THE LITERARY REMAINS
OF SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
COLLECTED AND EDITED BY
HENRY NELSON COLERIDGE, ESQ. M. A.
JOSEPH HENRY GREEN, ESQ.
MEMBER OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS,
THE APPROVED FRIEND
Mr. Coleridge by his will, dated in September, 1829, authorized his executor, if he should think it expedient, to publish any of the notes or writing made by him (Mr. C.) in his books, or any other of his manuscripts or writings, or any letters which should thereafter be collected from, or supplied by, his friends or correspondents. Agreeably to this authority, an arrangement was made, under the superintendence of Mr. Green, for the collection of Coleridge's literary remains; and at the same time the preparation for the press of such part of the materials as should consist of criticism and general literature, was entrusted to the care of the present Editor. The volumes now offered to the public are the first results of that arrangement. They must in any case stand in need of much indulgence from the ingenuous reader;—'multa sunt condonanda in opere postumo'; but a short statement of the difficulties attending the compilation may serve to explain some apparent anomalies, and to preclude some unnecessary censure.
The materials were fragmentary in the extreme—Sibylline leaves;—notes of the lecturer, memoranda of the investigator, out-pourings of the solitary and self-communing student. The fear of the press was not in them. Numerous as they were, too, they came to light, or were communicated, at different times, before and after the printing was commenced; and the dates, the occasions, and the references, in most instances remained to be discovered or conjectured. To give to such materials method and continuity, as far as might be,—to set them forth in the least disadvantageous manner which the circumstances would permit,—was a delicate and perplexing task; and the Editor is painfully sensible that he could bring few qualifications for the undertaking, but such as were involved in a many years' intercourse with the author himself, a patient study of his writings, a reverential admiration of his genius, and an affectionate desire to help in extending its beneficial influence.
The contents of these volumes are drawn from a portion only of the manuscripts entrusted to the Editor: the remainder of the collection, which, under favourable circumstances, he hopes may hereafter see the light, is at least of equal value with what is now presented to the reader as a sample. In perusing the following pages, the reader will, in a few instances, meet with disquisitions of a transcendental character, which, as a general rule, have been avoided: the truth is, that they were sometimes found so indissolubly intertwined with the more popular matter which preceded and followed, as to make separation impracticable. There are very many to whom no apology will be necessary in this respect; and the Editor only adverts to it for the purpose of obviating, as far as may be, the possible complaint of the more general reader. But there is another point to which, taught by past experience, he attaches more importance, and as to which, therefore, he ventures to put in a more express and particular caution. In many of the books and papers, which have been used in the compilation of these volumes, passages from other writers, noted down by Mr. Coleridge as in some way remarkable, were mixed up with his own comments on such passages, or with his reflections on other subjects, in a manner very embarrassing to the eye of a third person undertaking to select the original matter, after the lapse of several years. The Editor need not say that he has not knowingly admitted any thing that was not genuine without an express declaration, as in Vol. I. p. 1; and in another instance, Vol. II. p. 379, he has intimated his own suspicion: but, besides these, it is possible that some cases of mistake in this respect may have occurred. There may be one or two passages—they cannot well be more—printed in these volumes, which belong to other writers; and if such there be, the Editor can only plead in excuse, that the work has been prepared by him amidst many distractions, and hope that, in this instance at least, no ungenerous use will be made of such a circumstance to the disadvantage of the author, and that persons of greater reading or more retentive memories than the Editor, who may discover any such passages, will do him the favour to communicate the fact.
The Editor's motive in publishing the few poems and fragments included in these volumes, was to make a supplement to the collected edition of Coleridge's poetical works. In these fragments the reader will see the germs of several passages in the already published poems of the author, but which the Editor has not thought it necessary to notice more particularly. 'The Fall of Robespierre', a joint composition, has been so long in print in the French edition of Coleridge's poems, that, independently of such merit as it may possess, it seemed natural to adopt it upon the present occasion, and to declare the true state of the authorship.
To those who have been kind enough to communicate books and manuscripts for the purpose of the present publication, the Editor and, through him, Mr. Coleridge's executor return their grateful thanks. In most cases a specific acknowledgement has been made. But, above and independently of all others, it is to Mr. and Mrs. Gillman, and to Mr. Green himself, that the public are indebted for the preservation and use of the principal part of the contents of these volumes. The claims of those respected individuals on the gratitude of the friends and admirers of Coleridge and his works are already well known, and in due season those claims will receive additional confirmation.
With these remarks, sincerely conscious of his own inadequate execution of the task assigned to him, yet confident withal of the general worth of the contents of the following pages—the Editor commits the reliques of a great man to the indulgent consideration of the Public.
Lincoln's Inn, August 11, 1836.
He was one who with long and large arm still collected precious armfulls in whatever direction he pressed forward, yet still took up so much more than he could keep together, that those who followed him gleaned more from his continual droppings than he himself brought home;—nay, made stately corn-ricks therewith, while the reaper himself was still seen only with a strutting armful of newly-cut sheaves. But I should misinform you grossly if I left you to infer that his collections were a heap of incoherent 'miscellanea'. No! the very contrary. Their variety, conjoined with the too great coherency, the too great both desire and power of referring them in systematic, nay, genetic subordination, was that which rendered his schemes gigantic and impracticable, as an author, and his conversation less instructive as a man.
'Auditorem inopem ipsa copia fecit'.—Too much was given, all so weighty and brilliant as to preclude a chance of its being all received,—so that it not seldom passed over the hearer's mind like a roar of many waters.
THE FALL OF ROBESPIERRE POEMS. "Julia was blest with beauty, wit, and grace" "——————I yet remain" To the Rev. W. J. Hort To Charles Lamb To the Nightingale To Sara To Joseph Cottle Casimir Darwiniana "The early year's fast-flying vapours stray" Count Rumford's Essays Epigrams. On a late Marriage between an Old Maid and a French Petit Maitre On an Amorous Doctor "There comes from old Avaro's grave" "Last Monday all the papers said" To a Primrose, (the first seen in the season) On the Christening of a Friend's Child Epigram, "Hoarse Maevius reads his hobbling verse" Inscription by the Rev. W. L. Bowles, in Nether Stowey Church Translation Introduction to the Tale of the Dark Ladie Epilogue to the Rash Conjuror Psyche Complaint Reproof An Ode to the Rain Translation of a Passage in Ottfried's Metrical Paraphrase of the Gospel Israel's Lament on the Death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales Sentimental The Alternative The Exchange What is Life? Inscription for a Time-piece
A COURSE OF LECTURES. Prospectus Lecture I. General character of the Gothic Mind in the Middle Ages II. General Character of the Gothic Literature and Art III. The Troubadours—Boccaccio—Petrarch—Pulci—Chaucer—Spenser IV-VI. Shakspeare (not included in the original text) VII. Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger VIII. 'Don Quixote'. Cervantes IX. On the Distinctions of the Witty, the Droll, the Odd, and the Humorous; the Nature and Constituents of Humour; Rabelais, Swift, Sterne X. Donne, Dante, Milton, 'Paradise Lost' XI. Asiatic and Greek Mythologies, Robinson Crusoe, Use of Works of Imagination in Education XII. Dreams, Apparitions, Alchemists, Personality of the Evil Being, Bodily Identity XIII. On Poesy or Art XIV. On Style
Notes on Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici Notes on Junius Notes on Barclay's 'Argenis' Note in Casaubon's 'Persius' Notes on Chapman's Homer Note in Baxter's 'Life of Himself' Fragment of an Essay on Taste Fragment of an Essay on Beauty
Poems and Poetical Fragments
OMNIANA. The French Decade Ride and Tie Jeremy Taylor Criticism Public Instruction Picturesque Words Toleration War Parodies M. Dupuis Origin of the Worship of Hymen Egotism Cap of Liberty Bulls Wise Ignorance Rouge Hasty Words Motives and Impulses Inward Blindness The Vices of Slaves no excuse for Slavery Circulation of the Blood 'Peritura Parcere Chartae' To have and to be Party Passion Goodness of Heart Indispensable to a Man of Genius Milton and Ben Jonson Statistics Magnanimity Negroes and Narcissuses An Anecdote The Pharos at Alexandria Sense and Common Sense Toleration Hint for a New Species of History Text Sparring Pelagianism The Soul and its Organs of Sense Sir George Etherege, &c. Evidence Force of Habit Phoenix Memory and Recollection 'Aliquid ex Nihilo' Brevity of the Greek and English compared The Will and the Deed The Will for the Deed Sincerity Truth and Falsehood Religious Ceremonies Association Curiosity New Truths Vicious Pleasures Meriting Heaven Dust to Dust Human Countenance Lie useful to Truth Science in Roman Catholic States Voluntary Belief Amanda Hymen's Torch Youth and Age December Morning Archbishop Leighton Christian Honesty Inscription on a Clock in Cheapside Rationalism is not Reason Inconsistency Hope in Humanity Self-love in Religion Limitation of Love of Poetry Humility of the Amiable Temper in Argument Patriarchal Government Callous self-conceit A Librarian Trimming Death Love an Act of the Will Wedded Union Difference between Hobbes and Spinosa The End may justify the Means Negative Thought Man's return to Heaven Young Prodigies Welch names German Language The Universe Harberous An Admonition To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry Definition of Miracle Death, and grounds of belief in a Future State Hatred of Injustice Religion The Apostles' Creed A Good Heart Evidences of Christianity 'Confessio Fidei
THE FALL OF ROBESPIERRE
AND OTHER POEMS.
TO H. MARTIN, ESQ.
OF JESUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
Accept, as a small testimony of my grateful attachment, the following Dramatic Poem, in which I have endeavoured to detail, in an interesting form, the fall of a man, whose great bad actions have cast a disastrous lustre on his name. In the execution of the work, as intricacy of plot could not have been attempted without a gross violation of recent facts, it has been my sole aim to imitate the impassioned and highly figurative language of the French Orators, and to develope the characters of the chief actors on a vast stage of horrors.
S. T. COLERIDGE.
Jesus College, September 22, 1794.
THE FALL OF ROBESPIERRE.
AN HISTORIC DRAMA. 1794. 
[Footnote 1: The origin and authorship of "The Fall of Robespierre" will be best explained by the following extract from a letter from Mr. Southey to the Editor:
"This is the history of The Fall of Robespierre. It originated in sportive conversation at poor Lovell's, and we agreed each to produce an act by the next evening;—S. T. C. the first, I the second, and Lovell the third. S. T. C. brought part of his, I and Lovell the whole of ours; but L.'s was not in keeping, and therefore I undertook to supply the third also by the following day. By that time, S. T. C. had filled up his. A dedication to Mrs. Hannah More was concocted, and the notable performance was offered for sale to a bookseller in Bristol, who was too wise to buy it. Your Uncle took the MSS. with him to Cambridge, and there rewrote the first act at leisure, and published it. My portion I never saw from the time it was written till the whole was before the world. It was written with newspapers before me, as fast as newspaper could be put into blank verse. I have no desire to claim it now, or hereafter; but neither am I ashamed of it; and if you think proper to print the whole, so be it."—
"The Fall of Robespierre, a tragedy, of which the first act was written by S. T. Coleridge." Mr. C.'s note in the Conciones ad Populum, 1795. Ed.]
BARRERE. The tempest gathers—be it mine to seek A friendly shelter, ere it bursts upon him. But where? and how? I fear the tyrant's soul— Sudden in action, fertile in resource, And rising awful 'mid impending ruins; In splendour gloomy, as the midnight meteor, That fearless thwarts the elemental war.
When last in secret conference we met, He scowl'd upon me with suspicious rage, Making his eye the inmate of my bosom. I know he scorns me—and I feel, I hate him— Yet there is in him that which makes me tremble!
[Enter TALLIEN and LEGENDRE.]
TALLIEN. It was Barrere, Legendre! didst thou mark him? Abrupt he turn'd, yet linger'd as he went, And tow'rds us cast a look of doubtful meaning.
LEGENDRE. I mark'd him well. I met his eye's last glance; It menac'd not so proudly as of yore. Methought he would have spoke—but that he dar'd not— Such agitation darken'd on his brow.
TALLIEN. 'Twas all-distrusting guilt that kept from bursting Th'imprison'd secret struggling in the face: E'en as the sudden breeze upstarting onwards Hurries the thunder cloud, that pois'd awhile Hung in mid air, red with its mutinous burthen.
LEGENDRE. Perfidious traitor!—still afraid to bask In the full blaze of power, the rustling serpent Lurks in the thicket of the tyrant's greatness, Ever prepar'd to sting who shelters him. Each thought, each action in himself converges; And love and friendship on his coward heart Shine like the powerless sun on polar ice: To all attach'd, by turns deserting all, Cunning and dark—a necessary villain!
TALLIEN. Yet much depends upon him—well you know With plausible harangue 'tis his to paint Defeat like victory—and blind the mob With truth-mix'd falsehood. They, led on by him, And wild of head to work their own destruction, Support with uproar what he plans in darkness.
LEGENDRE. O what a precious name is liberty To scare or cheat the simple into slaves! Yes—we must gain him over: by dark hints We'll show enough to rouse his watchful fears, Till the cold coward blaze a patriot. O Danton! murder'd friend! assist my counsels— Hover around me on sad memory's wings, And pour thy daring vengeance in my heart. Tallien! if but to-morrow's fateful sun Beholds the tyrant living—we are dead!
TALLIEN. Yet his keen eye that flashes mighty meanings—
LEGENDRE. Fear not—or rather fear th'alternative, And seek for courage e'en in cowardice— But see—hither he comes—let us away! His brother with him, and the bloody Couthon, And, high of haughty spirit, young St. Just.
[Enter ROBESPIERRE, COUTHON, ST. JUST, and ROBESPIERRE Junior.]
ROBESPIERRE. What! did La Fayette fall before my power— And did I conquer Roland's spotless virtues— The fervent eloquence of Vergniaud's tongue, And Brissot's thoughtful soul unbribed and bold! Did zealot armies haste in vain to save them! What! did th' assassin's dagger aim its point Vain, as a dream of murder, at my bosom; And shall I dread the soft luxurious Tallien? Th' Adonis Tallien,—banquet-hunting Tallien,— Him, whose heart flutters at the dice-box! Him, Who ever on the harlots' downy pillow Resigns his head impure to feverish slumbers!
ST. JUST. I cannot fear him—yet we must not scorn him. Was it not Antony that conquer'd Brutus, Th' Adonis, banquet-hunting Antony? The state is not yet purified: and though The stream runs clear, yet at the bottom lies The thick black sediment of all the factions— It needs no magic hand to stir it up!
COUTHON. O, we did wrong to spare them—fatal error! Why lived Legendre, when that Danton died, And Collot d'Herbois dangerous in crimes? I've fear'd him, since his iron heart endured To make of Lyons one vast human shambles, Compar'd with which the sun-scorch'd wilderness Of Zara were a smiling paradise.
ST. JUST. Rightly thou judgest, Couthon! He is one, Who flies from silent solitary anguish, Seeking forgetful peace amid the jar Of elements. The howl of maniac uproar Lulls to sad sleep the memory of himself. A calm is fatal to him—then he feels The dire upboilings of the storm within him. A tiger mad with inward wounds!—I dread The fierce and restless turbulence of guilt.
ROBESPIERRE. Is not the Commune ours? the stern Tribunal? Dumas? and Vivier? Fleuriot? and Louvet? And Henriot? We'll denounce a hundred, nor Shall they behold to-morrow's sun roll westward.
ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR. Nay—I am sick of blood! my aching heart Reviews the long, long train of hideous horrors That still have gloom'd the rise of the Republic. I should have died before Toulon, when war Became the patriot!
ROBESPIERRE. Most unworthy wish! He, whose heart sickens at the blood of traitors Would be himself a traitor, were he not A coward! 'Tis congenial souls alone Shed tears of sorrow for each other's fate. O, thou art brave, my brother! and thine eye Full firmly shines amid the groaning battle— Yet in thine heart the woman-form of pity Asserts too large a share, an ill-timed guest! There is unsoundness in the state—to-morrow Shall see it cleansed by wholesome massacre!
ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR. Beware! already do the Sections murmur— "O the great glorious patriot, Robespierre— The tyrant guardian of the country's freedom!"
COUTHON. 'Twere folly sure to work great deeds by halves! Much I suspect the darksome fickle heart Of cold Barrere!
ROBESPIERRE. I see the villain in him!
ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR. If he—if all forsake thee—what remains?
ROBESPIERRE. Myself! the steel-strong rectitude of soul And poverty sublime 'mid circling virtues! The giant victories, my counsels form'd, Shall stalk around me with sun-glittering plumes, Bidding the darts of calumny fall pointless.
[Exeunt. Manet Couthon.]
COUTHON. So we deceive ourselves! What goodly virtues Bloom on the poisonous branches of ambition! Still, Robespierre! thou'l't guard thy country's freedom To despotize in all the patriot's pomp. While conscience, 'mid the mob's applauding clamours, Sleeps in thine ear, nor whispers—blood-stain'd tyrant! Yet what is conscience? superstition's dream Making such deep impression on our sleep— That long th' awaken'd breast retains its horrors! But he returns—and with him comes Barrere.
[Enter ROBESPIERRE and BARRERE.]
ROBESPIERRE. There is no danger but in cowardice.— Barrere! we make the danger, when we fear it. We have such force without, as will suspend The cold and trembling treachery of these members.
BARRERE. Twill be a pause of terror.—
ROBESPIERRE. But to whom? Rather the short-lived slumber of the tempest, Gathering its strength anew. The dastard traitors! Moles, that would undermine the rooted oak! A pause!—a moment's pause!—'Tis all their life.
BARRERE. Yet much they talk—and plausible their speech. Couthon's decree has given such powers, that—
ROBESPIERRE. That what?
BARRERE. The freedom of debate—
ROBESPIERRE. Transparent mask! They wish to clog the wheels of government, Forcing the hand that guides the vast machine To bribe them to their duty.—English patriots! Are not the congregated clouds of war Black all around us? In our very vitals Works not the king-bred poison of rebellion? Say, what shall counteract the selfish plottings Of wretches, cold of heart, nor awed by fears Of him, whose power directs th' eternal justice? Terror? or secret-sapping gold? The first. Heavy, but transient as the ills that cause it; And to the virtuous patriot render'd light By the necessities that gave it birth: The other fouls the fount of the Republic, Making it flow polluted to all ages; Inoculates the state with a slow venom, That once imbibed, must be continued ever. Myself incorruptible I ne'er could bribe them— Therefore they hate me.
BARRERE. Are the Sections friendly?
ROBESPIERRE. There are who wish my ruin—but I'll make them Blush for the crime in blood!
BARRERE. Nay—but I tell thee, Thou art too fond of slaughter—and the right (If right it be) workest by most foul means!
ROBESPIERRE. Self-centering Fear! how well thou canst ape Mercy! Too fond of slaughter!—matchless hypocrite! Thought Barrere so, when Brissot, Danton died? Thought Barrere so, when through the streaming streets Of Paris red-eyed Massacre, o'er wearied, Reel'd heavily, intoxicate with blood? And when (O heavens!) in Lyons' death-red square Sick fancy groan'd o'er putrid hills of slain, Didst thou not fiercely laugh, and bless the day? Why, thou hast been the mouth-piece of all horrors, And, like a blood-hound, crouch'd for murder! Now Aloof thou standest from the tottering pillar, Or, like a frighted child behind its mother, Hidest thy pale face in the skirts of—Mercy!
BARRERE. O prodigality of eloquent anger! Why now I see thou'rt weak—thy case is desperate! The cool ferocious Robespierre turn'd scolder!
ROBESPIERRE. Who from a bad man's bosom wards the blow, Reserves the whetted dagger for his own. Denounced twice—and twice I sav'd his life!
BARRERE. The Sections will support them—there's the point! No! he can never weather out the storm— Yet he is sudden in revenge—No more! I must away to Tallien.
[SCENE changes to the House of Adelaide. ADELAIDE enters, speaking to a Servant.]
ADELAIDE. Didst thou present the letter that I gave thee? Did Tallien answer, he would soon return?
SERVANT. He is in the Tuilleries—with him, Legendre— In deep discourse they seem'd: as I approach'd He waved his hand, as bidding me retire: I did not interrupt him.
[Returns the letter.]
ADELAIDE. Thou didst rightly.
O this new freedom! at how dear a price We've bought the seeming good! The peaceful virtues And every blandishment of private life, The father's cares, the mother's fond endearment, All sacrificed to liberty's wild riot. The winged hours, that scatter'd roses round me, Languid and sad drag their slow course along, And shake big gall-drops from their heavy wings. But I will steal away these anxious thoughts By the soft languishment of warbled airs, If haply melodies may lull the sense Of sorrow for a while.
TALLIEN. Music, my love? O breathe again that air! Soft nurse of pain, it soothes the weary soul Of care, sweet as the whisper'd breeze of evening That plays around the sick man's throbbing temples.
SONG. Tell me, on what holy ground May domestic peace be found? Halcyon daughter of the skies, Far on fearful wing she flies, From the pomp of sceptred state, From the rebel's noisy hate.
In a cottag'd vale she dwells, List'ning to the Sabbath bells! Still around her steps are seen Spotless honour's meeker mien, Love, the sire of pleasing fears, Sorrow smiling through her tears, And conscious of the past employ, Memory, bosom-spring of joy.
TALLIEN. I thank thee, Adelaide! 'twas sweet, though mournful. But why thy brow o'ercast, thy cheek so wan? Thou look'st as a lorn maid beside some stream, That sighs away the soul in fond despairing, While sorrow sad, like the dank willow near her, Hangs o'er the troubled fountain of her eye.
ADELAIDE. Ah! rather let me ask what mystery lowers On Tallien's darken'd brow. Thou dost me wrong— Thy soul distemper'd, can my heart be tranquil?
TALLIEN. Tell me, by whom thy brother's blood was spilt? Asks he not vengeance on these patriot murderers? It has been borne too tamely. Fears and curses Groan on our midnight beds, and e'en our dreams Threaten the assassin hand of Robespierre. He dies!—nor has the plot escaped his fears.
ADELAIDE. Yet—yet—be cautious! much I fear the Commune— The tyrant's creatures, and their fate with his Fast link'd in close indissoluble union. The pale Convention—
TALLIEN. Hate him as they fear him, Impatient of the chain, resolved and ready.
ADELAIDE. Th' enthusiast mob, confusion's lawless sons—
TALLIEN. They are aweary of his stern morality, The fair-mask'd offspring of ferocious pride. The Sections too support the delegates: All—all is ours! e'en now the vital air Of Liberty, condens'd awhile, is bursting (Force irresistible!) from its compressure— To shatter the arch chemist in the explosion!
[Enter BILLAUD VARENNES and BOURDON L'OISE.]
BOURDON L'OISE. Tallien! was this a time for amorous conference? Henriot, the tyrant's most devoted creature, Marshals the force of Paris: The fierce club, With Vivier at their head, in loud acclaim Have sworn to make the guillotine in blood Float on the scaffold.—But who comes here?
[Enter BARRERE abruptly.]
BARRERE. Say, are ye friends to freedom? I am hers! Let us, forgetful of all common feuds, Rally around her shrine! E'en now the tyrant Concerts a plan of instant massacre!
BILLAUD VARENNES. Away to the Convention! with that voice So oft the herald of glad victory, Rouse their fallen spirits, thunder in their ears The names of tyrant, plunderer, assassin! The violent workings of my soul within Anticipate the monster's blood!
[Cry from the street of —No tyrant! Down with the tyrant!]
TALLIEN. Hear ye that outcry?—If the trembling members Even for a moment hold his fate suspended, I swear by the holy poniard, that stabbed Caesar, This dagger probes his heart!
[ROBESPIERRE mounts the Tribune.]
ROBESPIERRE. Once more befits it that the voice of truth, Fearless in innocence, though leaguer'd round By envy and her hateful brood of hell, Be heard amid this hall; once more befits The patriot, whose prophetic eye so oft Has pierc'd thro' faction's veil, to flash on crimes Of deadliest import. Mouldering in the grave Sleeps Capet's caitiff corse; my daring hand Levell'd to earth his blood-cemented throne, My voice declared his guilt, and stirr'd up France To call for vengeance. I too dug the grave Where sleep the Girondists, detested band! Long with the show of freedom they abused Her ardent sons. Long time the well-turn'd phrase, The high fraught sentence, and the lofty tone Of declamation thunder'd in this hall, Till reason, midst a labyrinth of words, Perplex'd, in silence seem'd to yield assent. I durst oppose. Soul of my honour'd friend, Spirit of Marat, upon thee I call— Thou know'st me faithful, know'st with what warm zeal I urged the cause of justice, stripp'd the mask From faction's deadly visage, and destroy'd Her traitor brood. Whose patriot arm hurl'd down Hebert and Rousin, and the villain friends Of Danton, foul apostate! those, who long Mask'd treason's form in liberty's fair garb, Long deluged France with blood, and durst defy Omnipotence! but I, it seems, am false! I am a traitor too! I—Robespierre! I—at whose name the dastard despot brood Look pale with fear, and call on saints to help them Who dares accuse me? who shall dare belie My spotless name? Speak, ye accomplice band, Of what am I accused? of what strange crime Is Maximilian Robespierre accused, That through this hall the buzz of discontent Should murmur? who shall speak?
BILLAUD VARENNES. O patriot tongue, Belying the foul heart! Who was it urged Friendly to tyrants that accurst decree, Whose influence brooding o'er this hallow'd hall, Has chill'd each tongue to silence. Who destroy'd The freedom of debate, and carried through The fatal law, that doom'd the delegates, Unheard before their equals, to the bar Where cruelty sat throned, and murder reign'd With her Dumas coequal? Say—thou man Of mighty eloquence, whose law was that?
COUTHON. That law was mine. I urged it—I proposed— The voice of France assembled in her sons Assented, though the tame and timid voice Of traitors murmur'd. I advised that law— I justify it. It was wise and good.
BARRERE. Oh, wondrous wise, and most convenient too! I have long mark'd thee, Robespierre—and now Proclaim thee traitor—tyrant!
ROBESPIERRE. It is well;—I am a traitor! oh, that I had fallen When Regnault lifted high the murderous knife; Regnault, the instrument, belike of those Who now themselves would fain assassinate, And legalize their murders. I stand here An isolated patriot—hemm'd around By faction's noisy pack; beset and bay'd By the foul hell-hounds who know no escape From justice' outstretch'd arm, but by the force That pierces through her breast.
[Murmurs, and shouts of —Down with the tyrant!]
ROBESPIERRE. Nay, but I will be heard. There was a time When Robespierre began, the loud applauses Of honest patriots drown'd the honest sound. But times are changed, and villany prevails.
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. No—villany shall fall. France could not brook A monarch's sway;—sounds the dictator's name More soothing to her ear?
BOURDON L'OISE. Rattle her chains More musically now than when the hand Of Brissot forged her fetters; or the crew Of Hebert thunder'd out their blasphemies, And Danton talk'd of virtue?
ROBESPIERRE. Oh, that Brissot Were here again to thunder in this hall,— That Hebert lived, and Danton's giant form Scowl'd once again defiance! so my soul Might cope with worthy foes. People of France, Hear me! Beneath the vengeance of the law Traitors have perish'd countless; more survive: The hydra-headed faction lifts anew Her daring front, and fruitful from her wounds, Cautious from past defects, contrives new wiles Against the sons of Freedom.
TALLIEN. Freedom lives! Oppression falls—for France has felt her chains, Has burst them too. Who, traitor-like, stept forth Amid the hall of Jacobins to save Camille Desmoulins, and the venal wretch D'Eglantine?
ROBESPIERRE. I did—for I thought them honest. And Heaven forefend that vengeance e'er should strike, Ere justice doom'd the blow.
BARRERE. Traitor, thou didst. Yes, the accomplice of their dark designs, Awhile didst thou defend them, when the storm Lour'd at safe distance. When the clouds frown'd darker, Fear'd for yourself, and left them to their fate. Oh, I have mark'd thee long, and through the veil Seen thy foul projects. Yes, ambitious man, Self-will'd dictator o'er the realm of France, The vengeance thou hast plann'd for patriots, Falls on thy head. Look how thy brother's deeds Dishonour thine! He, the firm patriot; Thou, the foul parricide of Liberty!
ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR. Barrere—attempt not meanly to divide Me from my brother. I partake his guilt, For I partake his virtue.
ROBESPIERRE. Brother, by my soul, More dear I hold thee to my heart, that thus With me thou dar'st to tread the dangerous path Of virtue, than that nature twined her cords Of kindred round us.
BARRERE. Yes, allied in guilt, Even as in blood ye are. Oh, thou worst wretch, Thou worse than Sylla! hast thou not proscrib'd, Yea, in most foul anticipation slaughter'd Each patriot representative of France?
BOURDON L'OISE. Was not the younger Caesar too to reign O'er all our valiant armies in the south, And still continue there his merchant wiles?
ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR. His merchant wiles! Oh, grant me patience, heaven! Was it by merchant wiles I gain'd you back Toulon, when proudly on her captive towers Wav'd high the English flag? or fought I then With merchant wiles, when sword in hand I led Your troops to conquest? fought I merchant-like, Or barter'd I for victory, when death Strode o'er the reeking streets with giant stride, And shook his ebon plumes, and sternly smil'd Amid the bloody banquet? when appall'd The hireling sons of England spread the sail Of safety, fought I like a merchant then? Oh, patience! patience!
BOURDON L'OISE. How this younger tyrant Mouths out defiance to us! even so He had led on the armies of the south, Till once again the plains of France were drench'd With her best blood.
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. Till once again display'd Lyons' sad tragedy had call'd me forth The minister of wrath, whilst slaughter by Had bathed in human blood.
DUBOIS CRANCE. No wonder, friend, That we are traitors—that our heads must fall Beneath the axe of death! when Caesar-like Reigns Robespierre, 'tis wisely done to doom The fall of Brutus. Tell me, bloody man, Hast thou not parcell'd out deluded France As it had been some province won in fight Between your curst triumvirate. You, Couthon, Go with my brother to the southern plains; St. Just, be yours the army of the north; Meantime I rule at Paris.
ROBESPIERRE. Matchless knave! What—not one blush of conscience on thy cheek— Not one poor blush of truth! most likely tale! That I, who ruin'd Brissot's towering hopes, I, who discover'd Hebert's impious wiles, And sharp'd for Danton's recreant neck the axe, Should now be traitor! had I been so minded, Think ye I had destroy'd the very men Whose plots resembled mine? bring forth your proofs Of this deep treason. Tell me in whose breast Found ye the fatal scroll? or tell me rather Who forged the shameless falsehood?
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. Ask you proofs? Robespierre, what proofs were ask'd when Brissot died?
LEGENDRE. What proofs adduced you when the Danton died? When at the imminent peril of my life I rose, and, fearless of thy frowning brow, Proclaim'd him guiltless?
ROBESPIERRE. I remember well The fatal day. I do repent me much That I kill'd Caesar and spared Antony. But I have been too lenient. I have spared The stream of blood, and now my own must flow To fill the current.
Triumph not too soon, Justice may yet be victor.
[Enter ST. JUST, and mounts the Tribune.]
ST. JUST. I come from the committee—charged to speak Of matters of high import. I omit Their orders. Representatives of France, Boldly in his own person speaks St. Just What his own heart shall dictate.
TALLIEN. Hear ye this, Insulted delegates of France? St. Just From your committee comes—comes charged to speak Of matters of high import—yet omits Their orders! Representatives of France, That bold man I denounce, who disobeys The nation's orders.—I denounce St. Just.
ST. JUST. Hear me!
ROBESPIERRE. He shall be heard!
BURDON L'OISE. Must we contaminate this sacred hall With the foul breath of treason?
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. Drag him away! Hence with him to the bar.
COUTHON. Oh, just proceedings! Robespierre prevented liberty of speech— And Robespierre is a tyrant! Tallien reigns, He dreads to hear the voice of innocence— And St. Just must be silent!
LEGENDRE. Heed we well That justice guide our actions. No light import Attends this day. I move St. Just be heard.
FRERON. Inviolate be the sacred right of man, The freedom of debate.
ST. JUST. I may be heard then! much the times are changed, When St. Just thanks this hall for hearing him. Robespierre is call'd a tyrant. Men of France, Judge not too soon. By popular discontent Was Aristides driven into exile, Was Phocion murder'd! Ere ye dare pronounce Robespierre is guilty, it befits ye well, Consider who accuse him. Tallien, Bourdon of Oise—the very men denounced, For that their dark intrigues disturb'd the plan Of government. Legendre, the sworn friend Of Danton fall'n apostate. Dubois Crance, He who at Lyons spared the royalists— Collot d'Herbois—
BOURDON L'OISE. What—shall the traitor rear His head amid our tribune, and blaspheme Each patriot? shall the hireling slave of faction—
ST. JUST. I am of no one faction. I contend Against all factions.
TALLIEN. I espouse the cause Of truth. Robespierre on yester morn pronounced Upon his own authority a report. To-day St. Just comes down. St. Just neglects What the committee orders, and harangues From his own will. O citizens of France, I weep for you—I weep for my poor country— I tremble for the cause of Liberty, When individuals shall assume the sway, And with more insolence than kingly pride Rule the Republic.
BILLAUD VARENNES. Shudder, ye representatives of France, Shudder with horror. Henriot commands The marshall'd force of Paris. Henriot, Foul parricide—the sworn ally of Hebert Denounced by all—upheld by Robespierre. Who spared La Valette? who promoted him, Stain'd with the deep die of nobility? Who to an ex-peer gave the high command? Who screen'd from justice the rapacious thief? Who cast in chains the friends of Liberty? Robespierre, the self-styled patriot, Robespierre— Robespierre, allied with villain Daubigne— Robespierre, the foul arch tyrant, Robespierre.
BOURDON L'OISE. He talks of virtue—of morality— Consistent patriot! he Daubigne's friend! Henriot's supporter virtuous! preach of virtue, Yet league with villains, for with Robespierre Villains alone ally. Thou art a tyrant! I style thee tyrant, Robespierre!
ROBESPIERRE. Take back the name. Ye citizens of France—
[Violent Clamour. Cries of —Down with the tyrant!]
TALLlEN. Oppression falls. The traitor stands appall'd— Guilt's iron fangs engrasp his shrinking soul— He hears assembled France denounce his crimes! He sees the mask torn from his secret sins— He trembles on the precipice of fate. Fall'n guilty tyrant! murder'd by thy rage, How many an innocent victim's blood has stain'd Fair freedom's altar! Sylla-like thy hand Mark'd down the virtues, that, thy foes removed, Perpetual Dictator thou might'st reign, And tyrannize o'er France, and call it freedom! Long time in timid guilt the traitor plann'd His fearful wiles—success embolden'd sin— And his stretch'd arm had grasp'd the diadem Ere now, but that the coward's heart recoil'd, Lest France awaked, should rouse her from her dream, And call aloud for vengeance. He, like Caesar, With rapid step urged on his bold career, Even to the summit of ambitious power, And deem'd the name of King alone was wanting. Was it for this we hurl'd proud Capet down? Is it for this we wage eternal war Against the tyrant horde of murderers, The crowned cockatrices whose foul venom Infects all Europe? was it then for this We swore to guard our liberty with life, That Robespierre should reign? the spirit of freedom Is not yet sunk so low. The glowing flame That animates each honest Frenchman's heart Not yet extinguish'd. I invoke thy shade, Immortal Brutus! I too wear a dagger; And if the representatives of France Through fear or favour should delay the sword Of justice, Tallien emulates thy virtues; Tallien, like Brutus, lifts the avenging arm; Tallien shall save his country.
BILLAUD VARENNES. I demand The arrest of all the traitors. Memorable Will be this day for France.
ROBESPIERRE. Yes! Memorable This day will be for France—for villains triumph.
LEBAS. I will not share in this day's damning guilt. Condemn me too.
[Great cry —Down with the tyrants! The two Robespierres, Couthon, St. Just, and Lebas are led off.]
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. Caesar is fallen! The baneful tree of Java, Whose death-distilling boughs dropt poisonous dew, Is rooted from its base. This worse than Cromwell, The austere, the self-denying Robespierre, Even in this hall, where once with terror mute We listen'd to the hypocrite's harangues, Has heard his doom.
BILLAUD VARENNES. Yet must we not suppose The tyrant will fall tamely. His sworn hireling Henriot, the daring desperate Henriot Commands the force of Paris. I denounce him.
FRERON. I denounce Fleuriot too, the mayor of Paris.
[Enter DUBOIS CRANCE.]
DUBOIS CRANCE. Robespierre is rescued. Henriot, at the head Of the arm'd force, has rescued the fierce tyrant.
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. Ring the tocsin—call all the citizens To save their country—never yet has Paris Forsook the representatives of France.
TALLIEN. It is the hour of danger. I propose This sitting be made permanent.
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. The national Convention shall remain Firm at its post.
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
MESSENGER. Robespierre has reach'd the Commune. They espouse The tyrant's cause. St. Just is up in arms! St. Just—the young, ambitious, bold St. Just Harangues the mob. The sanguinary Couthon Thirsts for your blood.
TALLIEN. These tyrants are in arms against the law: Outlaw the rebels.
[Enter MERLIN OF DOUAY.]
MERLIN. Health to the representatives of France! I pass'd this moment through the armed force— They ask'd my name—and when they heard a delegate, Swore I was not the friend of France.
COLLOT D'HERBOIS. The tyrants threaten us as when they turn'd The cannon's mouth on Brissot.
[Enter another MESSENGER.]
SECOND MESSENGER. Vivier harangues the Jacobins—the club Espouse the cause of Robespierre.
[Enter another MESSENGER.]
THIRD MESSENGER. All's lost—the tyrant triumphs. Henriot leads The soldiers to his aid.—Already I hear The rattling cannon destin'd to surround This sacred hall.
TALLIEN. Why, we will die like men then. The representatives of France dare death, When duty steels their bosoms.
TALLIEN [addressing the galleries.] Citizens! France is insulted in her delegates— The majesty of the Republic is insulted— Tyrants are up in arms. An armed force Threats the Convention. The Convention swears To die, or save the country!
[Violent Applauses from the galleries.]
CITIZEN [from above.] We too swear To die, or save the country. Follow me.
[All the men quit the galleries.]
[Enter another MESSENGER.]
FOURTH MESSENGER. Henriot is taken!—
Henriot is taken. Three of your brave soldiers Swore they would seize the rebel slave of tyrants, Or perish in the attempt. As he patroll'd The streets of Paris, stirring up the mob, They seized him.
BILLAUD VARENNES. Let the names of these brave men Live to the future day.
[Enter BOURDON L'OISE, sword in hand.]
BOURDON L'OISE. I have clear'd the Commune.
Through the throng I rush'd, Brandishing my good sword to drench its blade Deep in the tyrant's heart. The timid rebels Gave way. I met the soldiery—I spake Of the dictator's crimes—of patriots chain'd In dark deep dungeons by his lawless rage— Of knaves secure beneath his fostering power. I spake of Liberty. Their honest hearts Caught the warm flame. The general shout burst forth, "Live the Convention—Down with Robespierre!"
[Applauses. Shouts from without —Down with the tyrant!]
TALLIEN. I hear, I hear the soul-inspiring sounds, France shall be saved! her generous sons attach'd To principles, not persons, spurn the idol They worshipp'd once. Yes, Robespierre shall fall As Capet fell! Oh! never let us deem That France shall crouch beneath a tyrant's throne, That the almighty people who have broke On their oppressors' heads the oppressive chain, Will court again their fetters! easier were it To hurl the cloud-capt mountain from its base, Than force the bonds of slavery upon men Determined to be free!
[Enter LEGENDRE, a Pistol in one hand, Keys in the other.]
LEGENDRE, [flinging down the Keys.] So—let the mutinous Jacobins meet now In the open air.
A factious, turbulent party, Lording it o'er the state since Danton died, And with him the Cordeliers.—A hireling band Of loud-tongued orators controll'd the club, And bade them bow the knee to Robespierre. Vivier has 'scap'd me. Curse his coward heart— This fate-fraught tube of Justice in my hand, I rush'd into the hall. He mark'd mine eye, That beam'd its patriot anger, and flash'd full With death-denouncing meaning. 'Mid the throng He mingled. I pursued—but staid my hand, Lest haply I might shed the innocent blood.
FRERON. They took from me my ticket of admission— Expell'd me from their sittings.—Now, forsooth, Humbled and trembling re-insert my name. But Freron enters not the club again Till it be purged of guilt—till, purified Of tyrants and of traitors, honest men May breathe the air in safety.
[Shouts from without.]
BARRERE. What means this uproar! if the tyrant band Should gain the people once again to rise— We are as dead!
TALLIEN. And wherefore fear we death? Did Brutus fear it? or the Grecian friends Who buried in Hipparchus' breast the sword, And died triumphant? Caesar should fear death, Brutus must scorn the bugbear.
[Shouts from without: Live the Convention—Down with the tyrants!]
TALLIEN. Hark! again The sounds of honest Freedom!
[Enter DEPUTIES from the SECTIONS.]
CITIZEN. Citizens! representatives of France! Hold on your steady course. The men of Paris Espouse your cause. The men of Paris swear They will defend the delegates of Freedom.
TALLIEN. Hear ye this, colleagues? hear ye this, my brethren? And does no thrill of joy pervade your breasts? My bosom bounds to rapture. I have seen The sons of France shake off the tyrant yoke; I have, as much as lies in mine own arm, Hurl'd down the usurper.—Come death when it will, I have lived long enough.
BARRERE. Hark! how the noise increases! through the gloom Of the still evening—harbinger of death Rings the tocsin! the dreadful generale Thunders through Paris—
[Cry without —Down with the tyrant!]
LECOINTRE. So may eternal justice blast the foes Of France! so perish all the tyrant brood, As Robespierre has perish'd! Citizens, Caesar is taken.
[Loud and repeated Applauses.]
I marvel not, that, with such fearless front, He braved our vengeance, and with angry eye Scowl'd round the hall defiance. He relied On Henriot's aid—the Commune's villain friendship, And Henriot's boughten succours. Ye have heard How Henriot rescued him—how with open arms The Commune welcomed in the rebel tyrant— How Fleuriot aided, and seditious Vivier Stirr'd up the Jacobins. All had been lost— The representatives of France had perish'd— Freedom had sunk beneath the tyrant arm Of this foul parricide, but that her spirit Inspired the men of Paris. Henriot call'd "To arms" in vain, whilst Bourdon's patriot voice Breathed eloquence, and o'er the Jacobins Legendre frown'd dismay. The tyrants fled— They reach'd the Hotel. We gather'd round—we call'd For vengeance! Long time, obstinate in despair, With knives they hack'd around them. Till foreboding The sentence of the law, the clamorous cry Of joyful thousands hailing their destruction, Each sought by suicide to escape the dread Of death. Lebas succeeded. From the window Leap'd the younger Robespierre; but his fractur'd limb Forbade to escape. The self-will'd dictator Plung'd often the keen knife in his dark breast, Yet impotent to die. He lives, all mangled By his own tremulous hand! All gash'd and gored, He lives to taste the bitterness of death. Even now they meet their doom. The bloody Couthon, The fierce St. Just, even now attend their tyrant To fall beneath the axe. I saw the torches Flash on their visages a dreadful light— I saw them whilst the black blood roll'd adown Each stern face, even then with dauntless eye Scowl round contemptuous, dying as they lived, Fearless of fate!
[Loud and repeated Applauses.]
BARRERE [mounts the Tribune.] For ever hallow'd be this glorious day, When Freedom, bursting her oppressive chain, Tramples on the oppressor. When the tyrant, Hurl'd from his blood-cemented throne by the arm Of the almighty people, meets the death He plann'd for thousands. Oh! my sickening heart Has sunk within me, when the various woes Of my brave country crowded o'er my brain In ghastly numbers—when assembled hordes, Dragg'd from their hovels by despotic power, Rush'd o'er her frontiers, plunder'd her fair hamlets, And sack'd her populous towns, and drench'd with blood The reeking fields of Flanders.—When within, Upon her vitals prey'd the rankling tooth Of treason; and oppression, giant form, Trampling on freedom, left the alternative Of slavery, or of death. Even from that day, When, on the guilty Capet, I pronounced The doom of injured France, has faction rear'd Her hated head amongst us. Roland preach'd Of mercy—the uxorious, dotard Roland, The woman-govern'd Roland durst aspire To govern France; and Petion talk'd of virtue, And Vergniaud's eloquence, like the honey'd tongue Of some soft Syren wooed us to destruction. We triumph'd over these. On the same scaffold Where the last Louis pour'd his guilty blood, Fell Brissot's head, the womb of darksome treasons, And Orleans, villain kinsman of the Capet, And Hebert's atheist crew, whose maddening hand Hurl'd down the altars of the living God, With all the infidel's intolerance. The last worst traitor triumph'd—triumph'd long, Secured by matchless villany. By turns Defending and deserting each accomplice As interest prompted. In the goodly soil Of Freedom, the foul tree of treason struck Its deep-fix'd roots, and dropt the dews of death On all who slumber'd in its specious shade. He wove the web of treachery. He caught The listening crowd by his wild eloquence, His cool ferocity that persuaded murder, Even whilst it spake of mercy!—never, never Shall this regenerated country wear The despot yoke. Though myriads round assail, And with worse fury urge this new crusade Than savages have known; though the leagued despots Depopulate all Europe, so to pour The accumulated mass upon our coasts, Sublime amid the storm shall France arise, And like the rock amid surrounding waves Repel the rushing ocean.—She shall wield The thunder-bolt of vengeance—she shall blast The despot's pride, and liberate the world!
—medio de fonte leporum Surgit amari aliquid.—- LUCRET.
"JULIA WAS BLEST WITH BEAUTY, WIT AND GRACE..."
Julia was blest with beauty, wit, and grace: Small poets loved to sing her blooming face. Before her altars, lo! a numerous train Preferr'd their vows; yet all preferr'd in vain: Till charming Florio, born to conquer, came, And touch'd the fair one with an equal flame. The flame she felt, and ill could she conceal What every look and action would reveal. With boldness then, which seldom fails to move, He pleads the cause of marriage and of love; The course of hymeneal joys he rounds, The fair one's eyes dance pleasure at the sounds. Nought now remain'd but "Noes"—how little meant— And the sweet coyness that endears consent. The youth upon his knees enraptur'd fell:— The strange misfortune, oh! what words can tell? Tell! ye neglected sylphs! who lap-dogs guard, Why snatch'd ye not away your precious ward? Why suffer'd ye the lover's weight to fall On the ill-fated neck of much-loved Ball? The favourite on his mistress cast his eyes, Gives a short melancholy howl, and—dies! Sacred his ashes lie, and long his rest! Anger and grief divide poor Julia's breast. Her eyes she fix'd on guilty Florio first, On him the storm of angry grief must burst. That storm he fled:—he wooes a kinder fair, Whose fond affections no dear puppies share. 'Twere vain to tell how Julia pined away;— Unhappy fair, that in one luckless day (From future almanacks the day be crost!) At once her lover and her lap-dog lost!
[Footnote 1: This copy of verses was written at Christ's Hospital, and transcribed, 'honoris causa', into the book kept by the head-master, Mr. Bowyer, for that purpose. They are printed by Mr. Trollope in p. 192 of his 'History of the Hospital', published in 1834. Ed.]
"I YET REMAIN..."
—I yet remain To mourn the hours of youth (yet mourn in vain) That fled neglected: wisely thou hast trod The better path—and that high meed which God Assign'd to virtue, tow'ring from the dust, Shall wait thy rising, Spirit pure and just.
O God! how sweet it were to think, that all Who silent mourn around this gloomy ball Might hear the voice of joy;—but 'tis the will Of man's great Author, that through good and ill Calm he should hold his course, and so sustain His varied lot of pleasure, toil, and pain!
[Footnote 1: These lines were found in Mr. Coleridge's hand-writing in one of the Prayer Books in the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. Ed.]
TO THE REV. W. J. HORT. 
Hush! ye clamorous cares, be mute! Again, dear harmonist! again Through the hollow of thy flute Breathe that passion-warbled strain; Till memory back each form shall bring The loveliest of her shadowy throng, And hope, that soars on sky-lark wing, Shall carol forth her gladdest song!
O skill'd with magic spell to roll The thrilling tones that concentrate the soul! Breathe through thy flute those tender notes again, While near thee sits the chaste-eyed maiden mild; And bid her raise the poet's kindred strain In soft impassion'd voice, correctly wild.
In freedom's undivided dell, Where toil and health with mellow'd love shall dwell— Far from folly, far from men, In the rude romantic glen, Up the cliff, and through the glade, Wand'ring with the dear-loved maid, I shall listen to the lay, And ponder on thee far away;— Still as she bids those thrilling notes aspire (Making my fond attuned heart her lyre), Thy honour'd form, my friend! shall reappear, And I will thank thee with a raptured tear!
[Footnote 1: Mr. Hort was a Unitarian clergyman, and in 1794 second master in Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Estlin's school on St. Michael's Hill, Bristol. Ed.]
TO CHARLES LAMB,
WITH AN UNFINISHED POEM.
Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme Elaborate and swelling;—yet the heart Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know) From business wand'ring far and local cares, Thou creepest round a dear-loved sister's bed With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look, Soothing each pang with fond solicitude, And tenderest tones medicinal of love. I, too, a sister had, an only sister— She loved me dearly, and I doted on her; To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows; (As a sick patient in a nurse's arms,) And of the heart those hidden maladies— That e'en from friendship's eye will shrink ashamed. O! I have waked at midnight, and have wept Because she was not!—Cheerily, dear Charles! Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year; Such warm presages feel I of high hope! For not uninterested the dear maid I've view'd—her soul affectionate yet wise, Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories That play around a sainted infant's head. He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees, Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love Aught to implore were impotence of mind!)  That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,— Prepared, when He his healing ray vouchsafes, Thanksgiving to pour forth with lifted heart, And praise him gracious with a brother's joy!
[Footnote 1: This line and the six and a half which follow are printed, by mistake, as a fragment in the first volume of the 'Poetical Works', 1834, p. 35. Ed.]
[Footnote 2: "I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the line
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love Aught to 'implore' were impotence of mind,—
it being written in Scripture, 'Ask,' and it shall be given you! and my human reason being, moreover, convinced of the propriety of offering 'petitions' as well as thanksgivings to Deity." S. T. C. 1797. "I will add, at the risk of appearing to dwell too long on religious topics, that on this my first introduction to Coleridge, he reverted with strong compunction to a sentiment which he had expressed in earlier days upon prayer. In one of his youthful poems, speaking of God, he had said,—
—'Of whose all-seeing eye Aught to demand were impotence of mind.'
This sentiment he now so utterly condemned, that, on the contrary, he told me, as his own peculiar opinion, that the act of praying was the highest energy of which the human heart was capable—praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties; and the great mass of worldly men and of learned men he pronounced absolutely incapable of praying." 'Mr. De Quincey in Tait's Magazine, September, 1834, p.515.'
"Mr. Coleridge, within two years of his death, very solemnly declared to me his conviction upon the same subject. I was sitting by his bed-side one afternoon, and he fell—an unusual thing for him—into a long account of many passages of his past life, lamenting some things, condemning others, but complaining withal, though very gently, of the way in which many of his most innocent acts had been cruelly misrepresented. 'But I have no difficulty,' said he, 'in forgiveness; indeed, I know not how to say with sincerity the clause in the Lord's Prayer, which asks forgiveness 'as we forgive'. I feel nothing answering to it in my heart. Neither do I find, or reckon, the most solemn faith in God as a real object, the most arduous act of the reason and will;—O no! my dear, it is 'to pray', to pray as God would have us; this is what at times makes me turn cold to my soul. Believe me, to pray with all your heart and strength, with the reason and the will, to believe vividly that God will listen to your voice through Christ, and verily do the thing he pleaseth thereupon—this is the last, the greatest achievement of the Christian's warfare on earth. 'Teach' us to pray, O Lord!' And then he burst into a flood of tears, and begged me to pray for him. O what a sight was there!" 'Table Talk,' vol. i. p. 162. Ed.]
TO THE NIGHTINGALE.
Sister of lovelorn poets, Philomel! How many bards in city garret spent, While at their window they with downward eye Mark the faint lamp-beam on the kennell'd mud, And listen to the drowsy cry of watchmen, (Those hoarse, unfeather'd nightingales of time!) How many wretched bards address thy name, And hers, the full-orb'd queen, that shines above. But I do hear thee, and the high bough mark, Within whose mild moou-mellow'd foliage hid, Thou warblest sad thy pity-pleading strains. O I have listen'd, till my working soul, Waked by those strains to thousand phantasies, Absorb'd, hath ceas'd to listen! Therefore oft I hymn thy name; and with a proud delight Oft will I tell thee, minstrel of the moon, Most musical, most melancholy bird! That all thy soft diversities of tone, Though sweeter far than the delicious airs That vibrate from a white-arm'd lady's harp, What time the languishment of lonely love Melts in her eye, and heaves her breast of snow, Are not so sweet, as is the voice of her, My Sara—best beloved of human kind! When breathing the pure soul of tenderness, She thrills me with the husband's promised name!
The stream with languid murmur creeps In Lumin's flowery vale; Beneath the dew the lily weeps, Slow waving to the gale.
"Cease, restless gale," it seems to say, "Nor wake me with thy sighing: The honours of my vernal day On rapid wings are flying.
"To-morrow shall the traveller come, That erst beheld me blooming, His searching eye shall vainly roam The dreary vale of Lumin."
With eager gaze and wetted cheek My wonted haunts along, Thus, lovely maiden, thou shalt seek The youth of simplest song.
But I along the breeze will roll The voice of feeble power, And dwell, the moon-beam of thy soul, In slumber's nightly hour.
TO JOSEPH COTTLE,
Unboastful Bard! whose verse concise, yet clear, Tunes to smooth melody unconquer'd sense, May your fame fadeless live, as never-sere The ivy wreathes yon oak, whose broad defence Embowers me from noon's sultry influence! For, like that nameless rivulet stealing by, Your modest verse to musing quiet dear, Is rich with tints heaven-borrow'd;—the charm'd eye Shall gaze undazzled there, and love the soften'd sky.
Circling the base of the poetic mount, A stream there is, which rolls in lazy flow Its coal-black waters from oblivion's fount: The vapour-poison'd birds, that fly too low, Fall with dead swoop, and to the bottom go. Escaped that heavy stream on pinion fleet Beneath the mountain's lofty-frowning brow, Ere aught of perilous ascent you meet, A mead of mildest charm delays th' unlabouring feet.
Not there the cloud-climb'd rock, sublime and vast, That, like some giant king, o'er-glooms the hill; Nor there the pine-grove to the midnight blast Makes solemn music! but th' unceasing rill To the soft wren or lark's descending trill, Murmurs sweet undersong mid jasmine bowers. In this same pleasant meadow, at your will, I ween, you wander'd—there collecting flowers Of sober tint, and herbs of med'cinable powers!
There for the monarch-murder'd soldier's tomb You wove th' unfinish'd wreath of saddest hues; And to that holier chaplet added bloom, Besprinkling it with Jordan's cleansing dews. But lo! your Henderson awakes the Muse— His spirit beckon'd from the mountain's height! You left the plain, and soar'd mid richer views. So Nature mourn'd, when sank the first day's light, With stars, unseen before, spangling her robe of night!
Still soar, my friend! those richer views among, Strong, rapid, fervent, flashing fancy's beam! Virtue and truth shall love your gentler song; But poesy demands th' impassion'd theme. Wak'd by heaven's silent dews at eve's mild gleam, What balmy sweets Pomona breathes around! But if the vext air rush a stormy stream, Or autumn's shrill gust moan in plaintive sound, With fruits and flowers she loads the tempest-honour'd ground!
If we except Lucretius and Statius, I know no Latin poet, ancient or modern, who has equalled Casimir in boldness of conception, opulence of fancy, or beauty of versification. The Odes of this illustrious Jesuit were translated into English about 150 years ago, by a G. Hils, I think.  I never saw the translation. A few of the Odes have been translated in a very animated manner by Watts. I have subjoined the third Ode of the second Book, which, with the exception of the first line, is an effusion of exquisite elegance. In the imitation attempted, I am sensible that I have destroyed the effect of suddenness, by translating into two stanzas what is one in the original. 1796.
Sonora buxi filia sutilis, Pendebis alta, barbite, populo, Dum ridet aer, et supinas Solicitat levis aura frondes.
Te sibilantis lenior halitus Perflabit Euri: me juvet interim Collum reclinasse, et virenti Sic temere  jacuisse ripa.
Eheu! serenum quae nebulae tegunt Repente caelum! quis sonus imbrium! Surgamus—heu semper fugaci Gaudia praeteritura passu!
The solemn-breathing air is ended— Cease, O Lyre! thy kindred lay! From the poplar branch suspended, Glitter to the eye of day!
On thy wires, hov'ring, dying, Softly sighs the summer wind: I will slumber, careless lying, By yon waterfall reclin'd.
In the forest hollow-roaring, Hark! I hear a deep'ning sound— Clouds rise thick with heavy low'ring! See! th' horizon blackens round!
Parent of the soothing measure, Let me seize thy wetted string! Swiftly flies the flatterer, pleasure, Headlong, ever on the wing!
[Footnote 1: The Odes of Casimire translated by G.H. [G. Hils.] London, 1646. 12mo. Ed.]
[Footnote 2: Had Casimir any better authority for this quantity than Tertullian's line,—
Immemor ille Dei temere committere tale—?
In the classic poets the last syllable is, I believe, uniformly cut off. Ed.]
THE HOUR WHEN WE SHALL MEET AGAIN. (COMPOSED DURING ILLNESS AND IN ABSENCE.)
Dim Hour! that sleep'st on pillowing clouds afar, O rise, and yoke the turtles to thy car! Bend o'er the traces, blame each lingering dove, And give me to the bosom of my love! My gentle love! caressing and carest, With heaving heart shall cradle me to rest; Shed the warm tear-drop from her smiling eyes, Lull with fond woe, and med'cine me with sighs; While finely-flushing float her kisses meek, Like melted rubies, o'er my pallid cheek.
Chill'd by the night, the drooping rose of May Mourns the long absence of the lovely day: Young Day returning at her promised hour, Weeps o'er the sorrows of the fav'rite flower,— Weeps the soft dew, the balmy gale she sighs, And darts a trembling lustre from her eyes. New life and joy th' expanding flow'ret feels: His pitying mistress mourns, and mourning heals!
In my calmer moments I have the firmest faith that all things work together for good. But, alas! it seems a long and a dark process:—
"THE EARLY YEAR'S FAST-FLYING VAPOURS STRAY..."
The early year's fast-flying vapours stray In shadowing trains across the orb of day; And we, poor insects of a few short hours, Deem it a world of gloom. Were it not better hope, a nobler doom, Proud to believe, that with more active powers On rapid many-colour'd wing, We thro' one bright perpetual spring Shall hover round the fruits and flowers, Screen'd by those clouds, and cherish'd by those showers!
COUNT RUMFORB'S ESSAYS.
These, Virtue, are thy triumphs, that adorn Fitliest our nature, and bespeak us born For loftiest action;—not to gaze and run From clime to clime; or batten in the sun, Dragging a drony flight from flower to flower, Like summer insects in a gaudy hour; Nor yet o'er lovesick tales with fancy range, And cry, ''Tis pitiful,'tis passing strange!' But on life's varied views to look around, And raise expiring sorrow from the ground:— And he—who thus hath borne his part assign'd In the sad fellowship of human kind, Or for a moment soothed the bitter pain Of a poor brother—has not lived in vain.
ON A LATE MARRIAGE BETWEEN AN OLD MAID AND A FRENCH PETIT MAiTRE.
Tho' Miss——'s match is a subject of mirth She consider'd the matter full well, And wisely preferr'd leading one ape on earth To perhaps a whole dozen in hell.
ON AN AMOROUS DOCTOR.
From Rufa's eye sly Cupid shot his dart, And left it sticking in Sangrado's heart. No quiet from that moment has he known, And peaceful sleep has from his eyelids flown; And opium's force, and what is more, alack! His own orations cannot bring it back. In short, unless she pities his afflictions, Despair will make him take his own prescriptions.
"THERE COMES FROM OLD AVARO'S GRAVE..."
There comes from old Avaro's grave A deadly stench;—why, sure, they have Immured his soul within his grave!
"LAST MONDAY ALL THE PAPERS SAID..."
Last Monday all the papers said That Mr.—— was dead; Why, then, what said the city? The tenth part sadly shook their head, And shaking sigh'd, and sighing said, "Pity, indeed, 'tis pity!"
But when the said report was found A rumour wholly without ground, Why, then, what said the city? The other nine parts shook their head, Repeating what the tenth had said, "Pity, indeed, 'tis pity!"
TO A PRIMROSE,
(THE FIRST SEEN IN THE SEASON.)
—nitens, et roboris expers Turget et insolida est: at spe delectat. (Ovid).
Thy smiles I note, sweet early flower, That peeping from thy rustic bower, The festive news to earth dost bring, A fragrant messenger of spring!
But tender blossom, why so pale? Dost hear stern winter in the gale? And didst them tempt th' ungentle sky To catch one vernal glance and die?
Such the wan lustre sickness wears, When health's first feeble beam appears; So languid are the smiles that seek To settle on the care-worn cheek,
When timorous hope the head uprears, Still drooping and still moist with tears, If, through dispersing grief, be seen Of bliss the heavenly spark serene.
ON THE CHRISTENING OF A FRIEND'S CHILD.
This day among the faithful placed, And fed with fontal manna, O with maternal title graced Dear Anna's dearest Anna!—
While others wish thee wise and fair, A maid of spotless fame, I'll breathe this more compendious prayer— May'st thou deserve thy name!
Thy mother's name—a potent spell, That bids the virtues hie From mystic grove and living cell Confess'd to fancy's eye;—
Meek quietness without offence; Content in homespun kirtle; True love; and true love's innocence, White blossom of the myrtle!
Associates of thy name, sweet child! These virtues may'st thou win; With face as eloquently mild To say, they lodge within.
So, when her tale of days all flown, Thy mother shall be mist here; When Heaven at length shall claim its own, And angels snatch their sister;
Some hoary-headed friend, perchance, May gaze with stifled breath; And oft, in momentary trance, Forget the waste of death.
Ev'n thus a lovely rose I view'd, In summer-swelling pride; Nor mark'd the bud, that green and rude Peep'd at the rose's side.
It chanced, I pass'd again that way In autumn's latest hour, And wond'ring saw the selfsame spray Rich with the selfsame flower.
Ah, fond deceit! the rude green bud Alike in shape, place, name, Had bloom'd, where bloom'd its parent stud, Another and the same!
Hoarse Maevius reads his hobbling verse To all, and at all times; And finds them both divinely smooth, His voice, as well as rhymes.
Yet folks say—"Maevius is no ass:"— But Maevius makes it clear, That he's a monster of an ass, An ass without an ear.
INSCRIPTION BY THE REV. W. L. BOWLES
IN NETHER STOWEY CHURCH.
Laetus abi! mundi strepitu curisque remotus; Laetus abi! caeli qua vocat alma quies. Ipsa Fides loquitur, lacrymamque incusat inanem, Quae cadit in vestros, care pater, cineres. Heu! tantum liceat meritos hos solvere ritus, Et longum tremula dicere voce, Vale!
Depart in joy from this world's noise and strife To the deep quiet of celestial life! Depart!—Affection's self reproves the tear Which falls, O honour'd Parent! on thy bier;— Yet Nature will be heard, the heart will swell, And the voice tremble with a last Farewell!
INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE DARK LADIE.
The following poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old ballad word 'Ladie' for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is professedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity, as Camden says, will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a force and propriety in it. A heavier objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties explode around us in all directions, he should presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love: and five years ago, I own I should have allowed and felt the force of this objection. But alas! explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly, that novelty itself ceases to appear new; and it is possible that now, even a simple story, wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the hubbub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinctly audible. 1799.
O leave the lily on its stem; O leave the rose upon the spray; O leave the elder-bloom, fair maids! And listen to my lay.
A cypress and a myrtle-bough This morn around my harp you twin'd, Because it fashion'd mournfully Its murmurs in the wind.
And now a tale of love and woe, A woful tale of love I sing; Hark, gentle maidens, hark! it sighs And trembles on the string.
But most, my own dear Genevieve, It sighs and trembles most for thee! O come and hear the cruel wrongs Befell the Dark Ladie! 
And now once more a tale of woe, A woful tale of love I sing; For thee, my Genevieve! it sighs, And trembles on the string.
When last I sang the cruel scorn That craz'd this bold and lovely knight, And how he roam'd the mountain-woods, Nor rested day or night;
I promised thee a sister tale Of man's perfidious cruelty; Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong Befell the Dark Ladie.
[Footnote 1: Here followed the stanzas, afterwards published separately under the title "Love." (Poet. Works, vol. i. p. 145. Pickering, 1834.) and after them came the other three stanzas printed above; the whole forming the introduction to the intended Dark Ladie, of which all that exists is to be found ibid. p. 150. Ed.]
EPILOGUE TO THE RASH CONJUROR.
AN UNCOMPOSED POEM.
We ask and urge—(here ends the story!) All Christian Papishes to pray That this unhappy Conjuror may, Instead of Hell, be but in Purgatory,— For then there's hope;—Long live the Pope!
The butterfly the ancient Grecians made The soul's fair emblem, and its only name— But of the soul, escap'd the slavish trade Of mortal life!—For in this earthly frame Ours is the reptile's lot, much toil, much blame, Manifold motions making little speed, And to deform and kill the things whereon we feed.
How seldom, Friend! a good great man inherits Honour or wealth, with all his worth and pains! It sounds like stories from the land of spirits, If any man obtain that which he merits, Or any merit that which he obtains.
For shame, dear Friend! renounce this canting strain! What would'st thou have a good great man obtain? Place—titles—salary—a gilded chain— Or throne of corses which his sword hath slain?— Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends! Hath he not always treasures, always friends, The good great man?—three treasures, love and light, And calm thoughts, regular as infants' breath;— And three firm friends, more sure than day and night— Himself, his Maker, and the angel Death.
AN ODE TO THE RAIN
Composed Before Day-Light on the Morning Appointed for the Departure of a Very Worthy, But Not Very Pleasant Visitor, Whom It Was Feared The Rain Might Detain.
I know it is dark; and though I have lain Awake, as I guess, an hour or twain, I have not once open'd the lids of my eyes, But I lie in the dark, as a blind man lies. O Rain! that I lie listening to, You're but a doleful sound at best: I owe you little thanks, 'tis true, For breaking thus my needful rest! Yet if, as soon as it is light, O Rain! you will but take your flight, I'll neither rail, nor malice keep, Though sick and sore for want of sleep.
But only now, for this one day, Do go, dear Rain! do go away! O Rain! with your dull two-fold sound, The clash hard by, and the murmur all round! You know, if you know aught, that we, Both night and day, but ill agree: For days, and months, and almost years, Have limped on through this vale of tears, Since body of mine, and rainy weather, Have lived on easy terms together. Yet if, as soon as it is light, O Rain! you will but take your flight, Though you should come again to-morrow, And bring with you both pain and sorrow; Though stomach should sicken, and knees should swell— I'll nothing speak of you but well. But only now for this one day, Do go, dear Rain! do go away!
Dear Rain! I ne'er refused to say You're a good creature in your way. Nay, I could write a book myself, Would fit a parson's lower shelf, Showing, how very good you are.— What then? sometimes it must be fair! And if sometimes, why not to-day? Do go, dear Rain! do go away!
Dear Rain! if I've been cold and shy, Take no offence! I'll tell you why. A dear old Friend e'en now is here, And with him came my sister dear; After long absence now first met, Long months by pain and grief beset— With three dear friends! in truth, we groan Impatiently to be alone. We three, you mark! and not one more! The strong wish makes my spirit sore. We have so much to talk about, So many sad things to let out; So many tears in our eye-corners, Sitting like little Jacky Horners— In short, as soon as it is day, Do go, dear Rain! do go away.
And this I'll swear to you, dear Rain! Whenever you shall come again, Be you as dull as e'er you could; (And by the bye 'tis understood, You're not so pleasant, as you're good;) Yet, knowing well your worth and place, I'll welcome you with cheerful face; And though you stay'd a week or more, Were ten times duller than before; Yet with kind heart, and right good will, I'll sit and listen to you still; Nor should you go away, dear Rain! Uninvited to remain. But only now, for this one day, Do go, dear Rain! do go away.
Of a Passage in Ottfried's Metrical Paraphrase of the Gospels.
"This Paraphrase, written about the time of Charlemagne, is by no means deficient in occasional passages of considerable poetic merit. There is a flow, and a tender enthusiasm in the following lines (at the conclusion of Chapter V.), which even in the translation will not, I flatter myself, fail to interest the reader. Ottfried is describing the circumstances immediately following the birth of our Lord."—'Biog. Lit.' vol. i. p. 203.
She gave with joy her virgin breast; She hid it not, she bared the breast, Which suckled that divinest babe! Blessed, blessed were the breasts Which the Saviour infant kiss'd; And blessed, blessed was the mother Who wrapp'd his limbs in swaddling clothes, Singing placed him on her lap, Hung o'er him with her looks of love, And soothed him with a lulling motion.
Blessed! for she shelter'd him From the damp and chilling air;— Blessed, blessed! for she lay With such a babe in one blest bed, Close as babes and mothers lie! Blessed, blessed evermore, With her virgin lips she kiss'd, With her arms, and to her breast, She embraced the babe divine, Her babe divine the virgin mother! There lives not on this ring of earth A mortal that can sing her praise. Mighty mother, virgin pure, In the darkness and the night For us she bore the heavenly Lord.
"Most interesting is it to consider the effect, when the feelings are wrought above the natural pitch by the belief of something mysterious, while all the images are purely natural: then it is that religion and poetry strike deepest."—'Biog. Lit.' vol. i. p. 204.
ON THE DEATH OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF WALES. FROM THE HEBREW OF HYMAN HURWITZ.
Mourn, Israel! Sons of Israel, mourn! Give utterance to the inward throe, As wails of her first love forlorn The virgin clad in robes of woe!
Mourn the young mother snatch'd away From light and life's ascending sun! Mourn for the babe, death's voiceless prey, Earn'd by long pangs, and lost ere won!
Mourn the bright rose that bloom'd and went, Ere half disclosed its vernal hue! Mourn the green bud, so rudely rent, It brake the stem on which it grew!
Mourn for the universal woe, With solemn dirge and falt'ring tongue; For England's Lady is laid low, So dear, so lovely, and so young!
The blossoms on her tree of life Shone with the dews of recent bliss;— Translated in that deadly strife She plucks its fruit in Paradise.
Mourn for the prince, who rose at morn To seek and bless the firstling bud Of his own rose, and found the thorn, Its point bedew'd with tears of blood.
Mourn for Britannia's hopes decay'd;— Her daughters wail their dear defence, Their fair example, prostrate laid, Chaste love, and fervid innocence!
O Thou! who mark'st the monarch's path, To sad Jeshurun's sons attend! Amid the lightnings of thy wrath The showers of consolation send!
Jehovah frowns!—The Islands bow, And prince and people kiss the rod! Their dread chastising judge wert Thou— Be Thou their comforter, O God!
The rose that blushes like the morn Bedecks the valleys low; And so dost thou, sweet infant corn, My Angelina's toe.
But on the rose there grows a thorn That breeds disastrous woe; And so dost thou, remorseless corn, On Angelina's toe.
This way or that, ye Powers above me! I of my grief were rid— Did Enna either really love me, Or cease to think she did.
We pledged our hearts, my love and I,— I in my arms the maiden clasping; I could not tell the reason why, But, oh! I trembled like an aspen.
Her father's love she bade me gain; I went, and shook like any reed! I strove to act the man—in vain! We had exchanged our hearts indeed.
WHAT IS LIFE?
Resembles life what once was deem'd of light, Too ample in itself for human sight? An absolute self—an element ungrounded— All that we see, all colours of all shade By encroach of darkness made?— Is very life by consciousness unbounded? And all the thoughts, pains, joys of mortal breath, A war-embrace of wrestling life and death?
INSCRIPTION FOR A TIME-PIECE.
Now! It is gone.—Our brief hours travel post, Each with its thought or deed, its Why or How:— But know, each parting hour gives up a ghost To dwell within thee—an eternal Now!
Quae linquam, aut nihil, aut nihili, aut vix sunt mea;— Do Morti;—reddo caetera, Christe! tibi. [sordes.]
A COURSE OF LECTURES
There are few families, at present, in the higher and middle classes of English society, in which literary topics and the productions of the Fine Arts, in some one or other of their various forms, do not occasionally take their turn in contributing to the entertainment of the social board, and the amusement of the circle at the fire side. The acquisitions and attainments of the intellect ought, indeed, to hold a very inferior rank in our estimation, opposed to moral worth, or even to professional and specific skill, prudence, and industry. But why should they be opposed, when they may be made subservient merely by being subordinated? It can rarely happen, that a man of social disposition, altogether a stranger to subjects of taste, (almost the only ones on which persons of both sexes can converse with a common interest) should pass through the world without at times feeling dissatisfied with himself. The best proof of this is to be found in the marked anxiety which men, who have succeeded in life without the aid of these accomplishments, shew in securing them to their children. A young man of ingenuous mind will not wilfully deprive himself of any species of respect. He will wish to feel himself on a level with the average of the society in which he lives, though he may be ambitious of distinguishing himself only in his own immediate pursuit or occupation.
Under this conviction, the following Course of Lectures was planned. The several titles will best explain the particular subjects and purposes of each: but the main objects proposed, as the result of all, are the two following.
1. To convey, in a form best fitted to render them impressive at the time, and remembered afterwards, rules and principles of sound judgment, with a kind and degree of connected information, such as the hearers cannot generally be supposed likely to form, collect, and arrange for themselves, by their own unassisted studies. It might be presumption to say, that any important part of these Lectures could not be derived from books; but none, I trust, in supposing, that the same information could not be so surely or conveniently acquired from such books as are of commonest occurrence, or with that quantity of time and attention which can be reasonably expected, or even wisely desired, of men engaged in business and the active duties of the world.
2. Under a strong persuasion that little of real value is derived by persons in general from a wide and various reading; but still more deeply convinced as to the actual mischief of unconnected and promiscuous reading, and that it is sure, in a greater or less degree, to enervate even where it does not likewise inflate; I hope to satisfy many an ingenuous mind, seriously interested in its own development and cultivation, how moderate a number of volumes, if only they be judiciously chosen, will suffice for the attainment of every wise and desirable purpose; that is, in addition to those which he studies for specific and professional purposes. It is saying less than the truth to affirm, that an excellent book (and the remark holds almost equally good of a Raphael as of a Milton) is like a well chosen and well tended fruit tree. Its fruits are not of one season only. With the due and natural intervals, we may recur to it year after year, and it will supply the same nourishment and the same gratification, if only we ourselves return to it with the same healthful appetite.
The subjects of the Lectures are indeed very different, but not (in the strict sense of the term) diverse; they are various, rather than miscellaneous. There is this bond of connexion common to them all,—that the mental pleasure which they are calculated to excite is not dependent on accidents of fashion, place, or age, or the events or the customs of the day; but commensurate with the good sense, taste, and feeling, to the cultivation of which they themselves so largely contribute, as being all in kind, though not all in the same degree, productions of genius.
What it would be arrogant to promise, I may yet be permitted to hope,—that the execution will prove correspondent and adequate to the plan. Assuredly, my best efforts have not been wanting so to select and prepare the materials, that, at the conclusion of the Lectures, an attentive auditor, who should consent to aid his future recollection by a few notes taken either during each Lecture or soon after, would rarely feel himself, for the time to come, excluded, from taking an intelligent interest in any general conversation likely to occur in mixed society.
'Syllabus of the Course'.
I. January 27, 1818.—On the manners, morals, literature, philosophy, religion, and the state of society in general, in European Christendom, from the eighth to the fifteenth century, (that is from A.D. 700, to A.D. 1400), more particularly in reference to England, France, Italy and Germany; in other words, a portrait of the so called dark ages of Europe.
II. January 30.—On the tales and metrical romances common, for the most part, to England, Germany, and the north of France, and on the English songs and ballads, continued to the reign of Charles I. A few selections will be made from the Swedish, Danish, and German languages, translated for the purpose by the Lecturer.
III. February 3.—Chaucer and Spenser; of Petrarch; of Ariosto, Pulci, and Boiardo.
IV. V. VI. February 6, 10, l3.—On the dramatic works of Shakspeare. In these Lectures will be comprised the substance of Mr. Coleridge's former courses on the same subject, enlarged and varied by subsequent study and reflection.
VII. February l7.—On Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger; with the probable causes of the cessation of dramatic poetry in England with Shirley and Otway, soon after the restoration of Charles II.
VIII. February 20.—Of the life and all the works of Cervantes, but chiefly of his Don Quixote. The ridicule of knight errantry shewn to have been but a secondary object in the mind of the author, and not the principal cause of the delight which the work continues to give to all nations, and under all the revolutions of manners and opinions.
IX. February 24.—On Rabelais, Swift, and Sterne: on the nature and constituents of genuine Humour, and on the distinctions of the Humorous from the Witty, the Fanciful, the Droll, and the Odd.
X. February 27.—Of Donne, Dante, and Milton.
XI. March 3.—On the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, and on the romantic use of the supernatural in poetry, and in works of fiction not poetical. On the conditions and regulations under which such books may be employed advantageously in the earlier periods of education.
XII. March 6.—On tales of witches, apparitions, &c. as distinguished from the magic and magicians of Asiatic origin. The probable sources of the former, and of the belief in them in certain ages and classes of men. Criteria by which mistaken and exaggerated facts may be distinguished from absolute falsehood and imposture. Lastly, the causes of the terror and interest which stories of ghosts and witches inspire, in early life at least, whether believed or not.