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POEMS OF HARTLEY COLERIDGE.
human sympathy. The same pure feeling towards the sex pervades the volume, and finds expression in some elegiac pieces of a very touching character. There is evidence in the volume of a susceptibility to other emotions than the passion of love, and we are glad of it, for we have no great partiality for the poet amatory exclusively, whom we are tempted to fancy a sort of “ Master Slender,”—“a softlysprighted man, with a little yellow beard,” who has but one thought, “Sweet Anne Page !” and no other recollections than “stewed prunes and the bear-garden. Love-poets find their profit in the easy access they gain to the soft hearts that abound all the world over. But the true poet must deal with other feelings beside the one masterpassion,—kindly affections, and calm and placid impulses. As far as a writer's character may be conjectured from his writings, Hartley Coleridge must be a gentle and right-hearted being. Omitting those instances in which he speaks dramatically, there is an air of sincerity in his expressions of feeling which mightily wins his reader's goodwill. We must except his expressions of mirth, which have not a real or healthy tone; and, although there are in the volume words which, as Jeremy Taylor says, are as light as the skirt of a summer-garment,” yet they seem to be rather the relief of a heavy heart than the ventings of a light one. Passing them by, the beauty of sincerity is not the least of the beauties of the following lines :
“ SENSE, IF YOU CAN FIND IT.
Of sunshine on a winter's day,
It came from far away.
That visit our bedarken'd clay
Although they pass away.
They 're ours, whatever time they stay :
Before they pass away.
Their home; but yet they seem to say
We feel as if we should be missing a rare opportunity for appropriate quotation, considering the approaching season, if we passed by the stanzas on New Year's Day.” We are pretty confident that the year will come to its close without producing anything conceived in better · feeling, and that many a New Year's sermon will be preached to duller
At all events, the stanzas will be less likely than the sermons to be applied by those to whom they are addressed, away from themselves, to their neighbours. We have ventured to call attention, by means of italics, to some of the lines which show the exuberance of the poet's fancy :
“ NEW YEAR'S DAY.
And starving birds peck nigh the reeky farms;
Like the bright berry from the naked thorn.
Hark! the long story of a score of clocks ;
There's time, ere morn, for each to sing his song.
We mourn not for it, for it is not dead.
POEMS OF HARTLEY COLERIDGE.
“ And are the thoughts that evermore are fleeing,
The moments that make up our being's being,
And let our spirits feel a New Year's day.
An arbitrary line upon the chart
With foot as nimble, and as keen a glance.
The sober truth that we are growing old,
And in each morrow find a New Year's day.” Hartley Coleridge is an egotist ; and gracefully does his egotism sit upon him. It is one of the poet's privileges. There are expressions throughout the volume calculated to excite commiseration and somewhat of curiosity in some breasts,-murmurings of self-reproach, -repinings after misspent time and neglected talent, together with intimations of domestic griefs. We know not what it may all mean, but certain are we that there is an air of sad reality about it: it is no fantastic woe,none of the old fashion of melancholy that may be traced from the days of Ben Jonson’s “Master Stephen” down to the times of Lord Byron. It is not possible to suspect Hartley Coleridge of playing any such small game,-of following the worn-out device of enacting “ Il Penseroso" for effect. His allusions to his poverty do him honour, and we cannot believe that one who has learned to depict nature with the delicacy and fidelity which mark this volume has been idle, or unprofitably employed. At all events, he has before him the time and the power of self-recovery. Throwing aside all distrust of the poetic power of the English tongue,
let him not waver or be drawn down by any despondency. Let him call to mind “the labour and intense study” which Milton looked upon as his portion in life, when he conceived the thought of “ a work not to be raised from the heat of youth, nor to be obtained by the invocation of Dame Memory and her siren daughters, but by devout prayer to that eternal Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases." Let him look to his favourite Wordsworth, and see what that career is which befits him who meditates the great achievements in verse, and we have no fear but that at some future day we shall behold him on higher ground than the beautiful effusions in the present volume. It has been our object to make our readers acquainted with a name that is well worth the knowing, and we have thus, we flatter ourselves, been helping Mr. Hartley Coleridge to gain some of his distant fame,- -a commodity that loses none of its value because it comes from far away. We take our leave of him, for the present, by quoting a poem of exquisite finish and beauty, which we have reserved for a final impression :
“ THE SABBATH DAY'S CHILD.
TO ELIZABETH, INFANT DAUGHTER OF THE REV. SIR RICHARD
Untainted fount of life's meandering stream,
Fair type and pledge of full redemption given,
For what thou art, and what they hope to see thee,
Or whatsoe'er of amulet or charm
POEMS OF HARTLEY COLERIDGE.
“ To see thee sleeping on thy mother's breast,
It were indeed a lovely sight to see ;
A bliss, my babe, how much unlike to thine,
Say, rather, image of a happy death ;
A calm, it seems, that is not, shall not be
That moves so slow it hardly moves at all,-
Of Fancy may suggest,-cannot supply Fit semblance of the sleeping life of infancy. “ Calm art thou as the blessed Sabbath eve,
The blessed Sabbath eve when thou wast born;
And, lovely child, it rung to welcome thee, Announcing thy approach with gladsome minstrelsy. “ So be thy life, –a gentle Sabbath, pure
From worthless strivings of the work-day earth!