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And, from the numbing spell to win relief,
Emerging from a mist; or like a stream
But casts in happier moulds the slumberer's dream, Gazed by an idle eye with silent might The picture stole upon my inward sight. A tremulous warmth crept gradual o'er my chest, As though an infant's finger touch'd my breast. And one by one (I know not whence) were brought All spirits of power that most had stirr'd my thought In selfless boyhood, on a new world tost Of wonder, and in its own fancies lost; Or charm'd my youth, that, kindled from above, Loved ere it loved, and sought a form for love ; Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan Of manhood, musing what and whence is man! Wild strain of Scalds, that in the sea-worn caves Rehearsed their war-spell to the winds and waves; Or fateful hymn of those prophetic maids, That call'd on Hertha in deep forest glades; Or minstrel lay, that cheer'd the baron's seast; Or rhyme of city pomp, of monk and priest, Judge, mayor, and many a guild in long array, To high-church pacing on the great saint's day, And many a verse which to myself I sang, That woke the tear yet stole away the pang, Of hopes which in lamenting I renew'd. And last, a matron now, of sober mien, Yet radient still and with no earthly sheen, Whom as a faery child my childhood woo'd Even in my dawn of thought, Philosophy ; Though then unconscious of herself, pardie, She bore no other name than Poesy; And like a gift from heaven, in lifeful glee, That had but newly left a mother's knee, Prattled and play'd with bird and flower, and stone, As if with elfin playfellows well known, And life reveal'd to innocence alone. Thanks, gentle artist! now I can descry Thy fair creation with a mastering eye, And all awake! And now in fix'd gaze stand, Now wander through the Eden of thy hand; Praise the green arches, on the fountain clear See fragment shadows of the crossing deer; And with that serviceable nymph I stoop The crystal from its restless pool to scoop. I see no longer! I myself am there, Sit on the ground-sward, and the banquet share. 'Tis 1, that sweep that lute's love.echoing strings,
And gaze upon the maid who gazing sings :
Poetical Works, Aldine Edition, Vol. 2.
'Tis a strange place, this Limbo !—not a Place,
With scant white hairs, with foretop bald and high,
No such sweet sights doth Limbo den immure,
Aldine Edition, Vol. 1.
Of estimate has been each year increasing, the political poems the only ones and we have never known any instance which we would retain in such an of a person once admiring his powers, edition, are
the blank-verse poem, and as in other cases of admiration FEARS IN SOLITUDE; and Fire, Faformed in boyhood, ceasing to MINE AND SLAUGHTER. We do not them. There is no one poem which believe that by such omission we Mr. Coleridge has written, which would lose any one poem which had should not be preserved ; but we are
become embodied in our literature, or convinced that in the late editious had given to popular language or Christabel and the Ancient Mariner sentiment any expression or allusion ; should have been printed separatelyfrom omissions of the same kind cannot be a great deal which the volumes con made in the case of writers of powers tain ; and that while a very few of the far inferior to Mr. Coleridge, when by very earliest poems should have been any accident a poem has had that kind given, as proofs of the early develop- of popularity, which makes its phrases, ment of poetical power, almost every whether they be genuine gold, or only thing written in the interval between some glittering imitation of it, pass the date of these poems and the year into circulation and be received without 1797 should have been omitted. The question. The Aldine edition, (Pickothers might have been preserved in ering, 1835) is before us, the part of some one of Mr. Pickering's beautiful the first volume called Sibylline Leaves, editions, but we have no doubt what- with the exception of some three or ever, that the part of the Aldine edi- four poems, and the second volume, tion called Juvenile Popins has pre- omitting Zapolya, ought, we think, to vented many from reading the better be printed together, and in this way poems. The manhood of Coleridge's Mr. Pickering would form one of the true poetical life was in the year 1797, most beautiful volumes of poems in and all earlier poems are but the exer the language, and venture cises by which he was disciplining predict, one of the most popular ; in himself for his vocation. There is no reality what we propose would be one of them which does not exhibit nothing more than in future imprespower ; yet were we to advise a reader sions arranging the poems differently, who had not before been acquainted for the volumes of the Aldine edition with his works, there is no one of are sold separately ; our suggestion them on
which should wish would enable the publisher to print a him to delay; and it is rather from smaller impression of the poems which the recollection that Shelley and Wilson we assume not only to be less popular,but have spoken of the political odes as to impair the popularity of the others. amongst the very finest in the lan- The volume we propose would be the guage, than that we ourselves regard most delightful volum of poetry in them as wholly worthy of Coleridge's the language. It is a sad thing to mature powers, that we would allow think that almost its whole contents them to be preserved in such an edition were produced in a single year of of Coleridge's select poems as we Coleridge's life. Of the history of
Mr. Coleridge's mind, the volumes of absolutely distinct from any thing that his Table-Talk give us no record. had been before heard of in our literaWhen his biography shall be written ture, that there is no one writer of we will look with great anxiety for whose style it in any respect whatever some account of the "annus mirabilis" reminds us, or with which it can, for a of his life, in which REMORSE, THE moment, be compared. We mention ANCIENT MARINER, THE FIRST PART this because the preface to the TableOF CHRISTABEL, KUBLA Khan and the Talk, very needlessly, discusses some Pains of Sleep, not to mention num- silly attacks on Mr. Coleridge's peopuberless smaller poeins, were produced. tation, as an orizinal writer. They Coleridge was not then more than talk of the “plagiarisms” of Coleridge. five and twenty years of age, and as Of all the nonsense which has been suredly since the days of Milton, with written about him, this is the most whom we have often in thought asso- nonsensical. The origin of the Rime ciated him, never did the spring-time of the Ancient Mariner is traced to an of a poet's youth blossom so lavishly. old account of a voyage-which says, We have excluded from this enume- that " one of the suilors being a melanration of the works of the period, the choly man, wus possessed by a funcy, political odes, because we teel, per- thut some long season of foul weather haps wrongly, that their power is was due to an albatross which had rather that of eloquence than of poetry, threateningly pursued the ship : upon and proudly and gloriously eloquent which he shot the bird, but without mendthey are.
Sull-still- while we ing their condition.” Till the Opiumwould not wish one line of them Eiter made the chaige of plagiarisan, unwritten--they are not a part of the and till the editor of the Table-Talk Coleridge of our imagination ;--neither gave us the passage froin Shelvoche's have we mentioned any of the prose Voyage, we heard nothing of this. There essays - not only because without can be no doubt in any mind, that some books of reference which are whether Mr. Coleridge remembered not within our immediate reach, we or forgot the passage in question, it should have more trouble than we must have bern the ground-work of choose to take, to fix dates not very the Ancient Mariner. Put is there important, but, because, really and truly one person in the world, who, ade estimating Mr. Coleridge's prose works mitting this to be the case, can think as highly as any one can, they enter for a moment less of the powers of as little into the feeling withi which invention displayed in that wonderful we regard his poetry as our opinion poem? We will ask our readers to of Milton's Areopagitica, which we look back to the accout of the origin have read till we buve it by heart, or of the Lyrical Ballads, given from of his Tetrachordon, of which we have, Coleridge's Biographin Literaria, in our like true reviewers, formed an opinion review of Wordsworth's late poems. which will for ever prevent our reading In that we are told, that, in the it-interferes with our enjoyment of original plan of the Lyrical Ballads, Comus. Of the poems which we have were contemplated two cla-ses of mentioned, the work of the same year, poems. With the portion which Mr. all are different, each in its kind, alone Wordsworth undertook to supply, we in our literature. We have no means are not now concerned. In the other, whatever of determining whether Chris- Mr. Coleridge's portion of the work tabel was or was not popular on its “the incidents and agents were to be first publication, but it is quite certain in prart at least supernatural, and the that many of the passages of Byron excellence aimed at was to consist and Scott, which at once fixed them in the interesting of the affections by selves in the public ear, were but the the dramatic truth of such emotions echo of passages in the poem-which as would naturally accompany such often as they have been imitated, are situations, supposing them real. And felt still to be wholly unrivalled- such they have been to every human indeed we think unapproached. being, who, from whatever source of
of the Ancient Mariner, we must delusion, has, at any time, believed seek other opportunities of speaking. himself under supernatural agency." We only mention it now as a work so Is it possible that any human being
And then it seemed a mist.
can conceive the originality which the but every incident sets him thinking ; poet ever aims at, can be that of invent- and it is curious, and at the same time ing the very incidents themselves? Pla- strictly natural, that Hamlet, who, all giarism!-the statuary may as well be through the play, seems reason itself spoken of stealing his conception from should be impelled at last by mere aethe quarryfrom which his marble is taken. cident to effect his object. I have a For ourselves, we are inclined to think smack of Hamlet myself if I may say that in future editions the effect of the so.” Suppose our poet having thus poem would be encreased by printing explained his notion of the character the sentence describiny Hatley's me. insisted not alone on the truth but the lancholy as a motto to the work ; and absolute originality of the conception ; if anything could increase our admira- and suppose some bystander to quote in tion of the inspired powers of the reply to him a sentence from Saxo Grampoet, it would be his editor's exhibit- maticus or the “ Historie of Hamblet,” ing-what he could not have himself that for instance, as giving most supdone without the imputation of unbe- port to this argument, in which the coming vanity-the cloud no larger at counsellor enters secretly into the first than a man's hand, which has as Queen's chamber, and there hides himsumed the form of this magnificent self behind the arras. Suppose him pageant:
to continue his quotation, and repeat " At first it seemed a little speck,
from one of these old poems,
the wariness of Hamblet was not infeIt moved and moved, and took at last rior to the craft of his enemies : enterA certain shape I wist.”
ing the chamber with his customary Suppose it were found in some old airs of flying, he began to crow like a medical book, that a Spanish gentleman cock, beating his arm against the hanghad gone mad from reading books of ings in imitation of that bird's action knight-errantry--suppose it could be with his wings. Feeling something shown with entire certainty, that Cer- stir behind the arras, he cried, a rat, a vantes had read the story, is there any rat! and drawing his sword, thrust it man would think Don Quixote a less through the concealed spy, whose body original conception? Suppose the he cut in pieces, and cast into a vault.” Spanish poet--for less than a poet we Is there in all this any thing that, in the must not call him---had to repel a slightest degree, affects the assertion of charge of plagiarism in this way sought the poet's absolute originality. Is not to be estailished against him, and said, the use of such materials as these, in long before I heard of the story I had subservience to the power of imaginaconceived the plan of describing a tion, that, in which the poet's originality mind partially insane, and whether I consists? Ifany thing could increase had seen the story or not could make our opinions of Shakspeare's powers, no difference whatever in any part of it has been increased by our looking my plan. I looked into the old book over the piles of rubbish which have you mention, thinking it not impossible been heaped together from forgotten ibat it might supply me with an illus- chronicles and novels, and which were tration of my subject; iny work would, his inaterials. What is there in any in every thing that constitutes it a or in all of them ?-and there is not a poem,
have been the same, though single scene which the critics have not such incident had never occurred. been busy in tracing to its source-to Would he have said anything which lessen our estimate of the miraculous would not have commanded our fullest power which is shewn in thus creating assent? Let us suppose Mr. Coleridge its own worlds for these ruins ? The not speaking of one of his own poems, Ancient Mariner of Coleridge is as but engaged in explaining the cha- much the creature of Shelvocke's voyracter of llamlet. Let us suppose age as Shakspeare's Hamlet is the work him using the very words which we of Saxo Grammaticus, and a denial the find in the volume before us. Ham- most absolute in terms-supposing such let's character is the prevalence of the to have been given by Coleridge-of abstracting and generalizing habit over his being under any obligation whatever the practical. He does not want to Shelvocke, would have been, in the courage, skill, will, or opportunity; only meaning in which such denial