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Of providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate,
Fixed fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute,
And found no end in wandering mazes lost.

This preposterous pursuit was, beyond doubt, injurious both tc my natural powers, and to the progress of my education. It 7 would, perhaps, have been destructive, had it been continued ; but from this I was auspiciously withdrawn, partly indeed by an accidental introduction to an amiable family, chiefly, however, by the genial influence of a style of poetry, so tender and yet so manly, so natural and real, and yet so dignified and harmonious, as the sonnets and other early poems of Mr. Bowles. Well would it have been for me, perhaps, had I never relapsed into the same mental disease; if I had continued to pluck the flower and reap the harvest from the cultivated surface, instead of delving in the unwholesome quicksilver mines of metaphysic lore. And if in after time I have sought a refuge from bodily pain and mismanaged sensibility in abstruse researches, which exercised the strength and subtilty of the understanding without awakening the feelings of the heart; still there was a long and blessed interval, during which my natural faculties were allow. ed to expand, and my original tendencies to develope themselves; -my fancy, and the love of nature, and the sense of beauty in forms and sounds.18

18 [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.

Poet. Works, i., p. 238.

The passage in the text has been more than once cited by those who cite nothing else from the writings of Coleridge, as warning authority against the pursuit of metaphysic science. With what candor or good sense let those judge, who know and appreciate the persistent labor of his life, and recollect that all the great verities of religion are ideas, the practical apprehension of, and faith in, which have in every age of the Church been, as from the constitution of the human mind they must necessarily be vitally affected by the metaphysic systems from time to time prevailing


The second advantage, which I owe to my early perusal, and admiration of these poems (to which let me add, though knowr. to me at a somewhat later period, the Lewesdon Hill of Mr.

It is indeed to be observed that those who are so zealous in decrying metaphysic, and more especially psychological investigations, and spend entire sermons in reasoning against reason, have nevertheless invariably a particular system of metaphysics and even of psychology of their own, which they will as little surrender as examine. And what system? In nine cases out of ten, a patchwork of empirical positions, known historically to be directly repugnant to the principles maintained as well by the Reformers as the Fathers of the Catholic Church, and leading legitimately to conclusions subversive of the fundamental articles of the Christian faith. That those conclusions, indeed, have not been able to obtain a fixed footing within our Church, as they have long since done to a fearful extent elsewhere, is, under God's providence, mainly attributable to the reading of the Liturgy and Scriptures in the ears of the people. Yet who will not tremble at the dilemma in the case of an individual clergyman, who either sees the contrariety between his philosophical and religious creeds, and continues to hold both, or not seeing it, is at the mercy of the first Socinian reasoner who helps him to perceive it?

This vulgar scorn of the science of the human mind, its powers, capacities, and objects, as an essential part or fore-ground of the science of theology, is to be found passim in the written and oral teaching of those who, to use a confessedly inaccurate but very significant phrase, lead the Calvinistic and Arminian parties within the Church in England. To the former it seems more natural in respect of their being, upon the whole, men of lower education, meaner attainments, and more limited abilities. -in the latter, and especially in the most eminent of the latter, it is selfcontradiction, and has the appearance, to calm observers, of mere wilfulness. For in the perusal of the many eloquent volumes which have proceeded of late years from the latter, there may be found metaphysic and even psychological arguments, which show a knowledge of Aristotle, and also-quod minime reris—an acquaintance with Coleridge,—the last, however, without recognition by name, and speedily atoned for in a following page by some religious dehortation, or sullen dogma of contrary import. It is evident, therefore, that the particular system is the object of dislike. Would it not be more agreeable to the sincerity of lovers of truth, and to the courtesy of men of letters, to meet, commend or censure, adopt or reject, what stands in their path in a perfectly questionable shape, than to pass by on the other side in affected ignorance or contempt? Can the Aids to Reflection be honestly pretermitted by a divine of this day, or ought the only use made of it by a gentleman to be-to borrow from it without acknowledgment?-But it is a true saying, that they who begin by loving Christianity better than truth, will proceed by loving their own

Crowe) bears more immediately on my present subject. Among those with whom I conversed, there were, of course, very many who had formed their taste, and their notions of poetry, from the writings of Pope and his followers; or to speak more generally, | in that school of French poetry, condensed and invigorated by English understanding, which had predominated from the last century. I was not blind to the merits of this school, yet, as from inexperience of the world, and consequent want of sympa thy with the general subjects of these poems, they gave me little pleasure, I doubtless undervalued the kind, and with the presumption of youth withheld from its masters the legitimate name of poets. I saw that the excellence of this kind consisted in just and acute observations on men and manners in an artificial state of society, as its matter and substance; and in the logic of wit, conveyed in smooth and strong epigrammatic couplets, as its form that even when the subject was addressed to the fancy, or the intellect, as in the Rape of the Lock, or the Essay on

sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving themselves better than all.

This is something of a digression, but it is needed.

It can hardly be necessary to remark, that Mr. Coleridge is only speaking relatively to his youth, and his vocation as a poet, and the proportion which metaphysical studies should bear in a well-ordered education to the exercise of the imagination, and the observation of external nature. Something also was, no doubt, intended against particular books and lines of research, which, in his almost limitless range, he had perused or followed. There are unwholesome books in metaphysics as there are in divinity and romance, but not so many or so injurious by half; and it is just as wise to proscribe the former on account of Spinóza or Hume, as it would be to prohibit the latter for Socinius or Paul de Kock. No man could be a great metaphysician, or make an epoch in the history of the science without an acquaintance as extensive as Mr. C.'s with all that had been done or attempted before him; but such a course is not more necessary to the edu cation of the mind in general, to which the elements of metaphysic knowledge are essential, than five years' attendance at the State Paper Office to the accomplishment of a gentleman in the history of England; and it may perhaps be admitted that the philosophic spell which overmastered Coleridge's advancing manhood for ever slacked the strings of the enchanting lyre of his youth. But on this we can only speculate. Ed.]

19 [Lewesdon Hill was first published in 1786; there was a second edi. tion in 1788, and a third in 1804. Ed.]

Man; nay, when it was a consecutive narration, as in that astonishing product of matchless talent and ingenuity, Pope's Translation of the Iliad; still a point was looked for at the end of each second line, and the whole was, as it were, a sorites, or, if I may exchange a logical for a grammatical metaphor, a conjunction disjunctive, of epigrams. Meantime the matter and diction seemed to me characterized not so much by poetic thoughts, as by thoughts translated into the language of poetry. On this last point, I had occasion to render my own thoughts gradually more and more plain to myself, by frequent amicable disputes concerning Darwin's Botanic Garden," which, for some years, was greatly extolled, not only by the reading public in general, but even by those, whose genius and natural robustness of understanding enabled them afterwards to act foremost in dissipating these "painted mists" that occasionally rise from the marshes at the foot of Parnassus. During my first Cambridge vacation,21 21 I assisted a friend in a contribution for a literary society in Devonshire and in this I remember to have compared Darwin's work to the Russian palace of ice, glittering, cold, and transitory. In the same essay, too," I assigned sundry reasons, chiefly drawn from a comparison of passages in the Latin poets with the original Greek, from which they were borrowed, for the preference of Collins's odes to those of Gray; and of the simile in Shakspeare

How like a younker or a prodigal

The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind!
How like the prodigal doth she return,

With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,

Lean, rent, and beggar'd by the strumpet wind!

o the imitation in the Bard ;

(Merch. of Ven., Act II., sc. 6.)

20 [The Botanic Garden was published in 1781. Ed.]

21 [Mr. Coleridge entered at Jesus College, Cambridge, on the 5th of reEruary, 1791. Ed.]

[I have never been able to discover any traces of this essay, which I presume was not printed Ed.]

Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes,

Youth at the prow and pleasure at the helm;

Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,

That hush'd in grim repose, expects it's evening prey.

(in which, by the by, the words "realm" and "sway" are rhymes dearly purchased)-I preferred the original on the ground, that in the imitation it depended wholly on the composi tor's putting, or not putting, a small capital, both in this, and in many other passages of the same poet, whether the words should be personifications, or mere abstractions. I mention this, because, in referring various lines in Gray to their original in Shakspeare and Milton, and in the clear perception how completely all the propriety was lost in the transfer, I was, at that early period, led to a conjecture, which, many years afterwards, was recalled to me from the same thought having been started in conversation, but far more ably, and developed more fully, by Mr. Wordsworth ;-namely, that this style of poetry, which I have characterized above, as translations of prose thoughts into poetic language, had been kept up by, if it did not wholly arise from, the custom of writing Latin verses, and the great importance attached to these exercises, in our public schools. Whatever might have been the case in the fifteenth century, when the use of the Latin tongue was so general among learned men, that Erasmus is said to have forgotten his native language; yet in the present day it is not to be supposed that a youth can think in Latin, or that he can have any other reliance on the force or fitness of his phrases, but the authority of the writer from whom he has adopted them. Consequently he must first prepare his thoughts, and then pick out,23 from Virgil, Horace,

23 [In the Rusticus of Politian* there occurs this line: Pura coloratos interstrepit unda lapillos. Casting my eye on a University prize-poem, I met this line,

Lactea purpureos interstrepit unda lapillos.

Now look out in the Gradus for purus, and you find as the first syno

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* Angelus Politianus was born July 14, 1454, at Monte Pulciano in Tuscany; died at Florence, Sept. 24, 1494. The line quoted is the fourteenth of the Silva cui titulus Rústicus. S. C.

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