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tations many volumes of old divinity and philosophy, as well as many of a lighter sort, recorded his thoughts in countless note-books, and widened every day the foundations of a structure never, alas! to be raised, or never at least to be presented to mortal eye. The end came suddenly, as night in a tropical region. His health had usually been strong: but a sudden fit of bronchitis was sufficient to "slit the thin-spun life.' On the 26th of December, 1848, his brother was summoned to his bed-side; on the 6th of January, 1849, he was taken to his rest. He suffered with the utmost humility, devotion, and patience; passed his time in religious exercises; and received the Holy Communion in the society of a friend, whose
participation he desired on this occasion,' associating, as was his wont, human and divine love. He was lamented by young and old; for his removal was felt to be a deprivation not easily to be replaced by those many friends to whom his visits, • his conversations, his playful wit, his simple and affection:ite • confidingness, – nay, his very foibles and eccentricities, his "need of guidance and protection, - had become a refreshment
and a stimulus,' and among whom, 'not merely the kindly * affections were drawn out in a peculiar manner, but a love of goodness, purity, and truth was fostered by his society.'
Among the many who mourned for him was one whose heart was heavy with a nearer loss. The aged friend who forty-five years before had predicted the future fortunes of the fairy child, survived to look upon his grave.
• The day following he walked over with me to Grasmere, to the churchyard, a plain enclosure of the olden time, surrounding the old village church, in which lay the remains of his wife's sister, his nephew, and his beloved daughter. Here, having desired the sexton to measure out the ground for his own and for Mrs. Wordsworth's grave, he bade him measure out the space for a third grave for my brother. “When I lifted up my eyes from my daughter's grave,” he exclaimed, “he was standing there." ... Then turning to the sexton, he said, “ Keep the ground for us, we are old people, and it * cannot be for long."... In little more than a twelve month his venerable and renerated friend was brought to occupy his own grave.' (Vol. i. p. 186.)
The fates that attended Hartley Coleridge through life ruled also at his death. He had ever been the sport of Fortune; but Fortune seemed ever repenting her hardness to him. Whenever he tripped it was among friends, not among thieves,' that he fell. As often as he went astray, the spirit in his
feet' led him into some kindly place of refuge. The error of his way' left comparatively little stain upon a spirit which
repelled evil as the fenthers of a bird shake off rain. The less care he took of himself the more care was taken of him by those, who had humility enough to suspect that their own failings were not less grievous because they were of a nature less likely to bring their punishment with them, and perhaps more likely to cherish self-love and add to worldly wealth. If his foibles cheated his genius of half its reward, his meekness made him feel that · Best are they paid whose earthly wagę is nought.' His death, like his life, was an evil conquered by good. Falling upon him as it were accidentally, it seems not more suddenly to have brought to nought his intellectual designs than it brought to bear the fruits of the spirit. It was also attended by the external consolations, which neither high station nor intellectual prosperity can command. Among the anecdotes of statesmen few are more interesting than that which records the death of Pitt. The hand, which had so long sustained the sceptre of his country, found no hand to clasp it in death. By friends and by servants he was alike deserted; and a stranger wandering on from room to room of a deserted house, came at last by chance to a chamber, untended but not unquiet, in which the great minister Jay, alone and dead. It was otherwise with the luck• less,' but well-loved, man of genius. For miles, round in the valleys, as he lay dying, there was not one who had not time to think of himn. Four physicians sat round a poor man's bed; and strangers contended with kinsfolk for the privilege of nursing him.
The reference to Hartley Coleridge's life which we have made abore constitutes in itself the best comment on his works. We shall endeavour to follow it up by extracts from his poems, which, if not always selected from the best among them, are yet calculated to illustrate the compass and variety of his powers. His poetry had very different characteristics at different periods of its author's life. In the earlier poems the imagination holds, relatively, at least, if not absolutely, the larger place; and combines with a pervading sense of beauty to build up an intellectual and ideal sphere analogous to the visionary world in which so much of the Poet's childhood was passed. In that fine region thoughts, sometimes of great loveliness, and as often marked by a lucid brilliancy, float about, self-supported, like birds of Paradise, and seem to find a natural element. The following sonnet may serve as a specimen of the class.
• What was't awakened first the untried ear
Character of the Sonnet.
The four mellifluous streams which flow'd so near, .
ed in act, I may renone:
The following illustrates a graver mood : - in
• If I have sinned in act, I may repent:
If I have erred in thought, I may disclaim
. (Vol. i. p. 31.) Hartley Coleridge's sonnets possess a charm almost peculiar to themselves, even in an age which has abounded in that form of composition. Perhaps no species of short poem admits of so much variety in its degrees of merit. Many of our most popular poets, such as Byron, Shelley, and Southey, have attempted it with little success. In a weak or unskilful hand it becomes at once the most relaxed and the most constrained species of poetry, a single trivial thought being miserably stretched out and nailed down over a gaping framework of fourteen lines. Nor does a merely artificial condensation mend the matter. It is not difficult to force a number of thoughts into a narrow compass; but if these thoughts chance to be heterogeneous, and if their connexion be arbitrary, they will not stand on better terms by reason of the forced proximity. It is not the "multa,' but the multum' of thought that constitutes the intellectual worth of a sonnet. Many of the best sonnets of Milton and Wordsworth contain little more than the expression of a single thought; but that thought is one in which a profound principle is seminally involved; so that in its simple enunciation is to be found the core of a moral essay, the heart of a philosophical treatise. Such a thought can never belong' exclusively to the logical department of the intellect. Proceeding from the soul, and not from the mind only, it necessarily involves moral sentiment also ; and the imaginative embodiment in which it expresses itself is no artificial adornment, but is a clothing consubstantial with its essence. The unity which characterises a good sonnet imparts to it a majesty and might which even the noblest thoughts cannot possess if allowed, as in philosophical poetry they generally are, to run into a series, and thus to become merged in each other, as parts subordinated to a whole. A true sonnet is a complete whole. It hangs selfbalanced on its centre, and, for a thoughtful reader, turns forth perpetually a new face to the light of truth. It issues from the contemplative even more than from the meditative order of mind, implying a power among the rarest and most arduous – that of resting upon a single idea, and viewing it in all its aspects, rather than that of using it as a stepping-stone to other ideas. It requires not less a 'shaping' mind, needing, as it does, in the highest degree, that form, without which poetic thought has neither consistence nor permanence; and it is no doubt the more seldom successfully produced, because the contemplative faculty and the shaping art but seldom exist together.
There are, however, two very different species of sonnet. The philosophical, of which we have been speaking, dates chiefly from Milton, and, in the main, belongs to our northern region. The South had long before produced a form of the sonnet less grave, authoritative, and dogmatic, but exquisite from the equipoise of tender sentiment with a graceful imagination, and from a diction refined at once and concise. Examples of both sorts may be found in the volumes before us; but to the latter, perhaps, the most perfect belong. Many of them possess a certain indescribable sweetness (a quality wholly distinct from softuess), which reminds us more of the Elizabethan poetry than of those modern writers whose attempts at tenderness result commonly but in effeminacy. In this respect they resemble the best among old Daniel's Sonnets, but Shakspeare's yet more, from their union of pathos with imaginative subtlety: Like Shaksveare's, too, they are at once steeped in personal interest. aná free from all offensive egotism. To write of oneself does not necessarily imply egotism. There is nothing in which man differs more from man than in the mode of handling that dangerous subject. There are poets whose writings indicate rather a human than an individual interest in themselves, as though
had been but the specimen in which
mble the bestonly but in writer
they had found imaged the psychological history of their kind. In the works of others, and especially in the volumes now before us, self is presented in touches so delicate and forbearing, and in union with such a generous regard for others, as well as for abstract things, that self-pity seems but the sadness of one who can look down on himself with the same feelings which he mould bestow on a horse over-driven,' or a wounded bird.
To the same department of his verse we may perhaps refer the following poem, in which aspiration is finely mingled with tenderness. It illustrates at once the spontaneous movement, and the artistic grace of his earlier poems; and the stanza, which we have not met with elsewhere, may be called a sort of lyrical sonnet, flowing forward with a 'swan-like grace,' and yet ever winding back into itself: —
"She was a queen of noble nature's crowning :
A visitation bright and transitory.
The joy is ours, but all its own the sadness.
To her 'tis more, because her heart is lonely,