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here Mr Coleridge drops the subject We regret that Mr Coleridge has of Poetry for the present, and proceeds passed over without notice all the years to other important matters.
which he spent “in the happy quiet
of ever-honoured Jesus College, CamWordsworth and Coleridge assume, when bridge.” That must have been the speaking of this great Poet. They employ most important period of his life, and his immortal works as a text-book, from
was surely more worthy of record than which they quote imaginary violations of the metaphysical dreams or the poetilogic and sound sense, and examples of vi- cal extravagancies of his boyhood. He cious poetic diction. Mr Coleridge informs us that Wordsworth couched him," and tells us, that he was sent to the Unithat, from the moment of the operation, his versity “ an excellent Greek and Latin eyes were startled with the deformities of scholar, and a tolerable Hebraist;" the “ Bard” and the “ Elegy in the Coun- and there might have been something try Church-yard !” Such despicable fooleries rousing and elevating to young minds are perhaps beneath notice; but we must of genius and power, in his picture of not allow the feathers of a Bird of Paradise himself, pursuits, visions, and attainto be pecked at by such a Daw as Cole- ments, during the bright and glorious ridge.
morning of life, when he inhabited a “ Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the Ze- dwelling of surpassing magnificence, phyr blows,
guarded, and hallowed, and sublimed While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, by the Shadows of the Mighty. We In gallant trim the gilded Vessel goes, Youth at the Prow, and Pleasure at the should wish to know what progress he Helm !
spectre-ship in the “ Ancient Mariner.” Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's For, in the first place, Shakspeare describes sway,
his ship by likening it to something else, That, hush'd in grim repose, expects its namely, a prodigal; and upon that moral
evening Prey." GRAY's Bard. meaning depends the whole beauty of the On this beautiful and sublime passage passage. Of this there is nothing in Gray. Mr Coleridge has not one word of admira. Secondly, Shakspeare does not speak of tion to bestow, but tells us with a sneer (for any ship in particular, but generally. The what reason we know not), that “ realm” beauty of the passage in Gray depends on
sway" are rhymes dearly purchased. its being prophetic of a particular misfor. He then says,
“ that it depended wholly in tune, namely, the drowning of young Prince the compositor's putting or not putting a Henry. Thirdly, in Shakspeare, the vessel small capital, both in this and in many “ puts from her native bay;" and upon other passages of the same Poet, whether that circumstance the whole description des the words should be personifications or mere pends. In Gray we only behold her majes. abstracts. This vile absurdity is followed tically sailing in the open sea. Fourthly, by a direct charge of Plagiarism from in Shakspeare “ she returns ;” but in Gray Shakspeare.
she is the prey of the evening whirlwind. “ How like a younker or a prodigal
Fifthly, in Shakspeare she returns “ with The skarfed bark puts from her native bay, over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails.” In Hugg’d and embraced by the strumpet wind? Gray she is sunk into the deep, “ with all How like a prodigal doth she return,
her bravery on.” Sixthly, in Gray we be. With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,
hold a joyous company on her deck, “ Youth Torn, rent, and beggar'd by the strumpet but in Shakspeare we never think of her
at her prow, and Pleasure at her helm ;" wind !”
deck at all. Seventhly, in Shakspeare she Now we put it to our readers to decide is a “ skarfed bark ;' in Gray, a gilded between us and the Critic. We maintain vessel.” Eighthly, Shakspeare has, in that here there is no plagiarism nor imita- the whole description, studiously employed tion. Both Poets speak of a Ship, and the most plain, homely, familiar, and even there all likeness ends. As well might unpoetical diction, and thereby produced Falconer be accused imitation in his the desired effect. Gray has laboured his glorious description of a vessel in full sail description with all the resources of consum. leaving harbour-or Scott, in his animated mate art, and it is eminently distinguished picture of Bruce's galley beating through for pomp, splendour, and magnificence. the Sound of Mull-or Byron, in his mag. Lastly, except articles, prepositions, and nificent sketch of the Corsair's war-ship- conjunctions, there is not a single word comor Wordsworth, in his fine simile of a vessel mon to the two passages ; so that they may “ that hath the plain of Ocean for her own indeed with propriety be quoted, to shew domain"-or Wilson, in his vision of the how differently the same object can appear moonlight vessel sailing to the Isle of Palms to different poetical minds; but Mr Coleridge -or the Ettrick Shepherd, in his wild dream " has been couched,” and Mr Wordsworth of the Abbot’s pinnace buried in the breakers having performed the operation unskilfully, of Staffa-or Mr Coleridge himself, in his the patient is blind.
made there in his own favourite stu- most sincere, most disinterested! Wealth, dies; what place he occupied, or sup- rank, life itself, then seem'd cheap to me, posed he occupied, among his nume
compared with the interests of truth, and rous contemporaries of talent ; how the will of my Maker. I cannot even accuse much he was inspired by the genius for in the expansion of my enthusiasm I did
myself of having been actuated by vanity! of the place ; how far he “pierced the
not think of myself at all !” caves of old Philosophy,” or sounded the depths of the Physical Sciences.* This is delectable. What does he All this unfortunately is omitted, and mean by saying that life seemed cheap ? he hurries on to details often trifling What danger could there be in the and uninfluential, sometimes low, vile, performance of his exploits, except and vulgar, and, what is worse, occa- that of being committed as a Vagrant ? sionally inconsistent with any feeling What indeed could rank appear to a of personal dignity and self-respect. person thus voluntarily degraded? Or
After leaving College, instead of who would expect vanity to be conbetaking himself to some respectable scious of its own loathsomeness ? Ducalling, Mr Coleridge, with his char- ring this tour he seems to have been acteristic modesty, determined to set constantly exposed to the insults of on foot a periodical work called “ The the vile and the vulgar, and to have Watchman, that through it “ all associated with
company might know the truth.". The price of must have been most odious to a genç this very useful article was four. tleman. Greasy tallow-chandlers, and pence. Off he set on a tour to the pursey woollen-drapers, and grim-feanorth to procure subscribers, “preach- tured dealers in hard-ware, were his ing in most of the great towns as a associates at Manchester, Derby, Nothireless Volunteer, in a blue coat and tingham, and Sheffield ; and among white waistcoat, that not a rag of the them the light of truth was to be shed Woman of Babylon might be seen on from its cloudy tabernacle in Mr Coleme.” In preaching, his object was to ridge's Pericranium. At the house of shew that our Saviour was the real Brummagem Patriot” he appears son of Joseph, and that the Crucifixion to have got dead drunk with strong was a matter of small importance. Mr ale and tobacco, and in that pitiable Coleridge is now a most zealous mem- condition he was exposed to his disber of the Church of England-de- ciples, lying upon a sofa, “ with my voutly believes every iota in the thirty- face like a wall that is white-washing, nine articles, and that the Christian deathy pale, and with the cold drops Religion is only to be found in its of perspiration running down it from purity in the homilies and liturgy of my forehead.” Some one having said, that "Church. Yet, on looking back “ Have you seen a paper to-day, Mr to his Unitarian zeal, he exclaims, Coleridge?" the wretched man replied,
“O, never can I remember those days with all the staring stupidity of his with either shame or regret! For I was
lamentable condition, “ Sir! I am far
from convinced that a Christian is per* The fact is, that Mr Coleridge made mitted to read either newspapers, or no figure at the University.. He never could any other works of merely political master the simplest elements of the mathe, and temporary interest.” This wittimatics. Yet in all his metaphysical, and cism quite enchanted his enlightened indeed many of his critical writings, there auditors, and they prolonged their fesis an ostentatious display of a familiar and
tivities to an profound knowledge of the principles of that
early hour next mornScience. This is dishonest quackery; for ing" Having returned to London Mr Coleridge knows that he could not, if with a thousand subscribers on his taken by surprise, demonstrate any one list, the “Watchman” appeared in all proposition in the first book of Euclid. His his glory; but, alas ! not on the day classical knowledge was found at the Uni- fixed for the first burst of his effulversity to be equally superficial. He gained gence; which foolish delay incensed a prize there for a Greek Ode, which for many of his subscribers. The Watchthe rules of that language being therein man, on his second appearance, spoke perpetually violated. We were once present
blasphemously, and made indecent in a literary company, where Porson offered applications of Scriptural language; to shew in it, to a gentleman who was then, instead of abusing Government praising this Ode, 134 examples of bad and Aristocrats, as Mr Coleridge had Greek
pledged himself to his constituents to
do, he attacked his own Party ; so that by whom he was insulted and accused in seven weeks, before the shoes were of disgraceful crime; and yet has he, old in which he travelled to Sheffield, with a humility most unmanly, joined the Watchman went the way of all their ranks, and become one of their flesh, and his remains were scattered most slavish sycophants. " through sundry old iron shops," On his return from Germany, he where for one penny could be pur- became the principal writer of the pochased each precious relic. To crown litical and literary departments of the all, “ his London Publisher was a Morning Post. This, though unques
;" and Mr Coleridge very nar- tionably a useful, respectable, and larowly escaped being thrown into jail borious employment, does not appear for this his heroic attempt to shed to us at all sublime; but Mr Coleover the manufacturing towns the il- ridge thinks otherwise-compares himlumination of knowledge. We re, self, the Writer of the leading Article, frain from making any comments on
to Edmund Burkeand, for the effect this deplorable story.
which his writings produced on Bria This Philosopher, and Theologian, tain, refers us to the pages of the and Patriot, now retired to a village Morning Chronicle. In this situation, in Somersetshire, and, after having he tells us that "he wasted the prime sought to enlighten the whole world, and manhood of his intellect," discovered that he himself was in utter “ added nothing to his reputation or darkness.
fortune, the industry of the week sup“ Doubts rushed in, broke upon me from plying the necessities of the week.” the fountains of the great deep, and fell Yet the effects of his labours were from the windows of heaven. The fontal wonderful and glorious. He seems to truths of natural Religion, and the book of think that he was the cause of the late Revelation, alike contributed to the flood ; War; and that, in consequence of his and it was long ere my Ark touched upon Essays in the Morning Post, he was, Ararat, and rested. Spinoza, though my heart was with Paul during his subsequent residence in and John.”
Italy, the specified object of BonaAt this time, “ by a gracious Pro- parte's resentment.
Of this he was vidence, for which I can never be warned by Baron Von Humboldt and sufficiently grateful, the generous and Cardinal Fesch; and he was. saved munificent patronage of Mr Josiah from arrest by a Noble Benedictine, and Mr Thomas Wedgewood enabled and the “gracious connivance of that me to finish my education in Ger- good old man the Pope !" We know many." All this is very well; but of no parallel to such insane vanity as what Mr Coleridge learnt in Germany this, but the case of the celebrated we know not, and seek in vain to dis- John Dennis, who, when walking one cover through these volumes. He tells day on the sea-beach, imagined a large us that the Antijacobin wits accused ship sailing by to have been sent by him of abandoning his wife and chil- Ministry to capture him; and who, dren, and implicated in that charge on another occasion, waited on the his friends Mr Robert Southey and Duke of Marlborough, when the conMr Charles Lamb. This was very gress for the peace of Utrecht was in unjust ; for Mr Southey is, and always agitation, to intreat his interest with was, a most exemplary Family-man, the plenipotentiaries, that they should and Mr Lamb, we believe, is still a
not consent to his being given up. Bachelor. But Mr Coleridge assumes
The Duke replied, that he had not a higher tone than the nature of the got himself excepted in the articles of case demands or justifies, and his lan- peace, yet he could not help thinking guage is not quite explicit. A man
that he had done the French almost who abandons his wife and children is as much damage as even Mr Dennis. undoubtedly both a wicked and per
We have no room here to expose, nicious member of society; and Mr
as it deserves to be exposed, the mulColeridge ought not to deal in general titudinous political inconsistence of Mr and vague terms of indignation, but Coleridge, but we beg leave to state boldly affirm, if he dare, that the one single fact: He abhorred, hated, charge was false then, and would be and despised Mr Pitt,--and he now false now, if repeated against himself. loves and reveres his memory. Ву Be this as it may, Mr Coleridge has far the most spirited and powerful of never received any apology from those his poetical writings, is the War Ec
logue, Slaughter, Fire, and Famine; and merry, there can be no happiness and in that composition he loads the here below for Mr Samuel Coleridge. Minister with imprecations and curses, And here we come to speak of a long, loud, and deep. But afterwards, matter, which, though somewhat of a when he has thought it prudent to personal and private nature, is well change his principles, he denies that deserving of mention in a Review of he ever felt any indignation towards Mr Coleridge's Literary Life; for sinMr Pitt; and with the most unblush- cerity is the first of virtues, and withing falsehood declares, that at the very out it no man can be respectable or moment his muse was consigning him useful. He has, in this work, accusto infamy, death, and damnation, heed Mr Jeffrey of meanness—hypocrisy would " have interposed his body be- --falsehood-and breach of hospitalitween him and danger.” We believe ty. That gentleman is able to defend that all good men, of all parties, regard himself and his defence is no busiMr Coleridge with pity and contempt. ness of ours. But we now tell Mr
Of the latter days of his literary life Coleridge, that instead of humbling Mr Coleridge gives us no satisfactory his Adversary, he has heaped upon his account. The whole of the second own head the ashes of disgrace and volume is interspersed with mysteri- with his own blundering hands, so ous inuendos. He complains of the stained his character as a man of loss of all his friends, not by death, honour and high principles, that the but estrangement. He tries to account mark can never be effaced. All the for the enmity of the world to him, a most offensive attacks on the writings harmless and humane man, who wishes of Wordsworth and Southey had been well to all created things, and “of his made by Mr Jeffrey before his visit to wondering finds no end.”
Keswick. Yet does Coleridge receive bruids himself with indolence, pro- him with open arms, according to his crastination, neglect of his worldly own account-listen, well-pleased, to concerns, and all other bad habits, all his compliments--talk to him for and then, with incredible inconsisten- hours on his Literary Projects dine! cy, vaunts loudly of his successful ef- with him as his guest at an inn-tell forts in the cause of Literature, Philo. him that he knew Mr Wordsworth sophy, Morality, and Religion. Above would be most happy to see him—and all, he weeps and wails over the malig- in all respects behave to him with a nity of Reviewers, who have persecuted politeness bordering on servility. And him almost from his very cradle, and after all this, merely because his own seem resolved to bark him into the vile verses were crumpled up like so grave. He is haunted by the Image much waste paper, by the grasp of a of a Reviewer wherever he goes. They powerful hand in the Edinburgh Re
push him from his stool," and by view, he accuses Mr Jeffrey of abusing his bedside they cry, " Sleep no more. hospitality which he never received, They may abuse whomsoever they and forgets, that instead of being the think fit, save himself and Mr Words- Host, he himself was the smiling and worth. All others are fair game--and obsequious Guest of the man he prehe chuckles to see them brought down. tends to have despised. With all But his sacred person must be invio- this miserable forgetfulness of dignity late; and rudely to touch it is not and self-respect, he mounts the high high treason, it is impiety. Yet his horse, from which he instantly is “ ever-honoured friend, the laurel. tumbled into the dirt ; and in his honouring-Laureate,” is a Reviewer- angry ravings collects together all the his friend Mr Thomas Moore is a Re- foul trash of literary gossip to fling at viewer-his friend Dr Middleton, his adversary, but which is blown Bishop of Calcutta, was the Editor of stifling back upon himself with odium a Review-almost every friend he ever and infamy. But let him call to mind had is a Reviewer ;-and to crown all, his own conduct, and talk not of Mr he himself is a Reviewer. Every per- Jeffrey;. Many witnesses are yet livson who laughs at his silly Poems, ing of his own egotism and malignity; and his incomprehensible metaphysics, and often has he heaped upon his is malignant-in which case, there can “ beloved Friend, the laurel-honourbe little benevolence in this world; ing Laureate,” epithets of contempt, and while Mr Francis Jeffrey is alive and pity, and disgust, though now it
may suit his paltry purposes to worhip being too often disposed to ask Have I and idolize. Of Mr Southey we at
one friend ?” all times think, and shall speak, with We are thus prepared for the nara respect and admiration ; but his open ration of some grievous cruelty, or inadversaries are, like Mr Jeffrey, less gratitude, or malice,--some violation formidable than his unprincipled of his peace, or robbery of his reputaFriends. When Greek and Trojan tion; but our readers will start when meet on the plain, there is an interest they are informed, that this melanin the combat; but it is hateful and choly lament is occasioned solely by painful to think, that a hero should the cruel treatment which his poem be wounded behind his back, and by of Christabel received from the Edina poisoned stiletto in the hand of a burgh Review and other periodical false Friend.*
Journals! It was, he tells us, univerThe concluding chapter of this Bi- sally admired in manuscript—he reography is perhaps the most pitiful of cited it many hundred times to men, the whole, and contains a most sur- women, and children, and always with prising mixture of the pathetic and an electrical effect--it was bepraised by the ludicrous.
most of the great poets of the day-and “ Strange," says he, as the delusion for twenty years he was urged to give may appear, yet it is most true, that three it to the world. But alas ! no sooner years ago I did not know or believe that I had the Lady Christabel “come out," had an enemy in the world ; and now even than all the rules of good-breeding my strongest consolations of gratitude are mingled with fear, and I reproach myself for and the loud laugh of scorn and ridi
and politeness were broken through,
cule from every quarter assailed the In the Examiner of April 6th, 1817,
ears of the fantastic Hoyden. But there is a letter, signed « Vindex," from let Mr Coleridge be consoled. Mr which the following extract is taken :
Scott and Lord Byron are good-na“ The author of the Friend' is troubled tured enough to admire Christabel, at times and seasons with a treacherous and the Public have not forgotten that memory ; but perhaps he may remember a his Lordship handed her Ladyship visit to Bristol. He may remember--(I upon the stage. It is indeed most allude to no confidential whisperingsno strange, that Mr Coleridge is not satunguarded private moments,—but to facts isfied with the praise of those he adof open and ostentatious notoriety)-He may mires,-but pines away for the comremember, publicly, before several strangers, and in the midst of a public library, mendation of those he contemns. turning into the most merciless ridicule
Having brought down his literary life the dear friend whom he now calls to the great epoch of the publication Southey the Philologist, Southey the His- of Christabel, he there stops short ; torian,' Southey the Poet of Thalaba, the and that the world may compare him Madoc, and the Roderic. Mr Coleridge as he appears at that æra to his forrecited an Ode of his dear Friend, in mer self, when “ he set sail from Yarthe hearing of these persons, with a tone and manner of the most contemptuous September 1798, in the Hamburg
mouth on the morning of the 10th burlesque, and accused him of having stolen from Wordsworth images which Packet,” he has republished, from his he knew not how to use. Does he re- periodical work the “ Friend,” sevenmember, that he also took down the Joan ty pages of Satyrane's Letters. of Arc,' and recited, in the same ridiculous specimen of his wit in 1998, our readtone (I do not mean his usual tone, but one ers may take the following :which he meant should be ridiculous) more
“ We were all on the deck, but in a short than a page of the poem, with the ironical
time I observed marks of dismay. The comment, • This, gentlemen, is Poetry?' Lady retired to the cabin in some confuDoes he remember that he then recited, by sion, and many of the faces round me asway of contrast, some forty lines of his own contribution to the same poem, in his usual
sumed a very doleful and frog-coloured apbombastic manner ? and that after this dis
pearance ; and within an hour the number
of those on deck was lessened by one half. gusting display of egotism and malignity, I was giddy, but not sick; and the giddihe observed, * Poor fellow, he may be a Reviewer, but Heaven bless the man if he and want of appetite, which I attributed,
ness soon went away, but left a feverishness thinks himself a Poet?'
in great measure, to the “ sæva mephitis" * Absentem qui rodit amicum
of the bilge-water; and it was certainly not Hic niger est: hunc tu Romane caveto.' decreased by the exportations from the ca
VINDEX.” bin. However, I was well enough to join