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that when he was at Eton, the school- and Penseroso, were suggested by the boys of the fifth form were taught introductory poem in Burton's Anato give the same explanation, and he tomy of Melancholy, and a song in cites a well-known passage in Lu- praise of melancholy, in Beaumont and cian in support of the interpretation. Fletcher's comedy of Nice Valour or The fact is, that the explanation is the Passionate Madman, has supplied every where given, and yet to any not only many of the images, but what one remembering the words of the in- is of more moment, the music of which junction, it leaves a ditficulty which they are in some sort the echo. Where they contain wholly unexplained, and has Milton referred to either of these, besides, as Mr. H. N. Coleridye says, which yet are the certain sources of the ballot was probably not known in the poems we have mentioned ? Let the days of Pythagoras. However, we any one read Coleridge's translation of remember, on the very day we read Wallenstein together with the original, the passage in Tait's Magazine, we met to which it is in every single scene, by mere accident, wholly unconnected almost in every line, superior; let any with any examination of the particular one see what aidditions have been sisubject, the following sentence in “ St. lently and unostentatiously made by Pierre's Studies of Nature" :
Coleridge, without in a single instance Pythagoras has been calumniated as claiming as his own what he has thus the author of various superstitious prac- given to another ; expanding, enforctices, among the rest abstinence from ing, illustrating, and winning fame beans, &c. but as the truth is frequently for another; prodigally Ainging away obliged to appear to mankind under a veil, in translation what, were his own fame 80 the philosopher, under this allegory, a matter of the slightest regard to him, conveyed to his disciples the advice to ab- ought to have been embodied in works stain from public employments, because it more properly his own. Plagiarism ! was the custom to make use of beans in Is there a master-spirit of the age voting at the election of magistrates." which has not acknowledged intellecStudies of Nature, Vol. 2, p. 193, Scho- tual obligations to Coleridge? The berl's Translation.
critics who have been most anxious for The “ Opiun-Eater," who makes a the fame of our great poets, have been very solemn story of this matter, amus the most anxious to trace where they ingly enough makes one of the interlo- could the origin of every word; we cutors in this dramaticmystery say,“ The are by no means sure that the readers other day, at a dinner parry, this ques- who enjoy poetry most, are those who tion arising about Pythagoras and his feel most pleasure in this minute critibeans, Coleridge gave us an interpre- cism, but to those who wish to cultitation, which I suspect from his manner vate poetical talents such study is absowas not original.” Was there ever such lutely necessary.
How the language nonsense, then, as this, of'accusing him of any original poet has been formed, of the wish to clain it as his own ? must always be a work of some curio
Another count in the “ Opium- sity. Of that which is peculiar in any Eater's” indictment is, that the “ Hymn writer to ask how it has originated is before sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni” surely to do any thing but question is an expansion of a German poem, by his originality ; suppose we find from Frederica Brun. Mr. H. N. Coleridge one of Newton's or Warton's notes on prints Frederica Brun's poem. There is Milton, the passages in some old rosome resemblance. That Coleridge would mance, or some forgotten volume of have denied this we utterly disbelieve. geography, that have given hin the That in estimating the inerit of his names of persons and places, which poem if he was ever led to speak of have been woven by him into one of the matter, he should have regarded those magic webs of sound, rather such resemblance a matter of very than of thought, that having once little moment was quite natural, and it fixed themselves, in the ear, hold the he said so, he expressed an opinion in mind for ever captive, in most of the which we entirely agree.
cases to which we allude, the evidence Take any one of our poets at ran- that the particular passages referred to, dom-Milton lies accidentally upon originated the thonght must be altoour table ;—the poeins of the Allegro gether inconclusive,-but suppose the
most distinct evidence of the obligation materials. moulded in whatever forms
“ Man's feeble race what ills await
Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of war.” We open one of Gray's commentators fine passage are adumbrated from a stanza almost at random. Gilbert Wakefield of Milton's admirable Hymn on the tells us solemnly, nothing doubting, Nativity: “ The imagery and thoughts of this
So when the sun in bed,
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze." That there is some general resem try with which we can compare them, blance between the passages, there can they undoubtedly are ; but Mr. Colebe no doubt. Suppose Gray to have ridge's true poetry has powers fir said, “ I had no recollection of Milton higher than those of any eloquence. when I wrote the lines," is there one Inthe Biographia Literaria, a general man in the world who could entertain reference is made to Schelling instead of the slightest doubt of the fact? The marking a translated passage with invertpassages of Milton and Coleridge, ined coinmas. We looked at the passage which the ridiculous charge is founded in Coleridge, and we own we have so have by no means so strong a resem, little love for metaphysics—which,when blance as those of Milton and Gray. we can understand it, seems to end in The passages in Mr. Coleridge are resolving itself into something which far from being equal to bis general style. we had before known, that we wish We must, at some future time, say a few Coleridge had left the supposed trea. words on Mr. Coleridge's poetry. The sure where he found it. However, its political odes were written very rapidly, value is not the question. In the very and before his style was perfectly work of Coleridge's from which the formed; eloquent beyond, almost, any passage is taken, are these words quo
ted by Mr. Hare in the British Maga External nature may be conceived to zine, and from him in the preface to exist without the notion of the observer's the Table Talk :
own intelligence (i. e. in the language of “« It would be a mere act of justice to the German metaphysicians-subjectimyself, were I to warn my readers, that vity) forming a part of the conception. an identity of thought, or even similarity The science of Natural Philosophy of phrase, will not be at all times a cer commences with this proposition as its tain proof that the passage has been bor- postulate ; and the Natural Pbilorowed from Schelling, or that the concep- sopher, whatever be his system, having tions were originally learnt from him. to consider outward nature alone, exMany of the most striking resemblances, cludes Mind, and every attribute of indeed all the main and fundamental mind, as being no part of the objects he ideas, were born and matured in my has to examine. Occult qualities, spimind, before I had seen a page of the ritual agents, &c. cannot be by him German philosopher. God forbid that introduced as causes ; and yet every I should be suspected of a wish to enter system of Natural Philosophy unconinto a rivalry with Schelling for the sciously and against its will, as it were, honours so unequivocally his right, not tends from Nature to Intelligence. The only as a great and original genius, but principle of a law breaks forth, the as the founder of the philosophy of Na- husk drops off, phenomena become ture, and as the most successful improver spiritual
, and at length cease altogeof the Dynamic system. To Schelling ther in our consciousness. The very we owe the completion, and the most
materiality of light, of magnetism, and important victories, of this revolution in of gravitation have become doubtful philosophy. To me it will be happiness and while every system of Natural and honour enough, should I succeed in Philosophy sets out with the exclurendering the system itself intelligible to my countrymen, and in the application of tion of Mind from its premises, yet it to the most awful of subjects for the every one of them ends in tending to
exhibit Nature as Intelligence. most important of purposes. Whether a
On the other hand, in the Philosowork is the offspring of a man's own spirit, and the product of original think- phy of Mind, the inquirer regards noing, will be discovered by those who are its thing as existing but mind. For the sole legitimate judges by better tests than purposes of his investigation, matter the mere reference to dates. For read- may be assumed-nay, in his premises, ers in general, let whatever shall be found must be considered, not to exist. Imin this or any future work of mine, that presses, impacts, and all the old idoresembles or coincides with ihe doctrines satries of what may be called the maof my German predecessor, though con terial schools of Natural Philosophy, temporary, be wholly attributed to him ; are superstitions and prejudices that provided that the absence of direct re Science absolutely excludes. Any infeferences to his books, which I could not at rences from the properties of matter are all times make with truth, as designating here out of place, and cannot but miscitations or thoughts actually derived from lead. him, and which I trust, would, after this In the case of the Natural Philosogeneral acknowledgment, be superfluous, pher, exclusion of Mind from his prebe not charged on me as an ungenerous mises, and in the other the necessity concealment or intentional plagiarism."
of treating the existence of Matter as a This defence is enough to satisfy prejudice, are alike mere arbitrary arany one, and yet it does not express gumentative assumptions. The matehalf the strength of Coleridge's case. rialism of the first, and the scepticism We shall first endeavour to state the of the second, are alike the conditions argument of Schelling and Coleridge, of each separate investigation.* The as we best can.
absolute truth of either postulate is not
* The state of voluntary scepticism which the mind arbitrarily assumes for the purposes of Philosophical Investigation, and without which Metaphysics could not exist as a Science, is well described in Wills's - Philosophy of Unbelief," and the apparent support which the language of Metaphysics thus gives to the cause of Intidelity, is exposed with singular acuteness.—(See “ Letters on the Philosophy of Unbelief,” by the Rev James Wills.-FELLOWES, London, 1835.)
asserted, nor any thing more than that We never read the severer parts of such postulates are the necessary pre- Mr. Coleridge's prose works, without requisites for each science respectively. remembering his own affecting poem : The premise assumed in the Philo
“For not to think of what I needs must feel, sophy of Mind-man's own conscious
But to be still and patient all I can, ness—as being a part of our own And haply by abstruse research to steal nature, and to us the ground of all From my own nature all the natural mancertainty, is felt and admitted by all This was my sole resource, my only plan: men to be more than an arbitrary as
Till that which suits a part infects the whole, sumption. The existence of things
And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.”
Ode to Dejection. without us is an assu
issumption, that if it is supposed not to be a part of our The editor of these volumes has consciousness, cannot have to us the done some service in publishing these same evidence of its certainty. The tran- records of Mr. Coleridge's opinions ; scendental philosopher seeks to solve many of them are but familiar illustrathis difficulty by showing ttha the for- tions of the doctrines contained in his mer is unconsciously involved in the works ; the reader whose notions of latter ; that it is not only coherent but Mr. Coleridge have been formed from identical, and one and the same thing the way in which his name has been with our inherent self-consciousness. afloat in society, will be astonished
This is in substance the passage, said to find that the character which distinto be translated from Schelling, which we guishes his conversations as recordagain have sought to translate from ed here, is practical good sense, Coleridge, and which we fear is yet great plainness of speech, entire far from being intelligible ;-without directness of purpose; but great as his discussing its value, we entreat such information and powers of illustration readers as have the opportunity of re were, we think he was not either led ferring to the Biographia Literaria, to aright or misled by them; his illustralook at the passage. In it Mr. Cole- tions were in general not so much ridge is professedly giving an account of similes from remote and unconnected the philosophy of others. The passage objects as exhibitions of the law which opens with a complaint of the mind he wished to point out, expressing itself of most men resting in mere words in other phenomena. “ which," says Mr. Coleridge, “are but In many of these conversations, as the shadows of notions, even as the no in all Mr. Coleridge's later works, is tional understanding is but the shadowy his love for the church exbibited. abstraction of living and actual truth.” The treatise on the church and state “ To remain unintelligible to such a ought to be reprinted. Considering the mind, exclaims Schelling, (these are extent to which the church is now assailColeridge's words,) on a like occasion, ed, something might be done by exhibitis honour and a good name before God ing the real question between the parand man." The next paragraph begins ties engaged in this important struggle, with a reference to Schelling, and we and by seeking to show them that their really think it impossible to read the interests are not so opposed as they chapter with ordinary attention, and imagine. think that Coleridge did not do all that A tenth of the produce of the soil any writer could to refer his reader to being reserved for national purposes Schelling as the originatorofthe passage, being, if an inheritance, yet an inhebe its value what it may. Had heritance so peculiarly circumstanced, not done so, the case would not, in that it is protected from ever merging our view of the matter, have been ma- in the mass of private property ; is terially different. Mr. Hare's would this an advantage to the country? then be a perfect defence. As to such Mr. Coleridge has, in a dozen passayes things resting on the memory of any man of his works, maintained the affirmathey do not. Like a sum in arithme- tive of the proposition, and we think tic, the argument must be worked out with undeniable truth. Exclude for when it is wanted. As to the value a inoment, from consideration, all of the matter itself, we confess it seems the higher duties of the cleryymanto us but of small account.
remove what, however, we regard as
of paramount importance, his spiritual teracted and controlled by our free relation to the people under his institutions, by commercial enterprise, charge-remove even the fact of his by the influences above all of the army being a man necessarily possessed of and those professions in which younger some education, and compelled to ex members of the families of our landed terior decorum of conduct; and say proprietors, with the same feeling of has there been no advantage to the birth, and home, and kindred, pursue country in the single circumstance their animating course) gives to life of this portion of the produce of the much that is graceful—inuch that is soil devolving, by a different law of generous--and assuredly adds, in every succession, and therefore never, way, to human happiness ;-if it be a except by some improbable accident, prejudice, which it scarcely is, it is transmitted into the same hands with one which, regarding it as subdued and the rest ? For the purpose of argu- affected by the influences we have ment, we will consider tithes only as pointed to, has its value in being at they affect landed property ; they are, least a serviceable antagonist to the let us say-il portion of the landed worse prejudices of official rank, and property of the country. Consi- of wealth, and the power which they der the tendency of such property to would else everywhere command. But accumulate in the same hands. All to this feeling in its full, and unmitigated the laws of the country were even strength, was owing the iron servitude more favourable than they at pre- of feudalism, preserved for ages, and sent are, to such accumulation ; but only now crumbling: To the evils they still favour it, and the feelings arising from a state of things, the tenin which these laws had their origin, dencies of which are to give to one have outlived the forms in which they the whole landed property of an exwere first manifested. Though entails tensive territory, is there nothing of of property are substantially done away importance in the way of counteracwith, and serve now for little more tion—in the circumstances of rights than the reasonable purposes of se over land, co-extensive with the landcuring a provision for children against lord's rights ? is there nothing in this the improvidence of parents during the favourable to the growth of an interperiod of minority, yet the feeling in mediate independent class, distinguishwhich they originated subsists—the ed from the lord on the one hand, and natural vanity survives, which would the peasant upon the other, and which regard some one individual as the re claes could only assert their own rights presentative of a family ; and all the on principles which involved the estabwishes and acts of persons possessed lishment of rights for the vassal, and exof landed property are influenced by hibited the lord as one whose power, it. To this—a feeling predominating even when it seemed most absolute, was over natural justice, which would suy- limited and defined? The contest against gest something of an equal division of feudalism was one in which the cause “of property among children in the same the poor against the mighty” was succircumstances—to this, a feeling pre- cessfully fought by the Church, in which dominating over the strongest instincts the victory gained was one of those of nature which could suggest the fit victories of principle, the value of ness of providing with most anxious which is once and for ever. Having care, for the youngest, as likely to be succeeded in freeing the people of most unprotected, for females are less England from domestic tyranny, the capable, at any time, of protecting church was again the great instrument themselves—to this, a feeling prevail- of freeing the country from foreign ing even over the intense selfishness vassalage and foreign tribute. The of man, as the interests of the indivi- history of the Church in England is dual are forgotten in that of the name, the history of English liberty—and be and to be the founder of a family is a its fate what it may-for three hundred distinction which would be pretty surely years of greater civilization than any disclaimed by any one understanding, other country ever enjoyed, the hisor rather feeling, the vanity of which tory of the English Church is the hiswe speak—to this feeling, which (coun- tory of the literature of England.