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Royal Institution, in the spring of 1808; in one this question, and always will do so, when it is of which he astonished his auditory by thanking recollected what he has had the power to effect. his Maker, in the most serious manner, for so or- It will not forgive him for writing upon party, and dering events, that he was totally ignorant of a in support of principles that even now are pretty single word of “that frightful jargon, the French nearly exploded, “what was meant for mankind." language!" And yet, notwithstanding this public Coleridge mistook his walk when he set up for a avowal of his entire ignorance of the language, politician, and it is to be feared the public have a Mr. C. is said to have been in the habit, while great deal to regret on account of it. He vill not conversing with his friends, of expressing the ut- be known hereafter by his Morning Post articles, most contempt for the literature of that country! but by his verses. Whatever pains his political
Whelmed in the wild mazes of metaphysics, papers may have cost him, and from his own ac. and for ever mingling its speculations with all he count they were laboriously composed, they will does or says, Coleridge has of late produced nothing avail him nothing with posterity. The verses of equal to the power of his pen. A few verses in an Coleridge give him his claim to lasting celebrity, annual, or a sonnet in a magazine, are the utmost and it is in vain that he would have the world of his efforts. He resides at Hampstead, in the think otherwise. He says, “Would hat the cri. house of a friend having a good garden, where he terion of a scholar’s utility were the number and walks for hours together enwrapped in visions of moral value of the truths which he nas been the new theories of theology, or upon the most abstruse means of throwing into the general crculation, or of meditations. He goes into the world at times, to the number and value of the minds whom, by his the social dinner-party, where he gratifies his self conversation or letters, he has excitec into activity, love by pouring out the stores of his mind in con- and supplied with the germs of their aster-growth! versation to admiring listeners. Were he not apt A distinguished rank might not indeed then be to be too profound, he would make an excellent awarded to my exertions, but I should dare look talker, or rather un grand causeur for a second forward to an honorable acquittal.” Madame de Sévigné, if such an accomplished fe. In temper and disposition Coleridge is kind and male is to be found in the nineteenth century, amiable. His person is bulky and his physiogeither in England or France. The fuency of nomy is heavy, but his eye is remarkably fine; Coleridge's language, the light he throws upon and neither envy nor uncharitableness have his subjects, and the pleasure he feels in commu- made any successful impression in attacking his nicating his ideas, and his knowledge, innate or moral character. His family have long resided acquired, are equally remarkable to the stranger. with Mr. Southey's in the north of England; the He has been accused of indolence, not perhaps narrow pecuniary circumstances of our poet are with reason : the misdirection of his distinguished assigned as the reason. It is ardently desired talents would be a better explanation of that for by all lovers of the Muses, that the author of the which he has been blamable. · He attempts to “ Ancient Mariner,” and of “Genevieve,” may justify himself on the score of quantity, by assert- see life protracted to a green old age, and yet ing that some of his best things were published in produce works which may rival those of his de. newspapers. The world differs with him upon parted years.
SAMUEL T. COLERIDGE.
simpelled to seek for sympathy; but a Poet's feelings
are all strong. Quicquid amet valde amat. Akenside COMPOSITIONS resembling those here collected are
therefore speaks with philosophical accuracy when mot unfrequently condemned for their querulous
he classes Love and Poetry, as producing the same
effects : Egotism. But Egotism is to be condemned then only when it offends against time and place, as in a His
•Love and the wish of Poets when their tongue tory or an Epic Poem. To censure it in a Monody
Would toach to others' bosoms, what so charms
Their own. or Sonnet is almost as absurd as to dislike a circle
Pleasures of Imagination. for being round. Why then write Sonnets or Mono- There is one species of Egotism which is truly dies! Because they give me pleasure when perhaps disgusting ; not that which leads us to communicate nothing else could. After the more violent emotions our feelings to others but that which would reduce of Sorrow, the mind demands amusement, and can the feelings of others to an identity with our own. find it in employment alone : but, full of its late suf. The Atheist, who exclaims “ pshaw!" when he ferings, it can endure no employment not in some glances his eye on the praises of Deity, is an Egotist: measure connected with them. Forcibly to turn an old man, when he speaks contemptuously of Loveaway our attention to general subjects is a painful verses, is an Egotist: and the sleek Favorites of and most often an unavailing effort.
Fortune are Egotists, when they condemn all“ melBat O! how grateful to a wounded heart
ancholy, discontented” verses. Surely, it would be The tale of Misery to impart
candid not merely to ask whether the poem pleases From others' eyes bid artless sorrows flow, And raise esteem upon the base of Woe!
ourselves, but to consider whether or no there may
not be others, to whom it is well calculated to give The communicativeness of our Nature leads us to an innocent pleasure. describe our own sorrows; in the endeavor to de
I shall only add, that each of my readers will, I seribe them, intellectual activity is exerted ; and hope, remember, that these Poems on various subfrom intellectual activity there results a pleasure, jects, which he reads at one time and under the inwhich is gradually associated, and mingles as a cor- fluence of one set of feelings, were written at differrective, with the painful subject of the description. ent times and prompted by very different feelings; * True!" (it may be answered)" but how are the and therefore that the supposed inferiority. of one Public interested in your sorrows or your Descrip- Poem to another may sometimes be owing to the tion ?" We are for ever attributing personal Unities temper of mind in which he happens to peruse it. to imaginary Aggregates. What is the Public, but a term for a number of scattered individuals ? of whom My poems have been rightly charged with a proas many will be interested in these sorrows, as have fusion of double-epithets, and a general turgidness. experienced the same or similar.
I have pruned the double-epithets with no sparing Holy be the lay
hand ; and used my best efforts to tame the swell Which mourning soothes the mourner on his way. and glitter both of thought and diction.* This latter If I could judge of others by myself, I should not hesitate to affirm, that the most interesting passages
Without any feeling of anger, I may yet be allowed to are those in which the Author develops his own express some degree of surprise, that after having run the
critical gauntlet for a certain class of faults, which I had, viz. feelings! The sweet voice of Cona* never sounds a too ornate and elaborately poctic diction, and nothing havso sweetly, as when it speaks of itself; and I should ing come before the judgment-seat of the Reviewers during almost suspect that man of an unkindly heart, who the long interval, I should for at least seventeen years, quarter could read the opening of the third book of the Para- after quarter, have been placed by them in the foremost rank
of the proscribed, and made to abide the brunt of abuse and dise Lost without peculiar emotion. By a Law of our ridicule for faults directly opposite, viz. bald and prosaic lanNature, he, who labors under a strong feeling, is guage, and an affected simplicity both of matter and manner
-faults which assuredly did not enter into the character of • Ossian.
my compositions.--Literary Life, i. 51. Published 1817.
fault however had insinuated itself into my Religious And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud Musings with such intricacy of union, that some- Behind the gather'd blackness lost on high ; times I have omitted to disentangle the weed from And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud the fear of snapping the flower. A third and heavier Thy placid lightning o'er the awaken'd sky. accusation has been brought against me, that of ob- Ah such is Hope! as changeful and as fair! scurity ; but not, I think, with equal justice. An Now dimly peering on the wistful sight; Author is obscure, when his conceptions are dim Now hid behind the dragon-wing'd Despair : and imperfect, and his language incorrect, or unap- But soon emerging in her radiant might, propriate, or involved. A poem that abounds in She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care allusions, like the Bard of Gray, or one that imper- Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight. sonates high and abstract truths, like Collins's Ode on the poetical character, claims not to be popularbut 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
TIME, REAL AND IMAGINARY. 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: On the wide level of a mountain's head not that their poems are better understood at present, (I knew not where, but 't was some faery place) than they were at their first publication ; but their Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread, fame is established ; and a critic would accuse him- Two lovely children run an endless race, self of frigidity or inattention, who should profess A sister and a brother! not to understand them. But a living writer is yet This far outstript the other ; sub judice; and if we cannot follow his conceptions Yet ever runs she with reverted face, or enter into his feelings, it is more consoling to our And looks and listens for the boy behind : pride to consider him as lost bencath, than as soaring For he, alas! is blind ! above us. If any man expect from my poems the O'er rough and smooth with even step he passid, same easiness of style which he admires in a drink. And knows not whether he be first or last. ing-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
MONODY ON THE DEATH OF amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own “ exceeding great reward :” it has soothed
CHATTERTON. my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude : and it has given O what a wonder seems the fear of death, me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and Seeing how gladly we all sink to sleep, the Beautiful in all that mcets and surrounds me. Babes, Children, Youths and Men,
S. T. C. Night following night for threescore years and ten!
But doubly strange, where life is but a breath
To sigh and pant with, up Want's rugged steep.
Away, Grim Phantom! Scorpion King, away.!
For coward Wealth and Guilt in robes of state!
Lo! by the grave I stand of one, for whom Maid of my Love, sweet Genevieve!
A prodigal Nature and a niggard Doom In beauty's light you glide along :
(That all bestowing, this withholding all) Your eye is like the star of eve,
Made each chance knell from distant spire or dome And sweet your voice, as seraph's song.
Sound like a seeking Mother's anxious call, Yet not your heavenly beauty gives
Return, poor Child! Home, weary Truant, home! This heart with passion soft to glow : Within your soul a voice there lives! Thee, Chatterton! these unblest stones protect It bids you hear the tale of woe.
From want, and the bleak freezings of neglect. When sinking low the sufferer wan
Too long before the vexing Storm-blast driven, Beholds no hand outstretch'd to save,
Here hast thou found repose! beneath this sod! Fair, as the bosom of the swan
Thou! O vain word! thou dwell'st not with the clod! That rises graceful o'er the wave,
Amid the shining Host of the Forgiven
(Believe it, O my soul!) to harps of Seraphim.
TO THE AUTUMNAL MOON.
Mild Splendor of the various-vested Night!
Yet oft, perforce ('t is suffering Nature's call,)
Thy corse of livid hue ;
Is this the land of song-ennobled line ?
But that Despair and Indignation rose,
Told the keen insult of the unfeeling heart;
Told every pang, with which thy soul must smart, His weary limbs in lonely anguish laid.
Neglect, and grinning Scorn, and Want combined !
Recoiling quick, thou bad'st the friend of pain
Roll the black tide of Death through every freezing While “ 'mid the pelting of that merciless storm,"
vein! Sunk to the cold earth Olway's famish'd form!
Ye woods! that wave o'er Avon's rocky steep, Sublime of thought, and confident of fame,
To Fancy's ear sweet is your murmuring deep! From vales where Avon winds, the Minstrel* came. For here she loves the cypress wreath to weave,
Light-hearted youth! aye, as he hastes along, Watching, with wistful eye, the saddening tints of eve. lle meditates the future song,
Here, far from men, and this pathless grove,
In solemn thought the Minstrel wont to rove,
Like star-beam on the slow sequester'd tide
Lone-glittering, through the high tree branching wide. Erulting in the spirits' genial throe,
And here, in Inspiration's eager hour, In tides of power his life-blood seems to flow.
When most the big soul feels the mastering power,
These wilds, these caverns roaming o'er,
Round which the screaming sea-gulls soar,
Oft pouring on the winds a broken song :
Anon, upon some rough rock's fearful brow A holier triumph and a sterner aim!
Would pause abrupt—and gaze upon the waves Wings grow within him; and he soars above
below. Or Bard's, or Minstrel's lay of war or love. Friend to the friendless, to the Sufferer health, He hears the widow's prayer, the good man's praise ; Who would have praised and loved thee, ere too
Poor Chatterton! he sorrows for thy fate To scenes of bliss transmutes his fancied wealth,
late. And young and old shall now see happy days.
Poor Chatterton! farewell ! of darkest hues
This chaplet cast I on thy unshaped lomb;
But dare no longer on the sad theme muse,
Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom :
Have blackend the fair promise of my spring ;
Hence, gloomy thoughts! no more my soul shall
The shame and anguish of the evil day,
Wisely forgetful! O'er the ocean swell
Where Virtue calm with careless step may stray ; Thy wasted form, thy hurried steps, I view,
And, dancing to the moon-light roundelay, On thy wan forehead starts the lethal dew,
The wizard Passions weave a holy spell!
O Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive!
Sure thou wouldst spread the canvas to the gale,
And love with us the tinkling team to drive
O'er peaceful Freedom's undivided dale ;
And we, at sober eve, would round thee throng, When near thee stood Affection meek
Hanging, enraptured, on thy stately song ! (ller bosom bare, and wildly pale her cheek,)
And greet with smiles the young-eyed Poesy
All detily mask'd, as hoar Antiquity.
Alas vain Phantasies! the fleeting brood
Of Woe self-solaced in her dreamy mood ! Thy Sister's shrieks she bade thee hear,
Yet will I love to follow the sweet dream, And mark thy Mother's thrilling tear;
Where Susquehannah pours his untamed stream ,
And on some hill, whose forest-frowning side
Waves o'er the murmurs of his calmer tide,
Will raise a solemn Cenotaph to thee, And thou hadst dash'd it, at her soft command,
Sweet Harper of time-shrouded Minstrelsy!
And there, soothed saddly by the dirgeful wind, Avon, a river near Bristol; the birth place of Chatterton. Muse on the sore ills I had left behind.
O'er his hush'd soul our soothing witcheries shed,
SONGS OF THE PIXIES.
V., The Pixies, in the superstition of Devonshire, are a race of
When Evening's dusky car, beings invisibly small, and harmless or friendly to man. At a
Crown'd with her dewy star, small distance from a village in that county, half-way up a wood-covered hill, is an excavation called the Pixies' Parlor. Steals o'er the fading sky in shadowy flight, The roots of old trees form its ceiling ; and on its sides are
On leaves of aspen trees innumerable ciphers, among which the author discovered his
We tremble to the breeze, own cipher and those of his brothers, cut by the hand of their Veil'd from the grosser keń of mortal sight. cbildhood. At the foot of the hill flows the river Otter. To this place the Author conducted a party of young Ladies,
Or, haply, at the visionary hour, during the Summer months of the year 1793 ; one of whom, Along our wildly-bower'd sequester'd walk, of stature elegantly small, and of complexion colorless yet We listen to the enamour'd rustic's talk; clear, was proclaimed the Faery Queen. On which occasion Heave with the heavings of the maiden's breast, the following irregular Ode was written.
Where young-eyed Loves have built their turtle
Or guide of soul-subduing power
The electric flash, that from the melting eye
Darts the fond question and the soft reply.
Or through the mystic ringlets of the vale
We flash our faery feet in gamesome prank; Here the blackbird strains his throat;
Or, silent-sandall’d, pay our dester court
Circling the Spirit of the Western Gale,
Where wearied with his flower-caressing sport II.
Supine he slumbers on a violet bank;
Then with quaint music hymn the parting gleam When fades the moon all shadowy-pale,
By lonely Otter's sleep-persuading stream; And scuds the cloud before the gale,
Or where his waves with loud unquiet song Ere Morn with living gems bedight
Dash'd o'er the rocky channel froth along; Purples the East with streaky light,
Or where, his silver.waters smoothed to rest,
The tall tree's shadow sleeps upon his breast.
Hence, thou lingerer, Light!
Eve saddens into Night.
The sombre hours, that round thee stand
With downcast eyes (a duteous band!)
Their dark robes dripping with the heavy dew.
Sorceress of the ebon throne !
Thy power the Pixies own,
When round thy raven brow
Heaven's lucent roses glow,
And clouds, in watery colors drest,
Float in light drapery o'er thy sable vest :
What time the pale moon sheds a softer day, With wildest texture, blacken'd o'er with age :
Mellowing the woods beneath its pensive beam: Round them their mantle green the ivies bind,
For 'mid the quivering light 't is ours to play,
Aye dancing to the cadence of the stream.
Where the blameless Pixies dwell :
Queen, By Indolence and Fancy brought,
With what obeisance meet A youthful Bard, “ unknown to Fame,”
Thy presence shall we greet?
Graceful Ease in artless stole,
And white-robed Purity of soul,
With Honor's softer mien ;
Mirth of the loosely-flowing hair,
And meek-eyed Pity eloquently fair,
As snow-drop wet with dew.