of his own particular being, and felt, and made others feel, on subjects no way connected with himself, except by force of contemplation, and that sublime faculty by which a great mind becomes that on which it meditates."

Qualifications precisely similar to these in kind, if lower in degree, Coleridge brought to his prose compositions. The opening essay of “The Friend” is an allegorical poem in prose; and the general style of argument in all the essays that compose the work is so figurative as to require an apology even from the writer himself. He came to his labour also from the perusal, not only of German authors, but of the elder writers of his own land, Hooker, Bacon, Milton, and Jeremy Taylor; and of the ancients, such as Plato and Xenophon. In behalf of his poetic irregularities, he claims the right of making all fair appeals to the feelings, the imagination, and even the fancy. “If,” he demands, “ these are to be withheld from the service of truth, virtue, and happiness, to what purpose were they given? in whose service are they retained ?" Prose, however, written upons this principle, requires greater attention, and more powers on the part of the student, than the ordinary reader is willing or able to give or to employ. No wonder, therefore, fine as is the music of Coleridge's periods, that its beauty was appreciated only by the affectionate disciple and the judicious few. These knew, and these alone, that Coleridge was greater in his prose than in his metrical writings. Even Hazlitt was deluded into the error of depreciating the prose of Coleridge.

In an extraordinary essay "On the Prometheus of Æschylus," now published in the "Literary Remains," Coleridge has reduced his whole philosophic system to an algebraic formula—thus: “ Law-Idea.” În treating of the generation of this bipolar line, he very happily calls the maze of words in which he had been compelled to involve himself and his reader, “ the holy jungle of transcendental metaphysics';—if, indeed,” he continues, " the reader's patience shall have had strength and persistency enough to allow me to exclaim

• Ivimus ambo Per densas umbras : at tenet umbra Deum.'” In the Mythus of Prometheus, Coleridge considers that Jove is the impersonated representation, or symbol, of the Nomos, or Law; and Prometheus as the impersonated representative of Idea, “or of the same power as Jove, but contemplated as independent and not immersed in the product,—as Law, minus the productive energy." As a corollary, he adds, “that Jove's jealous, everquarrelsome spouse represents the political sacerdotal cultus, the Church, in short, of republican paganism,-a church by law established for the mere purposes of the particular state, unennobled by the consciousness of instrumentality to higher purposes;---at once unenlightened and unchecked by revelation. Most gratefully ought we to acknowledge that since the completion of our constitution in 1688, we may with unflattering truth elucidate the spirit and character of such a church by the contrast of the institution, to which England owes the larger portion of its superiority in that, in which alone superiority is an unmixed blessing,—the diffused cultivation of its inhabitants. But previously to this period I shall offend no enlightened man, if I say without distinction of parties, intra muros peccatur et extra; that the history of Christendom presents us with too many illustrations of this Junonian jealousy, this factious harassing of the sovereign power as soon as the latter betrayed any symptoms of a disposition to its true policy; namely, to privilege and perpetuate that which is best,—to tolerate the tolerable,-and to restrain none but those who would restrain all, and subjugate even the state itself. But while truth extorts this confession, it at the same time requires that it should be accompanied by an avowal of the fact, that the spirit is a relic of paganism; and with a bitter smile would an Æschylus or a Plato in the shades, listen to a Gibbon or a Hume, vaunting the mild and tolerant spirit of the state religions of ancient Greece or Rome. Here we have the sense of Jove's intrigues with Europa, Io, &c. whom the god, in his own nature, a general lover, had successively taken under his protection. And here, too, see the full appropriateness of this part of the Mythus, in which symbol fades away into allegory; but yet, in reference to the working cause, as grounded in humanity, and always existing either actually or potentially, and thus never ceases wholly to be a symbol or tautegory.”

This essay is not the only extraordinary thing in the “ Literary Remains." The Course of Lectures on Literature and the Fine Arts, delivered in 1818, is exceedingly valuable. The lecturer well discriminates the Gothic and the Greek mind: “ When I enter a Greek church," he remarks, “my eye is charmed, and my mind elated; I feel exalted, and proud that I am a man. But the Gothic art is sublime. On entering a cathedral, I am filled with devotion and with awe; I am lost to the actualities that surround me, and my whole being expands into the infinite; earth and air, nature and art, all swell up into eternity, and the only sensible impression left is, that I am nothing !" A contrast of Shakspeare and Spenser is thus beautifully rendered. “There is this difference, among many others, between Shakspeare and Spenser:-Shakspeare is never coloured by the customs of his age; what appears of contemporary character in him is merely negative; it is just not something else. He has none of the fictitious realities of the classics, none of the grotesquenesses of chivalry, none of the allegory of the middle ages; there is no sectarianism either of politics or religion, no miser, no witch

no common witch- no astrology-nothing impermanent, of however long duration; but he stands like the yew tree in Lorton Vale, which has known so many ages that it belongs to none in particular; a living image of endless self-reproduction, like the immortal tree of Malabar. In Spenser the spirit of chivalry is entirely predominant, although with a much greater infusion of the poet's own individual self into it than is found in any other writer. He has the wit of the southern with the deeper inwardness of the northern genius."

It is needless to show with what tact and superiority, even to such critics as William Gifford, the half-inspired lecturer proceeds to discuss the merits of Ben Jonson, of Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger and Cervantes. His remarks on “Don Quixote" are, in particular, characteristic and pregnant. The names of Rabelais, Swift, and Sterne, suggest to him a lecture “ on the distinctions of the Witty, the Droll, the Odd, and the Humorous," together with “ the Nature and Constituents of Humour.” Wit, he contends,“ arises out of a habit of detecting the identity in dissimilar things. The connexion may be by thoughts, as in Butler, or by words, as in Voltaire, or by images, as in Shakspeare. The wit of thoughts belongs eminently to the Italians, that of words to the French, that of images to the English. Drollery is where the laughable is its own end, and neither inference nor moral is apparently intended. The Odd proceeds from the unusual juxtaposition, without connexion, of words or images. The occasional use of the grotesque in the minor ornaments of architecture, Coleridge considers to be an interesting problem for a student in the Psychology of the Fine Arts. Humour, according to the origin of the word, implies a growth from within. Humour is congenial with pathos; and we readily sympathize with the man who rides his hobby. The humourist is respected, as being free from all interested motives, save the merely imaginary, and because also that there is always in genuine humour an acknowledgment of the hollowness and farce of the world, and its disproportion to the godlike within us."

Only a few remarks have been rescued on Donne, but we are told that there are numerous annotations on his sermons, which will be printed hereafter. The notice of Dante is profound and subtle. Were Dante to be compared with Milton, the parallel should be instituted on the ground of the last canto of the Inferno, from the first to the 69th line, and from the 106th to the end. Dante's occasional fault of becoming grotesque from being too graphic without imagination, as in his Lucifer compared with Milton's Satan, is noticed as rendering him sometimes horrible rather than terrible. The production of Paradise Lost" is to be ascribed to the character of the times and of the author. “ In his mind itself there were purity and piety absolute; an imagination to which neither the past nor the present were interesting, except as far as they called forth and enlivened the great ideal, in which and for which he lived; a keen love of truth, which, after many weary pursuits, found a harbour in a sublime listening to the still voice in his own spirit; and as keen a love of his country, which, after a disappointment still more depressive, expanded and soared into a love of man as a probationer of immortality. These were, these alone could be, the conditions under which such a work as the “ Paradise Lost" could be conceived and accomplished. By a life-long study Milton had known

• What was of use to know,
What best to say could say, to do had done,
His actions to his words agreed, his words
To his large heart gave utterance due, his heart

Contained of good, wise, fair, the perfect shape;' and he left the imperishable total as a bequest to the ages coming, in the · Paradise Lost.''

“ The inferiority of Klopstock's Messiah," he says in another place,

is inexpressible. I admit the prerogative of poetic feeling and poetic faith;

but I cannot suspend the judgment even for a moment. A poem may in one sense be a dream, but it must be a waking dream. In Milton you have a religious faith combined with the moral nature; it is an efflux ; you go along with it. In Klopstock there is a wilfulness; he makes things so and so. The feigned speeches and events in the • Messiah’ shock us like falsehoods; but nothing of that sort is felt in * Paradise Lost,' in which no particulars, at least very few indeed, are touched which can come into collision or juxtaposition with recorded matter."

We agree with Coleridge in esteeming the "Paradise Regained" as “the most perfect poem extant," and have been much pleased with his criticism on “ Robinson Crusoe.” But we now pass on to the celebrated lectures on Shakespeare.

Coleridge's great object in these lectures was to prove, what is now generally admitted, but seemed to many a paradox at the time of their delivery, that Shakspeare's judgment was at least equal to his genius. The intermixture of the comic and the tragic in his dramas is justified by the authority of Plato, who in this, as in other instances, disputed the custom of his country. According to him, it was the business of one and the same genius to excel in tragic and comic poetry; and he gives as a reason that opposites illustrate each other's nature, and, in their struggle, draw forth the strength of the combatants, and display the conqueror as sovereign, even on the territories of the rival power.

Tragedy," says Coleridge, "is poetry in its deepest earnest ; comedy is poetry in unlimited jest. Earnestness consists in the direction and convergence of all the powers of the soul to one aim, and in the voluntary restraint of its activity in consequence ;


the opposite, therefore, lies in the apparent abandonment of all definite aim or end, and in the removal of all bounds in the exercise of the mind,-attaining its real end, as an entire contrast, most perfectly, the greater the display is of intellectual wealth squandered in the wantonness of sport without an object, and the more abundant the life and vivacity in the creation of the arbitrary will."

No criticism of a poet is genial if not reverential. The man who assumes the barbarism of Shakspeare's genius, disqualifies himself for judging his merits. Coleridge's indignation rises into matchless eloquence, as he reflects on the injustice done to the poet's fame by the current consent of critics.

“ Make out," he exclaims, "your amplest catalogue of all the human facultiesas reason or the moral law, the will, the feeling of the coincidence of the two (a feeling sui generis et demonstratio demonstrationum) called the conscience, the understanding or prudence, wit, fancy, imagination, judgment, and then of the objects on which these are to be employed, as the beauties, the terrors, and the seeming caprices of nature, the realities and the capabilities, that is, the actual and the ideal of the human mind, conceived as an individual or as a social being, as in innocence or in guilt, in a play-paradise, or in a war-field of temptation; and then compare with Shakspeare under each of these heads, all or any of the writers in prose and verse that have ever lived; who, that is competent to judge, doubts the result? And ask your own hearts, -ask your own common sense —to conceive the possibility of this man being-I say not, the drunken savage of that wretched sciolist, whom Frenchmen, to their shame, have honoured before their elder and better worthies, but the anomalous, the wild, the irregular, genius of our daily criticism! What! are we to have miracles in sport? or-I speak reverentlydoes God choose idiots by whom to convey divine truths to man?"

These two volumes of Coleridge's “Literary Remains" give the public an opportunity of judging of his mere literary qualifications, apart from his philosophical, that it never had before. Highly interesting, exceedingly beautiful, and correctly learned, as for the most part the Essays and Fragments are, it is impossible for us to indicate their contents at greater length than we have already ventured. But we feel that we need offer no apology for the splendid specimens that we have quoted. The reader who would learn at full the transcendental principles, whence the author's rules of criticism proceeded, and their application also to religion and politics, must consult The Friend - The Aids to Reflection - The Church and State The Lay Sermons The Table Talk. But even then, he who has never heard Coleridge discourse, will miss some helps which would make the task less difficult. His conversation frequently soared beyond any

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