Sivut kuvina



[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

'Ah, as I listened with a heart forlorn
The pulses of my being beat anew ;
And even as life returns upon the drown'd
Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of pains-
Keen pangs of love, awakening as a babe
Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart;
And fears self-willed, that shunned the eye of hope ;
And hope that scarce would know itself from fear ;
Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain ;
And genius given, and knowledge won in vain ;
And all which I had culled in wood-walks wild,
And all which patient toil had reared, and all,
Commune with thee had opened out-but flowers
Strewed on my corse and borne upon my bier
In the same coffin, for the self-same grave !
That way no more ! and ill beseems it me,
Who came a welcomer in herald's guise,
Singing of glory and futurity,
To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm ! And ill
Such intertwine beseems triumphal wreaths
Strewed before thy advancing !

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

And when-O Friend ! my comforter and guide!
Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength,-
Thy long-sustained song finally closed,
And thy deep voice had ceased--yet thou thyself
Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
That happy vision of beloved faces--
Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
I sate, my being blended in one thought
(Thought was it ? or aspiration ? or resolve ?)
Absorbed, yet hanging still upon the sound-

And when I rose, I found myself in prayer.”
The charm of Coleridge's poetry is the special and
inalienable charm of the art, the delight of new and
melodious combinations. When

When the poetry is not emanative, the movement of the thought is entirely governed by feeling. “Christabel” is a fragment of most wonderful quality, and exhibits another singular feature of Coleridge's poetry—his marvellous power of touching the sense of the supernatural.


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

It was through Coleridge that Wordsworth made the acquaintance of Southey, a man who had very little intellectual sympathy with either of the other two members of the supposed Triad of Lake Poets. He was a young man of twenty at Balliol College in Oxford when Coleridge, always craving for the company of congenial comrades, introduced himself. Coleridge, two years older, had just broken off a second period of keeping terms at Cambridge, and had already had several characteristic adventures, the most notable of which was the freak of enlisting as a dragoon. He had contracted some debts at Cambridge, and this was his mode of evading his responsibilities. He took the name of Silas Thompson Comberbatch, filling out his own initials S. T. C., and, according to the most authentic form of the story, was discovered to be something more than he seemed by writing a Latin quotation on the wall of the stable. When he was discovered, his friends were communicated with, and he obtained his discharge ; but he did not take kindly to Cambridge afterward, and when he called upon Southey, his head was full of a wild scheme for establishing a small community under a new form of government in some remote part of America. Pantisocracy was to be the name given to this new model of a happy state, and the essence of the plan was that the members of the small community, having purchased a tract of land, should raise with their own hands the necessaries of life, while their wives—marriage was indispensable for a Pantisocrat-should look after the household and the children. All goods were to be in common, and the plan differed from ordinary communism only in this, that the men were all to devote a large part of their time to the cultivation of literature. Half the day, Coleridge calculated, would suffice for the provision of simple food and clothes; the rest was to be given to high thinking and poetry. Though Coleridge afterward became the leading mind among

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]



Di the


the philosophical Tories, and Southey a bitter and
unscrupulous partisan on the same side, both were then
enthusiastically stirred by the French Revolution.
Such was the temper of the youth of the time, excited
to a degree that we can hardly understand now by this
startling event, that Coleridge and Southey together suc-
ceeded in beating up no less than five other recruits.
We can imagine how Coleridge luxuriated in picturing
all the advantages of this scheme, the heights to which
poetry could be carried by minds rendered healthy by
open-air exercise and freed from all cares by the sim-
plicity of their wants; we can imagine how, priding
himself on being above all things a practical man,
he calculated in exact figures the yield of an
age man's labor per hour, discussed the allowance to
be made for the fertility of the virgin soil, compared
the merits of different regions of the great conti-
nent, cited facts from the books of travellers, ap-
portioned the duties of the different members of the
community, and with eloquent ingenuity argued away
every difficulty that could be started. But there
was one difficulty that could not be argued away-
the want of money. All the recruits of Pantisocracy
were poor-in fact, absolutely impecunious. The en-
thusiasts, however, were fertile in resources for provid-
ing the necessary supply. They so impressed a Bristol
bookseller, Cottle, a good-hearted, generous man in spite
of his name, that he gave
and promised more. They gave public lectures in
Bristol on literature, history, and politics, which drew
crowded audiences, it is said, till one evening Coleridge
failed to put in an appearance. But with all their
efforts,--and Coleridge's were probably greater in plan-
ning than in executing, for he had a rooted aversion to
regular labor,-with all their efforts, the Pantisocrats
never raised funds enough to give their system of
government a chance in practice. Three of them, in-

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

them money

for their poems,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

deed, took one step toward realizing it, by providing themselves with wives. There was a family of pretty and amiable sisters in Bristol of the name of Fricker, and Lovell, Southey, and Coleridge married one each. Then an uncle of Southey's intervened, and carried him off to Portugal for a time. There the history of Pantisocracy ends. Southey returned from Portugal with other aims, and Coleridge, though angry at first at his desertion, soon drifted off contentedly into other engrossing occupations for his fertile imagination. His besetting sin of irresolution never left him, with the result that, on his death in 1834, he left behind him a great reputation, but only fragments to support it—fragments, however, which fully justified the admiration of his contemporaries.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


The great poets who made the beginning of the nineteenth century famous appeared above the horizon one after another in quick succession. In the same year in which the volume of “Lyrical Ballads” was issued by a Bristol publisher, a poem was published in Edinburgh and received throughout the country with much less mixed approbation. This was the “Pleasures of Hope,” the work of a still younger man than either Wordsworth or Coleridge, Thomas Campbell, a youth of one-and-twenty, uncertain at the time as to his career, and himself alternating so violently between despair and hope when he thought of the future that his friends were disposed at times to doubt his sanity. It is significant that both these publications of the dawn of a new period came from the provinces. In Campbell's work, which is known to every school-boy and school-girl in lines and extracts, but which nobody reads now as a whole except under some other compulsion than the fascination of the poetry, there were no signs of a disposition to break with the past either in form or in choice of subject. Akenside, fifty years before, had sung the “ Pleasures of the Imagination," and Samuel Rogers, following him, had in 1793 sung the “Pleasures of Memory," and the happy thought occurred to young Campbell, suggested apparently by a jocular passage in a friend's letter, of continuing the series. Hope was in

« EdellinenJatka »