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of the Susquehanna a Pantisocracy, or all-equal government. The scheme fell through for lack of funds and emigrants. The second result was Coleridge's engagement and marriage to Miss Sara Fricker, to whose sister Southey was already engaged. Mrs. Coleridge seems to have been an unsuitable wife for an artist, even for a reliable one; that she was entirely unfit to be the wife of an erratic, unreliable poet was certain. Her life with her husband from 1795 to 1804 was


Here Coleridge delivered some of his most impassioned midnight discourses to a small audience of Wordsworths.

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ridge's acquaintance with the Wordsworths has been recorded. If the older, steadier poet profited by his friend's

enthusiastic admiration, the latter also gained by the association. Through Wordsworth and his sister Coleridge came to a realization of his powers, and without their influence, The Ancient Mariner · and perhaps much more of both prose and verse would hardly have been written. Virtually all of Coleridge's best poems were written during the six years of his greatest intimacy with the Wordsworths (1797-1803); and his acquaintance with German metaphysics, which through him did much for English thought, was due to a tour of Germany made with the Wordsworths.

The Influence of Opium. The year 1797 is a tragic one in Coleridge's life; for in that year he began the use of opium. For twenty years, while he was writing his best poetry and his best criticism, he engaged in a constant struggle, frequently a losing one, with the drug. It prevented his working consecutively at anything, prevented his carrying out any plans. "An opium-eater," said De Quincey, another victim of the habit, "never finishes anything." Coleridge for several periods worked at journalism in London, but formed no permanent connection. He was for more than a year secretary to the governor of Malta. He frequently preached in Unitarian churches, and aroused great enthusiasm; but only for a single period of a few months did he hold a charge. He was a most inspiring lecturer; but he could never be depended on to speak on the subject announced: people went to hear Coleridge, not on any particular subject. He was quite likely, after announcing Paradise Lost as his topic, to speak on Hamlet.

Under such conditions, his income was, of course, uncertain. For some years he lived in the house of his prosperous brother-in-law, Southey; and after the separation from his wife, she and her children remained there. Writing and lecturing sometimes paid well; and many homes sought his presence as guest.

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At Highgate. In 1816, after fighting the fiend opium single-handed for twenty years and finding victory impossible without help, Coleridge put himself under the care of a Dr. Gilman, of Highgate, a suburb of London. The afflicted man was taken into the physician's home; and to the devoted care of the physician and Mrs. Gilman he owed the comparative peace which he enjoyed for the remainder of his life. He delivered several successful series of lectures;

and with a group of young enthusiasts who repeatedly sought him at his home he carried on many wonderful conversations. The talk of the "Sage of Highgate " made a deep impression on all hearers, a situation not surprising when one contemplates the vast extent of his reading and the widely recorded charm of his personality.

Last Years and Death. For several years Coleridge knew death was near at hand. He felt that he was not fully appreciated; he suffered physically sometimes; but he faced the end without a murmur. Some months before it came he wrote an epitaph for himself, containing these lines:

"O, lift one thought in prayer for S. T. C. -
That he who many a year with toil of breath
Found death in life may here find life in death!"

He died July 25, 1834, and was buried in Highgate churchyard.

The Poet. Nearly all Coleridge's really great poetry, as has been noted, was written during the years when he was under the Wordsworths' influence. One may go further: nearly all for which the world cares, including The Ancient Mariner, the fragment Kubla Khan, and part first of Christabel (never finished), was written in a single winter, 1797-1798, his "golden year." In the one complete poem and the two unfinished, Coleridge showed himself the possessor of a marvellous imagination and a power of haunting phraseology which, under better circumstances, might have made him the equal of England's greatest singers. The product is, however, too meagre to give the writer a large place in English poetry.

The Critic. Coleridge's literary criticism is both greater in quantity and far more valuable than his poetry. He is the founder of modern English criticism, as regards not only

method, but also, in many cases, substance. To Coleridge is due the present-day opinion of Shakspere, by which the dramatist is understood to be a conscious and consummate artist instead of merely "Fancy's child." To Coleridge is due the current interpretation of Othello, as "a high and chivalrous Moorish chief," whose passion is not jealousy,




Into the Depth of Clouds, that Veil They
Thou two spam, stupendous Mountain! then,
That as I raise my head; awhile bow'd Love

In adoration, upward from thy


Flow- travelling, with Iim eyes, supured with Tears.
Solemnly seemest, like a

To rise before me - Rise,

Rise, like


rapoury Cloud,

o ever fise, fr

Cloud of Incense, from the Earth !

Thon Ringly Spirit the vid


the Hills,

Then dread Ambassador from Earth to Heaven;
Great Hierarch! tell than the silent Sky,
And tell the Stars, and tell you rising Sun,
Earth with her thous and Voices praises God.

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but " rather an agony that the creature whom he had believed angelic should be proved impure." To Coleridge also was due the first thorough study and genuine appreciation of Wordsworth's genius.

The Talker. Much of his philosophical writing is difficult reading, and because of his unsystematic habits of

composition, unsatisfactory. His philosophical talk, however, to the group of young enthusiasts who hung on his words at Highgate - Lamb, De Quincey, Carlyle, Hazlitt, and others was beyond measure inspiring. Hazlitt has described the impression made upon him by the first sermon he heard Coleridge preach.

"Mr. Coleridge rose and gave out his text, 'And he went up into the mountain, to pray, HIMSELF, ALONE.' As he gave out this text, his voice 'rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes,' and when he came to the two last words, which he pronounced loud, deep, and distinct, it seemed to me, who was then young, as if the sounds had echoed from the bottom of the human heart, and as if that prayer might have floated in solemn silence through the universe. . . . The preacher then launched into his subject, like an eagle dallying with the wind. . . . And for myself, I could not have been more delighted if I had heard the music of the spheres."

Personal Influence. That his talk was frequently not consecutive, not logical, seems certain; yet his influence has been far greater than that of many whose thoughts were presented in much better organized form. In 1796 Wordsworth thought Coleridge "the only wonderful man I ever met;" in 1827 Carlyle called him a sublime man . . a king of men." In the opinion of Saintsbury he was the most important figure in the Romantic movement in England, whose personal influence on the greatest minds of his own day was so great as to be almost uncanny."


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GEORGE NOEL GORDON, LORD BYRON, 1788-1824 Ancestry. - Byron, one of the most rebellious figures in a rebellious age, was made extreme not so much by the spirit that was abroad in the land as by inheritance and immediate environment. He was of wild, impulsive, passion

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