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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."*
I must here recommence my narrative of Mr. Coleridge. In the year 1807, I accidentally learnt that Mr. C. had returned to England, from the Mediterranean, very ill, and that he was then on a visit to his friend Mr. Poole, at Stowey. On receiving this information, I addressed to him a letter of condolence, and expressed
* Mr. Coleridge, when at the University of Gottingen, found pleasant English Society. With four 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) he 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 recently published a Work, entitled “ Early Years and Late Reflections,” which gives among other valuable matter, many additional particulars connected with this visit to the Brocken, as well as interesting notices concerning Mr. Coleridge, during his residence in Germany.
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 increasing, 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. Affectionately,
S. T. C.”
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, naturally, he was very arrogant; that it was his easily besetting sin ; a state of mind which he said, he ascribed to the severe subjection to which he had been exposed, till he was fourteen years of age, and from whicli, his own consciousness of superiority made him revolt. He then stated that he had renounced all his Socinian sentiments; that he considered Socinianism 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 he further said, that Socinianism was 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; the narration of one or two of which, will here be introduced.
He said, that after quitting Malta, he had landed on 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, 1 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 (the best of the Buonaparte family) was then a resident at Rome, and Mr, Ci's reputation becoming known to him, he sent for Mr. Coleridge, 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 any thing 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 an occurrence attended Mr. C. which will excite every reader's sympathy. Mr. Coleridge had journeyed to this port, where he hoped, rather than expected, to find some conveyance, through the medium of a neutral, that should waft him to the land, “more prized 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