The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Volume 1

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Volume 1

Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Editor: Henry Nelson Coleridge

Release date: July 1, 2005 [eBook #8488]
Most recently updated: February 14, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Clytie Siddall, David Widger
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team


Coleridge's Literary Remains

...collected and edited by Henry Nelson Coleridge, Esq. M. A.

to Joseph Henry Green, Esq., Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, the approved friend of Coleridge, these volumes are gratefully inscribed

Table of Contents


Mr. Coleridge by his will, dated in September, 1829, authorized his executor, if he should think it expedient, to publish any of the notes or writing made by him (Mr. C.) in his books, or any other of his manuscripts or writings, or any letters which should thereafter be collected from, or supplied by, his friends or correspondents. Agreeably to this authority, an arrangement was made, under the superintendence of Mr. Green, for the collection of Coleridge's literary remains; and at the same time the preparation for the press of such part of the materials as should consist of criticism and general literature, was entrusted to the care of the present Editor. The volumes now offered to the public are the first results of that arrangement. They must in any case stand in need of much indulgence from the ingenuous reader;- multa sunt condonanda in opere postumo; but a short statement of the difficulties attending the compilation may serve to explain some apparent anomalies, and to preclude some unnecessary censure.

The materials were fragmentary in the extreme ­ Sibylline leaves; ­ notes of the lecturer, memoranda of the investigator, out-pourings of the solitary and self-communing student. The fear of the press was not in them. Numerous as they were, too, they came to light, or were communicated, at different times, before and after the printing was commenced; and the dates, the occasions, and the references, in most instances remained to be discovered or conjectured. To give to such materials method and continuity, as far as might be, ­ to set them forth in the least disadvantageous manner which the circumstances would permit, ­ was a delicate and perplexing task; and the Editor is painfully sensible that he could bring few qualifications for the undertaking, but such as were involved in a many years' intercourse with the author himself, a patient study of his writings, a reverential admiration of his genius, and an affectionate desire to help in extending its beneficial influence.

The contents of these volumes are drawn from a portion only of the manuscripts entrusted to the Editor: the remainder of the collection, which, under favourable circumstances, he hopes may hereafter see the light, is at least of equal value with what is now presented to the reader as a sample. In perusing the following pages, the reader will, in a few instances, meet with disquisitions of a transcendental character, which, as a general rule, have been avoided: the truth is, that they were sometimes found so indissolubly intertwined with the more popular matter which preceded and followed, as to make separation impracticable. There are very many to whom no apology will be necessary in this respect; and the Editor only adverts to it for the purpose of obviating, as far as may be, the possible complaint of the more general reader. But there is another point to which, taught by past experience, he attaches more importance, and as to which, therefore, he ventures to put in a more express and particular caution. In many of the books and papers, which have been used in the compilation of these volumes, passages from other writers, noted down by Mr. Coleridge as in some way remarkable, were mixed up with his own comments on such passages, or with his reflections on other subjects, in a manner very embarrassing to the eye of a third person undertaking to select the original matter, after the lapse of several years. The Editor need not say that he has not knowingly admitted any thing that was not genuine without an express declaration, as in Vol. I. p. 1; and in another instance, Vol. II. p. 379, he has intimated his own suspicion: but, besides these, it is possible that some cases of mistake in this respect may have occurred. There may be one or two passages ­ they cannot well be more ­ printed in these volumes, which belong to other writers; and if such there be, the Editor can only plead in excuse, that the work has been prepared by him amidst many distractions, and hope that, in this instance at least, no ungenerous use will be made of such a circumstance to the disadvantage of the author, and that persons of greater reading or more retentive memories than the Editor, who may discover any such passages, will do him the favour to communicate the fact.

The Editor's motive in publishing the few poems and fragments included in these volumes, was to make a supplement to the collected edition of Coleridge's poetical works. In these fragments the reader will see the germs of several passages in the already published poems of the author, but which the Editor has not thought it necessary to notice more particularly. The Fall of Robespierre, a joint composition, has been so long in print in the French edition of Coleridge's poems, that, independently of such merit as it may possess, it seemed natural to adopt it upon the present occasion, and to declare the true state of the authorship.

To those who have been kind enough to communicate books and manuscripts for the purpose of the present publication, the Editor and, through him, Mr. Coleridge's executor return their grateful thanks. In most cases a specific acknowledgement has been made. But, above and independently of all others, it is to Mr. and Mrs. Gillman, and to Mr. Green himself, that the public are indebted for the preservation and use of the principal part of the contents of these volumes. The claims of those respected individuals on the gratitude of the friends and admirers of Coleridge and his works are already well known, and in due season those claims will receive additional confirmation.

With these remarks, sincerely conscious of his own inadequate execution of the task assigned to him, yet confident withal of the general worth of the contents of the following pages ­ the Editor commits the reliques of a great man to the indulgent consideration of the Public.

Lincoln's Inn, August 11, 1836.


He was one who with long and large arm still collected precious armfulls in whatever direction he pressed forward, yet still took up so much more than he could keep together, that those who followed him gleaned more from his continual droppings than he himself brought home; ­ nay, made stately corn-ricks therewith, while the reaper himself was still seen only with a strutting armful of newly-cut sheaves. But I should misinform you grossly if I left you to infer that his collections were a heap of incoherent miscellanea. No! the very contrary. Their variety, conjoined with the too great coherency, the too great both desire and power of referring them in systematic, nay, genetic subordination, was that which rendered his schemes gigantic and impracticable, as an author, and his conversation less instructive as a man.

Auditorem inopem ipsa copia fecit.

­ Too much was given, all so weighty and brilliant as to preclude a chance of its being all received, ­ so that it not seldom passed over the hearer's mind like a roar of many waters.


the Fall of Robespierre

and other poems

to H. Martin, Esq.
of Jesus College, Cambridge

Dear Sir
Accept, as a small testimony of my grateful attachment, the following Dramatic Poem, in which I have endeavoured to detail, in an interesting form, the fall of a man, whose great bad actions have cast a disastrous lustre on his name. In the execution of the work, as intricacy of plot could not have been attempted without a gross violation of recent facts, it has been my sole aim to imitate the impassioned and highly figurative language of the French Orators, and to develope the characters of the chief actors on a vast stage of horrors.

Yours fraternally,


Jesus College, September 22, 1794.

the Fall of Robespierre
an Historic Drama. 1794


scene ­ the Tuileries


The tempest gathers ­ be it mine to seek
A friendly shelter, ere it bursts upon him.
But where? and how? I fear the tyrant's soul ­
Sudden in action, fertile in resource,
And rising awful 'mid impending ruins;
In splendour gloomy, as the midnight meteor,
That fearless thwarts the elemental war.
When last in secret conference we met,
He scowl'd upon me with suspicious rage,
Making his eye the inmate of my bosom.
I know he scorns me ­ and I feel, I hate him ­
Yet there is in him that which makes me tremble!


It was Barrere, Legendre! didst thou mark him?
Abrupt he turn'd, yet linger'd as he went,
And tow'rds us cast a look of doubtful meaning.

I mark'd him well. I met his eye's last glance;
It menac'd not so proudly as of yore.
Methought he would have spoke ­ but that he dar'd not ­
Such agitation darken'd on his brow.

'Twas all-distrusting guilt that kept from bursting
Th' imprison'd secret struggling in the face:
E'en as the sudden breeze upstarting onwards
Hurries the thunder cloud, that pois'd awhile
Hung in mid air, red with its mutinous burthen.

Perfidious traitor! ­ still afraid to bask
In the full blaze of power, the rustling serpent
Lurks in the thicket of the tyrant's greatness,
Ever prepar'd to sting who shelters him.
Each thought, each action in himself converges;
And love and friendship on his coward heart
Shine like the powerless sun on polar ice:
To all attach'd, by turns deserting all,
Cunning and dark ­ a necessary villain!

Yet much depends upon him ­ well you know
With plausible harangue 'tis his to paint
Defeat like victory ­ and blind the mob
With truth-mix'd falsehood. They, led on by him,
And wild of head to work their own destruction,
Support with uproar what he plans in darkness.

O what a precious name is liberty
To scare or cheat the simple into slaves!
Yes ­ we must gain him over: by dark hints
We'll show enough to rouse his watchful fears,
Till the cold coward blaze a patriot.
O Danton! murder'd friend! assist my counsels ­
Hover around me on sad memory's wings,
And pour thy daring vengeance in my heart.
Tallien! if but to-morrow's fateful sun
Beholds the tyrant living ­ we are dead!

Yet his keen eye that flashes mighty meanings ­

Fear not ­ or rather fear th' alternative,
And seek for courage e'en in cowardice ­
But see ­ hither he comes ­ let us away!
His brother with him, and the bloody Couthon,
And, high of haughty spirit, young St. Just.



What! did La Fayette fall before my power ­
And did I conquer Roland's spotless virtues ­
The fervent eloquence of Vergniaud's tongue,
And Brissot's thoughtful soul unbribed and bold!
Did zealot armies haste in vain to save them!
What! did th' assassin's dagger aim its point
Vain, as a dream of murder, at my bosom;
And shall I dread the soft luxurious Tallien?
Th' Adonis Tallien, ­ banquet-hunting Tallien, ­
Him, whose heart flutters at the dice-box! Him,
Who ever on the harlots' downy pillow
Resigns his head impure to feverish slumbers!

I cannot fear him ­ yet we must not scorn him.
Was it not Antony that conquer'd Brutus,
Th' Adonis, banquet-hunting Antony?
The state is not yet purified: and though
The stream runs clear, yet at the bottom lies
The thick black sediment of all the factions ­
It needs no magic hand to stir it up!

O, we did wrong to spare them ­ fatal error!
Why lived Legendre, when that Danton died,
And Collot d'Herbois dangerous in crimes?
I've fear'd him, since his iron heart endured
To make of Lyons one vast human shambles,
Compar'd with which the sun-scorch'd wilderness
Of Zara were a smiling paradise.

Rightly thou judgest, Couthon! He is one,
Who flies from silent solitary anguish,
Seeking forgetful peace amid the jar
Of elements. The howl of maniac uproar
Lulls to sad sleep the memory of himself.
A calm is fatal to him ­ then he feels
The dire upboilings of the storm within him.
A tiger mad with inward wounds! ­ I dread
The fierce and restless turbulence of guilt.

Is not the Commune ours? the stern Tribunal?
Dumas? and Vivier? Fleuriot? and Louvet?
And Henriot? We'll denounce a hundred, nor
Shall they behold to-morrow's sun roll westward.

Nay ­ I am sick of blood! my aching heart
Reviews the long, long train of hideous horrors
That still have gloom'd the rise of the Republic.
I should have died before Toulon, when war
Became the patriot!

Most unworthy wish!
He, whose heart sickens at the blood of traitors
Would be himself a traitor, were he not
A coward! 'Tis congenial souls alone
Shed tears of sorrow for each other's fate.
O, thou art brave, my brother! and thine eye
Full firmly shines amid the groaning battle ­
Yet in thine heart the woman-form of pity
Asserts too large a share, an ill-timed guest!
There is unsoundness in the state ­ to-morrow
Shall see it cleansed by wholesome massacre!

Beware! already do the Sections murmur ­
"O the great glorious patriot, Robespierre ­
The tyrant guardian of the country's freedom!"

'Twere folly sure to work great deeds by halves!
Much I suspect the darksome fickle heart
Of cold Barrere!

I see the villain in him!

If he ­ if all forsake thee ­ what remains?

Myself! the steel-strong rectitude of soul
And poverty sublime 'mid circling virtues!
The giant victories, my counsels form'd,
Shall stalk around me with sun-glittering plumes,
Bidding the darts of calumny fall pointless.


So we deceive ourselves! What goodly virtues
Bloom on the poisonous branches of ambition!
Still, Robespierre! thou'l't guard thy country's freedom
To despotize in all the patriot's pomp.
While conscience, 'mid the mob's applauding clamours,
Sleeps in thine ear, nor whispers ­ blood-stain'd tyrant!
Yet what is conscience? superstition's dream
Making such deep impression on our sleep ­
That long th' awaken'd breast retains its horrors!
But he returns ­ and with him comes Barrere.



There is no danger but in cowardice. ­
Barrere! we make the danger, when we fear it.
We have such force without, as will suspend
The cold and trembling treachery of these members.

Twill be a pause of terror. ­

But to whom?
Rather the short-lived slumber of the tempest,
Gathering its strength anew. The dastard traitors!
Moles, that would undermine the rooted oak!
A pause! ­ a moment's pause! ­ 'Tis all their life.

Yet much they talk ­ and plausible their speech.
Couthon's decree has given such powers, that ­

That what?

The freedom of debate ­

Transparent mask!
They wish to clog the wheels of government,
Forcing the hand that guides the vast machine
To bribe them to their duty. ­ English patriots!
Are not the congregated clouds of war
Black all around us? In our very vitals
Works not the king-bred poison of rebellion?
Say, what shall counteract the selfish plottings
Of wretches, cold of heart, nor awed by fears
Of him, whose power directs th' eternal justice?
Terror? or secret-sapping gold? The first.
Heavy, but transient as the ills that cause it;
And to the virtuous patriot render'd light
By the necessities that gave it birth:
The other fouls the fount of the Republic,
Making it flow polluted to all ages;
Inoculates the state with a slow venom,
That once imbibed, must be continued ever.
Myself incorruptible I ne'er could bribe them ­
Therefore they hate me.

Are the Sections friendly?

There are who wish my ruin ­ but I'll make them
Blush for the crime in blood!

Nay ­ but I tell thee,
Thou art too fond of slaughter ­ and the right
(If right it be) workest by most foul means!

Self-centering Fear! how well thou canst ape Mercy!
Too fond of slaughter! ­ matchless hypocrite!
Thought Barrere so, when Brissot, Danton died?
Thought Barrere so, when through the streaming streets
Of Paris red-eyed Massacre, o'er wearied,
Reel'd heavily, intoxicate with blood?
And when (O heavens!) in Lyons' death-red square
Sick fancy groan'd o'er putrid hills of slain,
Didst thou not fiercely laugh, and bless the day?
Why, thou hast been the mouth-piece of all horrors,
And, like a blood-hound, crouch'd for murder! Now
Aloof thou standest from the tottering pillar,
Or, like a frighted child behind its mother,
Hidest thy pale face in the skirts of ­ Mercy!

O prodigality of eloquent anger!
Why now I see thou'rt weak ­ thy case is desperate!
The cool ferocious Robespierre turn'd scolder!

Who from a bad man's bosom wards the blow,
Reserves the whetted dagger for his own.
Denounced twice ­ and twice I sav'd his life!


The Sections will support them ­ there's the point!
No! he can never weather out the storm ­
Yet he is sudden in revenge ­ No more!
I must away to Tallien.


Scene changes to the House of Adelaide.
ADELAIDE enters, speaking to a Servant.

Didst thou present the letter that I gave thee?
Did Tallien answer, he would soon return?

He is in the Tuilleries ­ with him, Legendre ­
In deep discourse they seem'd: as I approach'd
He waved his hand, as bidding me retire:
I did not interrupt him.

Returns the letter.

Thou didst rightly.

Exit Servant.

O this new freedom! at how dear a price
We've bought the seeming good! The peaceful virtues
And every blandishment of private life,
The father's cares, the mother's fond endearment,
All sacrificed to liberty's wild riot.
The winged hours, that scatter'd roses round me,
Languid and sad drag their slow course along,
And shake big gall-drops from their heavy wings.
But I will steal away these anxious thoughts
By the soft languishment of warbled airs,
If haply melodies may lull the sense
Of sorrow for a while.

Soft Music.


Music, my love? O breathe again that air!
Soft nurse of pain, it soothes the weary soul
Of care, sweet as the whisper'd breeze of evening
That plays around the sick man's throbbing temples.

Tell me, on what holy ground
May domestic peace be found?
Halcyon daughter of the skies,
Far on fearful wing she flies,
From the pomp of sceptred state,
From the rebel's noisy hate.

In a cottag'd vale she dwells,
List'ning to the Sabbath bells!
Still around her steps are seen
Spotless honour's meeker mien,
Love, the sire of pleasing fears,
Sorrow smiling through her tears,
And conscious of the past employ,
Memory, bosom-spring of joy.

I thank thee, Adelaide! 'twas sweet, though mournful.
But why thy brow o'ercast, thy cheek so wan?
Thou look'st as a lorn maid beside some stream,
That sighs away the soul in fond despairing,
While sorrow sad, like the dank willow near her,
Hangs o'er the troubled fountain of her eye.

Ah! rather let me ask what mystery lowers
On Tallien's darken'd brow. Thou dost me wrong ­
Thy soul distemper'd, can my heart be tranquil?

Tell me, by whom thy brother's blood was spilt?
Asks he not vengeance on these patriot murderers?
It has been borne too tamely. Fears and curses
Groan on our midnight beds, and e'en our dreams
Threaten the assassin hand of Robespierre.
He dies! ­ nor has the plot escaped his fears.

Yet ­ yet ­ be cautious! much I fear the Commune ­
The tyrant's creatures, and their fate with his
Fast link'd in close indissoluble union.
The pale Convention ­

Hate him as they fear him,
Impatient of the chain, resolved and ready.

Th' enthusiast mob, confusion's lawless sons ­

They are aweary of his stern morality,
The fair-mask'd offspring of ferocious pride.
The Sections too support the delegates:
All ­ all is ours! e'en now the vital air
Of Liberty, condens'd awhile, is bursting
(Force irresistible!) from its compressure ­
To shatter the arch chemist in the explosion!



Tallien! was this a time for amorous conference?
Henriot, the tyrant's most devoted creature,
Marshals the force of Paris: The fierce club,
With Vivier at their head, in loud acclaim
Have sworn to make the guillotine in blood
Float on the scaffold. ­ But who comes here?


Say, are ye friends to freedom? I am hers!
Let us, forgetful of all common feuds,
Rally around her shrine! E'en now the tyrant
Concerts a plan of instant massacre!

Away to the Convention! with that voice
So oft the herald of glad victory,
Rouse their fallen spirits, thunder in their ears
The names of tyrant, plunderer, assassin!
The violent workings of my soul within
Anticipate the monster's blood!

Cry from the street of
­ No tyrant! Down with the tyrant!

Hear ye that outcry? ­ If the trembling members
Even for a moment hold his fate suspended,
I swear by the holy poniard, that stabbed Caesar,
This dagger probes his heart!

Exeunt omnes.


Scene ­ The Convention.

mounts the Tribune.

Once more befits it that the voice of truth,
Fearless in innocence, though leaguer'd round
By envy and her hateful brood of hell,
Be heard amid this hall; once more befits
The patriot, whose prophetic eye so oft
Has pierc'd thro' faction's veil, to flash on crimes
Of deadliest import. Mouldering in the grave
Sleeps Capet's caitiff corse; my daring hand
Levell'd to earth his blood-cemented throne,
My voice declared his guilt, and stirr'd up France
To call for vengeance. I too dug the grave
Where sleep the Girondists, detested band!
Long with the show of freedom they abused
Her ardent sons. Long time the well-turn'd phrase,
The high fraught sentence, and the lofty tone
Of declamation thunder'd in this hall,
Till reason, midst a labyrinth of words,
Perplex'd, in silence seem'd to yield assent.
I durst oppose. Soul of my honour'd friend,
Spirit of Marat, upon thee I call ­
Thou know'st me faithful, know'st with what warm zeal
I urged the cause of justice, stripp'd the mask
From faction's deadly visage, and destroy'd
Her traitor brood. Whose patriot arm hurl'd down
Hebert and Rousin, and the villain friends
Of Danton, foul apostate! those, who long
Mask'd treason's form in liberty's fair garb,
Long deluged France with blood, and durst defy
Omnipotence! but I, it seems, am false!
I am a traitor too! I ­ Robespierre!
I ­ at whose name the dastard despot brood
Look pale with fear, and call on saints to help them
Who dares accuse me? who shall dare belie
My spotless name? Speak, ye accomplice band,
Of what am I accused? of what strange crime
Is Maximilian Robespierre accused,
That through this hall the buzz of discontent
Should murmur? who shall speak?

O patriot tongue,
Belying the foul heart! Who was it urged
Friendly to tyrants that accurst decree,
Whose influence brooding o'er this hallow'd hall,
Has chill'd each tongue to silence. Who destroy'd
The freedom of debate, and carried through
The fatal law, that doom'd the delegates,
Unheard before their equals, to the bar
Where cruelty sat throned, and murder reign'd
With her Dumas coequal? Say ­ thou man
Of mighty eloquence, whose law was that?

That law was mine. I urged it ­ I proposed ­
The voice of France assembled in her sons
Assented, though the tame and timid voice
Of traitors murmur'd. I advised that law ­
I justify it. It was wise and good.

Oh, wondrous wise, and most convenient too!
I have long mark'd thee, Robespierre ­ and now
Proclaim thee traitor ­ tyrant!

Loud applauses.

It is well; ­
I am a traitor! oh, that I had fallen
When Regnault lifted high the murderous knife;
Regnault, the instrument, belike of those
Who now themselves would fain assassinate,
And legalize their murders. I stand here
An isolated patriot ­ hemm'd around
By faction's noisy pack; beset and bay'd
By the foul hell-hounds who know no escape
From justice' outstretch'd arm, but by the force
That pierces through her breast.

Murmurs, and shouts of
­ Down with the tyrant!

Nay, but I will be heard. There was a time
When Robespierre began, the loud applauses
Of honest patriots drown'd the honest sound.
But times are changed, and villany prevails.

No ­ villany shall fall. France could not brook
A monarch's sway; ­ sounds the dictator's name
More soothing to her ear?

Rattle her chains
More musically now than when the hand
Of Brissot forged her fetters; or the crew
Of Hebert thunder'd out their blasphemies,
And Danton talk'd of virtue?

Oh, that Brissot
Were here again to thunder in this hall, ­
That Hebert lived, and Danton's giant form
Scowl'd once again defiance! so my soul
Might cope with worthy foes.
People of France,
Hear me! Beneath the vengeance of the law
Traitors have perish'd countless; more survive:
The hydra-headed faction lifts anew
Her daring front, and fruitful from her wounds,
Cautious from past defects, contrives new wiles
Against the sons of Freedom.

Freedom lives!
Oppression falls ­ for France has felt her chains,
Has burst them too. Who, traitor-like, stept forth
Amid the hall of Jacobins to save
Camille Desmoulins, and the venal wretch

I did ­ for I thought them honest.
And Heaven forefend that vengeance e'er should strike,
Ere justice doom'd the blow.

Traitor, thou didst.
Yes, the accomplice of their dark designs,
Awhile didst thou defend them, when the storm
Lour'd at safe distance. When the clouds frown'd darker,
Fear'd for yourself, and left them to their fate.
Oh, I have mark'd thee long, and through the veil
Seen thy foul projects. Yes, ambitious man,
Self-will'd dictator o'er the realm of France,
The vengeance thou hast plann'd for patriots,
Falls on thy head. Look how thy brother's deeds
Dishonour thine! He, the firm patriot;
Thou, the foul parricide of Liberty!

Barrere ­ attempt not meanly to divide
Me from my brother. I partake his guilt,
For I partake his virtue.

Brother, by my soul,
More dear I hold thee to my heart, that thus
With me thou dar'st to tread the dangerous path
Of virtue, than that nature twined her cords
Of kindred round us.

Yes, allied in guilt,
Even as in blood ye are. Oh, thou worst wretch,
Thou worse than Sylla! hast thou not proscrib'd,
Yea, in most foul anticipation slaughter'd
Each patriot representative of France?

Was not the younger Caesar too to reign
O'er all our valiant armies in the south,
And still continue there his merchant wiles?

His merchant wiles! Oh, grant me patience, heaven!
Was it by merchant wiles I gain'd you back
Toulon, when proudly on her captive towers
Wav'd high the English flag? or fought I then
With merchant wiles, when sword in hand I led
Your troops to conquest? fought I merchant-like,
Or barter'd I for victory, when death
Strode o'er the reeking streets with giant stride,
And shook his ebon plumes, and sternly smil'd
Amid the bloody banquet? when appall'd
The hireling sons of England spread the sail
Of safety, fought I like a merchant then?
Oh, patience! patience!

How this younger tyrant
Mouths out defiance to us! even so
He had led on the armies of the south,
Till once again the plains of France were drench'd
With her best blood.

Till once again display'd
Lyons' sad tragedy had call'd me forth
The minister of wrath, whilst slaughter by
Had bathed in human blood.

No wonder, friend,
That we are traitors ­ that our heads must fall
Beneath the axe of death! when Caesar-like
Reigns Robespierre, 'tis wisely done to doom
The fall of Brutus. Tell me, bloody man,
Hast thou not parcell'd out deluded France
As it had been some province won in fight
Between your curst triumvirate. You, Couthon,
Go with my brother to the southern plains;
St. Just, be yours the army of the north;
Meantime I rule at Paris.

Matchless knave!
What ­ not one blush of conscience on thy cheek ­
Not one poor blush of truth! most likely tale!
That I, who ruin'd Brissot's towering hopes,
I, who discover'd Hebert's impious wiles,
And sharp'd for Danton's recreant neck the axe,
Should now be traitor! had I been so minded,
Think ye I had destroy'd the very men
Whose plots resembled mine? bring forth your proofs
Of this deep treason. Tell me in whose breast
Found ye the fatal scroll? or tell me rather
Who forged the shameless falsehood?

Ask you proofs?
Robespierre, what proofs were ask'd when Brissot died?

What proofs adduced you when the Danton died?
When at the imminent peril of my life
I rose, and, fearless of thy frowning brow,
Proclaim'd him guiltless?

I remember well
The fatal day. I do repent me much
That I kill'd Caesar and spared Antony.
But I have been too lenient. I have spared
T he stream of blood, and now my own must flow
To fill the current.
Loud Applauses.
Triumph not too soon,
Justice may yet be victor.

and mounts the Tribune

I come from the committee ­ charged to speak
Of matters of high import. I omit
Their orders. Representatives of France,
Boldly in his own person speaks St. Just
What his own heart shall dictate.

Hear ye this,
Insulted delegates of France? St. Just
From your committee comes ­ comes charged to speak
Of matters of high import ­ yet omits
Their orders! Representatives of France,
That bold man I denounce, who disobeys
The nation's orders. ­ I denounce St. Just.

Loud Applauses.

Hear me!

Violent Murmurs.

He shall be heard!

Must we contaminate this sacred hall
With the foul breath of treason?

Drag him away!
Hence with him to the bar.

Oh, just proceedings!
Robespierre prevented liberty of speech ­
And Robespierre is a tyrant! Tallien reigns,
He dreads to hear the voice of innocence ­
And St. Just must be silent!

Heed we well
That justice guide our actions. No light import
Attends this day. I move St. Just be heard.

Inviolate be the sacred right of man,
The freedom of debate.

Violent Applauses.

I may be heard then! much the times are changed,
When St. Just thanks this hall for hearing him.
Robespierre is call'd a tyrant. Men of France,
Judge not too soon. By popular discontent
Was Aristides driven into exile,
Was Phocion murder'd! Ere ye dare pronounce
Robespierre is guilty, it befits ye well,
Consider who accuse him. Tallien,
Bourdon of Oise ­ the very men denounced,
For that their dark intrigues disturb'd the plan
Of government. Legendre, the sworn friend
Of Danton fall'n apostate. Dubois Crance,
He who at Lyons spared the royalists ­
Collot d'Herbois ­

What ­ shall the traitor rear
His head amid our tribune, and blaspheme
Each patriot? shall the hireling slave of faction ­

I am of no one faction. I contend
Against all factions.

I espouse the cause
Of truth. Robespierre on yester morn pronounced
Upon his own authority a report.
To-day St. Just comes down. St. Just neglects
What the committee orders, and harangues
From his own will. O citizens of France,
I weep for you ­ I weep for my poor country ­
I tremble for the cause of Liberty,
When individuals shall assume the sway,
And with more insolence than kingly pride
Rule the Republic.

Shudder, ye representatives of France,
Shudder with horror. Henriot commands
The marshall'd force of Paris. Henriot,
Foul parricide ­ the sworn ally of Hebert
Denounced by all ­ upheld by Robespierre.
Who spared La Valette? who promoted him,
Stain'd with the deep die of nobility?
Who to an ex-peer gave the high command?
Who screen'd from justice the rapacious thief?
Who cast in chains the friends of Liberty?
Robespierre, the self-styled patriot, Robespierre ­
Robespierre, allied with villain Daubignè ­
Robespierre, the foul arch tyrant, Robespierre.

He talks of virtue ­ of morality ­
Consistent patriot! he Daubignè's friend!
Henriot's supporter virtuous! preach of virtue,
Yet league with villains, for with Robespierre
Villains alone ally. Thou art a tyrant!
I style thee tyrant, Robespierre!

Loud Applauses.

Take back the name. Ye citizens of France ­

Violent Clamour. Cries of-
-Down with the tyrant!

Oppression falls. The traitor stands appall'd ­
Guilt's iron fangs engrasp his shrinking soul ­
He hears assembled France denounce his crimes!
He sees the mask torn from his secret sins ­
He trembles on the precipice of fate.
Fall'n guilty tyrant! murder'd by thy rage,
How many an innocent victim's blood has stain'd
Fair freedom's altar! Sylla-like thy hand
Mark'd down the virtues, that, thy foes removed,
Perpetual Dictator thou might'st reign,
And tyrannize o'er France, and call it freedom!
Long time in timid guilt the traitor plann'd
His fearful wiles ­ success embolden'd sin ­
And his stretch'd arm had grasp'd the diadem
Ere now, but that the coward's heart recoil'd,
Lest France awaked, should rouse her from her dream,
And call aloud for vengeance. He, like Caesar,
With rapid step urged on his bold career,
Even to the summit of ambitious power,
And deem'd the name of King alone was wanting.
Was it for this we hurl'd proud Capet down?
Is it for this we wage eternal war
Against the tyrant horde of murderers,
The crowned cockatrices whose foul venom
Infects all Europe? was it then for this
We swore to guard our liberty with life,
That Robespierre should reign? the spirit of freedom
Is not yet sunk so low. The glowing flame
That animates each honest Frenchman's heartv Not yet extinguish'd. I invoke thy shade,
Immortal Brutus! I too wear a dagger;
And if the representatives of France
Through fear or favour should delay the sword
Of justice, Tallien emulates thy virtues;
Tallien, like Brutus, lifts the avenging arm;
Tallien shall save his country.

Violent Applauses.

I demand
The arrest of all the traitors. Memorable
Will be this day for France.

Yes! Memorable
This day will be for France ­ for villains triumph.

I will not share in this day's damning guilt.
Condemn me too.

Great cry
­ Down with the tyrants!

The two Robespierres, Couthon, St. Just, and Lebas are led off.


Scene continues.

Caesar is fallen! The baneful tree of Java,
Whose death-distilling boughs dropt poisonous dew,
Is rooted from its base. This worse than Cromwell,
The austere, the self-denying Robespierre,
Even in this hall, where once with terror mute
We listen'd to the hypocrite's harangues,
Has heard his doom.

Yet must we not suppose
The tyrant will fall tamely. His sworn hireling
Henriot, the daring desperate Henriot
Commands the force of Paris. I denounce him.

I denounce Fleuriot too, the mayor of Paris.


Robespierre is rescued. Henriot, at the head
Of the arm'd force, has rescued the fierce tyrant.

Ring the tocsin ­ call all the citizens
To save their country ­ never yet has Paris
Forsook the representatives of France.


It is the hour of danger. I propose
This sitting be made permanent.

Loud Applauses

The national Convention shall remain
Firm at its post.

Enter a

Robespierre has reach'd the Commune. They espouse
The tyrant's cause. St. Just is up in arms!
St. Just ­ the young, ambitious, bold St. Just
Harangues the mob. The sanguinary Couthon
Thirsts for your blood.

Tocsin rings.

These tyrants are in arms against the law:
Outlaw the rebels.


Health to the representatives of France!
I pass'd this moment through the armed force ­
They ask'd my name ­ and when they heard a delegate,
Swore I was not the friend of France.

The tyrants threaten us as when they turn'd
The cannon's mouth on Brissot.

Enter another

Vivier harangues the Jacobins ­ the club
Espouse the cause of Robespierre.

Enter another

All's lost ­ the tyrant triumphs. Henriot leads
The soldiers to his aid. ­ Already I hear
The rattling cannon destin'd to surround
This sacred hall.

Why, we will die like men then.
The representatives of France dare death,
When duty steels their bosoms.

Loud Applauses

addressing the galleries.
France is insulted in her delegates ­
The majesty of the Republic is insulted ­
Tyrants are up in arms. An armed force
Threats the Convention. The Convention swears
To die, or save the country!

Violent Applauses from the galleries.

from above
We too swear
To die, or save the country. Follow me.

All the men quit the galleries.

Enter another


Henriot is taken! ­
Loud Applauses.
Henriot is taken. Three of your brave soldiers
Swore they would seize the rebel slave of tyrants,
Or perish in the attempt. As he patroll'd
The streets of Paris, stirring up the mob,
They seized him.

Let the names of these brave men
Live to the future day.

sword in hand


I have clear'd the Commune.
Through the throng I rush'd,
Brandishing my good sword to drench its blade
Deep in the tyrant's heart. The timid rebels
Gave way. I met the soldiery ­ I spake
Of the dictator's crimes ­ of patriots chain'd
In dark deep dungeons by his lawless rage ­
Of knaves secure beneath his fostering power.
I spake of Liberty. Their honest hearts
Caught the warm flame. The general shout burst forth,
"Live the Convention ­ Down with Robespierre!"


Shouts from without
­ Down with the tyrant!

I hear, I hear the soul-inspiring sounds,
France shall be saved! her generous sons attach'd
To principles, not persons, spurn the idol
They worshipp'd once. Yes, Robespierre shall fall
As Capet fell! Oh! never let us deem
That France shall crouch beneath a tyrant's throne,
That the almighty people who have broke
On their oppressors' heads the oppressive chain,
Will court again their fetters! easier were it
To hurl the cloud-capt mountain from its base,
Than force the bonds of slavery upon men
Determined to be free!


a Pistol in one hand, Keys in the other.

flinging down the Keys
So ­ let the mutinous Jacobins meet now
In the open air.
Loud Applauses.
A factious, turbulent party,
Lording it o'er the state since Danton died,
And with him the Cordeliers. ­ A hireling band
Of loud-tongued orators controll'd the club,
And bade them bow the knee to Robespierre.
Vivier has 'scap'd me. Curse his coward heart ­
This fate-fraught tube of Justice in my hand,
I rush'd into the hall. He mark'd mine eye,
That beam'd its patriot anger, and flash'd full
With death-denouncing meaning. 'Mid the throng
He mingled. I pursued ­ but staid my hand,
Lest haply I might shed the innocent blood.


They took from me my ticket of admission ­
Expell'd me from their sittings. ­ Now, forsooth,
Humbled and trembling re-insert my name.
But Freron enters not the club again
Till it be purged of guilt ­ till, purified
Of tyrants and of traitors, honest men
May breathe the air in safety.

Shouts from without.

What means this uproar! if the tyrant band
Should gain the people once again to rise ­
We are as dead!

And wherefore fear we death?
Did Brutus fear it? or the Grecian friends
Who buried in Hipparchus' breast the sword,
And died triumphant? Caesar should fear death,
Brutus must scorn the bugbear.

Shouts from without
: Live the Convention ­ Down with the tyrants!

Hark! again
The sounds of honest Freedom!

from the

Citizens! representatives of France!
Hold on your steady course. The men of Paris
Espouse your cause. The men of Paris swear
They will defend the delegates of Freedom.

Hear ye this, colleagues? hear ye this, my brethren?
And does no thrill of joy pervade your breasts?
My bosom bounds to rapture. I have seen
The sons of France shake off the tyrant yoke;
I have, as much as lies in mine own arm,
Hurl'd down the usurper. ­ Come death when it will,
I have lived long enough.

Shouts without.

Hark! how the noise increases! through the gloom
Of the still evening ­ harbinger of death
Rings the tocsin! the dreadful generale
Thunders through Paris ­

Cry without
­ Down with the tyrant!


So may eternal justice blast the foes
Of France! so perish all the tyrant brood,
As Robespierre has perish'd! Citizens,
Caesar is taken.
Loud and repeated Applauses.
I marvel not, that, with such fearless front,
He braved our vengeance, and with angry eye
Scowl'd round the hall defiance. He relied
On Henriot's aid ­ the Commune's villain friendship,
And Henriot's boughten succours. Ye have heard
How Henriot rescued him ­ how with open arms
The Commune welcomed in the rebel tyrant ­
How Fleuriot aided, and seditious Vivier
Stirr'd up the Jacobins. All had been lost ­
The representatives of France had perish'd ­
Freedom had sunk beneath the tyrant arm
Of this foul parricide, but that her spirit
Inspired the men of Paris. Henriot call'd
"To arms" in vain, whilst Bourdon's patriot voice
Breathed eloquence, and o'er the Jacobins
Legendre frown'd dismay. The tyrants fled ­
They reach'd the Hotel. We gather'd round ­ we call'd
For vengeance! Long time, obstinate in despair,
With knives they hack'd around them. Till foreboding
The sentence of the law, the clamorous cry
Of joyful thousands hailing their destruction,
Each sought by suicide to escape the dread
Of death. Lebas succeeded. From the window
Leap'd the younger Robespierre; but his fractur'd limb
Forbade to escape. The self-will'd dictator
Plung'd often the keen knife in his dark breast,
Yet impotent to die. He lives, all mangled
By his own tremulous hand! All gash'd and gored,
He lives to taste the bitterness of death.
Even now they meet their doom. The bloody Couthon,
The fierce St. Just, even now attend their tyrant
To fall beneath the axe. I saw the torches
Flash on their visages a dreadful light ­
I saw them whilst the black blood roll'd adown
Each stern face, even then with dauntless eye
Scowl round contemptuous, dying as they lived,
Fearless of fate!

Loud and repeated Applauses.

mounts the Tribune.

For ever hallow'd be this glorious day,
When Freedom, bursting her oppressive chain,
Tramples on the oppressor. When the tyrant,
Hurl'd from his blood-cemented throne by the arm
Of the almighty people, meets the death
He plann'd for thousands. Oh! my sickening heart
Has sunk within me, when the various woes
Of my brave country crowded o'er my brain
In ghastly numbers ­ when assembled hordes,
Dragg'd from their hovels by despotic power,
Rush'd o'er her frontiers, plunder'd her fair hamlets,
And sack'd her populous towns, and drench'd with blood
The reeking fields of Flanders. ­ When within,
Upon her vitals prey'd the rankling tooth
Of treason; and oppression, giant form,
Trampling on freedom, left the alternative
Of slavery, or of death. Even from that day,
When, on the guilty Capet, I pronounced
The doom of injured France, has faction rear'd
Her hated head amongst us. Roland preach'd
Of mercy ­ the uxorious, dotard Roland,
The woman-govern'd Roland durst aspire
To govern France; and Petion talk'd of virtue,
And Vergniaud's eloquence, like the honey'd tongue
Of some soft Syren wooed us to destruction.
We triumph'd over these. On the same scaffold
Where the last Louis pour'd his guilty blood,
Fell Brissot's head, the womb of darksome treasons,
And Orleans, villain kinsman of the Capet,
And Hebert's atheist crew, whose maddening hand
Hurl'd down the altars of the living God,
With all the infidel's intolerance.
The last worst traitor triumph'd ­ triumph'd long,
Secured by matchless villany. By turns
Defending and deserting each accomplice
As interest prompted. In the goodly soil
Of Freedom, the foul tree of treason struck
Its deep-fix'd roots, and dropt the dews of death
On all who slumber'd in its specious shade.
He wove the web of treachery. He caught
The listening crowd by his wild eloquence,
His cool ferocity that persuaded murder,
Even whilst it spake of mercy! ­ never, never
Shall this regenerated country wear
The despot yoke. Though myriads round assail,
And with worse fury urge this new crusade
Than savages have known; though the leagued despots
Depopulate all Europe, so to pour
The accumulated mass upon our coasts,
Sublime amid the storm shall France arise,
And like the rock amid surrounding waves
Repel the rushing ocean. ­ She shall wield
The thunder-bolt of vengeance ­ she shall blast
The despot's pride, and liberate the world!

Footnote 1
: The origin and authorship of
The Fall of Robespierre
will be best explained by the following extract from a letter from Mr. Southey to the Editor:

"This is the history of
The Fall of Robespierre
. It originated in sportive conversation at poor Lovell's, and we agreed each to produce an act by the next evening; ­ S. T. C. the first, I the second, and Lovell the third. S. T. C. brought part of his, I and Lovell the whole of ours; but L.'s was not in keeping, and therefore I undertook to supply the third also by the following day. By that time, S. T. C. had filled up his. A dedication to Mrs. Hannah More was concocted, and the notable performance was offered for sale to a bookseller in Bristol, who was too wise to buy it. Your Uncle took the MSS. with him to Cambridge, and there rewrote the first act at leisure, and published it. My portion I never saw from the time it was written till the whole was before the world. It was written with newspapers before me, as fast as newspaper could be put into blank verse. I have no desire to claim it now, or hereafter; but neither am I ashamed of it; and if you think proper to print the whole, so be it." ­

The Fall of Robespierre
, a tragedy, of which the first act was written by S. T. Coleridge." Mr. C.'s note in the
Conciones ad Populum
, 1795. (Ed.)

return to footnote mark



­ medio de fonte leporum Surgit amari aliquid. ­ LUCRET.

"Julia was blest..."

Julia was blest with beauty, wit, and grace:
Small poets loved to sing her blooming face.
Before her altars, lo! a numerous train
Preferr'd their vows; yet all preferr'd in vain:
Till charming Florio, born to conquer, came,
And touch'd the fair one with an equal flame.
The flame she felt, and ill could she conceal
What every look and action would reveal.
With boldness then, which seldom fails to move,
He pleads the cause of marriage and of love;
The course of hymeneal joys he rounds,
The fair one's eyes dance pleasure at the sounds.
Nought now remain'd but "Noes" ­ how little meant ­
And the sweet coyness that endears consent.
The youth upon his knees enraptur'd fell:­
The strange misfortune, oh! what words can tell?
Tell! ye neglected sylphs! who lap-dogs guard,
Why snatch'd ye not away your precious ward?
Why suffer'd ye the lover's weight to fall
On the ill-fated neck of much-loved Ball?
The favourite on his mistress cast his eyes,
Gives a short melancholy howl, and ­ dies!
Sacred his ashes lie, and long his rest!
Anger and grief divide poor Julia's breast.
Her eyes she fix'd on guilty Florio first,
On him the storm of angry grief must burst.
That storm he fled:­ he wooes a kinder fair,
Whose fond affections no dear puppies share.
'Twere vain to tell how Julia pined away; ­
Unhappy fair, that in one luckless day
(From future almanacks the day be crost!)
At once her lover and her lap-dog lost!

1789. 1

Footnote 1: This copy of verses was written at Christ's Hospital, and transcribed, honoris causa, into the book kept by the head-master, Mr. Bowyer, for that purpose. They are printed by Mr. Trollope in p. 192 of his History of the Hospital, published in 1834. Ed.


"I yet remain..."

­ ­ ­ I yet remain
To mourn the hours of youth (yet mourn in vain)
That fled neglected: wisely thou hast trod
The better path ­ and that high meed which God
Assign'd to virtue, tow'ring from the dust,
Shall wait thy rising, Spirit pure and just!

O God! how sweet it were to think, that all
Who silent mourn around this gloomy ball
Might hear the voice of joy; ­ but 'tis the will
Of man's great Author, that through good and ill
Calm he should hold his course, and so sustain
His varied lot of pleasure, toil, and pain!

l793.  1

Footnote 1: These lines were found in Mr. Coleridge's hand-writing in one of the Prayer Books in the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. Ed.


to the Rev. W. J. Hort 1

Hush! ye clamorous cares, be mute!
Again, dear harmonist! again
Through the hollow of thy flute
Breathe that passion-warbled strain;
Till memory back each form shall bring
The loveliest of her shadowy throng,
And hope, that soars on sky-lark wing,
Shall carol forth her gladdest song!

O skill'd with magic spell to roll
The thrilling tones that concentrate the soul!
Breathe through thy flute those tender notes again,
While near thee sits the chaste-eyed maiden mild;
And bid her raise the poet's kindred strain
In soft impassion'd voice, correctly wild.

In freedom's undivided dell,
Where toil and health with mellow'd love shall dwell ­
Far from folly, far from men,
In the rude romantic glen,
Up the cliff, and through the glade,
Wand'ring with the dear-loved maid,
I shall listen to the lay,
And ponder on thee far away; ­
Still as she bids those thrilling notes aspire
(Making my fond attuned heart her lyre),
Thy honour'd form, my friend! shall reappear,
And I will thank thee with a raptured tear!


Footnote 1: Mr. Hort was a Unitarian clergyman, and in 1794 second master in Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Estlin's school on St. Michael's Hill, Bristol. Ed.
return to footnote mark


to Charles Lamb

with an unfinished poem

Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
Elaborate and swelling; ­ yet the heart
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse
Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought
Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wand'ring far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-loved sister's bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look,
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I, too, a sister had, an only sister ­ 1
She loved me dearly, and I doted on her;
To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows;
(As a sick patient in a nurse's arms,)
And of the heart those hidden maladies ­
That e'en from friendship's eye will shrink ashamed.
O! I have waked at midnight, and have wept
Because she was not! ­ Cheerily, dear Charles!
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year;
Such warm presages feel I of high hope!
For not uninterested the dear maid
I've view'd ­ her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories
That play around a sainted infant's head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind!) 2
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne, ­
Prepared, when He his healing ray vouchsafes,
Thanksgiving to pour forth with lifted heart,
And praise him gracious with a brother's joy!


Footnote 1: This line and the six and a half which follow are printed, by mistake, as a fragment in the first volume of the Poetical Works, 1834, p. 35. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2: "I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the line
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love Aught to implore were impotence of mind, ­
it being written in Scripture, Ask, and it shall be given you! and my human reason being, moreover, convinced of the propriety of offering petitions as well as thanksgivings to Deity." S. T. C. 1797.
"I will add, at the risk of appearing to dwell too long on religious topics, that on this my first introduction to Coleridge, he reverted with strong compunction to a sentiment which he had expressed in earlier days upon prayer. In one of his youthful poems, speaking of God, he had said, ­
­ 'Of whose all-seeing eye
Aught to demand were impotence of mind.'
This sentiment he now so utterly condemned, that, on the contrary, he told me, as his own peculiar opinion, that the act of praying was the highest energy of which the human heart was capable ­ praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties; and the great mass of worldly men and of learned men he pronounced absolutely incapable of praying." (Mr. De Quincey in Tait's Magazine, September, 1834, p.515.)
"Mr. Coleridge, within two years of his death, very solemnly declared to me his conviction upon the same subject. I was sitting by his bed-side one afternoon, and he fell ­ an unusual thing for him ­ into a long account of many passages of his past life, lamenting some things, condemning others, but complaining withal, though very gently, of the way in which many of his most innocent acts had been cruelly misrepresented. 'But I have no difficulty,' said he, 'in forgiveness; indeed, I know not how to say with sincerity the clause in the Lord's Prayer, which asks forgiveness as we forgive. I feel nothing answering to it in my heart. Neither do I find, or reckon, the most solemn faith in God as a real object, the most arduous act of the reason and will; ­ O no! my dear, it is to pray, to pray as God would have us; this is what at times makes me turn cold to my soul. Believe me, to pray with all your heart and strength, with the reason and the will, to believe vividly that God will listen to your voice through Christ, and verily do the thing he pleaseth thereupon ­ this is the last, the greatest achievement of the Christian's warfare on earth. Teach us to pray, O Lord!' And then he burst into a flood of tears, and begged me to pray for him. O what a sight was there!" Table Talk, vol. i. p. 162. Ed.
return to footnote mark


to the Nightingale

Sister of lovelorn poets, Philomel!
How many bards in city garret spent,
While at their window they with downward eye
Mark the faint lamp-beam on the kennell'd mud,
And listen to the drowsy cry of watchmen,
(Those hoarse, unfeather'd nightingales of time!)
How many wretched bards address thy name,
And hers, the full-orb'd queen, that shines above.
But I do hear thee, and the high bough mark,
Within whose mild moou-mellow'd foliage hid,
Thou warblest sad thy pity-pleading strains.
O I have listen'd, till my working soul,
Waked by those strains to thousand phantasies,
Absorb'd, hath ceas'd to listen! Therefore oft
I hymn thy name; and with a proud delight
Oft will I tell thee, minstrel of the moon,
Most musical, most melancholy bird!
That all thy soft diversities of tone,
Though sweeter far than the delicious airs
That vibrate from a white-arm'd lady's harp,
What time the languishment of lonely love
Melts in her eye, and heaves her breast of snow,
Are not so sweet, as is the voice of her,
My Sara ­ best beloved of human kind!
When breathing the pure soul of tenderness,
She thrills me with the husband's promised name!



to Sara

The stream with languid murmur creeps
In Lumin's flowery vale;
Beneath the dew the lily weeps,
Slow waving to the gale.

"Cease, restless gale," it seems to say,
"Nor wake me with thy sighing:
The honours of my vernal day
On rapid wings are flying.

"To-morrow shall the traveller come,
That erst beheld me blooming,
His searching eye shall vainly roam
The dreary vale of Lumin."

With eager gaze and wetted cheek
My wonted haunts along,
Thus, lovely maiden, thou shalt seek
The youth of simplest song.

But I along the breeze will roll
The voice of feeble power,
And dwell, the moon-beam of thy soul,
In slumber's nightly hour.



to Joseph Cottle

Unboastful Bard! whose verse concise, yet clear,
Tunes to smooth melody unconquer'd sense,
May your fame fadeless live, as never-sere
The ivy wreathes yon oak, whose broad defence
Embowers me from noon's sultry influence!
For, like that nameless rivulet stealing by,
Your modest verse to musing quiet dear,
Is rich with tints heaven-borrow'd; ­ the charm'd eye
Shall gaze undazzled there, and love the soften'd sky.

Circling the base of the poetic mount,
A stream there is, which rolls in lazy flow
Its coal-black waters from oblivion's fount:
The vapour-poison'd birds, that fly too low,
Fall with dead swoop, and to the bottom go.
Escaped that heavy stream on pinion fleet
Beneath the mountain's lofty-frowning brow,
Ere aught of perilous ascent you meet,
A mead of mildest charm delays th' unlabouring feet.

Not there the cloud-climb'd rock, sublime and vast,
That, like some giant king, o'er-glooms the hill;
Nor there the pine-grove to the midnight blast
Makes solemn music! but th' unceasing rill
To the soft wren or lark's descending trill,
Murmurs sweet undersong mid jasmine bowers.
In this same pleasant meadow, at your will,
I ween, you wander'd ­ there collecting flowers
Of sober tint, and herbs of med'cinable powers!

There for the monarch-murder'd soldier's tomb
You wove th' unfinish'd wreath of saddest hues;
And to that holier chaplet added bloom,
Besprinkling it with Jordan's cleansing dews.
But lo! your Henderson awakes the Muse ­
His spirit beckon'd from the mountain's height!
You left the plain, and soar'd mid richer views.
So Nature mourn'd, when sank the first day's light,
With stars, unseen before, spangling her robe of night!

Still soar, my friend! those richer views among,
Strong, rapid, fervent, flashing fancy's beam!
Virtue and truth shall love your gentler song;
But poesy demands th' impassion'd theme.
Wak'd by heaven's silent dews at eve's mild gleam,
What balmy sweets Pomona breathes around!
But if the vext air rush a stormy stream,
Or autumn's shrill gust moan in plaintive sound,
With fruits and flowers she loads the tempest-honour'd ground!




If we except Lucretius and Statius, I know no Latin poet, ancient or modern, who has equalled Casimir in boldness of conception, opulence of fancy, or beauty of versification. The Odes of this illustrious Jesuit were translated into English about 150 years ago, by a G. Hils, I think. 1
I never saw the translation. A few of the Odes have been translated in a very animated manner by Watts. I have subjoined the third Ode of the second Book, which, with the exception of the first line, is an effusion of exquisite elegance. In the imitation attempted, I am sensible that I have destroyed the effect of suddenness, by translating into two stanzas what is one in the original. 1796.

Ad Lyram

Sonora buxi filia sutilis,
Pendebis alta, barbite, populo,
Dum ridet aer, et supinas
Solicitat levis aura frondes.

Te sibilantis lenior halitus
Perflabit Euri: me juvet interim
Collum reclinasse, et virenti
Sic temere 2 jacuisse ripa.

Eheu! serenum quæ nebulæ tegunt
Repente cælum! quis sonus imbrium!
Surgamus ­ heu semper fugaci
Gaudia præteritura passu!

The solemn-breathing air is ended ­
Cease, O Lyre! thy kindred lay!
From the poplar branch suspended,
Glitter to the eye of day!

On thy wires, hov'ring, dying,
Softly sighs the summer wind:
I will slumber, careless lying,
By yon waterfall reclin'd.

In the forest hollow-roaring,
Hark! I hear a deep'ning sound ­
Clouds rise thick with heavy low'ring!
See! th' horizon blackens round!

Parent of the soothing measure,
Let me seize thy wetted string!
Swiftly flies the flatterer, pleasure,
Headlong, ever on the wing!

Footnote 1: The Odes of Casimire translated by G.H. [G. Hils.] London, 1646. 12mo. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2: Had Casimir any better authority for this quantity than Tertullian's line, ­
Immemor ille Dei temere committere tale ­ ?
In the classic poets the last syllable is, I believe, uniformly cut off. Ed.
return to footnote mark



The hour when we shall meet again. (Composed during illness and in absence).

Dim Hour! that sleep'st on pillowing clouds afar,
O rise, and yoke the turtles to thy car!
Bend o'er the traces, blame each lingering dove,
And give me to the bosom of my love!
My gentle love! caressing and carest,
With heaving heart shall cradle me to rest;
Shed the warm tear-drop from her smiling eyes,
Lull with fond woe, and med'cine me with sighs;
While finely-flushing float her kisses meek,
Like melted rubies, o'er my pallid cheek.

Chill'd by the night, the drooping rose of May
Mourns the long absence of the lovely day:
Young Day returning at her promised hour,
Weeps o'er the sorrows of the fav'rite flower, ­
Weeps the soft dew, the balmy gale she sighs,
And darts a trembling lustre from her eyes.
New life and joy th' expanding flow'ret feels:
His pitying mistress mourns, and mourning heals!


In my calmer moments I have the firmest faith that all things work together for good. But, alas! it seems a long and a dark process:­


"The early year..."

The early year's fast-flying vapours stray
In shadowing trains across the orb of day;
And we, poor insects of a few short hours,
Deem it a world of gloom.
Were it not better hope, a nobler doom,
Proud to believe, that with more active powers
On rapid many-colour'd wing,
We thro' one bright perpetual spring
Shall hover round the fruits and flowers,
Screen'd by those clouds, and cherish'd by those showers!



Count Rumford's Essays

These, Virtue, are thy triumphs, that adorn
Fitliest our nature, and bespeak us born
For loftiest action; ­ not to gaze and run
From clime to clime; or batten in the sun,
Dragging a drony flight from flower to flower,
Like summer insects in a gaudy hour;
Nor yet o'er lovesick tales with fancy range,
And cry, ' 'Tis pitiful,'tis passing strange!'
But on life's varied views to look around,
And raise expiring sorrow from the ground:­
And he ­ who thus hath borne his part assign'd
In the sad fellowship of human kind,
Or for a moment soothed the bitter pain
Of a poor brother ­ has not lived in vain.




on a Late Marriage between an Old Maid and a French Maître

Tho' Miss ­ ­ 's match is a subject of mirth
She consider'd the matter full well,
And wisely preferr'd leading one ape on earth
To perhaps a whole dozen in hell.



on an Amorous Doctor

From Rufa's eye sly Cupid shot his dart,
And left it sticking in Sangrado's heart.
No quiet from that moment has he known,
And peaceful sleep has from his eyelids flown;
And opium's force, and what is more, alack!
His own orations cannot bring it back.
In short, unless she pities his afflictions,
Despair will make him take his own prescriptions.



"There comes from old Avaro's grave..."

There comes from old Avaro's grave
A deadly stench; ­ why, sure, they have
Immured his soul within his grave!



"Last Monday all the papers said..."

Last Monday all the papers said
That Mr. ­ ­ was dead;
Why, then, what said the city?
The tenth part sadly shook their head,
And shaking sigh'd, and sighing said,
"Pity, indeed, 'tis pity!"

But when the said report was found
A rumour wholly without ground,
Why, then, what said the city?
The other nine parts shook their head,
Repeating what the tenth had said,
"Pity, indeed, 'tis pity!"



to a Primrose

the first seen in the season

-nitens, et roboris expers
Turget et insolida est: at spe delectat.

Thy smiles I note, sweet early flower,
That peeping from thy rustic bower,
The festive news to earth dost bring,
A fragrant messenger of spring!

But tender blossom, why so pale?
Dost hear stern winter in the gale?
And didst them tempt th' ungentle sky
To catch one vernal glance and die?

Such the wan lustre sickness wears,
When health's first feeble beam appears;
So languid are the smiles that seek
To settle on the care-worn cheek,

When timorous hope the head uprears,
Still drooping and still moist with tears,
If, through dispersing grief, be seen
Of bliss the heavenly spark serene.



on the Christening of a Friend's Child

This day among the faithful placed,
And fed with fontal manna,
O with maternal title graced
Dear Anna's dearest Anna! ­

While others wish thee wise and fair,
A maid of spotless fame,
I'll breathe this more compendious prayer ­
May'st thou deserve thy name!

Thy mother's name ­ a potent spell,
That bids the virtues hie
From mystic grove and living cell
Confess'd to fancy's eye; ­

Meek quietness without offence;
Content in homespun kirtle;
True love; and true love's innocence,
White blossom of the myrtle!

Associates of thy name, sweet child!
These virtues may'st thou win;
With face as eloquently mild
To say, they lodge within.

So, when her tale of days all flown,
Thy mother shall be mist here;
When Heaven at length shall claim its own,
And angels snatch their sister;

Some hoary-headed friend, perchance,
May gaze with stifled breath;
And oft, in momentary trance,
Forget the waste of death.

Ev'n thus a lovely rose I view'd,
In summer-swelling pride;
Nor mark'd the bud, that green and rude
Peep'd at the rose's side.

It chanced, I pass'd again that way
In autumn's latest hour,
And wond'ring saw the selfsame spray
Rich with the selfsame flower.

Ah, fond deceit! the rude green bud
Alike in shape, place, name,
Had bloom'd, where bloom'd its parent stud,
Another and the same!



"Hoarse Maevius reads..."

Hoarse Maevius reads his hobbling verse
To all, and at all times;
And finds them both divinely smooth,
His voice, as well as rhymes.

Yet folks say ­ "Maevius is no ass:" ­
But Maevius makes it clear,
That he's a monster of an ass,
An ass without an ear.



Inscription by the Rev. W. L. Bowles...

in Nether Stowey Church

Lætus abi! mundi strepitu curisque remotus;
Lætus abi! cæli qua vocat alma quies.
Ipsa Fides loquitur, lacrymamque incusat inanem,
Quæ cadit in vestros, care pater, cineres.
Heu! tantum liceat meritos hos solvere ritus,
Et longum tremula dicere voce, Vale!



Depart in joy from this world's noise and strife
To the deep quiet of celestial life!
Depart! ­ Affection's self reproves the tear
Which falls, O honour'd Parent! on thy bier; ­
Yet Nature will be heard, the heart will swell,
And the voice tremble with a last Farewell!


Introduction to the Tale of the Dark Ladie

The following poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old ballad word Ladie for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is professedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity, as Camden says, will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a force and propriety in it. A heavier objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties explode around us in all directions, he should presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love: and five years ago, I own I should have allowed and felt the force of this objection. But alas! explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly, that novelty itself ceases to appear new; and it is possible that now, even a simple story, wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the hubbub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinctly audible.

O leave the lily on its stem;
O leave the rose upon the spray;
O leave the elder-bloom, fair maids!
And listen to my lay.

A cypress and a myrtle-bough
This morn around my harp you twin'd,
Because it fashion'd mournfully
Its murmurs in the wind.

And now a tale of love and woe,
A woful tale of love I sing;
Hark, gentle maidens, hark! it sighs
And trembles on the string.

But most, my own dear Genevieve,
It sighs and trembles most for thee!
O come and hear the cruel wrongs
Befell the Dark Ladie! 1


And now once more a tale of woe,
A woful tale of love I sing;
For thee, my Genevieve! it sighs,
And trembles on the string.

When last I sang the cruel scorn
That craz'd this bold and lovely knight,
And how he roam'd the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day or night;

I promised thee a sister tale
Of man's perfidious cruelty;
Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong
Befell the Dark Ladie.

Footnote 1
: Here followed the stanzas, afterwards published separately under the title
. (
Poet. Works
, vol. i. p. 145. Pickering, 1834.) and after them came the other three stanzas printed above; the whole forming the introduction to the intended
Dark Ladie
, of which all that exists is to be found
. p. 150.

return to footnote mark


Epilogue to the Rash Conjuror

an uncomposed poem

We ask and urge ­ (here ends the story!)
All Christian Papishes to pray
That this unhappy Conjuror may,
Instead of Hell, be but in Purgatory, ­
For then there's hope; ­
Long live the Pope!




The butterfly the ancient Grecians made
The soul's fair emblem, and its only name ­
But of the soul, escap'd the slavish trade
Of mortal life! ­ For in this earthly frame
Ours is the reptile's lot, much toil, much blame,
Manifold motions making little speed,
And to deform and kill the things whereon we feed.




How seldom, Friend! a good great man inherits
Honour or wealth, with all his worth and pains!
It sounds like stories from the land of spirits,
If any man obtain that which he merits,
Or any merit that which he obtains.



For shame, dear Friend! renounce this canting strain!
What would'st thou have a good great man obtain?
Place ­ titles ­ salary ­ a gilded chain ­
Or throne of corses which his sword hath slain? ­
Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends!
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? ­ three treasures, love and light,
And calm thoughts, regular as infants' breath; ­
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night ­
Himself, his Maker, and the angel Death.


Contents, p.2

an Ode to the Rain

composed before day-light on the morning appointed for the departure of a very worthy, but not very pleasant visitor, whom it was feared the rain might detain

I know it is dark; and though I have lain
Awake, as I guess, an hour or twain,
I have not once open'd the lids of my eyes,
But I lie in the dark, as a blind man lies.
0 Rain! that I lie listening to,
You're but a doleful sound at best:
I owe you little thanks, 'tis true,
For breaking thus my needful rest!
Yet if, as soon as it is light,
O Rain! you will but take your flight,
I'll neither rail, nor malice keep,
Though sick and sore for want of sleep.

But only now, for this one day,
Do go, dear Rain! do go away!
O Rain! with your dull two-fold sound,
The clash hard by, and the murmur all round!
You know, if you know aught, that we,
Both night and day, but ill agree:
For days, and months, and almost years,
Have limped on through this vale of tears,
Since body of mine, and rainy weather,
Have lived on easy terms together.
Yet if, as soon as it is light,
O Rain! you will but take your flight,
Though you should come again to-morrow,
And bring with you both pain and sorrow;
Though stomach should sicken, and knees should swell ­
I'll nothing speak of you but well.
But only now for this one day,
Do go, dear Rain! do go away!

Dear Rain! I ne'er refused to say
You're a good creature in your way.
Nay, I could write a book myself,
Would fit a parson's lower shelf,
Showing, how very good you are. ­
What then? sometimes it must be fair!
And if sometimes, why not to-day?
Do go, dear Rain! do go away!

Dear Rain! if I've been cold and shy,
Take no offence! I'll tell you why.
A dear old Friend e'en now is here,
And with him came my sister dear;
After long absence now first met,
Long months by pain and grief beset ­
With three dear friends! in truth, we groan
Impatiently to be alone.
We three, you mark! and not one more!
The strong wish makes my spirit sore.
We have so much to talk about,
So many sad things to let out;
So many tears in our eye-corners,
Sitting like little Jacky Horners ­
In short, as soon as it is day,
Do go, dear Rain! do go away.

And this I'll swear to you, dear Rain!
Whenever you shall come again,
Be you as dull as e'er you could;
(And by the bye 'tis understood,
You're not so pleasant, as you're good;)
Yet, knowing well your worth and place,
I'll welcome you with cheerful face;
And though you stay'd a week or more,
Were ten times duller than before;
Yet with kind heart, and right good will,
I'll sit and listen to you still;
Nor should you go away, dear Rain!
Uninvited to remain.
But only now, for this one day,
Do go, dear Rain! do go away.


Contents, p.2

Translation of a Passage....

in Ottfried's Metrical Paraphrase of the Gospels

"This Paraphrase, written about the time of Charlemagne, is by no means deficient in occasional passages of considerable poetic merit. There is a flow, and a tender enthusiasm in the following lines (at the conclusion of Chapter V.), which even in the translation will not, I flatter myself, fail to interest the reader. Ottfried is describing the circumstances immediately following the birth of our Lord." ­ Biog. Lit. vol. i. p. 203.

She gave with joy her virgin breast;
She hid it not, she bared the breast,
Which suckled that divinest babe!
Blessed, blessed were the breasts
Which the Saviour infant kiss'd;
And blessed, blessed was the mother
Who wrapp'd his limbs in swaddling clothes,
Singing placed him on her lap,
Hung o'er him with her looks of love,
And soothed him with a lulling motion.

Blessed! for she shelter'd him
From the damp and chilling air; ­
Blessed, blessed! for she lay
With such a babe in one blest bed,
Close as babes and mothers lie!
Blessed, blessed evermore,
With her virgin lips she kiss'd,
With her arms, and to her breast,
She embraced the babe divine,
Her babe divine the virgin mother!
There lives not on this ring of earth
A mortal that can sing her praise.
Mighty mother, virgin pure,
In the darkness and the night
For us she bore the heavenly Lord.


Most interesting is it to consider the effect, when the feelings are wrought above the natural pitch by the belief of something mysterious, while all the images are purely natural: then it is that religion and poetry strike deepest." ­
Biog. Lit.
vol. i. p. 204.

Contents, p.2

Israel's Lament...

on the death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales.
from the Hebrew of Hyman Hurwitz

Mourn, Israel! Sons of Israel, mourn!
Give utterance to the inward throe,
As wails of her first love forlorn
The virgin clad in robes of woe!

Mourn the young mother snatch'd away
From light and life's ascending sun!
Mourn for the babe, death's voiceless prey,
Earn'd by long pangs, and lost ere won!

Mourn the bright rose that bloom'd and went,
Ere half disclosed its vernal hue!
Mourn the green bud, so rudely rent,
It brake the stem on which it grew!

Mourn for the universal woe,
With solemn dirge and falt'ring tongue;
For England's Lady is laid low,
So dear, so lovely, and so young!

The blossoms on her tree of life
Shone with the dews of recent bliss; ­
Translated in that deadly strife
She plucks its fruit in Paradise.

Mourn for the prince, who rose at morn
To seek and bless the firstling bud
Of his own rose, and found the thorn,
Its point bedew'd with tears of blood.

Mourn for Britannia's hopes decay'd; ­
Her daughters wail their dear defence,
Their fair example, prostrate laid,
Chaste love, and fervid innocence!

O Thou! who mark'st the monarch's path,
To sad Jeshurun's sons attend!
Amid the lightnings of thy wrath
The showers of consolation send!

Jehovah frowns! ­ The Islands bow,
And prince and people kiss the rod!
Their dread chastising judge wert Thou ­
Be Thou their comforter, O God!


Contents, p.2


The rose that blushes like the morn
Bedecks the valleys low;
And so dost thou, sweet infant corn,
My Angelina's toe.

But on the rose there grows a thorn
That breeds disastrous woe;
And so dost thou, remorseless corn,
On Angelina's toe.


Contents, p.2

the Alternative

This way or that, ye Powers above me!
I of my grief were rid ­
Did Enna either really love me,
Or cease to think she did.


Contents, p.2

the Exchange

We pledged our hearts, my love and I, ­
I in my arms the maiden clasping;
I could not tell the reason why,
But, oh! I trembled like an aspen.

Her father's love she bade me gain;
I went, and shook like any reed!
I strove to act the man ­ in vain!
We had exchanged our hearts indeed.


Contents, p.2

What is Life?

Resembles life what once was deem'd of light,
Too ample in itself for human sight?
An absolute self ­ an element ungrounded ­
All that we see, all colours of all shade
By encroach of darkness made? ­
Is very life by consciousness unbounded?
And all the thoughts, pains, joys of mortal breath,
A war-embrace of wrestling life and death?


Contents, p.2

Inscription for a Time-Piece

Now! It is gone. ­ Our brief hours travel post,
Each with its thought or deed, its Why or How:­
But know, each parting hour gives up a ghost
To dwell within thee ­ an eternal Now!


Quae linquam, aut nihil, aut nihili, aut vix sunt mea; ­ Do Morti; ­ reddo caetera, Christe! tibi. [sordes.

Contents, p.2

A Course of Lectures


There are few families, at present, in the higher and middle classes of English society, in which literary topics and the productions of the Fine Arts, in some one or other of their various forms, do not occasionally take their turn in contributing to the entertainment of the social board, and the amusement of the circle at the fire side. The acquisitions and attainments of the intellect ought, indeed, to hold a very inferior rank in our estimation, opposed to moral worth, or even to professional and specific skill, prudence, and industry. But why should they be opposed, when they may be made subservient merely by being subordinated? It can rarely happen, that a man of social disposition, altogether a stranger to subjects of taste, (almost the only ones on which persons of both sexes can converse with a common interest) should pass through the world without at times feeling dissatisfied with himself. The best proof of this is to be found in the marked anxiety which men, who have succeeded in life without the aid of these accomplishments, shew in securing them to their children. A young man of ingenuous mind will not wilfully deprive himself of any species of respect. He will wish to feel himself on a level with the average of the society in which he lives, though he may be ambitious of distinguishing himself only in his own immediate pursuit or occupation.

Under this conviction, the following Course of Lectures was planned. The several titles will best explain the particular subjects and purposes of each: but the main objects proposed, as the result of all, are the two following.

1. To convey, in a form best fitted to render them impressive at the time, and remembered afterwards, rules and principles of sound judgment, with a kind and degree of connected information, such as the hearers cannot generally be supposed likely to form, collect, and arrange for themselves, by their own unassisted studies. It might be presumption to say, that any important part of these Lectures could not be derived from books; but none, I trust, in supposing, that the same information could not be so surely or conveniently acquired from such books as are of commonest occurrence, or with that quantity of time and attention which can be reasonably expected, or even wisely desired, of men engaged in business and the active duties of the world.

2. Under a strong persuasion that little of real value is derived by persons in general from a wide and various reading; but still more deeply convinced as to the actual mischief of unconnected and promiscuous reading, and that it is sure, in a greater or less degree, to enervate even where it does not likewise inflate; I hope to satisfy many an ingenuous mind, seriously interested in its own development and cultivation, how moderate a number of volumes, if only they be judiciously chosen, will suffice for the attainment of every wise and desirable purpose; that is, in addition to those which he studies for specific and professional purposes. It is saying less than the truth to affirm, that an excellent book (and the remark holds almost equally good of a Raphael as of a Milton) is like a well chosen and well tended fruit tree. Its fruits are not of one season only. With the due and natural intervals, we may recur to it year after year, and it will supply the same nourishment and the same gratification, if only we ourselves return to it with the same healthful appetite.

The subjects of the Lectures are indeed very different, but not (in the strict sense of the term) diverse; they are various, rather than miscellaneous. There is this bond of connexion common to them all, ­ that the mental pleasure which they are calculated to excite is not dependent on accidents of fashion, place, or age, or the events or the customs of the day; but commensurate with the good sense, taste, and feeling, to the cultivation of which they themselves so largely contribute, as being all in kind, though not all in the same degree, productions of genius.

What it would be arrogant to promise, I may yet be permitted to hope, ­ that the execution will prove correspondent and adequate to the plan. Assuredly, my best efforts have not been wanting so to select and prepare the materials, that, at the conclusion of the Lectures, an attentive auditor, who should consent to aid his future recollection by a few notes taken either during each Lecture or soon after, would rarely feel himself, for the time to come, excluded, from taking an intelligent interest in any general conversation likely to occur in mixed society.

Syllabus of the Course.

I. January 27, l8l8. ­ On the manners, morals, literature, philosophy, religion, and the state of society in general, in European Christendom, from the eighth to the fifteenth century, (that is from A.D. 700, to A.D. 1400), more particularly in reference to England, France, Italy and Germany; in other words, a portrait of the so called dark ages of Europe.

II. January 30. ­ On the tales and metrical romances common, for the most part, to England, Germany, and the north of France, and on the English songs and ballads, continued to the reign of Charles I. A few selections will be made from the Swedish, Danish, and German languages, translated for the purpose by the Lecturer.

III. February 3. ­ Chaucer and Spenser; of Petrarch; of Ariosto, Pulci, and Boiardo.

IV. V. VI. February 6, 10, l3. ­ On the dramatic works of Shakspeare. In these Lectures will be comprised the substance of Mr. Coleridge's former courses on the same subject, enlarged and varied by subsequent study and reflection.
Note: These lectures have not been included in the original text. html Ed.

VII. February l7. ­ On Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger; with the probable causes of the cessation of dramatic poetry in England with Shirley and Otway, soon after the restoration of Charles II.

VIII. February 20. ­ Of the life and all the works of Cervantes, but chiefly of his Don Quixote. The ridicule of knight errantry shewn to have been but a secondary object in the mind of the author, and not the principal cause of the delight which the work continues to give to all nations, and under all the revolutions of manners and opinions.

IX. February 24. ­ On Rabelais, Swift, and Sterne: on the nature and constituents of genuine Humour, and on the distinctions of the Humorous from the Witty, the Fanciful, the Droll, and the Odd.

X. February 27. ­ Of Donne, Dante, and Milton.

XI. March 3. ­ On the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, and on the romantic use of the supernatural in poetry, and in works of fiction not poetical. On the conditions and regulations under which such books may be employed advantageously in the earlier periods of education.

XII. March 6. ­ On tales of witches, apparitions, &c. as distinguished from the magic and magicians of Asiatic origin. The probable sources of the former, and of the belief in them in certain ages and classes of men. Criteria by which mistaken and exaggerated facts may be distinguished from absolute falsehood and imposture. Lastly, the causes of the terror and interest which stories of ghosts and witches inspire, in early life at least, whether believed or not.

XIII. March 10. ­ On colour, sound, and form in Nature, as connected with poesy: the word "Poesy" used as the generic or class term, including poetry, music, painting, statuary, and ideal architecture, as its species. The reciprocal relations of poetry and philosophy to each other; and of both to religion, and the moral sense.

XIV. March 13. ­ On the corruptions of the English language since the reign of Queen Ann, in our style of writing prose. A few easy rules for the attainment of a manly, unaffected and pure language, in our genuine mother tongue, whether for the purpose of writing, oratory, or conversation.

Contents, p.2

Lecture I ­ General Character of the Gothic Mind in the Middle Ages 1

Mr. Coleridge began by treating of the races of mankind as descended from Shem, Ham, and Japhet, and therein of the early condition of man in his antique form. He then dwelt on the pre-eminence of the Greeks in Art and Philosophy, and noticed the suitableness of polytheism to small insulated states, in which patriotism acted as a substitute for religion, in destroying or suspending self. Afterwards, in consequence of the extension of the Roman empire, some universal or common spirit became necessary for the conservation of the vast body, and this common spirit was, in fact, produced in Christianity. The causes of the decline of the Roman empire were in operation long before the time of the actual overthrow; that overthrow had been foreseen by many eminent Romans, especially by Seneca. In fact, there was under the empire an Italian and a German party in Rome, and in the end the latter prevailed.

He then proceeded to describe the generic character of the Northern nations, and defined it as an independence of the whole in the freedom of the individual, noticing their respect for women, and their consequent chivalrous spirit in war; and how evidently the participation in the general council laid the foundation of the representative form of government, the only rational mode of preserving individual liberty in opposition to the licentious democracy of the ancient republics.

He called our attention to the peculiarity of their art, and showed how it entirely depended on a symbolical expression of the infinite, ­ which is not vastness, nor immensity, nor perfection, but whatever cannot be circumscribed within the limits of actual sensuous being. In the ancient art, on the contrary, every thing was finite and material. Accordingly, sculpture was not attempted by the Gothic races till the ancient specimens were discovered, whilst painting and architecture were of native growth amongst them. In the earliest specimens of the paintings of modern ages, as in those of Giotto and his associates in the cemetery at Pisa, this complexity, variety, and symbolical character are evident, and are more fully developed in the mightier works of Michel Angelo and Raffael. The contemplation of the works of antique art excites a feeling of elevated beauty, and exalted notions of the human self; but the Gothic architecture impresses the beholder with a sense of self-annihilation; he becomes, as it were, a part of the work contemplated. An endless complexity and variety are united into one whole, the plan of which is not distinct from the execution. A Gothic cathedral is the petrefaction of our religion. The only work of truly modern sculpture is the Moses of Michel Angelo.

The Northern nations were prepared by their own previous religion for Christianity; they, for the most part, received it gladly, and it took root as in a native soil. The deference to woman, characteristic of the Gothic races, combined itself with devotion in the idea of the Virgin Mother, and gave rise to many beautiful associations. Mr. C. remarked how Gothic an instrument in origin and character the organ was.

He also enlarged on the influence of female character on our education, the first impressions of our childhood being derived from women. Amongst oriental nations, he said, the only distinction was between lord and slave. With the antique Greeks, the will of every one conflicting with the will of all, produced licentiousness; with the modern descendants from the northern stocks, both these extremes were shut out, to reappear mixed and condensed into this principle or temper; ­ submission, but with free choice, ­ illustrated in chivalrous devotion to women as such, in attachment to the sovereign, &c.

Footnote 1: From Mr. Green's note taken at the delivery. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p.2

Lecture II ­ General Character if the Gothic Literature and Art. 1

In my last lecture I stated that the descendants of Japhet and Shem peopled Europe and Asia, fulfilling in their distribution the prophecies of Scripture, while the descendants of Ham passed into Africa, there also actually verifying the interdiction pronounced against them. The Keltic and Teutonic nations occupied that part of Europe, which is now France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, &c. They were in general a hardy race, possessing great fortitude, and capable of great endurance. The Romans slowly conquered the more southerly portion of their tribes, and succeeded only by their superior arts, their policy, and better discipline. After a time, when the Goths, ­ to use the name of the noblest and most historical of the Teutonic tribes, ­ had acquired some knowledge of these arts from mixing with their conquerors, they invaded the Roman territories. The hardy habits, the steady perseverance, the better faith of the enduring Goth rendered him too formidable an enemy for the corrupt Roman, who was more inclined to purchase the subjection of his enemy, than to go through the suffering necessary to secure it. The conquest of the Romans gave to the Goths the Christian religion as it was then existing in Italy; and the light and graceful building of Grecian, or Roman-Greek order, became singularly combined with the massy architecture of the Goths, as wild and varied as the forest vegetation which it resembled. The Greek art is beautiful. When I enter a Greek church, 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!' This religion, while it tended to soften the manners of the Northern tribes, was at the same time highly congenial to their nature. The Goths are free from the stain of hero worship. Gazing on their rugged mountains, surrounded by impassable forests, accustomed to gloomy seasons, they lived in the bosom of nature, and worshipped an invisible and unknown deity. Firm in his faith, domestic in his habits, the life of the Goth was simple and dignified, yet tender and affectionate.

The Greeks were remarkable for complacency and completion; they delighted in whatever pleased the eye; to them it was not enough to have merely the idea of a divinity, they must have it placed before them, shaped in the most perfect symmetry, and presented with the nicest judgment; and if we look upon any Greek production of art, the beauty of its parts, and the harmony of their union, the complete and complacent effect of the whole, are the striking characteristics. It is the same in their poetry. In Homer you have a poem perfect in its form, whether originally so, or from the labour of after critics, I know not; his descriptions are pictures brought vividly before you, and as far as the eye and understanding are concerned, I am indeed gratified. But if I wish my feelings to be affected, if I wish my heart to be touched, if I wish to melt into sentiment and tenderness, I must turn to the heroic songs of the Goths, to the poetry of the middle ages. The worship of statues in Greece had, in a civil sense, its advantage, and disadvantage; advantage, in promoting statuary and the arts; disadvantage, in bringing their gods too much on a level with human beings, and thence depriving them of their dignity, and gradually giving rise to scepticism and ridicule. But no statue, no artificial emblem, could satisfy the Northman's mind; the dark wild imagery of nature, which surrounded him, and the freedom of his life, gave his mind a tendency to the infinite, so that he found rest in that which presented no end, and derived satisfaction from that which was indistinct.

We have few and uncertain vestiges of Gothic literature till the time of Theodoric, who encouraged his subjects to write, and who made a collection of their poems. These consisted chiefly of heroic songs, sung at the Court; for at that time this was the custom. Charlemagne, in the beginning of the ninth century, greatly encouraged letters, and made a further collection of the poems of his time, among which were several epic poems of great merit; or rather in strictness there was a vast cycle of heroic poems, or minstrelsies, from and out of which separate poems were composed. The form of poetry was, however, for the most part, the metrical romance and heroic tale. Charlemagne's army, or a large division of it, was utterly destroyed in the Pyrenees, when returning from a successful attack on the Arabs of Navarre and Arragon; yet the name of Roncesvalles became famous in the songs of the Gothic poets. The Greeks and Romans would not have done this; they would not have recorded in heroic verse the death and defeat of their fellow-countrymen. But the Goths, firm in their faith, with a constancy not to be shaken, celebrated those brave men who died for their religion and their country! What, though they had been defeated, they died without fear, as they had lived without reproach; they left no stain on their names, for they fell fighting for their God, their liberty, and their rights; and the song that sang that day's reverse animated them to future victory and certain vengeance.

I must now turn to our great monarch, Alfred, one of the most august characters that any age has ever produced; and when I picture him after the toils of government and the dangers of battle, seated by a solitary lamp, translating the holy scriptures into the Saxon tongue, ­ when I reflect on his moderation in success, on his fortitude and perseverance in difficulty and defeat, and on the wisdom and extensive nature of his legislation, I am really at a loss which part of this great man's character most to admire. Yet above all, I see the grandeur, the freedom, the mildness, the domestic unity, the universal character of the middle ages condensed into Alfred's glorious institution of the trial by jury. I gaze upon it as the immortal symbol of that age; ­ an age called indeed dark; ­ but how could that age be considered dark, which solved the difficult problem of universal liberty, freed man from the shackles of tyranny, and subjected his actions to the decision of twelve of his fellow countrymen? The liberty of the Greeks was a phenomenon, a meteor, which blazed for a short time, and then sank into eternal darkness. It was a combination of most opposite materials, slavery and liberty. Such can neither be happy nor lasting. The Goths on the other hand said, You shall be our Emperor; but we must be Princes on our own estates, and over them you shall have no power! The Vassals said to their Prince, We will serve you in your wars, and defend your castle; but we must have liberty in our own circle, our cottage, our cattle, our proportion of land. The Cities said, We acknowledge you for our Emperor; but we must have our walls and our strong holds, and be governed by our own laws. Thus all combined, yet all were separate; all served, yet all were free. Such a government could not exist in a dark age. Our ancestors may not indeed have been deep in the metaphysics of the schools; they may not have shone in the fine arts; but much knowledge of human nature, much practical wisdom must have existed amongst them, when this admirable constitution was formed; and I believe it is a decided truth, though certainly an awful lesson, that nations are not the most happy at the time when literature and the arts flourish the most among them.

The translations I had promised in my syllabus I shall defer to the end of the course, when I shall give a single lecture of recitations illustrative of the different ages of poetry. There is one Northern tale I will relate, as it is one from which Shakspeare derived that strongly marked and extraordinary scene between Richard III. and the Lady Anne. It may not be equal to that in strength and genius, but it is, undoubtedly, superior in decorum and delicacy.

A Knight had slain a Prince, the lord of a strong castle, in combat. He afterwards contrived to get into the castle, where he obtained an interview with the Princess's attendant, whose life he had saved in some encounter; he told her of his love for her mistress, and won her to his interest. She then slowly and gradually worked on her mistress's mind, spoke of the beauty of his person, the fire of his eyes, the sweetness of his voice, his valour in the field, his gentleness in the court; in short, by watching her opportunities, she at last filled the Princess's soul with this one image; she became restless; sleep forsook her; her curiosity to see this Knight became strong; but her maid still deferred the interview, till at length she confessed she was in love with him; ­ the Knight is then introduced, and the nuptials are quickly celebrated.

In this age there was a tendency in writers to the droll and the grotesque, and in the little dramas which at that time existed, there were singular instances of these. It was the disease of the age. It is a remarkable fact that Luther and Melancthon, the great religious reformers of that day, should have strongly recommended for the education of children, dramas, which at present would be considered highly indecorous, if not bordering on a deeper sin. From one which they particularly recommended, I will give a few extracts; more I should not think it right to do. The play opens with

Adam and Eve washing and dressing their children to appear before the Lord, who is coming from heaven to hear them repeat the Lord's Prayer, Belief, &c. In the next scene the Lord appears seated like a schoolmaster, with the children standing round, when Cain, who is behind hand, and a sad pickle, comes running in with a bloody nose and his hat on. Adam says, "What, with your hat on!" Cain then goes up to shake hands with the Almighty, when Adam says (giving him a cuff), "Ah, would you give your left hand to the Lord?" At length Cain takes his place in the class, and it becomes his turn to say the Lord's Prayer. At this time the Devil (a constant attendant at that time) makes his appearance, and getting behind Cain, whispers in his ear; instead of the Lord's Prayer, Cain gives it so changed by the transposition of the words, that the meaning is reversed; yet this is so artfully done by the author, that it is exactly as an obstinate child would answer, who knows his lesson, yet does not choose to say it. In the last scene, horses in rich trappings and carriages covered with gold are introduced, and the good children are to ride in them and be Lord Mayors, Lords, &c.; Cain and the bad ones are to be made cobblers and tinkers, and only to associate with such.

This, with numberless others, was written by Hans Sachs. Our simple ancestors, firm in their faith, and pure in their morals, were only amused by these pleasantries, as they seemed to them, and neither they nor the reformers feared their having any influence hostile to religion. When I was many years back in the north of Germany, there were several innocent superstitions in practice. Among others at Christmas, presents used to be given to the children by the parents, and they were delivered on Christmas day by a person who personated, and was supposed by the children to be, Christ: early on Christmas morning he called, knocking loudly at the door, and (having received his instructions) left presents for the good and a rod for the bad. Those who have since been in Germany have found this custom relinquished; it was considered profane and irrational. Yet they have not found the children better, nor the mothers more careful of their offspring; they have not found their devotion more fervent, their faith more strong, nor their morality more pure. 2

Footnote 1: From Mr. William Hammond's note taken at the delivery. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2: See this custom of Knecht Rupert more minutely described in Mr. Coleridge's own letter from Germany, published in the 2nd vol. of the Friend, p. 320. Ed.; also in the 1st vol. of the Bibliographia Epistolaris, currently also available in both .txt and .html form, free for download from
Project Gutenberg. html Ed.

Contents, p.2

Lecture III. The Troubadours ­ Boccacio ­ Petrarch ­ Pulci ­ Chaucer ­ Spenser

The last Lecture (II) was allotted to an investigation into the origin and character of a species of poetry, the least influenced of any by the literature of Greece and Rome, ­ that in which the portion contributed by the Gothic conquerors, the predilections and general tone or habit of thought and feeling, brought by our remote ancestors with them from the forests of Germany, or the deep dells and rocky mountains of Norway, are the most prominent. In the present Lecture I must introduce you to a species of poetry, which had its birth-place near the centre of Roman glory, and in which, as might be anticipated, the influences of the Greek and Roman muse are far more conspicuous, ­ as great, indeed, as the efforts of intentional imitation on the part of the poets themselves could render them. But happily for us and for their own fame, the intention of the writers as men is often at complete variance with the genius of the same men as poets. To the force of their intention we owe their mythological ornaments, and the greater definiteness of their imagery; and their passion for the beautiful, the voluptuous, and the artificial, we must in part attribute to the same intention, but in part likewise to their natural dispositions and tastes. For the same climate and many of the same circumstances were acting on them, which had acted on the great classics, whom they were endeavouring to imitate. But the love of the marvellous, the deeper sensibility, the higher reverence for womanhood, the characteristic spirit of sentiment and courtesy, ­ these were the heir-looms of nature, which still regained the ascendant, whenever the use of the living mother-language enabled the inspired poet to appear instead of the toilsome scholar.

From this same union, in which the soul (if I may dare so express myself) was Gothic, while the outward forms and a majority of the words themselves, were the reliques of the Roman, arose the Romance, or romantic language, in which the Troubadours or Love-singers of Provence sang and wrote, and the different dialects of which have been modified into the modern Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese; while the language of the Trouveurs, Trouveres, or Norman-French poets, forms the intermediate link between the Romance or modified Roman, and the Teutonic, including the Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and the upper and lower German, as being the modified Gothic. And as the northernmost extreme of the Norman-French, or that part of the link in which it formed on the Teutonic, we must take the Norman-English minstrels and metrical romances, from the greater predominance of the Anglo-Saxon Gothic in the derivation of the words. I mean, that the language of the English metrical romance is less romanized, and has fewer words, not originally of a northern origin, than the same romances in the Norman- French; which is the more striking, because the former were for the most part translated from the latter; the authors of which seem to have eminently merited their name of Trouveres, or inventors. Thus then we have a chain with two rings or staples:­ at the southern end there is the Roman, or Latin; at the northern end the Keltic, Teutonic, or Gothic; and the links beginning with the southern end, are the Romance, including the Provençal, the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, with their different dialects, then the Norman-French, and lastly the English.

My object in adverting to the Italian poets, is not so much for their own sakes, in which point of view Dante and Ariosto alone would have required separate Lectures, but for the elucidation of the merits of our countrymen, as to what extent we must consider them as fortunate imitators of their Italian predecessors, and in what points they have the higher claims of original genius. Of Dante, I am to speak elsewhere. Of Boccaccio, who has little interest as a metrical poet in any respect, and none for my present purpose, except, perhaps, as the reputed inventor or introducer of the octave stanza in his Teseide, it will be sufficient to say, that we owe to him the subjects of numerous poems taken from his famous tales, the happy art of narration, and the still greater merit of a depth and fineness in the workings of the passions, in which last excellence, as likewise in the wild and imaginative character of the situations, his almost neglected romances appear to me greatly to excel his far famed Decameron. To him, too, we owe the more doubtful merit of having introduced into the Italian prose, and by the authority of his name and the influence of his example, more or less throughout Europe, the long interwoven periods, and architectural structure which arose from the very nature of their language in the Greek writers, but which already in the Latin orators and historians, had betrayed a species of effort, a foreign something, which had been superinduced on the language, instead of growing out of it; and which was far too alien from that individualizing and confederating, yet not blending, character of the North, to become permanent, although its magnificence and stateliness were objects of admiration and occasional imitation. This style diminished the control of the writer over the inner feelings of men, and created too great a charm between the body and the life; and hence especially it was abandoned by Luther.

But lastly, to Boccaccio's sanction we must trace a large portion of the mythological pedantry and incongruous paganisms, which for so long a period deformed the poetry, even of the truest poets. To such an extravagance did Boccaccio himself carry this folly, that in a romance of chivalry, he has uniformly styled God the Father Jupiter, our Saviour Apollo, and the Evil Being Pluto. But for this there might be some excuse pleaded. I dare make none for the gross and disgusting licentiousness, the daring profaneness, which rendered the Decameron of Boccaccio the parent of a hundred worse children, fit to be classed among the enemies of the human race; which poisons Ariosto ­ (for that I may not speak oftener than necessary of so odious a subject, I mention it here once for all) ­ which interposes a painful mixture in the humour of Chaucer, and which has once or twice seduced even our pure-minded Spenser into a grossness, as heterogeneous from the spirit of his great poem, as it was alien to the delicacy of his morals.


Born at Arezzo, l304. ­ Died 1374.

Petrarch was the final blossom and perfection of the Troubadours. See
Biog. Lit
. vol. ii. p.27, &c.

Notes on Petrarch's 1 Sonnets, Canzones &c.

Vol. 1

Sonnet 1 Voi, ch' ascoltate, &c.
Sonnet 7 La gola, e 'l sonno, &c.
Sonnet 11 Se la mia vita, &c.
Sonnet 12 Quando fra l'altre, &c.
Sonnet 18 Vergognando talor, &c.
Sonnet 25 Quanto più m' avvicino, &c.
Sonnet 28 Solo e pensoso, &c.
Sonnet 29 S' io credessi, &c..
Canz. 14 Sì è debile il filo, &c.

Ballade 1 Lassare il velo, &c.
Canzone 1 Nel dolce tempo, &c.

This poem was imitated by our old Herbert
; it is ridiculous in the thoughts, but simple and sweet in diction.

Canzone 2 O aspettata in ciel, &c.
Canzone 9 Gentil mia Donna, &c.

The first half of this ninth canzone is exquisite; and in Canzone 8, the nine lines beginning:
O poggi, o valli, &c.
, are expressed with vigour and chastity.

Canzone 9 Daquel dì innanzi a me medesmo piacqui
Empiendo d'un pensier' alto, e soave
Quel core, ond' hanno i begli occhi la chiave

Note. O that the Pope would take these eternal keys, which so for ever turn the bolts on the finest passages of true passion!

Vol. II

Canzone 1 Che debb' io far? &c.

Very good, but not equal, I think, to

Canzone 2 Amor, se vuoi ch' i' torni, &c.

though less faulty. With the omission of half-a-dozen conceits and Petrarchisms of
hooks, baits, flames
, and
, this second canzone is a bold and impassioned lyric, and leaves no doubt in my mind of Petrarch's having possessed a true poetic genius.
Utinam deleri possint sequentia

L. 17-19 ­­ e la soave fiamma
Ch' ancor, lasso! m' infiamma
Essendo spenta, or che fea dunque ardendo?
L. 54-56 ­­ ov' erano a tutt' ore
Disposti gli ami ov' io fui preso, e l'esca
Ch' i' bramo sempre
L. 76-79 ­­ onde l' accese
Saette uscivan d' invisibil foco,
E ragion temean poco;
Chè contra 'l ciel non val difesa umana.

and the lines 86, 87
Poser' in dubbio, a cui
Devesse il pregio di più laude darsi­
are rather flatly worded.

Footnote 1
: These notes, by Mr. C., are written in a Petrarch in my possession, and are of some date before 1812. It is hoped that they will not seem ill placed here.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: If George Herbert is meant, I can find nothing like an imitation of this canzone in his poems.

return to footnote mark

Luigi Pulci

Born at Florence, 1431. ­ Died about 1487.

Pulci was of one of the noblest families in Florence, reported to be one of the Frankish stocks which remained in that city after the departure of Charlemagne:­

Pulcia Gallorum soboles descendit in urbem,
Clara quidem bello, sacris nec inhospita Musis.

(Verino De illustrat. Cort. Flor. III. v. 118.)

Members of this family were five times elected to the Priorate, one of the highest honours of the republic. Pulci had two brothers, and one of their wives, Antonia, who were all poets:­

Carminibus patriis notissima Pulcia proles;
Quis non hanc urbem Musarum dicat arnicam,
Si tres producat fratres domus una poetas?

(Ib. II. v. 241.)

Luigi married Lucrezia di Uberto, of the Albizzi family, and was intimate with the great men of his time, but more especially with Angelo Politian, and Lorenzo the Magnificent. His
has been attributed, in part at least
, to the assistance of Marsilius Ficinus, and by others the whole has been attributed to Politian. The first conjecture is utterly improbable; the last is possible, indeed, on account of the licentiousness of the poem; but there are no direct grounds for believing it.
Morgante Maggiore
is the first proper romance; although, perhaps, Pulci had the
before him. The story is taken from the fabulous history of Turpin; and if the author had any distinct object, it seems to have been that of making himself merry with the absurdities of the old romancers. The
sometimes makes you think of Rabelais.
It contains the most remarkable guess or allusion upon the subject of America that can be found in any book published before the discovery
. The well known passage in the tragic Seneca is not to be compared with it. The
copia verborum
of the mother Florentine tongue, and the easiness of his style, afterwards brought to perfection by Berni, are the chief merits of Pulci; his chief demerit is his heartless spirit of jest and buffoonery, by which sovereigns and their courtiers were flattered by the degradation of nature, and the
of a pretended virtue.

Footnote 1
: Meaning the 25th canto.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: The
was printed in 1488.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 3
: The reference is, of course, to the following stanzas:­

Disse Astarotte: un error lungo e fioco
Per molti secol non ben conosciuto,
Fa che si dice d' Ercol le colonne,
E che più là molti periti sonne.
Sappi che questa opinione è vana;
Perchè più oltre navicar si puote,
Però che l' acqua in ogni parte è piana,
Benchè la terra abbi forma di ruote:
Era più grossa allor la gente humana;
Falche potrebbe arrosirne le gote
Ercule ancor d' aver posti que' segni,
Perchè più oltre passeranno i legni.
E puossi andar giù ne l' altro emisperio,
Però che al centro ogni cosa reprime;
Sì che la terra per divin misterio
Sospesa sta fra le stelle sublime,
E là giù son città, castella, e imperio;
Ma nol cognobbon quelle genti prime:
Vedi che il sol di camminar s' affretta,
Dove io ti dico che là giù s' aspetta.
E come un segno surge in Oriente,
Un altro cade con mirabil arte,v Come si vede qua ne l' Occidente,
Però che il ciel giustamente comparte;
Antipodi appellata è quella gente;
Adora il sole e Jupiterre e Marte,
E piante e animal come voi hanno,
E spesso insieme gran battaglie fanno.

C. XXV. st. 228, &c.

return to footnote mark


Born in London, 1328. ­Died 1400.

Chaucer must be read with an eye to the Norman-French Trouveres, of whom he is the best representative in English. He had great powers of invention. As in Shakspeare, his characters represent classes, but in a different manner; Shakspeare's characters are the representatives of the interior nature of humanity, in which some element has become so predominant as to destroy the health of the mind; whereas Chaucer's are rather representatives of classes of manners. He is therefore more led to individualize in a mere personal sense. Observe Chaucer's love of nature; and how happily the subject of his main work is chosen. When you reflect that the company in the
have retired to a place of safety from the raging of a pestilence, their mirth provokes a sense of their unfeelingness; whereas in Chaucer nothing of this sort occurs, and the scheme of a party on a pilgrimage, with different ends and occupations, aptly allows of the greatest variety of expression in the tales. ...

Footnote 1
: From Mr. Green's note.


Born in London, 1553. ­Died 1599.

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.

No one can appreciate Spenser without some reflection on the nature of allegorical writing. The mere etymological meaning of the word, allegory, ­ to talk of one thing and thereby convey another, ­ is too wide. The true sense is this, ­ the employment of one set of agents and images to convey in disguise a moral meaning, with a likeness to the imagination, but with a difference to the understanding, ­ those agents and images being so combined as to form a homogeneous whole. This distinguishes it from metaphor, which is part of an allegory. But allegory is not properly distinguishable from fable, otherwise than as the first includes the second, as a genus its species; for in a fable there must be nothing but what is universally known and acknowledged, but in an allegory there may be that which is new and not previously admitted. The pictures of the great masters, especially of the Italian schools, are genuine allegories.
Amongst the classics, the multitude of their gods either precluded allegory altogether, or else made every thing allegory, as in the Hesiodic
; for you can scarcely distinguish between power and the personification of power.
The Cupid and Psyche
of, or found in, Apuleius, is a phenomenon. It is the Platonic mode of accounting for the fall of man. The
Battle of the Soul
by Prudentius is an early instance of Christian allegory.

Narrative allegory is distinguished from mythology as reality from symbol; it is, in short, the proper intermedium between person and personification. Where it is too strongly individualized, it ceases to be allegory; this is often felt in the
Pilgrim's Progress
, where the characters are real persons with nick names. Perhaps one of the most curious warnings against another attempt at narrative allegory on a great scale, may be found in Tasso's account of what he himself intended in and by his
Jerusalem Delivered

  As characteristic of Spenser, I would call your particular attention in the first place to the indescribable sweetness and fluent projection of his verse, very clearly distinguishable from the deeper and more inwoven harmonies of Shakspeare and Milton. This stanza is a good instance of what I mean:­

Yet she, most faithfull ladie, all this while
Forsaken, wofull, solitarie mayd,
Far from all peoples preace, as in exile,
In wildernesse and wastfull deserts strayd
To seeke her knight; who, subtily betrayd
Through that late vision which th' enchaunter wrought,
Had her abandond; she, of nought affrayd,
Through woods and wastnes wide him daily sought,
Yet wished tydinges none of him unto her brought.

(F. Qu.. B. I. c. 3. st. 3.)

 Combined with this sweetness and fluency, the scientific construction of the metre of the
Faery Queene
is very noticeable. One of Spenser's arts is that of alliteration, and he uses it with great effect in doubling the impression of an image:­

In wildernesse and wastful deserts, ­
Through woods and wastnes wilde, ­
They passe the bitter waves of Acheron,
Where many soules sit wailing woefully,
And come to fiery flood of Phlegeton,
Whereas the damned ghosts in torments fry,
And with sharp shrilling shrieks doth bootlesse cry, ­ &c.
He is particularly given to an alternate alliteration, which is, perhaps, when well used, a great secret in melody:­

A ramping lyon rushed suddenly, ­ And sad to see her sorrowful constraint, ­
And on the grasse her daintie limbes did lay, ­ &c.
You cannot read a page of the
Faery Queene
, if you read for that purpose, without perceiving the intentional alliterativeness of the words; and yet so skilfully is this managed, that it never strikes any unwarned ear as artificial, or other than the result of the necessary movement of the verse.

  Spenser displays great skill in harmonizing his descriptions of external nature and actual incidents with the allegorical character and epic activity of the poem. Take these two beautiful passages as illustrations of what I mean:­

By this the northerne wagoner had set
His sevenfol teme behind the stedfast starre
That was in ocean waves yet never wet,
But firme is fixt, and sendeth light from farre
To all that in the wide deepe wandring arre;
And chearefull chaunticlere with his note shrill
Had warned once, that Phoebus' fiery carre
In hast was climbing up the easterne hill,
Full envious that Night so long his roome did fill;

When those accursed messengers of hell,
That feigning dreame, and that faire-forged spright
Came, &c.

(B. I. c. 2. st. 1.)


At last, the golden orientall gate
Of greatest Heaven gan to open fayre;
And Phoebus, fresh as brydegrome to his mate,
Came dauncing forth, shaking his deawie hayre;
And hurld his glistring beams through gloomy ayre.
Which when the wakeful Elfe perceiv'd, streightway
He started up, and did him selfe prepayre
In sunbright armes and battailons array;
For with that Pagan proud he combat will that day.

(Ib. c. 5. st. 2.)

Observe also the exceeding vividness of Spenser's descriptions. They are not, in the true sense of the word, picturesque; but are composed of a wondrous series of images, as in our dreams. Compare the following passage with any thing you may remember
in pari materia
in Milton or Shakspeare:­

His haughtie helmet, horrid all with gold,
Both glorious brightnesse and great terrour bredd
For all the crest a dragon did enfold
With greedie pawes, and over all did spredd
His golden winges; his dreadfull hideous hedd,
Close couched on the bever, seemd to throw
From flaming mouth bright sparkles fiery redd,
That suddeine horrour to faint hartes did show;
And scaly tayle was stretcht adowne his back full low.

Upon the top of all his loftie crest
A bounch of haires discolourd diversly,
With sprinkled pearle and gold full richly drest,
Did shake, and seemd to daunce for jollitie;
Like to an almond tree ymounted hye
On top of greene Selinis all alone,
With blossoms brave bedecked daintily,
Whose tender locks do tremble every one
At everie little breath that under heaven is blowne.

(Ib. c. 7. st. 31-2.)

  You will take especial note of the marvellous independence and true imaginative absence of all particular space or time in the
Faery Queene
. It is in the domains neither of history or geography; it is ignorant of all artificial boundary, all material obstacles; it is truly in land of Faery, that is, of mental space. The poet has placed you in a dream, a charmed sleep, and you neither wish, nor have the power, to inquire where you are, or how you got there. It reminds me of some lines of my own:­

Oh! would to Alla!
The raven or the sea-mew were appointed
To bring me food! ­ or rather that my soul
Might draw in life from the universal air!
It were a lot divine in some small skiff
Along some ocean's boundless solitude
To float for ever with a careless course
And think myself the only being alive!

(Remorse, Act iv. sc. 3.)

Indeed Spenser himself, in the conduct of his great poem, may be represented under the same image, his symbolizing purpose being his mariner's compass:­

As pilot well expert in perilous wave,
That to a stedfast starre his course hath bent,
When foggy mistes or cloudy tempests have
The faithfull light of that faire lampe yblent,
And coverd Heaven with hideous dreriment;
Upon his card and compas firmes his eye,
The maysters of his long experiment,
And to them does the steddy helme apply,
Bidding his winged vessell fairely forward fly.

(B. II. c. 7. st. 1.)

So the poet through the realms of allegory.

 You should note the quintessential character of Christian chivalry in all his characters, but more especially in his women. The Greeks, except, perhaps, in Homer, seem to have had no way of making their women interesting, but by unsexing them, as in the instances of the tragic Medea, Electra, &c. Contrast such characters with Spenser's Una, who exhibits no prominent feature, has no particularization, but produces the same feeling that a statue does, when contemplated at a distance:­

From her fayre head her fillet she undight,
And layd her stole aside: her angels face,
As the great eye of Heaven, shyned bright,
And made a sunshine in the shady place;
Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace.

(B. I. c. 3. st. 4.)

 In Spenser we see the brightest and purest form of that nationality which was so common a characteristic of our elder poets. There is nothing unamiable, nothing contemptuous of others, in it. To glorify their country ­ to elevate England into a queen, an empress of the heart ­ this was their passion and object; and how dear and important an object it was or may be, let Spain, in the recollection of her Cid, declare! There is a great magic in national names. What a damper to all interest is a list of native East Indian merchants! Unknown names are non-conductors; they stop all sympathy. No one of our poets has touched this string more exquisitely than Spenser; especially in his chronicle of the British Kings (B. II. c. 10.), and the marriage of the Thames with the Medway (B. IV. c. 11.), in both which passages the mere names constitute half the pleasure we receive. To the same feeling we must in particular attribute Spenser's sweet reference to Ireland:­

Ne thence the Irishe rivers absent were;
Sith no lesse famous than the rest they be, &c.



And Mulla mine, whose waves I whilom taught to weep.


And there is a beautiful passage of the same sort in the Colin Clout's
Come Home Again

"One day," quoth he, "I sat, as was my trade,
Under the foot of Mole," &c.

Lastly, the great and prevailing character of Spenser's mind is fancy under the conditions of imagination, as an ever present but not always active power. He has an imaginative fancy, but he has not imagination, in kind or degree, as Shakspeare and Milton have; the boldest effort of his powers in this way is the character of Talus. Add to this a feminine tenderness and almost maidenly purity of feeling, and above all, a deep moral earnestness which produces a believing sympathy and acquiescence in the reader, and you have a tolerably adequate view of Spenser's intellectual being.

Footnote 1

return to footnote mark

Contents, p.2

Lecture VII. Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger

A contemporary is rather an ambiguous term, when applied to authors. It may simply mean that one man lived and wrote while another was yet alive, however deeply the former may have been indebted to the latter as his model. There have been instances in the literary world that might remind a botanist of a singular sort of parasite plant, which rises above ground, independent and unsupported, an apparent original; but trace its roots, and you will find the fibres all terminating in the root of another plant at an unsuspected distance, which, perhaps, from want of sun and genial soil, and the loss of sap, has scarcely been able to peep above the ground. ­ Or the word may mean those whose compositions were contemporaneous in such a sense as to preclude all likelihood of the one having borrowed from the other. In the latter sense I should call Ben Jonson a contemporary of Shakspeare, though he long survived him; while I should prefer the phrase of immediate successors for Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger, though they too were Shakspeare's contemporaries in the former sense.

Ben Jonson  1

Born, 1754. ­Died, 1637

Ben Jonson is original; he is, indeed, the only one of the great dramatists of that day who was not either directly produced, or very greatly modified, by Shakspeare. In truth, he differs from our great master in every thing ­ in form and in substance ­ and betrays no tokens of his proximity. He is not original in the same way as Shakspeare is original; but after a fashion of his own, Ben Jonson is most truly original.

The characters in his plays are, in the strictest sense of the term, abstractions. Some very prominent feature is taken from the whole man, and that single feature or humour is made the basis upon which the entire character is built up. Ben Jonson's
dramatis personae
are almost as fixed as the masks of the ancient actors; you know from the first scene ­ sometimes from the list of names ­ exactly what every one of them is to be. He was a very accurately observing man; but he cared only to observe what was external or open to, and likely to impress, the senses. He individualizes, not so much, if at all, by the exhibition of moral or intellectual differences, as by the varieties and contrasts of manners, modes of speech and tricks of temper; as in such characters as Puntarvolo, Bobadill, &c.

I believe there is not one whim or affectation in common life noted in any memoir of that age which may not be found drawn and framed in some corner or other of Ben Jonson's dramas; and they have this merit, in common with Hogarth's prints, that not a single circumstance is introduced in them which does not play upon, and help to bring out, the dominant humour or humours of the piece. Indeed I ought very particularly to call your attention to the extraordinary skill shown by Ben Jonson in contriving situations for the display of his characters. In fact, his care and anxiety in this matter led him to do what scarcely any of the dramatists of that age did ­ that is, invent his plots. It is not a first perusal that suffices for the full perception of the elaborate artifice of the plots of the
and the
Silent Woman
; ­ that of the former is absolute perfection for a necessary entanglement, and an unexpected, yet natural, evolution.

Ben Jonson exhibits a sterling English diction, and he has with great skill contrived varieties of construction; but his style is rarely sweet or harmonious, in consequence of his labour at point and strength being so evident. In all his works, in verse or prose, there is an extraordinary opulence of thought; but it is the produce of an amassing power in the author, and not of a growth from within. Indeed a large proportion of Ben Jonson's thoughts may be traced to classic or obscure modern writers, by those who are learned and curious enough to follow the steps of this robust, surly, and observing dramatist.

Footnote 1
: From Mr. Green's note.

return to footnote mark


Born, 1586. ­Died, 1616.


Born, 1576. ­Died, 1625.

Mr. Weber, to whose taste, industry, and appropriate erudition we owe, I will not say the best, (for that would be saying little,) but a good, edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, has complimented the
, which he himself describes as inferior to the
Maid's Tragedy
by the same writers, as but little below the noblest of Shakspeare's plays,
, &c. and consequently implying the equality, at least, of the
Maid's Tragedy
; ­ and an eminent living critic, ­ who in the manly wit, strong sterling sense, and robust style of his original works, had presented the best possible credentials of office as
chargé d'affaires
of literature in general, ­ and who by his edition of Massinger ­ a work in which there was more for an editor to do, and in which more was actually well done, than in any similar work within my knowledge ­ has proved an especial right of authority in the appreciation of dramatic poetry, and hath potentially a double voice with the public in his own right and in that of the critical synod, where, as
princeps senatus
, he possesses it by his prerogative, ­ has affirmed that Shakspeare's superiority to his contemporaries rests on his superior wit alone, while in all the other, and, as I should deem, higher excellencies of the drama, character, pathos, depth of thought, &c. he is equalled by Beaumont and Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and Massinger!

Of wit I am engaged to treat in another Lecture. It is a genus of many species; and at present I shall only say, that the species which is predominant in Shakspeare, is so completely Shakspearian, and in its essence so interwoven with all his other characteristic excellencies, that I am equally incapable of comprehending, both how it can be detached from his other powers, and how, being disparate in kind from the wit of contemporary dramatists, it can be compared with theirs in degree. And again ­ the detachment and the practicability of the comparison being granted ­ I should, I confess, be rather inclined to concede the contrary; ­ and in the most common species of wit, and in the ordinary application of the term, to yield this particular palm to Beaumont and Fletcher, whom here and hereafter I take as one poet with two names, ­ leaving undivided what a rare love and still rarer congeniality have united. At least, I have never been able to distinguish the presence of Fletcher during the life of Beaumont, nor the absence of Beaumont during the survival of Fletcher.

But waiving, or rather deferring, this question, I protest against the remainder of the position
in toto
. And indeed, whilst I can never, I trust, show myself blind to the various merits of Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger, or insensible to the greatness of the merits which they possess in common, or to the specific excellencies which give to each of the three a worth of his own, ­ I confess, that one main object of this Lecture was to prove that Shakspeare's eminence is his own, and not that of his age; ­ even as the pine-apple, the melon, and the gourd may grow on the same bed; ­ yea, the same circumstances of warmth and soil may be necessary to their full development, yet do not account for the golden hue, the ambrosial flavour, the perfect shape of the pine-apple, or the tufted crown on its head. Would that those, who seek to twist it off, could but promise us in this instance to make it the germ of an equal successor!

What had a grammatical and logical consistency for the ear, ­ what could be put together and represented to the eye ­ these poets took from the ear and eye, unchecked by any intuition of an inward impossibility; ­ just as a man might put together a quarter of an orange, a quarter of an apple, and the like of a lemon and a pomegranate, and make it look like one round diverse-coloured fruit. But nature, which works from within by evolution and assimilation according to a law, cannot do so, nor could Shakspeare; for he too worked in the spirit of nature, by evolving the germ from within by the imaginative power according to an idea. For as the power of seeing is to light, so is an idea in mind to a law in nature. They are correlatives, which suppose each other.

The plays of Beaumont and Fletcher are mere aggregations without unity; in the Shakspearian drama there is a vitality which grows and evolves itself from within, ­ a key note which guides and controls the harmonies throughout. What is
? ­ It is storm and tempest ­ the thunder at first grumbling in the far horizon, then gathering around us, and at length bursting in fury over our heads, ­ succeeded by a breaking of the clouds for a while, a last flash of lightning, the closing in of night, and the single hope of darkness! And
Romeo and Juliet
? ­ It is a spring day, gusty and beautiful in the morn, and closing like an April evening with the song of the nightingale; ­ whilst
is deep and earthy, ­ composed to the subterranean music of a troubled conscience, which converts every thing into the wild and fearful!

Doubtless from mere observation, or from the occasional similarity of the writer's own character, more or less in Beaumont and Fletcher, and other such writers will happen to be in correspondence with nature, and still more in apparent compatibility with it. But yet the false source is always discoverable, first by the gross contradictions to nature in so many other parts, and secondly, by the want of the impression which Shakspeare makes, that the thing said not only might have been said, but that nothing else could be substituted, so as to excite the same sense of its exquisite propriety. I have always thought the conduct and expressions of Othello and Iago in the last scene, when Iago is brought in prisoner, a wonderful instance of Shakspeare's consummate judgment:­

Oth. I look down towards his feet; ­ but that's a fable.
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee.

Iago. I bleed, Sir; but not kill'd.

Oth. I am not sorry neither.

Think what a volley of execrations and defiances Beaumont and Fletcher would have poured forth here!

Indeed Massinger and Ben Jonson are both more perfect in their kind than Beaumont and Fletcher; the former in the story and affecting incidents; the latter in the exhibition of manners and peculiarities, whims in language, and vanities of appearance.

There is, however, a diversity of the most dangerous kind here. Shakspeare shaped his characters out of the nature within; but we cannot so safely say, out of his own nature as an individual person. No! this latter is itself but a
natura naturata
, ­ an effect, a product, not a power. It was Shakspeare's prerogative to have the universal, which is potentially in each particular, opened out to him, the
homo generalis
, not as an abstraction from observation of a variety of men, but as the substance capable of endless modifications, of which his own personal existence was but one, and to use this one as the eye that beheld the other, and as the tongue that could convey the discovery. There is no greater or more common vice in dramatic writers than to draw out of themselves. How I ­ alone and in the self-sufficiency of my study, as all men are apt to be proud in their dreams ­ should like to be talking
! Shakspeare, in composing, had no
, but the
representative. In Beaumont and Fletcher you have descriptions of characters by the poet rather than the characters themselves; we are told, and impressively told, of their being; but we rarely or never feel that they actually are.

Beaumont and Fletcher are the most lyrical of our dramatists. I think their comedies the best part of their works, although there are scenes of very deep tragic interest in some of their plays. I particularly recommend
Monsieur Thomas
for good pure comic humor.

There is, occasionally, considerable license in their dramas; and this opens a subject much needing vindication and sound exposition, but which is beset with such difficulties for a Lecturer, that I must pass it by. Only as far as Shakspeare is concerned, I own, I can with less pain admit a fault in him than beg an excuse for it. I will not, therefore, attempt to palliate the grossness that actually exists in his plays by the customs of his age, or by the far greater coarseness of all his contemporaries, excepting Spenser, who is himself not wholly blameless, though nearly so; ­ for I place Shakspeare's merit on being of no age. But I would clear away what is, in my judgment, not his, as that scene of the Porter
, and many other such passages, and abstract what is coarse in manners only, and all that which from the frequency of our own vices, we associate with his words. If this were truly done, little that could be justly reprehensible would remain. Compare the vile comments, offensive and defensive, on Pope's

Lust thro' some gentle strainers, &c.
with the worst thing in Shakspeare, or even in Beaumont and Fletcher; and then consider how unfair the attack is on our old dramatists; especially because it is an attack that cannot be properly answered in that presence in which an answer would be most desirable, from the painful nature of one part of the position; but this very pain is almost a demonstration of its falsehood!

Footnote 1
: See Mr. Gifford's introduction to his edition of Massinger. Ed.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: Act ii. sc. 3.


Born at Salisbury, 1584. ­Died, 1640.

With regard to Massinger, observe,

  The vein of satire on the times; but this is not as in Shakspeare, where the natures evolve themselves according to their incidental disproportions, from excess, deficiency, or mislocation, of one or more of the component elements; but is merely satire on what is attributed to them by others.

  His excellent metre ­ a better model for dramatists in general to imitate than Shakspeare's, ­ even if a dramatic taste existed in the frequenters of the stage, and could be gratified in the present size and management, or rather mismanagement, of the two patent theatres. I do not mean that Massinger's verse is superior to Shakspeare's or equal to it. Far from it; but it is much more easily constructed and may be more successfully adopted by writers in the present day. It is the nearest approach to the language of real life at all compatible with a fixed metre. In Massinger, as in all our poets before Dryden, in order to make harmonious verse in the reading, it is absolutely necessary that the meaning should be understood; ­ when the meaning is once seen, then the harmony is perfect. Whereas in Pope and in most of the writers who followed in his school, it is the mechanical metre which determines the sense.

  The impropriety, and indecorum of demeanour in his favourite characters, as in Bertoldo in the
Maid of Honour
, who is a swaggerer, talking to his sovereign what no sovereign could endure, and to gentlemen what no gentleman would answer without pulling his nose.

  Shakspeare's Ague-cheek, Osric, &c. are displayed through others, in the course of social intercourse, by the mode of their performing some office in which they are employed; but Massinger's
come forward to declare themselves fools
ad arbitrium auctoris,
and so the diction always needs the
('the man looks as if he thought so and so,') expressed in the language of the satirist, and not in that of the man himself:­

Sylli. You may, madam,
Perhaps, believe that I in this use art
To make you dote upon me, by exposing
My more than most rare features to your view;
But I, as I have ever done, deal simply,
A mark of sweet simplicity, ever noted
In the family of the Syllis. Therefore, lady,
Look not with too much contemplation on me;
If you do, you are in the suds.

Maid of Honour, act i. sc. 2.

The author mixes his own feelings and judgments concerning the presumed fool; but the man himself, till mad, fights up against them, and betrays, by his attempts to modify them, that he is no fool at all, but one gifted with activity and copiousness of thought, image and expression, which belong not to a fool, but to a man of wit making himself merry with his own character.

 There is an utter want of preparation in the decisive acts of Massinger's characters, as in Camiola and Aurelia in the
Maid of Honour
. Why? Because the
dramatis personae
were all planned each by itself. Whereas in Shakspeare, the play is
each character has, indeed, a life of its own, and is an
of itself, but yet an organ of the whole, as the heart in the human body. Shakspeare was a great comparative anatomist.

Hence Massinger and all, indeed, but Shakspeare, take a dislike to their own characters, and spite themselves upon them by making them talk like fools or monsters; as Fulgentio in his visit to Camiola, (Act ii. sc. 2.) Hence too, in Massinger, the continued flings at kings, courtiers, and all the favourites of fortune, like one who had enough of intellect to see injustice in his own inferiority in the share of the good things of life, but not genius enough to rise above it, and forget himself. Beaumont and Fletcher have the same vice in the opposite pole, a servility of sentiment and a spirit of partizanship with the monarchical faction.

  From the want of a guiding point in Massinger's characters, you never know what they are about. In fact they have no character.

  Note the faultiness of his soliloquies, with connectives and arrangements, that have no other motive but the fear lest the audience should not understand him.

  A play of Massinger's produces no one single effect, whether arising from the spirit of the whole, as in the
As You Like It
; or from any one indisputably prominent character as Hamlet. It is just "which you like best, gentlemen!"

  The unnaturally irrational passions and strange whims of feeling which Massinger delights to draw, deprive the reader of all sound interest in the characters; ­ as in Mathias in the
, and in other instances.

  The comic scenes in Massinger not only do not harmonize with the tragic, not only interrupt the feeling, but degrade the characters that are to form any part in the action of the piece, so as to render them unfit for any tragic interest. At least, they do not concern, or act upon, or modify, the principal characters. As when a gentleman is insulted by a mere blackguard, ­ it is the same as if any other accident of nature had occurred, a pig run under his legs, or his horse thrown him. There is no dramatic interest in it.

I like Massinger's comedies better than his tragedies, although where the situation requires it, he often rises into the truly tragic and pathetic. He excells in narration, and for the most part displays his mere story with skill. But he is not a poet of high imagination; he is like a Flemish painter, in whose delineations objects appear as they do in nature, have the same force and truth, and produce the same effect upon the spectator. But Shakspeare is beyond this; ­ he always by metaphors and figures involves in the thing considered a universe of past and possible experiences; he mingles earth, sea and air, gives a soul to every thing, and at the same time that he inspires human feelings, adds a dignity in his images to human nature itself:­

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye;
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchymy, &c.

(33rd Sonnet.)

. ­ Have I not over-rated Gifford's edition of Massinger? ­ Not, ­ if I have, as but just is, main reference to the restitution of the text; but yes, perhaps, if I were talking of the notes. These are more often wrong than right. In the
Maid of Honour
, Act i. sc. 5. Astutio describes Fulgentio as "A gentleman, yet no lord." Gifford supposes a transposition of the press for "No gentleman, yet a lord." But this would have no connection with what follows; and we have only to recollect that "lord" means a lord of lands, to see that the after lines are explanatory. He is a man of high birth, but no landed property; ­ as to the former, he is a distant branch of the blood royal; ­ as to the latter, his whole rent lies in a narrow compass, the king's ear! In the same scene the text stands:

Bert. No! they are useful
For your imitation; ­ I remember you, &c.; ­

and Gifford condemns Mason's conjecture of 'initiation' as void of meaning and harmony. Now my ear deceives me if 'initiation' be not the right word. In fact, 'imitation' is utterly impertinent to all that follows. Bertoldo tells Antonio that he had been initiated in the manners suited to the court by two or three sacred beauties, and that a similar experience would be equally useful for his initiation into the camp. Not a word of his imitation. Besides, I say the rhythm requires 'initiation,' and is lame as the verse now stands. .

Contents, p.2

Lecture VIII. Don Quixote. Cervantes.

Born at Madrid, 1547; ­ Shakspeare, 1564; both put off mortality on the same day, the 23rd of April, 1616, ­ the one in the sixty-ninth, the other in the fifty-second, year of his life. The resemblance in their physiognomies is striking, but with a predominance of acuteness in Cervantes, and of reflection in Shakspeare, which is the specific difference between the Spanish and English characters of mind.

I.  The nature and eminence of Symbolical writing; ­

II.  Madness, and its different sorts, (considered without pretension to medical science); ­

To each of these, or at least to my own notions respecting them, I must devote a few words of explanation, in order to render the after critique on Don Quixote, the master work of Cervantes' and his country's genius easily and throughout intelligible. This is not the least valuable, though it may most often be felt by us both as the heaviest and least entertaining portion of these critical disquisitions: for without it, I must have foregone one at least of the two appropriate objects of a Lecture, that of interesting you during its delivery, and of leaving behind in your minds the germs of after-thought, and the materials for future enjoyment. To have been assured by several of my intelligent auditors that they have reperused Hamlet or Othello with increased satisfaction in consequence of the new points of view in which I had placed those characters ­ is the highest compliment I could receive or desire; and should the address of this evening open out a new source of pleasure, or enlarge the former in your perusal of Don Quixote, it will compensate for the failure of any personal or temporary object.

I.  The Symbolical cannot, perhaps, be better defined in distinction from the Allegorical, than that it is always itself a part of that, of the whole of which it is the representative. ­ "Here comes a sail," ­ (that is, a ship) is a symbolical expression. "Behold our lion!" when we speak of some gallant soldier, is allegorical. Of most importance to our present subject is this point, that the latter (the allegory) cannot be other than spoken consciously; ­ whereas in the former (the symbol) it is very possible that the general truth represented may be working unconsciously in the writer's mind during the construction of the symbol; ­ and it proves itself by being produced out of his own mind, ­ as the Don Quixote out of the perfectly sane mind of Cervantes, and not by outward observation, or historically. The advantage of symbolical writing over allegory is, that it presumes no disjunction of faculties, but simple predominance.

II.  Madness may be divided as ­

1.  hypochondriasis; or, the man is out of his senses.

2.  derangement of the understanding; or, the man is out of his wits.

  loss of reason.

4.  frenzy, or derangement of the sensations.

Cervantes's own preface to Don Quixote is a perfect model of the gentle, every where intelligible, irony in the best essays of the Tatler and the Spectator. Equally natural and easy, Cervantes is more spirited than Addison; whilst he blends with the terseness of Swift, an exquisite flow and music of style, and above all, contrasts with the latter by the sweet temper of a superior mind, which saw the follies of mankind, and was even at the moment suffering severely under hard mistreatment; 1 and yet seems every where to have but one thought as the undersong ­ "Brethren! with all your faults I love you still!" ­ or as a mother that chides the child she loves, with one hand holds up the rod, and with the other wipes off each tear as it drops!

Don Quixote was neither fettered to the earth by want, nor holden in its embraces by wealth; ­ of which, with the temperance natural to his country, as a Spaniard, he had both far too little, and somewhat too much, to be under any necessity of thinking about it. His age too, fifty, may be well supposed to prevent his mind from being tempted out of itself by any of the lower passions; ­ while his habits, as a very early riser and a keen sportsman, were such as kept his spare body in serviceable subjection to his will, and yet by the play of hope that accompanies pursuit, not only permitted, but assisted, his fancy in shaping what it would. Nor must we omit his meagerness and entire featureliness, face and frame, which Cervantes gives us at once: "It is said that his surname was Quixada or Quesada," &c. ­ even in this trifle showing an exquisite judgment; ­ just once insinuating the association of lantern-jaws into the reader's mind, yet not retaining it obtrusively like the names in old farces and in the Pilgrim's Progress, ­ but taking for the regular appellative one which had the no meaning of a proper name in real life, and which yet was capable of recalling a number of very different, but all pertinent, recollections, as old armour, the precious metals hidden in the ore, &c. Don Quixote's leanness and featureliness are happy exponents of the excess of the formative or imaginative in him, contrasted with Sancho's plump rotundity, and recipiency of external impression.

He has no knowledge of the sciences or scientific arts which give to the meanest portions of matter an intellectual interest, and which enable the mind to decypher in the world of the senses the invisible agency ­ that alone, of which the world's phenomena are the effects and manifestations, ­ and thus, as in a mirror, to contemplate its own reflex, its life in the powers, its imagination in the symbolic forms, its moral instincts in the final causes, and its reason in the laws of material nature: but ­ estranged from all the motives to observation from self-interest ­ the persons that surround him too few and too familiar to enter into any connection with his thoughts, or to require any adaptation of his conduct to their particular characters or relations to himself ­ his judgment lies fallow, with nothing to excite, nothing to employ it. Yet, ­ and here is the point, where genius even of the most perfect kind, allotted but to few in the course of many ages, does not preclude the necessity in part, and in part counterbalance the craving by sanity of judgment, without which genius either cannot be, or cannot at least manifest itself, ­ the dependency of our nature asks for some confirmation from without, though it be only from the shadows of other men's fictions.

Too uninformed, and with too narrow a sphere of power and opportunity to rise into the scientific artist, or to be himself a patron of art, and with too deep a principle and too much innocence to become a mere projector, Don Quixote has recourse to romances:­

His curiosity and extravagant fondness herein arrived at that pitch, that he sold many acres of arable land to purchase books of knight-errantry, and carried home all he could lay hands on of that kind! (C.I.)

The more remote these romances were from the language of common life, the more akin on that very account were they to the shapeless dreams and strivings of his own mind; ­ a mind, which possessed not the highest order of genius which lives in an atmosphere of power over mankind, but that minor kind which, in its restlessness, seeks for a vivid representative of its own wishes, and substitutes the movements of that objective puppet for an exercise of actual power in and by itself. The more wild and improbable these romances were, the more were they akin to his will, which had been in the habit of acting as an unlimited monarch over the creations of his fancy! Hence observe how the startling of the remaining common sense, like a glimmering before its death, in the notice of the impossible-improbable of Don Belianis, is dismissed by Don Quixote as impertinent:­

He had some doubt 2 as to the dreadful wounds which Don Belianis gave and received: for he imagined, that notwithstanding the most expert surgeons had cured him, his face and whole body must still be full of seams and scars. Nevertheless 3 he commended in his author the concluding his book with a promise of that unfinishable adventure! (C. 1.)

Hence also his first intention to turn author; but who, with such a restless struggle within him, could content himself with writing in a remote village among apathists and ignorants? During his colloquies with the village priest and the barber surgeon, in which the fervour of critical controversy feeds the passion and gives reality to its object ­ what more natural than that the mental striving should become an eddy? ­ madness may perhaps be denned as the circling in a stream which should be progressive and adaptive: Don Quixote grows at length to be a man out of his wits; his understanding is deranged; and hence without the least deviation from the truth of nature, without losing the least trait of personal individuality, he becomes a substantial living allegory, or personification of the reason and the moral sense, divested of the judgment and the understanding. Sancho is the converse. He is the common sense without reason or imagination; and Cervantes not only shows the excellence and power of reason in, Don Quixote, but in both him and Sancho the mischiefs resulting from a severance of the two main constituents of sound intellectual and moral action. Put him and his master together, and they form a perfect intellect; but they are separated and without cement; and hence each having a need of the other for its own completeness, each has at times a mastery over the other. For the common sense, although it may see the practical inapplicability of the dictates of the imagination or abstract reason, yet cannot help submitting to them. These two characters possess the world, alternately and interchangeably the cheater and the cheated. To impersonate them, and to combine the permanent with the individual, is one of the highest creations of genius, and has been achieved by Cervantes and Shakspeare, almost alone.

Observations on particular passages,
(B. I. c. 1.)  But not altogether approving of his having broken it to pieces with so much ease, to secure himself from the like danger for the future, he made it over again, fencing it with small bars of iron within, in such a manner, that he rested satisfied of its strength; and without caring to make a fresh experiment on it, he approved and looked upon it as a most excellent helmet.
His not trying his improved scull-cap is an exquisite trait of human character, founded on the oppugnancy of the soul in such a state to any disturbance by doubt of its own broodings. Even the long deliberation about his horse's name is full of meaning; ­ for in these day-dreams the greater part of the history passes and is carried on in words, which look forward to other words as what will be said of them.
(Ib)   Near the place where he lived, there dwelt a very comely country lass, with whom he had formerly been in love; though, as it is supposed, she never knew it, nor troubled herself about it.
The nascent love for the country lass, but without any attempt at utterance, or an opportunity of knowing her, except as the hint ­ the
Greek: oti esti
­ of the inward imagination, is happily conceived in both parts; ­ first, as confirmative of the shrinking back of the mind on itself, and its dread of having a cherished image destroyed by its own judgment; and secondly, as showing how necessarily love is the passion of novels. Novels are to love as fairy tales to dreams. I never knew but two men of taste and feeling who could not understand why I was delighted with the
Arabian Nights' Tales
, and they were likewise the only persons in my knowledge who scarcely remembered having ever dreamed. Magic and war ­ itself a magic ­ are the day-dreams of childhood; love is the day-dream of youth and early manhood.
(C. 2.)  "Scarcely had ruddy Phoebus spread the golden tresses of his beauteous hair over the face of the wide and spacious earth; and scarcely had the little painted birds, with the sweet and mellifluous harmony of their forked tongues, saluted the approach of rosy Aurora, who, quitting the soft couch of her jealous husband, disclosed herself to mortals through the gates of the Mauchegan horizon; when the renowned Don Quixote," &c.
How happily already is the abstraction from the senses, from observation, and the consequent confusion of the judgment, marked in this description! The knight is describing objects immediate to his senses and sensations without borrowing a single trait from either. Would it be difficult to find parallel descriptions in Dryden's plays and in those of his successors?

(C. 3.) The host is here happily conceived as one who from his past life as a sharper, was capable of entering into and humouring the knight, and so perfectly in character, that he precludes a considerable source of improbability in the future narrative, by enforcing upon Don Quixote the necessity of taking money with him.
(C. 3.)  "Ho, there, whoever thou art, rash knight, that approachest to touch the arms of the most valorous adventurer that ever girded sword," &c.
Don Quixote's high eulogiums on himself ­ "the most valorous adventurer!" ­ but it is not himself that he has before him, but the idol of his imagination, the imaginary being whom he is acting. And this, that it is entirely a third person, excuses his heart from the otherwise inevitable charge of selfish vanity; and so by madness itself he preserves our esteem, and renders those actions natural by which he, the first person, deserves it.

(C. 4.) Andres and his master. The manner in which Don Quixote redressed this wrong, is a picture of the true revolutionary passion in its first honest state, while it is yet only a bewilderment of the understanding. You have a benevolence limitless in its prayers, which are in fact aspirations towards omnipotence; but between it and beneficence the bridge of judgment ­ that is, of measurement of personal power ­ intervenes, and must be passed. Otherwise you will be bruised by the leap into the chasm, or be drowned in the revolutionary river, and drag others with you to the same fate.

(C. 4.) Merchants of Toledo.
When they were come so near as to be seen and heard, Don Quixote raised his voice, and with arrogant air cried out: "Let the whole world stand; if the whole world does not confess that there is not in the whole world a damsel more beautiful than," &c.
Now mark the presumption which follows the self-complacency of the last act! That was an honest attempt to redress a real wrong; this is an arbitrary determination to enforce a Brissotine or Rousseau's ideal on all his fellow creatures.
Let the whole world stand!

'If there had been any experience in proof of the excellence of our code, where would be our superiority in this enlightened age?'

"No! the business is that without seeing her, you believe, confess, affirm, swear, and maintain it; and if not, I challenge you all to battle." 4
Next see the persecution and fury excited by opposition however moderate! The only words listened to are those, that without their context and their conditionals, and transformed into positive assertions, might give some shadow of excuse for the violence shown! This rich story ends, to the compassion of the men in their senses, in a sound rib-roasting of the idealist by the muleteer, the mob. And happy for thee, poor knight! that the mob were against thee! For had they been with thee, by the change of the moon and of them, thy head would have been off.

(C. 5.) first part ­ The idealist recollects the causes that had been accessary to the reverse and attempts to remove them ­ too late. He is beaten and disgraced.

(C. 6.) This chapter on Don Quixote's library proves that the author did not wish to destroy the romances, but to cause them to be read as romances ­ that is, for their merits as poetry.
(C. 7.)  Among other things, Don Quixote told him, he should dispose himself to go with him willingly; ­ for some time or other such an adventure might present, that an island might be won, in the turn of a hand, and he be left governor thereof.
At length the promises of the imaginative reason begin to act on the plump, sensual, honest common sense accomplice, ­ but unhappily not in the same person, and without the
of the judgment, ­ in hopes of the substantial good things, of which the former contemplated only the glory and the colours.
(C. 7.)  Sancho Panza went riding upon his ass, like any patriarch, with his wallet and leathern bottle, and with a vehement desire to find himself governor of the island which his master had promised him.
The first relief from regular labour is so pleasant to poor Sancho!
(C. 8.)  "I no gentleman! I swear by the great God, thou liest, as I am a Christian. Biscainer by land, gentleman by sea, gentleman for the devil, and thou liest: look then if thou hast any thing else to say."
This Biscainer is an excellent image of the prejudices and bigotry provoked by the idealism of a speculator. This story happily detects the trick which our imagination plays in the description of single combats: only change the preconception of the magnificence of the combatants, and all is gone.
(B. II. c. 2.)   "Be pleased, my lord Don Quixote, to bestow upon me the government of that island," &c.
Sancho's eagerness for his government, the nascent lust of actual democracy, or isocracy!
(C. 2.)   "But tell me, on your life, have you ever seen a more valorous knight than I, upon the whole face of the known earth? Have you read in story of any other, who has, or ever had, more bravery in assailing, more breath in holding out, more dexterity in wounding, or more address in giving a fall?" ­ "The truth is," answered Sancho, "that I never read any history at all; for I can neither read nor write; but what I dare affirm is, that I never served a bolder master," &c.
This appeal to Sancho, and Sancho's answer are exquisitely humorous. It is impossible not to think of the French bulletins and proclamations. Remark the necessity under which we are of being sympathized with, fly as high into abstraction as we may, and how constantly the imagination is recalled to the ground of our common humanity! And note a little further on, the knight's easy vaunting of his balsam, and his quietly deferring the making and application of it.
(C. 3.)  "Happy times and happy ages," &c. 5
Note the rhythm of this, and the admirable beauty and wisdom of the thoughts in themselves, but the total want of judgment in Don Quixote's addressing them to such an audience.

(B. III. c. 3.) Don Quixote's balsam, and the vomiting and consequent relief; an excellent hit at
panacea nostrums,
which cure the patient by his being himself cured of the medicine by revolting nature.
"Peace! and have patience; the day will come," &c.
The perpetual promises of the imagination!
"Your Worship," said Sancho, "would make a better preacher than knight errant!"
Exactly so. This is the true moral.

(C. 6.) The uncommon beauty of the description in the commencement of this chapter. In truth, the whole of it seems to put all nature in its heights and its humiliations, before us.

(Ib.) Sancho's story of the goats:
"Make account, he carried them all over," said Don Quixote, "and do not be going and coming in this manner; for at this rate, you will not have done carrying them over in a twelvemonth." "How many are passed already?" said Sancho, &c.
Observe the happy contrast between the all-generalizing mind of the mad knight, and Sancho's all-particularizing memory. How admirable a symbol of the dependence of all
on the higher powers of the mind, with the single exception of the succession in time and the accidental relations of space. Men of mere common sense have no theory or means of making one fact more important or prominent than the rest; if they lose one link, all is lost. Compare Mrs. Quickly and the Tapster.
And note also Sancho's good heart, when his master is about to leave him. Don Quixote's conduct upon discovering the fulling-hammers, proves he was meant to be in his senses. Nothing can be better conceived than his fit of passion at Sancho's laughing, and his sophism of self-justification by the courage he had shown.

Sancho is by this time cured, through experience, as far as his own errors are concerned; yet still is he lured on by the unconquerable awe of his master's superiority, even when he is cheating him.

(C. 8.) The adventure of the Galley-slaves. I think this is the only passage of moment in which Cervantes slips the mask of his hero, and speaks for himself.
Don Quixote desired to have it, and bade him take the money, and keep it for himself. Sancho kissed his hands for the favour, &c.
Observe Sancho's eagerness to avail himself of the permission of his master, who, in the war sports of knight-errantry, had, without any selfish dishonesty, overlooked the
Sancho's selfishness is modified by his involuntary goodness of heart, and Don Quixote's flighty goodness is debased by the involuntary or unconscious selfishness of his vanity and self-applause.

(C. 10.) Cardenio is the madman of passion, who meets and easily overthrows for the moment the madman of imagination. And note the contagion of madness of any kind, upon Don Quixote's interruption of Cardenio's story.

(C. 11.) Perhaps the best specimen of Sancho's proverbializing is this:
"And I (Don Q.) say again, they lie, and will lie two hundred times more, all who say, or think her so." "I neither say, nor think so," answered Sancho: "let those who say it, eat the lie, and swallow it with their bread: whether they were guilty or no, they have given an account to God before now: I come from my vineyard, I know nothing; I am no friend to inquiring into other men's lives; for he that buys and lies shall find the lie left in his purse behind; besides, naked was I born, and naked I remain; I neither win nor lose; if they were guilty, what is that to me? Many think to find bacon, where there is not so much as a pin to hang it on: but who can hedge in the cuckoo? Especially, do they spare God himself?"
(Ib.)  "And it is no great matter, if it be in another hand; for by what I remember, Dulcinea can neither write nor read," &c.
(P. II. B. III. c. 9.) Sancho's account of what he had seen on Clavileno is a counterpart in his style to Don Quixote's adventures in the cave of Montesinos. This last is the only impeachment of the knight's moral character; Cervantes just gives one instance of the veracity failing before the strong cravings of the imagination for something real and external; the picture would not have been complete without this; and yet it is so well managed, that the reader has no unpleasant sense of Don Quixote having told a lie. It is evident that he hardly knows whether it was a dream or not; and goes to the enchanter to inquire the real nature of the adventure.

Footnote 1
Bien como quien se engendrò en una carcel, donde toda incomodidad tiene su assiento, y todo triste ruido hace su habitacion.
Like one you may suppose born in a prison, where every inconvenience keeps its residence, and every dismal sound its habitation. Pref. Jarvis's Tr.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
No estaba muy bien con.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 3
Pero con todo

return to footnote mark

Footnote 4
Donde no, conmigo sois en batalla, gente descomunal!

return to footnote mark

Footnote 5
Dichosa edad y siglos dichosos aquellos, &c.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 6
: See the
, vol. iii. p. 138.

return to footnote mark

Summary on Cervantes

A Castilian of refined manners; a gentleman, true to religion, and true to honour.

A scholar and a soldier, and fought under the banners of Don John of Austria, at Lepanto, lost his arm and was captured.

Endured slavery not only with fortitude, but with mirth; and by the superiority of nature, mastered and overawed his barbarian owner.

Finally ransomed, he resumed his native destiny, the awful task of achieving fame; and for that reason died poor and a prisoner, while nobles and kings over their goblets of gold gave relish to their pleasures by the charms of his divine genius. He was the inventor of novels for the Spaniards, and in his
Persilis and Sigismunda
, the English may find the germ of their
Robinson Crusoe

The world was a drama to him. His own thoughts, in spite of poverty and sickness, perpetuated for him the feelings of youth. He painted only what he knew and had looked into, but he knew and had looked into much indeed; and his imagination was ever at hand to adapt and modify the world of his experience. Of delicious love he fabled, yet with stainless virtue.

Contents, p.2

Lecture IX ­ On the distinctions of the witty, the droll, the odd and the humourous; the nature and constituents of humour; ­ Rabelais ­ Swift ­ Sterne.

I.  Perhaps the most important of our intellectual operations are those of detecting the difference in similar, and the identity in dissimilar, things. Out of the latter operation it is that wit arises; and it, generically regarded, consists in presenting thoughts or images in an unusual connection with each other, for the purpose of exciting pleasure by the surprise. This connection may be real; and there is in fact a scientific wit; though where the object, consciously entertained, is truth, and not amusement, we commonly give it some higher name. But in wit popularly understood, the connection may be, and for the most part is, apparent only, and transitory; and this connection may be by thoughts, or by words, or by images. The first is our Butler's especial eminence; the second, Voltaire's; the third, which we oftener call fancy, constitutes the larger and more peculiar part of the wit of Shakspeare. You can scarcely turn to a single speech of Falstaff's without finding instances of it. Nor does wit always cease to deserve the name by being transient, or incapable of analysis. I may add that the wit of thoughts belongs eminently to the Italians, that of words to the French, and that of images to the English.

II.  Where the laughable is its own end, and neither inference, nor moral is intended, or where at least the writer would wish it so to appear, there arises what we call drollery. The pure, unmixed, ludicrous or laughable belongs exclusively to the understanding, and must be presented under the form of the senses; it lies within the spheres of the eye and the ear, and hence is allied to the fancy. It does not appertain to the reason or the moral sense, and accordingly is alien to the imagination. I think Aristotle has already excellently defined the laughable, Greek: tho geloion , as consisting of, or depending on, what is out of its proper time and place, yet without danger or pain. Here the impropriety ­ Greek: tho ahtapon ­ is the positive qualification; the dangerlessness ­ Greek: tho akindunon ­ the negative. Neither the understanding without an object of the senses, as for example, a mere notional error, or idiocy; ­ nor any external object, unless attributed to the understanding, can produce the poetically laughable. Nay, even in ridiculous positions of the body laughed at by the vulgar, there is a subtle personification always going on, which acts on the, perhaps, unconscious mind of the spectator as a symbol of intellectual character. And hence arises the imperfect and awkward effect of comic stories of animals; because although the understanding is satisfied in them, the senses are not. Hence too, it is, that the true ludicrous is its own end. When serious satire commences, or satire that is felt as serious, however comically drest, free and genuine laughter ceases; it becomes sardonic. This you experience in reading Young, and also not unfrequently in Butler. The true comic is the blossom of the nettle.

III.  When words or images are placed in unusual juxta-position rather than connection, and are so placed merely because the juxta-position is unusual ­ we have the odd or the grotesque; the occasional use of which in the minor ornaments of architecture, is an interesting problem for a student in the psychology of the Fine Arts.

IV.  In the simply laughable there is a mere disproportion between a definite act and a definite purpose or end, or a disproportion of the end itself to the rank or circumstances of the definite person; but humour is of more difficult description. I must try to define it in the first place by its points of diversity from the former species. Humour does not, like the different kinds of wit, which is impersonal, consist wholly in the understanding and the senses. No combination of thoughts, words, or images will of itself constitute humour, unless some peculiarity of individual temperament and character be indicated thereby, as the cause of the same. Compare the comedies of Congreve with the Falstaff in Henry IV. or with Sterne's Corporal Trim, Uncle Toby, and Mr. Shandy, or with some of Steele's charming papers in the Tatler, and you will feel the difference better than I can express it. Thus again, (to take an instance from the different works of the same writer), in Smollett's Strap, his Lieutenant Bowling, his Morgan the honest Welshman, and his Matthew Bramble, we have exquisite humour, ­ while in his Peregrine Pickle we find an abundance of drollery, which too often degenerates into mere oddity; in short, we feel that a number of things are put together to counterfeit humour, but that there is no growth from within. And this indeed is the origin of the word, derived from the humoral pathology, and excellently described by Ben Jonson:

So in every human body,
The choler, melancholy, phlegm, and blood,
By reason that they flow continually
In some one part, and are not continent,
Receive the name of humours. Now thus far
It may, by metaphor, apply itself
Unto the general disposition:
As when some one peculiar quality
Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw
All his effects, his spirits, and his powers,
In their confluctions, all to run one way,
This may be truly said to be a humour. 1
Hence we may explain the congeniality of humour with pathos, so exquisite in Sterne and Smollett, and hence also the tender feeling which we always have for, and associate with, the humours or hobby-horses of a man. First, we respect a humourist, because absence of interested motive is the ground-work of the character, although the imagination of an interest may exist in the individual himself, as if a remarkably simple-hearted man should pride himself on his knowledge of the world, and how well he can manage it:­ and secondly, there always is in a genuine humour an acknowledgement of the hollowness and farce of the world, and its disproportion to the godlike within us. And it follows immediately from this, that whenever particular acts have reference to particular selfish motives, the humourous bursts into the indignant and abhorring; whilst all follies not selfish are pardoned or palliated. The danger of this habit, in respect of pure morality, is strongly exemplified in Sterne.

This would be enough, and indeed less than this has passed, for a sufficient account of humour, if we did not recollect that not every predominance of character, even where not precluded by the moral sense, as in criminal dispositions, constitutes what we mean by a humourist, or the presentation of its produce, humour. What then is it? Is it manifold? Or is there some one humorific point common to all that can be called humourous? ­ I am not prepared to answer this fully, even if my time permitted; but I think there is; ­ and that it consists in a certain reference to the general and the universal, by which the finite great is brought into identity with the little, or the little with the finite great, so as to make both nothing in comparison with the infinite. The little is made great, and the great little, in order to destroy both; because all is equal in contrast with the infinite.
"It is not without reason, brother Toby, that learned men write dialogues on long noses."
I would suggest, therefore, that whenever a finite is contemplated in reference to the infinite, whether consciously or unconsciously, humour essentially arises. In the highest humour, at least, there is always a reference to, and a connection with, some general power not finite, in the form of some finite ridiculously disproportionate in our feelings to that of which it is, nevertheless, the representative, or by which it is to be displayed. Humourous writers, therefore, as Sterne in particular, delight, after much preparation, to end in nothing, or in a direct contradiction.

That there is some truth in this definition, or origination of humour, is evident; for you cannot conceive a humourous man who does not give some disproportionate generality, or even a universality to his hobby-horse, as is the case with Mr. Shandy; or at least there is an absence of any interest but what arises from the humour itself, as in my Uncle Toby, and it is the idea of the soul, of its undefined capacity and dignity, that gives the sting to any absorption of it by any one pursuit, and this not in respect of the humourist as a mere member of society for a particular, however mistaken, interest, but as a man.

The English humour is the most thoughtful, the Spanish the most etherial ­ the most ideal ­ of modern literature. Amongst the classic ancients there was little or no humour in the foregoing sense of the term. Socrates, or Plato under his name, gives some notion of humour in the Banquet, when he argues that tragedy and comedy rest upon the same ground. But humour properly took its rise in the middle ages; and the Devil, the Vice of the mysteries, incorporates the modern humour in its elements. It is a spirit measured by disproportionate finites. The Devil is not, indeed, perfectly humourous; but that is only because he is the extreme of all humour.

Footnote 1
Every Man Out Of His Humour
. Prologue.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
Trist. Sh
. Vol. iii. c. 37.

return to footnote mark

Rabelais  1

Born at Chinon, 1483-4. ­Died 1553.

One cannot help regretting that no friend of Rabelais, (and surely friends he must have had), has left an authentic account of him. His buffoonery was not merely Brutus' rough stick, which contained a rod of gold; it was necessary as an amulet against the monks and bigots. Beyond a doubt, he was among the deepest as well as boldest thinkers of his age. Never was a more plausible, and seldom, I am persuaded, a less appropriate line than the thousand times quoted,
Rabelais laughing in his easy chair ­
of Mr. Pope. The caricature of his filth and zanyism proves how fully he both knew and felt the danger in which he stood. I could write a treatise in proof and praise of the morality and moral elevation of Rabelais' work which would make the church stare and the conventicle groan, and yet should be the truth and nothing but the truth. I class Rabelais with the creative minds of the world, Shakspeare, Dante, Cervantes, &c.

All Rabelais' personages are phantasmagoric allegories, but Panurge above all. He is throughout the
Greek: panourgia
­ the wisdom, that is, the cunning of the human animal, ­ the understanding, as the faculty of means to purposes without ultimate ends, in the most comprehensive sense, and including art, sensuous fancy, and all the passions of the understanding. It is impossible to read Rabelais without an admiration mixed with wonder at the depth and extent of his learning, his multifarious knowledge, and original observation beyond what books could in that age have supplied him with.
(B. III. c. 9.)  How Panurge asketh counsel of Pantagruel, whether he should marry, yea or no.
Note this incomparable chapter. Pantagruel stands for the reason as contradistinguished from the understanding and choice, that is, from Panurge; and the humour consists in the latter asking advice of the former on a subject in which the reason can only give the inevitable conclusion, the syllogistic
, from the premisses provided by the understanding itself, which puts each case so as of necessity to predetermine the verdict thereon. This chapter, independently of the allegory, is an exquisite satire on the spirit in which people commonly ask advice.
Footnote 1
: No note remains of that part of this Lecture which treated of Rabelais. This seems, therefore, a convenient place for the reception of some remarks written by Mr. C. in Mr. Gillman's copy of Rabelais, about the year 1825. See
Table Talk
, vol. i. p. 177.

return to footnote mark

Swift  1

Born in Dublin, 1667. ­Died 1745.

In Swift's writings there is a false misanthropy grounded upon an exclusive contemplation of the vices and follies of mankind, and this misanthropic tone is also disfigured or brutalized by his obtrusion of physical dirt and coarseness. I think
Gulliver's Travels
the great work of Swift. In the voyages to Lilliput and Brobdingnag he displays the littleness and moral contemptibility of human nature; in that to the Houyhnhnms he represents the disgusting spectacle of man with the understanding only, without the reason or the moral feeling, and in his horse he gives the misanthropic ideal of man ­ that is, a being virtuous from rule and duty, but untouched by the principle of love.

Footnote 1
: From Mr. Green's note.


Born at Clonmel, 1713. ­Died 1768.

With regard to Sterne, and the charge of licentiousness which presses so seriously upon his character as a writer, I would remark that there is a sort of knowingness, the wit of which depends ­ 1st, on the modesty it gives pain to; or, 2dly, on the innocence and innocent ignorance over which it triumphs; or, 3dly, on a certain oscillation in the individual's own mind between the remaining good and the encroaching evil of his nature ­ a sort of dallying with the devil ­ a fluxionary act of combining courage and cowardice, as when a man snuffs a candle with his fingers for the first time, or better still, perhaps, like that trembling daring with which a child touches a hot tea urn, because it has been forbidden; so that the mind has in its own white and black angel the same or similar amusement, as may be supposed to take place between an old debauchee and a prude, ­ she feeling resentment, on the one hand, from a prudential anxiety to preserve appearances and have a character, and, on the other, an inward sympathy with the enemy. We have only to suppose society innocent, and then nine-tenths of this sort of wit would be like a stone that falls in snow, making no sound because exciting no resistance; the remainder rests on its being an offence against the good manners of human nature itself.

This source, unworthy as it is, may doubtless be combined with wit, drollery, fancy, and even humour, and we have only to regret the misalliance; but that the latter are quite distinct from the former, may be made evident by abstracting in our imagination the morality of the characters of Mr. Shandy, my Uncle Toby, and Trim, which are all antagonists to this spurious sort of wit, from the rest of Tristram Shandy, and by supposing, instead of them, the presence of two or three callous debauchees. The result will be pure disgust. Sterne cannot be too severely censured for thus using the best dispositions of our nature as the panders and condiments for the basest.

The excellencies of Sterne consist ­

  In bringing forward into distinct consciousness those minutiae of thought and feeling which appear trifles, yet have an importance for the moment, and which almost every man feels in one way or other. Thus is produced the novelty of an individual peculiarity, together with the interest of a something that belongs to our common nature. In short, Sterne seizes happily on those points, in which every man is more or less a humourist. And, indeed, to be a little more subtle, the propensity to notice these things does itself constitute the humourist, and the superadded power of so presenting them to men in general gives us the man of humour. Hence the difference of the man of humour, the effect of whose portraits does not depend on the felt presence of himself, as a humourist, as in the instances of Cervantes and Shakspeare ­ nay, of Rabelais too; and of the humourist, the effect of whose works does very much depend on the sense of his own oddity, as in Sterne's case, and perhaps Swift's; though Swift again would require a separate classification.

  In the traits of human nature, which so easily assume a particular cast and colour from individual character. Hence this excellence and the pathos connected with it quickly pass into humour, and form the ground of it. See particularly the beautiful passage, so well known, of Uncle Toby's catching and liberating the fly:
"Go," ­ says he, one day at dinner, to an overgrown one which had buzzed about his nose, and tormented him cruelly all dinner-time, and which, after infinite attempts, he had caught at last, as it flew by him; ­ "I'll not hurt thee," says my Uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room, with the fly in his hand, ­ "I'll not hurt a hair of thy head:­ Go," says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he spoke, to let it escape; ­ "go, poor devil, get thee gone, why should I hurt thee? This world is surely wide enough to hold both thee and me." (Vol. ii. ch. 12.)
Observe in this incident how individual character may be given by the mere delicacy of presentation and elevation in degree of a common good quality, humanity, which in itself would not be characteristic at all.

 In Mr. Shandy's character, ­ the essence of which is a craving for sympathy in exact proportion to the oddity and unsympathizability of what he proposes; ­ this coupled with an instinctive desire to be at least disputed with, or rather both in one, to dispute and yet to agree ­ and holding as worst of all ­ to acquiesce without either resistance or sympathy. This is charmingly, indeed, profoundly conceived, and is psychologically and ethically true of all Mr. Shandies. Note, too, how the contrasts of character, which are always either balanced or remedied, increase the love between the brothers.

  No writer is so happy as Sterne in the unexaggerated and truly natural representation of that species of slander, which consists in gossiping about our neighbours, as whetstones of our moral discrimination; as if they were conscience-blocks which we used in our apprenticeship, in order not to waste such precious materials as our own consciences in the trimming and shaping of ourselves by self-examination:­
Alas o'day! ­ had Mrs. Shandy (poor gentlewoman!) had but her wish in going up to town just to lie in and come down again; which, they say, she begged and prayed for upon her bare knees, and which, in my opinion, considering the fortune which Mr. Shandy got with her, was no such mighty matter to have complied with, the lady and her babe might both of them have been alive at this hour. (Vol. i. c. 18.)
  When you have secured a man's likings and prejudices in your favour, you may then safely appeal to his impartial judgment. In the following passage not only is acute sense shrouded in wit, but a life and a character are added which exalt the whole into the dramatic:­
"I see plainly, Sir, by your looks" (or as the case happened) my father would say ­ "that you do not heartily subscribe to this opinion of mine ­ which, to those," he would add, "who have not carefully sifted it to the bottom, ­ I own has an air more of fancy than of solid reasoning in it; and yet, my dear Sir, if I may presume to know your character, I am morally assured, I should hazard little in stating a case to you, not as a party in the dispute, but as a judge, and trusting my appeal upon it to your good sense and candid disquisition in this matter; you are a person free from as many narrow prejudices of education as most men; and, if I may presume to penetrate farther into you, of a liberality of genius above bearing down an opinion, merely because it wants friends. Your son, ­ your dear son, ­ from whose sweet and open temper you have so much to expect, ­ your Billy, Sir! ­ would you, for the world, have called him JUDAS? Would you, my dear Sir," he would say, laying his hand upon your breast, with the genteelest address, ­ and in that soft and irresistible piano of voice which the nature of the argumentum ad hominem absolutely requires, ­ "Would you, Sir, if a Jew of a godfather had proposed the name for your child, and offered you his purse along with it, would you have consented to such a desecration of him? O my God!" he would say, looking up, "if I know your temper rightly, Sir, you are incapable of it; ­ you would have trampled upon the offer; ­ you would have thrown the temptation at the tempter's head with abhorrence. Your greatness of mind in this action, which I admire, with that generous contempt of money, which you show me in the whole transaction, is really noble; ­ and what renders it more so, is the principle of it; ­ the workings of a parent's love upon the truth and conviction of this very hypothesis, namely, that were your son called Judas, ­ the sordid and treacherous idea, so inseparable from the name, would have accompanied him through life like his shadow, and in the end made a miser and a rascal of him, in spite, Sir, of your example." (Vol. i. c. 19.)
  There is great physiognomic tact in Sterne. See it particularly displayed in his description of Dr. Slop, accompanied with all that happiest use of drapery and attitude, which at once give reality by individualizing and vividness by unusual, yet probable, combinations:­
Imagine to yourself a little squat, uncourtly figure of a Doctor Slop, of about four feet and a half perpendicular height, with a breadth of back, and a sesquipedality of belly, which might have done honour to a serjeant in the horseguards. ... Imagine such a one; ­ for such I say, were the outlines of Dr. Slop's figure, coming slowly along, foot by foot, waddling through the dirt upon the vertebræ of a little diminutive pony, of a pretty colour ­ but of strength, ­ alack! scarce able to have made an amble of it, under such a fardel, had the roads been in an ambling condition; ­ they were not. Imagine to yourself Obadiah mounted upon a strong monster of a coach-horse, pricked into a full gallop, and making all practicable speed the adverse way. (Vol. ii. c. 9.)

 I think there is more humour in the single remark, which I have quoted before ­ "Learned men, brother Toby, don't write dialogues upon long noses for nothing!" ­ than in the whole Slawkenburghian tale that follows, which is mere oddity interspersed with drollery.

  Note Sterne's assertion of, and faith in, a moral good in the characters of Trim, Toby, &c. as contrasted with the cold scepticism of motives which is the stamp of the Jacobin spirit. (Vol. v. c. 9.)

  You must bear in mind, in order to do justice to Rabelais and Sterne, that by right of humoristic universality each part is essentially a whole in itself. Hence the digressive spirit is not mere wantonness, but in fact the very form and vehicle of their genius. The connection, such as was needed, is given by the continuity of the characters.

Instances of different forms of wit, taken largely:

  Why are you reading romances at your age?" ­ "Why, I used to be fond of history, but I have given it up, ­ it was so grossly improbable."

  "Pray, sir, do it! ­ although you have promised me."

  The Spartan mother's ­
"Return with, or on, thy shield."

"My sword is too short!" ­ "Take a step forwarder."
  The Gasconade:­
"I believe you, Sir! but you will excuse my repeating it on account of my provincial accent."

 Pasquil on Pope Urban, who had employed a committee to rip up the old errors of his predecessors.

Some one placed a pair of spurs on the heels of the statue of St. Peter, and a label from the opposite statue of St. Paul, on the same bridge; ­
St. Paul. "Whither then are you bound?"

St. Peter. "I apprehend danger here;- they'll soon call me in question for denying my Master."

St. Paul. "Nay, then, I had better be off too; for they'll question me for having persecuted the Christians, before my conversion."

  Speaking of the small German potentates, I dictated the phrase, ­
officious for equivalents.
This my amanuensis wrote, ­
fishing for elephants;
­ which, as I observed at the time, was a sort of Noah's angling, that could hardly have occurred, except at the commencement of the Deluge.

Contents, p.2

Lecture X. Donne ­ Dante ­ Mlton ­ Paradise Lost

Donne  1

Born in London, 1573. ­Died, 1631 4th July, 1796.

I. 2

With Donne, whose muse on dromedary trots,
Wreathe iron pokers into true-love knots;
Rhyme's sturdy cripple, fancy's maze and clue,
Wit's forge and fire-blast, meaning's press and screw.


See lewdness and theology combin'd, ­
A cynic and a sycophantic mind;
A fancy shar'd party per pale between
Death's heads and skeletons and Aretine! ­
Not his peculiar defect or crime,
But the true current mintage of the time.
Such were the establish'd signs and tokens given
To mark a loyal churchman, sound and even,
Free from papistic and fanatic leaven.

The wit of Donne, the wit of Butler, the wit of Pope, the wit of Congreve, the wit of Sheridan ­ how many disparate things are here expressed by one and the same word, Wit! ­ Wonder-exciting vigour, intenseness and peculiarity of thought, using at will the almost boundless stores of a capacious memory, and exercised on subjects, where we have no right to expect it ­ this is the wit of Donne! The four others I am just in the mood to describe and inter-distinguish; ­ what a pity that the marginal space will not let me!

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we ­ find two fitter hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?

Good-Morrow, v. 15, &c.

The sense is; ­ Our mutual loves may in many respects be fitly compared to corresponding hemispheres; but as no simile squares (
nihil simile est idem
), so here the simile fails, for there is nothing in our loves that corresponds to the cold north, or the declining west, which in two hemispheres must necessarily be supposed. But an ellipse of such length will scarcely rescue the line from the charge of nonsense or a bull.
Woman's constancy.
A misnomer. The title ought to be ­
Mutual Inconstancy.

Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine, &c.
Sun Rising, v. 17.

And see at night thy western land of mine, &c.
Progress of the Soul, 1 Song, 2. st.

This use of the word
specifically for mines of gold, silver, or precious stones, is, I believe, peculiar to Donne.

Footnote 1
: Nothing remains of what was said on Donne in this Lecture. Here, therefore, as in previous like instances, the gap is filled up with some notes written by Mr. Coleridge in a volume of Chalmers's
, belonging to Mr. Gillman.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: The verses were added in pencil to the collection of commendatory lines; No. I. is Mr. C.'s; the publication of No. II. I trust the all-accomplished author will, under the circumstances, pardon. Numerous and elaborate notes by Mr. Coleridge on Donne's
are in existence, and will be published hereafter.

return to footnote mark


Born at Florence, 1265. ­Died, 1321.

As I remarked in a former Lecture on a different subject (for subjects the most diverse in literature have still their tangents), the Gothic character, and its good and evil fruits, appeared less in Italy than in any other part of European Christendom. There was accordingly much less romance, as that word is commonly understood; or, perhaps, more truly stated, there was romance instead of chivalry. In Italy, an earlier imitation of, and a more evident and intentional blending with, the Latin literature took place than elsewhere. The operation of the feudal system, too, was incalculably weaker, of that singular chain of independent interdependents, the principle of which was a confederacy for the preservation of individual, consistently with general, freedom. In short, Italy, in the time of Dante, was an afterbirth of eldest Greece, a renewal or a reflex of the old Italy under its kings and first Roman consuls, a net-work of free little republics, with the same domestic feuds, civil wars, and party spirit, ­ the same vices and virtues produced on a similarly narrow theatre, ­ the existing state of things being, as in all small democracies, under the working and direction of certain individuals, to whose will even the laws were swayed; ­ whilst at the same time the singular spectacle was exhibited amidst all this confusion of the flourishing of commerce, and the protection and encouragement of letters and arts. Never was the commercial spirit so well reconciled to the nobler principles of social polity as in Florence. It tended there to union and permanence and elevation, ­ not as the overbalance of it in England is now doing, to dislocation, change and moral degradation. The intensest patriotism reigned in these communities, but confined and attached exclusively to the small locality of the patriot's birth and residence; whereas in the true Gothic feudalism, country was nothing but the preservation of personal independence. But then, on the other hand, as a counterbalance to these disuniting elements, there was in Dante's Italy, as in Greece, a much greater uniformity of religion common to all than amongst the northern nations.

Upon these hints the history of the republican aeras of ancient Greece and modern Italy ought to be written. There are three kinds or stages of historic narrative:

  that of the annalist or chronicler, who deals merely in facts and events arranged in order of time, having no principle of selection, no plan of arrangement, and whose work properly constitutes a supplement to the poetical writings of romance or heroic legends:

  that of the writer who takes his stand on some moral point, and selects a series of events for the express purpose of illustrating it, and in whose hands the narrative of the selected events is modified by the principle of selection; ­ as Thucydides, whose object was to describe the evils of democratic and aristocratic partizanships; ­ or Polybius, whose design was to show the social benefits resulting from the triumph and grandeur of Rome, in public institutions and military discipline; ­ or Tacitus, whose secret aim was to exhibit the pressure and corruptions of despotism; ­ in all which writers and others like them, the ground-object of the historian colours with artificial lights the facts which he relates:

  and which in idea is the grandest-the most truly, founded in philosophy ­ there is the Herodotean history, which is not composed with reference to any particular causes, but attempts to describe human nature itself on a great scale as a portion of the drama of providence, the free will of man resisting the destiny of events, ­ for the individuals often succeeding against it, but for the race always yielding to it, and in the resistance itself invariably affording means towards the completion of the ultimate result. Mitford's history is a good and useful work; but in his zeal against democratic government, Mitford forgot, or never saw, that ancient Greece was not, nor ought ever to be considered, a permanent thing, but that it existed, in the disposition of providence, as a proclaimer of ideal truths, and that everlasting proclamation being made, that its functions were naturally at an end.

However, in the height of such a state of society in Italy, Dante was born and flourished; and was himself eminently a picture of the age in which he lived. But of more importance even than this, to a right understanding of Dante, is the consideration that the scholastic philosophy was then at its acme even in itself; but more especially in Italy, where it never prevailed so exclusively as northward of the Alps. It is impossible to understand the genius of Dante, and difficult to understand his poem, without some knowledge of the characters, studies, and writings of the schoolmen of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. For Dante was the living link between religion and philosophy; he philosophized the religion and christianized the philosophy of Italy; and, in this poetic union of religion and philosophy, he became the ground of transition into the mixed Platonism and Aristotelianism of the Schools, under which, by numerous minute articles of faith and ceremony, Christianity became a craft of hair-splitting, and was ultimately degraded into a complete
worship, divorced from philosophy, and made up of a faith without thought, and a credulity directed by passion. Afterwards, indeed, philosophy revived under condition of defending this very superstition; and, in so doing, it necessarily led the way to its subversion, and that in exact proportion to the influence of the philosophic schools. Hence it did its work most completely in Germany, then in England, next in France, then in Spain, least of all in Italy. We must, therefore, take the poetry of Dante as christianized, but without the further Gothic accession of proper chivalry. It was at a somewhat later period, that the importations from the East, through the Venetian commerce and the crusading armaments, exercised a peculiarly strong influence on Italy.

In studying Dante, therefore, we must consider carefully the differences produced, first, by allegory being substituted for polytheism; and secondly and mainly, by the opposition of Christianity to the spirit of pagan Greece, which receiving the very names of its gods from Egypt, soon deprived them of all that was universal. The Greeks changed the ideas into finites, and these finites into
or forms of men. Hence their religion, their poetry, nay, their very pictures, became statuesque. With them the form was the end. The reverse of this was the natural effect of Christianity; in which finites, even the human form, must, in order to satisfy the mind, be brought into connexion with, and be in fact symbolical of, the infinite; and must be considered in some enduring, however shadowy and indistinct, point of view, as the vehicle or representative of moral truth.

Hence resulted two great effects; a combination of poetry with doctrine, and, by turning the mind inward on its own essence instead of letting it act only on its outward circumstances and communities, a combination of poetry with sentiment. And it is this inwardness or subjectivity, which principally and most fundamentally distinguishes all the classic from all the modern poetry. Compare the passage in the
(Z. vi. 119-236.) in which Diomed and Glaucus change arms, ­

Greek (transliterated): Cheiras t'allilon labetin kai pistosanto

They took each other by the hand, and pledged friendship ­

with the scene in
(Orlando Furioso, c. i. st. 20-22.), where Rinaldo and Ferrauto fight and afterwards make it up:­

Al Pagan la proposta non dispiacque:
Così fu differita la tenzone;
E tal tregua tra lor subito nacque,
Sì l' odio e l' ira va in oblivïone,
Che 'l Pagano al partir dalle fresche acque
Non lasciò a piede il buon figliuol d' Amone:
Con preghi invita, e al fin lo toglie in groppa,
E per l' orme d' Angelica galoppa.

Here Homer would have left it. But the Christian poet has his own feelings to express, and goes on:­

Oh gran bontà de' cavalieri antiqui!
Eran rivali, eran di fè diversi,
E si sentían degli aspri colpi iniqui
Per tutta la persona anco dolersi;
E pur per selve oscure e calli obbliqui
Insieme van senza sospetto aversi!

And here you will observe, that the reaction of Ariosto's own feelings on the image or act is more fore-grounded (to use a painter's phrase) than the image or act itself.

The two different modes in which the imagination is acted on by the ancient and modern poetry, may be illustrated by the parallel effects caused by the contemplation of the Greek or Roman-Greek architecture, compared with the Gothic. In the Pantheon, the whole is perceived in a perceived harmony with the parts which compose it; and generally you will remember that where the parts preserve any distinct individuality, there simple beauty, or beauty simply, arises; but where the parts melt undistinguished into the whole, there majestic beauty, or majesty, is the result. In York Minster, the parts, the grotesques, are in themselves very sharply distinct and separate, and this distinction and separation of the parts is counterbalanced only by the multitude and variety of those parts, by which the attention is bewildered; ­ whilst the whole, or that there is a whole produced, is altogether a feeling in which the several thousand distinct impressions lose themselves as in a universal solvent. Hence in a Gothic cathedral, as in a prospect from a mountain's top, there is, indeed, a unity, an awful oneness; ­ but it is, because all distinction evades the eye. And just such is the distinction between the
of Sophocles and the
of Shakespeare.

Divina Commedia
is a system of moral, political, and theological truths, with arbitrary personal exemplifications, which are not, in my opinion, allegorical. I do not even feel convinced that the punishments in the Inferno are strictly allegorical. I rather take them to have been in Dante's mind
-allegorical, or conceived in analogy to pure allegory.

I have said, that a combination of poetry with doctrines, is one of the characteristics of the Christian muse; but I think Dante has not succeeded in effecting this combination nearly so well as Milton.

This comparative failure of Dante, as also some other peculiarities of his mind, in
malam partem,
must be immediately attributed to the state of North Italy in his time, which is vividly represented in Dante's life; a state of intense democratical partizanship, in which an exaggerated importance was attached to individuals, and which whilst it afforded a vast field for the intellect, opened also a boundless arena for the passions, and in which envy, jealousy, hatred, and other malignant feelings, could and did assume the form of patriotism, even to the individual's own conscience.

All this common, and, as it were, natural partizanship, was aggravated arid coloured by the Guelf and Ghibelline factions; and, in part explanation of Dante's adherence to the latter, you must particularly remark, that the Pope had recently territorialized his authority to a great extent, and that this increase of territorial power in the church, was by no means the same beneficial movement for the citizens of free republics, as the parallel advance in other countries was for those who groaned as vassals under the oppression of the circumjacent baronial castles.

By way of preparation to a satisfactory perusal of the
Divina Commedia
, I will now proceed to state what I consider to be Dante's chief excellences as a poet. And I begin with:

 Style ­ the vividness, logical connexion, strength and energy of which cannot be surpassed. In this I think Dante superior to Milton; and his style is accordingly more imitable than Milton's, and does to this day exercise a greater influence on the literature of his country. You cannot read Dante without feeling a gush of manliness of thought within you. Dante was very sensible of his own excellence in this particular, and speaks of poets as guardians of the vast armory of language, which is the intermediate something between matter and spirit:­

Or se' tu quel Virgilio, e quella fonte,
Che spande di parlar sì largo fiume?
Risposi lui con vergognosa fronte.
O degli altri poeti onore e lume,
Vagliami 'l lungo studio e 'l grande amore,
Che m' han fatto cercar lo tuo volume.
Tu se' lo mio maestro, e 'l mio autore:
Tu se' solo colui, da cu' io tolsi
Lo bello stile, che m' ha fatto onore.

(Inf. c. 1. v. 79.)

"And art thou then that Virgil, that well-spring,
From which such copious floods of eloquence
Have issued?" I, with front abash'd, replied:
"Glory and light of all the tuneful train!
May it avail me, that I long with zeal
Have sought thy volume, and with love immense
Have conn'd it o'er. My master, thou, and guide!
Thou he from whom I have alone deriv'd
That style, which for its beauty into fame
Exalts me."

(Cary. [his translation. html Ed.])

Indeed there was a passion and a miracle of words in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, after the long slumber of language in barbarism, which gave an almost romantic character, a virtuous quality and power, to what was read in a book, independently of the thoughts or images contained in it. This feeling is very often perceptible in Dante.

 The Images in Dante are not only taken from obvious nature, and are all intelligible to all, but are ever conjoined with the universal feeling received from nature, and therefore affect the general feelings of all men. And in this respect, Dante's excellence is very great, and may be contrasted with the idiosyncracies of some meritorious modern poets, who attempt an eruditeness, the result of particular feelings. Consider the simplicity, I may say plainness, of the following simile, and how differently we should in all probability deal with it at the present day:

Quale i fioretti dal notturno gelo
Chinati e chiusi, poi che 'l sol gl' imbianca,
Si drizzan tutti aperti in loro stelo, ­
Fal mi fec' io di mia virtute stanca;
(Inf. c. 2. v. 127.)

As florets, by the frosty air of night
Bent down and clos'd, when day has blanch'd their leaves,
Rise all unfolded on their spiry stems, ­
So was my fainting vigour new restor'd.
(Cary. 2)

  Consider the wonderful profoundness of the whole third canto of the
; and especially of the inscription over Hell gate:
Per me si va, &c. ­
which can only be explained by a meditation on the true nature of religion; that is, ­ reason
the understanding. I say profoundness rather than sublimity; for Dante does not so much elevate your thoughts as send them down deeper. In this canto all the images are distinct, and even vividly distinct; but there is a total impression of infinity; the wholeness is not in vision or conception, but in an inner feeling of totality, and absolute being.

  In picturesqueness, Dante is beyond all other poets, modern or ancient, and more in the stern style of Pindar, than of any other. Michel Angelo is said to have made a design for every page of the
Divina Commedia
. As superexcellent in this respect, I would note the conclusion of the third canto of the

Ed ecco verso noi venir per nave
Un vecchio bianco per antico pelo
Gridando: guai a voi anime prave: &c. ...
(Ver. 82. &c.)

And lo! toward us in a bark
Comes on an old man, hoary white with eld,
Crying, "Woe to you wicked spirits!" ...

Caron dimonio con occhi di bragia
Loro accennando, tutte le raccoglie:
Batte col remo qualunque s' adagia.
Come d' autunno si levan le foglie
L' una appresso dell altra, infin che 'l ramo
Rende alia terra tutte le sue spoglie;
Similemente il mal seme d' Adamo,
Gittansi di quel lito ad una ad una
Per cenni, com' augel per suo richiamo.
(Ver. 100, &c.)

­ ­ ­ Charon, demoniac form,
With eyes of burning coal, collects them all,
Beck'ning, and each that lingers, with his oar
Strikes. As fall off the light autumnal leaves,
One still another following, till the bough
Strews all its honours on the earth beneath; ­
E'en in like manner Adam's evil brood
Cast themselves one by one down from the shore
Each at a beck, as falcon at his call.

And this passage, which I think admirably picturesque:

Ma poco valse, che l' ale al sospetto
Non potero avanzar: quegli andò sotto,
E quei drizzò, volando, suso il petto.
Non altrimenti l' anitra di botto,
Quando 'l falcon s' appressa, giù s' attuffa,
Ed ei ritorna su crucciato e rotto.
Irato Calcabrina della buffa,
Volando dietro gli tenne, invaghito,
Che quei campasse, per aver la zuffa:
E come 'l barattier fu disparito,
Cosi volse gli artigli al suo compagno,
E fu con lui sovra 'l fosso ghermito.
Ma l' altro fu bene sparvier grifagno
Ad artigliar ben lui, e amedue
Cadder nel mezzo del bollente stagno.
Lo caldo sghermidor subito fue:
Ma però di levarsi era niente,
Si aveano inviscate l' ale sue.
(Infer. c. xxii. ver. 127, &c.)

But little it avail'd: terror outstripp'd
His following flight: the other plung'd beneath,
And he with upward pinion rais'd his breast:
E'en thus the water-fowl, when she perceives
The falcon near, dives instant down, while he
Enrag'd and spent retires. That mockery
In Calcabrina fury stirr'd, who flew
After him, with desire of strife inflam'd;
And, for the barterer had 'scap'd, so turn'd
His talons on his comrade. O'er the dyke
In grapple close they join'd; but th' other prov'd
A goshawk, able to rend well his foe;
And in the boiling lake both fell. The heat
Was umpire soon between them, but in vain
To lift themselves they strove, so fast were glued
Their pennons.

  Very closely connected with this picturesqueness, is the topographic reality of Dante's journey through Hell. You should note and dwell on this as one of his great charms, and which gives a striking peculiarity to his poetic power. He thus takes the thousand delusive forms of a nature worse than chaos, having no reality but from the passions which they excite, and compels them into the service of the permanent. Observe the exceeding truth of these lines:

Noi ricidemmo 'l cerchio all' altra riva,
Sovr' una fonte che bolle, e riversa,
Per un fossato che da lei diriva.
L' acqua era buja molto più che persa:
E noi in compagnia dell' onde bige
Entrammo giù per una via diversa.
Una palude fa, ch' ha nome Stige,
Questo tristo ruscel, quando è disceso
Al piè delle maligne piagge grige.
Ed io che di mirar mi stava inteso, ­
Vidi genti fangose in quel pantano
Ignude tutte, e con sembiante offeso.
Questi si percotean non pur con mano,
Ma con la testa, e col petto, e co' piedi,
Troncandosi co' denti a brano a brano. ...

Così girammo della lorda pozza
Grand' arco tra la ripa secca e 'l mezzo,
Con gli occhi volti a chi del fango ingozza:
Venimmo appiù d' una torre al dassezzo.
(C. vii. ver. 100 and 127.)

­ ­ We the circle cross'd
To the next steep, arriving at a well,
That boiling pours itself down to a foss
Sluic'd from its source. Far murkier was the wave
Than sablest grain: and we in company
Of th' inky waters, journeying by their side,
Enter'd, though by a different track, beneath.
Into a lake, the Stygian nam'd, expands
The dismal stream, when it hath reach'd the foot
Of the grey wither'd cliffs. Intent I stood
To gaze, and in the marish sunk, descried
A miry tribe, all naked, and with looks
Betok'ning rage. They with their hands alone
Struck not, but with the head, the breast, the feet,
Cutting each other piecemeal with their fangs. ...

­ ­ Our route
Thus compass'd, we a segment widely stretch'd
Between the dry embankment and the cove
Of the loath'd pool, turning meanwhile our eyes
Downward on those who gulp'd its muddy lees;
Nor stopp'd, till to a tower's low base we came.

  For Dante's power, ­ his absolute mastery over, although rare exhibition of, the pathetic, I can do no more than refer to the passages on Francesca di Rimini (
. C. v. ver. 73 to the end.) and on Ugolino, (
. C. xxxiii. ver. 1. to 75.) They are so well known, and rightly so admired, that it would be pedantry to analyze their composition; but you will note that the first is the pathos of passion, the second that of affection; and yet even in the first, you seem to perceive that the lovers have sacrificed their passion to the cherishing of a deep and rememberable impression.

  As to going into the endless subtle beauties of Dante, that is impossible; but I cannot help citing the first triplet of the 29th canto of the

La molta gente e le diverse piaghe
Avean le luci mie sì inebriate,
Che dello stare a piangere eran vaghe.

So were mine eyes inebriate with the view
Of the vast multitude, whom various wounds
Disfigur'd, that they long'd to stay and weep.


Nor have I now room for any specific comparison of Dante with Milton. But if I had, I would institute it upon the ground of the last canto of the
from the 1st to the 69th line, and from the 106th to the end. And in this comparison I should notice Dante's occasional fault of becoming grotesque from being too graphic without imagination; as in his Lucifer compared with Milton's Satan. Indeed he is sometimes horrible rather than terrible, ­ falling into the
instead of the
of Longinus ; in
other words, many of his images excite bodily disgust, and not moral fear. But here, as in other cases, you may perceive that the faults of great authors are generally excellencies carried to an excess.

Footnote 1
: Mr. Coleridge here notes: "I will, if I can, here make an historical movement, and pay a proper compliment to Mr. Hallam." Ed.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: Mr. Coleridge here notes: "Here to speak of Mr. Cary's translation." ­

return to footnote mark

Footnote 3
De Subl
. 1. ix.


Born in London, 1608. ­Died, 1674

If we divide the period from the accession of Elizabeth to the Protectorate of Cromwell into two unequal portions, the first ending with the death of James I. the other comprehending the reign of Charles and the brief glories of the Republic, we are forcibly struck with a difference in the character of the illustrious actors, by whom each period is rendered severally memorable. Or rather, the difference in the characters of the great men in each period, leads us to make this division.

Eminent as the intellectual powers were that were displayed in both; yet in the number of great men, in the various sorts of excellence, and not merely in the variety but almost diversity of talents united in the same individual, the age of Charles falls short of its predecessor; and the stars of the Parliament, keen as their radiance was, in fulness and richness of lustre, yield to the constellation at the court of Elizabeth; ­ which can only be paralleled by Greece in her brightest moment, when the titles of the poet, the philosopher, the historian, the statesman and the general not seldom formed a garland round the same head, as in the instances of our Sidneys and Raleighs. But then, on the other hand, there was a vehemence of will, an enthusiasm of principle, a depth and an earnestness of spirit, which the charms of individual fame and personal aggrandisement could not pacify, ­ an aspiration after reality, permanence, and general good, ­ in short, a moral grandeur in the latter period, with which the low intrigues, Machiavellic maxims, and selfish and servile ambition of the former, stand in painful contrast.

The causes of this it belongs not to the present occasion to detail at length; but a mere allusion to the quick succession of revolutions in religion, breeding a political indifference in the mass of men to religion itself, the enormous increase of the royal power in consequence of the humiliation of the nobility and the clergy ­ the transference of the papal authority to the crown, ­ the unfixed state of Elizabeth's own opinions, whose inclinations were as popish as her interests were protestant ­ the controversial extravagance and practical imbecility of her successor ­ will help to explain the former period; and the persecutions that had given a life and soul-interest to the disputes so imprudently fostered by James, ­ the ardour of a conscious increase of power in the commons, and the greater austerity of manners and maxims, the natural product and most formidable weapon of religious disputation, not merely in conjunction, but in closest combination, with newly awakened political and republican zeal, these perhaps account for the character of the latter aera.

In the close of the former period, and during the bloom of the latter, the poet Milton was educated and formed; and he survived the latter, and all the fond hopes and aspirations which had been its life; and so in evil days, standing as the representative of the combined excellence of both periods, he produced the
Paradise Lost
as by an after-throe of nature. "There are some persons (observes a divine, a contemporary of Milton's) of whom the grace of God takes early hold, and the good spirit inhabiting them, carries them on in an even constancy through innocence into virtue, their Christianity bearing equal date with their manhood, and reason and religion, like warp and woof, running together, make up one web of a wise and exemplary life. This (he adds) is a most happy case, wherever it happens; for, besides that there is no sweeter or more lovely thing on earth than the early buds of piety, which drew from our Saviour signal affection to the beloved disciple, it is better to have no wound than to experience the most sovereign balsam, which, if it work a cure, yet usually leaves a scar behind." Although it was and is my intention to defer the consideration of Milton's own character to the conclusion of this Lecture, yet I could not prevail on myself to approach the
Paradise Lost
without impressing on your minds the conditions under which such a work was in fact producible at all, the original genius having been assumed as the immediate agent and efficient cause; and these conditions I find in the character of the times and in his own character. The age in which the foundations of his mind were laid, was congenial to it as one golden era of profound erudition and individual genius; ­ that in which the superstructure was carried up, was no less favourable to it by a sternness of discipline and a show of self-control, highly flattering to the imaginative dignity of an heir of fame, and which won Milton over from the dear-loved delights of academic groves and cathedral aisles to the anti-prelatic party. It acted on him, too, no doubt, and modified his studies by a characteristic controversial spirit, (his presentation of God is tinted with it) ­ a spirit not less busy indeed in political than in theological and ecclesiastical dispute, but carrying on the former almost always, more or less, in the guise of the latter.
And so far as Pope's censure
of our poet, ­ that he makes God the Father a school divine ­ is just, we must attribute it to the character of his age, from which the men of genius, who escaped, escaped by a worse disease, the licentious indifference of a Frenchified court.

Such was the
or soil, which constituted, in the strict sense of the word, the circumstances of Milton's mind. 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
Contain'd of good, wise, fair, the perfect shape;

and he left the imperishable total, as a bequest to the ages coming, in the
Paradise Lost

Difficult as I shall find it to turn over these leaves without catching some passage, which would tempt me to stop, I propose to consider,

,  the general plan and arrangement of the work;

,  the subject with its difficulties and advantages;

,  the poet's object, the spirit in the letter, the
enthumion en muthps
, the true school-divinity;

,  the characteristic excellencies of the poem, in what they consist, and by what means they were produced.

 As to the plan and ordonnance of the Poem.

Compare it with the
, many of the books of which might change places without any injury to the thread of the story. Indeed, I doubt the original existence of the
as one poem; it seems more probable that it was put together about the time of the Pisistratidae. The
­ and, more or less, all epic poems, the subjects of which are taken from history ­ have no rounded conclusion; they remain, after all, but single chapters from the volume of history, although they are ornamental chapters. Consider the exquisite simplicity of the
Paradise Lost
. It and it alone really possesses a beginning, a middle, and an end; it has the totality of the poem as distinguished from the
ab ovo
birth and parentage, or straight line, of history.

  As to the subject.

In Homer, the supposed importance of the subject, as the first effort of confederated Greece, is an after-thought of the critics; and the interest, such as it is, derived from the events themselves, as distinguished from the manner of representing them, is very languid to all but Greeks. It is a Greek poem. The superiority of the
Paradise Lost
is obvious in this respect, that the interest transcends the limits of a nation. But we do not generally dwell on this excellence of the
Paradise Lost
, because it seems attributable to Christianity itself; ­ yet in fact the interest is wider than Christendom, and comprehends the Jewish and Mohammedan worlds; ­ nay, still further, inasmuch as it represents the origin of evil, and the combat of evil and good, it contains matter of deep interest to all mankind, as forming the basis of all religion, and the true occasion of all philosophy whatsoever.

The FALL of Man is the subject; Satan is the cause; man's blissful state the immediate object of his enmity and attack; man is warned by an angel who gives him an account of all that was requisite to be known, to make the warning at once intelligible and awful; then the temptation ensues, and the Fall; then the immediate sensible consequence; then the consolation, wherein an angel presents a vision of the history of men with the ultimate triumph of the Redeemer. Nothing is touched in this vision but what is of general interest in religion; any thing else would have been improper.

The inferiority of Klopstock's
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
shock us like falsehoods; but nothing of that sort is felt in the
Paradise Lost
, in which no particulars, at least very few indeed, are touched which can come into collision or juxta-position with recorded matter.

But notwithstanding the advantages in Milton's subject, there were concomitant insuperable difficulties, and Milton has exhibited marvellous skill in keeping most of them out of sight. High poetry is the translation of reality into the ideal under the predicament of succession of time only. The poet is an historian, upon condition of moral power being the only force in the universe. The very grandeur of his subject ministered a difficulty to Milton. The statement of a being of high intellect, warring against the supreme Being, seems to contradict the idea of a supreme Being. Milton precludes our feeling this, as much as possible, by keeping the peculiar attributes of divinity less in sight, making them to a certain extent allegorical only. Again, poetry implies the language of excitement; yet how to reconcile such language with God? Hence Milton confines the poetic passion in God's speeches to the language of scripture; and once only allows the
passio vera,
to appear, in the passage, where the Father contemplates his own likeness in the Son before the battle:­

Go then, thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might,
Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels
That shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all my war,
My bow and thunder; my almighty arms
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
From all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep:
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
God and Messiah his anointed king.
(B. VI. v. 710.)

  As to Milton's object:­

It was to justify the ways of God to man! The controversial spirit observable in many parts of the poem, especially in God's speeches, is immediately attributable to the great controversy of that age, the origination of evil. The Arminians considered it a mere calamity. The Calvinists took away all human will. Milton asserted the will, but declared for the enslavement of the will out of an act of the will itself. There are three powers in us, which distinguish us from the beasts that perish;


 the power of viewing universal truth;

  the power of contracting universal truth into particulars. Religion is the will in the reason, and love in the will.

The character of Satan is pride and sensual indulgence, finding in self the sole motive of action. It is the character so often seen
in little
on the political stage. It exhibits all the restlessness, temerity, and cunning which have marked the mighty hunters of mankind from Nimrod to Napoleon. The common fascination of men is, that these great men, as they are called, must act from some great motive. Milton has carefully marked in his Satan the intense selfishness, the alcohol of egotism, which would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. To place this lust of self in opposition to denial of self or duty, and to show what exertions it would make, and what pains endure to accomplish its end, is Milton's particular object in the character of Satan. But around this character he has thrown a singularity of daring, a grandeur of sufferance, and a ruined splendour, which constitute the very height of poetic sublimity.

, as to the execution:­

The language and versification of the
Paradise Lost
are peculiar in being so much more necessarily correspondent to each than those in any other poem or poet. The connexion of the sentences and the position of the words are exquisitely artificial; but the position is rather according to the logic of passion or universal logic, than to the logic of grammar. Milton attempted to make the English language obey the logic of passion as perfectly as the Greek and Latin. Hence the occasional harshness in the construction.

Sublimity is the pre-eminent characteristic of the
Paradise Lost
. It is not an arithmetical sublime like Klopstock's, whose rule always is to treat what we might think large as contemptibly small. Klopstock mistakes bigness for greatness. There is a greatness arising from images of effort and daring, and also from those of moral endurance; in Milton both are united. The fallen angels are human passions, invested with a dramatic reality.

The apostrophe to light at the commencement of the third book is particularly beautiful as an intermediate link between Hell and Heaven; and observe, how the second and third book support the subjective character of the poem. In all modern poetry in Christendom there is an under consciousness of a sinful nature, a fleeting away of external things, the mind or subject greater than the object, the reflective character predominant. In the
Paradise Lost
the sublimest parts are the revelations of Milton's own mind, producing itself and evolving its own greatness; and this is so truly so, that when that which is merely entertaining for its objective beauty is introduced, it at first seems a discord.

In the description of Paradise itself you have Milton's sunny side as a man; here his descriptive powers are exercised to the utmost, and he draws deep upon his Italian resources. In the description of Eve, and throughout this part of the poem, the poet is predominant over the theologian. Dress is the symbol of the Fall, but the mark of intellect; and the metaphysics of dress are, the hiding what is not symbolic and displaying by discrimination what is. The love of Adam and Eve in Paradise is of the highest merit ­ not phantomatic, and yet removed from every thing degrading. It is the sentiment of one rational being towards another made tender by a specific difference in that which is essentially the same in both; it is a union of opposites, a giving and receiving mutually of the permanent in either, a completion of each in the other.

Milton is not a picturesque, but a musical, poet; although he has this merit that the object chosen by him for any particular foreground always remains prominent to the end, enriched, but not incumbered, by the opulence of descriptive details furnished by an exhaustless imagination. I wish the
Paradise Lost
were more carefully read and studied than I can see any ground for believing it is, especially those parts which, from the habit of always looking for a story in poetry, are scarcely read at all, ­ as for example, Adam's vision of future events in the llth and l2th books. No one can rise from the perusal of this immortal poem without a deep sense of the grandeur and the purity of Milton's soul, or without feeling how susceptible of domestic enjoyments he really was, notwithstanding the discomforts which actually resulted from an apparently unhappy choice in marriage. He was, as every truly great poet has ever been, a good man; but finding it impossible to realize his own aspirations, either in religion, or politics, or society, he gave up his heart to the living spirit and light within him, and avenged himself on the world by enriching it with this record of his own transcendant ideal.

Footnote 1
Table Talk
, vol. ii. p. 264.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: Here Mr. C. notes: "Not perhaps here, but towards, or as, the conclusion, to chastise the fashionable notion that poetry is a relaxation or amusement, one of the superfluous toys and luxuries of the intellect! To contrast the permanence of poems with the transiency and fleeting moral effects of empires, and what are called, great events." Ed.

return to footnote mark

Notes on Milton  1

(Hayley quotes the following passage:­ )

"Time serves not now, and, perhaps, I might seem too profuse to give any certain account of what the mind at home, in the spacious circuits of her musing, hath liberty to propose to herself, though of highest hope and hardest attempting; whether that epic form, whereof the two poems of Homer, and those other two of Virgil and Tasso, are a diffuse, and the Book of Job a brief, model," p. 69.

These latter words deserve particular notice. I do not doubt that Milton intended his
Paradise Lost
as an epic of the first class, and that the poetic dialogue of the
Book of Job
was his model for the general scheme of his
Paradise Regained
. Readers would not be disappointed in this latter poem, if they proceeded to a perusal of it with a proper preconception of the kind of interest intended to be excited in that admirable work. In its kind it is the most perfect poem extant, though its kind may be inferior in interest ­ being in its essence didactic ­ to that other sort, in which instruction is conveyed more effectively, because less directly, in connection with stronger and more pleasurable emotions, and thereby in a closer affinity with action. But might we not as rationally object to an accomplished woman's conversing, however agreeably, because it has happened that we have received a keener pleasure from her singing to the harp?
Si genus sit probo et sapienti viro hand indignum, et si poema sit in suo genere perfectum, satis est. Quod si hoc auctor idem altioribus numeris et carmini diviniori ipsum per se divinum superaddiderit, mehercule satis est, et plusquam satis.
I cannot, however, but wish that the answer of Jesus to Satan in the 4th book, (v. 285.) ­

Think not but that I know these things;
Or think I know them not,
Not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought, &c.

had breathed the spirit of Hayley's noble quotation rather than the narrow bigotry of Gregory the Great. The passage is, indeed, excellent, and is partially true; but partial truth is the worst mode of conveying falsehood.

(Hayley, p. 75.) "The sincerest friends of Milton may here agree with Johnson, who speaks of his controversial merriment as disgusting."

The man who reads a work meant for immediate effect on one age with the notions and feelings of another, may be a refined gentleman, but must be a sorry critic. He who possesses imagination enough to live with his forefathers, and, leaving comparative reflection for an after moment, to give himself up during the first perusal to the feelings of a contemporary, if not a partizan, will, I dare aver, rarely find any part of Milton's prose works disgusting.

(Hayley, p. 104. Hayley is speaking of the passage in Milton's
Answer to Icon Basilice
, in which he accuses Charles of taking his Prayer in captivity from Pamela's prayer in the 3rd book of Sidney's
. The passage begins, ­

"But this king, not content with that which, although in a thing holy, is no holy theft, to attribute to his own making other men's whole prayers, &c. (Symmons' Ed. 1806, p. 407.))

Assuredly, I regret that Milton should have written this passage; and yet the adoption of a prayer from a romance on such an occasion does not evince a delicate or deeply sincere mind. We are the creatures of association. There are some excellent moral and even serious lines in
; but what if a clergyman should adorn his sermon with a quotation from that poem! Would the abstract propriety of the verses leave him "honourably acquitted?" The Christian baptism of a line in Virgil is so far from being a parallel, that it is ridiculously inappropriate, ­ an absurdity as glaring as that of the bigotted Puritans, who objected to some of the noblest and most scriptural prayers ever dictated by wisdom and piety, simply because the Roman Catholics had used them.

(Hayley, p. 107.) "The ambition of Milton," &c.

I do not approve the so frequent use of this word relatively to Milton. Indeed the fondness for ingrafting a good sense on the word "ambition," is not a Christian impulse in general.

Hayley, p. 110. "Milton himself seems to have thought it allowable in literary contention to vilify, &c. the character of an opponent; but surely this doctrine is unworthy," &c.

If ever it were allowable, in this ease it was especially so. But these general observations, without meditation on the particular times and the genius of the times, are most often as unjust as they are always superficial.

(Hayley, p. 133. Hayley is speaking of Milton's panegyric on Cromwell's government:-)

Besides, however Milton might and did regret the immediate necessity, yet what alternative was there? Was it not better that Cromwell should usurp power, to protect religious freedom at least, than that the Presbyterians should usurp it to introduce a religious persecution, ­ extending the notion of spiritual concerns so far as to leave no freedom even to a man's bedchamber?

(Hayley, p. 250. Hayley's conjectures on the origin of the
Paradise Lost
:­ )

If Milton borrowed a hint from any writer, it was more probably from Strada's Prolusions, in which the Fall of the Angels is pointed out as the noblest subject for a Christian poet.[1] The more dissimilar the detailed images are, the more likely it is that a great genius should catch the general idea.

(Hayl. p. 294. Extracts from the
of Andreini:)

"Lucifero. Che dal mio centre oscuro
Mi chiama a rimirar cotanta luce?

Who from my dark abyss
Calls me to gaze on this excess of light?"

The words in italics are an unfair translation. They may suggest that Milton really had read and did imitate this drama. The original is 'in so great light.' Indeed the whole version is affectedly and inaccurately Miltonic.

(p Ib. v. 11.)
Che di fango opre festi ­
Forming thy works of dust (no, dirt. ­ )

(Ib. v. 17.)
Tessa pur stella a stella
V'aggiungo e luna, e sole. ­
Let him unite above Star upon star, moon, sun.
Let him weave star to star, Then join both moon and sun!

(Ib. v. 21.)
Ch'al fin con biasmo e scorno
Vana l'opra sara, vano il sudore!
Since in the end division
Shall prove his works and all his efforts vain.
Since finally with censure and disdain
Vain shall the work be, and his toil be vain!

1796 3

The reader of Milton must be always on his duty: he is surrounded with sense; it rises in every line; every word is to the purpose. There are no lazy intervals; all has been considered, and demands and merits observation. If this be called obscurity, let it be remembered that it is such an obscurity as is a compliment to the reader; not that vicious obscurity, which proceeds from a muddled head.

Footnote 1
: These notes were written by Mr. Coleridge in a copy of Hayley's
Life of Milton
, (4to. 1796), belonging to Mr. Poole. By him they were communicated, and this seems the fittest place for their publication.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: The reference seems generally to be to the 5th Prolusion of the 1st Book.

Hic arcus ac tela, quibus olim in magno illo Superum tumultu princeps armorum Michael confixit auctorem proditionis; hic fulmina humanæ mentis terror. In nubibus armatas bello legiones instruam, atque inde pro re nata auxiliares ad terram copias evocabo. Hic mihi Cælites, quos esse ferunt elementorum tutelares, prima ilia corpora miscebunt.
(sect. 4.) Ed. ]
return to footnote mark

Footnote 3
: From a common-place book of Mr. C.'s, communicated by Mr. J. M. Gutch.

Contents, p.2

Lecture XI ­ Asiatic and Greek Mythologies ­ Robinson Crusoe ­ Use of Works of Imagination in Education 1

A confounding of God with Nature, and an incapacity of finding unity in the manifold and infinity in the individual, ­ these are the origin of polytheism. The most perfect instance of this kind of theism is that of early Greece; other nations seem to have either transcended, or come short of, the old Hellenic standard, ­ a mythology in itself fundamentally allegorical, and typical of the powers and functions of nature, but subsequently mixed up with a deification of great men and hero-worship, ­ so that finally the original idea became inextricably combined with the form and attributes of some legendary individual. In Asia, probably from the greater unity of the government and the still surviving influence of patriarchal tradition, the idea of the unity of God, in a distorted reflection of the Mosaic scheme, was much more generally preserved; and accordingly all other super or ultra-human beings could only be represented as ministers of, or rebels against, his will. The Asiatic genii and fairies are, therefore, always endowed with moral qualities, and distinguishable as malignant or benevolent to man. It is this uniform attribution of fixed moral qualities to the supernatural agents of eastern mythology that particularly separates them from the divinities of old Greece.

Yet it is not altogether improbable that in the Samothracian or Cabeiric mysteries the link between the Asiatic and Greek popular schemes of mythology lay concealed. Of these mysteries there are conflicting accounts, and, perhaps, there were variations of doctrine in the lapse of ages and intercourse with other systems. But, upon a review of all that is left to us on this subject in the writings of the ancients, we may, I think, make out thus much of an interesting fact, ­ that Cabiri, impliedly at least, meant socii, complices, having a hypostatic or fundamental union with, or relation to, each other; that these mysterious divinities were, ultimately at least, divided into a higher and lower triad; that the lower triad, primi quia infimi, consisted of the old Titanic deities or powers of nature, under the obscure names of Axieros, Axiokersos, and Axiokersa, representing symbolically different modifications of animal desire or material action, such as hunger, thirst, and fire, without consciousness; that the higher triad, ultimi quia superiores, consisted of Jupiter, (Pallas, or Apollo, or Bacchus, or Mercury, mystically called Cadmilos) and Venus, representing, as before, the Greek: nous or reason, the Greek: logos or word or communicative power, and the Greek: eros or love;-that the Cadmilos or Mercury, the manifested, communicated, or sent, appeared not only in his proper person as second of the higher triad, but also as a mediator between the higher and lower triad, and so there were seven divinities; and, indeed, according to some authorities, it might seem that the Cadmilos acted once as a mediator of the higher, and once of the lower, triad, and that so there were eight Cabeiric divinities. The lower or Titanic powers being subdued, chaos ceased, and creation began in the reign of the divinities of mind and love; but the chaotic gods still existed in the abyss, and the notion of evoking them was the origin, the idea, of the Greek necromancy.

These mysteries, like all the others, were certainly in connection with either the Phoenician or Egyptian systems, perhaps with both. Hence the old Cabeiric powers were soon made to answer to the corresponding popular divinities; and the lower triad was called by the uninitiated, Ceres, Vulcan or Pluto, and Proserpine, and the Cadmilos became Mercury. It is not without ground that I direct your attention, under these circumstances, to the probable derivation of some portion of this most remarkable system from patriarchal tradition, and to the connection of the Cabeiri with the Kabbala.

The Samothracian mysteries continued in celebrity till some time after the commencement of the Christian era. 2 But they gradually sank with the rest of the ancient system of mythology, to which, in fact, they did not properly belong. The peculiar doctrines, however, were preserved in the memories of the initiated, and handed down by individuals. No doubt they were propagated in Europe, and it is not improbable that Paracelsus received many of his opinions from such persons, and I think a connection may be traced between him and Jacob Behmen.

The Asiatic supernatural beings are all produced by imagining an excessive magnitude, or an excessive smallness combined with great power; and the broken associations, which must have given rise to such conceptions, are the sources of the interest which they inspire, as exhibiting, through the working of the imagination, the idea of power in the will. This is delightfully exemplified in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, and indeed, more or less, in other works of the same kind. In all these there is the same activity of mind as in dreaming, that is ­ an exertion of the fancy in the combination and recombination of familiar objects so as to produce novel and wonderful imagery. To this must be added that these tales cause no deep feeling of a moral kind ­ whether of religion or love; but an impulse of motion is communicated to the mind without excitement, and this is the reason of their being so generally read and admired.

I think it not unlikely that the Milesian Tales contained the germs of many of those now in the Arabian Nights; indeed it is scarcely possible to doubt that the Greek empire must have left deep impression on the Persian intellect. So also many of the Roman Catholic legends are taken from Apuleius. In that exquisite story of Cupid and Psyche, the allegory is of no injury to the dramatic vividness of the tale. It is evidently a philosophic attempt to parry Christianity with a quasi-Platonic account of the fall and redemption of the soul.

The charm of De Foe's works, especially of Robinson Crusoe, is founded on the same principle. It always interests, never agitates. Crusoe himself is merely a representative of humanity in general; neither his intellectual nor his moral qualities set him above the middle degree of mankind; his only prominent characteristic is the spirit of enterprise and wandering, which is, nevertheless, a very common disposition. You will observe that all that is wonderful in this tale is the result of external circumstances ­ of things which fortune brings to Crusoe's hand.

Footnote 1: Partly from Mr. Green's note. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2: In the reign of Tiberius, A. D. 18, Germanicus attempted to visit Samothrace; ­ illum in regressu sacra Samothracum visere nitentem obvii aquilones depulere. Tacit. Ann. II. e. 54. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Notes on Robinson Crusoe  1

(Vol. i. p. 17.)
But my ill fate pushed me on now with an obstinacy that nothing could resist; and though I had several times loud calls from my reason, and my more composed judgment to go home, yet I had no power to do it. I know not what to call this, nor will I urge that it is a secret overruling decree that hurries us on to be the instruments of our own destruction, even though it be before us, and that we rush upon it with our eyes open.

The wise only possess ideas; the greater part of mankind are possessed by them. Robinson Crusoe was not conscious of the master impulse, even because it was his master, and had taken, as he says, full possession of him. When once the mind, in despite of the remonstrating conscience, has abandoned its free power to a haunting impulse or idea, then whatever tends to give depth and vividness to this idea or indefinite imagination, increases its despotism, and in the same proportion renders the reason and free will ineffectual. Now, fearful calamities, sufferings, horrors, and hair-breadth escapes will have this effect, far more than even sensual pleasure and prosperous incidents. Hence the evil consequences of sin in such cases, instead of retracting or deterring the sinner, goad him on to his destruction. This is the moral of Shakspeare's
, and the true solution of this paragraph, ­ not any overruling decree of divine wrath, but the tyranny of the sinner's own evil imagination, which he has voluntarily chosen as his master.

Compare the contemptuous Swift with the contemned De Foe, and how superior will the latter be found! But by what test? ­ Even by this; that the writer who makes me sympathize with his presentations with the whole of my being, is more estimable than he who calls forth, and appeals but to, a part of my being ­ my sense of the ludicrous, for instance. De Foe's excellence it is, to make me forget my specific class, character, and circumstances, and to raise me while I read him, into the universal man.

I smiled to myself at the sight of this money: "O drug!" said I aloud, &c. However, upon second thoughts, I took it away; and wrapping all this in a piece of canvass, &c.

Worthy of Shakspeare! ­ and yet the simple semicolon after it, the instant passing on without the least pause of reflex consciousness, is more exquisite and masterlike than the touch itself. A meaner writer, a Marmontel, would have put an (!) after
and have commenced a fresh paragraph. (30th July, 1830.)

(P. 111)
And I must confess, my religious thankfulness to God's providence began to abate too, upon the discovering that all this was nothing but what was common; though I ought to have been as thankful for so strange and unforeseen a providence, as if it had been miraculous.

To make men feel the truth of this is one characteristic object of the miracles worked by Moses;-in them the providence is miraculous, the miracles providential.

(P. 126.)
The growing up of the corn, as is hinted in my Journal, had, at first, some little influence upon me, and began to affect me with seriousness, as long as I thought it had something miraculous in it, &c.

By far the ablest vindication of miracles which I have met with. It is indeed the true ground, the proper purpose and intention of a miracle.

(P. 141.)
To think that this was all my own, that I was king and lord of all this country indefeasibly, &c.

By the by, what is the law of England respecting this? Suppose I had discovered, or been wrecked on an uninhabited island, would it be mine or the king's?

(P. 223.) I considered ­ that as I could not foresee what the ends of divine wisdom might be in all this, so I was not to dispute his sovereignty, who, as I was his creature, had an undoubted right, by creation, to govern and dispose of me absolutely as he thought fit, &c.

I could never understand this reasoning, grounded on a complete misapprehension of St. Paul's image of the potter, Rom. ix., or rather I do fully understand the absurdity of it. The susceptibility of pain and pleasure, of good and evil, constitutes a right in every creature endowed therewith in relation to every rational and moral being, ­ a
, therefore, to the Supreme Reason, to the absolutely good Being. Remember Davenant's verses; ­

Doth it our reason's mutinies appease
To say, the potter may his own clay mould
To every use, or in what shape he please,
At first not counsell'd, nor at last controll'd?

Power's hand can neither easy be, nor strict
To lifeless clay, which ease nor torment knows,
And where it cannot favour or afflict,
It neither justice or injustice shows.

But souls have life, and life eternal too:
Therefore, if doom'd before they can offend,
It seems to show what heavenly power can do,
But does not in that deed that power commend.

(Death of Astragon. st. 88, &c. P. 232-3.)

And this I must observe with grief too, that the discomposure of my mind had too great impressions also upon the religious parts of my thoughts, ­ praying to God being properly an act of the mind, not of the body.

As justly conceived as it is beautifully expressed. And a mighty motive for habitual prayer; for this cannot but greatly facilitate the performance of rational prayer even in moments of urgent distress.

(P. 244.)
That this would justify the conduct of the Spaniards in all their barbarities practised in America.

De Foe was a true philanthropist, who had risen above the antipathies of nationality; but he was evidently partial to the Spanish character, which, however, it is not, I fear, possible to acquit of cruelty. Witness the Netherlands, the Inquisition, the late Guerilla warfare, &c.

(P. 249.)
That I shall not discuss, and perhaps cannot account for; but certainly they are a proof of the converse of spirits, &c.

This reminds me of a conversation I once over heard. "How a statement so injurious to Mr. A. and so contrary to the truth, should have been made to you by Mr. B. I do not pretend to account for; ­ only I know of my own knowledge that B. is an inveterate liar, and has long borne malice against Mr. A.; and I can prove that he has repeatedly declared that in some way or other he would do Mr. A. a mischief."

(P. 254.)
The place I was in was a most delightful cavity or grotto of its kind, as could be expected, though perfectly dark; the floor was dry and level, and had a sort of small loose gravel on it, &c.

How accurate an observer of nature De Foe was! The reader will at once recognize Professor Buckland's caves and the diluvial gravel.

(P. 308.)
I entered into a long discourse with him about the devil, the original of him, his rebellion against God, his enmity to man, the reason of it, his setting himself up in the dark parts of the world to be worshipped instead of God, &c.

I presume that Milton's
Paradise Lost
must have been bound up with one of Crusoe's
; otherwise I should be puzzled to know where he found all this history of the Old Gentleman. Not a word of it in the
itself, I am quite sure. But to be serious. De Foe did not reflect that all these difficulties are attached to a mere fiction, or, at the best, an allegory, supported by a few popular phrases and figures of speech used incidentally or dramatically by the Evangelists, ­ and that the existence of a personal, intelligent, evil being, the counterpart and antagonist of God, is in direct contradiction to the most express declarations of Holy Writ.
"Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?"
Amos, iii. 6.
"I make peace and create evil."
Isa. xlv. 7. This is the deep mystery of the abyss of God.

(Vol. ii. p. 3.)
I have often heard persons of good judgment say, ... that there is no such thing as a spirit appearing, a ghost walking, and the like, &c.

I cannot conceive a better definition of Body than "spirit appearing," or of a flesh-and-blood man than a rational spirit apparent. But a spirit
per se
appearing is tantamount to a spirit appearing without its appearances. And as for ghosts, it is enough for a man of common sense to observe, that a ghost and a shadow are concluded in the same definition, that is, visibility without tangibility.

(P. 9.)
She was, in a few words the stay of all my affairs, the centre of all my enterprises, &c.

The stay of his affairs, the centre of his interests, the regulator of his schemes and movements, whom it soothed his pride to submit to, and in complying with whose wishes the conscious sensation of his acting will increased the impulse, while it disguised the coercion, of duty! ­ the clinging dependent, yet the strong supporter ­ the comforter, the comfort, and the soul's living home! This is De Foe's comprehensive character of the wife, as she should be; and, to the honour of womanhood be it spoken, there are few neighbourhoods in which one name at least might not be found for the portrait.

The exquisite paragraphs in this and the next page, in addition to others scattered, though with a sparing hand, through his novels, afford sufficient proof that De Foe was a first-rate master of periodic style; but with sound judgment, and the fine tact of genius, he has avoided it as adverse to, nay, incompatible with, the every-day matter of fact realness, which forms the charm and the character of all his romances. The
Robinson Crusoe
is like the vision of a happy night-mair, such as a denizen of Elysium might be supposed to have from a little excess in his nectar and ambrosia supper. Our imagination is kept in full play, excited to the highest; yet all the while we are touching, or touched by, common flesh and blood.

(P. 67.)
The ungrateful creatures began to be as insolent and troublesome as before, &c.

How should it be otherwise? They were idle; and when we will not sow corn, the devil will be sure to sow weeds, night-shade, henbane, and devil's-bit.

(P. 82.)
That hardened villain was so far from denying it, that he said it was true, and ­ ­ him they would do it still before they had done with them.

Observe when a man has once abandoned himself to wickedness, he cannot stop, and does not join the devils till he has become a devil himself. Rebelling against his conscience he becomes the slave of his own furious will.

One excellence of De Foe, amongst many, is his sacrifice of lesser interest to the greater because more universal. Had he (as without any improbability he might have done) given his Robinson Crusoe any of the turn for natural history, which forms so striking and delightful a feature in the equally uneducated Dampier; ­ had he made him find out qualities and uses in the before (to him) unknown plants of the island, discover, for instance, a substitute for hops, or describe birds, &c. ­ many delightful pages and incidents might have enriched the book; ­ but then Crusoe would have ceased to be the universal representative, the person, for whom every reader could substitute himself. But now nothing is done, thought, suffered, or desired, but what every man can imagine himself doing, thinking, feeling, or wishing for. Even so very easy a problem as that of finding a substitute for ink, is with exquisite judgment made to baffle Crusoe's inventive faculties. And in what he does, he arrives at no excellence; he does not make basket work like Will Atkins; the carpentering, tailoring, pottery, &c. are all just what will answer his purposes, and those are confined to needs that all men have, and comforts that all men desire. Crusoe rises only to the point to which all men may be made to feel that they might, and that they ought to, rise in religion, ­ to resignation, dependence on, and thankful acknowledgement of, the divine mercy and goodness.

In the education of children, love is first to be instilled, and out of love obedience is to be educed. Then impulse and power should be given to the intellect, and the ends of a moral being be exhibited. For this object thus much is effected by works of imagination; ­ that they carry the mind out of self, and show the possible of the good and the great in the human character. The height, whatever it may be, of the imaginative standard will do no harm; we are commanded to imitate one who is inimitable. We should address ourselves to those faculties in a child's mind, which are first awakened by nature, and consequently first admit of cultivation, that is to say, the memory and the imagination. The comparing power, the judgment, is not at that age active, and ought not to be forcibly excited, as is too frequently and mistakenly done in the modern systems of education, which can only lead to selfish views, debtor and creditor principles of virtue, and an inflated sense of merit. In the imagination of man exist the seeds of all moral and scientific improvement; chemistry was first alchemy, and out of astrology sprang astronomy. In the childhood of those sciences the imagination opened a way, and furnished materials, on which the ratiocinative powers in a maturer state operated with success. The imagination is the distinguishing characteristic of man as a progressive being; and I repeat that it ought to be carefully guided and strengthened as the indispensable means and instrument of continued amelioration and refinement. Men of genius and goodness are generally restless in their minds in the present, and this, because they are by a law of their nature unremittingly regarding themselves in the future, and contemplating the possible of moral and intellectual advance towards perfection. Thus we live by hope and faith; thus we are for the most part able to realize what we will, and thus we accomplish the end of our being. The contemplation of futurity inspires humility of soul in our judgment of the present.

I think the memory of children cannot, in reason, be too much stored with the objects and facts of natural history. God opens the images of nature, like the leaves of a book, before the eyes of his creature, Man ­ and teaches him all that is grand and beautiful in the foaming cataract, the glassy lake, and the floating mist.

The common modern novel, in which there is no imagination, but a miserable struggle to excite and gratify mere curiosity, ought, in my judgment, to be wholly forbidden to children. Novel-reading of this sort is especially injurious to the growth of the imagination, the judgment, and the morals, especially to the latter, because it excites mere feelings without at the same time ministering an impulse to action. Women are good novelists, but indifferent poets; and this because they rarely or never thoroughly distinguish between fact and fiction. In the jumble of the two lies the secret of the modern novel, which is the
medium aliquid
between them, having just so much of fiction as to obscure the fact, and so much of fact as to render the fiction insipid. The perusal of a fashionable lady's novel is to me very much like looking at the scenery and decorations of a theatre by broad daylight. The source of the common fondness for novels of this sort rests in that dislike of vacancy and that love of sloth, which are inherent in the human mind; they afford excitement without producing reaction. By reaction I mean an activity of the intellectual faculties, which shows itself in consequent reasoning and observation, and originates action and conduct according to a principle. Thus, the act of thinking presents two sides for contemplation, ­ that of external causality, in which the train of thought may be considered as the result of outward impressions, of accidental combinations, of fancy, or the associations of the memory, ­ and on the other hand, that of internal causality, or of the energy of the will on the mind itself. Thought, therefore, might thus be regarded as passive or active; and the same faculties may in a popular sense be expressed as perception or observation, fancy or imagination, memory or recollection.

Footnote 1
: These notes were written by Mr. C. in Mr. Gillman's copy of
Robinson Crusoe
, in the summer of 1830. The references in the text are to Major's edition, 1831.

return to footnote mark

Contents, p.2

Lecture XII ­ Dreams ­ Apparitions ­ Alchemists ­ Personality of the Evil Being ­ Bodily Identity

It is a general, but, as it appears to me, a mistaken opinion, that in our ordinary dreams we judge the objects to be real. I say our ordinary dreams; ­ because as to the night-mair the opinion is to a considerable extent just. But the night-mair is not a mere dream, but takes place when the waking state of the brain is recommencing, and most often during a rapid alternation, a twinkling, as it were, of sleeping and waking; ­ while either from pressure on, or from some derangement in, the stomach or other digestive organs acting on the external skin (which is still in sympathy with the stomach and bowels,) and benumbing it, the sensations sent up to the brain by double touch (that is, when my own hand touches my side or breast,) are so faint as to be merely equivalent to the sensation given by single touch, as when another person's hand touches me. The mind, therefore, which at all times, with and without our distinct consciousness, seeks for, and assumes, some outward cause for every impression from without, and which in sleep, by aid of the imaginative faculty, converts its judgments respecting the cause into a personal image as being the cause, ­ the mind, I say, in this case, deceived by past experience, attributes the painful sensation received to a correspondent agent, ­ an assassin, for instance, stabbing at the side, or a goblin sitting on the breast. Add too that the impressions of the bed, curtains, room, &c. received by the eyes in the half-moments of their opening, blend with, and give vividness and appropriate distance to, the dream image which returns when they close again; and thus we unite the actual perceptions, or their immediate reliques, with the phantoms of the inward sense; and in this manner so confound the half-waking, half-sleeping, reasoning power, that we actually do pass a positive judgment on the reality of what we see and hear, though often accompanied by doubt and self-questioning, which, as I have myself experienced, will at times become strong enough, even before we awake, to convince us that it is what it is ­ namely, the night-mair.

In ordinary dreams we do not judge the objects to be real; ­ we simply do not determine that they are unreal. The sensations which they seem to produce, are in truth the causes and occasions of the images; of which there are two obvious proofs: first, that in dreams the strangest and most sudden metamorphoses do not create any sensation of surprise: and the second, that as to the most dreadful images, which during the dream were accompanied with agonies of terror, we merely awake, or turn round on the other side, and off fly both image and agony, which would be impossible if the sensations were produced by the images. This has always appeared to me an absolute demonstration of the true nature of ghosts and apparitions ­ such I mean of the tribe as were not pure inventions. Fifty years ago, (and to this day in the ruder parts of Great Britain and Ireland, in almost every kitchen and in too many parlours it is nearly the same,) you might meet persons who would assure you in the most solemn manner, so that you could not doubt their veracity at least, that they had seen an apparition of such and such a person, ­ in many cases, that the apparition had spoken to them; and they would describe themselves as having been in an agony of terror. They would tell you the story in perfect health. Now take the other class of facts, in which real ghosts have appeared; ­ I mean, where figures have been dressed up for the purpose of passing for apparitions:­ in every instance I have known or heard of (and I have collected very many) the consequence has been either sudden death, or fits, or idiocy, or mania, or a brain fever. Whence comes the difference? evidently from this, ­ that in the one case the whole of the nervous system has been by slight internal causes gradually and all together brought into a certain state, the sensation of which is extravagantly exaggerated during sleep, and of which the images are the mere effects and exponents, as the motions of the weathercock are of the wind; ­ while in the other case, the image rushing through the senses upon a nervous system, wholly unprepared, actually causes the sensation, which is sometimes powerful enough to produce a total check, and almost always a lesion or inflammation. Who has not witnessed the difference in shock when we have leaped down half-a-dozen steps intentionally, and that of having missed a single stair. How comparatively severe the latter is! The fact really is, as to apparitions, that the terror produces the image instead of the contrary; for in omnem actum perceptionis influit imaginatio, as says Wolfe.

O, strange is the self-power of the imagination ­ when painful sensations have made it their interpreter, or returning gladsomeness or convalescence has made its chilled and evanished figures and landscape bud, blossom, and live in scarlet, green, and snowy white (like the fire-screen inscribed with the nitrate and muriate of cobalt,) ­ strange is the power to represent the events and circumstances, even to the anguish or the triumph of the quasi-credent soul, while the necessary conditions, the only possible causes of such contingencies, are known to be in fact quite hopeless; ­ yea, when the pure mind would recoil from the eve-lengthened shadow of an approaching hope, as from a crime;-and yet the effect shall have place, and substance, and living energy, and, on a blue islet of ether, in a whole sky of blackest cloudage, shine like a firstling of creation!

To return, however to apparitions, and by way of an amusing illustration of the nature and value of even contemporary testimony upon such subjects, I will present you with a passage, literally translated by my friend, Mr. Southey, from the well known work of Bernal Dias, one of the companions of Cortes, in the conquest of Mexico:

Here it is that Gomara says, that Francisco de Morla rode forward on a dappled grey horse, before Cortes and the cavalry came up, and that the apostle St. Iago, or St. Peter, was there. I must say that all our works and victories are by the hand of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that in this battle there were for each of us so many Indians, that they could have covered us with handfuls of earth, if it had not been that the great mercy of God helped us in every thing. And it may be that he of whom Gomara speaks, was the glorious Santiago or San Pedro, and I, as a sinner, was not worthy to see him; but he whom I saw there and knew, was Francisco de Morla on a chestnut horse, who came up with Cortes. And it seems to me that now while I am writing this, the whole war is represented before these sinful eyes, just in the manner as we then went through it. And though I, as an unworthy sinner, might not deserve to see either of these glorious apostles, there were in our company above four hundred soldiers, and Cortes, and many other knights; and it would have been talked of and testified, and they would have made a church, when they peopled the town, which would have been called Santiago de la Vittoria, or San Pedro de la Vittoria, as it is now called, Santa Maria de la Vittoria. And if it was, as Gomara says, bad Christians must we have been, when our Lord God sent us his holy apostles, not to acknowledge his great mercy, and venerate his church daily. And would to God, it had been, as the Chronicler says! ­ but till I read his Chronicle, I never heard such a thing from any of the conquerors who were there.

Now, what if the odd accident of such a man as Bernal Dias' writing a history had not taken place! Gomara's account, the account of a contemporary, which yet must have been read by scores who were present, would have remained uncontradicted. I remember the story of a man, whom the devil met and talked with, but left at a particular lane; ­ the man followed him with his eyes, and when the devil got to the turning or bend of the lane, he vanished! The devil was upon this occasion drest in a blue coat, plush waistcoat, leather breeches and boots, and talked and looked just like a common man, except as to a particular lock of hair which he had. "And how do you know then that it was the devil?" ­ "How do I know," replied the fellow, ­ "why, if it had not been the devil, being drest as he was, and looking as he did, why should I have been sore stricken with fright, when I first saw him? and why should I be in such a tremble all the while he talked? And, moreover, he had a particular sort of a kind of a lock, and when I groaned and said, upon every question he asked me, Lord have mercy upon me! or, Christ have mercy upon me! it was plain enough that he did not like it, and so he left me!" ­ The man was quite sober when he related this story; but as it happened to him on his return from market, it is probable that he was then muddled. As for myself, I was actually seen in Newgate in the winter of 1798; ­ the person who saw me there, said he had asked my name of Mr. A. B. a known acquaintance of mine, who told him that it was young Coleridge, who had married the eldest Miss ­ ­ . "Will you go to Newgate, Sir?" said my friend;" for I assure you that Mr. C. is now in Germany." "Very willingly," replied the other, and away they went to Newgate, and sent for A. B. "Coleridge," cried he, "in Newgate! God forbid!" I said, "young Col ­ ­ who married the eldest Miss ­ ­ ." The names were something similar. And yet this person had himself really seen me at one of my lectures.

I remember, upon the occasion of my inhaling the nitrous oxide at the Royal Institution, about five minutes afterwards, a gentleman came from the other side of the theatre and said to me, ­ "Was it not ravishingly delightful, Sir?" ­ "It was highly pleasurable, no doubt." ­ "Was it not very like sweet music?" ­ "I cannot say I perceived any analogy to it." ­ "Did you not say it was very like Mrs. Billington singing by your ear?" ­ "No, Sir, I said that while I was breathing the gas, there was a singing in my ears."

To return, however, to dreams, I not only believe, for the reasons given, but have more than once actually experienced that the most fearful forms, when produced simply by association, instead of causing fear, operate no other effect than the same would do if they had passed through my mind as thoughts, while I was composing a faery tale; the whole depending on the wise and gracious law in our nature, that the actual bodily sensations, called forth according to the law of association by thoughts and images of the mind, never greatly transcend the limits of pleasurable feeling in a tolerably healthy frame, unless where an act of the judgment supervenes and interprets them as purporting instant danger to ourselves.

have been very strange and incredible stories told of and by the alchemists. Perhaps in some of them there may have been a specific form of mania, originating in the constant intension of the mind on an imaginary end, associated with an immense variety of means, all of them substances not familiar to men in general, and in forms strange and unlike to those of ordinary nature. Sometimes, it seems as if the alchemists wrote like the Pythagoreans on music, imagining a metaphysical and inaudible music as the basis of the audible. It is clear that by sulphur they meant the solar rays or light, and by mercury the principle of ponderability, so that their theory was the same with that of the Heraclitic physics, or the modern German
which deduces all things from light and gravitation, each being bipolar; gravitation=north and south, or attraction and repulsion; light=east and west, or contraction and dilation; and gold being the tetrad, or interpenetration of both, as water was the dyad of light, and iron the dyad of gravitation.

It is, probably, unjust to accuse the alchemists generally of dabbling with attempts at magic in the common sense of the term. The supposed exercise of magical power always involved some moral guilt, directly or indirectly, as in stealing a piece of meat to lay on warts, touching humours with the hand of an executed person, &c. Rites of this sort and other practices of sorcery have always been regarded with trembling abhorrence by all nations, even the most ignorant, as by the Africans, the Hudson's Bay people and others. The alchemists were, no doubt, often considered as dealers in art magic, and many of them were not unwilling that such a belief should be prevalent; and the more earnest among them evidently looked at their association of substances, fumigations, and other chemical operations as merely ceremonial, and seem, therefore, to have had a deeper meaning, that of evoking a latent power. It would be profitable to make a collection of all the cases of cures by magical charms and incantations; much useful information might, probably, be derived from it; for it is to be observed that such rites are the form in which medical knowledge would be preserved amongst a barbarous and ignorant people.

Footnote 1
: From Mr. Green's note.

return to footnote mark

Note  1  June, 1827.

The apocryphal book of
consists of a very simple, but beautiful and interesting, family-memoir, into which some later Jewish poet or fabulist of Alexandria wove the ridiculous and frigid machinery, borrowed from the popular superstitions of the Greeks (though, probably, of Egyptian origin), and accommodated, clumsily enough, to the purer monotheism of the Mosaic law.
The Rape of the Lock
is another instance of a simple tale thus enlarged at a later period, though in this case by the same author, and with a very different result. Now unless Mr. Hillhouse is Romanist enough to receive this nursery-tale garnish of a domestic incident as grave history and holy writ, (for which, even from learned Roman Catholics, he would gain more credit as a very obedient child of the Church than as a biblical critic), he will find it no easy matter to support this assertion of his by the passages of Scripture here referred to, consistently with any sane interpretation of their import and purpose.

 The Fallen Spirits.

This is the mythological form, or, if you will, the symbolical representation, of a profound idea necessary as the
of the Christian scheme, or a postulate of reason, indispensable, if we would render the existence of a world of finites compatible with the assumption of a super-mundane God, not one with the world. In short, this idea is the condition under which alone the reason of man can retain the doctrine of an infinite and absolute Being, and yet keep clear of pantheism as exhibited by Benedict Spinosa.

  The Egyptian Magicians.

This whole narrative is probably a relic of the old diplomatic
or state-symbolique ­ in which the prediction of events is expressed as the immediate causing of them. Thus the prophet is said to destroy the city, the destruction of which he predicts. The word which our version renders by
signifies "flames or burnings," by which it is probable that the Egyptians were able to deceive the spectators, and substitute serpents for staves. See Parkhurst
in voce.

And with regard to the possessions in the
, bear in mind first of all, that spirits are not necessarily souls or
), and that the most ludicrous absurdities would follow from taking them as such in the Gospel instances; and secondly, that the Evangelist, who has recorded the most of these incidents, himself speaks of one of these possessed persons as a lunatic; ­
Greek: selaeniazetai ­ epsaelthen ap auton to daimonion
. xvii. 15.18.) while St. John names them not at all, but seems to include them under the description of diseased or deranged persons. That madness may result from spiritual causes, and not only or principally from physical ailments, may readily be admitted. Is not our will itself a spiritual power? Is it not the spirit of the man? The mind of a rational and responsible being (that is, of a free-agent) is a spirit, though it does not follow that all spirits are minds. Who shall dare determine what spiritual influences may not arise out of the collective evil wills of wicked men? Even the bestial life, sinless in animals and their nature, may when awakened in the man and by his own act admitted into his will, become a spiritual influence. He receives a nature into his will, which by this very act becomes a corrupt will; and
vice versa,
this will becomes his nature, and thus a corrupt nature. This may be conceded; and this is all that the recorded words of our Saviour absolutely require in order to receive an appropriate sense; but this is altogether different from making spirits to be devils, and devils self-conscious individuals.

Footnote 1
: Written in a copy of Mr. Hillhouse's

return to footnote mark

Notes  1  March, 1824.

A Christian's conflicts and conquests, p. 459.
By the devil we are to understand that apostate spirit which fell from God, and is always designing to hale down others from God also. The Old Dragon (mentioned in the Revelation) with his tail drew down the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.

How much is it to be regretted, that so enlightened and able a divine as Smith, had not philosophically and scripturally enucleated this so difficult yet important question, ­ respecting the personal existence of the evil principle; that is, whether as
to theion
of paganism is
o theos
in Christianity, so the
to ponaeron
is to be
o ponaeros
, ­ and whether this is an express doctrine of Christ, and not merely a Jewish dogma left undisturbed to fade away under the increasing light of the Gospel, instead of assuming the former, and confirming the position by a verse from a poetic tissue of visual symbols, ­ a verse alien from the subject, and by which the Apocalypt enigmatized the Neronian persecutions and the apostacy through fear occasioned by it in a large number of converts.

(Ib. p. 463.)
When we say, the devil is continually busy with us, I mean not only some apostate spirit as one particular being, but that spirit of apostacy which is lodged in all men's natures; and this may seem particularly to be aimed at in this place, if we observe the context:­ as the scripture speaks of Christ not only as a particular person, but as a divine principle in holy souls. Indeed the devil is not only the name of one particular thing, but a nature.

May I not venture to suspect that this was Smith's own belief and judgment? and that his conversion of the Satan, that is,
, or minister of police (what our Sterne calls the accusing angel) in the prologue to Job into the devil was a mere condescension to the prevailing prejudice? Here, however, he speaks like himself, and like a true religious philosopher, who felt that the personality of evil spirits is a trifling question, compared with the personality of the evil principle. This is indeed most momentous.

Footnote 1
: Written in a copy of
Select Discourses by John Smith, of Queen's College, Cambridge, 1660,
and communicated by the Rev. Edward Coleridge.

return to footnote mark

Note on a passage in The Life of Henry, Earl of Morland. 20th June, 1827.

The defect of this and all similar theories that I am acquainted with, or rather, let me say, the
, is the neglect of a previous definition of the term "body." What do you mean by it? The immediate grounds of a man's size, visibility, tangibility, &c.? ­ But these are in a continual flux even as a column of smoke. The material particles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, lime, phosphorus, sulphur, soda, iron, that constitute the ponderable organism in May, 1827, at the moment of Pollio's death in his 70th year, have no better claim to be called his "body," than the numerical particles of the same names that constituted the ponderable mass in May, 1787, in Pollio's prime of manhood in his 30th year; ­ the latter no less than the former go into the grave, that is, suffer dissolution, the one in a series, the other simultaneously. The result to the particles is precisely the same in both, and of both therefore we must say with holy Paul, ­
"Thou fool! that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be,"
&c. Neither this nor that is the body that abideth. Abideth, I say; for that which riseth again must have remained, though perhaps in an inert state. ­ It is not dead, but sleepeth; ­ that is, it is not dissolved any more than the exterior or phenomenal organism appears to us dissolved when it lieth in apparent inactivity during our sleep.

Sound reasoning this, to the best of my judgment, as far as it goes. But how are we to explain the reaction of this fluxional body on the animal? In each moment the particles by the informing force of the living principle constitute an organ not only of motion and sense, but of consciousness. The organ plays on the organist. How is this conceivable? The solution requires a depth, stillness, and subtlety of spirit not only for its discovery, but even for the understanding of it when discovered, and in the most appropriate words enunciated. I can merely give a hint. The particles themselves must have an interior and gravitative being, and the multeity must be a removable or at least suspensible accident.

Contents, p.2

Lecture XIII ­ on Poesy or Art

Man communicates by articulation of sounds, and paramountly by the memory in the ear; nature by the impression of bounds and surfaces on the eye, and through the eye it gives significance and appropriation, and thus the conditions of memory, or the capability of being remembered, to sounds, smells, &c. Now Art, used collectively for painting, sculpture, architecture and music, is the mediatress between, and reconciler of, nature and man. It is, therefore, the power of humanizing nature, of infusing the thoughts and passions of man into every thing which is the object of his contemplation; colour, form, motion and sound are the elements which it combines, and it stamps them into unity in the mould of a moral idea.

The primary art is writing; ­ primary, if we regard the purpose abstracted from the different modes of realizing it, those steps of progression of which the instances are still visible in the lower degrees of civilization. First, there is mere gesticulation; then rosaries or wampun; then picture-language; then hieroglyphics, and finally alphabetic letters. These all consist of a translation of man into nature, of a substitution of the visible for the audible.

The so called music of savage tribes as little deserves the name of art for the understanding as the ear warrants it for music. Its lowest state is a mere expression of passion by sounds which the passion itself necessitates; ­ the highest amounts to no more than a voluntary reproduction of these sounds in the absence of the occasioning causes, so as to give the pleasure of contrast, ­ for example, by the various outcries of battle in the song of security and triumph. Poetry also is purely human; for all its materials are from the mind, and all its products are for the mind. But it is the apotheosis of the former state, in which by excitement of the associative power passion itself imitates order, and the order resulting produces a pleasurable passion, and thus it elevates the mind by making its feelings the object of its reflexion. So likewise, whilst it recalls the sights and sounds that had accompanied the occasions of the original passions, poetry impregnates them with an interest not their own by means of the passions, and yet tempers the passion by the calming power which all distinct images exert on the human soul. In this way poetry is the preparation for art, inasmuch as it avails itself of the forms of nature to recall, to express, and to modify the thoughts and feelings of the mind. Still, however, poetry can only act through the intervention of articulate speech, which is so peculiarly human, that in all languages it constitutes the ordinary phrase by which man and nature are contradistinguished. It is the original force of the word 'brute,' and even 'mute,' and 'dumb' do not convey the absence of sound, but the absence of articulated sounds.

As soon as the human mind is intelligibly addressed by an outward image exclusively of articulate speech, so soon does art commence. But please to observe that I have laid particular stress on the words 'human mind,' ­ meaning to exclude thereby all results common to man and all other sentient creatures, and consequently confining myself to the effect produced by the congruity of the animal impression with the reflective powers of the mind; so that not the thing presented, but that which is re-presented by the thing shall be the source of the pleasure. In this sense nature itself is to a religious observer the art of God; and for the same cause art itself might be defined as of a middle quality between a thought and a thing, or as I said before, the union and reconciliation of that which is nature with that which is exclusively human. It is the figured language of thought, and is distinguished from nature by the unity of all the parts in one thought or idea. Hence nature itself would give us the impression of a work of art if we could see the thought which is present at once in the whole and in every part; and a work of art will be just in proportion as it adequately conveys the thought, and rich in proportion to the variety of parts which it holds in unity.

If, therefore, the term 'mute' be taken as opposed not to sound but to articulate speech, the old definition of painting will in fact be the true and best definition of the Fine Arts in general, that is, muta poesis, mute poesy, and so of course poesy. And, as all languages perfect themselves by a gradual process of desynonymizing words originally equivalent, I have cherished the wish to use the word 'poesy' as the generic or common term, and to distinguish that species of poesy which is not muta poesis by its usual name 'poetry;' while of all the other species which collectively form the Fine Arts, there would remain this as the common definition, ­ that they all, like poetry, are to express intellectual purposes, thoughts, conceptions, and sentiments which have their origin in the human mind, ­ not, however, as poetry does, by means of articulate speech, but as nature or the divine art does, by form, colour, magnitude, proportion, or by sound, that is, silently or musically.

Well! it may be said ­ but who has ever thought otherwise? We all know that art is the imitatress of nature. And, doubtless, the truths which I hope to convey would be barren truisms, if all men meant the same by the words 'imitate' and 'nature.' But it would be flattering mankind at large, to presume that such is the fact. First, to imitate. The impression on the wax is not an imitation, but a copy, of the seal; the seal itself is an imitation. But, further, in order to form a philosophic conception, we must seek for the kind, as the heat in ice, invisible light, &c. whilst, for practical purposes, we must have reference to the degree. It is sufficient that philosophically we understand that in all imitation two elements must coexist, and not only coexist, but must be perceived as coexisting. These two constituent elements are likeness and unlikeness, or sameness and difference, and in all genuine creations of art there must be a union of these disparates. The artist may take his point of view where he pleases, provided that the desired effect be perceptibly produced, ­ that there be likeness in the difference, difference in the likeness, and a reconcilement of both in one. If there be likeness to nature without any check of difference, the result is disgusting, and the more complete the delusion, the more loathsome the effect. Why are such simulations of nature, as wax-work figures of men and women, so disagreeable? Because, not finding the motion and the life which we expected, we are shocked as by a falsehood, every circumstance of detail, which before induced us to be interested, making the distance from truth more palpable. You set out with a supposed reality and are disappointed and disgusted with the deception; whilst, in respect to a work of genuine imitation, you begin with an acknowledged total difference, and then every touch of nature gives you the pleasure of an approximation to truth. The fundamental principle of all this is undoubtedly the horror of falsehood and the love of truth inherent in the human breast. The Greek tragic dance rested on these principles, and I can deeply sympathize in imagination with the Greeks in this favourite part of their theatrical exhibitions, when I call to mind the pleasure I felt in beholding the combat of the Horatii and Curiatii most exquisitely danced in Italy to the music of Cimarosa.

Secondly, as to nature. We must imitate nature! yes, but what in nature, ­ all and every thing? No, the beautiful in nature. And what then is the beautiful? What is beauty? It is, in the abstract, the unity of the manifold, the coalescence of the diverse; in the concrete, it is the union of the shapely (formosum) with the vital. In the dead organic it depends on regularity of form, the first and lowest species of which is the triangle with all its modifications, as in crystals, architecture, &c.; in the living organic it is not mere regularity of form, which would produce a sense of formality; neither is it subservient to any thing beside itself. It may be present in a disagreeable object, in which the proportion of the parts constitutes a whole; it does not arise from association, as the agreeable does, but sometimes lies in the rupture of association; it is not different to different individuals and nations, as has been said, nor is it connected with the ideas of the good, or the fit, or the useful. The sense of beauty is intuitive, and beauty itself is all that inspires pleasure without, and aloof from, and even contrarily to, interest.

If the artist copies the mere nature, the natura naturata, what idle rivalry? If he proceeds only from a given form, which is supposed to answer to the notion of beauty, what an emptiness, what an unreality there always is in his productions, as in Cipriani's pictures! Believe me, you must master the essence, the natura naturans, which presupposes a bond between nature in the higher sense and the soul of man.

The wisdom in nature is distinguished from that in man by the co-instantaneity of the plan and the execution; the thought and the product are one, or are given at once; but there is no reflex act, and hence there is no moral responsibility. In man there is reflexion, freedom, and choice; he is, therefore, the head of the visible creation. In the objects of nature are presented, as in a mirror, all the possible elements, steps, and processes of intellect antecedent to consciousness, and therefore to the full development of the intelligential act; and man's mind is the very focus of all the rays of intellect which are scattered throughout the images of nature. Now so to place these images, totalized, and fitted to the limits of the human mind, as to elicit from, and to superinduce upon, the forms themselves the moral reflexions to which they approximate, to make the external internal, the internal external, to make nature thought, and thought nature, ­ this is the mystery of genius in the Fine Arts. Dare I add that the genius must act on the feeling, that body is but a striving to become mind, ­ that it is mind in its essence!

In every work of art there is a reconcilement of the external with the internal; the conscious is so impressed on the unconscious as to appear in it; as compare mere letters inscribed on a tomb with figures themselves constituting the tomb. He who combines the two is the man of genius; and for that reason he must partake of both. Hence there is in genius itself an unconscious activity; nay, that is the genius in the man of genius. And this is the true exposition of the rule that the artist must first eloign himself from nature in order to return to her with full effect. Why this? Because if he were to begin by mere painful copying, he would produce masks only, not forms breathing life. He must out of his own mind create forms according to the severe laws of the intellect, in order to generate in himself that co-ordination of freedom and law, that involution of obedience in the prescript, and of the prescript in the impulse to obey, which assimilates him to nature, and enables him to understand her. He merely absents himself for a season from her, that his own spirit, which has the same ground with nature, may learn her unspoken language in its main radicals, before he approaches to her endless compositions of them. Yes, not to acquire cold notions ­ lifeless technical rules ­ but living and life-producing ideas, which shall contain their own evidence, the certainty that they are essentially one with the germinal causes in nature ­ his consciousness being the focus and mirror of both, ­ for this does the artist for a time abandon the external real in order to return to it with a complete sympathy with its internal and actual. For of all we see, hear, feel and touch the substance is and must be in ourselves; and therefore there is no alternative in reason between the dreary (and thank heaven! almost impossible) belief that every thing around us is but a phantom, or that the life which is in us is in them likewise; and that to know is to resemble, when we speak of objects out of ourselves, even as within ourselves to learn is, according to Plato, only to recollect; ­ the only effective answer to which, that I have been fortunate to meet with, is that which Pope has consecrated for future use in the line ­

And coxcombs vanquish Berkeley with a grin!

The artist must imitate that which is within the thing, that which is active through form and figure, and discourses to us by symbols ­ the
, or spirit of nature, as we unconsciously imitate those whom we love; for so only can he hope to produce any work truly natural in the object and truly human in the effect. The idea which puts the form together cannot itself be the form. It is above form, and is its essence, the universal in the individual, or the individuality itself, ­ the glance and the exponent of the indwelling power.

Each thing that lives has its moment of self-exposition, and so has each period of each thing, if we remove the disturbing forces of accident. To do this is the business of ideal art, whether in images of childhood, youth, or age, in man or in woman. Hence a good portrait is the abstract of the personal; it is not the likeness for actual comparison, but for recollection. This explains why the likeness of a very good portrait is not always recognized; because some persons never abstract, and amongst these are especially to be numbered the near relations and friends of the subject, in consequence of the constant pressure and check exercised on their minds by the actual presence of the original. And each thing that only appears to live has also its possible position of relation to life, as nature herself testifies, who, where she cannot be, prophecies her being in the crystallized metal, or the inhaling plant.

The charm, the indispensable requisite, of sculpture is unity of effect. But painting rests in a material remoter from nature, and its compass is therefore greater. Light and shade give external, as well internal, being even with all its accidents, whilst sculpture is confined to the latter. And here I may observe that the subjects chosen for works of art, whether in sculpture or painting, should be such as really are capable of being expressed and conveyed within the limits of those arts. Moreover they ought to be such as will affect the spectator by their truth, their beauty, or their sublimity, and therefore they may be addressed to the judgment, the senses, or the reason. The peculiarity of the impression which they may make, may be derived either from colour and form, or from proportion and fitness, or from the excitement of the moral feelings; or all these maybe combined. Such works as do combine these sources of effect must have the preference in dignity.

Imitation of the antique may be too exclusive, and may produce an injurious effect on modern sculpture; ­ 1st, generally, because such an imitation cannot fail to have a tendency to keep the attention fixed on externals rather than on the thought within; ­ 2ndly, because, accordingly, it leads the artist to rest satisfied with that which is always imperfect, namely, bodily form, and circumscribes his views of mental expression to the ideas of power and grandeur only; ­ 3rdly, because it induces an effort to combine together two incongruous things, that is to say, modern feelings in antique forms; ­ 4thly, because it speaks in a language, as it were, learned and dead, the tones of which, being unfamiliar, leave the common spectator cold and unimpressed; ­ and lastly, because it necessarily causes a neglect of thoughts, emotions and images of profounder interest and more exalted dignity, as motherly, sisterly, and brotherly love, piety, devotion, the divine become human, ­ the Virgin, the Apostle, the Christ. The artist's principle in the statue of a great man should be the illustration of departed merit; and I cannot but think that a skilful adoption of modern habiliments would, in many instances, give a variety and force of effect which a bigotted adherence to Greek or Roman costume precludes. It is, I believe, from artists finding Greek models unfit for several important modern purposes, that we see so many allegorical figures on monuments and elsewhere. Painting was, as it were, a new art, and being unshackled by old models it chose its own subjects, and took an eagle's flight. And a new field seems opened for modern sculpture in the symbolical expression of the ends of life, as in Guy's monument, Chantrey's children in Worcester Cathedral, &c.

Architecture exhibits the greatest extent of the difference from nature which may exist in works of art. It involves all the powers of design, and is sculpture and painting inclusively. It shews the greatness of man, and should at the same time teach him humility.

Music is the most entirely human of the fine arts, and has the fewest
in nature. Its first delightfulness is simple accordance with the ear; but it is an associated thing, and recalls the deep emotions of the past with an intellectual sense of proportion. Every human feeling is greater and larger than the exciting cause, ­ a proof, I think, that man is designed for a higher state of existence; and this is deeply implied in music in which there is always something more and beyond the immediate expression.

With regard to works in all the branches of the fine arts, I may remark that the pleasure arising from novelty must of course be allowed its due place and weight. This pleasure consists in the identity of two opposite elements, that is to say ­ sameness and variety. If in the midst of the variety there be not some fixed object for the attention, the unceasing succession of the variety will prevent the mind from observing the difference of the individual objects; and the only thing remaining will be the succession, which will then produce precisely the same effect as sameness. This we experience when we let the trees or hedges pass before the fixed eye during a rapid movement in a carriage, or on the other hand, when we suffer a file of soldiers or ranks of men in procession to go on before us without resting the eye on any one in particular. In order to derive pleasure from the occupation of the mind, the principle of unity must always be present, so that in the midst of the multeity the centripetal force be never suspended, nor the sense be fatigued by the predominance of the centrifugal force. This unity in multeity I have elsewhere stated as the principle of beauty. It is equally the source of pleasure in variety, and in fact a higher term including both. What is the seclusive or distinguishing term between them?

Remember that there is a difference between form as proceeding, and shape as superinduced; ­ the latter is either the death or the imprisonment of the thing; ­ the former is its self-witnessing and self-effected sphere of agency. Art would or should be the abridgment of nature. Now the fulness of nature is without character, as water is purest when without taste, smell, or colour; but this is the highest, the apex only, ­ it is not the whole. The object of art is to give the whole
ad hominem
; hence each step of nature hath its ideal, and hence the possibility of a climax up to the perfect form of a harmonized chaos.

To the idea of life victory or strife is necessary; as virtue consists not simply in the absence of vices, but in the overcoming of them. So it is in beauty. The sight of what is subordinated and conquered heightens the strength and the pleasure; and this should be exhibited by the artist either inclusively in his figure, or else out of it and beside it to act by way of supplement and contrast. And with a view to this, remark the seeming identity of body and mind in infants, and thence the loveliness of the former; the commencing separation in boyhood, and the struggle of equilibrium in youth: thence onward the body is first simply indifferent; then demanding the translucency of the mind not to be worse than indifferent; and finally all that presents the body as body becoming almost of an excremental nature.

Contents, p.2

Lecture XIV ­ on Style

I have, I believe, formerly observed with regard to the character of the governments of the East, that their tendency was despotic, that is, towards unity; whilst that of the Greek governments, on the other hand, leaned to the manifold and the popular, the unity in them being purely ideal, namely of all as an identification of the whole. In the northern or Gothic nations the aim and purpose of the government were the preservation of the rights and interests of the individual in conjunction with those of the whole. The individual interest was sacred. In the character and tendency of the Greek and Gothic languages there is precisely the same relative difference. In Greek the sentences are long, and the structure architectural, so that each part or clause is insignificant when compared with the whole. The result is every thing, the steps and processes nothing. But in the Gothic and, generally, in what we call the modern, languages, the structure is short, simple, and complete in each part, and the connexion of the parts with the sum total of the discourse is maintained by the sequency of the logic, or the community of feelings excited between the writer and his readers. As an instance equally delightful and complete, of what may be called the Gothic structure as contra-distinguished from that of the Greeks, let me cite a part of our famous Chaucer's character of a parish priest as he should be. Can it ever be quoted too often?

A good man thér was of religiöun
That was a pouré Parsone of a toun,
But riche he was of holy thought and werk;
He was alsó a lerned man, a clerk,
That Cristés gospel trewély wolde preche;
His párishens 1 devoutly wolde he teche;
Benigne he was, and wonder 2 diligent,
And in adversite ful patient,
And swiche 3 he was ypreved 4 often sithes 5;
Ful loth were him to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven 6 out of doute
Unto his pouré párishens aboute
Of hís offríng, and eke of his substánce;
He coude in litel thing have suffisance:
Wide was his parish, and houses fer asonder,
But he ne 7 left nought for no rain ne 8 thonder,
In sikenesse and in mischief to visíte
The ferrest 9 in his parish moche and lite 10
Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf:
This noble ensample to his shepe he yaf, 11
That first he wrought, and afterward he taught,
Out of the gospel he the wordés caught,
And this figúre he added yet thereto,
That if gold rusté, what should iren do.
He setté not his benefice to hire,
And lette 12 his shepe accombred 13 in the mire,
And ran untó Londón untó Seint Poules,
To seken him a chantérie for soules,
Or with a brotherhede to be withold,
But dwelt at home, and kepté wel his fold,
So that the wolf ne made it not miscarie:
He was a shepherd and no mercenarie;
And though he holy were and vertuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitous, 14
Ne of his speché dangerous ne digne, 15
But in his teching discrete and benigne,
To drawen folk to heven with fairénesse,
By good ensample was his besinesse;
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were of high or low estat,
Him wolde he snibben 16 sharply for the nones:
A better preest I trowe that no wher non is;
He waited after no pompe ne reverence,
He maked him no spiced conscience,
But Cristés love and his apostles' twelve
He taught, but first he folwed it himselve. 17

Footnote 1: Parisioners (return) Footnote 2: Wondrous (return)
Footnote 3: Such (return) Footnote 4: Proved (return)
Footnote 5: Times (return) Footnote 6: Give or Have given (return)
Footnote 7: Not (return) Footnote 8: Nor (return)
Footnote 9: Farthest (return) Footnote 10: Great and small (return)
Footnote 11: Gave (return) Footnote 12: Left (return)
Footnote 13: Encumbered (return) Footnote 14: Despiteous (return)
Footnote 15: Proud (return) Footnote 16: Reprove (return)
Footnote 17: Prologue to Canterbury Tales (return)

Such change as really took place in the style of our literature after Chaucer's time is with difficulty perceptible, on account of the dearth of writers, during the civil wars of the l5th century. But the transition was not very great; and accordingly we find in Latimer and our other venerable authors about the time of Edward VI. as in Luther, the general characteristics of the earliest manner; ­ that is, every part popular, and the discourse addressed to all degrees of intellect; ­ the sentences short, the tone vehement, and the connexion of the whole produced by honesty and singleness of purpose, intensity of passion, and pervading importance of the subject.

Another and a very different species of style is that which was derived from, and founded on, the admiration and cultivation of the classical writers, and which was more exclusively addressed to the learned class in society. I have previously mentioned Boccaccio as the original Italian introducer of this manner, and the great models of it in English are Hooker, Bacon, Milton, and Taylor, although it may be traced in many other authors of that age. In all these the language is dignified but plain, genuine English, although elevated and brightened by superiority of intellect in the writer. Individual words themselves are always used by them in their precise meaning, without either affectation or slipslop. The letters and state papers of Sir Francis Walsingham are remarkable for excellence in style of this description. In Jeremy Taylor the sentences are often extremely long, and yet are generally so perspicuous in consequence of their logical structure, that they require no reperusal to be understood; and it is for the most part the same in Milton and Hooker.

Take the following sentence as a specimen of the sort of style to which I have been alluding:­

Concerning Faith, the principal object whereof is that eternal verity which hath discovered the treasures of hidden wisdom in Christ; concerning Hope, the highest object whereof is that everlasting goodness which in Christ doth quicken the dead; concerning Charity, the final object whereof is that incomprehensible beauty which shineth in the countenance of Christ, the Son of the living God: concerning these virtues, the first of which beginning here with a weak apprehension of things not seen, endeth with the intuitive vision of God in the world to come; the second beginning here with a trembling expectation of things far removed, and as yet but only heard of, endeth with real and actual fruition of that which no tongue can express; the third beginning here with a weak inclination of heart towards him unto whom we are not able to approach, endeth with endless union, the mystery whereof is higher than the reach of the thoughts of men; concerning that Faith, Hope, and Charity, without which there can be no salvation, was there ever any mention made saving only in that Law which God himself hath from Heaven revealed? There is not in the world a syllable muttered with certain truth concerning any of these three, more than hath been supernaturally received from the mouth of the eternal God.
Eccles. Pol. I. s. 11.

The unity in these writers is produced by the unity of the subject, and the perpetual growth and evolution of the thoughts, one generating, and explaining, and justifying, the place of another, not, as it is in Seneca, where the thoughts, striking as they are, are merely strung together like beads, without any causation or progression. The words are selected because they are the most appropriate, regard being had to the dignity of the total impression, and no merely big phrases are used where plain ones would have sufficed, even in the most learned of their works.

There is some truth in a remark, which I believe was made by Sir Joshua Reynolds, that the greatest man is he who forms the taste of a nation, and that the next greatest is he who corrupts it. The true classical style of Hooker and his fellows was easily open to corruption; and Sir Thomas Brown it was, who, though a writer of great genius, first effectually injured the literary taste of the nation by his introduction of learned words, merely because they were learned. It would be difficult to describe Brown adequately; exuberant in conception and conceit, dignified, hyperlatinistic, a quiet and sublime enthusiast; yet a fantast, a humourist, a brain with a twist; egotistic like Montaigne, yet with a feeling heart and an active curiosity, which, however, too often degenerates into a hunting after oddities. In his
and, indeed, almost all his works the entireness of his mental action is very observable; he metamorphoses every thing, be it what it may, into the subject under consideration. But Sir Thomas Brown with all his faults had a genuine idiom; and it is the existence of an individual idiom in each, that makes the principal writers before the Restoration the great patterns or integers of English style. In them the precise intended meaning of a word can never be mistaken; whereas in the later writers, as especially in Pope, the use of words is for the most part purely arbitrary, so that the context will rarely show the true specific sense, but only that something of the sort is designed. A perusal of the authorities cited by Johnson in his dictionary under any leading word, will give you a lively sense of this declension in etymological truth of expression in the writers after the Restoration, or perhaps, strictly, after the middle of the reign of Charles II.

The general characteristic of the style of our literature down to the period which I have just mentioned, was gravity, and in Milton and some other writers of his day there are perceptible traces of the sternness of republicanism. Soon after the Restoration a material change took place, and the cause of royalism was graced, sometimes disgraced, by every shade of lightness of manner. A free and easy style was considered as a test of loyalty, or at all events, as a badge of the cavalier party; you may detect it occasionally even in Barrow, who is, however, in general remarkable for dignity and logical sequency of expression; but in L'Estrange, Collyer, and the writers of that class, this easy manner was carried out to the utmost extreme of slang and ribaldry. Yet still the works, even of these last authors, have considerable merit in one point of view; their language is level to the understandings of all men; it is an actual transcript of the colloquialism of the day, and is accordingly full of life and reality. Roger North's life of his brother the Lord Keeper, is the most valuable specimen of this class of our literature; it is delightful, and much beyond any other of the writings of his contemporaries.

From the common opinion that the English style attained its greatest perfection in and about Queen Ann's reign I altogether dissent; not only because it is in one species alone in which it can be pretended that the writers of that age excelled their predecessors, but also because the specimens themselves are not equal, upon sound principles of judgment, to much that had been produced before. The classical structure of Hooker ­ the impetuous, thought-agglomerating, flood of Taylor ­ to these there is no pretence of a parallel; and for mere ease and grace, is Cowley inferior to Addison, being as he is so much more thoughtful and full of fancy? Cowley, with the omission of a quaintness here and there, is probably the best model of style for modern imitation in general. Taylor's periods have been frequently attempted by his admirers; you may, perhaps, just catch the turn of a simile or single image, but to write in the real manner of Jeremy Taylor would require as mighty a mind as his. Many parts of Algernon Sidney's treatises afford excellent exemplars of a good modern practical style; and Dryden in his prose works, is a still better model, if you add a stricter and purer grammar. It is, indeed, worthy of remark that all our great poets have been good prose writers, as Chaucer, Spenser, Milton; and this probably arose from their just sense of metre. For a true poet will never confound verse and prose; whereas it is almost characteristic of indifferent prose writers that they should be constantly slipping into scraps of metre. Swift's style is, in its line, perfect; the manner is a complete expression of the matter, the terms appropriate, and the artifice concealed. It is simplicity in the true sense of the word.

After the Revolution, the spirit of the nation became much more commercial, than it had been before; a learned body, or clerisy, as such, gradually disappeared, and literature in general began to be addressed to the common miscellaneous public. That public had become accustomed to, and required, a strong stimulus; and to meet the requisitions of the public taste, a style was produced which by combining triteness of thought with singularity and excess of manner of expression, was calculated at once to soothe ignorance and to flatter vanity. The thought was carefully kept down to the immediate apprehension of the commonest understanding, and the dress was as anxiously arranged for the purpose of making the thought appear something very profound. The essence of this style consisted in a mock antithesis, that is, an opposition of mere sounds, in a rage for personification, the abstract made animate, far-fetched metaphors, strange phrases, metrical scraps, in every thing, in short, but genuine prose. Style is, of course, nothing else but the art of conveying the meaning appropriately and with perspicuity, whatever that meaning may be, and one criterion of style is that it shall not be translateable without injury to the meaning. Johnson's style has pleased many from the very fault of being perpetually translateable; he creates an impression of cleverness by never saying any thing in a common way. The best specimen of this manner is in Junius, because his antithesis is less merely verbal than Johnson's. Gibbon's manner is the worst of all; it has every fault of which this peculiar style is capable. Tacitus is an example of it in Latin; in coming from Cicero you feel the

In order to form a good style, the primary rule and condition is, not to attempt to express ourselves in language before we thoroughly know our own meaning; ­ when a man perfectly understands himself, appropriate diction will generally be at his command either in writing or speaking. In such cases the thoughts and the words are associated. In the next place preciseness in the use of terms is required, and the test is whether you can translate the phrase adequately into simpler terms, regard being had to the feeling of the whole passage. Try this upon Shakspeare, or Milton, and see if you can substitute other simpler words in any given passage without a violation of the meaning or tone. The source of bad writing is the desire to be something more than a man of sense, ­ the straining to be thought a genius; and it is just the same in speech making. If men would only say what they have to say in plain terms, how much more eloquent they would be! Another rule is to avoid converting mere abstractions into persons. I believe you will very rarely find in any great writer before the Revolution the possessive case of an inanimate noun used in prose instead of the dependent case, as 'the watch's hand,' for 'the hand of the watch.' The possessive or Saxon genitive was confined to persons, or at least to animated subjects. And I cannot conclude this Lecture without insisting on the importance of accuracy of style as being near akin to veracity and truthful habits of mind; he who thinks loosely will write loosely, and, perhaps, there is some moral inconvenience in the common forms of our grammars which give children so many obscure terms for material distinctions. Let me also exhort you to careful examination of what you read, if it be worth any perusal at all; such examination will be a safeguard from fanaticism, the universal origin of which is in the contemplation of phenomena without investigation into their causes.

Contents, p.2

Notes on Sir Thomas Brown's Religio Medici 1

Strong feeling and an active intellect conjoined, lead almost necessarily, in the first stage of philosophising, to Spinosism. Sir T. Brown was a Spinosist without knowing it.

If I have not quite all the faith that the author of the Religio Medici possessed, I have all the inclination to it; it gives me pleasure to believe.

The postscript at the very end of the book is well worth reading. Sir K. Digby's observations, however, are those of a pedant in his own system and opinion. He ought to have considered the R. M. in a dramatic, and not in a metaphysical, view, as a sweet exhibition of character and passion, and not as an expression, or investigation, of positive truth. The R. M. is a fine portrait of a handsome man in his best clothes; it is much of what he was at all times, a good deal of what he was only in his best moments. I have never read a book in which I felt greater similarity to my own make of mind ­ active in inquiry, and yet with an appetite to believe ­ in short an affectionate visionary! But then I should tell a different tale of my own heart; for I would not only endeavour to tell the truth, (which I doubt not Sir T. B. has done), but likewise to tell the whole truth, which most assuredly he has not done. However, it is a most delicious book. His own character was a fine mixture of humourist, genius, and pedant. A library was a living world to him, and every book a man, absolute flesh and blood! and the gravity with which he records contradictory opinions is exquisite.

(Part 1. sect. 9.)
Now contrarily, I bless myself, and am thankful that I lived not in the days of miracles, that I never saw Christ nor his disciples, &c.

So say I.

(S. 15.)
I could never content my contemplation with those general pieces of wonder, the flux and reflux of the sea, the increase of Nile, the conversion of the needle to the north; and have studied to match and parallel those in the more obvious and neglected pieces of nature; which without further travel I can do in the cosmography of myself; we carry with us the wonders we seek without us. There is all Africa and her prodigies in us; we are that bold and adventurous piece of nature, which he that studies wisely learns in a compendium what others labour at in a divided piece and endless volume.

This is the true characteristic of genius; our destiny and instinct is to unriddle the world, and he is the man of genius who feels this instinct fresh and strong in his nature; who perceiving the riddle and the mystery of all things even the commonest, needs no strange and out-of-the-way tales or images to stimulate him into wonder and a deep interest.

(S. 16, 17.)
All this is very fine philosophy, and the best and most ingenious defence of revelation. Moreover, I do hold and believe that a toad is a comely animal; but nevertheless a toad is called ugly by almost all men, and it is the business of a philosopher to explain the reason of this.

S. 19. This is exceedingly striking. Had Sir T. B. lived now-a-days, he would probably have been a very ingenious and bold infidel in his real opinions, though the kindness of his nature would have kept him aloof from vulgar prating obtrusive infidelity.

S. 35. An excellent burlesque on parts of the Schoolmen, though I believe an unintentional one.

S. 36. Truly sublime ­ and in Sir T. B.'s very best manner.

S. 39. This is a most admirable passage. Yes, ­ the history of a man for the nine months preceding his birth, would, probably, be far more interesting, and contain events of greater moment than all the three score and ten years that follow it.

(S. 48.)
This is made good by experience, which can from the ashes of a plant revive the plant, and from its cinders recall it into its stalks and leaves again.

Stuff. This was, I believe, some lying boast of Paracelsus, which the good Sir T. B. has swallowed for a fact.

(Part II. s. 2.)
I give no alms to satisfy the hunger of my brother, but to fulfil and accomplish the will and command of my God.

We ought not to relieve a poor man merely because our own feelings impel us, but because these feelings are just and proper feelings. My feelings might impel me to revenge with the same force with which they urge me to charity. I must therefore have some rule by which I may judge my feelings, ­ and this rule is God's will.

(S. 5, 6.)
I never yet cast a true affection on a woman; but I have loved my friend as I do virtue, my soul, my God.

We cannot love a friend as a woman; but we may love a woman as a friend. Friendship satisfies the highest parts of our nature; but a wife, who is capable of friendship, satisfies all. The great business of real unostentatious virtue is ­ not to eradicate any genuine instinct or appetite of human nature; but ­ to establish a concord and unity betwixt all parts of our nature, to give a feeling and a passion to our purer intellect, and to intellectualize our feelings and passions. This a happy marriage, blest with children, effectuates in the highest degree, of which our nature is capable, and is therefore chosen by St. Paul as the symbol of the union of the church with Christ; that is, of the souls of all good men with God. "I scarcely distinguish," said once a good old man, "the wife of my old age from the wife of my youth; for when we were both young, and she was beautiful, for once that I caressed her with a meaner passion, I caressed her a thousand times with love ­ and these caresses still remain to us." Besides, there is another reason why friendship is of somewhat less value than love, which includes friendship, it is this ­ we may love many persons, all very dearly; but we cannot love many persons all equally dearly. There will be differences, there will be gradations. But our nature imperiously asks a summit, a resting-place; it is with the affections in love as with the reason in religion, we cannot diffuse and equalize; we must have a supreme, a one, the highest. What is more common than to say of a man in love, 'he idolizes her,' 'he makes a god of her?' Now, in order that a person should continue to love another better than all others, it seems necessary, that this feeling should be reciprocal. For if it be not so, sympathy is broken off in the very highest point. A. (we will say by way of illustration) loves B. above all others, in the best and fullest sense of the word, love, but B. loves C. above all others. Either, therefore, A. does not sympathize with B. in this most important feeling; and then his love must necessarily be incomplete, and accompanied with a craving after something that is not, and yet might be; or he does sympathize with B. in loving C. above all others ­ and then, of course, he loves C. better than B. Now it is selfishness, at least it seems so to me, to desire that your friend should love you better than all others ­ but not to wish that a wife should.

(S. 6.)
Another misery there is in affection, that whom we truly love like ourselves, we forget their looks, nor can our memory retain the idea of their faces; and it is no wonder: for they are ourselves, and our affection makes their looks our own.

A thought I have often had, and once expressed it in almost the same language. The fact is certain, but the explanation here given is very unsatisfactory. For why do we never have an image of our own faces ­ an image of fancy, I mean?

(S. 7.)
I can hold there is no such thing as injury; that if there be, there is no such injury as revenge, and no such revenge as the contempt of an injury; that to hate another, is to malign himself, and that the truest way to love another is to despise ourselves.

I thank God that I can, with a full and unfeigning heart, utter Amen to this passage.

(S. 10.)
In brief, there can be nothing truly alone, and by itself, which is not truly one; and such is only God.

Reciprocity is that which alone gives stability to love. It is not mere selfishness that impels all kind natures to desire that there should be some one human being, to whom they are most dear. It is because they wish some one being to exist, who shall be the resting place and summit of their love; and this in human nature is not possible, unless the two affections coincide. The reason is, that the object of the highest love will not otherwise be the same in both parties.

(S. 11.)
I thank God for my happy dreams, &c.

I am quite different from Sir T. B. in this; for all, or almost all, the painful and fearful thoughts that I know, are in my dreams; ­ so much so, that when I am wounded by a friend, or receive an unpleasant letter, it throws me into a state very nearly resembling that of a dream.

(S. 13.)
Statists that labour to contrive a commonwealth without any poverty, take away the object of our charity, not only not understanding the commonwealth of a Christian, but forgetting the prophecies of Christ.

O, for shame! for shame! Is there no fit object of charity but abject poverty? And what sort of a charity must that be which wishes misery in order that it may have the credit of relieving a small part of it, ­ pulling down the comfortable cottages of independent industry to build alms-houses out of the ruins! This book paints certain parts of my moral and intellectual being, (the best parts, no doubt,) better than any other book I have ever met with; ­ and the style is throughout delicious.

Footnote 1
: Communicated by Mr. Wordsworth.

return to footnote mark

Contents, p.2

Notes on Junius


Stat nominis umbra.

As he never dropped the mask, so he too often used the poisoned dagger of an assassin.

Dedication to the English nation.

The whole of this dedication reads like a string of aphorisms arranged in chapters, and classified by a resemblance of subject, or a cento of points.

If an honest, and I may truly affirm a laborious, zeal for the public service has given me any weight in your esteem, let me exhort and conjure you never to suffer an invasion of your political constitution, however minute the instance may appear, to pass by, without a determined persevering resistance.

A longer sentence and proportionately inelegant.

If you reflect that in the changes of administration which have marked and disgraced the present reign, although your warmest patriots have, in their turn, been invested with the lawful and unlawful authority of the crown, and though other reliefs or improvements have been held forth to the people, yet that no one man in office has ever promoted or encouraged a bill for shortening the duration of parliaments, but that (whoever was minister) the opposition to this measure, ever since the septennial act passed, has been constant and uniform on the part of government.

Long, and as usual, inelegant. Junius cannot manage a long sentence; it has all the
of a snappish figure-dance.


An excellent preface, and the sentences not so snipt as in the dedication. The paragraph near the conclusion beginning with "some opinion may now be expected," &c. and ending with "relation between guilt and punishment," deserves to be quoted as a master-piece of rhetorical ratiocination in a series of questions that permit no answer; or (as Junius says) carry their own answer along with them. The great art of Junius is never to say too much, and to avoid with equal anxiety a commonplace manner, and matter that is not commonplace. If ever he deviates into any originality of thought, he takes care that it shall be such as excites surprise for its acuteness, rather than admiration for its profundity. He takes care? say rather, that nature took care for him. It is impossible to detract from the merit of these Letters: they are suited to their purpose, and perfect in their kind. They impel to action, not thought. Had they been profound or subtle in thought, or majestic and sweeping in composition, they would have been adapted for the closet of a Sidney, or for a House of Lords such as it was in the time of Lord Bacon; but they are plain and sensible whenever the author is in the right, and whether right or wrong, always shrewd and epigrammatic, and fitted for the coffee-house, the exchange, the lobby of the House of Commons, and to be read aloud at a public meeting. When connected, dropping the forms of connection, desultory without abruptness or appearance of disconnection, epigrammatic and antithetical to excess, sententious and personal, regardless of right or wrong, yet well-skilled to act the part of an honest warm-hearted man, and even when he is in the right, saying the truth but never proving it, much less attempting to bottom it, ­ this is the character of Junius; ­ and on this character, and in the mould of these writings must every man cast himself, who would wish in factious times to be the important and long remembered agent of a faction. I believe that I could do all that Junius has done, and surpass him by doing many things which he has not done: for example, ­ by an occasional induction of startling facts, in the manner of Tom Paine, and lively illustrations and witty applications of good stories and appropriate anecdotes in the manner of Horne Tooke. I believe I could do it if it were in my nature to aim at this sort of excellence, or to be enamoured of the fame, and immediate influence, which would be its consequence and reward. But it is not in my nature. I not only love truth, but I have a passion for the legitimate investigation of truth. The love of truth conjoined with a keen delight in a strict and skillful yet impassioned argumentation, is my master-passion, and to it are subordinated even the love of liberty and all my public feelings ­ and to it whatever I labour under of vanity, ambition, and all my inward impulses.

Letter I.
From this Letter all the faults and excellencies of Junius may be exemplified. The moral and political aphorisms are just and sensible, the irony in which his personal satire is conveyed is fine, yet always intelligible; but it approaches too nearly to the nature of a sneer; the sentences are cautiously constructed without the forms of connection; the
everywhere substituted for the
; the sentences are short, laboriously balanced, and the antitheses stand the test of analysis much better than Johnson's. These are all excellencies in their kind; ­ where is the defect? In this; ­ there is too much of each, and there is a defect of many things, the presence of which would have been not only valuable for their own sakes, but for the relief and variety which they would have given. It is observable too that every Letter adds to the faults of these Letters, while it weakens the effect of their beauties.

. A capital letter, addressed to a private person, and intended as a sharp reproof for intrusion. Its short sentences, its witty perversions and deductions, its questions and omissions of connectives, all in their proper places, are dramatically good.

(L. V.)
For my own part, I willingly leave it to the public to determine whether your vindication of your friend has been as able and judicious as it was certainly well intended; and you, I think, may be satisfied with the warm acknowledgements he already owes you for making him the principal figure in a piece in which, but for your amicable assistance, he might have passed without particular notice or distinction.

A long sentence and, as usual, inelegant and cumbrous. This Letter is a faultless composition with exception of the one long sentence.

(L. VII.)
These are the gloomy companions of a disturbed imagination; the melancholy madness of poetry, without the inspiration.

The rhyme is a fault. 'Fancy' had been better; though but for the rhyme, imagination is the fitter word.

Such a question might perhaps discompose the gravity of his muscles, but I believe it would little affect the tranquillity of his conscience.

A false antithesis, a mere verbal balance; there are far, far too many of these. However, with these few exceptions, this Letter is a blameless composition. Junius may be safely studied as a model for letters where he truly writes letters. Those to the Duke of Grafton and others, are small pamphlets in the form of letters.

To do justice to your Grace's humanity, you felt for Mac Quick as you ought to do; and, if you had been contented to assist him indirectly, without a notorious denial of justice, or openly insulting the sense of the nation, you might have satisfied every duty of political friendship, without committing the honour of your sovereign, or hazarding the reputation of his government.

An inelegant cluster of
. Junius asks questions incomparably well; ­ but
ne quid nimis

L. IX. Perhaps the fair way of considering these Letters would be as a kind of satirical poems; the short, and for ever balanced, sentences constitute a true metre; and the connection is that of satiric poetry, a witty logic, an association of thoughts by amusing semblances of cause and effect, the sophistry of which the reader has an interest in not stopping to detect, for it flatters his love of mischief, and makes the sport.

L. XII. One of Junius's arts, and which gives me a high notion of his genius, as a poet and satirist, is this:­ he takes for granted the existence of a character that never did and never can exist, and then employs his wit, and surprises and amuses his readers with analyzing its incompatibilities.

L. XIV. Continual sneer, continual irony, all excellent, if it were not for the ' all;' ­ but a countenance, with a malignant smile in statuary fixure on it, becomes at length an object of aversion, however beautiful the face, and however beautiful the smile. We are relieved, in some measure, from this by frequent just and well expressed moral aphorisms; but then the preceding and following irony gives them the appearance of proceeding from the head, not from the heart. This objection would be less felt, when the Letters were first published at considerable intervals; but Junius wrote for posterity.

L. XXIII. Sneer and irony continued with such gross violation of good sense, as to be perfectly nonsense. The man who can address another on his most detestable vices in a strain of cold continual irony, is himself a wretch.

(L. XXXV.)
To honour them with a determined predilection and confidence in exclusion of your English subjects, who placed your family, and, in spite of treachery and rebellion, have supported it upon the throne, is a mistake too gross even for the unsuspecting generosity of youth.

The words ' upon the throne', stand unfortunately for the harmonious effect of the balance of' placed' and ' supported.'

This address to the king is almost faultless in composition, and has been evidently tormented with the file. But it has fewer beauties than any other long letter of Junius; and it is utterly undramatic. There is nothing in the style, the transitions, or the sentiments, which represents the passions of a man emboldening himself to address his sovereign personally. Like a Presbyterian's prayer, you may substitute almost every where the third for the second person without injury. The newspaper, his closet, and his own person were alone present to the author's intention and imagination. This makes the composition vapid. It possesses an Isocratic correctness, when it should have had the force and drama of an oration of Demosthenes. From this, however, the paragraph beginning with the words "As to the Scotch," and also the last two paragraphs must be honourably excepted. They are, perhaps, the finest passages in the whole collection.

Contents, p.2

Notes on Barclay's Argenis 1


Heaven forbid that this work should not exist in its present form and language! Yet I cannot avoid the wish that it had, during the reign of James I., been moulded into an heroic poem in English octave stanza, or epic blank verse; ­ which, however, at that time had not been invented, and which, alas! still remains the sole property of the inventor, as if the Muses had given him an unevadible patent for it. Of dramatic blank verse we have many and various specimens; ­ for example, Shakspeare's as compared with Massinger's, both excellent in their kind:­ of lyric, and of what may be called Orphic, or philosophic, blank verse, perfect models may be found in Wordsworth: of colloquial blank verse there are excellent, though not perfect, examples in Cowper; ­ but of epic blank verse, since Milton, there is not one.

It absolutely distresses me when I reflect that this work, admired as it has been by great men of all ages, and lately, I hear, by the poet Cowper, should be only not unknown to general readers. It has been translated into English two or three times ­ how, I know not, wretchedly, I doubt not. It affords matter for thought that the last translation (or rather, in all probability, miserable and faithless abridgment of some former one) was given under another name. What a mournful proof of the incelebrity of this great and amazing work among both the public and the people! For as Wordsworth, the greater of the two great men of this age, ­ (at least, except Davy and him, I have known, read of, heard of, no others) ­ for as Wordsworth did me the honour of once observing to me, the people and the public are two distinct classes, and, as things go, the former is likely to retain a better taste, the less it is acted out by the latter. Yet Telemachus is in every mouth, in every school-boy's and school-girl's hand! It is awful to say of a work, like the Argenis, the style and Latinity of which, judged (not according to classical pedantry, which pronounces every sentence right which can be found in any book prior to Boetius, however vicious the age, or affected the author, and every sentence wrong, however natural and beautiful, which has been of the author's own combination, ­ but, according to the universal logic of thought as modified by feeling, is equal to that of Tacitus in energy and genuine conciseness, and is as perspicuous as that of Livy, whilst it is free from the affectations, obscurities, and lust to surprise of the former, and seems a sort of antithesis to the slowness and prolixity of the latter; ­ (this remark does not, however, impeach even the classicality of the language, which, when the freedom and originality, the easy motion and perfect command of the thoughts, are considered, is truly wonderful:­ of such a work it is awful to say, that it would have been well if it had been written in English or Italian verse! Yet the event seems to justify the notion. Alas! it is now too late. What modern work, even of the size of the Paradise Lost ­ much less of the Faery Queene ­ would be read in the present day, or even bought or be likely to be bought, unless it were an instructive work, as the phrase is, like Roscoe's quartos of Leo X., or entertaining like Boswell's three of Dr. Johnson's conversations. It may be fairly objected ­ what work of surpassing merit has given the proof? ­ Certainly, none. Yet still there are ominous facts, sufficient, I fear, to afford a certain prophecy of its reception, if such were produced.

Footnote 1: Communicated by the Rev. Derwent Coleridge. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p.2

Note in Casaubon's Persius


There are six hundred and sixteen pages in this volume, of which twenty-two are text; and five hundred and ninety-four commentary and introductory matter. Yet when I recollect, that I have the whole works of Cicero, Livy, and Quinctilian, with many others, ­ the whole works of each in a single volume, either thick quarto with thin paper and small yet distinct print, or thick octavo or duodecimo of the same character, and that they cost me in the proportion of a shilling to a guinea for the same quantity of worse matter in modern books, or editions, ­ I a poor man, yet one whom Greek (transliterated): Biblion ktaeseos ek paidariou deinos ekrataese pothos ColLitRemGk20.gif feel the liveliest gratitude for the age, which produced such editions, and for the education, which by enabling me to understand and taste the Greek and Latin writers, has thus put it in my power to collect on my own shelves, for my actual use, almost all the best books in spite of my small income. Somewhat too I am indebted to the ostentation of expense among the rich, which has occasioned these cheap editions to become so disproportionately cheap.

Contents, p.2

Notes on Chapman's Homer.

extract of a letter sent with the volume 1 1807

Chapman I have sent in order that you might read the Odyssey; the Iliad is fine, but less equal in the translation, as well as less interesting in itself. What is stupidly said of Shakspeare, is really true and appropriate of Chapman; mighty faults counterpoised by mighty beauties. Excepting his quaint epithets which he affects to render literally from the Greek, a language above all others blest in the happy marriage of sweet words, and which in our language are mere printer's compound epithets ­ such as quaffed divine joy-in-the-heart-of-man-infusing wine, (the undermarked is to be one word, because one sweet mellifluous word expresses it in Homer); ­ excepting this, it has no look, no air, of a translation. It is as truly an original poem as the Faery Queene; ­ it will give you small idea of Homer, though a far truer one than Pope's epigrams, or Cowper's cumbersome most anti-Homeric Miltonism. For Chapman writes and feels as a poet, ­ as Homer might have written had he lived in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In short, it is an exquisite poem, in spite of its frequent and perverse quaintnesses and harshnesses, which are, however, amply repaid by almost unexampled sweetness and beauty of language, all over spirit and feeling. In the main it is an English heroic poem, the tale of which is borrowed from the Greek. The dedication to the Iliad is a noble copy of verses, especially those sublime lines beginning, ­

O!'tis wondrous much
(Though nothing prisde) that the right vertuous touch
Of a well written soule, to vertue moves.
Nor haue we soules to purpose, if their loves
Of fitting objects be not so inflam'd.
How much then, were this kingdome's maine soule maim'd,
To want this great inflamer of all powers
That move in humane soules! All realmes but yours,
Are honor'd with him; and hold blest that state
That have his workes to reade and contemplate.
In which, humanitie to her height is raisde;
Which all the world (yet, none enough) hath praisde.
Seas, earth, and heaven, he did in verse comprize;
Out sung the Muses, and did equalise
Their king Apollo; being so farre from cause
Of princes light thoughts, that their gravest lawes
May finde stuffe to be fashiond by his lines.
Through all the pompe of kingdomes still he shines
And graceth all his gracers. Then let lie
Your lutes, and viols, and more loftily
Make the heroiques of your Homer sung,
To drums and trumpets set his Angels tongue:
And with the princely sports of haukes you use,
Behold the kingly flight of his high Muse:
And see how like the Phöenix she renues
Her age, and starrie feathers in your sunne;
Thousands of yeares attending; everie one
Blowing the holy fire, and throwing in
Their seasons, kingdomes, nations that have bin
Subverted in them; lawes, religions, all
Offerd to change, and greedie funerall;
Yet still your Homer lasting, living, raigning. ­

and likewise the 1st, the 11th, and last but one, of the prefatory sonnets to the
. Could I have foreseen any other speedy opportunity, I should have begged your acceptance of the volume in a somewhat handsomer coat; but as it is, it will better represent the sender, ­ to quote from myself ­

A man disherited, in form and face,
By nature and mishap, of outward grace. 2

Chapman in his moral heroic verse, as in this dedication and the prefatory sonnets to his
, stands above Ben Jonson; there is more dignity, more lustre, and equal strength; but not midway quite between him and the sonnets of Milton. I do not know whether I give him the higher praise, in that he reminds me of Ben Jonson with a sense of his superior excellence, or that he brings Milton to memory notwithstanding his inferiority. His moral poems are not quite out of books like Jonson's, nor yet do the sentiments so wholly grow up out of his own natural habit and grandeur of thought, as in Milton. The sentiments have been attracted to him by a natural affinity of his intellect, and so combined;-but Jonson has taken them by individual and successive acts of choice.

All this and the preceding is well felt and vigorously, though harshly, expressed, respecting sublime poetry
in genere
; but in reading Homer I look about me, and ask how does all this apply here. For surely never was there plainer writing; there are a thousand charms of sun and moonbeam, ripple, and wave, and stormy billow, but all on the surface. Had Chapman read Proclus and Porphyry? ­ and did he really believe them, ­ or even that they believed themselves? They felt the immense power of a
, a
, a
. There was none in Greece or Rome, and they tried therefore by subtle allegorical accommodations to conjure the poem of Homer into the
Greek (transliterated): biblon theoparadoton
of Greek faith.

Chapman's identification of his fate with Homer's, and his complete forgetfulness of the distinction between Christianity and idolatry, under the general feeling of some religion, is very interesting. It is amusing to observe, how familiar Chapman's fancy has become with Homer, his life and its circumstances, though the very existence of any such individual, at l east with regard to the
and the
, is more than problematic. N. B. The rude engraving in the page was designed by no vulgar hand. It is full of spirit and passion.

I am so dull, that neither in the original nor in any translation could I ever find any wit or wise purpose in this poem. The whole humour seems to lie in the names. The frogs and mice are not frogs or mice, but men, and yet they do nothing that conveys any satire. In the Greek there is much beauty of language, but the joke is very flat. This is always the case in rude ages; ­ their serious vein is inimitable, ­ their comic low and low indeed. The psychological cause is easily stated, and copiously exemplifiable.

Footnote 1
: Communicated through Mr. Wordsworth.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: Dedication to Prince Henry.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 3
: Footnote 3:
Epistle Dedicatorie to the Odyssey.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 4
Epistle Dedicatorie to the Batrachomyomachia

return to footnote mark

Footnote 5
: End of the

return to footnote mark

Contents, p.2

Note in Baxter's Life of Himself


Among the grounds for recommending the perusal of our elder writers ­ Hooker ­ Taylor ­ Baxter ­ in short almost any of the folios composed from Edward VI. to Charles II. I note:

1.  The overcoming the habit of deriving your whole pleasure passively from the book itself, which can only be effected by excitement of curiosity or of some passion. Force yourself to reflect on what you read paragraph by paragraph, and in a short time you will derive your pleasure, an ample portion of it, at least, from the activity of your own mind. All else is picture sunshine.

2.  The conquest of party and sectarian prejudices, when you have on the same table before you the works of a Hammond and a Baxter, and reflect how many and how momentous their points of agreement, how few and almost childish the differences, which estranged and irritated these good men. Let us but imagine what their blessed spirits now feel at the retrospect of their earthly frailties, and can we do other than strive to feel as they now feel, not as they once felt? So will it be with the disputes between good men of the present day; and if you have no other reason to doubt your opponent's goodness than the point in dispute, think of Baxter and Hammond, of Milton and Taylor, and let it be no reason at all.

3.  It will secure you from the narrow idolatry of the present times and fashions, and create the noblest kind of imaginative power in your soul, that of living in past ages; ­ wholly devoid of which power, a man can neither anticipate the future, nor ever live a truly human life, a life of reason in the present.

4.  In this particular work we may derive a most instructive lesson, that in certain points, as of religion in relation to law, the medio tutis ­ simus ibis is inapplicable. There is no 'medium' possible; and all the attempts as those of Baxter, though no more were required than 'I believe in God through Christ,' prove only the mildness of the proposer's temper, but as a rule would be either equal to nothing, at least exclude only the two or three in a century that make it a matter of religion to declare themselves atheists, or else be just as fruitful a rule for a persecutor as the most complete set of articles that could be framed by a Spanish Inquisition. For to 'believe' must mean to believe aright ­ and 'God' must mean the true God ­ and 'Christ' the Christ in the sense and with the attributes understood by Christians who are truly Christians. An established church with a liturgy is the sufficient solution of the problem de jure magistratus. Articles of faith are in this point of view superfluous; for is it not too absurd for a man to hesitate at subscribing his name to doctrines which yet in the more awful duty of prayer and profession he dares affirm before his Maker! They are therefore, in this sense, merely superfluous; ­ not worth re-enacting, had they ever been done away with; ­ not worth removing now that they exist.

5.  The characteristic contra-distinction between the speculative reasoners of the age before the Revolution, and those since, is this:­ the former cultivated metaphysics without, or neglecting empirical, psychology:­ the latter cultivate a mechanical psychology to the neglect and contempt of metaphysics. Both, therefore, are almost equi-distant from true philosophy. Hence the belief in ghosts, witches, sensible replies to prayer, &c. in Baxter and in a hundred others. See also Luther's Table Talk.

6.  The earlier part of this volume is interesting as materials for medical history. The state of medical science in the reign of Charles I. was almost incredibly low.

Contents, p.3

Fragment of an Essay on Taste


The same arguments that decide the question, whether taste has any fixed principles, may probably lead to a determination of what those principles are. First then, what is taste in its metaphorical sense, or, which will be the easiest mode of arriving at the same solution, what is there in the primary sense of the word, which may give to its metaphorical meaning an import different from that of sight or hearing, on the one hand, and of touch or smell on the other? And this question seems the more natural, because in correct language we confine beauty, the main subject of taste, to objects of sight and combinations of sounds, and never, except sportively or by abuse of words, speak of a beautiful flavour or a beautiful scent.

Now the analysis of our senses in the commonest books of anthropology has drawn our attention to the distinction between the perfectly organic, and the mixed senses; ­ the first presenting objects, as distinct from the perception; ­ the last as blending the perception with the sense of the object. Our eyes and ears ­ (I am not now considering what is or is not the case really, but only that of which we are regularly conscious as appearances,) our eyes most often appear to us perfect organs of the sentient principle, and wholly in action, and our hearing so much more so than the three other senses, and in all the ordinary exertions of that sense, perhaps, equally so with the sight, that all languages place them in one class, and express their different modifications by nearly the same metaphors. The three remaining senses appear in part passive, and combine with the perception of the outward object a distinct sense of our own life. Taste, therefore, as opposed to vision and sound, will teach us to expect in its metaphorical use a certain reference of any given object to our own being, and not merely a distinct notion of the object as in itself, or in its independent properties. From the sense of touch, on the other hand, it is distinguishable by adding to this reference to our vital being some degree of enjoyment, or the contrary, ­ some perceptible impulse from pleasure or pain to complacency or dislike. The sense of smell, indeed, might perhaps have furnished a metaphor of the same import with that of taste; but the latter was naturally chosen by the majority of civilized nations on account of the greater frequency, importance, and dignity of its employment or exertion in human nature.

By taste, therefore, as applied to the fine arts, we must be supposed to mean an intellectual perception of any object blended with a distinct reference to our own sensibility of pain or pleasure, or, vice versa, a sense of enjoyment or dislike co-instantaneously combined with, and appearing to proceed from, some intellectual perception of the object; ­ intellectual perception, I say; for otherwise it would be a definition of taste in its primary rather than in its metaphorical sense. Briefly, taste is a metaphor taken from one of our mixed senses, and applied to objects of the more purely organic senses, and of our moral sense, when we would imply the co-existence of immediate personal dislike or complacency. In this definition of taste, therefore, is involved the definition of fine arts, namely, as being such the chief and discriminative purpose of which it is to gratify the taste, ­ that is, not merely to connect, but to combine and unite, a sense of immediate pleasure in ourselves, with the perception of external arrangement.

The great question, therefore, whether taste in any one of the fine arts has any fixed principle or ideal, will find its solution in the ascertainment of two facts:­ first, whether in every determination of the taste concerning any work of the fine arts, the individual does not, with or even against the approbation of his general judgment, involuntarily claim that all other minds ought to think and feel the same; whether the common expressions, 'I dare say I may be wrong, but that is my particular taste;' ­ are uttered as an offering of courtesy, as a sacrifice to the undoubted fact of our individual fallibility, or are spoken with perfect sincerity, not only of the reason but of the whole feeling, with the same entireness of mind and heart, with which we concede a right to every person to differ from another in his preference of bodily tastes and flavours. If we should find ourselves compelled to deny this, and to admit that, notwithstanding the consciousness of our liability to error, and in spite of all those many individual experiences which may have strengthened the consciousness, each man does at the moment so far legislate for all men, as to believe of necessity that he is either right or wrong, and that if it be right for him, it is universally right, ­ we must then proceed to ascertain:­ secondly, whether the source of these phenomena is at all to be found in those parts of our nature, in which each intellect is representative of all, ­ and whether wholly, or partially. No person of common reflection demands even in feeling, that what tastes pleasant to him ought to produce the same effect on all living beings; but every man does and must expect and demand the universal acquiescence of all intelligent beings in every conviction of his understanding. ...

Contents, p.3

Fragment of an Essay on Beauty


The only necessary, but this the absolutely necessary, pre-requisite to a full insight into the grounds of the beauty in the objects of sight, is ­ the directing of the attention to the action of those thoughts in our own mind which are not consciously distinguished. Every man may understand this, if he will but recall the state of his feelings in endeavouring to recollect a name, which he is quite sure that he remembers, though he cannot force it back into consciousness. This region of unconscious thoughts, oftentimes the more working the more indistinct they are, may, in reference to this subject, be conceived as forming an ascending scale from the most universal associations of motion with the functions and passions of life, ­ as when, on passing out of a crowded city into the fields on a day in June, we describe the grass and king-cups as nodding their heads and dancing in the breeze, ­ up to the half perceived, yet not fixable, resemblance of a form to some particular object of a diverse class, which resemblance we need only increase but a little, to destroy, or at least injure, its beauty-enhancing effect, and to make it a fantastic intrusion of the accidental and the arbitrary, and consequently a disturbance of the beautiful. This might be abundantly exemplified and illustrated from the paintings of Salvator Rosa.

I am now using the term beauty in its most comprehensive sense, as including expression and artistic interest, ­ that is, I consider not only the living balance, but likewise all the accompaniments that even by disturbing are necessary to the renewal and continuance of the balance. And in this sense I proceed to show, that the beautiful in the object may be referred to two elements, ­ lines and colours; the first belonging to the shapely (forma, formalis, formosus), and in this, to the law, and the reason; and the second, to the lively, the free, the spontaneous, and the self-justifying. As to lines, the rectilineal are in themselves the lifeless, the determined ab extra, but still in immediate union with the cycloidal, which are expressive of function. The curve line is a modification of the force from without by the force from within, or the spontaneous. These are not arbitrary symbols, but the language of nature, universal and intuitive, by virtue of the law by which man is impelled to explain visible motions by imaginary causative powers analogous to his own acts, as the Dryads, Hamadryads, Naiads, &c.

The better way of applying these principles will be by a brief and rapid sketch of the history of the fine arts, ­ in which it will be found, that the beautiful in nature has been appropriated to the works of man, just in proportion as the state of the mind in the artists themselves approached to the subjective beauty. Determine what predominance in the minds of the men is preventive of the living balance of excited faculties, and you will discover the exact counterpart in the outward products. Egypt is an illustration of this. Shapeliness is intellect without freedom; but colours are significant. The introduction of the arch is not less an epoch in the fine than in the useful arts.

Order is beautiful arrangement without any purpose ad extra; ­ therefore there is a beauty of order, or order may be contemplated exclusively as beauty.

The form given in every empirical intuition, ­ the stuff, that is, the quality of the stuff, determines the agreeable: but when a thing excites us to receive it in such and such a mould, so that its exact correspondence to that mould is what occupies the mind, ­ this is taste or the sense of beauty. Whether dishes full of painted wood or exquisite viands were laid out on a table in the same arrangement, would be indifferent to the taste, as in ladies' patterns; but surely the one is far more agreeable than the other. Hence observe the disinterestedness of all taste; and hence also a sensual perfection with intellect is occasionally possible without moral feeling. So it may be in music and painting, but not in poetry. How far it is a real preference of the refined to the gross pleasures, is another question, upon the supposition that pleasure, in some form or other, is that alone which determines men to the objects of the former; ­ whether experience does not show that if the latter were equally in our power, occasioned no more trouble to enjoy, and caused no more exhaustion of the power of enjoying them by the enjoyment itself, we should in real practice prefer the grosser pleasure. It is not, therefore, any excellence in the quality of the refined pleasures themselves, but the advantages and facilities in the means of enjoying them, that give them the pre-eminence.

This is, of course, on the supposition of the absence of all moral feeling. Suppose its presence, and then there will accrue an excellence even to the quality of the pleasures themselves; not only, however, of the refined, but also of the grosser kinds, ­ inasmuch as a larger sweep of thoughts will be associated with each enjoyment, and with each thought will be associated a number of sensations; and so, consequently, each pleasure will become more the pleasure of the whole being. This is one of the earthly rewards of our being what we ought to be, but which would be annihilated, if we attempted to be it for the sake of this increased enjoyment. Indeed it is a contradiction to suppose it. Yet this is the common argumentum in circulo, in which the eudsemonists flee and pursue. ...

Contents, p.3

Poems and Poetical Fragments

Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus. Catullus.

My Lesbia, let us love and live,
And to the winds, my Lesbia, give
Each cold restraint, each boding fear
Of age, and all its saws severe!
Yon sun now posting to the main
Will set, ­ but 'tis to rise again; ­
But we, when once our little light
Is set, must sleep in endless night.
Then come, with whom alone I'll live,
A thousand kisses take and give!
Another thousand! ­ to the store
Add hundreds ­ then a thousand more!
And when they to a million mount,
Let confusion take the account, ­
That you, the number never knowing,
May continue still bestowing ­
That I for joys may never pine,
Which never can again be mine! 1

Lugete, O Veneres, Cupidinesque. Catullus

Pity, mourn in plaintive tone
The lovely starling dead and gone!
Weep,ye Loves! and Venus, weep
The lovely starling fall'n asleep!
Venus see with tearful eyes ­
In her lap the starling lies,
While the Loves all in a ring
Softly stroke the stiffen'd wing.

Moriens superstiti.

"The hour-bell sounds, and I must go;
Death waits ­ again I hear him calling; ­
No cowardly desires have I,
Nor will I shun his face appalling.
I die in faith and honour rich ­
But ah! I leave behind my treasure
In widowhood and lonely pain; ­
To live were surely then a pleasure!

"My lifeless eyes upon thy face
Shall never open more to-morrow;
To-morrow shall thy beauteous eyes
Be closed to love, and drown'd in sorrow;
To-morrow death shall freeze this hand,
And on thy breast, my wedded treasure,
I never, never more shall live; ­
Alas! I quit a life of pleasure."

Morienti superstes.

"Yet art thou happier far than she
Who feels the widow's love for thee!
For while her days are days of weeping,
Thou, in peace, in silence sleeping,
In some still world, unknown, remote,
The mighty parent's care hast found,
Without whose tender guardian thought
No sparrow falleth to the ground."

The Stripling's War Song

imitated from Stolberg

My noble old warrior! this heart has beat high,
Since you told of the deeds that our countrymen wrought;
Ah! give me the sabre which hung by thy thigh,
And I too will fight as my forefathers fought!

O, despise not my youth! for my spirit is steel'd,
And I know there is strength in the grasp of my hand;
Yea, as firm as thyself would I move to the field,
And as proudly would die for my dear father-land.

In the sports of my childhood I mimick'd the fight, ­
The shrill of a trumpet suspended my breath;
And my fancy still wander'd by day and by night
Amid tumult and perils,'mid conquest and death.

My own eager shout in the heat of my trance,
How oft it awakes me from dreams full of glory,
When I meant to have leap'd on the hero of France,
And have dash'd him to earth pale and deathless and gory!

As late through the city with bannerets streaming,
And the music of trumpets the warriors flew by, ­
With helmet and scymetar naked and gleaming
On their proud trampling thunder-hoof'd steeds did they fly, ­

I sped to yon heath which is lonely and bare ­
For each nerve was unquiet, each pulse in alarm, ­
I hurl'd my mock lance through the objectless air,
And in open-eyed dream prov'd the strength of my arm.

Yes, noble old warrior! this heart has beat high,
Since you told of thedeeds that our countrymen wrought;
Ah! give me the falchion that hung by thy thigh,
And I too will fight as my forefathers fought!

2  His own fair countenance, his kingly forehead,
His tender smiles, love's day-dawn on his lips,
The sense, and spirit, and the light divine,
At the same moment in his steadfast eye
Were virtue's native crest, th' immortal soul's
Unconscious meek self-heraldry, ­ to man
Genial, and pleasant to his guardian angel.
He suffer'd, nor complain'd; ­ tho' oft with tears
He mourn'd th' oppression of his helpless brethren, ­
Yea, with a deeper and yet holier grief
Mourn'd for the oppressor. In those sabbath hours
His solemn grief, like the slow cloud at sunset,
Was but the veil of purest meditation
Pierced thro' and saturate with the rays of mind.

'Twas sweet to know it only possible!
Some wishes cross'd my mind and dimly cheer'd it,
And one or two poor melancholy pleasures,
Each in the pale unwarming light of hope
Silvering its flimsy wing, flew silent by ­
Moths in the moonbeam! ­
­ Behind the thin
Grey cloud that cover'd, but not hid, the sky,
The round full moon look'd small.
The subtle snow in every passing breeze
Rose curling from the grove like shafts of smoke.

­ On the broad mountain top
The neighing wild colt races with the wind
O'er fern and heath-flowers.

­ Like a mighty giantess
Seized in sore travail and prodigious birth,
Sick nature struggled: long and strange her pangs,
Her groans were horrible; ­ but O, most fair
The twins she bore, Equality and Peace.

­ Terrible and loud
As the strong voice that from the thunder-cloud
Speaks to the startled midnight.

Such fierce vivacity as fires the eye
Of genius fancy-craz'd.

The mild despairing of a heart resign'd.

For the Hymn on the Sun

­ The sun (for now his orb
'Gan slowly sink) ­
Shot half his rays aslant the heath, whose flow'rs
Purpled the mountain's broad and level top.
Rich was his bed of clouds, and wide beneath

For the Hymn on the Moon

In a cave in the mountains of Cashmeer there is an image of ice, which makes its appearance thus: Two days before the new moon there appears a bubble of ice, which increases in size every day till the fifteenth, by which time it is an ell or more in height; ­ then as the moon wanes, the image decreases till it vanishes away.

In darkness I remain'd;-the neighb'ring clock
Told me that now the rising sun at dawn
Shone lovely on my garden.

These be staggerers that, made drunk by power,
Forget thirst's eager promise, and presume,
Dark dreamers! that the world forgets it too!

­ Perish warmth,
Unfaithful to its seeming!
Old age, 'the shape and messenger of death,'
His wither'd fist still knocking at death's door.

­ God no distance knows
All of the whole possessing.

With skill that never alchemist yet told,
Made drossy lead as ductile as pure gold.

Guess at the wound and heal with secret hand.
The broad-breasted rock
Glasses his rugged forehead in the sea.

I mix in life, and labour to seem free,
With common persons pleas'd and common things,
While every thought and action tends to thee,
And every impulse from thy influence springs.

Farewell to Love

Farewell, sweet Love! yet blame you not my truth;
More fondly ne'er did mother eye her child
Than I your form: your's were my hopes of youth,
And as you shaped my thoughts, I sigh'd or smil'd.
While most were wooing wealth, or gaily swerving
To pleasure's secret haunt, and some apart
Stood strong in pride, self-conscious of deserving,
To you I gave my whole weak wishing heart;
And when I met the maid that realized
Your fair creations, and had won her kindness,
Say but for her if aught on earth I prized!
Your dreams alone I dreamt and caught your blindness.
O grief! ­ but farewell, Love! I will go play me
With thoughts that please me less, and less betray me.

  Within these circling hollies, woodbine-clad ­
Beneath this small blue roof of vernal sky ­
How warm, how still! Tho' tears should dim mine eye,
Yet will my heart for days continue glad,
For here, my love, thou art, and here am I!

Each crime that once estranges from the virtues
Doth make the memory of their features daily
More dim and vague, till each coarse counterfeit
Can have the passport to our confidence
Sign'd by ourselves. And fitly are they punish'd,
Who prize and seek the honest man but as
A safer lock to guard dishonest treasures.

Grant me a patron, gracious Heaven! whene'er
My unwash'd follies call for penance drear:
But when more hideous guilt this heart infects,
Instead of fiery coals upon my pate,
O let a titled patron be my fate; ­
That fierce compendium of Egyptian pests!
Right reverend dean, right honourable squire,
Lord, marquis, earl, duke, prince, ­ or if aught higher,
However proudly nicknamed, he shall be Anathema Maránatha to me!

A Sober Statement of Human Life, or the True Medium

  A chance may win what by mischance was lost;
The net that holds not great, takes little fish:
In somethings all, in all things none are crost;
Few all they need, but none have all they wish:
Unmingled joys to no one here befall;
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all!

Footnote 1
: This and the following poems and fragments, with the exception of those marked with 2, were communicated by Mr. Gutch.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: Poems not communicated by Mr. Gutch (see Footnote 1 above).

return to footnote mark

Contents, p.3



The French Decade

I have nothing to say in defence of the French revolutionists, as far as they are personally concerned in this substitution of every tenth for the seventh day as a day of rest. It was not only a senseless outrage on an ancient observance, around which a thousand good and gentle feelings had clustered; it not only tended to weaken the bond of brotherhood between France and the other members of Christendom; but it was dishonest, and robbed the labourer of fifteen days of restorative and humanizing repose in every year, and extended the wrong to all the friends and fellow labourers of man in the brute creation. Yet when I hear Protestants, and even those of the Lutheran persuasion, and members of the church of England, inveigh against this change as a blasphemous contempt of the fourth commandment, I pause, and before I can assent to the verdict of condemnation, I must prepare my mind to include in the same sentence, at least as far as theory goes, the names of several among the most revered reformers of Christianity. Without referring to Luther, I will begin with Master Frith, a founder and martyr of the church of England, having witnessed his faith amid the flames in the year 1533. This meek and enlightened, no less than zealous and orthodox, divine, in his "Declaration of Baptism" thus expresses himself:

As for the Sabbath, we be lords of the Sabbath, and may yet change it into Monday, or any other day, as we see need; or we may make every tenth day holy day only, if we see cause why. Neither was there any cause to change it from the Saturday, save only to put a difference between us and the Jews; neither need we any holy day at all, if the people might be taught without it.

This great man believed that if Christian nations should ever become Christians indeed, there would every day be so many hours taken from the labour for the perishable body, to the service of the souls and the understandings of mankind, both masters and servants, as to supersede the necessity of a particular day. At present our Sunday may be considered as so much Holy Land, rescued from the sea of oppression and vain luxury, and embanked against the fury of their billows.

Contents, p.3

Ride and Tie

"On a scheme of perfect retribution in the moral world" ­ observed Empeiristes, and paused to look at, and wipe his spectacles.

"Frogs," interposed Musaello, "must have been experimental philosophers, and experimental philosophers must all transmigrate into frogs." "The scheme will not be yet perfect," added Gelon, "unless our friend Empeiristes, is specially privileged to become an elect frog twenty times successively, before he reascends into a galvanic philosopher."

"Well, well," replied Empeiristes, with a benignant smile, "I give my consent, if only our little Mary's fits do not recur."

Little Mary was Gelon's only child, and the darling and god-daughter of Empeiristes. By the application of galvanic influence Empeiristes had removed a nervous affection of her right leg, accompanied with symptomatic epilepsy. The tear started in Gelon's eye, and he pressed the hand of his friend, while Musaello, half suppressing, half indulging, a similar sense of shame, sportively exclaimed, "Hang it, Gelon! somehow or other these philosopher fellows always have the better of us wits, in the long run!"

Contents, p.3

Jeremy Taylor

The writings of Bishop Jeremy Taylor are a perpetual feast to me. His hospitable board groans under the weight and multitude of viands. Yet I seldom rise from the perusal of his works without repeating or recollecting the excellent observation of Minucius Felix. Fabulas et errores ab imperitis parentibus discimus; et quod est gravius, ipsis studiis et disciplinis elaboramus.

Contents, p.3


Many of our modern criticisms on the works of our elder writers remind me of the connoisseur, who, taking up a small cabinet picture, railed most eloquently at the absurd caprice of the artist in painting a horse sprawling. "Excuse me, Sir," replied the owner of the piece, "you hold it the wrong way: it is a horse galloping."

Contents, p.3

Public Instruction

Our statesmen, who survey with jealous dread all plans for the education of the lower orders, may be thought to proceed on the system of antagonist muscles; and in the belief, that the closer a nation shuts its eyes, the wider it will open its hands. Or do they act on the principle, that the status belli is the natural relation between the people and the government, and that it is prudent to secure the result of the contest by gouging the adversary in the first instance? Alas! the policy of the maxim is on a level with its honesty. The Philistines had put out the eyes of Samson, and thus, as they thought, fitted him to drudge and grind

Among the slaves and asses, his comrades,
As good for nothing else, no better service:­

But his darkness added to his fury without diminishing his strength, and the very pillars of the temple of oppression ­

With horrible convulsion, to and fro,
He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew
The whole roof after them with burst of thunder,
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath;
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, and priests,
Their choice nobility.

The error might be less unpardonable with a statesman of the continent; ­ but with Englishmen, who have Ireland in one direction, and Scotland in another; the one in ignorance, sloth, and rebellion, ­ in the other general information, industry, and loyalty, verily it is not error merely, but infatuation.

Contents, p.3

Picturesque Words

Who is ignorant of Homer's Greek (transliterated): Paelion einosiphullon Yet in some Greek manuscript hexameters I have met with a compound epithet, which may compare with it for the prize of excellence in flashing on the mental eye a complete image. It is an epithet of the brutified archangel, and forms the latter half of the verse, ­

Kerkokeronucha Satan

Ye youthful bards! compare this word with its literal translation, "tail-horn-hoofed Satan," and be shy of compound epithets, the components of which are indebted for their union exclusively to the printer's hyphen. Henry More, indeed, would have naturalized the word without hesitation, and
would have shared the astonishment of the English reader in the glossary to his
Song of the Soul
with Achronycul, Anaisthaesie, &c. &c.

Contents, p.3


The state, with respect to the different sects of religion under its protection, should resemble a well drawn portrait. Let there be half a score individuals looking at it, every one sees its eyes and its benignant smile directed towards himself.

The framer of preventive laws, no less than private tutors and school-masters, should remember, that the readiest way to make either mind or body grow awry, is by lacing it too tight.

Contents, p.3


It would have proved a striking part of a vision presented to Adam the day after the death of Abel, to have brought before his eyes half a million of men crowded together in the space of a square mile. When the first father had exhausted his wonder on the multitude of his offspring, he would then naturally inquire of his angelic instructor, for what purposes so vast a multitude had assembled? what is the common end? Alas! to murder each other, ­ all Cains, and yet no Abels!

Contents, p.3


Parodies on new poems are read as satires; on old ones, ­ the soliloquy of Hamlet for instance ­ as compliments. A man of genius may securely laugh at a mode of attack by which his reviler, in half a century or less, becomes his encomiast.

Contents, p.3

M. Dupuis

Among the extravagancies of faith which have characterized many infidel writers, who would swallow a whale to avoid believing that a whale swallowed Jonas, ­ a high rank should be given to Dupuis, who, at the commencement of the French Revolution, published a work in twelve volumes, octavo, in order to prove that Jesus Christ was the sun, and all Christians, worshippers of Mithra. His arguments, if arguments they can be called, consist chiefly of metaphors quoted from the Fathers. What irresistible conviction would not the following passage from South's sermons (vol. v. p. 165.) have flashed on his fancy, had it occurred in the writings of Origen or Tertullian! and how complete a confutation of all his grounds does not the passage afford to those humble souls, who, gifted with common sense alone, can boast of no additional light received through a crack in their upper apartments:­

Christ the great sun of righteousness and saviour of the world, having by a glorious rising, after a red and bloody setting, proclaimed his deity to men and angels; and by a complete triumph over the two grand enemies of mankind, sin and death, set up the everlasting gospel in the room of all false religions, has now changed the Persian superstition into the Christian doctrine, and without the least approach to the idolatry of the former, made it henceforward the duty of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, to worship the rising sun.

This one passage outblazes the whole host of Dupuis' evidences and extracts. In the same sermon, the reader will meet with Hume's argument against miracles anticipated, and put in Thomas's mouth.

Contents, p.3

Origin of the Worship of Hymen

The origin of the worship of Hymen is thus related by Lactantius. The story would furnish matter for an excellent pantomime. Hymen was a beautiful youth of Athens, who for the love of a young virgin disguised himself, and assisted at the Eleusinian rites: and at this time he, together with his beloved, and divers other young ladies of that city, was surprized and carried off by pirates, who supposing him to be what he appeared, lodged him with his mistress. In the dead of the night when the robbers were all asleep, he arose and cut their throats. Thence making hasty way back to Athens, he bargained with the parents that he would restore to them their daughter and all her companions, if they would consent to her marriage with him. They did so, and this marriage proving remarkably happy, it became the custom to invoke the name of Hymen at all nuptials.

Contents, p.3


It is hard and uncandid to censure the great reformers in philosophy and religion for their egotism and boastfulness. It is scarcely possible for a man to meet with continued personal abuse, on account of his superior talents, without associating more and more the sense of the value of his discoveries or detections with his own person. The necessity of repelling unjust contempt, forces the most modest man into a feeling of pride and self-consciousness. How can a tall man help thinking of his size, when dwarfs are constantly on tiptoe beside him? ­ Paracelsus was a braggart and a quack; so was Cardan; but it was their merits, and not their follies, which drew upon them that torrent of detraction and calumny, which compelled them so frequently to think and write concerning themselves,that at length it became a habit to do so. Wolff too, though not a boaster, was yet persecuted into a habit of egotism both in his prefaces and in his ordinary conversation, and the same holds good of the founder of the Brunonian system, and of his great namesake Giordano Bruno. The more decorous manners of the present age have attached a disproportionate opprobrium to this foible, and many therefore abstain with cautious prudence from all displays of what they feel. Nay, some do actually flatter themselves, that they abhor all egotism, and never betray it either in their writings or discourse. But watch these men narrowly; and in the greater number of cases you will find their thoughts, feelings, and mode of expression, saturated with the passion of contempt, which is the concentrated vinegar of egotism.

Your very humble men in company, if they produce any thing, are in that thing of the most exquisite irritability and vanity.

When a man is attempting to describe another person's character, he may be right or he may be wrong; but in one thing he will always succeed, that is, in describing himself. If, for example, he expresses simple approbation, he praises from a consciousness of possessing similar qualities; ­ if he approves with admiration, it is from a consciousness of deficiency. A. "Ay! he is a sober man." B. "Ah! Sir, what a blessing is sobriety!" Here A. is a man conscious of sobriety, who egotizes in tuism; ­ B. is one who, feeling the ill effects of a contrary habit, contemplates sobriety with blameless envy. Again:­ A. "Yes, he is a warm man, a moneyed fellow; you may rely upon him." B. "Yes, yes, Sir, no wonder! he has the blessing of being well in the world." This reflection might be introduced in defence of plaintive egotism, and by way of preface to an examination of all the charges against it, and from what feelings they proceed. 1800. 1

Contempt is egotism in ill humour. Appetite without moral affection, social sympathy, and even without passion and imagination ­ (in plain English, mere lust,) ­ is the basest form of egotism, ­ and being infra human, or below humanity, should be pronounced with the harsh breathing, as he-goat-ism. 1820.

Footnote 1: From Mr. Gulch's commonplace book. Ed

Contents, p.3

Cap of Liberty

Those who hoped proudly of human nature, and admitted no distinction between Christians and Frenchmen, regarded the first constitution as a colossal statue of Corinthian brass, formed by the fusion and commixture of all metals in the conflagration of the state. But there is a common fungus, which so exactly represents the pole and cap of liberty, that it seems offered by nature herself as the appropriate emblem of Gallic republicanism, ­ mushroom patriots, with a mushroom cap of liberty.

Contents, p.3


Novi ego aliquem qui dormitabundus aliquando pulsari horam quartam audiverit, et sic numeravit, una, una, una, una; ac tum præ rei absurditate, quam anima concipiebat, exclamavit, Næ! delirat horologium! Quater pulsavit horam unam.

I knew a person, who, during imperfect sleep, or dozing, as we say, listened to the clock as it was striking four, and as it struck, he counted the four, one, one, one, one; and then exclaimed, "Why, the clock is out of its wits; it has struck one four times over!"

This is a good exemplification of the nature of
, which will be found always to contain in them a confusion of what the schoolmen would have called ­ objectivity with subjectivity; ­ in plain English, the impression of a thing as it exists in itself, and extrinsically, with the image which the mind abstracts from the impression. Thus, number, or the total of a series, is a generalization of the mind, an
ens rationis
not an
ens reale
. I have read many attempts at a definition of a
, and lately in the Edinburgh Review; but it then appeared to me that the definers had fallen into the same fault with Miss Edgeworth, in her delightful essay on
, and given the definition of the genus,
, for that of the particular species. I will venture, therefore, to propose the following: a
consists in a mental juxta-position of incongruous images or thoughts with the sensation, but without the sense, of connection. The psychological conditions of the possibility of a
, it would not be difficult to determine; but it would require a larger space than can be afforded here, at least more attention than my readers would be likely to afford. There is a sort of spurious
which consists wholly in mistake of language, and which the closest thinker may make, if speaking in a language of which he is not master.

Contents, p.3

Wise Ignorance

It is impossible to become either an eminently great, or truly pious man, without the courage to remain ignorant of many things. This important truth is most happily expressed by the elder Scaliger in prose, and by the younger in verse; the latter extract has an additional claim from the exquisite terseness of its diction, and the purity of its Latinity. I particularly recommend its perusal to the commentators on the Apocalypse.

Quare ulterior disquisitio morosi atque satagentis animi est; humanæ enim sapientiae pars est, quædam æquo animo nescire velle.

J. C, Scalig. Ex. 307. s. 29.

Ne curiosus quære causas omnium,
Quæcunque libris vis prophetarum indidit,
Afflata cælo, plena veraci Deo;
Nec operta sacri supparo silentii
Irrumpere aude; sed prudenter praeteri!
Nescire velle quae magister optimus
Docere non vult, erudita inscitia est.

Josep. Scalig.

Contents, p.3


Triumphant generals in Rome wore rouge. The ladies of France, and their fair sisters and imitators in Britain, conceive themselves always in the chair of triumph, and of course entitled to the same distinction. The custom originated, perhaps, in the humility of the conquerors that they might seem to blush continually at their own praises. Mr. Gilpin frequently speaks of a "picturesque eye:" with something less of solecism, I may affirm that our fair ever blushing triumphants have secured to themselves the charm of picturesque cheeks, every face being its own portrait.

Contents, p.3

Epea Pteroenta Hasty Words

I crave mercy (at least of my contemporaries: for if these Omniana should outlive the present generation, the opinion will not need it) but I could not help writing in the blank page of a very celebrated work 1 the following passage from Picus Mirandula:-

Movent mihi stomachum grammatistæ quidam, qui cum duas tenuerint vocabulorum origines, ita se ostentant, ita venditant, ita circumferunt jactabundi, ut præ ipsis pro nihilo habendos philosophos arbitrentur. (Epist. ad Hermol. Barb.)

Footnote 1
: Diversions of Purley.

Contents, p.3

Motives and Impulses

It is a matter of infinite difficulty, but fortunately of comparative indifference to determine what a man's motive may have been for this or that particular action. Rather seek to learn what his objects in general are. What does he habitually wish, habitually pursue? and thence deduce his impulses which are commonly the true efficient causes of men's conduct; and without which the motive itself would not have become a motive. Let a haunch of venison represent the motive, and the keen appetite of health, and exercise the impulse: then place the same or some more favourite dish before the same man, sick, dyspeptic, and stomach-worn, and we may then weigh the comparative influences of motives and impulses. Without the perception of this truth, it is impossible to understand the character of lago, who is represented as now assigning one, and then another, and again a third motive for his conduct, all alike the mere fictions of his own restless nature, distempered by a keen sense of his intellectual superiority, and haunted by the love of exerting power on those especially who are his superiors in practical and moral excellence. Yet how many among our modern critics have attributed to the profound author this the appropriate inconsistency of the character itself.

A second illustration:­ Did Curio, the quondam patriot, reformer, and semi-revolutionist, abjure his opinion, and yell the foremost in the hunt of persecution against his old friends and fellow-philosophists, with a cold clear predetermination, formed at one moment, of making £5000 a year by his apostacy? ­ I neither know nor care. Probably not. But this I know, that to be thought a man of consequence by his contemporaries, to be admitted into the society of his superiors in artificial rank, to excite the admiration of lords, to live in splendour and sensual luxury, have been the objects of his habitual wishes. A flash of lightning has turned at once the polarity of the compass needle: and so, perhaps, now and then, but as rarely, a violent motive may revolutionize a man's opinions and professions. But more frequently his honesty dies away imperceptibly from evening into twilight, and from twilight into utter darkness. He turns hypocrite so gradually, and by such tiny atoms of motion, that by the time he has arrived at a given point, he forgets his own hypocrisy in the imperceptible degrees of his conversion. The difference between such a man and a bolder liar, is merely that between the hour hand, and that which tells the seconds, on a watch. Of the former you can see only the past motion; of the latter both the past motion and the present moving. Yet there is, perhaps, more hope of the latter rogue: for he has lied to mankind only and not to himself ­ the former lies to his own heart, as well as to the public.

Contents, p.3

Inward Blindness

Talk to a blind man ­ he knows he wants the sense of sight, and willingly makes the proper allowances. But there are certain internal senses, which a man may want, and yet be wholly ignorant that he wants them. It is most unpleasant to converse with such persons on subjects of taste, philosophy, or religion. Of course there is no reasoning with them: for they do not possess the facts, on which the reasoning must be grounded. Nothing is possible, but a naked dissent, which implies a sort of unsocial contempt; or, what a man of kind dispositions is very likely to fall into, a heartless tacit acquiescence, which borders too nearly on duplicity.

Contents, p.3

The Vices of Slaves No Excuse for Slavery

It often happens, that the slave himself has neither the power nor the wish to be free. He is then brutified; but this apathy is the dire effect of slavery, and so far from being a justifying cause, that it contains the grounds of its bitterest condemnation. The Carlovingian race bred up the Merovingi as beasts; and then assigned their unworthiness as the satisfactory reason for their dethronement. Alas! the human being is more easily weaned from the habit of commanding than from that of abject obedience. The slave loses his soul when he loses his master; even as the dog that has lost himself in the street, howls and whines till he has found the house again, where he had been kicked and cudgelled, and half starved to boot. As we, however, or our ancestors must have inoculated our fellow-creature with this wasting disease of the soul, it becomes our duty to cure him; and though we cannot immediately make him free, yet we can, and ought to, put him in the way of becoming so at some future time, if not in his own person, yet in that of his children. The French, you will say, are not capable of freedom. Grant this; ­ but does this fact justify the ungrateful traitor, whose every measure has been to make them still more incapable of it?

Contents, p.3

Circulation of the Blood

The ancients attributed to the blood the same motion of ascent and descent which really takes place in the sap of trees. Servetus discovered the minor circulation from the heart to the lungs. Do not the following passages of Giordano Bruno (published in 1591) seem to imply more? I put the question, pauperis forma, with unfeigned diffidence.

"De Immenso et Innumerabili," lib. vi. cap. 8:

Ut in nostro corpore sanguis per totum circumcursat et recursat, sic in toto mundo, astro, tellure.

Quare non aliter quam nostro in corpore sanguis Hinc meat, hinc remeat, neque ad inferiora fluit vi Majore, ad supera a pedibus quam deinde recedat:­

and still more plainly, in the ninth chapter of the same book,

Quid esset Quodam ni gyro naturae cuncta redirent Ortus ad proprios rursum; si sorbeat omnes Pontus aquas, totum non restituatque perenni Ordine; qua possit rerum consistere vita? Tanquam si totus concurrat sanguis in unam, In qua consistat, partem, nec prima revisat Ordia, et antiquos cursus non inde resumat.

It is affirmed in the
Supplement to the Scotch Encyclopædia Britannica,
that Des Cartes was the first who in defiance of Aristotle and the Schools, attributed infinity to the universe. The very title of Bruno's poem proves, that this honour belongs to him.

Feyjoo lays claim to a knowledge of the circulation of the blood for Francisco de la Reyna, a farrier, who published a work upon his own art at Burgos, in 1564. The passage which he quotes is perfectly clear.
Por manera, que la sangre anda en torno, y en rueda por todos los miembros, excluye toda duda.
Whether Reyna himself claimed any discovery, Feyjoo does not mention; ­ but, these words seem to refer to some preceding demonstration of the fact. I am inclined to think that this, like many other things, was known before it was discovered; just as the preventive powers of the vaccine disease, the existence of adipocire in graves, and certain principles in grammar and in population, upon which bulky books have been written and great reputations raised in our days.

Contents, p.3

Peritura Parcere Chartæ

What scholar but must at times have a feeling of splenetic regret, when he looks at the list of novels, in two, three, or four volumes each, published monthly by Messrs. Lane, &c. and then reflects that there are valuable works of Cudworth, prepared by himself for the press, yet still unpublished by the University which possesses them, and which ought to glory in the name of their great author! and that there is extant in manuscript a folio volume of unprinted sermons by Jeremy Taylor. Surely, surely, the patronage of our many literary societies might be employed more beneficially to the literature and to the actual literati of the country, if they would publish the valuable manuscripts that lurk in our different public libraries, and make it worth the while of men of learning to correct and annotate the copies, instead of ­ ­ , but it is treading on hot embers!

Contents, p.3

to Have and to Be

The distinction is marked in a beautiful sentiment of a German poet: Hast thou any thing? share it with me and I will pay thee the worth of it. Art thou any thing? O then let us exchange souls!

The following is offered as a mere playful illustration:

"Women have no souls," says prophet Mahomet.

Nay, dearest Anna! why so grave?
I said you had no soul,'tis true:
For what you are, you cannot have ­
'Tis I, that have one, since I first had you.

Contents, p.3

Party Passion

"Well, Sir!" exclaimed a lady, the vehement and impassionate partizan of Mr. Wilkes, in the day of his glory, and during the broad blaze of his patriotism, "Well, Sir! and will you dare deny that Mr. Wilkes is a great man, and an eloquent man?" ­ "Oh! by no means, Madam! I have not a doubt respecting Mr. Wilkes's talents!" ­ "Well, but, Sir! and is he not a fine man, too, and a handsome man?" ­ "Why, Madam! he squints, doesn't he?" ­ "Squints! yes to be sure he does, Sir! but not a bit more than a gentleman and a man of sense ought to squint!"

Contents, p.3

Goodness of Heart Indispensable to a Man of Genius

If men will impartially, and not asquint, look toward the offices and function of a poet, they will easily conclude to themselves the impossibility of any man's being the good poet without being first a good man.
(Dedication to the Fox).

Ben Jonson has borrowed this just and noble sentiment from Strabo.

'h de (haretae) poiaetou sunezeuktai tae tou anthropou kai ouch oionte agathhon genesthai, poiaetaen, mae proteron genaethenta andra agathon.

Contents, p.3

Milton and Ben Jonson

Those who have more faith in parallelism than myself, may trace Satan's address to the sun in Paradise Lost to the first lines of Ben Jonson's Poetaster:

"Light! I salute thee, but with wounded nerves, Wishing thy golden splendour pitchy darkness!"

But even if Milton had the above in his mind, his own verses would be more fitly entitled an apotheosis of Jonson's lines than an imitation.

Contents, p.3


We all remember Burke's curious assertion that there were 80,000 incorrigible jacobins in England. Mr. Colquhoun is equally precise in the number of beggars, prostitutes, and thieves in the City of London. Mercetinus, who wrote under Lewis XV. seems to have afforded the precedent; he assures his readers, that by an accurate calculation there were 50,000 incorrigible atheists in the City of Paris! Atheism then may have been a co-cause of the French revolution; but it should not be burthened on it, as its monster-child.

Contents, p.4


The following ode was written by Giordano Bruno, under prospect of that martyrdom which he soon after suffered at Rome, for atheism: that is, as is proved by all his works, for a lofty and enlightened piety, which was of course unintelligible to bigots and dangerous to an apostate hierarchy. If the human mind be, as it assuredly is, the sublimest object which nature affords to our contemplation, these lines which portray the human mind under the action of its most elevated affections, have a fair claim to the praise of sublimity. The work from which they are extracted is exceedingly rare (as are, indeed, all the works of the Nolan philosopher), and I have never seen them quoted:­

Dædaleas vacuis plumas nectere humeris
Concupiant alii; aut vi suspendi nubium
Alis, ventorumve appetant remigium;
Aut orbitæ flammantis raptari alveo;
Bellerophontisve alitem

Nos vero illo donati sumus genio,
Ut fatum intrepedi objectasque umbras cernimus,
Ne cæci ad lumen solis, ad perspicuas
Naturæ voces surdi, ad Divum munera
Ingrato adsimus pectore.

Non curamus stultorum quid opinio
De nobis ferat, aut queis dignetur sedibus.
Alis ascendimus sursum melioribus!
Quid nubes ultra, ventorum ultra est semita,
Vidimus, quantum satis est.

Illuc conscendent plurimi, nobis ducibus,
Per scalam proprio erectam et firmam in pectore,
Quam Deus, et vegeti sors dabit ingeni;
Non manes, pluma, ignis, ventus, nubes, spiritus,
Divinantum phantasmata.

Non sensus vegetans, non me ratio arguet,
Non indoles exculti clara ingenii;
Sed perfidi sycophantæ supercilium
Absque lance, statera, trutina, oculo,
Miraculum armati segete.

Versificantis grammatistæ encomium,
Buglossæ Græcissantum, et epistolia
Lectorem libri salutantum a limine,
Latrantum adversum Zoilos, Momos, mastiges,
Hinc absint testimonia!

Procedat nudus, quern non ornant nubila,
Sol! Non conveniunt quadrupedum phaleræ
Humano dorso! Porra veri species
Quæsita, inventa, et patefacta me efferat!
Etsi nullus intelligat,
Si cum natura sapio, et sub numine,
Id vere plus quam satis est.

The conclusion alludes to a charge of impenetrable obscurity, in which Bruno shares one and the same fate with Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and in truth with every great discoverer and benefactor of the human race; excepting only when the discoveries have been capable of being rendered palpable to the outward senses, and have therefore come under the cognizance of our "sober judicious critics," the men of "sound common sense;" that is, of those snails in intellect, who wear their eyes at the tips of their feelers, and cannot even see unless they at the same time touch. When these finger-philosophers affirm that Plato, Bruno, &c. must have been "out of their senses," the just and proper retort is, ­ "Gentlemen! it is still worse with you! you have lost your reason!"

By the by, Addison in the Spectator has grossly misrepresented the design and tendency of Bruno's
Bestia Triomphante
; the object of which was to show of all the theologies and theogonies which have been conceived for the mere purpose of solving problems in the material universe, that as they originate in fancy, so they all end in delusion, and act to the hindrance or prevention of sound knowledge and actual discovery. But the principal and most important truth taught in this allegory is, that in the concerns of morality all pretended knowledge of the will of Heaven which is not revealed to man through his conscience; that all commands which do not consist in the unconditional obedience of the will to the pure reason, without tampering with consequences (which are in God's power, not in ours); in short, that all motives of hope and fear from invisible powers, which are not immediately derived from, and absolutely coincident with, the reverence due to the supreme reason of the universe, are all alike dangerous superstitions. The worship founded on them, whether offered by the Catholic to St. Francis, or by the poor African to his Fetish differ in form only, not in substance. Herein Bruno speaks not only as a philosopher, but as an enlightened Christian; ­ the Evangelists and Apostles every where representing their moral precepts not as doctrines then first revealed, but as truths implanted in the hearts of men, which their vices only could have obscured.

Contents, p.4

Negroes and Narcissuses

There are certain tribes of Negros who take for the deity of the day the first thing they see or meet with in the morning. Many of our fine ladies, and some of our very fine gentlemen, are followers of the same sect; though by aid of the looking-glass they secure a constancy as to the object of their devotion.

Contents, p.4

An Anecdote

We here in England received a very high character of Lord ­ during his stay abroad. "Not unlikely, Sir," replied the traveller; "a dead dog at a distance is said to smell like musk."

Contents, p.4

The Pharos at Alexandria

Certain full and highly-wrought dissuasives from sensual indulgencies, in the works of theologians as well as of satirists and story-writers, may, not unaptly, remind one of the Pharos; the many lights of which appeared at a distance as one, and this as a polar star, so as more often to occasion wrecks than prevent them.

At the base of the Pharos the name of the reigning monarch was engraved, on a composition, which the artist well knew would last no longer than the king's life. Under this, and cut deep in the marble itself, was his own name and dedication: "Sostratos of Gyndos, son of Dexiteles to the Gods, protectors of sailors!" ­ So will it be with the Georgium Sidus the Ferdinandia, &c. &c. ­ Flattery's plaister of Paris will crumble away, and under it we shall read the names of Herschel, Piozzi, and their compeers.

Contents, p.4

Sense and Common Sense

I have noticed two main evils in philosophizing. The first is, the absurdity of demanding proof for the very facts which constitute the nature of him who demands it, ­ a proof for those primary and unceasing revelations of self-consciousness, which every possible proof must pre-suppose; reasoning, for instance, pro and con, concerning the existence of the power of reasoning. Other truths may be ascertained; but these are certainty itself (all at least which we mean by the word), and are the measure of every thing else which we deem certain. The second evil is, that of mistaking for such facts mere general prejudices, and those opinions that, having been habitually taken for granted, are dignified with the name of common sense. Of these, the first is the more injurious to the reputation, the latter more detrimental to the progress of philosophy. In the affairs of common life we very properly appeal to common sense; but it is absurd to reject the results of the microscope from the negative testimony of the naked eye. Knives are sufficient for the table and the market; ­ but for the purposes of science we must dissect with the lancet.

As an instance of the latter evil, take that truly powerful and active intellect, Sir Thomas Brown, who, though he had written a large volume in detection of vulgar errors, yet peremptorily pronounces the motion of the earth round the sun, and consequently the whole of the Copernican system unworthy of any serious confutation, as being manifestly repugnant to common sense; which said common sense, like a miller's scales, used to weigh gold or gasses, may, and often does, become very gross, though unfortunately not very uncommon, nonsense. And as for the former, which may be called Logica Praepostera, I have read in metaphysical essays of no small fame, arguments drawn ab extra in proof and disproof of personal identity, which, ingenious as they may be, were clearly anticipated by the little old woman's appeal to her little dog, for the solution of the very same doubts, occasioned by her petticoats having been cut round about:­

If it is not me, he'll bark and he'll rail, But if I be I, he'll wag his little tail.

Contents, p.4


I dare confess that Mr. Locke's treatise on Toleration appeared to me far from being a full and satisfactory answer to the subtle and oft-times plausible arguments of Bellarmin, and other Romanists. On the whole, I was more pleased with the celebrated W. Penn's tracts on the same subject. The following extract from his excellent letter to the king of Poland appeals to the heart rather than to the head, to the Christian rather than to the philosopher; and, besides, overlooks the ostensible object of religious penalties, which is not so much to convert the heretic, as to prevent the spread of heresy. The thoughts, however, are so just in themselves, and expressed with so much life and simplicity, that it well deserves a place in these Omniana

Now, O Prince! give a poor Christian leave to expostulate with thee. Did Christ Jesus or his holy followers endeavour, by precept or example, to set up their religion with a carnal sword? Called he any troops of men or angels to defend him? Did he encourage Peter to dispute his right with the sword? But did he not say, Put it up? Or did he countenance his over-zealous disciples, when they would have had fire from heaven to destroy those that were not of their mind? No! But did not Christ rebuke them, saying, Ye know not what spirit ye are of? And if it was neither Christ's spirit, nor their own spirit that would have fire from heaven ­ Oh! what is that spirit that would kindle fire on earth to destroy such as peaceably dissent upon the account of conscience!

O King! when did the true religion persecute? When did the true church offer violence for religion? Were not her weapons prayers, tears, and patience? did not Jesus conquer by these weapons, and vanquish cruelty by suffering? can clubs, and staves, and swords, and prisons, and banishments reach the soul, convert the heart, or convince the understanding of man? When did violence ever make a true convert, or bodily punishment, a sincere Christian? This maketh void the end of Christ's coming. Yea, it robbeth God's spirit of its office, which is to convince the world. That is the sword by which the ancient Christians overcame.

The theory of persecution seems to rest on the following assumptions.

  A duty implies a right. We have a right to do whatever it is our duty to do.

  It is the duty and consequently the right of the supreme power in a state to promote the greatest possible sum of well-being in that state.

 This is impossible without morality.

  But morality can neither be produced or preserved in a people at large without true religion.

 Relative to the duties of the legislature or governors, that is the true religion which they conscientiously believe to be so.

 As there can be but one true religion, at the same time, this one it is their duty and right to authorize and protect.

  But the established religion cannot be protected and secured except by the imposition of restraints or the influence of penalties on those, who profess and propagate hostility to it.

  True religion, consisting of precepts, counsels, commandments, doctrines, and historical narratives, cannot be effectually proved or defended, but by a comprehensive view of the whole as a system. Now this cannot be hoped for from the mass of mankind. But it may be attacked, and the faith of ignorant men subverted by particular objections, by the statement of difficulties without any counter-statement of the greater difficulties which would result from the rejection of the former, and by all the other stratagems used in the desultory warfare of sectaries and infidels. This is, however, manifestly dishonest and dangerous, and there must exist, therefore, a power in the state to prevent, suppress, and punish it.

 The advocates of toleration have never been able to agree among themselves concerning the limits to their own claims; have never established any clear rules, as to what shall and what shall not be admitted under the name of religion and conscience. Treason and the grossest indecencies not only may be, but have been, called by these names: as among the earlier Anabaptists.

  And last, it is a
petitio principii
, or begging the question, to take for granted that a state has no power except in case of overt acts. It is its duty to prevent a present evil, as much at least as to punish the perpetrators of it. Besides, preaching and publishing are overt acts. Nor has it yet been proved, though often asserted, that a Christian sovereign has nothing to do with the eternal happiness or misery of the fellow creatures entrusted to his charge.

Contents, p.4

Hint for a New Species of History

"The very knowledge of the opinions and customs of so considerable a part of mankind as the Jews now are, and especially have been heretofore, is valuable both for pleasure and use. It is a very good piece of history, and that of the best kind, namely, of human nature, and of that part of it which is most different from us, and commonly the least known to us. And, indeed, the principal advantage which is to be made by the wiser sort of men of most writings, is rather to see what men think and are, than to be informed of the natures and truth of things; to observe what thoughts and passions have occupied men's minds, what opinions and manners they are of. In this view it becomes of no mean importance to notice and record the strangest ignorance, the most putid fables, impertinent, trifling, ridiculous disputes, and more ridiculous pugnacity in the defence and retention of the subjects disputed." (Publisher's preface to the reader in Lightfoot's Works, vol. i.)

In the thick volume of title pages and chapters of contents (composed) of large and small works correspondent to each (proposed) by a certain
-parturient genius of my acquaintance, not the least promising is, ­ "A History of the morals and (as connected therewith) of the manners of the English Nation from the Conquest to the present time." From the chapter of contents it appears, that my friend is a steady believer in the uninterrupted progression of his fellow countrymen; that there has been a constant growth of wealth and well-being among us, and with these an increase of knowledge, and with increasing knowledge an increase and diffusion of practical goodness. The degrees of acceleration, indeed, have been different at different periods. The moral being has sometimes crawled, sometimes strolled, sometimes walked, sometimes run; but it has at all times been moving onward. If in any one point it has gone backward, it has been only in order to leap forward in some other. The work was to commence with a numeration table, or catalogue, of those virtues or qualities which make a man happy in himself, and which conduce to the happiness of those about him, in a greater or lesser sphere of agency. The degree and the frequency in which each of these virtues manifested themselves, in the successive reigns from William the Conqueror inclusively, were to be illustrated by apposite quotations from the works of contemporary writers, not only of historians and chroniclers, but of the poets, romance writers, and theologians, not omitting the correspondence between literary men, the laws and regulations, civil and ecclesiastical, and whatever records the industry of antiquarians has brought to light in their provincial, municipal, and monastic histories:­ tall tomes and huge! undegenerate sons of Anak, which look down from a dizzy height on the dwarfish progeny of contemporary wit, and can find no associates in size at a less distance than two centuries; and in arranging which the puzzled librarian must commit an anachronism in order to avoid an anatopism.

Such of these illustrations as most amused or impressed me, when I heard them (for alas! even his very title pages and contents my friend composes only in air!) I shall probably attempt to preserve in different parts of these
. At present I shall cite one article only which I found wafered on a blank leaf of his memorandum book, superscribed: "Flattering news for
Anno Domini
2000, whenever it shall institute a comparison between itself and the l7th and l8th centuries." It consists of an extract, say rather, an exsection from the Kingston Mercantile Advertiser, from Saturday, August the 15th, to Tuesday, August 18th, 1801. This paper which contained at least twenty more advertisements of the very same kind, was found by accident among the wrapping-papers in the trunk of an officer just returned from the West India station. They stand here exactly as in the original, from which they are reprinted:­

Kingston, July 30, 1801.
Ran away, about three weeks ago, from a penn near Halfway Tree, a negro wench, named Nancy, of the Chamba country, strong made, an ulcer on her left leg, marked D. C. diamond between. She is supposed to be harboured by her husband, Dublin, who has the direction of a wherry working between this town and Port Royal, and is the property of Mr. Fishley, of that place; the said negro man having concealed a boy in his wherry before. Half a joe will be paid to any person apprehending the above described wench, and delivering to Mr. Archibald M' Lea, East end; and if found secreted by any person, the law will be put in force.

Kingston, August 13, 1801.
Strayed on Monday evening last, a negro boy of the Moco country, named Joe, the property of Mr. Thomas Williams, planter, in St. John's, who had sent him to town under the charge of a negro man, with a cart for provisions. The said boy is, perhaps, from 15 to 18 years of age, about twelve months in the country, no mark, speaks little English, but can tell his owner's name; had on a long Oznaburg frock. It is supposed he might have gone out to vend some pears and lemon-grass, and have lost himself in the street. One pistole will be paid to any person apprehending and bringing him to this office.

Kingston, July 1, 1801.
Forty Shillings Reward.
Strayed on Friday evening last, (and was seen going up West Street the following morning), a small bay HORSE, the left ear lapped, flat rump, much scored from the saddle on his back, and marked on the near side F. M. with a diamond between. Whoever will take up the said horse, and deliver him to W. Balantine, butcher, back of West Street, will receive the above reward.

Kingston, July 4, 1801.
Strayed on Sunday morning last, from the subscriber's house, in East Street, a bright dun He-Mule, the mane lately cropped, a large chafe slightly skinned over on the near buttock, and otherwise chafed from the action of the harness in his recent breaking. Half a joe will be paid to any person taking up and bringing this mule to the subscriber's house, or to the Store in Harbour Street. JOHN WALSH.

Kingston, July 2, 1801.
Ten pounds Reward,
Ran away
About two years ago from the subscriber, a Negro woman named
purchased from Alexander M'Kean, Esq. She is about 20 years of age, and 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high; has a mark on one of her shoulders, about the size of a quarter dollar, occasioned, she says, by the yaws; of a coal black complexion, very artful, and most probably passes about the country with false papers and under another name; if that is not the case, it must be presumed she is harboured about Green pond, where she has a mother and other connexions.

What a history! horses and negros! negros and horses! It makes me tremble at my own nature. Surely, every religious and conscientious Briton is equally a debtor in gratitude to Thomas Clarkson and his fellow labourers with every African: for on the soul of every individual among us did a portion of guilt rest, as long as the Slave Trade remained legal.

A few years back the public was satiated with accounts of the happy condition of the slaves in our colonies, and the great encouragements and facilities afforded to such of them, as by industry and foresight laboured to better their situation. With what truth this is stated as the general tone of feeling among our planters, and their agents, may be conjectured from the following sentences, which made part of what in England we call the leading paragraph of the same newspaper:­

Strange as it may appear, we are assured as a fact, that a number of slaves in this town have purchased lots of land, and are absolutely in possession of the fee simple of lands and tenements. Neither is it uncommon for the men slaves to purchase or manumize their wives, and vice versa, the wives their husbands. To account for this, we need only look to the depredations daily committed, and the impositions practised to the distress of the community and ruin of the fair trader. Negro yards too, under such direction, will necessarily prove the asylum of runaways from the country.

Contents, p.4

Text Sparring

When I hear (as who now can travel twenty miles in a stage coach without the probability of hearing) an ignorant religionist quote an unconnected sentence of half a dozen words from any part of the Old or New Testament, and resting on the literal sense of these words the eternal misery of all who reject, nay, even of all those countless myriads, who have never had the opportunity of accepting this, and sundry other articles of faith conjured up by the same textual magic; I ask myself what idea these persons form of the Bible, that they should use it in a way in which they themselves use no other book? They deem the whole written by inspiration. Well! but is the very essence of rational discourse, that is, connection and dependency done away, because the discourse is infallibly rational? The mysteries, which these spiritual lynxes detect in the simplest texts, remind me of the 500 nondescripts, each as large as his own black cat, which Dr. Katterfelto, by aid of his solar microscope, discovered in a drop of transparent water.

But to a contemporary who has not thrown his lot in the same helmet with them, these fanatics think it a crime to listen. Let them then, or far rather, let those who are in danger of infection from them, attend to the golden aphorisms of the old and orthodox divines. "Sentences in scripture (says Dr. Donne) like hairs in horses' tails, concur in one root of beauty and strength; but being plucked out, one by one, serve only for springes and snares."

The second I transcribe from the preface to Lightfoot's works. "Inspired writings are an inestimable treasure to mankind; for so many sentences, so many truths. But then the true sense of them must be known: otherwise, so many sentences, so many authorized falsehoods."

Contents, p.4


Our modern latitudinarians will find it difficult to suppose, that anything could have been said in the defence of Pelagianism equally absurd with the facts and arguments which have been adduced in favour of original sin, (sin being taken as guilt; that is, observes a Socinian wit, the crime of being born). But in the comment of Rabbi Akibah on Ecclesiastes xii. 1. we have a story of a mother, who must have been a most determined believer in the uninheritability of sin. For having a sickly and deformed child, and resolved that it should not be thought to have been punished for any fault of its parents or ancestors, and yet having nothing else for which to blame the child, she seriously and earnestly accused it before the judge of having kicked her unmercifully during her pregnancy.

I am firmly persuaded that no doctrine was ever widely diffused among various nations through successive ages and under different religions, (such as is the doctrine of original sin, and redemption, those fundamental articles of every known religion professing to be revealed,) which is not founded either in the nature of things or in the necessities of our nature. In the language of the schools, it carries with it presumptive evidence that it is either objectively or subjectively true. And the more strange and contradictory such a doctrine may appear to the understanding, or discursive faculty, the stronger is the presumption in its favour. For whatever satirists may say, and sciolists imagine, the human mind has no predilection for absurdity. I do not, however, mean that such a doctrine shall be always the best possible representation of the truth on which it is founded; for the same body casts strangely different shadows in different places, and different degrees of light, but that it always does shadow out some such truth, and derive its influence over our faith from our obscure perception of that truth. Yea, even where the person himself attributes his belief of it to the miracles, with which it was announced by the founder of his religion.

Contents, p.4

The Soul and its Organs of Sense

It is a strong presumptive proof against materialism, that there does not exist a language on earth, from the rudest to the most refined, in which a materialist can talk for five minutes together, without involving some contradiction in terms to his own system. Objection. Will not this apply equally to the astronomer? Newton, no doubt, talked of the sun's rising and setting, just like other men. What should we think of the coxcomb who should have objected to him, that he contradicted his own system? Answer ­ No! it does not apply equally; say rather, it is utterly inapplicable to the astronomer and natural philosopher. For his philosophic, and his ordinary language speak of two quite different things, both of which are equally true. In his ordinary language he refers to a fact of appearance, to a phenomenon common and necessary to all persons in a given situation; in his scientific language he determines that one position or figure, which being supposed, the appearance in question would be the necessary result, and all appearances in all situations maybe demonstrably foretold. Let a body be suspended in the air, and strongly illuminated. What figure is here? A triangle. But what here? A trapezium; ­ and so on. The same question put to twenty men, in twenty different positions and distances, would receive twenty different answers: each would be a true answer. But what is that one figure which, being so placed, all these facts of appearance must result according to the law of perspective? ­ Ay! this is a different question, this is a new subject. The words which answer this would be absurd if used in reply to the former. 1

Thus, the language of the scripture on natural objects is as strictly philosophical as that of the Newtonian system. Perhaps more so. For it is not only equally true, but it is universal among mankind, and unchangeable. It describes facts of appearance. And what other language would have been consistent with the divine wisdom? The inspired writers must have borrowed their terminology, either from the crude and mistaken philosophy of their own times, and so have sanctified and perpetuated falsehood, unintelligible meantime to all but one in ten thousand; or they must have anticipated the terminology of the true system, without any revelation of the system itself, and so have become unintelligible to all men; or lastly, they must have revealed the system itself, and thus have left nothing for the exercise, developement, or reward of the human understanding, instead of teaching that moral knowledge, and enforcing those social and civic virtues, out of which the arts and sciences will spring up in due time and of their own accord. But nothing of this applies to the materialist; he refers to the very same facts, of which the common language of mankind speaks: and these too are facts that have their sole and entire being in our own consciousness; facts, as to which esse and conscire are identical. Now, whatever is common to all languages, in all climates, at all times, and in all stages of civilization, must be the exponent and consequent of the common consciousness of man as man. Whatever contradicts this universal language, therefore, contradicts the universal consciousness, and the facts in question subsisting exclusively in consciousness, whatever contradicts the consciousness contradicts the fact.

I have been seduced into a dry discussion where I had intended only a few amusing facts, in proof, that the mind makes the sense far more than the senses make the mind. If I have life, and health, and leisure, I purpose to compile from the works, memoirs, and transactions of the different philosophical societies in Europe, from magazines, and the rich store of medical and psychological publications, furnished by the English, French, and German press, all the essays and cases that relate to the human faculties under unusual circumstances, (for pathology is the crucible of physiology), excluding such only as are not intelligible without the symbols or terminology of science. These I would arrange under the different senses and powers: as

Thence I propose to make a new arrangement of madness, whether as defect, or as excess, of any of these senses or faculties; and thus by appropriate cases to shew the difference between; ­

  a man having lost his reason but not his senses or understanding ­ that is, when he sees things as other men see them, ­ adapts means to ends as other men would adapt them, and not seldom, with more sagacity, ­ but his final end is altogether irrational:

 his having lost his wits, that is, his understanding or judicial power; but not his reason or the use of his senses, ­ (such was Don Quixote; and, therefore, we love and reverence him, while we despise Hudibras):

 his being out of his senses, as in the case of a hypochondriac, to whom his limbs appear to be of glass, although all his conduct is both rational, or moral, and prudent:

  Or the case may be a combination of all three, though I doubt the existence of such a case, or of any two of them:

 And lastly, it may be merely such an excess of sensation, as overpowers and suspends all, which is frenzy or raving madness.

A diseased state of an organ of sense, or of the inner organs connected with it, will perpetually tamper with the understanding, and unless there be an energetic and watchful counter-action of the judgment (of which I have known more than one instance, in which the comparing and reflecting judgment has obstinately, though painfully, rejected the full testimony of the senses,) will finally overpower it. But when the organ is obliterated, or totally suspended, then the mind applies some other organ to a double use. Passing through Temple Sowerby, in Westmorland, some ten years back, I was shewn a man perfectly blind; and blind from his infancy. Fowell was his name. This man's chief amusement was fishing on the wild and uneven banks of the River Eden, and up the different streams and tarns among the mountains. He had an intimate friend, likewise stone blind, a dexterous card player, who knows every gate and stile far and near throughout the country. These two often coursed together, and the people here, as every where, fond of the marvellous, affirm that they were the best beaters up of game in the whole country. The every way amiable and estimable John Gough of Kendal is not only an excellent mathematician, but an infallible botanist and zoologist. He has frequently at the first feel corrected the mistakes of the most experienced sportsman with regard to the birds or vermin which they had killed, when it chanced to be a variety or rare species so completely resembling the common one, that it required great steadiness of observation to detect the difference, even after it had been pointed out. As to plants and flowers, the rapidity of his touch appears fully equal to that of sight; and the accuracy greater. Good heavens! it needs only to look at him! Why his face sees all over! It is all one eye! I almost envied him; for the purity and excellence of his own nature, never broken in upon by those evil looks, (or features, which are looks become fixtures), with which low cunning, habitual cupidity, presumptuous sciolism, and heart-hardening vanity, coarsen the human face, ­ it is the mere stamp, the undisturbed
of his own soul! Add to this that he is a Quaker, with all the blest negatives, without any of the silly and factious positives, of that sect, which, with all its bogs and hollows, is still the prime sun-shine spot of Christendom in the eye of the true philosopher. When I was in Germany in the year 1798, I read at Hanover, and met with two respectable persons, one a clergyman, the other a physician, who confirmed to me, the account of the upper-stall master at Hanover, written by himself, and countersigned by all his medical attendants. As far as I recollect, he had fallen from his horse on his head, and in consequence of the blow lost both his sight and hearing for nearly three years, and continued for the greater part of this period in a state of nervous fever. His understanding, however, remained unimpaired and unaffected, and his entire consciousness, as to outward impressions, being confined to the sense of touch, he at length became capable of reading any book (if printed, as most German books are, on coarse paper) with his fingers, in much the same manner in which the
is played, and latterly with an almost incredible rapidity. Likewise by placing his hand with the fingers all extended, at a small distance from the lips of any person that spoke slowly and distinctly to him, he learned to recognize each letter by its different effects on his nerves, and thus spelt the words as they were uttered. It was particularly noticed both by himself from his sensations, and by his medical attendants from observation, that the letter R, if pronounced full and strong, and recurring once or more in the same word, produced a small spasm, or twitch in his hand and fingers. At the end of three years he recovered both his health and senses, and with the necessity soon lost the power, which he had thus acquired.

Footnote 1
: See
Church and State
. Appendix, p. 231.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2
: This phrase,
a priori
, is, in common, most grossly misunderstood, and an absurdity burthened on it which it does not deserve. By knowledge
a priori
, we do not mean that we can know any thing previously to experience, which would be a contradiction in terms; but having once known it by occasion of experience (that is, something acting upon us from without) we then know, that it must have pre-existed, or the experience itself would have been impossible. By experience only I know, that I have eyes; but then my reason convinces me, that I must have had eyes in order to the experience.

return to footnote mark

Contents, p.4

Sir George Etherege, etc.

Often and often had I read Gay's Beggar's Opera, and always delighted with its poignant wit and original satire, and if not without noticing its immorality, yet without any offence from it. Some years ago, I for the first time saw it represented in one of the London theatres; and such were the horror and disgust with which it impressed me, so grossly did it outrage all the best feelings of my nature, that even the angelic voice, and perfect science of Mrs. Billington, lost half their charms, or rather increased my aversion to the piece by an additional sense of incongruity. Then I learned the immense difference between reading and seeing a play; ­ and no wonder, indeed; for who has not passed over with his eye a hundred passages without offence, which he yet could not have even read aloud, or have heard so read by another person, without an inward struggle? ­ In mere passive silent reading the thoughts remain mere thoughts, and these too not our own, ­ phantoms with no attribute of place, no sense of appropriation, that flit over the consciousness as shadows over the grass or young corn in an April day. But even the sound of our own or another's voice takes them out of that lifeless, twilight, realm of thought, which is the confine, the intermundium, as it were, of existence and non-existence. Merely that the thoughts have become audible by blending with them a sense of outness gives them a sort of reality. What then, ­ when by every contrivance of scenery, appropriate dresses, according and auxiliary looks and gestures, and the variety of persons on the stage, realities are employed to carry the imitation of reality as near as possible to perfect delusion?

If a manly modesty shrinks from uttering an indecent phrase before a wife or sister in a private room, what must be the effect when a repetition of such treasons (for all gross and libidinous allusions are emphatically treasons against the very foundations of human society, against all its endearing charities, and all the mother virtues,) is hazarded before a mixed multitude in a public theatre? When every innocent woman must blush at once with pain at the thoughts she rejects, and with indignant shame at those, which the foul hearts of others may attribute to her!

Thus too with regard to the comedies of Wycherly, Vanburgh, and Etherege, I used to please myself with the flattering comparison of the manners universal at present among all classes above the lowest with those of our ancestors even of the highest ranks. But if for a moment I think of those comedies as having been acted, I lose all sense of comparison in the shame, that human nature could at any time have endured such outrages to its dignity; and if conjugal affection and the sweet name of sister were too weak, that yet filial piety, the gratitude for a mother's holy love, should not have risen and hissed into infancy these traitors to their own natural gifts, who lampooned the noblest passions of humanity, in order to pander for its lowest appetites.

As far, however, as one bad thing can be palliated by comparison with a worse, this may be said, in extenuation of these writers; that the mischief, which they can do even on the stage, is trifling compared with that stile of writing which began in the pest-house of French literature, and has of late been imported by the Littles of the age, which consists in a perpetual tampering with the morals without offending the decencies. And yet the admirers of these publications, nay, the authors themselves have the assurance to complain of Shakspeare (for I will not refer to one yet far deeper blasphemy) ­ Shakspeare, whose most objectionable passages are but grossnesses against lust, and these written in a gross age; while three fourths of their whole works are delicacies for its support and sustenance. Lastly, that I may leave the reader in better humour with the name at the head of this article, I shall quote one scene from Etherege's Love in a Tub, which for exquisite, genuine, original humour, is worth all the rest of his plays, though two or three of his witty contemporaries were thrown in among them, as a make weight. The scene might be entitled, the different ways in which the very same story may be told without any variation in matter of fact; for the least attentive reader will perceive the perfect identity of the footboy's account with the Frenchman's own statement in contradiction to it.

Scene ­ Sir Frederick's Lodging.

Enter DUFOY and CLARK.

I wonder Sir Frederick stays out so late.

Dis is noting; six, seven o'clock in the morning is ver good hour.

I hope he does not use these hours often.

Some six, seven time a veek; no oftiner.

My Lord commanded me to wait his coming.

Matré Clark, to divertise you, I vill tell you, how I did get be acquainted vid dis Bedlam Matré. About two, tree year ago me had for my convenience discharge myself from attending
Enter a footboy
as Matré D'ostel to a person of condition in Parie; it hapen after de dispatch of my little affairé.

That is, after h'ad spent his money, Sir.

Jan foutréde lacque; me vil have vip and de belle vor your breeck, rogue.

Sir, in a word, he was a Jack-pudding to a mountebank, and turned off for want of wit: my master picked him up before a puppet-show, mumbling a half-penny custard, to send him with a letter to the post.

Morbleu, see, see de insolence of de foot boy English, bogre, rascale, you lie, begar I vill cutté your troaté.


He's a rogue; on with your story, Monsieur.

Matré Clark, I am your ver humble serviteur; but begar me have no patience to be abusé. As I did say, after de dispatché of my affairé, von day being idele, vich does producé the mellanchollique, I did valké over de new bridge in Parie, and to divertise de time, and my more serious toughté, me did look to see de marrioneté, and de jack-pudding, vich did play hundred pretty trické; time de collation vas come; and vor I had no company, I vas unvilling to go to de Cabareté, but did buy a darriolé, littel custardé vich did satisfie my appetite ver vel: in dis time young Monsieur de Grandvil (a jentelman of ver great quality, van dat vas my ver good friendé, and has done me ver great and insignal faveure) come by in his caroche vid dis Sir Frolick, who did pention at the same academy, to learn, de language, de bon mine, de great horse, and many oder trické. Monsieur seeing me did make de bowe and did becken me to come to him: he did telle me dat de Englis jentelman had de lettre vor de poste, and did entreaté me (if I had de opportunity) to see de lettre deliveré: he did telle me too, it void be ver great obligation: de memory of de faveurs I had received from his famelyé, beside de inclination I naturally have to serve de strangeré, made me returné de complemen vid ver great civility, and so I did take de lettre and see it deliveré. Sir Frollick perceiving (by de management of dis affairŽ) dat I vas man d'esprit, and of vitté, did entreaté me to be his serviteur; me did take d'affection to his personé, and was contenté to live vid him, to counsel and advise him. You see now de lie of de bougre de lacque Englishe, morbleu.

Contents, p.4


When I was at Malta, 1805, there happened a drunken squabble on the road from Valette to St. Antonio, between a party of soldiers and another of sailors. They were brought before me the next morning, and the great effect which their intoxication had produced on their memory, and the little or no effect on their courage in giving evidence, may be seen by the following specimen. The soldiers swore that the sailors were the first aggressors, and had assaulted them with the following words: " ­ your eyes! who stops the line of march there?" The sailors with equal vehemence and unanimity averred, that the soldiers were the first aggressors, and had burst in on them calling out ­ "Heave to, you lubbers! or we'll run you down."

Contents, p.4

Force of Habit

An Emir had bought a left eye of a glass eye-maker, supposing that he would be able to see with it. The man begged him to give it a little time: he could not expect that it would see all at once as well as the right eye, which had been for so many years in the habit of it.

Contents, p.4


The Phoenix lives a thousand years, a secular bird of ages; and there is never more than one at a time in the world. Yet Plutarch very gravely informs us, that the brain of the Phoenix is a pleasant bit, but apt to occasion the head ache. By the by, there are few styles that are not fit for something. I have often wished to see Claudian's splendid poem on the Phoenix translated into English verse in the elaborate rhyme and gorgeous diction of Darwin. Indeed Claudian throughout would bear translation better than any of the ancients.

Contents, p.4

Memory and Recollection

Beasts and babies remember, that is, recognize: man alone recollects. This distinction was made by Aristotle.

Contents, p.4

Aliquid ex Nihilo.

In answer to the nihil e nihilo of the atheists, and their near relations, the anima-mundi men, a humourist pointed to a white blank in a rude wood-cut, which very ingeniously served for the head of hair in one of the figures.

Contents, p.4

Brevity of the Greek and English Compared

As an instance of compression and brevity in narration, unattainable in any language but the Greek, the following distich was quoted:

[Greek (transliterated): Chruson anaer euron, helipe brochon autar o chruson, hon lipen, ouk ehuron, haephen, hon ehure, brochon.]

This was denied by one of the company, who instantly rendered the lines in English, contending with reason that the indefinite article in English, together with the pronoun "his," &c. should be considered as one word with the noun following, and more than counterbalanced by the greater number of syllables in the Greek words, the terminations of which are in truth only little words glued on to them. The English distich follows, and the reader will recollect that it is a mere trial of comparative brevity, wit and poetry quite out of the question:

Jack finding gold left a rope on the ground; Bill missing his gold used the rope, which he found.

Contents, p.4


The Will and the Deed

The will to the deed, ­ the inward principle to the outward act, ­ is as the kernel to the shell; but yet, in the first place, the shell is necessary for the kernel, and that by which it is commonly known; ­ and, in the next place, as the shell comes first, and the kernel grows gradually and hardens within it, so is it with the moral principle in man. Legality precedes morality in every individual, even as the Jewish dispensation preceded the Christian in the education of the world at large.

Contents, p.4

The Will for the Deed

When may the will be taken for the deed? ­ Then when the will is the obedience of the whole man; ­ when the will is in fact the deed, that is, all the deed in our power. In every other case, it is bending the bow without shooting the arrow. The bird of Paradise gleams on the lofty branch, and the man takes aim, and draws the tough yew into a crescent with might and main, ­ and lo! there is never an arrow on the string.

Contents, p.4


The first great requisite is absolute sincerity. Falsehood and disguise are miseries and misery-makers, under whatever strength of sympathy, or desire to prolong happy thoughts in others for their sake or your own only as sympathizing with theirs, it may originate. All sympathy, not consistent with acknowledged virtue, is but disguised selfishness.

Contents, p.4

Truth and Falsehood

The pre-eminence of truth over falsehood, even when occasioned by that truth, is as a gentle fountain breathing from forth its air-let into the snow piled over and around it, which it turns into its own substance, and flows with greater murmur; and though it be again arrested, still it is but for a time, ­ it awaits only the change of the wind to awake and roll onwards its ever increasing stream:­

I semplici pastori
Sul Vesolo nevoso,
Fatti curvi e canuti,
D'alto stupor son muti,
Mirando al fonte ombroso
Il Po con pochi umori;
Poscia udendo gl' onori
Dell'urna angusta e stretta,
Che'l Adda, che'l Tesino
Soverchia il suo cammino,
Che ampio al mar s'affretta,
Che si spuma, e si suona,
Che gli si dà corona!

(Chiabrera, Rime, xxviii.)

But falsehood is fire in stubble; ­ it likewise turns all the light stuff around it into its own substance for a moment, one crackling blazing moment, ­ and then dies; and all its converts are scattered in the wind, without place or evidence of their existence, as viewless as the wind which scatters them.

Contents, p.4

Religious Ceremonies

A man may look at glass, or through it, or both. Let all earthly things be unto thee as glass to see heaven through! Religious ceremonies should be pure glass, not dyed in the gorgeous crimsons and purple blues and greens of the drapery of saints and saintesses.

Contents, p.4


Many a star, which we behold as single, the astronomer resolves into two, each, perhaps, the centre of a separate system. Oft are the flowers of the bind-weed mistaken for the growth of the plant, which it chokes with its intertwine. And many are the unsuspected double stars, and frequent are the parasite weeds, which the philosopher detects in the received opinions of men:­ so strong is the tendency of the imagination to identify what it has long consociated. Things that have habitually, though, perhaps, accidentally and arbitrarily, been thought of in connection with each other, we are prone to regard as inseparable. The fatal brand is cast into the fire, and therefore Meleager must consume in the flames. To these conjunctions of custom and association ­ (the associative power of the mind which holds the mid place between memory and sense,) ­ we may best apply Sir Thomas Brown's remark, that many things coagulate on commixture, the separate natures of which promise no concretion.

Contents, p.4


The curiosity of an honourable mind willingly rests there, where the love of truth does not urge it farther onward, and the love of its neighbour bids it stop; ­ in other words, it willingly stops at the point, where the interests of truth do not beckon it onward, and charity cries, Halt!

Contents, p.4

New Truths

To all new truths, or renovation of old truths, it must be as in the ark between the destroyed and the about-to-be renovated world. The raven must be sent out before the dove, and ominous controversy must precede peace and the olive-wreath.

Contents, p.4

Vicious Pleasures

Centries, or wooden frames, are put under the arches of a bridge, to remain no longer than till the latter are consolidated. Even so pleasures are the devil's scaffolding to build a habit upon; ­ that formed and steady, the pleasures are sent for fire-wood, and the hell begins in this life.

Contents, p.4

Meriting Heaven

Virtue makes us not worthy, but only worthier, of happiness. Existence itself gives a claim to joy. Virtue and happiness are incommensurate quantities. How much virtue must I have, before I have paid off the old debt of my happiness in infancy and childhood! O! We all outrun the constable with heaven's justice! We have to earn the earth, before we can think of earning heaven.

Contents, p.4

Dust to Dust

We were indeed, ­

Greek (transliterated): panta konis, kai panta gel_ws, kai panta to maeden

if we did not feel that we were so.

Contents, p.4

Human Countenance

There is in every human countenance either a history or a prophecy, which must sadden, or at least soften, every reflecting observer.

Contents, p.4

Lie Useful to Truth

A lie accidentally useful to the cause of an oppressed truth: Thus was the tongue of a dog made medicinal to a feeble and sickly Lazarus.

Contents, p.4

Science in Roman Catholic States

In Roman Catholic states, where science has forced its way, and some light must follow, the devil himself cunningly sets up a shop for common sense at the sign of the Infidel.

Contents, p.5

Voluntary Belief

"It is possible," says Jeremy Taylor, "for a man to bring himself to believe any thing he hath a mind to." But what is this belief? ­ Analyse it into its constituents; ­ is it more than certain passions or feelings converging into the sensation of positiveness as their focus, and then associated with certain sounds or images? ­ Nemo enim, says Augustin, huic evidentiae contradicet, nisi quem plus defensare delectat, quod sentit, quam, quid sentiendum sit, invenire.

Contents, p.5


Lovely and pure ­ no bird of Paradise, to feed on dew and flower-fragrance, and never to alight on earth, till shot by death with pointless shaft; but a rose, to fix its roots in the genial earth, thence to suck up nutriment and bloom strong and healthy, ­ not to droop and fade amid sunshine and zephyrs on a soilless rock! Her marriage was no meagre prose comment on the glowing and gorgeous poetry of her wooing; ­ nor did the surly over-browing rock of reality ever cast the dusky shadow of this earth on the soft moonlight of her love's first phantasies.

Contents, p.5

Hymen's Torch

The torch of love may be blown out wholly, but not that of Hymen. Whom the flame and its cheering light and genial warmth no longer bless, him the smoke stifles; for the spark is inextinguishable, save by death:­

nigro circumvelatus amictu Mæret Hymen, fumantque atræ sine lumine tædæ.

Contents, p.5

Youth and Age

Youth beholds happiness gleaming in the prospect. Age looks back on the happiness of youth; and instead of hopes, seeks its enjoyment in the recollections of hope.

Contents, p.5

December Morning

The giant shadows sleeping amid the wan yellow light of the December morning, looked like wrecks and scattered ruins of the long, long night.

Contents, p.5

Archbishop Leighton

Next to the inspired Scriptures, ­ yea, and as the vibration of that once struck hour remaining on the air, stands Leighton's Commentary on the first Epistle of Peter.

Contents, p.5

Christian Honesty

"O! that God," says Carey in his Journal in Hindostan, "would make the Gospel successful among them! That would undoubtedly make them honest men, and I fear nothing else ever will." Now this is a fact, ­ spite of infidels and psilosophizing Christians, a fact. A perfect explanation of it would require and would show the psychology of faith, ­ the difference between the whole soul's modifying an action, and an action enforced by modifications of the soul amid prudential motives or favouring impulses. Let me here remind myself of the absolute necessity of having my whole faculties awake and imaginative, in order to illustrate this and similar truths; ­ otherwise my writings will be no other than pages of algebra.

Contents, p.5

Inscription on a Clock in Cheapside

What now thou do'st, or art about to do,
Will help to give thee peace, or make thee rue;
When hov'ring o'er the line this hand will tell
The last dread moment ­ 'twill be heaven or hell.

Read for the last two lines ­

When wav'ring o'er the dot, this hand shall tell
The moment that secures thee heaven or hell!

Contents, p.5

Rationalism is not Reason

Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. An awful text! Now because vengeance is most wisely and lovingly forbidden to us, hence we have by degrees, under false generalizations and puny sensibilities, taken up the notion that vengeance is no where. In short, the abuse of figurative interpretation is endless; ­ instead of being applied, as it ought to be, to those things which are the most comprehensible, that is, sensuous, and which therefore are the parts likely to be figurative, because such language is a condescension to our weakness, ­ it is applied to rot away the very pillars, yea, to fret away and dissolve the very corner stones of the temple of religion. O, holy Paul! O, beloved John! full of light and love, whose books are full of intuitions, as those of Paul are books of energies, ­ the one uttering to sympathizing angels what the other toils to convey to weak-sighted yet docile men:­ O Luther! Calvin! Fox, with Penn and Barclay! O Zinzendorf! and ye too, whose outward garments only have been singed and dishonoured in the heathenish furnace of Roman apostacy, Francis of Sales, Fenelon; ­ yea, even Aquinas and Scotus! ­ With what astoundment would ye, if ye were alive with your merely human perfections, listen to the creed of our, so called, rational religionists! Rational! ­ They, who in the very outset deny all reason, and leave us nothing but degrees to distinguish us from brutes; ­ a greater degree of memory, dearly purchased by the greater solicitudes of fear which convert that memory into foresight. O! place before your eyes the island of Britain in the reign of Alfred, its unpierced woods, its wide morasses and dreary heaths, its blood-stained and desolated shores, its untaught and scanty population; behold the monarch listening now to Bede, and now to John Erigena; and then see the same realm, a mighty empire, full of motion, full of books, where the cotter's son, twelve years old, has read more than archbishops of yore, and possesses the opportunity of reading more than our Alfred himself; ­ and then finally behold this mighty nation, its rulers and its wise men listening to ­ Paley and to ­ Malthus! It is mournful, mournful.

Contents, p.5


How strange and sad is the laxity with which men in these days suffer the most inconsistent opinions to lie jumbled lazily together in their minds, ­ holding the antimoralism of Paley and the hypophysics of Locke, and yet gravely, and with a mock faith, talking of God as a pure spirit, of passing out of time into eternity, of a peace which passes all understanding, of loving our neighbour as ourselves, and God above all, and so forth! ­ Blank contradictions! ­ What are these men's minds but a huge lumber-room of bully, that is, of incompatible notions brought together by a feeling without a sense of connection?

Contents, p.5

Hope in Humanity

Consider the state of a rich man perfectly Adam Smithed, yet with a naturally good heart; ­ then suppose him suddenly convinced, vitally convinced, of the truth of the blessed system of hope and confidence in reason and humanity! Contrast his new and old views and reflections, the feelings with which he would begin to receive his rents, and to contemplate his increase of power by wealth, the study to relieve the labour of man from all mere annoy and disgust, the preclusion in his own mind of all cooling down from the experience of individual ingratitude, and his conviction that the true cause of all his disappointments was, that his plans were too narrow, too short, too selfish!

Wenn das Elend viel ist auf der Erde, so beruhet der grund davon, nach Abzug des theils ertraglichen, theils verbesserlichen, theils eingebildeten Uebels der Naturwelt, ganz allein in den moralischen Handlungen der Menschen 1

O my God! What a great, inspiriting, heroic thought! Were only a hundred men to combine even my clearness of conviction of this, with a Clarkson and Bell's perseverance, what might not be done! How awful a duty does not hope become! What a nurse, yea, mother of all other the fairest virtues! We despair of others' goodness, and thence are ourselves bad. O! let me live to show the errors of the most of those who have hitherto attempted this work, ­ how they have too often put the intellectual and the moral, yea, the moral and the religious, faculties at strife with each other, and how they ought to act with an equal eye to all, to feel that all is involved in the perfection of each! This is the fundamental position.

Footnote 1
: 'Although the misery on the earth is great indeed, yet the foundation of it rests, after deduction of the partly bearable, partly removable, and partly imaginary, evil of the natural world, entirely and alone on the moral dealings of men.'

Contents, p.5

Self-Love in Religion

The unselfishness of self-love in the hopes and fears of religion consists; ­ first, ­ in the previous necessity of a moral energy, in order so far to subjugate the sensual, which is indeed and properly the selfish, part of our nature, as to believe in a state after death, on the grounds of the Christian religion:­ secondly, ­ in the abstract and, as it were, unindividual nature of the idea, self, or soul, when conceived apart from our present living body and the world of the senses. In my religious meditations of hope and fear, the reflection that this course of action will purchase heaven for me, for my soul, involves a thought of and for all men who pursue the same course. In worldly blessings, such as those promised in the Old Law, each man might make up to himself his own favourite scheme of happiness. "I will be strictly just, and observe all the laws and ceremonies of my religion, that God may grant me such a woman for my wife, or wealth and honour, with which I will purchase such and such an estate," &c. But the reward of heaven admits no day-dreams; its hopes and its fears are too vast to endure an outline. "I will endeavour to abstain from vice, and force myself to do such and such acts of duty, in order that I may make myself capable of that freedom of moral being, without which heaven would be no heaven to me." Now this very thought tends to annihilate self. For what is a self not distinguished from any other self, but like an individual circle in geometry, uncoloured, and the representative of all other circles. The circle is differenced, indeed, from a triangle or square; so is a virtuous soul from a vicious soul, a soul in bliss from a soul in misery, but no wise distinguished from other souls under the same predicament. That selfishness which includes, of necessity, the selves of all my fellow-creatures, is assuredly a social and generous principle. I speak, as before observed, of the objective or reflex self; ­ for as to the subjective self, it is merely synonymous with consciousness, and obtains equally whether I think of me or of him; ­ in both cases it is I thinking.

Still, however, I freely admit that there neither is, nor can be, any such self-oblivion in these hopes and fears when practically reflected on, as often takes place in love and acts of loving kindness, and the habit of which constitutes a sweet and loving nature. And this leads me to the third, and most important reflection, namely, that the soul's infinite capacity of pain and of joy, through an infinite duration, does really, on the most high-flying notions of love and justice, make my own soul and the most anxious care for the character of its future fate, an object of emphatic duty. What can be the object of human virtue but the happiness of sentient, still more of moral, beings? But an infinite duration of faculties, infinite in progression, even of one soul, is so vast, so boundless an idea, that we are unable to distinguish it from the idea of the whole race of mankind. If to seek the temporal welfare of all mankind be disinterested virtue, much more must the eternal welfare of my own soul be so; ­ for the temporal welfare of all mankind is included within a finite space and finite number, and my imagination makes it easy by sympathies and visions of outward resemblance; but myself in eternity, as the object of my contemplation, differs unimaginably from my present self. Do but try to think of yourself in eternal misery! ­ you will find that you are stricken with horror for it, even as for a third person; conceive it in hazard thereof, and you will feel commiseration for it, and pray for it with an anguish of sympathy very different from the outcry of an immediate self-suffering.

Blessed be God! that which makes us capable of vicious self-interestedness, capacitates us also for disinterestedness. That I am capable of preferring a smaller advantage of my own to a far greater good of another man, ­ this, the power of comparing the notions of "him and me" objectively, enables me likewise to prefer ­ at least furnishes the condition of my preferring ­ a greater good of another to a lesser good of my own; ­ nay, a pleasure of his, or external advantage, to an equal one of my own. And thus too, that I am capable of loving my neighbour as myself, empowers me to love myself as my neighbour, ­ not only as much, but in the same way and with the very same feeling.

This is the great privilege of pure religion. By diverting self-love to our self under those relations, in which alone it is worthy of our anxiety, it annihilates self, as a notion of diversity. Extremes meet. These reflections supply a forcible, and, I believe, quite new argument against the purgatory, both of the Romanists, and of the modern Millennarians, and final Salvationists. Their motives do, indeed, destroy the essence of virtue.

The doctors of self-love are misled by a wrong use of the words, ­ "We love ourselves!" Now this is impossible for a finite and created being in the absolute meaning of self; and in its secondary and figurative meaning, self signifies only a less degree of distance, a narrowness of moral view, and a determination of value by measurement. Hence the body is in this sense our self, because the sensations have been habitually appropriated to it in too great a proportion; but this is not a necessity of our nature. There is a state possible even in this life, in which we may truly say, "My self loves," ­ freely constituting its secondary or objective love in what it wills to love, commands what it wills, and wills what it commands. The difference between self-love, and self that loves, consists in the objects of the former as given to it according to the law of the senses, while the latter determines the objects according to the law in the spirit. The first loves because it must; the second, because it ought; and the result of the first is not in any objective, imaginable, comprehensible, action, but in that action by which it abandoned its power of true agency, and willed its own fall. This is, indeed, a mystery. How can it be otherwise? ­ For if the will be unconditional, it must be inexplicable, the understanding of a thing being an insight into its conditions and causes. But whatever is in the will is the will, and must therefore be equally inexplicable.

In a word, the difference of an unselfish from a selfish love, even in this life, consists in this, that the latter depends on our transferring our present passion or appetite, or rather on our dilating and stretching it out in imagination, as the covetous man does; ­ while in the former we carry ourselves forward under a very different state from the present, as the young man, who restrains his appetites in respect of his future self as a tranquil and healthy old man. This last requires as great an effort of disinterestedness as, if not a greater than, to give up a present enjoyment to another person who is present to us. The alienation from distance in time and from diversity of circumstance, is greater in the one case than in the other. And let it be remembered, that a Christian may exert all the virtues and virtuous charities of humanity in any state; yea, in the pangs of a wounded conscience, he may feel for the future periods of his own lost spirit, just as Adam for all his posterity.

O magical, sympathetic, anima! principium hylarchicum! rationes spermaticae! [Greek: logoi poiaetikoi!] O formidable words! And O man! thou marvellous beast-angel! thou ambitious beggar! How pompously dost thou trick out thy very ignorance with such glorious disguises, that thou mayest seem to hide it in order only to worship it!

Contents, p.5

Limitation of Love of Poetry

A man may be, perhaps, exclusively a poet, a poet most exquisite in his kind, though the kind must needs be of inferior worth; I say, may be; for I cannot recollect any one instance in which I have a right to suppose it. But, surely, to have an exclusive pleasure in poetry, not being yourself a poet; ­ to turn away from all effort, and to dwell wholly on the images of another's vision, ­ is an unworthy and effeminate thing. A jeweller may devote his whole time to jewels unblamed; but the mere amateur, who grounds his taste on no chemical or geological idea, cannot claim the same exemption from despect. How shall he fully enjoy Wordsworth, who has never meditated on the truths which Wordsworth has wedded to immortal verse?

Contents, p.5

Humility of the Amiable

It is well ordered by nature, that the amiable and estimable have a fainter perception of their own qualities than their friends have; ­ otherwise they would love themselves. And though they may fear flattery, yet if not justified in suspecting intentional deceit, they cannot but love and esteem those who love and esteem them, only as lovely and estimable, and give them proof of their having done well, where they have meant to do well.

Contents, p.5

Temper in Argument

"All reasoners ought to be perfectly dispassionate, and ready to allow all the force of the arguments, they are to confute. But more especially those, who are to argue in behalf of Christianity, ought carefully to preserve the spirit of it in their manner of expressing themselves. I have so much honour for the Christian clergy, that I had much rather hear them railed at, than hear them rail; and I must say, that I am often grievously offended with the generality of them for their method of treating all who differ from them in opinion."

(Mrs. Chapone.)

Besides, what is the use of violence? None. What is the harm? Great, very great; ­ chiefly, in the confirmation of error, to which nothing so much tends, as to find your opinions attacked with weak arguments and unworthy feelings. A generous mind becomes more attached to principles so treated, even as it would to an old friend, after he had been grossly calumniated. We are eager to make compensation.

Contents, p.5

Patriarchal Government

The smooth words used by all factions, and their wide influence, may be exemplified in all the extreme systems, as for instance in the patriarchal government of Filmer. Take it in one relation, and it imports love, tender anxiety, longer experience, and superior wisdom, bordering on revelation, especially to Jews and Christians, who are in the life-long habit of attaching to patriarchs an intimacy with the Supreme Being. Take it on the other side, and it imports, that a whole people are to be treated and governed as children by a man not so old as very many, not older than very many, and in all probability not wiser than the many, and by his very situation precluded from the same experience.

Contents, p.5

Callous Self-Conceit

The most hateful form of self-conceit is the callous form, when it boasts and swells up on the score of its own ignorance, as implying exemption from a folly. "We profess not to understand;" ­ "We are so unhappy as to be quite in the dark as to the meaning of this writer;" ­ "All this may be very fine, but we are not ashamed to confess that to us it is quite unintelligible:" ­ then quote a passage without the context, and appeal to the PUBLIC, whether they understand it or not! ­ Wretches! Such books were not written for your public. If it be a work on inward religion, appeal to the inwardly religious, and ask them! ­ If it be of true love and its anguish and its yearnings, appeal to the true lover! What have the public to do with this?

Contents, p.5

a Librarian

He was like a cork, flexible, floating, full of pores and openings, and yet he could neither return nor transmit the waters of Helicon, much less the light of Apollo. The poet, by his side, was like a diamond, transmitting to all around, yet retaining for himself alone, the rays of the god of day.

Contents, p.5


An upright shoe may fit both feet; but never saw I a glove that would fit both hands. It is a man for a mean or mechanic office, that can be employed equally well under either of two opposite parties.

Contents, p.5


Death but supplies the oil for the inextinguishable lamp of life.

Contents, p.5

Love an Act of the Will

Love, however sudden, as when we fall in love at first sight, (which is, perhaps, always the case of love in its highest sense,) is yet an act of the will, and that too one of its primary, and therefore ineffable acts. This is most important; for if it be not true, either love itself is all a romantic hum, a mere connection of desire with a form appropriated to excite and gratify it, or the mere repetition of a daydream; ­ or if it be granted that love has a real, distinct, and excellent being, I know not how we could attach blame and immorality to inconstancy, when confined to the affections and a sense of preference. Either, therefore, we must brutalize our notions with Pope:­

Lust, thro' some certain strainers well refin'd,
Is gentle love and charms all woman-kind:

or we must dissolve and thaw away all bonds of morality by the irresistible shocks of an irresistible sensibility with Sterne.

Contents, p.5

Wedded Union

The well-spring of all sensible communion is the natural delight and need, which undepraved man hath to transfuse from himself into others, and to receive from others into himself, those things, wherein the excellency of his kind doth most consist; and the eminence of love or marriage communion is, that this mutual transfusion can take place more perfectly and totally in this, than in any other mode.

Prefer person before money, good-temper with good sense before person; and let all, wealth, easy temper, strong understanding and beauty, be as nothing to thee, unless accompanied by virtue in principle and in habit.

Suppose competence, health, and honesty; then a happy marriage depends on four things:­
1.  An understanding proportionate to thine, that is, a recipiency at least of thine:­
2.  natural sensibility and lively sympathy in general:­
3.  steadiness in attaching and retaining sensibility to its proper objects in its proper proportions:­
4.  mutual liking; including person and all the thousand obscure sympathies that determine conjugal liking, that is, love and desire to A. rather than to B.
This seems very obvious and almost trivial: and yet all unhappy marriages arise from the not honestly putting, and sincerely answering each of these four questions: any one of them negatived, marriage is imperfect, and in hazard of discontent.

Contents, p.5

Difference Between Hobbs and Spinosa

In the most similar and nearest points there is a difference, but for the most part there is an absolute contrast, between Hobbes and Spinosa. Thus Hobbes makes a state of war the natural state of man from the essential and ever continuing nature of man, as not a moral, but only a frightenable, being:­ Spinosa makes the same state a necessity of man out of society, because he must then be an undeveloped man, and his moral being dormant; and so on through the whole.

Contents, p.5

The End May Justify the Means

Whatever act is necessary to an end, and ascertained to be necessary and proportionate both to the end and the agent, takes its nature from that end. This premised, the proposition is innocent that ends may justify means. Remember, however, the important distinction:­ Unius facti diversi fines esse possunt: unius actionis non possunt.

I have somewhere read this remark:­ Omne meritum est voluntarium, aut voluntate originis, aut origine voluntatis. Quaintly as this is expressed, it is well worth consideration, and gives the true meaning of Baxter's famous saying, ­ "Hell is paved with good intentions."

Contents, p.5

Negative Thought

On this calm morning of the l3th of November, 1809, it occurs to me, that it is by a negation and voluntary act of no thinking that we think of earth, air, water, &c. as dead. It is necessary for our limited powers of consciousness, that we should be brought to this negative state, and that this state should pass into custom; but it is likewise necessary that at times we should awake and step forward; and this is effected by those extenders of our consciousness ­ sorrow, sickness, poetry, and religion. The truth is, we stop in the sense of life just when we are not forced to go on, and then adopt a permission of our feelings for a precept of our reason.

Contents, p.5

Man's Return to Heaven

Heaven bestows light and influence on this lower world, which reflects the blessed rays, though it cannot recompense them. So man may make a return to God, but no requital.

Contents, p.5

Young Prodigies

Fair criticism on young prodigies and Rosciuses in verse, or on the stage, is arraigned, ­ the envious sneaping frost
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.

If there were no better answer, the following a good heart would scarcely admit; ­ but where nine-tenths of the applause have been mere wonderment and miracle-lust (
) these verses are an excellent accompaniment to other arguments:­

Well, say it be! ­ Yet why of summer boast,
Before the birds have natural cause to sing?
Why should we joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow in May's new budding shows;
But like of each thing that in reason grows.

Love's Labours Lost. 1

Footnote 1
: Slightly altered.

Contents, p.5

Welch Names

The small number of surnames, and those Christian names and patronymics, not derived from trades, &c. is one mark of a country either not yet, or only recently, unfeudalized. Hence in Scotland the Mackintoshes, Macaulays, and so on. But the most remarkable show of this I ever saw, is the list of subscribers to Owen's Welch Dictionary. In letter D. there are 31 names, 21 of which are Davis or Davies, and the other three are not Welchmen. In E. there are 30; 16 Evans; 6 Edwards; 1 Edmonds; I Egan, and the remainder Ellis. In G. two-thirds are Griffiths. In H. all are Hughes and Howell. In I. there are 66; all Jonesses. In L. 3 or 4 Lewises; 1 Lewellyn; all the rest Lloyds. M. four-fifths Morgans. O. entirely Owen. R. all Roberts or Richards. T. all Thomases. V. all Vaughans; ­ and W. 64 names, 56 of them Williams.

Contents, p.5

German Language

The real value of melody in a language is considerable as subadditive; but when not jutting out into consciousness under the friction of comparison, the absence or inferiority of it is, as privative of pleasure, of little consequence. For example, when I read Voss's translation of the Georgics, I am, as it were, reading the original poem, until something particularly well expressed occasions me to revert to the Latin; and then I find the superiority, or at least the powers, of the German in all other respects, but am made feelingly alive, at the same time, to its unsmooth mixture of the vocal and the organic, the fluid and the substance, of language. The fluid seems to have been poured in on the corpuscles all at once, and the whole has, therefore, curdled, and collected itself into a lumpy soup full of knots of curds inisled by interjacent whey at irregular distances, and the curd lumpets of various sizes.

It is always a question how far the apparent defects of a language arise from itself or from the false taste of the nation speaking it. Is the practical inferiority of the English to the Italian in the power of passing from grave to light subjects, in the manner of Ariosto, the fault of the language itself? Wieland in his Oberon, broke successfully through equal difficulties. It is grievous to think how much less careful the English have been to preserve than to acquire. Why have we lost, or all but lost, the ver or for as a prefix, ­ fordone, forwearied, &c.; and the zer or to,-zerreissen, to rend, &c. Jugend, Jüngling: youth, youngling; why is that last word now lost to common use, and confined to sheep and other animals?

[Greek: En to phronein maedhen aedistos bios.]

His life was playful from infancy to death, like the snow which in a calm day falls, but scarce seems to fall, and plays and dances in and out till the very moment that it gently reaches the earth.

Contents, p.5

the Universe

It surely is not impossible that to some infinitely superior being the whole universe may be as one plain, the distance between planet and planet being only as the pores in a grain of sand, and the spaces between system and system no greater than the intervals between one grain and the grain adjacent.

Contents, p.5


Harberous, that is, harbourous, is the old version of St. Paul's philoxenos, and a beautiful word it is. Kosmis should be rendered a gentleman in dress and address, in appearance and demeanour, a man of the world in an innocent sense. The Latin mundus has the same double force in it; only that to the rude early Romans, to have a clean pair of hands and a clean dress, was to be drest; just as we say to boys, "Put on your clean clothes!"

The different meanings attached to the same word or phrase in different sentences, will, of course, be accompanied with a different feeling in the mind; this will affect the pronunciation, and hence arises a new word. We should vainly try to produce the same feeling in our minds by and he as by who; for the different use of the latter, and its feeling having now coalesced. Yet who is properly the same word and pronunciation, as ho with the digammate prefix, and as qui kai ho.

Contents, p.5

an Admonition

There are two sides to every question. If thou hast genius and poverty to thy lot, dwell on the foolish, perplexing, imprudent, dangerous, and even immoral, conduct of promise-breach in small things, of want of punctuality, of procrastination in all its shapes and disguises. Force men to reverence the dignity of thy moral strength in and for itself, ­ seeking no excuses or palliations from fortune, or sickness, or a too full mind that, in opulence of conception, overrated its powers of application. But if thy fate should be different, shouldest thou possess competence, health and ease of mind, and then be thyself called upon to judge such faults in another so gifted, ­ O! then, upon the other view of the question, say, Am I in ease and comfort, and dare I wonder that he, poor fellow, acted so and so? Dare I accuse him? Ought I not to shadow forth to myself that, glad and luxuriating in a short escape from anxiety, his mind over-promised for itself; that, want combating with his eager desire to produce things worthy of fame, he dreamed of the nobler, when he should have been producing the meaner, and so had the meaner obtruded on his moral being, when the nobler was making full way on his intellectual? Think of the manifoldness of his accumulated petty calls! Think, in short, on all that should be like a voice from heaven to warn thyself against this and this, and call it all up for pity and for palliation; and then draw the balance. Take him in his whole, ­ his head, his heart, his wishes, his innocence of all selfish crime, and a hundred years hence, what will be the result? The good, ­ were it but a single volume that made truth more visible, and goodness more lovely, and pleasure at once more akin to virtue and, self-doubled, more pleasurable! and the evil, ­ while he lived, it injured none but himself; and where is it now? in his grave. Follow it not thither.

Contents, p.6

To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim Continually Do Cry

The mighty kingdoms angelical, like the thin clouds at dawn, receiving and hailing the first radiance, and singing and sounding forth their blessedness, increase the rising joy in the heart of God, spread wide and utter forth the joy arisen, and in innumerable finite glories interpret all they can of infinite bliss.

Contents, p.6

Definition of Miracle

A phaenomenon in no connection with any other phaenomenon, as its immediate cause, is a miracle; and what is believed to have been such, is miraculous for the person so believing When it is strange and surprising, that is, with out any analogy in our former experience ­ it is called a miracle. The kind defines the thing:­ the circumstances the word.

To stretch out my arm is a miracle, unless the materialists should be more cunning than they have proved themselves hitherto. To reanimate a dead man by an act of the will, no intermediate agency employed, not only is, but is called, a miracle. A scripture miracle, therefore, must be so defined, as to express, not only its miracular essence, but likewise the condition of its appearing miraculous; add therefore to the preceding, the words praeter omnem prior em experientiam.

It might be defined likewise an effect, not having its cause in any thing congenerous. That thought calls up thought is no more miraculous than that a billiard ball moves a billiard ball; but that a billiard ball should excite a thought, that is, be perceived, is a miracle, and, were it strange, would be called such. For take the converse, that a thought should call up a billiard ball! Yet where is the difference, but that the one is a common experience, the other never yet experienced?

It is not strictly accurate to affirm, that every thing would appear a miracle, if we were wholly uninfluenced by custom, and saw things as they are:­ for then the very ground of all miracles would probably vanish, namely, the heterogeneity of spirit and matter. For the quid ulterius? of wonder, we should have the ne plus ultra of adoration.

Again ­ the word miracle has an objective, a subjective, and a popular meaning; ­ as objective, ­ the essence of a miracle consists in the heterogeneity of the consequent and its causative antecedent; ­ as subjective, ­ in the assumption of the heterogeneity. Add the wonder and surprise excited, when the consequent is out of the course of experience, and we know the popular sense and ordinary use of the word.

Contents, p.6

Death, and Grounds for Belief in a Future State

It is an important thought, that death, judged of by corporeal analogies, certainly implies discerption or dissolution of parts; but pain and pleasure do not; nay, they seem inconceivable except under the idea of concentration. Therefore the influence of the body on the soul will not prove the common destiny of both. I feel myself not the slave of nature (nature used here as the mundus sensibilis) in the sense in which animals are. Not only my thoughts and affections extend to objects trans-natural, as truth, virtue, God; not only do my powers extend vastly beyond all those, which I could have derived from the instruments and organs, with which nature has furnished me; but I can do what nature per se cannot. I ingraft, I raise heavy bodies above the clouds, and guide my course over ocean and through air. I alone am lord of fire and light; other creatures are but their alms-folk, and of all the so called elements, water, earth, air, and all their compounds (to speak in the ever-enduring language of the senses, to which nothing can be revealed, but as compact, or fluid, or aerial), I not merely subserve myself of them, but I employ them. Ergo, there is in me, or rather I am, a præter-natural, that is, a super-sensuous thing: but what is not nature, why should it perish with nature? why lose the faculty of vision, because my spectacles are broken?

Now to this it will be objected, and very forcibly too; ­ that the soul or self is acted upon by nature through the body, and water or caloric, diffused through or collected in the brain, will derange the faculties of the soul by deranging the organization of the brain; the sword cannot touch the soul; but by rending the flesh, it will rend the feelings. Therefore the violence of nature may, in destroying the body, mediately destroy the soul! It is to this objection that my first sentence applies; and is an important, and, I believe, a new and the only satisfactory reply I have ever heard.

The one great and binding ground of the belief of God and a hereafter, is the law of conscience: but as the aptitudes, and beauty, and grandeur, of the world, are a sweet and beneficent inducement to this belief, a constant fuel to our faith, so here we seek these arguments, not as dissatisfied with the one main ground, not as of little faith, but because, believing it to be, it is natural we should expect to find traces of it, and as a noble way of employing and developing, and enlarging the faculties of the soul, and this, not by way of motive, but of assimilation, producing virtue.

2d April, 1811.

Contents, p.6

Hatred of Injustice

It is the mark of a noble nature to be more shocked with the unjust condemnation of a bad man than of a virtuous one; as in the instance of Strafford. For in such cases the love of justice, and the hatred of the contrary, are felt more nakedly, and constitute a strong passion per se, not only unaided by, but in conquest of, the softer self-repaying sympathies. A wise foresight too inspires jealousy, that so may principles be most easily overthrown. This is the virtue of a wise man, which a mob never possesses, even as a mob never, perhaps, has the malignant finis ultimus, which is the vice of a man.

Contents, p.6


Amongst the great truths are these:­

I.  That religion has no speculative dogmas; that all is practical, all appealing to the will, and therefore all imperative. I am the Lord thy God: Thou shall have none other gods but me.

II.  That, therefore, miracles are not the proofs, but the necessary results, of revelation. They are not the key of the arch and roof of evidence, though they may be a compacting stone in it, which gives while it receives strength. Hence, to make the intellectual faith a fair analogon or unison of the vital faith, it ought to be stamped in the mind by all the evidences duly co-ordinated, and not designed by single pen-strokes, beginning either here or there.

III.  That, according to No. I., Christ is not described primarily and characteristically as a teacher, but as a doer; a light indeed, but an effective light, the sun which causes what it shows, as well as shows what it first causes.

IV.  That a certain degree of morality is presupposed in the reception of Christianity; it is the substratum of the moral interest which substantiates the evidence of miracles. The instance of a profligate suddenly converted, if properly sifted, will be found but an apparent exception.

V.  That the being of a God, and the immortality of man, are every where assumed by Christ.

VI.  That Socinianism is not a religion, but a theory, and that, too, a very pernicious, or a very unsatisfactory, theory. Pernicious, ­ for it excludes all our deep and awful ideas of the perfect holiness of God, his justice and his mercy, and thereby makes the voice of conscience a delusion, as having no correspondent in the character of the legislator; regarding God as merely a good-natured pleasure-giver, so happiness be produced, indifferent as to the means:­ Unsatisfactory, for it promises forgiveness without any solution of the difficulty of the compatibility of this with the justice of God; in no way explains the fallen condition of man, nor offers any means for his regeneration. "If you will be good, you will be happy," it says: that may be, but my will is weak; I sink in the struggle.

VII.  That Socinianism never did and never can subsist as a general religion. For

1. It neither states the disease, on account of which the human being hungers for revelation, nor prepares any remedy in general, nor ministers any hope to the individual.

2. In order to make itself endurable on scriptural grounds, it must so weaken the texts and authority of scripture, as to leave in scripture no binding ground of proof of any thing.

3. Take a pious Jew, one of the Maccabees, and compare his faith and its grounds with Priestley's; and then, for what did Christ come?

  That Socinianism involves the shocking thought that man will not, and ought not to be expected to, do his duty as man, unless he first makes a bargain with his Maker, and his Maker with him. Give me, the individual me, a positive proof that I shall be in a state of pleasure after my death, if I do so and so, and then I will do it, not else! And the proof asked is not one dependent on, or flowing from, his moral nature and moral feelings, but wholly
-moral, namely, by his outward senses, the subjugation of which to faith, that is, the passive to the actional and self-created belief, is the great object of all religion!

  That Socinianism involves the dreadful reflection, that it can establish its probability (its certainty being wholly out of the question and impossible, Priestley himself declaring that his own continuance as a Christian depended on a contingency,) only on the destruction of all the arguments furnished for our permanent and essential distinction from brutes; that it must prove that we have no grounds to obey, but, on the contrary, that in wisdom we ought to reject and declare utterly null, all the commands of conscience, and all that is implied in those commands, reckless of the confusion introduced into our notions of means and ends by the denial of truth, goodness, justice, mercy, and the other fundamental ideas in the idea of God; and all this in order to conduct us to a Mahomet's bridge of a knife's edge, or the breadth of a spear, to salvation. And, should we discover any new documents, or should an acuter logician make plain the sophistry of the deductions drawn from the present documents (and surely a man who has passed from orthodoxy to the loosest Arminianism, and thence to Arianism, and thence to direct Humanism, has no right from his experience to deny the probability of this) ­ then to fall off into the hopeless abyss of atheism. For the present life, we know, is governed by fixed laws, which the atheist acknowledges as well as the theist; and if there be no spiritual world, and no spiritual life in a spiritual world, what possible bearing can the admission or rejection of this hypothesis have on our practice or feelings?

, the Mosaic dispensation was a scheme of national education; the Christian is a world-religion; and the former was susceptible of evidence and probabilities which do not, and cannot, apply to the latter. A savage people forced, as it were, into a school of circumstances, and gradually in the course of generations taught the unity of God, first and for centuries merely as a practical abstinence from the worship of any other, ­ how can the principles of such a system apply to Christianity, which goes into all nations and to all men, the most enlightened, even by preference?

Writing several years later than the date of the preceding paragraphs, I commend the modern Unitarians for their candour in giving up the possible worshipability of Christ, if not very God, ­ a proof that truth will ultimately prevail. The Arians, then existing, against whom Waterland wrote, were not converted; but in the next generation the arguments made their way. This is fame

Contents, p.6

The Apostles' Creed

Is it not probable from what is found in the writings of Cyril, Eusebius, Cyprian, Marcellus of Ancyra and others, that our present Apostles' Creed is not the very Symbolum Fidei, which was not to be written, but was always repeated at baptism? For this latter certainly contained the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Logos; and, therefore, it seems likely that the present Apostles' creed was an introductory, and, as it were, alphabetical, creed for young catechumens in their first elementation. Is it to be believed that the Symbolum Fidei contained nothing but the mere history of Jesus, without any of the peculiar doctrines, or that, if it did not contain something more, the great and vehement defenders of the Trinity would speak of it so magnificently as they do, even preferring its authority to that of the scriptures? ­ Besides, does not Austin positively say that our present Apostles' creed was gathered out of the scriptures? Whereas the Symbolum Fidei was elder than the Gospels, and probably contained only the three doctrines of the Trinity, the Redemption, and the Unity of the Church. May it not have happened, when baptism was administered so early, and at last even to infants, that the old Symbolum Fidei became gradually inusitatum, as being appropriated to adult proselytes from Judaism or Paganism? This seems to me even more than probable; for in proportion to the majority of born over converted Christians must the creed of instruction have been more frequent than that of doctrinal profession.

Contents, p.6

a Good Heart

There is in Abbt's Essays an attempt to determine the true sense of this phrase, at least to unfold (auseinandersetzen) what is meant and felt by it. I was much pleased with the remarks, I remember, and with the counterposition of Tom Jones and Sir Charles Grandisori. Might not Luther and Calvin serve? But it is made less noticeable in these last by its co-existence with, and sometimes real, more often apparent, subordination to fixed conscious principles, and is thus less naturally characteristic. Parson Adams contrasted with Dr. Harrison in Fielding's Amelia would do. Then there is the suppression of the good heart and the substitution of principles or motives for the good heart, as in Laud, and the whole race of conscientious persecutors. Such principles constitute the virtues of the Inquisition. A good heart contrasts with the Pharisaic righteousness. This last contemplation of the Pharisees, the dogmatists, and the rigorists in toto genere, serves to reconcile me to the fewness of the men who act on fixed principles. For unless there exist intellectual power to determine aright what are the principia jam fixa et formata, and unless there be the wisdom of love preceding the love of wisdom, and unless to this be added a graciousness of nature, a loving kindness, ­ these rigorists are but bigots often to errors, and active, yea, remorseless in preventing or staying the rise and progress of truth. And even when bigotted adherents to true principles, yet they render truth unamiable, and forbid little children to come thereunto. As human nature now is, it is well, perhaps, that the number should be few, seeing that of the few, the greater part are pre-maturities.

The number of those who act from good hearted impulses, a kindly and cheerful mood, and the play of minute sympathies, continuous in their discontinuity, like the sand-thread of the hour-glass, and from their minuteness and transiency not calculated to stiffen or inflate the individual, and thus remaining unendangered by egotism, and its unhandsome vizard contempt, is far larger: and though these temperamental pro-virtues will too often fail, and are not built to stand the storms of strong temptation; yet on the whole they carry on the benignant scheme of social nature, like the other instincts that rule the animal creation. But of all the most numerous are the men, who have ever more their own dearliest beloved self, as the only or main goal or butt of their endeavours straight and steady before their eyes, and whose whole inner world turns on the great axis of self-interest. These form the majority, if not of mankind, yet of those by whom the business of life is carried on; and most expedient it is, that so it should be; nor can we imagine any thing better contrived for the advantage of society. For these are the most industrious, orderly, and circumspect portion of society, and the actions governed by this principle with the results, are the only materials on which either the statesman, or individuals can safely calculate.

There is, indeed, another sort, (a class they can scarcely be called), who are below self-interest; who live under the mastery of their senses and appetites; and whose selfishness is an animal instinct, a goad a tergo, not an attraction, a re prospecta, or (so to speak) from a projected self. In fact, such individuals cannot so properly be said to have a self, as to be machines for the self of nature: and are as little capable of loving themselves as of loving their neighbours. Such there are. Nay, (if we were to count only without weighing) the aggregate of such persons might possibly form a larger number than the class preceding. But they may safely be taken up into the latter, for the main ends of society, as being or sure to become its materials and tools. Their folly is the stuff in which the sound sense of the worldly-wise is at once manifested and remunerated; their idleness of thought, with the passions, appetites, likings and fancies, which are its natural growth, though weeds, give direction and employment to the industry of the other. The accidents of inheritance by birth, of accumulation of property in partial masses, are thus counteracted, ­ and the aneurisms in the circulating system prevented or rendered fewer and less obstinate, ­ whilst animal want, the sure general result of idleness and its accompanying vices, tames at length the selfish host, into the laborious slaves and mechanic implements of the self-interested. Thus, without public spirit, nay, by the predominance of the opposite quality, the latter are the public benefactors: and, giving steadfastness and compactness to the whole, lay in the ground of the canvass, on which minds of finer texture may impress beauty and harmony.

Lastly, there is in the heart of all men a working principle, ­ call it ambition, or vanity, or desire of distinction, the inseparable adjunct of our individuality and personal nature, and flowing from the same source as language ­ the instinct and necessity in each man of declaring his particular existence, and thus of singling or singularizing himself. In some this principle is far stronger than in others, while in others its comparative dimness may pass for its non-existence. But in thoughts at least, and secret fancies there is in all men (idiocy of course excepted) a wish to remain the same and yet to be something else, and something more, or to exhibit what they are, or imagine they might be, somewhere else and to other spectators. Now, though this desire of distinction, when it is disproportionate to the powers and qualities by which the individual is indeed distinguished, or when it is the governing passion, or taken as the rule of conduct, is but a "knavish sprite," yet as an attendant and subaltern spirit, it has its good purposes and beneficial effects: and is not seldom

­ sent with broom before, To sweep the dust behind the door.

Though selfish in its origin, it yet tends to elevate the individual from selfishness into self-love, under a softer and perhaps better form than that of self-interest, the form of self-respect. Whatever other objects the man may be pursuing, and with whatever other inclinations, he is still by this principle impelled and almost compelled to pass out of himself in imagination, and to survey himself at a sufficient distance, in order to judge what figure he is likely to make in the eyes of his fellow men. But in thus taking his station as at the apex of a triangle, while the self is at one angle of the base, he makes it possible at least that the image of his neighbour may appear at the other, whether by spontaneous association, or placed there for the purposes of comparison; and so both be contemplated at equal distance. But this is the first step towards disinterestedness; and though it should never be reached, the advantage of the appearance is soon learnt, and the necessity of avoiding the appearance of the contrary. But appearances cannot be long sustained without some touch of the reality. At all events there results a control over our actions; some good may be produced, and many a poisonous or offensive fruit will be prevented. Courtesy, urbanity, gallantry, munificence; the outward influence of the law shall I call it, or rather fashion of honour ­ these are the handsome hypocrisies that spring from the desire of distinction. I ask not the genius of a Machiavel, a Tacitus, or a Swift; ­ it needs only a worldly experience and an observing mind, to convince a man of forty that there is no medium between the creed of misanthropy and that of the gospel.

A pagan might be as orthodox as Paul on the doctrine of works. First, ­ set aside the large portion of them that have their source in the constitutional temperament, ­ the merit of which, if any, belongs to nature, not to the individual agent; and of the remaining number of good works, nine are derived from vices for one that has its origin in virtue. I have often in looking at the water-works, and complex machinery of our manufactories, indulged a humorous mood by fancying that the hammers, cogs, fly-wheels, &c. were each actuated by some appetite, or passion ­ hate, rage, revenge, vanity, cupidity, &c. while the general result was most benignant, and the machine, taken as a whole, the product of power, knowledge, and benevolence! Such a machine does the moral world, the world of human nature, appear ­ and to those who seem ever more to place the comparison and the alternative between hell and earth, and quite overlook the opposition between earth and heaven, I recommend this meditation.

Contents, p.6

Evidences of Christianity 1

I.  MIRACLES ­ as precluding the contrary evidence of no miracles.

II.  The material of Christianity, its existence and history.

III.  The doctrines of Christianity, and the correspondence of human nature to those doctrines, ­ illustrated,

1st,  historically ­ as the actual production of a new world, and the dependence of the fate of the planet upon it; ­

2nd,  individually ­ from its appeal for its truth to an asserted fact, ­ which, whether it be real or not, every man possessing reason has an equal power of ascertaining within himself; ­ namely, a will which has more or less lost its freedom, though not the consciousness that it ought to be and may become free; ­ the conviction that this cannot be achieved without the operation of a principle connatural with itself; ­ the evident rationality of an entire confidence in that principle, being the condition and means of its operation; ­ the experience in his own nature of the truth of the process described by Scripture as far as he can place himself within the process, aided by the confident assurances of others as to the effects experienced by them, and which he is striving to arrive at. All these form a practical Christian. Add, however, a gradual opening out of the intellect to more and more clear perceptions of the strict coincidence of the doctrines of Christianity, with the truths evolved by the mind, from reflections on its own nature. To such a man one main test of the objectivity, the entity, the objective truth of his faith, is its accompaniment by an increase of insight into the moral beauty and necessity of the process which it comprises, and the dependence of that proof on the causes asserted. Believe, and if thy belief be right, that insight which gradually transmutes faith into knowledge will be the reward of that belief. The Christian, to whom, after a long profession of Christianity, the mysteries remain as much mysteries as before, is in the same state as a schoolboy with regard to his arithmetic to whom the _facit_ at the end of the examples in his cyphering book is the whole ground for his assuming that such and such figures amount to so and so.

3rd.  In the above I include the increasing discoveries in the correspondence of the history, the doctrines and the promises of Christianity, with the past, present, and probable future of human nature; and in this state a fair comparison of the religion as a divine philosophy, with all other religions which have pretended to revelations and all other systems of philosophy; both with regard to the totality of its truth and its identification with the manifest march of affairs.

I should conclude that, if we suppose a man to have convinced himself that not only the doctrines of Christianity, which may be conceived independently of history or time, as the Trinity, spiritual influences, &c. are coincident with the truths which his reason, thus strengthened, has evolved from its own sources, but that the historical dogmas, namely, of the incarnation of the creative Logos, and his becoming a personal agent, are themselves founded in philosophical necessity; then it seems irrational, that such a man should reject the belief of the actual appearance of a religion strictly correspondent therewith, at a given time recorded, even as much as that he should reject Caesar's account of his wars in Gaul, after he has convinced himself
a priori
of their probability.

As the result of these convictions he will not scruple to receive the particular miracles recorded, inasmuch as it would be miraculous that an incarnate God should not work what must to mere men appear as miracles; inasmuch as it is strictly accordant with the ends and benevolent nature of such a being, to commence the elevation of man above his mere senses by attracting and enforcing attention, first through an appeal to those senses. But with equal reason will he expect that no other or greater force should be laid on these miracles as such; that they should not be spoken of as good in themselves, much less as the adequate and ultimate proof of that religion; and likewise he will receive additional satisfaction, should he find these miracles so wrought, and on such occasions, as to give them a personal value as symbols of important truths when their miraculousness was no longer needful or efficacious.

Footnote 1
: Dictated to, and communicated by, Dr. Brabant of Devizes.

return to footnote mark

Contents, p.6

Confessio Fidei

Nov. 3, 1816.

I.  I believe that I am a free-agent, inasmuch as, and so far as, I have a will, which renders me justly responsible for my actions, omissive as well as commissive. Likewise that I possess reason, or a law of right and wrong, which, uniting with my sense of moral responsibility, constitutes the voice of conscience.

II.  Hence it becomes my absolute duty to believe, and I do believe, that there is a God, that is, a Being, in whom supreme reason and a most holy will are one with an infinite power; and that all holy will is coincident with the will of God, and therefore secure in its ultimate consequences by His omnipotence; ­ having, if such similitude be not unlawful, such a relation to the goodness of the Almighty, as a perfect time-piece will have to the sun.

The wonderful works of God in the sensible world are a perpetual discourse, reminding me of his existence, and shadowing out to me his perfections. But as all language presupposes in the intelligent hearer or reader those primary notions, which it symbolizes; as well as the power of making those combinations of these primary notions, which it represents and excites us to combine, ­ even so I believe, that the notion of God is essential to the human mind; that it is called forth into distinct consciousness principally by the conscience, and auxiliarly by the manifest adaptation of means to ends in the outward creation. It is, therefore, evident to my reason, that the existence of God is absolutely and necessarily insusceptible of a scientific demonstration, and that Scripture has so represented it. For it commands us to believe in one God. I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt have none other gods but me. Now all commandment necessarily relates to the will; whereas all scientific demonstration is independent of the will, and is apodictic or demonstrative only as far as it is compulsory on the mind, volentem, nolentem

  My conscience forbids me to propose to myself the pains and pleasures of this life, as the primary motive, or ultimate end, of my actions; ­ on the contrary, it makes me perceive an utter disproportionateness and heterogeneity between the acts of the spirit, as virtue and vice, and the things of the sense, such as all earthly rewards and punishments must be. Its hopes and fears, therefore, refer me to a different and spiritual state of being: and I believe in the life to come, not through arguments acquired by my understanding or discursive faculty, but chiefly and effectively, because so to believe is my duty, and in obedience to the commands of my conscience. Here ends the first table of my creed, which would have been my creed, had I been born with Adam; and which, therefore, constitutes what may in this sense be called natural religion, that is, the religion of all finite rational beings. The second table contains the creed of revealed religion, my belief as a Christian.

 I believe, and hold it as the fundamental article of Christianity, that I am a fallen creature; that I am of myself capable of moral evil, but not of myself capable of moral good, and that an evil ground existed in my will, previously to any given act, or assignable moment of time, in my consciousness. I am born a child of wrath. This fearful mystery I pretend not to understand. I cannot even conceive the possibility of it, ­ but I know that it is so. My conscience, the sole fountain of certainty, commands me to believe it, and would itself be a contradiction, were it not so ­ and what is real must be possible.

 I receive with full and grateful faith the assurance of revelation, that the Word, which is from all eternity with God, and is God, assumed our human nature in order to redeem me, and all mankind from this our connate corruption. My reason convinces me, that no other mode of redemption is conceivable, and, as did Socrates, would have yearned after the Redeemer, though it would not dare expect so wonderful an act of divine love, except only as an effort of my mind to conceive the utmost of the infinite greatness of that love.

  I believe, that this assumption of humanity by the Son of God, was revealed and realized to vis by the Word made flesh, and manifested to us in Christ Jesus; and that his miraculous birth, his agony, his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension, were all both symbols of our redemption
[Greek (transliterated): phainomena ton noumenon]
and necessary parts of the awful process.

  I believe in the descent and sending of the Holy Spirit, by whose free grace obtained for me by the merits of my Redeemer, I can alone be sanctified and restored from my natural inheritance of sin and condemnation, be a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of God.

The Trinity of persons in the Unity of the God would have been a necessary idea of my speculative reason, deduced from the necessary postulate of an intelligent creator, whose ideas being anterior to the things, must be more actual than those things, even as those things are more actual than our images derived from them; and who, as intelligent, must have had co-eternally an adequate idea of himself, in and through which he created all things both in heaven and earth. But this would only have been a speculative idea, like those of circles and other mathematical figures, to which we are not authorized by the practical reason to attribute reality. Solely in consequence of our Redemption does the Trinity become a doctrine, the belief of which as real is commanded by our conscience. But to Christians it is commanded, and it is false candour in a Christian, believing in original sin and redemption therefrom, to admit that any man denying the divinity of Christ can be a Christian. The true language of a Christian, which reconciles humility with truth would be; ­ God and not man is the judge of man: which of the two is the Christian, he will determine; but this is evident, that if the theanthropist is a Christian, the psilanthropist cannot be so; and vice versa. Suppose, that two tribes used the same written characters, but attached different and opposite meanings to them, so that niger, for instance, was used by one tribe to convey the notion black, by the other, white; ­ could they, without absurdity, be said to have the same language? Even so, in the instance of the crucifixion, the same image is present to the theanthropist and to the psilanthropist or Socinian ­ but to the latter it represents a mere man, a good man indeed and divinely inspired, but still a mere man, even as Moses or Paul, dying in attestation of the truth of his preaching, and in order by his resurrection to give a proof of his mission, and inclusively of the resurrection of all men:­ to the former it represents God incarnate taking upon himself the sins of the world, and himself thereby redeeming us, and giving us life everlasting, not merely teaching it. The same difference, that exists between God and man, between giving and the declaration of a gift, exists between the Trinitarian and the Unitarian. This might be proved in a few moments, if we would only conceive a Greek or Roman, to whom two persons relate their belief, each calling Christ by a different name. It would be impossible for the Greek even to guess, that they both meant the same person, or referred to the same facts.

end of vol. 1