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plained—and which, if explained, would be regarded by many as merely fantastic and evanescent. What, according to our belief, Mr Coleridge might have been—what, according to the same belief, he may yet be—these are matters in regard to which it may be wise to keep silence. We have no desire, had we the power, to trouble our readers with any very full exposition of our opinions, even concerning what he has done in poetry. Our only wish for the present, is to offer a few remarks in regard to one or two of his individual productions, which may perhaps excite the attention of such of our readers as have never yet paid any considerable attention to any of them—and this, more particularly, as we have already hinted, with a view to our own countrymen in Scotland. The longest poem in the collection of the Sibylline Leaves, is the Rime of the Ancient Mariner—and to our feeling, it is by far the most wonderful also-the most original—and the most touching of all the productions of its author. From it alone, we are inclined to think an idea of the whole poetical genius of Mr Coleridge might be gathered, such as could scarcely receive any very important addition either of extent or of distinctness, from a perusal of the whole of his other works. To speak of it at all is extremely difficult; above all the poems with which we are acquainted in any language—it is a poem to be felt—cherished—mused upon—not to be talked about—not capable of being described—analyzed —or criticised. It is the wildest of all the creations of genius—it is not like a thing of the living, listening, moving world—the very music of its words is like the melancholy mysterious breath of something sung to the sleeping ear—its images have the beauty—the grandeur—the incoherence of some mighty vision. The loveliness and the terror glide before us in turns—with, at one moment, the awful shadowy dimness—at another, the yet more awful distinctness of a majestic dream. Dim and shadowy, and incoherent, however, though it be—how blind, how wilfully, or how foolishly blind must they have been who refused to See any meaning or purpose in the Tale of the Mariner! The imagery,

indeed, may be said to be heaped up to superfluity—and so it is—the language to be redundant—and the marrative confused. . But surely those who cavilled at these things, did not consider into whose mouth the poet has put this ghastly story. A guest is proceeding to a bridal—the sound of the merry music is already in his ears—and the light shines clearly from the threshold to guide him to the festival. He is arrested on his way by an old man, who constrains him to listen—he seizes him by the hand—that he shakes free—but the old man has a more inevitable spell, and he holds him, and will not be silent. He holds him with his glittering eye, The wedding-guest stood still, And listens like a three-years child: The mariner hath his will.

The wedding guest sat on a stone,
He cannot ehuse but hear—
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed mariner.
- o - o -
The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she .
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The wedding-guest he beat his breast, Yet he cannot chuse but hear—

And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed mariner.

In the beginning of the mariner's narrative, the language has all the impetus of a storm—and when the ship is suddenly locked among the polar ice, the change is as instantaneous as it is awful.

The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around:

It cracked and growled, and roared and howl'd,

Like noises in a swound !

At length did cross an Albatross :
Thorough the fog it came ;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steer'd us through 1

And a good south wind sprung up behind ;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the Mariner's hollo 1

In mist or cloud, or mast or shroud, It perch'd for vespers nine;

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The as is no question many of our readers will think we are doing a very useless, if not a very absurd thing, in writing, at this time of day, any thing like a review of the poetry of Mr

Coleridge. Several years have elapsed

since any poetical production, entitled

to much attention, has been published by him—and of those pieces in which the true strength and originality of his genius have been expressed, by far the greater part were presented to the world before any of the extensively popular poetry of the present day existed. In the midst, however, of the many new claimants which have arisen on every hand to solicit the ear and the favour of thereaders of poetry, we are not sure that anyone has had so much reason to complain of the slowness and inadequacy of the attention bestowed upon him as this gentleman, who is, comparatively speaking, a veteran of no inconsiderable standing. It is not easy to determine in what proportions the blame of his misfortunes should be divided between himself and his countrymen. That both have conducted themselves very culpably—at least very unwisely—begins at length, we believe, to be acknowledged by most of those whose opinion is of any consequence. As for us, we can never suppose ourselves to be ill employed when we are doing any thing that may serve in any measure to correct the errors of the public judgment on the one hand, or to stimulate the efforts of ill-requited, and thence, perhaps, desponding or slumbering genius on the other. To our Scottish readers we owe no apology whatever; on the contrary, we have no hesitation in

Vol. VI.

saying, that in regard to this and a very great number of subjects besides, they stand quite in a different situation from our English readers. The reading-public of England (speaking largely) have not understood Mr Coleridge's poems as they should have done—The reading-public of Scotland are in general ignorant that any such poems exist, and of those who are aware of their existence, the great majority owe the whole of their information concerning them to a few reviews, which, being written by men of talent and understanding, could not possibly have been written from any motives but those of malice, or with any purposes but those of misrepresentation: The exercise of those unfair, and indeed wicked arts, by which the superficial mass of readers are so easily o in all their judgments, was, in this instance, more than commonly easy, by reason of the many singular eccentricities observable in almost all the productions of Mr Coleridge's muse. What was already fantastic, it could not be no difficult matter for those practised wits, to represent, as utterly unmeaning, senseless, and absurd. But perhaps those who are accustomed to chuckle over the ludicrous analysis of serious poems, so common in our most popular reviews, might not be the worse for turning to the Dictionnaire Philosophique, and seeing with what success the same weapons, have been employed there, (by much greater wits, it is true) to transform and degrade into subjects of vulgar merriment all the beautiful narratives of the sacred books-thei A 2

sublime simplicity and most deep tenderness. It is one of the most melancholy things in human nature, to see how often the grandest mysteries of the meditative soul lie at the mercy of surface-skimming ridicule, and self-satisfied rejoicing ignorance—It is like seeing the most solemn gestures of human dignity mimicked into grotesque absurdity by monkeys. Now, to our mind, the imropriety of the treatment which has É. bestowed upon Mr Coleridge, is mightily increased by the very facilities which the peculiarities of the poet himself afforded for its infliction. It is a thing not to be denied, that, even under the most favourable of circumstances, the greater part of the readers of English poetry could never have been expected thoroughly and intimately to understand the scope of those extraordinary productions—but this ought only to have acted as an ad. motive with those who profess to be the guides of public opinion, to make them endeavour, as far as might in them lie, to render the true merits of those productions more visible to the eye of the less penetrating or less reflective. Unless such be the duty of professional critics on such occasions—and one, too, of the very noblest duties they can ever be called upon to discharge—we have erred very widely in all our ideas concerning such matters. However well he might have been treated by the critics—nay, however largely he might have shared in the sweets of popularity—there is no doubt Mr Coleridge must still have continued to be a most eccentric author. But the true subject for regret is, that the unfavourable reception he has met with, seems to have led him to throw aside almost all regard for the associations of the multitude—and to think, that nothing could be so worthy of a great genius, sounworthily despised, astorejectin his subsequent compositions every standard * of his own private whims. Now it was a very great pity that this remarkable man should have come so hastily to such a resolution as this— and by exaggerating his own original peculiarities, thus widened the breach every day between himself and the ublic. A poet, although he may É. no great confidence in the public

taste, as a guide to excellence, should

always, at least, retain the wish to please it by the effect of his pieces— even while he may differ very widely from common opinions, with regard to the means to be employed. This is a truth which has unfortunately been very inadequately attended to by several of the most powerful geniuses of our time; but we know of none upon whose reputation its neglect has been so severely visited as on that of Mr Coleridge. It is well, that in spite of every obstacle, the native power of his genius has still been able to scatter something of its image upon all his performances—it is well, above all things, that in moods of more genial enthusiasm he has created a few poems, which are, though short, in conception so original, and in execution so exquisite, that they cannot fail to render the name of Coleridge co-extensive with the language in which he has written—and to associate it for ever in the minds of all feeling and intelligent men, with those of the few chosen spirits that have touched in so many ages of the world the purest and most delicious chords of lyrical enchantment. Those who think the most highl of the inborn power of this man's genius, must now, perhaps, be contented, if they would speak of him to the public with any effect, to suppress their enthusiasm in some measureand take that power alone for granted which has been actually shown to exist. Were we to speak of him without regard to this prudential rule —and hazard the full expression of our own belief in his capacities—there is no question we should meet with many to acknowledge the propriety, to use the slightest phrase, of all that we might say—but these, we apprehend, would rather be found among those who have been in the society of Mr Coleridge himself, and witnessed the astonishing effects which, according to every report, his elo*. never fails to produce upon ose to whom it is addressed—than among men who have (like ourselves) been constrained to gather their only ideas of him from the printed productions of his genius. We are very willing to acknowledge, that our own excess of admiration may have been in some measure the result of peculiar circumstances—that it may have arisen out of things too minute to be ex

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plained—and which, if explained, would be regarded by many as merely fantastic and evanescent. What, according to our belief, Mr Coleridge might have been—what, according to the same belief, he may yet be—these are matters in regard to which it may be wise to keep silence. We have no desire, had we the power, to trouble our readers with any very full exposition of our opinions, even concerning what he has done in poetry. Our only wish for the present, is to offer a few remarks in d to one or two of his individual productions, which . perhaps excite the attention of such of our readers as have never yet paid any considerable attention to any of them—and this, more particularly, as we have already hinted, with a view to our own countrymen in Scotland. The longest poem in the collection of the Sibylline Leaves, is the Rime of the Ancient Mariner—and to our feeling, it is by far the most wonderful also-the most original—and the most touching of all the productions of its author. From it alone, we are inclined to think an idea of the whole poetical genius of Mr Coleridge might be gathered, such as could scarcely receive any very important addition either of extent or of distinctness, from a perusal of the whole of his other works. To speak of it at all is extremely difficult; above all the poems with which we are acquainted in any language—it is a poem to be felt—cherished—mused upon—not to be talked about—not capable of being described—analyzed —or criticised. It is the wildest of all the creations of genius—it is not like a thing of the living, listening, moving world—the very music of its words is like the melancholy mysterious breath of something sung to the sleeping ear—its images have the beauty—the grandeur-the incoherence of some mighty vision. The loveliness and the terror glide before us in turns—with, at one moment, the awful shadowy dimness—at another, the yet more awful distinctness of a majestic dream. Dim and shadowy, and incoherent, however, though it be—how blind, how wilfully, or how foolishly blind must they have been who refused to see any meaning or purpose in the Tale of the Mariner | The imagery,

indeed, may be said to be heaped up to superfluity—and so it is—the language to be redundant—and the narrative confused. . But surely those who cavilled at these things, did not consider into whose mouth the poet has put this ghastly story. A guest is proceeding to a bridal—the sound of the merry music is already in his ears—and the light shines clearly from the threshold to guide him to the festival. He is arrested on his way by an old man, who constrains him to listen—he seizes him by the hand—that he shakes free—but the old man has a more inevitable spell, and he holds him, and will not be silent.

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