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height he might seem to be above five feet eight (he was in reality about an inch and a half taller, but his figure was of an order which drowns the height); 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 from the peculiar appearance of haze or dreaminess, which mixed with their light, that I recognised my object. This was Coleridge. I examined him steadfastly for a minute or more: and it struck me that he saw neither 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 an inn door, and advanced close to him, before he had apparently become conscious of my presence. The sound of my voice, announcing my own 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. There was no mauvaise honte in his manner, but simple perplexity, and an apparent difficulty in recovering his position among daylight realities. This little scene over, he received me with a kindness of manner so marked that it might be called gracious.
Coleridge led me to a drawing room and rang the bell for refreshments, and omitted no point of a courteous reception. He told me that there would be a very large dinner party on that day, which perhaps might be disagreeable to a perfect stranger ; but, if not, he could assure me of a most hospitable welcome from the family. I was too anxious to see him, under aspects, to think of declining this invitation. And these little points of business being settled, Coleridge, like some great river, the Orellana, or the St. Lawrence, that had been checked and fretted by rocks or thwarting islands, and suddenly recovers its volume of waters, and its mighty music, swept, at once, as if returning to his natural business, into a continuous strain of eloquent dissertation, certainly the most novel, the most finely illustrated, and traversing the most spacious fields of thought, by transitions the most just and logical, that it was possible to conceive."
I will now present him as he appeared to William Hazlitt in the February of 1798, when he was little more than five and twenty; and this brings him back to the period of his life at which the present Memoir concludes.
“ 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 temps ni les circonstances peuvent effacer. Dusseje vivre des siècles entiers, le doux temps de ma jeunesse ne peut renaître pour moi, ni s'effacer jamais dans ma mémoire. When I got there, the organ was playing the hundredth 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 last two 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 queue 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 laboring 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 them.”
A glowing dawn was his, but noon's full blaze
The roses of the morn yet lingered there
Learning, power, and time,
With the letter of Nov. 5, which concludes Chapter III., the biographical sketch left by Mr. Coleridge's late Editor comes to an end, and at the present time I can carry it no further than to add, that in January,
Father removed with his wife and child, the latter then four months old, to a cottage at Stowey, which was his home for three years; that from that home, in company with Mr. and Miss Wordsworth, he went, in September, 1798, to Germany, and that he spent fourteen months in that country, during which period the Letters called Satyrane's were written. Here, however, at the end of this brief personal record, I
may best introduce the remarks which have been made, and details which have been given, respecting Mr. Coleridge's services to The Morning Post and The Courier, spoken of by him in Chapter X. That representation has been excepted against by Mr. Stuart, who was Editor of the former Paper when my Father wrote for it, and half proprietor of the other. The view which he takes of the case he has already made public ;' he seems to be of opinion, that the language used by Mr. Coleridge in this work is calculated to give an impression of the amount of his actual performances on behalf of those papers beyond what the facts warrant; I have not thought it necessary or proper to withdraw that portion of Chapter X. of this work, of which he complains, nor do I see that it must necessarily bear a construction at variance with his own statements : but neither would I republish it,
1 In articles on Mr. Coleridge, the Poet, and his Newspaper writings, &c., in the Gentleman's Magazine of May, June, July, August of 1838.
without giving Mr. Stuart's account of matters to which it refers, extracted from letters by him to Mr. Coleridge's late Editor. He writes as follows from Wykkam Park, on the 7th of October, 1835.
“ In August, 1795, I began to conduct The Morning Post, the sale of which was so low, only 350 per day, that a gentleman at that time made a bet with me that the Paper was actually extinct.
“At Christmas, 1797, on the recommendation of Mr. Mackintosh, Coleridge sent me several pieces of poetry; up to the time of his going to Germany, about 12 pieces. Prose writing I never expected from him at that time. He went to Germany in the summer of 1798.
He returned, I believe, about the end of 1799,3 and proposed to me to come to London to reside near me, and write daily for the paper. I took lodgings for him in King Street, Covent Garden. The Morning Post then selling 2,000 daily. Coleridge wrote some things, particularly, I remember, Comments on Lord Grenville's reply to Buonaparte's Overtures of Peace, in January, 1800. But he totally failed in the plan he proposed of writing daily on the daily occurrences.”
Mr. Stuart then gives three short letters of Mr. C.'s, showing how often he was ill and incapable of writing for the paper, and the beginning of a long one dated Greta Hall, Keswick, 19th July, 1800, in which he proinises a second part of Pitt and Buonaparte, but speaks of it as uncertain whether or no he should be able to continue any regular species of employment for Mr. S.'s paper.
After noting that Mr. C. left London at the end of his first half year's engagement, Mr. S. brings forward more letters, containing excuses on account of illness, but promising a number of essays; two on the war, as respecting agriculture ; one on the raising of rents ; one on the riots (corn riots in 1800); and one on the countenance by Government of calumnies on the King ;—promising also a second part of Pitt and Buonaparte, which Mr. S. supposes he was constantly dunning for, the Character of Pitt, published in The M. P. early in 1800, having made a great sensation; proposing a letter to Sir F. Burdett on solitary imprisonment, and that all these should be published in pamphlets, after they had been divided into pieces, and published in the M.P., he doubting whether they were of value for a newspaper. Some of these essays appear to have been sent; it is not specified which or how many.
2 “ Short pieces,” Mr. Stuart calls them in the Gent.'s Mag. But among them was France, an ode, which was first published in the M. P. in the beginning of 1798, and republished in the same Paper some years afterwards, and must have helped to give it a decent poetical reputation, I think.
3 Nov. 27, 1799.