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ten years after the Lake School was first to the Governor, Sir Alexander Ball, and talked of. Likely enough Coleridge found during a change of secretaries Coleridge Wordsworth more original and suggestive served for a time as a temporary secretary than Southey. The singleness and whole- The official task-work, and not less the offiness of moral purpose which inspired the cial parade, which he was expected but lives of both his friends, must have been to never attempted to maintain, were highly Coleridge a continual rebuke; and Southey, distasteful to him, and he gladly resigned, perhaps, if we may argue from his letters, as soon as the new secretary could relieve on the strength of his near relationship, and him. He made, however, the friendship of his greater opportunities of seeing the do- the Governor, whose character he has mestic unhappiness caused by Coleridge's painted glowingly in The Friend. Whether neglect, may have added to the silent re- Sir Alexander Ball merited this high encoproof of his example, admonitions more mium we cannot say, but Professor Wilson openly expressed. In August 1803, Words- mentions that Coleridge's craze for the three worth and his sister visited Coleridge at B.'s, Ball, Bell, and Bowyer, was a standing Keswick, and took him with them on that joke among his friends. The health he first tour in Scotland of which Wordsworth, sought at Malta he did not find. The and his sister too, have left such imperish- change at first seemed beneficial, but soon able memorials. Most of the way they came the reaction, with his limbs " like lifewalked, from Dumfries up Nithsdale, over less tools, violent internal pains, labouring Crawfordmuir by the Falls of Clyde, and so and oppressed breathing." "For relief from on to Loch Lomond. Coleridge, never in these he had resource to the sedative, which good health, being at this time in bad spir- he had begun to use so far back as 1796, its, and somewhat too much in love with his and the habit became now fairly confirmed. own dejection, left his two companions Leaving Malta in September 1805, he came somewhere about Loch Lomond to return to Rome, and there spent some time in seehome. But either at this, or some other ing what every traveller sees, but what time not specially recorded, he must have Coleridge would see with other eyes and got farther north, for we find him, in his keener insight than most men. Full obsersecond Lay Sermon, speaking of his solitary vations on these things he noted down for walk from Loch Lomond to Inverness, and after use. There, too, he made the acquaindescribing the impression made upon him tance of the German poet Tieck, of an by the sight of the recently unpeopled coun- American painter, Alston, and of Humtry, and by the recital he heard from an boldt, the brother of the great traveller. old Highland widow near Fort Augustus of Gilman informs us that Coleridge was told the wrongs she and her kinsfolk and her by Humboldt that bis name was on the list neighbours had suffered in those sad clear- of the proscribed at Paris, owing to an artiances. But if Scotland woke in him no cle which he (Coleridge) had written against poetry on this his first, and perhaps only Buonaparte in the Morning Post; that the visit, and if Scotchmen bave had some severe arrest had already been sent to Rome, but things said of them by him, they can afford to that one morning Coleridge was waited on pardon them. The land is none the less by a noble Benedictine, sent to him by the beautiful for not having been sung by him; kindness of the Pope, bearing a passport and if from the people he could have learned signed by the Pope, and telling him that a some of that shrewdness of which they have carriage was ready to bear him at once to enough and to spare, his life would have Leghorn. Coleridge took the hint; at Legbeen other and more successful than it horn embarked on board of an American was.
vessel sailing for England; was chased by a If the Lake country had suited Coleridge's French ship; and was, during the chase, constitution, and if he had turned to advan- forced by the captain to throw overb ard tage the scenery and society it afforded, in all his papers, and among them his notes no part of England, it might seem, could he and observations made in Rome. So writes have found a fitter home. But the damp- Coleridge's biographer. Wilson laughs at ness of the climate brought out so severely the thought of the Imperial eagle stooping the rheumatism from which he bad suffered to pursue such small game as Coleridge. since boyhood, that he was forced to seek a And certainly it does seem hardly credible refuge from it on the shores of the Mediter- that Buonaparte should have so noted the ranean, a doubtful measure, it is said, for secrets of the London newspaper press, or one in his state of nerves. Arriving at taken such pains to get his hands on one Malta in April 1804, he soon became known stray member of that corps. De Quincey, however, argues from Buonaparte's charac-| teeth so many stationary smiles; his eyes ter and habits that the thing was by no the open portals of the sun - things of means improbable.
light, and made for light; and his forehead, It is hardly worth while to attempt to so ample, and yet so flexible, passing from trace all the changes of his life for the next marble smoothness into a hundred wreaths ten years after his return from Malta. and lines and dimples, correspondent to the S metimes at Keswick, where his family feelings and sentiments he is uttering.” But still lived; sometimes with Wordsworth at lecturing, or conversation, or intercourse the town-end of Grasmere; sometimes in with brother poets, even taken at their best, London, living in the office of the Courier, is no sufficient account of the prime years and writing for its pages ; sometimes lectur- of such geuius as Coleridge was intrusted ing at the Royal Institution, often, accord- with. ing to De Quinrey, disappointing bis audi- The record of his writings, from 1801 till e ce by non-appearauce; anon an inmate 1816, contains only one work of real imin Wordsworth's new home at Allan Bank, portance. This was The Friend, a periodiwhile The Ezcurs on was being composed; cal of weekly essays, intended to help to then taking final far well of the Lakes in the formation of opinions on moral, politi1810, travelling with Basil Montagu to Lon- cal, and artistic subjects, grounded upon don, and leaving his family at Keswick, for true and permanent principles. Undersome years, under care of Southey; domi- taken with the countenance of, and with ciled now with Basil Montagu, now with a some slight aid from, Wordsworth, it began Mr. Morgan at Hammersmith, or Calne, to be published in June 1809, and ceased now with other friends in or not far from in March 1810, because it did not pay the London : so passed those homeless, unsatis- cost of publishing, which Coleridge had imfa tory years of his middle manhood. No prudently taken on himself. The original doubt, there were bright spots here and work having been much enlarged and rethere, when his marvellous powers found cast, was published again in its present vent in lecturing on some congenial subject, three-volume form in 1818. Even as it or flowed forth in that stream of thought now stands, the ground-swell after the great and speech which was his native element. French Revolution tempest can be distinctly Daring these wanderings he met now and felt. It is full of the political problems then with the wits of the time, either in cast up by the troubled waters of the then rivalry not of his own seeking, or in friendly recent years, and of the attempt to disintercourse. Scott has recorded a rencoun- criminate between the first truths of moralter he had with Coleridge at a dinner party, ity and maxims of political expediency, when some London littéraleurs sought io and to ground each on their own proper lower Scott by exalting Coleridge. Cole- basis
. No one can read this work without ridge had been cal ed on to recite some of feeling the force_of Southey's remark: his own unpublished potins, and had done "The vice of The Friend is its round-aboutso. Scott, called on to contribute his share, ness." But whoever will be content to refused, on the plea that he had none to bear with this and to read right on, will produce, but offered to recite some clever find all through fruit more than worth the bioes which he had lately read in a newspa- labour, with essays here and there which per. The lines were the unfortunate Fire, are nearly perfect both in matter and in Famine, and Slaughter, of which Coleridge form. But its defects, such as they are, was the then unas knowledged author. It must have told fatally against its success is amu:ing to see the two sides of the story ; when it appeared in its early periodical the easy, off-hand humour with which Scott shape. It was Coleridge's misfortune in tells it in a letter, or in his journal; and the this, as in so many of his works, to have to laborious self-detence with which Coleridge try to combine two things, hard, if not imu-hers in the lines in his published poems. possible to reconcile, – immediate populariMore friendly was his inte couise with Lord ty, and the profit accruing therefrom, with Byron, who, while he was lesste of a Lon- the attempt to dig deep, and to implant don theatre, had brought forward Cole- new truths which can only be taken in by ridge's Remorse, and had taken much inter- an effort of painful thought, such as readest in its success. This brought the two ers of periodicals will seldom give. Few poets frequently into company, and in April writers have attained present popularity 1816, Coleridge ihus speaks of Byron's ap- and enduring power, and least of all could pearance :— * If you had seen Lord Byron Coleridge do so. The Friend contains in you could scarcely disbalieve him. So beau- its present, and probably it did in its first tiful a countenance I scarcely ever saw; his shape, clear indications of the change that
Coleridge's mind had gone through in philo-| began to revolve. Long before this coming sophy, as well as in his religious belief: round commenced, most people had lost him, But of this we shall have to speak again. and naturally enough supposed that he had This middle portion of Coleridge's life may,
lost himself. They continued to admire the perhaps, be not inaptly closed by the de- separate beauty of the thoughts, but did not
see their relations to the dominant theme. scription of his appearance and manner, as However, I can assert, upon my long and inthese were when De Quincey first saw him timate knowledge of Coleridge's mind, that logic in 1807 :
the most severe was as inalienable from his
modes of thinking as grammar from his lan“I had received directions for finding out the house where Coleridge was visiting; and in riding down a main street of Bridgewater, I Admirable as in the main the essay is from noticed a gateway corresponding to the descrip: which this sketch is taken, it contains some tion given me. Under this was standing and serious blemishes. De Quincey dwells on gazing about him a man whom I will describe. some alleged faults of Coleridge with a lovIn height he might seem to be about five feet ing minuteness which the pure love of truth eight (he was in reality about an inch and a half taller, but his figure was of an order can hardly account for; and with regard to which drowns the height); his person was tall the gỊeat and all-absorbing fault, the habit and full, and tended even to corpulence; his of opium-taking, his statements are directly complexion was fair, because it was associated opposed to those made by Coleridge himwith black hair ; his eyes were large and soft self, and by those of his biographers who in their expression ; and it was from the pecu- had the best means of knowing the truth. liar appearance of haze or dreaminess which He says that Coleridge first took opium, mixed with their light that I recognized my “not as a relief from bodily pains or nerobject. This was Coleridge. I examined him vous irritations, for his constitution was natsteadfastly for a minute or more, and it struck urally strong and excellent, but as a source me that he saw neither myself nor any other of luxurious sensations." Here De Quincey object in the street. He was in a deep reverie, falls into two errors. First, Coleridge's confor I had dismounted and advanced close to him before he had apparently become conscious stitution was not really strong. Though of my presence. The sound of my voice, an- full of life and energy, his body was also full nouncing my own name, first awoke him; he of disease, which gradually poisoned the started, and for a moment seemed at a loss to springs of life. All his letters bear witness understand my purpose or his own situation. to this, by the many complaints of ill-health There was no mauvaise honte' in his manner, wbich they contain, before he ever touched but simple perplexity, and an apparent diffi- opium. Again, as we have already seen, culty in recovering his position amongst day- what he sought in opium was not pleasuralight realities. This little scene over, he re- ble sensations, but freedom from pain, ceived me with a kindness of manner so marked, that it might be called gracious. The antidote to the nervous agitations under hospitable family with whom he was domesti- which he suffered. But whatever may have cated all testified for Coleridge deep affection been the beginning of the habit, the result and esteem; sentiments in which the whole of continued indulgence in it was equally town of Bridgewater seemed to share. disastrous. We have given the letter which
Coleridge led me to the drawing-room, marks his first recourse to the fatal drug in rung the bell for refreshments, and omitted no 1796. As his ailments increased, so did his point of a courteous reception.
That point being settled, Coleridge, like some great a confirmed habit with him, and from that
use of it. At Malta, opium-taking became Orellana, or the St. Lawrence, that, having time for ten years it quite overmastered been checked and fretted by rocks or thwarting him. In 1807, the year when De Quincey islands, suddenly recovers its volume of waters, and its mighty music, swept at once, as if first met him, he writes of himself as “rolireturning to his natural business, into a con- ing rudderless,” with an increasing and overtinuous strain of eloquent dissertation, certain whelming sense of wretchedness. The cravly the most novel, the most tinely illuminater, ing went on growing, and his consumption and traversing the most spacious fields of of the drug had reached a quite appalling thought, by transitions the most just and logi- height, when, in 1814, Cottle having met cal, that it was possible to conceive. Coleridge to many people, and often i have Coleridge, and seeing what a wreck he had heard the complaint, seemed to wander ; and become, discovered the fatal cause, and took he seemed then to wander the most when in courage to remonstrate by letter. Colefact his resistance to the wandering instinct ridge makes no concealment, pleads guilty was greatest, viz., when the compass and huge to the evil habit, and confesses that he is circuit, by which his illustrations moved, trav- utterly miserable. Sadder letters were elled farthest into remote regions, before they perhaps never written than those cries out
of the depths of that agony. He tells Cot- and that the friends of Coleridge who had tle that he had learned what “ sin is against best access to the truth, believed that at an imperishable being, such as is the soul of Highgate he obtained that self-mastery man; that he had had more than one glimpse which he sought. No doubt, the habit left of the outer darkness and the worm that a bane behind it, a body shattered, and a dieth not; that if annihilation and the pos- mind shorn of much of its power for consibility of heaven were at that moment of- tinuous effort, ever-recurring seasons of defered to his choice, he would prefer the for- spondency, and visitings of self-reproach for mer.” More pitiful still is that letter to his so much of life wasted, so great powers friend Wade: -"In the one crime of opium, given, and so little done. Still, under all what crime have I not made myself guilty these drawbacks, he labored earnestly to reof? Ingratitude to my Maker; and to my deem what of life remained; and most of benefactors injustice; and unnatural cruel what is satisfactory to remember of his life ty to my poor cbildren. After my belongs to these last eighteen years. It was death, I earnestly entreat that a full and a time of gathering up of the fragments that unqualified narrative of my wretchedness, remained-of saving splinters washed ashore and of its guilty cause, may be made pub- from a mighty wreck. But to this time, lie, that at least some little good may be ef- such as it is, we are indebted for most of fected by the direful example.” It is pain- that by which Coleridge is now known to ful to dwell on these things, nor should men, and by which, if at all, he has benefitthey have been reproduced here, had it not ed his kind. During these years the great been that, as they have been long since made religious change that had long been going on fully known, it might seem that we had giv- was completed and confirmed. As far back en a too partial picture of the man had we as 1800 bis adherence to the Hartleian phiavoided altogether this its darkest side. losophy and his belief in Unitarian theolo
Strange and sad as it is to think that one gy had been shaken. By 1805 he was in $0 gifted should have fallen so low, it is some manner a believer in the Trinity, and hardly less strange that from that degrada- had entered on a closer study of Scripture, tion he should ever have been enabled to especially of St. Paul and St. John. There rise. The crisis seems to have come about were in him, as De Quincey observed, the the time when those. letters passed between capacity of love and faith, of self-distrust, Cottle and him in 1814. For some time humility, and child-like docility, waiting but there followed a struggle against the tyrant for time and sorrow to bring them out. Such vice, by various means, but all seemingly in- a discipline the long teffectual struggle effectual. At last he voluntarily arranged with his infirmity supplied. The sense of to board himself with the family of Mr. Gil-moral weakness, and ot' sin, working inward man, a physician, who lived at Highgate in contrition, made him seek for a more praca retired house, in an airy situation, sur- tical, upholding faith, than his early years rounded by a large garden. It was in had known. And so he learned that while April, 1816, that he first entered this house the consistency of Christianity with right at Highgate, which continued to be his reason and the historic evidence of miracles home for eighteen years till his death. The are the outworks, yet that the vital centre letter in which he opens his grief to Mr. Gil- of faith lies in the believer's feeling of his man, and commends himself to his care, is great need, and the experience that the very striking, showing at once his strong de- redemption which is in Cbrist is what he sire to overcome the inveterate habit, and needs; that it is the sorrow rising from behis feeling of inability to do so, unless he neath and the consolation meeting it from were placed under a watchful eye and ex- above,” the actual trial of the faith in Christ, ternal restraint. In this home he learned which is its ultimate and most satisfying to abandon opium, and here, though weigh-evidence. With him, too, as with so many ed down by ever increasing bodily infirm- before, it was credidi, ideoque intellexi. The ity, and often by great mental depression, Highgate time was also the period of his. he found on the whole “ the best quiet to his most prolonged and undisturbed study. course allowed.” That the vice was over- Among much other reading, the old Eng. come might be inferred from the very fact lish divines were diligently perused and that his life was so prolonged. And though commented on; and his criticisms and restatements to the contrary have been made flections on them fill nearly the whole of the from quarters whence they might least have third and fourth volumes of his Literary Rebeen expected, yet we know from the most mains. A discriminating, often a severe trustworihy authorities now living, that critic of these writers, he was still a warm there was no ground for these statements, admirer, in this a striking contrast to ArTHIRD SERIES.
nold, who certainly unduly depreciated that day. Edward Irving, Julius Hare, them.
Sterling, and many more who might be Almost the whole of his prose works were named, were among his frequent and most the product of this time. First the Two devoted listeners. Most came to wonder, Lay Sermons, published in 1816 and 1817. and hear, and learn. But some came and Then the Biographia Literaria, published went to shrug their shoulders and proin 1817, though in part composed some nounce it unintelligible; or in after years years before. In 1818 followed the recast to scoff, as Mr. Carlyle. Likely enough and greatly enlarged edition of The Friend; this latter came craving a solution of some and in 1825 he gave to the world the most pressing doubt or bewildering enigma; and mature of all his works, the Aids 10 Reflec- to receive instead a prolonged and circuition. Incorporated especially with the ear- tous disquisition must to his then mood of lier part of this work, are selections from mind have been tantalizing enough. But the writings of Archbishop Leighton, of was it well done, O great Thomas ! for this, which he has said that to him they seemed years afterwards, to jeer at the old man's “ next to the inspired Scriptures, yea, as enfeebled gait, and caricature the tones of the vibration of that once-struck hour re- his voice ? maining on the air.” The main substance In the summer of 1833, Coleridge was of the work, however, contains his own seen for the last time in public, at the meetthoughts on the grounds of morality and ing of the British Association at Cambridge. religion, and of the relation of these to each Next year, on the 25th of July, he died in other, along with his own views on some of Mr. Gilman's house in The Grove, Highgate, the main doctrines of the faith. The last which had been so long his home, and was work that appeared during his lifetime was laid hard by in his last resting-place within that on Church and State, published in the old churchyard by the roadside. 1830. After his death appeared his pos- Twelve days before his death, not knowthumous works, viz., the four volumes of ing it to be so near, he wrote to his godLiterary Remains, and the small volume on child this remarkable letter,* which, gaththe inspiration of Scripture, entitled Con- ering up the sum of his whole life's experifessions of an Inquiring Spiri.
ence, reads like his unconscious epitaph on It is by these works alone, incomplete as himself : many of them are, that posterity can judge of him. But the impression of pre-eminent “MY DEAR GODCHILD,
Years genius which he left on his contemporaries must pass before you will be able to read with was due not so much to his writings as to an understanding heart what I now write ; but his wonderful talk. Printed books have I trust that the all-gracious God, the Father of made us undervalue this gift, or at best re
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, gard it more as a thing of display than as a who, by his only begotten Son (all mercies in genuine thought-communicating power. But one sovereign mercy), has redeemed you from as an organ of teaching truth, speech is of darkness, but into light; out of death, but
the evil ground, and willed you to be born out older than books, and for this end Plato, into life ; out of sin, but into righteousness, among others, preferred the living voice to even into the Lord 'our Righteousness, – Í dead letters. Measured by this standard, trust that He will graciously hear the prayers Coleridge had no equal in his own, and few of your dear parents, and be with you as the in any age. How his gift of discourse in spirit of health and growth in body and mind. his younger days arrested Hazlitt and De
I, too, your godfather, have Quincey, we have already seen ; and in his known what the enjoyments and advantages of declining years at Highgate, when bodily this life are, and what the more refined pleasailments allowed, and during the pauses of bestow; and with the experience which more
ures which learning and intellectual power can study and writing, fuller and more contin- than thrvescore years can give, I now, on the uous than ever the marvellous monologue eve of my departure, declare to you (and ear
Some faint echoes of what then nestly pray that you may hereafter live and act fell from him have been caught up and on the conviction) that health is a great blesspreserved in the well-known Table Talk, ing, competence obtained by honourable indusby his nephew and son-in-law, Henry Nel- try a great blessing, and a great blessing it is son Coleridge, who in his preface has finely to have kind, faithful, and loving friends and described the impression produced by his relatives; but that the greatest of all blessings, uncle's conversation on congenial listeners.
as it is the most ennobling of all privileges, is
to be indeed a Christian. But I have been To that retirement at Highgate flocked, as on a pilgrimage, most of what was brilliant
* This letter was written on the 13th, and he died in intellect or ardent in youthful genius at on the 26th day of July.