« PreviousContinue »
“ It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Mr. Coleridge. When the foregoing article on his poetry was printed, he was weak in body, but exhibited no obvious symptoms of so near a dissolution. The fatal change was sudden and decisive; and six days before his death, he knew assuredly, that his hour was come. His few worldly affairs had been long settled, and, after many tender adieus, he expressed a wish that he might be as little interrupted as possible. His sufferings were severe and constant, till within thirty-six hours of his end! but they had no power to affect the deep tranquillity of his mind, or the wonted sweetness of his address. His prayer from the beginning was, that God would not withdraw his spirit, and that by the way in which he would bear the last struggle, he might be able to evince the sincerity of his faith in Christ. If ever man did so, Coleridge did.”—The Quarterly Review,
“ It was, I think, in the month of August, but certainly in the summer season, and certainly in the year 1807, that I first saw this illustrious man, the largest and most spacious intellect, the subtlest and the most comprehensive, in my judgment, that has yet existed amongst
“ I had received directions for finding out the house where Coleridge was visiting; and, in riding down a main street of Bridgewater, I noticed a gateway corresponding to the description given to me. Under this was standing, and gazing about him, a man whom I shall describe. In height he might seem to be about five feet eight (he was, in reality, about an inch and a half taller, but his figure was of an order that drowns the height); his person was broad and full, and tended even to corpulence; his complexion was fair, though not what painters technically
style fair, because it was associated with black hair; his eyes were large, and soft in their expression, and it was from the peculiar appearance of haze or dreaminess which mixed with their light that I recognized my object. This was Coleridge. I examined him steadfastly for a minute or more; and it struck me that he saw neither myself nor any other object in the street. He was in a deep reverie; for I had dismounted, made two or three trifling arrangements at an inn-door, and advanced close to him, before he had apparently become conscious of my presence. The sound of my voice, announcing my own name, first awoke him: he started, and for a moment seemed at a loss to understand my purpose, or his own situation ; for he repeated rapidly a number of words which had no relation to either of us. There was no mauvaise honte in his manner, but simple perplexity, and an apparent difficulty in recovering his position amongst daylight realities. This little scene over, he received me with a kindness of manner so marked, that it might be called gracious. The hospitable family with whom he was domesticated, were distinguished for their amiable manners and enlightened understandings; they were descendants from Chubb, the philosophic writer, and bore the same name. For Coleridge they all testified deep affection and esteem-sentiments in which the whole town of Bridgewater seemed to share ; for in the evening, when the heat of the day had declined, I walked out with him; and rarely, perhaps never, have I seen a person so much intercepted in one hour's space as Coleridge, on this occasion, by the courteous attentions of young and old. All the people of station and weight in the place, and apparently all the ladies, were abroad to enjoy the lovely summer evening; and not a party passed without some mark of smiling recognition; and the majority stopping to make personal inquiries about his health, and to express their anxiety that he should make a lenghthened stay amongst them.”—Tait's Mag. By the English Opium Eater.
“ As a great poet, and still greater philosopher, the world has hardly yet done justice to the genius of Coleridge. It was, in truth, not of an order to be appreciated in a brief space. A far longer life than that of Coleridge shall not suffice to bring to maturity the harvest of a renown like his. The ripening of his mind, with all its golden fruitage, is but the seed-time of his glory. The close and consummation of his labours (grievous to those that knew him, and even to those that knew him not,) is the mere commencement of his eternity of fame. As a poet, Coleridge was unquestionably great; as a moralist, a theologian, and a philosopher, of the very highest class, he was utterly unapproachable. As a poet Coleridge has done enough to show how much more he might and could have done, if he had so thought fit. It was truly said of him, by an excellent critic, and accomplished judge, “Let the dullest clod that ever vegetated, provided only he be alive and hears, be shut up in a room with Coleridge, or in a wood, and subjected for a few minutes to the ethereal influence of that wonderful man's monologue, and he will begin to believe himself a poet. The barren wilderness may not blossom like the rose; but it will seem, or rather feel to do so, under the lustre of an imagination exhaustless as the sun.
" At the house of the attached friend, under whose roof this illustrious man spent the latter years of his life, it was the custom to have a conversazione every Thursday evening. Here Coleridge was the centre and admiration of the circle that gathered round him. He could not be
otherwise than aware of the intellectual homage of which he was the object; yet there he sate, talking and looking all sweet, and simple, and divine things, the very personification of meekness and humility. Now he spoke of passing occurrences, or of surrounding objects—the flowers on the table, or the dog on the hearth; and enlarged in most familiar-wise on the beauty of the one, the attachment, the almost moral nature of the other, and the wonders that were involved in each. And now, soaring upwards with amazing majesty, into those sublime regions in which his soul delighted, and abstracting himself from the things of time and sense, the strength of his wing soon carried him out of sight. And here, even in these his eagle flights, although the eye in gazing after him was dazzled and blinded, yet ever and anon a sunbeam would make its way through the loopholes of the mind, giving it to discern that beautiful amalgamation of heart and spirit, that could equally raise him above his fellow-men, or bring him down again to the softest level of humanity.”—The Metropolitan.
Coleridge was a philosopher, a poet, and, what was infinitely better, a sincere and zealous Christian. Both by the endowments of nature and the acquisitions of study, he was fitted to take the highest station in the literature of his country, could he have subdued a constitutional indolence of character, which made him always rest satisfied with doing just enough for the day that was passing over him, and no more. He would discourse volumes of rich and various philosophy, pouring forth exuberant strains of mind, with no more effort than it costs an ordinary man to talk about the loose matters that are constantly floating on the surface of life, in their way to speedy oblivion ; but it was a hard task to get him
to write even a pamphlet. Hence, while his acknowledged productions are comparatively few, considering how early he commenced author, he was a large contributor (from necessity) to newspapers and periodicals, of short, perishable articles, upon purely temporary topics, which could be finished at a sitting, and which, when finished, procured him prompt means for supplying his immediate wants. Had he possessed application equal to his mental activity (which was prodigious, for he seemed made of thought), the world would have possessed treasures which are now placed beyond its reach for ever."-Canterbury Magazine.