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which appeared in the works of both, though he desires that every thing may be, and that this expression was used to provide a refuge for himself, should he ever be discovered to have “cabbaged from his works ad libitum." The style of these strictures resembles the reasoning; things look rough and coarse on the wrong side, and the reasoning they contain is of that kind, which turns things wrong side out. It represents my Father's apology as being penned under a notion that he should gain credit for the transcendentalism contained in his book, while at the same time no comparison betwixt his writings and those of the original transcendentalist would for years, if ever, be made. It was the fact that for years his obligations to Schelling were not discovered; but it is ridiculous to suppose that he calculated on this, with the amount of those obligations distinctly present to his mind, for this could only have happened through the failure of the attempt he was making to interest his countrymen in the transcendental system. When a doctrine comes into credit, in days like these, the first teacher of it is as soon discovered as the lake that feeds the glittering brook and sounding waterfall is traced out, when they have gained the traveller's eye. It is not true, that to the end of his life my father enjoyed the credit of originality;-originality was not denied him, simply because he had no enjoyment and no credit.
The fact is, that these "borrowed plumes" drest him out but poorly in the public eye, and Sir Walter Scott made a just observation on the fate of the Biographia Literaria, when he said that it had made no impression upon the public. Instead of gaining reputation as a metaphysical discoverer, at the expense of Germany, the author was generally spoken of as an introducer of German metaphysics into this country, in which light he had represented himself,-a man of original power, who had spoiled his own genius by devoting himself to the lucubrations of foreigners. It is the pleasure of the Writer in Blackwood to give him a vast metaphysical reputation, founded on the Biographia Literaria, and, at the end of one of his paragraphs, he implies, that the passages taken from Schelling had been "paraded for upwards of twenty years as specimens of the wonderful powers of the English philosopher." Some, perhaps, have been weary enough of hearing him called wonderful,-but the friends of Coleridge well know, that the work was generally neglected till
the author's name began to rise by various other means; and that although passages of his writings have been often quoted of late years, and some in the B. L. have been in the mouths of many, while the book itself was in the hands of a very few, yet that the transcendental portions of it were unknown to his admirers in general, till some of them, after his decease, were declared to be the property of Schelling in Tait's Magazine. If the transcendentalism adopted in the Biographia be a jewel of great price, no gem lodged in a dark unfathomed cave of ocean was ever more unseen and unknown than this was for many a year. In making an estimate of a man's intellectual wealth we can not abstract the influence upon his thoughts of other thinkers, precedent or contemporary; but all Mr. Coleridge's direct debts to the great Transcendentalist may be refunded, and whatever obligations reflective men of this age have felt and acknowledged that they owe to him, the sum of them will not be sensibly diminished.
In other quarters Mr. Coleridge has been accused of denying his obligations to Schlegel; yet he never denied having borrowed those illustrations and detached thoughts, which are brought forward in support of the charge. His words on the subject neither say nor imply, in assertion of his originality, more than this, that, in his first course of lectures, which were delivered "before Mr. Schlegel gave his on the same subjects at Vienna,"-(I believe it was in 1804, previously to his departure for Malta,)—he put forth the same general principles of criticism as in the following courses; so that whatever substantial agreement there might be between them, on this head, must be coincidence.
It was said of my Father by his late Editor, that, " in thinking passionately of the principle, he forgot the authorship—and sowed beside many waters, if peradventure some chance seedling might take root and bear fruit to the glory of God and the spiritualization of man."* He was ever more intent upon the pursuit and enunciation of truth than alive to the collateral benefits that wait upon it, as it is the exclusive property of this or that individual. The incautious way in which he acted upon this impulse was calculated to bring him under suspicion with those to whose minds any such feeling was alien and inconceivable. Yet no unprejudiced person, who reviews my Father's life, on an inti* Preface to the Table Talk of S. T. Coleridge, VI.
mate acquaintance with it, will deny that he showed an unusual disregard of this property in thought, where his own interests were concerned, and that he spent in letters and marginal notes, and in discourse at all times and to all auditors a great deal both of thought and brilliant illustration, which a more prudential and self-interested man would have kept back and presented in a form better fitted to procure for himself a permanent reward; that he would spend time and labor on a critical examination of the works of others, and earnest consideration of their affairs, for their sakes only, in a manner almost peculiar to himself. If he was not always sufficiently considerate of other men's property, he was profuse of his own; and, in truth, such was his temper in regard to all property, of what kind soever; he did not enough regard or value it whether for himself or his neighbor. Nor is it proof to the contrary that he did at times speak of his share in the promulgation of truth and awakening of reflection, and of the world's unthankfulness. This he did, rather in self-defence, when he was accused of neglecting to employ or of misemploying his natural gifts, than from an inordinate desire to parade and exalt them. He was goaded into some degree of egotism by the charges continually brought against him, that he suffered his powers to lie dormant, or to spend themselves in a fruitless activity. But they who spoke thus on the one hand under-rated his actual achievements, the importance of which time and trial were to discover, since speculations like his show what they are worth in the using, and come into use but slowly; and on the other hand, over-rated his powers of literary execution. They were struck by his marked intellectual gifts, but took no note of his intellectual impediments,—were not aware that there was a want of proportion in the faculties of his mind, which would always have prevented him from making many or good books; for, even had he possessed the ordinary amount of skill in the arranging and methodizing of thought with a view to publication and in reference to the capacities of a volume, this would have been inadequate to the needs of one whose genius was ever impelling him to trace things down to their deepest source, and to follow them out in their remotest ramifications. His powers, compounded and balanced as they were, enabled him to do that which he did, and possibly that alone.
Great as was the activity of his intellect in its own congenial
sphere, he wanted that agility of mind, which can turn the understanding from its wonted mode of movement to set it upon new tasks necessary to the completeness and efficiency of what has been produced of another kind, but uninteresting in themselves to the mind of the producer. He loved to go forward, expanding and ennobling the soul of his teaching, and hated the trouble of turning back to look after its body. To the healthful and vigorous such trouble appears nothing, simply because they are healthful and vigorous; but to feel all exertion a labor, all labor pain and weariness, this is the very symptom of disease and its most grievous consequence.
The nerveless languor, which, after early youth, became almost the habit of his body and bodily mind, which to a great degree paralyzed his powers both of rest and action, precluding by a torpid irritability their happy vicissitude,-rendered all exercises difficult to him except of thought and imagination flowing onward freely and in self-made channels; for these brought with them their own warm atmosphere to thaw the chains of frost that bound his spirit. Soon as that spontaneous impulse was suspended, the apathy and sadness induced by his physical condition reabsorbed his mind, as sluggish mists creep over the valley when the breeze ceases to blow; and to counteract it he lacked any other sufficient stimulus :
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll;
He had no hope of gainful popularity, even from the most laborious efforts that he was capable of making; nor would this in itself have been an adequate object of hope to him, without a further one, more deeply satisfying, a dream of which was ever unbracing his mind, but which life, such as he had made it, and such as it was given him from above, had not afforded. Then the complaints and warnings from " all quarters," of the obscurity of his prose writings, were, as he expressed it, like "cold water poured" upon him. It may be questioned whether they who thus complained were making any attempt to meet him halfway,-whether they had done their part toward understanding what they called unintelligible. It is the chief use and aim of
writings of such a character as his to excite the reader to think,— to draw out of his mind a native flame rather than to make it bright for a moment by the reflection of alien fires. All literary productions indeed demand some answering movement on the part of readers, but, in common cases, the motion required is so easy, so much in known ways and smooth well-beaten tracks, that it seems spontaneous and is more like rest than labor. This is the difficulty with which introducers of new thought have to contend; the minds that are to receive these accessions must themselves, in order to their reception of them, be renewed proportionately, renewed not from without alone, but by co-operation from within,—a process full of conflict and struggle, like the fermenting of raw juices into generous wines. Though my Father understood this well in the end, he was by no means prepared for it, and for all its consequences, in the beginning; coming upon him as it did, it acted as a narcotic, and by deepening his despondency increased his literary inertness. Speaking of "The Friend" he observes, "Throughout these Essays the want of illustrative examples and varied exposition is the main defect, and was occasioned by the haunting dread of being tedious."
The Biographia Literaria he composed at that period of his life when his health was most deranged, and his mind most subjected to the influence of bodily disorder. It bears marks of this throughout, for it is even less methodical in its arrangement than any of his other works. Up to a certain point the author pursues his plan of writing his literary life, but, in no long time his
slack hand" abandons its grasp of the subject, and the book is filled out to a certain size, with such miscellaneous contents of his desk as seem least remote from it. To say, with the writer in Blackwood, that he stopped short in the process of unfolding a theory of the imagination, merely because he had come to the end of all that Schelling had taught concerning it, and thus to account for the abrupt termination of the first volume, is to place the matter in a perfectly false light; he broke down in the prosecution of his whole scheme, the regular history of his literary life and opinions, and this not for want of help in one particular line, but because his energies for regular composition in any line were deserting him, at least for a time. It is suggested, that "interspersed throughout the works of Schelling, glimpses and indications are to be found of some stupendous theory on the subject