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and subjective truth. At all times we must reckon Coleridge, much as he admired Plato, a Romanticist; for as he says himself "the objective truth, of the objects he has been adoring, derives its whole and sole evidence from an obscure sensation
cation of his own being."
Having illustrated his conception of the reality of the subjective life by quoting from the "Ode," Coleridge launches out into a discussion of the distinction between what is true for the individual and what is true for the race. He ends his discussion with this striking phrasing:
It is the idea alone of the common centre, of the universal law, by which all power manifests itself in opposite yet interdependent forces- . . . -which enlightening inquiry, multiplying experiment, and at once inspiring humility and perseverance will lead him to comprehend gradually and progressively the relation of each to the other, of each to all, and of all to each."
As we have seen, Emerson also saw that what was true for one must be true for all. A Platonic expression had been used to express a Romantic truth. With the realization of this reconciliation of the scholastic controversy over realism and nominalism, Emerson's period of Romanticism may be said to have begun. Thus it follows that if a man knows himself, he knows all men. And from it comes this further truth, the identification of God with the reality of the individual, which Emerson brings out in "Know Thyself."
Give up to thy soul
Let it have its way
It is, I tell thee, God himself,
The selfsame One that rules the Whole,
Tho' he speaks thro' thee with a stifled voice,
Realizing how deep an impression Coleridge's treatment of the distinction between objective and subjective truth made upon Emerson, we need not be surprised to find that in the year following the European trip Emerson returned to the same passage in The Friend from which he had gained so much inspiration in 1831.
The Friend, p. 462.
10 Journals, Vol. 2, p. 396.
We have evidence in the Journals to show that Emerson went back constantly to The Friend during all of 1834. In November he takes up again the theme of "Know Thyself."
The shepherd or the beggar in his red cloak little knows what a charm he gives to the wide landscape that charms you on the mountain-top and whereof he makes the most agreeable feature, and I no more the part my individuality plays in the All.11
"Each and All," 12
Possibly at the same time he wrote the poem which makes use of the setting that is quoted from his journal and
is written in the same verse form as the earlier poem.
Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown
Of thee from the hill-top looking down;
The heifer that lows in the upland farm,
Far-heard, lows not thine ear to charm;
The sexton, tolling his bell at noon,
Deems not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight,
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;
Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent.
Nothing is fair or good alone.1
The closing lines of this quotation remind us forcibly of Coleridge's treatment of the same subject: "It is the idea of the common centre, of the universal law . . . which . . . will lead him to comprehend gradually and progressively the relation of each to the other, of each to all, and of all to each." And the last two lines of "Each and All,"
Beauty through my senses stole;
I yielded myself to the perfect whole
remind us of the following lines from "Know Thyself":
It is, I tell thee, God himself,
The selfsame One that rules the Whole.
11 Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 373.
12 Sutcliffe (op. cit.) develops a theory of the "Each and All" for Emerson. He is not certain of its source, but leads the reader to think that it may be found in Swedenborg or in Bacon.
13 Centenary Edition, Vol. IX, p. 4.
The gap between Platonism and Romanticism has been bridged for Emerson, and from this point the Romantic current grows like a stream until its high tide is reached in Nature and the organization of the Transcendental Club. There are two aspects of his Romanticism that make their appearance in 1834: Romantic criticism and the Transcendental philosophy. The development of the classic conception of the one and the many is a part of the first, and the treatment of the distinction between the Understanding and the Reason is the beginning of the second.
The key to Emerson's Romantic criticism is to be found in this simple statement, written in May of 1834: "Mr. Coleridge has written well on this matter of Theory in his Friend." 14 If we turn to The Friend, we shall find that what Emerson refers to is the foundation stone of Coleridge's criticism of philosophy from Plato to Kant, as well as his criticism of such men as Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth. His own words leave no question as to how far-reaching was his purpose in writing on the theory of method:
Yet that I may fulfill the original scope of The Friend, I shall attempt to provide the preparatory steps for such an investigation in the following essays on the principles of method common to all investigations; which I here present, as the basis of my future philosophical and theological writings, and as the necessary introduction to the same.15
Coleridge begins his study of the "science of method" 16 by introducing Shakespeare's method of distinguishing his characters by means of the language employed." He continues his study of method by considering philosophy:
And this is method, itself a distinct science, the immediate offspring of philosophy, and the link or mordant by which philosophy becomes scientific, and the sciences philosophical.18
To this he adds, "These truths I have hitherto illustrated from Shakespeare.' And the next chapter begins,
14 Journals, Vol. 3, p. 295.
15 The Friend, p. 406.
16 The Friend, p. 410.
17 I have in preparation an article on the possible influence of Horne Tooke upon Coleridge's work in the science of language.
18 The Friend, p. 422.
19 Ibid., p. 423.
From Shakspeare to Plato, from the philosophic poet to the poetic philosopher, the transition is easy, and the road is crowded with illustrations of our present subject.20
After analyzing the position of Plato, Coleridge turns to Bacon and concludes that the method employed by Plato is "radically one and the same "21 as that employed by Bacon.
If we analyze the structure of The Friend, we shall find that Coleridge early establishes the distinction between the Understanding and the Reason. We may see that in this criticism of the method of Shakespeare, Plato, and Bacon Coleridge is making a start in the method of criticism which he develops to its highest point in the Biographia Literaria and Aids to Reflection. So far as this paper is concerned, it is of interest to note that Coleridge passes from Plato and Bacon to a consideration of the material from which he developed his theory of the relation of the individual to the race. And with this study The Friend is brought
to a close.
In a letter written several years after the material we have been considering in The Friend, Coleridge gives his method of dealing with the philosophy of Kant.22 Then he relates Kant to Plato and Aristotle in a way that continues his study of the method of Shakespeare, Plato, and Bacon.
With regard to philosophy . . . there neither are, have been, or ever will be but two essentially different schools of philosophy, the Platonic, and the Aristotelian. To the latter but with a somewhat nearer approach to the Platonic, Emanuel Kant belonged; to the former Bacon and Leibnitz, and, in his riper and better years, Berkeley. 2
20 The Friend, p. 429.
21 Ibid., p. 442.
22 Coleridge's Works, Vol. 4, pp. 399-401 (1853 ed.).
23 Works, Vol. 4, p. 400.
Since I prepared this article, I have read Claud Howard's Coleridge's Idealism (Badger, 1925). Howard has very carefully shown the relation of both Kant and Coleridge to the philosophy of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and the Cambridge Platonists. But my study has led me to the conclusion that since Kant differs from Coleridge in the extent to which he went back to Plato directly, we need to make a closer investigation of Coleridge's own study of Plato at first hand. We can see this necessity when we consider that Coleridge studied Plato and Kant side by side, as he states in The Friend (p. 30): "Doubtless too, I have in some measure injured my style, in respect to its facility and popularity,
And Coleridge further adds, " He, for whom Ideas are constitutive will in effect be a Platonist; and in those for whom they are regulative only, Platonism is but a hollow affectation. Dryden could not have been a Platonist: Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, Michel Angelo and Rafael could not have been other than Platonists." 24
We might consider in great detail what Coleridge gained from Kant and to what extent the reconciliation of the Platonic and Transcendental idealism affected such works as The Friend, the Lecture upon Shakespeare, the Biographia Literaria, and Aids to Reflection. But we need only to recognize the fact that this reconciliation was the one accepted by Emerson. So far as
Emerson is concerned we must trace his use of the kindred distinctions between the Understanding and the Reason, between Talent and Genius, and between the Fancy and the Imagination. These three distinctions are much the same as the distinction between the each and the all, and from them spring the Transcendental reliance upon the intuition. The fact that Emerson relied upon Coleridge for his interpretation of these distinctions comes out clearly when we consider that his conception of the function of the intuition was that held by Coleridge rather than that taught by Kant.
Kant relates both the intuition and the imagination to the Understanding, but not so did Coleridge. Coleridge saw clearly that there was a distinction between the objective reality of the Platonic ideas and the subjective reality of the ideas of the Reason, those majestic ideas of God, Freedom, and Immortality. This is brought out in the distinction between the each and the all. The all is referred to the objective truth and derives its reality from the subjective truth of each. In much the same way Coleridge deals with the definition of an idea: "An idea conceived as subsisting in an object becomes a law: and a law contemplated subjectively in a mind is an idea." 25 Similarly, the Understanding, Talent, and the Fancy are attributes of the senses and deal with
from having almost confined my reading, of late years, to the works of the ancients and those of the elder writers in the modern languages." See also note 30.
24 Ibid., p. 401.
25 Aids to Reflection, p. 219.