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These angels, sent down by the Virgin Mary, to whom the Mariner had prayed in his penitence, preserve him from the vengeance of the angry spirit, and bring him back to his own country, where the curse is finally expiated. Then they appear for a moment, each one“ a man of light, a seraph man," casting his “ crimson shadow” on the calm waters of the bay in the pale moonlight. But the great power of the poem is in the truth of the emotions which it ascribes to the Ancient Mariner, who is himself the narrator. There is an indescribable charm in this preservation of what is natural amid the supernatural; nay, in making the supernatural only serve to unfold and illustrate what is natural, and the wildest and boldest creations of imagination develop the essential principles of humanity. This it is which distinguishes the masters of the magic art from the mere miraclemonger; and makes us believe in Shakspeare's witches, while we only laugh at Monk Lewis's goblins. Our author excels here; or rather his excellence is made more apparent by the extraordinary character of the supposed events; it exists as really, and is as admirable, where the events are such as actually occur. For instance, in the conclusion of the first part, the old man shrinks from that avowal of his offence which he yet knows he must make. He lingers and lingers on his description of the Albatross, and of its growing familiarity with the sailors, and goes on adding circumstance to circumstance, each of which is an aggravation of the deed, but which serves to postpone his acknowledgement of it, till at last it is elicited by a demand of the cause of his obvious agony, and then it bursts from him in the fewest words that could express the fact :
'God save thee, Ancient Mariner!
I shot the ALBATROSS !' And when his ship-mates perish, it is his conscience, and not the external organ of sense, whic
of sense, which hears the sound of their departing souls
• One after one, by the star-dogg'd moon,
Four times fifty living men,
The souls did from their bodies fly,--
Like the whizz of my CROSS-BOW!'-i. p. 15, 16. The description of his solitude, after his desolation, commencing with
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea,' And of his sensations in its endurance, is a study both for the painter and the philosopher. And then how touchingly is his penitence told; how beautifully produced by the contemplation of the gay creatures of the element which sported around the yessel. The Albatross, it should be mentioned, had been fastened round his neck, in token of his crime.
"Beyond the shadow of the ship,
Within the shadow of the ship
O happy living things! no tongue
The.self-same moment I could pray;
Like lead into the sea'--ii. p. 19, 20. Much more remains, which it would be pleasant to tell, both on this particular, and as to the general merit of Mr. Coleridge's poems. But enough has surely been adduced, both of pleading and of evidence, to make out our case, and justify our admiration. Here then we stop, and resign our pages to what many may deem more appropriate and more important topics, Thus much the occasion called for; and we have gladly availed ourselves of it to discharge a debt of justice and of gratitudeof individual gratitude even; for the writer of this article would
apply to Mr. Coleridge's poems what he says, in the conclusion of his Preface, of poetry itself. The study of his "poetry has been to me its own 'exceeding great reward : it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and it has given me (or at least strengthened in me) the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.'
Art. II.- A Letter to the Lord Mayor of London, fc. fc., respecting
the West London Gas Company, by William Matthews, &c. &c., to which are added a Postcript on the Inquiry concerning the Water Companies, and also the Report of the City Surveyor on the
Petition of the British Gas Light Company. London. 1828. 2. The Water Question, Memoir addressed to the Commissions,
approved by His Majesty in pursuance of the addresses of both Houses of Parliament, to inquire into the state of the Supply of
Water to the Metropolis. By J. Wright. January 1828. PUGILISTS as well as Politicians remark, that an attack on
the bread-basket is very apt to discompose a man's nervous system; and, truly, John Bull has always been noted as particularly willing to wince at any suspicion of an assault on his especial stomach. To be sure he is no very violent water-drinker, and is always ready enough to poison himself with gin and compounds on one side, and with a certain Stygian drink, called Port wine, on the other; to note nothing of quassia and drugs in the disguise of beer, or of Cape, Opera Champaigne, Beaufoy wine, and physic, from Solomon' down to Anderson, of which, in the shape of guinea bottles and stamped boxes, he swallows more than all Europe; nay, than all Europe, Asia, and Africa, put together. But he is a free man- liberty for ever! and does not choose to be poisoned nolens volens, unless it should be with water that he never tasted, and never means to taste as long as he lives.
Besides, he is a man mortally given to fright-taking, and more especially when he does not know why, and most of all where his health is supposed to be implicated, or any body has been murdered, or some cur has run mad in Orkney, or the doctors have discovered a new disease, called by some fine and unintelligible name. On all which we congratulate him, because it is a sure sign that he is a very comfortable and happy fellow, to whom death, in any shape but that of a gallipot or a pill-box, is really a grim visitor, and an ugly custoiner. In short, he has a natural love of being frit (to use a Kentish inflexion of that pleasant verb), and thus do the wise take advantage of his affections, to frighten the little sense he may have out of his head, and as much money as they can contrive, out of his pocket.
Many years have passed since Dr. Lambe laboured duly and devoutly to frighten all his Majesty's
lieges out of the use of that poisonous fluid called water. The prophet prophesied in vain : his pallid and disconsolate ghost walks the purlieus of Kentish-town and Tottenham-court-road, lamenting; but a fragment at least of the mantle descended last year on a certain Mr. John Wright, and that fright which the doctor could not produce, was effected by the minor prophet. Out of the mouth of the Dolphin proceeded and was to proceed-nothing less than the eighth vial.' Do we live to write it? we that have eaten, drank, washed, and slept upon Dolphin-water, ever since Mr. J. Wright, of St. Saviour's, Norwich, first prophesied, and long before humanity tempted the good Samaritan of St. Saviour's, to come all the way to London for the benevolent purpose of saving the lives of some hundred thousand Christians, whom he had never seen and of whom he had never heard.
There was something here so chivalrous, so humane, so ultra Samaritan, that had we been then given to motive-mongering, we might have thought of looking for the said motive. Mr. Matthews is more willing to seek and keener sighted to discover it: though he insinuates rather than says, that the object of all this benevolence was, to run monopoly against monopoly, or that some greater whale was to be fattened by swallowing up the Dolphin, just as one serpent only grows to a dragon by devouring another.
The commercial part of the question may be easily settled. Is the water too dear? Let the company produce their books. Do they break their contract made under the protection of an act of Parliament? Dissolve them. Was the act incautiously made and passed ? Why was it not contested better in its progress? Why do not committees take more care ? If the losers have suffered by their own laches, let them petition, and see if they will be allowed a remedy? But if this, or any company, do not gain more than the fair profits of speculation, or of stock so advanced, of fixed and perishable capital, and if their management is neither fraudful nor wasteful, there is no cause of complaint on the score of cost.
We take no part in the squabble between the different Water Companies ; that is the best which gives the best commodity on the cheapest terms; but writers ought at least to make out a commercial case, before they tamper in this manner with property, and a moral one before they attack re
putation, without proof. And, also, they ought to make out a physical case, a chemical case, before they write ferocious and abusive pamphlets, and make fools of John Bull and the Houses of Parliament. There is nothing in all the histories of maddog-ism that occasionally assail us, at all to be compared to the hydrophobia which occurred last year.
an absolute insanity within the circulating system of the Grand Junction; and, if all the seven thousand families were mad as the few that formed our private circle, we must congratulate ourselves that this circle was so small. That such men as those who formed the committee at Willis's Rooms should behave like beings out of their senses, is wonderful enough; but that they should have exposed their utter ignorance of physics, water, chemistry, science, is not at all wonderful, because this class has nothing else to expose in such matters, and because it is one of the invariable laws of nature, that a fool is much more anxious to display his folly, than a wise man his wisdom.
That their heroic leader, also, should know nothing whatever about the matter, is perfectly natural and proper, or how should he have been a fit man to undertake it? Had he understood it, or proved himself to have understood it, he never would have led his pack in that fifty-fold leash; for when did ever ignorance and blockheadism submit to the government of wisdom and sense? The oxen walk before the drover, because he is, of all the two-legged race, the nearest to themselves; and all they require is a cry, as nearly like to their own natural music as possible. This is the way to govern multitudes. Justification, taxation, emancipation, the nation, or Dolphin and poisonation, it is all one: the halloo is given, and the dogs follow. Things will mend by-and-bye-they are mending already.
But why are the doctors as ignorant as the quack? doctors are taught chemistry: so they say; and the world (not in its wisdom) believes it. And because they understand chemistry and water, Dr. Lambe finds, that water contains lead, arsenic, and what not ? Dr. Abernethy discovers that common sense is common sense; a noted chemical fact: Dr. Mead (for living or dead it is all one) ascertains that water is a vehicle of nutriment, and that“ when it happens to be bad, it is no wonder if in its passage through the body it does not make suitable impressions there.” No wonder, indeed.
No wonder, indeed. A late author, and Dr. Lind, find bad water to be the cause of the scurvy ; Drs. Harrison and Vitruvius have discovered it to be the cause of the rot in sheep: Mons. Cabanis finds that it disposes to "cold and slow diseases :" Sir John Sinclair comes in with his
preVOL. XII.- Westminster Review.