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Title: Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey

Author: Joseph Cottle

Release date: July 1, 2005 [eBook #8580]
Most recently updated: December 26, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Thomas Berger, Charles Franks

and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

[Illustration: Portrait.]

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It is with a solemnized feeling that I enter on these Reminiscences. Except one, I have survived all the associates of my earlier days. The young, with a long life in perspective, (if any life can be called long, in so brief an existence) are unable to realize the impressions of a man, nearer eighty than seventy, when the shadows of evening are gathering around, and, in a retrospective glance, the whole field of past vision appears, in all its complexities, like the indistinct tumults of a dream. The acute reasoner—the fiery politician—the eager polemic—the emulous aspirant after fame; and many such have I known, where are they? and how mournful, if any one of them should be found, at last, to have directed his solicitudes, alone, to material objects;—should have neglected to cultivate his own little plot of earth, more valuable than mines! and have sown no seeds for eternity. It is not a light motive which could have prompted me, when this world of "Eye and Ear" is fast receding, while grander scenes are opening, and so near! to call up almost long-forgotten associations, and to dwell on the stirring, by-gone occurrences that tend, in some measure, to interfere with that calm which is most desirable, and best accords with the feelings of one who holds life by such slender ties. Yet through the goodness of the Almighty, being at the present moment exempt from many of the common infirmities of age, I am willing, as a last act, to make some sacrifice to obtain the good which I hope this recurrence to the past is calculated to produce.

With respect to Mr. Coleridge, it would be easy and pleasant to sail with the stream; to admire his eloquence; to extol his genius; and to forget his failings; but where is the utility, arising out of this homage paid to naked talent? If the attention of posterity rested here, where were the lessons of wisdom to be learnt from his example? His path through the world was marked by strong outlines, and instruction is to be derived from every feature of his mind, and every portion of his eventful and chequered life. In all the aspects of his character, he was probably the most singular man that has appeared in this country during the preceding century, and the leading incidents of whose life ought to stand fairly on record. The facts which I have stated are undeniable, the most important being substantiated by his own letters; but higher objects were intended by this narrative than merely to elucidate a character, (however remarkable), in all its vicissitudes and eccentricities. Rising above idle curiosity, or the desire of furnishing aliment for the sentimental;—excitement the object, and the moral tendency disregarded, these pages take a wider range, and are designed for the good of many, where if there be much to pain the reader, he should moderate his regrets, by looking through the intermediate to the end.

There is scarcely an individual, whose life, if justly delineated, would not present much whence others might derive instruction. If this be applicable to the multitude, how much more essentially true is it, in reference to the ethereal spirits, endowed by the Supreme with a lavish portion of intellectual strength, as well as with proportionate capacities for doing good? How serious therefore is the obligation to fidelity, when the portraiture of a man is to be presented, like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in whom such diversified and contrary qualities alternately predominated! Yet all the advantages to be derived from him, and similar instructors of mankind, must result from a faithful exhibition of the broad features of their earthly conduct and character, so that they might stand out as landmarks, and pharos-towers, to guide, or warn, or encourage, all succeeding voyagers on the Ocean of Life.

In preparing the following work, I should gladly have withheld that one letter of Mr. Coleridge to Mr. Wade, had not the obligation to make it public been imperative. But concealment would have been injustice to the living, and treachery to the dead. This letter is the solemnizing voice of conscience. Can any reflecting mind, deliberately desire the suppression of this document, in which Mr. Coleridge, for the good of others, generously forgets its bearing on himself, and makes a full and voluntary confession of the sins he had committed against "himself, his friends, his children, and his God?" In the agony of remorse, at the retrospection, he thus required that this his confession should hereafter be given to the public. "AFTER MY DEATH, I EARNESTLY ENTREAT, THAT A FULL AND UNQUALIFIED NARRATIVE OF MY WRETCHEDNESS, AND ITS GUILTY CAUSE, MAY BE MADE PUBLIC, THAT AT LEAST SOME LITTLE GOOD MAY BE EFFECTED BY THE DIREFUL EXAMPLE." This is the most redeeming letter Samuel Taylor Coleridge ever penned. A callous heart could not have written it. A Christian, awaking from his temporary lethargy, might. While it powerfully propitiates the reader, it almost converts condemnation into compassion.

No considerate friend, it might be thought, would have desired the suppression of this letter, but rather its most extended circulation; and that, among other cogent reasons, from the immense moral lesson, enforced by it, in perpetuity, on all consumers of opium; in which they will behold, as well as in some of the other letters, the "tremendous consequences," (to use Mr. Coleridge's own expressions) of such practices, exemplified in his own person; and to which terrible effects, he himself so often, and so impressively refers. It was doubtless a deep conviction of the beneficial tendencies involved in the publication, that prompted Mr. C. to direct publicity to be given to this remarkable letter, after his decease.

The incidents connected with the lives of Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey, are so intimately blended, from relationship, association, and kindred pursuits, that the biography of one, to a considerable extent, involves that of the other. The following narrative, however, professes to be annals of, rather than a circumstantial account of these two remarkable men.

Some persons may be predisposed to misconstrue the motive for giving publicity to the following letter, but others, it is hoped, will admit that the sole object has been, not to draw the reader's attention to the writer, but to confer credit on Southey. Many are the individuals who would have assisted, to a greater extent than myself, two young men of decided genius, like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey, who required, at the commencement of their literary career, encouragement, and a little assistance. Few however, would have exhibited the magnanimity which Southey displayed, in seasons of improved circumstances, by referring to slender acts of kindness, long past, and scarcely remembered but by himself. Few are the men, who, after having surmounted their difficulties by honourable exertion, would have referred to past seasons of perplexity, and have desired—that occurrences "might be seen hereafter," which little minds would sedulously have concealed, as discredit, rather than as conferring conspicuous honour.

Ten years after the incidents had occurred to which the following letter refers, in writing to Mr. Southey, among other subjects, I casually expressed a regret, that when I quitted the business of a bookseller, I had not returned him the copy-rights of his "Joan of Arc;" of his two volumes of Poems; and of his letters from Spain and Portugal. The following was his reply.

"Wednesday evening, Greta Hall, April 28, 1808.

My dear Cottle,

… What you say of my copy-rights affects me very much. Dear Cottle, set your heart at rest on that subject. It ought to be at rest. They were yours; fairly bought, and fairly sold. You bought them on the chance of their success, what no London bookseller would have done; and had they not been bought, they could not have been published at all. Nay, if you had not published 'Joan of Arc,' the poem never would have existed, nor should I, in all probability, ever have obtained that reputation which is the capital on which I subsist, nor that power which enables me to support it.

But this is not all. Do you suppose, Cottle, that I have forgotten those true and most essential acts of friendship which you showed me when I stood most in need of them? Your house was my house when I had no other. The very money with which I bought my wedding ring, and paid my marriage fees, was supplied by you. It was with your sisters that I left my Edith, during my six months' absence; and for the six months after my return, it was from you that I received, week by week, the little on which we lived, till I was enabled to live by other means. It is not the settling of our cash account that can cancel obligations like these. You are in the habit of preserving your letters, and if you were not, I would entreat you to preserve this, that it might be seen hereafter. Sure I am, that there never was a more generous, nor a kinder heart than yours, and you will believe me when I add, that there does not live that man upon earth, whom I remember with more gratitude, and more affection. My heart throbs, and my eyes burn with these recollections. Good night my dear old friend and benefactor.

Robert Southey."

Gratitude is a plant indigenous to Heaven. Specimens are rarely found on
Earth. This is one.

Mr. Southey, on previous occasions had advised me to write my
"Recollections of Persons and Things," and it having been understood that
I was about to prepare a memoir of Mr. Coleridge, (1836) Mr. S. renewed
his solicitation, as will appear by the following extracts.

"Keswick, April 14, 1836.

My dear Cottle,

There is I hope, time enough for you to make a very interesting book of your own 'Recollections,' a book which will be of no little value to the history of our native city, and the literature of our times. Your prose has a natural ease which no study could acquire. I am very confident you could make as delightful a book on this subject as Isaac Walton has in his way. If you are drawing up your 'Recollections of Coleridge,' you are most welcome to insert anything of mine which you may think proper. To be employed in such a work, with the principles and frame of mind wherewith you would engage in it, is to be instructing and admonishing your fellow-creatures; it is employing your talents, and keeping up that habitual preparation for the enduring inheritance in which the greater part of your life has been spent. Men like us, who write in sincerity, and with the desire of teaching others so to think, and to feel, as may be best for themselves and the community, are labouring as much in their vocation as if they were composing sermons, or delivering them from the pulpit….

God bless you, my dear old friend. Always yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey."

On another occasion Mr. S. thus wrote.

"My dear Cottle,

I both wish and advise you to draw up your 'Reminiscences', I advise you for your own sake, as a valuable memorial, and wish it for my own, that that part of my life might be faithfully reported by the person who knows it best…." "You have enough to tell which is harmless, as well as interesting, and not harmless only, but instructive, and that ought to be told, and which only you can tell."

It may be proper to notice that the title here adopted, of "REMINISCENCES" is to be understood as a general, rather than as a strictly applicable phrase, since the present miscellaneous work is founded on letters, and various memoranda, that for the most part, have lain in a dormant state for many years, and which were preserved as mementos of past scenes, personally interesting, but without, in the first instance, the least reference to ultimate publication.

I cannot withhold a final remark, with which my own mind is greatly affected; from revolving on a most unexpected, as it is a singular fact,—that these brief memorials of Mr. Coleridge, and Mr. Southey, should be written by the same individual who, more than half a century before, contributed his humble efforts to assist, and encourage them, in their first entrance on a literary life. The whole of the events thus recorded, appear through the dim vista of memory, already with the scenes before the flood! while all the busy, the aspiring, and the intellectual spirits here noticed, and once so well known, have been hurried off our mortal stage!—Robert Lovell!—George Burnet!—Charles Lloyd!—George Catcott!—Dr. Beddoes!—Charles Danvers!—Amos Cottle!—William Gilbert!—John Morgan!—Ann Yearsley!—Sir H. Davy!—Hannah More!—Robert Hall!—Samuel Taylor Coleridge!—Charles Lamb!—Thomas Poole!—Josiah Wade!—Robert Southey!—and John Foster!—confirming, with fresh emphasis,

"What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!"

Bristol, April 20, 1847.

J. C.

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Pantisocracy and Robert Lovell

Mr. Southey and Mr. Burnet arrive in Bristol

Mr. Coleridge arrives in Bristol

Fears for the Pantisocritans dissipated

    A London bookseller offers Mr. Coleridge six guineas for the
    copyright of his Poems

    Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey each sells his 1st volume of Poems, for
    thirty guineas

Mr. Southey sells his Joan of Arc for fifty guineas

Mr. Coleridge begins his lectures in Bristol

Specimen of Mr. C.'s lecture

Liberty's letter to Famine

Mr. C.'s political lectures, &c.

Death of Robert Lovell

Mr. Southey's course of historical lectures

Mr. Coleridge disappoints his audience

Excursion to Tintern Abbey

Dissension between Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey

Incidents connected with Mr. Coleridge's volume of Poems

Mr. Coleridge married to Miss Sarah Fricker

Household articles required

Notices of Wm. Gilbert, Ann Yearsley, H. More, and Robert Hall

Mr. Coleridge removes, first to Bristol and then to Stowey

—- ————- again to Bristol

—- ————- woeful letter

Mr. Coleridge's Poems now published

—- ————- projects his "Watchman"

—- ————- seven letters, while on his journey to collect subscribers to the "Watchman"

—- ————- inaugural sermon at Bath

Mr. Lloyd domesticates with Mr. Coleridge

Mr. Coleridge's melancholy letter

Mr. Coleridge's views of Epic Poetry

Quarrel between Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey. Reconciled

Mr. Coleridge's letter to Miss Cruikshanks

—- ———— diagram of the second bottle

—- ———— Theological letter

Mr. Coleridge prepares for a second edition of his Poems

Mr. Coleridge's letter to George Catcott

—- ———— on hexameters, &c.

—- ———— Foster-mother's tale (extract)

—- ———— ludicrous interview with a country woman

—- ———— Poem relating to Burns

—- ———— character of Mr. Wordsworth

Herbert Croft and Chatterton (Note)

Coleridge's character of Thelwall

Letters from Charles Lamb

Mr. Coleridge's lines to Joseph Cottle

Sara's lines to the same

Three Sonnets, by Nehemiah Higginbotham

Coleridge, Lloyd, and Lamb, quarrel

Lamb's sarcastic Theses to Mr. Coleridge

Coleridge goes to Shrewsbury on probation

    Mr. Coleridge receives an annuity of £150 from the Messrs. Thomas and
    Josiah Wedgewood

Letters from Mr. Wordsworth,—Lyrical Ballads

Mr. Wordsworth caballed against

Disasters attending a dinner with Mr. Wordsworth

Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Wordsworth depart for Germany

Mr. Coleridge's character of Mr. Southey

Mr. Southey marries Miss Edith Fricker

Three letters of Mr. Southey, from Falmouth and Portugal

Sundry letters from Mr. Southey to Joseph Cottle

George Dyer, and a ludicrous incident

Mr. Southey's rhyming letter from Lisbon

Mr. Churchey, and incidents concerning him

Mr. Southey in danger from an enraged author

Mr. Southey and Wat Tyler

Mr. Foster explains how Wat Tyler came to be published

J. Morgan's ruined circumstances. Mr. S.'s proposal for a subscription

List of Mr. Southey's contributions to the Quarterly

Discovery of first edition of Pilgrim's Progress

Mr. Coleridge's letter on travelling in Germany

Slow sale at first of Mr. Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads

Mr. Humphrey Davy arrives in Bristol

Dr. Beddoe and the Pneumatic Institution

Mr. Davy's dangerous experiments with the gases

Mr. Coleridge's and Mr. Davy's anecdotes

Mr. Coleridge relates his military adventures

Mr. Coleridge's Epigrams from the German

    Character of Coleridge, by Professor Wilson, Mr. Sergeant Talfourd,
    Dr. Dibdin, Mr. Justice Coleridge, Rev. Archdeacon Hare, Quarterly
    Review, Rev. C. V. Le Grice

Mr. Coleridge's letter to Mr. Cottle on his return from Malta, 1807

Rev. J. Foster's letter concerning Coleridge

Mr. Coleridge's singular escape from Italy

—- —————- letter on the Trinity

—- —————- views of Unitarianism

—- —————- character of Sir H. Davy

Sir H. Davy's rebuke of an Infidel

Mr. Coleridge's character of Holcroft, the Atheist

Rev. J. Foster's letter respecting his Essay on Doddridge

Mr. Coleridge's letter to Mr. G. Fricker

Mr. De Quincey presents Mr. Coleridge with £300

Mr. Coleridge's letter on Narrative Poems

Reasons why Mr. Coleridge's opium habits should not be concealed

Mr. Coleridge ill in Bath

    Mr. Coleridge engages to Lecture in Bristol, 1814. Disappoints his
    Audience, by an excursion into North Wales

Mr. Coleridge's lines for a transparency at the capture of Buonaparte

Mr. Coleridge's approval of Infant Schools

Mr. Cottle's letter of remonstrance respecting opium

Mr. Coleridge's distressing letters in reply

Mr. Coleridge wishes to be placed in an Asylum

Mr. Southey's letters respecting Mr. Coleridge

Mr. Coleridge's contrivance to cheat the doctor

Mr. Coleridge leaves Bristol for Calne

Letters of Mr. Southey respecting Mr. Coleridge

Letter of Mr. Coleridge from Calne

Mr. Coleridge's letter, requiring the truth to be told of his opium habits, after his death

Mr. Coleridge's letter to his god-son, Kinnaird

    Letters from Mr. Southey concerning Mr. Allsop, and the scheme of
    Pantisocracy, and Mr. Coleridge

Letters from Mr. Southey concerning "Early Recollections"

Letter from Mr. Southey: his Western journey

Letter from Mr. Southey. Melancholy foreboding

Mr. Southey's mental malady

Letter from Mr. Foster, relating to Mr. Southey

Mr. Cottle's letter to Mr. Foster, respecting Mr. Southey

    Sixteen letters from Mr. Coleridge to Thomas and Josiah Wedgewood,

List of works promised by Mr. Coleridge, but not written

Mr. Coleridge sound in health, in 1800

—- ————- his health undermined by opium soon after

Dr. Carlyon, relating to Mr. Coleridge (Note)

Extracts from Mr. Poole's letters, respecting Mr. Coleridge

Dr. Adam's letter to Mr. Gillman, respecting Mr. Coleridge

Mr. Coleridge domesticates with Mr. Gillman

Letter of Mr. Foster, respecting Mr. Coleridge

Prayer of Mr. Coleridge, 1831

Mr. Coleridge's Epitaph on himself

Mr. Coleridge's monument


Character of John Henderson

Controversy of Rowley and Chatterton

The Weary Pilgrim, a Poem

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Ten years ago I published "Recollections of S. T. Coleridge." This work I have revised, and embodied in the present "Reminiscences of S. T. Coleridge, and Robert Southey." My views and motives have been explained in the Introduction.

If some Readers should consider that there are occasional documents introduced into the following work, too unimportant and derogatory to legitimate biography, I would observe, that it was designed that nothing should be admitted which was not characteristic of the individual; and that which illustrates character in a man of genius, cannot well be esteemed trifling and deserving of rejection.—In preparing those Reminiscences, some effort has been required. I have endeavoured to forget the intervening space of forty or fifty years, and, as far as it was practicable, to enter on the scenes and circumstances described with all the feelings coincident with that distant period. My primary design has been to elucidate the incidents referring to the early lives of the late Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey: yet I purposed, in addition, to introduce brief notices of some other remarkable characters, known in Bristol at this time.

To account for my introduction to all the persons subsequently noticed, it is necessary to apprise the Reader that I was a bookseller in Bristol from the year 1791 to 1798; from the age of 21 to 28: and having imbibed from my tutor and friend, the late John Henderson, (one of the most extraordinary of men) some little taste for literature, I found myself, during that period, generally surrounded by men of cultivated minds.[1] With these preliminary remarks I shall commence the narrative.

At the close of the year 1794, a clever young man, of the Society of Friends, of the name of Robert Lovell, who had married a Miss Fricker, informed me that a few friends of his from Oxford and Cambridge, with himself, were about to sail to America, and, on the banks of the Susquehannah, to form a Social Colony, in which there was to be a community of property, and where all that was selfish was to be proscribed. None, he said, were to be admitted into their number, but tried and incorruptible characters; and he felt quite assured that he and his friends would be able to realize a state of society free from the evils and turmoils that then agitated the world, and to present an example of the eminence to which men might arrive under the unrestrained influence of sound principles. He now paid me the compliment of saying that he would be happy to include me in this select assemblage who, under a state which he called PANTISOCRACY, were, he hoped, to regenerate the whole complexion of society; and that, not by establishing formal laws, but by excluding all the little deteriorating passions; injustice, "wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking," and thereby setting an example of "Human Perfectibility."

Young as I was, I suspected there was an old and intractable leaven in human nature that would effectually frustrate these airy schemes of happiness, which had been projected in every age, and always with the same result. At first the disclosure so confounded my understanding, that I almost fancied myself transported to some new state of things, while images of patriarchal and pristine felicity stood thick around, decked in the rain-bow's colours. A moment's reflection, however, dissolved the unsubstantial vision, when I asked him a few plain questions.

"How do you go?" said I. My young and ardent friend instantly replied, "We freight a ship, carrying out with us ploughs, and other implements of husbandry." The thought occurred to me, that it might be more economical to purchase such articles in America; but not too much to discourage the enthusiastic aspirant after happiness, I forebore all reference to the accumulation of difficulties to be surmounted, and merely inquired who were to compose his company? He said that only four had as yet absolutely engaged in the enterprise; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Cambridge; (in whom I understood the plan to have originated;) Robert Southey and George Burnet, from Oxford, and himself. "Well," I replied, "when do you set sail?" He answered, "Very shortly. I soon expect my friends from the Universities, when all the preliminaries will be adjusted, and we shall joyfully cross the blue waves of the Atlantic." "But," said I "to freight a ship, and sail out in the high style of gentlemen agriculturists, will require funds. How do you manage this?" "We all contribute what we can," said he, "and I shall introduce all my dear friends to you, immediately on their arrival in Bristol."

Robert Lovell (though inexperienced, and constitutionally sanguine) was a good specimen of the open frankness which characterizes the well-informed members of the Society of Friends; and he excited in me an additional interest, from a warmth of feeling, and an extent of reading, above even the ordinary standard of the estimable class to which he belonged. He now read me some of the MS. poems of his two unknown friends, which at once established their genius in my estimation.[2]

My leisure having been devoted for many years to reading and composition, and having a small volume of Poems at that time in the press, I anticipated great pleasure from an introduction to two poets, who superadded to talents of a high order, all the advantages arising from learning, and a consequent familiarity with the best models of antiquity. Independently of which, they excited an interest, and awakened a peculiar solicitude, from their being about so soon to leave their father land, and to depart permanently for a foreign shore.

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[Illustration: Portrait.]

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One morning shortly after, Robert Lovell called on me, and introduced Robert Southey. Never will the impression be effaced, produced on me by this young man. Tall, dignified, possessing great suavity of manners; an eye piercing, with a countenance full of genius, kindliness, and intelligence, I gave him at once the right hand of fellowship, and to the moment of his decease, that cordiality was never withdrawn. I had read so much of poetry, and sympathized so much with poets in all their eccentricities and vicissitudes, that, to see before me the realization of a character, which in the abstract most absorbed my regards, gave me a degree of satisfaction which it would be difficult to express.

I must now make a brief reference to George Burnet, who, in this epidemic delusion, had given his sanction to, and embarked all his prospects in life on this Pantisocratical scheme. He was a young man, about the age of twenty; the son of a respectable Somersetshire farmer, who had bestowed on him his portion, by giving him an University education as an introduction to the Church, into which he would probably have entered but for this his transatlantic pursuit of happiness. His talents were not conspicuous, but his manners were unpresuming, and honesty was depicted on his countenance. He possessed also that habitual good temper, and those accommodating manners, which would prove a desirable accession in any society; and it soon appeared, without indicating any disrespect, that his was a subordinate part to act in the new drama, and not the less valuable for its wanting splendour.

After some considerable delay, it was at length announced, that on the coming morning Samuel Taylor Coleridge would arrive in Bristol, as the nearest and most convenient port; and where he was to reside but a short time before the favouring gales were to waft him and his friends across the Atlantic. Robert Lovell at length introduced Mr. C. I instantly descried his intellectual character; exhibiting as he did, an eye, a brow, and a forehead, indicative of commanding genius. Interviews succeeded, and these increased the impression of respect. Each of my new friends read me his productions. Each accepted my invitations, and gave me those repeated proofs of good opinion, ripening fast into esteem, that I could not be insensible to the kindness of their manners, which, it may truly be affirmed, infused into my heart a brotherly feeling, that more than identified their interests with my own.

I introduced them to several intelligent friends, and their own merits soon augmented the number, so that their acquaintance became progressively extended, and their society coveted. Bristol was now found a very pleasant residence; and though the ship was not engaged, nor the least preparation made for so long a voyage, still the delights and wide-spreading advantages of Pantisocracy formed one of their everlasting themes of conversation; and, considering the barrenness of the subject, it was in no common degree amusing, to hear these young enthusiasts repel every objection to the practicability of their scheme, and magnify the condition to which it was to introduce them; where thorns and briars were, no doubt, to be expelled, and their couch to be strewed with down and roses.

It will excite merely an innocent smile in the reader at the extravagance of a youthful and ardent mind, when he learns that Robert Lovell stated with great seriousness, that, after the minutest calculation and inquiry among practical men, the demand on their labour would not exceed two hours a day; that is, for the production of absolute necessaries. The leisure still remaining, might be devoted, in convenient fractions, to the extension of their domain, by prostrating the sturdy trees of the forest, where "lop and top," without cost, would supply their cheerful winter fire; and the trunks, when cut into planks, without any other expense than their own pleasant labour, would form the sties for their pigs, and the linnies for their cattle, and the barns for their produce; reserving their choicest timbers for their own comfortable log-dwellings. But after every claim that might be made on their manual labour had been discharged, a large portion of time, would still remain for their own individual pursuits, so that they might read, converse, and even write books.

Cowper, in an unpublished letter now before me, says, "I know well that publication is necessary to give an edge to the poetic turn, and that what we produce in the closet, is never a vigorous birth, if we intend that it should die there. For my own part I could no more amuse myself with writing verse, if I did not print it when written, than with the study of tactics, for which I can never have any real occasion." But our young and ardent friends seemed to entertain a strong impression that the mere pleasure of writing, that is, like virtue, writing for its own sake, was all the mental and rational gratification wise men could desire. Views and times alter, and these richly-endowed young men, in after life, were prompt, and amongst the first to confess the fallacious schemes of their youth; but at this time the pleasurable alone occupied their field of vision, and confidence never stood more unencumbered with doubt.

If any difficulties were now started, and many such there were, a profusion of words demonstrated the reasonableness of the whole design; impressing all who heard, with the conviction that the citadel was too strong for assault. The Mercury at these times was generally Mr. Coleridge, who, as has been stated, ingeniously parried every adverse argument, and after silencing his hardy disputants, announced to them that he was about to write and publish a quarto volume in defence of Pantisocracy, in which a variety of arguments would be advanced in defence of his system, too subtle and recondite to comport with conversation. It would then, he said, become manifest that he was not a projector raw from his cloister, but a cool calculating reasoner, whose efforts and example would secure to him and his friends the permanent gratitude of mankind.

From the sentiments thus entertained, I shall represent Mr. Coleridge, in the section of his days which devolves on me to exhibit, just as he was, and that with a firm belief that by so doing, without injuring his legitimate reputation, I shall confer an essential benefit on those to come, who will behold in Mr. C. much to admire and imitate; and certainly some things to regret. For it should be remembered, Mr. Coleridge, from universal admission, possessed some of the highest mental endowments, and many pertaining to the heart; but if a man's life be valuable, not for the incense it consumes, but for the instruction it affords, to state even defects, (in one like Mr. C. who can so well afford deduction without serious loss) becomes in his biographer, not optional, but a serious obligation.

It is proper additionally to remark, that some apology or propitiation may be necessary toward those who regard every approximation to poverty, not as a misfortune, but a crime. Pecuniary difficulties, especially such as occur in early life, and not ascribable to bad conduct, reflect no discredit on men of genius. Many of them, subsequently, surmounted their first embarrassments by meritorious exertion; and some of our first men (like travellers, after having successfully passed through regions of privation and peril) delight even to recall their former discouragements, and, without the shame that luxuriates alone in little minds, undisguisedly to tell of seasons, indelible in their memories, when, in the prostration of hope, the wide world appeared one desolate waste! but they ultimately found, that these seasons of darkness, (however tenaciously retained by memory) in better times often administer a new and refreshing zest to present enjoyment. Despair, therefore ill becomes one who has follies to bewail, and a God to trust in. Johnson and Goldsmith, with numerous others, at some seasons were plunged deep in the waters of adversity, but halcyon days awaited them: and even those sons of merit and misfortune whose pecuniary troubles were more permanent, in the dimness of retrospection, only stand out invested in softer hues.

Cervantes is not the less read, because the acclamations of praise were heard by him in his abode of penury. Butler, Otway, Collins, Chatterton, and Burns, and men like them, instead of suffering in public estimation from the difficulties they encountered, absolutely challenge in every generous mind an excess of interest from the very circumstances that darkened the complexion of their earthly prospects.

In corroboration of this remark, in our own day, the son of Crabbe, who must have cherished the deepest solicitude for his father's reputation, has laid bare to general inspection his parent's early perplexities, by which impartial disclosures we behold the individual in his deepest depressions; worth enriched by trial, and greatness, by a refining process, struggling successfully with adversity. Does the example of such a man nobly bearing up against the pressures that surrounded him inflict obduracy on our hearts? On the contrary, while we feelingly sympathize with the poet, and deplore the tardy hand of deliverance, we pause only to transfer a reflex portion of praise to him whose magnanimous conduct has furnished so ample a scope for the tenderest emotions of our nature. This reflection will induce me not to withhold from false delicacy, occurrences, the disclosure of which none but the inconsiderate will condemn; and by which all the features of Mr. Coleridge's character will be exhibited to the inspection of the inquisitive and philosophical mind.

I proceed, therefore, to state that the solicitude I felt lest these young and ardent geniuses should in a disastrous hour, and in their mistaken apprehensions, commit themselves in this their desperate undertaking, was happily dissipated by Mr. Coleridge applying for the loan of a little cash,—to pay the voyager's freight? or passage? No,—LODGINGS. They all lodged, at this time, at No. 48, College-Street. Never did I lend money with such unmingled pleasure, for now I ceased to be haunted day and night with the spectre of the ship! the ship! which was to effect such incalculable mischief! The form of the request was the following:

My dear Sir,

Can you conveniently lend me five pounds, as we want a little more than four pounds to make up our lodging bill, which is indeed much higher than we expected; seven weeks, and Burnet's lodging for twelve weeks, amounting to eleven pounds.

Yours, affectionately,


Till this time, not knowing what the resources of my young friends were, I could not wholly divest myself of fear; but now an effectual barrier manifestly interposed to save them from destruction. And though their romantic plan might linger in their minds, it was impossible not to be assured that their strong good sense would eventually dissipate their delusions.

Finding now that there was a deficiency in that material, deemed of the first consequence in all civilized states, and remembering Burgh's feeling lamentation over the improvidence, or rather the indifference with which many men of genius regard the low thoughts that are merely of a pecuniary nature, I began to revolve on the means by which the two poets might advantageously apply their talents.

Soon after, finding Mr. Coleridge in rather a desponding mood, I urged him to keep up his spirits, and recommended him to publish a volume of his poems. "Oh," he replied, "that is a useless expedient." He continued: "I offered a volume of my poems to different booksellers in London, who would not even look at them! The reply being, 'Sir, the article will not do.' At length, one, more accommodating than the rest, condescended to receive my MS. poems, and, after a deliberate inspection, offered me for the copy-right, six guineas, which sum, poor as I was, I refused to accept." "Well," said I, "to encourage you, I will give you twenty guineas." It was very pleasant to observe the joy that instantly diffused itself over his countenance. "Nay," I continued, "others publish for themselves, I will chiefly remember you. Instead of giving you twenty guineas, I will extend it to thirty, and without waiting for the completion of the work, to make you easy you may have the money as your occasions require." The silence and the grasped hand, showed that at that moment one person was happy.

Every incident connected with the lives of literary men, especially at the commencement of their career, always excites interest. I have been, therefore, the more particular in detailing this circumstance, (except for its connexion, of no consequence) and proceed further to state, that now, meeting Mr. Southey, I said to him, "I have engaged to give Mr. Coleridge thirty guineas for a volume of his poems; you have poems equal to a volume, and if you approve of it, I will give you the same." He cordially thanked me, and instantly acceded to my proposal.

I then said to him, "you have read me several books of your 'Joan of Arc' which Poem I perceive has great merit. If it meet with your concurrence, I will give you fifty guineas for this work, and publish it in quarto, when I will give you, in addition, fifty copies to dispose of amongst your friends." Without a moment's hesitation, to this proposal also he acceded.

I could say much of Mr. Southey at this time; of his constitutional cheerfulness; of the polish of his manners; of his dignified, and at the same time, of his unassuming deportment; as well as of the general respect which his talents, conduct, and conversation excited.[3] But before reference be made to more serious publications, some notice will be taken of other objects of pursuit.

Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey, now determined by their best efforts, in other ways than those detailed, to raise money for their projected expedition. They resolved therefore, to give the citizens of Bristol individual lectures, or series of lectures, on different subjects. Mr. Coleridge chose Political and Moral subjects;[4] Mr. Southey chose History. On examining my old papers, I find most of the notices or prospectuses relating to these subjects.

Mr. Coleridge's first two lectures were delivered in the Corn Market in

Mr. Coleridge's next two lectures were delivered the latter end of February, 1795, and afterwards were thrown into a small pamphlet, printed under the title of "Conciones ad Populum, or Addresses to the people." After this he consolidated two other of his lectures, and published them under the title of "The Plot Discovered." Two detached lectures were given at the Corn Market, and one at a room in Castle Green. All these lectures were anti-Pitt-ite.

The next lecture given by Mr. Coleridge was in reprobation of the Slave
Trade. The following was the prospectus:—

    "To-morrow evening, June 16th, 1795, S. T. Coleridge, of Jesus
    College, Cambridge, will deliver, (by particular desire) a lecture on
    the Slave Trade, and the duties that result from its continuance.

    To begin at eight o'clock in the evening, at the Assembly Coffee
    House, on the Quay. Admission, One shilling."

His next lecture was (it is believed) on the Hair Powder Tax, in which his audience were kept in good feeling, by the happy union of wit, humour, and argument. Mr. C.'s lectures were numerously attended, and enthusiastically applauded.

It may amuse and gratify the reader, to receive a specimen of a lecture,[5] descriptive of Mr. C.'s composition and reasoning, delivered at this time, and by which it will appear that his politics were not of that inflammable description which would set a world in flames.

"… But of the propriety and utility of holding up the distant mark of attainable perfection, we shall enter more fully toward the close of this address. We turn with pleasure to the contemplation of that small but glorious band, whom we may truly distinguish by the name of thinking and disinterested patriots.[6] These are the men who have encouraged the sympathetic passions till they have become irresistible habits, and made their duty a necessary part of their self-interest, by the long-continued cultivation of that moral taste, which derives our most exquisite pleasures from the contemplation of possible perfection.

Accustomed to regard all the affairs of man as a process, they never hurry, and they never pause. Theirs is not the twilight of political knowledge, which gives us just light enough to place one foot before the other: as they advance, the scene still opens upon them, and they press right onward, with a vast and varied landscape of existence around them. Calmness and energy mark all their actions. Benevolence is the silken thread that runs through the pearl-chain of all their virtues. The unhappy children of vice and folly, whose tempers are adverse to their own happiness, as well as to the happiness of others, will at times awaken a natural pang, but he looks forward with gladdened heart to that glorious period when justice shall have established the universal fraternity of love. These soul-ennobling views bestow the virtues which they anticipate. He whose mind is habitually impressed with them, soars above the present state of humanity, and may be justly said to dwell in the presence of the Most High. Regarding every event, as he that ordains it, evil vanishes from before him, and he views the eternal form of universal beauty."

At one of his lectures, Mr. Coleridge amused his audience by reciting the following letter from Liberty to his dear friend Famine; the effect of which was greatly heightened by Mr. C.'s arch manner of recitation. It should be understood that there was at this time a great scarcity in the land.

Dear Famine,

You will doubtless be surprised at receiving a petitionary letter from a perfect stranger, but, Fas est vel ab hoste. All whom I once supposed my unalterable friends, I have found unable, or unwilling to assist me. I first applied to GRATITUDE, entreating her to whisper into the ear of Majesty, that it was I who had placed his forefathers on the throne of Great Britain. She told me that she had frequently made the attempt, but had as frequently been baffled by FLATTERY: and, that I might not doubt the truth of her apology, she led me (as the Spirit did the prophet Ezekiel) "to the door of the COURT, and I went in and saw—and behold! every form of creeping things." I was however somewhat consoled, when I heard that RELIGION was high in favour there, and possessed great influence. I myself had been her faithful servant, and always found her my best protectress: her service being indeed perfect freedom. Accordingly, in full confidence of success, I entered her mansion, but, alas! instead of my kind mistress, horror-struck, I beheld a painted, patched-up old ——. She was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, and on her forehead was written "MYSTERY." I shrieked, for I knew her to be the dry-nurse of that detested Imp, DESPOTISM.

I next addressed myself to PRUDENCE, and earnestly besought her to plead my cause to the Ministers; to urge the distresses of the lower orders, and my fears lest, so distressed, they should forget their obedience. For the prophet Isaiah had informed me "that it shall come to pass, that when the people shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves and curse the King." The grave matron heard me, and, shaking her head, learnedly replied, "Quos Deus vult perdere dementat." Again I besought her to speak to the rich men of the nation, concerning Ministers, of whom it might soon become illegal even to complain—of long and ruinous wars, and whether they must not bear the damage. All this quoth PRUDENCE, I have repeatedly urged, but a sly imposter named EXPEDIENCE has usurped my name, and struck such a panick of property, as hath steeled the hearts of the wealthy, and palsied their intellects. Lastly I applied to CONSCIENCE. She informed me that she was indeed a perfect ventriloquist, and could throw her voice into any place she liked, but that she was seldom attended to unless when she spoke out of the pocket.

Thus baffled and friendless, I was about to depart, and stood a fearful lingerer on the isle which I had so dearly loved—when tidings were brought me of your approach. I found myself impelled by a power superior to me to build my last hopes on you. Liberty, the MOTHER of PLENTY, calls Famine to her aid. O FAMINE, most eloquent Goddess! plead thou my cause. I in the mean time, will pray fervently that heaven may unstop the ears of her Vicegerent, so that they may listen to your first pleadings, while yet your voice is faint and distant, and your counsels peaceable.

"I remain your distressed suppliant,


The following is the prospectus of Mr. Coleridge's series of Political lectures.

S. T. Coleridge proposes to give, in Six Lectures, a comparative view of the English Rebellion under Charles the First, and the French Revolution.

The subjects of the proposed Lectures are,

FIRST. The distinguishing marks of the French and English character, with their probable causes. The national circumstances precursive to—1st, the English Rebellion.—2nd, the French Revolution.

SECOND. The Liberty of the Press. Literature; its Revolutionary powers. Comparison of the English, with the French Political Writers, at the time of the several Revolutions. Milton. Sydney. Harrington.—Brissot. Sieyes. Mirabeau. Thomas Paine.

    THIRD. The Fanaticism of the first English and French Revolutionists.
    English Sectaries. French Parties. Feuillans. Girondists. Faction of
    Hebert. Jacobins. Moderants. Royalists.

    FOURTH. 1st, Characters of Charles the First, and Louis the
    Sixteenth. 2nd, of Louis the Fourteenth and the present Empress of
    Russia. 3rd, Life and Character of Essex and Fayette.

    FIFTH. Oliver Cromwell, and Robespierre.—Cardinal Mazarine, and
    William Pitt.—Dundas, and Barrere.

    SIXTH. On Revolution in general. Its moral causes, and probable
    effects on the Revolutionary People, and surrounding nations.

It is intended that the Lectures should be given once a week; on Tuesday Evenings, at eight o'clock, at the Assembly Coffee House, on the Quay. The First Lecture, on Tuesday, June 23d, 1795. As the author wishes to ensure an audience adequate to the expenses of the room, he has prepared subscription tickets for the whole course, price Six Shillings, which may be had at the Lecture Room, or of Mr. Cottle, or Mr. Reed, Booksellers.

Mr. Coleridge's Theological lectures succeeded, of which the following is the prospectus.

    Six Lectures will be given by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, on Revealed
    Religion, its Corruptions, and its Political Views.

    These Lectures are intended for two classes of men, Christians and
    Infidels; to the former, that they be able to give a reason for the
    hope that is in them; to the latter, that they may not determine
    against Christianity, from arguments applicable to its corruptions

    The subjects of the FIRST LECTURE, are—The Origin of Evil. The
    Necessity of Revelation deduced from the Nature of man. An
    Examination and Defence of the Mosaic Dispensation.

    SECOND.—The Sects of Philosophy, and the Popular Superstitions of
    the Gentile World, from the earliest times to the Birth of Christ.

    THIRD.—Concerning the Time of the Appearance of Christ. The Internal
    Evidences of Christianity. The External Evidences of Christianity.

    FOURTH.—The External Evidences of Christianity continued. Answers to
    Popular and Philosophical objections.

    FIFTH.—The Corruptions of Christianity, in Doctrines. Political

    SIXTH.—The grand Political Views of Christianity—far beyond other
    Religions, and even Sects of Philosophy. The Friend of Civil Freedom.
    The probable state of Society and Governments, if all men were

Tickets to be had of Mr. Cottle, Bookseller.

Sometimes a single Lecture was given. The following is an Advertisement of one of them.

To-morrow Evening, Tuesday, June 16th, 1795, S. T. Coleridge will deliver (by particular desire) a Lecture on the Slave Trade, and the duties that result from its continuance.

    To begin at 8 o'clock, at the Assembly Coffee House, on the Quay.
    Admittance, One Shilling.

It may be proper to state that all three of my young friends, in that day of excitement, felt a detestation of the French war then raging, and a hearty sympathy with the efforts made in France to obtain political ameliorations. Almost every young and unprejudiced mind participated in this feeling; and Muir, and Palmer, and Margarot, were regarded as martyrs in the holy cause of freedom. The successive enormities, however, perpetrated in France and Switzerland by the French, tended to moderate their enthusiastic politics, and progressively to produce that effect on them which extended also to so many of the soberest friends of rational freedom. Mr. Coleridge's zeal on these questions was by far the most conspicuous, as will appear by some of his Sonnets, and particularly by his Poem of "Fire, Famine, and Slaughter;" though written some considerable time after. When he read this Poem to me, it was with so much jocularity as to convince me that, without bitterness, it was designed as a mere joke.

In conformity with my determination to state occurrences, plainly, as they arose, I must here mention that strange as it may appear in Pantisocritans, I observed at this time a marked coolness between Mr. Coleridge and Robert Lovell, so inauspicious in those about to establish a "Fraternal Colony;" and, in the result, to renovate the whole face of society! They met without speaking, and consequently appeared as strangers. I asked Mr. C. what it meant. He replied, "Lovell, who at first, did all in his power to promote my connexion with Miss Fricker, now opposes our union." He continued, "I said to him, 'Lovell! you are a villain!'" "Oh," I replied, "you are quite mistaken. Lovell is an honest fellow, and is proud in the hope of having you for a brother-in-law. Rely on it he only wishes you from prudential motives to delay your union." In a few days I had the happiness of seeing them as sociable as ever.

This is the last time poor Robert Lovell's name will be mentioned in this work, as living. He went to Salisbury, caught a fever, and, in eagerness to reach his family, travelled when he ought to have lain by; reached his home, and died! We attended his funeral, and dropt a tear over his grave!

Mr. Coleridge, though at this time embracing every topic of conversation, testified a partiality for a few, which might be called stock subjects. Without noticing his favorite Pantisocracy, (which was an everlasting theme of the laudatory) he generally contrived, either by direct amalgamation or digression, to notice in the warmest encomiastic language, Bishop Berkeley, David Hartley, or Mr. Bowles; whose sonnets he delighted in reciting. He once told me, that he believed, by his constant recommendation, he had sold a whole edition of some works; particularly amongst the fresh-men of Cambridge, to whom, whenever he found access, he urged the purchase of three works, indispensable to all who wished to excel in sound reasoning, or a correct taste;—Simpson's Euclid; Hartley on Man; and Bowles's Poems.

In process of time, however, when reflection had rendered his mind more mature, he appeared to renounce the fanciful and brain-bewildering system of Berkeley; whilst he sparingly extolled Hartley; and was almost silent respecting Mr. Bowles. I noticed a marked change in his commendation of Mr. B. from the time he paid that man of genius a visit. Whether their canons of criticisms were different, or that the personal enthusiasm was not mutual; or whether there was a diversity in political views; whatever the cause was, an altered feeling toward that gentleman was manifested after his visit, not so much expressed by words, as by his subdued tone of applause.

The reflux of the tide had not yet commenced, and Pantisocracy was still Mr. Coleridge's favourite theme of discourse, and the banks of the Susquehannah the only refuge for permanent repose. It will excite great surprise in the reader to understand that Mr. C.'s cooler friends could not ascertain that he had received any specific information respecting this notable river. "It was a grand river;" but there were many other grand and noble rivers in America; (the Land of Rivers!) and the preference given to the Susquehannah, seemed almost to arise solely from its imposing name, which, if not classical, was at least poetical; and it probably by mere accident became the centre of all his pleasurable associations. Had this same river been called the Miramichi or the Irrawaddy, it would have been despoiled of half its charms, and have sunk down into a vulgar stream, the atmosphere of which might have suited well enough Russian boors, but which would have been pestiferous to men of letters.

The strong hold which the Susquehannah had taken on Mr. Coleridge's imagination may be estimated by the following lines, in his Monody on Chatterton.

  "O, Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive;
    Sure thou would'st spread the canvass to the gale,
  And love with us the tinkling team to drive
    O'er peaceful freedom's UNDIVIDED dale;
  And we at sober eve would round thee throng,
  Hanging enraptured on thy stately song!
  And greet with smiles the young-eyed POSEY
  All deftly masked, as hoar ANTIQUITY.
  Alas, vain phantasies! the fleeting brood
  Of woe self-solaced in her dreamy mood!
  Yet I will love to follow the sweet dream,
  Where Susquehannah pours his untamed stream,
  And on some hill, whose forest-frowning side
  Waves o'er the murmurs of his calmer tide;
  And I will build a cenotaph to thee,
  Sweet harper of time-shrouded minstrelsy!
  And there soothed sadly by the dirgeful wind,
  Muse on the sore ills I had left behind."

In another poem which appeared only in the first edition, a reference is again made to the American "undivided dell," as follows:

TO W. J. H.

While playing on his flute.

  Hush! ye clamorous cares! be mute.
    Again, dear Harmonist! again,
  Through the hollow of thy flute,
    Breathe that passion-warbled strain:

  Till memory each form shall bring
    The loveliest of her shadowy throng;
  And hope that soars on sky-lark whig,
    Carol wild her gladdest song!

    O skill'd with magic spell to roll
  The thrilling tones, that concentrate the soul!
  Breathe through thy flute those tender notes again,
    While near thee sits the chaste-eyed maiden mild;
  And bid her raise the poet's kindred strain
    In soft empassioned voice, correctly wild.

  "In freedom's UNDIVIDED DELL
  Where toil and health, with mellowed love shall dwell,
    Far from folly, far from men,
    In the rude romantic glen,
    Up the cliff, and through the glade,
    Wand'ring with the dear-loved maid,
    I shall listen to the lay,
    And ponder on thee far away."

Mr. Coleridge had written a note to his Monody on Chatterton, in which he caustically referred to Dean Milles. On this note being shown to me, I remarked that Captain Blake, whom he occasionally met, was the son-in-law of Dean Milles. "What," said Mr. Coleridge, "the man with the great sword?" "The same," I answered. "Then," said Mr. C. with an assumed gravity, "I will suppress this note to Chatterton; the fellow might have my head off before I am aware!" To be sure there was something rather formidable in his huge dragoon's sword, constantly rattling by his side! This Captain Blake was a member of the Bristol Corporation, and a pleasant man, but his sword, worn by a short man, appeared prodigious!—Mr. C. said, "The sight of it was enough to set half a dozen poets scampering up Parnassus, as though hunted by a wild mastodon."

In examining my old papers I found this identical note in Mr. Coleridge's hand writing, and which is here given to the reader; suggesting that this note, like the Sonnet to Lord Stanhope, was written in that portion of C.'s life, when it must be confessed, he really was hot with the French Revolution. Thus he begins:

    By far the best poem on the subject of Chatterton, is, "Neglected
    Genius, or Tributary Stanzas to the memory of the unfortunate
    Chatterton." Written by Rushton, a blind sailor.

Walpole writes thus. "All the House of Forgery are relations, although it be but just to Chatterton's memory to say, that his poverty never made him claim kindred with the more enriching branches; yet he who could so ingeniously counterfeit styles, and the writer believes, hands, might easily have been led to the more facile imitation of Prose Promissory Notes!" O, ye who honor the name of man, rejoice that this Walpole is called a Lord! Milles, too, the editor of Rowley's Poem's, a priest; who (though only a Dean, in dulness and malignity was most episcopally eminent) foully calumniated him.—An Owl mangling a poor dead nightingale! Most injured Bard!

      "To him alone in this benighted age
      Was that diviner inspiration given
      Which glows in Milton's, and in Shakspeare's page,
      The pomp and prodigality of heaven!"

Mr. Southey's course of Historical Lectures, comprised the following subjects, as expressed in his prospectus.

    Robert Southey, of Baliol College, Oxford, proposes to read a course
    of Historical Lectures in the following order.

    1st. Introductory: on the origin and Progress of Society.
    2nd. Legislation of Solon and Lycurgus.
    3rd. State of Greece, from the Persian War to the Dissolution
          of the Achaian League.
    4th. Rise, Progress, and Decline of the Roman Empire.
    5th. Progress of Christianity.
    6th. Manners and Irruptions of the Northern Nations.
          Growth of the European States. Feudal System.
    7th. State of the Eastern Empire, to the Capture of
          Constantinople by the Turks; including the Rise and
          Progress of the Mahommedan Religion, and the Crusades.
    8th. History of Europe, to the Abdication of the Empire
          by Charles the Fifth.
    9th. History of Europe, to the Establishment of the Independence
          of Holland.
    10th. State of Europe, and more particularly of England,
          from the Accession of Charles the First, to the Revolution,
          in 1688.
    11th. Progress of the Northern States. History of Europe
          to the American War.
    12th. The American War.

    Tickets for the whole course, 10s. 6d. to be had of Mr. Cottle,
    bookseller, High-Street.

These Lectures of Mr. Southey were numerously attended, and their composition was greatly admired; exhibiting as they did a succinct view of the various subjects commented upon, so as to chain the hearers' attention. They at the same time evinced great self-possession in the lecturer; a peculiar grace in the delivery; with reasoning so judicious and acute, as to excite astonishment in the auditory that so young a man should concentrate so rich a fund of valuable matter in lectures, comparatively so brief, and which clearly authorized the anticipation of his future eminence. From this statement it will justly be inferred, that no public lecturer could have received stronger proofs of approbation than Mr. S. from a polite and discriminating audience.

Mr. Coleridge had solicited permission of Mr. Southey, to deliver his fourth lecture, "On the Rise, Progress, and Decline of the Roman Empire," as a subject to which he had devoted much attention. The request was immediately granted, and at the end of the third lecture it was formally announced to the audience, that the next lecture would be delivered by Mr. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, of Jesus College, Cambridge.

At the usual hour the room was thronged. The moment of commencement arrived. No lecturer appeared! Patience was preserved for a quarter, extending to half an hour!—but still no lecturer! At length it was communicated to the impatient assemblage, that a circumstance, exceedingly to be regretted! would prevent Mr. Coleridge from giving his lecture that evening, as intended. Some few present learned the truth, but the major part of the company retired not very well pleased, and under the impression that Mr. C. had either broken his leg, or that some severe family affliction had occurred. Mr. C's rather habitual absence of mind, with the little importance he generally attached to engagements,[7] renders it likely that at this very time he might have been found at No. 48, College-Street; composedly smoking his pipe, and lost in profound musings on his divine Susquehannah!

Incidents of the most trifling nature must sometimes be narrated; when they form connecting links with events of more consequence.

Wishing to gratify my two young friends and their ladies elect with a pleasant excursion, I invited them to accompany me in a visit to the Wye, including Piercefield and Tintern Abbey; objects new to us all. It so happened the day we were to set off was that immediately following the woeful disappointment! but here all was punctuality. It was calculated that the proposed objects might be accomplished in two days, so as not to interfere with the Friday evening's lecture, which Mr. Southey had now wisely determined to deliver himself.

The morning was fine. The party of five all met in high spirits, anticipating unmingled delight in surveying objects and scenery, scarcely to be surpassed in the three kingdoms. We proceeded to the Old Passage; crossed the Severn, and arrived at the Beaufort Arms, Chepstow, time enough to partake of a good dinner, which one of the company noticed Homer himself had pronounced to be no bad thing: a sentiment in which we all concurred, admiring his profound knowledge of human nature! But prior to our repast, we visited the fine old Castle, so intimately connected with by-gone days; and as soon as possible we purposed to set off toward the Abbey, distant about six or seven miles; taking Piercefield in our way.

Proceeding on my principle of impartial narration, I must here state, that, after dinner, an unpleasant altercation occurred between—no other than the two Pantisocritans! When feelings are accumulated in the heart, the tongue will give them utterance. Mr. Southey, whose regular habits scarcely rendered it a virtue in him, never to fail in an engagement, expressed to Mr. Coleridge his deep feelings of regret, that his audience should have been disappointed on the preceding evening; reminding him that unless he had determined punctually to fulfil his voluntary engagement he ought not to have entered upon it. Mr. C. thought the delay of the lecture of little or no consequence. This excited a remonstrance, which produced a reply. At first I interfered with a few conciliatory words, which were unavailing; and these two friends, about to exhibit to the world a glorious example of the effects of concord and sound principles, with an exemption from all the selfish and unsocial passions, fell, alas! into the common lot of humanity, and in so doing must have demonstrated, even to themselves, the rope of sand to which they had confided their destinies!

In unspeakable concern and surprise I retired to a distant part of the room, and heard with dismay the contention continued, if not extending; for now the two young ladies entered into the dispute, (on adverse sides, as might be supposed) each confirming or repelling the arguments of the belligerents. A little cessation in the storm afforded me the opportunity of stepping forward and remarking that, however much the disappointment was to be regretted, it was an evil not likely again to occur, (Mr. S. shook his head) and that the wisest way, was to forget the past and to remember only the pleasant objects before us. In this opinion the ladies concurred, when placing a hand of one of the dissentients in that of the other, the hearty salutation went round, and with our accustomed spirits, we prepared once more for Piercefield and the Abbey.

Being an indifferent walker (from a former dislocation of my ancle, arising out of a gig accident) I had engaged a horse, while the four pedestrians set forward, two on each side of my Rosinante. After quitting the extensive walks of Piercefield, we proceeded toward that part of the road, where we were to turn off to the right, leading down to Tintern Abbey. We had been delayed so long at Chepstow, and afterward, by various enchanting scenes, particularly that from the Wind-cliff, that we were almost benighted, before we were aware. We recalled all our minute directions. Every object corresponded. A doubt expressed, at a most unlucky moment, whether we were to turn to the right, or to the left, threw ice into some hearts; but at length we all concurred, that it was to the right, and that this must be the road.

These complicated deliberations, allowed the night rapidly to advance, but the grand preliminaries being settled, we approached the "road" and strove to penetrate with our keenest vision into its dark recesses. A road! this it could not be. It was a gross misnomer! It appeared to our excited imaginations, a lane, in the tenth scale of consanguinity to a road; a mere chasm between lofty trees, where the young moon strove in vain to dart a ray! To go or not to go, that was the question! A new consultation was determined upon, what proceeding should be adopted in so painful a dilemma. At length, with an accession of courage springing up as true courage always does in the moment of extremity, we resolutely determined to brave all dangers and boldly to enter on the road, lane, or what it was, where perchance, Cadwallader, or Taliesen, might have trodden before!

On immerging into the wood, for such it was, extending the whole downward way to Tintern, we all suddenly found ourselves deprived of sight; obscurity aggravated almost into pitchy darkness! We could see nothing distinctly whilst we floundered over stones, embedded as they appeared in their everlasting sockets, from the days of Noah. The gurgling of the unseen stream, down in the adjacent gully, (which we perchance might soon be found, reluctantly to visit!) never sounded so discordant before. Having some respect for my limbs (with no bone-setter near) I dismounted, resolving to lead my steed who trembled as though conscious of the perilous expedition on which he had entered. Mr. Coleridge who had been more accustomed to rough riding than myself, upon understanding that I through cowardice had forsaken the saddle, without speaking a word put his foot in the stirrup and mounting, determined to brave at all hazards, the dangers of the campaign.

Our General on his charger floundered on before us over channels that the storms had made, and the upstarting fragments of rocks that seemed confederated to present an insurmountable barrier to every rash and roving wight. We were in a forlorn condition! and never before did we so feelingly sympathize with the poor babes in the wood; trusting, in the last extremity, (should it occur) a few kind robins with their sylvan pall, would honour also our obsequies. This kind of calming ulterior hope might do very well for poets, but it was not quite so consolatory to the ladies, who with all their admiration of disinterested pity, wished to keep off the dear tender-hearted robins a little longer.

These desponding thoughts were of short continuance, for whether the moon had emerged from clouds, or that our sight had become strengthened by exercise, we rejoiced now in being able to see a little, although it might be to reveal only sights of woe. Mr. Southey marched on like a pillar of strength, with a lady pressing on each arm, while the relator lagged in the rear, without even a pilgrim's staff to sustain his tottering steps. Our condition might have been more forlorn, had not Mr. Coleridge from before cheered on his associates in misfortune; and intrepidity produces intrepidity.

The deepest sorrow often admits of some alleviation, and at present our source of beguilement was to invent some appropriate name, in designation of this most[*] horrible channel of communication between man and man. Various acrimonious epithets were propounded, but they all wanted an adequate measure of causticity; when Mr. Southey censuring in us our want of charity, and the rash spirit that loaded with abuse objects which if beheld in noon-day might be allied even to the picturesque, proposed that our path-way, whatever it was, should simply be called—"Bowling-green-lane."

[* Transcriber's note: Corrected from original 'mot'.]

We should have smiled assent, but we had just arrived at a spot that overshadowed every countenance with ten-fold seriousness! This was no moment for gratuitous triflings. We had arrived at a spot, where there was just light enough to descry three roads, in this bosom of the wood, diverging off in different directions! two of them must be collaterals; and to fix on the one which was honest, where all had equal claims to bad pre-eminence, exceeded our divining power. Each awhile ruminated in silence; reflecting that we were far from the habitations of man, with darkness only not intense around us! We now shouted aloud, in the faint hope that some solitary woodman might hear, and come to our relief. The shrill voices of the ladies, in the stillness of night, formed the essence of harmony. All was silence! No murmur! No response! The three lanes lay before us. If we pursued one, it might by the next morning, conduct us safe back to Chepstow; and if we confided in the other, it might lead us in due time, half-way toward Ragland Castle! What was to be done? One in the company now remarked, "Of what service is it to boast a pioneer, if we do not avail ourselves of his services?" Mr. Coleridge received the hint, and set off up one of the lanes at his swiftest speed, namely, a cautious creep; whilst we four stood musing on the wide extent of human vicissitudes! A few hours before, surrounded by a plethora of enjoyments, and now desponding and starving in the depth of what appeared an interminable forest. To augment our trouble, fresh anxieties arose! From Mr. Coleridge's long absence, we now almost feared whether hard necessity might not force us to go in search of our way-bewildered or quagmired companion!

To our great joy, we now faintly heard, in the stillness of night, the horse's hoofs sliding over the loose stones! The sound drew nearer. Mr. Coleridge approached and pensively said, that could not be the way, for it led to an old quarry which the quick sight of his steed discovered just in time to save both their necks! Mr. C. was next ordered instantly to explore one of the other two ominous lanes; when like a well-disciplined orderly man, he set off gallantly on his new commission. After waiting a time, which in our state of suspense might almost be called a period, he leisurely returned, significantly saying, that neither man nor beast could pass that way! rubbing his thorn-smitten cheek. Now came the use of the syllogism, in its simplest form. "If the right road must be A, B, or C, and A and B were wrong, then C must be right." Under this conviction, we marched boldly on, without further solicitude or exploration,' and at length joyfully reached—Tintern Abbey!

On arriving at this celebrated place, to which so many travellers resort, (thanks now to his Grace of Beaufort for a better road than ours) the first inquiry that hunger taught us to make of a countryman, was for the hotel. "Hotel! Hotel! Sir? Oh, the sign of the Tobacco Pipe! There it is over the way." Rusticity and comfort often go together. We entered the inn, homely as it was, quite certain that any transition must be paradisaical, compared with our late hopeless condition.

After supper, I proposed to avail ourselves of the darkness, and to inspect the Abbey by torch-light. This being acceded to, we all set off to view the beautiful but mouldering edifice, where, by an artificial light, the ruins might present a new aspect, and, in dim grandeur, assist the labouring imagination. At the instant the huge doors unfolded, the horned moon appeared between the opening clouds, and shining through the grand window in the distance. It was a delectable moment; not a little augmented by the unexpected green sward that covered the whole of the floor, and the long-forgotten tombs beneath; whilst the gigantic ivies, in their rivalry, almost concealed the projecting and dark turrets and eminences, reflecting back the lustre of the torch below. In this season, which ought to have been consecrated to reflection and silence, the daws, nestling in their abodes of desolation, aroused from their repose by the unusual glare, sailed over our heads in sable multitudes that added depth to the darkness of the sky, while, in their hoarsest maledictions, they seemed to warn off the intruders on "their ancient solitary reign."

On returning late to the Inn, I informed my companions, that there was at no great distance a large iron foundry, never seen to perfection but at night, and proposed our visiting it. Mr. Coleridge felt downright horror at the thought of being again moved; considering that he had had quite enough exercise for one day, and infinitely preferring the fire of his host to the forge of the Cyclops. The ladies also rather shrunk from encountering a second night expedition; but Mr. Southey cordially approved the suggestion, and we ushered forth, in the dreariness of midnight, to behold this real spectacle of sublimity! Our ardour indeed, was a little cooled when, by the glimmering of the stars, we perceived a dark expanse stretched by our path,—an ugly mill-pond, by the side of which we groped, preserving, as well as we could, a respectful distance, and entering into a mutual compact that if (after all) one should fall in, the other should do all that in him lay to pull him out.

But I leave further extraneous impositions on the reader's attention,—the Wye, and other etceteras, briefly to remark, that we safely returned the next day, after an excursion where the reality exceeded the promise: and it may be added, quite in time to enable Mr. Southey to prepare for, and deliver his Lecture, "on the Rise, Fall, and Decline of the Roman Empire." Mr. Coleridge was not present.

The publication of Mr. C.'s volume of Poems having been attended with some rather peculiar circumstances, to detail them a little may amuse the reader. On my expressing to him a wish to begin the printing as early as he found it convenient, he sent me the following note.

"My dear friend,

The printer may depend on copy on Monday morning, and if he can work a sheet a day, he shall have it.

S. T. C."

A day or two after, and before the receipt of the copy, I received from
Mr. C. the following cheerful note.

"Dear Cottle,

By the thick smoke that precedes the volcanic eruptions of Etna, Vesuvius, and Hecla, I feel an impulse to fumigate, at [now] 25, College-Street, one pair of stairs room; yea, with our Oronoko, and if thou wilt send me by the bearer, four pipes, I will write a panegyrical epic poem upon thee, with as many books as there are letters in thy name. Moreover, if thou wilt send me "the copy book" I hereby bind myself, by to-morrow morning, to write out enough copy for a sheet and a half.

God bless you!

July 31st, 1795.

S. T. C."

This promising commencement was soon interrupted by successive and long-continued delays. The permission I had given to anticipate payment was remembered and complied with, before the work went to the press. These delays I little heeded, but they were not quite so acceptable to the printer, who grievously complained that his types, and his leads, and his forms, were locked up, week after week, to his great detriment.

Being importuned by the printer, I stated these circumstances to Mr. Coleridge in a note, expressed in what I thought the mildest possible way, but which excited, it appeared, uncomfortable feelings in his mind, never in the least noticed to or by myself, but evidenced to my surprise, by the following passage in a note to Mr. Wade.

"My very dear Friend,

… Mr. Cottle has ever conducted himself towards me with unbounded kindness, and one unkind act, no, nor twenty, can obliterate the grateful remembrance of it. By indolence, and frequent breach of promise, I had deserved a severe reproof from him, although my present brain-crazing circumstances, rendered this an improper time for it….

S. T. C."

I continued to see Mr. Coleridge every day, and occasionally said to him, smiling, "Well, how much copy;" "None, to day," was the general reply, "but to-morrow you shall have some." To-morrow produced, if any, perhaps a dozen lines; and, in a favourable state of mind, so much, it might be, as half a dozen pages: and here I think I can correctly state, that Mr. C. had repeated to me at different times nearly all the poems contained in his volume, except the "Religious Musings," which I understood to be wholly a new poem. It may amuse the reader to receive one or two more of Mr. C.'s little apologies.

"My dear Friend,

The Printer may depend on copy by to-morrow.

S. T. C."

"My dear Cottle,

The Religious Musings are finished, and you shall have them on Thursday.

S. T. C."

Sometimes sickness interfered.

"Dear Cottle,

A devil, a very devil, has got possession of my left temple, eye, cheek, jaw, throat, and shoulder. I cannot see you this evening. I write in agony.

Your affectionate Friend and Brother,

S. T. C."

Sometimes his other engagements were of a pressing nature.

"Dear Cottle,

Shall I trouble you (I being over the mouth and nose, in doing something of importance, at Lovell's) to send your servant into the market, and buy a pound of bacon, and two quarts of broad beans; and when he carries it down to College St. to desire the maid to dress it for dinner, and tell her I shall be home by three o'clock. Will you come and drink tea with me, and I will endeavour to get the etc. ready for you.

Yours affectionately,

S. T. C."

Whatever disappointments arose, plausible reasons were always assigned for them, but when ingenuity was fairly taxed with excuses, worn out, Mr. C. would candidly admit, that he had very little "finger industry," but then, he said, his mind was always on "full stretch."—The Herculean labour now appeared drawing to a close; as will be clear from the following letter.

"My dear, very dear Cottle,

I will be with you at half past six; if you will give me a dish of tea, between that time and eleven o'clock at night, I will write out the whole of the notes, and the preface, as I give you leave to turn the lock and key upon me.

I am engaged to dine with Michael Castle, but I will not be one minute past my time. If I am, I permit you to send a note to Michael Castle, requesting him to send me home to fulfil engagements, like an honest man.

S. T. C."

Well knowing that it was Mr. Coleridge's intention to do all that was right, but aware at the same time that, however prompt he might be in resolving, he had to contend, in the fulfilment, with great constitutional indecision, I had long resolved to leave the completion of his work wholly to himself, and not to urge him to a speed which would render that a toil, which was designed to be a pleasure.

But we must instantly leave, alike excuses, and printer, and copy, to notice a subject of infinitely more importance!

It was now understood that Mr. Coleridge was about to be married. Aware of his narrow circumstances, and not doubting the anxieties he must necessarily feel, in the prospect of his altered condition, and to render his mind as easy in pecuniary affairs, as the extreme case would admit; I thought it would afford a small relief to tell him that I would give him one guinea and a-half, (after his volume was completed,) for every hundred lines he might present to me, whether rhyme or blank verse. This offer appeared of more consequence in the estimation of Mr. C., than it did in his who made it; for when a common friend familiarly asked him "how he was to keep the pot boiling, when married?" he very promptly answered, that Mr. Cottle had made him such an offer, that he felt no solicitude on that subject.

Mr. Coleridge, in prospect of his marriage, had taken a cottage at Clevedon, a village, happily on the banks not of the Susquehannah, but the Severn. He was married to Miss Sarah Fricker, October the 4th, 1795, and immediately after set off for his country abode.

The following is a copy of the certificate:—



Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to Sarah Fricker, Oct. 4th, 1795.

Benj. Spry, Vicar.

Witnesses,—Martha Fricker, Josiah Wade."

It happened in this case, as it often does where a duty devolves equally on two; both neglect it. The cottage at Clevedon, it appeared, had walls, and doors, and windows; but only such furniture as became a philosopher who was too well disciplined to covet inordinately, non-essentials. Beside which there might have been more of system in this deliberate renunciation of luxury. For would it have been consistent in those who anticipated a speedy location on the marge of one of the great American rivers, to intrench themselves in comforts that must so soon be exchanged for little more than primeval supplies and the rugged privations of the desert? (For even at this time Mr. C. still fondly dwelt on the joys of the Susquehannah.)

Two days after his marriage, I received a letter from Mr. Coleridge (which now lies before me) requesting the kindness of me to send him down, with all dispatch, the following little articles.

"A riddle slice; a candle box; two ventilators; two glasses for the wash-hand stand; one tin dust pan; one small tin tea kettle; one pair of candlesticks; one carpet brush; one flower dredge; three tin extinguishers; two mats; a pair of slippers; a cheese toaster; two large tin spoons; a bible; a keg of porter; coffee; raisins; currants; catsup; nutmegs; allspice; cinnamon; rice; ginger; and mace."

With the aid of the grocer, and the shoemaker, and the brewer, and the tinman, and the glassman, and the brazier, &c., I immediately sent him all that he had required, and more; and the next day rode down to pay my respects to the new-married couple; being greeted, not with the common, and therefore vulgar, materials of cake and wine, but with that which moved the spirit, hearty gratulations!

I was rejoiced to find that the cottage possessed every thing that heart could desire. The situation also was peculiarly eligible. It was in the western extremity, not in the centre of the village. It had the benefit of being but one story high, and as the rent was only five pounds per ann., and no taxes, Mr. Coleridge had the satisfaction of knowing, that by fairly "mounting his Pegasus," he could write as many verses in a week as would pay his rent for a year. There was also a small garden, with several pretty flowers; and the "tallest rose tree," was not failed to be pointed out, which "peeped at the chamber window," (and which has been honoured with some beautiful lines). I observed, however, that the parlour, from my perverted taste, looked rather awkward in being only whitewashed, and the same effected in rather the "olden time;" to remedy which fanciful inconvenience, on my return to Bristol, I sent an upholsterer[8] down to this retired and happy abode with a few pieces of sprightly paper, to tarnish the half immaculate sitting-room walls.

Mr. Coleridge being now comfortably settled at Clevedon, I shall there for the present leave him to write verses on his beloved Sarah, while in the mean time, I introduce the reader to an ingenious young barrister whom I had known some years previously under the following peculiar circumstances.

William Gilbert, author of the "Hurricane," was the son of the eminent philanthropist, Nathaniel Gilbert, of Antigua, who is usually noticed as "The excellent Gilbert who first set an example to the planters, of giving religious instruction to the slaves." In the year 1787, a want of self-control having become painfully evident, he was placed by his friends in the Asylum of Mr. Richard Henderson at Hanham, near Bristol, when I first knew him. He occasionally accompanied John Henderson into Bristol, on one of which occasions he introduced him to my brother and myself, as the "Young Counsellor!" I spent an afternoon with them, not readily to be forgotten. Many and great talkers have I known, but William Gilbert, at this time, exceeded them all. His brain seemed to be in a state of boiling effervescence, and his tongue, with inconceivable rapidity, passed from subject to subject, but with an incoherence that was to me, at least, marvellous. For two hours he poured forth a verbal torrent, which was only suspended by sheer physical exhaustion.

John Henderson must have perceived a thousand fallacies in his impassioned harangue; but he allowed them all to pass uncommented upon, for he knew there was no fighting with a vapour. He continued in the Asylum about a year, when his mind being partially restored, his friends removed him, and he wholly absented himself from Bristol, till the year 1796, when he re-appeared in that city.

Being so interesting a character, I felt pleasure in introducing him to Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey, with whom he readily coalesced, and they, I believe, truly respected him, soon however perceiving there was "something unsound in Denmark;" but still there was so much general and obvious talent about him, and his manners were so conciliating, that they liked his company, and tolerated some few peculiarities for the sake of the much that was good. The deference he paid Mr. C. and Mr. S. was some evidence that reason had partly reassumed her seat in his mind, for when before them, he withheld many of his most extravagant notions, and maintained such a comparative restraint on his tongue, as evidently arose from the respect with which he was impressed.

At one time he very gravely told me, that to his certain knowledge there was in the centre of Africa, bordering on Abyssinia, a little to the south-east, an extensive nation of the Gibberti, or Gilberti, and that one day or other he intended to visit them, and claim kindred.[9]

One morning, information was brought to us that W. Gilbert, at an early hour, had departed precipitately from Bristol, without speaking to any one of his friends. We felt great concern at this unexpected movement, and by comparing recent conversations, we thought it highly probable that, in obedience to some astrological monition he had determined, forthwith, to set off on a visit to his relatives in Africa. So convinced was Mr. Southey that this long-cherished design had influenced poor Gilbert in his sudden withdrawment, that he wrote to Mr. Roscoe, at Liverpool, begging him to interfere, to prevent any African captain from taking such a person as Mr. S. described. Mr. Roscoe appeared to have taken much trouble; but after a vigilant inquiry, he replied, by saying that no such person had sailed from, or appeared in Liverpool. So that we remained in total uncertainty as to what was become of him; many years afterwards it appeared he had gone to Charleston, United States, where he died.

Mr. Southey thus refers to W. Gilbert in his "Life of Wesley."

"In the year 1796, Mr. G. published the 'Hurricane, a Theosophical and Western Eclogue,' and shortly afterwards placarded the walls of London with the largest bills that had at that time been seen, announcing 'the Law of Fire.' I knew him well and look back with a melancholy pleasure to the hours which I have passed in his society, when his mind was in ruins. His madness was of the most incomprehensible kind, as may be seen in the notes to his 'Hurricane;' but the Poem possesses passages of exquisite beauty. I have among my papers some memorials of this interesting man. They who remember him (as some of my readers will,) will not be displeased at seeing him thus mentioned, with the respect and regret which are due to a noble mind."

Mr. Wordsworth, also at the end of his "Excursion," has quoted the following note to the "Hurricane," with the remark that it "is one of the finest passages of modern English prose."

"A man is supposed to improve by going out into the world, by visiting London. Artificial man does, he extends with his sphere; but, alas! that sphere is microscopic; it is formed of minutiae, and he surrenders his genuine vision to the artist, in order to embrace it in his ken. His bodily senses grow acute, even to barren and inhuman pruriency; while his mental become proportionally obtuse. The reverse is the man of mind. He who is placed in the sphere of nature and of God, might be a mock at Tattersall's and Brookes's, and a sneer at St. James's: he would certainly be swallowed alive by the first Pizarro that crossed him; but when he walks along the river of Amazons; when he rests his eye on the unrivalled Andes: when he measures the long and watered savannah, or contemplates from a sudden promontory, the distant, vast Pacific, and feels himself in this vast theatre, and commanding each ready produced fruit of this wilderness, and each progeny of this stream—his exaltation is not less than imperial. He is as gentle too as he is great: his emotions of tenderness keep pace with his elevation of sentiment; for he says, 'These were made by a good Being, who, unsought by me, placed me here to enjoy them.' He becomes at once a child and a king. His mind is in himself; from hence he argues and from hence he acts, and he argues unerringly, and acts magisterially. His mind in himself is also in his God; and therefore he loves, and therefore he soars.'"

As these pages are designed, by brief incidental notices, to furnish a view of the Literature of Bristol during a particular portion of time; and having introduced the name of Ann Yearsley, I here, in reference to her, subjoin a few additional remarks.

* * * * *

I was well acquainted with Ann Yearsley, and my friendship for Hannah More did not blind my eyes to the merits of her opponent. Candour exacts the acknowledgment that the Bristol Milkwoman was a very extraordinary individual. Her natural abilities were eminent, united with which, she possessed an unusually sound masculine understanding; and altogether evinced, even in her countenance, the unequivocal marks of genius. If her education and early advantages had been favourable, there is no limiting the distinction to which she might have attained; and the respect she did acquire, proves what formidable barriers may be surmounted by native talent when perseveringly exerted, even in the absence of those preliminary assistances which are often merely the fret-work, the entablature, of the Corinthian column.

Ann Yearsley's genius was discoverable in her Poems, but perhaps the extent of her capacity chiefly appeared in her Novel, "The Man in the Iron Mask;" in itself a bad subject, from the confined limit it gives to the imagination; but there is a vigour in her style which scarcely appeared compatible with a wholly uneducated woman. The late Mr. G. Robinson, the bookseller, told me that he had given Ann Yearsley two hundred pounds for the above work, and that he would give her one hundred pounds for every volume she might produce. This sum, with the profits of her Poems, enabled her to set up a circulating library, at the Hot Wells. I remember, in the year 1793, an imposition was attempted to be practised upon her, and she became also involved in temporary pecuniary difficulties, when by timely interference and a little assistance I had the happiness of placing her once more in a state of comfort. From a grateful feeling she afterwards sent me a handsome copy of verses.

It has been too customary to charge her with ingratitude, (at which all are ready to take fire,) but without sufficient cause, as the slight services I rendered her were repaid with a superabundant expression of thankfulness; what then must have been the feelings of her heart toward Mrs. Hannah More, to whom her obligations were so surpassing?

The merits of the question involved in the dissension between Ann Yearsley and Mrs. H. More, lay in a small compass, and they deserve to be faithfully stated; the public are interested in the refutation of charges of ingratitude, which, if substantiated, would tend to repress assistance toward the humbler children of genius. The baneful effects arising from a charge of ingratitude in Ann Yearsley towards her benefactress, might be the proximate means of dooming to penury and death some unborn Chatterton, or of eclipsing the sun of a future Burns.

Hannah More discovered that the woman who supplied her family daily with milk, was a really respectable poetess. She collected her productions, and published them for her benefit, with a recommendatory address. The Poems, as they deserved, became popular; doubtless, in a great degree, through the generous and influential support of Mrs. H. More, and the profits of the sale amounted to some hundreds of pounds.

The money, thus obtained, the milkwoman wished, to receive herself: for the promotion of herself in life, and the assistance of her two promising sons, who inherited much of their mother's talent. Hannah More on the contrary, in conjunction with Mrs. Montague, thought it most advisable to place the money in the Funds, in the joint names of herself and Mrs. M. as trustees for Ann Yearsley, so that she might receive a small permanent support through life. In this, Hannah More acted with the purest intention. If any judicious friend had stated to her that Ann Yearsley, whom she had so greatly served, was a discreet woman and would not be likely to squander her little all: that she wanted to educate her two sons, and to open for herself a circulating library, neither of which objects could be accomplished without trenching on her capital, no doubt could have been entertained of her instantly acceding to it.

The great error on the part of the milkwoman, was in not prevailing on some friend thus to interfere, and calmly to state her case; instead of which, in a disastrous moment, she undertook to plead her own cause; and, without the slightest intention of giving offence, called on her patroness. Both parties meant well, but from the constitution of the human mind, it was hardly possible for one who had greatly obliged another in a subordinate station to experience the least opposition without at least an uncomfortable feeling. There must have existed a predisposition to misconstrue motives, as well as a susceptibility, in the closest alliance with offence. And now the experiment commenced.

Here was a strong-minded illiterate woman on one side, impressed with a conviction of the justice of her cause; and further stimulated by a deep consciousness of the importance of success to herself and family; and on the other side, a refined mind, delicately alive to the least approximation to indecorum, and, not unreasonably, requiring deference and conciliation. Could such incongruous materials coalesce? Ann Yearsley's suit, no doubt was urged with a zeal approaching to impetuosity, and not expressed in that measured language which propriety might have dictated; and any deficiency in which could not fail to offend her polished and powerful patroness.

Ann Yearsley obtained her object, but she lost her friend. Her name, from that moment, was branded with ingratitude; and severe indeed was the penalty entailed on her by this act of indiscretion! Her good name, with the rapidity of the eagle's pinion, was forfeited! Her talents, in a large circle at once became questionable, or vanished away. Her assumed criminality also was magnified into audacity, in daring to question the honour, or oppose the wishes of two such women as Mrs. H. More, and Mrs. Montague! and thus, through this disastrous turn of affairs, a dark veil was suddenly thrown over prospects, so late the most unsullied and exhilarating; and the favorite of fortune sunk to rise no more!

Gloom and perplexities in quick succession oppressed the Bristol milkwoman, and her fall became more rapid than her ascent! The eldest of her sons, William Cromartie Yearsley, who had bidden fair to be the prop of her age; and whom she had apprenticed to an eminent engraver, with a premium of one hundred guineas, prematurely died; and his surviving brother soon followed him to the grave! Ann Yearsley, now a childless and desolate widow, retired, heart-broken from the world, on the produce of her library; and died many years after, in a state of almost total seclusion, at Melksham. An inhabitant of the town lately informed me that she was never seen, except when she took her solitary walk in the dusk of the evening! She lies buried in Clifton church-yard.

In this passing notice of the Bristol milkwoman, my design has been to rescue her name from unmerited obloquy, and not in the remotest degree to criminate Hannah More, whose views and impressions in this affair may have been somewhat erroneous, but whose intentions it would be impossible for one moment to question.[10]

The reader will not be displeased with some further remarks on Mrs. Hannah More, whose long residence near Bristol identified her so much with that city.

Mrs. H. More lived with her four sisters, Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Martha, after they quitted their school in Park-Street, Bristol, at a small neat cottage in Somersetshire, called Cowslip Green. The Misses M. some years afterward built a better house, and called it Barley Wood, on the side of a hill, about a mile from Wrington. Here they all lived, in the highest degree respected and beloved: their house the seat of piety, cheerfulness, literature, and hospitality; and they themselves receiving the honour of more visits from bishops, nobles, and persons of distinction, than, perhaps, any private family in the kingdom.

My sisters having been educated by them, and myself having two intimate friends, who were also the friends of the Misses More; the Rev. James Newton,[11] and my old tutor, John Henderson, they introduced me to the family in Park Street, and the acquaintance then commenced was progressively ripened into respect that continued to the termination of all their lives. Hannah More gave me unrestricted permission to bring down to Barley-Wood, any literary or other friend of mine, at any time; and of which privilege, on various occasions I availed myself.

Many years before, I had taken down, then by express, invitation, Mr. Southey, to see these excellent ladies; and in the year 1814, I conducted Mr. Coleridge to Barley Wood, and had the pleasure of introducing him to Hannah More and her sisters. For two hours after our arrival, Mr. C. displayed a good deal of his brilliant conversation, when he was listened to with surprise and delight by the whole circle; but at this time, unluckily, Lady—was announced, when Mrs. Hannah, from politeness, devoted herself to her titled visitant, while the little folks retired to a snug window with one or two of the Misses More, and there had their own agreeable converse.

Hannah More's eminently useful life manifested itself in nothing more than the effort she made to instruct the ignorant through the medium of moral and religious tracts, and by the establishment of schools. These were made blessings on a wide scale, whilst their good effects are continued to this time, and are likely to be perpetuated.

It is here proper to mention that after superintending these various schools, either personally or by proxy, for more than a quarter of a century, and after the decease of her four benevolent and excellent sisters, Hannah More found it necessary to leave Barley Wood, and to remove to Clifton. Here her expenses were reduced one half, and her comforts greatly increased. The house she occupied, No. 4, Windsor Terrace, Clifton, was even more pleasant than the one she had left, and the prospects from it much more enlivening. I remember to have called on her with the late Robert Hall, when she discovered a cheerfulness which showed that Barley Wood was no longer regretted. She brought us to the windows of her spacious drawing room, and there, in the expanse beneath, invited us to behold the new docks, and the merchants' numerous ships, while the hill of Dundry appeared (at the distance of four miles) far loftier than her own Mendip, and equally verdant. From the window of her back room also, directly under her eye, a far more exquisite prospect presented itself than any Barley Wood could boast; Leigh Woods, St. Vincent's Rocks, Clifton Down, and, to crown the whole, the winding Avon, with the continually shifting commerce of Bristol; and we left her with the impression that the change in her abode was a great accession to her happiness.

In a letter to Mr. Wilberforce, Hannah More thus rather pleasantly writes:—

"4, Windsor Terrace, Oct. 29, 1828.

My Very Dear Friend,

… I am diminishing my worldly cares. I have sold Barley Wood. I have exchanged the eight "pampered minions," for four sober servants. As I have sold my carriage and horses, I want no coachman: as I have no garden, I want no gardener. I have greatly lessened my house expenses, which enables me to maintain my schools, and enlarge my charities. My schools alone, with clothing, rents, &c., cost me £150 a year."

Mrs. H. More was sometimes liberally assisted in the support of these schools (as I learned from Miss Martha More,) by three philanthropic individuals, the late Mr. Henry Thornton, the late Mr. Wilberforce, and the late Sir W. W. Pepys, Bart.

Mrs. H. More, in a letter to Sir W. W. Pepys, acknowledging the receipt of one hundred pounds, says, "My most affectionate respects to Lady Pepys. The young race, of course, have all forgotten me; but I have not forgotten the energy with which your eldest son, at seven years old, ran into the drawing room, and said to me, "After all, Ferdinand would never have sent Columbus to find out America if it had not been for Isabella: it was entirely her doing." How gratifying it would have been to H. More, had she lived two or three years longer, to have found in the round of human things, that this energetic boy of seven years, had become (1837) the Lord High Chancellor of England! and now again in 1846.

All the paintings, drawings, and prints which covered the walls of the parlour, on Hannah More's quitting Barley Wood, she gave to her friend, Sir T. D. Ackland, Bart, with the exception of the portrait, by Palmer, of John Henderson, which she kindly presented to myself.

* * * * *

As I purposed, in projecting the present work, to allow myself a certain latitude in commenting on persons of talent connected recently with Bristol, and with whom Mr. C. and Mr. S. were acquainted, and especially when those persons are dead, I shall here in addition briefly refer to the late Robert Hall.

Mr. Hall is universally admitted to have possessed a mind of the first order. He united qualities, rarely combined, each of which would have constituted greatness; being a writer of pre-eminent excellence, and a sacred orator that exceeded all competition.

Posterity will judge of Robert Hall's capacity by his writings alone, but all who knew him as a preacher, unhesitatingly admit that in his pulpit exercises (when the absorption of his mind in his subject rendered him but half sensible to the agony of internal maladies which scarcely knew cessation, and which would have prostrated a spirit less firm) that in these exercises, the superiority of his intellect became more undeniably manifest than even in his deliberate compositions. Here some might approach, who could not surpass; but, as a preacher, he stood, collected, in solitary grandeur.

Let the reader who was never privileged to see or hear this extraordinary man, present to his imagination a dignified figure[12] that secured the deference which was never exacted; a capacious forehead; an eye, in the absence of excitement, dark, yet placid, but when warmed with argument, flashing almost coruscations of light, as the harmonious accompaniments of his powerful language.

But the pulpit presented a wider field for the display of this constitutional ardour. Here, the eye, that always awed, progressively advanced in expression; till warmed with his immortal subject it kindled into absolute radiance, that with its piercing beams penetrated the very heart, and so absorbed the spirit that the preacher himself was forgotten in the magnificent and almost overpowering array of impassioned thoughts and images. With this exterior, let the reader associate a voice, though not strong, eminently flexible and harmonious; a mind that felt, and therefore never erred in its emphasis; alternately touching the chord of pathos, or advancing with equal ease into the region of argument or passion; and then let him remember that every sentiment he uttered was clothed in expressions as mellifluous as perhaps ever fell from the tongue of man.

Few would dispute the testimony of Dugald Stewart on subjects of composition; and still fewer would question his authority in ascribing, as he does, to Robert Hall, the excellencies of Addison, Johnson, and Burke, without their defects: and to the works of Mr. H. reference will hereafter doubtless be made, as exhibiting some of the finest specimens that can be adduced, of the harmony, the elegance, the energy, and compass of the English tongue.

After noticing the excellencies of Mr. Hall as a Christian advocate, it appears almost bordering on the anti-climax, to name, that a great accession to this his distinction as a writer arose from his exquisite taste in composition, sedulously cultivated through life; and which (as the reward of so chastened a judgment, attained with such labour) at length superseded toil in the arrangement of his words,'since every thought, as it arose in his mind, when expression was given to it, appeared spontaneously, clothed in the most appropriate language.

Often has Mr. H. expatiated to me on the subject of style, so as to manifest the depth and acuteness of his criticisms; as well as to leave a firm conviction that the superiority he had acquired arose from no lax endeavour and happy casualty, but from severe and permanent effort, founded on the best models; at least, in that period of his life when the structure of his mind was formed, or forming. He said that Cicero had been his chief model.

This habit of minute and general analysis, combined as it was with his fine luminous intellect, enabled him with almost intuitive discernment, to perceive promptly whatever was valuable or defective in the productions of others; and this faculty being conjoined with solid learning, extensive reading, a retentive memory, a vast |tore of diversified knowledge, together with a creative fancy and a logical mind, gave him at all times, an unobtrusive reliance on himself; with an inexhaustible mental treasury that qualified him alike to shine in the friendly circle, or to charm, and astonish, and edify, in the crowded assembly.

That the same individual should so far excel both as a preacher and a writer, and at the same time be equally distinguished for his brilliant conversational talent, is scarcely conceivable, and would be too much reputation for any man, unless tempered, as it was in Mr. Hall, by no ordinary measure of Christian humility, and a preference ever expressed, for the moral over the intellectual character.

It is not meant to imply that Mr. Hall was perfect, (a condition reserved for another state) but he made gigantic strides towards that point, at which all should aim. That such rare talents should have been devoted, through a long and consistent life, to the cause of his Redeemer, must excite thankfulness in the breast of every Christian, and at the same time deepen the hue with which he contemplates some others, whose talents and influences, were, and are, all banefully exercised, from what might appear a design to corrupt man, and madly to oppose and defy the Supreme himself!

Some of Mr. Hall's later admirers may resist the idea that there ever was a period when his ministerial exercises were more eloquent than at the last; but without hesitation, I adopt a different opinion. The estimate formed of him in this place is chiefly founded on the earlier part of life, when, without any opposing influences, a more unbridled range was given to his imagination; when there was an energy in his manner, and a felicity and copiousness in his language, which vibrated on the very verge of human capability.

It is incredible to suppose that intense and almost unceasing pain, should not partially have unnerved his mind; that he should not have directed a more undiverted concentration of thought, and revelled with more freedom and luxuriance of expression, before, rather than during the ravages of that insidious and fatal disease, under which he laboured for so many years, and which never allowed him, except when in the pulpit, to deviate from a recumbent posture. However combated by mental firmness, such perpetual suffering must have tended in some degree to repress the vehemence of his intellectual fire; and the astonishment prevails, that he possessed fortitude enough to contend so long with antagonists so potent. Except for the power of religion, and the sustaining influence of faith, nothing could have restrained him from falling back on despondency or despair. Yet even to his final sermon, he maintained his preeminence; and in no one discourse of his last years, did he decline into mediocrity, or fail to remind the elder part of his audience of a period when his eloquence was almost superhuman.[13]

After allowing, that many humble but sincere preachers of the gospel of Christ may be as accepted of God, and be made as useful to their fellow-men as the most prodigally endowed, yet the possession of great and well-directed talents must not be underrated. Different soils require different culture, and that which is inoperative on one man may be beneficial to another, and it is hardly possible for any one to form a due estimate of the elevation of which pulpit oratory is susceptible who never heard Robert Hall. This character of his preaching refers more particularly to the period when his talents were in their most vigorous exercise; a little before the time when he published his celebrated sermon on "Infidelity."

This sermon I was so happy as to hear delivered, and have no hesitation in expressing an opinion that the oral was not only very different from the printed discourse, but greatly its superior. In the one case he expressed the sentiments of a mind fully charged with matter the most invigorating, and solemnly important; but, discarding notes, (which he once told me always "hampered him") it was not in his power to display the same language, or to record the same evanescent trains of thought; so that in preparing a sermon for the press, no other than a general resemblance could be preserved. In trusting alone to his recollection, when the stimulus was withdrawn of a crowded and most attentive auditory, the ardent feeling; the thought that "burned," was liable, in some measure, to become deteriorated by the substitution of cool philosophical arrangement and accuracy for the spontaneous effusions of his overflowing heart; so that what was gained by one course was more than lost by the other.

During Mr. Hall's last visit to Bristol, (prior to his final settlement there) I conducted him to view the beautiful scenery in the neighbourhood, and no one could be more alive to the picturesque than Mr. H. On former occasions, when beholding the expanse of water before him, he has said, with a pensive ejaculation, "We have no water in Cambridgeshire;" and subsequently, in noticing the spreading foliage of Lord de Clifford's park, he has observed with the same mournful accent; "Ah, sir, we have no such trees as these in Leicestershire." And when at this time he arrived at a point which presented the grandest assemblage of beauty, he paused in silence to gaze on the rocks of St. Vincent, and the Avon, and the dense woods, and the distant Severn, and the dim blue mountains of Wales, when with that devotional spirit which accorded with the general current of his feelings, in an ecstacy he exclaimed; "Oh, if these outskirts of the Almighty's dominion can, with one glance, so oppress the heart with gladness, what will be the disclosures of eternity, when the full revelation shall be made of the things not seen, and the river of the city of God!"

But "Recollections" of Mr. Hall are not intended, although it may be named, he stated, in one of these rides, that he had arisen from his bed two or three times in the course of the night, when projecting his "Sermon on the Death of the Princess Charlotte" to record thoughts, or to write down passages that he feared might otherwise escape his memory. This, at least, showed the intensity of the interest he felt, though a superabundance of the choicest matter was ever at his command; and if one idea happened accidentally to be lost, one that was better immediately supplied its place.

Perhaps this notice may be deemed, by some, too extended, if not misplaced; but if the present occasion of referring to Mr. Hall, had been neglected, no other might have occurred. The man whose name is recorded on high stands in no need of human praise; yet survivors have a debt to pay, and whilst I disclaim every undue bias on my mind in estimating the character of one who so ennobled human nature, none can feel surprise that I should take a favorable retrospect of Mr. H. after an intercourse and friendship of more than forty years. Inadequate as is the present offering, some satisfaction is felt at the opportunity presented of bestowing this small tribute to the memory of one whom I ever venerated, and, in so doing, of adding another attestation to the merits of so good and great a man.

* * * * *

The reader after this long digression, will have his attention directed once more, to Mr. Coleridge, who was left at Clevedon in the possession of domestic comfort, and with the hope, if not the prospect, of uninterrupted happiness. It could hardly be supposed, that in the element of so much excitement, the spirit of inspiration should remain slumbering. On my next seeing Mr. C. he read me, with more than his accustomed enthusiasm, those tenderly affectionate lines to his "Sara," beginning

"My pensive Sara, thy soft cheek reclined." &c,

Mr. Coleridge now began to console himself with the suspicion, not only that felicity might be found on this side the Atlantic, but that Clevedon concentrated the sum of all that Earth had to bestow. He was now even satisfied that the Susquehannah itself retired into shade before the superior attractions of his own native Severn. He had, in good truth, discovered the grand secret; the abode of happiness, after which all are so sedulously inquiring; and this accompanied with the cheering assurance, that, by a merely pleasurable intellectual exertion, he would be able to provide for his moderate expenses, and experience the tranquillizing joys of seclusion, while the whole country and Europe were convulsed with war and changes.

Alas, repose was not made for man, nor man for repose! Mr. Coleridge at this time little thought of the joys and sorrows, the vicissitudes of life, and revolutions of feeling, with which he was ordained ere long to contend! Inconveniences connected with his residence at Clevedon, not at first taken into the calculation, now gradually unfolded themselves. The place was too far from Bristol. It was difficult of access to friends; and the neighbours were a little too tattling and inquisitive. And then again, Mr. Coleridge could not well dispense with his literary associates, and particularly with his access to that fine institution, the Bristol City Library; and, in addition, as he was necessitated to submit to frugal restraints, a walk to Bristol was rather a serious undertaking; and a return the same day hardly to be accomplished, in the failure of which, his "Sara," was lonely and uneasy; so that his friends urged him to return once more to the place he had left; which he did, forsaking, with reluctance, his rose-bound cottage, and taking up his abode on Redcliff-hill. There was now some prospect that the printer's types would be again set in motion, although it was quite proper that they should remain in abeyance while so many grand events were transpiring in the region of the domestic hearth. This was late in the year 1795.

After Mr. Coleridge had been some little time settled in Bristol, he experienced another removal. To exchange the country, and all the beauties of nature, for pent-up rooms on Redcliff-hill, demanded from a poet, sacrifices for which a few advantages would but ill compensate. In this uneasy state of mind, Mr. C. received an invitation from his friend, Mr. T. Poole, of Stowey, Somersetshire, to come and visit him in that retired town, and to which place Mr. and Mrs. Coleridge repaired.

The volume of poems, that, in the presence of so many more important affairs, had retired into shade, was now about to reappear, as will be found by the following letter.


My dear Cottle,

I feel it much, and very uncomfortable, that, loving you as a brother, and feeling pleasure in pouring out my heart to you, I should so seldom be able to write a letter to you, unconnected with business, and uncontaminated with excuses and apologies. I give every moment I can spare from my garden and the Reviews (i. e.) from my potatoes and meat to the poem, (Religious Musings) but I go on slowly, for I torture the poem and myself with corrections; and what I write in an hour, I sometimes take two or three days in correcting. You may depend on it, the poem and prefaces will take up exactly the number of pages I mentioned, and I am extremely anxious to have the work as perfect as possible, and which I cannot do, if it be finished immediately. The "Religious Musings" I have altered monstrously, since I read them to you and received your criticisms. I shall send them to you in my next. The Sonnets I will send you with the Musings. God love you!

From your affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

Mr. Coleridge at this time meditated the printing of two volumes of his poems. He thus expresses his intention.

"I mean to have none but large poems in the second volume; none under three hundred lines; therefore I have crowded all my little pieces into this."

He speaks in the same letter, of two poems which I never saw. Perhaps they were composed in his own mind, but never recorded on paper; a practice which Mr. C. sometimes adopted. He thus writes. "The 'Nativity' is not quite three hundred lines. It has cost me much labour in polishing; more than any poem I ever wrote, and I believe deserves it more. The epistle to Tom. Poole, which will come with the 'Nativity,' is I think one of my most pleasing compositions."

In a letter of Mr. C. dated from Stowey, Mr. Coleridge also says, "I have written a Ballad of three hundred lines, and also a plan of general study." It appeared right to make these statements, and it is hoped the productions named may still be in existence.

Mr. Coleridge now finding it difficult to superintend the press at so great a distance as Stowey, and that it interfered also with his other literary engagements, he resolved once more to remove to Bristol, the residence of so many friends; and to that city he repaired, the beginning of 1796. A conviction now also rested on his mind, as there was the prospect of an increase in his family, that he must bestir himself, and effectually call his resolutions into exercise. Soon after he was fairly settled, he sent me the following letter.

"My dear Cottle,

I have this night and to-morrow for you, being alone, and my spirits calm. I shall consult my poetic honour, and of course your interest, more by staying at home, than by drinking tea with you. I should be happy to see my poems out even by next week, and I shall continue in stirrups, that is, shall not dismount my Pegasus, till Monday morning, at which time you will have to thank God for having done with

Your affectionate friend always, but author evanescent.

S. T. C."

Except for the serious effect, unintentionally produced, a rather ludicrous circumstance some time after this occurred, that is, after Mr. C. had "mounted his Pegasus" for the last time, and, permitted, so long ago, "the lock and key to be turned upon him."

The promised notes, preface, and some of the text, not having been furnished, I had determined to make no further application, but to allow Mr. C. to consult his own inclination and convenience. Having a friend who wanted an introduction to Mr. Coleridge, I invited him to dinner, and sent Mr. C. a note, to name the time, and to solicit his company. The bearer of the note was simply requested to give it to Mr. C. and not finding him at home, inconsiderately brought it back. Mr. Coleridge returning home soon after, and learning that I had sent a letter, which was taken back, in the supposition that it could relate but to one subject, addressed to me the following astounding letter.

"Redcliff-hill, Feb. 22, 1796.

My dear Sir,

It is my duty and business to thank God for all his dispensations, and to believe them the best possible; but, indeed, I think I should have been more thankful, if he had made me a journeyman shoemaker, instead of an author by trade. I have left my friends: I have left plenty; I have left that ease which would have secured a literary immortality, and have enabled me to give the public, works conceived in moments of inspiration, and polished with leisurely solicitude, and alas! for what have I left them? for—who deserted me in the hour of distress, and for a scheme of virtue impracticable and romantic! So I am forced to write for bread! write the flights of poetic enthusiasm, when every minute I am hearing a groan from my wife. Groans, and complaints, and sickness! The present hour I am in a quick-set hedge of embarrassment, and whichever way I turn, a thorn runs into me! The future is cloud, and thick darkness! Poverty, perhaps, and the thin faces of them that want bread, looking up to me! Nor is this all. My happiest moments for composition are broken in upon by the reflection that I must make haste. I am too late! I am already months behind! I have received my pay beforehand! Oh, wayward and desultory spirit of genius! Ill canst thou brook a taskmaster! The tenderest touch from the hand of obligation, wounds thee like a scourge of scorpions.

I have been composing in the fields this morning, and came home to write down the first rude sheet of my preface, when I heard that your man had brought a note from you. I have not seen it, but I guess its contents. I am writing as fast as I can. Depend on it you shall not be out of pocket for me! I feel what I owe you, and independently of this, I love you as a friend; indeed, so much, that I regret, seriously regret, that you have been my copyholder.

If I have written petulantly, forgive me. God knows I am sore all over. God bless you, and believe me that, setting gratitude aside, I love and esteem you, and have your interest at heart full as much as my own.

S. T. Coleridge."

At the receipt of this painful letter, which made me smile and sigh at the same moment, my first care was to send the young and desponding Bard some of the precious metal, to cheer his drooping spirits; to inform him of his mistake; and to renew my invitation; which was accepted, and at this interview he was as cheerful as ever. He saw no difference in my countenance, and I perceived none in his. The "thick cloud" and the "thorn" had completely passed away, whilst his brilliant conversation charmed and edified the friend for whose sake he had been invited.

At length, Mr. Coleridge's volume of poems was completed. On the blank leaf of one of the copies, he asked for a pen, and wrote the following:

"Dear Cottle,

On the blank leaf of my poems, I can most appropriately write my acknowledgments to you, for your too disinterested conduct in the purchase of them. Indeed, if ever they should acquire a name and character, it might be truly said, the world owed them to you. Had it not been for you, none perhaps of them would have been published, and some not written.

Your, obliged and affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge.

Bristol, April 15, 1796."

The particulars respecting the publication of Mr. Coleridge's volume of Poems have been continued unbroken, to the exclusion of some antecedent circumstances, which will now be noticed.

If it were my object to give a fictitious, and not a real character; to remove, scrupulously, all protuberances that interfered with the polish, I might withhold the following letter, which merely shows the solicitude with which Mr. C. at this time, regarded small profits. His purse, soon after his return to Bristol, being rather low, with the demands on it increasing, he devised an ingenious, and very innocent plan for replenishing it, in a small way, as will thus appear.

"My ever dear Cottle,

Since I last conversed with you on the subject, I have been thinking over again the plan I suggested to you, concerning the application of Count Rumford's plan to the city of Bristol. I have arranged in my mind the manner, and matter of the Pamphlet, which would be three sheets, and might be priced at one shilling.

  Addressed to the Inhabitants of Bristol,
        on a subject of importance,
       (unconnected with Politics.)
              BY S. T. C.'

Now I have by me the history of Birmingham, and the history of Manchester. By observing the names, revenues, and expenditures of their different charities, I could easily alter the calculations of the "Bristol Address," and, at a trifling expense, and a few variations, the same work might be sent to Manchester and Birmingham. "Considerations addressed to the inhabitants of Birmingham." &c. I could so order it, that by writing to a particular friend, at both places, the pamphlet should be thought to have been written at each place, as it certainly would be for each place. I think therefore 750 might be printed in all. Now will you undertake this? either to print it and divide the profits, or (which indeed I should prefer) would you give me three guineas, for the copy-right? I would give you the first sheet on Thursday, the second on the Monday following, the third on the Thursday following. To each pamphlet I would annex the alterations to be made, when the press was stopped at 250.[14]

God love you!

S. T. C."

Mr. Coleridge used occasionally to regret, with even pungency of feeling, that he had no relation in the world, to whom, in a time of extremity, he could apply "for a little assistance." He appeared like a being dropped from the clouds, without tie or connection on earth; and during the years in which I knew him, he never once visited any one of his relations, nor exchanged a letter with them. It used to fill myself and others with concern and astonishment, that such a man should, apparently, be abandoned. On some occasions I urged him to break through all impediments, and go and visit his friends at Ottery; this his high spirit could not brook. I then pressed him to dedicate his Poems to one of his relatives, his brother George, of whom he occasionally spoke with peculiar kindness. He was silent; but some time after, he said in a letter, "You, I am sure will be glad to learn, that I shall follow your advice."

In the poem which thus arose, what can be more touching than these lines in his dedication to his brother? (Second edition.)

  "To me the Eternal Wisdom hath dispensed
  A different fortune, and more different mind—
  Me from the spot where first I sprang to light
  Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fixed
  Its first domestic loves; and hence through life
  Chasing chance—started friendships. A brief while,
  Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills."

In certain features of their character, there was a strong resemblance between Chatterton and S. T. Coleridge, with a reverse in some points, for Chatterton was loved and cherished by his family, but neglected by the world. In the agony of mind which Mr. C. sometimes manifested on this subject, I have wished to forget those four tender lines in his Monody on Chatterton.

  "Poor Chatterton! farewell! Of darkest hues,
    This chaplet cast I on thy unshaped tomb:
  But dare no longer on the sad theme muse,
    Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom!"

Mr. C. would not have felt so much, if his own natural and unshaken affections had been less ardent.

Before I enter on an important incident in Mr. Coleridge's Bristol life, I must previously observe, that his mind was in a singular degree distinguished for the habit of projecting. New projects and plans, at this time, followed each other in rapid succession, and while the vividness of the impression lasted, the very completion could scarcely have afforded more satisfaction than the vague design. To project, with him, was commonly sufficient. The execution, of so much consequence in the estimation of others, with him was a secondary point. I remember him once to have read to me, from his pocket book; a list of eighteen different works which he had resolved to write, and several of them in quarto, not one of which he ever effected. At the top of the list appeared the word "Pantisocracy! 4to." Each of these works, he could have talked, (for he often poured forth as much as half an 8vo. volume in a single evening, and that in language sufficiently pure and connected to admit of publication) but talking merely benefits the few, to the exclusion of the many. The work that apparently advanced the nearest to completion, was "Translations of the modern Latin Poets;" two vols. 8vo. This work, which no man could better have accomplished than himself, he so far proceeded in, as to allow of the Proposals being issued. It was to be published by subscription, and he brought with him from Cambridge a very respectable list of university subscribers. His excuses for not showing any part of the work, justified the suspicion that he had not advanced in it further than these said "Proposals."

Another prominent feature in Mr. Coleridge's mind, was procrastination. It is not to be supposed that he ever made a promise or entered on an engagement without intending to fulfil it, but none who knew him could deny that he wanted much of that steady, persevering determination which is the precursor of success, and the parent of all great actions. His strongest intentions were feebly supported after the first paroxysms of resolve, so that any judicious friend would strenuously have dissuaded him from an undertaking that involved a race with time. Mr. Coleridge, however, differently regarded his mental constitution, and projected at this time a periodical miscellany, called "The Watchman."

When the thought of this magazine first suggested itself to his mind, he convened his chief friends one evening at the Rummer Tavern, to determine on the size, price, and time of publishing, with all other preliminaries, essential to the launching this first-rate vessel on the mighty deep. Having heard of the circumstance the next day, I rather wondered at not having also been requested to attend, and while ruminating on the subject, I received from Mr. C. the following communication.

"My dear friend,

I am fearful that you felt hurt at my not mentioning to you the proposed 'Watchman,' and from my not requesting you to attend the meeting. My dear friend, my reasons were these. All who met were expected to become subscribers to a fund; I knew there would be enough without you, and I knew, and felt, how much money had been drawn from you lately.

God Almighty love you!

S. T. C."

In a few days the following prospectus of the new work was circulated far and near.

    "To supply at once the places of a Review, Newspaper, and Annual

    On Tuesday, the 1st of March, 1796, will be published, No. 1, price
    fourpence, of a Miscellany, to be continued every eighth day, under
    the name of


    This Miscellany will be comprised in two sheets, or thirty-two pages,
    closely printed in 8vo. the type, long primer.


1st. A History of the Domestic and Foreign Policy of the preceding days.

2nd. The Speeches in both Houses of Parliament, and during the recess. Select Parliamentary Speeches, from the commencement of the reign of Charles the First, to the present Aera, with Notes, Historical and Biographical.

3rd. Original Essays and Poetry.

4th. Review of interesting and important Publications.


FIRST. There being no Advertisements, a greater quantity of Original matter will be given, and the Speeches in Parliament will be less abridged.

SECOND. From its form, it may be bound up at the end of the year, and become an Annual Register.

THIRD. This last circumstance may induce men of letters to prefer this miscellany to more perishable publications as the vehicle of their effusions.

FOURTH. Whenever the Ministerial and Opposition Prints differ in their accounts of occurrences, &c. such difference will always be faithfully stated."

Of all men, Mr. Coleridge was the least qualified to display periodical industry. Many of his cooler friends entertained from the beginning no sanguine expectations of success, but now that the experiment was fairly to be tried, they united with him in making every exertion to secure it.

As a magazine it was worth nothing without purchasers. Bristol was the strong-hold, where about two hundred and fifty subscribers were obtained by myself, and one hundred and twenty by Mr. Reed. These were insufficient. What was to be done? A bold measure was determined upon. Mr. Coleridge, conceiving that his means of subsistence depended upon the success of this undertaking, armed himself with unwonted resolution, and expressed his determination to travel over half England and take the posse comitatus by storm.

In conformity with such resolution, he obtained letters of introduction to influential men in the respective towns he meant to visit, and, like a shrewd calculator, determined to add the parson's avocation to that of the political pamphleteer. The beginning of Jan. 1796, Mr. Coleridge, laden with recommendatory epistles, and rich in hope, set out on his eventful journey, and visited in succession, Worcester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Lichfield, Derby, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, &c. and as a crowning achievement, at the last, paid his respects to the great metropolis; in all which places, by bills, prospectuses, advertisements, and other expedients, the reading public were duly apprised of the "NEW REVIEW, NEWSPAPER, and ANNUAL REGISTER," about to be published.

The good people, in all the towns through which Mr. Coleridge passed, were electrified by his extraordinary eloquence. At this time, and during the whole of his residence in Bristol, there was, in the strict sense, little of the true, interchangeable conversation in Mr. C. On almost every subject on which he essayed to speak, he made an impassioned harangue of a quarter, or half an hour; so that inveterate talkers, while Mr. Coleridge was on the wing, generally suspended their own flight, and felt it almost a profanation to interrupt so impressive and mellifluous a speaker. This singular, if not happy peculiarity, occasioned even Madame de Stael to remark of Mr. C. that "He was rich in a Monologue, but poor in a Dialogue."

From the brilliant volubility before noticed, admiration and astonishment followed Mr. C. like a shadow, through the whole course of his peregrinations. This new "Review, Newspaper, and Annual Register," was largely patronized; for who would not give fourpence every eighth day, to be furnished, by so competent a man as Mr. Coleridge, with this quintessence, this concentration of all that was valuable, in Politics, Criticism, and Literature; enriched in addition, with Poetry of the first waters, luminous Essays, and other effusions of men of letters? So choice a morçeau was the very thing that every body wanted; and, in the course of his journey, subscriptions poured in to the extent of one thousand; and Mr. C. on his return, after what might be called a triumph, discovered the elasticity of his spirit; smiling at past depressions, and now, on solid ground, anticipating ease, wealth, and fame.

The first of March arrived. The "Watchman" was published. Although deprived of the pleasure of contributing to Mr. Coleridge's fund, I determined to assist him in other ways, and that far more effectually. On the publication of the first Number, besides my trouble in sending round to so many subscribers,—with all the intense earnestness attending the transaction of the most weighty concerns, it occupied Mr. Coleridge and myself four full hours to arrange, reckon, (each pile being counted by Mr. C. after myself, to be quite satisfied that there was no extra 3-1/2 d. one slipped in unawares,) pack up, and write invoices and letters for the London and country customers, all expressed thus, in the true mercantile style:

Bristol, March 1st, 1796.

Mr. Pritchard, (Derby)

Dr. to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

To 73 No. 1 of the Watchman … 3-1/2 d. … £1 1 3-1/2

This routine was repeated with every fresh number. My part was zealously and cheerfully discharged, with the encouraging hope that it would essentially serve my anxious and valued friend. But all would not do!

A feeling of disappointment prevailed early and pretty generally, amongst the subscribers. The Prospectus promised too much. In the Review department, no one article appeared embodying any high order of talent. The Newspaper section pleased no one, from the confined limits to which the editor was restricted, independently of which, nearly all the subscribers had seen the Debates in their length, through other mediums; and yet this profitless part of the work gave most trouble to the compiler. Its dulness, I know, fretted Mr. Coleridge exceedingly.[15]

The theory of publishing was delightful; but the exemplification—the practice, proved, alas! teasing, if not tormenting. One pitiful subscriber of fourpence, every eighth day, thought his boys did not improve much under it. Another expected more from his "Annual Register!" Another wanted more Reviews! Another, more Politics! and those a little sharper. As the work proceeded, joys decreased, and perplexities multiplied! added to which, subscribers rapidly fell off, debts were accumulated and unpaid, till, at the Tenth Number, the Watchman at the helm cried "Breakers" and the vessel stranded!—It being formally announced, that "The work did not pay its expenses!"

The "Address to the readers of the Watchman," in the last page, was the following:

"This is the last Number of the Watchman.—Henceforward I shall cease to cry the state of the Political atmosphere. While I express my gratitude to those friends who exerted themselves so liberally in the establishment of this Miscellany, I may reasonably be expected to assign some reason for relinquishing it thus abruptly. The reason is short and satisfactory.—The work does not pay its expences. Part of my subscribers have relinquished it, because it did not contain sufficient original composition; and a still larger number, because it contained too much. Those who took it in as a mere journal of weekly events, must have been unacquainted with 'FLOWER'S CAMBRIDGE INTELLIGENCER;' a Newspaper, the style and composition of which would claim distinguished praise, even among the productions of literary leisure; while it breathes everywhere the severest morality; fighting fearlessly the good fight against tyranny, yet never unfaithful to that religion, whose service is perfect freedom. Those, on the other hand, who expected from it much and varied original composition, have naturally relinquished it in favour of the 'NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE;' a work which has almost monopolized the talent of the country, and with which I should have continued a course of literary rivalship, with as much success as might be expected to attend a young recruit, who should oppose himself to a phalanx of disciplined warriors. Long may it continue to deserve the support of the patriot and the philanthropist; and while it teaches its readers NATIONAL LIBERTY, prepare them for the enjoyment of it; strengthening the intellect by SCIENCE, and softening our affections by the GRACES! To return to myself. I have endeavoured to do well: and it must be attributed to defect of ability, not of inclination or effort, if the words of the Prophet be altogether applicable to me.

"O, Watchman! thou hast watched in vain."

Many readers will feel a concern in the arrangements and perplexities of Mr. Coleridge at the time of publishing his "Watchman;" for he had a more vital interest involved in the success of that work than he had, individually, in the rise and fall of empires. When he returned from his northern journey laden with subscribers, and with hope ripened into confidence, all that had yet been done was the mere scaffolding; the building was now to be erected. Soon after this time I received from Mr. Coleridge the following letter.


My ever dear Cottle,

I will wait on you this evening at 9 o'clock, till which hour I am on "Watch." Your Wednesday's invitation I of course accept, but I am rather sorry that you should add this expense to former liberalities.

Two editions of my Poems would barely repay you. Is it not possible to get twenty-five, or thirty of the Poems ready by to-morrow, as Parsons, of Paternoster Row, has written to me pressingly about them. 'People are perpetually asking after them.' All admire the Poetry in the 'Watchman;' he says, I can send them with one hundred "of the First Number," which he has written for. I think if you were to send half a dozen 'Joans of Arc,' [4to. £1. 1. 0] on sale or return, it would not be amiss. To all the places in the North, we will send my 'Poems,' my 'Conciones,' and the 'Joans of Arc,' together, per waggon. You shall pay the carriage for the London and the Birmingham parcels; I for the Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham, Manchester, and Liverpool.

With regard to the Poems I mean to give away, I wish to make it a common interest; that is, I will give away a sheet full of Sonnets. One to Mrs. Barbauld; one to Wakefield; one to Dr. Beddoes: one to Wrangham, (a College acquaintance of mine, an admirer of me, and a pitier of my principles!) one to George Augustus Pollen, Esq. one to C. Lamb; one to Wordsworth; one to my brother G. and one to Dr. Parr. These Sonnets I mean to write on the blank leaf, respectively, of each copy.[16]

Concerning the paper for the 'Watchman,' I was vexed to hear your proposal of trusting it to Biggs, who, if he undertook it at all, would have a profit, which heaven knows, I cannot afford. My plan was, either that you should write to your paper-maker, saying that you had recommended him to me, and ordering for me twenty or forty reams, at a half year's credit; or else, in your own name; in which case I would transfer to you, Reed's[17] weekly account, amounting to 120 3-1/2 d's, (or 35 shillings) and the Birmingham monthly account, amounting to £14. a month.

God bless you,

and S. T. Coleridge."

This letter requires a few explanations. In recommending that Biggs, the printer, should choose the paper, it was not designed for him to provide it, which, had he been so requested, he would not have done, but merely to select one, out of different samples to be submitted to him, as that which he, as a printer, thought the best. This was explained to Mr. C. It will be perceived, that Mr. Coleridge's two proposals were virtually one: as, if I ordered the paper for myself or for another, the responsibility would rest with me. The plain fact is, I purchased the whole of the paper for the "Watchman," allowing Mr. C. to have it at prime cost, and receiving small sums from him occasionally, in liquidation. I became responsible, also, to Mr. B. for printing the work, by which means I reduced the price per sheet, as a bookseller, (1000) from fifty shillings to thirty five shillings. Mr. C. paid me for the paper in fractions, as he found it convenient, but from the falling off of his own receipts, I never received the whole. It was a losing concern altogether, and I was willing to bear, uncomplaining, my proportion of the loss. There is some difference between this statement, and that of Mr. Coleridge in his "Biographia Literaria."[18] A defect of memory must have existed, arising out of the lapse of twenty two years; but my notices, made at that time, did not admit of mistake.

My loss was also augmented from another cause. Mr. C. states in the above work, that his London publisher never paid him "one farthing," but "set him at defiance." I also was more than his equal companion in this misfortune. The thirty copies of Mr. C.'s poems, and the six "Joans of Arc" (referred to in the preceding letter) found a ready sale, by this said "indefatigable London publisher," and large and fresh orders were received, so that Mr. Coleridge and myself participated in two very opposite feelings, the one of exultation that our publications had found so good a sale; and the other of depression, that the time of payment never arrived!

All the copies also, of Mr. C.'s Poems, and the "Joan's of Arc," which were sent to the North, so far as I am concerned, shared the same fate. I do not know that they were ever paid for. If they were, in combination with other things, it was my wish that the entanglement should never be unravelled, for who could take from Mr. C. any portion of his slender remittances.

The most amusing appendage to this unfortunate "Miscellany," will now be presented to the reader, in the seven following letters of Mr. Coleridge, addressed to his friend Mr. Josiah Wade, and written in the progress of his journey to collect subscribers for the "Watchman."

"Worcester, Jan. 1796.

My dear Wade,

We were five in number, and twenty-five, in quantity. The moment I entered the coach, I stumbled on a huge projection, which might be called a belly, with the same propriety that you might name Mount Atlas a mole-hill. Heavens! that a man should be unconscionable enough to enter a stage coach, who would want elbow room if he were walking on Salisbury Plain!

This said citizen was a most violent aristocrat, but a pleasant humourous fellow in other respects, and remarkably well-informed in agricultural science; so that the time passed pleasantly enough. We arrived at Worcester at half-past two: I of course dined at the inn, where I met Mr. Stevens. After dinner I christianized myself; that is, washed and changed, and marched in finery and cleanliness to High-Street. With regard to business, there is no chance of doing any thing at Worcester. The aristocrats are so numerous, and the influence of the clergy so extensive, that Mr. Barr thinks no bookseller will venture to publish the 'Watchman.'

P.S. I hope and trust that the young citizeness is well, and also Mrs.
Wade. Give my love to the latter, and a kiss for me to little Miss

S. T. Coleridge."

"Birmingham, Jan. 1796.

My dear friend,

… My exertions have been incessant, for in whatever company I go, I am obliged to be the figurante of the circle. Yesterday I preached twice, and, indeed, performed the whole service, morning and afternoon. There were about fourteen hundred persons present, and my sermons (great part extempore) were preciously peppered with Politics. I have here, at least, double the number of subscribers, I had expected…."

"Nottingham, Jan. 7, 1796.

My dear friend,

You will perceive by this letter I have changed my route. From Birmingham, on Friday last, (four o'clock in the morning) I proceeded to Derby, stayed there till Monday morning, and am now at Nottingham. From Nottingham I go to Sheffield; from Sheffield to Manchester; from Manchester to Liverpool? from Liverpool to London, from London to Bristol. Ah, what a weary way! My poor crazy ark has been tossed to and fro on an ocean of business, and I long for the Mount Ararat on which it is to rest. At Birmingham I was extremely unwell; a violent cold in my head and limbs confined me for two days. Business succeeded very well; about a hundred subscribers, I think.

At Derby, also, I succeeded tolerably well. Mr. Strutt, the successor of Sir Richard Arkwright, tells me, I may count on forty or fifty in Derby. Derby is full of curiosities; the cotton and silk mills; Wright, the painter, and Dr. Darwin, the every thing but Christian! Dr. Darwin possesses, perhaps, a greater range of knowledge than any other man in Europe, and is the most inventive of philosophical men. He thinks in a new train on all subjects but religion. He bantered me on the subject of religion. I heard all his arguments, and told him, it was infinitely consoling to me—to find that the arguments of so great a man, adduced against the existence of a God and the evidences of revealed religion, were such as had startled me at fifteen, but had become the objects of my smile at twenty. Not one new objection; not even an ingenious one! He boasted 'that he had never read one book in favour of such stuff! but that he had read all the works of infidels.'

What would you think, Mr. Wade, of a man, who having abused and ridiculed you, should openly declare, that he had heard all that your enemies had to say against you, but had scorned to inquire the truth from any one of your friends? Would you think him an honest man? I am sure you would not. Yet such are all the infidels whom I have known. They talk of a subject, yet are proud to confess themselves profoundly ignorant of it. Dr. Darwin would have been ashamed to reject 'Hutton's Theory of the Earth,' without having minutely examined it: yet what is it to us, how the earth was made, a thing impossible to be known. This system the Dr. did not reject without having severely studied it; but all at once he makes up his mind on such important subjects, as, whether we be the outcasts of a blind idiot, called Nature, or, the children of an All-wise and Infinitely Good God! Whether we spend a few miserable years on this earth, and then sink into a clod of the valley; or, endure the anxieties of mortal life, only to fit us for the enjoyment of immortal happiness. These subjects are unworthy a philosopher's investigation! He deems that there is a certain self-evidence in Infidelity, and becomes an Atheist by intuition! Well did St. Paul say, 'Ye have an evil heart of unbelief.'

… What lovely children Mr. Barr, of Worcester has! After church, in the evening, they sat round and sung hymns, so sweetly that they overpowered me. It was with great difficulty that I abstained from weeping aloud! and the infant, in Mrs. B.'s. arms, leant forward, and stretched his little arms, and stared, and smiled! It seemed a picture of heaven, where the different orders of the blessed, join different voices in one melodious hallelulia! and the babe like a young spirit just that moment arrived in heaven, startled at the seraphic songs, and seized at once with wonder and rapture!…

From your affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

"Sheffield, Jan. 1796.

My very dear friend,

I arrived at this place, late last night, by the mail from Nottingham, where I have been treated with kindness and friendship, of which I can give you but a faint idea. I preached a charity sermon there last sunday; I preached in colored clothes. With regard to the gown at Birmingham (of which you inquire) I suffered myself to be over-persuaded:—first of all, my sermon being of so political a tendency, had I worn my blue coat, it would have impugned Edwards. They would have said, he had stuck a political lecturer in his pulpit. Secondly,—the society is of all sorts. Unitarians, Arians, Trinitarians, &c.! and I must have shocked a multitude of prejudices. And thirdly,—there is a difference between an Inn, and a place of residence. In the first, your example, is of little consequence; in a single instance only, it ceases to operate as example; and my refusal would have been imputed to affectation, or an unaccommodating spirit. Assuredly I would not do it in a place where I intended to preach often. And even in the vestry at Birmingham, when they at last persuaded me, I told them, I was acting against my better knowledge, and should possibly feel uneasy after. So these accounts of the matter you must consider as reasons and palliations, concluding, 'I plead guilty my Lord!' Indeed I want firmness. I perceive I do. I have that within me which makes it difficult to say, No! (repeatedly) to a number of persons who seem uneasy and anxious….

My kind remembrances to Mrs. Wade. God bless her, and you, and (like a bad shilling slipped in between two guineas.)

Your faithful and affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

Mr. Coleridge, in the course of his extensive journey, having had to act the tradesman on rather an extended scale; conferring and settling with all the booksellers in the respective towns, as to the means of conveyance, allowance, remittances, &c. he thus wrote in a dejected mood, to his friend Mr. Wade,—an unpropitious state of mind for a new enterprise, and very different from those sanguine hopes which he had expressed on other occasions.

"My dear friend,

… I succeeded very well here at Litchfield. Belcher, bookseller,
Birmingham; Sutton, Nottingham; Pritchard, Derby; and Thomson,
Manchester, are the publishers. In every number of the 'Watchman,' there
be printed these words, 'Published in Bristol, by the Author, S. T.
Coleridge, and sold, &c. &c.'

I verily believe no poor fellow's idea-pot ever bubbled up so vehemently with fears, doubts and difficulties, as mine does at present. Heaven grant it may not boil over, and put out the fire! I am almost heartless! My past life seems to me like a dream, a feverish dream! all one gloomy huddle of strange actions, and dim-discovered motives! Friendships lost by indolence, and happiness murdered by mismanaged sensibility! The present hour I seem in a quickset hedge of embarrassments! For shame! I ought not to mistrust God! but indeed, to hope is far more difficult than to fear. Bulls have horns, Lions have talons.

  The Fox, and Statesman subtle wiles ensure,
  The Cit, and Polecat stink and are secure:
  Toads with their venom, Doctors with their drug,
  The Priest, and Hedgehog, in their robes are snug!
  Oh, Nature! cruel step-mother, and hard,
  To thy poor, naked, fenceless child the Bard!
  No Horns but those by luckless Hymen worn,
  And those, (alas! alas!) not Plenty's Horn!
  With naked feelings, and with aching pride,
  He bears th' unbroken blast on every side!
  Vampire booksellers drain him to the heart,
  And Scorpion critics cureless venom dart![19]

S. T. C."

"Manchester, Jan. 7, 1796.

My dear friend,

I arrived at Manchester, last night, from Sheffield, to which place I shall only send about thirty numbers. I might have succeeded there, at least, equally well with the former towns, but I should injure the sale of the 'Iris.' the editor of which Paper (a very amiable and ingenious young man, of the name of 'James Montgomery') is now in prison, for a libel on a bloody-minded magistrate there. Of course, I declined publicly advertising or disposing of the 'Watchman' in that town.

This morning I called on Mr. —— with H's letter. Mr. —— received me as a rider, and treated me with insolence that was really amusing from its novelty. 'Overstocked with these Articles.' 'People always setting up some new thing or other.' 'I read the Star and another paper; what can I want with this paper, which is nothing more.' 'Well, well, I'll consider of it.' To these entertaining bon mots, I returned the following repartee,—'Good morning, sir.' …

God bless you, S. T. C."

"Mosely, near Birmingham, 1796.

My very dear Wade,

Will it be any excuse to you for my silence, to say that I have written to no one else, and that these are the very first lines I have written?

I stayed a day or two at Derby, and then went on in Mrs. —— carriage to see the beauties of Matlock. Here I stayed from Tuesday to Saturday, which time was completely filled up with seeing the country, eating, concerts, &c. I was the first fiddle, not in the concerts, but everywhere else, and the company would not spare me twenty minutes together. Sunday I dedicated to the drawing up my sketch of education, which I meant to publish, to try to get a school.

Monday I accompanied Mrs. E. to Oakover, with Miss W.—, to the thrice lovely valley of Ham; a vale hung by beautiful woods all round, except just at its entrance, where, as you stand at the other end of the valley, you see a bare, bleak mountain, standing as it were to guard the entrance. It is without exception, the most beautiful place I ever visited, and from thence we proceeded to Dove-Dale, without question tremendously sublime. Here we dined in a cavern, by the side of a divine little spring. We returned to Derby, quite exhausted with the rapid succession of delightful emotions.

I was to have left Derby on Wednesday; but on the Wednesday, Dr. Crompton, who had been at Liverpool, came home. He called on me, and made the following offer. That if I would take a house in Derby, and open a day-school, confining my number to twelve, he would send his three children. That, till I had completed my number, he would allow me one hundred a year; and and when I had completed it, twenty guineas a year for each son. He thinks there is no doubt but that I might have more than twelve in a very short time, if I liked it. If so, twelve times twenty guineas is two hundred and forty guineas per annum; and my mornings and evenings would be my own: the children coming to me from nine to twelve, and from two to five: the two last hours employed with the writing and drawing masters, in my presence: so that only four hours would be thoroughly occupied by them. The plan to commence in November. I agreed with the Doctor, he telling me, that if, in the mean time, anything more advantageous offered itself, I was to consider myself perfectly at liberty to accept it. On Thursday I left Derby for Burton. Prom Burton I took chaise, slept at Litchfield, and in the morning arrived at my worthy friend's, Mr. Thomas Hawkes, at Mosely, three miles from Birmingham, in whose shrubbery I am now writing. I shall stay at Birmingham a week longer.

I have seen a letter from Mr. William Roscoe, (Author of the life of Lorenzo the magnificent; a work in two quarto volumes, of which the whole first edition sold in a month) it was addressed to Mr. Edwards, the minister here, and entirely related to me. Of me, and my composition, he writes in terms of high admiration, and concludes by desiring Mr. Edwards to let him know my situation and prospects, and saying, if I would come and settle at Liverpool, he thought a comfortable situation might be procured for me. This day Edwards will write to him.

God love you, and your grateful and affectionate friend, S. T. Coleridge.

N. B. I preached yesterday."

Mr. Coleridge, in the preceding letters, states his having preached occasionally. There must have been a first sermon. It so happened that I heard Mr. C. preach his first and also his second sermon, with some account of which I shall now furnish the reader; and that without concealment or embellishment. But it will be necessary, as an illustration of the whole, to convey some previous information, which, as it regards most men, would be too unimportant to relate.

When Mr. Coleridge first came to Bristol, he had evidently adopted, at least to some considerable extent, the sentiments of Socinus. By persons of that persuasion, therefore, he was hailed as a powerful accession to their cause. From Mr. C.'s voluble utterance, it was even believed that he might become a valuable Unitarian minister, (of which class of divines, a great scarcity then existed, with a still more gloomy anticipation, from most of the young academicians at their chief academy having recently turned infidels.) But though this presumption in Mr. Coleridge's favour was confidently entertained, no certainty could exist without a trial, and how was this difficulty to be overcome? The Unitarians in Bristol might have wished to see Mr. C. in their pulpit, expounding and enforcing their faith; but, as they said, "the thing, in Bristol, was altogether impracticable," from the conspicuous stand which he had taken in free politics, through the medium of his numerous lectures.[20]

It was then recollected by some of his anxious and importunate friends, that Bath was near, and that a good judge of requisite qualifications was to be found therein in the person of the Rev. David Jardine, with whom some of Mr. C.'s friends were on terms of intimacy; so that it was determined that Mr. Coleridge, as the commencement of his brilliant career, should be respectfully requested to preach his inaugural discourse in the Unitarian chapel at Bath.

The invitation having been given and accepted, I felt some curiosity to witness the firmness with which he would face a large and enlightened audience, and, in the intellectual sense, grace his canonical robes. No conveyance having been provided, and wishing the young ecclesiastic to proceed to the place of his exhibition with some decent respectability, I agreed with a common friend, the late Mr. Charles Danvers, to take Mr. C. over to Bath in a chaise.

The morning of the important day unfolded, and in due time we arrived at the place of our destination. When on the way to the chapel, a man stopped Charles Danvers, and asked him if he could tell where the Rev. Mr. Coleridge preached. "Follow the crowd," said Danvers, and walked on. Mr. C. wore his blue coat and white waistcoat; but what was Mr. Jardine's surprise, when he found that his young probationer peremptorily refused to wear the hide-all sable gown! Expostulation was unavailing, and the minister ascended to the pulpit in his coloured clothes!

Considering that it had been announced on the preceding Sunday, that "the Rev. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Cambridge University" would preach there on this day, we naturally calculated on an overflowing audience, but it proved to be the most meagre congregation I had ever seen. The reader will but imperfectly appreciate Mr. C.'s discourse, without the previous information that this year (1796) was a year of great scarcity, and consequent privation, amongst the poor; on which subject the sermon was designed impressively to bear. And now the long-expected service commenced.

The prayer, without being intended, was formal, unimpressive, and undevotional; the singing was languid; but we expected that the sermon would arouse the inattentive, and invigorate the dull. The moment for announcing the text arrived. Our curiosity was excited. With little less than famine in the land, our hearts were appalled at hearing the words, "When they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king, and their God, and look upward." (Isaiah viii. 21.) Mr. Winterbotham, a little before, had been thrown into prison for the freedom of his political remarks in a sermon at Plymouth, and we were half fearful whether in his impetuous current of feeling, some stray expressions might not subject our friend to a like visitation. Our fears were groundless. Strange as it may appear in Mr. Coleridge's vigorous mind, the whole discourse consisted of little more than a Lecture on the Corn Laws! which some time before he had delivered in Bristol, at the Assembly Boom.

Returning from our edifying discourse to a tavern dinner, we were privileged with more luminous remarks on this inexhaustible subject: but something better (or worse, as the reader's taste may be) is still in reserve. After dinner, Mr. Coleridge remarked that he should have no objection to preach another sermon that afternoon. In the hope that something redeeming might still appear, and the best be retained for the last, we encouraged his proposal, when he rang the bell, and on the waiter appearing, he was sent, with Mr. Coleridge's compliments, to the Rev. Mr. Jardine, to say "If agreeable, Mr. C. would give his congregation another sermon, this afternoon, on the Hair Powder Tax!"[21] On the departure of the waiter, I was fully assured that Mr. Jardine would smile, and send a civil excuse, satisfied that he had had quite enough of political economy, with blue coat and white waistcoat, in the morning; but to my great surprise, the waiter returned with Mr. Jardine's compliments, saying, "he should be happy to hear Mr. Coleridge!"

Now all was hurry lest the concourse should be kept waiting. What surprise will the reader feel, on understanding that, independently of ourselves and Mr. Jardine, there were but seventeen persons present, including men, women, and children! We had, as we expected, a recapitulation of the old lecture, with the exception of its humorous appendages, in reprobation of the Hair Powder Tax; and the twice-told tale, even to the ear of friendship, in truth sounded rather dull!

Two or three times Mr. C. looked significantly toward our seat, when fearful of being thrown off my guard into a smile, I held down my head, from which position I was aroused, when the sermon was about half over, by some gentleman throwing back the door of his pew, and walking out of the chapel. In a few minutes after, a second individual did the same; and soon after a third door flew open, and the listener escaped! At this moment affairs looked so very ominous, that we were almost afraid Mr. Jardine himself would fly, and that none but ourselves would fairly sit it out. A little before, I had been in company with the late Robert Hall, and S. T. Coleridge, when the collision of equal minds elicited light and heat; both of them ranking in the first class of conversationalists, but great indeed was the contrast between them in the pulpit. The parlour was the element for Mr. Coleridge, and the politician's lecture, rather than the minister's harangue. We all returned to Bristol with the feeling of disappointment;—Mr. C. from the little personal attention paid to him by Mr. Jardine; and we, from a dissatisfying sense of a Sunday desecrated. Although no doubt can be entertained of Mr. Coleridge having, in the journey before noticed, surpassed his first essay, yet, with every reasonable allowance, the conviction was so strong on my mind that Mr. C. had mistaken his talent, that my regard for him was too genuine to entertain the wish of ever again seeing him in a pulpit.

It is unknown when the following letter was received, (although quite certain that it was not the evening in which Mr. Coleridge wrote his "Ode to the Departing Year,") and it is printed in this place at something of an uncertainty.[22]

"January 1st.

My dear Cottle,

I have been forced to disappoint not only you, but Dr. Beddoes, on an affair of some importance. Last night I was induced by strong and joint solicitation, to go to a card-club, to which Mr. Morgan belongs, and, after the playing was over, to sup, and spend the remainder of the night: having made a previous compact, that I should not drink; however just on the verge of twelve, I was desired to drink only one wine glass of punch, in honour of the departing year; and, after twelve, one other in honour of the new year. Though the glasses were very small, yet such was the effect produced during my sleep, that I awoke unwell, and in about twenty minutes after had a relapse of my bilious complaint. I am just now recovered, and with care, I doubt not, shall be as well as ever to-morrow. If I do not see you then, it will be from some relapse, which I have no reason, thank heaven, to anticipate.

Yours affectionately,

S. T. Coleridge."

In consequence of Mr. Coleridge's journey to the north, to collect subscribers for the "Watchman," an incident occurred, which produced a considerable effect on his after life. During Mr. C.'s visit to Birmingham, an accident had introduced him to the eldest son of Mr. Lloyd, the eminent banker of that town. Mr. Lloyd had intended his son Charles to unite with him in the bank, but the monotonous business of the establishment, ill accorded with the young man's taste, which had taken a decidedly literary turn. If the object of Charles Lloyd had been to accumulate wealth, his disposition might have been gratified to the utmost, but the tedious and unintellectual occupation of adjusting pounds, shillings, and pence, suited, he thought, those alone who had never, eagle-like, gazed at the sun, or bathed their temples in the dews of Parnassus. The feelings of this young man were ardent; his reading and information extensive; and his genius, though of a peculiar cast, considerable. His mind appeared, however, subject to something of that morbid sensibility which distinguished Cowper. The admiration excited in Mr. L. by Mr. Coleridge's pre-eminent talents, induced him to relinquish his connexion with the bank; and he had now arrived in Bristol to seek Mr. C. out, and to improve his acquaintance with him.

To enjoy the enviable privilege of Mr. Coleridge's conversation, Mr. Lloyd proposed even to domesticate with him; and made him such a pecuniary offer, that Mr. C. immediately acceded to the proposal; and to effect this, as an essential preliminary, removed from Redcliff-hill, to a house on Kingsdown.

In this his new abode, Mr. Coleridge appeared settled and comfortable. Friends were kind and numerous. Books, of all kinds, were at his command. Of the literary society now found in Bristol, he expressed himself in terms of warm approval, and thought, in this feature, that it was surpassed by no city in the kingdom. His son Hartley, also, was now born; and no small accession to his comfort arose from his young and intelligent domestic associate, Charles Lloyd. This looked something like permanence; but the promise was fallacious, for Mr. Coleridge now experienced another removal.

His friend, Mr. Thomas Poole, of Nether Stowey, near Bridgwater, was desirous of obtaining Mr. C. again, as a permanent neighbour, and recommended him to take a small house at Stowey, then to be let, at seven pounds a year, which he thought would well suit him. Mr. Poole's personal worth; his friendly and social manners; his information, and taste for literature; all this, combined with the prospect of a diminished expense in his establishment, unitedly, formed such powerful inducements, that Mr. C. at once decided, and the more so, as Mr. Lloyd had consented to accompany him. To this place, consequently, the whole party repaired.

On Mr. Coleridge reaching his new abode, I was gratified by receiving from him the following letter.

"Stowey, 1796.

My dear Cottle,

We arrived safe. Our house is set to rights. We are all—wife, bratling, and self, remarkably well. Mrs. Coleridge likes Stowey, and loves Thomas Poole and his mother, who love her. A communication has been made from our orchard into T. Poole's garden, and from thence to Cruikshank's, a friend of mine, and a young married man, whose wife is very amiable, and she and Sara are already on the most cordial terms; from all this you will conclude we are happy. By-the-bye, what a delightful poem, is Southey's 'Musings on a Landscape of Gaspar Poussin.' I love it almost better than his 'Hymn to the Penates.' In his volume of poems. The following, namely,

    'The Six Sonnets on the Slave Trade.—The Ode to the Genius of
    Africa.—To my own Miniature Picture.—The Eight
    Inscriptions.—Elinor, Botany-bay Eclogue.—Frederick, ditto.—The
    Ten Sonnets, (pp. 107-116.) On the death of an Old Spaniel.—The
    Soldier's Wife, Dactylics.—The Widow, Sapphics.—The Chapel
    Bell.—The Race of Banco. Rudiger.'

All these Poems are worthy the Author of 'Joan of Arc.' And 'The Musings on a Landscape,' &c. and 'The Hymn to the Penates,' deserve to have been published after 'Joan of Arc,' as proofs of progressive genius.

God bless you,

S. T. C."

The account of Mr. Coleridge's residence at Stowey, lies in the department of another; although he occasionally visited Bristol, with Mrs. C., as engagements or inclination prompted; some notice of which visits will here be taken.

Mr. Charles Lloyd was subject to fits, to one of which the second following letter refers. In the above letter Mr. C. pronounces himself happy, but as no condition, in this changeable world, is either perfect happiness or misery, so the succeeding letter presents Mr. C. over-powered, almost, with a feeling of despondency! The calculation of the course which genius, combined with eccentricity, would be likely to pursue, must be attended with uncertainty, but the probability is, that had Mr. C's mind been easy at this time, surrounded by domestic quiet and comparative seclusion, he might have been equal to any intellectual achievement; but soon after he settled at Stowey, he was reduced to the most prostrate state of depression, arising purely from the darkness of his pecuniary horizon. Happily for the reader, a brief mental respite succeeded, in which, if trouble existed, the letter which expressed that trouble, soon exhibits him (half forgetful) expatiating in those comprehensive surveys of possible excellence which formed the habit of his mind.

"Stowey, 1796.

My dearest Cottle,

I love and respect you as a brother, and my memory deceives me woefully, if I have not evidenced, by the animated tone of my conversation when we have been tete a tete, how much your conversation interested me. But when last in Bristol, the day I meant to devote to you, was such a day of sadness, I could do nothing. On the Saturday, the Sunday, and ten days after my arrival at Stowey, I felt a depression too dreadful to be described.

  So much I felt my genial spirits droop,
  My hopes all flat; Nature within me seemed
  In all her functions, weary of herself,

Wordsworth's[23] conversation aroused me somewhat, but even now I am not the man I have been, and I think I never shall. A sort of calm hopelessness diffuses itself over my heart. Indeed every mode of life which has promised me bread and cheese, has been, one after another, torn away from me, but God remains. I have no immediate pecuniary distress, having received ten pounds from Lloyd. I employ myself now on a book of morals in answer to Godwin, and on my tragedy.

* * * * *

There are some poets who write too much at their ease, from the facility with which they please themselves. They do not often enough

          'Feel their burdened breast
  Heaving beneath incumbent Deity.'

So that to posterity their wreaths will look unseemly. Here, perhaps, an everlasting Amaranth, and, close by its side, some weed of an hour, sere, yellow, and shapeless. Their very beauties will lose half their effect, from the bad company they keep. They rely too much on story and event, to the neglect of those lofty imaginings that are peculiar to, and definite of the Poet.

The story of Milton might be told in two pages. It is this which distinguishes an epic poem from a romance in metre. Observe the march of Milton; his severe application; his laborious polish; his deep metaphysical researches; his prayer to God before he began his great work; all that could lift and swell his intellect, became his daily food.

I should not think of devoting less than twenty years to an epic poem. Ten years to collect materials and warm my mind with universal science. I would be a tolerable Mathematician. I would thoroughly understand Mechanics; Hydrostatics; Optics, and Astronomy; Botany; Metallurgy; Fossilism; Chemistry; Geology; Anatomy; Medicine; then the mind of man; then the minds of men, in all Travels, Voyages, and Histories. So I would spend ten years; the next five in the composition of the poem, and the five last in the correction of it. So would I write, haply not unhearing of that divine and nightly-whispering voice, which speaks to mighty minds, of predestinated garlands, starry and unwithering.[24]

God love you.

S. T. Coleridge.

P. S. David Hartley is well and grows. Sara is well, and desires a sister's love to you."

In the spirit of impartiality, it now devolves on me to state a temporary misunderstanding between even the two Pantisocratans; Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey! The affair occurred in the autumn of 1795, but it could not be noticed at that time, without interrupting the narrative.

It is difficult to assign any other reason for the wild scheme of Pantisocracy, than the inexperience of youth, acting on sanguine imaginations. At its first announcement, every reflecting mind saw that the plan, in its nature, and in the agents who were to carry it into effect, was liable to insurmountable objections; but the individuals with whom the design originated, were young, ardent, and enthusiastic, and at that time entertained views of society erroneous in themselves, and which experience alone could correct. The fullest conviction was entertained by their friends, that as reason established itself in their minds, the delusion would vanish; and they themselves soon smile at extravagances which none but their own ingenious order of minds could have devised; but when the dissension occurred, before noticed, at Chepstow, Mr. Southey must have had conviction flashed on his mind, that the habits of himself and his friend were so essentially opposed, as to render harmony and success impossible.

Mr. Southey now informed Mr. Coleridge, that circumstances, and his own views had so altered, as to render it necessary for him candidly to state that he must abandon Pantisocracy, and the whole scheme of colonizing in America; and that he should accept an invitation from his uncle, to accompany him through Spain to Lisbon. The reader has had cause to believe that Mr. C. himself had relinquished this wild plan, but it was by implication, rather than by direct avowal. Perhaps, in the frustration of so many of his present designs, a latent thought might linger in his mind, that America, after all, was to be the fostering asylum, where, alone, unmingled felicity was to be found. The belief is hardly admissible, and yet the admission, extravagant as it is, derives some support from the unexpected effect produced on him by the disclosure of his friend.

On this announcement, or soon after, a tumult of fearful intensity arose in Mr. Coleridge's mind, which filled the whole circle of their friends with grief and dismay. This unexpected effect, perhaps, may be ascribed to the consciousness now first seriously awakened, of the erroneous principles on which all his calculations had been founded. He perceived at length, (it may be) that he had been pursuing a phantom; and the conviction must have been associated with self-upbraidings. It is commonly found, that the man who is dissatisfied with himself, is seldom satisfied long with those around him; and these compound and accumulated feelings must necessarily be directed against some object. At this brain-crazing moment, the safety-valve of feeling was Mr. Southey.

Being familiar with the whole affair, I completely justified Mr. S. as having acted with the strictest honour and propriety, and in such a way as any wise man, under such circumstances, would have acted. The great surprise with their friends was, that the crisis should not have occurred earlier, as a result certain to take place, and delayed alone by the vivid succession of objects that gave, it must be said, a temporary suspension to the full exercise of their understandings. Justice to Mr. S. requires it to be stated, that he acted purely on the defensive; adopting no epithets, and repelling offensive accusations and expressions, with sober argument and remonstrance alone. I spoke to each in succession, and laboured to procure a reconciliation; but oil and water would sooner have united than the accuser and the accused.

This difference occurred only two or three days before Mr. S. set off on his Spanish and Portuguese expedition. During his absence, the fire lay smouldering, and on his return to England, in May, 1796, the conflagration was renewed. Charges of "desertion," flew thick around; of "dishonourable retraction, in a compact the most binding"—I again spoke to Mr. Coleridge, and endeavoured to soften his asperity. I also wrote to Mr. Southey, and expressed a hope, that if he found it impossible at the present moment to return to cordiality, he would at least consent when he met Mr. Coleridge, to restrain the indignant look, which was painfully manifest on both countenances.

The most pleasant part of the narrative will now be unfolded. Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey met at the house of a relation when, without explanation, the relentings of nature threw them silently into each other's arms! I knew nothing of this happy reconciliation, the first intimation of which was their calling on me, arm in arm, after having taken a pleasant walk together into the country. Each seemed to relish the surprise and the delight which it was impossible for me to conceal; and I had reason afterwards to think, that this sprightly scene was a preconcerted arrangement to heighten the stage-effect. I shall now withdraw the reader's attention from Mr. Southey, and proceed with the narrative of Mr. Coleridge.

When Mr. Southey departed for the continent, Mr. Coleridge repaired to his own calm retreat at Stowey, from which place he sent me the following letter.

"Stowey, 1796.

Dear Cottle,

I write under great agony of mind, Charles Lloyd being very ill. He has been seized with his fits three times in the space of seven days: and just as I was in bed last night, I was called up again; and from twelve o'clock at night, to five this morning, he remained in one continued state of agonized delirium. What with bodily toil, exerted in repressing his frantic struggles, and what with the feelings of agony for his sufferings, you may suppose that I have forced myself from bed, with aching temples, and a feeble frame….

We offer petitions, not as supposing we influence the Immutable; but because to petition the Supreme Being, is the way most suited to our nature, to stir up the benevolent affections in our hearts. Christ positively commands it, and in St. Paul you will find unnumbered instances of prayer for individual blessings; for kings, rulers, &c. &c. We indeed should all join to our petitions: 'But thy will be done, Omniscient, All-loving Immortal God!'

Believe me to have towards you, the inward and spiritual gratitude and affection, though I am not always an adept in the outward and visible signs.

God bless you,

S. T. C."

A letter written by Mr. Coleridge to Miss Cruikshanks, living near Stowey during Mr. C.'s residence at that place, exhibits the law of association in a new light; and shows the facility with which ingenious men can furnish excuses, at all times, for doing that which they desire.

"Dear Mary,

I wandered on so thought-bewildered, that it is no wonder I became way-bewildered; however, seeing a road-post, in two places, with the name, 'Stowey;' one by some water and a stone-bridge, and another on a tree, at the top of the ascent, I concluded I was only gone a new way, when coming to a place where four roads met, I turned to my left, merely because I saw some houses, and found myself at Plansfield. Accordingly, I turned upward, and as I knew I must pay a farewell visit to Ashhalt, I dined with the B—s', and arrived at Stowey, just before dark.

I did not lose my way then, though I confess that Mr. B. and myself, disobedient to the voice of the ladies, had contrived to finish two bottles of Port between us, to which I added two glasses of mead. All this was in consequence of conversing about John Cruikshanks' coming down. Now John Cruikshanks' idea being regularly associated in Mr. B.'s mind, with a second bottle, and S. T. C. being associated with John Cruikshanks, the second bottle became associated with the idea, and afterwards with the body of S. T. C. by necessity of metaphysical law, as you may see in the annexed figure, or diagram.

Second Bottle. B

   [Image of bottle.]
         / \
        / \
       / \
      / \
J. C./__________\ S. T. C.]

God bless you,

S. T. C."

Miss Cruikshanks has favored me with a letter of Mr. Coleridge to herself, explanatory of his political principles, when he had receded in a good measure from the sentiments pervading his "Conciones ad Populum." This letter was written at a later period, but is made to follow the preceding, to preserve a continuity of subject.

Miss C. it appears, had lent the first edition of Mr. Coleridge's poems to Lady Elizabeth Perceval,[25] in some parts of which volume the sentiments of an earlier day were rather too prominently displayed. To counteract the effect such parts were calculated to produce, Mr. Coleridge wrote the following letter, in the hope that by being shown to her ladyship, it might efface from her mind any unfavorable impression she might have received. In this letter he also rather tenderly refers to his American scheme.

(No date, supposed to be 1803.)

"My dear Miss Cruikshanks,

With the kindest intentions, I fear you have done me some little disservice, in borowing the first edition of my poems from Miss B—. I never held any principles indeed, of which, considering my age, I have reason to be ashamed. The whole of my public life may be comprised in eight or nine months of my 22nd year; and the whole of my political sins during that time, consisted in forming a plan of taking a large farm in common, in America, with other young men of my age. A wild notion indeed, but very harmless.

As to my principles, they were, at all times, decidedly anti-jacobin and anti-revolutionary, and my American scheme is a proof of this. Indeed at that time, I seriously held the doctrine of passive obedience, though a violent enemy of the first war. Afterwards, and for the last ten years of my life, I have been fighting incessantly in the good cause, against French ambition, and Trench principles; and I had Mr. Addington's suffrage, as to the good produced by my Essays, written in the Morning Post, in the interval of the peace of Amiens, and the second war, together with my two letters to Mr. Fox.[26]

Of my former errors, I should be no more ashamed, than of my change of body, natural to increase of age; but in that first edition, there was inserted (without my consent!) a Sonnet to Lord Stanhope, in direct contradiction, equally, to my then, as to my present principles. A Sonnet written by me in ridicule and mockery of the bloated style of French Jacobinical declamation, and inserted by Biggs, (the fool of a printer,) in order forsooth, that he might send the book, and a letter to Earl Stanhope; who, to prove that he was not mad in all things, treated both book and letter with silent contempt.[27] I have therefore sent Mr. Poole's second edition, and if it be in your power, I could wish you to read the 'dedication to my brother,' at the beginning, to Lady E. Perceval, to obtain whose esteem, so far at least as not to be confounded with the herd of vulgar mob flatterers, I am not ashamed to confess myself solicitous.

I would I could be with you, and your visitors. Penelope, you know, is very high in my esteem. With true warmth of heart, she joins more strength of understanding; and, to steady principle, more variety of accomplishments, than it has often been my lot to meet with among the fairer sex. When I praise one woman to another I always mean a compliment to both. My tenderest regards to your dear mother, whom I really long to spend a few hours with, and believe me with sincere good wishes, Yours, &c.

S. T. Coleridge."

Fragment of a Theological letter of Mr. Coleridge, date unknown.

… The declaration that the Deity is "the sole Operant" (Religious Musings) is indeed far too bold: may easily be misconstrued into Spinosism; and, therefore, though it is susceptible of a pious and justifiable interpretation, I should by no means now use such a phrase. I was very young when I wrote that poem, and my religious feelings were more settled than my theological notions.

As to eternal punishments, I can only say, that there are many passages in Scripture, and these not metaphorical, which declare that all flesh shall be finally saved; that the word aionios is indeed used sometimes when eternity must be meant, but so is the word 'Ancient of Days,' yet it would be strange reasoning to affirm, that therefore, the word ancient must always mean eternal. The literal meaning of 'aionios' is, 'through ages;' that is indefinite; beyond the power of imagination to bound. But as to the effects of such a doctrine, I say, First,—that it would be more pious to assert nothing concerning it, one way or the other.

Ezra says well, 'My Son, meditate on the rewards of the righteous, and examine not over-curiously into the fate of the wicked. (This apocryphal Ezra is supposed to have been written by some Christian in the first age of Christianity.) Second,—that however the doctrine is now broached, and publicly preached by a large and increasing sect, it is no longer possible to conceal it from such persons as would be likely to read and understand the 'Religious Musings.' Third.—That if the offers of eternal blessedness; if the love of God; if gratitude; if the fear of punishment, unknown indeed as to its kind and duration, but declared to be unimaginably great; if the possibility, nay, the probability, that this punishment may be followed by annihilation, not final happiness, cannot divert men from wickedness to virtue; I fear there will be no charm in the word Eternal.

Fourth, that it is a certain fact, that scarcely any believe eternal punishment practically with relation to themselves. They all hope in God's mercy, till they make it a presumptuous watch-word for religious indifference. And this, because there is no medium in their faith, between blessedness and misery,—infinite in degree and duration; which latter they do not practically, and with their whole hearts, believe. It is opposite to their clearest views of the divine attributes; for God cannot be vindictive, neither therefore can his punishments be founded on a vindictive principle. They must be, either for amendment, or warning for others; but eternal punishment precludes the idea of amendment, and its infliction, after the day of judgment, when all not so punished shall be divinely secured from the possibility of falling, renders the notion of warning to others inapplicable.

The Catholics are far more afraid of, and incomparably more influenced in their conduct by, the doctrine of purgatory, than Protestants by that of hell! That the Catholics practise more superstitions than morals, is the effect of other doctrines. Supererogation; invocation of saints; power of relics, &c. &c. and not of Purgatory, which can only act as a general motive, to what must depend on other causes.

Fifth, and lastly.—It is a perilous state in which a christian stands, if he has gotten no further, than to avoid evil from the fear of hell! This is no part of the Christian religion, but a preparatory awakening of the soul: a means of dispersing those gross films which render the eye of the spirit incapable of any religion, much less of such a faith as that of the love of Christ.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but perfect love shutteth out fear. It is sufficient for the utmost fervour of gratitude that we are saved from punishments, too great to be conceived; but our salvation is surely not complete, till by the illumination from above, we are made to know 'the exceeding sinfulness of sin,' and that horribleness in its nature, which, while it involves all these frightful consequences, is yet, of itself more affrightful to a regenerated soul than those consequences. To him who but for a moment felt the influence of God's presence, the thought of eternal exclusion from the sense of that presence, would be the worst hell his imagination could conceive.

N.B. I admit of no right, no claim of a creature on its Creator. I speak only of hopes and of faith deduced from inevitable reason, the gift of the Creator; from his acknowledged attributes. Above all, immortality is a free gift, which we neither do, nor can deserve….

S. T. C."

To descend now to humbler things.

There are persons who will be interested in learning how the bard and his bookseller managed their great pecuniary affairs. A second edition of Mr. Coleridge's poems being demanded, I was under no obligation, the copy-right being mine, in publishing a second edition, to make Mr. Coleridge any payment, alterations or additions being optional with him: but in his circumstances, and to show that my desire was to consider Mr. C. even more than myself, I promised him, on the sale of the second edition of 500, twenty guineas. The following was his reply: (not viewing the subject quite in the right light; but this was of little consequence.)

"Stowey, Oct. 18th, 1796.

My dear Cottle,

I have no mercenary feelings, I verily believe; but I hate bartering at any time, and with any person; with you it is absolutely intolerable. I clearly perceive that by giving me twenty guineas, on the sale of the second edition, you will get little or nothing by the additional poems, unless they should be sufficiently popular to reach a third edition, which soars above our wildest expectations. The only advantage you can derive therefore from the purchase of them on such terms, is, simply, that my poetry is more likely to sell when the whole may be had in one volume, price 5s., than when it is scattered in two volumes; the one 4s., the other possibly 3s. In short, you will get nothing directly, but only indirectly, from the probable circumstance, that these additional poems added to the former, will give a more rapid sale to the second edition than could otherwise be expected, and cause it possibly to be reviewed at large. Add to this, that by omitting every thing political, I widen the sphere of my readers. So much for you. Now for myself. You must see, Cottle, that whatever money I should receive from you, would result from the circumstances that would give me the same, or more—if I published them on my own account. I mean the sale of the poems. I can therefore have no motive to make such conditions with you, except the wish to omit poems unworthy of me, and the circumstance that our separate properties would aid each other by the union; and whatever advantage this might be to me, it would, of course, be equally so to you. The only difference between my publishing the poems on my own account, and yielding them up to you; the only difference I say, independent of the above stated differences, is, that, in one case, I retain the property for ever, in the other case, I lose it after two editions.

However, I am not solicitous to have any thing omitted, except the sonnet to Lord Stanhope and the ludicrous poem; I should like to publish the best pieces together, and those of secondary splendour, at the end of the volume, and think this is the best quietus of the whole affair.

Yours affectionately,

S. T. Coleridge."

In consequence of a note received from Mr. Coleridge, I called at the Bristol Library, where I found Mr. George Catcott, the Sub-Librarian, much excited. "See," said he, immediately I entered the room, "here is a letter I have just received from Mr. Coleridge. Pray look at it." I read it. "Do you mean to give the letter to me, with its ponderous contents?" I said. "O yes, take it," he replied. This gift enables me to lay the letter in question before the reader. Mr. George Catcott though of singular manners, was a person of worth. He was the patron of Chatterton, and chiefly through his efforts, the Poems of "Rowley" were preserved.

"Stowey, May, 1797.

My dear Cottle,

I have sent a curious letter to George Catcott. He has altogether made me pay five shillings! for postage, by his letters sent all the way to Stowey, requiring me to return books to the Bristol Library….

"Mr. Catcott,

I beg your acceptance of all the enclosed letters. You must not think lightly of the present, as they cost me, who am a very poor man, five shillings.

With respect to the 'Bruck. Hist. Crit,' although by accident they were registered on the 23d of March, yet they were not removed from the Library for a fortnight after; and when I received your first letter, I had had the books just three weeks. Our learned and ingenious Committee may read through two quartos, that is, one thousand and four hundred pages of close printed Latin and Greek, in three weeks, for aught I know to the contrary. I pretend to no such intenseness of application, or rapidity of genius.

I must beg you to inform me, by Mr. Cottle, what length of time is allowed by the rules and customs of our institution for each book. Whether their contents, as well as their size, are consulted, in apportioning the time; or whether, customarily, any time at all is apportioned, except when the Committee, in individual cases, choose to deem it proper. I subscribe to your library, Mr. Catcott, not to read novels, or books of quick reading and easy digestion, but to get books which I cannot get elsewhere,—books of massy knowledge; and as I have few books of my own, I read with a common-place book, so that if I be not allowed a longer period of time for the perusal of such books, I must contrive to get rid of my subscription, which would be a thing perfectly useless, except so far as it gives me an opportunity of reading your little expensive notes and letters.

Yours in Christian fellowship,

S. T. Coleridge."

Mr. C. was now preparing for a second edition of his Poems, and had sent the order in which they were to be printed, with the following letter, accompanying two new Poems.

"Stowey, Friday Morning.

My dear Cottle.

… If you do not like the following verses, or if you do not think them worthy of an edition in which I profess to give nothing but my choicest fish, picked, gutted, and cleaned, please to get some one to write them out and send them, with my compliments, to the editor of the New Monthly Magazine. But if you think of them as I do (most probably from parental dotage for my last born) let them immediately follow 'The Kiss.'

God love you,

S. T. C."

  Maiden! that with sullen brow,
    Sitt'st behind those virgins gay;
  Like a scorched, and mildew'd bough,
    Leafless mid the blooms of May.

  Inly gnawing, thy distresses
     Mock those starts of wanton glee;
  And thy inmost soul confesses
     Chaste Affection's majesty.

  Loathing thy polluted lot,
     Hie thee, Maiden! hie thee hence!
  Seek thy weeping mother's cot,
     With a wiser innocence!

  Mute the Lavrac[28] and forlorn
     While she moults those firstling plumes
  That had skimm'd the tender corn,
     Or the bean-field's od'rous blooms;

  Soon with renovating wing,
     Shall she dare a loftier flight,
  Upwards to the day-star sing,
     And embathe in heavenly light.


  Myrtle Leaf, that, ill besped,
      Pinest in the gladsome ray,
  Soiled beneath the common tread,
      Far from thy protecting spray;

  When the scythes-man o'er his sheaf,
      Caroll'd in the yellow vale,
  Sad, I saw thee, heedless leaf,
      Love the dalliance of the gale.

  Lightly didst thou, poor fond thing!
      Heave and flutter to his sighs
  While the flatterer on his wing,
      Woo'd, and whisper'd thee to rise.

  Gaily from thy mother stalk
      Wert thou danced and wafted high;
  Soon on this unsheltered walk,
      Hung to fade, and rot, and die!

The two poems as printed in Mr. Coleridge's edition of 1835, here follow, which by being compared with the same poems, in their preceding original form, will exhibit a study, particularly to the Poet.[29]


With Mr. Coleridge's last corrections.

  Maiden, that with sullen brow
   Sitt'st behind those virgins gay,
  Like a scorched and mildew'd bough,
   Leafless mid the blooms of May.

  Him who lured thee and forsook,
   Oft I watch'd with angry gaze,
  Fearful saw his pleading look,
   Anxious heard his fervid phrase.

  Soft the glances of the youth,
   Soft his speech, and soft his sigh;
  But no sound like simple truth,
   But no true love in his eye.

  Loathing thy polluted lot,
   Hie thee, maiden, hie thee hence!
  Seek thy weeping mother's cot,
   With a wiser innocence.

  Thou hast known deceit and folly,
    Thou hast felt that vice is woe;
  With a musing melancholy,
    Inly armed, go, maiden! go.

  Mother, sage of self dominion,
    Firm thy steps, O melancholy!
  The strongest plume in wisdom's pinion
    Is the memory of past folly.

  Mute the sky-lark and forlorn
    While she moults the firstling plumes,
  That had skimm'd the tender corn,
    Or the bean-field's odorous blooms.

  Soon with renovated wing,
    Shall she dare a loftier flight,
  Upward to the day-star spring,
    And embathe in heavenly light.

  Whom The Author Had Known In The Days Of Her Innocence.

(With Mr. Coleridge's last corrections.)

  Myrtle-leaf that ill-besped,
    Pinest in the gladsome ray;
  Soiled beneath the common tread,
    Far from thy protecting spray!

  When the partridge o'er the sheaf
    Whirred along the yellow vale,
  Sad I saw thee, heedless leaf!
    Love the dalliance of the gale.

  Lightly didst thou, foolish thing!
    Heave and flutter to his sighs,
  While the flatterer on his wing,
    Woo'd and whispered thee to rise.

  Gaily from thy mother stalk
    Wert thou danced and wafted high—
  Soon upon this sheltered walk,
    Flung to fade, to rot, and die.

Mr. Coleridge having requested me to decide concerning the introduction into his volume of the two preceding Poems, I approved of the second, with certain alterations, (which was accordingly printed,) and rejected the first, for the reasons assigned in the following letter. This letter is introduced for the sake of Mr. C.'s reply, and to exhibit the candid and untenacious quality of his mind. As a mark of Mr. Coleridge's solicitude to obtain the observations of another, without surrendering his own ultimate judgment, he always encouraged my remarks on his compositions. When about to send the second edition of his Poems to the press, he thus wrote to me.

"My dear Cottle,

… On Thursday morning, by Milton, the Stowey carrier, I shall send you a parcel, containing the book of my Poems interleaved, with the alterations, and likewise the prefaces, which I shall send to you, for your criticisms…."

This is mentioned as an apology for the freedom of the remarks I then took, for it was always my principle not to spare a friend through mistaken kindness;—however much I might spare myself.

"Dear Coleridge,

You have referred your two last Poems to my judgment. I do not think your first, 'Maiden! that with sullen brow,' admissible, without a little more of your nice picking.

The first verse is happy, but two objections apply to the second. To my ear, (perhaps too fastidious) 'inly,' and 'inmost,' are too closely allied for the same stanza; but the first line presents a more serious objection, in containing a transition verb, (or rather a participle, with the same government) without an objective:

  'Inly gnawing, thy distresses
  Mock those starts of sudden glee.'

Gnawing what? surely not distresses; though the bar of a comma can hardly keep them apart. In order to give it any decent meaning, a tortuous ellipsis is necessary; to pursue which, gives the reader too much toil. Rejecting the first horse in the team, the three last are beautiful animals.

To the last line in the third stanza, I rather object; 'With a wiser innocence.' The meaning, it appears to me, would be more definite and in character, if you were to say, as you do not represent her utterly debased, 'With thy wreck of innocence.' The apostrophe to the 'Weeping mother's cot,' is then impressive. In the fourth stanza, why do you introduce the old word 'Lavrac' a word requiring an explanatory note? Why not say at once, sky-lark? A short poem, you know better than I, should be smooth as oil, and lucid as glass. The two last stanzas, with their associates, will require a few of your delicate touches, before you mount them on the nautilus which is to bear them buoyant round the world. These two last stanzas, about the 'Lavrac' though good in themselves, (with the exception of one line, which I will not point out, its roughness absolutely reminds one of 'Bowling-green Lane!') appear to me to be awkward appendages. The illustration is too much extended. It is laboured; far-fetched. It is an infelicitous attempt to blend sportive fancy with fact that has touched the heart, and which, in this its sobered mood, shrinks from all idle play of imagination. The transition is too abrupt from truth to fancy. This simile of two stanzas, also, out of five, is a tail disproportioned to the size of so small a body:—A thought elongated, ramified, attenuated, till its tendril convolutions have almost escaped from their parent stem. I would recommend you to let this Lavrac fly clean away, and to conclude the Poem with the third affecting stanza, unless you can continue the same train of feeling. This you might readily effect, by urging the 'unfortunate' in seeking her 'weeping mother's cot' to cheer that mother by moral renovation.

I now come to the second Poem, 'Allegorical lines.' This poem has sound materials, but it wants some of your hard tinkering. Pardon my unceremonious language. I do not like that affected old word, 'ill-besped' in the first line. To ascribe human feelings to a leaf, as you have done through the whole Poem, notwithstanding your authority, as I conceive, offensively violates reason. There is no analogy; no conceivable bond of union between thought and inanimate things, and it is about as rational as though, in sober reasoning, you were to make the polished shoe remonstrate with its wearer, in being soiled so soon after it had received its lustre. It is the utmost stretch of human concession, to grant thought and language to living things;—birds, beasts, and fishes; rights which the old fablers have rendered inalienable, as vehicles of instruction; but here, as I should think, the liberty ends. It is always a pity when sense and poetry cannot go together. They are excellent arm-in-arm companions, but quarrelsome neighbours, when a stile separates them. The first line in the second stanza I do not like.

'When the scythesman o'er his sheaf.'

Two objections apply to this line. The word scythesman, for a short poem, is insufferably rough; and furthermore requires the inhalation of a good breath, before it can be pronounced; besides which, as the second objection, by connecting sheaves with scythesman, it shows that the scythe is cutting wheat, whereas, wheat is cut with a hook or sickle. If my agricultural knowledge be correct, barley and oats are cut with a scythe, but these grains are not put into sheaves. Had you not better substitute rustic, for scythesman?

The first line in the third stanza is not happy. The spondee, in a compound word, sometimes gives a favourable emphasis; but to my taste, rarely, when it is formed of a double epithet. It has the appearance of labour, like tugging against a hill. Would not 'foolish' be simpler and better than 'poor fond?' I have one other objection, and that, unfortunately, is in the last line.

'Flung to fade, and rot, and die!'

Surely, if it rots, it must die, or have died.

Query. 'Flung to wither and to die.'

I am astonished at my own temerity. This is reversing the order of things; the pupil correcting his master. But, candidly speaking, I do think these two poems the most defective of any I ever saw of yours, which, usually, have been remarkably free from all angles on which the race of snarlers can lay hold.

From, &c. &c.,

Joseph Cottle."

Mr. Coleridge's reply to the preceding letter.

"Wednesday morning, 10 o'clock.

My dearest Cottle,

… 'Ill besped' is indeed a sad blotch; but after having tried at least a hundred ways, before I sent the Poem to you, and often since, I find it incurable. This first Poem is but a so so composition. I wonder I could have been so blinded by the ardour of recent composition, as to see anything in it.

Your remarks are perfectly just on the 'Allegorical lines,' except that, in this district, corn is as often cut with a scythe, as with a hook. However, for 'Scythesman' read Rustic. For 'poor fond thing' read foolish thing, and for 'flung to fade, and rot, and die,' read flung to wither and to die.[30]

* * * * *

Milton (the carrier) waits impatiently.

S. T. C."

Having once inquired of Mr. Coleridge something respecting a nicety in hexameters, he asked for a sheet of paper, and wrote the following. These hexameters appear in the last edition of Mr. C.'s Poems, though in a less correct form, and without the condensed and well-expressed preliminary remarks. Two new lines are here also added.

"The Hexameter consists of six feet, or twelve times. These feet, in the Latin and Greek languages, were always either dactyls, or spondees; the time of a dactyl, being only that of a spondee. In modern languages, however, metre being regulated by the emphasis, or intonation of the syllables, and not by the position of the letters, spondees can scarcely exist, except in compound words, as dark-red. Our dissyllables are for the most part, either iambics, as desire; or trochees, as languid. These therefore, but chiefly the latter, we must admit, instead of spondees. The four first feet of each line may be dissyllable feet, or dactyls, or both commingled, as best suits the melody, and requisite variety; but the two last feet must, with rare exceptions, be uniformly, the former a dactyl, the latter a dissyllable. The amphimacer may, in English, be substituted for the dactyl, occasionally.


  Oh, what a life is the eye! What a fine and inscrutable essence!
  He that is utterly blind, nor glimpses the fire that warms him;
  He that never beheld the swelling breast of his mother,
  He that smiled at the bosom, the babe that smiles in its slumber,
  Even to him it exists. It moves, and stirs in its prison;
  Lives with a separate life, and "Is it a spirit?" he murmurs,
  Sure it has thoughts of its own, and to see is only a language.


  Strongly it tilts us along, o'er leaping and limitless billows,
  Nothing before, and nothing behind, but the sky and the ocean.


  In the Hexameter rises the fountain's silvery column
  In the Pentameter still, falling melodious down.

* * * * *


This consists of two dactyls, and three trochees; the two dactyls first; and the trochees following.

  Hear, my beloved! an old Milesian story;
  High and embosomed in congregated laurels,
  Glimmered a temple, upon a breezy headland
  In the dim distance, amid the skyey billows,
  Rose a fair island; the God of flocks had blest it:
  From the dim shores of this bleak resounding island,
  Oft in the moon-light a little boat came floating,
  Came to the sea-cave beneath the breezy headland,
  Where between myrtles a path-way stole in mazes,
  Up to the groves of the high embosomed temple.
  There in a thicket of consecrated roses,
  Oft did a Priestess, as lovely as a vision,
  Pouring her soul to the son of Cytherea,
  Pray him to hover around the light canoe boat,
  And with invisible pilotage to guide it
  Over the dusky waves, till the nightly sailor
  Shiv'ring with ecstacy sank upon her bosom.
  Now, by the immortals! he was a beauteous stripling,
  Worthy to dream the sweet dream of young Endymion."

In the last edition of Mr. Coleridge's poems, (3 vols., 1835) there is a poem, called "The Destiny of Nations, a Vision;"—a sounding title, with which the contents but ill accord. No note conveys information to the reader, what was the origin of this poem; nor does any argument show its object, or train of thought. Who the maid is, no one can tell, and if there be a vision respecting the destiny of nations, it is nearly as confused and incoherent as a true vision of the night; exciting in the mind some such undefined wonderment, as must have accompanied the descent of one of Peter Wilkins' winged Aerials.

The reader may here be informed, that the Second book of Mr. Southey's "Joan of Arc," to line 452, as acknowledged, was written by Mr. Coleridge, with the intermixture of 97 lines, written by Mr. Southey, in which there are noble sentiments, expressed in the loftiest poetical diction; and in which also there is a tutelary spirit introduced to instruct and counsel the Maid of Orleans. In the second edition of "Joan of Arc," Mr. Southey omitted the whole of these lines, and intimated to Mr. C. his intention so to do, as early as the autumn of 1795. I advised Mr. Coleridge, from the intrinsic merit of the lines, to print them in the second edition of his poems. To this he assented, but observed, that he must greatly extend them.

Some considerable time after, he read me the poem in its enlarged state, calling it "The Progress of Liberty, or the Visions of the Maid of Orleans." After hearing it read, I at once told him, it was all very fine, but what it was all about, I could not tell: that it wanted, I thought, an obvious design, a definite purpose, a cohesion of parts, so as to make it more of a whole, instead of its being, as it then was, profuse, but detached splendour, and exhibiting in the management, nothing like construction. Thus improved, I told him the poem would be worthy of him. Mr. C. was evidently partial to the lines, and said, "I shall consider of what you say, and speak again about them."

Amongst my papers I find two or three notes from Mr. C. on this subject, subsequently received.


My dear Cottle,

If you delay the press it will give me the opportunity I so much wish, of sending my "Visions of the Maid of Arc" to Wordsworth, who lives[31] not above twenty miles from this place; and to Charles Lamb, whose taste and judgment, I see reason to think more correct and philosophical than my own, which yet I place pretty high…."

In a succeeding letter Mr. Coleridge says,

"My dear Cottle,

The lines which I added to my lines in the 'Joan of Arc' have been so little approved by Charles Lamb, to whom I sent them, that although I differ from him in opinion, I have not heart to finish the poem." Mr. Coleridge in the same letter, thus refers to his "Ode to the Departing Year."

"… So much for an 'Ode,' which some people think superior to the 'Bard' of Gray, and which others think a rant of turgid obscurity; and the latter are the more numerous class. It is not obscure. My 'Religious Musings' I know are, but not this 'Ode.'"

Mr. C. still retained a peculiar regard for these lines of the "Visions" and once meant to remodel the whole, as will appear from the following letter.

"Stowey, 1797.

My dear Cottle,

I deeply regret, that my anxieties and my slothfulness, acting in a combined ratio, prevented me from finishing my 'Progress of Liberty, or Visions of the Maid of Orleans' with that Poem at the head of the volume, with the 'Ode' in the middle, and the 'Religious Musings' at the end.

… In the 'Lines on the Man of Ross' immediately after these lines,

  'He heard the widow's heaven-breathed prayer of praise,
  He mark'd the shelter'd orphan's tearful gaze.'

Please to add these two lines.

  'And o'er the portioned maiden's snowy cheek,
  Bade bridal love suffuse its blushes meek.'

And for the line,

'Beneath this roof, if thy cheer'd moments pass.'

I should be glad to substitute this,

'If near this roof thy wine-cheer'd moments pass.'

These emendations came too late for admission in the second edition; nor have they appeared in the last edition. They will remain therefore for insertion in any future edition of Mr. Coleridge's Poems.[32]

"Stowey, 1797.

My dear Cottle,

… Public affairs are in strange confusion. I am afraid that I shall prove, at least, as good a Prophet as Bard. Oh, doom'd to fall, my country! enslaved and vile! But may God make me a foreboder of evils never to come!

I have heard from Sheridan, desiring me to write a tragedy. I have no genius that way; Robert Southey has. I think highly of his 'Joan of Arc' and cannot help prophesying, that he will be known to posterity, as Shakspeare's great grandson. I think he will write a tragedy or tragedies.

Charles Lloyd has given me his Poems, which I give to you, on condition that you print them in this Volume, after Charles Lamb's Poems; the title page, 'Poems, by S. T. Coleridge. Second Edition; to which are added Poems, by C. Lamb, and C. Lloyd.' C. Lamb's poems will occupy about forty pages; C. Lloyd's at least one hundred, although only his choice fish.

P. S. I like your 'Lines on Savage.'[33]

God bless you,

S. T. Coleridge."

In a letter received from Mr. Coleridge soon after, he says, "I shall now stick close to my tragedy (called Osorio,) and when I have finished it, shall walk to Shaftesbury to spend a few days with Bowles. From thence I go to Salisbury, and thence to Christchurch, to see Southey."

This letter, as was usual, has no date, but a letter from Mr. Wordsworth determines about the time when Mr. C. had nearly finished his Tragedy.

"September 13, 1797.

… Coleridge is gone over to Bowles with his Tragedy, which he has finished to the middle of the 5th Act. He set off a week ago."

Mr. Coleridge, in the summer of 1797 presented me with an extract from his "Osorio," which is here given to the reader, from Mr. C.'s own writing.


Scene, Spain.


  Now blessings on the man, whoe'er he be,
  That joined your names with mine! O my sweet lady
  As often as I think of those dear times,
  When you two little ones would stand, at eve,
  On each side of my chair, and make me learn
  All you had learnt in the day, and how to talk
  In gentle phrase, then bid me sing to you—
  'Tis more like heaven to come than what has been.


  O my dear mother! this strange man has left us,
  Troubled with wilder fancies than the moon
  Breeds in the love-sick maid who gazes at it,
  Till lost in inward vision, with wet eye
  She gazes idly!—But that entrance, Mother!


Can no one hear? It is a perilous tale!


No one.


         My husband's father told it me,
  Poor Old Leoni—Angels rest his soul!
  He was a woodman, and could fell and saw
  With lusty arm. You know that huge round beam
  Which props the hanging wall of the old Chapel.
  Beneath that tree, while yet it was a tree
  He found a baby wrapt in mosses, lined
  With thistle beards, and such small locks of wool
  As hang on brambles. Well, he brought him home,
  And reared him at the then Lord Velez' cost.
  And so the babe grew up a pretty boy,
  A pretty boy but most unteachable—
  And never learnt a prayer nor told a bead,
  But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes,
  And whistled, as he were a bird himself.
  And all the autumn 'twas his only play
  To get the seeds of wild flowers and to plant them
  With earth and water on the stumps of trees.
  A Friar who gathered simples in the wood,
  A grey-haired man—he loved this little boy,
  The boy loved him—and, when the Friar taught him,
  He soon could write with the pen; and from that time
  Lived chiefly at the Convent or the Castle.
  So he became a very learned man.
  But O! poor youth!—he read, and read, and read,
  'Till his brain turned—and ere his twentieth year,
  He had unlawful thoughts of many things:
  And though he prayed, he never loved to pray
  With holy men, nor in a holy place—
  But yet his speech, it was so soft and sweet,
  The late Lord Velez ne'er was wearied with him.
  And once as by the north side of the Chapel
  They stood together, chained in deep discourse,
  The earth heaved under them with such a groan,
  That the wall tottered, and had well-nigh fallen
  Right on their heads. My Lord was sorely frightened:
  A fever seized the youth; and he made confession
  Of all the heretical and lawless talk
  Which brought this judgment: so the youth was seized,
  And cast into that hole. My husband's father
  Sobbed like a child—it almost broke his heart:
  And once, as he was working in the cellar,
  He heard a voice distinctly; 'twas the youth's,
  Who sung a doleful song about green fields,
  How sweet it were on lake or wild savannah
  To hunt for food, and be a naked man,
  And wander up and down at liberty.
  He always doated on the youth, and now
  His love grew desperate; and defying death,
  He made that cunning entrance I described:
  And the young man escaped.


                'Tis a sweet tale:
  Such as would lull a listening child to sleep,
  His rosy face besoiled with unwiped tears.
  And what became of him?


                He went on ship-board
  With those bold voyagers, who made discovery
  Of golden lands: Leoni's younger brother
  Went likewise, and when he returned to Spain,
  He told Leoni, that the poor mad youth,
  Soon after they arrived in that new world,
  In spite of his dissuasion, seized a boat,
  And all alone set sail by silent moonlight,
  Up a great river, great as any sea,
  And ne'er was heard of more: but 'tis supposed,
  He lived and died among the savage men.

The following letter of Mr. C. was in answer to a request for some long-promised copy, and for which the printer importuned.

"Stowey, 1797.

My dear, dear Cottle,

Have patience, and everything shall be done. I think now entirely of your brother:[34] in two days I will think entirely for you. By Wednesday next you shall have Lloyd's other Poems, with all Lamb's, &c. &c….

S. T. C."

A little before this time, a singular occurrence happened to Mr. C. during a pedestrian excursion into Somersetshire, as detailed in the following letter to Mr. Wade.

"My dear friend,

I am here after a most tiresome journey; in the course of which, a woman asked me if I knew one Coleridge, of Bristol, I answered, I had heard of him. 'Do you know, (quoth she) that that vile jacobin villain drew away a young man of our parish, one Burnet' &c. and in this strain did the woman continue for near an hour; heaping on me every name of abuse that the parish of Billingsgate could supply. I listened very particularly; appeared to approve all she said, exclaiming, 'dear me!' two or three times, and, in fine, so completely won the woman's heart by my civilities, that I had not courage enough to undeceive her….

S. T. Coleridge.

P. S. You are a good prophet. Oh, into what a state have the scoundrels brought this devoted kingdom. If the House of Commons would but melt down their faces, it would greatly assist the copper currency—we should have brass enough."

To refer now to another subject. Robert Burns had died in 1796. Finding that his family had little more than their father's fame to support them, I consulted with Mr. Coleridge, whether it would not be possible to add to the fund then being raised, by promoting a subscription in Bristol, in furtherance of such design. It being deemed feasible, while Mr. C. undertook to write a Poem on the subject for a Bristol paper, I sent the following advertisement to the same vehicle.


It will doubtless afford much pleasure to the liberal portion of the inhabitants of this city, to understand that a subscription has been set on foot in different parts of the kingdom, for the wife and five small children of poor Burns, the Scotch poet. There has already been subscribed—

        At Dumfries (where the Bard lived) £104 12 0
        At Edinburgh … … … 64 16 0
        At Liverpool … … … 67 10 0

Whoever, in Bristol, from their admiration of departed genius, may wish to contribute, in rescuing from distress the family of Robert Burns, will be pleased to leave their donations with Mr. Cottle, High-Street. Mr. Nichol, of Pall-Mall, London, will publicly acknowledge the receipt of all monies subscribed in this city.

The sum we transmitted to the general fund, did credit to the liberality of Bristol.

Mr. Coleridge had often, in the keenest terms, expressed his contemptuous indignation at the Scotch patrons of the poet, in making him an exciseman! so that something biting was expected.

The Poem was entitled, "To a Friend, who had declared his intention of writing no more Poetry." In reading the Poem immediately after it was written, the rasping force which Mr. C. gave to the following concluding lines was inimitable.

                 "Is thy Burns dead?
  And shall he die unwept, and sink to earth,
  Without the meed of one melodious tear?
  Thy Burns, and nature's own beloved Bard,
  Who to 'the illustrious of his native land,'[35]
  So properly did look for patronage.
  Ghost of Maecenas! hide thy blushing face!
  They took him from the sickle and the plough—
  To guage ale firkins!
                  O, for shame return!
  On a bleak rock, midway the Aonian Mount,
  There stands a lone and melancholy tree,
  Whose aged branches to the midnight blast
  Make solemn music, pluck its darkest bough,
  Ere yet th' unwholesome night dew be exhaled,
  And weeping, wreath it round thy Poet's tomb:
  Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow,
  Pick stinking henbane, and the dusky flowers
  Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit;
  These, with stopped nostril, and glove-guarded hand,
  Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine
  Th' illustrious brow of Scotch Nobility!"

If Mr. C.'s nature had been less benevolent, and he had given full vent to the irascible and satirical, the restrained elements of which abounded in his spirit, he would have obtained the least enviable of all kinds of pre-eminence, and have become the undisputed modern Juvenal.

Mr. George Burnet resided sometimes with his relations, sometimes with Mr. Coleridge, at Stowey. Mr. and Mrs. C. happened to be now in Bristol, when the former was summoned home on account of Burnet's sudden and serious illness. On reaching Stowey, Mr. C. sent me the following letter.


My dear friend,

I found George Burnet ill enough, heaven knows, Yellow Jaundice,—-the introductory symptoms very violent. I return to Bristol on Thursday, and shall not leave till all be done.

Remind Mrs. Coleridge of the kittens, and tell her that George's brandy is just what smuggled spirits might be expected to be, execrable! The smack of it remains in my mouth, and I believe will keep me most horribly temperate for half a century. He (Burnet) was bit, but I caught the Brandiphobia.[36] [obliterations …]—scratched out, well knowing that you never allow such things to pass, uncensured. A good joke, and it slipped out most impromptu—ishly.

The mice play the very devil with us. It irks me to set a trap. By all the whiskers of all the pussies that have mewed plaintively, or amorously, since the days of Whittington, it is not fair. 'Tis telling a lie. 'Tis as if you said, 'Here is a bit of toasted cheese; come little mice! I invite you!' when, oh, foul breach of the rites of hospitality! I mean to assassinate my too credulous guests! No, I cannot set a trap, but I should vastly like to make a Pitt—fall. (Smoke the Pun!). But concerning the mice, advise thou, lest there be famine in the land. Such a year of scarcity! Inconsiderate mice! Well, well, so the world wags.

Farewell, S. T. C.

P. S. A mad dog ran through our village, and bit several dogs. I have desired the farmers to be attentive, and to-morrow shall give them, in writing, the first symptoms of madness in a dog.

I wish my pockets were as yellow as George's phiz!"[37]

The preceding letter is about a fair example of that playful and ebullient imagination for which Mr. Coleridge, at this time, was distinguished. Subjects high and low received the same embellishment. Figure crowded on figure, and image on image, in new and perpetual variety.

He was once reprobating the introduction of all bull and bear similes into poetry. "Well," I replied, "whatever your antipathies may be to bulls and bears, you have no objection to wolves." "Yes," he answered, "I equally abominate the whole tribe of lion, bull, bear, boar, and wolf similes. They are more thread-bare than a beggar's cast-off coat. From their rapid transition from hand to hand, they are now more hot and sweaty than halfpence on a market day. I would as soon meet a wolf in the open field, as in a friend's poem." I then rejoined, "Your objection, once at least, to wolf similes, was not quite so strong, seeing you prevailed on Mr. Southey to throw into the first book of "Joan of Arc," a five-line flaming wolf simile of yours. One could almost see the wolf leap, he was so fierce!" "Ah" said Mr. C. "but the discredit rests on him, not on me."

The simile, in question, if not a new subject, is at least, perhaps, as energetically expressed as any five lines in Mr. Coleridge's writings.

  As who, through many a summer night serene
  Had hover'd round the fold with coward wish;
  Horrid with brumal ice, the fiercer wolf,
  From his bleak mountain and his den of snows
  Leaps terrible and mocks the shepherd's spear.
Book 1. L. 47.

"June, 1796.

My dear Cottle,

I am sojourning for a few days at Racedown, Dorset, the mansion of our friend Wordsworth; who presents his kindest respects to you….

Wordsworth admires my tragedy, which gives me great hopes. Wordsworth has written a tragedy himself. I speak with heartfelt sincerity, and I think, unblinded judgment, when I tell you that I feel myself a little man by his side, and yet I do not think myself a less man than I formerly thought myself. His drama is absolutely wonderful. You know I do not commonly speak in such abrupt and unmingled phrases, and therefore will the more readily believe me. There are, in the piece, those profound touches of the human heart, which I find three or four times in the "Robbers" of Schiller, and often in Shakspeare, but in Wordsworth there are no inequalities….

God bless you, and eke,

S. T. Coleridge."

Respecting this tragedy of Mr. W.'s, parts of which I afterwards heard with the highest admiration, Mr. Coleridge in a succeeding letter gave me the following information. "I have procured for Wordsworth's tragedy, an introduction to Harris, the manager of Covent Garden, who has promised to read it attentively, and give his answer immediately; and if he accepts it, to put it in preparation without an hour's delay.

This tragedy may or may not have been deemed suitable for the stage. Should the latter prove the case, and the closet be its element, the public after these intimations, will importunately urge Mr. W. to a publication of this dramatic piece, so calculated still to augment his high reputation.

There is a peculiar pleasure in recording the favorable sentiments which one poet and man of genius entertains of another, I therefore state that Mr. Coleridge says, in a letter received from him March 8th, 1798, "The Giant Wordsworth-God love him! When I speak in the terms of admiration due to his intellect, I fear lest these terms should keep out of sight the amiableness of his manners. He has written near twelve hundred lines of blank verse, superior, I hesitate not to aver, to any thing in our language which any way resembles it."

And in a letter received from Mr. Coleridge, 1807, he says—speaking of his friend Mr. W. "He is one, whom God knows, I love and honour as far beyond myself, as both morally and intellectually he is above me."

"Stowey, 1797.

My dear Cottle,

Wordsworth and his exquisite sister are with me. She is a woman indeed! in mind I mean, and heart; for her person is such, that if you expected to see a pretty woman, you would think her rather ordinary; if you expected to see an ordinary woman, you would think her pretty! but her manners are simple, ardent, impressive. In every motion, her most innocent soul outbeams so brightly, that who saw would say,

"Guilt was a thing impossible in her."

Her information various. Her eye watchful in minutest observation of nature; and her taste, a perfect electrometer. It bends, protrudes, and draws in, at subtlest beauties, and most recondite faults.

She and W. desire their kindest respects to you.

Your ever affectionate friend.

S. T. C."

"Stowey, Sept. 1797.

My very dear Cottle,

Your illness afflicts me, and unless I receive a full account of you by
Milton, I shall be very uneasy, so do not fail to write.

Herbert Croft is in Exeter gaol! This is unlucky. Poor devil! He must now be unpeppered.[39] We are all well. Wordsworth is well. Hartley sends a grin to you? He has another tooth!

In the wagon, there was brought from Bath, a trunk, in order to be
forwarded to Stowey, directed, 'S. T. Coleridge, Stowey, near
Bridgwater.' This, we suppose, arrived in Bristol on Tuesday or
Wednesday, last week.

It belonged to Thelwall. If it be not forwarded to Stowey, let it be stopped, and not sent.

Give my kind love to your brother Robert, and ax him to put on his hat, and run, without delay to the inn, or place, by whatever bird, beast, fish, or man distinguished, where Parsons's Bath wagon sets up.

From your truly affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

A letter, written, at this time, by Mr. Coleridge to Mr. Wade, more particularly refers to Mr. Thelwall's visit at Stowey.

"Stowey, 1797.

My very dear friend,

… John Thelwall is a very warm-hearted, honest man; and disagreeing as we do, on almost every point of religion, of morals, of politics, and philosophy, we like each other uncommonly well. He is a great favorite with Sara. Energetic activity of mind and of heart, is his master feature. He is prompt to conceive, and still prompter to execute; but I think he is deficient in that patience of mind which can look intensely and frequently at the same subject. He believes and disbelieves with impassioned confidence. I wish to see him doubting, and doubting. He is intrepid, eloquent, and honest. Perhaps, the only acting democrat that is honest, for the patriots are ragged cattle; a most execrable herd. Arrogant because they are ignorant, and boastful of the strength of reason, because they have never tried it enough to know its weakness. Oh! my poor country! The clouds cover thee. There is not one spot of clear blue in the whole heaven!

My love to all whom you love, and believe me, with brotherly affection, with esteem and gratitude, and every warm emotion of the heart,

Your faithful

S. T. Coleridge."

"London, 1797.

Dear Cottle,

If Mrs. Coleridge be in Bristol, pray desire her to write to me immediately, and I beg you, the moment you receive this letter, to send to No. 17, Newfoundland Street to know whether she be there. I have written to Stowey, but if she be in Bristol, beg her to write to me of it by return of post, that I may immediately send down some cash for her travelling expenses, &c. We shall reside in London for the next four months. God bless you, Cottle, I love you,

S. T. Coleridge."

P. S. The volume (second edition, Coleridge, Lloyd, and Lamb) is a most beautiful one. You have determined that the three Bards shall walk up Parnassus, in their best bib and tucker.

"Stowey, June 29th, 1797.

My very dear Cottle,

… Charles Lamb will probably be here in about a fortnight. Could you not contrive to put yourself in a Bridgwater coach, and T. Poole would fetch you in a one-horse chaise to Stowey. What delight would it not give us….

It was not convenient at this time to accept Mr. C.'s invitation, but going to Stowey two or three weeks afterwards, I learnt how pleasantly the interview had been between Charles Lamb and himself. It is delightful, even at the present moment, to recal the images connected with my then visit to Stowey, (which those can best understand, who, like myself, have escaped from severe duties to a brief season of happy recreation). Mr. Coleridge welcomed me with the warmest cordiality. He talked with affection of his old school-fellow, Lamb, who had so recently left him; regretted he had not an opportunity of introducing me to one whom he so highly valued. Mr. C. took peculiar delight in assuring me (at least, at that time) how happy he was; exhibiting successively, his house, his garden, his orchard, laden with fruit; and also the contrivances he had made to unite his two neighbours' domains with his own.

After the grand circuit had been accomplished, by hospitable contrivance, we approached the "Jasmine harbour," when to our gratifying surprise, we found the tripod table laden with delicious bread and cheese, surmounted by a brown mug of true Taunton ale. We instinctively took our seats; and there must have been some downright witchery in the provisions which surpassed all of its kind; nothing like it on the wide terrene, and one glass of the Taunton, settled it to an axiom. While the dappled sun-beams played on our table, through the umbrageous canopy, the very birds seemed to participate in our felicities, and poured forth their selectest anthems. As we sat in our sylvan hall of splendour, a company of the happiest mortals, (T. Poole, C. Lloyd, S. T. Coleridge, and J. C.) the bright-blue heavens; the sporting insects; the balmy zephyrs; the feathered choristers; the sympathy of friends, all augmented the pleasurable to the highest point this side the celestial! Every interstice of our hearts being filled with happiness, as a consequence, there was no room for sorrow, exorcised as it now was, and hovering around at unapproachable distance. With our spirits thus entranced, though we might weep at other moments, yet joyance so filled all within and without, that, if, at this juncture, tidings had been brought us, that an irruption of the ocean had swallowed up all our brethren of Pekin; from the pre-occupation of our minds, "poor things," would have been our only reply, with anguish put off till the morrow. While thus elevated in the universal current of our feelings, Mrs. Coleridge approached, with her fine Hartley; we all smiled, but the father's eye beamed transcendental joy! "But, all things have an end." Yet, pleasant it is for memory to treasure up in her choicest depository, a few such scenes, (these sunny spots in existence!) on which the spirit may repose, when the rough, adverse winds shake and disfigure all besides.

Although so familiar with the name and character of Charles Lamb, through the medium of S. T. Coleridge, yet my intercourse (with the exception of one casual visit) commenced with him in the year 1802, during a residence of many months in London, when we often met. After this period, from my residing permanently in Bristol, our acquaintance was intermitted, till 1819, when he requested the loan of a portrait, for the purpose expressed in the following letter.

"Dear Sir,

It is so long since I have seen or heard from you, that I fear that you will consider a request I have to make, as impertinent. About three years since, when I was in Bristol, I made an effort to see you, by calling at Brunswick Square, but you were from home. The request I have to make, is, that you would very much oblige me, if you have any small portrait of yourself, by allowing me to have it copied, to accompany a selection, of the likenesses of 'Living Bards,' which a most particular friend of mine is making. If you have no objection, and would oblige me by transmitting such portrait, I will answer for taking the greatest care of it, and for its safe return. I hope you will pardon the liberty,

From an old friend and well wisher,

Charles Lamb."

In consequence of this application, I sent Charles Lamb a portrait, by Branwhite, and enclosed for his acceptance, the second part of my "Messiah." When the portrait was returned, it was accompanied with the following letter, containing a few judicious remarks, such as might have been expected from one whose judgment Mr. Coleridge so highly estimated.

"Dear Sir,

My friend, whom you have obliged by the loan of your picture, has had it very nicely copied (and a very spirited drawing it is; so every one thinks who has seen it.) The copy is not much inferior to yours, done by a daughter of Joseph's, R. A.

I accompany the picture with my warm thanks, both for that, and your better favour the 'Messiah' which I assure you I have read through with great pleasure. The verses have great sweetness, and a New Testament plainness about them which affected me very much. I could just wish that in page 63, you had omitted the lines 71 and 72, and had ended the period with,

  The willowy brook was there, but that sweet sound—
  When to be heard again on earthly ground!"

Two very sweet lines, and the sense perfect.

And in page 154, line 68,

  He spake, 'I come, ordain'd a world to save,
  To be baptis'd by thee in Jordan's wave."

These words are hardly borne out by the story, and seem scarce accordant with the modesty with which our Lord came to take his common portion among the baptismal candidates. They also anticipate the beauty of John's recognition of the Messiah, and the subsequent confirmation by the Voice and Dove.

You will excuse the remarks of an old brother bard, whose career, though long since pretty well stopped, was coeval in its beginning with your own, and who is sorry his lot has been always to be so distant from you. It is not likely that C. L. will see Bristol again, but if J. C. should ever visit London, he will be a most welcome visitor to C. L. My sister joins in cordial remembrances.

Dear sir, Yours truly,

Charles Lamb."

Having always entertained for Charles Lamb a very kind feeling, independently of my admiration of his wit and genius, I requested his acceptance of my poem of the "Fall of Cambria," to which he sent the following characteristic reply.

"London, India House, May 26, 1829.

My dear Sir,

I am quite ashamed of not having acknowledged your kind present earlier, but that unknown something which was never yet discovered, though so often speculated upon, which stands in the way of lazy folks' answering letters, has presented its usual obstacle. It is not forgetfulness, nor disrespect, nor incivility, but terribly like all these bad things.

I have been in my time a great Epistolatory scribbler, but the passion, and with it the facility, at length wears out, and it must be pumped up again by the heavy machinery of duty or gratitude, when it should run free. I have read your 'Fall of Cambria' with as much pleasure as I did your 'Messiah.' Your Cambrian Poem I shall be tempted to repeat oftenest, as human poems take me in a mood more frequently congenial than divine. The character of Llewellyn pleases me more than anything else perhaps; and then some of the Lyrical pieces are fine varieties.

It was quite a mistake that I could dislike anything you should write against Lord Byron, for I have a thorough aversion to his character, and a very moderate admiration of his genius; he is great in so little a way. To be a poet is to be the man; not a petty portion of occasional low passion worked up into a permanent form of humanity. Shakspeare has thrust such rubbishly feelings into a corner—the dark dusky heart of Don John, in the 'Much Ado about Nothing.' The fact is, I have not seen your 'Expostulatory Epistle' to him. I was not aware, till your question, that it was out. I shall inquire and get it forthwith.

Southey is in town, whom I have seen slightly. Wordsworth expected, whom I hope to see much of. I write with accelerated motion, for I have two or three bothering clerks and brokers about me, who always press in proportion as you seem to be doing something that is not business. I could exclaim a little profanely, but I think you do not like swearing.

I conclude, begging you to consider that I feel myself much obliged by your kindness, and shall be most happy at any and at all times to hear from you.

Dear Sir, yours truly,

Charles Lamb."

Mr. Coleridge, in the second edition of his poems, transferred some of the poems which appeared in the first, to a supplement, and, amongst others, some verses addressed to myself, with the following notice.

"The first in order of these verses which I have thus endeavoured to reprieve from immediate oblivion, was originally addressed "To the Author of Poems published anonymously at Bristol." A second edition of these poems has lately appeared with the author's name prefixed: (Joseph Cottle) and I could not refuse myself the gratification of seeing the name of that man amongst my poems, without whose kindness, they would probably have remained unpublished; and to whom I know myself greatly, and variously obliged, as a poet, a man, and a Christian.


  My honor'd friend! whose verse concise, yet clear,
  Tunes to smooth melody unconquer'd sense,
  May your fame fadeless live, "as never seer"
  The ivy wreathes yon oak, whose broad defence
  Embow'rs me from noon's sultry influence!
  For like that nameless riv'let stealing by,
  Your modest verse to musing quiet dear
  Is rich with tints heaven-borrow'd, the charm'd eye
  Shall gaze undazzled there, and love the soften'd sky.

  Circling the base of the poetic mount
  A stream there is, which rolls in lazy flow;
  Its cold-black waters from oblivion's fount;
  The vapour poison'd birds that fly too low,
  Fall with dead swoop, and to the bottom go.
  Escaped that heavy stream on pinion fleet,
  Beneath the mountain's lofty frowning brow,
  Ere aught of perilous ascent you meet,
  A mead of mildest charm delays the unlab'ring feet.

  Not there the cloud-climb rock, sublime and vast,
  That like some giant king, o'er-glooms the hill;
  Nor there the pine-grove to the midnight blast
  Makes solemn music! But the unceasing rill
  To the soft wren or lark's descending trill
  Murmurs sweet under-song 'mid jasmine bowers.
  In this same pleasant meadow at your will,
  I ween, you wander'd—there collecting flow'rs
  Of sober tint, and herbs of medicinal powers!

  There for the monarch-murder'd soldier's tomb
  You wove the unfinish'd[40] wreath of saddest hues,
  And to that holier[41] chaplet added bloom
  Besprinkling it with Jordan's cleansing dews.
  But lo! your[42] Henderson awakes the Muse—
  His spirit beckon'd from the mountain's height!
  You left the plain and soar'd mid richer views!
  So nature mourn'd, when sank the first day's light,
  With stars, unseen before, spangling her robe of night!

  Still soar my friend those richer views among,
  Strong, rapid, fervent, flashing fancy's beam!
  Virtue and truth shall love your gentler song:
  But Poesy demands th' impassion'd theme:
  Wak'd by heaven's silent dews at Eve's mild gleam
  What balmy sweets Pomona breathes around?
  But if the vex'd air rush a stormy stream,
  Or autumn's shrill gust moan in plaintive sound
  With fruits and flowers she loads the tempest honor'd ground."

While the first edition of Mr. Coleridge's poems was in the press, I received from him the following letter.

"My dear Sir,

… There is a beautiful little poetic epistle of Sara's, which I mean to print here. What if her epistle to you were likewise printed, so as to have two of her poems? It is remarkably elegant, and would do honour to any volume of poems."

The first epistle I never received. The second was printed in the first edition of Mr. C.'s poems, and in no other. On account of its merit it is here inserted.


* * * * *

She had lost her thimble, and her complaint being accidentally overheard by her friend, he immediately sent her four others to take her choice from.

* * * * *

      As oft mine eye, with careless glance,
        Has gallop'd o'er some old romance,
        Of speaking birds, and steeds with wings,
        Giants and dwarfs, and fiends, and kings:
        Beyond the rest, with more attentive care,
        I've loved to read of elfin-favor'd fair—
        How if she longed for aught beneath the sky,
        And suffered to escape one votive sigh,
        Wafted along on viewless pinions airy,
        It kid itself obsequious at her feet:
      Such things I thought we might not hope to meet,
      Save in the dear delicious land of fairy!
      But now (by proof I know it well)
      There's still some peril in free wishing—
      Politeness is a licensed spell,
      And you, dear sir, the arch-magician.

        You much perplexed me by the various set:
      They were indeed an elegant quartette!
      My mind went to and fro, and wavered long;
      At length I've chosen (Samuel thinks me wrong)
      That around whose azure brim,
      Silver figures seem to swim,
      Like fleece-white clouds, that on the skyey blue,
      Waked by no breeze, the self-same shapes retain;
      Or ocean nymphs, with limbs of snowy hue,
      Slow floating o'er the calm cerulean plain.

        Just such a one, mon cher ami
      (The finger-shield of industry,)
      The inventive gods, I deem, to Pallas gave,
      What time the vain Arachne, madly brave,
      Challenged the blue-eyed virgin of the sky
      A duel in embroidered work to try.
      And hence the thimbled finger of grave Pallas,
      To th' erring needle's point was more than callous.

      But, ah, the poor Arachne! she, unarmed,
      Blund'ring, through hasty eagerness, alarmed
      With all a rival's hopes, a mortal's fears,
      Still miss'd the stitch, and stained the web with tears.
        Unnumbered punctures, small, yet sore,
        Full fretfully the maiden bore,
        Till she her lily finger found
        Crimson'd with many a tiny wound,
      And to her eyes, suffused with watery woe,
        Her flower-embroidered web danced dim, I wist,
        Like blossom'd shrubs, in a quick-moving mist;
      Till vanquish'd, the despairing maid sank low.

      O, Bard! whom sure no common muse inspires,
      I heard your verse that glows with vestal fires;
      And I from unwatch'd needle's erring point
      Had surely suffered on each finger joint,
      Those wounds, which erst did poor Arachne meet;
        While he, the much-loved object of my choice,
      (My bosom thrilling with enthusiast heat)
        Pour'd on my ear, with deep impressive voice,
      How the great Prophet of the desert stood,
      And preach'd of penitence by Jordan's flood:
      On war; or else the legendary lays,
      In simplest measures hymn'd to Alla's praise;
      Or what the Bard from his heart's inmost stores,
      O'er his friend's grave in loftier numbers pours:
      Yes, Bard polite! you but obey'd the laws
      Of justice, when the thimble you had sent;
      What wounds your thought-bewildering muse might cause,
      'Tis well, your finger-shielding gifts prevent.


"Dear Cottle,

I have heard nothing of my Tragedy, except some silly remarks of Kemble's, to whom a friend showed it; it does not appear to me that there is a shadow of probability that it will be accepted. It gave me no pain, and great pleasure, in finding that it gave me no pain.

I had rather hoped than believed that I was possessed of so much philosophical capability. Sheridan most certainly has not used me with common justice. The proposal came from himself, and although this circumstance did not bind him to accept the tragedy, it certainly bound him to every, and that the earliest, attention to it. I suppose it is snugly in his green bag, if it have not emigrated to the kitchen.

I sent to the Monthly Magazine, (1797) three mock Sonnets, in ridicule of my own Poems, and Charles Lloyd's, and Lamb's, &c. &c. exposing that affectation of unaffectedness, of jumping and misplaced accent, in common-place epithets, flat lines forced into poetry by italics, (signifying how well and mouthishly the author would read them) puny pathos, &c. &c. the instances were almost all taken from myself, and Lloyd, and Lamb.

I signed them 'Nehemiah Higginbotham.' I think they may do good to our young Bards.

God love you,

S. T. C."

P. S. I am translating the 'Oberon' of Wieland; it is a difficult language, and I can translate at least as fast as I can construe. I have made also a very considerable proficiency in the French language, and study it daily, and daily study the German; so that I am not, and have not been idle….



* * * * *


  Pensive, at eve, on the hard world I mus'd,
    And my poor heart was sad: so at the moon
    I gazed, and sigh'd, and sigh'd! for ah! how soon
  Eve darkens into night! Mine eye perus'd
  With tearful vacancy the dampy grass,
    Which wept and glitter'd in the paly ray:
    And I did pause me on my lonely way,
  And muse me on those wretched ones, who pass
  O'er the black heath of sorrow. But alas!
    Most of MYSELF I thought: when it befel
  That the sooth SPIRIT of the breezy wood
    Breath'd in mine ear—"All this is very well;
  But much of one thing is for no-thing good."
    Ah! my poor heart's inexplicable swell!




  O! I do love thee, meek simplicity!
    For of thy lays, the lulling simpleness
    Goes to my heart, and soothes each small distress,
  Distress, though small, yet haply great to me!
  'Tis true, on lady fortune's gentlest pad,
    I amble on; yet, though I know not why,
    So sad I am!—but should a friend and I
  Grow cool and miff, oh, I am very sad!
  And then with sonnets, and with sympathy.
    My dreamy bosom's mystic woes I pall;
  Now of my false friend 'plaining plaintively,
    Now raving at mankind in gener-al
    But whether sad or fierce, 'tis simple all,
  All very simple, meek SIMPLICITY!




  And this reft house is that, the which he built,
    Lamented Jack! and here his malt he piled,
    Cautious in vain! These rats that squeak'd so wild,
  Squeak, not unconscious of their fathers' guilt.
  Did ye not see her gleaming through the glade?
    Belike 'twas she, the Maiden all forlorn.
    What though she milk no cow with crumpled horn,
  Yet, aye she haunts the dale where erst she stray'd:
  And, aye beside her stalks her amorous knight!
    Still on his thighs his wonted brogues are worn,
    And through those brogues, still tatter'd and betorn,
  His hindward charms gleam an unearthly white;
  As when through broken clouds, at night's high moon.
  Peeps in fair fragments forth—the full-orb'd harvest moon!


The moralist rightly says, "There is nothing permanent in this uncertain world;" and even most friendships do not partake of the "Munition of Rocks."

Alas! the spirit of impartiality now compels me to record, that the inseparable Trio; even the three "Groscolliases" themselves, had, somehow or other, been touched with the negative magnet, and their particles, in opposition, flew off "as far as from hence to the utmost pole." I never rightly understood the cause of this dissension, but shrewdly suspected that that unwelcome and insidious intruder, Mr. Nehemiah Higginbotham, had no inconsiderable share in it.

Mr. C. even determined in his third projected edition, (1798) that the production of his two late friends should be excluded. The three next letters refer to this unpleasant affair. It is hardly necessary to add, that the difference was of short continuance.

The Latin motto, prefixed to the second edition of Mr. C.'s poems, puzzled everybody to know from what author it was derived. One and another inquired of me, to no purpose, and expressed a wish that Mr. C. had been clearer in his citation, as "no one could understand it." On my naming this to Mr. Coleridge, he laughed heartily, and said, "It was all a hoax." "Not meeting" said he, "with a suitable motto, I invented one, and with references purposely obscure," as will be explained in the next letter.[45]

"March 8th, 1798.

My dear Cottle,

I have been confined to my bed for some days, through a fever occasioned by the stump of a tooth, which baffled chirurgical efforts to eject, and which, by affecting my eye, affected my stomach, and through that my whole frame. I am better, but still weak, in consequence of such long sleeplessness and wearying pains; weak, very weak. I thank you, my dear friend, for your late kindness, and in a few weeks will either repay you in money, or by verses, as you like. "With regard to Lloyd's verses, it is curious that I should be applied to, 'to be persuaded to resign' and in hopes that I might 'consent to give up' (unknown by whom) a number of poems which were published at the earnest request of the author, who assured me, that the circumstance was of 'no trivial import to his happiness'!

Times change and people change; but let us keep our souls in quietness! I have no objection to any disposal of Lloyd's poems except that of their being republished with mine. The motto which I had prefixed—"Duplex, &c." from Groscollias, has placed me in a ridiculous situation, but it was a foolish and presumptuous start of affectionateness, and I am not unwilling to incur the punishment due to my folly. By past experiences we build up our moral being. God bless you,

S. T. Coleridge."

A reference to this "stump of a tooth." was more particularly made, in the following letter to Mr. Wade.

"March 21st, 1798.

My very dear friend,

I have even now returned from a little excursion that I have taken for the confirmation of my health, which had suffered a rude assault from the anguish of the stump of a tooth which had baffled the attempts of our surgeon here, and which confined me to my bed. I suffered much from the disease, and more from the doctor; rather than again put my mouth into his hands, I would put my hands into a lion's mouth. I am happy to hear of, and should be most happy to see, the plumpness and progression of your dear boy; but-yes, my dear Wade, it must be a but, much as I hate the word but. Well,—but I cannot attend the chemical lectures. I have many reasons, but the greatest, or at least the most ostensible reason, is, that I cannot leave Mrs. C. at that time; our house is an uncomfortable one; our surgeon may be, for aught I know, a lineal descendant of Esculapius himself, but if so, in the repeated transfusion of life from father to son, through so many generations, the wit and knowledge, being subtle spirits, have evaporated….

Ever your grateful and affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."


My dear Cottle,

I regret that aught should have disturbed our tranquillity; respecting Lloyd, I am willing to believe myself in part mistaken, and so let all things be as before. I have no wish respecting these poems, either for or against re-publication with mine. As to the third edition, if there be occasion for it immediately, it must be published with some alterations, but no additions or omissions. The Pixies, Chatterton, and some dozen others, shall be printed at the end of the volume, under the title of Juvenile Poems, and in this case I will send you the volume immediately. But if there be no occasion for the volume to go to press for ten weeks, at the expiration of that time, I would make it a volume worthy of me, and omit utterly near one-half of the present volume—a sacrifice to pitch black oblivion.[46]

Whichever be the case, I will repay you the money you have paid for me, in money, and in a few weeks; or if you should prefer the latter proposal, i. e. the not sending me to the press for ten weeks, I should insist on considering the additions, however large, as my payment to you for the omissions, which, indeed, would be but strict justice.

I am requested by Wordsworth, to put to you the following questions. What could you, conveniently and prudently, and what would you give for—first, our two Tragedies, with small prefaces, containing an analysis of our principal characters? Exclusive of the prefaces, the tragedies are, together, five thousand lines; which, in printing, from the dialogue form, and directions respecting actors and scenery, are at least equal to six thousand. To be delivered to you within a week of the date of your answer to this letter; and the money which you offer, to be paid to us at the end of four months from the same date; none to be paid before, all to be paid then.

Second.—Wordsworth's 'Salisbury Plain,' and 'Tale of a Woman'; which two poems, with a few others which he will add, and the notes, will make a volume. This to be delivered to you within three weeks of the date of your answer, and the money to be paid as before, at the end of four months from the present date.

Do not, my dearest Cottle, harass yourself about the imagined great merit of the compositions, or be reluctant to offer what you can prudently offer, from an idea that the poems are worth more. But calculate what you can do, with reference simply to yourself, and answer as speedily as you can; and believe me your sincere, grateful, and affectionate friend and brother,

S. T. Coleridge."

I offered Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Wordsworth, thirty guineas each, as proposed, for their two tragedies; but which, after some hesitation, was declined, from the hope of introducing one, or both, on the stage. The volume of Poems was left for some future arrangement.

"My dear Cottle,

I never involved you in the bickering, and never suspected you, in any one action of your life, of practising guile against any human being, except yourself.

Your letter supplied only one in a link of circumstances, that informed me of some things, and perhaps deceived me in others. I shall write to-day to Lloyd. I do not think I shall come to Bristol for these lectures of which you speak.[47] I ardently wish for the knowledge, but Mrs. Coleridge is within a month of her confinement, and I cannot, I ought not to leave her; especially as her surgeon is not a John Hunter, nor my house likely to perish from a plethora of comforts. Besides, there are other things that might disturb that evenness of benevolent feeling, which I wish to cultivate.

I am much better, and at present at Allfoxden, and my new and tender health is all over me like a voluptuous feeling. God bless you,

S. T. Coleridge."

When the before noticed dissension occurred, Charles Lamb and Charles Lloyd, between whom a strong friendship had latterly sprung up, became alienated from Mr. Coleridge, and cherished something of an indignant feeling. Strange as it may appear, C. Lamb determined to desert the inglorious ground of neutrality, and to commence active operations against his late friend; but the arrows were taken from his own peculiar armoury; tipped, not with iron, but wit. He sent Mr. Coleridge the following letter. Mr. Coleridge gave me this letter, saying, "These young visionaries will do each other no good." The following is Charles Lamb's letter to Mr. C.


1st. Whether God loves a lying angel better than a true man?

2nd. Whether the archangel Uriel could affirm an untruth, and if he could, whether he would?

3rd. Whether honesty be an angelic virtue, or not rather to be reckoned among those qualities which the school-men term 'Virtutes minus splendidae'?

4th. Whether the higher order of Seraphim illuminati ever sneer?

5th. Whether pure intelligences can love?

6th. Whether the Seraphim ardentes do not manifest their virtues, by the way of vision and theory; and whether practice be not a sub-celestial and merely human virtue?

7th. Whether the vision beatific be anything more or less than a perpetual representment, to each individual angel, of his own present attainments, and future capabilities, somehow in the manner of mortal looking-glasses, reflecting a perpetual complacency and self satisfaction?

8th. and last. Whether an immortal and amenable soul may not come to be condemned at last, and the man never suspect it beforehand?

Learned Sir, my friend,

Presuming on our long habits of friendship, and emboldened further by your late liberal permission to avail myself of your correspondence, in case I want any knowledge, (which I intend to do, when I have no Encyclopedia, or Ladies Magazine at hand to refer to, in any matter of science,) I now submit to your enquiries the above theological propositions, to be by you defended or oppugned, or both, in the schools of Germany, whither, I am told, you are departing, to the utter dissatisfaction of your native Devonshire, and regret of universal England; but to my own individual consolation, if, through the channel of your wished return, learned sir, my friend, may be transmitted to this our island, from those famous theological wits of Leipsic and Gottingen, any rays of illumination, in vain to be derived from the home growth of our English halls and colleges. Finally wishing, learned sir, that you may see Schiller, and swing in a wood, (vide poems) and sit upon a tun, and eat fat hams of Westphalia,

I remain,

Your friend and docile pupil, to instruct,

Charles Lamb."

Mr. Coleridge, at first, appeared greatly hurt at this letter; an impression which I endeavoured to counteract, by considering it as a slight ebullition of feeling that would soon subside; and which happily proved to be the case. I also felt concern, not only that there should be a dissension between old friends, but lest Mr. Coleridge should be inconvenienced in a pecuniary way by the withdrawal of C. Lloyd from his domestic roof. To restore and heal, therefore, I wrote a conciliatory letter to Charles Lloyd, to which he thus replied.

"Birmingham, 7th June, 1798.

My dear Cottle,

I thank you many times for your pleasing intelligence respecting Coleridge. I cannot think that I have acted with, or from, passion towards him. Even my solitary night thoughts have been easy and calm when they have dwelt on him…. I love Coleridge, and can forget all that has happened.

At present, I could not well go to Stowey. I could scarcely excuse so sudden a removal from my parents. Lamb quitted me yesterday, after a fortnight's visit. I have been much interested in his society. I never knew him so happy in my life. I shall write to Coleridge today.

God bless you, my dear friend,

C. Lloyd, Jun."

Mr. C. up to this day, Feb. 18th, 1798, held, though laxly, the doctrines of Socinus. On the Rev. Mr. Rowe, of Shrewsbury, the Unitarian minister, coming to settle in Bristol, Mr. Coleridge was strongly recommended by his friends of that persuasion, to offer himself as Mr. R.'s successor; and he accordingly went on probation to Shrewsbury.

It is proper here to mention, in order that this subject may be the better understood, that Mr. Poole, two or three years before, had introduced Mr. Coleridge to Mr. Thomas Wedgewood. This gentleman formed a high opinion of Mr. C.'s talents, and felt an interest in his welfare. At the time Mr. Coleridge was hesitating whether or not he should persist in offering himself to the Shrewsbury congregation, and so finally settle down into an Unitarian minister, Mr. T. Wedgewood having heard of the circumstance, and fearing that a pastoral engagement might operate unfavourably on his literary pursuits, interfered, as will appear by the following letter of Mr. Coleridge to Mr. Wade.


My very dear friend,

This last fortnight has been very eventful. I received one hundred pounds from Josiah Wedgewood, in order to prevent the necessity of my going into the ministry. I have received an invitation from Shrewsbury, to be minister there; and after fluctuations of mind, which have for nights together robbed me of sleep, and I am afraid of health, I have at length returned the order to Mr. Wedgwood, with a long letter, explanatory of my conduct, and accepted the Shrewsbury invitation…."

Mr. T. Wedgewood still adhering to his first opinion that Mr. Coleridge's acceptance of the proposed engagement, would seriously obstruct his literary efforts; sent Mr. C. a letter, in which himself and his brother, Mr. Josiah Wedgwood, promised, conjointly, to allow him for his life, one hundred and fifty pounds a year. This decided Mr. Coleridge to reject the Shrewsbury invitation. He was oppressed with grateful emotions to these his liberal benefactors, and always spoke, in particular, of the late Mr. Thomas Wedgewood as being one of the best talkers, and as possessing one of the acutest minds, of any man he had known.

The following is Mr. Coleridge's hasty reply to Mr. Wedgewood.

"Shrewsbury, Friday night, 1798.

My dear sir,

I have this moment received your letter, and have scarcely more than a moment to answer it by return of post. If kindly feeling can be repaid by kindly feeling, I am not your debtor. I would wish to express the, same thing which is big at my heart, but I know not how to do it without indelicacy. As much abstracted from personal feeling as possible, I honor and esteem you for that which you have done.

I must of necessity stay here till the close of Sunday next. On Monday morning I shall leave it, and on Tuesday will be with you at Cote-House.

Very affectionately yours,

S. T. Coleridge.

T. Wedgewood, Esq."

While the affair was in suspense, a report was current in Bristol, that Mr. Coleridge had rejected the Messrs. Wedgewoods' offer, which the Unitarians in both towns ardently desired. Entertaining a contrary wish, I addressed a letter to Mr. C. stating the report, and expressing a hope that it had no foundation. The following satisfactory answer was immediately returned.

"My very dear Cottle,

The moment I received Mr. T. Wedgewood's letter, I accepted his offer.
How a contrary report could arise, I cannot guess….

I hope to see you at the close of next week. I have been respectfully and kindly treated at Shrewsbury. I am well, and now, and ever,

Your grateful and affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

In the year 1798, Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Wordsworth determined upon visiting Germany. A knowledge of this fact will elucidate some of the succeeding letters.

"Feb. 18, 1798.

My dear Cottle,

I have finished my Ballad, it is 340 lines; I am going on with my 'Visions': altogether (for I shall print two scenes of my Tragedy, as fragments) I can add 1500 lines; now what do you advise? Shall I add my Tragedy, and so make a second volume? or shall I pursue my first intention of inserting 1500 in the third edition? If you should advise a second volume, should you wish, i. e. find it convenient, to be the purchaser? I ask this question, because I wish you to know the true state of my present circumstances. I have received nothing yet from the Wedgewoods, and my money is utterly expended.

A friend of mine wanted five guineas for a little while, which I borrowed of Poole, as for myself, I do not like therefore to apply to him. Mr. Estlin has some little money I believe in his hands, but I received from him before I went to Shrewsbury, fifteen pounds, and I believe that this was an anticipation of the five guinea presents, which my friends would have made in March. But (this affair of the Messrs. Wedgewoods turning out) the money in Mr. Estlin's hand must go towards repaying him that sum which he suffered me to anticipate. Meantime I owe Biggs £5. which is heavy on my thoughts, and Mrs. I has not been paid her last quarter which is still heavier. As to myself, I can continue to go on here, but this £10 I must pay somehow, that is £5 to Biggs, and £5 to Mrs. F….

God bless you,

S. T. Coleridge."

P.S. This week I purpose offering myself to the Bridgwater Socinian congregation, as assistant minister, without any salary, directly, or indirectly; but of this say not a word to any one, unless you see Mr. Estlin.

A visit to Mr. Coleridge at Stowey, had been the means of my introduction to Mr. Wordsworth, who read me many of his Lyrical Pieces, when I immediately perceived in them extraordinary merit, and advised him to publish them, expressing a belief that they would be well received. I further said he should be at no risk; that I would give him the same sum which I had given to Mr. Coleridge and to Mr. Southey, and that it would be a gratifying circumstance to me, to have been the publisher of the first volumes of three such poets, as Southey, Coleridge, and Wordsworth; such a distinction might never again occur to a Provincial bookseller.

To the idea of publishing he expressed a strong objection, and after several interviews, I left him, with an earnest wish that he would reconsider his determination.

Soon after Mr. Wordsworth sent me the following letter.

"Allfoxden, 12th April, 1798.

My dear Cottle,

… You will be pleased to hear that I have gone on very rapidly adding to my stock of poetry. Do come and let me read it to you, under the old trees in the park. We have a little more than two months to stay in this place. Within these four days the season has advanced with greater rapidity than I ever remember, and the country becomes almost every hour more lovely. God bless you,

Your affectionate friend,

W. Wordsworth."

A little time after, I received an invitation from Mr. Coleridge to pay himself and Mr. Wordsworth another visit. At about the same time, I received the following corroborative invitation from Mr. Wordsworth.

"Dear Cottle, We look for you with great impatience. We will never forgive you if you do not come. I say nothing of the 'Salisbury Plain' till I see you. I am determined to finish it, and equally so that you shall publish.

I have lately been busy about another plan, which I do not wish to mention till I see you; let this be very, very soon, and stay a week if possible; as much longer as you can. God bless you, dear Cottle,

Yours sincerely,

W. Wordsworth.

Allfoxden, 9th May, 1798."

The following letter also on this subject, was received from Mr.

"My dear Cottle,

Neither Wordsworth nor myself could have been otherwise than uncomfortable, if any but yourself had received from us the first offer of our Tragedies, and of the volume of Wordsworth's Poems. At the same time, we did not expect that you could with prudence and propriety, advance such a sum as we should want at the time we specified. In short, we both regard the publication of our Tragedies as an evil. It is not impossible but that in happier times, they may be brought on the stage: and to throw away this chance for a mere trifle, would be to make the present moment act fraudulently and usuriously towards the future time.

My Tragedy employed and strained all my thoughts and faculties for six or seven months; Wordsworth consumed far more time, and far more thought, and far more genius. We consider the publication of them an evil on any terms; but our thoughts were bent on a plan for the accomplishment of which, a certain sum of money was necessary, (the whole) at that particular time, and in order to this we resolved, although reluctantly, to part with our Tragedies: that is, if we could obtain thirty guineas for each, and at less than thirty guineas Wordsworth will not part with the copy-right of his volume of Poems. We shall offer the Tragedies to no one, for we have determined to procure the money some other way. If you choose the volume of Poems, at the price mentioned, to be paid at the time specified, i. e. thirty guineas, to be paid sometime in the last fortnight of July, you may have them; but remember, my dear fellow! I write to you now merely as a bookseller, and intreat you, in your answer, to consider yourself only; as to us, although money is necessary to our plan, [that of visiting Germany] yet the plan is not necessary to our happiness; and if it were, W. could sell his Poems for that sum to some one else, or we could procure the money without selling the Poems. So I entreat you, again and again, in your answer, which must be immediate, consider yourself only.

Wordsworth has been caballed against so long and so loudly, that he has found it impossible to prevail on the tenant of the Allfoxden estate, to let him the house, after their first agreement is expired, so he must quit it at Midsummer; whether we shall be able to procure him a house and furniture near Stowey, we know not, and yet we must: for the hills, and the woods, and the streams, and the sea, and the shores, would break forth into reproaches against us, if we did not strain every nerve, to keep their poet among them. Without joking, and in serious sadness, Poole and I cannot endure to think of losing him.

At all events, come down, Cottle, as soon as you can, but before Midsummer, and we will procure a horse easy as thy own soul, and we will go on a roam to Linton and Limouth, which, if thou comest in May, will be in all their pride of woods and waterfalls, not to speak of its august cliffs, and the green ocean, and the vast Valley of Stones, all which live disdainful of the seasons, or accept new honours only from the winter's snow. At all events come down, and cease not to believe me much and affectionately your friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

In consequence of these conjoint invitations, I spent a week with Mr. C. and Mr. W. at Allfoxden house, and during this time, (beside the reading of MS. poems) they took me to Limouth, and Linton, and the Valley of Stones. This beautiful and august scenery, might suggest many remarks, as well as on our incidents upon the way, but I check the disposition to amplify, from recollecting the extent to which an unconstrained indulgence in narrative had formerly led me, in the affair of Tintern Abbey.

At this interview it was determined, that the volume should be published under the title of "Lyrical ballads," on the terms stipulated in a former letter: that this volume should not contain the poem of "Salisbury Plain," but only an extract from it; that it should not contain the poem of "Peter Bell," but consist rather of sundry shorter poems, and, for the most part, of pieces more recently written. I had recommended two volumes, but one was fixed on, and that to be published anonymously. It was to be begun immediately, and with the "Ancient Mariner;" which poem I brought with me to Bristol. A day or two after I received the following.

"My dear Cottle,

You know what I think of a letter, how impossible it is to argue in it. You must therefore take simple statements, and in a week or two, I shall see you, and endeavour to reason with you.

Wordsworth and I have duly weighed your proposal, and this is an answer.
He would not object to the publishing of 'Peter Bell,' or the 'Salisbury
Plain' singly; but to the publishing of his poems in two volumes, he is
decisively repugnant and oppugnant.

He deems that they would want variety, &c. &c. If this apply in his case, it applies with ten-fold more force to mine. We deem that the volumes offered to you, are, to a certain degree, one work in kind, though not in degree, as an ode is one work; and that our different poems are, as stanzas, good, relatively rather than absolutely: mark you, I say in kind, though not in degree. As to the Tragedy, when I consider it in reference to Shakspeare's, and to one other Tragedy, it seems a poor thing, and I care little what becomes of it. When I consider it in comparison with modern dramatists, it rises: and I think it too bad to be published, too good to be squandered. I think of breaking it up; the planks are sound, and I will build a new ship of the old materials.

The dedication to the Wedgewoods, which you recommend, would be indelicate and unmeaning. If, after four or five years, I shall have finished some work of importance, which could not have been written, but in an unanxious seclusion, to them I will dedicate it; for the public will have owed the work to them who gave me the power of that unanxious seclusion.

As to anonymous publications, depend on it, you are deceived. Wordsworth's name is nothing to a large number of persons; mine stinks. The 'Essay on Man,' the 'Botanic Garden,' the 'Pleasures of Memory,' and many other most popular works, were published anonymously. However, I waive all reasoning, and simply state it as an unaltered opinion, that you should proceed as before, with the 'Ancient Mariner.'

The picture shall be sent.[48] For your love gifts and book-loans accept our hearty love. The 'Joan of Arc' is a divine book; it opens lovelily. I hope that you will take off some half dozen of our Poems on great paper, even as the 'Joan of Arc.'

Cottle, my dear Cottle, I meant to have written you an Essay on the Metaphysics of Typography, but I have not time. Take a few hints, without the abstruse reasons for them, with which I mean to favour you. 18 lines in a page, the line closely printed, certainly more closely printed than those of the 'Joan;'[49] ('Oh, by all means, closer, W. Wordsworth') equal ink, and large margins; that is beauty; it may even, under your immediate care, mingle the sublime! And now, my dear Cottle, may God love you and me, who am, with most unauthorish feelings,

Your true friend,

S. T. Coleridge.

P. S. I walked to Linton the day after you left us, and returned on
Saturday. I walked in one day, and returned in one."

A reference is made by Mr. Coleridge, in a letter (p. 177 [Letter starting with "Neither Wordsworth nor myself…." Transcriber.]) to the "caballing, long and loud" against Mr. Wordsworth, and which occasioned him to remove from Somersetshire. To learn the nature of this annoyance, may furnish some little amusement to the reader, while Mr. W. himself will only smile at trifling incidents, that are now, perhaps, scarcely remembered.

Mr. W. had taken the Allfoxden House, near Stowey, for one year, (during the minority of the heir) and the reason why he was refused a continuance, by the ignorant man who had the letting of it, arose, as Mr. Coleridge informed me, from a whimsical cause, or rather a series of causes. The wiseacres of the village had, it seemed, made Mr. W. the subject of their serious conversation. One said that "He had seen him wander about by night, and look rather strangely at the moon! and then, he roamed over the hills, like a partridge." Another said, "He had heard him mutter, as he walked, in some outlandish brogue, that nobody could understand!" Another said, "It's useless to talk, Thomas, I think he is what people call a 'wise man.'" (a conjuror!) Another said, "You are every one of you wrong. I know what he is. We have all met him, tramping away toward the sea. Would any man in his senses, take all that trouble to look at a parcel of water! I think he carries on a snug business in the smuggling line, and, in these journies, is on the look out for some wet cargo!" Another very significantly said, "I know that he has got a private still in his cellar, for I once passed his house, at a little better than a hundred yards distance, and I could smell the spirits, as plain as an ashen fagot at Christmas!" Another said, "However that was, he is sure_ly_ a desperd French jacobin, for he is so silent and dark, that nobody ever heard him say one word about politics!" And thus these ignoramuses drove from their village, a greater ornament than will ever again be found amongst them.

In order to continue the smile on the reader's countenance, I may be allowed to state a trifling circumstance, which at this moment forces itself on my recollection.

A visit to Mr. Coleridge, at Stowey, in the year 1797, had been the means of my introduction to Mr. Wordsworth. Soon after our acquaintance had commenced, Mr. W. happened to be in Bristol, and asked me to spend a day or two with him at Allfoxden. I consented, and drove him down in a gig. We called for Mr. Coleridge, Miss Wordsworth, and the servant, at Stowey, and they walked, while we rode on to Mr. W.'s house at Allfoxden, distant two or three miles, where we purposed to dine. A London alderman would smile at our prepation, or bill of fare. It consisted, of philosophers' viands; namely, a bottle of brandy, a noble loaf, and a stout piece of cheese; and as there were plenty of lettuces in the garden, with all these comforts we calculated on doing very well.

Our fond hopes, however, were somewhat damped, by finding, that our "stout piece of cheese" had vanished! A sturdy rat of a beggar, whom we had relieved on the road, with his olfactories all alive, no doubt, smelt our cheese, and while we were gazing at the magnificent clouds, contrived to abstract our treasure! Cruel tramp! An ill return for our pence! We both wished the rind might not choke him! The mournful fact was ascertained a little before we drove into the courtyard of the house. Mr. Coleridge bore the loss with great fortitude, observing, that we should never starve with a loaf of bread, and a bottle of brandy. He now, with the dexterity of an adept, admired by his friends around, unbuckled the horse, and, putting down the shafts with a jerk, as a triumphant conclusion of his work, lo! the bottle of brandy that had been placed most carefully behind us on the seat, from the force of gravity, suddenly rolled down, and before we could arrest this spirituous avalanche, pitching right on the stones, was dashed to pieces. We all beheld the spectacle, silent and petrified! We might have collected the broken fragments of glass, but the brandy! that was gone! clean gone![50]

One little untoward thing often follows another, and while the rest stood musing, chained to the place, regaling themselves with the Cogniac effluvium, and all miserably chagrined, I led the horse to the stable, when a fresh perplexity arose. I removed the harness without difficulty, but after many strenuous attempts, I could not get off the collar. In despair, I called for assistance, when aid soon drew near. Mr. Wordsworth first brought his ingenuity into exercise, but after several unsuccessful efforts, he relinquished the achievement, as a thing altogether impracticable. Mr. Coleridge now tried his hand, but showed no more grooming skill than his predecessors; for after twisting the poor horse's neck almost to strangulation, and to the great danger of his eyes, he gave up the useless task, pronouncing that the horse's head must have grown, (gout or dropsy!) since the collar was put on! for, he said, it was a downright impossibility for such a huge Os Frontis to pass through so narrow a collar! Just at this instant the servant girl came near, and understanding the cause of our consternation, "La, Master," said she, "you do not go about the work in the right way. You should do like as this," when turning the collar completely upside down, she slipped it off in a moment, to our great humiliation and wonderment; each satisfied, afresh, that there were heights of knowledge in the world, to which we had not yet attained.

We were now summoned to dinner, and a dinner it was, such as every blind and starving man in the three kingdoms would have rejoiced to behold. At the top of the table stood a superb brown loaf. The centre dish presented a pile of the true coss lettuces, and at the bottom appeared an empty plate, where the "stout piece of cheese" ought to have stood! (cruel mendicant!) and though the brandy was "clean gone," yet its place was well, if not better supplied by an abundance of fine sparkling Castalian champagne! A happy thought at this time started into one of our minds, that some condiment would render the lettuces a little more palatable, when an individual in the company, recollected a question, once propounded by the most patient of men, "How can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt?" and asked for a little of that valuable culinary article. "Indeed, sir," Betty replied, "I quite forgot to buy salt." A general laugh followed the announcement, in which our host heartily joined. This was nothing. We had plenty of other good things, and while crunching our succulents, and munching our crusts, we pitied the far worse condition of those, perchance as hungry as ourselves, who were forced to dine, off aether alone. For our next meal, the mile-off village furnished all that could be desired, and these trifling incidents present the sum and the result of half the little passing disasters of life.

The "Lyrical Ballads" were published about Midsummer, 1798. In September of the same year, Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Wordsworth left England for Germany, and I quitted the business of a bookseller. Had I not once been such, this book would never have appeared.

* * * * *

The narrative of Mr. Coleridge being concluded to the time when he left Bristol, with Mr. Wordsworth, to visit Germany, I shall now, for the present, leave him; and direct the reader's attention to Mr. Southey, by introducing a portion of his long-continued correspondence with myself; but it may not be inappropriate to offer a few preliminary remarks:—

The following letters will exhibit the genuine character of Mr. Southey through the whole of his literary life. In the earlier periods, a playful hilarity will be found; but this buoyancy of spirit, when prevailing to excess, (in the constitutionally cheerful, such as was Mr. S.) is generally modified, if not subdued, by the sobering occurrences of after life. Letters, like the present, possess some peculiar advantages. Whenever, as in this instance, epistles are written through a series of years, to one person, the writer's mind is presented, under different aspects, while the identity is preserved. This benefit is greatly diminished, when, in a promiscuous correspondence, letters are addressed to a diversity of persons; often of different habits, and pursuits, where the writer must be compelled, occasionally, to moderate his expressions; to submit in some measure to mental restraint, by the necessity he is under to curb the flow of his spontaneous feeling. Besides this freedom from comparative bondage, one other advantage is derived from these continuous, and unconstrained letters to a single friend. A writer, in all his letters, from addressing one, for the most part, of congenial sympathies, expresses himself with less reserve; with more of the interior poured out; and consequently he maintains a freedom from that formality of essay-like sentences, which often resemble beautiful statues, fair, but cold and wanting life.

When, during the Revolutionary war, disgusted with the excesses of the Trench, Mr. Southey saw it right, from a Foxite, to become a Pittite, some who did not know him, ascribed his change of sentiment to unworthy motives; of this number was my esteemed friend the late Rev. John Foster, who whilst freely admitting Mr. Southey's great attainments and distinguished genius, regarded his mind as injuriously biassed. He thought Mm a betrayer of his political friends. No countervailing effect was produced by affirming his uprightness, and the temperance with which he still spake of those from whom he was compelled to differ. He was told that Mr. Southey was no blind political partisan, but an honest vindicator of what, in his conscience, he believed to be right—that no earthly consideration could have tempted him to swerve from the plain paths of truth and justice. An appeal was made to his writings, which manifested great moderation: and as it respected the Church, the London, and the Baptist Missionary Societies, it might be said, that he courageously stood forth to vindicate them in the Quarterly, at a critical time, when those Societies had been assailed by Sydney Smith, in the Edinburgh Review. All proved unavailing. At length I submitted to Mr. Foster's inspection, Mr. Southey's correspondence for more than forty years, where, in the disclosure of the heart's deepest recesses, the undisguised character distinctly appears. He read, he admired, he recanted. In a letter to myself on returning the MS. he thus wrote: "The letters exhibit Southey as a man of sterling worth,—of sound principles;—faithfulness to old friendship, generosity, and, I trust I may say, genuine religion." And Mr. F. ever after expressed the same sentiments to his friends. It is confidently hoped that similar instances of unfavourable prepossession, may be corrected by the same means.

In his "Friend" Mr. Coleridge thus refers to his early schemes of

      "Truth I pursued, as fancy led the way
      And wiser men than I went worse astray."

"From my earliest manhood I perceived that if the people at large were neither ignorant nor immoral, there could be no motive for a sudden and violent change of Government; and if they were, there could be no hope but a change for the worse. My feelings and imagination did not remain unkindled in this general conflagration (the French Revolution) and I confess I should be more inclined to be ashamed than proud of myself if they had. I was a sharer in the general vortex, though my little world described the path of its revolution in an orbit of its own. What I dared not expect from constitutions of Government and whole nations, I hoped from religion, and a small company of chosen individuals, formed a plan, as harmless as it was extravagant, of trying the experiment of human perfectibility on the banks of the Susquehannah; where our little society, in its second generation, was to have combined the innocence of the patriarchal age with the knowledge and genuine refinements of European culture; and where I dreamt that in the sober evening of my life, I should behold the cottages of Independence in the undivided dale of liberty,

      'And oft, soothed sadly by the dirgeful wind
      Muse on the sore ills I had left behind.'

Strange fancies! and as vain as strange! Yet to the intense interest and impassioned zeal, which called forth and strained every faculty of my intellect for the organization and defence of this scheme, I owe much of whatever I at present possess,—my clearest insight into the nature of individual man, and my most comprehensive views of his social relations, of the true uses of trade and commerce, and how far the wealth and relative power of nations promote or impede their inherent strength."

The following is Mr. Coleridge's estimate of Mr. Southey.

"Southey stands second to no man, either as an historian or as a bibliographer; and when I regard him as a popular essayist, I look in vain for any writer who has conveyed so much information, from so many and such recondite sources, with so many just and original reflections, in a style so lively and poignant, yet so uniformly classical and perspicuous; no one, in short, who has combined so much wisdom, with so much wit; so much truth and knowledge, with so much life and fancy. His prose is always intelligible, and always entertaining. It is Southey's almost unexampled felicity, to possess the best gifts of talent and genius, free from all their characteristic defects. As son, brother, husband, father, master, friend, he moves with firm, yet light steps, alike unostentatious, and alike exemplary. As a writer he has uniformly made his talents subservient to the best interests of humanity, of public virtue, and domestic piety; his cause has ever been the cause of pure religion, and of liberty, of national independence, and of national illumination."—Bio. Lit.

The reader has several times heard of Pantisocracy; a scheme perfectly harmless in itself, though obnoxious to insuperable objections. The ingenious devisers of this state of society, gradually withdrew from it their confidence; not in the first instance without a struggle; but cool reflection presented so many obstacles, that the plan, of itself, as the understanding expanded, gradually dissolved into "thin air." A friend had suggested the expediency of first trying the plan in Wales, but even this less exceptionable theatre of experiment was soon abandoned, and sound sense obtained its rightful empire.

It was mentioned in a former part, that Mr. Southey was the first to abandon the scheme of American colonization; and that, in confirmation, towards the conclusion of 1795, he accompanied his uncle, the Rev. Herbert Hill, Chaplain to the English factory at Lisbon, through some parts of Spain and Portugal; of which occurrence, Mr. S.'s entertaining "Letters" from those countries are the result; bearing testimony to his rapid accumulation of facts, and the accuracy of his observations on persons and things.

The very morning on which Mr. Southey was married to Miss Edith Fricker,[51] he left his wife in the family of kind friends, and set off with his Uncle, to pass through Spain to Lisbon. But this procedure marks the delicacy and the noble character of his mind; as will appear from the following letter, received from him, just before he embarked.

"Falmouth, 1795.

My dear friend,

I have learnt from Lovell the news from Bristol, public and private, and both of an interesting nature. My marriage is become public. You know that its publicity can give me no concern. I have done my duty. Perhaps you may think my motives for marrying (at that time) not sufficiently strong. One, and that to me of great weight, I believe was not mentioned to you. There might have arisen feelings of an unpleasant nature, at the idea of receiving support from one not legally a husband; and (do not show this to Edith) should I perish by shipwreck, or any other casualty, I have relations whose prejudices would then yield to the anguish of affection, and who would then love and cherish, and yield all possible consolation to my widow. Of such an evil there is but a possibility, but against possibility it was my duty to guard.[52]


Yours sincerely,

Robert Southey."

Mr. Southey having sent me two letters from the Peninsula, they are here presented to the reader.

"Corunna, Dec. 15th, 1795.

Indeed my dear friend, it is strange that you are reading a letter from me now, and not an account of our shipwreck. We left Falmouth on Tuesday mid-day; the wind was fair till the next night, so fair that we were within twelve hours' sail of Corunna; it then turned round, blew a tempest, and continued so till the middle of Saturday. Our dead lights were up fifty hours, and I was in momentary expectation of death. You know what a situation this is. I forgot my sickness, and though I thought much of the next world, thought more of those at Bristol, who would daily expect letters; daily be disappointed, and at last learn from the newspapers, that the Lauzarotte had never been heard of.

Of all things it is most difficult to understand the optimism of this difference of language; the very beasts of the country do not understand English. Say "poor fellow" to a dog, and he will probably bite you; the cat will come if you call her "Meeth-tha," but "puss" is an outlandish phrase she has not been accustomed to; last night I went to supper to the fleas, and an excellent supper they made; and the cats serenaded me with their execrable Spanish: to lie all night in Bowling-Green Lane,[53] would be to enjoy the luxury of soft and smooth lying.

At sight of land a general shaving took place; no subject could be better for Bunbury than a Packet cabin taken at such a moment. For me, I am as yet whiskered, for I would not venture to shave on board, and have had no razor on shore till this evening. Custom-house officers are more troublesome here than in England, I have however got everything at last; you may form some idea of the weather we endured; thirty fowls over our head were drowned; the ducks got loose, and ran with a party of half naked Dutchmen into our cabin: 'twas a precious place, eight men lying on a shelf much like a coffin. Mr. Wahrendoff, a Swede, was the whole time with the bason close under his nose.

The bookseller's shop was a great comfort; the Consul here has paid me particular attentions, and I am to pass to-morrow morning with him, when he will give me some directions concerning Spanish literature. He knows the chief literary men in England, and did know Brissot and Petion. Of the dramatic poet whom Coates's friend Zimbernatt mentioned as rivalling Shakspeare, I hear nothing; that young Spaniard seems to exaggerate or rather to represent things like a warm-hearted young man, who believes what he wishes. The father-in-law of Tallien is a banker, what you call a clever fellow; another word, says the most sensible man here, for a cheat; the court and the clergy mutually support each other, and their combined despotism is indeed dreadful, yet much is doing; Jardine is very active; he has forwarded the establishment of schools in the Asturias with his Spanish friends. Good night, they are going to supper. Oh, their foul oils and wines!

Tuesday morning. I have heard of hearts as hard as rocks, and stones, and adamants, but if ever I write upon a hard heart, my simile shall be, as inflexible as a bed in a Spanish Posada; we had beef steaks for supper last night, and a sad libel upon beef steaks they were. I wish you could see our room; a bed in an open recess, one just moved from the other corner. Raynsford packing his trunk; Maber shaving himself; tables and chairs; looking-glass hung too high even for a Patagonian, the four evangelists, &c. &c. the floor beyond all filth, most filthy.

I have been detained two hours since I began to write, at the custom house. Mr. Cottle, if there be a custom house to pass through, to the infernal regions, all beyond must be, comparatively, tolerable….


Robert Southey."

"Lisbon, February 1st, 1796.

'Certainly, I shall hear from Mr. Cottle, by the first packet' said I. Now I say, 'probably I may hear by the next,' so does experience abate the sanguine expectations of man. What, could you not write one letter? and here am I writing not only to all my friends in Bristol, but to all in England. Indeed I should have been vexed, but that the packet brought a letter from Edith, and the pleasure that gave me, allowed no feeling of vexation. What of 'Joan?' Mr. Coates tells me it gains upon the public, but authors seldom hear the plain truth. I am anxious that it should reach a second edition, that I may write a new preface, and enlarge the last book. I shall omit all in the second book which Coleridge wrote.

Bristol deserves panegyric instead of satire. I know of no mercantile place so literary. Here I am among the Philistines, spending my mornings so pleasantly, as books, only books, can make them, and sitting at evening the silent spectator of card playing and dancing. The English here unite the spirit of commerce, with the frivolous amusements of high life. One of them who plays every night (Sundays are not excepted here) will tell you how closely he attends to profit. 'I never pay a porter for bringing a burthen till the next day,' says he, 'for while the fellow feels his back ache with the weight, he charges high; but when he comes the next day the feeling is gone, and he asks only half the money.' And the author of this philosophical scheme is worth £200,000!

This is a comfortless place, and the only pleasure I find in it, is in looking on to my departure. Three years ago I might have found a friend, Count Leopold Berchtold. This man (foster brother of the Emperor Joseph) is one of those rare characters, who spend their lives in doing good. It is his custom in every country he visits, to publish books in its language, on some subject of practical utility; these he gave away. I have now lying before me the two which he printed in Lisbon; the one is an Essay on the means of preserving life, in the various dangers to which men are daily exposed. The other an Essay on extending the limits of benevolence, not only towards men, but towards animals. His age was about twenty-five; his person and his manners the most polished. My uncle saw more of him than any one, for he used his library; and this was the only house he called at; he was only seen at dinner, the rest of the day was constantly given to study. They who lived in the same house with him, believed him to be the wandering Jew. He spoke all the European languages, had written in all, and was master of the Arabic. From thence he went to Cadiz, and thence to Barbary; no more is known of him.

We felt a smart earthquake the morning after our arrival here. These shocks alarm the Portuguese dreadfully; and indeed it is the most terrifying sensation you can conceive. One man jumped out of bed and ran down to the stable, to ride off almost naked as he was. Another, more considerately put out his candle, 'because I know,' said he 'the fire does more harm than the earthquake.' The ruins of the great earthquake are not yet removed entirely.

The city is a curious place; a straggling plan; built on the most uneven ground, with heaps of ruins in the middle, and large open places. The streets filthy beyond all English ideas of filth, for they throw everything into the streets, and nothing is removed. Dead animals annoy you at every corner; and such is the indolence and nastiness of the Portuguese, that I verily believe they would let each other rot, in the same manner, if the priests did not get something by burying them. Some of the friars are vowed to wear their clothes without changing for a year; and this is a comfort to them: you will not wonder, therefore, that I always keep to the windward of these reverend perfumers.

The streets are very disagreeable in wet weather. If you walk under the houses you are drenched by the waterspouts; if you attempt the middle, there is a river; if you would go between both, there is the dunghill. The rains here are very violent, and the streams in the streets, on a declivity, so rapid as to throw down men; and sometimes to overset carriages. A woman was drowned some years ago, in one of the most frequented streets of Lisbon. But to walk home at night is the most dangerous adventure, for then the chambermaids shower out the filth into the streets with such profusion, that a Scotchman might fancy himself at Edinburgh. You cannot conceive what a cold perspiration it puts me in, to hear one dashed down just before me; as Thomson says, with a little alteration:

  "Hear nightly dashed, amid the perilous street,
  The fragrant stink pot."

This furnishes food for innumerable dogs, that belong to nobody, and annoy everybody. If they did not devour it, the quantities would breed a pestilence. In a moonlight night, we see dogs and rats feeding at the same dunghill.

Lisbon is plagued with a very small species of red ant, that swarm over everything in the house. Their remedy for this is, to send for the priest, and exorcise them. The drain from the new convent opens into the middle of the street. An English pigsty is cleaner than the metropolis of Portugal.

To-night I shall see the procession of 'Our Lord of the Passion.' This image is a very celebrated one, and with great reason, for one night he knocked at the door of St Roque's church, and there they would not admit him. After this he walked to the other end of the town, to the church of St. Grace, and there they took him in: but a dispute now arose between the two churches, to which the image belonged; whether to the church which he first chose, or the church that first chose him. The matter was compromised. One church has him, and the other fetches him for their processions, and he sleeps with the latter the night preceding. The better mode for deciding it, had been to place the gentleman between both, and let him walk to which he liked best. What think you of this story being believed in 1796!!!

The power of the Inquisition still exists, though they never exercise it, and thus the Jews save their bacon. Fifty years ago it was the greatest delight of the Portuguese to see a Jew burnt. Geddes, the then chaplain, was present at one of these detestable Auto da Fe's. He says, 'the transports expressed by all ages, and all sexes, whilst the miserable sufferers were shrieking and begging mercy for God's sake, formed a scene more horrible than any out of hell!' He adds, that 'this barbarity is not their national character, for no people sympathize so much at the execution of a criminal; but it is the damnable nature of their religion, and the most diabolical spirit of their priests; their celibacy deprives them of the affections of men, and their creed gives them the ferocity of devils.' Geddes saw one man gagged, because, immediately he came out of the Inquisition gates, he looked up at the sun, whose light for many years had never visited him, and exclaimed, 'How is it possible for men who behold that glorious orb, to worship any being but him who created it!' My blood runs cold when I pass that accursed building; and though they do not exercise their power, it is a reproach to human nature that the building should exist.

It is as warm here as in May with you; of course we broil in that month at Lisbon; but I shall escape the hot weather here, as I did the cold weather of England, and quit this place the latter end of April. You will of course see me the third day after my landing at Falmouth, or, if I can get companions in a post-chaise, sooner. This my resolution is like the law of the Medes and Persians, that altereth not. Be so good as to procure for me a set of Coleridge's 'Watchman,' with his Lectures and Poems. I want to write a tragedy here, but can find no leisure to begin it.

Portugal is much plagued with robbers, and they generally strip a man, and leave him to walk home in his birth-day suit. An Englishman was served thus at Almeyda, and the Lisbon magistrates, on his complaint, took up the whole village, and imprisoned them all. Contemplate this people in what light you will, you can never see them in a good one. They suffered their best epic poet to perish for want: and they burned to death their best dramatic writer, because he was a Jew.

Pombal, whose heart was bad, though he made a good minister, reduced the church during his administration. He suffered no persons to enter the convents, and, as the old monks and nuns died, threw two convents into one, and sold the other estates. By this means, he would have annihilated the whole generation of vermin; but the king died, and the queen, whose religion has driven her mad, undid, through the influence of the priests, all that Pombal had done. He escaped with his life, but lived to see his bust destroyed, and all his plans for the improvement of Portugal reversed. He had the interest of his country at heart, and the punishment, added to the regret of having committed so many crimes to secure his power, must almost have been enough for this execrable marquis.

The climate here is delightful, and the air so clear, that when the moon is young, I can often distinguish the whole circle, thus; O. You and Robert may look for this some fine night, but I do not remember ever to have observed it in England. The stars appear more brilliant here, but I often look up at the Pleiades, and remember how much happier I was when I saw them in Bristol. Fare you well. Let me know that my friends remember me….

Robert Southey."

After the complete reconciliation had taken place with Mr. Coleridge, Mr. Southey in the autumn of 1796, settled in London, and purposed to study the law. From London he sent me the following letter.

"London, Nov. 1796.

My dear friend,

I am now entering on a new way of life which will lead me to independence. You know that I neither lightly undertake any scheme, nor lightly abandon what I have undertaken. I am happy because I have no want, and because the independence I labour to attain, and of attaining which, my expectations can hardly be disappointed, will leave me nothing to wish. I am indebted to you, Cottle, for the comforts of my later time. In my present situation I feel a pleasure in saying thus much.

Thank God! Edith comes on Monday next. I say Thank God, for I have never since my return from Portugal, been absent from her so long before, and sincerely hope and intend never to be so again. On Tuesday we shall be settled, and on Wednesday my legal studies begin in the morning, and I shall begin with 'Madoc' in the evening. Of this it is needless to caution you to say nothing; as I must have the character of a lawyer; and though I can and will unite the two pursuits, no one would credit the possibility of the union. In two years the Poem shall be finished, and the many years it must lie by will afford ample time for correction.

I have declined being a member of a Literary Club, which meet at the Chapter Coffee House, and of which I had been elected a member. Surely a man does not do his duty who leaves his wife to evenings of solitude; and I feel duty and happiness to be inseparable. I am happier at home than any other society can possibly make me. With Edith I am alike secure from the wearisomeness of solitude, and the disgust which I cannot help feeling at the contemplation of mankind, and which I do not wish to suppress.

Here is a great deal about myself, and nothing about those whom I have seen in London, and of whom we have all heard in the country. I will make a report upon them in my next letter. God bless you.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Southey."

Letter from Robert Southey, to Amos Cottle, Magdalen College, Cambridge.

"London, Feb. 28, 1797.

20, Prospect Place, Newington Butts.

… Here I am travelling on in the labyrinth of the law; and though I had rather make books myself than read the best lawyer's composition, I am getting on cheerfully, and steadily, and well.

While you are amusing yourself with mathematics, and I lounging over the law, the political and commercial world are all in alarm and confusion. I cannot call myself a calm witness of all this, for I sit by the fireside, hear little about it, think less, and see nothing; 'all hoping, and expecting all in patient faith.' Tranquillity of mind is a blessing too valuable to sacrifice for all the systems man has ever established. My day of political enthusiasm is over. I know what is right, and as I see that everything is wrong, care more about the changing of the wind, lest it should make the chimney smoke, than for all the empires of Europe…."

"London, 1797.

My dear friend,

… I physiognomise everything, even the very oysters may be accurately judged by their shells. I discovered this at Lisbon, where they are all deformed, hump-backed, and good for nothing. Is it not possible by the appearance of a river to tell what fish are in it? In the slow sluggish stream you will find the heavy chub. In the livelier current, the trout and the pike. If a man loves prints you have an excellent clue to his character; take for instance, the inventory of mine at College:—Four views of the ruins at Rome; Charles Fox; Belisarius; Niobe; and four Landscapes of Poussin; and Claude Lorraine. These last are of constant source of pleasure. I become acquainted with the inhabitants in every house, and know every inch of ground in the prospect. They have formed for me many a pleasant day-dream. I can methodise these into a little poem. I am now settled; my books are organised; and this evening I set off on my race.

We have a story of a ghost here, who appears to the watchman,—the spirit of a poor girl, whose life was abandoned, and her death most horrible. I am in hopes it may prove true! as I have a great love for apparitions. They make part of the poetical creed. Fare you well.

Sincerely yours,

To Joseph Cottle.

Robert Southey."

"London, March 6, 1797.

… I am inclined to complain heavily of you, Cottle. Here am I committing grand larceny on my time, in writing to you; and you, who might sit at your fire, and write me huge letters, have not found time to fill even half a sheet. As you may suppose, I have enough of employment. I work like a negro at law, and therefore neglect nothing else, for he who never wastes time has always time enough.

I have to see many of the London lions, or literati, George Dyer is to take me to Mary Hayes, Miss Christal, and Taylor, the Pagan, my near neighbour. You shall have my physiognomical remarks upon them. I hate this city more and more, although I see little of it. You do not know with what delight I anticipate a summer in Wales, and I hope to spend the summer of the next year there, and to talk Welsh most gutturally. I shall see Meirion this week, whose real name is William Owen. He is the author of the new Welsh dictionary, a man of uncommon erudition, and who ought to esteem me for Madoc's sake. Fare you well. Remember me to all friends. God bless you.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Southey."

"… Perhaps you will be surprised to hear, that of all the lions of literati that I have seen here, there is not one whose countenance has not some unpleasant trait. Mary Imlay is the best, infinitely the best. The only fault in it, is an expression somewhat similar to what the prints of Horne Tooke display; an expression indicating superiority, not haughtiness, not conceit, not sarcasm, in Mary Imlay, but still it is unpleasant. Her eyes are light brown, and though the lid of one of them is affected by a slight paralysis, they are the most meaning I ever saw. Her complexion is dark, sun-burnt, and her skin a little cracked, for she is near forty, and affliction has borne harder on her than years; but her manners are the most pleasing I ever witnessed, they display warm feeling, and strong understanding; and the knowledge she has acquired of men and manners, ornaments, not disguises, her own character. I have given an unreserved opinion of Mrs. Barbauld to Charles Danvers.

While I was with George Dyer one morning last week, Mary Hayes and Miss Christal entered, and the ceremony of introduction followed. Mary Hayes writes in the New Monthly Magazine, under the signature of M. H., and sometimes writes nonsense there about Helvetius. She has lately published a novel, 'Emma Courtney,' a book much praised and much abused. I have not seen it myself, but the severe censure passed on it by persons of narrow mind, have made me curious, and convinced me that it is at least an uncommon book. Mary Hayes is an agreeable woman and a Godwinite. Now if you will read Godwin's book with attention, we will determine between us, in what light to consider that sectarian title. As for Godwin himself, he has large noble eyes, and a nose,—oh, most abominable nose! Language is not vituperative enough to express the effect of its downward elongation. He loves London, literary society, and talks nonsense about the collision of mind, and Mary Hayes echoes him.

But Miss Christal, have you seen her Poems? A fine, artless, sensible girl. Now, Cottle, that word sensible must not be construed here in its dictionary acceptation. Ask a Frenchman what it means, and he will understand it, though, perhaps, he can by no circumlocution explain its French meaning. Her heart is alive. She loves poetry. She loves retirement. She loves the country. Her verses are very incorrect, and the literary circle say, she has no genius, but she has genius, Joseph Cottle, or there is no truth in physiognomy. Gilbert Wakefield came in while I was disputing with Mary Hayes upon the moral effects of towns. He has a most critic-like voice, as if he had snarled himself hoarse. You see I like the women better than the men. Indeed they are better animals in general, perhaps because more is left to nature in their education. Nature is very good, but God knows there is very little of it left.

I wish you were within a morning's walk, but I am always persecuted by time and space. Robert Southey, and law, and poetry, make up an odd kind of tri-union. We jog on easily together, and I advance with sufficient rapidity in Blackstone, and 'Madoc.' I hope to finish my poem, and to begin my practice in about two years.

God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"… I am running a race with the printers again: translating a work from the French: 'Necker on the French Revolution,' vol. II. Dr. Aikin and his son translate the 1st volume. My time is wholly engrossed by the race, for I run at the rate of sixteen pages a day; as hard going as sixteen miles for a hack horse. About sixteen days more will complete it.

There is no necessity for my residing in London till the close of the autumn. Therefore after keeping the next term, which may be kept the first week in May, I intend to go into the country for five months; probably near the sea, at the distance of one day's journey from London, for the convenience of coming up to keep the Trinity Term. This will not increase my expenses, though it will give me all the pleasure of existence which London annihilates. God bless you,

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"My dear Cottle,

… George Dyer gave me what he calls his 'Crotchet,' and what I call an indifferent poem. Said he to me, 'I could not bring in Wordsworth, and Lloyd, and Lamb, but I put them in a note.' That man is all benevolence.

If, which is probable, we go to Hampshire, I shall expect to see you there. It is an easy day's ride from Bristol to Southampton; but I shall lay before you a correct map of the road when all is settled.

I have seen your Dr. Baynton's book. It is vilely written; but the theory, seems good, (that of bandaging wounded legs) My friend Carlisle means to try it at the Westminster Hospital. I was somewhat amused at seeing a treatise on sore legs, printed on wove paper, and hot pressed.

I met Townsend, the Spanish traveller, a few days since at Carlisle's. He flattered me most unpleasantly on 'Joan of Arc.' Townsend is much taller than I am, and almost as thin. He invited me to Pewsey, and I shall breakfast with him soon. He is engaged in a work of immense labour; the origin of languages. I do not like him; he is too polite to be sincere.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

The late George Dyer, referred to by Mr. Southey, was an University man who exercised his talents chiefly in writing for the Periodicals. His chief work was "The History of the Halls and Colleges of Cambridge." He published also several small works. The Poem, referred to above, was complimentary, in which he noticed most of his literary friends. The way in which he "brought in" the author of the "Pleasures of Memory" was, very properly putting wit before wealth,

"Was born a banker, and then rose a bard,"

George Dyer was sincere, and had great simplicity of manners, so that he was a favourite with all his friends. No man in London encouraged so much as he did, Bloomfield, the author of the "Farmer's Boy;" and he was equally prepared with kind offices for every body. He had some odd fancies, one of which was, that men ought to live more sparingly and drink plenty of water-gruel. By carrying this wholesome precept on one occasion, rather too far, he unhappily reduced himself to death's door. Charles Lamb told me, that having once called on him, at his room in Clifford's Inn, he found a little girl with him, (one of his nieces) whom he was teaching to sing hymns.

Mr. Coleridge related to me a rather ludicrous circumstance concerning George Dyer, which Charles Lamb had told him, the last time he passed through London. Charles Lamb had heard that George Dyer was very ill, and hastened to see him. He found him in an emaciated state, shivering over a few embers. "Ah!" said George, as Lamb entered, "I am glad to see you. You wont have me here long. I have just written this letter to my young nephews and nieces, to come immediately and take a final leave of their uncle." Lamb found, on inquiry, that he had latterly been living on water-gruel, and a low starving diet, and readily divined the cause of his maladies. "Come," said Lamb, "I shall take you home immediately to my house, and I and my sister will nurse you." "Ah!" said George Dyer, "it wont do." The hackney coach was soon at the door, and as the sick man entered it, he said to Lamb, "Alter the address, and then send the letter with all speed to the poor children." "I will," said Lamb, "and at the same time call the doctor."

George Dyer was now seated by Charles Lamb's comfortable fire, while Lamb hastened to his medical friend, and told him that a worthy man was at his house who had almost starved himself on water-gruel. "You must come," said he, "directly, and prescribe some kitchen stuff, or the poor man will be dead. He wont take any thing from me; he says, 'tis all useless." Away both the philanthropists hastened, and Charles Lamb, anticipating what would be required, furnished himself, on the road, with a pound of beef steaks. The doctor now entered the room, and advancing towards his patient, felt his pulse, and asked him a few questions; when, looking grave, he said, "Sir, you are in a very dangerous way," "I know it Sir, I know it Sir," said George Dyer. The Dr. replied, "Sir, yours is a very peculiar case, and if you do not implicitly follow my directions, you will die of atrophy before to-morrow morning. It is the only possible chance of saving your life. You must directly make a good meal off beef-steaks, and drink the best part of a pot of porter." "Tis too late," said George, but "I'll eat, I'll eat." The doctor now withdrew, and so nicely had Lamb calculated on results, that the steaks were all this time broiling on the fire! and, as though by magic, the doctor had scarcely left the room, when the steaks and the porter were both on the table.

Just as George Dyer had begun voraciously to feast on the steaks, his young nephews and nieces entered the room crying. "Good bye, my dears," said George, taking a deep draught of the porter. "You wont see me much longer." After a few mouthfuls of the savoury steak, he further said, "be good children, when I am gone." Taking another draught of the porter, he continued, "mind your books, and don't forget your hymns." "We wont," answered a little shrill silvery voice, from among the group, "we wont, dear Uncle." He now gave them all a parting kiss; when the children retired in a state of wonderment, that "sick Uncle" should be able to eat and drink so heartily. "And so," said Lamb, in his own peculiar phraseology "at night, I packed up his little nipped carcass snug in bed, and, after stuffing him for a week, sent him home as plump as a partridge."

"April, 26, 1797.

"… I have finished Necker this morning, and return again to my regular train of occupation. Would that digging potatoes were amongst them! and if I live a dozen years, you shall eat potatoes of my digging: but I must think now of the present.

Some Mr. —— sent me a volume of his poems, last week. I read his book: it was not above mediocrity. He seems very fond of poetry and even to a superstitious reverence of Thompson's 'old table,' and even of Miss Seward, whose MS. he rescued from the printer. I called on him to thank him, and was not sorry to find him not at home. But the next day a note arrived with more praise. He wished my personal acquaintance, and 'trusts I shall excuse the frankness which avows, that it would gratify his feelings to receive a copy of 'Joan of Arc, from the author.' I thought this, to speak tenderly, not a very modest request, but there is a something in my nature which prevents me from silently displaying my sentiments, if that display can give pain, and so I answered his note, and sent him the book. He writes sonnets to Miss Seward, and Mr. Hayley; enough to stamp him 'blockhead.'

Carlisle and I, instead of our neighbours' 'Revolutionary Tribunal,' mean to erect a physiognomical one, and as transportation is to be the punishment, instead of guillotining, we shall put the whole navy in requisition to carry off all ill-looking fellows, and then we may walk London streets without being jostled. You are to be one of the Jury, and we must get some good limner to take down the evidence. Witnesses will be needless. The features of a man's face will rise up in judgment against him; and the very voice that pleads 'Not Guilty,' will be enough to convict the raven-toned criminal.

I sapped last night with Ben. Flower, of Cambridge, at Mr. P.'s, and never saw so much coarse strength in a countenance. He repeated to me an epigram on the dollars which perhaps you may not have seen.

  To make Spanish dollars with Englishmen pass,
  Stamp the head of a fool, on the tail of an ass.[54]

This has a coarse strength rather than a point. Danvers tells me that you have written to Herbert Croft. Give me some account of your letter. Let me hear from you, and tell me how you all are, and what is going on in the little world of Bristol. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey.

"… We dine with Mary Wolstoncroft (now Godwin) to-morrow. Oh! he has a foul nose! I never see it without longing to cut it off. By the by, Dr. Hunter (the murderer of St. Pierre) [55] told me that I had exactly Lavater's nose, to my no small satisfaction, for I did not know what to make of that protuberance, or promontory of mine. I could not compliment him. He has a very red drinking face: little good humoured eyes, with the skin drawn up under them, like cunning and short-sightedness united. I saw Dr. Hunter again yesterday. I neither like him, nor his wife, nor his son, nor his daughter, nor any thing that is his. To night I am to meet Opie. God bless you. Edith's love.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"May, 1797.

My dear Cottle,

… Opie indeed is a very extraordinary man. I have now twice seen him. Without any thing of politeness, his manners are pleasing, though their freedom is out of the common; and his conversation, though in a half-uttered, half-Cornish, half-croak, is interesting. There is a strange contrast between his genius, which is not confined to painting, and the vulgarity of his appearance, —his manners, and sometimes of his language. You will however easily conceive that a man who can paint like Opie, must display the same taste on other subjects. He is very fond of Spenser. No author furnishes so many pictures, he says. You may have seen his 'Britomart delivering Amoret.' He has begun a picture from Spenser,—which he himself thinks his best design, but it has remained untouched for three years. The outline is wonderfully fine. It is the delivery of Serena from the Salvages, by Calepine. You will find the story in the 6th book of the 'Fairy Queen.' The subject has often struck me as being fit for the painter.

I saw Dr. Gregory (Biographer of Chatterton) to-day; a very brown-looking man, of most pinquescent, and full-moon cheeks. There is much tallow in him. I like his wife, and perhaps him too, but his Christianity is of an intolerant order, and he affects a solemnity when talking of it, which savours of the high priest. When he comes before the physiognomical tribunal, we must melt him down. He is too portly. God bless you….

Yours truly,

Robert Southey."

May, 1797.

"… I fancy you see no hand-writing so often as mine. I have been much pleased with your letter to Herbert Croft. I was at Dr. Gregory's last night. He has a nasal twang, right priestly in its note. He said he would gladly abridge his life of Chatterton, if I required it. But it is a bad work, and Coleridge should write a new one, or if he declines it, let it devolve on me.[56] They knew Miss Wesley, daughter of Charles Wesley, with whom I once dined at your house. She told them, had he not prematurely died, that she was going to be married to John Henderson. Is this true?[57]

I have a treasure for you. A 'Treatise on Miracles,' written by John Henderson, your old tutor, for Coleridge's brother George, and given to me by a pupil of his, John May, a Lisbon acquaintance, and a very valuable one. John May is anxious for a full life of John Henderson. You should get Agutter's papers. You ought also to commit to paper all you know concerning him, and all you can collect, that the documents may remain, if you decline it. If the opportunity pass, he will die without his fame.

I have lost myself in the bottomless profundity of Gilbert's papers. Fire, and water, and cubes, and sybils, and Mother Church, &c. &c. Poor fellow. I have been introduced to a man, not unlike him in his ideas,—Taylor the Pagan, a most devout Heathen! who seems to have some hopes of me. He is equally unintelligible, but his eye has not that inexpressible wildness, which sometimes half-terrified us in Gilbert."

"Christ Church, June 14, 1797.

"… I am in a place I like: the awkwardness of introduction over, and the acquaintance I have made here pleasant…. Your letter to Herbert Croft has made him some enemies here. I wish much to see you on that business. Bad as these times are for literature, a subscription might be opened now with great success, for Mrs. Newton (Chatterton's sister) and the whole statement of facts ought to be published in the prospectus.

Time gallops with me. I am at work now for the Monthly Magazine, upon Spanish poetry. If we are unsuccessful here (in suiting ourselves with a house) I purpose writing to Wordsworth, and asking him if we can get a place in his neighbourhood. If not, down we go to Dorsetshire. Oh, for a snug island in the farthest of all seas, surrounded by the highest of all rocks, where I and some ten or twelve more might lead the happiest of all possible lives, totally secluded from the worst of all possible monsters, man…."

"Christ Church, June 18, 1797.

"… The main purport of my writing is to tell you that we have found a house for the next half year. If I had a mind to affect the pastoral style, I might call it a cottage; but, in plain English, it is exactly what it expresses. We have got a sitting-room, and two bed-rooms, in a house which you may call a cottage if you like it, and that one of these bed-rooms is ready for you, and the sooner you take possession of it the better. You must let me know when you come that I may meet you.

So you have had Kosciusco with you, (in Bristol) and bitterly do I regret not having seen him. If he had remained one week longer in London, I should have seen him; and to have seen Kosciusco would have been something to talk of all the rest of one's life.

We have a congregation of rivers here, the clearest you ever saw: plenty of private boats too. We went down to the harbour on Friday, in Mr. Rickman's;[58] a sensible young man, of rough, but mild manners, and very seditious. He and I rowed, and Edith was pilot.

God bless you.

Yours affectionately.

Robert Southey."

Mr. Rickman afterwards acquired some celebrity. He became private secretary to the prime minister, Mr. Perceval, and afterwards for many years, was one of the clerks of the House of Commons. He published also, in 4to, a creditable Life of Telford, the great engineer, and officially conducted the first census, (1800) a most laborious undertaking. The second census, (1810) was conducted in a very efficient way, by Mr. Thomas Poole, whose name often appears in this work, appointed through the influence of Mr. Rickman.

"London, Dec. 14, 1797.

My dear Cottle,

I found your parcel on my return from a library belonging to the Dissenters, (Dr. Williams's Library) in Redcross-street, from which, by permission of Dr. Towers, I brought back books of great importance for my 'Maid of Orleans.' A hackney coach horse turned into a field of grass, falls not more eagerly to a breakfast which lasts the whole day, than I attacked the old folios, so respectably covered with dust. I begin to like dirty rotten binding, and whenever I get among books, pass by the gilt coxcombs, and disturb the spiders. But you shall hear what I have got. A latin poem in four long books; on 'Joan of Arc;' very bad, but it gives me a quaint note or two, and Valerandus Valerius is a fine name for a quotation. A small 4to, of the 'Life of the Maid', chiefly extracts from forgotten authors, printed at Paris, 1712, with a print of her on horseback. A sketch of her life by Jacobus Philippus Bergomensis,—bless the length of his erudite name.

John May, and Carlisle, (surgeon) were with me last night, and we struck out a plan, which, if we can effect it, will be of great use. It is to be called the 'Convalescent Asylum'; and intended to receive persons who are sent from the hospitals; as the immediate return to unwholesome air, bad diet, and all the loathsomeness of poverty, destroys a very great number. The plan is to employ them in a large garden, and it is supposed in about three years, the institution would pay itself, on a small scale for forty persons. The success of one, would give birth to many others. C. W. W. Wynn enters heartily into it. We meet on Saturday again, and as soon as the plan is at all digested, Carlisle means to send it to Dr. Beddoes, for his inspection. We were led to this by the circumstance of finding a poor woman, almost dying for want, who is now rapidly recovering in the hospital, under Carlisle.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."


My dear Cottle,

In the list of the killed and wounded of the 'Mars,' you saw the name of Bligh, a midshipman. I remember rejoicing at the time, that it was not a name I knew. Will you be surprised that the object of this letter is to require your assistance in raising some little sum for the widow of this man.

I cannot express to you how deep and painful an interest I take in the history of this man. My brother Tom, an officer in the same ship, loved him; and well he might, for poor Bligh was a man, who, out of his midshipman's pay, allowed his wife and children thirteen pounds a year. He wished to be made master's mate, that he might make the sum twenty pounds, and then he said they would be happy. He was a man about thirty-five years of age; an unlettered man, of strong natural powers, and of a heart, of which a purer, and a better, never lived. I could tell you anecdotes of him that would make your eyes overflow, like mine. Surely, Cottle, there will be no difficulty in sending his poor wife some little sum. Five guineas would be much to her. We will give one, and I will lay friends in London under contribution. God bless you.

Yours truly,

Robert Southey."

"Hereford, 1798.

My dear Cottle,

My time here has been completely occupied in riding about the country. I have contrived to manufacture one eclogue, and that is all; but the exercise of riding has jostled a good many ideas into my brain, and I have plans enough for long leisure. You know my tale of the 'Adite' in the garden of Irem. I have tacked it on to an old plan of mine upon the destruction of the Domdanyel, and made the beginning, middle, and end. There is a tolerable skeleton formed. It will extend to ten or twelve books, and they appear to me to possess much strong conception in the Arabian manner. It will at least prove that I did not reject machinery in my Epics, because I could not wield it. This only forms part of a magnificent project, which I do not despair of one day completing, in the destruction of the 'Domdanyel.' My intention is, to show off all the splendor of the Mohammedan belief. I intend to do the same to the Runic, and Oriental systems; to preserve the costume of place as well as of religion.

I have been thinking that though we have been disappointed of our Welsh journey, a very delightful pilgrimage is still within our reach. Suppose you were to meet me at Boss. We go thence down the Wye to Monmouth. On the way are Goodrich castle, the place where Henry V. was nursed; and Arthur's cavern. Then there is Ragland Castle somewhere thereabout, and we might look again at Tintern. I should like this much. The Welsh mail from Bristol, comes every day through Boss; we can meet there. Let me hear from you, and then I will fix the day, and we will see the rocks and woods in all their beauty. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"Exeter, Sept. 22, 1799.

My dear Cottle,

… You will, I hope, soon have a cargo to send me of your own, for the second volume of the 'Anthology' and some from Davy. If poor Mrs. Yearsley were living I should like much to have her name there. As yet I have only Coleridge's pieces, and my own, amounting to eighty or one hundred pages. 'Thalaba, the Destroyer' is progressing.

There is a poem called 'Geber' of which I know not whether my review of it, in the Critical' be yet printed, but in that review you will find some of the most exquisite poetry in the language. The poem is such as Gilbert, if he were only half as mad as he is, could have written. I would go a hundred miles to see the (anonymous) author.[59]

There are some worthies in Exeter, with whom I have passed some pleasant days, but the place is miserably bigoted. Would you believe that there are persons here who still call the Americans 'the Rebels' Exeter is the filthiest town in England; a gutter running down the middle of every street and lane. We leave on Monday week. I shall rejoice to breathe fresh air. Exeter, however, has the best collection of old books for sale, of any town out of London.[60]

I have lately made up my mind to undertake one great historical work, the 'History of Portugal,' but for this, and for many other noble plans, I want uninterrupted leisure; time wholly my own, and not frittered away by little periodical employments. My working at such work is Columbus serving before the mast. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"Falmouth, 1800.

My dear Cottle,

Our journey here was safe, but not without accidents. We found the packet, by which we were to sail, detained by the wind, and we are watching it with daily anxiety.[61]

A voyage is a serious thing, and particularly an outward-bound voyage. The hope of departure is never an exhilarating hope. Inns are always comfortless, and the wet weather that detains us at Falmouth, imprisons us. Dirt, noise, restlessness, expectation, impatience,—fine cordials for the spirits!

Devonshire is an ugly county. I have no patience with the cant of travellers, who so bepraise it. They have surely slept all the way through Somersetshire. Its rivers are beautiful, very beautiful, but nothing else. High hills, all angled over with hedges, and no trees. Wide views, and no object. I have heard a good story of our friend, Charles Fox. When his house, at this place, was on fire, he found all effort to save it useless, and being a good draughtsman, he went up the next hill to make a drawing of the fire! the best instance of philosophy I ever heard.

I have received letters from Rickman and Coleridge. Coleridge talks of flaying Sir Herbert Croft. This may not be amiss. God bless you. I shake you mentally by the hand, and when we shake hands bodily, trust that you will find me a repaired animal, with a head fuller of knowledge, and a trunk full of manuscripts. Tell Davy this Cornwall is such a vile county, that nothing but its merit, as his birth-place, redeems it from utter execration. I have found in it nothing but rogues, restive horses, and wet weather; and neither Pilchards, White-ale, or Squab-pie, were to be obtained! Last night I dreamt that Davy had killed himself by an explosion. Once more, God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey.

Mr. Southey, in this second visit to Lisbon, sent me the following poetical letter, which, for ease, vivacity, and vigorous description, stands at the head of that class of compositions. A friendly vessel, mistaken for a French privateer, adds to the interest. In one part, the poet conspicuously bursts forth.

"Lisbon, May 9th, 1800.

      Dear Cottle, d'ye see,
      In writing to thee,
      I do it in rhyme,
      That I may save time,
      Determin'd to say,
      Without any delay,
      Whatever comes first,
      Whether best or worst.
      Alack for me!
      When I was at sea,
      For I lay like a log,
      As sick as a dog,
      And whoever this readeth,
      Will pity poor Edith:
      Indeed it was shocking,
      The vessel fast rocking,
      The timbers all creaking,
      And when we were speaking,
      It was to deplore
      That we were not on shore,
  And to vow we would never go voyaging more.

        The fear of our fighting,
      Did put her a fright in,
      And I had alarms
      For my legs and my arms.
      When the matches were smoking,
      I thought 'twas no joking,
      And though honour and glory
      And fame were before me,
      'Twas a great satisfaction,
      That we had not an action,
      And I felt somewhat bolder,
  When I knew that my head might remain on my shoulder.

        But O! 'twas a pleasure,
      Exceeding all measure,
      On the deck to stand,
      And look at the land;
      And when I got there,
      I vow and declare,
      The pleasure was even
      Like getting to heaven!
      I could eat and drink,
      As you may think;
      I could sleep at ease,
      Except for the fleas,
      But still the sea-feeling,—
      The drunken reeling,
      Did not go away
      For more than a day:
      Like a cradle, the bed
      Seemed to rock my head,
      And the room and the town,
      Went up and down.

      My Edith here,
      Thinks all things queer,
    And some things she likes well;
      But then the street
      She thinks not neat,
    And does not like the smell.
      Nor do the fleas
      Her fancy please
    Although the fleas like her;
      They at first vie w
      Fell merrily too,
    For they made no demur.
      But, O, the sight!
      The great delight!
    From this my window, west!
      This view so fine,
      This scene divine!
    The joy that I love best!
      The Tagus here,
      So broad and clear,
    Blue, in the clear blue noon—
      And it lies light,
      All silver white,
    Under the silver moon!
      Adieu, adieu,
      Farewell to you,
    Farewell, my friend so dear,
      Write when you may,
      I need not say,
    How gladly we shall hear.
      I leave off rhyme,
      And so next time,
    Prose writing you shall see;
      But in rhyme or prose,
      Dear Joseph knows
    The same old friend in me,

Robert Southey."

* * * * *

[Illustration: Portrait of Robert Southey, Esq. Poet Laurate.]

* * * * *

"Portugal, Cintra, July, 1800.

My dear Cottle,

I write at a five minutes' notice. The unforeseen and unlucky departure of my only friend gives me occasion for this letter, and opportunity to send it. It is Miss Barker Congreve. She is a woman of uncommon talents, with whom we have been wandering over these magnificent mountains, till she made the greatest enjoyment of the place. I feel a heavier depression of spirits at losing her than I have known since Tom left me at Liskard.

We are at Cintra: I am well and active, in better health than I have long known, and till to-day, in uninterrupted gaiety at heart. I am finishing the eleventh book of 'Thalaba' and shall certainly have written the last before this reaches you. My Bristol friends have neglected me. Danvers has not written, and Edith is without a line from either of her sisters.

My desk is full of materials for the literary history which will require only the labour of arrangement and translation, on my return. I shall have the knowledge for the great work; and my miscellaneous notes will certainly swell into a volume of much odd and curious matter. Pray write to me. You know not how I hunger and thirst for Bristol news. I long to be among you. If I could bring this climate to Bristol, it would make me a new being: but I am in utter solitude of all rational society; in a state of mental famine, save that I feed on rocks and woods, and the richest banquet nature can possibly offer to her worshippers. God bless you.

Abuse Danvers for me. Remember me to Davy, and all friendly inquirers.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey.

P. S.—…. The zeal of the Methodists and their itinerant preachers, has reprieved for half a century the system; but you must be aware, that sooner or later, the Church of England will absorb all those sects that differ only in discipline. The comfortable latitude that takes in the Calvinist and the Arminian, must triumph. The Catholic system will perhaps, last the longest; and bids fair to continue as a political establishment, when all its professors shall laugh at its absurdity. Destroy its monastic orders, and marry the priests, and the rest is a pretty puppet-show, with the idols, and the incense, and the polytheism, and the pomp of paganism. God bless you.

R. S."

"Bristol, Aug. 1802.

Dear Cottle,

Well done good and faithful editor. I suspect that it is fortunate for the edition of Chatterton, that its care has devolved upon you.

The note with which you preface 'Burgum's Pedigree' need not come to me, as the M.S. is yours, whatever inferences may be drawn from it, will be by you. Add your name at the end to give it the proper authority. I shall know how to say enough, in the preface, about all other aiders and abetters, but it will not be easy to mention such a ringleader as yourself in words of adequate acknowledgment.

What you have detected in the 'Tournament' I have also observed in Barrett, in the omission of a passage of bombast connected with one of the accounts of the Bristol churches. Your copy of the 'Tournament' being in Chatterton's own hand-writing is surely the best authority. We are now of one opinion, that Chatterton and Rowley are one.

I am glad to hear that you have discovered anything worth printing in the British Museum. Doubtless, if you think it worth printing, others will do the same, and it is not our fault, if it be dull or an imperfect work. I transcribed page after page of what would have been worth little if genuine, and not being genuine, is worth nothing. This refers only to the local antiquities, and false deeds of gift, &c. I made a catalogue, and left it with you. Why say, 'I hope you will not take it amiss.' I am as ready to thank you for supplying any negligence of mine, as any one else can be. I should have wished for more engravings, but we have gone to the bounds of expense and trouble, in this gratuitous, but pleasant effort to benefit the family of Bristol's most illustrious bard. Why did you not sign your notes? I can now only say, that much, indeed most of the trouble has devolved on yon. J. C. at the end of each note, would have showed how much.

I have seen Cattcott.[62] Chatterton had written to Clayfield that he meant to destroy himself. Clayfield called on Barrett to communicate his uneasiness about the young lad. 'Stay,' said Barrett, 'and hear what he will say to me.' Chatterton was sent for. Barrett talked to him on the guilt and folly of suicide. Chatterton denied any intention of the kind, or any conversation to that import. Clayfield came from the closet with the letter in his hand, and asked, 'Is not this your hand-writing?' Chatterton then, in a state of confusion, fell upon his knees, and heard in sullen silence, the suitable remarks on his conduct. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"Bristol, Sept. 1802.

Dear Cottle,

I was from home, looking out for a habitation[63] in Wales, when your letter arrived. My journey was so far successful, that I am in treaty for a house, eight miles from Neath, in the mountains, a lovely spot, exactly such as will suit my wishes…."

In a letter received from Mr. Southey, Aug. 25, 1805, he says, "I have neither seen, nor heard, of 'Foster's Essays'; nor do I remember to have heard you mention him. Certainly, on your recommendation, I shall either buy or borrow the work. But no new book ever reaches these mountains, except such as come to me to be killed off."

Mr. Southey mentioned to me the last time I saw him, the jeopardy in which he had recently been placed, through his 'killing off'; and from which danger he was alone saved by his anonymous garb. He said he had found it necessary in reviewing a book, written by a native of the emerald isle, to treat it with rather unwonted severity, such as it richly deserved. A few days after the critique had appeared, he happened to call on a literary friend, in one of the inns of court. They were conversing on this work, and the incompetence of the writer, when the author, a gigantic Irishman entered the room, in a great rage, and vowing vengeance against the remorseless critic. Standing very near Mr. Southey, he raised his huge fist, and exclaimed, "And, if I knew who it was, I'd hate him!" Mr. S. observed a very profound silence, and not liking the vicinity of a volcano, quietly retired, reserving his laugh for a less hazardous occasion.

Mr. Southey in a letter, June 18, 1807, thus expresses himself. "… Beyond the fascinations of poetry, there is a calmer and steadier pleasure in acquiring and communicating the knowledge of what has been, and of what is. I am passionately fond of history, even when I have been delighted with the act of poetical composition. The recollection that all was fable in the story with which I have exerted myself, frequently mingled with the delight. I am better pleased in rendering justice to the mighty dead; with the holding up to the world, of kings, conquerors, heroes, and saints, not as they have been usually held up, but as they really are, good or evil, according to the opinion formed of them, by one who has neither passion, prejudice, nor interest, of any kind to mislead his mind.

There is a delight in recording great actions, and, though of a different kind, in execrating bad ones, beyond anything which Poetry can give, when it departs from historical truth. There is also a sense of power, even beyond what the poet, creator as he is, can exercise. It is before my earthly tribunal, that these mighty ones are brought for judgment. Centuries of applause, trophies, and altars, or canonizations, or excommunications, avail nothing with me. No former sentences are cognizable in my court. The merits of the case are all I look to, and I believe I have never failed to judge of the actions by themselves, and of the actor by his motives; and to allow manners, opinions, circumstances, &c., their full weight in extenuation. What other merit my historical works may have, others must find out for themselves, but this will I vouch for, that never was the heart of any historian fuller of purer opinions; and that never any one went about his work with more thorough industry, or more thorough good-will.

Your account of Churchey is very amusing, I should like to see the pamphlet of which you speak.[64] God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"Keswick, March 16, 1810.

My dear Cottle,

I cannot express to you how much it has affected me to hear of your affliction, [a long continued inflammation of the eyes, subdued ultimately, after bleeding, blistering, and cupping, by Singleton's eye ointment,] for though I am sure there is no one who would bear any sufferings with which it should please God to visit him, more patiently and serenely, than yourself, this nevertheless, is an affliction of the heaviest kind. It is very far from being the habit of my mind to indulge in visionary hopes, but from what I recollect of the nature of your complaint, it is an inveterate inflammation, and this I believe to be completely within the reach of art…."

In the year 1814, after an hemorrhage from the lungs, and consequent debility, I relieved my mind by writing a kind, serious, and faithful letter to my friend Southey, under an apprehension that it might be my last; to which Mr. Southey returned the following reply.

"Keswick, May 13, 1814.

My dear Cottle,

I have seen so dreadful a case of hemorrhage from the lungs terminate favorably, that your letter alarms me less than otherwise it would have done. Basil Montague the younger, continued to bleed at intervals for six weeks, in January and February last, and he has this day left Keswick without any dangerous symptoms remaining upon him. Two other instances have occurred within my knowledge, I will therefore hope for a favorable termination. Your letter comes upon me when I am like a broken reed, so deeply has the loss of Danvers wounded me. Were I to lose you also, I should never have heart to visit Bristol again.

What answer shall I make to your exhortations? We differ, if indeed there be a difference, more in appearance than reality; more in the form than in the substance of our belief. I have already so many friends on the other side of the grave, that a large portion of my thoughts and affections are in another world, and it is only the certainty of another life, which could make the changes and insecurity of this life endurable. May God bless you, and restore you, my dear old friend, is the sincere prayer of

Your affectionate

Robert Southey."

In the year 1816, Mr. Southey sustained a great loss in the death of his youngest son, a boy of promising talent, and endued with every quality which could attach a father's heart. Mr. S. thus announced the melancholy tidings.

"Keswick, May 23, 1816.

My dear Cottle,

I know not whether the papers may have informed you of the severe affliction with which we have been visited,—the death of my son; a boy who was in all things after my own heart. You will be gratified to hear, however, that this sorrow produces in both our cases, that beneficial purpose for which such visitations were appointed: and in subtracting so large a portion of our earthly happiness, fixes our hearts and hopes with more earnestness on the life to come. Nothing else I am well assured, could have supported me, though I have no ordinary share of fortitude. But I know where to look for consolation, and am finding it where only it can be found. My dear Cottle, the instability of human prospects and enjoyments! You have read my proem to the 'Pilgrimage,' and before the book was published, the child of whom I had thus spoken, with such heartfelt delight, was in his grave! But of this enough. We have many blessings left, abundant all, and of this, which was indeed the flower of all our blessings, we are deprived for a time, and that time must needs be short…."

In the year 1817, Mr. Southey's juvenile drama of "Wat Tyler," was surreptitiously published; written during the few months of his political excitement, when the specious pretensions of the French, carried away, for a brief period, so many young and ardent minds. He thus noticed the circumstance.

"My dear Cottle,

You will have seen by the papers, that some villain, after an interval of three and twenty years, has published my old uncle, 'Wat Tyler.' I have failed in attempting to obtain an injunction, because a false oath has been taken, for the purpose of defeating me….

I am glad to see, and you will be very glad to hear, that this business has called forth Coleridge, and with the recollections of old times, brought back something like old feelings. He wrote a very excellent paper on the subject in the 'Courier,' and I hope it will be the means of his rejoining us ere long; so good will come out of evil, and the devil can do nothing but what he is permitted.[65]

I am well in health, and as little annoyed by this rascality as it becomes me to be. The only tiling that has vexed me, is the manner in which my counsel is represented in talking about my being ashamed of the work as a wicked performance! "Wicked! My poor 'old uncle' has nothing wicked about him. It was the work of a right-honest enthusiast, as you can bear witness; of one who was as upright in his youth as he has been in his manhood, and is now in the decline of his life; who, blessed be God, has little to be ashamed before man, of any of his thoughts, words, or actions, whatever cause he may have for saying to his Maker, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.' God bless you, my old and affectionate friend,

Robert Southey.

I am writing a pamphlet, in the form of a letter, to Wm. Smith. Fear not, but that I shall make my own cause good, and set my foot on my enemies. This has been a wicked transaction. It can do me no other harm than the expense to which it has put me."

"Keswick, Sept. 2, 1817.

My dear Cottle,

… I have made a long journey on the continent, accompanied with a friend of my own age, and with Mr. Nash, the architect, who gave me the drawings of Waterloo. We went by way of Paris to Besançon, into Switzerland: visited the Grand Chartreuse, crossed Mont Cenis; proceeded to Turin, and Milan, and then turned back by the lakes Como, Lugano, and Maggiore, and over the Simplon. Our next business was to see the mountainous parts of Switzerland. From Bern we sent our carriage to Zurich, and struck off what is called the Oberland (upper-land.) After ten days spent thus, in the finest part of the country, we rejoined our carriage, and returned through the Black Forest. The most interesting parts of our homeward road were Danaustrugen, where the Danube rises. Friburg, Strasburg, Baden, Carlsruhe, Heidelburg, Manheim, Frankfort, Mentz, Cologne, and by Brussels and Lisle, to Calais.

I kept a full journal, which might easily be made into an amusing and useful volume, but I have no leisure for it. You may well suppose what an accumulation of business is on my hands after so long an absence of four months. I have derived great advantage both in knowledge and health. God bless you, my dear Cottle.

Yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey.

P.S.—Hartley Coleridge has done himself great credit at Oxford. He has taken what is called a second class, which, considering the disadvantages of his school education, is as honourable for him as a first class for any body else. In all the higher points of his examination, he was excellent, and inferior only in those minuter points, wherein he had not been instructed. He is on the point of taking his degree."

"Keswick, Nov. 26,1819.

My dear Cottle,

Last night I received a letter from Charles Lamb, telling me to what a miserable condition poor John Morgan is reduced: not by any extravagance of his own, but by a thoughtless generosity, in lending to men who have never repaid him, and by ——, who has involved him in his own ruin; and lastly by the visitation of providence. Every thing is gone!

In such a case, what is to be done? 'but to raise some poor annuity amongst his friends.' It is not likely to be wanted long. He has an hereditary disposition to a liver complaint, a disease of all others, induced by distress of mind, and he feels the whole bitterness of his situation. The palsy generally comes back to finish what it has begun. Lamb will give ten pounds a year. I will do the same, and we both do according to our means, rather tham our will. I have written to Michael Castle to exert himself; and if you know where his friend Porter is, I pray you communicate this information to him. We will try what can be done in other quarters…."[66]

"Keswick, June 25, 1823.

My dear Cottle,

… I must finish my 'Book of the Church.' Under this title a sketch of our ecclesiastical history is designed. One small volume was intended, and behold it will form two 8vos. The object of the book is, to give those who come after us a proper bias, by making them feel and understand, how much they owe to the religious institutions of their country.

Besides this, I have other works in hand, and few things would give me more pleasure than to show you their state of progress, and the preparations I have made for them. If you would bring your sister to pass a summer with us, how joyfully and heartily you would be welcomed, I trust you both well know. Our friendship is now of nine and twenty years' standing, and I will venture to say, for you, or for us, life cannot have many gratifications in store greater than this would prove. Here are ponies accustomed to climb these mountains which will carry you to the summit of Skiddaw, without the slightest difficulty, or danger. And here is my boat, the 'Royal Noah,' in the lake, in which you may exercise your arms when you like. Within and without I have much to show you. You would like to see my children; from Edith May, who is taller than her mother, down to Cuthbert, who was four years old in February last. Then there are my books, of which I am as proud as you are of your bones.[67] They are not indeed quite so old, but then they are more numerous, and I am sure Miss C. will agree with me that they are much better furniture, and much pleasanter companions.

Not that I mean to depreciate your fossil remains. Forbid it all that is venerable. I should very much like to see your account of them. You gave me credit for more than is my due, when you surmised that the paper in the Quarterly (on the presumed alteration in the plane of the ecliptic) might have been mine. I write on no subject on which I have not bestowed considerable time and thought; and on all points of science, I confess myself to be either very superficially informed, or altogether ignorant. Some day I will send you a list of all my papers in that Journal, that you may not impute to me any thing which is not mine; and that, if you have at any time such a desire, you may see what the opinions are that I have there advanced. Very few I believe in which you would not entirely accord with me. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"Keswick, April 7, 1825.

My dear Cottle,

You have indeed had a severe loss,[68] I know not how the heart could bear, if it were not for the prospect of eternity, and the full sense of the comparative nothingness of time, which that prospect produces. If I look on the last thirty years, things seem as but yesterday; and when I look forward, the end of this mortal journey must be near, though the precise point where it will terminate is not in sight. Yet were you under my roof, as I live in hope that one day you will be, you would recognize just as much of the original Robert Southey as you would wish to see remaining;—though the body is somewhat the worse for wear.

I thought I had written to thank you for your 'Strictures on the Plymouth Antinomians;' which were well deserved, and given in a very proper spirit. Ultra-Calvinism is as little to my liking as it is to yours. It may be, and no doubt is held by many good men, upon whom it produces no worse effects than that of narrowing charity. But Dr. Hawker, and such as the Hawkers, only push it to its legitimate consequences.

At present I am engaged in a war with the Roman Catholics, a war in which there will be much ink shed, though not on my part, for when my 'Vindiciae' are finished, I shall leave the field. When you see that book, you will be surprised at the exposure of sophistries, disingenuousness, and downright falsehoods, which it will lay before the world; and you will see the charge of systematic imposture proved upon the papal church.

I must leave my home by the middle of next month, and travel for some weeks, in the hope of escaping an annual visitation of Catarrh, which now always leaves cough behind it, and a rather threatening hold of the chest. I am going therefore to Holland, to see that country, and to look for certain ecclesiastical books, which I shall be likely to obtain at Brussels, or Antwerp, or on the way thither.

A young friend, in the Colonial office, is to be one of my companions, and I expect that Neville White will be the other. It is a great effort to go from home at any time, and a great inconvenience, considering the interruption which my pursuits must suffer; still it is a master of duty and of economy to use every means for averting illness. If I can send home one or two chests of books, the pleasure of receiving them on my return is worth some cost.

How you would like to see my library, and to recognize among them some volumes as having been the gift of Joseph Cottle, seven or eight and twenty years ago. I have a great many thousand volumes, of all sorts, sizes, languages, and kinds, upon all subjects, and in all sorts of trims; from those which are displayed in 'Peacock Place,' to the ragged inhabitants of 'Duck Row.' The room in which I am now writing contains two thousand four hundred volumes, all in good apparel; many of them of singular rarity and value. I have another room full, and a passage full; book-cases in both landing places, and from six to seven hundred volumes in my bed-room. You have never seen a more cheerful room than my study; this workshop, from which so many works have proceeded, and in which among other things, I have written all those papers of mine, in the Quarterly Review, whereof you have a list below.[69]

The next month will have a paper of mine on the 'Chuch Missionary Society,' and the one after, upon the 'Memoir of the Chevalier Bayard,' which Sarah Coleridge, daughter of S. T. Coleridge, has translated.

Write to me oftener, as your letters will always have a reply, let whose may go unanswered. God bless you, my dear old friend.

Yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"Keswick, Feb. 26, 1826.

My dear Cottle,

I have sent you my Vindication of the 'Book of the Church,' in which though scarcely half of what was intended to be comprised, enough is done to prove the charge of superstition, impostures, and wickedness, upon the Romish Church. Whether I shall pursue the subject, in that form, depends on circumstances. I have employment enough in other ways, and would rather present my historical recollections in any form than that of controversy…. The revelations of sister Nativity are mentioned in my 'Vindiciae.' You will see an account of this impious Romish imposture in the next Quarterly. Such an exposure ought to open the eyes of those who are duped with the belief that the Roman Catholic religion is become innocent and harmless.

Have I written to you since I was bug-bitten in France, and laid up in consequence, under a surgeon's hands in Holland? This mishap brought with it much more immediate good than evil. Bilderdyk, whose wife translated 'Don Roderic' into Dutch, and who is himself confessedly the best poet, and the most learned man in that country, received me into his house, where I was nursed for three weeks by two of the very best people in the world. But the effects of the accident remain. On my way home, owing perhaps to the intense heat of the weather, erysipelas showed itself on the wounded part. The foot also has been in a slight degree swollen, and there is just enough sense of uneasiness to show that something is amiss. My last year's journey succeeded in cutting short the annual catarrh, which had for so many years laid me up during the summer months. I shall try the same course as soon as the next summer commences.

Will you never come and visit me, and see how that hair looks, which I doubt not keeps its colour so well in Vandyke's portrait? now it is three parts grey, but curling still as strong as in youth. I look at your portrait every day and see you to the life, as you were thirty years ago! What a change should we see in each other now, and yet how soon should we find that the better part remains unchanged.

The day before yesterday I received your two volumes of 'Malvern Hills, Poems, and Essays,' fourth edition, forwarded to me from Sheffield, by James Montgomery. You ask my opinion on your ninth essay (on the supposed alteration in the planes of the equator and the ecliptic suggested by an hypothesis in the Quarterly). I am too ignorant to form one. The reasoning seems conclusive, taking the scientific part for granted, but of that science, or any other, I know nothing. This I can truly say, that the essays in general please me very much. That I am very glad to see those concerning Chatterton introduced there;—and very much admire, the manner, and the feeling, with which you have treated Psalmanazar's story. You tell me things respecting Chatterton which were new to me, and of course interested me much. It may be worth while, when you prepare a copy for republication, to corroborate the proof of his insanity, by stating that there was a constitutional tendency to such a disease, which places the fact beyond all doubt….

Thank you, for the pains you have taken about 'Bunyan.' The first edition we cannot find, nor even ascertain its date. The first edition of the Second part we have found. An impudent assertion, I learn from 'Montgomery's Essay,' was published, that the 'Pilgrim's Progress' was a mere translation from the Dutch. I have had the Dutch book, and have read it, which he who made this assertion could not do. The charge of plagiarism is utterly false, not having the slightest foundation. When you and I meet in the next world, we will go and see John Bunyan, and tell him how I have tinkered the fellow, for tinker him I will, who has endeavoured to pick a hole in his reputation. God bless you, my dear old friend,

Robert Southey.

P. S. There are two dreams that may be said to haunt me, they recur so often. The one is, that of being at Westminster school again, and not having my books. The other is, that I am at Bristol, and have been there some indefinite time; and unaccountably, have never been to look for you in Brunswick Square, for which I am troubled in conscience. Come to us, and I will pledge myself to visit you in return when next I travel to the south."

In a letter to Mr. Southey, I mentioned that a relation of Wm. Gilbert had informed me that he was hurt with Mr. S. for having named him, in his 'Life of Wesley,' as being tinctured with insanity; a fact notorious. Mr. G. had often affirmed that there was a nation of the Gilbertians in the centre of Africa, and expressed a determination of one day visiting them. In the year 1796, he suddenly left Bristol, without speaking to any one of his friends; and the inference drawn, was that he was about to commence his African expedition. I had also mentioned that Sir James Mackintosh had expressed an opinion that Mr. Southey had formed his style on the model of Horace Walpole. These preliminary remarks are necessary to the understanding of the following letter.

"Keswick, Feb. 26.

My dear Cottle,

What you say about poor Gilbert has surprised me. You know we lost sight of him after he left Bristol, with, according to our apprehension, the design of going to Liverpool, and from thence to procure a passage to Africa. On that occasion, after consulting with Danvers, and I think with you, I wrote to Roscoe, apologizing, as a stranger, for the liberty, requesting him to caution any captain of a ship, bound to the African coast, from taking a person in his state of mind on board. Roscoe replied very courteously, and took the desired precaution, but Gilbert never appeared at Liverpool. Some time afterward it was told me that he was dead, and believing him so to be, I mentioned him in the life of Wesley, (Vol. 2. p. 467.) speaking of him as I had ever felt, with respect and kindness, but in a way which I should not have done if I had not been fully persuaded of his death.

Mackintosh's notice, as you inform me, that my style is founded on Horace Walpole, is ridiculous. It is founded on nobody's. I say what I have to say as plainly as I can, without thinking of the style, and this is the whole secret. I could tell by what poets my poetry has successively been leavened, but not what prose writers have ever in the same manner influenced me. In fact, I write as you may always have remarked, such as I always converse, without effort, and without aiming at display.

… Poor Morgan, you know, was latterly supported by a subscription, which Charles Lamb set on foot, and which was to have been annual, but he died within the year.

Just now I am pressed for time to finish the 'Life of Cowper.' This Life will interest you, not merely because you (I know) would read with partial interest anything of mine, but because many circumstances are there stated which have never before been made public.

You may have heard that a new edition of my 'Life of Wesley' is promised. Such an accumulation of materials has been poured upon me by a Mr. Marriott, well known among the Methodists, that I shall have to add a fourth, or perhaps, a third part of new matter, besides making many corrections and alterations. I have also got possession of the remaining papers of Mr. Powley, who married Miss Unwin. His widow died last year; and thus they became accessible. There were in the collection a good many letters of Mr. Newton, whose letters to Mr. Thornton, I have had before, and made great use of them in the 1st vol. of Cowper. From these papers I shall learn much concerning the first proceedings of the evangelical clergy, and expect to collect some materials for the 'Biographical Notes,' which must accompany 'Cowper's Letters'; and still more for the religious history of 'Wesley's Times,' as connected with the progress of Methodism. God bless you, my dear old friend,

Robert Southey."

"Keswick, Nov. 4, 1828.

My dear Cottle,

Shame on me that your last friendly letter should have remained so long unanswered, and that the direct motive for writing now should be a selfish one; one however, in which I know you will take some interest, on more accounts than one.

Major, in Fleet Street, is about to publish an edition of the Pilgrim's Progress, for which I have undertaken to write an introductory life of the author. You need not be told how dearly I love John Bunyan. Now he has made inquiries among public and private libraries for the first edition, and can nowhere discover a copy. It has occurred to me that it may be in the Bristol Baptist Library, and if you will make this inquiry for me, and in case it be there, ascertain whether it differs from the folio edition of Bunyan's works, you will do me a great kindness[70]…. That I should be somewhat the worse for the wear was to be expected, but I am not more so than you would look to see me; still active, cheerful, with a good appetite for books, and not an ill one for work. Some things I shall have to send you both in prose and verse, before the winter passes away….

Remember me in the kindest manner to ——, and to ——, and to ——. When I think of you all, old times return with the freshness of a dream. In less time than has elapsed since we were all young together, we shall be together again, and have dropped the weight of years and mortality on the way.

If my old acquaintance, Isaac James be living, remember me to him with cordial good will. God bless you, my dear old friend.

Robert Southey."

"Keswick, March 22, 1831.

My dear Cottle,

Your package arrived safely yesterday afternoon. I shall get the books with which you presented me furbished up, and write in each that it was your gift;—a pleasant memorandum which is found in others on these shelves. I like to give books this incidental value, and write therefore, the date, and place, in every fresh acquisition. Many recollections do they call up, which otherwise would have passed away. You who have known me from the beginning of my authorial life, ought to see this library of mine. As I think no man ever made more use of his books, so I am sure that no man ever took more delight in them. They are the pride of my eyes, and the joy of my heart; an innocent pride, I trust, and a wholesome joy."

* * * * *

The reader's attention will now be directed to Mr. Coleridge, by introducing a letter from Mr. C. to Mr. Wade, who had written to him for advice respecting a meditated excursion to Germany.

"March 6, 1801.

My very dear friend,

I have even now received your letter. My habits of thinking and feeling, have not hitherto inclined me to personify commerce in any such shape, so as to tempt me to tarn pagan, and offer vows to the goddess of our isle. But when I read that sentence in your letter, 'The time will come I trust, when I shall be able to pitch my tent in your neighbourhood,' I was most potently commanded to a breach of the second commandment, and on my knees, to entreat the said goddess, to touch your bank notes and guineas with her magical multiplying wand. I could offer such a prayer for you, with a better conscience than for most men, because I know that you have never lost that healthy common sense, which regards money only as the means of independence, and that you would sooner than most men cry out, enough! enough! To see one's children secured against want, is doubtless a delightful thing; but to wish to see them begin the world as rich men, is unwise to ourselves, for it permits no close of our labours, and is pernicious to them; for it leaves no motive to their exertions, none of those sympathies with the industrious and the poor, which form at once the true relish and proper antidote of wealth.

… Is not March rather a perilous month for the voyage from Yarmouth to Hamburg? danger there is very little, in the packets, but I know what inconvenience rough weather brings with it; not from my own feelings, for I am never sea-sick, but always in exceeding high spirits on board ship, but from what I see in others. But you are an old sailor. At Hamburgh I have not a shadow of acquaintance. My letters of introduction produced for me, with one exception, viz., Klopstock, the brother of the poet, no real service, but merely distant and ostentatious civility. And Klopstock will by this time have forgotten my name, which indeed he never properly knew, for I could speak only English and Latin, and he only French and German. At Ratzeburgh, 35 English miles N. E. from Hamburgh, on the road to Lubec, I resided four months; and I should hope, was not unbeloved by more than one family, but this is out of your route. At Gottingen I stayed near five months, but here I knew only students, who will have left the place by this time, and the high learned professors, only one of whom could speak English; and they are so wholly engaged in their academical occupations, that they would be of no service to you. Other acquaintance in Germany I have none, and connexion I never had any. For though I was much entreated by some of the Literati to correspond with them, yet my natural laziness, with the little value I attach to literary men, as literary men, and with my aversion from those letters which are to be made up of studied sense, and unfelt compliments, combined to prevent me from availing myself of the offer. Herein, and in similar instances, with English authors of repute, I have ill consulted the growth of my reputation and fame. But I have cheerful and confident hopes of myself. If I can hereafter do good to my fellow-creatures as a poet, and as a metaphysician, they will know it; and any other fame than this, I consider as a serious evil, that would only take me from out the number and sympathy of ordinary men, to make a coxcomb of me. As to the inns or hotels at Hamburgh, I should recommend you to some German inn. Wordsworth and I were at the 'Der Wilde Man,' and dirty as it was, I could not find any inn in Germany very much cleaner, except at Lubec. But if you go to an English inn, for heaven's sake, avoid the 'Shakspeare,' at Altona, and the 'King of England,' at Hamburgh. They are houses of plunder rather than entertainment. 'The Duke of York' hotel, kept by Seaman, has a better reputation, and thither I would advise you to repair; and I advise you to pay your bill every morning at breakfast time: it is the only way to escape imposition. What the Hamburgh merchants may be I know not, but the tradesmen are knaves. Scoundrels, with yellow-white phizzes, that bring disgrace on the complexion of a bad tallow candle. Now as to carriage, I know scarcely what to advise; only make up your mind to the very worst vehicles, with the very worst horses, drawn by the very worst postillions, over the very worst roads, and halting two hours at each time they change horses, at the very worst inns; and you have a fair, unexaggerated picture of travelling in North Germany. The cheapest way is the best; go by the common post wagons, or stage coaches. What are called extraordinaries, or post-chaises, are little wicker carts, uncovered, with moveable benches or forms in them, execrable in every respect. And if you buy a vehicle at Hamburgh, you can get none decent under thirty or forty guineas, and very, probably it will break to pieces on the infernal roads. The canal boats are delightful, but the porters everywhere in the United Provinces, are an impudent, abominable, and dishonest race. You must carry as little luggage as you well can with you, in the canal boats, and when you land, get recommended to an inn beforehand, and bargain with the porters first of all, and never lose sight of them, or you may never see your portmanteau or baggage again.

My Sarah desires her love to you and yours. God bless your dear little ones! Make haste and get rich, dear friend! and bring up the little creatures to be playfellows and school-fellows with my little ones!

Again and again, sea serve you, wind speed you, all things turn out good to you! God bless you,

S. T. Coleridge."

As a curious literary fact, I might mention that the sale of the first edition of the "Lyrical Ballads," was so slow, and the severity of most of the reviews so great, that their progress to oblivion, notwithstanding the merit which I was quite sure they possessed, seemed ordained to be as rapid as it was certain. I had given thirty guineas for the copyright, as detailed in the preceding letters; but the heavy sale induced me at length, to part with, at a loss, the largest proportion of the impression of five hundred, to Mr. Arch, a London bookseller. After this transaction had occurred, I received a letter from Mr. Wordsworth, written the day before he set sail for the continent, requesting me to make over my interest in the "Lyrical Ballads" to Mr. Johnson, of St Paul's Churchyard. This I could not have done, had I been so disposed, as the engagement had been made with Mr. Arch.

On Mr. W.'s return to England, I addressed a letter to him, explaining the reasons why I could not comply with his request, to which he thus replied:

"My dear Cottle,

I perceive that it would have been impossible for you to comply with my request, respecting the 'Lyrical Ballads,' as you had entered into a treaty with Arch. How is the copyright to be disposed of when you quit the bookselling business? We were much amused with the 'Anthology,' Your poem of the 'Killcrop' we liked better than any; only we regretted that you did not save the poor little innocent's life, by some benevolent art or other. You might have managed a little pathetic incident, in which nature, appearing forcibly in the child, might have worked in some way or other, upon its superstitious destroyer.

We have spent our time pleasantly enough in Germany, but we are right glad to find ourselves in England, for we have learnt to know its value. We left Coleridge well at Gottingen, a month ago….

God bless you, my dear Cottle,

Your affectionate friend,

W. Wordsworth."

Soon after the receipt of the above, I received another letter from Mr. W. kindly urging me to pay him a visit in the north, in which, as an inducement, he says,

"… Write to me beforehand, and I will accompany you on a tour. You will come by Greta-bridge, which is about twenty miles from this place, (Stockburn); and after we have seen all the curiosities of that neighbourhood, I will accompany you into Cumberland and Westmoreland….

God bless you, dear Cottle,

W. W."

A short time after the receipt of this invitation, Mr. Coleridge arrived in Bristol from Germany, and as he was about to pay Mr. Wordsworth a visit, he pressed me to accompany him. I had intended a journey to London, and now determined on proceeding with so agreeable a companion, and on so pleasant a journey and tour; taking the metropolis on my return. To notice the complicated incidents which occurred on this tour, would occupy a large space. I therefore pass it all over, with the remark, that in this interview with Mr. Wordsworth, the subject of the "Lyrical Ballads" was mentioned but once, and that casually, and only to account for its failure! which Mr. W. ascribed to two causes; first the "Ancient Mariner," which, he said, no one seemed to understand; and secondly, the unfavorable notice of most of the reviews.

On my reaching London, having an account to settle with Messrs. Longman and Rees, the booksellers of Paternoster Row, I sold them all my copyrights, which were valued as one lot, by a third party. On my next seeing Mr. Longman, he told me, that in estimating the value of the copyrights, Fox's "Achmed," and Wordsworth's "Lyrical Ballads," were "reckoned as nothing." "That being the case," I replied, "as both these authors are my personal friends, I should be obliged, if you would return me again these two copyrights, that I may have the pleasure of presenting them to the respective writers." Mr. Longman answered, with his accustomed liberality, "You are welcome to them." On my reaching Bristol, I gave Mr. Fox his receipt for twenty guineas; and on Mr. Coleridge's return from the north, I gave him Mr. Wordsworth's receipt for his thirty guineas; so that whatever advantage has arisen, subsequently, from the sale of this volume of the "Lyrical Ballads," I am happy to say, has pertained exclusively to Mr. W.

I have been the more particular in these statements, as it furnishes, perhaps, the most remarkable instance on record, of a volume of Poems remaining for so long a time, almost totally neglected, and afterwards acquiring, and that in a rapid degree, so much deserved popularity.[71]

A month or two after Mr. Coleridge had left Bristol for Germany, Dr. Beddoes told me of a letter he had just received from his friend, Davies Giddy, (afterward with the altered name of Gilbert, President of the Royal Society) recommending a very ingenious young chemist, of Penzance, in Cornwall, to assist him in his Pneumatic Institution, at the Hotwells. "The character is so favourable," said the Dr. "I think I shall engage him;" handing me the letter. I read it, and replied, "You cannot err in receiving a young man thus recommended." Two or three weeks after, Dr. B. introduced me to no other than Mr. afterwards Sir. Humphrey Davy. (Mr. Giddy little thought that this "young chemist of Penzance," was destined to precede himself, in occupying the chair of Newton.)

This Pneumatic Institution, for ascertaining how far the different gases, received into the lungs, were favourable, or not, to certain diseases, has often been referred to; but its origin, that I am aware of, has never been stated. It has erroneously been supposed, to have depended for its establishment and support, exclusively on Dr. Beddoes. But being acquainted with the circumstances of the case, it is right to mention, that this Gaseous Institution resulted from the liberality of the late Mr. Lambton, (father of the late Earl of Durham). When Mr. L. heard from Dr. Beddoes an opinion expressed, that Medical science might be greatly assisted by a fair and full examination of the effects of factitious airs on the human constitution, particularly in reference to consumption; to obtain this "fair and full examination," Mr. Lambton immediately presented Dr. B. with the munificent sum of fifteen hundred pounds. One other individual also, contributed handsomely toward the same object,—the late Mr. Thomas Wedgewood, who presented Dr. B. with one thousand pounds, for the furtherance of this design.[72]

It might be here mentioned, that a few months after this, two intelligent-looking boys were often seen with Dr. B. with whom they were domesticated. The Dr. was liberally remunerated for superintending their education, (with suitable masters;) and this he did at the dying request of their father, who had recently deceased in Italy. Dr. Beddoes took great pains with these boys, so that when they entered at Eton, they were found quite equal to other boys of their own age in classical attainments, and greatly their superiors in general knowledge. The father was the above Mr. Lambton, and one of the two boys, was the late Earl of Durham. One of the precepts strongly inculcated on these youths, was, "Never be idle, boys. Let energy be apparent in all you do. If you play, play heartily, and at your book, be determined to excel. Languor is the bane of intellect."

I remember to have seen Mr. Lambton at Dr. B.'s. He had a fine countenance, but it betrayed the hue of consumption. After having been for some time under the care of Dr. Beddoes, the Dr. recommended his patient to try a warmer climate, when Mr. L. departed for Italy. Mr. Lambton's health still declining, and considering that his only chance for life depended on the skill of his own experienced physician, he wrote to Dr. Beddoes, urging him, without delay to set off, I think, for Naples. This I received from Dr. B. himself, who said, at the same time, "On Monday morning I shall set off for Italy." But before Monday, the tidings arrived that Mr. Lambton was dead!

The two young Lambtons had the additional privilege of living under the same roof with Mr. Davy, and on various occasions through life, the Earl of Durham and his brother have testified a deep sense of respect and friendship for the illustrious chemist who so enlivened and edified their younger days.

When Dr. Beddoes introduced to me young Mr. Davy, (being under twenty) I was much struck with the intellectual character of his face. His eye was piercing, and when not engaged in converse, was remarkably introverted, amounting to absence, as though his mind had been pursuing some severe trains of thought, scarcely to be interrupted by external objects; and from the first interview also, his ingenuousness impressed me as much as his mental superiority. Mr. D. having no acquaintance in Bristol, I encouraged and often received his visits, and he conferred an obligation on me, by often passing his afternoons in my company. During these agreeable interviews, he occasionally amused me by relating anecdotes of himself; or detailing his numerous chemical experiments: or otherwise by repeating his poems, several of which he gave me (still retained); and it was impossible to doubt, that if he had not shone as a philosopher, he would have become conspicuous as a poet.[73]

I must now refer again to the Pneumatic Institution, to which the medical world looked with some anxiety, and which excited much conversation in the circle where I happened to be placed. Dr. Beddoes early in the year 1798, had given an admirable course of Lectures in Bristol, on the principles and practice of Chemistry, and which were rendered popular by a great diversity of experiments; so that, with other branches of the science, the gases, had become generally familiar. The establishment of the Pneumatic Institution immediately following, the public mind was prepared, in some measure, to judge of its results; and a very considerable increase of confidence was entertained, from the acknowledged talents of the young superintendant; so that all which could be accomplished was fully calculated upon. The funds also which supported the Institution being ample, the apparatus corresponded, and a more persevering and enthusiastic experimentalist than Mr. Davy, the whole kingdom could not have produced; an admission which was made by all who knew him, before the profounder parts of his character had been developed. No personal danger restrained him from determining facts, as the data of his reasoning; and if Fluxions, or some other means, had not conveyed the information, such was his enthusiasm, he would almost have sprung from the perpendicular brow of St. Vincent to determine his precise time, in descending from the top to the bottom.

I soon learnt from Mr. D. himself the course of his experiments; many of which were in the highest degree hazardous, when, with friendly earnestness, I warned him against his imminent perils. He seemed to act, as if in case of sacrificing one life, he had two or three others in reserve on which he could fall back in case of necessity. He occasionally so excited my fears that I half despaired of seeing him alive the next morning. He has been known sometimes to breathe a deadly gas, with his finger on his pulse, to determine how much could be borne, before a serious declension occurred in the vital action. The great hazards to which he exposed himself may be estimated by the following slight detail.

Dr. Mitchell, as well as Dr. Priestley, had stated the fatal effects on animal life, of the gazeous oxide of azote; Mr. Davy, on the contrary, for reasons which satisfied himself, thought it respirable in its pure state; at least, that a single inspiration of this gas might neither destroy, nor materially injure the powers of life. He tried one inspiration. No particularly injurious effects followed. He now breathed, out of his green bag, three quarts of this nitrous oxide (gazeous oxide of azote,) when it was attended with a degree of giddiness, great fulness in the head, and with loss of distinct sensation and voluntary power, analogous to intoxication. Not being able fully to determine whether the gas was "stimulant" or "depressing," he now breathed four quarts of it from his green bag, when an irresistible propensity to action followed, with motions, various and violent. Still, not being satisfied, he proceeded in his experiments, and at length found that he could breathe nine quarts for three minutes, and twelve quarts for rather more than four, but never for five minutes, without the danger of fatal consequences, as before five minutes had expired, the mouth-piece generally dropped from his unclosed lips. By breathing from six to seven quarts only, muscular motions were produced, and he manifested the pleasure it excited, by stamping, laughing, dancing, shouting, &c.

At another time, having ascertained that his pure nitrous oxide, was eminently stimulant, he wanted to determine whether the system, in a high state of stimulation, would then be susceptible of a proportionate accession of stimulus from his new gas; like that which would be experienced by the man, who after taking one bottle of wine, drank a second; and to acquire demonstration on this nice subject, (although he was a confirmed water-drinker) to form the basis of his experiment, he drank off with all despatch a whole bottle of wine, the consequence of which was, that he first reeled, and then fell down insensibly drunk. After lying in this state for two or three hours, he awoke with a sense of nausea, head-ache, and the usual effects of intoxication. At the first return of recollection, however, undaunted by the past, the young enthusiastic philosopher called out for the green bag, when he breathed twelve quarts of nitrous oxide, for three or four minutes. The consequence of this was, he became a second time intoxicated, though in a less degree, when he strode across the room, and by stamping, laughing, dancing, and vociferation, found that the same effects followed, which attended his former experiment, without any increase of stimulus from the wine.

All the gases that had hitherto been the subject of investigation, sunk in importance before this nitrous oxide, which the perseverance of Mr. Davy had now obtained in its pure state, in any quantity and consequently divested of that foreign admixture which rendered it usually so destructive. He had also ascertained the quantity which might safely be admitted into the lungs. Dr. Beddoes was sanguine as to its medical qualities, and conceived that, if not a specific, it might prove highly advantageous in paralysis, and pulmonary affections; and, in conjunction with these benefits he well knew it would confer importance on his own Pneumatic Institution. As Dr. B. meditated a publication expressly on this subject, he was desirous of collecting the testimony of others, for which purpose, he persuaded several of his friends to breathe this innocent, but exhilarating nitrous oxide, while they described, and he recorded their sensations.

Mr. Southey, Mr. Clayfield, Mr. Tobin, and others inhaled the new air. One, it made dance, another laugh, while a third, in his state of excitement, being pugnaciously inclined, very uncourteously, struck Mr. Davy rather violently with his fist. It became now an object with Dr. B. to witness the effect this potent gas might produce on one of the softer sex, and he prevailed on a courageous young lady, (Miss ——) to breathe out of his pretty green bag, this delightful nitrous oxide. After a few inspirations, to the astonishment of every body, the young lady dashed out of the room and house, when, racing down Hope-square, she leaped over a great dog in her way, but being hotly pursued by the fleetest of her friends, the fair fugitive, or rather the temporary maniac, was at length overtaken and secured, without further damage.

Dr. Beddoes now expressed a wish to record my testimony also, and presented me his green bag; but being satisfied with the effects produced on others, I begged to decline the honour. The Pneumatic Institution, at this time, from the laughable and diversified effects produced by this new gas on different individuals, quite exorcised philosophical gravity, and converted the laboratory into the region of hilarity and relaxation. The young lady's feats, in particular, produced great merriment, and so intimidated the ladies, that not one, after this time, could be prevailed upon to look at the green bag, or hear of nitrous oxide, without horror!

But more perilous experiments must now be noticed. Mr. Davy having succeeded so well with the Nitrous Oxide, determined even to hazard a trial with the deadly Nitrous Gas. For this purpose he placed in a bag, "one hundred and fourteen cubic inches of nitrous gas," and knowing that unless he exhausted his lungs of the atmospheric air, its oxygen would unite with the nitrous gas, and produce in his lungs aqua-fortis, he wisely resolved to expel if possible, the whole of the atmospheric air from his lungs, by some contrivance of his own. For this purpose, in a second bag, he placed seven quarts of nitrous oxide, and made from it three inspirations, and three expirations, and then instantly transferred his mouth to the nitrous gas bag, and turning the stop-cock, took one inspiration. This gas, in passing through his mouth and fauces, burnt his throat, and produced such a spasm in the epiglottis, as to cause him instantly to desist, when, in breathing the common air, aqua-fortis was really formed in his mouth, which burnt his tongue, palate, and injured his teeth. Mr. D. says, "I never design again to repeat so rash an experiment."

But though this experiment might not be repeated, there was one other nearly as dangerous, to which Mr. Davy's love of science prompted him to resort; not by trying it on another but, generously, on himself.

Mr. Davy wished to determine whether the carburetted hydrogen gas, was so destructive to animal life as had been represented. In its pure state, one inspiration of this gas was understood to destroy life, but Mr. D. mixed three quarts of the gas, with two quarts of the atmospheric air, and then breathed the whole for nearly a minute. This produced only slight effects, (nothing to an experimental chemist;) merely "giddiness, pain in the head, loss of voluntary power," &c.

The spirit of inquiry not being to be repressed by these trifling inconveniences, Mr. Davy was now emboldened to introduce into his green bag, four quarts of carburetted hydrogen gas, nearly pure. After exhausting his lungs in the usual way, he made two inspirations of this gas. The first inspiration produced numbness and loss of feeling in the chest. After the second, he lost all power of perceiving external things, except a terrible oppression on his chest, and he seemed sinking fast to death! He had just consciousness enough to remove the mouth-piece from his unclosed lips, when he became wholly insensible. After breathing the common air for some time, consciousness was restored, and Mr. Davy faintly uttered, as a consolation to his then attendant, Mr. John Tobin, "I do not think I shall die."

Such are some of the appalling hazards encountered by M. Davy, in his intrepid investigation of the gases. These destructive experiments, during his residence at Bristol, probably, produced those affections of the chest, to which he was subject through life, and which, beyond all question, shortened his days. Nothing at this moment so excites my surprise, as that Mr. D.'s life should have been protracted, with all his unparalleled indifference concerning it, to the vast age, for him, of fifty years.

I cannot here withhold an ungracious piece of information. In the prospect of this establishment, great expectations had been raised, and the afflicted of all descriptions, were taught to expect a speedy cure; so that when the doors were opened, no less than seventy or eighty patients, progressively applied for the gratuitous alleviation of their maladies. But it is too great a tax on human patience, when cures are always promised, but never come. No one recovery, in an obstinate case, had occurred: in consequence of which, many patients became dissatisfied, and remitted their attendance. Independently of which, an idea had become prevalent amongst the crowd of afflicted, that they were merely made the subjects of experiment, which thinned the ranks of the old applicants, and intimidated new. It might be said, that patients after a certain period had so ominously declined, that the very fire was likely to become extinguished for want of fuel. In order that the trials might be deliberately proceeded in, a fortunate thought occurred to Dr. Beddoes; namely, not to bribe, but to reward all persevering patients; for Mr. Davy informed me, that, before the Pneumatic Institution was broken up, they allowed every patient sixpence per diem; so that when all hopes of cure had subsided, it became a mere pecuniary calculation with the sufferers, whether, for a parish allowance of three shillings a week, they should submit or not, to be drenched with these nauseous gases.

This Pneumatic Institution, though long in a declining state, protracted its existence for more than two years, till the departure from Bristol of Mr. D., and then by its failure, it established the useful negative fact, however mortifying, that medical science was not to be improved through the medium of factitious airs.

I happened to be present when Mr. W. Coates casually named to Mr. Davy, then just turned of twenty, that his boy the preceding evening, had accidentally struck one piece of cane against another, in the dark, and which produced light. It was quite impressive to notice the intense earnestness with which Mr. D. heard this fact which, by others, might have been immediately forgotten. Mr. D. on the contrary, without speaking, appeared lost in meditation. He subsequently commenced his experiments on these canes, and thus communicated the results to his friend Mr. Giddy, (now Gilbert).

"My dear friend,

… I have now just room to give you an account of the experiments I have lately been engaged in.

First. One of Mr. Coates's children accidentally discovered that two bonnet-canes rubbed together produced a faint light. The novelty of this experiment induced me to examine it, and I found that the canes, on collision, produced sparks of light, as brilliant as those from flint and steel.

Secondly. On examining the epidermis, I found, when it was taken off, that the canes no longer gave light on collision.

Thirdly. The epidermis, subjected to chemical analysis, had all the properties of silex.

Fourthly, The similar appearance of the epidermis of reeds, corn, and grasses, induced me to suppose that they also contained silex. By burning them carefully and analyzing their ashes, I found that they contained it in rather larger proportions than the canes.

Fifthly. The corn and grasses contain sufficient potash to form glass with their flint. A very pretty experiment may be made on these plants with the blowpipe. If you take a straw of wheat, barley, or hay, and burn it, beginning at the top, and heating the ashes with a blue flame, you will obtain a perfect globule of hard glass, fit for microscopic discovery."

The circumstance, that all canes, as well as straws and hollow grasses, have an epidermis of silex, is one of the most singular facts in nature. Mr. Davy, in another place, has stated the advantages arising to this class of vegetables, from their stony external concretion: namely, "the defence it offers from humidity; the shield which it presents to the assaults of insects; and the strength and stability that it administers to plants, which, from being hollow, without this support, would be less perfectly enabled to resist the effect of storms.

Those canes which are not hollow, are long and slender, and from wanting the power to sustain themselves, come usually in contact with the ground, when they would speedily decay, from moisture, but from the impenetrable coat of mail with which nature has furnished them. But questions still arise for future investigators. How came the matter of flint to invest those plants which most need it, and not others? Whence does this silex come? Is it derived from the air, or from water, or from the earth? That it emanates from the atmosphere is wholly inadmissible. If the silex proceed from water, where is the proof? and how is the superficial deposit effected? Also, as silex is not a constituent part of water, if incorporated at all, it can be held only in solution. By what law is this solution produced, so that the law of gravity should be suspended? If the silex be derived from the earth, by what vessels is it conveyed to the surface of the plants? and, in addition, if earth be its source, how is it that earth-seeking, and hollow plants, with their epidermis of silex, should arise in soils that are not silicious? being equally predominant, whether the soil be calcareous, argillaceous, or loamy. The decomposition of decayed animal and vegetable substances, doubtless composes the richegt superficial mould; but this soil, so favorable for vegetation, gives the reed as much silex, but no more, in proportion to the size of the stalk, than the same plants growing in mountainous districts, and primitive soils. It is to be regretted, that the solution of these questions, with others that might be enumerated, had not occupied the profoundly investigating spirit of Mr. Davy; but which subjects now offer an ample scope for other philosophical speculators.

It is a demonstrative confirmation of the accuracy of Mr. Davy's reasoning, that a few years ago, after the burning of a large mow, in the neighbourhood of Bristol, a stratum of pure, compact, vitrified silex appeared at the bottom, forming one continuous sheet, nearly an inch in thickness. I secured a portion, which, with a steel, produced an abundance of bright sparks.

Upon Mr. Coleridge's return from the north, to Bristol, where he meant to make some little stay, I felt peculiar pleasure in introducing him to young Mr. Davy. The interview was mutually agreeable, and that which does not often occur, notwithstanding their raised expectations, each, afterward, in referring to the other, expressed to me the opinion, that his anticipations had been surpassed. They frequently met each other under my roof, and their conversations were often brilliant; intermixed, occasionally, with references to the scenes of their past lives.

Mr. Davy told of a Cornish young man, of philosophical habits, who had adopted the opinion that a firm mind might endure in silence, any degree of pain: showing the supremacy of "mind over matter." His theory once met with an unexpected confutation. He had gone one morning to bathe in Mount's Bay, and as he bathed, a crab griped his toe, when the young philosopher roared loud enough to be heard at Penzance.[74]

Mr. Coleridge related the following occurrence, which he received from his American friend, Mr. Alston, illustrating the effect produced on a young man, at Cambridge University, near Boston, from a fancied apparition. "A certain youth," he said, "took it into his head to convert a Tom-Painish companion of his, by appearing as a ghost before him. He accordingly dressed himself in the usual way, having previously extracted the ball from the pistol which always lay near the head of his friend's bed. Upon first awaking and seeing the apparition, A. the youth who was to be frightened, suspecting a trick, very coolly looked his companion, the ghost, in the face, and said, 'I know you. This is a good joke, but you see I am not frightened. Now you may vanish.' The ghost stood still. 'Come,' said A. 'that is enough. I shall get angry. Away!' Still the ghost moved not. Exclaimed A. 'If you do not in one minute go away, I will shoot you.' He waited the time, deliberately levelled his pistol, fired, and with a scream at the motionless immobility of the figure, was convinced it was a real ghost—became convulsed, and from the fright, afterwards died."

Mr. Coleridge told also of his reception at an Hessian village, after his visit to the Hartz mountains, and the Brocken. Their party consisted of himself, Mr. Carlyon, and the two Mr. Parrys. (sons of Dr. Parry, of Bath—one of them the Arctic explorer). The four pedestrians entered the village late of an evening, and repaired to the chief ale-house, wearied with a hard day's journey, in order to be refreshed and to rest for the night. The large room contained many of the neighbouring peasants. "What can we have to eat?" said Mr. Coleridge. "Nothing," was the reply. "Can we have beds?" "No," answered the master of the house. "Can we have some straw on which to lie?" "None, none," was the reply. On which Mr. Coleridge cried out, "Are the Hessians Christians?" To have their Christianity doubted, was an insufferable insult, and to prove their religion, one man in a rage, hurled a log of wood at Mr. C., which, if it had struck him, would have laid him prostrate! But more effectually to prove that they were Christians, "good and true," the men, in fierce array, now marched up, and roughly drove the saucy Englanders out of the house, to get lodgings where they could. From the extreme wrath of the insulted peasants, the travellers were apprehensive of some worse assault; and hurrying out of the village, weary, and hunger-smitten, bivouacked under a tree, determined never again to question a Hessian's Christianity, even under the gallows.

On one occasion, Mr. Coleridge entered into some of his college scenes, to one of which I may here refer. He said that, perhaps, it was culpable in him not to have paid more attention to his dress than he did when at the University, but the great excluded the little. He said that he was once walking through a street in Cambridge, leaning on the arms of two silk gowns, when his own habiliments formed rather a ludicrous contrast. His cap had the merit of having once been new; and some untoward rents in his gown, which he had a month before intended to get mended, left a strong tendency, in some of its posterior parts, to trail along the ground in the form, commonly called "tatters." The three friends were settling the exact site of Troy, or some other equally momentous subject, when they were passed by two spruce gownsmen, one of whom said to the other, which just caught the ear of Mr. C., "That sloven thinks he can hide his ribbons by the gowns of his companions." Mr. C. darted an appalling glance at him, and passed on. He now learned the name, and acquired some particulars respecting the young man who had offended him, and hastened home to exercise his Juvenallian talent.

The next day he gave his satire to a friend, to show it to the young man, who became quite alarmed at the mistake he had made, and also at the ominous words, "He who wrote this can write more." The cauldron might boil over with fresh "bubble, bubble, toil and trouble." There was no time to lose. He therefore immediately proceeded to Mr. C.'s chambers; apologized for his inconsiderate expressions; thought him to have been some "rough colt," from the country, again begged his pardon, and received the hand of reconciliation. This young, miscalculating Cantabrigian, now became one of Mr. C.'s warmest friends, and rose to eminence.[75]

The satire was singularly cutting. I can recall but two unconnected lines:

  "With eye that looks around with asking gaze,
  And tongue that traffics in the trade of praise."[76]

Mr. Coleridge now told us of the most remarkable of his Cambridge eccentricities, that of his having enlisted as a soldier. He had previously stated to me many of the following particulars, yet not the whole; but (having taken a deep interest in this singular adventure,) in addition to that which I heard from Mr. C., who never told all the incidents of his military life to any one person, but on the contrary, detailed some few to one, and some few to another, I made a point of collecting from different friends, every scattered fact I could obtain, and shall now throw the whole into one narrative.

But before I proceed, I must take some notice of a statement on this subject, communicated to the public, by Mr. Bowles, wherein his account appears to clash with mine. Of this gentleman (with whose name and writings I have connected so many pleasant remembrances, from early life,) I wish to speak with the utmost respect; but the truth Mr. B. himself will be glad to learn.

Mr. Bowles states a circumstance relating to what he calls, "The most correct, sublime, chaste, and beautiful of Mr. Coleridge's poems; the 'Religious Musings;'" namely, that "it was written, non inter sylvas academi, but in the tap-room at Reading." This information could not have been received from Mr. C. but perhaps was derived from the imperfect recollection of Captain O.; but whoever the informant may have been, the assertion has not the merit of being founded on a shadow of accuracy. The poem of the "Religious Musings" was not written "in the tap-room at Reading," nor till long after Mr. C. had quitted his military life. It was written partly at Stowey; partly on Redcliff Hill; and partly in my parlour, where both Mr. Coleridge and Mr. Southey occasionally wrote their verses. This will have sufficiently appeared by Mr. C.'s own letters; to which I could add other decisive evidence, if the subject were of more consequence.

I now proceed with the narrative of Mr. Coleridge's military adventures, chiefly collected from himself, but not inconsiderably from the information of other of his more intimate friends; particularly R. Lovell; although I must apprise the reader that after a lapse of forty years, I cannot pledge myself for every individual word: a severity of construction which neither my memoranda nor memory would authorize. In order not to interrupt the reader, by stating that this was derived from one source, and that from another, (at this time hardly to be separated in my own mind) I shall narrate it as though Mr. Coleridge had related the whole at once, to Mr. Davy and myself.

* * * * *

Mr. Coleridge now told us of one of his Cambridge eccentricities which highly amused us. He said that he had paid his addresses to a Mary Evans, who, rejecting his offer, he took it so much in dudgeon, that he withdrew from the University to London, when, in a reckless state of mind, he enlisted in the 15th, Elliot's Light Dragoons. No objection having been taken to his height or age, he was asked his name. He had previously determined to give one that was thoroughly Kamschatkian, but having noticed that morning over a door in Lincoln's Inn Fields, (or the Temple) the name of "Cumberbatch," (not Comberback) he thought this word sufficiently outlandish, and replied "Silas Tomken Cumberbatch,"[77] and such was the entry in the regimental book.

Here, in his new capacity, laborious duties devolved on Mr. C. He endeavoured to think on Caesar, and Epaminondas, and Leonidas, with other ancient heroes, and composed himself to his fate; remembering, in every series, there must be a commencement: but still he found confronting him no imaginary inconveniences. Perhaps he who had most cause for dissatisfaction, was the drill sergeant, who thought his professional character endangered; for after using his utmost efforts to bring his raw recruit into something like training, he expressed the most serious fears, from his unconquerable awkwardness, that he never should be able to make a soldier of him!

Mr. C. it seemed, could not even rub down his own horse, which, however, it should be known, was rather a restive one, who, like Cowper's hare, "would bite if he could," and in addition, kick not a little. We could not suppose that these predispositions in the martial steed were at all aggravated by the unskilful jockeyship to which he was subjected, but the sensitive quadruped did rebel a little in the stable, and wince a little in the field! Perhaps the poor animal was something in the state of the horse that carried Mr. Wordsworth's "Idiot Boy," who, in his sage contemplations, "wondered"—"What he had got upon his back!" This rubbing down his horse was a constant source of annoyance to Mr. C., who thought that the most rational way was,—to let the horse rub himself down, shaking himself clean, and so to shine in all his native beauty; but on this subject there were two opinions, and his that was to decide carried most weight. If it had not been for the foolish and fastidious taste of the ultra precise sergeant, this whole mass of trouble might be avoided, but seeing the thing must be done, or punishment! he set about the herculean task with the firmness of a Wallenstein; but lo! the paroxysm was brief, in the necessity that called it forth. Mr. C. overcame this immense difficulty, by bribing a young man of the regiment to perform the achievement for him; and that on very easy terms; namely, by writing for him some "Love Stanzas," to send to his sweetheart!

Mr. Coleridge, in the midst of all his deficiencies, it appeared, was liked by the men, although he was the butt of the whole company; being esteemed by them as next of kin to a natural, though of a peculiar kind—a talking natural. This fancy of theirs was stoutly resisted by the love-sick swain, but the regimental logic prevailed; for, whatever they could do, with masterly dexterity, he could not do at all, ergo, must he not be a natural? There was no man in the regiment who met with so many falls from his horse, as Silas Tomken Cumberbatch! He often calculated with so little precision his due equilibrium, that, in mounting on one side, (perhaps the wrong stirrup) the probability was, especially if his horse moved a little, that he lost his balance, and, if he did not roll back on this side, came down ponderously on the other! when the laugh spread amongst the men, "Silas is off again!" Mr. C. had often heard of campaigns, but he never before had so correct an idea of hard service.

Some mitigation was now in store for Mr. C. arising out of a whimsical circumstance. He had been placed as a sentinel, at the door of a ball-room, or some public place of resort, when two of his officers, passing in, stopped for a moment, near Mr. C., talking about Euripides, two lines from whom, one of them repeated. At the sound of Greek, the sentinel instinctively turned his ear, when he said, with all deference, touching his lofty cap, "I hope your honour will excuse me, but the lines you have repeated are not quite accurately cited. These are the lines," when he gave them in their more correct form. "Besides," said Mr. C., "instead of being in Euripides, the lines will be found in the second antistrophe of the 'Aedipus of Sophocles.'" "Why, man, who are you?" said the officer, "old Faustus ground young again?" "I am your honour's humble sentinel," said Mr. C., again touching his cap.

The officers hastened into the room, and inquired of one and another, about that "odd fish," at the door; when one of the mess, (it is believed, the surgeon) told them, that he had his eye upon him, but he would neither tell where he came from, nor anything about his family of the Cumberbatches; "but," continued he, "instead of his being an 'odd fish,' I suspect he must be a 'stray bird' from the Oxford or Cambridge aviary." They learned also, the laughable fact, that he was bruised all over, by frequent falls from his horse. "Ah," said one of the officers, "we have had, at different times, two or three of these 'University birds' in our regiment." This suspicion was confirmed by one of the officers, Mr. Nathaniel Ogle, who observed that he had noticed a line of Latin, chalked under one of the men's saddles, and was told, on inquiring whose saddle it was, that it was "Cumberbatch's."

The officers now kindly took pity on the 'poor scholar' and had Mr. C. removed to the medical department, where he was appointed assistant in the regimental hospital. This change was a vast improvement in Mr. C.'s condition; and happy was the day, also, on which it took place, for the sake of the sick patients; for Silas Tomken Cumberbatch's amusing stories, they said, did them more good than all the doctor's physic! Many ludicrous dialogues sometimes occurred between Mr. C. and his new disciples; particularly with one who was "the geographer." The following are some of these dialogues.

If he began talking to one or two of his comrades; for they were all on a perfect equality, except that those who went through their exercise the best, stretched their necks a little above the "awkward squad;" in which ignoble class Mr. C. was placed, as the preeminent member, almost by acclamation; if he began to speak, notwithstanding, to one or two, others drew near, increasing momently, till by-and-bye the sick-beds were deserted, and Mr. C. formed the centre of a large circle.

On one occasion, he told them of the Peloponnesian war, which lasted twenty-seven years, "There must have been famous promotion there," said one poor fellow, haggard as a death's head. Another, tottering with disease, ejaculated, "Can you tell, Silas, how many rose from the ranks?"

He now still more excited their wonderment, by recapitulating the feats of Archimedes. As the narrative proceeded, one restrained his scepticism, till he was almost ready to burst, and then vociferated, "Silas, that's a lie!" "D'ye think so?" said Mr. C. smiling, and went on with his story. The idea, however, got amongst them, that Silas's fancy was on the stretch, when Mr. C. finding that this tact would not do, changed his subject, and told them of a famous general, called Alexander the Great. As by a magic spell, the flagging attention was revived, and several, at the same moment, to testify their eagerness, called out, "The general! The general!" "I'll tell you all about him," said Mr. C. when impatience marked every countenance. He then told them whose son this Alexander the Great was; no less than Philip of Macedon. "I never heard of him," said one. "I think I have," said the "geographer," ashamed of being thought ignorant, "Silas, was'nt he a Cornish man? I knew one of the Alexanders at Truro!"

Mr. C. now went on describing to them, in glowing colours, the valour, and the wars, and the conquests of this famous general. "Ah," said one man, whose open mouth had complimented the speaker, for the preceding half hour; "Ah," said he, "Silas, this Alexander must have been as great a man as our Colonel!"

Mr. C. now told them of the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand." "I don't like to hear of retreat," said one. "Nor I," said a second: "I'm for marching on." Mr. C. now told of the incessant conflicts of these brave warriors, and of the virtues of the "square." "They were a parcel of crack men," said one. "Yes," said another, "their bayonets fixed, and sleeping on their arms day and night." "I should like to know," said a fourth, "what rations were given with all that hard fighting;" on which an Irishman replied, "to be sure, every time the sun rose, two pounds of good ox beef, and plenty of whiskey."

At another time he told them of the invasion of Xerxes, and his crossing the wide Hellespont. "Ah," said a young recruit, a native of an obscure village in Kent, who had acquired a decent smattering of geography,—knowing well that the world was round, and that the earth was divided into land and water, and, furthermore, that there were more countries on the globe than England, and who now wished to raise his pretensions a little before his comrades; said this young man of Kent; "Silas, I know where that 'Helspont' is. I think it must be the mouth of the Thames, for 'tis very wide."

Mr. C. now told them of the herces of Thermopylae, when the geographer interrupted him, by saying, "Silas, I think I know, too, where that 'Thermopple' is; isn't it somewhere up in the north?" "You are quite right, Jack," said Mr. C. "it is to the north of the Line." A conscious elevation marked his countenance, and he rose at once, five degrees in the estimation of his friends.

In one of these interesting conversaziones, when Mr. C. was sitting at the foot of a bed, surrounded by his gaping comrades, who were always solicitous of, and never wearied with, his stories, the door suddenly burst open, and in came two or three gentlemen, (his friends) looking for some time, in vain, amid the uniform dresses, for their man. At length, they pitched on Mr. C. and taking him by the arm, led him, in silence, out of the room, (a picture indeed, for a Wilkie!) As the supposed deserter passed the threshold, one of the astonished auditors uttered, with a sigh, "poor Silas! I wish they may let him off with a cool five hundred!" Mr. C.'s ransom was soon joyfully adjusted by his friends, and now the wide world once more lay before him.[78]

A very old friend of Mr. Coleridge has recently furnished me with the two following anecdotes of Mr. C. which were also new to me.

The inspecting officer of his regiment, on one occasion, was examining the guns of the men, and coming to one piece which was rusty, he called out in an authoritative tone, "Whose rusty gun[79] is this?" when Mr. Coleridge said, "is it very rusty, Sir?" "Yes Cumberbatch, it is" said the officer, sternly. "Then, Sir," replied Mr. C. "it must be mine!" The oddity of the reply disarmed the officer, and the poor scholar escaped without punishment.

Mr. Coleridge was a remarkably awkward horseman, so much so, as generally to attract notice. Some years after this, he was riding along the turnpike road, in the county of Durham, when a wag, approaching him, noticed his peculiarity, and (quite mistaking his man) thought the rider a fine subject for a little sport; when, as he drew near, he thus accosted Mr. C. "I say, young man, did you meet a tailor on the road?" "Yes," replied Mr. C. (who was never at a loss for a rejoinder) "I did; and he told me, if I went a little further I should meet a goose!" The assailant was struck dumb, while the traveller jogged on.

Mr. C. gave me these, his translations from the German.


  Hoarse Maevius reads his hobbling verse
    To all, and at all times,
  And deems them both divinely smooth,
    His voice, as well as rhymes.

  But folks say Maevius is no ass!
    But Maevius makes it clear,
  That he's a monster of an ass,
    An ass without an ear.

* * * * *

  If the guilt of all lying consists in deceit,
    Lie on—'tis your duty, sweet youth!
  For believe me, then only we find you a cheat,
    When you cunningly tell us the truth.

  "As Dick and I at Charing Cross were walking,
    Whom should we see on t'other side pass by,
  But INFORMATOR with a stranger talking,
    So I exclaimed—"O, what a lie!"
  Quoth Dick, "What, can you hear him?" Stuff!
  I saw him open his mouth—an't that enough?"

* * * * *


  Thy Lap-dog Rufa, is a dainty beast;
  It don't surprise me in the least,
    To see thee lick so dainty clean a beast,
    But that so dainty clean a beast licks thee—
    Yes—that surprises me.

* * * * *

  Jack writes his verses with more speed
    Than the printer's boy can set 'em;
  Quite as fast as we can read,
    But only—not so fast as we forget 'em.

Mr. Coleridge accompanied these epigrams with the translation of one of LESSING'S pieces, where the felicity of the expression, in its English form, will excite in most readers a suspicion, that no German original, could equal the poem in its new dress.


  I ask'd my love, one happy day,
  What I should call her in my lay!
    By what sweet name from Rome or Greece;
  Iphigenia, Clelia, Chloris,
  Laura, Lesbia, or Doris,
    Dorimene, or Lucrece?
  Ah! replied my gentle fair,
  Beloved! what are names but air!
    Take whatever suits the line:
  Call me Clelia, call me Chloris,
  Laura, Lesbia, or Doris,
    Only, only, call me thine.

Mr. C. told me that he intended to translate the whole of Lessing. I smiled. Mr. C. understood the symbol, and smiled in return.

The above poem is thus printed in the last edition of 1835, by which the two may be compared, and the reader will perhaps think that the alterations are not improvements.


  I asked my fair one happy day,
  What I should call her in my lay?
    By what sweet name from Rome or Greece:
  Lalage, Nesera, Chloris,
  Sappho, Lesbia, or Doris,
    Arethusa, or Lucrece.

  Ah, replied my gentle fair,
  Beloved, what are names but air?
    Choose thou whatever suits the line;
  Call me Sappho, call me Chloris,
  Call me Lalage, or Doris,
    Only, only, call me thine.

Some time after this, Mr. Coleridge being in an ill state of health, recollected that a friend of his, Sir John Stoddart, was the Judge at Malta,[80] and he determined to repair to that island. Here he was introduced to Sir Alexander Ball, the Governor, who happened at that time to be in want of a Secretary, and being greatly pleased with Mr. Coleridge, he immediately engaged him in that capacity.[81]

* * * * *

I shall here for the present leave the narrative of Mr. C. in other and better hands, and proceed to remark, that Mr. Davy and Mr. Coleridge continued their friendly feeling toward each other, through life. Mr. Davy, in a letter to Mr. Poole, (1804.) thus expresses himself:

"I have received a letter from Coleridge within the last three weeks. He writes from Malta, in good spirits, and as usual, from the depth of his being. God bless him! He was intended for a great man. I hope and trust he will, at some period, appear such."

Mr. Davy, after a continuance in Bristol of more than two years, sent me the following letter, with a copy of "Burns's Life and Works," by Dr. Currie.

"Dear Cottle,

I have been for the last six weeks so much hurried by business, and the prospect of a change of situation, that I have not had time to call on you. I am now on the point of leaving the Hotwells, and had designed to see you this morning, but engagements have unluckily prevented me. I am going to the Royal Institution, where, if you come to London, it will give me much pleasure to see you.

Will you be pleased to accept the copy of 'Burns's Life and Poems,' sent with this, and when you are reading with delight the effusions of your brother bard, occasionally think of one who is, with sincere regard and affection, your friend,

H. Davy.

March 9th, 1801."

In a letter of Sir H. Davy, addressed to his friend Mr. Poole, 1803, he thus writes of S. T. C.

"Coleridge has left London for Keswick. During his stay in town, I saw him seldomer than usual; when I did see him, it was generally in the midst of large companies, where he is the image of power and activity. His eloquence is unimpaired; perhaps it is softer and stronger. His will is less than ever commensurate with his ability. Brilliant images of greatness float upon his mind, like images of the morning clouds on the waters. Their forms are changed by the motion of the waves, they are agitated by every breeze, and modified by every sun-beam. He talked in the course of an hour, of beginning three works; and he recited the poem of Christabel unfinished, and as I had before heard it. What talent does he not waste in forming visions, sublime, but unconnected with the real world! I have looked to his efforts, as to the efforts of a creating being; but as yet he has not laid the foundation for the new world of intellectual forms."

In the following letter received by me from Sir H. Davy, so late as June, 1823, he refers to Mr. Coleridge.

"My dear Sir,

… I have often thought on the subject of the early history of our planet, and have some peculiar views, but I have some reserve in talking here about it, as all our knowledge on such matter is little more than ignorance.

What I stated to the Royal Society, in awarding the medal to Professor Buckland, has not been correctly given in the Journals. I merely said that the facts lately brought forward, proved the occurrence of that great catastrophe which had been recorded in sacred and profane history, and of which traditions were current, even amongst the most barbarous nations. I did not say they proved the truth of the Mosaic account of the deluge, that is to say, of the history of the Ark of Noah, and the preservation of animal life. This is revelation; and no facts, that I know of, have been discovered in science that bear upon this question, and the sacred history of the race of Shem. My idea was to give to Caesar what belonged to Caesar, &c. &c., and not to blend divine truths with the fancies of men.

I met Coleridge this morning, looking very well. I had not seen him for years. He has promised to dine with me on Monday….

Very sincerely yours,

H. Davy.

June 11th, 1823."

Sir H. Davy was the chief agent in prevailing on Mr. Coleridge to give a course of lectures on Shakspeare, at the Royal Institution, which he did, eighteen in number, in the year 1808. Sir H. D. in writing to Mr. Poole, this year, thus refers to him.

"Coleridge, after disappointing his audience twice from illness, is announced to lecture again this week. He has suffered greatly from excessive sensibility, the disease of genius. His mind is a wilderness, in which the cedar and the oak, which might aspire to the skies, are stunted in their growth by underwood, thorns, briars, and parasitical plants. With the most exalted genius, enlarged views, sensitive heart, and enlightened mind, he will be the victim of want of order, precision, and regularity. I cannot think of him without experiencing the mingled feelings of admiration, regard, and pity."

To this testimony in confirmation of Mr. Coleridge's intellectual eminence, some high and additional authorities will be added; such as to entitle him to the name of the Great Conversationalist. Professor Wilson thus writes:

"If there be any man of great and original genius alive at this moment, in Europe, it is S. T. Coleridge. Nothing can surpass the melodious richness of words, which he heaps around his images; images that are not glaring in themselves, but which are always affecting to the very verge of tears, because they have all been formed and nourished in the recesses of one of the most deeply musing spirits, that ever breathed forth its inspirations, in the majestic language of England."

"Not less marvellously gifted, though in a far different manner, is Coleridge, who by a strange error has usually been regarded of the same (lake) school. Instead, like Wordsworth, of seeking the sources of sublimity and beauty in the simplest elements of humanity, he ranges through all history and science, investigating all that has really existed, and all that has had foundation only in the wildest, and strangest minds, combining, condensing, developing and multiplying the rich products of his research with marvellous facility and skill; now pondering fondly over some piece of exquisite loveliness, brought from an unknown recess, now tracing out the hidden germ of the eldest, and most barbaric theories, and now calling fantastic spirits from the vasty deep, where they have slept since the dawn of reason. The term 'myriad-minded' which he has happily applied to Shakspeare, is truly descriptive of himself. He is not one, but legion, 'rich with the spoils of time,' richer in his own glorious imagination and sportive fantasy. There is nothing more wonderful than the facile majesty of his images, or rather of his world of imagery, which, whether in his poetry or his prose, start up before us, self-raised, and all perfect, like the palace of Aladdin. He ascends to the sublimest truths by a winding track of sparkling glory, which can only be described in his own language.

                        'The spirit's ladder
      That from this gross and visible world of dust,
      Even to the starry world, with thousand rounds
      Builds itself up; on which the unseen powers
      Move up and down on heavenly ministries—
      The circles in the circles, that approach
      The central sun from ever narrowing orbit.'

In various beauty of versification he has never been exceeded. Shakspeare doubtless in liquid sweetness and exquisite continuity, and Milton in pure majesty and classic grace—but this, in one species of verse only; and taking all his trials of various metres, the swelling harmony of his blank verse, the sweet breathing of his gentle odes, and the sybil-like flutter, with the murmuring of his wizard spells, we doubt if even these great masters have so fully developed the sources of the English tongue. He has yet completed no adequate memorial of his Genius, yet it is most unjust to say he has done little or nothing.

To refute this assertion, there are his 'Wallenstein;' his love poems of intensest beauty; his 'Ancient Mariner,' with his touches of profoundest tenderness amidst the wildest and most bewildering terrors; his holy and sweet tale of 'Christabel,' with its enchantments, and richer humanities; the depths, the sublimities, and the pensive sweetness of his 'Tragedy;' the heart-dilating sentiments scattered through his 'Friend;' and the stately imagery which breaks upon us at every turn of the golden paths of his metaphysical labyrinth. And if he has a power within him mightier than that which even these glorious creations indicate, shall he be censured because he has deviated from the ordinary course of the age in its development, and instead of committing his imaginative wisdom to the press, has delivered it from his living lips? He has gone about in the true spirit of an old Greek bard, with a noble carelessness of self, giving fit utterance to the divine spirit within, him. Who that has ever heard can forget him? His mild benignity, the unbounded variety of his knowledge, the fast succeeding products of his imagination, the child-like simplicity with which he rises from the dryest and commonest theme into the wildest magnificence of thought, pouring on the soul a stream of beauty and wisdom to mellow and enrich it for ever? The seeds of poetry, the materials for thinking, which he has thus scattered will not perish. The records of his fame are not in books only, but on the fleshly tablets of young hearts, who will not suffer it to die even in the general ear, however base and unfeeling criticism may deride their gratitude."—Mr. Sergeant Talfourd.

Dr. Dibdin has given an animated description of Coleridge's lecturing and conversation, which concurs with the universal opinion.

"I once came from Kensington in a snow-storm to hear Mr. Coleridge lecture on Shakspeare, I might have sat as wisely, and more comfortably by my own fire-side—for no Coleridge appeared.——I shall never forget the effect his conversation made upon me at the first meeting, at a dinner party. It struck me as something not only quite out of the ordinary course of things, but an intellectual exhibition altogether matchless. The viands were unusually costly, and the banquet was at once rich and varied; but there seemed to be no dish like Coleridge's conversation to feed upon—and no information so instructive as his own. The orator rolled himself up as it were in his chair, and gave the most unrestrained indulgence to his speech; and how fraught with acuteness and originality was that speech, and in what copious and eloquent periods did it flow. The auditors seemed to be wrapt in wonder and delight, as one conversation, more profound or clothed in more forcible language than another, fell from his tongue. He spoke nearly for two hours with unhesitating and uninterrupted fluency. As I returned homewards, to Kensington, I thought a second Johnson had visited the earth, to make wise the sons of men; and regretted that I could not exercise the powers of a second Boswell to record the wisdom and the eloquence that fell from the orator's lips.

The manner of Coleridge was emphatic rather than dogmatic, and thus he was generally and satisfactorily listened to. It might be said of Coleridge, as Cowper has so happily said of Sir Philip Sidney, that he was 'the warbler of poetic prose.' There was always this characteristic feature in his multifarious conversation,—it was always delicate, reverend, and courteous. The chastest ear could drink in no startling sound; the most serious believer never had his bosom ruffled by one sceptical or reckless assertion. Coleridge was eminently simple in his manner. Thinking and speaking were his delight; and he would sometimes seem, during the more fervid movements of discourse, to be abstracted from all, and everything around and about him, and to be basking in the sunny warmth of his own radiant imagination."—Dr. Dibdin.

"Last Thursday, my Uncle, S. T. C. dined with us; and —— and —— came to meet him. I have heard him more brilliant, but he was very fine, and delighted both, —— and —— very much. It is impossible to carry off, or commit to paper, his long trains of argument; indeed it is not possible to understand them, he lays the foundation so deep, and views every question in so original a manner. Nothing can be finer than the principles which he lays down in morals and religion. His deep study of scripture is very astonishing; —— and —— were but as children in his hands, not merely in general views of theology, but in minute criticism…. Afterwards in the drawing-room, he sat down by Professor Rigaud, with whom he entered into a discussion of 'Kant's system of Metaphysics.' The little knots of the company were speedily silent. Mr. Coleridge's voice grew louder; and, abstruse as the subject was, yet his language was so ready, so energetic, and eloquent, and his illustrations so very apt and apposite, that the ladies even paid him the most solicitous, and respectful attention…. This is nearly all I recollect of our meeting with this most interesting, most wonderful man. Some of his topics and arguments I have enumerated, but the connexion and the words are lost. And nothing that I can say can give any notion of his eloquence and manner."—Mr. Justice Coleridge.—Table Talk.

"To the honoured memory of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the Christian Philosopher, who through dark and winding paths of speculation was led to the light, in order that others by his guidance might reach that light, without passing through the darkness, these sermons on the work of the spirit are dedicated with deep thankfulness and reverence by one of the many pupils whom his writings have helped to discern the sacred concord and unity of human and Divine truth.

"Of recent English writers, the one with whose sanction I have chiefly desired whenever I could, to strengthen my opinions, is the great religious philosopher to whom the mind of our generation in England owes more than to any other man. My gratitude to him I have endeavoured to express by dedicating the following sermons to his memory; and the offering is so far at least appropriate, in that the main work of his life was to spiritualize, not only our philosophy, but our theology; to raise them both above the empiricism into which they had long been dwindling, and to set them free from the technical trammels of logical systems. Whether he is as much studied by the genial young men of the present day, as he was twenty or thirty years ago, I have no adequate means of judging: but our theological literature teems with errors, such as could hardly have been committed by persons whose minds had been disciplined by his philosophical method, and had rightly appropriated his principles. So far too as my observation has extended, the third and fourth volumes of his 'Remains,' though they were hailed with delight by Arnold on their first appearance, have not yet produced their proper effect on the intellect of the age. It may be that the rich store of profound and beautiful thought contained in them has been weighed down, from being mixed with a few opinions on points of Biblical criticism, likely to be very offensive to persons who know nothing about the history of the Canon. Some of these opinions, to which Coleridge himself ascribed a good deal of importance, seem to me of little worth; some to be decidedly erroneous. Philological criticism, indeed all matters requiring a laborious and accurate investigation of details were alien from the bent and habits of his mind; and his exegetical studies, such as they were, took place at a period when he had little better than the meagre Rationalism of Eichhorn and Bertholdt to help him. Of the opinions which he imbibed from them, some abode with him through life. These however, along with everything else that can justly be objected to in the 'Remains,' do not form a twentieth part of the whole, and may easily be separated from the remainder. Nor do they detract in any way from the sterling sense, the clear and far-sighted discernment, the power of tracing principles in their remotest operations, and of referring all things to their first principles, which are manifested in almost every page, and from which we might learn so much. There may be some indeed, who fancy that Coleridge's day is gone by, and that we have advanced beyond him. I have seen him numbered, along with other persons who would have been no less surprised at their position and company, among the pioneers who prepared the way for our new theological school. This fathering of Tractarianism, as it is termed, upon Coleridge, well deserves to rank beside the folly which would father Rationalism upon Luther. Coleridge's far-reaching vision did indeed discern the best part of the speculative truths which our new school has laid hold on, and exaggerated and perverted. But in Coleridge's field of view they were comprised along with the complimental truths which limit them, and in their conjunction and co-ordination with which alone they retain the beneficent power of truth. He saw what our modern theologians see, though it was latent from the vulgar eyes in his days; but he also saw what they do not see, what they have closed their eyes on; and he saw far beyond them, because he saw things in their universal principles and laws."—Rev. Archdeacon Charles Hare's "Mission of the Comforter."—Preface, pp. 13, 15. Two Vols. 8vo.

These various testimonies to the conversational eminence of Mr. Coleridge, and from men the best qualified to decide, must satisfy every mind, that in this one quality he scarcely ever had a superior, or perhaps an equal. In the 103rd No. of the "Quarterly Review," there is a description of his conversation, evidently written by one competent to judge, and who well knew the subject of his praise; but though the writer's language is highly encomiastic, corresponding with his eloquence, yet to all who knew Coleridge, it will not be considered as exceeding the soberest truth. When and where are such descriptions as the preceding and the following to be found?

"Perhaps our readers may have heard repeated a saying of Mr. Wordsworth, 'that many men of his age had done wonderful things, as Davy, Scott, Cuvier, &c.; but that Coleridge was the only wonderful man he ever knew.' Something of course must be allowed in this, as in all other such cases, for the antithesis; but we believe the fact really to be, that the greater part of those who have occasionally visited Mr. Coleridge, have left him with the feeling akin to the judgment indicated in the above remark. They admire the man more than his works, or they forget the works in the absorbing impression made by the living author; and no wonder. Those who remember him in his more vigorous days, can bear witness to the peculiarity and transcendant power of his conversational eloquence. It was unlike anything that could be heard elsewhere; the kind was different, the degree was different, the manner was different. The boundless range of scientific knowledge, the brilliancy and exquisite nicety of illustration, the deep and ready reasoning, the strangeness and immensity of bookish lore, were not all; the dramatic story, the joke, the pun, the festivity, must be added; and with these, the clerical looking dress, the thick waving silver hair, the youthful coloured cheek, the indefinable mouth and lips, the quick yet steady and penetrating greenish grey eye, the slow and continuous enunciation, and the everlasting music of his tones,—all went to make up the image, and to constitute the living presence of the man. Even now his conversation is characterized by all the essentials of its former excellence; there is the same individuality, the same unexpectedness, the same universal grasp; nothing is too high, nothing too low for it—it glances from earth to heaven, from heaven to earth, with a speed and a splendour, an ease and a power, which almost seemed inspired."

* * * * *

As a conclusion to these honourable testimonies, it may be added, the wish has often been expressed, that more were known respecting Mr. Coleridge's school and college life, so briefly detailed in his "Biographia." There was one friend of whom he often used to talk, and always with a kind feeling, who sat next to him at Christ Church School, and who afterwards accompanied him to Cambridge, where their friendship was renewed, and their intercourse uninterrupted. This gentleman was the Rev. C. V. Le Grice, the respected and erudite incumbent of a living near Penzance. Mr. Le G. might contribute largely toward the elucidation of Mr. Coleridge's school and college life; but as the much has been denied, we must be thankful for the little. The following are Mr. Le Grice's brief, but interesting notices of his friend:

"Mr. Urban,

In the various and numerous memoirs, which have been published of the late Mr. Coleridge, I have been surprised at the accuracy in many respects, and at the same time their omission of a very remarkable, and a very honourable anecdote in his history. In the memoir of him in your last number, you do not merely omit, but you give an erroneous account of this very circumstance, to which I mean to allude. You assert that he did not obtain, and indeed did riot aim to obtain, the honours of the University. So far is this from the fact, that in his Freshman's year he won the gold medal for the Greek Ode; and in his second year he became a candidate for the Craven scholarship, a University scholarship, for which undergraduates of any standing are entitled to become candidates. This was in the winter of 1792. Out of sixteen or eighteen competitors a selection of four was made to contend for the prize, and these four were Dr. Butler, now the Head Master of Shrewsbury; Dr. Keate, the late Head Master of Eton; Mr. Bethell, the late Member for Yorkshire; and S. T. Coleridge. Dr. Butler was the successful candidate.

Pause a moment in Coleridge's history, and think of him at this period! Butler! Keate! Bethell! and Coleridge!! How different the career of each in future life! O Coleridge; through what strange paths did the meteor of genius lead thee! Pause a moment, ye distinguished men! and deem it not the least bright spot in your happier career, that you and Coleridge were once rivals, and for a moment running abreast in the pursuit of honour. I believe that his disappointment at this crisis damped his ardour. Unfortunately, at that period there was no classical Tripos; so that if a person did not obtain the classical medal, he was thrown back among the totally undistinguished; and it was not allowable to become a candidate for the classical medal, unless you had taken a respectable degree in mathematics. Coleridge had not the least taste for these, and here his case was hopeless; so that he despaired of a Fellowship, and gave up, what in his heart he coveted, college honours, and a college life. He had seen his schoolfellow and dearest friend, Middleton, (late Bishop of Calcutta) quit Pembroke under similar circumstances. Not quite similar, because Middleton studied mathematics so as to take a respectable degree, and to enable him to try for the medal; but he failed, and therefore all hopes failed of a Fellowship—most fortunately, as it proved in after life, for Middleton, though he mourned at the time most deeply, and exclaimed, 'I am Middleton, which is another name for Misfortune!'

      'There is a Providence which shapes our ends,
      Rough hew them how you will.'

That, which Middleton deemed a misfortune, drew him from the cobwebs of a college library to the active energies of a useful and honoured life. But to return to Coleridge. When he quitted College, which he did before he had taken a degree, in a moment of mad caprice—it was indeed an inauspicious hour! 'In an inauspicious hour I left the friendly cloisters, and the happy grove of quiet, ever honoured Jesus College, Cambridge.' Short, but deep and heart-felt reminiscence! In a literary Life of himself this short memorial is all that Coleridge gives of his happy days at college. Say not, that he did not obtain, and did not wish to obtain classical honours! He did obtain them, and was eagerly ambitious of them; but he did not bend to that discipline which was to qualify him for the whole course. He was very studious, but his reading was desultory and capricious. He took little exercise merely for the sake of exercise; but he was ready at any time to unbend his mind in conversation, and for the sake of this, his room (the ground-floor room on the right hand of the staircase facing the great gate) was a constant rendezvous of conversation loving friends, I will not call them loungers, for they did not call to kill time, but to enjoy it. What evenings have I spent in those rooms! What little suppers, or sizing, as they were called, have I enjoyed; when Aeschylus, and Plato, and Thucydides, were pushed aside, with a pile of lexicons, &c., to discuss the pamphlets of the day. Ever and anon, a pamphlet issued from the pen of Burke. There was no need of having the book before us. Coleridge had read it in the morning; and in the evening he would repeat whole pages verbatim. Freud's trial was then in progress. Pamphlets swarmed from the press. Coleridge had read them all; and in the evening, with our negus, we had them viva voce gloriously. O Coleridge! it was indeed an inauspicious hour, when you quitted the friendly cloisters of Jesus. The epithet 'friendly' implied what you were thinking of, when you thought of college. To you, Coleridge, your contemporaries were indeed friendly, and I believe, that in your literary life you have passed over your college life so briefly, because you wished to banish from your view the 'visions of long-departed joys.' To enter into a description of your college days would have called up too sadly to your memory 'the hopes which once shone bright,' and would have made your heart sink.

Yours, &c.,

C. V. Le Grice.

P. S.—I was a witness to the breathless delight with which he hastened to give his friends intelligence of his success. The following lines, in his "Verses written in Early Youth," are a memorial of the pleasure, which he felt in the sympathy of one who was then most dear to him:—

      "With faery wand, O bid the maid arise,
      Chaste joyance dancing in her bright blue eyes,
      As erst, when, from the Muse's calm abode,
      I came with learning's meed not unbestowed."

See Poems, Edit. 1805, p. 34.

He wrote, to my certain knowledge, for the prize in the ensuing year; but it was most deservedly given to Keate's beautiful Ode. The subject Laus Astronomiae. No one was more convinced of the propriety of the decision than Coleridge himself. He used to repeat Ramsden's Greek Ode on Gibraltar, and Smith's Latin one on Mare Liberum, with incessant rapture. It would have been his glory to have caught their spirit,—he was absorbed in these things. A Classical Tripos would have changed Coleridge's destiny."—Gentleman's Magazine, Dec. 1834.

* * * * *

The reader's attention will now be directed to Mr. Coleridge, after he left Malta, when he visited Bristol, in the year 1807. I accidentally learned that Mr. C. had returned to England, not in good health, and that he was at Mr. Poole's, when I addressed a letter to him, expressing a hope that his health would soon allow him to pay me a visit, in Bristol. To this letter he thus replied:

"Dear Cottle,

On my return to Bristol, whenever that may be, I will certainly give you the right hand of old fellowship; but, alas! you will find me the wretched wreck of what you knew me, rolling, rudderless. My health is extremely bad. Pain I have enough of, but that is indeed to me, a mere trifle, but the almost unceasing, overpowering sensations of wretchedness: achings in my limbs, with an indescribable restlessness, that makes action to any available purpose, almost impossible: and worst of all, the sense of blighted utility, regrets, not remorseless. But enough; yea, more than enough; if these things produce, or deepen the conviction of the utter powerlessness of ourselves, and that we either perish, or find aid from something that passes understanding.


S. T. C."

The preceding letter of Mr. Coleridge led me to anticipate a worse state of health, on his arrival in Bristol, than appearances authorized. I knew nothing of opium, and was pleased to notice the clearness of his understanding, as well as much struck with the interesting narratives he gave of Malta, Italy, and his voyage to England. I knew that Mr. C. was somewhat in the habit of accommodating his discourse to the sentiments of the persons with whom he was conversing; but his language was now so pious and orthodox, that the contrast between his past and present sentiments was most noticeable. He appeared quite an improved character, and was about, I thought, to realise the best hopes of his friends. I found him full of future activity, projecting new works, and particularly a 'New Review,' of which he himself was to be the Editor! At this time not one word was said about opium, Colerton, Ottery, or Mrs. Coleridge, and I thought the prospect never appeared so cheering.

In my state of exultation, I invited Mr. Foster to come to Bristol, from
Frome, to renew his acquaintance with the improved and travelled Mr.
Coleridge. Mr. Tester's reply is here given.

"Frome, June, 1807.

My dear sir,

I am very unfortunate in having made an engagement, two or three weeks back, to go just at this time on a very particular occasion, to a distant place in this county, and therefore being deprived of the very high luxury to which you so kindly invite me. I shall be unavoidably detained, for a very considerable time, and my imagination will strongly represent to me the pleasure and advantage of which an inevitable necessity deprives me. But I will indulge the hope, that I shall sometime be known to Mr. Coleridge, under more favourable circumstances, in a literary respect, than I can at present, after a regular application to the severer order of studies shall in some measure have retrieved the consequences of a very loose and indolent intellectual discipline, and shall have lessened a certain feeling of imbecility which always makes me shrink from attempting to gain the notice of men whose talents I admire.

No man can feel a more animated admiration of Mr. Coleridge than I have retained ever since the two or three times that I was a little while in his company; and during his absence in the south and the east, I have very often thought with delight of the immense acquisitions which he would at length bring back to enrich the works, which I trust the public will in due time receive from him, and to which it has an imperious claim. And still I trust he will feel the solemn duty of making his very best and continued efforts to mend as well as delight mankind, now that he has attained the complete mastery and expansion of his admirable powers. You do not fail, I hope, to urge him to devote himself strenuously to literary labour. He is able to take a station amongst the most elevated ranks, either of the philosophers or the poets. Pray tell me what are his immediate intentions, and whether he has any important specific undertaking in hand. For the sake of elegant literature, one is very glad, that he has had the opportunity of visiting those most interesting scenes and objects which you mention. Will you express to him in the strongest terms, my respect and my animated wishes for his health, his happiness, and his utility. You can inform me what is the nature of that literary project to which you allude. Tell me also, what is the state and progress of your own literary projects, and, I hope I may say, labours. I behaved shabbily about some slight remarks which I was to have ventured on Mr. Southey's 'Madoc,' in the 'Eclectic Review.' On reading the critiques in the 'Edinburgh Review,' on 'Thalaba' and 'Madoc,' I found what were substantially my own impressions, so much better developed than I could have done, that I instantly threw my remarks away. Let me hear from you when you have half an hour of leisure, and believe me to be, with every kind remembrance to your most excellent, family, my dear sir,

Most cordially yours,

John Foster.

To Joseph Cottle."

Some weeks after, Mr. Coleridge called on me; when, in the course of conversation, he entered into some observations on his own character, that made him appear unusually amiable. He said that he was naturally very arrogant; that it was his easily besetting sin; a state of mind which he ascribed to the severe subjection to which he had been exposed, till he was fourteen years of age, and from which, his own consciousness of superiority made him revolt. He then stated that he had renounced all his Unitarian sentiments; that he considered Unitarianism as a heresy of the worst description; attempting in vain, to reconcile sin and holiness; the world and heaven; opposing the whole spirit of the Bible; and subversive of all that truly constituted christianity. At this interview he professed his deepest conviction of the truth of Revelation; of the Fall of Man; of the Divinity of Christ, and redemption alone through his blood. To hear these sentiments so explicitly avowed, gave me unspeakable pleasure, and formed a new, and unexpected, and stronger bond of union.

A long and highly interesting theological conversation; followed, in which Mr. C. proved, that, however weak his body, the intellectual vigour of his mind was unimpaired. He exhibited, also, more sobriety of manner than I had before noticed in him, with an improved and impressive maturity in his reflections, expressed in his happiest language; and which, could it have been accurately recorded, would have adorned the most splendid of his pages;—so rare and pre-eminent was the powerful and spontaneous utterance with which this gifted son of genius was endowed.

Mr. Coleridge, at his next visit, related to me some of his Italian adventures; one or two of which I here introduce.

After quitting Malta, he had landed in Sicily, and visited Etna; his ascent up whose side, to the crater, he graphically described, with some striking features; but as this is a subject proverbially enlarged upon by all travellers, I waive further notice, and proceed to state, that Mr. C. after leaving Sicily passed over to the south of Italy, and journeyed on to Rome.

Shortly after Mr. Coleridge had arrived in this city, he attracted some notice amongst the literati, as an English "Man of Letters." Cardinal Fesch, in particular, was civil, and sought his company; but that which was more remarkable, Jerome Buonaparte was then a resident at Rome, and Mr. C.'s reputation becoming known to him, he sent for him, and after showing him his palace, pictures, &c. thus generously addressed him: "Sir, I have sent for you to give you a little candid advice. I do not know that you have said, or written anything against my brother Napoleon, but as an Englishman, the supposition is not unreasonable. If you have, my advice is, that you leave Italy as soon as you possibly can!"

This hint was gratefully received, and Mr. Coleridge soon after quitted Rome, in the suite of Cardinal Fesch. From his anxiety to reach England, he proceeded to Leghorn, where a circumstance occurred which will excite every reader's sympathy. Mr. Coleridge had journeyed to this port, where he rather hoped, than expected to find some conveyance, through the medium of a neutral, that should waft him to the land, "more prised than ever." The hope proved delusive. The war was now raging between England and France, and Buonaparte being lord of the ascendant in Italy, Mr. Coleridge's situation became insecure, and even perilous. To obtain a passport was impossible; and as Mr. C. had formerly rendered himself obnoxious to the great Captain by some political papers, he was in daily and hourly expectation of being incarcerated in an Italian prison, which would have been the infallible road to death!

In half despair of ever again seeing his family and friends, and under the constant dread of apprehension by the emissaries of the Tuscan government, or French spies; he went out one morning to look at some ruins in the neighbourhood of Leghorn, in a state of despondency, where, certainty, however terrible, would have been almost preferable to suspense. While musing on the ravages of time, he turned his eye, and observed at a little distance, a seafaring looking man, musing in silence, like himself, on the waste around. Mr. Coleridge advanced towards him, supposing, or at least deeming it possible, that he also might be mourning his captivity, and commenced a discourse with him; when he found that the stranger was an American captain, whose ship was then in the harbour, and on the point of sailing for England.

This information sent joy into his heart; but he testified no emotion, determined to obtain the captain's good will, by showing him all the civilities in his power, as a preliminary to any future service the captain might be disposed to render him, whether the power were united with the disposition or not. This showed adroitness, with great knowledge of human nature; and more winning and captivating manners than those of Mr. C. when called forth, were never possessed by mortal! In conformity with this almost forlorn hope, Mr. Coleridge explained to the American captain the history of the ruin; read to him some of the half defaced Latin and Italian inscriptions, and concluded with extolling General Washington, and predicting the stability of the Union. The right keys, treble and tenor, were touched at the same moment. "Pray young man," said the captain, "who are you?" Mr. C. replied, "I am a poor unfortunate Englishman, with a wife and family at home; but I am afraid I shall never see them more! I have no passport, nor means of escape; and, to increase my sorrow, I am in daily dread of being thrown into jail, when those I love will not have the last pleasure of knowing that I am dead!" The captain's heart was touched. He had a wife and family at a distance. "My young man," said he, "what is your name?" The reply was, "Samuel Taylor Coleridge." "Poor young man," answered the captain. "You meet me at this place to-morrow morning, exactly at ten o'clock." So saying, the captain withdrew, Mr. C. stood musing on the singular occurrence, in which there was something inexplicable. His discernment of the stranger's character convinced him there existed no under plot, but still there was a wide space between probability and certainty. On a balance of circumstances, he still thought all fair, and, at the appointed hour, repaired to the interior of the ruins.

No captain was there; but in a few minutes he appeared, and, hastening up to Mr. Coleridge, exclaimed exultingly, "I have got your passport!" "How! What!" said Mr. C. almost overpowered by his feelings. "Ask me no questions," replied the captain; "you are my steward, and you shall sail away with me to-morrow morning!" He continued, giving him his address, "You come to my house to-morrow early, when I will provide you with a jacket and trowsers, and you shall follow me to the ship with a basket of vegetables" In short, thus accoutred, he did follow the captain to the ship the next morning; and in three hours fairly sailed out of Leghorn harbour, triumphantly on his course to England!

As soon as the ship had cleared the port, Mr. Coleridge hastened down to the cabin, and cried, "my dear captain, tell me how you obtained my passport?" Said the captain, very gravely, "Why, I went to the authorities, and swore that you were an American, and my steward! I swore also, that I knew your father and mother; that they lived in a red-brick house, about half a mile out of New York, on the road to Boston!"

It is gratifying to add, that this benevolent little-scrupulous captain refused to accept any thing from Mr. C. for his passage to England; and, behaved in many other respects, with the same uniform kindness. During the voyage, Mr. Coleridge told me, he was attacked with a dangerous illness, when he thought he should have died, but for the "good captain," who attended him with the solicitude of a father. Mr. C. also said, had he known what the captain was going to swear, whatever the consequences might have been, he would have prevented him.[82]

The following long letter will be read with interest.

"Bristol, 1807.

Dear Cottle,

To pursue our last conversation. Christians expect no outward or sensible miracles from prayer. Its effects, and its fruitions are spiritual, and accompanied says that true Divine, Archbishop Leighton, 'not by reasons and arguments, but by an inexpressible kind of evidence, which they only know who have it.'

To this I would add, that even those who, like me I fear, have not attained it, yet may presume it. First, because reason itself, or rather mere human nature, in any dispassionate moment, feels the necessity of religion, but if this be not true there is no religion, no religation, or binding over again; nothing added to reason, and therefore Socinianism, misnamed Unitarianism, is not only not Christianity, it is not even religion, it does not religate; does not bind anew. The first outward and sensible result of prayer is, a penitent resolution, joined with a consciousness of weakness in effecting it, yea even a dread, too well grounded, lest by breaking and falsifying it, the soul should add guilt to guilt; by the very means it has taken to escape from guilt; so pitiable is the state of unregenerate man.

Are you familiar with Leighton's Works? He resigned his archbishoprick, and retired to voluntary poverty on account of the persecutions of the Presbyterians, saying, 'I should not dare to introduce christianity itself with such cruelties, how much less for a surplice, and the name of a bishop.' If there could be an intermediate space between inspired, and uninspired writings, that space would be occupied by Leighton. No show of learning, no appearance, or ostentatious display of eloquence, and yet both may be shown in him, conspicuously and holily. There is in him something that must be felt, even as the scriptures must be felt.

You ask me my views of the Trinity. I accept the doctrine, not as deduced from human reason, in its grovelling capacity for comprehending spiritual things, but as the clear revelation of Scripture. But perhaps it may be said, the Socinians do not admit this doctrine as being taught in the bible. I know enough of their shifts and quibbles, with their dexterity at explaining away all they dislike, and that is not a little, but though beguiled once by them, I happily for my own peace of mind, escaped from their sophistries, and now hesitate not to affirm, that Socinians would lose all character for honesty, if they were to explain their neighbour's will with the same latitude of interpretation, which they do the Scriptures.

I have in my head some floating ideas on the Logos, which I hope, hereafter, to mould into a consistent form; but it is a gross perversion of the truth, in Socinians, to declare that we believe in three gods; and they know it to be false. They might, with equal justice affirm that we believe in three suns. The meanest peasant, who has acquired the first rudiments of christianity, would shrink back from a thing so monstrous. Still the Trinity has its difficulties. It would be strange if otherwise. A Revelation that revealed nothing, not within the grasp of human reason!—no religation, no binding over again, as before said; but these difficulties are shadows, contrasted with the substantive and insurmountable obstacles, with which they contend who admit the Divine authority of Scripture, with the superlative excellence of Christ, and yet undertake to prove that these Scriptures teach, and that Christ taught his own pure humanity.

If Jesus Christ was merely a man, if he was not God as well as man, be it considered, he could not have been even a good man. There is no medium. The SAVIOUR in that case was absolutely a deceiver! one, transcendantly unrighteous! in advancing pretensions to miracles, by the 'Finger of God,' which he never performed; and by asserting claims, (as a man) in the most aggravated sense, blasphemous. These consequences, Socinians, to be consistent, must allow, and which impious arrogation of Divinity in Christ, according to their faith, as well as his false assumption of a community of 'glory' with the Father, 'before the world was,' even they will be necessitated completely to admit the exoneration of the Jews, according to their law, in crucifying one, who 'being a man,' 'made himself God!' But in the Christian, rather than in the Socinian, or Pharisaic view, all these objections vanish, and harmony succeeds to inexplicable confusion. If Socinians hesitate in ascribing unrighteousness to Christ, the inevitable result of their principles, they tremble, as well they might, at their avowed creed, and virtually renounce what they profess to uphold.

The Trinity, as Bishop Leighton has well remarked, is 'a doctrine of faith, not of demonstration,' except in a moral sense. If the New Testament declare it, not in an insulated passage, but through the whole breadth of its pages, rendering, with any other admission, the book which is the christian's anchor-hold of hope, dark and contradictory, then it is not to be rejected, but on a penalty that reduces to an atom, all the sufferings this earth can inflict.

Let the grand question be determined.—Is, or is not the bible inspired? No one book has ever been subjected to so rigid an investigation as the Bible, by minds the most capacious, and in the result, which has so triumphantly repelled all the assaults of infidels. In the extensive intercourse which I have had with this class of men, I have seen their prejudices surpassed only by their ignorance. This I found particularly the case in Dr. Darwin, (p. 1-85.) the prince of their fraternity. Without therefore, stopping to contend on what all dispassionate men must deem undebatable ground, I may assume inspiration as admitted; and equally so, that it would be an insult to man's understanding, to suppose any other revelation from God than the christian scriptures. If these Scriptures, impregnable in their strength, sustained in their pretensions, by undeniable prophecies and miracles, and by the experience of the inner man, in all ages, as well as by a concatenation of arguments, all bearing upon one point, and extending with miraculous consistency, through a series of fifteen hundred years; if all this combined proof does not establish their validity, nothing can be proved under the sun; but the world and man must be abandoned, with all its consequences, to one universal scepticism! Under such sanctions, therefore, if these scriptures, as a fundamental truth, do inculcate the doctrine of the Trinity; however surpassing human comprehension; then I say, we are bound to admit it on the strength of moral demonstration.

The supreme Governor of the world and the Father of our spirits, has seen fit to disclose to us much of his will, and the whole of his natural and moral perfections. In some instances he has given his word only, and demanded our faith; while on other momentous subjects, instead of bestowing full revelation, like the Via Lactea, he has furnished a glimpse only, through either the medium of inspiration, or by the exercise of those rational faculties with which he has endowed us. I consider the Trinity as substantially resting on the first proposition, yet deriving support from the last.

I recollect when I stood on the summit of Etna, and darted my gaze down the crater; the immediate vicinity was discernible, till, lower down, obscurity gradually terminated in total darkness. Such figures exemplify many truths revealed in the Bible. We pursue them, until, from the imperfection of our faculties, we are lost in impenetrable night. All truths, however, that are essential to faith, honestly interpreted; all that are important to human conduct, under every diversity of circumstance, are manifest as a blazing star. The promises also of felicity to the righteous in the future world, though the precise nature of that felicity may not be defined, are illustrated by every image that can swell the imagination; while the misery of the lost, in its unutterable intensity, though the language that describes it is all necessarily figurative, is there exhibited as resulting chiefly, if not wholly, from the withdrawment of the light of God's countenance, and a banishment from his presence! best comprehended in this world by reflecting on the desolations, which would instantly follow the loss of the sun's vivifying and universally diffused warmth.

You, or rather all, should remember that some truths from their nature, surpass the scope of man's limited powers, and stand as the criteria of faith, determining by their rejection, or admission, who among the sons of men can confide in the veracity of heaven. Those more ethereal truths, of which the Trinity is conspicuously the chief, without being circumstantially explained, may be faintly illustrated by material objects. The eye of man cannot discern the satellites of Jupiter, nor become sensible of the multitudinous stars, whose rays have never reached our planet, and consequently garnish not the canopy of night; yet are they the less real, because their existence lies beyond man's unassisted gaze? The tube of the philosopher, and the celestial telescope,—the unclouded visions of heaven will confirm the one class of truths, and irradiate the other.

The Trinity is a subject on which analogical reasoning may advantageously be admitted, as furnishing, at least a glimpse of light, and with this, for the present, we must be satisfied. Infinite Wisdom deemed clearer manifestations inexpedient; and is man to dictate to his Maker? I may further remark, that where we cannot behold a desirable object distinctly, we must take the best view we can; and I think you, and every candid enquiring mind, may derive assistance from such reflections as the following.

Notwithstanding the arguments of Spinosa, and Des Cartes, and other advocates of the Material system, or, in more appropriate language, the Atheistical system! it is admitted by all men, not prejudiced, not biased by sceptical prepossessions, that mind is distinct from matter. The mind of man, however, is involved in inscrutable darkness, (as the profoundest metaphysicians well know) and is to be estimated, if at all, alone by an inductive process; that is, by its effects. Without entering on the question, whether an extremely circumscribed portion of the mental process, surpassing instinct, may or may not be extended to quadrupeds, it is universally acknowledged, that the mind of man alone, regulates all the actions of his corporeal frame. Mind, therefore, may be regarded as a distinct genus, in the scale ascending above brutes, and including the whole of intellectual existences; advancing from thought, that mysterious thing! in its lowest form, through all the gradations of sentient and rational beings, till it arrives at a Bacon, a Newton; and then, when unincumbered by matter, extending its illimitable sway through Seraph and Archangel, till we are lost in the GREAT INFINITE!

Is it not deserving of notice, as an especial subject of meditation, that our limbs, in all they do or can accomplish, implicitly obey the dictation of the mind? that this operating power, whatever its name, under certain limitations, exercises a sovereign dominion not only over our limbs, but over our intellectual pursuits? The mind of every man is evidently the fulcrum, the moving force,—which alike regulates all his limbs and actions: and in which example, we find a strong illustration of the subordinate nature of mere matter. That alone which gives direction to the organic parts of our nature, is wholly mind; and one mind if placed over a thousand limbs, could, with undiminished ease, control and regulate the whole.

This idea is advanced on the supposition that one mind could command an unlimited direction over any given number of limbs, provided they were all connected by joint and sinew. But suppose, through some occult and inconceivable means, these limbs were dis-associated, as to all material connexion; suppose, for instance, one mind with unlimited authority, governed the operations of two separate persons, would not this substantially, be only one person, seeing the directing principle was one? If the truth here contended for, be admitted, that two persons, governed by one mind, is incontestably one person; the same conclusion would be arrived at, and the proposition equally be justified, which affirmed that, three, or otherwise four persons, owning also necessary and essential subjection to one mind, would only be so many diversities or modifications of that one mind, and therefore, the component parts virtually collapsing into one whole, the person would be one. Let any man ask himself, whose understanding can both reason and become the depository of truth, whether, if one mind thus regulated with absolute authority, three, or otherwise four persons, with all their congeries of material parts, would not these parts inert in themselves, when subjected to one predominant mind, be in the most logical sense, one person? Are ligament and exterior combination indispensable pre-requisites to the sovereign influence of mind over mind? or mind over matter?

But perhaps it may be said, we have no instance of one mind governing more than one body. This may be, but the argument remains the same. With a proud spirit, that forgets its own contracted range of thought, and circumscribed knowledge, who is to limit the sway of Omnipotence? or presumptuously to deny the possibility of that Being, who called light out of darkness, so to exalt the dominion of one mind, as to give it absolute sway over other dependant minds, or (indifferently) over detached, or combined portions of organized matter? But if this superinduced quality be conferable on any order of created beings, it is blasphemy to limit the power of God, and to deny his capacity to transfuse his own Spirit, when and to whom he will.

This reasoning may now be applied in illustration of the Trinity. We are too much in the habit of viewing our Saviour Jesus Christ, through the medium of his body. 'A body was prepared for him,' but this body was mere matter; as insensible in itself as every human frame when deserted by the soul. If therefore the Spirit that was in Christ, was the Spirit of the Father; if no thought, no vibration, no spiritual communication, or miraculous display, existed in, or proceeded from Christ, not immediately and consubstantially identified with Jehovah, the Great First cause; if all these operating principles were thus derived, in consistency alone with the conjoint divine attributes; if this Spirit of the Father ruled and reigned in Christ as his own manifestation, then in the strictest sense, Christ exhibited 'the Godhead bodily,' and was undeniably 'one with the Father;' confirmatory of the Saviour's words: 'Of myself, (my body) I can do nothing, the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.'

But though I speak of the body as inert in itself, and necessarily allied to matter, yet this declaration must not be understood as militating against the christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body. In its grosser form, the thought is not to be admitted, for 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,' but that the body, without losing its consciousness and individuality, may be subjected by the illimitable power of omnipotence, to a sublimating process, so as to be rendered compatible with spiritual association, is not opposed to reason, in its severe abstract exercises, while in attestation of this exhilarating belief, there are many remote analogies in nature exemplifying the same truth, while it is in the strictest accordance with that final dispensation, which must, as christians, regulate all our speculations. I proceed now to say, that

If the postulate be thus admitted, that one mind influencing two bodies, would only involve a diversity of operations, but in reality be one in essence; or otherwise as an hypothetical argument, illustrative of truth, if one preeminent mind, or spiritual subsistence, unconnected with matter, possessed an undivided and sovereign dominion over two or more disembodied minds, so as to become the exclusive source of all their subtlest volitions and exercises, the unity, however complex the modus of its manifestation, would be fully established; and this principle extends to Deity itself, and shows the true sense, as I conceive, in which Christ and the Father are one.

In continuation of this reasoning, if God who is light, the Sun of the moral world, should in his union of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, and from all eternity, have ordained that an emanation from himself,—for aught we know, an essential emanation, as light is inseparable from the luminary of day—should not only have existed in his Son, in the fulness of time to be united to a mortal body, but that a like emanation from himself, also perhaps essential, should have constituted the Holy Spirit, who, without losing his ubiquity, was more especially sent to this lower earth, by the Son, at the impulse of the Father, then in the most comprehensive sense, God, and his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are ONE. 'Three persons in one God,' and thus form the true Trinity in Unity.

To suppose that more than one independent power, or governing mind, exists in the whole universe, is absolute Polytheism, against which the denunciations of all the Jewish and Christian canonical books were directed. And if there be but ONE directing MIND, that mind is God! operating however, in three persons, according to the direct and uniform declarations of that inspiration which 'brought life and immortality to light.' Yet this divine doctrine of the Trinity is to be received, not because it is or can be clear to finite apprehension, but, in reiteration of the argument, because the Scriptures, in their unsophisticated interpretation expressly state it. The Trinity, therefore, from its important aspects, and biblical prominence, is the grand article of faith, and the foundation of the whole christian system.

Who can say, as Christ and the Holy Ghost proceeded from, and are still one with the Father, and as all the disciples of Christ derive their fulness from him, and, in spirit, are inviolately united to him as a branch is to the vine, who can say, but that in one view, what was once mysteriously separated, may as mysteriously, be re-combined, and, without interfering with the everlasting Trinity, and the individuality of the spiritual and seraphic orders, the Son at the consummation of all things, deliver up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father, and God, in some peculiar and infinitely sublime sense, become all in all! God love you,

S. T. Coleridge."[83]

In a former page, Mr. Coleridge has been represented as entertaining sentiments in early life, approaching to, though not identified with, those of Unitarians; on his return to Bristol, in the year 1807, a complete reverse had taken place in his theological tenets. Reflection and reading, particularly the bible, had taught him, as he said, the unstable foundation on which Unitarians grounded their faith; and in proportion as orthodox sentiments acquired an ascendancy in his mind, a love of truth compelled him to oppose his former errors, and stimulated him, by an explicit declaration of his religious views, to counteract those former impressions, which his cruder opinions had led him once so strenuously to enforce on all around.

The editor of Mr. Coleridge's "Table Tails," has conferred an important benefit on the public, by preserving so many of his familiar conversations, particularly those on the important subject of Unitarianism. Few men ever poured forth torrents of more happily-expressed language, the result of more matured reflection, in his social intercourse, than Mr. Coleridge; and at this time, the recollection is accompanied with serious regret, that I allowed to pass unnoticed so many of his splendid colloquies, which, could they be recalled, would exhibit his talents in a light equally favourable with his most deliberately-written productions.

I did indeed take notes of one of his conversations, on his departure from a supper party, and which I shall subjoin, because the confirmed general views, and individual opinions of so enlarged a mind must command attention; especially when exercised on subjects intrinsically important. I however observe, that my sketch of the conversation must be understood as being exceedingly far from doing justice to the original.

At this time I was invited to meet Mr. Coleridge with a zealous Unitarian minister. It was natural to conclude, that such uncongenial, and, at the same time, such inflammable materials would soon ignite. The subject of Unitarianism having been introduced soon after dinner, the minister avowed his sentiments, in language that was construed into a challenge, when Mr. Coleridge advanced at once to the charge, by saying "Sir, you give up so much, that the little you retain of Christianity is not worth keeping." We looked in vain for a reply. After a manifest internal conflict, the Unitarian minister very prudently allowed the gauntlet to remain undisturbed. Wine he thought more pleasant than controversy.

Shortly after this occurrence, Mr. Coleridge supped with the writer, when his well known conversational talents were eminently displayed; so that what Pope affirmed of Bolingbroke, that "his usual conversation, taken down verbatim, from its coherence and accuracy, would have borne printing, without correction," was fully, and perhaps, more justly applicable to Mr. C.

Some of his theological observations are here detailed. He said, he had recently had a long conversation with an Unitarian minister, who declared, that, he could discover nothing in the New Testament which in the least favoured the Divinity of Christ, to which Mr. C. replied that it appeared to him impossible for any man to read the New Testament, with the common exercise of an unbiassed understanding, without being convinced of the Divinity of Christ, from the testimony almost of every page.

He said it was evident that different persons might look at the same object with very opposite feelings. For instance, if Sir Isaac Newton looked at the planet Jupiter, he would view him with his revolving moons, and would be led to the contemplation of his being inhabited, which thought would open a boundless field to his imagination: whilst another person, standing perhaps at the side of the great philosopher, would look at Jupiter with the same set of feelings that he would at a silver sixpence. So some persons were wilfully blind, and did not seek for that change, that preparation of the heart and understanding, which would enable them to see clearly the gospel truth.

He said that Socinians believed no more than St. Paul did before his conversion: for the Pharisees believed in a Supreme Being, and a future state of rewards and punishments. St. Paul thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The saints he shut up in prison, having received authority from the High Priest, and when they were put to death, he gave his voice against them. But after his conversion, writing to the Romans, he says, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation unto every man that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Gentiles.'

He then referred to the dreadful state of the literati in London, as it respects religion, and of their having laughed at him, and believed him to be in jest, when he professed his belief in the Bible.

Having introduced Mr. Davy to Mr. C. some years before, I inquired for him with some anxiety, and expressed a hope that he was not tinctured with the prevailing scepticism since his removal from Bristol to London. Mr. C. assured me that he was not: that his heart and understanding were not the soil for infidelity.[84] I then remarked, "During your stay in London, you doubtless saw a great many of what are called 'the cleverest men,' how do you estimate Davy, in comparison with these?" Mr. Coleridge's reply was strong, but expressive. "Why, Davy could eat them all! There is an energy, an elasticity in his mind, which enables him to seize on, and analyze, all questions, pushing them to their legitimate consequences. Every subject in Davy's mind has the principle of vitality. Living thoughts spring up like the turf under his feet." With equal justice, Mr. Davy entertained the same exalted opinion of Mr. Coleridge.

Mr. C. now changed the subject, and spoke of Holcroft; who he said was a man of but small powers, with superficial, rather than solid talents, and possessing principles of the most horrible description; a man who at the very moment he denied the existence of a Deity, in his heart believed and trembled. He said that Holcroft, and other Atheists, reasoned with so much fierceness and vehemence against a God, that it plainly showed they were inwardly conscious there was a GOD to reason against; for, a nonentity would never excite passion.

He said that in one of his visits to London, he accidentally met Holcroft in a public office without knowing his name, when he began, stranger as he was, the enforcement of some of his diabolical sentiments! which, it appears, he was in the habit of doing, at all seasons, and in all companies; by which he often corrupted the principles of those simple persons who listened to his shallow, and worn-out impieties. Mr. C. declared himself to have felt indignant at conduct so infamous, and at once closed with the "prating atheist," when they had a sharp encounter. Holcroft then abruptly addressed him, "I perceive you have mind, and know what you are talking about. It will be worth while to make a convert of you. I am engaged at present, but if you vrill call on me to-morrow morning, giving him his card, I will engage, in half an hour, to convince you there is no God!"

Mr. Coleridge called on him the next morning, when the discussion was renewed, but none being present except the disputants, no account is preserved of this important conversation; but Mr. C. affirmed that he beat all his arguments to atoms; a result that none who knew him could doubt. He also stated that instead of his being converted to atheism, the atheist himself, after his manner, was converted; for the same day he sent Mr. C. a letter, saying his reasoning was so clear and satisfactory, that he had changed his views and was now "a theist." The next sun probably beheld him an atheist again; but whether he called himself this or that, his character was the same.

Soon after the foregoing incident, Mr. Coleridge said, he found himself in a large party, at the house of a man of letters, amongst whom to his surprise, he saw Mr. and Mrs. Holcroft, when, to incite to a renewal of their late dispute, and before witnesses, (in the full consciousness of strength) Mr. C. enforced the propriety of teaching children, as soon as they could articulate, to lisp the praises of their Maker; "for," said he, "though they can, form no correct idea of God, yet they entertain a high opinion of their father, and it is an easy introduction to the truth, to tell them that their Heavenly Father is stronger, and wiser, and better, than their earthly father."

The whole company looked at Mr. Holcroft, implying that now was the time for him to meet a competent opponent, and justify sentiments which he had so often triumphantly advanced. They looked in vain. He maintained, to their surprise, a total silence, well remembering the severe castigation he had so recently received. But a very different effect was produced on Mrs. Holcroft. She indignantly heard, and giving vent to her passion and her tears, said, she was quite surprised at Mr. Coleridge talking in that way before her, when he knew that both herself and Mr. Holcroft were atheists!

Mr. C. spoke of the unutterable horror he felt, when Holcroft's son, a boy eight years of age, came up to him and said, "There is no God!" So that these wretched parents, alike father and mother, were as earnest in inculcating atheism on their children, as christian parents are in inspiring their offspring with respect for religious truth.

Actions are often the best illustration of principles. Mr. Coleridge also stated the following circumstance, notorious at the time, as an evidence of the disastrous effects of atheism. Holcroft's tyrannical conduct toward his children was proverbial. An elder son, with a mind embued with his father's sentiments, from extreme severity of treatment, had run away from his paternal roof, and entered on board a ship. Holcroft pursued his son, and when the fugitive youth saw his father in a boat, rowing toward the vessel, rather than endure his frown and his chastisement, he seized a pistol, and blew his brains out![85]

An easy transition having been made to the Bible, Mr. C. spoke of our Saviour with an utterance so sublime and reverential, that none could have heard him without experiencing an accession of love, gratitude, and adorations to the Great Author of our salvation. He referred to the Divinity of Christ, as a truth, incontestable to all who admitted the inspiration, and consequent authority of Scripture. He particularly alluded to the 6th of John, v. 15. "When Jesus perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain 'alone.'" He said it characterized the low views, and worldly-mindedness of the Jews, that, after they had seen the miracles of Jesus Christ, and heard his heavenly doctrine, and had been told that his kingdom was not of this world, they should think of conferring additional honour on him, by making him their King! He departed from these little views and scenes, by night, to a neighbouring mountain, and there, in the spirit of prescience, meditated on his approaching crucifixion; on that attendant guilt, which would bring on the Jews, wrath to the uttermost, and terminate their impieties, by one million of their race being swept from the face of the earth.

Mr. C. noticed Doddridge's works with great respect, particularly his "Rise and Progress of Religion."[86] He thought favourably of Lord Rochester's conversion as narrated by Burnet; spoke of Jeremy Taylor in exalted terms, and thought the compass of his mind discovered itself in none of his works more than in his "Life of Christ," extremely miscellaneous as it was. He also expressed the strongest commendation of Archbishop Leighton, whose talents were of the loftiest description, and which were, at the same time, eminently combined with humility. He thought Bishop Burnet's high character of Leighton justly deserved, and that his whole conduct and spirit were more conformed to his Divine Master, than almost any man on record.

I now proceed to say, it was with extreme reluctance that the Unitarians in Bristol resigned their champion, especially as other defections had recently occurred in their community, and that among the more intellectual portion of their friends. Although the expectation might be extravagant, they still cherished the hope, however languid, that Mr. C. after some oscillations, would once more bestow on them his suffrage; but an occurrence took place, which dissipated the last vestige of this hope, and formed between them a permanent wall of separation.

Mr. Coleridge was lecturing in Bristol, surrounded by a numerous audience, when, in referring to the "Paradise Regained," he said that Milton had clearly represented Satan, as a "sceptical Socinian." This was regarded as a direct and undisguised declaration of war. It so happened that indisposition prevented me from attending that lecture, but I received from Mr. C. directly after, a letter, in which he thus writes:

"… Mr. —— I find is raising the city against me, as far as he and his friends can, for having stated a mere matter of fact; viz. that Milton had represented Satan as a sceptical Socinian; which is the case; and I could not have explained the excellence of the sublimest single passage in all his writings, had I not previously informed the audience, that Milton had represented Satan, as knowing the Prophetic and Messianic character of Christ, but was sceptical as to any higher claims. And what other definition could Mr. —— himself give of a sceptical Socinian? (with this difference indeed, that Satan's faith somewhat exceeded that of Socinians.) Now that Satan has done so, will you consult 'Paradise Regained,' Book IV. from line 196, and the same Book, from line 500."

It is of consequence that Mr. Coleridge's later sentiments on the subject of Socinianism should be given; but as I had no opportunity of ascertaining what those sentiments were, it was satisfactory to learn from the testimony of Mr. C.'s "Table Talk,"[87] that his last and maturest opinions were, to the fullest, confirmatory of those expressed by him in these pages.

The following letter was written by Mr. Coleridge, to Mr. George Fricker, his brother-in-law; it is believed in 1807. Mr. F. died 1828; pious and respected.

"Saturday afternoon.

My dear young friend,

I am sorry that you should have felt any delicacy in disclosing to me your religious feelings, as rendering it inconsistent with your tranquillity of mind to spend the Sunday evening with me. Though I do not find in that book, which we both equally revere, any command, either express, or which I can infer, which leads me to attach any criminality to cheerful and innocent social intercourse on the Lord's day; though I do not find that it was in the least degree forbidden to the Jews on their Sabbath; and though I have been taught by Luther, and the great founders of the Church of England, that the Sabbath was a part of the ceremonial and transitory parts of the law given by heaven to Moses; and that our Sunday is binding on our consciences, chiefly from its manifest and most awful usefulness, and indeed moral necessity; yet I highly commend your firmness in what you think right, and assure you solemnly, that I esteem you greatly for it. I would much rather that you should have too much, than an atom too little. I am far from surprised that, having seen what you have seen, and suffered what you have suffered, you should have opened your soul to a sense of our fallen nature; and the incapability of man to heal himself. My opinions may not be in all points the same as yours; but I have experienced a similar alteration. I was for many years a Socinian; and at times almost a Naturalist, but sorrow, and ill health, and disappointment in the only deep wish I had ever cherished, forced me to look into myself; I read the New Testament again, and I became fully convinced, that Socinianism was not only not the doctrine of the New Testament, but that it scarcely deserved the name of a religion in any sense. An extract from a letter which I wrote a few months ago to a sceptical friend, who had been a Socinian, and of course rested all the evidences of christianity on miracles, to the exclusion of grace and inward faith, will perhaps, surprise you, as showing you how much nearer our opinions are than what you must have supposed. 'I fear that the mode of defending christianity, adopted by Grotius first; and latterly, among many others, by Dr. Paley, has increased the number of infidels;—never could it have been so great, if thinking men had been habitually led to look into their own souls, instead of always looking out, both of themselves, and of their nature. If to curb attack, such as yours on miracles, it had been answered:—"Well, brother! but granting these miracles to have been in part the growth of delusion at the time, and of exaggeration afterward, yet still all the doctrines will remain untouched by this circumstance, and binding on thee. Still mast thou repent and be regenerated, and be crucified to the flesh; and this not by thy own mere power; but by a mysterious action of the moral Governor on thee; of the Ordo-ordinians, the Logos, or Word. Still will the eternal filiation, or Sonship of the Word from the Father; still will the Trinity of the Deity, the redemption, and the thereto necessary assumption of humanity by the Word, 'who is with God, and is God,' remain truths: and still will the vital head-and-heart FAITH in these truths, be the living and only fountain of all true virtue. Believe all these, and with the grace of the spirit consult your own heart, in quietness and humility, they will furnish you with proofs, that surpass all understanding, because they are felt and known; believe all these I say, so as that thy faith shall be not merely real in the acquiescence of the intellect; but actual, in the thereto assimilated affections; then shalt thou KNOW from God, whether or not Christ be of God. But take notice, I only say, the miracles are extra essential; I by no means deny their importance, much less hold them useless, or superfluous. Even as Christ did, so would I teach; that is, build the miracle on the faith, not the faith on the miracle."

May heaven bless you, my dear George, and

Your affectionate friend,

S. T. C."

In the intervening time, between the receipt of Mr. C.'s last letter, and his calling on me, I received a note from a lady, an old friend, begging permission to introduce to me, a clever young man of her acquaintance, whom she even so honoured as to call "A little John Henderson;" concerning whom, this young man wished to make inquiries. An invitation immediately followed, and the lady introduced to me, young Mr. De Quincey. Several interviews followed, each exhibiting his talents in a more favourable view, till I was satisfied he would either shine in literature, or, with steady perseverance, acquire eminence in either of the professions.

He made many inquiries respecting John Henderson, of whose learning, and surprising attainments, he had heard much. After conversing long on this subject, Mr. De Q. asked me if I knew any thing of Mr. Coleridge's pecuniary affairs. I replied, "I am afraid he is a legitimate son of genius." He asked if I thought he would accept a hundred or two pounds. I answered, I could not tell, but that I expected shortly to see him, when, if he seriously desired to learn, I would ascertain what the state of his finances was, and let him know. This he said, was his particular wish.

When Mr. Coleridge called on me, and the extended conversation had occurred, before stated, I asked him concerning his circumstances. He confessed that he had some present difficulties, which oppressed his mind. He said that all the money he had received from his office in Malta, as secretary to Sir Alexander Ball, had been expended in Italy, and on his way home. I then told him, that a young man of fortune, who admired his talents, had inquired of me, if I thought he would accept the present of a hundred or two pounds, "and I now ask you," said I, "that question, that I may return an answer." Mr. Coleridge rose from his seat. He appeared much oppressed, and agitated, and, after a short silence, he turned to me, and said. "Cottle I will write to you. We will change the subject." The next day I received from Mr. C. the following letter.

"My dear Cottle,

Independent of letter-writing, and a dinner engagement with C. Danvers, I was the whole of yesterday till evening, in a most wretched restlessness of body and limbs, having imprudently discontinued some medicines, which are now my anchor of hope. This morning I dedicate to certain distant calls on Dr. Beddoes and Colston, at Clifton, not so much for the calls themselves, as for the necessity of taking brisk exercise.

But no unforeseen accident intervening, I shall spend the evening with you from seven o'clock.

I will now express my sentiments on the important subject communicated to you. I need not say it has been the cause of serious meditation. Undoubtedly, calamities have so thickened on me for the last two years, that the pecuniary pressures of the moment, are the only serious obstacles at present to my completion of those works, which, if completed, would make me easy. Besides these, I have reason for belief that a Tragedy of mine will be brought on the stage this season, the result of which is of course only one of the possibilities of life, on which I am not fool enough to calculate.

Finally therefore, if you know that any unknown benefactor is in such circumstances, that, in doing what he offers to do, he transgresses no duty of morals, or of moral prudence, and does not do that from feeling, which after reflection might perhaps discountenance, I shall gratefully accept it, as an unconditional loan, which I trust I shall be able to restore at the close of two years. This however, I shall be able to know at the expiration of one year, and shall then beg to know the name of my benefactor, which I should then only feel delight in knowing, when I could present to him some substantial proof, that I have employed the tranquillity of mind, which his kindness has enabled me to enjoy, in sincere desires to benefit my fellow men. May God bless you.

S. T. C."

Soon after the receipt of this letter, (on my invitation) Mr. De Quincey called on me. I said, I understood from Mr. Coleridge himself, that he laboured under embarrassments. "Then" said he, "I will give him five hundred pounds." "Are you serious?" I said. He replied, "I am." I then inquired, "Are you of age?" He said "I am." I then asked, "Can you afford it?" He answered, "I can," and continued, "I shall not feel it." I paused. "Well" I said, "I can know nothing of your circumstances but from your own statement, and not doubting its accuracy, I am willing to become an agent, in any way you prescribe." Mr. De Quincey then said, "I authorise you, to ask Mr. Coleridge, if he will accept from a gentleman, who admires his genius, the sum of five hundred pounds, but remember, he continued, I absolutely prohibit you from naming to him, the source whence it was derived." I remarked; "To the latter part of your injunction, if you require it, I will accede, but although I am deeply interested in Mr. Coleridge's welfare, yet a spirit of equity compels me to recommend you, in the first instance, to present Mr. C. with a smaller sum, and which, if you see it right, you can at any time, augment." Mr. De Quincey then replied, "Three hundred pounds, I will give him, and you will oblige me by making this offer of mine to Mr. Coleridge." I replied, "I will." I then gave him Mr. Coleridge's letter, requesting him to put it in his pocket, and read it at his leisure. Soon after, I received the following communication from Mr. De Quincey.

"My dear Sir,

I will write for the three hundred pounds to-morrow. I am not able to say anything farther at present, but will endeavour to call on you in a day or two. I am very sincerely, and with many thanks for your trouble in this affair,


Thomas De Quincey."

In a day or two, Mr. De Quincey enclosed me the three hundred pounds, when I received from Mr. Coleridge, the following receipt, which I still retain.

"November 12, 1807. Received from Mr. Joseph Cottle, the sum of three hundred pounds, presented to me, through him, by an unknown friend.


S. T. Coleridge."

I have been thus particular in detailing the whole of this affair, so honourable to Mr. De Quincey; and, as I was the communicating agent, I thought it right, on this occasion, to give publicity to the transaction, on the principle of doing justice to all. Notwithstanding the prohibition, some indirect notices from myself, could have left no doubt with Mr. C. of the source of this handsome gift.

It is singular, that a little before this time, (1807) Mr. Coleridge had written to his friend Mr. Wade a melancholy letter, detailing his embarrassed circumstances; so that Mr. De Quincey's £300 must have been received at an acceptable time!

* * * * *

No date determines when the following letter was written: supposed, 1807.

"My dear Cottle,

… The common end of all narrative, nay, of all poems is, to convert a series into a whole, to make those events, which, in real or imagined history, move on in a straight line, assume to our understandings a circular motion—the snake with its tail in its mouth. Hence, indeed, the almost flattering and yet appropriate term, Poesy, i. e. Poieses—making. Doubtless, to His eye, which alone comprehends all past and all future, in one eternal, what to our short sight appears straight, is but a part of the great cycle, just as the calm sea to us appears level, though it be indeed only a part of the globe. Now what the globe is in geography, miniaturing in order to manifest the truth, such is a poem to that image of God, which we were created into, and which still seeking that unity, or revelation of the one, in and by the many, which reminds it, that though in order to be an individual being, it must go farther from God; yet as the receding from him, is to proceed toward nothingness and privation, it must still at every step turn back toward him, in order to be at all. A straight line continually retracted, forms of necessity a circular orbit. Now God's will and word CANNOT be frustrated. His fiat was, with ineffable awfulness, applied to man, when all things, and all living things, and man himself, (as a mere animal) included, were called forth by the Universal, 'Let there be,' and then the breath of the Eternal superadded, to make an immortal spirit—immortality being, as the author of the 'Wisdom of Soloman' profoundly expresses it, 'the only possible reflex, or image of eternity.' The immortal finite is the contracted shadow of the eternal Infinite. Therefore nothingness, or death, to which we move, as we recede from God and from the Word, cannot be nothing; but that tremendous medium between nothing and true being, which Scripture and inmost reason present as most, most horrible!


S. T. C."

The following letter to Mr. Wade has no date.

"Tuesday night, i. e. Wednesday morning.

My best and dearest friend,

I have barely time to scribble a few lines, so as not to miss the post, for here as every where, there are charitable people, who, taking for granted that you have no business of your own, would save from the pain of vacancy, by employing you in theirs.

As to the letter you propose to write to a man who is unworthy even of a rebuke from you, I might most unfeignedly object to some parts of it, from a pang of conscience forbidding me to allow, even from a dear friend, words of admiration, which are inapplicable in exact proportion to the power given to me of having deserved them, if I had done my duty.

It is not of comparative utility I speak: for as to what has been actually done, and in relation to useful effects produced, whether on the minds of individuals, or of the public, I dare boldly stand forward, and (let every man have his own, and that be counted mine which, but for, and through me, would not have existed) will challenge the proudest of my literary contemporaries to compare proofs with me, of usefulness in the excitement of reflection, and the diffusion of original or forgotten, yet necessary and important truths and knowledge; and this is not the less true, because I have suffered others to reap all the advantages. But, O dear friend, this consciousness, raised by insult of enemies, and alienated friends, stands me in little stead to my own soul, in how little then, before the all-righteous Judge! who, requiring back the talents he had entrusted, will, if the mercies of Christ do not intervene, not demand of me what I have done, but why I did not do more; why, with powers above so many, I had sunk in many things below most! But this is too painful, and in remorse we often waste the energy which should be better employed in reformation—that essential part, and only possible proof, of sincere repentance….

May God bless you, and your affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

Toward the end of 1807, Mr. Coleridge left Bristol, and I saw nothing more of him for another seven years, that is, till 1814. All the leading features in Mr. Coleridge's life, during these two septennial periods, will no doubt, be detailed by others. My undertaking recommences in 1814. Some preliminary remarks must precede the narrative, which has now arrived at an important part.[88]

Neither to clothe the subject of biography with undeserved applause, nor unmerited censure, but to present an exact portraiture, is the object which ought scrupulously to be aimed at by every impartial writer. Is it expedient; is it lawful; to give publicity to Mr. Coleridge's practice of inordinately taking opium? which, to a certain extent, at one part of his life, inflicted on a heart naturally cheerful, the stings of conscience, and sometimes almost the horrors of despair? Is it right, in reference to one who has passed his ordeal, to exhibit sound principles, habitually warring with inveterate and injurious habits; producing for many years, an accumulation of bodily suffering, that wasted the frame; poisoned the sources of enjoyment; entailed, in the long retinue of ills, dependence and poverty, and with all these, associated that which was far less bearable, an intolerable mental load, that scarcely knew cessation?

In the year 1814, all this, I am afflicted to say, applied to Mr. Coleridge. The question to be determined is, whether it be best or not, to obey the first impulse of benevolence, and to throw a mantle over these dark and appalling occurrences, and, since the sufferer has left this stage of existence, to mourn in secret, and consign to oblivion the aberrations of a frail mortal? This was my first design, but other thoughts arose. If the individual were alone concerned, the question would be decided; but it might almost be said, that the world is interested in the disclosures connected with this part of Mr. Coleridge's life. His example forms one of the most impressive memorials the pen ever recorded; so that thousands hereafter, may derive instruction from viewing in Mr. C. much to approve, and in other features of his character, much also to regret and deplore. Once Mr. Coleridge expressed to me, with indescribable emotion, the joy he should feel, if he could collect around him all who were "beginning to tamper with the lulling, but fatal draught;" so that he might proclaim as with a trumpet, "the worse than death that opium entailed." I must add, if he could now speak from his grave, retaining his earthly, benevolent solicitude for the good of others, with an emphasis that penetrated the heart, he would doubtless utter, "Let my example be a warning!"

This being my settled conviction, it becomes in me a duty, with all practicable mildness, to give publicity to the following facts; in which censure will often be suspended by compassion, and every feeling be absorbed in that of pity; in which, if the veil be removed, it will only be, to present a clear and practical exemplification of the consequences that progressively follow indulgences in, what Mr. Coleridge latterly denominated, "the accursed drug!"

To soften the repugnance which might, pardonably, arise in the minds of some of Mr. G.'s friends, it is asked, whether it be not enough to move a breast of adamant, to behold a man of Mr. Coleridge's genius, spell-bound by his narcotic draughts? deploring, as he has done, in his letters to myself, the destructive consequences of opium; writhing under its effects,—so injurious to mind, body, and estate; submitting to the depths of humiliation and poverty, and all this for a season at least, accompanied with no effectual effort to burst his fetters, and assume the station in society which became his talents; but on the contrary, submitting patiently to dependence, and grovelling where he ought to soar!

Another powerful reason, which should reconcile the friends of Mr. Coleridge to this detail of his destructive habits, arises from the recollection that the pain given to their minds, is present and temporary. They should wisely consider that, though they regret, their regrets, like themselves, as time rolls on, are passing away! but the example,—this clear, full, incontestable example, remains! And who can estimate the beneficial consequences of this undisguised statement to numerous succeeding individuals? It is consolatory to believe, that had I written nothing else, this humble but unflinching narrative would be an evidence that I had not lived in vain.

When it is considered also, how many men of high mental endowments, have shrouded their lustre, by a passion for this stimulus, and thereby, prematurely, become fallen spirits: would it not be a criminal concession to unauthorized feelings, to allow so impressive an exhibition of this subtle species of intemperance to escape from public notice; and, that no discredit might attach to the memory of the individual we love, to conceal an example, fraught with so much instruction, brought out into full display? In the exhibition here made, the inexperienced, in future, may learn a memorable lesson, and be taught to shrink from opium, as they would from a scorpion; which, before it destroys, invariably expels peace from the mind, and excites the worst species of conflict, that of setting a man at war with himself.

The most expressive and pungent of all Mr. Coleridge's self-upbraidings, is that, in which he thrills the inmost heart, by saying, with a sepulchral solemnity, "I have learned what a sin is against an infinite, imperishable being, such as is the soul of man!" And yet, is this, and such as this, to be devoted to forgetfulness, and all be sacrificed, lest some friend, disdaining utility, should prefer flattery to truth? A concession to such advice would be treachery and pusillanimity combined, at which none would so exult as the spirits of darkness.

If some of the preceding language should be deemed too strong, by those who take but a contracted view of the subject, and who would wish to screen the dead, rather than to improve the living, let them judge what their impressions would be, in receiving, like myself, at this time, the communications from Mr. C. which will subsequently appear, and then dispassionately ask themselves, whether such impressive lessons of instruction ought to be doomed to oblivion.

* * * * *

The following letter to Mr. Wade, has no date, but the post-mark determines it to have been Dec. 8, 1813.

"… Since my arrival at the Greyhound, Bath, I have been confined to my bed-room, almost to my bed. Pray for my recovery, and request Mr. Roberts's[89] prayers, for my infirm, wicked heart; that Christ may mediate to the Father, to lead me to Christ, and give me a living instead of a reasoning faith! and for my health, so far only as it may be the condition of my improvement, and final redemption.

My dear affectionate friend, I am your obliged, and grateful, and affectionate, friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

I now proceed further to notice Mr. Coleridge's reappearance in Bristol.

Mr. C. had written from London in the year 1814, to a friend in Bristol, to announce that he was coming down to give a course of Lectures on Shakspeare, such as he had delivered at the Royal Institution, London, and expressing a hope that his friends would obtain for him as many subscribers as they could. Great efforts were made to obtain these subscribers, and the lectures were accordingly advertised, to commence at the time appointed by the lecturer, and the place specified with the day and hour; of the whole of which arrangement Mr. C. had received due notice, and expressed his approval.

On the morning on which the lectures were to begin, a brother of Mr. George Cumberland, (a gentleman well known in the literary world, residing in Bristol,) arrived in this city from London, on a visit to his brother, and casually said to him, "I came as far as Bath with one of the most amusing men I ever met with. At the White Horse, Piccadilly, he entered the coach, when a jew boy came up with pencils to sell. This amusing gentleman asked the boy a few questions, when his answers being what he thought unusually acute, the gentleman said, 'that boy is not where he ought to be. He has talent, and if I had not an important engagement at Bristol to-morrow, I would not mind the loss of my fare, but would stay a day or two in London to provide some better condition for him.' He then called the waiter; wrote to a gentleman in the neighbourhood, with a pencil, urging him to patronize the bearer; gave the boy five shillings, and sent him, with the waiter, according to the address of the note."

This same gentleman, he said, talked incessantly for thirty miles out of London, in the most entertaining way, and afterwards, with little intermission, till they arrived about Marlborough, when he discovered that the lady who was in the coach with them, was the sister of a particular friend of his. "On our arrival at Bath," said the brother, "this entertaining gentleman observed to me, 'I must here quit you, as I am determined not to leave this lady, who is going into North Wales, till I have seen her safe at her brother's door;' so here the amusing gentleman left us."

"Why" said Mr. Cumberland, "I should not be surprised if that were Coleridge, and yet that cannot be, for he has an appointment this day in Bristol." "That is the very name," said his brother. Mr. G. C. remarked, "This Mr. Coleridge is coming to Bristol, to give us a course of lectures on Shakspeare, and this evening he has appointed for his first lecture, at the Great Boom, White Lion." "Whatever the engagement may be," replied the brother, "rely upon it you will have no lecture this evening. Mr. C. at the present moment is posting hard towards North Wales!" The great business now was for those who had interested themselves in the sale of tickets for the course, to hasten round to the purchasers, to announce that Mr. C. would be prevented from giving the lectures till further notice.

In two or three days, Mr. Coleridge presented himself in Bristol, after a right true journey into North Wales; and then, another day was appointed to begin the course. The day arrived. His friends met in the afternoon, full of anxiety, lest a second disappointment should take place. Not one of them had seen Mr. C. in the course of that day, and they could not tell where he had dined. They then set off, to find out this intricate point, and having discovered him, after some difficulty, hurried him from the bottle, and the argument, to fulfil his less important, or at least, his less pleasing engagement.

He arrived at the lecture-room, just one hour after all the company had impatiently awaited him. Apologizing for an unavoidable interruption! Mr. C. commenced his lecture on Hamlet. The intention is not entertained of pursuing this subject, except to remark, that no other important delay arose, and that the lectures gave great satisfaction. I forbear to make further remarks, because these lectures will form part of the London narrative.

After this course had been terminated, and one or more friends had given him five pounds for his ticket, so rich a mine was not to be abandoned. Another printed proposal was sent round for a course of six lectures, which was well attended. After this, a proposal came for four lectures, which were but indifferently attended. Not discouraged, Mr. C. now issued proposals on a new subject, which he hoped would attract the many; but alas, although the subject of the lectures was on no less a theme than that of Homer, only a few of his old staunch friends attended; the public were wearied out, and the plan of lecturing now ceased, for these latter lectures scarcely paid the expenses.

I should here mention, that Mr. Coleridge's lectures bore but a small resemblance to the polished compositions of Sir James Mackintosh. They were all of a conversational character, and were little other than the earnest harangues, with which on all possible occasions, he indulged his friends, so that there was little of the toil of preparation with him, and if the demand had been equal to the supply, he might have lectured continuously. But if there was little of formal and finished composition in Mr. C.'s lectures, there were always racy and felicitous passages, indicating deep thought, and indicative of the man of genius; so that if polish was not always attained, as one mark of excellence, the attention of his hearers never flagged, and his large dark eyes, and his countenance, in an excited state, glowing with intellect, predisposed his audience in his favor.

It may here be mentioned, that in the year 1814, when Buonaparte was captured and sent to Elba, the public, expression of joy burst forth in a general illumination; when Mr. Josiah Wade, wishing to display a large transparency, applied to his friend Mr. Coleridge, then residing with him, for a subject, as a guide to his ingenious painter, of which the following is a copy, from Mr. C.'s original.

The four lines were chosen, of which the two last have something of a prophetic aspect.

"On the right side of the transparency, a rock with the word Elba on it: chained to this by one leg, put a vulture with the head of Napoleon Buonaparte; then a female genius, representing BRITANNIA, in a bending posture, with one hand holding out one wing of the vulture, and with the other clipping it with a large pair of shears; on the one half of which appears either the word 'WELLINGTON,' or the word 'ARMY,' and on the other, either 'NELSON,' or else 'NAVY;' I should prefer WELLINGTON and NELSON, but that I fear Wellington may be a word of too many letters. Behind Britannia, and occupying the right side of the transparency, a slender gilded column, with 'TRADE' on its base, and the cap of liberty on its top; and on one side, leaning against it, a trident laurelled, and on the other a laurelled sword.

    At the top of the transparency, and quite central, a dove, with an
    olive branch, may be hovering over the bending figure of Britannia.

    N. B.—The trident to be placed with the points upwards, the sword
    with its hilt upwards.

      We've conquer'd us a PEACE, like lads true metall'd:
      And bankrupt NAP.'S accompts seem all now settled.


      We've fought for peace, and conquer'd it at last,
      The rav'ning vulture's leg seems fetter'd fast!
      Britons, rejoice! and yet be wary too;
      The chain may break, the clipt wing sprout anew."

Returning now to the lectures. During their delivery it was remarked by many of Mr. C.'s friends, with great pain, that there was something unusual and strange in his look and deportment. The true cause was known to few, and least of all to myself. At one of the lectures, meeting Mr. Coleridge at the inn door, he said, grasping my hand with great solemnity, "Cottle, this day week I shall not be alive!" I was alarmed, and speaking to another friend, he replied, "Do not be afraid. It is only one of Mr. C.'s odd fancies." After another of the lectures, he called me on one side, and said, "My dear friend, a dirty fellow has threatened to arrest me for ten pounds." Shocked at the idea, I said, "Coleridge, you shall not go to gaol while I can help it," and immediately gave him the ten pounds.

The following two letters were sent me, I believe, at or about this time.
They have no date.

"My dear Cottle,

An erysipelatous complaint, of all alarming nature, has rendered me barely able to attend and go through with my lectures, the receipts of which, have almost paid the expenses of the room, advertisements, &c.[90] Whether this be to my discredit, or that of the good citizens of Bristol, it is not for me to judge. I have been persuaded to make another trial, by advertising three lectures, on the rise, and progress, and conclusion of the French Revolution, with a critique on the proposed constitution, but unless fifty names are procured, not a lecture give I.

Even so the two far, far more important lectures, for which I have long been preparing myself, and have given more thought to, than to any other subject, viz.: those on female education, from infancy to womanhood practically systematized, I shall be (God permitting) ready to give the latter end of the week after next, but upon condition that I am assured of sixty names. Why as these are lectures that I must write down, I could sell them as a recipe for twice the sum at least.

If I can walk out, I will be with you on Sunday. Has Mr. Wade called on you? Mr. Le Breton, a near neighbour of your's, in Portland Square, would, if you sent a note to him, converse with you on any subject relative to my interest, with congenial sympathy; but indeed I think your idea one of those Chimeras, which kindness begets upon an unacquaintance with mankind.[91]

'Harry! thy wish was father to that thought.'

God bless you,

S. T. C."

"My dear Cottle,

I have been engaged three days past, to dine with the sheriff, at Merchant's Hall to-morrow. As they will not wield knife and fork till near six, I cannot of course attend the meeting, [for the establishment of an Infant School] but should it be put off, and you will give me a little longer notice, I will do my best to make my humble talents serviceable in their proportion to a cause in which I take no common interest, which has always my best wishes, and not seldom my prayers. God bless you, and your affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge.

P. S. To you who know I prefer a roast potatoe and salt to the most splendid public dinner, the very sight of which always offends my infant appetite, I need not say that I am actuated solely by my pre-engagement, and by the impropriety of disappointing the friend whom I am to accompany, and to whom probably I owe the unexpected compliment of the sheriff's invitation.

I have read two-thirds of Dr. Pole's[92] pamphlet on Infant Schools, with great interest. Thoughts on thoughts, feelings on feelings, crowded upon my mind and heart during the perusal, and which I would fain, God willing, give vent to! I truly honor and love the orthodox dissenters, and appreciate with heart-esteem their works of love. I have read, with much pleasure, the second preface to the second edition of your 'Alfred.' It is well written."

Mr. Coleridge's health appeared, at this time, increasingly precarious; one complaint rapidly succeeding another; as will appear by the three following notes.


My dear Cottle,

On my return home yesterday, I continued unwell, so as to be obliged to lie down for the greater part of the evening, and my indisposition keeping me awake during the whole night, I found it necessary to take some magnesia and calomel, and I am at present very sick. I have little chance of being able to stir out this morning, but if I am better I will see you in the evening. God bless you,

Mr. Wade's, Queen Square.

S. T. Coleridge."

Written on a card.


My dear Cottle,

The first time I have been out of the house, save once at meeting; and the very first call I have made. I will be with you to-morrow by noon, if I have no relapse. This is the third morning, that, thank heaven, I have been free from vomiting…."

Mr. Coleridge having designed to attend Broadmead meeting, I sent him a note to inquire if he would allow me to call and take him up; he sent me the following reply.


My dear Cottle,

It was near ten before the maid got up, or waked a soul in the house. We are all in a hurry, for we had all meant to go to Broadmead. As to dining, I have not five minutes to spare to the family below, at meals. Do not call, for, if possible, I shall meet you at the Meeting.

S. T. Coleridge.

Mr. Wade's, Queen Square."

I must now enter on a subject of profound interest. I had often spoken to Hannah More of S. T. Coleridge, and proceeded with him, one morning to Barley Wood, her residence, eleven miles from Bristol. The interview was mutually agreeable, nor was there any lack of conversation; but I was struck with something singular in Mr. Coleridge's eye. I expressed to a friend, the next day, my concern at having beheld him, during his visit to Hannah More, so extremely paralytic, his hands shaking to an alarming degree, so that he could not take a glass of wine without spilling it, though one hand supported the other! "That," said he, "arises from the immoderate quantity of OPIUM he takes."

It is remarkable, that this was the first time the melancholy fact of Mr. Coleridge's excessive indulgence in opium had come to my knowledge. It astonished and afflicted me. Now the cause of his ailments became manifest. On this subject, Mr. C. may have been communicative to others, but to me he was silent. I now saw it was mistaken kindness to give him money, as I had learned that he indulged in his potions according to the extent of his means, so that to be temperate, it was expedient that he should be poor.

I ruminated long upon this subject, with indescribable sorrow; and having ascertained from others, not only the existence of the evil, but its extent, so as to render doubt impossible, such was the impression of duty on my mind, I determined, however hazardous, to write to Mr. Coleridge, and that faithfully, otherwise, I considered myself not a friend, but an enemy. At the end of his course, therefore, I addressed to him the following letter, under the full impression that it was a case of "life and death," and that if some strong effort were not made to arouse him from his insensibility, speedy destruction must inevitably follow.. Nothing but so extreme a case, could have prompted, or could justify, such a letter as the following.

"Bristol, April 25, 1814.

Dear Coleridge,

I am conscious of being influenced by the purest motives in addressing to you the following letter. Permit me to remind you that I am the oldest friend you have in Bristol, that I was such when my friendship was of more consequence to you than it is at present, and that at that time, you were neither insensible of my kindnesses, nor backward to acknowledge them. I bring these things to your remembrance, to impress on your mind, that it is still a friend who is writing to you; one who ever has been such, and who is now going to give you the most decisive evidence of his sincerity.

When I think of Coleridge, I wish to recall the image, of him, such as he appeared in past years; now, how has the baneful use of opium thrown a dark cloud over you and your prospects. I would not say anything needlessly harsh or unkind, but I must be faithful. It is the irresistible voice of conscience. Others may still flatter you, and hang upon your words, but I have another, though a less gracious duty to perform. I see a brother sinning a sin unto death, and shall I not warn him? I see him perhaps on the borders of eternity, in effect, despising his Maker's law, and yet indifferent to his perilous state!

In recalling what the expectations concerning you once were, and the excellency with which, seven years ago, you wrote and spoke on religious truth, my heart bleeds to see how you are now fallen; and thus to notice, how many exhilarating hopes are almost blasted by your present habits. This is said, not to wound, but to arouse you to reflection.

I know full well the evidences of the pernicious drug! You cannot be unconscious of the effects, though you may wish to forget the cause. All around you behold the wild eye! the sallow countenance! the tottering step! the trembling hand! the disordered frame! and yet will you not be awakened to a sense of your danger, and I must add, your guilt? Is it a small thing, that one of the finest of human understandings should be lost! That your talents should be buried! That most of the influences to be derived from your present example, should be in direct opposition to right and virtue! It is true you still talk of religion, and profess the warmest admiration of the church and her doctrines, in which it would not be lawful to doubt your sincerity; but can you be unaware, that by your unguarded and inconsistent conduct, you are furnishing arguments to the infidel; giving occasion for the enemy to blaspheme; and (amongst those who imperfectly know you) throwing suspicion over your religious profession! Is not the great test in some measure against you, 'By their fruits ye shall know them?' Are there never any calm moments, when you impartially judge of your own actions by their consequences?

Not to reflect on you; not to give you a moment's needless pain, but, in the spirit of friendship, suffer me to bring to your recollection, some of the sad effects of your undeniable intemperance.

I know you have a correct love of honest independence, without which, there can be no true nobility of mind; and yet for opium, you will sell this treasure, and expose yourself to the liability of arrest, by some 'dirty fellow,' to whom you choose to be indebted for 'ten pounds!' You had, and still have, an acute sense of moral right and wrong, but is not the feeling sometimes overpowered by self-indulgence? Permit me to remind you, that you are not more suffering in your mind than you are in your body, while you are squandering largely your money in the purchase of opium, which, in the strictest equity, should receive a different direction.

I will not again refer to the mournful effects produced on your own health from this indulgence in opium, by which you have undermined your strong constitution; but I must notice the injurious consequences which this passion for the narcotic drug has on your literary efforts. What you have already done, excellent as it is, is considered by your friends and the world, as the bloom, the mere promise of the harvest. Will you suffer the fatal draught, which is ever accompanied by sloth, to rob you of your fame, and, what to you is a higher motive, of your power of doing good; of giving fragrance to your memory, amongst the worthies of future years, when you are numbered with the dead?

[And now I would wish in the most delicate manner, to remind you of the injurious effects which these habits of yours produce on your family. From the estimation in which, you are held by the public, I am clear in stating, that a small daily exertion on your part, would be sufficient to obtain for you and them, honour, happiness, and independence. You are still comparatively, a young man, and in such a cause, labour is sweet. Can you withhold so small a sacrifice? Let me sincerely advise you to return home, and live in the circle once more, of your wife and family. There may have been faults on one, possibly on both sides; but calumny itself has never charged criminality. Let all be forgotten, a small effort for the Christian. If I can become a mediator, command me. If you could be prevailed on to adopt this plan, I will gladly defray your expenses to Keswick, and I am sure, with better habits, you would be hailed by your family, I was almost going to say, as an angel from heaven. It will also look better in the eyes of the world, who are always prompt with their own constructions, and these constructions are rarely the most charitable. It would also powerfully promote your own peace of mind.

There is this additional view, which ought to influence you, as it would every generous mind. Your wife and children are domesticated with Southey. He has a family of his own, which by his literary labour, he supports, to his great honour; and to the extra provision required of him on your account, he cheerfully submits; still, will you not divide with him the honour? You have not extinguished in your heart the Father's feelings. Your daughter is a sweet girl. Your two boys are promising; and Hartley, concerning whom you once so affectionately wrote, is eminently clever. These want only a father's assistance to give them credit and honourable stations in life. Will you withhold so equitable and small a boon. Your eldest son will soon be qualified for the university, where your name would inevitably secure him patronage, but without your aid, how is he to arrive there; and afterward, how is he to be supported? Revolve on these things, I entreat you, calmly, on your pillow.][93]

And now let me conjure you, alike by the voice of friendship, and the duty you owe yourself and family: above all, by the reverence you feel for the cause of Christianity; by the fear of God, and the awfulness of eternity, to renounce from this moment opium and spirits, as your bane! Frustrate not the great end of your existence. Exert the ample abilities which God has given you, as a faithful steward; so will you secure your rightful pre-eminence amongst the sons of genius; recover your cheerfulness; your health; I trust it is not too late! become reconciled to yourself; and through the merits of that Saviour, in whom you profess to trust, obtain, at last, the approbation of your Maker! My dear Coleridge, be wise before it be too late! I do hope to see you a renovated man! and that you will still burst your inglorious fetters, and justify the best hopes of your friends.

Excuse the freedom with which I write. If at the first moment it should offend, on reflection, you will approve at least of the motive, and, perhaps, in a better state of mind, thank and bless me. If all the good which I have prayed for, should not be effected by this letter, I have at least discharged an imperious sense of duty. I wish my manner were less exceptionable, as I do that the advice through the blessing of the Almighty, might prove effectual. The tear which bedims my eye, is an evidence of the sincerity with which I subscribe myself

Your affectionate friend,

Joseph Cottle."

The following is Mr. Coleridge's reply.

"April 26th, 1814.

You have poured oil in the raw and festering wound of an old friend's conscience, Cottle! but it is oil of vitriol! I but barely glanced at the middle of the first page of your letter, and have seen no more of it—not from resentment, God forbid! but from the state of my bodily and mental sufferings, that scarcely permitted human fortitude to let in a new visitor of affliction.

The object of my present reply, is, to state the case just as it is—first, that for ten years the anguish of my spirit has been indescribable, the sense of my danger staring, but the consciousness of my GUILT worse—far worse than all! I have prayed, with drops of agony on my brow; trembling, not only before the justice of my Maker, but even before the mercy of my Redeemer. 'I gave thee so many talents, what hast thou done with them?' Secondly overwhelmed as I am with a sense of my direful infirmity, I have never attempted to disguise or conceal the cause. On the contrary, not only to friends, have I stated the whole case with tears, and the very bitterness of shame; but in two instances, I have warned young men, mere acquaintances, who had spoken of having taken laudanum, of the direful consequences, by an awful exposition of its tremendous effects on myself.

Thirdly, though before God I cannot lift up my eyelids, and only do not despair of his mercy, because to despair would be adding crime to crime, yet to my fellow-men, I may say, that I was seduced into the ACCURSED habit ignorantly. I had been almost bed-ridden for many months, with swellings in my knees. In a medical Journal, I unhappily met with an account of a cure performed in a similar case, or what appeared to me so, by rubbing in of Laudanum, at the same time taking a given dose internally. It acted like a charm, like a miracle! I recovered the use of my limbs, of my appetite, of my spirits, and this continued for near a fortnight. At length the unusual stimulus subsided, the complaint returned,—the supposed remedy was recurred to—but I cannot go through the dreary history.

Suffice it to say, that effects were produced which acted on me by terror and cowardice, of pain and sudden death, not (so help me God!) by any temptation of pleasure, or expectation, or desire of exciting pleasurable sensations. On the very contrary, Mrs. Morgan and her sister will bear witness so far, as to say, that the longer I abstained, the higher my spirits were, the keener my enjoyments—till the moment, the direful moment arrived, when my pulse began to fluctuate, my heart to palpitate, and such falling abroad, as it were, of my whole frame, such intolerable restlessness, and incipient bewilderment, that in the last of my several attempts to abandon the dire poison, I exclaimed in agony, which I now repeat in seriousness and solemnity, 'I am too poor to hazard this.' Had I but a few hundred pounds, but £200,—half to send to Mrs. Coleridge, and half to place myself in a private mad house, where I could procure nothing but what a physician thought proper, and where a medical attendant could be constantly with me for two or three months, (in less than that time, life or death would be determined) then there might be hope. Now there is none!! O God! how willingly would I place myself under Dr. Fox, in his establishment; for my case is a species of madness, only that it is a derangement, an utter impotence of the volition, and not of the intellectual faculties. You bid me rouse myself: go bid a man paralytic in both arms, to rub them briskly together, and that will cure him. 'Alas!' he would reply, 'that I cannot move my arms, is my complaint and my misery.' May God bless you, and

Your affectionate, but most afflicted,

S. T. Coleridge."

On receiving this full and mournful disclosure, I felt the deepest compassion for Mr. C.'s state, and sent him the following letter. (Necessary to be given, to understand Mr. Coleridge's reply.)

"Dear Coleridge,

I am afflicted to perceive that Satan is so busy with you, but God is greater than Satan. Did you ever hear of Jesus Christ? That he came into the world to save sinners? He does not demand, as a condition, any merit of your own, he only says, 'Come and be healed!' Leave your idle speculations: forget your vain philosophy. Come as you are. Come and be healed. He only requires you to be sensible of your need of him, to give him your heart, to abandon with penitence, every evil practice, and he has promised that whosoever thus comes, he will in no wise cast out. To such as you Christ ought to be precious, for you see the hopelessness of every other refuge. He will add strength to your own ineffectual efforts.

For your encouragement, I express the conviction, that such exercises as yours, are a conflict that must ultimately prove successful. You do not cloak your sins. You confess and deplore them. I believe that you will still be as 'a brand plucked from the burning,' and that you (with all your wanderings) will be restored, and raised up, as a chosen instrument, to spread a Saviour's name. Many a 'chief of sinners,' has been brought, since the days of 'Saul of Tarsus,' to sit as a little child, at the Redeemer's feet. To this state you, I am assured, will come. Pray! Pray earnestly, and you will be heard by your Father, which is in Heaven. I could say many things of duty and virtue, but I wish to direct your views at once to Christ, in whom is the alone balm for afflicted souls.

May God ever bless you,

Joseph Cottle.

P. S. If my former letter appeared unkind, pardon me! It was not intended. Shall I breathe in your ear?—I know one, who is a stranger to these throes and conflicts, and who finds 'Wisdom's ways to be ways of pleasantness, and her paths, paths of peace."

To this letter I received the following reply.

"O dear friend! I have too much to be forgiven, to feel any difficulty in forgiving the cruellest enemy that ever trampled on me: and you I have only to thank! You have no conception of the dreadful hell of my mind, and conscience, and body. You bid me pray. O, I do pray inwardly to be able to pray; but indeed to pray, to pray with a faith to which a blessing is promised, this is the reward of faith, this is the gift of God to the elect. Oh! if to feel how infinitely worthless I am, how poor a wretch, with just free-will enough to be deserving of wrath, and of my own contempt, and of none to merit a moment's peace, can make a part of a Christian's creed; so far I am a Christian.

April 26, 1814."

S. T. C.

At this time Mr. Coleridge was indeed in a pitiable condition. His passion for opium had so completely subdued his will, that he seemed carried away, without resistance, by an overwhelming flood. The impression was fixed on his mind, that he should inevitably die, unless he were placed under constraint, and that constraint he thought could be alone effected in an asylum! Dr. Fox, who presided over an establishment of this description in the neighbourhood of Bristol, appeared to Mr. C. the individual, to whose subjection he would most like to submit. This idea still impressing his imagination, he addressed to me the following letter.

"Dear Cottle,

I have resolved to place myself in any situation, in which I can remain for a month or two, as a child, wholly in the power of others. But, alas! I have no money! Will you invite Mr. Hood, a most dear and affectionate friend to worthless me; and Mr. Le Breton, my old school-fellow, and, likewise, a most affectionate friend: and Mr. Wade, who will return in a few days: desire them to call on you, any evening after seven o'clock, that they can make convenient, and consult with them whether any thing of this kind can be done. Do you know Dr. Fox?


S. T. C.

I have to prepare my lecture. Oh! with how blank a spirit!"[94]

I did know the late Dr. Fox, who was an opulent and liberal-minded man; and if I had applied to him, or any friend had so done, I cannot doubt but that he would instantly have received Mr. Coleridge gratuitously; but nothing could have induced me to make the application, but that extreme case, which did not then appear fully to exist. My sympathy for Mr. C. at this time, was so excited, that I should have withheld no effort, within my power, to reclaim, or to cheer him; but this recurrence to an asylum, I strenuously opposed.

Mr. Coleridge knew Dr. Fox himself, eighteen years before, and to the honour of Dr. E. I think it right to name, that, to my knowledge, in the year 1796, Dr. Fox, in admiration of Mr. C.'s talents, presented him with FIFTY POUNDS!

It must here be, noticed, that, fearing I might have exceeded the point of discretion, in my letter to Mr. C. and becoming alarmed, lest I had raised a spirit that I could not lay, as well as to avoid an unnecessary weight of responsibility, I thought it best to consult Mr. Southey, and ask him, in these harassing circumstances, what I was to do; especially as he knew more of Mr. C.'s latter habits than myself, and had proved his friendship by evidences the most substantial.

The years 1814 and 1815, were the darkest periods in Mr. Coleridge's life. However painful the detail, it is presumed that the reader would desire a knowledge of the undisguised truth. This cannot be obtained without introducing the following letters of Mr. Southey, received from him, after having sent him copies of the letters which passed between Mr. Coleridge and myself.

"Keswick, April, 1814.

My dear Cottle,

You may imagine with what feelings I have read your correspondence with Coleridge. Shocking as his letters are, perhaps the most mournful thing they discover is, that while acknowledging the guilt of the habit, he imputes it still to morbid bodily causes, whereas after every possible allowance is made for these, every person who has witnessed his habits, knows that for the greater, infinitely the greater part, inclination and indulgence are its motives.

It seems dreadful to say this, with his expressions before me, but it is so, and I know it to be so, from my own observation, and that of all with whom he has lived. The Morgans, with great difficulty and perseverance, did break him of the habit, at a time when his ordinary consumption of laudanum was, from two quarts a week, to a pint a day! He suffered dreadfully during the first abstinence, so much so, as to say it was better for him to die than to endure his present feelings. Mrs. Morgan resolutely replied, it was indeed better that he should die, than that he should continue to live as he had been living. It angered him at the time, but the effort was persevered in.

To what then was the relapse owing? I believe to this cause—that no use was made of renewed health and spirits; that time passed on in idleness, till the lapse of time brought with it a sense of neglected duties, and then relief was again sought for a self-accusing mind;—in bodily feelings, which when the stimulus ceased to act, added only to the load of self-accusation. This Cottle, is an insanity which none but the soul's physician can cure. Unquestionably, restraint would do as much for him as it did when the Morgans tried it, but I do not see the slightest reason for believing it would be more permanent. This too I ought to say, that all the medical men to whom Coleridge has made his confession, have uniformly ascribed the evil, not to bodily disease, but indulgence. The restraint which alone could effectually cure, is that which no person can impose upon him. Could he be compelled to a certain quantity of labour every day, for his family, the pleasure of having done it would make his heart glad, and the sane mind would make the body whole.

I see nothing so advisable for him, as that he should come here to Greta Hall. My advice is, that he should visit T. Poole for two or three weeks, to freshen himself and recover spirits, which new scenes never fail to give him. When there, he may consult his friends at Birmingham and Liverpool, on the fitness of lecturing at those two places, at each of which he has friends, and would, I should think beyond all doubt be successful. He must be very unfortunate if he did not raise from fifty to one hundred pounds at the two places. But whether he can do this or not, here it is that he ought to be. He knows in what manner he would be received;—by his children with joy; by his wife, not with tears, if she can control them—certainly not with reproaches;—by myself only with encouragement.

He has sources of direct emolument open to him in the 'Courier,' and in the 'Eclectic Review.'—These for his immediate wants, and for everything else, his pen is more rapid than mine, and would be paid as well. If you agree with me, you had better write to Poole, that he may press him to make a visit, which I know he has promised. His great object should be, to get out a play, and appropriate the whole produce to the support of his son Hartley, at College. Three months' pleasurable exertion would effect this. Of some such fit of industry I by no means despair; of any thing more than fits, I am afraid I do. But this of course I shall never say to him. From me he shall never hear ought but cheerful encouragement, and the language of hope.

You ask me if you did wrong in writing to him. A man with your feelings and principles never does wrong. There are parts which would have been expunged had I been at your elbow, but in all, and in every part it is strictly applicable.

I hope your next will tell me that he is going to T. Poole's—I have communicated none of your letters to Mrs. Coleridge, who you know resides with us. Her spirits and health are beginning to sink under it. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

After anxious consideration, I thought the only effectual way of benefitting Mr. Coleridge, would be, to renew the object of an annuity, by raising for him, amongst his friends, one hundred, or, if possible, one hundred and fifty pounds a year; purposing through a committee of three, to pay for his comfortable board, and all necessaries, but not of giving him the disposition of any part, till it was hoped, the correction of his bad habits, and the establishment of his better principles, might qualify him for receiving it for his own distribution. It was difficult to believe that his subjection to opium could much longer resist the stings of his own conscience, and the solicitations of his friends, as well as the pecuniary destitution to which his opium habits had reduced him. The proposed object was named to Mr. C. who reluctantly gave his consent.

I now drew up a letter, intending to send a copy to all Mr. Coleridge's old and steady friends, (several of whom approved of the design) but before any commencement was made, I transmitted a copy of my proposed letter to Mr. Southey, to obtain his sanction. The following is his reply.

"April 17, 1814.

Dear Cottle,

I have seldom in the course of my life felt it so difficult to answer a letter, as on the present occasion. There is however no alternative. I must sincerely express what I think, and be thankful that I am writing to one who knows me thoroughly.

Of sorrow and humiliation I will say nothing. Let me come at once to the point. On what grounds can such a subscription as you propose raising for Coleridge be solicited? The annuity to which your intended letter refers, (£150) was given him by the Wedgewoods. Thomas, by his will, settled his portion on Coleridge, for his life. Josiah withdrew his about three years ago. The half still remaining amounts, when the Income Tax is deducted, to £67 10s. That sum Mrs. C. receives at present, and it is all which she receives for supporting herself, her daughter, and the two boys at school:—the boys' expenses amounting to the whole. No part of Coleridge's embarrassment arises from his wife and children,—except that he has insured his life for a thousand pounds, and pays the annual premium. He never writes to them, and never opens a letter from them![95]

In truth, Cottle, his embarrassments, and his miseries, of body and mind, all arise from one accursed cause—excess in opium, of which he habitually takes more than was ever known to be taken by any person before him. The Morgans, with great effort, succeeded in making him leave it off for a time, and he recovered in consequence health and spirits. He has now taken to it again. Of this indeed I was too sure before I heard from you—that his looks bore testimony to it. Perhaps you are not aware of the costliness of this drug. In the quantity which C. takes, it would consume more than the whole which you propose to raise. A frightful consumption of spirits is added. In this way bodily ailments are produced; and the wonder is that he is still alive.

There are but two grounds on which a subscription of this nature can proceed: either when the, object is disabled from exerting himself; or when his exertions are unproductive. Coleridge is in neither of these predicaments. Proposals after proposals have been made to him by the booksellers, and he repeatedly closed with them. He is at this moment as capable of exertion as I am, and would be paid as well for whatever he might be pleased to do. There are two Reviews,—the 'Quarterly,' and the 'Eclectic,' in both of which he might have employment at ten guineas a sheet. As to the former I could obtain it for him; in the latter, they are urgently desirous of his assistance. He promises, and does nothing.

I need not pursue this subject. What more can I say? He may have new friends who would subscribe to this plan, but they cannot be many; but among all those who know him, his habits are known also.

Do you as you think best. My own opinion is, that Coleridge ought to come here, and employ himself, collecting money by the way by lecturing at Birmingham and Liverpool. Should you proceed in your intention, my name must not be mentioned. I subscribe enough. Here he may employ himself without any disquietude about immediate subsistence. Nothing is wanting to make him easy in circumstances, and happy in himself, but to leave off opium, and to direct a certain portion of his time to the discharge of his duties. Four hours a day would suffice. Believe me, my dear Cottle, very affectionately

Your old friend,

Robert Southey."

The succeeding post brought me the following letter.

"Keswick, April 18, 1814.

My dear Cottle,

I ought to have slept upon your letter before I answered it. In thinking over the subject (for you may be assured it was not in my power to get rid of the thought) the exceeding probability occurred to me….

When you talked, in the proposed letter you sent me, of Coleridge producing valuable works if his mind were relieved by the certainty of a present income, you suffered your feelings to overpower your memory. Coleridge had that income for many years. It was given him expressly that he might have leisure for literary productions; and to hold out the expectation that he would perform the same conditions, if a like contract were renewed, is what experience will not warrant.

You will probably write to Poole on this subject. In that case, state to him distinctly what my opinion is: that Coleridge should return home to Keswick, raising a supply for his present exigencies, by lecturing at Birmingham, and Liverpool, and then, if there be a necessity, as I fear there will be (arising solely and wholly from his own most culpable habits of sloth and self-indulgence) of calling on his friends to do that which he can and ought to do,—for that time the humiliating solicitation should be reserved….

God bless you,

Robert Southey."

No advantage would arise from recording dialogues with Mr. Coleridge, it is sufficient to state that Mr. C.'s repugnance to visit Greta Hall, and to apply his talents in the way suggested by Mr. Southey, was invincible; neither would he visit T. Poole, nor lecture at Birmingham nor Liverpool.

Just at this time I was afflicted with the bursting of a blood vessel, occasioned, probably, by present agitations of mind, which reduced me to the point of death; when the intercourse of friends, and even speaking, were wholly prohibited.

During my illness, Mr. Coleridge sent my sister the following letter; and the succeeding one to myself.

"13th May, 1814.

Dear Madam,

I am uneasy to know how my friend, J. Cottle, goes on. The walk I took last Monday to enquire, in person, proved too much for my strength, and shortly after my return, I was in such a swooning way, that I was directed to go to bed, and orders were given that no one should interrupt me. Indeed I cannot be sufficiently grateful for the skill with which the surgeon treats me. But it must be a slow, and occasionally, an interrupted progress, after a sad retrogress of nearly twelve years. To God all things are possible. I intreat your prayers, your brother has a share in mine.

What an astonishing privilege, that a sinner should be permitted to cry, 'Our Father!' Oh, still more stupendous mercy, that this poor ungrateful sinner should be exhorted, invited, nay, commanded, to pray—to pray importunately. That which great men most detest, namely, importunacy; to this the GIVER and the FORGIVER ENCOURAGES his sick petitioners!

I will not trouble you except for one verbal answer to this note. How is your brother?

With affectionate respects to yourself and your sister,

S. T. Coleridge.

To Miss Cottle, Brunswick Square."

"Friday, 27th May, 1814.

My dear Cottle,

Gladness be with you, for your convalescence, and equally so, at the hope which has sustained and tranquillized you through your imminent peril. Far otherwise is, and hath been, my state; yet I too am grateful; yet I cannot rejoice. I feel, with an intensity, unfathomable by words, my utter nothingness, impotence, and worthlessness, in and for myself. I have learned what a sin is, against an infinite imperishable being, such as is the soul of man.

I have had more than a glimpse of what is meant by death and outer darkness, and the worm that dieth not—and that all the hell of the reprobate, is no more inconsistent with the love of God, than the blindness of one who has occasioned loathsome and guilty diseases to eat out his eyes, is inconsistent with the light of the sun. But the consolations, at least, the sensible sweetness of hope, I do not possess. On the contrary, the temptation which I have constantly to fight up against, is a fear, that if annihilation and the possibility of heaven, were offered to my choice, I should choose the former.

This is, perhaps, in part, a constitutional idiosyncracy, for when a mere boy, I wrote these lines:

  Oh, what a wonder seems the fear of death,
  Seeing how gladly we all sink to sleep;
  Babes, children, youths and men,
  Night following night, for three-score years and ten.[96]

And in my early manhood, in lines descriptive of a gloomy solitude, I disguised my own sensations in the following words:

  Here wisdom might abide, and here remorse!
  Here too, the woe-worn man, who weak in soul,
  And of this busy human heart aweary,
  Worships the spirit of unconscious life,
  In tree, or wild-flower. Gentle lunatic!
  If so he might not wholly cease to BE,
  He would far rather not be that he is;
  But would be something that he knows not of,
  In woods, or waters, or among the rocks.'

My main comfort, therefore, consists in what the divines call the faith of adherence, and no spiritual effort appears to benefit me so much as the one earnest, importunate, and often, for hours, momently repeated prayer: 'I believe, Lord help my unbelief! Give me faith, but as a mustard seed, and I shall remove this mountain! Faith, faith, faith! I believe, O give me faith! O, for my Redeemer's sake, give me faith in my Redeemer.'

In all this I justify God, for I was accustomed to oppose the preaching of the terrors of the gospel, and to represent it as debasing virtue, by the admixture of slaving selfishness.

I now see that what is spiritual, can only be spiritually apprehended.
Comprehended it cannot.

Mr. Eden gave you a too flattering account of me. It is true, I am restored, as much beyond my expectations almost, as my deserts; but I am exceedingly weak. I need for myself, solace and refocillation of animal spirits, instead of being in a condition of offering it to others. Yet, as soon as I may see you, I will call on you.

S. T. Coleridge.

P. S. It is no small gratification to me, that I have seen and conversed with Mrs. Hannah More. She is, indisputably, the first literary female I ever met with. In part, no doubt, because she is a Christian. Make my best respects when you write."

The serious expenditure of money, resulting from Mr. C.'s consumption of opium, was the least evil, though very great, and which must have absorbed all the produce of Mr. C.'s lectures, and all the liberalities of his friends. It is painful to record such circumstances as the following, but the picture would be incomplete without it.

Mr. Coleridge, in a late letter, with something it is feared, if not of duplicity, of self-deception, extols the skill of his surgeon, in having gradually lessened his consumption of laudanum, it was understood, to twenty drops a day. With this diminution, the habit was considered as subdued, and at which result, no one appeared to rejoice more than Mr. Coleridge himself. The reader will be surprised to learn, that, notwithstanding this flattering exterior, Mr. C. while apparently submitting to the directions of his medical adviser, was secretly indulging in his usual overwhelming quantities of opium! Heedless of his health, and every honourable consideration, he contrived to obtain surreptitiously, the fatal drug, and, thus to baffle the hopes of his warmest friends.

Mr. Coleridge had resided, at this time, for several months, with his kind friend, Mr. Josiah Wade, of Bristol, who, in his solicitude for his benefit, had procured for him, so long as it was deemed necessary, the professional assistance, stated above. The surgeon on taking leave, after the cure had been effected, well knowing the expedients to which opium patients would often recur, to obtain their proscribed draughts; at least, till the habit of temperance was fully established, cautioned Mr. W. to prevent Mr. Coleridge, by all possible means, from obtaining that by stealth, from which he was openly debarred. It reflects great credit on Mr. Wade's humanity, that to prevent all access to opium, and thus, if possible, to rescue his friend from destruction, he engaged a respectable old decayed tradesman, constantly to attend Mr. C. and, to make that which was sure, doubly certain, placed him even in his bed-room; and this man always accompanied him whenever he went out. To such surveillance Mr. Coleridge cheerfully acceded, in order to show the promptitude with which he seconded the efforts of his friends. It has been stated that every precaution was unavailing. By some unknown means and dexterous contrivances, Mr. C. afterward confessed that he still obtained his usual lulling potions.

As an example, amongst others of a similar nature, one ingenious expedient, to which he resorted, to cheat the doctor, he thus disclosed to Mr. Wade, from whom I received it. He said, in passing along the quay, where the ships were moored, he noticed, by a side glance, a druggist's shop, probably an old resort, and standing near the door, he looked toward the ships, and pointing to one at some distance, he said to his attendant, "I think that's an American." "Oh, no, that I am sure it is not," said the man. "I think it is," replied Mr. C. "I wish you would step over and ask, and bring me the particulars." The man accordingly went; when as soon as his back was turned, Mr. C. stepped into the shop, had his portly bottle filled with laudanum, which he always carried in his pocket, and then expeditiously placed himself in the spot where he was left. The man now returned with the particulars, beginning, "I told you, sir, it was not an American, but I have learned all about her." "As I am mistaken, never mind the rest," said Mr. C. and walked on.[97]

Every bad course of conduct (happily for the good of social order) leads to perplexing, and generally, to disastrous results. The reader will soon have a practical illustration, that Mr. Coleridge was not exempt from the general law.

A common impression prevailed on the minds of his friends, that it was a desperate case, that paralyzed all their efforts: that to assist Mr. C. with money, which, under favourable circumstances, would have been most promptly advanced, would now only enlarge his capacity to obtain the opium which was consuming him. We at length learnt that Mr. Coleridge was gone to reside with his friend Mr. John Morgan, in a small house, at Calne, in Wiltshire. So gloomy were our apprehensions, that even the death of Mr. C. was mournfully expected at no distant period! for his actions at this time, were, we feared, all indirectly of a suicidal description.

In a letter from Mr. Southey, dated Oct. 27, 1814, he thus writes:—

"My dear Cottle,

It is not long since I heard of you from Mr. De Quincey: but I wish you would sometimes let me hear from you. There was a time when scarcely a day passed without my seeing you, and in all that time, I do not remember that there was a passing cloud of coolness between us. The feeling I am sure continues: do not then let us be so entirely separated by distance, which in cases of correspondence may almost be considered as a mere abstraction….

Can you tell me anything of Coleridge? We know that he is with the Morgans at Calne. What is to become of him? He may find men who will give him board and lodging for the sake of his conversation, but who will pay his other expenses? He leaves his family to chance, and charity. With good feelings, good principles, as far as the understanding is concerned, and an intellect as clear, and as powerful, as was ever vouchsafed to man, he is the slave of degrading sensuality, and sacrifices everything to it. The case is equally deplorable and monstrous….

Believe me, my dear Cottle,

Ever your affectionate old friend,

Robert Southey."

Of Mr. Coleridge, I now heard nothing, but, in common with all his friends, felt deep solicitude concerning his future course; when, in March, 1815, I received from him the following letter:—

"Calne, March 7, 1815.

Dear Cottle, You will wish to know something of myself. In health, I am not worse than when at Bristol I was best; yet fluctuating, yet unhappy! in circumstances 'poor indeed!' I have collected my scattered, and my manuscript poems, sufficient to make one volume. Enough I have to make another. But till the latter is finished, I cannot without great loss of character, publish the former on account of the arrangement, besides the necessity of correction. For instance, I earnestly wish to begin the volumes, with what has never been seen by any, however few, such as a series of Odes on the different sentences of the Lord's Prayer, and more than all this, to finish my greater work on 'Christianity, considered as Philosophy, and as the only Philosophy.' All the materials I have in no small part, reduced to form, and written, but, oh me! what can I do, when I am so poor, that in having to turn off every week, from these to some mean subject for the newspapers, I distress myself, and at last neglect the greater, wholly to do little of the less. If it were in your power to receive my manuscripts, (for instance what I have ready for the press of my poems) and by setting me forward with thirty or forty pounds, taking care that what I send, and would make over to you, would more than secure you from loss, I am sure you would do it. And I would die (after my recent experience of the cruel and insolent spirit of calumny,) rather than subject myself, as a slave, to a club of subscribers to my poverty.

If I were to say I am easy in my conscience, I should add to its pains by a lie; but this I can truly say, that my embarrassments have not been occasioned by the bad parts, or selfish indulgences of my nature. I am at present five and twenty pounds in arrear, my expenses being at £2 10s. per week. You will say I ought to live for less, and doubtless I might, if I were to alienate myself from all social affections, and from all conversation with persons of the same education. Those who severely blame me, never ask, whether at any time in my life, I had for myself and my family's wants, £50 beforehand.

Heaven knows of the £300 received, through you, what went to myself.[98] No! bowed down under manifold infirmities, I yet dare to appeal to God for the truth of what I say; I have remained poor by always having been poor, and incapable of pursuing any one great work, for want of a competence beforehand.

S. T. Coleridge."

This was precisely the termination I was prepared to expect. I had never before, through my whole life refused Mr. C. an application for money; yet I now hesitated: assured that the sum required, was not meant for the discharge of board, (for which he paid nothing) but for the purchase of opium, the expense of which, for years, had amounted nearly to the two pounds ten shillings per week. Under this conviction, and after a painful conflict, I sent Mr. C. on the next day, a friendly letter, declining his request in the kindest manner I could, but enclosing a five pound note. It happened that my letter to Mr. Coleridge passed on the road, another letter from him to myself, far more harrowing than the first. This was the last letter ever received from Mr. C.

The following is Mr. Coleridge's second letter.

"Calne, Wiltshire, March 10, 1815.

My dear Cottle,

I have been waiting with the greatest uneasiness for a letter from you. My distresses are impatient rather than myself: inasmuch as for the last five weeks, I know myself to be a burden on those to whom I am under great obligations: who would gladly do all for me; but who have done all they can! Incapable of any exertion in this state of mind, I have now written to Mr. Hood, and have at length bowed my heart down, to beg that four or five of those, who I had reason to believe, were interested in my welfare, would raise the sum I mentioned, between them, should you not find it convenient to do it. Manuscript poems, equal to one volume of 230 to 300 pages, being sent to them immediately. If not, I must instantly dispose of all my poems, fragments and all, for whatever I can get from the first rapacious bookseller, that will give anything—and then try to get my livelihood where I am, by receiving, or waiting on day-pupils, children, or adults, but even this I am unable to wait for without some assistance: for I cannot but with consummate baseness, throw the expenses of my lodging and boarding for the last five or six weeks on those, who must injure and embarrass themselves in order to pay them. The 'Friend' has been long out of print, and its re-publication has been called for by numbers.

Indeed from the manner in which it was first circulated, it is little less than a new work. To make it a complete and circular work, it needs but about eight or ten papers. This I could, and would make over to you at once in full copy-right, and finish it outright, with no other delay than that of finishing a short and temperate Treatise on the Corn Laws, and their national and moral effects; which had I even twenty pounds only to procure myself a week's ease of mind, I could have printed before the bill had passed the Lords. At all events let me hear by return of post. I am confident that whether you take the property of my Poems, or of my Prose Essays, in pledge, you cannot eventually lose the money.

As soon as I can, I shall leave Calne for Bristol, and if I can procure any day pupils, shall immediately take cheap lodgings near you. My plan is to have twenty pupils, ten youths or adults, and ten boys. To give the latter three hours daily, from eleven o'clock to two, with exception of the usual school vacations, in the Elements of English, Greek, and Latin, presenting them exercises for their employment during the rest of the day, and two hours every evening to the adults (that is from sixteen and older) on a systematic plan of general knowledge; and I should hope that £15 a year, would not be too much to ask from each, which excluding Sundays and two vacations, would be little more than a shilling a day, or six shillings a week, for forty-two weeks.

To this I am certain I could attend with strictest regularity, or indeed to any thing mechanical.

But composition is no voluntary business. The very necessity of doing it robs me of the power of doing it. Had I been possessed of a tolerable competency, I should have been a voluminous writer. But I cannot, as is feigned of the Nightingale, sing with my breast against a thorn. God bless you,

Saturday, Midnight.

S. T. Coleridge."

The receipt of this letter filled me with the most poignant grief; much for the difficulties to which Mr. C. was reduced, but still more for the cause. In one letter, indignantly spurning the contributions of his "club of subscribers to his poverty;" and in his next, (three days afterwards) earnestly soliciting this assistance! The victorious bearer away of University prizes, now bent down to the humiliating desire of keeping a day school, for a morsel of bread! The man, whose genius has scarcely been surpassed, proposing to "attend" scholars, "children or adults," and to bolster up his head, at night, in "cheap lodgings!" Oppressed with debt, contracted by expending that money on opium, which should have been paid to his impoverished friend; and this, at a moment, when, for the preceding dozen years, if he had called his mighty intellect into exercise, the "world" would have been "all before him, where to choose his place of rest." But at this time he preferred, to all things else, the Circean chalice!

These remarks have reluctantly been forced from me; and never would they have passed the sanctuary of my own breast, but to call on every consumer of the narcotic poison, who fancies, perchance, that in the taking of opium there is pleasure only and no pain, to behold in this memorable example, the inevitable consequences, which follow that "accursed practice!" Property consumed! health destroyed! independence bartered; respectability undermined; family concord subverted! that peace sacrificed, which forms so primary an ingredient in man's cup of happiness!—a deadly war with conscience! and the very mind of the unhappy votary, (whilst the ethereal spirit of natural affection generally escapes! despoiled of its best energies).

I venture the more readily on these reflections, from the hope of impressing some young delinquents, who are beginning to sip the "deadly poison;" little aware that no habit is so progressive, and that he who begins with the little, will rapidly pass on to the much! I am also additionally urged to these mournful disclosures, from their forming one portion only, of Mr. Coleridge's life. It has been my unenviable lot, to exhibit my friend in his lowest points of depression; conflicting with unhallowed practices, and, as the certain consequence, with an accusing conscience.

Most rejoiced should I have been, had my opportunities and acquaintance with Mr. Coleridge continued, to have traced the gradual development into action, of those better principles which were inherent in his mind. This privilege is reserved for a more favoured biographer; and it now remains only for me, in a closing remark, to state, that, had I been satisfied that the money Mr. C. required, would have been expended in lawful purposes, I would have supplied him, (without being an affluent man) to the utmost of his requirements, and not by dividing the honour with others, or receiving his writings in pledge! But, knowing that whatever monies he received would, assuredly, be expended in opium, COMPASSION STAYED MY HAND.

In my reply to his second letter, by "return of post," I enclosed Mr. C. another five pounds: urged him in a kind letter, to come immediately to Bristol, where myself and others, would do all that could be done, to advise and assist him. I told him at the same time, that, when I declined the business of a bookseller, I for ever quitted publishing, so that I could not receive his MSS. valuable as they doubtless were; but I reminded him, that as his merits were now appreciated by the public, the London booksellers would readily enter into a treaty, and remunerate him liberally. Mr. Coleridge returned no answer to my letter; came not to Bristol, but went in the next spring to London, as I learned indirectly: and I now await a narrative of the latter periods of Mr. C.'s life, and particularly the perusal of his "posthumous works," with a solicitude surpassed by none.

I mentioned before that from my intimate knowledge of Mr. Coleridge's sentiments and character, no doubt could be entertained by me, of its being Mr. C.'s earnest wish, in order to exhibit to his successors the pernicious consequences of opium, that, when called from this world, the fullest publicity should be given to its disastrous effects on himself. But whatever confidence existed in my own mind, it might be, I well knew, no easy task, to inspire, with the same assurance, some of his surviving friends; so that I have been compelled to argue the point, and to show, to those who shrunk from such disclosures, that Mr. Coleridge's example was intimately combined with general utility, and that none ought to regret a faithful narration of, (unquestionably) the great bane of his life, since it presented a conspicuous example, which might arrest the attention, and operate as a warning to many others.

From a conviction of the tender ground on which I stood, and entertaining a latent suspicion that some, whom I could wish to have pleased, would still censure, as unjustifiable exposure, what with me was the result of conscience; I repeat, with all these searching apprehensions, the reader will judge what my complicated feelings must have been, of joy and sorrow; a momentary satisfaction, succeeded by the deepest pungency of affliction, when, (after all the preceding was written) Mr. Josiah Wade, presented to me the following mournful and touching letter, addressed to him by Mr. Coleridge, in the year 1814, which, whilst it relieved my mind from so onerous a burden, fully corroborated all that I had presumed, and all that I had affirmed. Mr. W. handed this letter to me, that it might be made public, in conformity with his departed friend's injunction.

"Bristol, June 26th, 1814.

Dear sir,

For I am unworthy to call any good man friend—much less you, whose hospitality and love I have abused; accept, however, my intreaties for your forgiveness, and for your prayers.

Conceive a poor miserable wretch, who for many years has been attempting to beat off pain, by a constant recurrence to the vice that reproduces it. Conceive a spirit in bell, employed in tracing out for others the road to that heaven, from which his crimes exclude him! In short, conceive whatever is most wretched, helpless, and hopeless, and you will form as tolerable a notion of my state, as it is possible for a good man to have.

I used to think the text in St. James that 'he who offended in one point, offends in all,' very harsh: but I now feel the awful, the tremendous truth of it. In the one crime of OPIUM, what crime have I not made myself guilty of!—Ingratitude to my Maker! and to my benefactors—injustice! and unnatural cruelty to my poor children!—self-contempt for my repeated promise—breach, nay, too often, actual falsehood!

After my death, I earnestly entreat, that a full and unqualified narration of my wretchedness, and of its guilty cause, may be made public, that at least, some little good may be effected by the direful example.

May God Almighty bless you, and have mercy on your still affectionate, and in his heart, grateful—

S. T. Coleridge."

This is indeed a redeeming letter. We here behold Mr. Coleridge in the lowest state of human depression, but his condition is not hopeless. It is not the insensibility of final impenitence; it is not the slumber of the grave. A gleam of sunshine bursts through the almost impenetrable gloom; and the virtue of that prayer "May God Almighty have mercy!" in a penitent heart, like his, combined as we know it was, with the recognition of Him, who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," authorizes the belief, that a spirit thus exercised, had joys in reserve, and was to become the recipient of the best influences that can illumine regenerate man.

No individual ever effected great good in the moral world, who had not been subjected to a long preliminary discipline; and he who knows what is in man; who often educes good from evil, can best apportion the exact kind and degree, indispensable to each separate heart. Mr. Coleridge, after this time, lived twenty years. A merciful providence, though with many mementos of decay, preserved his body, and in all its vigor sustained his mind. Power was given him, it is presumed, and fervently hoped, to subdue his former pernicious practices. The season of solemn reflection it is hoped arrived, that his ten talents were no longer partially buried, but that the lengthened space extended to him, was consecrated by deep reflection, and consequent qualification, to elucidate and establish the everlasting principles of Christian truth.

Under such advantages, we are authorized in forming the highest expectations from his Great Posthumous Work. Nothing which I have narrated of Mr. Coleridge, will in the least subtract from the merit, or the impression of that production, effected in his mature manhood, when his renovated faculties sent forth new corruscations, and concentrated the results of all his profound meditations. The very process to which he had been exposed, so unpropitious as it appeared, may have been the most favourable for giving consistency to his intellectual researches. He may have thought in channels the more refined, varied, and luminous, from the ample experience he had acquired, that the only real evil in this world, was the frown of the Almighty, and His favor the only real good; so that the grand work, about to appear, may add strength to the strong, and give endurance to the finished pediment of his usefulness and his fame.

But although all these cheering anticipations should be fully realized, regrets will still exist. It will ever be deplored, that Mr. Coleridge's system of Christian Ethics, had not yet been deliberately recorded by himself. This feeling, however natural, is still considerably moderated, by reflecting on the ample competence of the individual on whom the distinction of preparing this system has devolved; a security that it will be both well and faithfully executed, and which, in the same proportion that it reflects credit on the editor, will embalm with additional honours, the memory of SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE; a genius, who in the opulence of his imagination, and his rich and inexhaustible capabilities, as a poet, a logician, and a metaphysician, has not perhaps been surpassed since the days of Milton.

The following letter of Mr. Coleridge, was written a short time before his death, to a young friend. This deliberate exposition of his faith, and at such a season, cancels every random word or sentence, Mr. C. may ever have expressed or written, of an opposing tendency. In thoughtless moments Mr. C. may sometimes have expressed himself unguardedly, attended, on reflection, no doubt with self-accusation, but here in the full prospect of dissolution, he pours forth the genuine and ulterior feelings of his soul.

"To Adam Steinmetz Kinnaird,

My dear godchild,—I offer up the same fervent prayer for you now, as I did kneeling before the altar, when you were baptized into Christ, and solemnly received as a living member of his spiritual body, the church. Years must, pass before you will be able to read with an understanding heart what I now write. But I trust that the all-gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, who, by his only-begotten Son, (all mercies in one sovereign mercy!) has redeemed you from evil ground, and willed you to be born out of darkness, but into light; out of death, but into life; out of sin, but into righteousness; even into 'the Lord our righteousness;' I trust that he will graciously hear the prayers of your dear parents, and be with you as the spirit of health and growth, in body and in mind. My dear godchild, you received from Christ's minister, at the baptismal font, as your Christian name, the name of a most dear friend of your father's, and who was to me even as a son, the late Adam Steinmetz, whose fervent aspirations, and paramount aim, even from early youth, was to be a Christian in thought, word, and deed; in will, mind, and affections. I too, your godfather, have known what the enjoyment and advantages of this life are, and what the more refined pleasures which learning and intellectual power can give; I now, on the eve of my departure, declare to you, and earnestly pray that you may hereafter live and act on the conviction, that health is a great blessing; competence, obtained by honourable industry, a great blessing; and a great blessing it is, to have kind, faithful, and loving friends and relatives; but that the greatest of all blessings, as it is the most ennobling of all privileges, is to be indeed a Christian. But I have been likewise, through a large portion of my later life, a sufferer, sorely affected with bodily pains, languor, and manifold infirmities, and for the last three or four years have, with few and brief intervals, been confined to a sick room, and at this moment, in great weakness and heaviness, write from a sick bed, hopeless of recovery, yet without prospect of a speedy removal. And I thus, on the brink of the grave, solemnly bear witness to you, that the Almighty Redeemer, most gracious in his promises to them that truly seek him, is faithful to perform what he has promised; and has reserved, under all pains and infirmities, the peace that passeth all understanding, with the supporting assurance of a reconciled God, who will not withdraw his spirit from me in the conflict, and in his own time will deliver me from the evil one. O my dear godchild! eminently blessed are they who begin early to seek, fear, and love, their God, trusting wholly in the righteousness and mediation of their Lord, Redeemer, Saviour, and everlasting High Priest, Jesus Christ. Oh, preserve this as a legacy and bequest from your unseen godfather and friend,

S. T. Coleridge.

July 13th, 1834, Grove, Highgate."

Is the writer of this epistle the man, who twenty years before, even coveted annihilation! Is this the man, who so long preferred, to all things else, the "Circean chalice!" Is this he, who at one time, learned to his unutterable dismay, what a sin was, "against an imperishable being, such as is the soul of man." Is this he, whose will was once extinguished by an unhallowed passion, and he himself borne along toward perdition by a flood of intemperance! Is this the man who resisted the light, till darkness entered his mind, and with it a "glimpse of outer darkness!" Is this he, who feared that his own inveterate and aggravated crimes would exclude him, from that heaven, the road to which he was tracing out for others! Is this he, that through successive years, contended with the severest mental and bodily afflictions; who knew the cause, but rejected the remedy?—who, in 1807, declared himself "rolling rudderless," "the wreck of what he once was," "with an unceasing overwhelming sensation of wretchedness?" and in 1814, who still pronounced himself the endurer of all that was "wretched, helpless, and hopeless?" Samuel Taylor Coleridge is the man on whom all these charges and fearful anticipations once rested: but he it is fervently hoped, was changed; that he was renovated; that, when refuge failed, an unseen power subdued the rebellious, and softened the hard; and that he approached the verge of life in the serenity of faith and hope.

Before the effect of this letter, the eccentricities of S. T. Coleridge—his indiscretions, his frailties, vanish away. There is in it a mellowed character, accordant with a proximity to the eternal state, when alone the objects of time assume their true dimensions; when, earth receding; eternity opening; the spirit, called to launch its untried bark on the dark and stormy waters that separate both worlds, descries light afar, and leans, as its only solace, on the hope of the christian.

Checkered indeed was the life of this great but imperfect man. His dawn was not without promise. Hopes and blessings attended him in his course, but mists obscured his noon, and tempests long followed him; yet he set, it is hoped, serene and in splendor, looking on, through faith in his Redeemer, to that cloudless morning, where his sun shall no more go down.

* * * * *

The attention of the reader will now be directed to letters of Mr.
Southey, briefly relating to Mr. Coleridge, and to circumstances
connected with the publication of the "Early Recollections of S. T.
Coleridge," 1837;—with a reference to the distressing malady with which
Mrs. Southey was afflicted.

"Keswick, Feb. 26, 1836.

My dear Cottle,

… I never go out but for regular exercise. Constant occupation; a daily walk whatever the weather may be; constitutional buoyancy of spirits; the comfort I have in my daughters and son; the satisfaction of knowing that nothing is neglected for my dear Edith, which can be done by human care and dutiful attention; above all, a constant trust in God's mercy, and the certainty that whatever he appoints for us is best; these are my supports, and I have as much cause to be thankful for present consolation, as for past happiness.

… If this domestic affliction had not fallen upon us, it was my intention to have seen you in October 1834, and have brought my son Cuthbert with me; and if it please God that I should ever be able to leave home for a distant journey, this I still hope to do, and if you are not then in a better place than Bedminster, I am selfish enough to wish you may stay there till we meet; and indeed for the sake of others, that it may be to the utmost limits which may be assigned us. I would give a great deal to pass a week with you in this world. When I called on your brother Robert, in London, four years ago, he did not recollect me, and yet I was the least changed of the two.

I should very much like to show you the correspondence which once passed between Shelley and myself. Perhaps you are not acquainted with half of his execrable history. I know the whole, and as he gave me a fit opportunity, I read him such a lecture upon it as he deserved.

God bless you, my dear old friend,

Robert Southey."

I shall now refer to some incidental subjects relating to Mr. Southey, which could not be well introduced in an earlier stage.

In drawing up my "Early Recollections of S. T. Coleridge," so many references had been made to Mr. Southey, that, notwithstanding his general permission, I deemed it proper to transmit him the MS., with a request that he would, without hesitation, draw his pen across any portions to which he either objected, or thought it might be better to omit. A further benefit also was anticipated by such inspection, as any error which might inadvertently have crept in, as to facts and dates, would infallibly be detected by Mr. Southey's more retentive memory. Mr. S. thus replied:

"Keswick, March 6, 1836.

My dear Cottle,

You will see that I have drawn my pen across several passages in your MS. of "Early Recollections."[99] The easiest way of showing you those small inaccuracies, will be by giving you a slight summary of the facts, most of them antecedent to my introduction to you.

Since your manuscript has arrived, I have received from London, two volumes of 'Letters and Conversations of S. T. Coleridge,' published anonymously by one of his later friends, Mr. Alsop, by name, a person of whom I never heard before. Mr. Moxon, the publisher, writes to me thus concerning it: 'In many respects I regret that I undertook the publication of the work, for though at my earnest solicitation, many objectionable passages respecting both yourself and Mr. Wordsworth were left out, yet much I fear still remains that ought not to have been published; and yet if I had refused the work, it would most likely have been published by some other bookseller, with more in it to offend than there is at present.'

Now there is nothing in this work relating to myself of the slightest consequence, but the worst enemy of S. T. C. could not have done so much injury to his character as this injudicious friend has done; who, be it observed, was also a friend of Cobbet's. He calls on Mr. Green, his presumed editor, not to conceal Coleridge's real opinions from the public, and certainly represents those opinions as being upon most, if not all subjects, as lax as his own. Coleridge's nephews,—the Bishop and Judge—are wantonly insulted by this person, and contemptuous speeches of his are reported concerning dead and living individuals, for whom he professed friendship, and from whom he had received substantial proofs of kindness. Heaven preserve me from such a friend as Mr. Alsop! But I never could have admitted such a person to my friendship, nor, if I had, would he have any such traits of character to record….

Now then to your narrative, or rather to mine; referring to incidents which took place before Coleridge's and my own acquaintance with yourself; by which you will perceive on what small points you were misinformed, and in what your memory has deceived you.

In the summer of 1794, S. T. Coleridge and Hucks came to Oxford, on their way into Wales on a pedestrian tour. Allen introduced them to me, and the scheme of Pantisocracy was introduced by them; talked of, by no means determined on. It was subsequently talked into shape by Burnet and myself, at the commencement of the long vacation. We separated from Coleridge and Hucks: they making for Gloucester; Burnet and I proceeding on foot to Bath.

After some weeks, Coleridge returning from his tour, came to Bristol on his way, and stopped there. (I being there.) Then it was that we resolved on going to America, and S. T. C., and I walked into Somersetshire to see Burnet, and on that journey it was that we first saw Poole. Coleridge made his engagement with Miss Fricker, on our return from this journey, at my mother's house in Bath;—not a little to my astonishment, for he had talked of being deeply in love with a certain Mary Evans. I had been previously engaged to her sister, my poor Edith!—whom it would make your heart ache to see at this time!

We remained at Bristol till the close of the vacation; several weeks. During that time we again talked of America. The funds were to be what each could raise. Coleridge, by his projected work, 'Specimens of Modern Latin Poems,' for which he had printed proposals, and obtained a respectable list of Cambridge subscribers, before I knew him: I by 'Joan of Arc,' and what else I might publish. I had no rich relations, except one, my uncle, John Southey, of Taunton, who took no notice of his brother's family; nor any other expectation. He hoped to find companions with money.

Coleridge returned to Cambridge, and then published 'The Fall of Robespierre;' while Lovell (who had married one of the Miss Frickers) and I, published a thin volume of poems at Bath. My first transaction with you was for 'Joan of Arc,' and this was before Coleridge's arrival at Bristol, and soon after Lovell had introduced me to you. Coleridge did not come back again to Bristol till January 1795, nor would he I believe have come back at all, if I had not gone to London to look for him, for having got there from Cambridge at the beginning of winter, there he remained without writing either to Miss Fricker or myself.

At last I wrote to Favell (a Christ's Hospital boy, whose name I knew as one of his friends, and whom he had set down as one of our companions) to inquire concerning him, and learnt in reply, that S. T. Coleridge was at 'The Cat and Salutation,' in Newgate Street. [100] Thither I wrote. He answered my letter, and said, that on such a day he should set off for Bath by the waggon. Lovell and I walked from Bath to meet him. Near Marlborough we met with the appointed waggon; but no S. T. Coleridge was therein! A little while afterward, I went to London, and not finding him at 'The Cat and Salutation,' called at Christ's Hospital, and was conducted by Favell to 'The Angel Inn, Butcher Hall street,' whither Coleridge had shifted his quarters. I brought him then to Bath, and in a few days to Bristol.

In the intermediate time between his leaving Bristol, and returning to it, the difficulties of getting to America became more and more apparent. Wynne wrote to press upon me the expedience of trying our scheme of Pantisocracy in Wales, knowing how impracticable it would be any where; knowing also, that there was no hope of convincing me of its impracticability, at that time. In our former plan we were all agreed, and expected that what the earth failed to produce for us, the pen would supply. Such were our views in January 1795; when S. T. Coleridge gave his first and second lectures in the Corn Market, and his third in a vacant house in Castle Green. These were followed by my lectures, and you know the course of our lives till the October following, when we parted.

By that time I had seen that no dependence could be placed on Coleridge. No difference took place between us when I communicated to him my intention of going with my uncle to Lisbon, nor even a remonstrance on his part; nor had I the slightest suspicion that he intended to quarrel with me, till ——'s insolence made it apparent; and I then learnt from Mrs. Morgan (poor John Morgan's mother) in what manner he was speaking of me. This was in October. From that time to my departure for Lisbon you know my history. Lovell did not die till six months afterward. The 'Watchman' was not projected till I was on my way to Lisbon.

Poor Burnet's history would require a letter of itself. He became deranged on one point, which was that of hatred to me, whom he accused of having jealously endeavoured to suppress his talents! This lasted about six months, in the year 1802, and it returned again in the last year of his life. The scheme of Pantisocracy proved his ruin; but he was twice placed in situations where he was well provided for. I had the greatest regard for him, and would have done, and indeed, as far as was in my power, did my utmost to serve him God bless you, my dear old friend,

Yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey."

"Keswick, 14 April, 1836.

My dear Cottle,

If you are drawing up your 'Recollections of Coleridge,' for separate publication, you are most welcome to insert anything of mine which you might think proper; but it is my wish that nothing of mine may go into the hands of any person concerned in bringing forward Coleridge's MSS.

I know that Coleridge at different times of his life never let pass an opportunity of speaking ill of me. Both Wordsworth and myself have often lamented the exposure of duplicity which must result from the publication of his letters, and by what he has delivered by word of mouth to the worshippers by whom he was always surrounded. To Wordsworth and to me, it matters little. Coleridge received from us such substantial services as few men have received from those whose friendship they had forfeited. This indeed was not the case with Wordsworth, as it was with me, for he knew not in what manner Coleridge had latterly spoken of him. But I continued all possible offices of kindness to his children, long after I regarded his own conduct with that utter disapprobation which alone it can call forth from all who had any sense of duty and moral obligation.

Poole[101] from whom I had a letter by the same post with yours, thinks, from what you have said concerning Coleridge's habit of taking opium, that it would operate less to deter others from the practice, than it would lead them to flatter themselves in indulging in it, by the example of so great a man. That there is some probability in this I happen to know from the effect of Mr. De Quincey's book; one who had never taken a drop of opium before, but took so large a dose, for the sake of experiencing the sensations which had been described, that a very little addition to the dose might have proved fatal. There, however, the mischief ended, for he never repeated the experiment. But I apprehend if you send what you have written, about Coleridge and opium, it will not be made use of, and that Coleridge's biographer will seek to find excuses for his abuse of that drug. Indeed in Mr. Alsop's book, it is affirmed that the state of his heart, and other appearances in his chest, showed the habit to have been brought on by the pressure of disease in those parts:—the more likely inference is, that the excess brought on the disease.

I am much pleased with your "Predictions." Those who will not be convinced by such scriptural proofs, if they pretend to admit any authority in the Scriptures, would not, though one rose from the dead.

God bless you, my dear old friend. Whenever I can take a journey, I will, if you are living, come to Bedminster. There is no other place in the world which I remember with such feelings as that village.[102]

Believe me always yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey."

In answer to an invitation, Mr. Southey thus replied.

"Keswick, August 16, 1836.

My dear Cottle,

… Be assured, whenever it may seem fitting for me to take so long a journey, I shall come to you with as cordial a feeling of unchanged and unabated friendship as that with which you I know will receive me. It is very much my wish to do so, to show Cuthbert my son (who will accompany me) the scenes of my boyhood and youth, and the few friends who are left to me in the West of England. There is an urgent reason why I should go to London before the last volume of Cowper is brought forth, if domestic circumstances can be so arranged as to admit of this, and I would fain hope it may be; I shall then certainly proceed to the West.

Longman has determined to print my poetical works in ten monthly parts, and I have to prepare accordingly for the press. No one will take more interest than yourself in this arrangement. I have much to correct, much to alter, and not a little to add: among other things, a general preface, tracing the circumstances which contributed to determine my course as a poet.

I can say nothing which would give you pleasure to hear on a subject[103] which concerns me so nearly. We have continued variations of better and worse, with no tendency to amendment; and according to all human foresight, no hope of recovery. We entertain no guests, and admit no company whom it is possible to exclude. God bless you, my dear old friend, and believe me always

Yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey."

I now refer to an occurrence that gave me some uneasiness. It appears, from the following letter that the family of Mr. Coleridge felt uneasy at learning that I intended to disclose to the public, the full extent of Mr. C.'s subjection to opium.

"September 30, 1836.

My dear Cottle,

… Coleridge's relations are uneasy at what they hear of your intention to publish an account of him. Yesterday I learnt personally, from an influential member of the family, what their objections particularly were. He specified as points on which they were uncomfortable, Coleridge's own letter, or letters, respecting opium, and the circumstances of a gift of three hundred pounds from Mr. De Quincey.

The truth is, that Coleridge's relations are placed in a most uncomfortable position. They cannot say that any one of themselves will bring out a full and authentic account of C. because they know how much there is, which all who have any regard for Coleridge's memory, would wish to be buried with him. But we will talk over the subject when we meet. Meantime I have assured —— that your feelings toward Coleridge are, what they have ever been, friendly in the highest degree.

How like a dream does the past appear! through the last years of my life more than any other part. All hope of recovery, or even of amendment, is over! In all reason I am convinced of this; and yet at times when Edith speaks and looks like herself, I am almost ready to look for what, if it occurred, would be a miracle. It is quite necessary that I should be weaned from this constant object of solicitude; so far at least as to refresh myself, and recruit for another period of confinement. Like all other duties, it brings with it its reward: and when I consider with how many mercies this affliction has been tempered, I have cause indeed to be thankful. Believe me always, my dear Cottle,

Yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey."

A few days after I received the following letter from Mr. Southey:—

"Keswick, Oct. 10, 1836.

My dear Cottle,

I have long foreseen that poor S. T. Coleridge would leave a large inheritance of uneasiness to his surviving friends, and those who were the most nearly connected with him.

The Head of the Family being in these parts, I have heard more concerning the affair of your Memoir, as it respects the feelings of that family than I should otherwise. He is a thoroughly good man; mild, unassuming, amiable, and judicious beyond most men. This matter interests him greatly, on account of his brother having married Mr. S. T. Coleridge's daughter. Indeed it is in consequence of a letter from the —— that I am now writing. He cared nothing when a gross and wanton insult was offered to him in that … book, but on this occasion he is much concerned.

A few omissions (one letter in particular, respecting the habit of taking opium,) would spare them great pain, and leave your book little the poorer, rich as your materials are. Wilfully I am sure you never gave pain to any human being, nor any living creature…. You are not like a witness who is required to tell all which he knows. In those cases the moral law requires us to tell nothing but the truth, but does not demand the whole truth, unless the suppression of any part of it should be tantamount to falsehood.

Of this indeed you are fully aware. You have enough to tell that is harmless as well as interesting, and not only harmless, but valuable and instructive, and that ought to be told, and which no one but yourself can tell. Strike out only…. I will read over the Memoir when we meet. You have abundance of materials; and many things may come to mind which may supply the place of what should be withdrawn. You will understand my motive in pressing this upon you. God bless you, my dear old friend.

Your's most affectionately,

Robert Southey."

As I determined to publish nothing relating to Mr. Coleridge, without Mr. Southey's sanction, my first impression, on the receipt of this letter, was, wholly to withdraw the work;—but as I expected soon to see Mr. S., I resolved to suspend my determination till he had an opportunity of inspecting the MS. once more, when his specific objections might be better understood.

Two or three weeks after receiving the former letter, Mr. S. addressed to me the following hasty line:—

"Friday, Nov. 1, 1836, Pipe Hayes.

My dear Cottle,

Here we are, six miles from Birmingham. Our places are taken for Thursday morning, in the coach which starts from the Hen and Chickens, Birmingham. To what Inn it comes in Bristol, I forgot to ask. So, if on our arrival, we do not find your vehicle, we shall pack ourselves, and our luggage, in a hackney-coach, without delay, and drive to Carlton Villa. So on Thursday evening I hope to see you.

God bless you, my dear old friend,

Robert Southey."

P.S. "I saw Wordsworth on my way, and mentioned your wish about engraving his portrait. He referred it entirely to my opinion of its likeness."[104]

On his arrival, Mr. Southey deliberately re-read the whole of my MS., and objected alone to a few trifles, which were expunged. He read the series of opium letters with a mind evidently affected, but no part did he interdict. He now arrived at, and read the solemn Testamentary Letter,(p. 394 [Letter dating "Bristol, June 26th, 1814. Transcriber.]). I said to him, "Southey shall I, or shall I not, omit this letter." He paused for a few moments, and then distinctly said. "You must print it. It is your authority for what you have done." He then continued, "You must print it also, for the sake of faithful biography, and for the beneficial effect this, and the other opium letters must inevitably produce." This unqualified approval determined me to publish the whole of the opium letters.

I here give the next letter I received from Mr. Southey, when he had returned home, after his long excursion to Bristol, and the West of England, by which it will be perceived that no after inclination existed in Mr. S.'s mind to alter the opinion he had given.

"Keswick, May 9, 1837.

My dear Cottle,

It is scarcely possible that a day should pass, in which some circumstance, some object, or train of recollection, does not bring you to my mind. You may suppose then how much I thought of you during the employment I recently got through of correcting "Joan of Arc" for the last time….

Our journey, after we left your comfortable house, was as prosperous as it could be at that time of the year. We have reason, indeed, to be thankful, that travelling so many hundred miles, in all sorts of ways, and over all kinds of roads, we met with no mischief of any kind; nor any difficulties greater than what served for matter of amusement. During the great hurricane, we were at Dawlish, in a house on the beach, from which we saw the full effect of its force on the sea.

The great snow-storm caught us at Tavistock, and rendered it impossible for us to make our intended excursion on Dartmoor. Cuthbert and I parted company at my friend, Miss Caroline Bowles's, near Lymington, he going to his brother-in-law, (at Terring, where he is preparing for the University,) I, the next day, to London. I joined him again at Terring, three weeks afterward; and, after a week, made the best of my way home.

The objects of my journey were fully accomplished. Cuthbert has seen most of the spots which I desired to show him, and has been introduced to the few old friends whom I have left in the West of England. I had much pleasure, but not unmingled with pain, in visiting many places which brought back vividly the remembrance of former days; but to Cuthbert, all was pure pleasure.

God bless you, my dear old friend,

Yours affectionately,

Robert Southey."

In a previous letter Mr. Southey had said in a contemplative mood,

"… Little progress is made in my 'Life of George Fox' but considerable preparation. This, and some sketches of Monastic history, will probably complete the ecclesiastical portion of my labours. Alas! I have undertaken more than there is any reasonable likelihood of completing. My head will soon be white, and I feel a disposition to take more thought for the morrow than I was wont to do; not as if distrusting providence, which has hitherto supported me, but my own powers of exertion!"

I pass over the intervening period between this, and my old friend's mental affliction, as more properly belonging to Mr. Southey's regular biographer, but this much I may observe.

Having heard, with the deepest concern, that Mr. Southey's mind was affected, I addressed a kind letter to him, to inquire after his health, and requested only one line from him, to relieve my anxiety, if only the signing of his name. I received a letter in reply, from his kindest friend, of which the following is an extract.

"… With deep and affectionate interest he read and re-read your letter, and many times in the course of the evening he received it I observed tears in his eyes. 'I will write to Cottle,' he has often repeated since, but alas! the purpose remains unfulfilled, and from me, dear sir, you must receive the explanation of his silence…."

On communicating this melancholy intelligence to my old and valued friend, Mr. Foster, he thus replied.

"My dear sir,

I am obliged for your kind note, and the letter, which I here return. I can well believe that you must feel it a mournful communication. A friend in early life: a friend ever since; a man highly, and in considerable part, meritoriously conspicuous in the literature of the age; and now at length prostrated, and on the borders of the grave; for there can be no doubt the bodily catastrophe will soon follow the mental one. It is a most wonderful career that he has run in literary achievement, and it is striking to see such a man disabled at last, even to write a letter to an old friend! It is interesting to myself, as it must be to every one accustomed to contemplate the labours and productions of mind, to see such a spirit finally resigning its favourite occupations, and retiring from its fame!…"

Mr. Foster, referring to the death of his friends, thus afterwards wrote.

"Stapleton, June 22, 1842.

My dear sir,

… How our old circle is narrowing around us. Going back just three years and a-half, I was recounting yesterday eleven persons departed within that space of time; three-fourths of those who had formed, till then, the list of my old friends and acquaintance, leaving just a few, how few, of those who are my coevals, or approaching to that standard. You are within one, and he at a great distance, whom I may never see again, the oldest in both senses, of the almost solitary remainder. Our day is not far off. Oh, may we be prepared to welcome its arrival…."

The following is an extract from another letter of Mr. Foster's containing the same train of thought.

"My dear sir,

… My thoughts are often pensively turning on the enumeration of those I may call my coevals; and many of them of long acquaintance who have been called away within these few years. An old, and much valued friend at Worcester, Mr. Stokes, from whose funeral I returned little more than in time to attend that of our estimable friend, your brother-in-law, Mr. Hare; since then, your excellent sister Mary. Mr. Coles, of Bourton, known and esteemed almost forty years. Mr. Addington. Lately in Scotland, the worthy Mr. Dove; and now last of all, so unexpectedly, Mr. Roberts. I dined with him at Mr. Wade's, perhaps not more than ten days before his death….

With friendly regards, I remain, my dear sir,

Most truly yours,

John Foster."

A letter of mine to Mr. Foster, referring chiefly to Mr. Southey, may not inappropriately be here introduced.

"July 6, 1842.

To the Rev. John Foster,

My dear Sir,—I sympathize with you on the comparatively recent loss of so large a proportion of your early friends and acquaintance. I can, to a great extent, participate in similar feelings. Yourself and Mr. Wordsworth are the only two survivors, of all with whom in early life I joined in familiar intercourse, for poor dear Southey since I last wrote to you concerning him, is worse than dead. Mr. W., who dined with me last summer, told me that he does not now know his own children. He said, he had a short time previously called upon him, and he fancied that a slight glimpse of remembrance crossed his mind, when, in a moment, he silently passed to his library, and taking down a book, (from mechanical habit) turned over the pages, without reading, or the power of reading. Pardon prolixity, where the heart is so full. Surely the world does not present a more melancholy, or a more humiliating sight, than the prostration of so noble a mind as that of my old and highly-prized friend, Robert Southey. When I first knew him, he had all that Westminster and Oxford could give him. He was, as the Mores said, to whom I had introduced him, 'brimfull of literature:' decisive and enthusiastic in all his sentiments, and impetuous in all his feelings, whether of approval or dislike. I never knew one more uncompromising in what he believed either to be right, or wrong; thereby marking the integrity of his mind, which ever shrunk from the most distant approximation to duplicity or meanness.

This disposition manifested itself almost in infancy, for his mother, an acute and very worthy woman, told me, in the year 1798, that whenever any mischief or accident occurred amongst the children, which some might wish to conceal, she always applied to Robert, who never hesitated, or deviated from the truth, though he himself might have been implicated. And in after life, whatever sentiments he avowed, none who knew the confirmed fidelity of his mind, could possibly doubt that they were the genuine dictates of his heart.

There was in Southey, alas! his sun is set!—I must, write in the third person!—one other quality which commands admiration; an habitual delicacy in his conversation, evidencing that cheerfulness and wit might exist without ribaldry, grossness, or profanation. He neither violated decorum himself, nor tolerated it in others. I have been present when a trespasser of the looser class, has received, a rebuke, I might say a castigation, well deserved, and not readily forgotten. His abhorrence also of injustice, or unworthy conduct, in its diversified shapes, had all the decision of a Roman censor; while this apparent austerity was associated, when in the society he liked, with so bland and playful a spirit, that it abolished all constraint, and rendered him one of the most agreeable, as well as the most intelligent of companions.

It must occasionally have been exemplified in your experience, that some writers who have acquired a transient popularity, perchance, more from adventitious causes, than sterling merit, appear at once to occupy an increased space, and fancy that he who fills his own field of vision, occupies the same space in the view of others. This disposition will almost invariably be found in those who most readily depreciate those whom they cannot excel; as if every concession to the merits of another subtracted from their own claims. Southey was eminently exempt from this little feeling. He heartily encouraged genius, wherever it was discoverable; whether, 'with all appliances,' the jewel shone forth from academic bowers, or whether the gem was incrusted with extraneous matter, and required the toil of polishing; indifferent to him, it met with the encouraging smile, and the fostering care.

It may be truly said, Mr. Southey exacted nothing, and consequently his excellencies were the more readily allowed; and this merit was the greater, since, as Mr. Coleridge remarked, "he had written on so many subjects, and so well on all." Although his company was sought by men of the first rank and talent, from whom he always received that acknowledgment, if not deference, which is due to great attainments and indisputable genius, yet such honours excited no plebeian pride. It produced none of that morbid inflation, which, wherever found, instinctively excites a repulsive feeling. It was this unassuming air, this suavity of deportment, which so attached Southey to his friends, and gave such permanence to their regard.

It seems almost invidious to single out one distinguishing quality in his mind, when so many deserve notice, but I have often been struck with the quickness of his perception; the promptitude with which he discovered whatever was good or bad in composition, either in prose or verse. When reading the production of another, the tones of his voice became a merit-thermometer, a sort of Aeolian-harp-test; in the flat parts his voice was unimpassioned, but if the gust of genius swept over the wires, his tones rose in intensity, till his own energy of feeling and expression kindled in others a sympathetic impulse, which the dull were forced to feel, whilst his animated recitations threw fresh meaning into the minds of the more discerning.

What an emblem of human instability! The idea of Robert Southey's altered state can hardly force itself on my imagination. The image of one lately in full vigour, who appeared, but as yesterday, all thought and animation, whose mind exhibited a sort of rocky firmness, and seemed made almost for perpetuity; I say it is hard to conceive of faculties so strong and richly matured, reduced now even to imbecility! The image of death I could withstand, for it is the lot of mortals, but the spectacle of such a mind associated with living extinction, appears incongruous, and to exceed the power of possible combination. Those who witnessed the progressive advances of this mournful condition were prepared for the event by successive changes, but with my anterior impressions, if in his present state I were to be abruptly presented to Robert Southey, and met the vacant and cold glance of indifference, the concussion to my feelings would so overwhelm, that—merciful indeed would be the power which shielded me from a like calamity.

Southey spent a week with me, four or five years ago, when he manifested the same kind and cordial behaviour, which he had uniformly displayed for nearly half a century, and which had never during that long period been interrupted for a moment. Nor was steadfastness in friendship one of his least excellencies. From the kindliness of his spirit, he excited an affectionate esteem in his friends, which they well knew no capriciousness on his part would interrupt: to which, it might be added, his mind was well balanced, presenting no unfavourable eccentricities, and but few demands for the exercise of charity. Justly also, may it be affirmed, that he was distinguished for the exemplary discharge of all the social and relative virtues; disinterestedly generous, and scrupulously conscientious, presenting in his general deportment, courteousness without servility, and dignity without pride. There was in him so much kindliness and sincerity, so much of upright purpose, and generous feeling, that the belief is forced on the mind, that, through the whole range of biographical annals, few men, endowed with the higher order of intellect, have possessed more qualities commanding esteem than Robert Southey; who so happily blended the great with the amiable, or whose memory will become more permanently fragrant to the lovers of genius, or the friends of virtue. Nor would Southey receive a fair measure of justice by any display of personal worth, without noticing the application of his talents. His multifarious writings, whilst they embody such varied excellence, display wherever the exhibition was demanded, or admissible, a moral grandeur, and reverence of religion, which indirectly reflects on some, less prodigally endowed, who do, and have, corrupted by their prose, or disseminated their pollutions through the sacred, but desecrated medium of song.

It was always a luxury with Southey to talk of old times, places, and persons; and Bristol, with its vicinities, he thought the most beautiful city he had ever seen. When a boy he was almost a resident among St. Vincent's rocks, and Leigh Woods. The view, from the Coronation Road, of the Hotwells, with Clifton, and its triple crescents, he thought surpassed any view of the kind in Europe. He loved also to extol his own mountain scenery, and, at his last visit, upbraided me for not paying him a visit at Greta Hall, where, he said, he would have shown me the glories of the district, and also have given me a sail on the lake, in his own boat, 'The Royal Noah.' After dwelling on his entrancing water-scenes, and misty eminences, he wanted much, he said to show me his library, which at that time consisted of fourteen thousand volumes, which he had been accumulating all his life, from the rare catalogues of all nations: but still, he remarked, he had a list of five hundred other volumes to obtain, and after possessing these, he said, he should be satisfied. Alas! he little knew, how soon the whole would appear to him—less than the herbage of the desert!

At this time, Mr. S. mentioned a trifling occurrence, arising out of what happened to be the nature of our conversation, although it is hardly worth naming to you, who so lightly esteem human honours. He said, some years before, when he chanced to be in London, he accepted an invitation to dine with the Archbishop of Canterbury but, subsequently, he received an invitation for the same day, from the Duchess of Kent, to dine at Kensington Palace; and as invitations from Royalty supersede all others, he sent an apology to the Archbishop, and dined with more Lords and Ladies than he could remember. At the conclusion of the repast, before the Ladies retired, she who was destined to receive homage, on proper occasions, had learnt to pay respect, for the young Princess (our present gracious Queen Victoria) came up to him, and curtseying, very prettily said, 'Mr. Southey, I thank you for the pleasure I have received in reading your Life of Lord Nelson.'

I must mention one other trait in Southey, which did him peculiar honour, I allude to the readiness with which he alluded to any little acts of kindness which he might have received from any of his friends, in past years. To the discredit of human nature, there is in general a laborious endeavour to bury all such remembrances in the waters of Lethe: Southey's mind was formed on a different model.

The tear which dims my eye, attests the affection which I still bear to poor dear Southey. Few knew him better than myself, or more highly estimated the fine qualities of his head and heart; and still fewer can be oppressed with deeper commiseration for his present forlorn and hopeless condition…. My dear sir,

Most truly yours,

Joseph Cottle.

Rev. John Foster."

I have now to present the Reader with a series of letters from Mr.
Coleridge to the late Josiah and Thomas Wedgewood, Esqrs.; obligingly
communicated to me by Francis Wedgewood, Esq., of Etruria, son of Mr.
Josiah Wedgewood.

"May 21st, 1799. Gottingen.

My dear sir,

I have lying by my side six huge letters, with your name on each of them, and all, excepting one, have been written for these three months. About this time Mr. Hamilton, by whom I send this and the little parcel for my wife, was, as it were, setting off for England; and I seized the opportunity of sending them by him, as without any mock-modesty I really thought that the expense of the postage to me and to you would be more than their worth. Day after day, and week after week, was Hamilton going, and still delayed. And now that it is absolutely settled that he goes to-morrow, it is likewise absolutely settled that I shall go this day three weeks, and I have therefore sent only this and the picture by him, but the letters I will now take myself, for I should not like them to be lost, as they comprize the only subject on which I have had an opportunity of making myself thoroughly informed, and if I carry them myself, I can carry them without danger of their being seized at Yarmouth, as all my letters were, yours to —— excepted, which were, luckily, not sealed. Before I left England, I had read the book of which you speak. I must confess that it appeared to me exceedingly illogical. Godwin's and Condorcet's extravagancies were not worth confuting; and yet I thought that the Essay on 'Population' had not confuted them. Professor Wallace, Derham, and a number of German statistic, and physico-theological writers had taken the same ground, namely, that population increases in a geometrical, but the accessional nutriment only in arithmetical ratio—and that vice and misery, the natural consequences of this order of things, were intended by providence as the counterpoise. I have here no means of procuring so obscure a book, as Rudgard's; but to the best of my recollection, at the time that the Fifth Monarchy enthusiasts created so great a sensation in England, under the Protectorate, and the beginning of Charles the Second's reign, Rudgard, or Rutgard (I am not positive even of the name) wrote an Essay to the same purpose, in which he asserted, that if war, pestilence, vice, and poverty, were wholly removed, the world could not exist two hundred years, &c. Seiffmilts, in his great work concerning the divine order and regularity in the destiny of the human race, has a chapter entitled a confutation of this idea; I read it with great eagerness, and found therein that this idea militated against the glory and goodness of God, and must therefore be false,—but further confutation found I none!—This book of Seiffmilts has a prodigious character throughout Germany; and never methinks did a work less deserve it. It is in three huge octavos, and wholly on the general laws that regulate the population of the human species—but is throughout most unphilosophical, and the tables, which he has collected with great industry, prove nothing. My objections to the Essay on Population you will find in my sixth letter at large—but do not, my dear sir, suppose that because unconvinced by this essay, I am therefore convinced of the contrary. No, God knows, I am sufficiently sceptical, and in truth more than sceptical, concerning the possibility of universal plenty and wisdom; but my doubts rest on other grounds. I had some conversation with you before I left England, on this subject; and from that time I had purposed to myself to examine as thoroughly as it was possible for me, the important question. Is the march of the human race progressive, or in cycles? But more of this when we meet.

What have I done in Germany? I have learned the language, both high and low German, I can read both, and speak the former so fluently, that it must be a fortune for a German to be in my company, that is, I have words enough and phrases enough, and I arrange them tolerably; but my pronunciation is hideous. 2ndly, I can read the oldest German, the Frankish, and the Swabian. 3rdly, I have attended the lectures on Physiology, Anatomy, and Natural History, with regularity, and have endeavoured to understand these subjects. 4thly, I have read and made collections for a history of the. 'Belles Lettres,' in Germany, before the time of Lessing: and 5thly, very large collections for a 'Life of Lessing;' to which I was led by the miserably bad and unsatisfactory biographies that have been hitherto given, and by my personal acquaintance with two of Lessing's friends. Soon after I came into Germany, I made up my mind fully not to publish anything concerning my travels, as people call them; yet I soon perceived that with all possible economy, my expenses would be greater than I could justify, unless I did something that would to a moral certainty repay them. I chose the 'Life of Lessing' for the reasons above assigned, and because it would give me an opportunity of conveying under a better name than my own ever will be, opinions which I deem of the highest importance. Accordingly, my main business at Gottingen, has been to read all the numerous controversies in which Lessing was engaged, and the works of all those German poets before the time of Lessing, which I could not afford to buy. For these last four months, with the exception of last week, in which I visited the Hartz, I have worked harder than I trust in God Almighty, I shall ever have occasion to work again: this endless transcription is such a body-and-soul-wearying purgatory. I shall have bought thirty pounds' worth of books, chiefly metaphysics, and with a view to the one work, to which I hope to dedicate in silence, the prime of my life; but I believe and indeed doubt not, that before Christmas I shall have repaid myself.

I never, to the best of my recollection, felt the fear of death but once; that was yesterday when I delivered the picture to Hamilton. I felt, and shivered as I felt it, that I should not like to die by land or water before I see my wife and the little one; that I hope yet remains to me. But it was an idle sort of feeling, and I should not like to have it again. Poole half mentioned, in a hasty way, a circumstance that depressed my spirits for many days:—that you and Thomas were on the point of settling near Stowey, but had abandoned it. "God Almighty! what a dream of happiness it held out to me!" writes Poole. I felt disappointment without having had hope.

In about a month I hope to see you. Till then may heaven bless and preserve us! Believe me, my dear sir, with every feeling of love, esteem, and gratitude,

Your affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge.

Josiah Wedgewood, Esq."

"21, Buckingham Street, Strand, January, 1800.

My dear sir,

I am sitting by a fire in a rug great coat. Your room is doubtless to a greater degree air tight than mine, or your notions of Tartarus would veer round to the Greenlander's creed. It is most barbarously cold, and you, I fear, can shield yourself from it, only by perpetual imprisonment. If any place in the southern climates were in a state of real quiet, and likely to continue so, should you feel no inclination to migrate? Poor Southey, from over great industry, as I suspect, the industry too of solitary composition, has reduced himself to a terrible state of weakness, and is determined to leave this country as soon as he has finished the poem on which he is now employed. 'Tis a melancholy thing that so young a man, and one whose life has ever been so simple and self-denying….

O, for a peace, and the south of France! I could almost wish for a Bourbon king, if it were only that Sieyes and Buonaparte might finish their career in the old orthodox way of hanging. Thank God, I have my health perfectly, and I am working hard; yet the present state of human affairs presses on me for days together, so as to deprive me of all my cheerfulness. It is probable that a man's private and personal connexions and interests ought to be uppermost in his daily and hourly thoughts, and that the dedication of much hope and fear to subjects which are perhaps disproportionate to our faculties and powers, is a disease. But I have had this disease so long, and my early education was so undomestic, that I know not how to get rid of it; or even to wish to get rid of it. Life were so flat a thing without enthusiasm, that if for a moment it leaves me, I have a sort of stomach sensation attached to all my thoughts, like those which succeed to the pleasurable operations of a dose of opium.

Now I make up my mind to a sort of heroism in believing the progressiveness of all nature, during the present melancholy state of humanity, and on this subject I am now writing; and no work on which I ever employed myself makes me so happy while I am writing.

I shall remain in London till April. The expenses of my last year made it necessary for me to exert my industry, and many other good ends are answered at the same time. Where I next settle I shall, continue, and that must be in a state of retirement and rustication. It is therefore good for me to have a run of society, and that, various, and consisting of marked characters. Likewise, by being obliged to write without much elaboration, I shall greatly improve myself in naturalness and facility of style, and the particular subjects on which I write for money are nearly connected with my future schemes. My mornings I give to compilations which I am sure cannot be wholly useless, and for which, by the beginning of April I shall have earned nearly £150. My evenings to the Theatres, as I am to conduct a sort of Dramaterye or series of Essays on the Drama, both its general principles, and likewise in reference to the present state of the English Theatres. This I shall publish in the 'Morning Post.' My attendance on the theatres costs me nothing, and Stuart, the Editor, covers my expenses in London. Two mornings, and one whole day, I dedicate to these Essays on the possible progressiveness of man, and on the principles of population. In April I retire to my greater works,—'The Life of Lessing.' My German chests are arrived, but I have them not yet, but expect them from Stowey daily; when they come I shall send a letter.

I have seen a good deal of Godwin, who has just published a Novel. I like him for thinking so well of Davy. He talks of him every where as the most extraordinary of human beings he had ever met with. I cannot say that, for I know one whom I feel to be the superior, but I never met with so extraordinary a young man. I have likewise dined with Horne Tooke. He is a clear-headed old man, as every man must needs be who attends to the real import of words, but there is a sort of charlatanry in his manner that did not please me. He makes such a mystery out of plain and palpable things, and never tells you any thing without first exciting, and detaining your curiosity. But it were a bad heart that could not pardon worse faults than these in the author of 'The Diversions of Purley.'

Believe me, my dear sir, with much affection


S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood, Esq."

"21, Buckingham Street, Feb. 1800.

My dear sir,

Your brother's health [Mr. Thomas Wedgewood] outweighs all other considerations. Beyond a doubt he has made himself acquainted with the degree of heat which he is to experience there [the West Indies]. The only objections that I see are so obvious, that it is idle in me to mention them: the total want of men with whose pursuits your brother can have a fellow feeling: the length and difficulty of the return, in case of a disappointment; and the necessity of sea-voyages to almost every change of scenery. I will not think of the yellow fever; that I hope is quite out of all probability. Believe me, my dear friend, I have some difficulty in suppressing all that is within me of affection and grief. God knows my heart, wherever your brother is, I shall follow him in spirit; follow him with my thoughts and most affectionate wishes.

I read your letter, and did as you desired me. —— is very cool to me. Whether I have still any of the leaven of the Citizen, and visionary about me—too much for his present zeal, or whether he is incapable of attending…. As to his views, he is now gone to Cambridge to canvass for a Fellowship in Trinity Hall. Mackintosh has kindly written to Dr. Lawrence, who is very intimate with the Master, and he has other interest. He is also trying hard, and in expectation of a Commissionership of Bankruptcy, and means to pursue the law with all ardour and steadiness. As to the state of his mind, it is that which it was and will be. God love him! He has a most incurable forehead. —— called on him and looking on his table, saw by accident a letter directed to himself. Said he, 'Why —— what letter is this for me? and from ——,' 'Yes I have had it some time.' 'Why did you not give it me?' 'Oh, it wants some explanation first. You must not read it now, for I can't give you the explanation now.' And ——, who you know is a right easy-natured man, has not been able to get his own letter from him to this hour! Of his success at Cambridge, Caldwell, is doubtful, or more than doubtful….

So much of ——. All that I know, and all I suspect that is to be known. A kind, gentlemanly, affectionate hearted man, possessed of an absolute talent for industry. Would to God, he had never heard of Philosophy!

I have been three times to the House of Commons; each time earlier than the former; and each time hideously crowded. The two first days the debate was put off. Yesterday I went at a quarter before eight, and remained till three this morning, and then sat writing and correcting other men's writing till eight—a good twenty four hours of unpleasant activity! I have not felt myself sleepy yet. Pitt and Fox completely answered my pre-formed ideas of them. The elegance and high finish of Pitt's periods, even in the most sudden replies, is curious, but that is all. He argues but so so, and does not reason at all. Nothing is rememberable of what he says. Fox possesses all the full and overflowing eloquence of a man of clear head, clear heart, and impetuous feelings. He is to my mind a great orator; all the rest that spoke were mere creatures. I could make a better speech myself than any that I heard, except Pitt and Fox. I reported that part of Pitt's which I have enclosed in brackets, not that I report ex-officio, but my curiosity having led me there, I did Stuart a service by taking a few notes.

I work from morning to night, but in a few weeks I shall have completed my purpose, and then adieu to London for ever. We newspaper scribes are true galley-slaves. When the high winds of events blow loud and frequent then the sails are hoisted, or the ship drives on of itself. When all is calm and sunshine then to our oars. Yet it is not unflattering to a man's vanity to reflect that what he writes at twelve at night, will before twelve hours are over, have perhaps, five or six thousand readers! To trace a happy phrase, good image, or new argument, running through the town and sliding into all the papers. Few wine merchants can boast of creating more sensation. Then to hear a favorite and often-urged argument, repeated almost in your own particular phrases, in the House of Commons; and, quietly in the silent self-complacence of your own heart, chuckle over the plagiarism, as if you were monopolist of all good reasons. But seriously, considering that I have newspapered it merely as means of subsistence, while I was doing other things, I have been very lucky. 'The New Constitution'; 'The Proposal for Peace'; 'The Irish Union'; &c. &c.; they are important in themselves, and excellent vehicles for general truths. I am not ashamed of what I have written.

I desired Poole to send you all the papers antecedent to your own; I think you will like the different analyses of the French constitution. I have attended Mackintosh's lectures regularly; he was so kind as to send me a ticket, and I have not failed to profit by it.

I remain, with grateful and most affectionate esteem,

Your faithful friend

S. T. Coleridge.

Josiah Wedgewood, Esq."

"July 24, 1800.

My dear sir,

I find your letter on my arrival at Grasmere, namely, dated on the 29th of June, since which time to the present, with the exception of the last few days, I have been more unwell than I have ever been since I left school. For many days I was forced to keep my bed, and when released from that incarceration, I suffered most grievously from a brace of swollen eyelids, and a head into which, on the least agitation, the blood was felt as rushing in and flowing back again, like the raking of the tide on a coast of loose stones. However, thank God, I am now coming about again.

That Tom receives such pleasure from natural scenery strikes me as it does you. The total incapability which I have found in myself to associate any but the most languid feelings, with the God-like objects which have surrounded me, and the nauseous efforts to impress my admiration into the service of nature, has given me a sympathy with his former state of health, which I never before could have had. I wish, from the bottom of my soul, that he may be enjoying similar pleasures with those which I am now enjoying with all that newness of sensation; that voluptuous correspondence of the blood and flesh about me with breeze and sun-heat, which makes convalescence more than repay one for disease.

I parted from Poole with pain and dejection, for him, and for myself in him. I should have given Stowey a decided preference for a residence. It was likewise so conveniently situated, that I was in the way of almost all whom I love and esteem. But there was no suitable house, and no prospect of a suitable house.

… These things would have weighed as nothing, could I have remained at Stowey, but now they come upon me to diminish my regret. Add to this, Poole's determination to spend a year or two on the continent, in case of a peace and his mother's death. God in heaven bless her! I am sure she will not live long. This is the first day of my arrival at Keswick. My house is roomy, situated on an eminence, a furlong from the town; before it an enormous garden, more than two-thirds of which is rented is a garden for sale articles; but the walks are ours. Completely behind the house are shrubberies, and a declivity planted with flourishing trees of ten or fifteen years' growth, at the bottom of which is a most delightful shaded walk, by the river Greta, a quarter of a mile in length. The room in which I sit commands from one window the Bassenthwaite lake, woods, and mountains. From the opposite, the Derwentwater and fantastic mountains of Borrowdale. Straight before is a wilderness of mountains, catching and streaming lights and shadows at all times. Behind the house, and entering into all our views, is Skiddaw.

My acquaintances here are pleasant, and at some distance is Sir Guilfred Lawson's seat, with a very large and expensive library, to which I have every reason to hope that I shall have free access. But when I have been settled here a few days longer, I will write you a minute account of my situation. Wordsworth lives twelve miles distant. In about a year's time he will probably settle at Keswick likewise. It is no small advantage here, that for two-thirds of the year we are in complete retirement. The other third is alive and swarms with tourists of all shapes, and sizes, and characters. It is the very place I would recommend to a novelist or farce writer. Besides, at that time of the year there is always hope that a friend may be among the number and miscellaneous crowd, whom this place attracts. So much for Keswick.

Have you seen my translation of Wallenstein. It is a dull heavy play, but I entertain hopes that you will think the language for the greater part, natural, and good common sense English; to which excellence, if I can lay fair claim in any work of poetry or prose, I shall be a very singular writer, at least. I am now working at my 'Introduction of the Life of Lessing,' which I trust will be in the press before Christmas, that is, the 'Introduction,' which will be published first. God bless you,

S. T. Coleridge.

Josiah Wedgewood, Esq."

"Keswick, Nov. 1, 1800.

My dear Sir,

I would fain believe that the experiment which your brother has made in the West Indies is not wholly a discouraging one. If a warm climate did nothing but only prevented him from getting worse, it surely evidenced some power; and perhaps a climate equally favorable in a country of more various interest, Italy, or the South of France, may tempt your brother to make a longer trial. If (disciplining myself into silent cheerfulness) I could be of any comfort to him by being his companion and attendant, for two or three months, on the supposition that he should wish to travel, and was at a loss for a companion more fit, I would go with him with a willing affection. You will easily see, my dear friend, that I say this only to increase the range of your brother's choice—for even in choosing there is some pleasure.

There happen frequently little odd coincidences in time, that recall momentary faith in the notion of sympathies acting in absence. I heard of your brother's return, for the first time, on Monday last, the day on which your letter is dated, from Stoddart. Had it rained on my naked skin I could not have felt more strangely. The 300 or 400 miles that are between us seemed converted into a moral distance; and I knew that the whole of this silence I was myself accountable for; for I ended my last letter by promising to follow it with a second and longer one, before you could answer the first. But immediately on my arrival in this country I undertook to finish a poem which I had begun, entitled 'Christabel,' for a second volume of the 'Lyrical Ballads.' I tried to perform my promise, but the deep unutterable disgust which I had suffered in the translation of the accursed Wallenstein, seemed to have stricken me with barrenness; for I tried and tried, and nothing would come of it. I desisted with a deeper dejection than I am willing to remember. The wind from the Skiddaw and Borrowdale was often as loud as wind need be, and many a walk in the clouds in the mountains did I take; but all would not do, till one day I dined out at the house of a neighbouring clergyman, and some how or other drank so much wine, that I found some effort and dexterity requisite to balance myself on the hither edge of sobriety. The next day my verse-making faculties returned to me, and I proceeded successfully, till my poem grew so long, and in Wordsworth's opinion so impressive, that he rejected it from his volume, as disproportionate both in size and merit, and as discordant in its character. In the mean time I had gotten myself entangled in the old sorites of the old sophist,—procrastination. I had suffered my necessary businesses to accumulate so terribly, that I neglected to write to any one, till the pain I suffered from not writing made me waste as many hours in dreaming about it as would have sufficed for the letter writing of half a life. But there is something beside time requisite for the writing of a letter—at least with me. My situation here is indeed a delightful situation; but I feel what I have lost—feel it deeply—it recurs more often and more painfully than I had anticipated, indeed so much so, that I scarcely ever feel myself impelled, that is to say, pleasurably impelled to write to Poole. I used to feel myself more at home in his great windy parlour than in my own cottage. We were well suited to each other—my animal spirits corrected his inclination to melancholy; and there was something both in his understanding and in his affections, so healthy and manly, that my mind freshened in his company, and my ideas and habits of thinking acquired day after day more of substance and reality. Indeed, indeed, my dear sir, with tears in my eyes, and with all my heart and soul, I wish it were as easy for us all to meet as it was when you lived at Upcott. Yet when I revise the step I have taken, I know not how I could have acted otherwise than I did act. Everything I promised myself in this country has answered far beyond my expectation. The room in which I write commands six distinct landscapes—the two lakes, the vale, the river and mountains, and mists, and clouds and sunshine, make endless combinations, as if heaven and earth were for ever talking to each other. Often when in a deep study, I have walked to the window and remained there looking without seeing; all at once the lake of Keswick and the fantastic mountains of Borrowdale, at the head of it, have entered into my mind, with a suddenness as if I had been snatched out of Cheapside and placed for the first time, in the spot where I stood—and that is a delightful feeling—these fits and trances of novelty received from a long known object. The river Greta flows behind our house, roaring like an untamed son of the hills, then winds round and glides away in the front, so that we live in a peninsula. But besides this etherial eye-feeding we have very substantial conveniences. We are close to the town, where we have respectable and neighbourly acquaintance, and a most sensible and truly excellent medical man. Our garden is part of a large nursery garden, which is the same to us and as private as if the whole had been our own, and thus too we have delightful walks without passing our garden gates. My landlord who lives in the sister house, for the two houses are built so as to look like one great one, is a modest and kind man, of a singular character. By the severest economy he raised himself from a carrier into the possession of a comfortable independence. He was always very fond of reading, and has collected nearly 500 volumes, of our most esteemed modern writers, such as Gibbon, Hume, Johnson, &c. &c. His habits of economy and simplicity, remain with him, and yet so very disinterested a man I scarcely ever knew. Lately, when I wished to settle with him about the rent of our house, he appeared much affected, told me that my living near him, and the having so much of Hartley's company were great comforts to him and his housekeeper, that he had no children to provide for, and did not mean to marry; and in short, that he did not want any rent at all from me. This of course I laughed him out of; but he absolutely refused to receive any rent for the first half-year, under the pretext that the house was not completely furnished. Hartley quite lives at the house, and it is as you may suppose, no small joy to my wife to have a good affectionate motherly woman divided from her only by a wall. Eighteen miles from our house lives Sir Guilfred Lawson, who has a princely library, chiefly of natural history—a kind and generous, but weak and ostentatious sort of man, who has been abundantly civil to me. Among other raree shows, he keeps a wild beast or two, with some eagles, &c. The master of the beasts at the Exeter 'Change, sent him down a large bear,—with it a long letter of directions, concerning the food &c. of the animal, and many solicitations respecting the agreeable quadrupeds which he was desirous to send to the baronet, at a moderate price, and concluding in this manner: 'and remain your honour's most devoted humble servant, J. P. Permit me, sir Guilfred, to send you a buffalo and a rhinoceros.' As neat a postscript as I ever heard—the tradesmanlike coolness with which these pretty little animals occurred to him just at the finishing of his letter! You will in three weeks see the letters on the 'Rise and Condition of the German Boors.' I found it convenient to make up a volume out of my journey, &c. in North Germany—and the letters (your name of course erased) are in the printer's hands. I was so weary of transcribing and composing, that when I found those more carefully written than the rest, I even sent them off as they were….

My littlest one is a very stout boy indeed. He is christened by the name of 'Derwent,'—a sort of sneaking affection you see for the poetical and novelist, which I disguised to myself under the show, that my brothers had so many children Johns, Jameses, Georges, &c. &c., that a handsome christian-like name was not to be had except by encroaching on the names of my little nephews. If you are at Gunville at Christmas, I hold out hopes to myself that I shall be able to pass a week with you there. I mentioned to you at Upcott a kind of comedy that I had committed to writing in part. This is in the wind.

Wordsworth's second vol. of the 'Lyrical Ballads' will I hope, and almost believe, afford you as unmingled pleasure as is in the nature of a collection of very various poems to afford to one individual mind. Sheridan has sent to him too—requests him to write a tragedy for Drury Lane. But W. will not be diverted by any thing from the prosecution of his great work.

Southey's 'Thalaba,' in twelve books, is going to the press.

Remember me with great affection to your brother, and present my kindest respects to Mrs. Wedgwood. Your late governess wanted one thing, which where there is health is I think indispensable in the moral character of a young person—a light and cheerful heart. She interested me a good deal. She appears to me to have been injured by going out of the common way without any of that imagination, which if it be a Jack o' Lanthern to lead us that out way, is however, at the same time a torch to light us whither we are going. A whole essay might be written on the danger of thinking without images. God bless you, my dear sir, and him who is with grateful and affectionate esteem,

Yours ever,

S. T. Coleridge.

Josiah Wedgewood."

"Keswick, Oct. 20, 1802.

My dear sir,

This is my birthday, my thirtieth. It will not appear wonderful to you, when I tell you, that before the arrival of your letter, I had been thinking with a great weight of different feelings, concerning you, and your dear brother, for I have good reason to believe, that I should not now have been alive, if in addition to other miseries, I had had immediate poverty pressing upon me. I will never again remain silent so long. It has not been altogether indolence, or my habit of procrastination which have kept me from writing, but an eager wish,—I may truly say, a thirst of spirit, to have something honourable to tell you of myself.

At present I must be content to tell you something cheerful. My health is very much better. I am stronger in every respect, and am not injured by study, or the act of sitting at my writing desk; but my eyes suffer if at any time I have been intemperate in the use of candle light. This account supposes another, namely, that my mind is calm, and more at ease. My dear sir, when I was last with you at Stowey, my heart was often full, and I could scarcely keep from communicating to you the tale of my distresses, but could I add to your depression, when you were low? or how interrupt, or cast a shade on your good spirits, that were so rare, and so precious to you?

* * * * *

I found no comfort but in the direct speculations;—in the 'Ode to Dejection,' which you were pleased with. These lines, in the original, followed the line 'My shaping spirit of imagination,'—

  'For not to think of what I needs must feel,
  But to be still and patient, all I can,
  And haply by abstruse research to steal
  From my own nature all the natural man;
  This was my sole resource, my only plan
  And that which suits a part infests the whole,
  And now is almost grown the temple of my soul.'

I give you these lines for the spirit, and not for the poetry.

* * * * *

But better days are arrived, and are still to come, I have had visitations of—that I may yet be something of which those who love me may be proud.

I cannot write that without recalling dear Poole. I have heard twice, and written twice, and I fear by a strange fatality, one of the letters will have missed him. Leslie[105] was here some time ago. I was very much pleased with him. And now I will tell you what I am doing. I dedicate three days in the week to the 'Morning Post,' and shall hereafter write, for the far greater part, such things as will be of a permanent interest as any thing I can hope to write; and you will shortly see a little essay of mine, justifying the writing in a newspaper.

My comparison of the French with the Roman Empire was very favourably received. The poetry which I have sent is merely the emptying out of my desk. The epigrams are wretched indeed, but they answered Stewart's purpose, better than better things. I ought not to have given any signature to them whatsoever. I never dreamt of acknowledging, either them, or the Ode to the 'Rain.' As to feeble expressions, and unpolished lines—there is the rub! Indeed, my dear sir, I do value your opinion very highly. I think your judgment in the sentiment, the imagery, the flow of a poem, decisive; at least, if it differed from my own, and if after frequent consideration mine remained different, it would leave me at least perplexed. For you are a perfect electrometer in these things—but in point of poetic diction, I am not so well satisfied that you do not require a certain aloofness from the language of real life, which I think deadly to poetry.

Very soon however I shall present you from the press with my opinions full on the subject of style, both in prose and verse; and I am confident of one thing, that I shall convince you that I have thought much and patiently on the subject, and that I understand the whole strength of my antagonist's cause. For I am now busy on the subject, and shall in a very few weeks go to press with a volume on the prose writings of Hall, Milton, and Taylor; and shall immediately follow it up with an essay on the writings of Dr. Johnson and Gibbon, and in these two volumes I flatter myself I shall present a fair history of English Prose. If my life and health remain, and I do but write half as much, and as regularly as I have done during the last six weeks, this will be finished by January next; and I shall then put together my memorandum-book on the subject of Poetry. In both I have endeavoured sedulously to state the facts and the differences clearly and accurately; and my reasons for the preference of one style to another are secondary to this.

Of this be assured, that I will never give any thing to the world in propriae personae in my own name which I have not tormented with the file. I sometimes suspect that my foul copy would often appear to general readers more polished than my fair copy. Many of the feeble and colloquial expressions have been industriously substituted for others which struck me as artificial, and not standing the test; as being neither the language of passion, nor distinct conceptions. Dear sir, indulge me with looking still further on in my literary life.

1 have, since my twentieth year, meditated an heroic poem on the 'Siege of Jerusalem,' by Titus. This is the pride and the stronghold of my hope, but I never think of it except in my best moods. The work to which I dedicate the ensuing years of my life, is one which highly pleased Leslie, in prospective, and my paper will not let me prattle to you about it. I have written what you more wished me to write, all about myself.

Our climate (in the north) is inclement, and our houses not as compact as they might be, but it is a stirring climate, and the worse the weather, the more unceasingly entertaining are my study windows, and the month that is to come is the glory of the year with us. A very warm bedroom I can promise you, and one at the same time which commands the finest lake and mountain view. If Leslie could not go abroad with you, and I could in any way mould my manners and habits to suit you, I should of all things like to be your companion. Good nature, an affectionate disposition, and so thorough a sympathy with the nature of your complaint, that I should feel no pain, not the most momentary, at being told by you what your feelings require at the time in which they required it; this I should bring with me. But I need not say that you may say to me,—'You don't suit me,' without inflicting the least mortification. Of course this letter is for your brother, as for you; but I shall write to him soon. God bless you,

S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood, Esq."

"Keswick, November 3, 1802.

Dear Wedgewood,

It is now two hours since I received your letter; and after the necessary consultation, Mrs. Coleridge herself is fully of opinion that to lose time is merely to lose spirits. Accordingly I have resolved not to look the children in the face, (the parting from whom is the downright bitter in the thing) but to go to London by to-morrow's mail. Of course I shall be in London, God permitting, on Saturday morning. I shall rest that day, and the next, and proceed to Bristol by the Monday night's mail. At Bristol I will go to Cote-House.[106] At all events, barring serious illness, serious fractures, and the et cetera of serious unforeseens, I shall be at Bristol, Tuesday noon, November 9.

You are aware that my whole knowledge of French does not extend beyond the power of limping slowly, not without a dictionary crutch, or an easy French book: and that as to pronunciation, all my organs of speech, from the bottom of the Larynx to the edge of my lips, are utterly and naturally anti-Gallican. If only I shall have been any comfort, any alleviation to you I shall feel myself at ease—and whether you go abroad or no, while I remain with you, it will greatly contribute to my comfort, if I know you will have no hesitation, nor pain, in telling me what you wish me to do, or not to do.

I regard it among the blessings of my life, that I have, never lived among men whom I regarded as my artificial superiors: that all the respect I have at any time paid, has been wholly to supposed goodness, or talent. The consequence has been that I have no alarms of pride; no cheval de frise of independence. I have always lived among equals. It never occurs to me, even for a moment, that I am otherwise. If I have quarrelled with men, it has been as brothers, or as school-fellows quarrel. How little any man can give me, or take from me, save in matters of kindness and esteem, is not so much a thought or conviction with me, or even a distinct feeling, as it is my very nature. Much as I dislike all formal declarations of this kind, I have deemed it well to say this. I have as strong feelings of gratitude as any man. Shame upon me if in the sickness and the sorrow which I have had, and which have been kept unaggravated and supportable by your kindness, and your brother's (Mr. Josiah Wedgewood) shame upon me if I did not feel a kindness, not unmixed with reverence towards you both. But yet I never should have had my present impulses to be with you, and this confidence, that I may become an occasional comfort to you, if, independently of all gratitude, I did not thoroughly esteem you; and if I did not appear to myself to understand the nature of your sufferings; and within the last year, in some slight degree to have felt myself, something of the same.

Forgive me, my dear sir, if I have said too much. It is better to write it than to say it, and I am anxious in the event of our travelling together that you should yourself be at ease with me, even as you would with a younger brother, to whom, from his childhood you had been in the habit of saying, 'Do this Col.' or 'don't do that.'

All good be with you,

S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood. Esq."

"Keswick, January 9, 1803.

My dear Wedgewood,

I send you two letters, one from your dear sister, the second from Sharp, by which you will see at what short notice I must be off, if I go to the Canaries. If your last plan continue in full force, I have not even the phantom of a wish thitherward struggling, but if aught have happened to you, in the things without, or in the world within, to induce you to change the place, or the plan, relatively to me, I think I could raise the money. But I would a thousand-fold rather go with you whithersoever you go. I shall be anxious to hear how you have gone on since I left you. You should decide in favour of a better climate somewhere or other. The best scheme I can think of, is to go to some part of Italy or Sicily, which we both liked. I would look out for two houses. Wordsworth and his family would take the one, and I the other, and then you might have a home either with me, or if you thought of Mr. and Mrs. Luff, under this modification, one of your own; and in either case you would have neighbours, and so return to England when the home sickness pressed heavy upon you, and back to Italy when it was abated, and the climate of England began to poison your comforts. So you would have abroad in a genial climate, certain comforts of society among simple and enlightened men and women; and I should be an alleviation of the pang which you will necessarily feel, as often as you quit your own family.

I know no better plan: for travelling in search of objects is at best a dreary business, and whatever excitement it might have had, you must have exhausted it. God bless you, my dear friend. I write with dim eyes, for indeed, indeed, my heart is very full of affectionate sorrowful thoughts toward you.

I write with difficulty, with all the fingers but one of my right hand very much swollen. Before I was half up the Kirkstone mountain, the storm had wetted me through and through, and before I reached the top it was so wild and outrageous, that it would have been unmanly to have suffered the poor woman (guide) to continue pushing on, up against such a torrent of wind and rain: so I dismounted and sent her home with the storm in her back. I am no novice in mountain mischiefs, but such a storm as this was, I never witnessed, combining the intensity of the cold, with the violence of the wind and rain. The rain drops were pelted or slung against my face by the gusts, just like splinters of flint, and I felt as if every drop cut my flesh. My hands were all shrivelled up like a washerwoman's, and so benumbed that I was obliged to carry my stick under my arm. O, it was a wild business! Such hurry skurry of clouds, such volleys of sound! In spite of the wet and the cold, I should have had some pleasure in it, but for two vexations; first, an almost intolerable pain came into my right eye, a smarting and burning pain; and secondly, in consequence of riding with such cold water under my seat, extremely uneasy and burthensome feelings attacked my groin, so that, what with the pain from the one, and the alarm from the other, I had no enjoyment at all!

Just at the brow of the hill I met a man dismounted, who could not sit on horse-back. He seemed quite scared by the uproar, and said to me, with much feeling, 'O sir, it is a perilous buffeting, but it is worse for you than for me, for I have it at my back.' However I got safely over, and immediately all was calm and breathless, as if it was some mighty fountain put on the summit of Kirkstone, that shot forth its volcano of air, and precipitated huge streams of invisible lava down the road to Patterdale.

I went on to Grasmere.[107] I was not at all unwell, when I arrived there, though wet of course to the skin. My right eye had nothing the matter with it, either to the sight of others, or to my own feelings, but I had a bad night, with distressful dreams, chiefly about my eye; and waking often in the dark I thought it was the effect of mere recollection, but it appeared in the morning that my right eye was blood-shot, and the lid swollen. That morning however I walked home, and before I reached Keswick, my eye was quite well, but I felt unwell all over. Yesterday I continued unusually unwell all over me till eight o'clock in the evening. I took no laudanum or opium, but at eight o'clock, unable to bear the stomach uneasiness, and achings of my limbs, I took two large tea-spoons full of Ether in a wine-glass of camphorated gum-water, and a third tea-spoon full at ten o'clock, and I received complete relief; my body calmed; my sleep placid; but when I awoke in the morning, my right hand, with three of the fingers was swollen and inflamed. The swelling in the hand is gone down, and of two of the fingers somewhat abated, but the middle finger is still twice its natural size, so that I write with difficulty. This has been a very rough attack, but though I am much weakened by it, and look sickly and haggard, yet I am not out of heart. Such a bout; such a 'periless buffetting' was enough to have hurt the health of a strong man. Few constitutions can bear to be long wet through in intense cold I fear it will tire you to death to read this prolix scrawled story.

Affectionately dear friend, Yours ever,

S. T. Coleridge."

"November 12,1800.

My dear sir,

I received your kind letter, with the £20. My eyes are in such a state of inflammation that I might as well write blindfold, they are so blood-red. I have had leeches twice, and have now a blister behind my right ear. How I caught the cold, in the first instance, I can scarcely guess; but I improved it to its present glorious state, by taking long walks all the mornings, spite of the wind, and writing late at night, while my eyes were weak.

I have made some rather curious observations on the rising up of spectra in the eye, in its inflamed state, and their influence on ideas, &c., but I cannot see to make myself intelligible to you. Present my kindest remembrance to Mrs. W. and your brother. Pray did you ever pay any particular attention to the first time of your little ones smiling and laughing? Both I and Mrs. C. have carefully watched our little one, and noticed down all the circumstances, under which he smiled, and under which he laughed, for the first six times, nor have we remitted our attention; but I have not been able to derive the least confirmation of Hartley's or Darwin's Theory. You say most truly, my dear sir, that a pursuit is necessary. Pursuit, for even praiseworthy employment, merely for good, or general good, is not sufficient for happiness, nor fit for man.

I have not at present made out how I stand in pecuniary ways, but I believe that I have anticipated on the next year to the amount of Thirty or Forty pounds, probably more. God bless you, my dear sir, and your sincerely

Affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge.

Josiah Wedgewood, Esq."

"Friday night, Jan. 14, 1803.

Dear Friend,

I was glad at heart to receive your letter, and still more gladdened by the reading of it. The exceeding kindness which it breathed was literally medicinal to me, and I firmly believe, cured me of a nervous rheumatic affection, the acid and the oil, very completely at Patterdale; but by the time it came to Keswick, the oil was all atop.

You ask me, 'Why, in the name of goodness, I did not return when I saw the state of the weather?' The true reason is simple, though it may be somewhat strange. The thought never once entered my head. The cause of this I suppose to be, that (I do not remember it at least) I never once in my whole life turned back in fear of the weather. Prudence is a plant, of which I no doubt, possess some valuable specimens, but they are always in my hothouse, never out of the glasses, and least of all things would endure the climate of the mountains. In simple earnestness, I never find myself alone, within the embracement of rocks and hills, a traveller up an alpine road, but my spirit careers, drives, and eddies, like a leaf in autumn; a wild activity of thoughts, imaginations, feelings, and impulses of motion rises up from within me; a sort of bottom wind, that blows to no point of the compass, comes from I know not whence, but agitates the whole of me; my whole being is filled with waves that roll and stumble, one this way, and one that way, like things that have no common master. I think that my soul must have pre-existed in the body of a chamois chaser. The simple image of the old object has been obliterated, but the feelings, and impulsive habits, and incipient actions, are in me, and the old scenery awakens them.

The further I ascend from animated nature, from men, and cattle, and the common birds of the woods and fields, the greater becomes in me the intensity of the feeling of life. Life seems to me then an universal spirit, that neither has, nor can have an opposite. 'God is everywhere' I have exclaimed, and works everywhere, and where is there room for death? In these moments it has been my creed, that death exists only because ideas exist; that life is limitless sensation; that death is a child of the organic senses, chiefly of the sight; that feelings die by flowing into the mould of the intellect becoming ideas, and that ideas passing forth into action, reinstate themselves again in the world of life. And I do believe that truth lies in these loose generalizations. I do not think it possible that any bodily pains could eat out the love of joy, that is so substantially part of me, towards hills, and rocks, and steep waters; and I have had some trial.

On Monday night I had an attack in my stomach and right side, which in pain, and the length of its continuance, appeared to me by far the severest I ever had. About one o'clock the pain passed out of my stomach, like lightning from a cloud, into the extremities of my right foot. My toe swelled and throbbed, and I was in a state of delicious ease, which the pain in my toe did not seem at all to interfere with. On Tuesday I was uncommonly well all the morning, and ate an excellent dinner; but playing too long and, too rompingly with Hartley and Derwent, I was very unwell that evening. On Wednesday I was well, and after dinner wrapped myself up warm, and walked with Sarah Hutchinson, to Lodore. I never beheld anything more impressive than the wild outline of the black masses of mountain over Lodore, and so on to the gorge of Borrowdale. Even through the bare twigs of a grove of birch trees, through which the road passes; and on emerging from the grove a red planet, so very red that I never saw a star so red, being clear and bright at the same time. It seemed to have sky behind it. It started, as it were from the heavens, like an eye-ball of fire. I wished aloud at that moment that you had been with me.

The walk appears to have done me good, but I had a wretched night; shocking pains in my head, occiput, and teeth, and found in the morning that I had two blood-shot eyes. But almost immediately after the receipt and perusal of your letter the pains left me, and I am bettered to this hour; and am now indeed as well as usual saving that my left eye is very much blood-shot. It is a sort of duty with me, to be particular respecting parts that relate to my health. I have retained a good sound appetite through the whole of it, without any craving after exhilarants or narcotics, and I have got well as in a moment. Rapid recovery is constitutional with me; but the former circumstances, I can with certainty refer to the system of diet, abstinence from vegetables, wine, spirits, and beer, which I have adopted by your advice.

I have no dread or anxiety respecting any fatigue which either of us is likely to undergo, even in continental travelling. Many a healthy man would have been laid up with such a bout of thorough wet, and intense cold at the same time, as I had at Kirkstone. Would to God that also for your sake I were a stronger man, but I have strong wishes to be with you. I love your society, and receiving much comfort from you, and believing likewise that I receive much improvement, I find a delight very great, my dear friend! indeed it is, when I have reason to imagine that I am in return an alleviation to your destinies, and a comfort to you. I have no fears and am ready to leave home at a two days' warning. For myself I should say two hours, but bustle and hurry might disorder Mrs. Coleridge. She and the three children are quite well.

I grieve that there is a lowering in politics. The 'Moniteur' contains almost daily some bitter abuse of our minister and parliament, and in London there is great anxiety and omening. I have dreaded war from the time that the disastrous fortunes of the expedition to Saint Domingo, under Le Clerc, was known in France. Write me one or two lines, as few as you like.

I remain, my dear Wedgewood, with most affectionate esteem, and grateful attachment,

Your sincere friend,

S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood, Esq."

"Nether Stowey, Feb. 10, 1803.

Dear Wedgewood,

Last night Poole and I fully expected a few lines from you. When the newspaper came in, without your letter, we felt as if a dull neighbour had been ushered in after a knock at the door which had made us rise up and start forward to welcome some long absent friend. Indeed in Poole's case, this simile is less over-swollen than in mine, for in contempt of my convictions and assurance to the contrary, Poole, passing off the Brummagem coin of his wishes for sterling reasons, had persuaded himself fully that he should see you in propria persona. The truth is, we had no right to expect a letter from you, and I should have attributed your not writing to your having nothing to write, to your bodily dislike of writing, or, though with reluctance, to low spirits, but that I have been haunted with the fear that your sister is worse, and that you are at Cote-House, in the mournful office of comforter to your brother. God keep us from idle dreams. Life has enough of real pains.

I wrote to Captain Wordsworth to get me some Bang. The captain in an affectionate letter answers me: 'The Bang if possible shall be sent. If any country ship arrives I shall certainly get it. We have not got anything of the kind in our China ships.' If you would rather wait till it can be brought by Captain Wordsworth himself from China, give me a line that I may write and tell him. We shall hope for a letter from you to-night. I need not say, dear Wedgewood, how anxious I am to hear the particulars of your health and spirits.

Poole's account of his conversations, &c., in Prance, are very interesting and instructive. If your inclination lead you hither you would be very comfortable here. But I am ready at an hour's warning; ready in heart and mind, as well as in body and moveables.

I am, dear Wedgewood, most truly yours,

S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood, Esq."

"Stowey, Feb. 10, 1803.

My dear Wedgewood,

With regard to myself and my accompanying you, let me say thus much. My health is not worse than it was in the North; indeed it is much better. I have no fears. But if you fear that, my health being what you know it to be, the inconveniences of my being with you will be greater than the advantages; (I feel no reluctance in telling you so) it is so entirely an affair of spirits and feeling that the conclusion must be made by you, not in your reason, but purely in your spirit and feeling. Sorry indeed should I be to know that you had gone abroad with one, to whom you were comparatively indifferent. Sorry if there should be no one with you, who could with fellow-feeling and general like-mindedness, yield you sympathy in your sunshiny moments. Dear Wedgewood, my heart swells within me as it were. I have no other wish to accompany you than what arises immediately from my personal attachment, and a deep sense in my own heart, that let us be as dejected as we will, a week together cannot pass in which a mind like yours would not feel the want of affection, or be wholly torpid to its pleasurable influences. I cannot bear to think of your going abroad with a mere travelling companion; with one at all influenced by salary, or personal conveniences. You will not suspect me of flattering you, but indeed dear Wedgewood, you are too good and too valuable a man to deserve to receive attendance from a hireling, even for a month together, in your present state.

If I do not go with you, I shall stay in England only such time as may be necessary for me to raise the travelling money, and go immediately to the south of France. I shall probably cross the Pyrennees to Bilboa, see the country of Biscay, and cross the north of Spain to Perpignan, and so on to the north of Italy, and pass my next winter at Nice. I have every reason to believe that I can live, even as a traveller, as cheap as I can in England. God bless you. I will repeat no professions, even in the superscription of a letter. You know me, and that it is my serious, simple wish, that in everything respecting me, you would think altogether of yourself, and nothing of me, and be assured that no resolve of yours, however suddenly adopted, or however nakedly communicated, will give me any pain, any at least arising from my own bearings. Yours ever,

S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood, Esq.

P. S. Perhaps Leslie will go with you."

"Poole's, Feb. 17, 1803.

My dear Wedgewood,

I do not know that I have anything to say that justifies me in troubling you with the postage and perusal of this scrawl. I received a short and kind letter from Josiah last night. He is named the sheriff. Poole, who has received a very kind invitation from your brother John, in a letter of last Monday, and which was repeated in last night's letter, goes with me, I hope in the full persuasion that you will be there (at Cote-House) before he be under the necessity of returning home. Poole is a very, very good man, I like even his incorrigibility in little faults and deficiencies. It looks like a wise determination of nature to let well alone.

Are you not laying out a scheme which will throw your travelling in Italy, into an unpleasant and unwholesome part of the year? From all I can gather, you ought to leave this country at the first of April at the latest. But no doubt you know these things better than I. If I do not go with you, it is very probable we shall meet somewhere or other. At all events you will know where I am, and I can come to you if you wish it. And if I go with you, there will be this advantage, that you may drop me where you like, if you should meet any Frenchman, Italian, or Swiss, whom you liked, and who would be pleasant and profitable to you. But this we can discuss at Gunville.

As to ——, I never doubted that he means to fulfil his engagements with you, but he is one of those weak moralled men, with whom the meaning to do a thing means nothing. He promises with ninety parts out of a hundred of his whole heart, but there is always a stock of cold at the core that transubstantiates the whole resolve into a lie.

I remain in comfortable health,—warm rooms, an old friend, and tranquillity, are specifics for my complaints. With all my ups and downs I have a deal of joyous feeling, and I would with gladness give a good part of it to you, my dear friend. God grant that spring may come to you with healing on her wings.

God bless you, my dear Wedgewood. I remain with most affectionate esteem, and regular attachment, and good wishes. Yours ever,

S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood, Esq.

P. S. If Southey should send a couple of bottles, one of the red sulphate, and one of the compound acids for me, will you be so good as to bring them with you?"

"Stowey, Feb. 17, 1803.

My dear Wedgewood,

Last night I received a four ounce parcel letter, by the post, which Poole and I concluded was the mistake or carelessness of the servant, who had put the letter into the post office, instead of the coach office. I should have been indignant, if dear Poole had not set me laughing. On opening it, it contained my letter from Gunville, and a small parcel of 'Bang,' from Purkis. I will transcribe the parts of his letter which relate to it.

'Brentford, Feb. 7, 1803.

My dear Coleridge,

I thank you for your letter, and am happy to be the means of obliging you. Immediately on the receipt of yours, I wrote to Sir Joseph Banks, who I verily believe is one of the most excellent and useful men of this country, requesting a small quantity of Bang, and saying it was for the use of Mr. T. Wedgewood. I yesterday received the parcel which I now send, accompanied with a very kind letter, and as part of it will be interesting to you and your friend, I will transcribe it. 'The Bang you ask for is the powder of the leaves of a kind of hemp that grows in the hot climates. It is prepared, and I believe used, in all parts of the east, from Morocco to China. In Europe it is found to act very differently on different constitutions. Some it elevates in the extreme; others it renders torpid, and scarcely observant of any evil that may befall them. In Barbary it is always taken, if it can be procured, by criminals condemned to suffer amputation, and it is said, to enable those miserables to bear the rough operations of an unfeeling executioner, more than we Europeans can the keen knife of our most skilful chirurgeons. This it may be necessary to have said to my friend Mr. T. Wedgewood, whom I respect much, as his virtues deserve, and I know them well. I send a small quantity only as I possess but little. If however, it is found to agree, I will instantly forward the whole of my stock, and write without delay to Barbary, from whence it came, for more.

Sir Joseph adds, in a postscript: 'It seems almost beyond a doubt, that the Nepenthe was a preparation of the Bang, known to the Ancients'

* * * * *

Now I had better take the small parcel with me to Gunville; if I send it by the post, besides the heavy expense, I cannot rely on the Stowey carriers, who are a brace of as careless and dishonest rogues as ever had claims on that article of the hemp and timber trade, called the gallows. Indeed I verily believe that if all Stowey, Ward excepted, does not go to hell, it will be by the supererogation of Poole's sense of honesty.—Charitable!

We will have a fair trial of Bang. Do bring down some of the Hyoscyamine pills, and I will give a fair trial of Opium, Henbane, and Nepenthe. By-the-by I always considered Homer's account of the Nepenthe as a Banging lie.

God bless you, my dear friend, and

S. T. Coleridge."

"Keswick, September 16, 1803.

My dear Wedgewood,

I reached home on yesterday noon. William Hazlitt, is a thinking, observant, original man; of great power as a painter of character-portraits, and far more in the manner of the old painters than any living artist, but the objects must be before him. He has no imaginative memory; so much for his intellectuals. His manners are to ninety nine in one hundred singularly repulsive; brow-hanging; shoe-contemplating—strange. Sharp seemed to like him, but Sharp saw him only for half an hour, and that walking. He is, I verily believe, kindly-natured: is very fond of, attentive to, and patient with children, but he is jealous, gloomy, and of an irritable pride. With all this there is much good in him. He is disinterested; an enthusiastic lover of the great men who have been before us. He says things that are his own, in a way of his own: and though from habitual shyness, and the outside of bear skin, at least of misanthropy, he is strangely confused and dark in his conversation, and delivers himself of almost all his conceptions with a Forceps, yet he says more than any man I ever knew (you yourself only excepted) of that which is his own, in a way of his own: and often times when he has wearied his mind, and the juice is come out, and spread over his spirits, he will gallop for half an hour together, with real eloquence. He sends well-feathered thoughts straight forward to the mark with a twang of the bow-string. If you could recommend him as a portrait painter, I should be glad. To be your companion, he is, in my opinion utterly unfit. His own health is fitful.

I have written as I ought to do: to you most freely. You know me, both head and heart, and I will make what deductions your reasons may dictate to me. I can think of no other person [for your travelling companion]—what wonder? For the last years, I have been shy of all new acquaintance.

  'To live beloved is all I need,
  And when I love, I love indeed.'

I never had any ambition, and now, I trust I have almost as little vanity.

For five months past my mind has been strangely shut up. I have taken the paper with the intention to write to you many times, but it has been one blank feeling;—one blank idealess feeling. I had nothing to say;—could say nothing. How dearly I love you, my very dreams make known to me. I will not trouble you with the gloomy tale of my health. When I am awake, by patience, employment, effort of mind, and walking, I can keep the Fiend at arm's length, but the night is my Hell!—sleep my tormenting Angel. Three nights out of four, I fall asleep, struggling to lie awake, and my frequent night-screams have almost made me a nuisance in my own house. Dreams with me are no shadows, but the very calamities of my life….

In the hope of drawing the gout, if gout it should be, into my feet, I walked previously to my getting into the coach at Perth, 263 miles, in eight days, with no unpleasant fatigue; and if I could do you any service by coming to town, and there were no coaches, I would undertake to be with you, on foot in seven days. I must have strength somewhere. My head is equally strong: my limbs too are strong: but acid or not acid, gout or not gout, something there is in my stomach….

To diversify this dusky letter, I will write an Epitaph, which I composed in my sleep for myself while dreaming that I was dying. To the best of my recollection I have not altered a word.

  'Here sleeps at length poor Col. and without screaming
  Who died, as he had always lived, a dreaming:
  Shot dead, while sleeping, by the gout within,
  Alone, and all unknown, at E'nbro' in an Inn.'

It was Tuesday night last, at the 'Black Bull,' Edinburgh. Yours, dear
Wedgewood, gratefully, and

Most affectionately,

S. T. Coleridge.

Thomas Wedgewood, Esq."

"16, Abingdon Street, Westminster, Jan. 1804.

My dear friend,

Some divines hold, that with God to think, and to create, are one and the same act. If to think, and even to compose had been the same as to write with me, I should have written as much too much as I have written too little. The whole truth of the matter is, that I have been very, very ill. Your letter remained four days unread, I was so ill. What effect it had upon me I cannot express by words. It lay under my pillow day after day. I should have written forty times, but as it often and often happens with me, my heart was too full, and I had so much to say that I said nothing. I never received a delight that lasted longer upon me—'Brooded on my mind and made it pregnant,' than (from) the six last sentences of your last letter,—which I cannot apologize for not having answered, for I should be casting calumnies against myself; for the last six or seven weeks, I have both thought and felt more concerning you, and relating to you, than of all other men put together.

Somehow or other, whatever plan I determined to adopt, my fancy, good-natured pander of our wishes, always linked you on to it; or I made it your plan, and linked myself on. I left my home, December 20, 1803, intending to stay a day and a half at Grasmere, and then to walk to Kendal, whither I had sent all my clothes and viatica; from thence to go to London, and to see whether or no I could arrange my pecuniary matters, so as leaving Mrs. Coleridge all that was necessary to her comforts, to go myself to Madeira, having a persuasion, strong as the life within me, that one winter spent in a really warm, genial climate, would completely restore me. Wordsworth had, as I may truly say, forced on me a hundred pounds, in the event of my going to Madeira; and Stewart had kindly offered to befriend me. During the days and affrightful nights of my disease, when my limbs were swollen, and my stomach refused to retain the food—taken in in sorrow, then I looked with pleasure on the scheme: but as soon as dry frosty weather came, or the rains and damps passed off, and I was filled with elastic health, from crown to sole, then the thought of the weight of pecuniary obligation from so many people reconciled me; but I have broken off my story.

I stayed at Grasmere (Mr. Wordsworth's) a month; three fourths of the time bed-ridden;—and deeply do I feel the enthusiastic kindness of Wordsworth's wife and sister, who sat up by me, one or the other, in order to awaken me at the first symptoms of distressful feeling; and even when they went to rest, continued often and often to weep and watch for me even in their dreams. I left them January the 14th, and have spent a very pleasant week at Dr. Crompton's, at Liverpool, and arrived in London, at Poole's lodgings, last night at eight o'clock.

Though my right hand is so much swollen that I can scarcely keep my pen steady between my thumb and finger, yet my stomach is easy, and my breathing comfortable, and I am eager to hope all good things of my health. That gained, I have a cheering, and I trust prideless confidence that I shall make an active, and perseverant use of the faculties and requirements that have been entrusted to my keeping, and a fair trial of their height, depth, and width.[108] Indeed I look back on the last four months with honest pride, seeing how much I have done, with what steady attachment of mind to the same subject, and under what vexations and sorrows, from without, and amid what incessant sufferings. So much of myself. When I know more, I will tell you more.

I find you are still at Cote-house. Poole tells me you talk of Jamaica as a summer excursion. If it were not for the voyage, I would that you would go to Madeira, for from the hour I get on board the vessel, to the time that I once more feel England beneath my feet, I am as certain as past and present experience can make me, that I shall be in health, in high health; and then I am sure, not only that I should be a comfort to you, but that I should be so without diminution of my activity, or professional usefulness. Briefly, dear Wedgewood! I truly and at heart love you, and of course it must add to my deeper and moral happiness to be with you, if I can be either assistance or alleviation. If I find myself so well that I defer my Madeira plan, I shall then go forthwith to Devonshire to see my aged mother, once more before she dies, and stay two or three months with my brothers.[109] But, wherever I am, I never suffer a day, (except when I am travelling) to pass without doing something.

Poole made me promise that I would leave one side for him. God bless him! He looks so worshipful in his office, among his clerks, that it would give you a few minutes' good spirits to look in upon him. Pray you as soon as you can command your pen, give me half a score lines, and now that I am loose, say whether or no I can be any good to you.

S. T. Coleridge."

"16, Abingdon Street, Westminster, Jan. 28, 1804.

My dear friend,

It is idle for me to say to you, that my heart and very soul ache with the dull pain of one struck down and stunned. I write to you, for my letter cannot give you unmixed pain, and I would fain say a few words to dissuade you. What good can possibly come of your plan? Will not the very chairs and furniture of your room be shortly more, far more intolerable to you than new and changing objects! more insufferable reflectors of pain and weariness of spirit? Oh, most certainly they will! You must hope, my dearest Wedgewood; you must act as if you hoped. Despair itself has but that advice to give you. Have you ever thought of trying large doses of opium, a hot climate, keeping your body open by grapes, and the fruits of the climate?[110]

Is it possible that by drinking freely, you might at last produce the gout, and that a violent pain and inflammation in the extremities might produce new trains of motion and feeling in your stomach, and the organs connected with the stomach, known and unknown? Worse than what you have decreed for yourself cannot well happen. Say but a word and I will come to you, will be with you, will go with you to Malta, to Madeira, to Jamaica, or (if the climate, of which, and its strange effects, I have heard wonders, true or not) to Egypt.

At all events, and at the worst even, if you do attempt to realize the scheme of going to and remaining at Gunville, for God's sake, my dear dear friend, do keep up a correspondence with one or more; or if it were possible for you, with several. I know by a little what your sufferings are, and that to shut the eyes, and stop up the ears, is to give one's self up to storm and darkness, and the lurid forms and horrors of a dream. I scarce know why it is; a feeling I have, and which I can hardly understand. I could not endure to live if I had not a firm faith that the life within you will pass forth out of the furnace, for that you have borne what you have borne, and so acted beneath such pressure—constitutes you an awful moral being. I am not ashamed to pray aloud for you.

Your most affectionate friend,

S. T. Coleridge."

"March, 1804.

My dear friend,

Though fearful of breaking in upon you after what you have written to me, I could not have left England without having written both to you and your brother, at the very moment I received a note from Sharp, informing me that I must instantly secure a place in the Portsmouth mail for Tuesday, and if I could not, that I must do so in the light coach for Tuesday's early coach.

I am agitated by many things, and only write now because you desired an answer by return of post. I have been dangerously ill, but the illness is going about, and not connected with my immediate ill health, however it may be with my general constitution. It was the cholera-morbus. But for a series of the merest accidents I should have been seized in the streets, in a bitter east wind, with cold rain; at all events have walked through it struggling. It was Sunday-night.

I have suffered it at Tobin's; Tobin sleeping out at Woolwich. No fire, no wine or spirits, or medicine of any kind, and no person being within a call, but luckily, perhaps the occasion would better suit the word providentially, Tuffin, calling, took me home with him…. I tremble at every loud sound I myself utter. But this is rather a history of the past than of the present. I have only enough for memento, and already on Wednesday I consider myself in clear sunshine, without the shadow of the wings of the destroying angel.

What else relates to myself, I will write on Monday. Would to heaven you were going with me to Malta, if it were but for the voyage! With all other things I could make the passage with an unwavering mind. But without cheerings of hope, let me mention one thing; Lord Cadogan was brought to absolute despair, and hatred of life, by a stomach complaint, being now an old man. The symptoms, as stated to me, were strikingly like yours, excepting the nervous difference of the two characters; the flittering fever, &c. He was advised to reduce lean beef to a pure jelly, by Papin's digester, with as little water as could secure it from burning, and of this to take half a wine glass 10 or 14 times a day. This and nothing else. He did so. Sir George Beaumont saw, within a few weeks a letter from himself to Lord St. Asaph, in which he relates the circumstance of his perseverance in it, and rapid amelioration, and final recovery. 'I am now,' he says, 'in real good health; as good, and in as cheerful spirits as I ever was when a young man.'

May God bless you, even here,

S. T. Coleridge."

Mr. Coleridge, in the preceding letters, refers to the different states of his health. In the letter dated January, 1800, he observed, "I have my health perfectly;" and in the same letter he clearly indicates that he was no stranger to opium, by remarking, "I have a stomach sensation attached to all my thoughts, like those which succeed to the pleasurable operations of a dose of opium." I can testify, that during the four or five years in which Mr. C. resided in or near Bristol, no young man could enjoy more robust health. Dr. Carlyon[111] also, verbally stated that Mr. C; both at Cambridge, and at Gottingen, "possessed sound health." From these premises the conclusion is fair, that Mr. Coleridge's unhappy use of narcotics, which commenced thus early, was the true cause of all his maladies, his languor, his acute and chronic pains, his indigestion, his swellings, the disturbances of his general corporeal system, his sleepless nights, and his terrific dreams!

* * * * *

Extracts, concerning Mr. Coleridge, from letters of the late Thomas
Poole, Esq., to the late Thomas Wedgewood, Esq.

"Stowey, Nov. 14, 1801.

… I expect Coleridge here in a week or ten days. He has promised to spend two or three months with me. I trust this air will re-establish his health, and that I shall restore him to his family and his friends a perfect man."

"Stowey, Nov. 24, 1801.

I now expect daily to see Coleridge. He is detained I fear, by a thorn, which he unfortunately took in his heel a day or two before he wrote to me his last letter. He comes alone. As soon as he is here he shall write to you."

"Stowey, Nov. 27, 1799.

… Coleridge went hence to Bristol as you know, to collect material for his 'School-book.' (Qy.) There he received a letter concerning Wordsworth's health, which he said agitated him deeply. He set off immediately for Yorkshire. He has since been to the lakes. I suppose we shall soon see him.

T. P."

"Stowey, March 15, 1804.

… Coleridge is still here with Tobin. He has taken his passage for Malta and paid half the money, so I conclude his going is fixed. They are waiting for convoy—the 'Lapwing' frigate.

T. P."

"16, Abingdon Street, April 3, 1804.

My dear Sir,

… Poor Col. left London, as I suppose you know, and is now at Portsmouth, waiting for convoy. He was in a miserable state of health when he left town. Heaven grant that this expedition may establish him, body and mind. Northcote has been painting his picture for Sir George Beaumont. I am told it is a great likeness. Davy is gone to Hungerford for the holiday's fishing….

T. Poole.

T. Wedgewood, Esq."

Mr. Coleridge remarks, in his letter to Mr. T. Wedgewood, dated "16, Abingdon Street, London:" "Poole looks so worshipful in his office among his clerks, that it would give you a few minutes' good spirits to look in upon him." The following letter will explain this allusion.

"Stowey, Sept. 14, 1803.

My dear Sir,

… I thank you heartily for your kindness, and I will tell you all about my going to London. I became acquainted with Rickman, whom you saw, when you set off from Cote-house with Coleridge and myself, to London, to hear Davy's lectures at the Royal Institution. It was last January twelvemonths. I liked Rickman, and if I may judge from his conduct since, he liked me. I saw him frequently when I was in London in May and June last. We often talked about the poor laws, the sin of their first principle, their restraints, their contradictions, their abuses, their encouragement to idleness, their immense burdens to those who pay, and their degradation to those who receive. On this subject also some letters have passed between us.

I have long imagined that the principles of benefit societies may be extended and modified, so as to remedy the greater part of those evils, and I have long had a plan in my mind which attempted something of this sort, and which as soon as I had leisure I meant to detail in writing, and perhaps to publish. I mentioned this to Coleridge when he was last with me. He mentioned it to Rickman, who wrote to me on the subject.

Soon after this Sir George Eose introduced a bill into parliament for obtaining information from the overseers of every parish, concerning the poor, benefit societies, &c. He applied to Rickman to assist him in framing the bill; and finally requested him to get some one to make an abstract, to present to parliament, of the returns made by the overseers. This office Rickman has desired me to undertake. He states to me a variety of inducements; such as my being in London, getting much information on a subject which interests me; and in short, I have agreed to undertake it. Rickman says it will take me three months. I am to have eight clerks under me, or more if I can employ them. He says there will be twenty thousand returns. He proposes that my expenses should be paid with a douceur of three or otherwise four hundred pounds. I stipulated for the former, but told him the douceur would be the pleasure, I trusted, of being useful to the poor….

T. P."

This was a rare instance of noble disinterestedness, especially in respect of government transactions.

"London, 16, Abingdon Street, May 24, 1804.

I saw a letter this morning from Coleridge. It was written to Lamb, from Gibraltar. He says his health and spirits are much improved, yet still he feels alarming symptoms about him. He made the passage from England in eleven days. If the wind permitted, they were to sail in two days for Malta. He says he is determined to observe a strict regimen, as to eating and drinking. He has drunk lately only lemonade, with a very small quantity of bottled porter. He anticipates better health than he has enjoyed for many years.

I heard by accident that Giddy was at Davy's. I have not seen Davy for some time.

T. P."

* * * * *

[Illustration: Portrait of S. T. Coleridge]

* * * * *

If the public "bide their time," there is one memorial, resembling the following, which will infallibly, if not soon, be attached to the busiest and the most celebrated name.

"On Sept. 8, 1837, died at Nether Stowey, Somersetshire, Thomas Poole, Esq. He was one of the magistrates for that county, the duties of which station he discharged through a long course of years with distinguished reputation. In early life the deceased was intimately associated with Coleridge, Lamb, Sir H. Davy, Wordsworth, Southey, and other men of literary endowments, who occasionally made long sojournments at his hospitable residence, and in whose erudite and philosophical pursuits he felt a kindred delight. His usefulness and benevolence have been long recognized, and his loss will be deplored."—Exeter Paper.

It appears that in the spring of 1816, Mr. Coleridge left Mr. Morgan's house at Calne, and, in a desolate state of mind, repaired to London; when the belief remaining strong on his mind, that his opium habits would never be effectually subdued till he had subjected himself to medical restraint, he called on Dr. Adams, an eminent physician, and disclosed to him the whole of his painful circumstances, stating what he conceived to be his only remedy. The doctor being a humane man, sympathized with his patient, and knowing a medical gentleman who resided three or four miles from town, who would be likely to undertake the charge, he addressed the following letter to Mr. Gillman.

"Hatton Garden, April 9, 1816.

Dear sir,

A very learned, but in one respect an unfortunate gentleman, has applied to me on a singular occasion. He has for several years been in the habit of taking large quantities of opium. For some time past he has been endeavouring to break himself of it. It is apprehended his friends are not firm enough, from a dread, lest he should suffer by suddenly leaving it off, though he is conscious of the contrary; and has proposed to me to submit himself to any regimen, however severe. With this view he wishes to fix himself in the house of some medical gentleman, who will have courage to refuse him any laudanum, and under whose assistance, should he be the worse for it, he may be relieved. As he is desirous of retirement, and a garden, I could think of no one so readily as yourself. Be so good as to inform me whether such a proposal is inconsistent with your family arrangements. I should not have proposed it, but on account of the great importance of the character, as a literary man. His communicative temper will make his society very interesting, as well as useful. Have the goodness to favor me with an immediate answer, and believe me, dear sir,

Your faithful humble servant,

Joseph Adams."

The next day Mr. Coleridge called on Mr. Gillman, who was so much pleased with his visitor, that it was agreed he should come to Highgate the following day. A few hours before his arrival, he sent Mr. G. a long letter; the part relating to pecuniary affairs was the following: "With respect to pecuniary remuneration, allow me to say, I must not at least be suffered to make any addition to your family expenses, though I cannot offer anything that would be in any way adequate to my sense of the service; for that indeed there could not be a compensation, as it must be returned in kind by esteem and grateful affection."

This return of esteem and grateful affection for his lodging and board, was generously understood and acceded to, by Mr. Gillman, which, to a medical man in large practice, was a small consideration. Mr. G.'s admiration of Mr. Coleridge's talents soon became so enthusiastic, equally creditable to both parties, that he provided Mr. Coleridge with a comfortable home for nineteen years, even unto his death.

My original intention was, to prepare a memoir as a contribution to Mr. Gillman's "Life of Mr. Coleridge." On my sending the MS. to Mr. Southey, he observed, in his reply, "I apprehend if you send what you have written about Coleridge and opium, it will not be made use of, and that Coleridge's biographer will seek to find excuse for the abuse of that drug."

I afterwards sent the MS. to my friend Mr. Foster, who had ever taken a deep interest in all that concerns Mr. Coleridge. On returning it he thus wrote.

"Stapleton, Dec. 19, 1835.

My dear sir,

I have read through your MS. volume, very much to the cost of my eyes, but it was impossible to help going on, and I am exceedingly obliged to you for favouring me with it;—the more so as there is no prospect of seeing any large proportion of it in print. It is I think about as melancholy an exhibition as I ever contemplated. Why was such a sad phenomenon to come in sight on earth? Was it to abase the pride of human intellect and genius?

You have done excellently well to collect into a permanent substance what must else have gone into oblivion, for no one else could have exhibited even a shadow of it. But now, my dear sir, I hope you are prepared with the philosophy, or by whatever name I should designate the fortitude,—that can patiently bear the frustration of the main immediate purpose of your long and earnest labour.—For you may lay your account that the compiler of the proposed life of Coleridge will admit but a very minor part of what you have thus furnished at his request:—that especially he will not admit what you feel to be the most important, as an emphatic moral lesson, and what it has cost you the most painful resolution to set faithfully forth.

No, my dear sir, the operator of the work will not, will not, will not, let the illustrious philosopher, genius, and poet, so appear. He will get over that stage with a few general expressions, and a few indistinctly presented facts. And then as to the dreadful tragical parts, he will promptly decide that it would be utter profanation to expose them to view in any such unveiled prominence as you have exhibited in your narrative. And then the solemn warning and example will be nearly kept out of sight. Quite naturally that this would be the course adopted, unless the compiler were, like yourself, intent, as his first and highest obligation, on doing faithful homage to truth, virtue, and religion. How I despise biography, as the business is commonly managed. I cannot believe that Coleridge's dreadful letters of confession will be admitted in their own unmodified form; though they ought to be. Most truly yours,

John Foster."

These combined intimations led me to stipulate that, whatever else was omitted, the opium letters should be printed verbatim. But this being promptly refused, I determined to throw my materials into a separate work.

As this is the last time in which Mr. Southey's name will be mentioned, it is a debt of justice to subjoin the following honourable testimonials.

As an evidence of the estimation in which Mr. Southey was held,—the distinctions awarded to his memory have had few parallels. His friends at Keswick, among whom he resided for thirty years, erected to him in their Church a noble monument, as a permanent memorial of their respect. His friends, in London, placed his bust in Westminster Abbey. Whilst another set of his friends in Bristol (his native city) from respect to his genius, and in admiration of his character, placed a bust of him in their own Cathedral.


Almighty God, by thy eternal Word, my Creator, Redeemer, and Preserver! who hast in thy communicative goodness glorified me with the capability of knowing thee, the only one absolute God, the eternal I Am, as the author of my being, and of desiring and seeking thee as its ultimate end;—who when I fell from thee into the mystery of the false and evil will, didst not abandon me, poor self-lost creature, but in thy condescending mercy didst provide an access and a return to thyself, even to the Holy One, in thine only begotten Son, the way and the truth from everlasting, and who took on himself humanity, yea, became flesh, even the man Christ Jesus, that for man he might be the life and resurrection!—O, Giver of all good gifts, who art thyself the only absolute Good, from whom I have received whatever good I have; whatever capability of good there is in me, and from thee good alone,—from myself and my own corrupted will all evil, and the consequences of evil,—with inward prostration of will, mind, and affections I adore thy infinite majesty; I aspire to love thy transcendant goodness!

In a deep sense of my unworthiness, and my unfitness to present myself before thee, of eyes too pure to behold iniquity, and whose light, the beatitude of spirits conformed to thy will, is a consuming fire to all vanity and corruptions;—but in the name of the Lord Jesus, of the dear Son of thy love, in whose perfect obedience thou deignest to behold as many as have received the seed of Christ into the body of this death;—I offer this my bounden nightly sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, in humble trust that the fragrance of my Saviour's righteousness may remove from it the taint of my mortal corruption. Thy mercies have followed me through all the hours and moments of my life; and now I lift up my heart in awe and thankfulness for the preservation of my life through the past day, for the alleviation of my bodily sufferings and languors, for the manifold comforts which thou hast reserved for me, yea, in thy fatherly compassion hast rescued from the wreck of my own sins or sinful infirmities;—for the kind and affectionate friends thou hast raised up for me, especially for those of this household, for the mother and mistress of this family, whose love to me has been great and faithful, and for the dear friend, the supporter and sharer of my studies and researches; but above all for the heavenly Friend, the crucified Saviour, the glorified Mediator, Christ Jesus, and for the heavenly Comforter, source of all abiding comforts, thy Holy Spirit! that I may with a deeper faith, a more enkindled love, bless thee, who through thy Son hast privileged me to call thee Abba Father! O thou who hast revealed thyself in thy word as a God that hearest prayer; before whose infinitude all differences cease, of great and small; who like a tender parent foreknowest all our wants, yet listenest, well-pleased, to the humble petitions of thy children; who hast not alone permitted, but taught us to call on thee in all our needs,—earnestly I implore the continuance of thy free mercy, of thy protecting providence through the coming night.

Thou hearest every prayer offered to thee believingly with a penitent and sincere heart. For thou in withholding grantest, healest in inflicting the wound, yea, turnest all to good for as many as truly seek thee through Christ the Mediator! Thy will be done! But if it be according to thy wise and righteous ordinances, O shield me this night from the assaults of disease, grant me refreshment of sleep, unvexed by evil and distempered dreams; and if the purpose and aspiration of my heart be upright before thee who alone knowest the heart of man, O, in thy mercy, vouchsafe me yet in this my decay of life, an interval of ease and strength, if so,—thy grace disposing and assisting—I may make compensation to thy church for the unused talents thou hast entrusted to me, for the neglected opportunities which thy loving-kindness had provided. O let me be found a labourer in thy vineyard, though of the late hour, when the Lord and Heir of the vintage, Christ Jesus calleth for his servant.—Lit. Rem.

S. T. C."

Mr. Coleridge wrote, in his life-time, his own epitaph, as follows:—

  "Stop, Christian passer-by: stop, child of God,
  And read, with gentle breast. Beneath this sod
  A poet lies, or that which once seemed he—
  O, lift a thought in prayer for S. T. C.
  That he who many a year with toil of breath
  Found death in life, may here find life in death;
  Mercy for praise-to be forgiven for fame
  He asked, and hoped through Christ. Do thou the same."

A handsome tablet, erected in Highgate New Church, to his memory, bears the following inscription:—

"Sacred to the Memory of


    Poet, Philosopher, Theologian.
This truly great and good man resided for
    The last nineteen years of his life,
             In this Hamlet.
     He quitted 'the body of his death,'
             July 25th, 1834,
     In the sixty-second year of his age.
Of his profound learning and discursive genius,
 His literary works are an imperishable record.
          To his private worth,
     His social and Christian virtues,


     The friends with whom he resided
During the above period, dedicate this tablet.
       Under the pressure of a long
         And most painful disease,
His disposition was unalterably sweet and angelic.
  He was an ever-enduring, ever-loving friend,
     The gentlest and kindest teacher,
     The most engaging home-companion.

  'Oh, framed for calmer times and nobler hearts;
  O studious poet, eloquent for truth!
  Philosopher contemning wealth and death,
  Yet docile, child-like, full of life and love.'


On this monumental stone, thy friends inscribe thy worth,
        Reader, for the world mourn.
   A Light has passed away from the earth!
   But for this pious and exalted Christian,
 'Rejoice, and again I say unto you, rejoice!'"
                 S. T. C.


* * * * *


The name of John Henderson having appeared in several parts of the preceding memoir, and as, from his early death, he is not known in the Literary World, I here present a brief notice of this extraordinary man, reduced from the longer account which appeared in my "Malvern Hills," &c.

John Henderson, was born at Limerick, but came to England early in life with his parents. From the age of three years, he discovered the presages of a great mind. Without retracing the steps of his progression, a general idea may be formed of them, from the circumstance of his having professionally TAUGHT GREEK and LATIN in a public Seminary[112] at the age of twelve years.

Some time after, his father commencing a Boarding-school in the neighbourhood of Bristol, young HENDERSON undertook to teach the classics; which he did with much reputation, extending, at the same time, his own knowledge in the sciences and general literature, to a degree that rendered him a prodigy of intelligence.

At the age of eighteen, by an intensity of application, of which few persons can conceive, he had not only thoughtfully perused all the popular English authors, of later date, but taken an extensive survey of foreign literature. He had also waded through the folios of the SCHOOLMEN, as well as scrutinized, with the minutest attention, the more obsolete writers of the last three centuries; preserving, at the same time, a distinguishing sense of their respective merits, particular sentiments, and characteristic traits; which, on proper occasions, he commented upon, in a manner that astonished the learned listener, not more by his profound remarks, than by his cool and sententious eloquence.

So surprisingly retentive was his memory, that he never forgot what he had once learned; nor did it appear that he ever suffered even an Image to be effaced from his mind; whilst the ideas which he had so rapidly accumulated, existed in his brain, not as a huge chaos, but in clear and well-organized systems, illustrative of every subject, and subservient to every call. It was this quality which made him so superior a disputant; for as his mind had investigated the various sentiments and hypotheses of men, so had his almost intuitive discrimination stripped them of their deceptive appendages, and separated fallacies from truth, marshalling their arguments, so as to elucidate or detect each other. But in all his disputations, it was an invariable maxim with him never to interrupt the most tedious or confused opponents, though, from his pithy questions, he made it evident, that, from the first, he anticipated the train and consequences of their reasonings.

His favourite studies were, Philology, History, Astronomy, Medicine, Theology, Logic, and Metaphysics, with all the branches of Natural and Experimental Philosophy; and that his attainments were not superficial, will be readily admitted by those who knew him best.—As a Linguist, he was acquainted with the Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages; together with the French, Spanish, Italian, and German; and he not only knew their ruling principles and predominant distinctions, so as to read them with facility, but in the greater part conversed fluently.

About the age of twenty-two, he accidentally met with the acute and learned Dr. Tucker, Dean of Gloucester, in a stage coach, who soon discovered the superiority of his companion, and after a reasonable acquaintance, in which the opinion he had at first entertained of John Henderson's surprising genius was amply confirmed, he wrote to his father, urging him to send a young man of such distinguished talents to an UNIVERSITY, where only they could expand, or be rightly appreciated; and, in the most handsome way, he accompanied this request with a present of TWO HUNDRED POUNDS. Such an instance of generosity, will confer lasting credit on the name of DEAN TUCKER.

On John Henderson's arrival at Oxford, he excited no small degree of surprise among his tutors, who very naturally inquired his reason for appearing at that place, and, as might be supposed, were soon contented to learn, where they had been accustomed to teach.[113]

It might be stated also, the late Edmund Rack, a gentleman possessed of much general knowledge, and antiquarian research, and whose materials for the "History of Somersetshire," formed the acknowledged basis of Collinson's valuable History of that county, thus expressed himself, in writing to a friend in London.

"My friend, Henderson, has lately paid me a visit, and stayed with me three weeks. I never spent a three weeks so happily, or so profitably. He is the only person I ever knew who seems to be a complete master of every subject in literature, arts, sciences, natural philosophy, divinity; and of all the books, ancient and modern, that engage the attention of the learned; but it is still more wonderful, that at the age of twelve, he should have been master of the Latin and Greek; to which he subsequently added, the Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, German, Persian, and Syriac languages; and also, all the ancient rabbinical learning of the Jews, and the divinity of the fathers; this was, however, the case. The learned DR. KENNICOTT told me, four years since, 'That the greatest men he ever knew were mere CHILDREN, compared to HENDERSON.' In company he is ever new. You never hear a repetition of what he has said before. His memory never fails, and his fund of knowledge is inexhaustible."

Dr. Kennicott, (before whom nothing superficial could have stood for a moment,) died in the year 1783, and John Henderson, at the time Dr. K, passed on him this eulogium, could have been only twenty-three years of age! One year after he had entered at Oxford.

Though not of the higher order of attainments, it may not be improper to mention his singular talent for IMITATION. He could not only assume the dialect of every foreign country, but the particular tone of every district of England so perfectly, that he might have passed for a native of either: and of the variations of the human accent in different individuals his recollection was so acute, and the modulation of his voice so varied, that, having once conversed with a person, he could most accurately imitate his gestures and articulation for ever after.[114]

No man had more profoundly traced the workings of the human heart than himself. A long observation on the causes and effects of moral action, with their external symbols, had matured his judgment in estimating the characters of men, and from the fullest evidence, confirmed him in a belief of the Science of PHYSIOGNOMY.

Though the "Physiognomical Sensation," in a greater or less degree, may exist in all, yet the data which support it are so obscure, and at all times so difficult to be defined, that if nature does not make the Physiognomist, study never will: and to be skilled in this science requires the combination of such rare talents, that it cannot excite wonder, either that the unskilful should frequently err, or that the multitude should despise, what they know they can never attain.

But John Henderson's discrimination qualified him to speak of all persons, in judging from their countenances, with an almost infallible certainty: he discovered, in his frequent decisions, not an occasional development of character, but a clear perception of the secondary as well as predominant tendencies, of the mind.

  "Making his eye the inmate of each bosom."

It would appear like divination, if John Henderson's friends were to state the various instances they have known of that quick discernment which he possessed, that, as it were, penetrated the veil of sense, and unfolded to him the naked and unsophisticated qualities of the soul. There are many who will cordially admit the fact, when it is said, that, his eye was scarcely the eye of a man. There was a luminousness in it—a calm but piercing character, which seemed to partake more of the nature of spirit than of humanity.

His conversation was such as might have been expected from a man whose fancy was so creative, whose knowledge omnifarious, and whose recollection so unbounded. He combined scholastic accuracy with unaffected ease; condensed and pointed, yet rich and perspicuous. Were it possible for his numerous friends, by any energy of reminiscence, to collect his discourse, John Henderson would be distinguished as a voluminous author, who yet preserved a Spartan frugality of words.

His contemporaries at Oxford well remember, the enthusiasm with which every company received him; and his friends, in that University, consisted of all who were eminent for either talent or virtue.

It would be injustice to his memory not to mention the great marks of attention which were paid him, and the high estimation in which he was held by the late Edmund Burke and Dr. Johnson; the former of whom strenuously urged him either to apply to the bar, or to the church, and told him, that, in that case, it was impossible to doubt, but that he would become either a judge or a bishop. Such was the great lexicographer's admiration, also, of John Henderson, that in his annual visits to Oxford, to whatever company he was invited, he always stipulated for the introduction of his young friend, John Henderson,[115] which, in the result, converted a favour into an obligation. It might be named also, that many of the heads of colleges and other eminent characters, habitually attended his evening parties; an honour unknown to have been conferred before on any other under-graduate.

So great was John Henderson's regard for truth, that he considered it a crime, of no ordinary magnitude, to confound in any one, even for a moment, the perceptions of right and wrong; of truth and falsehood; he therefore never argued in defence of a position which his understanding did not cordially approve, unless, in some unbending moment, he intimated to those around him, that he wished to see how far error could be supported, in which case he would adopt the weakest side of any question, and there, intrenched, like an intellectual veteran, bid defiance to the separate or combined attacks of all who approached him.

On these occasions it was highly interesting to remark the felicity of his illustration, together with his profound logical acuteness, that knew how to grant or deny, and both, it may be, with reference to some distant stage of the argument, when the application was made with an unexpected, but conclusive effect.

From possessing this rare faculty of distinguishing the immediate, as well as of tracing the remote consequences of every acknowledgment; and, by his peculiar talent at casuistic subtleties, he has been frequently known to extort the most erroneous concessions, from men distinguished for erudition and a knowledge of polemic niceties, necessarily resulting from premises unguardedly admitted.

Henderson's chief strength in disputation seemed to consist in this clear view in which he beheld the diversified bearings of every argument, with its precise congruity to the question in debate; and which, whilst it demonstrated the capacity of his own mind, conferred on him, on all occasions, a decided and systematic superiority. It must, however, be granted, that when contending for victory, or rather for the mere sharpening of his faculties, instead of convincing, he not unfrequently confounded his opponent; but whenever he had thus casually argued, and had obtained an acknowledged confutation, like an ingenious mechanic, he never failed to organize the discordant materials and to do homage to truth, by pointing out his own fallacies, or otherwise, by formally re-confuting his antagonist.

It might be expected that, by such a conduct, an unpleasant impression would sometimes be left on the mind of an unsuccessful disputant, but this effect is chiefly produced when the power of the combatants is held nearly in equilibrium; no one, however, considered it a degradation to yield to John Henderson, and the peculiar delicacy of his mind was manifested in nothing more than in the graceful manner with which he indulged in these coruscations of argument. He obtained a victory without being vain, or even, from his perfect command of countenance, appearing sensible of it; and, unless he happened to be disputing with pedantry and conceit, with a dignified consciousness of strength, he never pursued an enemy who was contented to fly, by which means a defeat was often perceived rather than felt, and the vanquished forgot his own humiliation in applauding the generosity of the conqueror.

In all companies he led the conversation; yet though he was perpetually encircled by admirers, his steady mind decreased not its charms, by a supercilious self-opinion of them; nor did he assume that as a right, which the wishes of his friends rendered a duty. He led the conversation; for silence or diminished discourse, in him, would have been deservedly deemed vanity, as though he had desired to make his friends feel the value of his instructions from the temporary loss of them. But in no instance was his superiority oppressive; calm, attentive, and cheerful, he confuted more gracefully than others compliment; the tone of dogmatism and the smile of contempt were equally unknown to him. Sometimes indeed he raised himself stronger and more lofty in his eloquence, then chiefly, when, fearful for his weaker brethren, he opposed the arrogance of the illiterate deist, or the worse jargon of sensual and cold-blooded atheism. He knew that the clouds of ignorance which enveloped their understandings, steamed up from the pollutions of their hearts, and, crowding his sails, he bore down upon them with salutary violence.

But the qualities which most exalted John Henderson in the estimation of his friends, were, his high sense of honour, and the great benevolence of his heart; not that honour which originates in a jealous love of the world's praise, nor that benevolence which delights only in publicity of well-doing. His honour was the anxious delicacy of a christian, who regarded his soul as a sacred pledge, that must some time be re-delivered to the Almighty lender; his benevolence, a circle, in which self indeed might be the centre, but, all that lives was the circumference. This tribute of respect to thy name and virtues, my beloved Henderson! is paid by one, who was once proud to call thee tutor and friend, and who will do honour to thy memory, till his spirit rests with thine.

Those who were unacquainted with John Henderson's character, may naturally ask, "What test has he left the world of the distinguished talents thus ascribed to him?"—None!—He cherished a sentiment, which, whilst it teaches humility to the proud, explains the cause of that silence so generally regretted. Upon the writer of this brief notice once expressing to him some regret at his not having benefited mankind by the result of his deep and varied investigations—he replied, "More men become writers from ignorance, than from knowledge, not knowing that they have been anticipated by others. Let us decide with caution, and write late." Thus the vastness and variety of his acquirements, and the diffidence of his own mental maturity alike prevented him from illuminating mankind, till death called him to graduate in a sphere more favourable to the range of his soaring and comprehensive mind.—He died on a visit to Oxford, in November, 1788, in the 32nd year of his age.

Few will doubt but that the possession of pre-eminent colloquial talents, to a man like John Henderson, in whom so amply dwelt the spirit of originality, must be considered, on the whole, as a misfortune, and as tending to subtract from the permanency of his reputation; he wisely considered posthumous fame as a vain and undesirable bubble, unless founded on utility, but when it is considered that no man was better qualified than himself to confound vice and ennoble virtue; to unravel the mazes of error, or vindicate the pretensions of truth, it must generally excite a poignant regret, that abilities like his should have been dissipated on one generation, which, by a different application, might have charmed and enlightened futurity.

It is however by no means to be concluded that he would not have written, and written extensively, if he had attained the ordinary age of man, but he whose sentiments are considered as oracular, whose company is incessantly sought by the wise and honourable, and who never speaks but to obtain immediate applause, often sacrifices the future to the present, and evaporates his distinguished talents in the single morning of life.

But whilst we ascribe attributes to John Henderson, which designate the genius, or illustrate the scholar, we must not forget another quality which he eminently possessed, which so fundamentally contributes to give stability to friendship, and to smooth the current of social life. A suavity of manner, connected with a gracefulness of deportment, which distinguished him on all occasions.

His participation of the feelings of others, resulting from great native sensibility, although it never produced in his conduct undue complacency, yet invariably suggested to him that nice point of propriety in behaviour which was suitable to different characters, and appropriate to the various situations in which he might be placed. Nor was his sense of right a barren perception. What the soundness of his understanding instructed him to approve, the benevolence of his heart taught him to practise. In his respectful approaches to the peer, he sustained his dignity; and in addressing the beggar, he remembered he was speaking to a man.

It would be wrong to close this brief account of John Henderson, without naming two other excellencies with which he was eminently endowed. First, the ascendancy he had acquired over his temper. There are moments, in which most persons are susceptible of a transient irritability; but the oldest of his friends never beheld him otherwise than calm and collected. It was a condition he retained under all circumstances,[116] and which, to those over whom he had any influence, he never failed forcibly to inculcate, together with that unshaken firmness of mind which encounters the unavoidable misfortunes of life without repining, and that from the noblest principle, a conviction that they are regulated by Him who cannot err, and who in his severest allotments designs only our ultimate good. In a letter from Oxford, to my brother Amos, his late pupil, for whom John Henderson always entertained the highest esteem, he thus expresses himself: "See that you govern your passions. What should grieve us, but our infirmities? What make us angry, but our own faults? A man who knows he is mortal, and that all the world will pass away, and by-and-by, seem only like a tale—a sinner who knows his sufferings are all less than his sins, and designed to break him from them—one who knows that everything in this world is a seed that will have its fruit in eternity—that GOD is the best, the only good friend—that in him is all we want—that everything is ordered for the best—so that it could not be better, however we take it; he who believes this in his heart is happy. Such be you—may you always fare well, my dear Amos,—be the friend of GOD! again, farewell."

The other excellence referred to, was the simplicity and condescension of his manners. From the gigantic stature of his understanding, he was prepared to trample down his pigmy competitors, and qualified at all times to enforce his unquestioned pre-eminence; but his mind was conciliating, his behaviour unassuming, and his bosom the receptacle of all the social affections.

It is these virtues alone which can disarm superiority of its terrors, and make the eye which is raised in wonder, beam at the same moment with affection. There have been intellectual, as well as civil despots, whose motto seems to have been, "Let them hate, provided they fear." Such men may triumph in their fancied distinctions; but they will never, as was John Henderson, be followed by the child, loved by the ignorant, and yet emulated by the wise….

J. C.


The following is an extract from the extended view of the question between Rowley and Chatterton, which appeared in my "Malvern Hills," &c. (Vol. 1. p. 273.)

"… Whoever examines the conduct of Chatterton, will find that he was pre-eminently influenced by one particular disposition of mind, which was, through an excess of ingenuity, to impose on the credulity of others. This predominant quality elucidates his character, and is deserving of minute regard by all who wish to form a correct estimate of the Rowleian controversy. A few instances of it are here recapitulated.

1st. The Rev. Mr. Catcott once noticed to Chatterton the inclined position of Temple church, in the city of Bristol. A few days after, the blue-coat boy brought him an old poem, transcribed, as he declared, from Rowley, who had noticed the same peculiarity in his day, and had moreover written a few stanzas on the very subject.

2ndly. A new bridge is just completed over the river Avon, at Bristol, when Chatterton sends to the printer a genuine description, in antiquated language, of the passing over the old bridge, for the first time, in the thirteenth century, on which occasion two songs are chanted, by two saints, of whom nothing was known, and expressed in language precisely the same as Rowley's, though he lived two hundred years after this event.

3rdly. Mr. Burgham, the pewterer, is credulous, and, from some whimsical caprice in his nature, is attached to heraldic honours. Chatterton, who approaches every man on his blind side, presents him with his pedigree, consecutively traced from the time of William the Conqueror, and coolly allies him to some of the noblest houses in the kingdom!

4thly. Mr. Burgham, with little less than intuitive discernment, is one of the first persons who expresses a firm opinion of the authenticity and excellence of Rowley's Poems. Chatterton, pleased with this first blossom of success, and from which he presaged an abundant harvest, with an elated and grateful heart, presents him (together with other testimonials,) with the 'Romaunte of the Cnyghte,' a poem written by John De Burgham, one of his own illustrious ancestors, who was the great ornament of a period, four hundred and fifty years antecedent; and the more effectually to exclude suspicion, he accompanies it with the same poem, modernized by himself!

5thly. Chatterton wishes to obtain the good opinion of his relation, Mr. Stephens, leather-breeches maker of Salisbury, and, from some quality, which it is possible his keen observation had noticed in this Mr. Stephens, he deems it the most effectual way, to flatter his vanity, and accordingly tells him, with great gravity, that he traces his descent from Fitz-Stephen, son of Stephen, Earl of Ammerle, who was son of Od, Earl of Bloys, and Lord of Holderness, who flourished about A.D. 1095!

6thly. The late Mr. George Catcott, (to whom the public are so much indebted for the preservation of Rowley,) is a very worthy and religious man, when Chatterton, who has implements for all work, and commodities for all customers, like a skilful engineer, adapts the style of his attack to the nature of the fortress, and presents him with the fragment of a sermon, on the divinity of the Holy Spirit, as 'wroten by Thomas Rowley.'

7thly. Mr. Barrett is zealous to establish the antiquity of Bristol. As a demonstrable evidence, Chatterton presents him with an escutcheon (on the authority of the same Thomas Rowley) borne by a Saxon, of the name of Ailward, who resided in Bristow, A.D. 718!

8thly. Mr. Barrett is also writing a comprehensive History of Bristol, and is solicitous to obtain every scrap of information relating to so important a subject. In the ear of Chatterton he expressed his anxiety, and suggested to him the propriety of his examining all Rowley's multifarious manuscripts with great care for an object of such weight.

Soon after this, the blue-coat boy came breathless to Mr. Barrett, uttering, like one of old, 'I have found it!' He now presented the historian with two or three notices, (in his own hand-writing, copied, as he declared, faithfully from the originals,) of some of the ancient Bristol churches; of course, wholly above suspicion, for they were in the true old English style. These communications were regarded as of inestimable value, and the lucky finder promised to increase his vigilance, in ransacking the whole mass of antique documents for fresh disclosures. It was not long before other important scraps were discovered, conveying just the kind of information which Mr. Barrett wanted, till, ultimately, Chatterton furnished him with many curious particulars concerning the castle, and every church and chapel in the city of Bristol! and these are some of the choicest materials of Mr. Barrett's otherwise, valuable history!

9thly. Public curiosity and general admiration are excited by poems, affirmed to be from the Erse of Ossian. Chatterton, with characteristic promptitude, instantly publishes, not imitations, but a succession of genuine translations from the Saxon and Welsh, with precisely the same language and imagery, though the Saxon and Welsh were derived from different origins, the Teutonic and Celtic; (which bishop Percy has most satisfactorily shown in his able and elaborate preface to 'Mallet's Northern Antiquities,') and whose poetry, of all their writings, was the most dissimilar; as will instantly appear to all who compare Taliessin, and the other Welsh bards, with the Scandinavian Edda of Saemond.

10thly. Mr. Walpole is writing the history of British painters; Chatterton, (who, to a confidential friend, had expressed an opinion that it was possible, by dexterous management, to deceive even this master in antiquities,) with full confidence of success, transmits to him 'An Account of eminent Carvellers and Peyncters who flourished in Bristol, and other parts of England, three hundred years ago, collected for Master Canynge, by Thomas Rowley!'

Chatterton's communication furnishes an amusing specimen of the quaint language with which this beardless boy deceived the old antiquarian. It commences thus:

'Peyncteynge ynn Englande, haveth of ould tyme bin in use; for sayeth the Roman wryters, the Brytonnes dyd depycte themselves yn soundry wyse, of the fourmes of the sonne and moone, wythe the hearbe woade: albeytte I doubt theie were no skylled carvellers,' &c. &c.

Mr. Walpole was so completely imposed upon, that, in his reply, without entertaining the slightest suspicion of the authenticity of the document, he reasons upon it as valid, and says, 'You do not point out the exact time when Rowley lived, which I wish to know, as I suppose it was long before John al Ectry's discovery of oil painting; if so, it confirms what I have guessed, and have hinted in my anecdotes, that oil painting was known here much earlier than that discovery, or revival.'

Another important argument, may be adduced from the following reflection: all the poets who thus owe their existence to Chatterton, write in the same harmonious style, and display the same tact and superiority of genius. Other poets living in the same, or different ages, exhibit a wide diversity in judgment, fancy, and the higher creative faculty of imagination, so that a discriminating mind can distinguish an individual character in almost every separate writer; but here are persons living in different ages; moving in different stations; exposed to different circumstances; and expressing different sentiments; yet all of whom betray the same peculiar habits, with the same talents and facilities of composition. This is evidenced, whether it be—

    The Abbatte John, living in the year - - 1186
    Seyncte Baldwin - - - - - - 1247
    Seyncte Warburgie - - - - - - 1247
    John De Burgham - - - - - - 1320
    The Rawfe Cheddar Chappmanne - - - - 1356
    Syr Thybbot Gorges - - - - - - 1440
    Syr Wm. Canynge - - - - - - 1469
    Thomas Rowley - - - - - - 1479
    Carpenter, Bishoppe of Worcester
    Ecca, Bishoppe of Hereforde
    Elmar, Bishoppe of Selseie
    John Ladgate, or,
    Mayster John à Iscam.

And the whole of these poets, with the exception of Ladgate, completely unknown to the world, till called from their dormitory by Chatterton! Such a fact would be a phenomenon unspeakably more inexplicable than that of ascribing Rowley to a youth of less than sixteen, who had made 'Antique Lore' his peculiar study, and who was endued with precocious, and almost unlimited genius.

Those who are aware of the transitions and fluctuation, which our language experienced in the intermediate space comprised between Chaucer and Sir Thomas More; and still greater between Robert of Gloucester, 1278, and John Trevisa, or his contemporary Wickliffe, who died 1384, know, to a certainty, that the writers enumerated by Chatterton, without surmounting a physical impossibility, could not have written in the same undeviating style.

Perhaps it may be affirmed that numerous old parchments were obtained from the Muniment Room or elsewhere. This fact is undeniable; but they are understood to consist of ancient ecclesiastical deeds, as unconnected with poetry, as they were with galvanism.

Let the dispassionate enquirer ask himself, whether he thinks it possible for men, living in distant ages, when our language was unformed, and therefore its variations the greater, to write in the same style? Whether it was possible for the Abbatte John, composing in the year 1186, when the amalgamation of the Saxon and the Norman formed an almost inexplicable jargon, to write in a manner, as to its construction, intimately resembling that now in vogue. On the contrary, how easy is the solution, when we admit that the person who wrote the first part of the "Battle of Hastings," and the death of "Syr Charles Bawdin," wrote also the rest.

Does it not appear marvellous, that the learned advocates of Rowley should not have regarded the ground on which they stood as somewhat unstable, when they found Chatterton readily avow that he wrote the first part of the "Battle of Hastings," and discovered the second, as composed three hundred years before, by Thomas Rowley? This was indeed an unparalleled coincidence. A boy writes the commencement of a narrative poem, and then finds in the Muniment-Room, the second part, or a continuation, by an old secular priest, with the same, characters, written in the same style, and even in the same metre!

Another extraordinary feature in the question, is the following; there are preserved in the British Museum, numerous deeds and proclamations, by Thomas Rowley, in Chatterton's writing, relating to the antiquities of Bristol, all in modern English, designed no doubt, by the young bard, for his friend Mr. Barrett; but the chrysalis had not yet advanced to its winged state.

One of the proclamations begins thus:

"To all Christian people to whom this indented writing shall come, William Canynge, of Bristol, merchant, and Thomas Rowley, priest, send greeting: Whereas certain disputes have arisen between," &c., &c.

Who does not perceive that these were the first rough sketches of genuine old documents that were to be?

In an account of "St. Marie Magdalene's Chapele, by Thomas Rowley," deposited also in the British Museum, there is the following sentence, which implies much: "Aelle, the founder thereof, was a manne myckle stronge yn vanquysheynge the Danes, as yee maie see ynne mie unwordie Entyrlude of Ella!"

It is Rome or Carthage. It is Rowley or Chatterton: and a hope is cherished that the public, from this moment, will concur in averring that there is neither internal nor external evidence, to authorize the belief that a single line of either the prose or the verse, attributed to Rowley, or the rest of his apocryphal characters, was written by any other than that prodigy of the eighteenth century, Thomas Chatterton.

The opinion entertained by many, that Chatterton found part of Rowley, and invented the rest, is attended with insurmountable objections, and is never advanced but in the deficiency of better argument; for in the first place, those who favor this supposition, have never supported it by the shadow of proof, or the semblance even of fair inferential reasoning; and in the second place, he who wrote half, could have written the whole; and in the third, and principal place, there are no inequalities in the poems; no dissimilar and incongruous parts, but all is regular and consistent, and without, in the strict sense of the word, bearing any resemblance to the writers of the period when Rowley is stated to have lived.

Whoever examines the beautiful tragedy of Ella, will find an accurate adjustment of plan, which precludes the possibility of its having been conjointly written by different persons, at the distance of centuries. With respect, also, to the structure of the language, it is incontrovertibly modern, as well as uniform with itself, and exhibits the most perfect specimens of harmony; which cannot be interrupted by slight orthographical redundancies, nor by the sprinkling of a few uncouth and antiquated words.

The structure of Rowley's verse is so unequivocally modern, that by substituting the present orthography for the past, and changing two or three of the old words, the fact must become obvious, even to those who are wholly unacquainted with the barbarisms of the "olden time." As a corroboration of this remark, the first verse of the song to Aella may be adduced.

  "O thou, or what remains of thee,
  Aella, thou darling of futurity.
  Let this, my song, bold as thy courage be,
  As everlasting—to posterity."

But, perhaps, the most convincing proof of this modern character of
Rowley's verse, may be derived from the commencement of the chorus in

  "When Freedom, dress'd in blood-stain'd vest,
    To every knight her war-song sung,
  Upon her head wild weeds were spread,
    A gory anlace by her hung.
      She danced on the heath;
      She heard the voice of death;
  Pale-eyed Affright, his heart of silver hue,
    In vain essay'd his bosom to acale, [freeze]
  She heard, enflamed, the shivering voice of woe,
    And sadness in the owlet shake the dale.
      She shook the pointed spear;
        On high she raised her shield;
      Her foemen all appear,
        And fly along the field.

  Power, with his head exalted to the skies,
    His spear a sun-beam, and his shield a star,
  Round, like two flaming meteors, rolls his eyes,
    Stamps with his iron foot, and sounds to war:
      She sits upon a rock,
        She bends before his spear;
      She rises from the shock,
        Wielding her own in air.
  Hard as the thunder doth she drive it on,
    And, closely mantled, guides it to his crown,
  His long sharp spear, his spreading shield, is gone;
    He falls, and falling, rolleth thousands down."

Every reader must be struck with the modern character of these extracts, nor can he fail to have noticed the lyrical measure, so eminently felicitous, with which the preceding ode commences; together with the bold image of freedom triumphing over power. If the merits of the Rowleian Controversy rented solely on this one piece, it would be decisive; for no man, in the least degree familiar with our earlier metrical compositions, and especially if he were a poet, could hesitate a moment in assigning this chorus to a recent period.

It is impossible not to believe that the whole of Rowley was written at first in modern English, and then the orthographical metamorphose commenced; and to one who had prepared himself, like Chatterton, with a dictionary, alternately modern and old, and old and modern, the task of transformation was not difficult, even to an ordinary mind. It should be remembered also, that Chatterton furnished a complete glossary to the whole of Rowley. Had he assumed ignorance, it might have checked, without removing suspicion, but at present it appears inexplicable, that our sage predecessors should not have been convinced that one who could write, in his own person, with such superiority as Chatterton indisputably did, would be quite competent to give words to another, the meaning of which he so well understood himself.

But the thought will naturally arise, what could have prompted Chatterton, endued as he was, with so much original talent, to renounce his own personal aggrandizement, and to transfer the credit of his opulence to another. It is admitted to be an improvident expenditure of reputation, but no inference advantageous to Rowley can be deduced from this circumstance. The eccentricities and aberrations of genius, have rarely been restricted by line and plummet, and the present is a memorable example of perverted talent; but all this may be conceded, without shaking the argument here contended for.

There is a process in all our pursuits, and the nice inspector of associations can almost uniformly trace his predilections to some definite cause. This, doubtless, was the case with Chatterton. He found old parchments early in life. In the first instance, it became an object of ambition to decipher the obscure. One difficulty surmounted, strengthened the capacity for conquering others; perseverance gave facility, till at length his vigorous attention was effectually directed to what he called "antique lore:" and this confirmed bias of his mind, connected as it was, with his inveterate proneness to impose on others, and supported by talents which have scarcely been equalled, reduces the magnified wonder of Rowley, to a plain, comprehensible question.

Dean Milles, in his admiration of Rowley, appeared to derive pleasure from depreciating Chatterton, who had avowed himself the writer of that inimitable poem, "The Death of Syr Charles Bawdin," but well knowing the consequences which would follow on this admission, he laboured hard to impeach the veracity of our bard, and represented him as one who, from vanity, assumed to himself the writing of another! Dean Milles affirms, that of this "Death of Syr Charles Bawdin," "A greater variety of internal proofs may be produced, for its authenticity, than for that of any other piece in the whole collection!" This virtually, was abandoning the question; for since we know that Chatterton did write "The Death of Syr Charles Bawdin," we know that he wrote that which had stronger proofs of the authenticity of Rowley than all the other pieces in the collection!

The numerous proofs adduced of Chatterton's passion for fictitious statements; of his intimate acquaintance with antiquated language; of the almost preternatural maturity of his mind; of the dissimilitude of Rowley's language to contemporaneous writers; and of the obviously modern structure of all the compositions which the young bard produced, as the writings of Rowley and others, form, it is presumed, a mass of Anti-Rowleian evidence, which proves that Chatterton possessed that peculiar disposition, as well as those pre-eminent talents, the union of which was both necessary and equal to the great production of Rowley…."

J. C.


  Weary Pilgrim, dry thy tear,
    Look beyond these realms of night;
  Mourn not, with redemption near,
    Faint not, with the goal in sight.

  Grief and pain are needful things,
    Sent to chasten, not to slay;
  And if pleasures have their wings,
    Sorrows quickly pass away.

  Where are childhood's sighs and throes?
    Where are youth's tumultuous fears?
  Where are manhood's thousand woes?
    Lost amidst the lapse of years!

  There are treasures which to gain,
    Might a seraph's heart inspire;
  There are joys which will remain
    When the world is wrapt in fire.

  Hope, with her expiring beam,
    May illume our last delight;
  But our trouble soon will seem,
    Like the visions of the night.

  We too oft remit our pace,
    And at ease in slumbers dwell;
  We are loiterers in our race,
    And afflictions break the spell.

  Woe to him, whoe'er he be,
    Should (severest test below!)
  All around him like a sea,
    Health, and wealth, and honors, flow!

  When unclouded suns we hail,
    And our cedars proudly wave;
  We forget their tenure frail,
    With the bounteous hand that gave.

  We on dangerous paths are bound,
    Call'd to battle and to bleed;
  We have hostile spirits round,
    And the warrior's armour need.

  We, within, have deadlier foes,
    Wills rebellious, hearts impure;
  God, the best physician, knows
    What the malady will cure.

  Earth is lovely! dress'd in flowers!
    O'er her form luxuriant thrown,
  But a lovelier world is ours,
    Visible to faith alone.

  Here the balm and spicy gales,
    For a moment fill the air;
  Here the mutable prevails,
    Permanence alone is there.

  Heaven to gain is worth our toil!
    Angels call us to their sphere;
  But to time's ignoble soil
    We are bound, and will not hear.

  Heaven attracts not! On we dream;
    Cast like wrecks upon the shore
  Where perfection reigns supreme,
    And adieus are heard no more.

  What is life? a tale! a span!
    Swifter than the eagle's flight;
  What the boasted age of man?
    Vanishing beneath the sight.

  Yet, our ardours and desires
    Centred, circumscribed by earth;
  Whilst eternity retires—
    As an object nothing worth!

  Oh, the folly of the proud!
    Oh, the madness of the vain!
  After every toy to crowd,
    And unwithering crowns disdain!

  Mighty men in grand array,
    Magnates of the ages past,
  Kings and conquerors, where are they?
    Once whose frown a world o'ercast?

  Faded! yet by fame enroll'd,
    With their busts entwined with bays;
  But if God his smile withhold,
    Pitiful is human praise.

  With what sadness and surprise,
    Must Immortals view our lot;—
  Eager for the flower that dies,
    And the Amaranth heeding not.

  May we from our dreams awake,
    Love the truth, the truth obey;
  On our night let morning break—
    Prelude of a nobler day.

  Harmony prevails above,
    Where all hearts together blend;
  Let the concords sweet of love,
    Now begin and never end.

  Have we not one common sire?
    Have we not one home in sight?
  Let the sons of peace conspire
    Not to sever, but unite.

  Hence, forgetful of the past,
    May we all as brethren own,
  Whom we hope to meet at last—
    Round the everlasting throne.

  Father! source of blessedness,
    In thy strength triumphant ride;
  Let the world thy Son confess,
    And thy name be magnified!

  Let thy word of truth prevail,
    Scattering darkness, errors, lies;
  Let all lands the treasure hail—
    Link that binds us to the skies.

  Let thy spirit, rich and free,
    Copious shed his power divine,
  Till (Creation's Jubilee!)
    All Earth's jarring realms are thine!

  Saints who once on earth endured—
    Beating storm and thorny way,
  Have the prize they sought secured,
    And have enter'd perfect day.

  Wiser taught,—with vision clear,
    (Kindled from the light above)
  Now their bitterest woes appear—
    Charged with blessings, fraught with love:—

  For, as earthly scenes withdrew,
    In their false, but flattering guise,
  They, rejoicing, fix'd their view—
    On the mansions in the skies.

  Art thou fearful of the end?
    Dread not Jordan's swelling tide;
  With the Saviour for thy friend!
    With the Spirit for thy guide!

  Why these half subdued alarms—
    At the prospect of thy flight?
  Has thy Father's house no charms?—
    There to join the Saints in Light?

  Terrors banish from thy breast,
    Hope must solace, faith sustain;
  Thou art journeying on to rest,
    And with God shalt live and reign.

  Then, fruition, like the morn,
    Will unlock her boundless store;—
  Roses bloom without a thorn,
    And the day-star set no more.

  But, an ocean lies between—
    Stormy, to be cross'd alone;
  With no ray to intervene—
    O'er the cold and dark unknown!

  Lo! a soft and soothing voice
    Steals like music on my ears;—
  "Let the drooping heart rejoice;
    See! a glorious dawn appears!"

  "When thy parting hours draw near,
    And thou trembling view'st the last;
  Christ and only Christ can cheer,
    And o'er death a radiance cast!"

  Weary Pilgrim, dry thy tear,
    Look beyond these shades of night;
  Mourn not with Redemption near,
    Faint not with the goal in sight.

J. C.

Bristol, March 9, 1846.


[1] The reader will bear in mind that the present work consists of Autobiography, and therefore, however repugnant to the writer's feelings, the apparent egotism has been unavoidable.

[2] Robert Lovell, himself was a poet, as will appear by the following being one of his Sonnets.


  Was it a spirit on yon shapeless pile?
    It wore, methought, a holy Druid's form,
    Musing on ancient days! The dying storm
  Moan'd in his lifted locks. Thou, night! the while
  Dost listen to his sad harp's wild complaint,
    Mother of shadows! as to thee he pours
    The broken strain, and plaintively deplores
  The fall of Druid fame! Hark! murmurs faint
  Breathe on the wavy air! and now more loud
    Swells the deep dirge; accustomed to complain
  Of holy rites unpaid, and of the crowd
    Whose ceaseless steps the sacred haunts profane.
  O'er the wild plain the hurrying tempest flies,
  And, mid the storm unheard, the song of sorrow dies.

[3] I had an opportunity of introducing Mr. Southey at this time, to the eldest Mrs. More, who invited him down to spend some whole day with her sister Hannah, at their then residence, Cowslip Green. On this occasion, as requested, I accompanied him. The day was full of converse. On my meeting one of the ladies soon after, I was gratified to learn that Mr. S. equally pleased all five of the sisters. She said he was "brim full of literature, and one of the most elegant, and intellectual young men they had seen."

[4] It might he intimated, that, for the establishment of these lectures, there was, in Mr. Coleridge's mind, an interior spring of action. He wanted to "build up" a provision for his speedy marriage with Miss Sarah Fricker: and with these grand combined objects before him, no effort appeared too vast to be accomplished by his invigorated faculties.

[5] Copied from his MS. as delivered, not from his "Conciones ad Populum" as printed, where it will be found in a contracted state.

[6] Muir, Palmer, and Margarot.

[7] An eminent medical man in Bristol, who greatly admired Mr. Coleridge's conversation and genius, on one occasion, invited Mr. C. to dine with him, on a given day. The invitation was accepted, and this gentleman, willing to gratify his friends with an introduction to Mr. C. invited a large assemblage, for the express purpose of meeting him, and made a splendid entertainment, anticipating the delight which would be universally felt from Mr. C. a far-famed eloquence. It unfortunately happened that Mr. Coleridge had forgotten all about it! and the gentleman, [with his guests, after waiting till the hot became cold] under his mortification consoled himself by the resolve, never again to subject himself to a like disaster. No explanation or apology on my part could soothe the choler of this disciple of Glen. A dozen subscribers to his lectures fell off from this slip of his memory.

  "Sloth jaundiced all! and from my graspless hand
  Drop friendship's precious perls, like hour-glass sand.
  I weep, yet stoop not! the faint anguish flows,
  A dreamy pang in morning's feverish doze,"

[8] This honest upholsterer, (a Mr. W. a good little weak man) attended the preaching of the late eloquent Robert Hall. At one time an odd fancy entered his mind, such as would have occurred to none other; namely, that he possessed ministerial gifts; and with this notion uppermost in his head, he was sorely perplexed, to determine whether he ought not to forsake the shop, and ascend the pulpit.

In this uncertainty, he thought his discreetest plan would be to consult his Minister; in conformity with which, one morning he called on Mr. Hall, and thus began. "I call on you this morning, Sir, on a very important business!" "Well Sir." "Why you must know, Sir—I can hardly tell how to begin." "Let me hear, Sir." "Well Sir, if I must tell you, for these two months past I have had a strong persuasion on my mind, that I possess ministerial talents."—Mr. Hall (whose ideas were high of ministerial requisites) saw his delusion, and determined at once to check it. The Upholsterer continued: "Though a paper-hanger by trade, yet, sir, I am now satisfied that I am called to give up my business, and attend to something better; for you know, Mr. Hall, I should not bury my talents in a napkin." "O Sir," said Mr. H. "you need not use a napkin, a pocket-handkerchief will do."

This timely rebuke kept the good man to his paper-hangings for the remainder of his days, for whenever he thought of the ministry, this same image of the pocket-handkerchief, always damped his courage.

[9] Gilbert's derangement was owing to the loss of a naval cause at Portsmouth, in which he was concerned as an Advocate. Among other instances, one time when at his lodgings, he interpreted those words of Christ personally, "Sell all that thou hast and distribute to the poor," when, without the formality of selling, he thought the precept might be more summarily fulfilled, and therefore, one morning he tumbled every thing he had in his room, through the window, into the street, that the poor might help themselves; bed, bolsters, blankets, sheets, chairs! &c., &c, but unfortunately, it required at that season a higher exercise of the clear reasoning process than he possessed, to distinguish accurately between his own goods and chattels and those of his landlady!

He had all the volubility of a practised advocate, and seemed to delight in nothing so much as discussion, whether on the unconfirmed parallactic angle of Sirius, or the comparative weight of two straws. Amid the circle in which he occasionally found himself, ample scope was often given him for the exercise of this faculty. I once invited him, for the first time, to meet the late Robert Hall. I had calculated on some interesting discourse, aware that each was peculiarly susceptible of being aroused by opposition. The anticipations entertained on this occasion were abundantly realized. Their conversation, for some time, was mild and pleasant, each, for each, receiving an instinctive feeling of respect; but the subject happened to be started, of the contra-distinguishing merits of Hannah More and Ann Yearsley. By an easy transition, this led to the quarrel that some time before had taken place between these two remarkable females; the one occupying the summit, and the other moving in about the lowest grade of human society; but in genius, compeers. They at once took opposite sides. One argument elicited another, till at length each put forth his utmost strength, and such felicitous torrents of eloquence could rarely have been surpassed; where on each side ardour was repelled with fervency, and yet without the introduction of the least indecorous expression.

Gilbert was an astrologer; and at the time of a person's birth, he would with undoubting confidence predict all the leading events of his future life, and sometimes (if he knew anything of his personal history) even venture to declare the past. The caution with which he usually touched the second subject, formed a striking contrast with the positive declarations concerning the first.

I was acquainted at this time with a medical man of enlarged mind and considerable scientific attainments; and accidentally mentioning to him that a friend of mine was a great advocate for this sublime science, he remarked, "I should like to see him, and one half hour would be sufficient to despoil him of his weapons, and lay him prostrate in the dust." I said, "if you will sup with me I will introduce you to the astrologer, and if you can beat this nonsense out of his head, you will benefit him and all his friends." When the evening arrived, it appeared fair to apprise William Gilbert that I was going to introduce him to a doctor, who had kindly and gratuitously undertaken to cure him of all his astrological maladies. "Will he?" said Gilbert. "The malady is on his side. Perhaps I may cure him."

Each having a specific business before him, there was no hesitation or skirmishing, but at first sight they both, like tried veterans, in good earnest addressed themselves to war. On one side, there was a manifestation of sound sense and cogent argument; on the other, a familiarity with all those arguments, combined with great subtlety in evading them; and this sustained by new and ingenious sophisms. My medical friend, for some time stood his ground manfully, till, at length, he began to quail, apparently from the verbal torrent with which he was so unexpectedly assailed. Encountered thus by so fearful and consummate a disputant, whose eyes flashed fire in unison with his oracular tones and empassioned language, the doctor's quiver unaccountably became exhausted, and his spirit subdued. He seemed to look around for some mantle in which to hide the mortification of defeat; and the more so from his previous confidence. Never was a more triumphant victory, as it would superficially appear, achieved by ingenious volubility in a bad cause, over arguments, sound, but inefficiently wielded in a cause that was good. A fresh instance of the man of sense vanquished by the man of words.

[10] I would here subjoin, that when money, in future, may thus be collected for ingenious individuals, it might be the wisest procedure to transfer the full amount, at once, to the beneficiary, (unless under very peculiar circumstances.) This is felt to be both handsome and generous, and the obligation is permanently impressed on the mind. If the money then be improvidently dissipated, he who acts thus ungratefully to his benefactors, and cruelly to himself, reflects on his own folly alone. But when active and benevolent agents, who have raised subscriptions, will entail trouble on themselves, and with a feeling almost paternal, charge themselves with a disinterested solicitude for future generations, without a strong effort of the reasoning power, the favour is reduced to a fraction. Dissatisfaction almost necessarily ensues, and the accusation of ingratitude is seldom far behind.

[11] The Rev. James Newton, was Classical Tutor at the Bristol Baptist Academy, in conjunction with the late Dr. Caleb Evans, and, for a short season, the late Robert Hall. He was my most revered and honoured friend, who lived for twenty years an inmate in my Father's family, and to whom I am indebted in various ways, beyond my ability to express. His learning was his least recommendation. His taste for elegant literature; his fine natural understanding, his sincerity, and conciliating manners justified the eulogium expressed by Dr. Evans in preaching his Funeral Sermon, 1789, when he said (to a weeping congregation), that "He never made an enemy, nor lost a friend."

Mr. Newton was on intimate terms with the late Dean Tucker, and the Rev. Sir James Stonehouse, the latter of whom introduced him to Hannah More, who contracted for him, as his worth and talents became more and more manifest, a sincere and abiding friendship. Mr. Newton had the honour of teaching Hannah More Latin. The time of his instructing her did not exceed ten months. She devoted to this one subject the whole of her time, and all the energies of her mind. Mr. Newton spoke of her to me as exemplifying how much might be attained in a short time by talent and determination combined; and he said, for the limited period of his instruction, she surpassed in her progress all others whom he had ever known. H. More was in the habit of submitting her MSS. to Mr. N.'s judicious remarks, and by this means, from living in the same house with him, I preceded the public in inspecting some of her productions; particularly her MS. Poem on the "Slave Trade," and her "Bas Bleu." When a boy, many an evening do I recollect to have listened in wonderment to colloquisms and disputations carried on in Latin between Mr. Newton and John Henderson. It gives me pleasure to have borne this brief testimony of respect toward one on whom memory so often and so fondly reposes! Best of men, and kindest of friends, "farewell till we do meet again!"-(Bowles.)

[12] From his natural unassumed dignity, Mr. Foster used to call Mr. Hall "Jupiter."

[13] Mr. Hall broke down all distinction of sects and parties. On one of his visits to Bristol, when preaching at the chapel in Broadmead, a competent individual noticed in the thronged assembly an Irish Bishop, a Dean, and thirteen Clergymen. The late Dr. Parr was an enthusiastic admirer of Mr. Hall. He said to a friend of the writer, after a warm eulogium on the eloquence of Mr. H. "In short, sir, the man is inspired." Hannah More has more than once said to the writer, "There was no man in the church, nor out of it, comparable in talents to Robert Hall."

[14] I presented Mr. C. with the three guineas, but forbore the publication.

[15] I received a note, at this time, from Mr. Coleridge, evidently written in a moment of perturbation, apologising for not accepting an invitation of a more congenial nature, on account of his "Watch drudgery." At another time, he was reluctantly made a prisoner from the same cause, as will appear by the following note.

"April, 1796.

My dear Cottle,

My eye is so inflamed that I cannot stir out. It is alarmingly inflamed. In addition to this, the Debates which Burnet undertook to abridge for me, he has abridged in such a careless, slovenly manner, that I was obliged to throw them into the fire, and am now doing them myself!…

S. T. C."

[16] This "sheet" of Sonnets never arrived.

[17] A late worthy bookseller of Bristol, who by his exertions obtained one hundred and twenty subscribers for Mr. C.

[18] "My Bristol printer of the Watchman refused to wait a month for his money, and threatened to throw me into jail for between eighty and ninety pounds; when the money was paid by a friend."—Biographia Literaria. Mr. C.'s memory was here grievously defective. The fact is, Biggs the printer (a worthy man) never threatened nor even importuned for his Money. Instead also of nine numbers of the Watchman, there were ten; and the printing of these ten numbers, came but to thirty five pounds. The whole of the Paper (which cost more than the Printing) was paid for by the Writer.

[19] It is evident Mr. C. must have had cause of complaint against one or more of the booksellers before named. It could not apply to myself, as I invariably adhered to a promise I had at the commencement given Mr. Coleridge, not to receive any allowance for what copies of the 'Watchman' I might be so happy as to sell for him.

[20] In all Mr. Coleridge's lectures, he was a steady opposer of Mr. Pitt, and the then existing war; and also an enthusiastic admirer of Pox, Sheridan, Grey, &c., &c., but his opposition to the reigning politics discovered little asperity; it chiefly appeared by wit and sarcasm, and commonly ended in that which was the speaker's chief object, a laugh.

Few attended Mr. C.'s lectures but those whose political views were similar to his own; but on one occasion, some gentlemen of the opposite party came into the lecture-room, and at one sentiment they heard, testified their disapprobation by the only easy and safe way in their power; namely, by a hiss. The auditors were startled at so unusual a sound, not knowing to what it might conduct; but their noble leader soon quieted their fears, by instantly remarking with great coolness, "I am not at all surprised, when the red-hot prejudices of aristocrats are suddenly plunged iuto the cool water of reason, that they should go off with a hiss!" The words were electric. The assailants felt as well as testified, their confusion, and the whole company confirmed it by immense applause! There was no more hissing.

[21] A law just then passed.

[22] It is this general absence of the dates to Mr. C.'s letters, which may have occasioned me, in one or two instances, to err in the arrangement.

[23] Mr. Wordsworth, at this time resided at Allfoxden House, two or three miles from Stowey.

[24] How much is it to be deplored, that one whose views were so enlarged as those of Mr. Coleridge, and his conceptions so Miltonic, should have been satisfied with theorizing merely; and that he did not, like his great Prototype, concentrate all his energies, so as to produce some one august poetical work, which should become the glory of his country.

[25] Sister of the Premier.

[26] It appears from Sir James Macintosh's Life, published by his son, that a diminution of respect towards Sir James was entertained by Mr. For, arising from the above two letters of Mr. Coleridge, which appeared in the Morning Post. Some enemy of Sir James had informed Mr. Fox that these two letters were written by Macintosh, and which exceedingly wounded his mind. Before the error could be corrected, Mr. Fox died. This occurrence was deplored by Sir James, in a way that showed his deep feeling of regret, but which, as might be supposed, did not prevent him from bearing the amplest testimony to the social worth and surpassing talents of that great statesman.

Mr. Coleridge's Bristol friends will remember that once Mr. Fox was idolized by him as the paragon of political excellence; and Mr. Pitt depressed in the same proportion.

[27] The following is the Sonnet to Lord Stanhope, in the first edition, now omitted.

  "Not STANHOPE! with the patriot's doubtful name
  I mock thy worth, FRIEND OF THE HUMAN RACE!
  Since, scorning faction's low and partial aim,
  Aloof thou wendest in thy stately pace,
  Thyself redeeming from that leprous stain—
  NOBILITY! and, aye unterrified,
  Pourest thy Abdiel warnings on the train
  That sit complotting with rebellious pride
  'Gainst her, who from th' Almighty's bosom leapt,
  With whirlwind arm, fierce minister of love!
  Wherefore, ere virtue o'er thy tomb hath wept.
  Angels shall lead thee to the throne above,
  And thou from forth its clouds shalt hear the voice—
  Champion of FREEDOM, and her God, rejoice!

[28] The Skylark.

[29] It is to be regretted that Mr. C. in his emendations, should have excluded from the second verse of the first poem, the two best lines in the piece.

  "And thy inmost soul confesses
    Chaste Affection's majesty."

[30] Mr. C. afterward requested that the "allegorical lines" might alone be printed in his second edition, with this title: "To an Unfortunate Woman, whom the Author had known in the days of her innocence." The first Poem, "Maiden, that with sullen brow," &c. he meant to re-write, and which he will be found to have done, with considerable effect.

[31] Mr. Wordsworth lived at Racedown, before he removed to Allfoxden.

[32] Mr. C. after much hesitation, had intended to begin his second edition with this Poem from the "Joan of Arc," in its enlarged, but imperfect state, and even sent it to the press; but the discouraging remarks, which he remembered, of one and another, at the last moment, shook his resolution, and occasioned him to withdraw it wholly. He commenced his volume with the "Ode to the Departing Year."


  Here Savage lingered long, and here expired!
  The mean—the proud—the censored—the admired!

  If, wandering o'er misfortune's sad retreat,
  Stranger! these lines arrest thy passing feet,
  And recollection urge the deeds of shame
  That tarnish'd once an unblest Poet's fame;
  Judge not another till thyself art free,
  And hear the gentle voice of charity.
  "No friend received him, and no mother's care
  Sheltered his infant innocence with prayer;
  No father's guardian hand his youth maintained,
  Call'd forth his virtues, or from vice restrain'd."
  Reader! hadst thou been to neglect consign'd,
  And cast upon the mercy of mankind;
  Through the wide world, like Savage, forced to stray,
  And find, like him, one long and stormy day;
  Objects less noble might thy soul have swayed,
  Or crimes around thee cast a deeper shade.
  While poring o'er another's mad career,
  Drop for thyself the penitential tear;
  Though prized by friends, and nurs'd in innocence,
  How oft has folly wrong'd thy better sense:
  But if some virtues in thy breast there be,
  Ask, if they sprang from circumstance, or thee!
  And ever to thy heart the precept bear,
  When thine own conscience smites, a wayward brother spare!

J. C.

[34] My brother, when at Cambridge, had written a Latin poem for the prize: the subject, "Italia, Vastata," and sent it to Mr. Coleridge, with whom he was on friendly terms, in MS. requesting the favor of his remarks; and this he did about six weeks before it was necessary to deliver it in. Mr. C. in an immediate letter, expressed his approbation of the Poem, and cheerfully undertook the task; but with a little of his procrastination, he returned the MS. with his remarks, just one day after it was too late to deliver the poem in!

[35] Verbatim, from Burns's dedication of his Poems to the nobility and gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.

[36] It appears that Mr. Burnet had been prevailed upon by smugglers to buy some prime cheap brandy, but which Mr. Coleridge affirmed to be a compound of Hellebore, kitchen grease, and Assafoetida! or something as bad.

[37] Mr. George Burnet died at the age of thirty-two, 1807.

[38] The reader will have observed a peculiarity in most of Mr. Coleridge's conclusions to his letters. He generally says, "God bless you, and, or eke, S. T. C." so as to involve a compound blessing.

[39] Mrs. Newton, Chatterton's sister, had complained to me of the dishonorable conduct of a gentleman, who, some years prior, had called on her, expressing an enthusiastic admiration of her brother's genius, and requesting the melancholy pleasure of seeing all the letters, then in her and her mother's possession. The gentleman appeared quite affected when he saw her brother's writings, and begged to be allowed to take them to his inn, that he might read them at leisure; the voice of sympathy disarmed suspicion, and the timely present of a guinea and a half induced them to trust him with the MSS., under the promise of their being returned in half an hour. They were never restored, and some months afterwards the whole were incorporated and published in a pamphlet, entitled "Love and Madness," by Mr. Herbert Croft. Mrs. Chatterton felt the grievous wrong that had been done her by this publication for the benefit of another, as she often received presents from strangers who called to see her son's writings; she remonstrated with Mr. Croft on the subject, and received £10 with expressions of his regard.

Here the affair rested, till 1796, when Mrs. Newton was advised to write to Mr. Croft, for further remuneration. To this letter, no answer was returned. Mrs. N. then wrote again, intimating that, acting by the advice of some respectable friends, if no attention was paid to this letter, some public notice would he taken of the manner in which he had obtained her brother's papers. Upon this he replied, "The sort of threatening letter which Mrs. Newton's is, will never succeed with me … but if the clergyman of the parish will do me the favour to write me word, through Mrs. Newton, what Chatterton's relations consist of, and, what characters they bear! I will try by everything in my power, to serve them; yet certainly not, if any of them pretend to have the smallest claim upon me."

During Mr. Southey's residence in Bristol, I informed him of this discreditable affair, and accompanied him to Mrs. Newton, who confirmed the whole of the preceding statement. We inquired if she still possessed any writings of her brother's? Her reply was, "Nothing. Mr. Croft had them all," with the exception of one precious relic of no value as a publication, which she meant to retain till death.—The identical pocket book, which Chatterton took with him to London, and in which he had entered his cash account while there, with a list of his political letters to the Lord Mayor, and the first personages in the laud. I now wrote to Mr. Croft, pointing out Mrs. Newton's reasonable chums, and urging him, by a timely concession, to prevent that publicity which, otherwise, would follow. I received no answer. Mr. Southey then determined to print by subscription, all Chatterton's works, including those ascribed to Rowley, for the benefit of Mrs. Newton and her daughter. He sent "Proposals" to the Monthly Magazine, in which he detailed the whole case between Mrs. Newton and Mr. Croft, and published their respective letters. The public sympathized rightly on the occasion, for a handsome subscription followed. Mr. Croft, at that time resided at Copenhagen, when having heard of Mr. S.'s exposure, he published a pamphlet, with the following title.

"Chatterton, and Love and Madness. A Letter from Denmark, respecting an unprovoked attack made upon the writer, during his absence from England, &c." By the Rev. Sir Herbert Croft, Bart. In this he says:—

"I cannot be expected, by any man of honour! or feeling, to descend to answer a scurrilous person, signing himself Robert Southey.

"I have ever reverenced the little finger of Chatterton, more than Mr.
Southey knows how to respect the poor boy's whole body.

"I learn so much of Mr. Southey's justice from his abuse, that I should be ashamed of myself, were this person ever to disgrace me by his praise; which might happen, did he wish to gain money, or fame! by becoming the officious editor of MY WORKS!

"Innocence would less often fall a prey to villany, if it boldly met the whole of a nefarious accusation!

"The great Mr. Southey writes prose somewhat like bad poetry, and poetry somewhat like bad prose.

"Chatterton was the glory of that Bristol which I hope Mr. S. will not farther disgrace.

"Mr. Southey, not content with trying to 'filch from me my good name,' in order to enrich himself, (conduct agreeable enough to what I have heard of BRISTOL Pantisocracy,) but condescends to steal from me my humble prose!" &c. &c.

This edition of Chatterton's works was published in three volumes, 8vo. during a ten months' residence of mine, in London, in the year 1802. Mr. Southey allowed me to make what observations I thought proper in the course of the work, provided that I affixed to them my initials; and, with the generosity which was natural to him, thus wrote in the preface: "The editors (for so much of the business has devolved on Mr. Cottle, that the plural term is necessary) have to acknowledge," &c. &c. "They have felt peculiar pleasure, as natives of the same city, in performing this act of justice to Chatterton's fame, and to the interests of his family."

The result of our labours was, that Mrs. Newton, received more than three hundred pounds, as the produce of her brother's works. This money rendered comfortable the last days of herself and daughter, and Mr Southey and myself derived no common satisfaction in having contributed to so desirable an end.

In this edition Mr. Southey arranged all the old materials, and the consideration of the authenticity of Rowley, I regret to say, devolved exclusively on me. Mr. S. would doubtless have been more successful in his investigations at the Bristol Museum and Herald's College than myself. I however did not spare my best efforts, and was greatly assisted by the late Mr. Haslewood, who had collected one copy of every work that had been published in the Controversy. And as I had obtained much new documentary evidence since that period, besides knowing many of Chatterton's personal friends, I condensed the arguments in his favor into four essays, distinguished by the initials, "J. C."

In the year 1829, having received still an accession of fresh matter, I enlarged these Essays, and printed them in the fourth edition of "Malvern Hills, Poems, and Essays." I thought the subject worthy a full discussion, and final settlement; and to this point I believe it now to be brought.

Higher authority than that of Mr. Wordsworth could hardly be adduced, who on being presented by me with a copy of the above work thus replied,

"My dear sir,

I received yesterday, through the hands of Mr. Southey, a very agreeable mark of your regard, in a present of two volumes of your miscellaneous works, for which accept my sincere thanks. I have read a good deal of your volumes with much pleasure, and, in particular, the 'Malvern Hills,' which I found greatly improved. I have also read the 'Monody on Henderson,' both favorites of mine. And I have renewed my acquaintance with your observations on Chatterton, which I always thought very highly of, as being conclusive on the subject of the forgery….

With many thanks, I remain, my dear Mr. Cottle,

Your old and affectionate friend,

William Wordsworth.

Patterdale, August 2nd, 1829."

[40] War, a Fragment.

[41] John the Baptist, a Poem.

[42] Monody on John Henderson.

[43] Miss Sarah Fricker, afterwards, Mrs. Coleridge.

[44] Relating to these Sonnets, chiefly satirising himself, Mr. C. has said, in his "Biographia;" "So general at that time, and so decided was the opinion concerning the characteristic vices of my style, that a celebrated physician, (Dr. Beddoes) speaking of me, in other respects, with his usual kindness, to a gentleman who was about to meet me at a dinner party, could not however resist giving him a hint not to mention, in my presence, 'The House that Jack Built' for that I was as sore as a boil about that sonnet, he not knowing that I myself was the author of it."

Mr. Coleridge had a singular taste for satirising himself. He has spoken of another ludicrous consequence arising out of this indulgence.

"An amateur performer in verse, expressed to a common friend, a strong desire to be introduced to me, but hesitated in accepting my friend's immediate offer, on the score that 'he was, he must acknowledge, the author of a confounded severe epigram on Mr. C.'s 'Ancient Mariner,' which had given him great pain.' I assured my friend, that if the epigram was a good one, it would only increase my desire to become acquainted with the author, and begged to hear it recited; when, to my no less surprise than amusement, it proved to be one which I had myself, sometime before, written and inserted in the Morning Post."


  Your Poem must eternal be,
    Dear Sir, it cannot fail,
  For 'tis incomprehensible,
    And without head or tail."

[45] The motto was the following:

Duplex nobis vinculum, et amicitae et similium junctarumque Camoenarum; quod utinam neque mors solvat, neque temporis longinquitas!—Groscoll. Epist. ad Car. Utenhov. et Ptol. Lux. Tast.

[46] Eminent writers, particularly poets, should ever remember, they wield a mighty engine for evil or for good. An author, like Mr. Coleridge, may confidently talk of consigning to "pitch black oblivion," writings which he deems immoral, or calculated to disparage his genius; but on works once given to the world, the public lay too tenacious a hold, to consult even the wishes of writers themselves. Improve they may, but withdraw they cannot! So much the more is circumspection required.

[47] Chemical Lectures, by Dr. Beddoes, delivered at the Red Lodge.

[48] A portrait of Mr. Wordsworth, correctly and beautifully executed, by an artist then at Stowey; now in my possession.

[49]Joan of Arc, 4to. first edition, had twenty lines in a page.

[50] Did the report of the "still," in the former page, originate in this broken bottle of brandy?

[51] "Robert Southey and Edith Pricker were married, in St. Mary Redcliffe Church, in the City of Bristol, the 14th day of November, 1795, as appears by the Register of the Parish.

George Campbell, Curate.

Witnesses—Joseph Cottle, Sarah Cottle."

[52] At the instant Mr. Southey was about to set off on his travels, I observed he had no stick, and lent him a stout holly of my own. In the next year, on his return to Bristol, "Here" said Mr. S. "Here is the holly you were kind enough to lend me!"—I have since then looked with additional respect on my old igneous traveller, and remitted a portion of his accustomed labour. It was a source of some amusement, when, in November of 1836, Mr. Southey, in his journey to the West, to my great gratification, spent a few days with me, and in talking of Spain and Portugal, I showed him his companion, the Old Holly! Though somewhat bent with age, the servant (after an interval of forty years) was immediately recognised by his master, and with an additional interest, as this stick, he thought, on one occasion, had been the means of saving his purse, if not his life, from the sight of so efficient an instrument of defence having intimidated a Spanish robber.

[53] See page 32 [Paragraph starting with "The deepest sorrow often admits…." Transcriber.].

[54] During the French war, Spanish dollars received the impression of the King's head, and then passed as the current coin at 4s 6d.

[55] Dr. Hunter, translated St. Pierre.

[56] Dr. Gregory's life was prefixed entire the collection of Chatterton's works, 8 vols. 8vo. Mr. Southey never fulfilled his intention of writing a life Shatterton. The able review of this week, in the Edinburgh was written by Sir Walter Scott.

[57] It was not true, but a vain fancy; causelessly entertained, by, at least, four other ladies, under the same delusion as Miss. W.

[58] On visiting Mr. Southey, at Christ-Church, he introduced to me this Mr. Rickman, whom I found sensible enough, and blunt enough, and seditions enough; that is, simply anti-ministerial. The celebrated Sir G. Rose, had his seat in the vicinity. Sir George was a sort of King of the district. He was also Colonel of a regiment of volunteers. Mr. Rickman told me that the great man had recently made a feast for the officers of his regiment, about a dozen of them, the substantial yeomen of the neighbourhood. After the usual bumper had uproariously been offered to the "King and Constitution; and confusion to all Jacobins," the Colonel, Sir G. called on the Lieutenant-Colonel, after the glasses were duly charged, for a lady-toast. "I'll give you," he replied, "Lady Rose." This being received with all honours, the Major was now applied to for his lady-toast "I can't mend it," he replied, "I'll give Lady Rose." A Captain was now called on; said he, "I am sure I can't mend it, Lady Rose." So that the whole of these military heroes, concurred in drinking good Lady Rose's health.

One of the officers, it appeared, was a bit of a poet, and had composed a choice song for this festive occasion, and which was sung in grand chorus, the Right Honourable Colonel himself, heartily joining. The whole ditty was supremely ludicrous. I remember only the last verse.

  "Sir George Rose is our Commander,
  He's as great as Alexander;
  He'll never flinch, nor stir back an inch,
  He loves fire like a Salamander.

CHORUS—He loves fire like a Salamander."

[59] Walter Savage Landor.

[60] The character of Exeter has been completely changed since the period when this letter was written; and from a town, the least attractive, for improvements of every description it may now vie with any town in England.

[61] Mr. Southey paid this second visit to Lisbon, accompanied by Mrs. Southey.

[62] By comparing Mr. Cattcott's copy with the original, it appeared that Mr. C. had very generally altered the orthography so as to give the appearance of greater antiquity, as 'lette' or 'let,' and 'onne' for 'on,' &c.

[63] The home of an 'Ap (son of) Griffiths, ap Jones, ap Owen, ap Thomas.' Some of the old Welsh families carry their Apping pedigrees down to Noah, when the progress is easy to Adam. Mr. Coleridge noticed how little diversity there was in the Welsh names. Thus in the list of subscribers to 'Owen's Welsh Dictionary,' to which none but Welshmen would subscribe, he found of

The letter D, of 31 names, 21 were Davis or Davies
           E, 30 16 … … Evans
           G, 30 two-thirds … … Griffiths
           H, all Hughes and Howell
           I, 66 all … … Jones
           L, all Lloyds, except 4 Lewises, and 1 Llewellyn
           M, four-fiths … … Morgans
           O, all … … Owen
           R, all Roberts, or Richards
           T, all … … Thomases
           V, all … … Vaughans
           W, 64 56 … … Williams

Mr. Southey felt great satisfaction when he had found a house in Wales that exactly suited him. It was half way up one of the Glamorganshire mountains; well wooded; the immediate scenery fine; the prospect magnificent. The rent was approved, the time of entrance arranged, when, before the final settlement, Mr. S. thought, on a second survey, that a small additional kitchen was essential to the comfort of the house, and required it of the proprietor, preparatory to his taking a lease. To so reasonable a request the honest Welshman stoutly objected; and on this slight occurrence, depended whether the Laurent should take up, perhaps, his permanent residence in the Principality, or wend his way northward, and spend the last thirty years of his life in sight of Skiddaw.

[64] Wm. Churchey was a very honest worthy lawyer, of Brecon, who unfortunately adopted the notion that he was a poet, and to substantiate his claim published the most remarkable book the world ever saw! It was a poem called 'Joseph,' with other poems, in 4to, and of a magnitude really awful! a mountain among the puny race of modern books. The only copy I ever saw was af an old book stall, and I have regretted that I did not purchase it, and get some stout porter to carry it home. Wm. Churchey was a friend of John Wesley. His prodigious 4to was published by subscription, and given away at the paltry sum of one guinea. I have an autograph letter of John Wesley, to his friend Churchey, in which he says,

"My dear brother,

… I have procured one hundred guineas, and hope to procure fifty more.

John Wesley."

Mr. Churchey's pamphlet is thus entitled, "An Apology, by Wm. Churchey, for his public appearance as a Poet. Printed at Trevecca, Breconshire, by Hughes and Co., 1805; and sold by the author, at Brecon, price 6d."

The first paragraph in the 'Apology,' begins thus, the italics the author's own.

"The author has been ostracised from Parnassus by some tribe of the critics on his former work of Weight, if not Merit, one set of whom —the most ancient, the wisest of them all—condemned it in the lump. A whole volume of ten thousand lines, in one paragraph of their Monthly Catalogue, for which they were paid—nothing! without quoting one line! Whereas a score (!) out of some idle sonnet, or some wire-drawn Cibberian ode, shall be held up out of the mud with a placid grin of applause. The author has forgiven them, and keeps, therefore, the name of their pamphlet in the back ground, in the charitable hope of their having fifteen years ago, repented of that injustice' This ponderous work however, to which the author alludes, was his 'Poems and Imitations of the British Poets, in one large vol. in 4to, price only £1 1s. on excellent paper and print! The same price as even 'Jeffrey Gambado's Gambol of Horsemanship' went off as current, at the same time. He out-jockied me; I always was a bad Horseman." &c., &c.

As illustrating one of the extreme points of human nature, I may casually mention that, after Mr. Churchey's death, which soon succeeded the issuing of his 'Apology,' from understanding that his widow was in straitened circumstances, and meeting with a gentleman who was going to Brecon, I requested the favour of him to convey to her a guinea, as a small present. A week after, I received a letter from the widow, thanking me for my kind remembrance, but she said that she was not benefited by it, as Mr. —— said to her, 'This is a guinea, sent to you from Mr. Cottle, of Bristol, but as your husband owed me money, I shall carry it to the credit of his account'; when, buttoning his pocket, he walked away.' I immediately sent another guinea, and requested her not to name so disreputable an action, in one, from whom I had hoped better conduct. This gentleman, till the period of his death, twenty years after, always shunned me! At the time the abstraction took place, he was a wealthy man, and kept his carriage; but from that time he declined in prosperity, and died in indigence.

[65] In a better sent to me by Mr. Foster, dated June 22, 1843, he thus explains the mysterious circumstances, relating to the publication of "Wat Tyler."

"My dear sir,

… I wonder if Mr. Southey ever did get at the secret history of that affair. The story as I heard it was, that Southey visited Winterbottom in prison, and just as a token of kindness, gave him the M.S. of 'Wat Tyler.' It was no fault of Winterbottom that it was published. On a visit to some friends at Worcester, he had the piece with him; meaning I suppose, to afford them a little amusement, at Southey's expense, he being held in great reproach, even contempt, as a turn-coat. At the house where Winterbottom was visiting, two persons, keeping the piece in their reach at bed-time, sat up all night transcribing it, of course giving him no hint of the manoeuvre. This information I had from one of the two operators….

[66] Poor John Morgan was the only child of a retired spirit merchant of Bristol, who left him a handsome independence. He was a worthy kind-hearted man, possessed of more than an average of reading and good sense; generally respected, and of unpresuming manners. He was a great friend and admirer of Mr. Coleridge; deploring his habits, and labouring to correct them. Except Mr. Gillman, there was no individual, with whom Mr. Coleridge lived gratuitously so much, during Mr. M's. residence in London, extending to a domestication of several years. When Mr. Morgan removed to Calne, in Wiltshire, for a long time, he gave Mr. C. an asylum, and till his affairs, through the treachery of others, became involved, Mr. Coleridge, through him, never wanted a home. That so worthy, and generous a minded man should have been thus reduced, or rather ruined in his circumstances, was much deplored by all who knew him, and marked the instability of human possessions and prospects, often little expected by industrious parents.

[67] A large collection of animal bones, many of them in fossil state, consisting of the jaws and other bones, of tigers, hyenas, wolves, foxes, the horse, the bos, &c., the whole obtained by me, in the year 1822, from the Oreston caves, near Plymouth. The number of bones amounted to nearly two thousand. Many of the specimens were lent to Professor Buckland, to get engraved, for a new geological work of his. The major part of the collection I presented to the Bristol Philosophical Institution.

[68] The decrease of the remarkable young lady, Sarah Saunders, my niece, to whom the later Mr. Foster addressed a series of letters, during her illness. These letters are printed in Mr. F's. "Life and Correspondence."



1 Baptist Mission in India

2 Portuguese Literature

3 South Sea Missions

— Lord Valentia's Travels

4 American Annals

5 Life of Nelson

6 Season at Tongataboo

— Graham's Georgics

7 Observador Portuguez

8 Feroe Islands

— On the Evangelical Sects

11 Bell and Lancaster

12 The Inquisition

— Montgomery's Poems

13 Iceland

14 French Revolutionists

15 Count Julian

— Calamities of Authors

16 Manufacturing system and the Poor

19 Bogue and Bennett's History of the Dissenters

21 Nicobar Islands

— Montgomery's World before the Flood

22 23 British Poets

23 Oriental Memoirs

24 Lewis and Clark's Travels

— Barrè Roberts

25 Miot's Expedition to Egypt

25 Life of Wellington

26 do. do.

28 Alfieri

29 Me. La Roche Jacqueline

— The Poor

30 Ali Bey's Travels

— Foreign Travellers in England

31 Parliamentary Reform

32 Porter's Travels

— Rise and Progress of Disaffection

33 Tonga Islands

35 Lope de Vega

37 Evelyn on the means of Improving the People

41 Copy-Right Act

42 Cemeteries

43 Monastic Institutions

45 Life of Marlborough

46 New Churches

48 Life of Wm. Huntington, S.S.

50 Life of Cromwell

52 Dobrizhoffer

53 Camoens

55 Gregorie's Religious Sects

56 Infidelity

57 Burnett's Own Times

59 Dwight's Travels

62 Hayley

— Mrs. Baillie's Lisbon

Mr. Southey expressed an intention of sending me a list of all his remaining papers, in the "Quarterly," which intention was not fulfilled. Presuming on the accuracy of the present list, from Mr. S. himself, there must be some mistakes in the account of Mr. Southey's contributions, as stated in that old and valuable periodical, the "Gentleman's Magazine," for 1844 and 1845.

[70] Every effort was made by me both by advertising and inquiry, but no tidings of the first edition of Bunyan could be obtained in these parts. Very recently I learnt that the first edition had been discovered, and that the particulars might be learned of E. B. Underhill, Esq., Newmarket House, near Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. Upon my writing to this gentleman he politely favoured me with the following gratifying reply.

"Feb. 27, 1847.

Dear Sir,

In answer to your inquiry, the first edition of the first part of the Pilgrim's Progress is the property of J. S. Holford, Esq., a gentleman of large possessions in this county. It was first made known I believe, by the Art Union, that this unique volume was in existence. Some time last summer I applied to Mr. H. for liberty to inspect it, and if agreeable to him, to reprint it. This he at once most liberally granted, and at the request of the council of the Hanserd Knollys' Society, George Offer, Esq., one of our members undertook the task of editor. The book is in a high state of preservation; both the paper and binding being as fresh as they left the hands of the binder. Mr. Offer has most laboriously collated it with subsequent editions, and has found many curious and singular discrepancies.

I remain, yours most truly,

Edwd. B. Underhill.

Jos. Cottle."

In this publication will be found all the desired information on this interesting subject.

Letter from Mr. Offer to Mr. Cottle, on transmitting to him Mr. O.'s correspondence with Mr. Southey, relating to a charge of Plagiarism in John Bunyan.

"Hackney, March 6, 1847.

Dear sir,

Enclosed I send you copies of the correspondence relative to 'Bunyan's
Pilgrim's Progress,' with Mr. Southey.

About the year 1825, two gentlemen called to see my book rarities, and among them a copy of 'Duyfken's ande Willemynkyns Pilgrimagee,' with five cuts by Bolswert, published at Antwerp, 1627, the year before Bunyan's birth. The first plate represents a man asleep—a pilgrim by his bed-side—in the perspective two pilgrims walking together, they are then seen on the ground by some water—in the extreme distance the sun setting. Another plate represents the two pilgrims in a fair, Punch and Judy, &c. A third, one pilgrim under a rock, within a circle of candles, a magician with his wand, smoke and demons over the dismayed pilgrim's head. A fourth, two pilgrims ascending a steep hill, one of them falling head-long down. From a glance of a few moments at this curious book, there shortly afterwards appeared in a newspaper in the North, an account of Banyan's having borrowed some of his plot from this work. This was answered by Mr. Montgomery, and others. Upon Mr. Southey not being able to find the book, when he had undertaken to write the 'Life and Times of Bunyan,' he addressed a letter to his publisher, Mr. Major, in which he says, 'Can you give me Mr. Donce's direction, that I may ask him for some account of the French poem? Cottle refers me to 'Dunlop's History of Fiction,' for an account of a German book, which is of the same character. Bunyan I am sure knew nothing either of the one or the other. If the allegory was not an extension of the most common and obvious of all similitudes—the germ of it might be found in his own works.' Major asked my advice, and I shewed him the book and gave him some little account of it; and soon after I received from Dr. Southey the following letter.

'Keswick, 16 April, 1829.

Sir,—Mr. Major has favoured me with your account of the Dutch work in your possession, which in many parts bears a remarkable resemblance to the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' It would require the strongest possible evidence to convince me, against my will, that Bunyan is not an original writer. The book we know he could not have read in the original; and if there had been a translation of it, it is hardly likely that it should have remained undiscovered till this time; it being almost impossible that it should come into the hands of any one who had not read the Pilgrim's Progress. This is possible, that Bunyan may have heard an account of the book from some Dutch baptist in England, or some English one who had seen it in Holland. I do not think that his obligations to it can have been more than this; but of this I can better judge when I have perused the book, which my knowledge of the language enables me to do, if you favor me with it.

Great men have sometimes been plagiarists; a grave charge of this kind has recently been proved upon Lord Bacon,—no less than that of having taken the fundamental principle of his philosophy from his name-sake, Roger, and claimed it as his own. Bunyan, I am fully persuaded, was too honest and too righteous a man to be guilty of any such baseness. He was in a beaten path of Allegory,—a name, a hint he may have taken, but I think nothing more. You will judge from this, sir, how very far from my intentions or inclination, it would be, in the slightest respect, to depreciate John Bunyan, whose book I have loved from my childhood. And whatever his obligations to the Dutchman may have been, if any there should prove to be, it is surely better that they should be stated by one who loves and honours his memory, than brought forward hereafter by some person in a different spirit; for nothing of this kind can long escape discovery now. My present persuasion is, that he owes nothing to it directly. Something perhaps, indirectly, but not much. And I promise you that I will do him no wrong.

Should you favor me by entrusting me with the book, I shall of course make due mention of the obligation you have conferred.

I remain, sir, yours with respect,

Robert Southey.

To George Offer, Esq.'

The book was immediately sent, and shortly returned with the following note and letter.

'Keswick, 25 April, 1829.

Sir,—Your book has been four and twenty hours in my possession, and I return it with many thanks, having perused it carefully, made notes from it, and satisfied myself most completely, that there is not the slightest reason for supposing Bunyan had ever heard of it, nor that he could ever have taken even a hint from it, if he had read it.

I remain, sir, yours truly,

Robert Southey.

To George Offer, Esq.'

The following letter was addressed to Mr. Major.

'Keswick, April 25,1829.

Dear Sir,

You will perceive by the return of one of your treasures, that the precious parcel arrived safely. I have read through the 'Dutch Original,' and made notes from it;—there is not the slightest resemblance in it to anything in the 'Pilgrim's Progress. The three striking circumstances which you mentioned of the 'Hill of Difficulty,' the 'Slough of Despond,' and 'Vanity Fair,' do not afford any ground for supposing that Bunyan had ever heard of this book; or that even if he had read it, he should have taken one hint from it. Here the incidents are, 1st that the wilful Pilgrim stops in a village crowd to see some juggler's tricks at a fair, and certain vermin in consequence shift their quarters from some of the rabble close to her, to her person. 2nd. That by following a cow's track instead of keeping the high road, she falls into a ditch. And 3rd. That going up a hill at the end of their journey, from whence Jerusalem is in sight, she climbs too high in a fit of presumption, is blown down, and falls into the place whence there is no deliverance. I am very glad to have had an opportunity of comparing it with the French translation, in which, as you may suppose, every thing which is national, and peculiar, and racy, is lost.

The author's name is not to be found in 'Poppen's Bibliotheca Belgica.' Another and larger bible of the same country, ought to be on its way to me from Brussels at this time, and there I shall no doubt find an account of him. But the inquiry is not worth much trouble, seeing how completely all imitation or even resemblance will be disproved by an account of the book. By the by, it cannot be very rare in its own country, seeing it was popular enough for a French translation to be re-printed more than a hundred years after its first appearance. Believe me, dear sir,

Yours faithfully,

Robert Southey.'

The volume contains 294 pages in Dutch. Read, analysed, and a very correct account of it completed in 24 hours!!

I am, my dear sir, yours truly,

George Offer.

Joseph Cottle."

[71] Mr. Southey in a letter to me, dated May 13, 1799, thus writes: "Arch, who purchased of you the first edition of Wordsworth's 'Lyrical Ballads,' tells me, that he expects to lose by them!"

It reflects credit on Hannah More, to whom I had presented the first volume, that she immediately perceived the merits of the "Lyrical Ballads." On my visiting Barley Wood soon after, she said to me, "Your young friend Wordsworth, surpasses all your other young friends," when producing the book, she requested me to read several of the poems, which I did, to the great amusement of the ladies. On concluding, she said, "I must hear 'Harry Gill,' once more." On coming to the words, "O, may he never more be warm!" she lifted up her hands, in smiling horror.

[72] The house of the Pneumatic Institution was situated in Dowry Square, Hotwells; the house in the corner, forming the north-east angle of the Square.

[73] Mr. Davy often asked me to attend his experiments, at the Wells, and as an evidence of the zeal with which he wished to induce as many as he could to pursue his favourite chemistry, in consequence of my taking great interest in his proceedings, he urged me to pursue chemistry, as a science. To prove that he was in earnest, he bought for me a box of chemical tests, acids, alkalies, glass tubes, retorts, blow-pipe, trough, &c. &c. and assisted me in some of my first experiments. The trough I occasionally use at the present time.

[74] This young Philosopher was suspected to be Mr. Davy, himself.

[75] The late Archdeacon Wrangham.

[76] Afterwards incorporated in another poem.

[77] These three initials would be the proper S. T. C. affixed to his garments.

[78] This account of Mr. Coleridge's military life, I read to Mr. Wade, who remarked that the greater part of what he had heard, Mr. Coleridge had, at different times, repeated to him. Mr. W. having been an old and steady friend of Mr. C. I expressed a desire that, he would read the whole MS. Memoir thoughtfully, in my presence, on successive mornings, and, without hesitation, dissent, if he thought it needful, from any of my statements. He afterwards remarked, "I have read deliberately the whole manuscript with intense interest, as all who knew Coleridge will, and, I think, those who knew him not. It is Coleridge himself, undisguised. All the statements I believe to be correct. Most of them I know to be such. There is nothing in this Memoir of our friend to which I object; nothing which I could wish to see omitted." He continued, "With respect to those letters relating to opium, I think you would be unfaithful, if you were to suppress them: but that letter addressed to me, must be published, (according to Mr. Coleridge's solemn injunction,) either by you, or myself. The instruction to be derived from this and his penitential letters addressed to you, is incalculable. All my friends unite with me in this opinion."

Mr. W. related, at this time, one circumstance, received by him from Mr. Coleridge, which was new to me, and which is as follows. One of the men in Mr. C.'s company, had, it appeared a bad case of the small pox, when Mr. C. was appointed to be his nurse, night and day. The fatigue and anxiety, and various inconveniences, involved in the superintendence on this his sorely diseased comrade, almost sickened him of hospital service; so that one or two more such cases would have reconciled him to the ranks, and have made him covet, once more, the holiday play of rubbing down his horse.

[79] At the time Mr. Coleridge belonged to the 15th Light Dragoons, the men carried carbines, in addition to swords and pistols. More recently, a shorter gun has been substituted, called a fusce.

[80] Mr. Stoddart was a gentleman of whom he often talked, and spoke feelingly of Mr. S.'s chagrin, in the earlier part of his professional career. Briefs were then scarce, yet one evening an attorney called with the object of his desire, but Mr. S. was not at home, and the urgency of the case required it to be placed in other hands. This was long a subject of lamentation to the young barrister, and also to his friends; but success followed.

[81] Mr. Coleridge sustained one serious loss, on quitting Malta, which he greatly deplored. He had packed in a large case, all his books and MSS. with all the letters received by him during his residence on the island. His directions were, to be forwarded to England, by the first ship; with Bristol, as its ultimate destination. It was never received, nor could he ever learn what became of it. It may be lying at this moment in some custom-house wareroom, waiting for the payment of the duty! Of which Mr. C. probably was not aware.

[82] It was a remarkable quality in Mr. Coleridge's mind, that edifices excited little interest in him. On his return from Italy, and after having resided for some time in Rome, I remember his describing to me the state of society; the characters of the Pope and Cardinals; the gorgeous ceremonies, with the superstitions of the people, but not one word did he utter concerning St. Peter's, the Vatican, or the numerous antiquities of the place. As a further confirmation, I remember to have been with Mr. Coleridge at York on our journey into Durham, to see Mr. Wordsworth, when, after breakfast at the inn, perceiving Mr. C. engaged, I went out alone, to see the York Minster, being, in the way, detained in a bookseller's shop. In the mean time, Mr. C. having missed me, he set off in search of his companion. Supposing it probable that I was gone to the Minster, he went up to the door of that magnificent structure, and inquired of the porter, whether such an individual as myself had gone in there. Being answered in the negative, he had no further curiosity, not even looking into the interior, but turned away to pursue his search! so that Mr. C. left York, without beholding, or wishing to behold, the chief attraction of the city, or being at all conscious that he had committed by his neglect, high treason against all architectural beauty! This deficiency in his regard for edifices, while he was feverishly alive to all the operations of mind, and to all intellectual inquiries, formed a striking and singular feature in Mr. Coleridge's mental constitution worthy of being noticed.

[83] It was a favourite citation with Mr. Coleridge, "I in them, and thou in me, that they all may he one in us."

[84] In corroboration of this remark, an occurrence might be cited, from the Life of Sir Humphry, by his brother, Dr. Davy.—Sir Humphry, in his excursion to Ireland, at the house of Dr. Richardson, met a large party at dinner, amongst whom, were the Bishop of Raphoe, and another Clergyman. A Gentleman, one of the company, in his zeal for Infidelity, began an attack on Christianity, (no very gentlemanly conduct) not doubting but that Sir H. Davy, as a Philosopher, participated in his principles, and he probably anticipated, with so powerful an auxiliary, an easy triumph over the cloth. With great confidence he began his flippant sarcasms at religion, and was heard out by his audience, and by none with more attention than by Sir Humphry. At the conclusion of his harangue, Sir H. Davy, instead of lending his aid, entered on a comprehensive defence of Christianity, 'in so fine a tone of eloquence' that the Bishop stood up from an impulse similar to that which sometimes forced a whole congregation to rise at one of the impassioned bursts of Massillon.

The Infidel was struck dumb with mortification and astonishment, and though a guest for the night, at the assembling of the company the next morning at breakfast, it was found that he had taken French leave, and at the earliest dawn had set off for his own home.

[85] The father's remark on the occasion was, "There's an end of him! A fine high-spirited fellow!"

[86] Perhaps, the most valuable production of Mr. Foster, as to style and tendency, is the Essay which he prefixed to the Glasgow edition of Doddridge's "Rise and Progress of Religion." Mr. F. having sent me a letter relating to the above Essay, just as it was completed, it may not be unacceptable to the Reader; where he will behold a fresh instance of the complex motives, in which the best of human productions often originate.

"Sept. 10, 1825.

My dear sir,

I am truly sorry not to have seen you, excepting on one short evening for so long a time, and as I expect to go on Monday next to Lyme, I cannot be content without leaving for you a line or two, as a little link of continuity, if I may so express it, in our friendly communications. The preventive cause of my not seeing you, has been the absolute necessity of keeping myself uninterruptedly employed to finish a literary task which had long hung as a dead weight on my hands.

Dr. Chalmers some three years since started a plan of reprinting in a neat form a number of respectable religious works, of the older date, with a preliminary Essay to each, relating to the book, or to any analagous topic, at the writer's discretion. The Glasgow booksellers, Chalmers and Collins, the one the Doctor's brother, and the other his most confidential friend, have accordingly reprinted a series of perhaps now a dozen works, with essays, several by Dr. C.; several by Irving; one by Wilberforce; one by Daniel Wilson, &c. &c. I believe Hall, and Cunningham promised their contributions. I was inveigled into a similar promise, more than two years since. The work strongly urged on me for this service, in the first instance, was "Doddridge's Rise and Progress," and the contribution was actually promised to be furnished with the least possible delay, on the strength of which the book was immediately printed off—and has actually been lying in their warehouse as dead stock these two years. I was admonished and urged again and again, but in spite of the mortification, and shame, which I could not but feel, at these occasioning the publisher a positive loss, my horror of writing, combined with ill health, invincibly prevailed, and not a paragraph was written till toward the end of last year, when I did summon resolution for the attempt. When I had written but a few pages, the reluctant labour was interrupted, and suspended, by the more interesting one of writing those letters to our dear young friend, your niece. (Miss Saunders.) Not of course that this latter employment did not allow me time enough for the other, but by its more lively interest it had the effect of augmenting my disinclination to the other. Soon after her removal, I resumed the task, and an ashamed to acknowledge such a miserable and matchless slowness of mental operation, that the task has held me confined ever since, till actually within these few days. I believe that nothing but a strong sense of the duty of fulfilling my engagement, and of not continuing to do a real injury to the publishers, could have constrained me to so much time and toil. The article is indeed of the length of nearly one half of Doddridge's book, but many of my contemporary makers of sentences, would have produced as much with one fifth part of the time and labour. I have aimed at great correctness and condensation, and have found the labour of revisal and transcription not very much less than that of the substantial composition. The thing has been prolonged, I should say spun out to three times the length which was at first intended, or was required. It has very little reference to the book which it accompanies; has no special topic, and is merely a serious inculcation of the necessity of Religion on young persons, and men of the world. In point of merit, (that you know is the word in such matters) I rate it very moderately, except in respect to correctness, and clearness of expression. If it do not possess this quality, a vast deal of care and labour has been sadly thrown away. I suppose the thing is just about now making up to be sent from the publishers' warehouse. I shall have a little parcel of copies, and shall presume to request the acceptance of one in Dighton Street.

My dear sir, I am absolutely ashamed to have been led into this length of what is no better than egotism, when I was meaning just in five lines, to tell what has detained me from the pleasure of seeing you…. My dear sir.

Yours most truly,

John Foster."

[87] "I think Priestley must be considered the author of modern Unitarianism. I owe, under God, my return to the faith, to my having gone much farther than the Unitarians, and so having come round to the other side. I can truly say, I never falsified the scriptures. I always told them that their interpretations of scripture were intolerable, on any principles of sound criticism; and that, if they were to offer to construe the will of their neighbour, as they did that of their Maker, they would be scouted out of society. I said, plainly and openly, that it was clear enough, John and Paul were not Unitarians.

I make the greatest difference between 'ans' and 'isms.' I should deal insincerely, if I said, that I thought Unitarianism was Christianity. No, as I believe, and have faith in the doctrine, it is not the truth in Jesus Christ. By-the-by, what do you (Unitarians) mean, by exclusively assuming the title of Unitarians? As if Trio-Unitarians were not necessarily Unitarians, as much (pardon, the illustration) as an apple-pie, must of course be a pie! The schoolmen would perhaps have called you Unicists, but your proper name is Psilanthropists, believers in the mere human nature of Christ…. Unitarianism, is in effect, the worst of one kind of Atheism, joined to one of the worst kinds of Calvinism. It has no covenant with God, and it looks upon prayer as a sort of self-magnetizing;—a getting of the body and temper into a certain status, desirable, per se, but having no covenanted reference to the Being to whom the prayer is addressed.

The pet texts of Socinians are quite enough for their confutation with acute thinkers. If Christ had been a mere man, it would have been ridiculous in him to call himself the 'Son of Man;' but being God and man, it then became, in his own assumption, a peculiar and mysterious title. So, if Christ had been a mere man, his saying, 'My father is greater than I,' (John xv. 28.) would have been as unmeaning. It would be laughable, for example, to hear me say, my 'Remorse' succeeded indeed, but Shakspeare is a greater dramatist than I,' But how immeasurably more foolish, more monstrous, would it not be for a man, however honest, good, or wise, to say 'But Jehovah is greater than I.'

"Either we have an immortal soul, or we have not. If we have not, we are beasts; the first and wisest of beasts it may be, but still true beasts. We shall only differ in degree, and not in kind; just as the elephant differs from the slug. But by the concession of all the materialists, of all the schools, or almost all, we are not of the same kind as beasts; and this also we say, from our own consciousness. Therefore, methinks, it must be the possession of a soul within us, that makes the difference.

"Read the first chapter of the Book of Genesis without prejudice, and you will be convinced at once. After the narrative of the creation of the earth and brute animals, Moses seems to pause, and says, 'And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' And in the next chapter, he repeats the narrative.—'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;' and then he adds these words, 'and man became a living soul.' Materialism will never explain these last words."

[88] The following notice of Mr. C.'s opium habits, with the reasons for disclosing them, were prefixed to the "Early Recollections," ten years ago, but the arguments are equally applicable at this time, 1847.

[89] A Dissenting minister of Bristol.

[90] It is apprehended that this must be a mistake. I sent Mr. Coleridge five guineas for my Shakespeare ticket, and entertain no doubt but that some others did the same. But his remark may refer to some succeeding lecture, of which I have no instinct recollection.

[91] A request of permission from Mr. Coleridge, to call on a few of his known friends, to see if we could not raise an annuity for him of one hundred a year, that he might pursue his literary objects without pecuniary distractions.

[92] A worthy medical Friend of Bristol, who first in that city, interested himself in the establishment of infant schools.

[93] This long sentence, between brackets, was struck out by Mr. Southey, in perusing the MS., through delicacy, as it referred to himself; but the present occasion it is restored.

[94] Some supplemental lecture.

[95] Mr. Coleridge, in his "Church and State," speaks of employing a drawer in which were "too many of my unopened letters."

[96] These four lines in the edition of Mr. C.'s Poems, published after his death, are oddly enough thrown into the "Monody on Chatterton," and form the four opening lines. Many readers may concur with myself in thinking, that the former commencement was preferable; namely;—

"when faint and sad o'er sorrow's desert wild, Slow journeys onward poor misfortune's child;" &c.

[97] This man must hare been just the kind of vigilant superintendent Mr. C. desired; ready to fetch a book, or a box of snuff, &c., at command. The preceding occurrence would not have been introduced, but to illustrate the supreme ascendancy which opium exercises over its unhappy votaries.

[98] This statement requires an explanation, which none now can give. Was the far larger proportion of this £300 appropriated to the discharge of Opium debts? This does not seem unlikely, as Mr. C. lived with friends, and he could contract few other debts.

[99] Such were omitted in the published work.

[100] When Coleridge dwelt at the 'Oat and Salutation,' in Newgate Street, and talked of leaving it, his conversation had brought so many customers to the house, that the landlord offered him free-quarters if he would only stay and continue to talk.

[101] Mr. Poole, who requested it as a favour, came all the way from Stowey to peruse my MS. "Recollections of Coleridge," and who I have good reason to believe, without any unkind intention, communicated a report to C.'s relations.

[102] Mr. Southey's grandfather lived in the old manor-house at Bedminster, where, in his younger days. Mr. S. passed many of his happiest hours. When spending a week with me at Bedminster, with a year of the date of this letter, he went to the old house, and requested permission of the strangers who inhabited his grandfather's mansion, to walk round the garden, and renew his acquaintance with the old trees which he used to climb nearly six years before; a request which was readily granted. The revival of such interesting associations, had they occurred at a former period, would doubtless have produced some exquisite poetical record.

[103] The illness of Mrs. Edith Southey.

[104] Mr. S. deemed it an admirable likeness of Mr. W. as he appeared in younger life; and said that it bore at the present time, a striking resemblance to Mr. W.'s son.

[105] The eminent Edinburgh Professor. For three years the private tutor of Mr. T. Wedgewood.

[106] Westbury, near Bristol, the then residence of Mr. John Wedgewood, Esq.

[107] The then residence of Mr. Wordsworth.

[108] List of Works and Poems which Mr. Coleridge intended to write, with the pages in which they are noticed.

[Transcriber's note: After the page number the starting words of the matching paragraph are given.]

    Poem on the Nativity (800 lines), p. 66 ["He speaks in the same

Plan of General Study, p. 66 ["In a letter of Mr. C. dated"]

Pantisocracy, 4to., p. 73 ["Before I enter on an important"]

17 other works, p. 73 [See previous.]

Translations of Modern Latin Poets 2 vols. 8vo., p. 73 [See previous.]

8 Sonnets, p. 81 ["With regard to the Poems I mean to"]

A book on Morals, in answer to Godwin, p. 102 ["Wordsworth's conversation aroused me"]

Oberon of Wieland (Trans.), p. 160 ["P. S. I am translating the"]

Ballad. 340 lines, p. 173 ["I have finished my Ballad, it is"]

3 Works, promised, p. 292 ["Coleridge has left London for Keswick"]

New Review, p. 306 ["The preceding letter of Mr. Coleridge led"]

    Lectures on Female Education, p. 357 ["Even so the two far, far

    Odes on the different sentences of the Lord's Prayer, p. 387
    ["You will wish to know something of myself"]

    Treatise on the Corn Laws, p. 390 ["Indeed from the manner in
    which it"]

    Hist. of German Belles Lettres, p. 427 ["What have I done in

Life of Lessing, p. 427 [See previous.]

    Introduction to Lessing's Life, p. 437 ["Have you seen my

    Progressiveness of all Nature, p. 430 ["Now I make up my mind to
    a sort"]

    Principles of Population, p. 431 ["I shall remain in London till

    Finishing of Christabel, p. 438 ["There happen frequently little

Letters and condition of German Boors, p. 442 [See previous.]

A Comedy, p. 442 ["My littlest one is a very stout boy"]

    Essay on writing in Newspapers, p. 445 ["I cannot write that

    Essay on Style in Prose and Verse, p. 446 ["Very soon however I
    shall present"]

Essay on Hall, Milton, and Taylor, p. 446 [See previous.]

Essay on Johnson and Gibbon, p. 446 [See previous.]

Book on the subject of Poetry, p. 446 [See previous.]

Heroic Poem on the Siege of Jerusalem, p. 447 ["I have, since my twentieth year"]

[109] An intention not fulfilled.

[110] Mr. Thomas Wedgewood visited the continent in 1803, with Mr. Underwood as his travelling companion. He purposed to have proceeded to the continent in 1804; but his disorders increasing, he retired to his seat, near Blandford, and died July 10, 1805, aged 34. Mr. Coleridge, in vain, recommended a continental journey.

Josiah Wedgewood, Esq., died July 13, 1843, aged 74.

[111] Mr. Coleridge, when at the University of Gottingen, found pleasant English society. With several gentlemen (students) whom he there met, (Dr. Parry, the present eminent physician of Bath; Dr. Carlyon, the no less eminent physician of Truro; Captain Parry, the North Pole Navigator; and Mr. Chester.) They together made an excursion to the Hartz mountains. Many striking incidents respecting this pedestrian excursion are before the public, in Mr. C.'s own letters; and it may here be added, Dr. Carlyon has published a work, entitled "Early Years and Late Reflections," which gives among other valuable matter, many additional particulars connected with this visit to the Brockhen, as well as interesting notices concerning Mr. Coleridge, during his residence in Germany. Dr. C. has more recently published a second volume, with able dissertations, chiefly on Medical Science.

[112] Trevecka, a college established by Lady Huntingdon.

[113] After JOHN HENDERSON'S acquaintance and friendship had been matured with Dean Tucker, he informed a particular friend, the Rev. James Newton, "that whenever he was in the company of young Henderson, he considered himself as a Scholar in the presence of his Tutor." The late Robert Hall also well knew John Henderson, and in the latter part of his life, referring to him, told me, that he considered John Henderson to have been a Prodigy, and that, when in his company, he always considered himself as a pupil.

[114] A German at Oxford was once much frightened by coming into the room while JOHN HENDERSON was exercising his mimicry, for, as he protested, he thought he heard himself talking at a distance. No person needed to have gone out of HENDERSON'S company to have heard and almost seen Dr. Johnson. During one of the Doctor's annual visits to Oxford, HENDERSON and he one evening, for several hours, amused those around them, by conversing expressly in hard words. It was generally admitted that JOHN HENDERSON discovered the greater talent at this verbal forgery. And to meet the Doctor on his own ground, was indeed a presumptuous thing. Their conversations, in Latin, (often extending through a whole evening,) were deemed splendid, as they were classically chaste. Dr. Adams, it was said, was the only man in Oxford who approximated toward an equality with JOHN HENDERSON in Latin colloquisms.

[115] His rooms, at Pembroke College, were those which had been occupied by Dr Johnson.

[116] As a proof of his self-command, the following incident may be adduced. During his residence at Oxford, a student of a neighbouring college, proud of his logical acquirements, was solicitous of a private disputation with the renowned Henderson; some mutual friends introduced him, and having chosen his subject, they conversed for some time with equal candour and moderation; but at length Henderson's antagonist, perceiving his confutation inevitable, in the height of passion, threw a full glass of wine in John Henderson's face. J. H. without altering his features or changing his position, gently wiped his face, and then coolly replied, "This, sir, is a digression; now for the argument." It is hardly necessary to add, the insult was resented by the company turning the aggressor out of the room.