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Æolian Harp, and Reflections on having left a place of Retirement, written soon after, are more finished poems, and exhibit more of his peculiar vein than any which he wrote before them: though one poet, Mr. Bowles, has said that he never surpassed the Religious Musings! Fire, Famine, and Slaughter, belongs to 1796. The Lines to a Friend (Charles Lamb) who had declared his intention of writing no more poetry, and those To a Young Friend (Charles Lloyd), were composed in the same year.
poems of 1794-5-6, may be considered intermediate in power as in time, and so forming a link between the first epoch and the next.
Then came his poetic prime, which commenced with the Ode to the Deparling Year, composed at the end of December, 1796. The year following, the five-and-twentieth of his life, produced The Ancient Mariner, Love, and The Dark Ladie, the first part of Christabel, Kubla Khan, Remorse, in its original cast, France, and This Lime-tree bower. Tears in Solitude, The Nightingale, and The Wanderings of Cain, were written in 1798. Frost at Midnight, The Piclure, the Lines to the Rer. G. Coleridge, and those To W. Wordsworth, are all of this same Stowey period. It was in June, 1797, that my Father began to be intimate with Mr. Wordsworth, and this doubtless gave an impulse to his mind. The Hymn before Sunrise, and other strains produced in Germany, link this period to the next. The Hexameters wrillen during a temporary blind ness, and the Catullian liendecasyllables (which are freely translated from Matthisson's Milesisches Mährchen) Mr. Cottle seems to place in 1797, but the Author has marked the former as produced in 1799, and I believe that the latter are of the same date. The Night Scene, Myrlle Leaf that ill besped, Maiden that with sullen brow, are of this period, and so I believe are Lines composed in a concert-room, and some others.
which succeed are distinguished from those of my Father's Stowey life by a less buoyant spirit. Poetic fire they have, but not the clear bright mounting flame of his earlier poetry. Their meditative vein is graver, and they seem tinged with the sombre hues of middle age; though some of them were written before the Author was thirty-five vears old. A characteristic poem of this period is Dejection, an Ode: nposed at Keswick, April 4, 1802. Wallenstein had been written in lon in 1800. The Three Grares was composed in 1805 or 6; the
part of Christabel10 soon after the Author's settling in the Lake 9 zietabel was condemned by the Edinburgh Review in good company, Zapoly White Doe. The two poems might be compared to Salm's two tion is plat. h 'seem the beautiful personification of sunshine and of be placed at the None of my Uncle (Mr. Southey's) Laureate Odes, not ii., p. 314.
country (in 1801); Youth and Age not long before he quitted it as a residence for ever (in 1810). Recollections of Love must have been written on his return to Keswick from Malta in 1806: The Happy Husband at that time, or earlier. The small fragment called The Knight's Tomb probably belongs to the North. The Devil's Thoughts appeared in The Morning Post in 1800. This production certainly has in it more of youthful sprightliness than of middle-aged soberness; still it is less fantastic and has more of world-wisdom in its satire than the War Eclogue of 1796. The Complaint and Reply first appeared in 1802. The Ode to Tranquillity was published in The Friend, March, 1809.
The poems of his after years, even when sad, are calmer in their melancholy than those produced while he was ceasing to be young. We are less heavy-hearted when youth is out of sight than when it is taking its leave. Duty surviving Self Love, The Pang more sharp than all, Love's Apparition and Evanishment, The Blossoming of the solitary Date tree, and some other poems of his latter years, have this character of resigned and subdued sadness. Work without Hope was written at fifty-six. The Visionary Hope and The Pains of Sleep, which express more agitation and severe suffering, are of earlier date. These and all in the Sibylline Leares were written before the end of 1817, when he had completed his forty-fifth year. The productions of the fourth epoch, looked at as works of imagination, are tender, graceful, exquisitely finished, but less bold and animated than those of his earlier, day. This may be said of Zapolya, Alice du Clos, The Garden of Boccaccio, The Two Founts, Lines suggested by the last Words of Berengarius, Sancti Dominici Pallium, and other poems, written, I believe, when the poet was past forty, the four last-named after he was fifty years old. Love, Hope, and Patience in Education was, I think, one of his latest poetical efforts, if not the very
last. The following prose compositions are included in the poetical volumes, and the Apologetic Preface to Fire, Famine, and Slaughter, containing a comparison between Milton and Jeremy Taylor, is placed at the end of vol. i.: An Allegoric Vision, first published in The Courier in 1811, and
even that beautiful one on the death of the Princess Charlotte, shall form a third with these, but let Thalaba come to join the lovely pair, and then we shall have the three Graces.
It is curious to look at critical articles, full of furious ridicule and buffoonery, in any old reviewing jonrnal ; they remind one so of fossil porcupines, with quills fixed in rigidity, or harlequin snakes in bottles.-N. B. Most of these snakes are of the blind worm species.
New Thoughts on Old Subjects, which first appeared in The Keepsake, are inserted in vol. ii.
The whole of the Poetical Works, except a few which have been reprinted in the Literary Remains, are contained in the stereotyped edition in three volumes. The Poems without the Dramas have been collected in a single volume, from which some of the Juvenile Poems, and two or three of later date, are excluded, and which includes a few not contained in the three vol. edition.
I now proceed to Mr. Coleridge's compositions in Prose. Conciones ad Populum, are two addresses to the People, delivered at the latter end of February, and then thrown into a small pamphlet. 6 After this,” says Mr. Cottle, “ he consolidated two other of his lectures, and published them under the title of The Plot Discovered.” A moral and political Lecture delivered at Bristol by Mr. C., was published in the same year. I do not know whether he printed any of his other Bristol orations of the year ninety-five. The Watchman was carried on in 1796. The first number appeared March 1; the tenth and last, May 13. These were youthful immature productions. Whatever was valuable and of a permanent nature in them was transferred into his later productions, or included in later publications.
The Friend, a Literary, Moral, and Political Weekly Paper, excluding personal and party politics and the events of the day, was written and published at Grasmere. The first number appeared on Thursday, June l'st, 1809, the 27th and last of that edition, March 15, 1810. The Friend next appeared before the public in 3 vols. in 1818.
This was “ rather a rifacimento," as the Author said, " than a new edition, the additions forming so large a proportion of the whole work, and the arrangement being altogether new.” (Essays v-xiii., pp. 38-128, treat of the Duty of communicating truth, and the conditions under which it may be safely communicated ; Essay v. is on the inexpediency of pious frauds, frc.) The third edition of 1837 gave the Author's last corrections, an appendix containing the parts thrown out in the recast, with some other miscellanea, and a synoptical table of the contents by the Editor. There is now a fourth edition.
The two Lay Sermons were published, the one in 1816, the other in 1817. The first is entitled The Statesman's Manual, or The Bible the best Guide to Political skill and foresight: a Lay Sermon addressed to the higher classes of society, with an Appendix, containing comments and essays connected with the study of the inspired writings :—the second A Lay Sermon, addressed to the Higher and Middle classes, on the existing distresses and discontents. Mr. Gillman says he “ had the intention of addressing a third to the lower classes.”
The Biographia Literaria was published in 1817, but parts of the first volume must have been composed some years earlier. The Edinburgh Review in its August number of that year was as favorable to the book as could be expected."
The Aids to Reflection first appeared in 1825. The original title was Aids to Reflection in the formation of a manly character on the several grounds of Prudence, Morality, and Religion ; illustrated by select passages from our elder divines, especially from Archbishop.Leighton. In an advertisement to the first edition, the Author mentions that the work was proposed and begun as a mere selection from the writings of Leighton, with a few notes and a biographical preface by the selector, but underwent a revolution of plan and object. “ It would, indeed,” he adds, “ be more correct to say, that the present volume owed its accidental origin to the intention of compiling one of a different description than to speak of it as the same work." “ Still, however, the selections from Leighton, which will be found in the fundamental and moral sections of this work, and which I could retain consistently with its present form and matter, will, both from the intrinsic excellence and from the characteristic beauty of the passages, suffice to answer two prominent purposes of the original plan ; that of placing in a clear light the principle which pervades all Leighton's writings—his sublime view, I mean, of Religion and Morality as the means of reforming the human soul in the Divine Image (Idea); and that of exciting an interest in the works, and an affectionate reverence for the name and memory of this severely tried and truly primitive Churchman."
Neither Hume nor Clarendon, I believe, mentions the persecution of Archbishop Leighton's father by the Prelatical party of his day; and yet it was one of their worst acts, and that which most excited wrath
11 The remarks in that article upon my Father's remarks on poetic diction I have vainly tried to understand :-" a paste of rich and honeyed words, like the candied coat of the auricula, a glittering tissue of quaint conceits and sparkling metaphors, crusting over the rough stalk of homely thoughts ; &c., such is the style of Pope and Gray ; such very often is that of Shakspeare and Milton: and, notwithstanding Mr. Coleridge's decision to the contrary, of Spenser's Faëry Queen.” Honely thoughts clothed in a glittering tissue of poetic diction are but pseudo-poetry; and the powder on the auricula would be nothing, if the coat itself were not of velvet. Mr. C.'s decision respecting the Faëry Queen is equally misrepresented, for he maintains that Spenser's language is distinct from that of prose, such language being required by his thoughts and in harmony with them. To say that he decided “ the contrary,” as if he had denied poetic diction to Spenser, is not like the auricula's coat, candid.
and indignation against the Primate—so faithful is their portrait of those times! Never can I read Mr. Wordsworth's sublime sonnet to Laud, especially the lines,
Prejudged by foes determined not to spare,
without thinking of another “old weak man for vengeance laid aside" -of Laud in the day of his power pulling off his hat and thanking God for the inhuman sentence that had been passed upon the already wasted victim”—of the miserable den to which the mangled man was committed for life after that sentence had been executed in all its multiplication and precision of barbarity--then calling to mind the words of our Saviour, They that take the sword shall perish with the sword, and Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. was not mercy alone that was violated by these acts—but law and justice; and if he who instigated and rejoiced in them received neither justice nor mercy in his turn, is he worthy of the sacred name of Martyr ? May we not say that the vengeance which fell upon this persecutor was the Lord's vengeance, even if it came to pass by evil instruments, and fell upon a head already bowed down, and in some respects a noble one? Can the glory and honor of meeting death with firmness,--nay even with“ sublime” piety, cast its beams backwards and bathe in one pure luminous flood a life darkened with such deep shadows, as those that chequer the sunshine of Laud's career ?—the parts really brightened with the light of heaven ? Plainness, sincerity, integrity, learning, munificence to a cause 3
-can virtues like these outweigh or neutralize such faults of head, heart, and temper, as lie to the charge of this Bishop in the church of Christ? As well might we set the cold bright morning dews, that rest on the stony crown of Vesuvius, against the burning lava that bursts from its crater, and expect them to quench the fire or reduce it to a moderate heat. Some abatement must be made from the guilt of his violences from consideration of the times; but to subtract the whole on that account, or even to make light of it, is surely too much to make moral good and evil depen
12 The particulars of this instance of Star Chamber tyranny I read in Aikman's Life of Archbishop Laud, prefixed to his works. It is said that when he was taken out of the wretched cell in Newgate in which he was confined before his sentence,“ the skin and hair had almost wholly come off his body.” This was for writing against Prelacy, not against Christianity. Any man may do the like now, and not a hair of his head can be touched; yet moral offences, public or private, have far less chance of escaping with impunity than they had then.
13 Clarendon, passim, especially his summary of Laud's character.