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tragedy quite equals in intensity that once into a region belonging to a broad loss of power which leaves half life's humanity, and admitting no consideraday in twilight; its exhibition in the tions which do not concern man as fate of one whose utterances were all man. Coleridge's was a more political musical and all personal may teach us wind; it is said that his articles in the sympathy with the sorrows of many a Morning Post had some influence in dumb nameless life, than which genius terminating the Peace of Amiens, and can teach no higher lesson.

a legend (so it seems to us) of a French It is not an unmixed advantage to chase in the Mediterranean, specially this short life to have undertaken more motived by Napoleon's desire to capthan one kind of intellectual endeavor, ture Coleridge on his return from even if the endeavor be successful. Malta, has weighty adhesion. There An extended frontier is an increased is such a thing as poetry inspired by vulnerable surface, and the very wealth political feeling – wbatever deserves of natures like Coleridge's is a source the name of poetry in the verse of of their danger. He was almost as Coleridge's brother-in-law, Southey, much a politician as a poet, and the appears to us of this character. A man world of politics encumbered of Coleridge's genius and a different throughout his lifetime with the wreck character might conceivably have been of a great hope. His youth opened the Tyrtæus of the anti-Napoleonic under the glow of such anticipations war. But then his character must have for mankind as we cannot recall at any been totally different. The very fact other period of the world's history that the only poem of Coleridge's since the dawn of Christianity.“ Bliss which is at once political and genwas it in that dawn to be alive, but to erally familiar Fire, Famine, and be young was very Heaven.” How Slaughter" suggests a set of symsoon was that gleam swallowed up in pathies rather with France than with storm! Then as always there were England in that war, shows, when natures to which the storm was more we couple it with what is said above, full of stimulus than the gleam. Byron how many-sided and complex were embodies the spirit of the Revolution his political impulses, and how rein contention with a world of author- | mote from the unimpeded swing of ity ; his verse is impressed throughout feeling which finds expression in tellboth by the instincts of revolt, and also ing satire or partisan ballad. On the by the traditions of aristocracy ; it thus whole, he was conservative, as was his aitains that balance of antithetic im- time, but he was incompletely sympapulse which forms the very life of art. thetic with the conservatism of his There were also natures which the time. That reaction against the symstorm impelled towards a realm of pathies roused by the French Revolucalm, the world of struggle and disorder tion which lasted through the first half forming as it were a stormy sea which of our century (and of which our late enisled their spirits in a domain of laureate kept some faint echoes), was order — such was that poet whose name not so much a political influence as an must recur on every page that speaks of influence tending to cast strong politColeridge. Wordsworth's political sym-ical feeling into the background of pathies were robust, but they were not thought, and its general current was dominant. His sense of order found the more hostile to Coleridge's poetic its home in the world of nature, and genius, because his divergence from it where he dips his wings into the turbid was not striking or obvious. There is food of politics, it is but for a mo- no discord so intolerable as that which ment; he returns at once to his native is by only a semitone divided from uniclement, and (as in the stanzas on the son, and all who have ever striven to expected death of Fox, for instance) impress their views on another mind the thought which starts under the impression of a national crisis soars at

1 Mr. Trail believes the story.

have realized that an apparent agree- | neighbor at Keswick (a retired carrier), ment may mark a far more hopeless who had no special bond with him, to barrier than a vigorous protest, or even give him his house free of rent ; while an indignant contradiction.

no one ever exercised more magnetic The loss of an environment of polit- influence on a group of disciples than ical sympathy was not, it is well he did ; but it must be added that kuown, the only reason of the early the magnet was sometimes reversed. blight on Coleridge's poetic genius. Every one was ready to receive him as Perhaps the English mind is somewhat an inmate, even after experience of his inclined to overrate the importance of defects, and he spent the last eighteen an unhappy marriage. A man may years of his life as a guest in a houselack sympathy by his domestic hearth hold 1 where tendance on his many and not experience the utter desolation needs seems to have been felt merely a which we sometimes imagine as the privilege. He found, in his relation to portion of all who have not here found a united pair, that sense of a stable their true union. The world of friend- environment, which gives the fragment ship is so rich in its possibilities we know as a self, the complement of moral stimulus and encompassing which makes it a unity. It is the expewarmth, that it affords some compen- rience of all happy marriage, but not sation even for this central disappoint- so exclusively confined to marriage as ment; nor need this be quite so bitter we are apt to suppose. as is sometimes imagined, provided it It is a misfortune that the bonds be pure from remorse, and softened by by which complex human beings are kindliness, as there is every reason to united are so much more various than think was the case with the Coleridges. the names by which we define them. But affection was more necessary to It prevents our realizing that love Coleridge than to most people, and the may fail in other respects thau that of loss of a happy home infused some- quantity. In the strange misfits of this thing baleful into his friendships. stage of our being it does sometimes When he wrote of himself, “ to be be- appear as if unkindness itself were not loved is all I need,” he said what is more separating than an unsuitable not quite true of any human being; kind of affection. Cohesion and gravbut, probably, it was as nearly true of itation, we know, are but different spehim as of any one. When he added, cies of attraction, but their laws are “and whom I love I love indeed,” he different, and it sometimes happens to was a little under the influence of the human beings to find themselves in mistake which he ascribed to Words- circumstances which we may dimly worth, when he wrote in 1818, evi- shadow for by imagining a planet to dently referring to him, “It is a be endowed with consciousness and mistake to which affectionate natures forced to conform to the laws which are too liable — the mistaking those regulate the attraction of a molecule. who are desirous and well pleased to The needs of each human being for his be loved by you, for those who love special distance from those to whom he you.”

There he seems to us to have is united in one system seem almost revealed his own temptations in an un- as unchangeable as physical law, and just reference to another. He sometimes stood in the same relation to the

1 Of course the connection could not have origiaffections which he called into exist the circumstances on both sides is enough to cor

nated on this footing, but the mere knowledge of ence, as he did to his own children. roborate the tradition in the Gillman family that He awakened hopes which he could it became substantially one of hospitality. I would not satisfy, and created relations which granddaughter of the Gillmans, now wife of the

take this opportunity of naming with gratitude a he could not continue. His attractive Rev. Henry Watson, to whose liberal communicapower seems to have been almost uni- tion of Coleridge's marginalia, and records of the versal, its influence even may be meas- ured by her grandparents, the present sketch owes

deep reverence with which his memory was treasured by the desire of his landlord and its origin,

when external circumstances defy welcome ready for Coleridge in that them, moral disaster seems inevitable. comfortable dwelling, which he could We say “seems," for no one can say reach by merely crossing the garden what perfect rightness would produce attached to it, could not possibly ineven against natural tendency, or how clude his wife. Mr. Poole was the near human beings might approach to kindest of men, and doubtless did all in perfect rightness, if this were their his power to make her at home in his sole object. We are only urging that house, but he cannot have been always for imperfect human beings in this glad to see her, and his relations seen world to be, as it were, out of focus, is to have sometimes made it plain that to be apparently cut off from the possi- they would have preferred her room to bility of mutual understanding. That her company. In the trials here sugColeridge passed the last eighteen gested love seems to have been badly years of his life as a member of a hurt; it revived apparently in the year family circle, in what we should have which Coleridge spent in Germany, or imagined the most unpropitious cir- at least his thoughts of her in absence cumstances possible, and left only ten- were — as in kind hearts the thoughts der and reverent memories, is no of those who have once been dear are confutation of our belief that his affec- always — tender and affectionate ; but tions demanded, as it were, a certain outward reunion scems only to have space of separation from their object, revealed the bopelessness of inward for the difference between conjugal disunion. What has been well called closeness and any other is almost as the swan song of his muse, the “ Ode great when friends live in the same to Dejection,” was also the elegy of his house as when they live a thousand love ; it is interesting to observe the miles apart. He was adapted to the disguise thrown in the poem over the life of gravitation, and in early youth feeling of miserable estrangement, exhe plunged rashly into the life of cohe- pressed at the same time in that perilsion. With a nature like his — thirsty ous luxury of complaint, after which for love, lacking in moral fortitude all oblivion is impossible. Alienation we hardly need any other explanation from those who should be and have of his disasters.

been dear is always complicated with He seems to have loved his wife ten- jealousy. Mrs. Coleridge never seems derly at first, but the ebb came soon. to have had either cause for or temptaIn the first year of their marriage they lion to jealousy in its darker aspect; went to live in a tiny cottage, the at- but when he bad ceased to love her, traction to which consisted in its close she would have been more than human proximity to the house of his excel- if she could watch his love for his lent friend, Thomas Poole, at Nether friends with complacency, and he may Stowey, under whose roof, he said, he have been wanting in sympathy for felt more at home than under his own. her comparative friendlessness ; at any Had the arrangement been planned by rate, the want of a welcome from her an enemy, it could not have been more for them was as trying to him at Keshostile to his domestic happiness. wick as the want of a welcome from Close contact is a strain upon all but them for her had been trying at Stowey. the warmest love ; with ill-health on Alas ! it is easy and needless to account both sides (and two babies in two years for the estrangement of an ill-matched must have secured to Mrs. Coleridge pair. Perhaps in such a case all exthat experience of physical ill which ternal circumstances seem in retrowas the lifelong portion of her hus- spect almost alleviations, affording the band), the mere fact of being shut up wounded leart some semblance of exin a few small rooms with no possi- cuse in its self-reproach. The bitterest bility of absolute solitude, would prob- reflection of all is that which Coleridge ably be a strain on any love. And expresses later in some lines which, by then, to make matters worse, the hearty their very unlikeness to his niore cus

tomary rhythm and music, seem to ent on the warmth of the heart. In express, in a peculiar degree, some the case of Coleridge's contemporary waft from his own experience : and admirer, Byron, it would appear Idly we supplicate the powers above :

that disappointment did but drive There is no resurrection for a love

creative energy more imperiously to an That unperturbed, unshadowed, wanes ideal world. But with Coleridge the away

escape was thereby rendered imposIn the chilled heart by inward self-decay. sibie. His muse could breathe only in Poor mimic of the past ! the love is o'er the atmosphere of kindness, and took That must resolve to do what did itself of flight at the approach of discord. yore.

When he wrote “my genial spirits A little while ago there was a corre- fail” he was using the word genial in spondence in the newspapers as to what its classical sense ; he was expressing in the opinion of their readers was the that most grievous bereavement, permost pathetic couplet in the language. haps, which befalls a human being, If we ever undertook to answer that when that spring of literary production question, the last two lines of this quo- which is the source of almost the keen. tation would be what we should be est delight that man can know, dries up greatly tempted to bring forward as our under some baleful influence and leaves choice.

life empty. The loss of a happy home may some- It is an instructive, but often a very times enrich the world of friendship, melancholy exercise, to trace in warnbut such compensation is rare. Few ings and aspirations the inverted picinfluences are more hurtful to a sec- ture of experience. Some sentences, ondary attachment than the endeavor bearing on the duty of mutual kindto make it do the work of a primary ness, which we might collect from the one, and it needs wonderful self- poems of Coleridge, are a little prosaic, control to refrain from that endeavor and rather like references in a sermon wherever the temptation to it exists. or moral essay (and these are not to Self-control is not often united with our mind the least pathetic of them); genius, and in the case of Coleridge but the best known, which is also the there was less of it than in the case of best known quotation from his writany other man equally distinguished.ings, and almost from the English lanOne rises from the account of his quar- guage, is not richer in moral emphasis rels with a paradoxical combination of than in poetic beauty. No anthology admiration for the tolerance of his omits the extract from “ Christabel,” friends and sympathy for his own sen- which — knowing how rarely what is sitiveness ; few men have met with so familiar is remembered accurately much forbearance, and yet few inspire we bold enough to reproduce. so much pity. In the lack of that the reader who studies it will, we bewarmth at home which would have lieve, hold the clue to a large part of made all outside misunderstandings the problem of the poet's life : mere lamentable incidents, they constituted his atmosphere. That his Alas, they had been friends in youth, suspicions of Lamb or Wordsworth But whispering tongues can poison truth, were unreasonable did not preclude And constancy dwells in realms above, possibly it iucreased — their para

And life is thorny, and youth is vain ; lyzing influence. What is utterly un- And to be wroth with one we love

Doth work like madness in the brain. reasonable is irrefutable. It remains

And thus it chanced, as I divine, unapproachable by anything but the

With Roland and Sir Leoline. urgency of an emotion which faithful

Each spoke words of high disdain affection may lack, and thus the very

And insult to his heart's best brother. injustice of resentment in some cases They parted — ne'er to meet again, secures its permanence.

The poetic

But never either found another temperament is not invariably depend- 1 To free the hollow heart from paining.

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They stood aloof, the scars remaining; cation to a brother was felt inadequate.

Like cliffs that had been rent asunder. Sometimes his suspiciousness provokes A dreary sea now flows between,

a melancholy smile. He told a friend, But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder

for instance, that the kindred of his Shall wholly do away, I ween,

excellent friend Poole had manifested The marks of that which once had been.

a great dislike towards himself and To present the readers of a review every one belonging to him, including with lines so familiar is a proof of some his “poor little boy.” Hartley seems courage, but the passage is even more to have been the idol of every one that interesting as a contribution to the had anythivg to do with him, and at biography of Coleridge than as a frag- all events he was not five years old ment of immortal verse. The only when he was taken away from the part which seems to us to lack peren- neighborhood of the Pooles. It is nial truth has a special value as a rev- credible enough that they did not feel elation of individual history. The particularly cordial towards a family beauty of the passage lies, on the every member of which must, uuless whole, in its broad human application, gifted with supernatural discretion, its reference to the life of every day. have been sometimes in their way, and Where it deviates into an expression no doubt the “fairy child ” who inof something exceptional we are sen- spired Wordsworth's loveliest lines may sible of a want of harmony with the have been troublesome. But there is rest - an intrusion of a dramatic ex- something ludicrous in resenting anpression into a reflection on life. noyance with the troublesomeness of When the poet tells us that “to be a little child ; and the soreness betrayed wroth with one we love doth work like here will discover the work of whispermadness in the brain,” he puts into ing tongues in every transient cooling words which every child can under- of affection. stand an emotion which all human No doubt such fancies sometimes beings, as they look back upon life, realize themselves. The bitterest alienremember having felt or witnessed. ation of Coleridge's life — next to that When he tells us that “whispering from his wife — that which for some tongues can poison truth," he leads us years divided him from Wordsworth, to a region where we dare to say nine and prevented their intimacy ever out of ten of his readers will remember again being what it had been, was ocnothing at all. The sentence paints an casioned by an unwise and exaggerated experience as unforgettable as rare ; it repetition of a caution given by Wordsis one of which fiction has so largely worth to Basil Montague. And what availed itself, that perhaps its actual would have been the next bitterest but rarity is somewhat disguised ; but any that, much to the honor of boun parone who will interrogate his own ties, it was transient – his quarrel with memory will allow that it belongs to Charles Lamb -- does seem also to exceptional natures in exceptional cir- have had some origin of this kiud. cumstances. While the rest reveals to The whisperer was a now forgotten us an insight into human nature, this poet, a certain Charles Lloyd, who had one line, given in the same key as the been associated with Coleridge both in rest, and not with any modulation into a common publication and a common something dramatic, expresses not in- household.

It was

inevitable that sight, but that tendency to morbid there should have been some disagreesuspicion which is most blinding. But ment, and when it came it must have it cannot be denied that Coleridge's been specially painful, for the loss of was a suspicious character. Here and an inmate of easy fortune was inconthere his reader, without any evidence venient as well as distressing, it reexcept the general experience of life, moved Coleridge's chief

of ventures to discard as a sick dream income. What was

worse was that such a statement as that a warm dedi. Lloyd passed on something to Lamb

source

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