Imatges de pÓgina

their after-growth. A distinguished rank might not | indeed then be awarded to my exertions, but I should dare look forward to an honourable acquittal." In temper and disposition Coleridge is kind and amiable. His person is bulky and his physiognomy is heavy, but his eye is remarkably fine ; and neither envy nor uncharitableness have made any successful impression in attacking

his moral character. His family have long resided with Mr Southey's in the north of England; the narrow pecuniary circumstances of our poet are assigned as the reason. It is arduously desired by all lovers of the Muses, that the author of the - Ancient Mariner,” and of . Geneviève," may see life protracted to a green old age, and yet produce works which may rival those of his departed years.

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Cowrostrioxs resembling those here collected are not unfrequently condemned for their querulous Egotism. But Egotism is to be condemned then only when it offeuds against time and place, as in a History or an Epic Poem. To censure it in a Monody or Sonnet is almost as absurd as to dislike a circle for being round. Why then write Sonnets or Monodies? Because they give me pleasure when perhaps nothing else could. After the more violent emotions of Sorrow, the mind demands amusement, and can find it in employment alone: but, full of its late sufferings, it can endure no employment not in some measure connected with them. Forcibly to turn away our attention to general subjects is a painful and most often an unavailing effort. But of bow grateful to a wounded heart The Lale of Misery to impartFrom others' eyes bid artless sorrows flow,

And raise esteem upon the base of Woe! Snaw.

The communicativeness of our Nature leads us to describe our own sorrows; in the endeavour to describe them, intellectual activity is exerted; and from intellectual activity there results a pleasure, which is gradually associated, and mingles as a corrective, with the painful subject of the description. • True!” (it may be answered, a but how are the Public interested in your Sorrows or your Description on We are for ever attributing personal Unities to imaginary Aggregates. What is the Public, but a term for a number of scattered individuals? of whom as many will be interested in these sorrows, as have experienced the same or similar. Holy be the lay which mourning soothes the mourner on his way.

If I could judge of others by myself, 1 should not hesitate to affirm, that the most interesting passages are those in which the Author develops his own feelings? The sweet voice of Cona" never sounds so sweetly, as when it speaks of itself; and I should almost suspect that man of an unkindly heart, who could read the opening of the third book of the Paradise Lost without pecular emotion. By a Law of our Nature, he, who

* Ossian.

philosophical accuracy when he classes Love and Poetry, as producing the same effects: Love and the wish of Poets when their tongue Wonld teach to others' bosoms, what so charms Their own. Pleasures of Imagination.

There is one species of Egotism which is truly disgusting; not that which leads us to communicate our feelings to others, but that which would reduce the feelings of others to an identity with our own. The Atheist, who exclaims a pshaw!" when he glances his eye on the praises of Deity, is an Egotist: an old man, when he speaks contemptuously of Love-verses, is an Egotist: and the sleek Favourites of Fortune are Egotists, when they condemn all - melancholy, discontented - verses. Surely, it would be candid not merely to ask whether the poem pleases ourselves, but to consider whether or no there may not be others, to whom it is well calculated to give an innocent pleasure.

I shall only add, that each of my readers will, I hope, remember, that these Poems on various subjects, which he reads at one time and under the influence of one set of feelings, were written at different times and prompted by very different feelings; and therefore that the supposed inferiority of one Poem to another may sometimes be owing to the temper of mind in which he happens to peruse it.

My poems have been rightly charged with a profusion of double-epithets, and a general turgidness I have pruned the double-epithets with no sparing hand; and used my best efforts to tame the swell and glitter both of thought and diction." This latter fault however had

' Without any feeling of anger, I may yet be allowed to expres some degree of surprise, that after having run the critical gauntlet for a certain class of faults, which I had, viz. a too ornate, and elaborately poetic diction, and nothing having come before the judgment-seat of the Reviewers during the long interval, I should for at least seventeen years, quarter after quarter, have been placed by them in the foremost rank of the proscribed, and made to abide the brunt of abuse and ridicule for faults directly opposite, viz. bald and prosaic language, and an affected simplicity Footh of matter and manner—saults which assuredly did not enter into the character of my compositions.—Literary Life, i, 51. Published 1817.


insinuated itself into my Religious Musings with such intricacy of union, that sometimes I have omitted to disentangle the weed from the fear of snapping the flower. A third and heavier accusation has been brought against me, that of obscurity; but not, I think, with equal justice. An Author is obscure, when his conceptions are dim and imperfect, and his language incorrect, or unappropriate, or involved. A poem that abounds in allusions, like the Bard of Gray, or one that impersonates high and abstract truths, like Collins's Ode on the poetical character, claims not to be popular—but should be acquitted of obscurity. The deficiency is in the Reader. But this is a charge which every poet, whose imagination is warm and rapid, must expect from his contemporaries. Milton did not escape it; and it was adduced with virulence against Gray and Collins. We now hear no more of it: not that their poems are better understood at present, than they were at their first publication; but their fame is established; and a critic would accuse himself of frigidity or inattention, who should profess not to understand them. But a living writer is yet." judice; and if we cannot follow his conceptions or enter into his feelings, it is more consoling to * pride to consider him as lost beneath, than as soaring above ". if any man expect from my poems the same easiness of style which he admires in a drinking-song, for him I have not written. Intelligibilia, non intellectum adfero. I expect neither profit or general fame by my writings; and I consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own ... exceeding great reward; it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and it has given me the habit of W*ing to discover the Good and the Beautiful in all that

meets and surrounds me. S. T. C.



Main of my Love, sweet Genevieve '
In beauty's light you glide along :
Your eye is like the star of eve,
And sweet your voice, as seraph's song.
Yet not your heavenly beauty gives
This heart with passion soft to tow:
within your soul a voice there lives!
It bids you hear the tale of woe.
when sinking low the sufferer wan
Beholds no hand outstretch'd to save,
Fair, as the bosom of the swan
That rises graceful o'er the wave,
I've seen your breast with pity heave,
And therefore love I you, sweet Genevieve'

SONNET. To The AUTUMNAL MOON. Milo Splendour of the various-vested Night! Mother of wildly-working visions' hail! 1 watch thy gliding, while with watery light Thy weak eye glimmers through a sleecy veil;

And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gathered blackness lost on high;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o'er the awaken'd sky.
Ah such is Hope! as changeful and as fair!
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the dragon-wing'd Despair:
But soon emerging in her radiant might,
She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.



On the wide level of a mountain's head (I knew not where, but 't was some faery placc) Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread, Two lovely children run an endless race, A sister and a brother! This far outstript the other; Yet ever runs she with reverted face, And looks and listens for the boy behind: For he, alas! is blind O'er rough and smooth with even step he pass'd, And knows not whether he be first or last.


O 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 threescore years and ten
But doubly strange, where life is but a breath
To sigh and pant with, up Want's rugged steep.

Away, Grim Phantom! Scorpion King, away !
Reserve thy terrors and thy stings display
For coward Wealth and Guilt in robes of state!
Lo! by the grave I stand of one, for whom
A prodigal Nature and a niggard Doom
(That all bestowing, this withholding all)
Made each chance knell from distant spire or done
Sound like a seeking Mother's anxious call,
Return, poor Child! Home, weary Truant home !

Thee, Chatterton! these unblest stones protect
From want, and the bleek freezings of neglect.
Too long before the vexing Storm-blast driven
Here hast thou found repose' beneath this sod!
Thou! O vain word! thou dwell'st not with the clod!
Amid the shining lost of the Forgiven
Thou at the throne of Mercy and thy God
The triumph of redeeming Love dost hymn
(Believe it, O my soul') to harps of Seraphim.

Yet oft, perforce ('t is suffering Nature's call),
I weep, that heaven-born Genius so shall fall;
And oft, in Fancy's saddest hour, my soul
Averted shudders at the poison'd bowl.
Now groans my sickening heart, as still I view
Thy corse of livid hue;
Now indignation checks the feeble sigh,
or slashes through the tear that Glistens in mine eye'

Is this the land of song-ennobled line?
Is this the land, where Genius ne'er in vain
Pour'd forth his lofty strain?
Ah me! yet Spenser, gentlest bard divine,
Beneath chill Disappointment's shade
His weary limbs in lonely anguish laid.
And o'er her darling dead
Pity hopeless hung her head,
While - mid the pelting of that merciless storm,”
Sunk to the cold earth Otway's famish'd form:

Sublime of thought, and confident of fame,
From vales where Avon winds, the Minstrel" came.
Light-hearted youth! aye, as he hastes along,
He meditates the future song,
How dauntless AElla fray'd the Dacyan foe;
And while the numbers flowing strong
In eddies whirl, in surges throng,
Exulting in the spirits' genial throe
In tides of power his life-blood seems to flow.

And now his cheeks with deeper ardors flame, His eyes have glorious meanings, that declare More than the light of outward day shines there, A holier triumph and a sterner aim! Wings grow within him; and he soars above Or Bard's, or Minstrel's lay of war or love. Friend to the friendless, to the Sufferer health, He hears the widow's prayer, the good man's praise; To scenes of bliss transmutes his fancied wealth, And young and old shall now see happy days. on many a waste he bids trim gardens rise, Gives the blue sky to many a prisoner's eyes; And now in wrath he grasps the patriot steel, And her own iron rod he makes Oppression feel.

Sweet Flower of Hope! free Nature's genial child !
That didst so fair disclose thy early bloom,
Filling the wide air with a rich perfume!
For thee in vain all heavenly aspects smiled;
From the hard world brief respite could they win–
The frost nipp'd sharp without, the canker prey'd within'
Ah! where are fled the charms of vernal Grace,
And Joy's wild gleams that lightened o'er thy face?
Youth of tumultuous soul, and haggard eyes
Thy wasted form, thy hurried steps I view,
On thy wan forehead starts the lethal dew,
And ob! the anguish of that shuddering sigh

Such were the struggles of the gloomy hour, When Care, of wither'd brow, Prepared the poison's death-cold power: Already to thy lips was raised the bowl, When near thce stood Affection meek (iler bosom bare, and wildly pale her cheek), Thy sullen gaze she bade thee roll On scenes that well might melt thy soul; Thy native cot she slash’d upon thy view, Tiry native cot, where still, at close of day, Peace smiling sate, and listen'd to thy lay; Thy Sister's shrieks she bade thee hear, And mark thy Mother's thrilling tear; See, see her breast's convulsive throe, Her silent agony of woe: Ah! dash the poison'd chalice from thy hand!

* Avon, a river near Bristol; the birth-place of Chatterton.

And thou hadst dash'd it, at her soft command,
But that Despair and Indignation rose,
And told again the story of thy woes;
Told the keen insult of the unfeeling heart;
The dread dependence on the low-born mind;
Told every pang, with which thy soul must smart,
Neglect, and grinning Scorn, and Want combined
Recoiling quick, thou bad'st the friend of pain
Roll the black tide of Death through every freezing vein'

Ye woods! that wave o'er Avon's rocky steep,
To Fancy's ear sweet is your murmuring deep'
For here she loves the cypress wreath to weave
Watching, with wistful eye, the saddening tints of eve.
Here, far from men, amid this pathless grove,
In solemn thought the Minstrel wont to rove,
Like star-beam on the slow sequester'd tide
Lone-glittering, through the high tree branching wide.
And here, in Inspiration's eager hour,
When most the big soul feels the mastering power,
These wilds, these caverns roaming o'er,
Round which the screaming sea-bulls soar,
With wild unequal steps he pass'd along,
Oft pouring on the winds a broken song:
Anon, upon some rough rock's fearful brow
Would pause abrupt—and gaze upon the waves below.

Poor Chatterton' he sorrows for thy fate
who would have praised and loved thee, ere too late.
Poor Chatterton' farewell! of darkest hues
This chaplet cast 1 on thy unshaped tomb;
But dare no longer on the sad theme muse,
Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom:
For oh! big gall-drops, shook from Folly's wing,
IIave blacken'd the fair promise of my spring;
And the stern Fate transpierced with viewless dart
The last pale Hope that shiver'd at my heart!

Hence, gloomy thoughts! no more my soul shall dwell
On joys that were! No more endure to weigh
The shame and anguish of the evil day,
wisely forgetful! O'er the ocean swell
Sublime of Hope I seek the cottaged dell,
Where Virtue calm with careless step may stray;
And, dancing to the moon-light roundelay,
The wizard Passions weave a holy spell!

O Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive!
Sure thou wouldst spread the canvas 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 Poesy
All deftly mask'd, as hoar Antiquity.

Alas vain Phantasies! the fleeting brood
Of Woe self-solaced in her dreamy mood!
Yet will I 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,
Will raise a solemn 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.

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