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To one, who, like myself, has been an attentive observer of our literature during the last thirty years, the history of Coleridge offers no flattering testimony of popular taste. Throughout a life which, if intellectually considered, was certainly characterized by unwearied diligence and activity, he was, in the common sense of the term, an unsuccessful author, as he pleasantly observed, better known to his bookseller than to the public. The eloquence of his prose, the music of his poetry, fell equally unheeded on the national ear. The humblest hurdy-gurdy that ever called forth an execration, obtained a more generous reward than the dulcimer of “the Abyssinian Maid.” A change seems now gradually coming over the spirit of the dream. His poems are selling, the crumbs are gathered from his table, and an edition of his Remains announced to be in preparation, under the superintendence of one whose taste can discover their beauties, and whose eloquence can defend them.
But I am wandering from Coleridge's visit to Cambridge,--and who that was present will ever forget that evening, under the clock at Trinity*, which witnessed a symposium from which Plato himself might have carried something away? The remembrance even now creeps over the mind like a Summer Night's Dream.
* Mr. Thirlwall's Rooms.