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yours, and the delicious Thank God, we are safe, which always followed when the topmost stair, conquered, let in the first light of the whole cheerful theatre down beneath us I know not the fathom line that ever touched a descent so deep as I would be willing to bury more wealth in than Cræsus had, or the great Jew R is supposed to have, to purchase
And now do just look at that merry little Chinese waiter holding an umbrella, big enough for a bed-tester, over the head of that pretty insipid half Madonna-ish chit of a lady in that very blue summer house."
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.
In his clumsily entitled Extempore Effusion upon the Death of James Hogg, Wordsworth has these lines, after referring to Hogg and to Walter Scott:
“ Nor has the rolling year twice measured,
The heaven-eyed creature sleeps in earth.” And in his poem, Resolution and Independence, though he does not name Coleridge, it is almost certain that he had him in mind when he wrote:
“My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought,
As if life's business were a summer mood;
Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all ?” When he read the news of Coleridge's death, Words worth's voice faltered and broke, as he said he was the most wonderful man that he had ever known.
It is always worth while to know what one poet thinks of another, especially if the two have been contemporaries, friends, intimate companions. Wordsworth and Coleridge
were such. Wordsworth was severe, cold, much given to calm judgment; Coleridge was impulsive, erring, warmhearted : each knew the other as a great poet, but Wordsworth led a correct, diligent life; he was prudent and thrifty, a good housekeeper, a proper husband and father ; Coleridge had magnificent plans and dreams ; he was indolent, and, falling into the terrible habit of opium, he struggled like a drowning man against the fate which seemed to have overtaken him ; he left great works incomplete, scarcely begun, indeed; he married in haste and repented at leisure ; he submitted to be helped by his friends, but he gave lavishly of the best he had to his friends, and no one can read his painful biography without seeing that he so impressed himself successively on one after another, as never to want the sympathy and loving help which should carry
him over difficulties. He was born at the vicarage of Ottery St. Mary, in Devonshire, England, October 21, 1772. His father was a clergyman of the Church of England, and a schoolmaster, good-hearted, absent-minded, and impractical. The poet was one of a large family, and his childhood was that of a precocious and imaginative boy, who read fairy tales and acted out the scenes in them, living much by himself and in the world which he created out of his dreams. When he was nine years old his father died, and the next year Coleridge entered the great public school of Christ's Hospital, where he was a schoolfellow of Charles Lamb. From school he went up to Cambridge, and there he made Wordsworth’s acquaintance, but his college life was a broken and not very satisfactory one. Indeed, at one time, for reasons not wholly clear, he broke away and enlisted under an assumed name in a regiment of dragoons. It was an odd jump from the frying-pan into the fire, for he had a violent antipathy to soldiers and horses, as he himself confessed, and he was glad when his concealment was discovered and a way was found for the runaway to return to college.