« VorigeDoorgaan »
the vines are as bands of dried withies
around its trunk and branches. Even so This first appeared as part of the 'Introduction' to A LAY-SERMON, ADDRESSED TO THE
there was a memory on his smooth and HIGHER AND MIDDLE CLASSES, ON THE EXIST
ample forehead, which blended with the ING DISTRESSES AND DISCONTENTS. By S. T.
dedication of his steady eyes, that still Coleridge, Esq. London : 1817. 'It has been my
looked-I know not, whether upward, or purpose throughout the following discourse to far onward, or rather to the line of meeting guard myself and my readers from extremes of where the sky rests upon the distance. all kinds : I will therefore conclude this Introduc- But how may I express that dimness of tion by inforcing the maxim 1 in its relation to abstraction which lay on the lustre of the our religious opinions, out of which, with or with- pilgrim's eyes like the flitting tarnish from out our consciousness, all our other opinions flow, the breath of a sigh on a silver mirror ! as from their Spring-head and perpetual Feeder. and which accorded with their slow and And that I might neglect no innocent mode of reluctant movement, whenever he turned attracting or relieving the reader's attention, I them to any object on the right hand or on have moulded my reflections into the following the left ? It seemed, methought, as if ALLEGORIC Vision.' The Allegoric Vision was
there lay upon the brightness a shadowy included by Coleridge in the edition of the
presence of disappointments now unfelt, Poems in 1829, and by H. N. Coleridge in
but never forgotten. It was at once the that of 1834. Since then it has been reprinted melancholy of hope and of resignation. only with the prose works. I have deemed the
We had not long been fellow-travellers, limbo of an 'Appendix’ its most appropriate
ere a sudden tempest of wind and rain place.-ED.
forced us to seek protection in the vaulted A FEELING of sadness, a peculiar melan
door-way of a lone chapelry; and we sate choly, is wont to take possession of me alike
face to face each on the stone bench alongin Spring and in Autumn. But in Spring it
side the low, weather-stained wall, and as is the melancholy of Hope : in Autumn it
close as possible to the massy door. is the melancholy of Resignation. As I was
After a pause of silence : even thus, said journeying on foot through the Appennine, he, like two strangers that have fled to the I fell in with a pilgrim in whom the Spring
same shelter from the same storm, not and the Autumn and the Melancholy of seldom do Despair and Hope meet for the both seemed to have combined. In his
first time in the porch of Death !1 All discourse there were the freshness and the
extremes meet, I answered ; but yours was colours of April :
a strange and visionary thought. The
better then doth it beseem both the place Qual ramicel a ramo, Tal da pensier pensiero
1 Call to the Hours, that in the distance play, In lui germogliava.
The faery people of the future dayBut as I gazed on his whole form and
Fond Thought! not one of all that shining figure, I bethought me of the not unlovely
Will breathe on thee with life -enkindling decays, both of age and of the late season,
breath, in the stately elm, after the clusters have
Till when, like strangers shelt’ring from a storm, been plucked from its entwining vines, and
Hope and Despair meet in the porch of Death! l'Extremes meet,'—which Coleridge some
Constancy to an Ideal Ohject, p. 172. where quotes as his favourite proverb.-ED.
and me, he replied. From a Visionary with horror, or pining in mad melancholy. wilt thou hear a Vision ? Mark that vivid Intermingled with these, I observed a flash through this torrent of rain ! Fire number of men, clothed in ceremonial and water. Even here thy adage holds robes, who appeared now to marshal the true, and its truth is the moral of my various groups, and to direct their moveVision. I entreated him to proceed. ments; and now with menacing counteSloping his face toward the arch and yet nances, to drag some reluctant victim to a averting his eye from it, he seemed to seek vast idol, framed of iron bars intercrossed, and prepare his words : till listening to which formed at the same time an immense the wind that echoed within the hollow cage, and the shape of a human Colossus. edifice, and to the rain without,
I stood for a while lost in wonder what Which stole on his thoughts with its two-fold
these things might mean ; when lo ! one of sound,
the Directors came up to me, and with a The clash hard by and the murmur all round, 1
stern and reproachful look bade me uncover
my head, for that the place into which I he gradually sank away, alike from me and
had entered was the temple of the only from his own purpose, and amid the gloom
true Religion, in the holier recesses of of the storm and in the duskiness of that
which the great Goddess personally resided. place, he sate like an emblem on a rich
Himself too he bade me reverence, as the man's sepulchre, or like a mourner on the
consecrated minister of her rites. Awesodded grave of an only one—an aged struck by the name of Religion, I bowed mourner, who is watching the waned moon
before the priest, and humbly and earnestly and sorroweth not. Starting at length intreated him to conduct me into her prefrom his brief trance of abstraction, with
sence. He assented. Offerings he took courtesy and an atoning smile he renewed
from me, with mystic sprinklings of water his discourse, and commenced his parable. and with salt he purified, and with strange During one of those short furlows from
sufflations he exorcized me; and then led the service of the Body, which the Soul
me through many a dark and winding may sometimes obtain even in this, its
alley, the dew-damps of which chilled my militant state, I found myself in a vast
flesh, and the hollow echoes under my plain, which I immediately knew to be the
feet, mingled, methought, with moanings, Valley of Life. It possessed an astonish
affrighted me. At length we entered a ing diversity of soils : and here was a sunny ! large hall, without window, or spiracle, or spot, and there a dark one, forming just
The asylum and dormitory it such a mixture of sunshine and shade, as
seemed of perennial night-only that the we may have observed on the mountains'
walls were brought to the eye by a number side in an April day, when the thin broken
of self-luminous inscriptions in letters of a clouds are scattered over heaven. Almost
pale sepulchral light, which held strange in the very entrance of the valley stood a
neutrality with the darkness, on the verge large and gloomy pile, into which I seemed
of which it kept its rayless vigil. I could constrained to enter. Every part of the
read them, methought ; but though each building was crowded with tawdry orna
of the words taken separately I seemed to ments and fantastic deformity. On every ; understand, yet when I took them in senwindow was portrayed, in glaring and in
tences, they were riddles and incomprehenelegant colours, some horrible tale, or pre
sible. As I stood meditating on these ternatural incident, so that not a ray of
hard sayings, my guide thus addressed light could enter, untinged by the medium
me — Read and believe : these are through which it passed. The body of the
mysteries !'-At the extremity of the vast building was full of people, some of them
hall the Goddess was placed. Her features, dancing, in and out, in unintelligible blended with darkness, rose out to my figures, with strange ceremonies and antic view, terrible, yet vacant. I prostrated merriment, while others seemed convulsed myself before her
, and then retired with my 1 From some cancelled portion of Christabel? guide, soul-withered, and wondering, and -ED.
As I re-entered the body of the temple, descry, save only that it was, and that it I heard a deep buz as of discontent. A was most glorious. few whose eyes were bright, and either And now with the rapid transition of a piercing or steady, and whose ample fore- dream, I had overtaken and rejoined the heads, with the weighty bar, ridge-like, more numerous party, who had abruptly above the eyebrows, bespoke observation left us, indignant at the very name of followed by meditative thought; and a religion. They journied on, goading each much larger number, who were enraged by other with remembrances of past oppresthe severity and insolence of the priests insions, and never looking back, till in the exacting their offerings, had collected in
eagerness to recede from the Temple of one tumultuous group, and with a confused Superstition they had rounded the whole outcry of “This is the Temple of Supersti- circle of the valley. And lo! there faced tion !' after much contumely, and turmoil, us the mouth of a vast cavern, at the base and cruel mal-treatment on all sides, rushed of a lofty and almost perpendicular rock, out of the pile : and I, methought, joined the interior side of which, unknown to them.
them, and unsuspected, formed the exWe speeded from the Temple with hasty treme and backward wall of the Temple. steps, and had now nearly gone round half An impatient crowd, we entered the vast the valley, when we were addressed by a and dusky cave, which was the only perwoman, tall beyond the stature of mortals, foration of the precipice. At the mouth and with a something more than human in of the cave sate two figures ; the first, by her countenance and mien, which yet could her dress and gestures, I knew to be Senby mortals be only felt, not conveyed by suality; the second form, from the fiercewords or intelligibly distinguished. Deep ness of his demeanour, and the brutal reflection, animated by ardent feelings, was scornfulness of his looks, declared himself displayed in them : and hope, without its to be the monster Blasphemy. He uttered uncertainty, and a something more than big words, and yet ever and anon I all these, which I understood not, but observed that he turned pale at his own which yet seemed to blend all these courage. We entered. Some remained into a divine unity of expression. Her in the opening of the cave, with the one or garments were white and matronly, and the other of its guardians. The rest, and of the simplest texture.
We inquired I among them, pressed on, till we reached her name.
'My name,' she replied, an ample chamber, that seemed the centre is Religion.'
of the rock. The climate of the place was The more numerous part of our com- unnaturally cold. pany, affrighted by the very sound, and In the furthest distance of the chamber sore from recent impostures or sorceries, sate an old dim-eyed man, poring with a hurried onwards and examined no farther. microscope over the torso of a statue A few of us, struck by the manifest opposi- which had neither basis, nor feet, nor tion of her form and manners to those of head; but on its breast was carved the living Idol, whom we had so recently NATURE!' To this he continually abjured, agreed to follow her, though with applied his glass, and seemed enraptured cautious circumspection. She led us to an with the various inequalities which it eminence in the midst of the valley, from rendered visible on the seemingly polished the top of which we could command the surface of the marble. — Yet evermore was whole plain, and observe the relation of the this delight and triumph followed by exdifferent parts to each other, and of each pressions of hatred, and vehement railing to the whole, and 'of all to each. She against a Being, who yet, he assured us, then gave us an optic glass which assisted had no existence. This mystery suddenly without contradicting our natural vision, recalled to me what I had read in the and enabled us to see far beyond the limits holiest recess of the temple of Superstiof the Valley of Life ; though our eye even
The old man spake in divers thus assisted permitted us only to behold a tongues, and continued to utter other and light and a glory, but what we could not most strange mysteries. Among the rest
he talked much and vehemently concern- though all were alike blind. Methought ing an infinite series of causes and effects, I borrowed courage from surprise, and which he explained to be — a string of asked him—Who then is at the head to blind men, the last of whom caught hold guide them ? He looked at me with of the skirt of the one before him, he of the ineffable contempt, not unmixed with an next, and so on till they were all out of angry suspicion, and then replied, “No sight; and that they all walked infallibly one. The string of blind men went on straight, without making one false step, for ever without any beginning; for i Compare
although one blind man could not move But some there are who deem themselves most
without stumbling, yet infinite blindness free
supplied the want of sight. I burst into
laughter, which instantly turned to terror—and themselves they cheat
for as he started forward in rage, I With noisy emptiness of learned phrase,
caught a glimpse of him from behind ; and Their subtle fluids, impacts, essences,
lo! I beheld a monster bi-form and JanusSelf-working tools, uncaused effects, and all headed, in the hinder face and shape of Those blind omniscients, those almighty slaves, which I instantly recognised the dread Untenanting creation of its God.
countenance of Superstition-and in the Destiny of Nations, p. 70.-ED. terror I awoke.
TITLES, PREFACES, CONTENTS, ETC.
Fert animus quascunque vices.- Nos tristia
vitæ THE FALL OF ROBESPIERRE, An Historic
By S. T. Coleridge, of Jesus Solamur cantu. --Stat. Silv. Lib. iv. 4. College, Cambridge. Cambridge: LONDON: Printed for G. G. and J. Printed by Benjamin Flower, for W. Robinsons, and J. Cottle, Bookseller, H. Lunn, and J. and J. Merrill; and Bristol, 1796. sold by J. March, Norwich, 1794. [Price One Shilling. ]
Octavo pp. xvi. ; 188 (plus one page of
Errata '). Octavo, pp. 37. [There was no Preface. The only pre
PREFACE liminary matter was a Dedication, which POEMS on various subjects written at will be found among the Notes to the Poem. ] ! different times and prompted by very
different feelings; but which will be read at one time and under the influence of one
set of feelings—this is an heavy disadvanPOEMS on various subjects, by S. T. Cole
tage : for we love or admire a poet in ridge, late of Jesus College, Cambridge. proportion as he developes our own senti
ments and emotions, or reminds us of our Felix curarum, cui non Heliconia cordi own knowledge. Serta, nec imbelles Parnassi e vertice Compositions resembling those of the laurus !
present volume are not unfrequently conSed viget ingenium, et magnos accinctus in demned for their querulous egotism. But
egotism is to be condemned then only when
it offends against time and place, as in an but to consider whether or no there may History or an Epic Poem. To censure it not be others to whom it is well-calculated in a Monody or Sonnet is almost as absurd to give an innocent pleasure. With what as to dislike a circle for being round. anxiety every fashionable author avoids Why then write Sonnets or Monodies ? the word /!—now he transforms himself Because they give me pleasure when per- into a third person,—the present writer' haps nothing else could. After the more -now multiplies himself and swells into violent emotions of Sorrow, the mind 'we'-and all this is the watchfulness of demands solace and can find it in employ. guilt. Conscious that this said I is perment alone ; but full of its late sufferings, petually intruding on his mind and that it it can endure no employment not connected monopolizes his heart, he is prudishly with those sufferings. Forcibly to turn solicitous that it may not escape from his away our attention to other subjects is a lips. painful and in general an unavailing effort. This disinterestedness of phrase is in But O! how grateful to a wounded heart,
general commensurate with selfishness of The tale of misery to impart ;
feeling : men old and hackneyed in the From others' eyes bid artless sorrows flow,
ways of the world are scrupulous avoiders And raise esteem upon the base of woe !'
of the following Poems a considerable [SHAW.]
number are styled 'Effusions,'1 in defiance The communicativeness of our nature of Churchill's line leads us to describe our own sorrows ; in
'Effusion on Effusion pour away.' the endeavor to describe them intellectual activity is exerted ; and by a benevolent I could recollect no title more descriptive law of our nature from intellectual activity of the manner and matter of the Poems— a pleasure results, which is gradually I might indeed have called the majority of associated and mingles as a corrective them Sonnets—but they do not possess with the painful subject of the description. that oneness of thought which I deem True !' it may be answered, “but how indispensible in a Sonnet—and (not a very are the Public interested in your sorrows honorable motive perhaps) I was fearful or your description ?' We are for ever that the title · Sonnet' might have reminded attributing a personal unity to imaginary my reader of the Poems of the Rev. W. L. aggregates. What is the Public but a Bowles ---a comparison with whom would term for a number of scattered individuals have sunk me below that mediocrity, on of whom as many will be interested in the surface of which I am at present these sorrows as have experienced the same enabled to float. or similar ?
Some of the verses allude to an intended ‘Holy be the Lay emigration to America on the scheme of an Which mourning soothes the mourner on his abandonment of individual property. way!'
The Effusions signed C. L. were written There is one species of egotism which is by Mr. CHARLES LAMB, of the India truly disgusting ; not that which leads us House --- independently of the signature to communicate our feelings to others, but
their superior merit would have sufficiently that which would reduce the feelings of distinguished them. For the rough sketch others to an identity with our own. The
of Effusion XVI. [Sweet Mercy ! how my Atheist, who exclaims, pshaw !' when he very heart has bled'] I am indebted to Mr.
' glances his eye on the praises of Deity, is
FAVELL. And the first half of Effusion an Egotist : an old man, when he speaks XV. [ Pale Roamer thro' the Night !'] was contemptuously of love-verses, is an Egotist: written by the Author of Joan of Art, an and your sleek favourites of Fortune are Epic Poem (Robert Southey]. Egotists, when they condemn all melan
1 Lamb remonstrated (Dec. 2, 1796)
—what choly, discontented' verses.
you do retain [in ed. 1797), call Sonnets, for Surely it would be candid not merely to heaven's sake, and not
and ask whether the Poem pleases ourselves, | Coleridge consented.-Ed.