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warm friends, who never deserted him. Cottle, his biographer, was one of these, and he now proposed to raise an annuity of a hundred and fifty pounds, to be held in trust for him.
"On what grounds," writes Southey to Cottle, "can such a subscription as you propose raising for Coleridge be solicited? His miseries of body and mind all arise from one accursed cause, — excess in opium. . . . Perhaps you are not aware of the costliness of this drug. In the quantity which Coleridge takes, it would consume more than the whole which you propose to raise. A frightful consumption of spirits is added. Kothing is wanted to make him in easy circumstances but to leave off opium, and to direct a certain portion of his time to the discharge of his duties. There are two Reviews, the ' Quarterly,' and the ' Eclectic,' in both of which he might have employment at ten guineas a sheet."
But to every plan proposed Coleridge was irreconcilably averse. His wife and children received from him only half of the Wedgewood annuity (one of the brothers having withdrawn his portion), and they now sought shelter beneath Souther's kindly roof. The health and spirits of the forsaken wife were beginning to sink under her trials, and still Coleridge sank lower and lower in the depths of that misery into which he had plunged open-eyed. For a time he placed himself under the care of a physician; and while in his hands he thus writes : —
"I am unworthy to call any good man friend. . . . Conceive a spirit in hell employed in tracing out for others the road to that heaven from which his crimes exclude him! In short, conceive whatever is most wretched, helpless, and hopeless, and you will form as tolerable a notion of my state as it is possible for any good man to have."
Mentally and morally irregular, the days of Coleridge were now given up to magnificent self-deceptions and vague speculations, now filled with vain excuses for the past or weak resolutions for the future, and the whining cant of self-condemnation. Never was he a valiant-hearted victor, yet ever but half vanquished. One can scarcely conceive a thing more mournful than this "greatly sinning and greatly aspiring soul." On the 19th of April, 1816, Coleridge went to reside permanently with Mr. Gillman of Highgate, who is described as "an amiable, weak-minded man, a professed admirer of the poet, and attaching the highest importance to all that concerned him, and flattered at the notoriety which he acquired by having so distinguished an inmate in his house. There for eighteen years the poet lived, watched over by this good man and his gentle-hearted wife, who shared her husband's admiration for the poet. The quantity of opium in which he now indulged was much diminished; and his mind had assumed a more healthy tone. Yet never did he wholly abstain from its use; nor were his faculties ever restored to their original vigor.
After having spent a j'ear with the Gillmans, Coleridge published what he called his "Lay Sermons." Neither Coleridge's experience nor his habits of mind fitted him to be a safe guide in weighty matters, and his tracts are of little value. Of Coleridge's lectures only fragments have been preserved, as he seldom wrote them out previous to delivery. His criticisms on Shakespeare, delivered in one of these courses, have since been collected and published. Though of very unequal value, they are distinguished by their keenness, subtlety, and discrimination, and are thought to be among the best in the language. His reputation as a poet was greatly increased at this time by the publication of the second part of " Christabel," " Kubla Khan," "The Pains of Sleep," and "Sibylline Leaves." In the autumn of 1818 " Zapoyla " was composed and published.
The principal occupation of Coleridge's later years consisted in conversation. Eminently distinguished by the power and beauty of his oral discourse, the use of unnatural stimulants enabled him to make those brilliant displays exhibited in bewitching oracular monologues, which he would, it ifl said, continue in an unbroken strain from hour to hour, while his hearers, as Carlyle has it, " must sit as passive buckets, and be pumped into whether they consent or not . ... No talk," he adds, " in his century, or in any other, could be more surprising: he spoke as if preaching; you would have said, preaching earnestly and also hopelessly the weightiest things."
Coleridge said to Lamb one day, "Charles, did you ever hear me preach?" "I never heard you do anything else," was the apt reply. "Only, now, listen to his talk," says this genial friend; "it is as fine as an angel's."
In such scraps as are noted down in the tt Table Talk," there are great inequalities, — fine thoughts finely expressed, and passages only striking for their arrogance and ignorance. Yet these reports are said to give no idea of the style of his conversation. Says Sterling, " I was in his company about three hours, and of that time he spoke during two and three quarters. It would have been delightful to listen as attentively, and certainly as easy for him to speak just as well, for the next forty-eight hours."
In 1825 Coleridge published his "Aids to Reflection;" but as a whole his life at Highgate presents a sad picture of intellectual vagaries and decline. There he lived for eighteen gracious years, ignobly shirking the duties and responsibilities of life ; mapping out for himself great works which were never completed, if so much as begun; entreating yearly contributions from his friends to enable him to devote himself entirely to that literary labor for which he was, in Booth, mentally incapacitated; maintaining a hazy grandeur of reputation, but to the last infirm ol' purpose; his age unsoothed by the pious offices of wife and children, from whom he, careless of their maintenance, had separated himself. Such is the picture of Coleridge in his later years. Who would not turn this mournful portrait to the wall and say with Charles Lamb: "Come back into my memory like as thou wert in the dayspring of thy fancies, with hope like a fiery column before thee, the dark pillar yet unturned,— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, logician, metaphysician, bard!" On the 25th of July, 1834, ended this brilliant but unfruitful life. If I have dwelt too long on these sad details, let me beg to excuse myself in Coleridge's own words: "After my death I earnestly entreat that a full and unqualified narrative of my wretchedness, and of its guilty cause, may be made public, that at least some good may be effected by my direful example." Surely in the whole range of biography, no mortal has ever so
"... flung away The keys that might have open set The golden sluices of the day."
Though associated with Wordsworth as a poet and author, Coleridge has told us that he never entirely concurred with the laureate in his poetical views; and in all that constitutes artistic character his pootry is a contrast to that of Wordsworth. Coleridge, far more than Wordsworth, was a poet "of imagination all compact." His verse is pure poesy, without that alloy of prose which may be found more or less in Wordsworth's. Coleridge's poetry is remarkable too for the perfection of its execution, for the exquisite art with which its divine spirit is endowed with formal expression; Wordsworth's poetry is more admirable for its inner spirit than for its formal qualities. Coleridge charms and bewitches us by that exquisite and subtle sense of beauty, that divine breath which makes poetry what it is; Wordsworth sustains and instructs us by proverbial and universally applicable wisdom and by homely every-day truths. The one sings to us. Exquisite the melody is, ear-charming and heartdelighting the words; yet when the song is sung, we arc but charmed, seldom more. The other elevates us while he charms, teaching us of the beauty of holiness, "as one having authority."
It has been observed that "quantit\' alone was wanting to make Coleridge the greatest poet of his day." Might we not say that lack of quantity is just what has made him the poet? Quality rather than quantity is the true test of artistic excellence. With a muse as prolific as Southey's Coleridge could not have attained that exquisite elaboration, that perfection of execution, in which he was unmatched. The most distinguishing characteristics of his best poetry are vividness of imagination and subtlety of thought, combined with unrivalled beauty and expressiveness of diction, and the most exquisite melody of verse.
There is not, as has been remarked, enough of passion in him to make him the poet of the multitude. There is not in him that pulse of fire that throbs and burns in Byron, but rather that gentle and tremblingly delicate sense of beauty, that blossoming of thought, that belongs to Spenser, who more than any other poet may be said to have "spoken" flowers, as the fairy did pearls. A critic has happily said of Coleridge's poetry: —
"The subtly woven words, with all their sky-colors, seem to grow out of the thought or emotion, as the flower from the stalk, or the flame from its feeding oil. The music of his verse is as sweet and characteristic as anything in the language, placing