--torment myself during the delivery, I
  mean; for in all other respects it would be a much shorter and easier
  task to deliver them from writing. I am anxious to preclude any
  semblance of affectation; and have therefore troubled you with this
  lengthy preface before I have the hardihood to assure you, that you
  might as well ask me what my dreams were in the year 1814, as what my
  course of lectures was at the Surrey Institution. 'Fuimus Troes'."

The following anecdote will convey to my readers a more accurate notion
of Coleridge's powers, when called upon to lecture, even without
previous notice. Early one morning he received two letters, which he
sent me to read; one to inform him that he was 'expected' that same
evening to deliver a lecture at the rooms of the London Philosophical
Society, where it was supposed that four or five hundred persons would
be present: the other contained a list of the gentlemen who had already
given a lecture in the course; to which was added, the subject on which
each had addressed the audience. I well knew that Coleridge, not
expecting this sudden appeal, would be agitated, as he was always
excited before delivering a lecture, and that this would probably bring
on a return of his inward suffering. After consulting together, we
determined to go to town at seven o'clock in the evening, to make some
enquiries respecting this unexpected application, and arrived at the
house of the gentleman who had written the letter. His servant informed
us that he was not at home, but would return at eight o'clock, the hour
fixed for the commencement of the lecture. We then proceeded to the
society's room, which we found empty. It was a long one, partitioned off
by a pole, the ends of which were fastened to the side-walls, and from
this pole was nailed a length of baize which reached the floor, and in
the centre was fixed a square piece of board to form a desk. We passed
under this baize curtain to observe the other arrangements, from whence
we could easily discern the audience as they entered. When we looked
over the pole which formed the partition, we saw rows of benches across
the room, prepared for about four or five hundred persons--on the side
were some short ones, one above the other, intended for the committee.
The preparations looked formidable--and Coleridge was anxiously waiting
to be informed of the subject on which he was to lecture. At length the
committee entered, taking their seats--from the centre of this party Mr.
President arose, and put on a president's hat, which so disfigured him
that we could scarcely refrain from laughter. He thus addressed the
company:--"This evening, Mr. Coleridge will deliver a lecture on the
'Growth of the Individual Mind.'" Coleridge at first seemed startled,
and turning round to me whispered, "a pretty stiff subject they have
chosen for me." He instantly mounted his standing-place, and began
without hesitation; previously requesting me to observe the effect of
his lecture on the audience. It was agreed, that, should he appear to
fail, I was to clasp his ancle, but that he was to continue for an hour
if the countenances of his auditors indicated satisfaction. If I rightly
remember his words, he thus began his address:

  "The lecture I am about to give this evening is purely extempore.
  Should you find a nominative case looking out for a verb--or a
  fatherless verb for a nominative case, you must excuse it. It is
  purely extempore, though I have thought and read much on this subject."

I could see the company
  begin to smile, and this at once seemed to inspire him with
  confidence. This beginning appeared to me a sort of mental curvetting,
  while preparing his thoughts for one of his eagle flights, as if with
  an eagle's eye he could steadily look at the mid-day sun. He was most
  brilliant, eloquent, and logically consecutive. The time moved on so
  swiftly, that on looking at my watch, I found an hour and a half had
  passed away, and therefore waiting only a desirable moment (to use his
  own playful words;) I prepared myself to punctuate his oration." As
  previously agreed, I pressed his ancle, and thus gave hire the hint he
  had requested-when bowing graciously, and with a benevolent and
  smiling countenance he presently descended.

  The lecture was quite new to me, and I believe quite new to himself,
  at least so far as the arrangement of his words were concerned. The
  floating thoughts were most beautifully arranged, and delivered on the
  spur of the moment. What accident gave rise to the singular request,
  that he should deliver this lecture impromptu, I never learnt; nor did
  it signify, as it afforded a happy opportunity to many of witnessing
  in part the extent of his reading, and the extraordinary strength of
  his powers.

  At this time an intimate and highly accomplished friend of my wife's,
  who was also a very sensible woman, a fine musician, and considered
  one of the best private performers in the country, came on a visit.
  The conversation turned on music, and Coleridge, speaking of himself,
  observed, "I believe I have no ear for music, but have a taste for
  it." He then explained the delight he received from Mozart, and how
  greatly he enjoyed the dithyrambic movement of Beethoven; but could
  never find pleasure in the fashionable modern composers. It seemed to
  him "playing tricks with music--like nonsense verses--music to please
  me," added he, "must have a subject." Our friend appeared struck with
  this observation, "I understand you, sir," she replied, and
  immediately seated herself at the piano. "Have the kindness to listen
  to the three following airs, which I played on a certain occasion
  extempore, as substitutes for words. Will you try to guess the meaning
  I wished to convey, and I shall then ascertain the extent of my
  success." She instantly gave us the first air,--his reply was
  immediate. "That is clear, it is solicitation."--"When I played this
  air," observed the lady, "to a dear friend whom you know, she turned
  to me, saying, 'what do you want?'--I told her the purport of my air
  was to draw her attention to her dress, as she was going out with me
  to take a drive by the seashore without her cloak." Our visitor then
  called Coleridge's attention to her second air; it was short and
  expressive. To this he answered, "that is easily told--it is
  remonstrance." "Yes," replied she, "for my friend again shewing the
  same inattention, I played this second extemporaneous air, in order to
  remonstrate with her." We now listened to the third and last air. He
  requested her to repeat it, which she did.--"That," said he, "I cannot
  understand." To this she replied,--"it is I believe a failure," naming
  at the same time the subject she had wished to convey. Coleridge's
  answer was--"That is a sentiment, and cannot be well expressed in

  The evening before our friend left us, Coleridge had a long
  conversation with her on serious and religious subjects. Fearing,
  however, that he might not have been clearly understood, he the next
  morning brought down the following paper, written before he had
  retired to rest:--

    'S. T. Coleridge's confession of belief; with respect to the true
    grounds of Christian morality', 1817.

    1. I sincerely profess the Christian faith, and regard the New
    Testament as containing all its articles, and I interpret the words
    not only in the obvious, but in the 'literal' sense, unless where
    common reason, and the authority of the Church of England join in
    commanding them to be understood FIGURATIVELY: as for instance,
    'Herod is a Fox.'

    2. Next to the Holy Scriptures, I revere the Liturgy, Articles, and
    Homilies of the Established Church, and hold the doctrines therein
    expressly contained.

    3. I reject as erroneous, and deprecate as 'most' dangerous, the
    notion, that our 'feelings' are to be the ground and guide of our
    actions. I believe the feelings themselves to be among the things
    that are to be grounded and guided. The feelings are effects, not
    causes, a part of the 'instruments' of action, but never can without
    serious injury be perverted into the 'principles' of action. Under
    'feelings', I include all that goes by the names of 'sentiment',
    sensibility, &c. &c. These, however pleasing, may be made and often
    are made the instruments of vice and guilt, though under proper
    discipline, they are fitted to be both aids and ornaments of virtue.
    They are to virtue what beauty is to health.

    4. All men, the good as well as the bad, and the bad as well as the
    good, act with motives. But what is motive to one person is no
    motive at all to another. The pomps and vanities of the world supply
    'mighty' motives to an ambitious man; but are so far from being a
    'motive' to a humble Christian, that he rather wonders how they can
    be even a temptation to any man in his senses, who believes himself
    to have an immortal soul. Therefore that a title, or the power of
    gratifying sensual luxury, is the motive with which A. acts, and no
    motive at all to B.--must arise from the different state of the
    moral being in A. and in B.--consequently motives too, as well as
    'feelings' are 'effects'; and they become causes only in a secondary
    or derivative sense.

    5. Among the motives of a probationary Christian, the practical
    conviction that all his intentional acts have consequences in a
    future state; that as he sows here, he must reap hereafter; in plain
    words, that according as he does, or does not, avail himself of the
    light and helps given by God through Christ, he must go either to
    heaven or hell; is the 'most' impressive, were it only from pity to
    his own soul, as an everlasting sentient being.

    6. But that this is a motive, and the most impressive of motives to
    any given person, arises from, and supposes, a commencing state of
    regeneration in that person's mind and heart. That therefore which
    'constitutes' a regenerate STATE is the true PRINCIPLE ON which, or
    with a 'view' to which, actions, feelings, and motives ought to be

    7. The different 'operations' of this radical principle, (which
    principle is called in Scripture sometimes faith, and in other
    places love,) I have been accustomed to call good impulses because
    they are the powers that impel us to do what we ought to do.

    8. The impulses of a full grown Christian are 1. Love of God. 2.
    Love of our neighbour for the love of God. 3. An undefiled
    conscience, which prizes above every comprehensible advantage 'that
    peace' of God which passeth all understanding.

    9. Every consideration, whether of hope or of fear, which is, and
    which 'is adopted' by 'us', poor imperfect creatures! in our present
    state of probation, as MEANS of 'producing' such impulses in our
    hearts, is so far a right and 'desirable' consideration. He that is
    weak must take the medicine which is suitable to his existing
    weakness; but then he ought to know that it is a 'medicine', the
    object of which is to remove the disease, not to feed and perpetuate

    10. Lastly, I hold that there are two grievous mistakes,--both of
    which as 'extremes' equally opposite to truth and the Gospel,--I
    equally reject and deprecate. The first is, that of Stoic pride,
    which would snatch away his crutches from a curable cripple before
    he can walk without them. The second is, that of those worldly and
    temporizing preachers, who would disguise from such a cripple the
    necessary truth that crutches are not legs, but only temporary aids
    and substitutes."

[Footnote 1: I give the letter as I received it,--of course it was never
intended for the public eye.]

[Footnote 2: This is too strong an expression. It was not idleness, it
was not sensual indulgence, that led Coleridge to contract this habit.
No, it was latent disease, of which sufficient proof is given in this

[Footnote 3: Those who have witnessed the witches scampering off the
stage, cannot forget the ludicrous appearance they make.]

[Footnote 4: Of the historical plays, he observes:

  "It would be a fine national custom to act such a series of dramatic
  histories in orderly succession, in the yearly Christmas holidays, and
  could not but tend to counteract that mock cosmopolitism, which, under
  a positive term, really implies nothing but a negation of, or
  indifference to, the particular love of our country."

'Literary Remains', Vol. ii. p. 161.]

[Footnote 5: Vide Vol. ii. p. 1.--Also p. 103 of this work.]

[Footnote 6: He had long been greatly afflicted with nightmare; and,
when residing with us, was frequently roused from this painful sleep by
any one of the family who might hear him.]

[Footnote 7: From an anonymous criticism published soon after the

[Footnote 8: In the "Improved Version of the New Testament," the spirit
of this Evangelist is perverted.]

[Footnote 9: He used to say, in St. John is the philosophy of
Christianity; in St. Paul, the moral reflex.]

[Footnote 10: The last lines are in the 'Aids to Reflection'. The former
six lines are from a note written from his conversation.]

[Footnote 11: The 'Christabel' was published by Murray, but the
'Sibylline Leaves' and the 'Biog. Liter.' by Rest Fenner.]

[Footnote 12: The first was published in 1816, and the second in 1817.]

[Footnote 13: 'Vide' St. John, ch. xx. ver. 17.]

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