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Title: Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Editor: Henry Nelson Coleridge

Release date: July 1, 2005 [eBook #8489]
Most recently updated: December 26, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Jerry Fairbanks, Charles Franks

and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

[The Greek transliterations throughout this file are either missing or very suspect.]

[Illustration: F. Finden sculp. London, John Murray, Albernarle St. 1837]

Dear Sir,
Your obliged servant.
S. T. Coleridge]




* * * * *

It is nearly fifteen years since I was, for the first time, enabled to become a frequent and attentive visitor in Mr. Coleridge's domestic society. His exhibition of intellectual power in living discourse struck me at once as unique and transcendant; and upon my return home, on the very first evening which I spent with him after my boyhood, I committed to writing, as well as I could, the principal topics of his conversation in his own words. I had no settled design at that time of continuing the work, but simply made the note in something like a spirit of vexation that such a strain of music as I had just heard, should not last forever. What I did once, I was easily induced by the same feeling to do again; and when, after many years of affectionate communion between us, the painful existence of my revered relative on earth was at length finished in peace, my occasional notes of what he had said in my presence had grown to a mass, of which this volume contains only such parts as seem fit for present publication. I know, better than any one can tell me, how inadequately these specimens represent the peculiar splendour and individuality of Mr. Coleridge's conversation. How should it be otherwise? Who could always follow to the turning-point his long arrow-flights of thought? Who could fix those ejaculations of light, those tones of a prophet, which at times have made me bend before him as before an inspired man? Such acts of spirit as these were too subtle to be fettered down on paper; they live—if they can live any where—in the memories alone of those who witnessed them. Yet I would fain hope that these pages will prove that all is not lost;—that something of the wisdom, the learning, and the eloquence of a great man's social converse has been snatched from forgetfulness, and endowed with a permanent shape for general use. And although, in the judgment of many persons, I may incur a serious responsibility by this publication; I am, upon the whole, willing to abide the result, in confidence that the fame of the loved and lamented speaker will lose nothing hereby, and that the cause of Truth and of Goodness will be every way a gainer. This sprig, though slight and immature, may yet become its place, in the Poet's wreath of honour, among flowers of graver hue.

If the favour shown to several modern instances of works nominally of the same description as the present were alone to be considered, it might seem that the old maxim, that nothing ought to be said of the dead but what is good, is in a fair way of being dilated into an understanding that every thing is good that has been said by the dead. The following pages do not, I trust, stand in need of so much indulgence. Their contents may not, in every particular passage, be of great intrinsic importance; but they can hardly be without some, and, I hope, a worthy, interest, as coming from the lips of one at least of the most extraordinary men of the age; whilst to the best of my knowledge and intention, no living person's name is introduced, whether for praise or for blame, except on literary or political grounds of common notoriety. Upon the justice of the remarks here published, it would be out of place in me to say any thing; and a commentary of that kind is the less needed, as, in almost every instance, the principles upon which the speaker founded his observations are expressly stated, and may be satisfactorily examined by themselves. But, for the purpose of general elucidation, it seemed not improper to add a few notes, and to make some quotations from Mr. Coleridge's own works; and in doing so, I was in addition actuated by an earnest wish to call the attention of reflecting minds in general to the views of political, moral, and religious philosophy contained in those works, which, through an extensive, but now decreasing, prejudice, have hitherto been deprived of that acceptance with the public which their great preponderating merits deserve, and will, as I believe, finally obtain. And I can truly say, that if, in the course of the perusal of this little work, any one of its readers shall gain a clearer insight into the deep and pregnant principles, in the light of which Mr. Coleridge was accustomed to regard God and the World,—I shall look upon the publication as fortunate, and consider myself abundantly rewarded for whatever trouble it has cost me.

A cursory inspection will show that this volume lays no claim to be ranked with those of Boswell in point of dramatic interest. Coleridge differed not more from Johnson in every characteristic of intellect, than in the habits and circumstances of his life, during the greatest part of the time in which I was intimately conversant with him. He was naturally very fond of society, and continued to be so to the last; but the almost unceasing ill health with which he was afflicted, after fifty, confined him for many months in every year to his own room, and, most commonly, to his bed. He was then rarely seen except by single visiters; and few of them would feel any disposition upon such occasions to interrupt him, whatever might have been the length or mood of his discourse. And indeed, although I have been present in mixed company, where Mr. Coleridge has been questioned and opposed, and the scene has been amusing for the moment—I own that it was always much more delightful to me to let the river wander at its own sweet will, unruffled by aught but a certain breeze of emotion which the stream itself produced. If the course it took was not the shortest, it was generally the most beautiful; and what you saw by the way was as worthy of note as the ultimate object to which you were journeying. It is possible, indeed, that Coleridge did not, in fact, possess the precise gladiatorial power of Johnson; yet he understood a sword-play of his own; and I have, upon several occasions, seen him exhibit brilliant proofs of its effectiveness upon disputants of considerable pretensions in their particular lines. But he had a genuine dislike of the practice in himself or others, and no slight provocation could move him to any such exertion. He was, indeed, to my observation, more distinguished from other great men of letters by his moral thirst after the Truth—the ideal truth—in his own mind, than by his merely intellectual qualifications. To leave the everyday circle of society, in which the literary and scientific rarely— the rest never—break through the spell of personality;—where Anecdote reigns everlastingly paramount and exclusive, and the mildest attempt to generalize the Babel of facts, and to control temporary and individual phenomena by the application of eternal and overruling principles, is unintelligible to many, and disagreeable to more;—to leave this species of converse—if converse it deserves to be called—and pass an entire day with Coleridge, was a marvellous change indeed. It was a Sabbath past expression deep, and tranquil, and serene. You came to a man who had travelled in many countries and in critical times; who had seen and felt the world in most of its ranks and in many of its vicissitudes and weaknesses; one to whom all literature and genial art were absolutely subject, and to whom, with a reasonable allowance as to technical details, all science was in a most extraordinary degree familiar. Throughout a long-drawn summer's day would this man talk to you in low, equable, but clear and musical, tones, concerning things human and divine; marshalling all history, harmonizing all experiment, probing the depths of your consciousness, and revealing visions of glory and of terror to the imagination; but pouring withal such floods of light upon the mind, that you might, for a season, like Paul, become blind in the very act of conversion. And this he would do, without so much as one allusion to himself, without a word of reflection on others, save when any given act fell naturally in the way of his discourse,—without one anecdote that was not proof and illustration of a previous position;—gratifying no passion, indulging no caprice, but, with a calm mastery over your soul, leading you onward and onward for ever through a thousand windings, yet with no pause, to some magnificent point in which, as in a focus, all the party-coloured rays of his discourse should converge in light. In all this he was, in truth, your teacher and guide; but in a little while you might forget that he was other than a fellow student and the companion of your way,—so playful was his manner, so simple his language, so affectionate the glance of his pleasant eye!

There were, indeed, some whom Coleridge tired, and some whom he sent asleep. It would occasionally so happen, when the abstruser mood was strong upon him, and the visiter was narrow and ungenial. I have seen him at times when you could not incarnate him,—when he shook aside your petty questions or doubts, and burst with some impatience through the obstacles of common conversation. Then, escaped from the flesh, he would soar upwards into an atmosphere almost too rare to breathe, but which seemed proper to him, and there he would float at ease. Like enough, what Coleridge then said, his subtlest listener would not understand as a man understands a newspaper; but upon such a listener there would steal an influence, and an impression, and a sympathy; there would be a gradual attempering of his body and spirit, till his total being vibrated with one pulse alone, and thought became merged in contemplation;—

  And so, his senses gradually wrapt
  In a half sleep, he'd dream of better worlds,
  And dreaming hear thee still, O singing lark,
  That sangest like an angel in the clouds!

But it would be a great mistake to suppose that the general character of Mr. Coleridge's conversation was abstruse or rhapsodical. The contents of the following pages may, I think, be taken as pretty strong presumptive evidence that his ordinary manner was plain and direct enough; and even when, as sometimes happened, he seemed to ramble from the road, and to lose himself in a wilderness of digressions, the truth was, that at that very time he was working out his fore-known conclusion through an almost miraculous logic, the difficulty of which consisted precisely in the very fact of its minuteness and universality. He took so large a scope, that, if he was interrupted before he got to the end, he appeared to have been talking without an object; although, perhaps, a few steps more would have brought you to a point, a retrospect from which would show you the pertinence of all he had been saying. I have heard persons complain that they could get no answer to a question from Coleridge. The truth is, he answered, or meant to answer, so fully that the querist should have no second question to ask. In nine cases out of ten he saw the question was short or misdirected; and knew that a mere yes or no answer could not embrace the truth—that is, the whole truth—and might, very probably, by implication, convey error. Hence that exhaustive, cyclical mode of discoursing in which he frequently indulged; unfit, indeed, for a dinner- table, and too long-breathed for the patience of a chance visiter,—but which, to those who knew for what they came, was the object of their profoundest admiration, as it was the source of their most valuable instruction. Mr. Coleridge's affectionate disciples learned their lessons of philosophy and criticism from his own mouth. He was to them as an old master of the Academy or Lyceum. The more time he took, the better pleased were such visiters; for they came expressly to listen, and had ample proof how truly he had declared, that whatever difficulties he might feel, with pen in hand, in the expression of his meaning, he never found the smallest hitch or impediment in the utterance of his most subtle reasonings by word of mouth. How many a time and oft have I felt his abtrusest thoughts steal rhythmically on my soul, when chanted forth by him! Nay, how often have I fancied I heard rise up in answer to his gentle touch, an interpreting music of my own, as from the passive strings of some wind-smitten lyre!

Mr. Coleridge's conversation at all times required attention, because what he said was so individual and unexpected. But when he was dealing deeply with a question, the demand upon the intellect of the hearer was very great; not so much for any hardness of language, for his diction was always simple and easy; nor for the abstruseness of the thoughts, for they generally explained, or appeared to explain, themselves; but preeminently on account of the seeming remoteness of his associations, and the exceeding subtlety of his transitional links. Upon this point it is very happily, though, according to my observation, too generally, remarked, by one whose powers and opportunities of judging were so eminent that the obliquity of his testimony in other respects is the more unpardonable;—"Coleridge, to many people—and often I have heard the complaint—seemed to wander; and he seemed then to wander the most, when, in fact, his resistance to the wandering instinct was greatest,—viz. when the compass and huge circuit, by which his illustrations moved, travelled farthest into remote regions, before they began to revolve. Long before this coming round commenced, most people had lost him, and naturally enough supposed that he had lost himself. They continued to admire the separate beauty of the thoughts, but did not see their relations to the dominant theme. * * * * However, I can assert, upon my long and intimate knowledge of Coleridge's mind, that logic the most severe was as inalienable from his modes of thinking, as grammar from his language." [Footnote: Tait's Mag. Sept. 1834, p. 514.] True: his mind was a logic-vice; let him fasten it on the tiniest flourish of an error, he never slacked his hold, till he had crushed body and tail to dust. He was always ratiocinating in his own mind, and therefore sometimes seemed incoherent to the partial observer. It happened to him as to Pindar, who in modern days has been called a rambling rhapsodist, because the connections of his parts, though never arbitrary, are so fine that the vulgar reader sees them not at all. But they are there nevertheless, and may all be so distinctly shown, that no one can doubt their existence; and a little study will also prove that the points of contact are those which the true genius of lyric verse naturally evolved, and that the entire Pindaric ode, instead of being the loose and lawless out-burst which so many have fancied, is, without any exception, the most artificial and highly wrought composition which Time has spared to us from the wreck of the Greek Muse. So I can well remember occasions, in which, after listening to Mr. Coleridge for several delightful hours, I have gone away with divers splendid masses of reasoning in my head, the separate beauty and coherency of which I deeply felt, but how they had produced, or how they bore upon, each other, I could not then perceive. In such cases I have mused sometimes even for days afterwards upon the words, till at length, spontaneously as it seemed, "the fire would kindle," and the association, which had escaped my utmost efforts of comprehension before, flash itself all at once upon my mind with the clearness of noon-day light.

It may well be imagined that a style of conversation so continuous and diffused as that which I have just attempted to describe, presented remarkable difficulties to a mere reporter by memory. It is easy to preserve the pithy remark, the brilliant retort, or the pointed anecdote; these stick of themselves, and their retention requires no effort of mind. But where the salient angles are comparatively few, and the object of attention is a long-drawn subtle discoursing, you can never recollect, except by yourself thinking the argument over again. In so doing, the order and the characteristic expressions will for the most part spontaneously arise; and it is scarcely credible with what degree of accuracy language may thus be preserved, where practice has given some dexterity, and long familiarity with the speaker has enabled, or almost forced, you to catch the outlines of his manner. Yet with all this, so peculiar were the flow and breadth of Mr. Coleridge's conversation, that I am very sensible how much those who can best judge will have to complain of my representation of it. The following specimens will, I fear, seem too fragmentary, and therefore deficient in one of the most distinguishing properties of that which they are designed to represent; and this is true. Yet the reader will in most instances have little difficulty in understanding the course which the conversation took, although my recollections of it are thrown into separate paragraphs for the sake of superior precision. As I never attempted to give dialogue—indeed, there was seldom much dialogue to give —the great point with me was to condense what I could remember on each particular topic into intelligible wholes with as little injury to the living manner and diction as was possible. With this explanation, I must leave it to those who still have the tones of "that old man eloquent" ringing in their ears, to say how far I have succeeded in this delicate enterprise of stamping his winged words with perpetuity.

In reviewing the contents of the following pages, I can clearly see that I have admitted some passages which will be pronounced illiberal by those who, in the present day, emphatically call themselves liberal—the liberal. I allude of course to Mr. Coleridge's remarks on the Reform Bill and the Malthusian economists. The omission of such passages would probably have rendered this publication more generally agreeable, and my disposition does not lead me to give gratuitous offence to any one. But the opinions of Mr. Coleridge on these subjects, however imperfectly expressed by me, were deliberately entertained by him; and to have omitted, in so miscellaneous a collection as this, what he was well known to have said, would have argued in me a disapprobation or a fear, which I disclaim. A few words, however, may be pertinently employed here in explaining the true bearing of Coleridge's mind on the politics of our modern days. He was neither a Whig nor a Tory, as those designations are usually understood; well enough knowing that, for the most part, half-truths only are involved in the Parliamentary tenets of one party or the other. In the common struggles of a session, therefore, he took little interest; and as to mere personal sympathies, the friend of Frere and of Poole, the respected guest of Canning and of Lord Lansdowne, could have nothing to choose. But he threw the weight of his opinion—and it was considerable—into the Tory or Conservative scale, for these two reasons:—First, generally, because he had a deep conviction that the cause of freedom and of truth is now seriously menaced by a democratical spirit, growing more and more rabid every day, and giving no doubtful promise of the tyranny to come; and secondly, in particular, because the national Church was to him the ark of the covenant of his beloved country, and he saw the Whigs about to coalesce with those whose avowed principles lead them to lay the hand of spoliation upon it. Add to these two grounds, some relics of the indignation which the efforts of the Whigs to thwart the generous exertions of England in the great Spanish war had formerly roused within him; and all the constituents of any active feeling in Mr. Coleridge's mind upon matters of state are, I believe, fairly laid before the reader. The Reform question in itself gave him little concern, except as he foresaw the present attack on the Church to be the immediate consequence of the passing of the Bill; "for let the form of the House of Commons," said he, "be what it may, it will be, for better or for worse, pretty much what the country at large is; but once invade that truly national and essentially popular institution, the Church, and divert its funds to the relief or aid of individual charity or public taxation—how specious soever that pretext may be—and you will never thereafter recover the lost means of perpetual cultivation. Give back to the Church what the nation originally consecrated to its use, and it ought then to be charged with the education of the people; but half of the original revenue has been already taken by force from her, or lost to her through desuetude, legal decision, or public opinion; and are those whose very houses and parks are part and parcel of what the nation designed for the general purposes of the Clergy, to be heard, when they argue for making the Church support, out of her diminished revenues, institutions, the intended means for maintaining which they themselves hold under the sanction of legal robbery?" Upon this subject Mr. Coleridge did indeed feel very warmly, and was accustomed to express himself accordingly. It weighed upon his mind night and day, and he spoke upon it with an emotion, which I never saw him betray upon any topic of common politics, however decided his opinion might be. In this, therefore, he was felix opportunitate mortis; non enim vidit——; and the just and honest of all parties will heartily admit over his grave, that as his principles and opinions were untainted by any sordid interest, so he maintained them in the purest spirit of a reflective patriotism, without spleen, or bitterness, or breach of social union.

It would require a rare pen to do justice to the constitution of Coleridge's mind. It was too deep, subtle, and peculiar, to be fathomed by a morning visiter. Few persons knew much of it in any thing below the surface; scarcely three or four ever got to understand it in all its marvellous completeness. Mere personal familiarity with this extraordinary man did not put you in possession of him; his pursuits and aspirations, though in their mighty range presenting points of contact and sympathy for all, transcended in their ultimate reach the extremest limits of most men's imaginations. For the last thirty years of his life, at least, Coleridge was really and truly a philosopher of the antique cast. He had his esoteric views; and all his prose works from the "Friend" to the "Church and State" were little more than feelers, pioneers, disciplinants for the last and complete exposition of them. Of the art of making hooks he knew little, and cared less; but had he been as much an adept in it as a modern novelist, he never could have succeeded in rendering popular or even tolerable, at first, his attempt to push Locke and Paley from their common throne in England. A little more working in the trenches might have brought him closer to the walls with less personal damage; but it is better for Christian philosophy as it is, though the assailant was sacrificed in the bold and artless attack. Mr. Coleridge's prose works had so very limited a sale, that although published in a technical sense, they could scarcely be said to have ever become publici juris. He did not think them such himself, with the exception, perhaps, of the "Aids to Reflection," and generally made a particular remark if he met any person who professed or showed that he had read the "Friend" or any of his other books. And I have no doubt that had he lived to complete his great work on "Philosophy reconciled with Christian Religion," he would without scruple have used in that work any part or parts of his preliminary treatises, as their intrinsic fitness required. Hence in every one of his prose writings there are repetitions, either literal or substantial, of passages to be found in some others of those writings; and there are several particular positions and reasonings, which he considered of vital importance, reiterated in the "Friend," the "Literary Life," the "Lay Sermons," the "Aids to Reflection," and the "Church and State." He was always deepening and widening the foundation, and cared not how often he used the same stone. In thinking passionately of the principle, he forgot the authorship—and sowed beside many waters, if peradventure some chance seedling might take root and bear fruit to the glory of God and the spiritualization of Man.

His mere reading was immense, and the quality and direction of much of it well considered, almost unique in this age of the world. He had gone through most of the Fathers, and, I believe, all the Schoolmen of any eminence; whilst his familiarity with all the more common departments of literature in every language is notorious. The early age at which some of these acquisitions were made, and his ardent self-abandonment in the strange pursuit, might, according to a common notion, have seemed adverse to increase and maturity of power in after life: yet it was not so; he lost, indeed, for ever the chance of being a popular writer; but Lamb's inspired charity-boy of twelve years of age continued to his dying day, when sixty-two, the eloquent centre of all companies, and the standard of intellectual greatness to hundreds of affectionate disciples far and near. Had Coleridge been master of his genius, and not, alas! mastered by it;— had he less romantically fought a single-handed fight against the whole prejudices of his age, nor so mercilessly racked his fine powers on the problem of a universal Christian philosophy,—he might have easily won all that a reading public can give to a favourite, and have left a name—not greater nor more enduring indeed—but—better known, and more prized, than now it is, amongst the wise, the gentle, and the good, throughout all ranks of society. Nevertheless, desultory as his labours, fragmentary as his productions at present may seem to the cursory observer—my undoubting belief is, that in the end it will be found that Coleridge did, in his vocation, the day's work of a giant. He has been melted into the very heart of the rising literatures of England and America; and the principles he has taught are the master-light of the moral and intellectual being of men, who, if they shall fail to save, will assuredly illustrate and condemn, the age in which they live. As it is, they 'bide their time.

Coleridge himself—blessings on his gentle memory!—Coleridge was a frail mortal. He had indeed his peculiar weaknesses as well as his unique powers; sensibilities that an averted look would rack, a heart which would have beaten calmly in the tremblings of an earthquake. He shrank from mere uneasiness like a child, and bore the preparatory agonies of his death- attack like a martyr. Sinned against a thousand times more than sinning, he himself suffered an almost life-long punishment for his errors, whilst the world at large has the unwithering fruits of his labours, his genius, and his sacrifice. Necesse est tanquam immaturam mortem ejus defleam; si tamen fas est aut flere, aut omnino mortem vocare, qua tanti viri mortalitas magis finita quam vita est. Vivit enim, vivetque semper, atque etiam latius in memoria hominum et sermone versabitur, postquam ab oculis recessit.

* * * * *

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was the youngest child of the Reverend John Coleridge, Vicar of the Parish of Ottery St. Mary, in the county of Devon, and master of Henry the Eighth's Free Grammar School in that town. His mother's maiden name was Ann Bowdon. He was born at Ottery on the 21st of October, 1772, "about eleven o'clock in the forenoon," as his father the vicar has, with rather a curious particularity, entered it in the register.

He died on the 25th of July, 1834, in Mr. Gillman's house, in the Grove,
Highgate, and is buried in the old church-yard, by the road side.

[Greek: ——]

H. N. C.


* * * * *

Character of Othello
Schiller's Robbers
Scotch Novels
Lord Byron
John Kemble
Parliamentary Privilege
Permanency and Progression of Nations
Kant's Races of Mankind
Character of the Age for Logic
Plato and Xenophon
Greek Drama
St. John's Gospel
Epistle to the Hebrews
The Logos
Reason and Understanding
Sir James Mackintosh
Sir H. Davy
Robert Smith
National Debt
Poor Laws
Conduct of the Whigs
Reform of the House of Commons
Church of Rome
Pantheism and Idolatry
Difference between Stories of Dreams and Ghosts
Phantom Portrait
Witch of Endor
Plato and Xenophon
Religions of the Greeks
Egyptian Antiquities
Granville Penn and the Deluge
English and Greek Dancing
Greek Acoustics
Lord Byron's Versification and Don Juan
Parental Control in Marriage
Marriage of Cousins
Differences of Character
Blumenbach and Kant's Races
Iapetic and Semitic
Jewish History
Spinozistic and Hebrew Schemes
Roman Catholics
Energy of Man and other Animals
Shakspeare in minimis
Paul Sarpi
Bartram's Travels
The Understanding
Parts of Speech
Character of Othello
Principles and Maxims
Measure for Measure
Ben Jonson
Beaumont and Fletcher
Version of the Bible
Bull and Waterland
The Trinity
Scale of Animal Being
Thomas à Becket
Pure Ages of Greek, Italian, and English
Algernon Sidney's Style
Ariosto and Tasso
Prose and Poetry
The Fathers
Jacob Behmen
Non-perception of Colours
William III.
Jeremy Taylor
Prophecies of the Old Testament
The Trinity
Conversion of the Jews
Jews in Poland
Mosaic Miracles
Poetic Promise
Nominalists and Realists
British Schoolmen
Fall of Man
Brown and Darwin
Nitrous Oxide
Ant and Bee
Black, Colonel
Holland and the Dutch
Religion Gentilizes
Women and Men
Biblical Commentators
Walkerite Creed
Horne Tooke
Diversions of Purley
Gender of the Sun in German
Horne Tooke
Persian and Arabic Poetry
Milesian Tales
Sir T. Monro
Sir S. Raffles
Reason and Understanding
Words and Names of Things
The Trinity
Origin of Acts
Lord Eldon's Doctrine as to Grammar Schools
The Eucharist
St. John, xix. 11.
Divinity of Christ
Genuineness of Books of Moses
Mosaic Prophecies
Talent and Genius
Motives and Impulses
Constitutional and functional Life
Hydro-carbonic Gas
Bitters and Tonics
Specific Medicines
Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians
Eloquence of Abuse
The Americans
Book of Job
Translation of the Psalms
Ancient Mariner
Pilgrim's Progress
Jeremy Taylor
English Reformation
St. John
Principles of a Review
Party Spirit
Southey's Life of Bunyan
Puritans and Cavaliers
Presbyterians, Independents, and Bishops
Study of the Bible
Duke of Wellington
Monied Interest
The Papacy and the Reformation
Leo X.
Iniquitous Legislation
Spurzheim and Craniology
French Revolution, 1830
Captain B. Hall and the Americans
English Reformation
Idea of a State
French Gendarmerie
Philosophy of young Men at the present Day
Thucydides and Tacitus
Modern Metre
Greek Philosophy
Scotch and English Lakes
Love and Friendship opposed
Characterlessness of Women
Mental Anarchy
Ear and Taste for Music different
English Liturgy
Belgian Revolution
Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Bacon
The Reformation
House of Commons
Earl Grey
Popular Representation
Patronage of the Fine Arts
Old Women
Superstition of Maltese, Sicilians, and Italians
The French
The Good and the True
Romish Religion
England and Holland
National Colonial Character, and Naval Discipline
Holland and Belgium
Greatest Happiness Principle
The Two Modes of Political Action
Truths and Maxims
Drayton and Daniel
Mr. Coleridge's System of Philosophy
Keenness and Subtlety
Duties and Needs of an Advocate
Abolition of the French Hereditary Peerage
Conduct of Ministers on the Reform Bill
Union with Ireland
Irish Church
A State
Persons and Things
Gracefulness of Children
Ideal Tory and Whig
The Church
Ministers and the Reform Bill
Genius feminine
Reform Bill
John, Chap. III. Ver. 4.
Dictation and Inspiration
New Testament Canon
Unitarianism—Moral Philosophy
Moral Law of Polarity
Epidemic Disease
Intellectual Revolutions
Modern Style
Genius of the Spanish and Italians
Destruction of Jerusalem
Epic Poem
Vox Populi Vox Dei
Asgill and Defoe
Horne Tooke
Fox and Pitt
Citizens and Christians
Professor Park
English Constitution
Milton and Sidney
De Vi Minimorum
Sympathy of old Greek and Latin with English
Roman Mind
Charm for Cramp
Dual, neuter pleural *sic*, and verb singular
Principles and Facts
Puritans and Jacobins
French Revolution
Infant Schools
Mr. Coleridge's Philosophy
C. Lamb
Faith and Belief
Scotch and English
Criterion of Genius
Dryden and Pope
Milton's disregard of Painting
Baptismal Service
Jews' Division of the Scripture
Genius Metaphysical
Don Quixote
Christ's Hospital
St. Paul's Melita
English and German
Best State of Society
Great Minds Androgynous
Philosopher's Ordinary Language
Barristers' and Physicians' Fees
Cæsarean Operation
Inherited Disease
Mason's Poetry
Northern and Southern States of the American Union
All and the Whole
Ninth Article
Sin and Sins
Old Divines
Preaching extempore
Church of England
Union with Ireland
Michael Scott, Goethe, Schiller, and Wordsworth
Beaumont and Fletcher
Ben Jonson
House of Commons appointing the officers of the Army and Navy
Penal Code in Ireland
Coronation Oaths
Professions and Trades
Modern Political Economy
National Debt
Property Tax
Duty of Landholders
Love's Labour Lost
Gifford's Massinger
The Old Dramatists
Prospect of Monarchy or Democracy
The Reformed House of Commons
United States of America
Captain B. Hall
Northern and Southern States
Democracy with Slavery
Land and Money
Methods of Investigation
Church of Rome
Celibacy of the Clergy
Roman Conquest of Italy
Wedded Love in Shakspeare and his Contemporary Dramatists
Tennyson's Poems
Rabelais and Luther
Wit and Madness
Roman Conquest
Papacy and the Schoolmen
Civil War of the Seventeenth Century
Hampden's Speech
Reformed House of Commons
Shakspeare's Sonnets
Reverence for Ideal Truths
Johnson the Whig
James I.
Sir P. Sidney
Things are finding their Level
God's Providence
Man's Freedom
Dom Miguel and Dom Pedro
Working to better one's condition
Negro Emancipation
Fox and Pitt
Virtue and Liberty
Epistle to the Romans
Negro Emancipation
Hackett's Life of Archbishop Williams
Charles I.
Manners under Edward III. Richard II. and Henry VIII.
Lyell's Geology
Gothic Architecture
Gerard's Douw's "Schoolmaster" and Titian's "Venus"
Sir J. Scarlett
Mandeville's Fable of the Bees
Bestial Theory
Character of Bertram
Beaumont and Fletcher's Dramas
Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides
Cavalier Slang
Prose and Verse
Imitation and Copy
Dr. Johnson
Public Schools
Scott and Coleridge
Nervous Weakness
Hooker and Bull
Key to the Decline of the Roman Empire
Dr. Johnson's Political Pamphlets
Direct Representation
Universal Suffrage
Right of Women to vote
Horne Tooke
Etymology of the final Ive
"The Lord" in the English Version of the Psalms, etc.
Scotch Kirk and Irving
Milton's Egotism
Humour and Genius
Great Poets good Men
Diction of the Old and New Testament Version
Vowels and Consonants
Greek Accent and Quantity
Consolation in Distress
Mock Evangelicals
Autumn Day
Rosetti on Dante
Laughter: Farce and Tragedy
Baron Von Humboldt
Modern Diplomatists
Man cannot be stationary
Fatalism and Providence
Characteristic Temperament of Nations
Greek Particles
Latin Compounds
Valerius Flaccus
Destruction of Jerusalem
Epic Poem
German and English
Paradise Lost
Modern Travels
The Trinity
Lavacrum Pallados
Greek and Latin Pentameter
Milton's Latin Poems
Poetical Filter
Gray and Cotton
Homeric Heroes in Shakspeare
Dr. Johnson
Scott's Novels
Scope of Christianity
Times of Charles I.
Messenger of the Covenant
Logic of Ideas and of Syllogisms
W. S. Lander's Poetry
Chronological Arrangement of Works
Articles of Faith
Modern Quakerism
Devotional Spirit
Some Men like Musical Glasses
Sublime and Nonsense
Proof of Existence of God
Kant's attempt
Plurality of Worlds
A Reasoner
Shakspeare's Intellectual Action
Crabbe and Southey
Peter Simple and Tom Cringle's Log
Ben Jonson
Beaumont and Fletcher
Lord Byron and H. Walpole's "Mysterious Mother"
Lewis's Jamaica Journal
Sir Alexander Ball
Cambridge Petition to admit Dissenters
Corn Laws
Christian Sabbath
High Prizes and Revenues of the Church
Sir Charles Wetherell's Speech
National Church
Schiller's Versification
German Blank Verse
Roman Catholic Emancipation
Duke of Wellington
Coronation Oath
Corn Laws
Modern Political Economy
Fancy and Imagination
Mr. Coleridge's System
Biographia Literaria
Lord Brooke
Barrow and Dryden
Peter Wilkins and Stothard
Fielding and Richardson
Bishop Sandford
Roman Catholic Religion
Recollections, by Mr. Justice Coleridge
Address to a God-child


December 29, 1822


Othello must not be conceived as a negro, but a high and chivalrous Moorish chief. Shakspeare learned the sprit of the character from the Spanish poetry, which was prevalent in England in his time.[1]

Jelousy does not strike me as the point in his passion; I take it to be rather an agony that the creature, whom he had believed angelic, with whom he had garnered up his heart, and whom he could not help still loving, should be proved impure and worthless. It was the struggle not to love her. It was a moral indignation and regret that virture should so fall:—"But yet the pity of it, Iago!—O Iago! the pity of it, Iago!" In addition to this, his hourour was concerned: Iago would not have succeeded but by hinting that this honour was compromised. There is no ferocity in Othello; his mind is majestic and composed. He deliberately determines to die; and speaks his last speech with a view of showing his attachment to the Venetian state, though it had superseded him.

[Footnote 1:
  Caballaeros Granadinos,
  Aunque Moros, hijos d'algo—ED.]

* * * * *

Schiller has the material Sublime; to produce an effect he sets you a whole town on fire, and throws infants with their mothers into the flames, or locks up a father in an old tower.[1] But Shakspeare drops a handkerchief, and the same or greater effects follow.

[Footnote 1: This expression—"material sublime"—like a hundred others which have slipped into general use, came originally from Mr. Coleridege, and was by him, in the first instatnce, applied to Schiller's Robbers— See Act iv, sc. 5.—ED.]

Lear is the most tremendous effort of Shakspeare as a poet; Hamlet as a philosopher or meditater; and Othello is the union of the two. There is something gigantic and unformed in the former two; but in the latter, every thing assumes its due place and proportion, and the whole mature powers of his mind are displayed in admirable equilibrium.

I think Old Mortality and Guy Mannering the best of the Scotch novels.

It seems, to my ear, that there is a sad want of harmony in Lord Byron's verses. Is it not unnatural to be always connecting very great intellectual power with utter depravity? Does such a combination often really exist in rerum naturae?

I always had a great liking—I may say, a sort of nondescript reverence— for John Kemble. What a quaint creature he was! I remember a party, in which he was discoursing in his measured manner after dinner, when the servant announced his carriage. He nodded, and went on. The announcement took place twice afterwards; Kemble each time nodding his head a little more impatiently, but still going on. At last, and for the fourth time, the servant entered, and said,—"Mrs. Kemble says, sir, she has the rheumat_ise_, and cannot stay." "Add_ism!_" dropped John, in a parenthesis, and proceeded quietly in his harangue.

* * * * *

Kemble would correct any body, at any time, and in any place. Dear Charles Mathews—a true genius in his line, in my judgment—told me he was once performing privately before the King. The King was much pleased with the imitation of Kemble, and said,—"I liked Kemble very much. He was one of my earliest friends. I remember once he was talking, and found himself out of snuff. I offered him my box. He declined taking any—'he, a poor actor, could not put his fingers into a royal box.' I said, 'Take some, pray; you will obl_ee_ge me.' Upon which Kemble replied,—'It would become your royal mouth better to say, obl_i_ge me;' and took a pinch."

* * * * *

It is not easy to put me out of countenance, or interrupt the feeling of the time by mere external noise or circumstance; yet once I was thoroughly done up, as you would say. I was reciting, at a particular house, the "Remorse;" and was in the midst of Alhadra's description of the death of her husband, [1] when a scrubby boy, with a shining face set in dirt, burst open the door and cried out,—"Please, ma'am, master says, Will you ha'; or will you not ha', the pin-round?"

[Footnote 1:

  "ALHADRA. This night your chieftain arm'd himself,
And hurried from me. But I follow'd him
At distance, till I saw him enter there!

NAOMI. The cavern?

  ALHADRA. Yes, the mouth of yonder cavern.
After a while I saw the son of Valdez
Rush by with flaring torch: he likewise enter'd.
There was another and a longer pause;
And once, methought, I heard the clash of swords!
And soon the son of Valdez re-appear'd:
He flung his torch towards the moon in sport,
And seem'd as he were mirthful! I stood listening,
Impatient for the footsteps of my husband.

NAOMI. Thou calledst him?

  ALHADRA. I crept into the cavern—
'Twas dark and very silent. What saidst thou?
No! No! I did not dare call Isidore,
Lest I should hear no answer! A brief while,
Belike, I lost all thought and memory
Of that for which I came! After that pause,
O Heaven! I heard a groan, and follow'd it;
And yet another groan, which guided me
Into a strange recess—and there was light,
A hideous light! his torch lay on the ground;
Its flame burnt dimly o'er a chasm's brink:
I spake; and whilst I spake, a feeble groan
Came from that chasm! it was his last—his death-groan!

NAOMI. Comfort her, Allah!

  ALHADRA. I stood in unimaginable trance
And agony that cannot be remember'd,
Listening with horrid hope to hear a groan!
But I had heard his last;—my husband's death-groan!

NAOMI. Haste! let us onward!

  ALHADRA. I look'd far down the pit—
My sight was bounded by a jutting fragment;
And it was stain'd with blood. Then first I shriek'd;
My eyeballs burnt, my brain grew hot as fire,
And all the hanging drops of the wet roof
Turn'd into blood—I saw them turn to blood!
And I was leaping wildly down the chasm,
When on the further brink I saw his sword,
And it said, Vengeance!—Curses on my tongue!
The moon hath moved in heaven, and I am here,
And he hath not had vengeance!—Isidore!
Spirit of Isidore, thy murderer lives!
Away, away!"—Act iv. sc. 3.]

January 1. 1823.


Privilege is a substitution for Law, where, from the nature of the circumstances, a law cannot act without clashing with greater and more general principles. The House of Commons must, of course, have the power of taking cognizance of offences against its own rights. Sir Francis Burdett might have been properly sent to the Tower for the speech he made in the House [1]; but when afterwards he published it in Cobbett, and they took cognizance of it as a breach of privilege, they violated the plain distinction between privilege and law.

As a speech in the House, the House could alone animadvert upon it, consistently with the effective preservation of its most necessary prerogative of freedom of debate; but when that speech became a book, then the law was to look to it; and there being a law of libel, commensurate with every possible object of attack in the state, privilege, which acts, or ought to act, only as a substitute for other laws, could have nothing to do with it. I have heard that one distinguished individual said,—"That he, for one, would not shrink from affirming, that if the House of Commons chose to burn one of their own members in Palace Yard, it had an inherent power and right by the constitution to do so." This was said, if at all, by a moderate-minded man; and may show to what atrocious tyranny some persons may advance in theory, under shadow of this word privilege.

[Footnote 1: March 12. 1810. Sir Francis Burdett made a motion in the House of Commons for the discharge of Mr. Gale Jones, who had been committed to Newgate by a resolution of the House on the 21st of February preceding. Sir Francis afterwards published, in Cobbett's Political Register, of the 24th of the same month of March, a "Letter to his Constituents, denying the power of the House of Commons to imprison the people of England," and he accompanied the letter with an argument in support of his position. On the 27th of March a complaint of breach of privilege, founded on this publication, was made in the House by Mr. (now Sir Thomas) Lethbridge, and after several long debates, a motion that Sir Francis Burdett should be committed to the Tower was made on the 5th of April, 1810, by Sir Robert Salisbury, and carried by a majority of 38.—ED.]

* * * * *

There are two principles in every European and Christian state:
Permanency and Progression.[1]

In the civil wars of the seventeenth century in England, which are as new and fresh now as they were a hundred and sixty years ago, and will be so for ever to us, these two principles came to a struggle. It was natural that the great and the good of the nation should he found in the ranks of either side. In the Mohammedan states, there is no principle of permanence; and, therefore, they sink directly. They existed, and could only exist, in their efforts at progression; when they ceased to conquer, they fell in pieces. Turkey would long since have fallen, had it not been supported by the rival and conflicting interests of Christian Europe. The Turks have no church; religion and state are one; hence there is no counterpoise, no mutual support. This is the very essence of their Unitarianism. They have no past; they are not an historical people; they exist only in the present. China is an instance of a permanency without progression. The Persians are a superior race: they have a history and a literature; they were always considered by the Greeks as quite distinct from the other barbarians. The Afghans are a remarkable people. They have a sort of republic. Europeans and Orientalists may be well represented by two figures standing back to back: the latter looking to the east, that is, backwards; the former looking westward, or forwards.

[Footnote 1: See this position stated and illustrated in detail in Mr. Coleridge's work, "On the Constitution of the Church and State, according to the Idea of each," p. 21. 2d edit. 1830. Well acquainted as I am with the fact f the comparatively small acceptation which Mr. Coleridge's prose works have ever found in the literary world, and with the reasons, and, what is more, with the causes, of it, I still wonder that this particular treatise has not been more noticed: first, because it is a little book; secondly, because it is, or at least nineteen-twentieths of it are, written in a popular style; and thirdly, because it is the only work, that I know or have ever heard mentioned, that even attempts a solution of the difficulty in which an ingenious enemy of the church of England may easily involve most of its modern defenders in Parliament, or through the press, upon their own principles and admissions. Mr. Coleridge himself prized this little work highly, although he admitted its incompleteness as a composition:—"But I don't care a rush about it," he said to me, "as an author. The saving distinctions are plainly stated in it, and I am sure nothing is wanted to make them tell, but that some kind friend should steal them from their obscure hiding-place, and just tumble them down before the public as his own."—ED.]

* * * * *

Kant assigns three great races of mankind. If two individuals of distinct races cross, a third, or tertium aliquid, is invariably produced, different from either, as a white and a negro produce a mulatto. But when different varieties of the same race cross, the offspring is according to what we call chance; it is now like one, now like the other parent. Note this, when you see the children of any couple of distinct European complexions,—as English and Spanish, German and Italian, Russian and Portuguese, and so on.

January 3. 1823.


Either we have an immortal soul, or we have not. If we have not, we are beasts; the first and wisest of beasts, it may be; but still true beasts. [1] We shall only differ in degree, and not in kind; just as the elephant differs from the slug. But by the concession of all the materialists of all the schools, or almost all, we are not of the same kind as beasts—and this also we say from our own consciousness. Therefore, methinks, it must be the possession of a soul within us that makes the difference.

[Footnote 1: "Try to conceive a man without the ideas of God, eternity, freedom, will, absolute truth; of the good, the true, the beautiful, the infinite. An animal endowed with a memory of appearances and facts might remain. But the man will have vanished, and you have instead a creature more subtle than any beast of the field, but likewise cursed above every beast of the field; upon the belly must it go, and dust must it eat all the days of its life."—Church and State, p. 54. n.]

* * * * *

Read the first chapter of Genesis without prejudice, and you will be convinced at once. After the narrative of the creation of the earth and brute animals, Moses seems to pause, and says:—"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." And in the next chapter, he repeats the narrative:—"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;" and then he adds these words,—"and man became a living soul." Materialism will never explain those last words.

* * * * *

Define a vulgar ghost with reference to all that is called ghost-like. It is visibility without tangibility; which is also the definition of a shadow. Therefore, a vulgar ghost and a shadow would be the same; because two different things cannot properly have the same definition. A visible substance without susceptibility of impact, I maintain to be an absurdity.

Unless there be an external substance, the bodily eye cannot see it; therefore, in all such cases, that which is supposed to be seen is, in fact, not seen, but is an image of the brain. External objects naturally produce sensation; but here, in truth, sensation produces, as it were, the external object. In certain states of the nerves, however, I do believe that the eye, although not consciously so directed, may, by a slight convulsion, see a portion of the body, as if opposite to it. The part actually seen will by common association seem the whole; and the whole body will then constitute an external object, which explains many stories of persons seeing themselves lying dead. Bishop Berkeley once experienced this. He had the presence of mind to ring the bell, and feel his pulse; keeping his eye still fixed on his own figure right opposite to him. He was in a high fever, and the brain image died away as the door opened. I observed something very like it once at Grasmere; and was so conscious of the cause, that I told a person what I was experiencing, whilst the image still remained.

Of course, if the vulgar ghost be really a shadow, there must be some substance of which it is the shadow. These visible and intangible shadows, without substances to cause them, are absurd.

January 4. 1828.


This is not a logical age. A friend lately gave me some political pamphlets of the times of Charles I. and the Cromwellate. In them the premisses are frequently wrong, but the deductions are almost always legitimate; whereas, in the writings of the present day, the premisses are commonly sound, but the conclusions false. I think a great deal of commendation is due to the University of Oxford for preserving the study of logic in the schools. It is a great mistake to suppose geometry any substitute for it.

* * * * *

Negatively, there may be more of the philosophy of Socrates in the
Memorabilia of Xenophon than in Plato: that is, there is less of what does
not belong to Socrates; but the general spirit of, and impression left by,
Plato, are more Socratic.[1]

[Footnote 1: See p. 26. Mr. Coleridge meant in both these passages, that Xenophon had preserved the most of the man Socrates; that he was the best Boswell; and that Socrates, as a persona dialogi, was little more than a poetical phantom in Plato's hands. On the other hand, he says that Plato is more Socratic, that is, more of a philosopher in the Socratic mode of reasoning (Cicero calls the Platonic writings generally, Socratici libri); and Mr. C. also says, that in the metaphysical disquisitions Plato is Pythagorean, meaning, that he worked on the supposed ideal or transcendental principles of the extraordinary founder of the Italian school.]

* * * * *

In Æschylus religion appears terrible, malignant, and persecuting: Sophocles is the mildest of the three tragedians, but the persecuting aspect is still maintained: Euripides is like a modern Frenchman, never so happy as when giving a slap at the gods altogether.

* * * * *

Kotzebue represents the petty kings of the islands in the Pacific Ocean exactly as so many Homeric chiefs. Riches command universal influence, and all the kings are supposed to be descended from the gods.

* * * * *

I confess I doubt the Homeric genuineness of [Greek: dakruoen gelaschsa]. [1] It sounds to me much more like a prettiness of Bion or Moschus.

[Footnote 1: [Greek: hos eipon, alochoio thilaes en chersin ethaeke paid eon hae d ara min chaeodei dexato cholpo, dachruoen gelasasa.]—Illiad. Z. vi. 482]

* * * * *

The very greatest writers write best when calm, and exerting themselves upon subjects unconnected with party. Burke rarely shows all his powers, unless where he is in a passion. The French Revolution was alone a subject fit for him. We are not yet aware of all the consequences of that event. We are too near it.

* * * * *

Goldsmith did every thing happily.

* * * * *

You abuse snuff! Perhaps it is the final cause of the human nose.

* * * * *

A rogue is a roundabout fool; a fool in circumbendibus.

* * * * *

Omne ignotum pro magnifico. A dunghill at a distance sometimes smells like musk, and a dead dog like elder-flowers.

* * * * *

Plagiarists are always suspicious of being stolen from,—as pickpockets are observed commonly to walk with their hands in their breeches' pockets.

January 6. 1823.


St. John had a twofold object in his Gospel and his Epistles,—to prove the divinity, and also the actual human nature and bodily suffering, of Jesus Christ,—that he was God and Man. The notion that the effusion of blood and water from the Saviour's side was intended to prove the real death of the sufferer originated, I believe, with some modern Germans, and seems to me ridiculous: there is, indeed, a very small quantity of water occasionally in the præcordia: but in the pleura, where wounds are not generally mortal, there is a great deal. St. John did not mean, I apprehend, to insinuate that the spear-thrust made the death, merely as such, certain or evident, but that the effusion showed the human nature. "I saw it," he would say, "with my own eyes. It was real blood, composed of lymph and crassamentum, and not a mere celestial ichor, as the Phantasmists allege."

* * * * *

I think the verse of the three witnesses (1 John, v. 7.) spurious, not only because the balance of external authority is against it, as Porson seems to have shown; but also, because, in my way of looking at it, it spoils the reasoning.

* * * * *

St. John's logic is Oriental, and consists chiefly in position and parallel; whilst St. Paul displays all the intricacies of the Greek system.

* * * * *

Whatever may be thought of the genuineness or authority of any part of the book of Daniel, it makes no difference in my belief in Christianity; for Christianity is within a man, even as he is a being gifted with reason; it is associated with your mother's chair, and with the first-remembered tones of her blessed voice.

* * * * *

I do not believe St. Paul to be the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Luther's conjecture is very probable, that it was by Apollos, an Alexandrian Jew. The plan is too studiously regular for St. Paul. It was evidently written during the yet existing glories of the Temple. For three hundred years the church did not affix St. Paul's name to it; but its apostolical or catholic character, independently of its genuineness as to St. Paul, was never much doubted.

* * * * *

The first three Gospels show the history, that is, the fulfilment of the prophecies in the facts. St. John declares explicitly the doctrine, oracularly, and without comment, because, being pure reason, it can only be proved by itself. For Christianity proves itself, as the sun is seen by its own light. Its evidence is involved in its existence. St. Paul writes more particularly for the dialectic understanding; and proves those doctrines, which were capable of such proof, by common logic.

* * * * *

St. John used the term [Greek: ho Logos] technically. Philo-Judæus had so used it several years before the probable date of the composition of this Gospel; and it was commonly understood amongst the Jewish Rabbis at that time, and afterwards, of the manifested God.

* * * * *

Our translators, unfortunately, as I think, render the clause [Greek: pros ton Theos] "with God;" that would be right, if the Greek were [Greek: syn to Theo].[1]

By the preposition [Greek: pros] in this place, is meant the utmost possible proximity, without confusion; likeness, without sameness. The Jewish Church understood the Messiah to be a divine person. Philo expressly cautions against any one's supposing the Logos to be a mere personification, or symbol. He says, the Logos is a substantial, self- existent Being. The Gnostics, as they were afterwards called, were a kind of Arians; and thought the Logos was an after-birth. They placed [Greek: Abyssos] and [Greek: Sigae] (the Abyss and Silence) before him. Therefore it was that St. John said, with emphasis, [Greek: en archae aen ho Logos]— "In the beginning was the Word." He was begotten in the first simultaneous burst of Godhead, if such an expression may be pardoned, in speaking of eternal existence.

[Footnote 1: John, ch. i. v. 1, 2.]

* * * * *

The Understanding suggests the materials of reasoning: the Reason decides upon them. The first can only say,—This is, or ought to be so. The last says,—It must be so.[1]

[Footnote 1: I have preserved this, and several other equivalent remarks, out of a dutiful wish to popularize, by all the honest means in my power, this fundamental distinction; a thorough mastery of which Mr. Coleridge considered necessary to any sound system of psychology; and in the denial or neglect of which, he delighted to point out the source of most of the vulgar errors in philosophy and religion. The distinction itself is implied throughout almost all Mr. C.'s works, whether in verse or prose; but it may be found minutely argued in the "Aids to Reflection," p. 206, &c. 2d edit. 1831.—ED.]

April 27. 1823.


Kean is original; but he copies from himself. His rapid descents from the hyper-tragic to the infra-colloquial, though sometimes productive of great effect, are often unreasonable. To see him act, is like reading Shakspeare by flashes of lightning. I do not think him thorough-bred gentleman enough to play Othello.

* * * * *

Sir James Mackintosh is the king of the men of talent. He is a most elegant converger. How well I remember his giving breakfast to me and Sir Humphry Davy, at that time an unknown young man, and our having a very spirited talk about Locke and Newton, and so forth! When Davy was gone, Mackintosh said to me, "That's a very extraordinary young man; but he is gone wrong on some points." But Davy was, at that time at least, a man of genius; and I doubt if Mackintosh ever heartily appreciated an eminently original man. He is uncommonly powerful in his own line; but it is not the line of a first- rate man. After all his fluency and brilliant erudition, you can rarely carry off any thing worth preserving. You might not improperly write on his forehead, "Warehouse to let!" He always dealt too much in generalities for a lawyer. He is deficient in power in applying his principles to the points in debate. I remember Robert Smith had much more logical ability; but Smith aimed at conquest by any gladiatorial shift; whereas Mackintosh was uniformly candid in argument. I am speaking now from old recollections.

* * * * *

Canning is very irritable, surprisingly so for a wit who is always giving such hard knocks. He should have put on an ass's skin before he went into parliament. Lord Liverpool is the single stay of this ministry; but he is not a man of a directing mind. He cannot ride on the whirlwind. He serves as the isthmus to connect one half of the cabinet with the other. He always gives you the common sense of the matter, and in that it is that his strength in debate lies.

* * * * *

The national debt has, in fact, made more men rich than have a right to be so, or, rather, any ultimate power, in case of a struggle, of actualizing their riches. It is, in effect, like an ordinary, where three hundred tickets have been distributed, but where there is, in truth, room only for one hundred. So long as you can amuse the company with any thing else, or make them come in successively, all is well, and the whole three hundred fancy themselves sure of a dinner; but if any suspicion of a hoax should arise, and they were all to rush into the room at once, there would be two hundred without a potato for their money; and the table would be occupied by the landholders, who live on the spot.

* * * * *

Poor-laws are the inevitable accompaniments of an extensive commerce and a manufacturing system. In Scotland, they did without them, till Glasgow and Paisley became great manufacturing places, and then people said, "We must subscribe for the poor, or else we shall have poor-laws." That is to say, they enacted for themselves a poor-law in order to avoid having a poor-law enacted for them. It is absurd to talk of Queen Elizabeth's act as creating the poor-laws of this country. The poor-rates are the consideration paid by, or on behalf of, capitalists for having labour at demand. It is the price, and nothing else. The hardship consists in the agricultural interest having to pay an undue proportion of the rates; for although, perhaps, in the end, the land becomes more valuable, yet, at the first, the landowners have to bear all the brunt. I think there ought to be a fixed revolving period for the equalization of rates.

April 28. 1823.


The conduct of the Whigs is extravagantly inconsistent. It originated in the fatal error which Fox committed, in persisting, after the first three years of the French Revolution, when every shadow of freedom in France had vanished, in eulogizing the men and measures of that shallow-hearted people. So he went on gradually, further and further departing from all the principles of English policy and wisdom, till at length he became the panegyrist, through thick and thin, of a military frenzy, under the influence of which the very name of liberty was detested. And thus it was that, in course of time, Fox's party became the absolute abettors of the Buonapartean invasion of Spain, and did all in their power to thwart the generous efforts of this country to resist it. Now, when the invasion is by a Bourbon, and the cause of the Spanish nation neither united nor, indeed, sound in many respects, the Whigs would precipitate this country into a crusade to fight up the cause of a faction.

I have the honour of being slightly known to my lord Darnley. In 1808-9, I met him accidentally, when, after a few words of salutation, he said to me, "Are you mad, Mr. Coleridge?"—"Not that I know, my lord," I replied; "what have I done which argues any derangement of mind?"—"Why, I mean," said he, "those letters of yours in the Courier, 'On the Hopes and Fears of a People invaded by foreign Armies.' The Spaniards are absolutely conquered; it is absurd to talk of their chance of resisting."—"Very well, my lord," I said, "we shall see. But will your lordship permit me, in the course of a year or two, to retort your question upon you, if I should have grounds for so doing?"—"Certainly!" said he; "that is fair!" Two years afterwards, when affairs were altered in Spain, I met Lord Darnley again, and, after some conversation, ventured to say to him, "Does your lordship recollect giving me leave to retort a certain question upon you about the Spaniards? Who is mad now?"—"Very true, very true, Mr. Coleridge," cried he: "you are right. It is very extraordinary. It was a very happy and hold guess." Upon which I remarked, "I think 'guess' is hardly a fair term. For, has any thing happened that has happened, from any other causes, or under any other conditions, than such as I laid down Beforehand?" Lord Darnley, who was always very courteous to me, took this with a pleasant nod of his head.

* * * * *

Many votes are given for reform in the House of Commons, which are not honest. Whilst it is well known that the measure will not he carried in parliament, it is as well to purchase some popularity by voting for it. When Hunt and his associates, before the Six Acts, created a panic, the ministers lay on their oars for three or four months, until the general cry, even from the opposition, was, "Why don't the ministers come forward with some protective measure?" The present Ministry exists on the weakness and desperate character of the Opposition. The sober part of the nation are afraid of the latter getting into power, lest they should redeem some of their pledges.

* * * * *

April 29. 1823.


The present adherents of the church of Rome are not, in my judgment, Catholics. We are the Catholics. We can prove that we hold the doctrines of the primitive church for the first three hundred years. The council of Trent made the Papists what they are. [1] A foreign Romish bishop has declared, that the Protestants of his acquaintance were more like what he conceived the enlightened Catholics to have been before the council of Trent, than the best of the latter in his days. Perhaps you will say, this bishop was not a good Catholic.[2] I cannot answer for that. The course of Christianity and the Christian church may not unaptly be likened to a mighty river, which filled a wide channel, and bore along with its waters mud, and gravel, and weeds, till it met a great rock in the middle of its stream. By some means or other, the water flows purely, and separated from the filth, in a deeper and narrower course on one side of the rock, and the refuse of the dirt and troubled water goes off on the other in a broader current, and then cries out, "We are the river!"

[Footnote 1: See Aids to Reflection, p. 180. note.]

[Footnote 2: Mr. Coleridge named him, but the name was strange to me, and I have been unable to recover it—ED.] * * * * *

A person said to me lately, "But you will, for civility's sake, call them Catholics, will you not?" I answered, that I would not; for I would not tell a lie upon any, much less upon so solemn an occasion. "The adherents of the church of Rome, I repeat, are not Catholic Christians. If they are, then it follows that we Protestants are heretics and schismatics, as, indeed, the Papists very logically, from their own premisses, call us. And 'Roman Catholics' makes no difference. Catholicism is not capable of degrees or local apportionments. There can be but one body of Catholics, ex vi termini. To talk strictly of Irish or Scotch Roman Catholics is a mere absurdity."

* * * * *

It is common to hear it said, that, if the legal disabilities are removed, the Romish church will lose ground in this country. I think the reverse: the Romish religion is, or, in certain hands, is capable of being made, so flattering to the passions and self-delusion of men, that it is impossible to say how far it would spread, amongst the higher orders of society especially, if the secular disadvantages now attending its profession were removed.[1]

[Footnote 1: Here, at least, the prophecy has been fulfilled. The wisdom of our ancestors, in the reign of King William III., would have been jealous of the daily increase in the numbers of the Romish church in England, of which every attentive observer must be aware. See Sancti Dominici Pallium, in vol. ii. p. 80. of Mr. Coleridge's Poems.-Ed.]

April 30. 1823.


The Zendavesta must, I think, have been copied in parts from the writings of Moses. In the description of the creation, the first chapter of Genesis is taken almost literally, except that the sun is created before the light, and then the herbs and the plants after the sun; which are precisely the two points they did not understand, and therefore altered as errors.[1]

There are only two acts of creation, properly so called, in the Mosaic account,—the material universe and man. The intermediate acts seem more as the results of secondary causes, or, at any rate, of a modification of prepared materials.

[Footnote 1:
The Zend, or Zendavesta, is the sacred book ascribed to Zoroaster, or
Zerdusht, the founder or reformer of the Magian religion. The modern
edition or paraphrase of this work, called the Sadda, written in the
Persian of the day, was, I believe, composed about three hundred years ago

* * * * *

Pantheism and idolatry naturally end in each other; for all extremes meet.
The Judaic religion is the exact medium, the true compromise.

May 1. 1823.


There is a great difference in the credibility to be attached to stories of dreams and stories of ghosts. Dreams have nothing in them which are absurd and nonsensical; and, though most of the coincidences may be readily explained by the diseased system of the dreamer, and the great and surprising power of association, yet it is impossible to say whether an inner sense does not really exist in the mind, seldom developed, indeed, but which may have a power of presentiment. [1]

All the external senses have their correspondents in the mind; the eye can see an object before it is distinctly apprehended;—why may there not be a corresponding power in the soul? The power of prophecy might have been merely a spiritual excitation of this dormant faculty. Hence you will observe that the Hebrew seers sometimes seem to have required music, as in the instance of Elisha before Jehoram:—"But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him." [2] Every thing in nature has a tendency to move in cycles; and it would be a miracle if, out of such myriads of cycles moving concurrently, some coincidences did not take place. No doubt, many such take place in the daytime; but then our senses drive out the remembrance of them, and render the impression hardly felt; but when we sleep, the mind acts without interruption. Terror and the heated imagination will, even in the daytime, create all sorts of features, shapes, and colours out of a simple object possessing none of them in reality.

But ghost stories are absurd. Whenever a real ghost appears,—by which I mean some man or woman dressed up to frighten another,—if the supernatural character of the apparition has been for a moment believed, the effects on the spectator have always been most terrible,—convulsion, idiocy, madness, or even death on the spot. Consider the awful descriptions in the Old Testament of the effects of a spiritual presence on the prophets and seers of the Hebrews; the terror, the exceeding great dread, the utter loss of all animal power. But in our common ghost stories, you always find that the seer, after a most appalling apparition, as you are to believe, is quite well the next day. Perhaps, he may have a headach; but that is the outside of the effect produced. Alston, a man of genius, and the best painter yet produced by America, when he was in England told me an anecdote which confirms what I have been saying. It was, I think, in the university of Cambridge, near Boston, that a certain youth took it into his wise head to endeavour to convert a Tom-Painish companion of his by appearing as a ghost before him. He accordingly dressed himself up in the usual way, having previously extracted the ball from the pistol which always lay near the head of his friend's bed. Upon first awaking, and seeing the apparition, the youth who was to be frightened, A., very coolly looked his companion the ghost in the face, and said, "I know you. This is a good joke; but you see I am not frightened. Now you may vanish!" The ghost stood still. "Come," said A., "that is enough. I shall get angry. Away!" Still the ghost moved not. "By ——," ejaculated A., "if you do not in three minutes go away, I'll shoot you." He waited the time, deliberately levelled the pistol, fired, and, with a scream at the immobility of the figure, became convulsed, and afterwards died. The very instant he believed it to be a ghost, his human nature fell before it.

[Footnote 1: See this point suggested and reasoned with extraordinary subtlety in the third essay (marked C), in the Appendix to the Statesman's Manual, Or first Lay Sermon, p. 19, &c. One beautiful paragraph I will venture to quote:— "Not only may we expect that men of strong religious feelings, but little religious knowledge, will occasionally be tempted to regard such occurrences as supernatural visitations; but it ought not to surprise us if such dreams should sometimes be confirmed by the event, as though they had actually possessed a character of divination. For who shall decide how far a perfect reminiscence of past experiences (of many, perhaps, that had escaped our reflex consciousness at the time)—who shall determine to what extent this reproductive imagination, unsophisticated by the will, and undistracted by intrusions from the senses, may or may not be concentred and sublimed into foresight and presentiment? There would be nothing herein either to foster superstition on the one hand, or to justify contemptuous disbelief on the other. Incredulity is but Credulity seen from behind, bowing and nodding assent to the Habitual and the Fashionable"-ED.]

[Footnote 2: 2 Kings, iii. 15., and see 1 Sam. x. 5.—ED.]

* * * * *

[What follows in the text within commas was written about this time, and communicated to me by Mr. Justice Coleridge.—ED.]

"Last Thursday my uncle, S. T. C., dined with us, and several men came to meet him. I have heard him more brilliant, but he was very fine, and delighted every one very much. It is impossible to carry off, or commit to paper, his long trains of argument; indeed, it is not always possible to understand them, he lays the foundation so deep, and views every question in so original a manner. Nothing can be finer than the principles which he lays down in morals and religion. His deep study of Scripture is very astonishing; the rest of the party were but as children in his hands, not merely in general views of theology, but in nice verbal criticism. He thinks it clear that St. Paul did not write the Epistle to the Hebrews, but that it must have been the work of some Alexandrian Greek, and he thinks Apollos. It seemed to him a desirable thing for Christianity that it should have been written by some other person than St. Paul; because, its inspiration being unquestioned, it added another independent teacher and expounder of the faith.

"We fell upon ghosts, and he exposed many of the stories physically and metaphysically. He seemed to think it impossible that you should really see with the bodily eye what was impalpable, unless it were a shadow; and if what you fancied you saw with the bodily eye was in fact only an impression on the imagination, then you were seeing something out of your senses, and your testimony was full of uncertainty. He observed how uniformly, in all the best-attested stories of spectres, the appearance might be accounted for from the disturbed state of the mind or body of the seer, as in the instances of Dion and Brutus. Upon some one's saying that he wished to believe these stories true, thinking that they constituted a useful subsidiary testimony of another state of existence, Mr. C. differed, and said, he thought it a dangerous testimony, and one not wanted: it was Saul, with the Scriptures and the Prophet before him, calling upon the witch of Endor to certify him of the truth! He explained very ingeniously, yet very naturally, what has often startled people in ghost stories—such as Lord Lyttelton's—namely, that when a real person has appeared, habited like the phantom, the ghost-seer has immediately seen two, the real man and the phantom. He said that such must be the case. The man under the morbid delusion sees with the eye of the imagination, and sees with the bodily eye too; if no one were really present, he would see the spectre with one, and the bed-curtains with the other. When, therefore, a real person comes, he sees the real man as he would have seen any one else in the same place, and he sees the spectre not a whit the less: being perceptible by different powers of vision, so to say, the appearances do not interfere with each other.

"He told us the following story of the Phantom Portrait [1]:—

"A stranger came recommended to a merchant's house at Lubeck. He was hospitably received; but, the house being full, he was lodged at night in an apartment handsomely furnished, but not often used. There was nothing that struck him particularly in the room when left alone, till he happened to cast his eyes on a picture, which immediately arrested his attention. It was a single head; but there was something so uncommon, so frightful and unearthly, in its expression, though by no means ugly, that he found himself irresistibly attracted to look at it. In fact, he could not tear himself from the fascination of this portrait, till his imagination was filled by it, and his rest broken. He retired to bed, dreamed, and awoke from time to time with the head glaring on him. In the morning, his host saw by his looks that he had slept ill, and inquired the cause, which was told. The master of the house was much vexed, and said that the picture ought to have been removed, that it was an oversight, and that it always was removed when the chamber was used. The picture, he said, was, indeed, terrible to every one; but it was so fine, and had come into the family in so curious a way, that he could not make up his mind to part with it, or to destroy it. The story of it was this:—'My father,' said he, 'was at Hamburgh on business, and, whilst dining at a coffee-house, he observed a young man of a remarkable appearance enter, seat himself alone in a corner, and commence a solitary meal. His countenance bespoke the extreme of mental distress, and every now and then he turned his head quickly round, as if he heard something, then shudder, grow pale, and go on with his meal after an effort as before. My father saw this same man at the same place for two or three successive days; and at length became so much interested about him, that he spoke to him. The address was not repulsed, and the stranger seemed to find some comfort in the tone of sympathy and kindness which my father used. He was an Italian, well informed, poor but not destitute, and living economically upon the profits of his art as a painter. Their intimacy increased; and at length the Italian, seeing my father's involuntary emotion at his convulsive turnings and shuddering, which continued as formerly, interrupting their conversation from time to time, told him his story. He was a native of Rome, and had lived in some familiarity with, and been much patronized by, a young nobleman; but upon some slight occasion they had fallen out, and his patron, besides using many reproachful expressions, had struck him. The painter brooded over the disgrace of the blow. He could not challenge the nobleman, on account of his rank; he therefore watched for an opportunity, and assassinated him. Of course he fled from his country, and finally had reached Hamburgh. He had not, however, passed many weeks from the night of the murder, before, one day, in the crowded street, he heard his name called by a voice familiar to him: he turned short round, and saw the face of his victim looking at him with a fixed eye. From that moment he had no peace: at all hours, in all places, and amidst all companies, however engaged he might be, he heard the voice, and could never help looking round; and, whenever he so looked round, he always encountered the same face staring close upon him. At last, in a mood of desperation, he had fixed himself face to face, and eye to eye, and deliberately drawn the phantom visage as it glared upon him; and this was the picture so drawn. The Italian said he had struggled long, but life was a burden which he could now no longer bear; and he was resolved, when he had made money enough to return to Rome, to surrender himself to justice, and expiate his crime on the scaffold. He gave the finished picture to my father, in return for the kindness which he had shown to him.'"

[Footnote 1: This is the story which Mr. Washington Irving has dressed up very prettily in the first volume of his "Tales of a Traveller," pp. 84-119.; professing in his preface that he could not remember whence he had derived the anecdote.—ED.]

* * * * *

I have no doubt that the Jews believed generally in a future state, independently of the Mosaic law. The story of the witch of Endor is a proof of it. What we translate "witch," or "familiar spirit," is, in the Hebrew, Ob, that is, a bottle or bladder, and means a person whose belly is swelled like a leathern bottle by divine inflation. In the Greek it is [Greek: engastrimuthos], a ventriloquist. The text (1 Sam. ch. xxviii.) is a simple record of the facts, the solution of which the sacred historian leaves to the reader. I take it to have been a trick of ventriloquism, got up by the courtiers and friends of Saul, to prevent him, if possible, from hazarding an engagement with an army despondent and oppressed with bodings of defeat. Saul is not said to have seen Samuel; the woman only pretends to see him. And then what does this Samuel do? He merely repeats the prophecy known to all Israel, which the true Samuel had uttered some years before. Read Captain Lyon's account of the scene in the cabin with the Esquimaux bladder, or conjurer; it is impossible not to be reminded of the witch of Endor. I recommend you also to look at Webster's admirable treatise on Witchcraft.

* * * * *

The pet texts of a Socinian are quite enough for his confutation with acute thinkers. If Christ had been a mere man, it would have been ridiculous in him to call himself "the Son of man;" but being God and man, it then became, in his own assumption of it, a peculiar and mysterious title. So, if Christ had been a mere man, his saying, "My Father is greater than I," (John, xv. 28.) would have been as unmeaning. It would be laughable enough, for example, to hear me say, "My 'Remorse' succeeded, indeed, but Shakspeare is a greater dramatist than I." But how immeasurably more foolish, more monstrous, would it not be for a man, however honest, good, or wise, to say, "But Jehovah is greater than I!"

May 8. 1824.


Plato's works are logical exercises for the mind. Little that is positive is advanced in them. Socrates may be fairly represented by Plato in the more moral parts; but in all the metaphysical disquisitions it is Pythagoras. Xenophon's representation of his master is quite different.[1]

[Footnote 1: See p. 9. n.—ED.]

* * * * *

Observe the remarkable contrast between the religion of the tragic and other poets of Greece. The former are always opposed in heart to the popular divinities. In fact, there are the popular, the sacerdotal, and the mysterious religions of Greece, represented roughly by Homer, Pindar, and Æschylus. The ancients had no notion of a fall of man, though they had of his gradual degeneracy. Prometheus, in the old mythus, and for the most part in AEschylus, is the Redeemer and the Devil jumbled together.

* * * * *

I cannot say I expect much from mere Egyptian antiquities. Almost every thing really, that is, intellectually, great in that country seems to me of Grecian origin.

* * * * *

I think nothing can be added to Milton's definition or rule of poetry,— that it ought to be simple, sensuous, and impassioned; that is to say, single in conception, abounding in sensible images, and informing them all with the spirit of the mind.

Milton's Latin style is, I think, better and easier than his English. His style, in prose, is quite as characteristic of him as a philosophic republican, as Cowley's is of him as a first-rate gentleman.

If you take from Virgil his diction and metre, what do you leave him?

* * * * *

June 2. 1824.


I confess I have small patience with Mr. Granville Penn's book against Professor Buckland. Science will be superseded, if every phenomenon is to be referred in this manner to an actual miracle. I think it absurd to attribute so much to the Deluge. An inundation, which left an olive-tree standing, and bore up the ark peacefully on its bosom, could scarcely have been the sole cause of the rents and dislocations observable on the face of the earth. How could the tropical animals, which have been discovered in England and in Russia in a perfectly natural state, have been transported thither by such a flood? Those animals must evidently have been natives of the countries in which they have been found. The climates must have been altered. Assume a sudden evaporation upon the retiring of the Deluge to have caused an intense cold, the solar heat might not be sufficient afterwards to overcome it. I do not think that the polar cold is adequately explained by mere comparative distance from the sun.

* * * * *

You will observe, that there is no mention of rain previously to the Deluge. Hence it may be inferred, that the rainbow was exhibited for the first time after God's covenant with Noah. However, I only suggest this.

* * * * *

The Earth with its scarred face is the symbol of the Past; the Air and
Heaven, of Futurity.

June 5. 1824.


The fondness for dancing in English women is the reaction of their reserved manners. It is the only way in which they can throw themselves forth in natural liberty. We have no adequate conception of the perfection of the ancient tragic dance. The pleasure which the Greeks received from it had for its basis Difference and the more unfit the vehicle, the more lively was the curiosity and intense the delight at seeing the difficulty overcome.

* * * * *

The ancients certainly seem to have understood some principles in acoustics which we have lost, or, at least, they applied them better. They contrived to convey the voice distinctly in their huge theatres by means of pipes, which created no echo or confusion. Our theatres—Drury Lane and Covent Garden—are fit for nothing: they are too large for acting, and too small for a bull-fight.

* * * * *

June 7. 1824.


How lamentably the art of versification is neglected by most of the poets of the present day!—by Lord Byron, as it strikes me, in particular, among those of eminence for other qualities. Upon the whole, I think the part of Don Juan in which Lambro's return to his home, and Lambro himself, are described, is the best, that is, the most individual, thing in all I know of Lord B.'s works. The festal abandonment puts one in mind of Nicholas Poussin's pictures.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge particularly noticed, for its classical air, the 32d stanza of this Canto (the third):—

"A band of children, round a snow-white ram,
  There wreathe his venerable horns with flowers,
While, peaceful as if still an unwean'd lamb,
  The patriarch of the flock all gently cowers
His sober head, majestically tame,
  Or eats from out the palm, or playful lowers
His brow, as if in act to butt, and then
Yielding to their small hands, draws back again."

But Mr. C. said that then, and again, made no rhyme to his ear. Why should not the old form agen be lawful in verse? We wilfully abridge ourselves of the liberty which our great poets achieved and sanctioned for us in innumerable instances.—ED.]

June 10. 1824.


Up to twenty-one, I hold a father to have power over his children as to marriage; after that age, authority and influence only. Show me one couple unhappy merely on account of their limited circumstances, and I will show you ten that are wretched from other causes.

* * * * *

If the matter were quite open, I should incline to disapprove the intermarriage of first cousins; but the church has decided otherwise on the authority of Augustine, and that seems enough upon such a point.

* * * * *

You may depend upon it, that a slight contrast of character is very material to happiness in marriage.

February 24. 1827.


Blumenbach makes five races; Kant, three. Blumenbach's scale of dignity may be thus figured:—

1. Caucasian or European.

2. Malay ================= 2. American

3. Negro ========================== 3. Mongolian, Asiatic

There was, I conceive, one great Iapetic original of language, under which Greek, Latin, and other European dialects, and, perhaps, Sanscrit, range as species. The Iapetic race, [Greek: Iaones]; separated into two branches; one, with a tendency to migrate south-west,—Greeks, Italians, &c.; and the other north-west,—Goths, Germans, Swedes, &c. The Hebrew is Semitic.

* * * * *

Hebrew, in point of force and purity, seems at its height in Isaiah. It is most corrupt in Daniel, and not much less so in Ecclesiastes; which I cannot believe to have been actually composed by Solomon, but rather suppose to have been so attributed by the Jews, in their passion for ascribing all works of that sort to their grand monurque.

March 10. 1827.


The people of all other nations, but the Jewish, seem to look backwards and also to exist for the present; but in the Jewish scheme every thing is prospective and preparatory; nothing, however trifling, is done for itself alone, but all is typical of something yet to come.

* * * * *

I would rather call the book of Proverbs Solomonian than as actually a work of Solomon's. So I apprehend many of the Psalms to be Davidical only, not David's own compositions.

* * * * *

You may state the Pantheism of Spinosa, in contrast with the Hebrew or
Christian scheme, shortly, as thus:—


W-G = 0; i.e. the World without God is an impossible idea.
G-W = 0; i.e. God without the World is so likewise.

Hebrew or Christian scheme.

W-G = 0; i.e. The same as Spinosa's premiss.
But G-W = G; i.e. God without the World is God the self-subsistent.

* * * * *

March 12. 1827.


I have no doubt that the real object closest to the hearts of the leading Irish Romanists is the destruction of the Irish Protestant church, and the re-establishment of their own. I think more is involved in the manner than the matter of legislating upon the civil disabilities of the members of the church of Rome; and, for one, I should he willing to vote for a removal of those disabilities, with two or three exceptions, upon a solemn declaration being made legislatively in parliament, that at no time, nor under any circumstances, could or should a branch of the Romish hierarchy, as at present constituted, become an estate of this realm.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Church and State, second part, p. 189.]

* * * * *

Internal or mental energy and external or corporeal modificability are in inverse proportions. In man, internal energy is greater than in any other animal; and you will see that he is less changed by climate than any animal. For the highest and lowest specimens of man are not one half as much apart from each other as the different kinds even of dogs, animals of great internal energy themselves.

* * * * *

For an instance of Shakspeare's power in minimis, I generally quote James
Gurney's character in King John. How individual and comical he is with the
four words allowed to his dramatic life! [1] And pray look at Skelton's
Richard Sparrow also!

Paul Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent deserves your study. It is very interesting.

[Footnote 1: "Enter Lady FALCONBRIDGE and JAMES GURNEY.

BAST. O me! it is my mother:—How now, good lady?
What brings you here to court so hastily?

LADY F. Where is that slave, thy brother? where is he?
That holds in chase mine honour up and down?

BAST. My brother Robert? Old Sir Robert's son?
Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?
Is it Sir Robert's son that you seek so?

LADY F. Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreverend boy,
Sir Robert's son: why scorn'st thou at Sir Robert?
He is Sir Robert's son; and so art thou.

BAST. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a while?

GUR. Good leave, good Philip.

BAST. Philip?—Sparrow! James,
There's toys abroad; anon I'll tell thee more.

[Exit GURNEY."

The very exit Gurney is a stroke of James's character.—ED.]]

* * * * *

The latest book of travels I know, written in the spirit of the old travellers, is Bartram's account of his tour in the Floridas. It is a work of high merit every way.[1]

[Footnote 1: "Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the extensive territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws, &c. By William Bartram." Philadelphia, 1791. London, 1792. 8vo. The expedition was made at the request of Dr. Fothergill, the Quaker physician, in 1773, and was particularly directed to botanical discoveries.—ED.]

* * * * *

March 13. 1827.


A pun will sometimes facilitate explanation, as thus;—the Understanding is that which stands under the phenomenon, and gives it objectivity. You know what a thing is by it. It is also worthy of remark, that the Hebrew word for the understanding, Bineh, comes from a root meaning between or distinguishing.

* * * * *

March 18. 1827.


There are seven parts of speech, and they agree with the five grand and universal divisions into which all things finite, by which I mean to exclude the idea of God, will be found to fall; that is, as you will often see it stated in my writings, especially in the Aids to Reflection[1]:—

    Thesis. Mesothesis. Antithesis.
       2. 4. 3.

Conceive it thus:—

1. Prothesis, the noun-verb, or verb-substantive, I am, which is the previous form, and implies identity of being and act.

2. Thesis, the noun.

3. Antithesis, the verb.

Note, each of these may be converted; that is, they are only opposed to each other.

4. Mesothesis, the infinitive mood, or the indifference of the verb and noun, it being either the one or the other, or both at the same time, in different relations.

5. Synthesis, the participle, or the community of verb and noun; being and acting at once.

Now, modify the noun by the verb, that is, by an act, and you have—

6. The adnoun, or adjective.

Modify the verb by the noun, that is, by being, and you have—

7. The adverb.

Interjections are parts of sound, not of speech. Conjunctions are the same as prepositions; but they are prefixed to a sentence, or to a member of a sentence, instead of to a single word.

The inflections of nouns are modifications as to place; the inflections of verbs, as to time.

The genitive case denotes dependence; the dative, transmission. It is absurd to talk of verbs governing. In Thucydides, I believe, every case has been found absolute.[2]

Dative:—[Greek: ——]
Thuc.VIII. 24. This is the Latin usage.

Accusative.—I do not remember an instance of the proper accusative absolute in Thucydides; but it seems not uncommon in other authors: [Greek: ——]

Yet all such instances may be nominatives; for I cannot find an example of the accusative absolute in the masculine or feminine gender, where the difference of inflexion would show the case.—ED.]

The inflections of the tenses of a verb are formed by adjuncts of the verb substantive. In Greek it is obvious. The E is the prefix significative of a past time.

[Footnote 1: P. 170. 2d edition.]

[Footnote 2: Nominative absolute:—[Greek: theon de phozos ae anthropon nomos, oudeis apeirge, to men krinontes en homoio kai sezein kai mae—ton de hamartaematon.]—Thuc. II. 53.]

_June 15. 1827.


Perhaps the attribution or analogy may seem fanciful at first sight, but I am in the habit of realizing to myself Magnetism as length; Electricity as breadth or surface; and Galvanism as depth.

June 24. 1827.


Spenser's Epithalamion is truly sublime; and pray mark the swan-like movement of his exquisite Prothalamion. [1] His attention to metre and rhythm is sometimes so extremely minute as to be painful even to my ear, and you know how highly I prize good versification.

[Footnote 1: How well I remember this Midsummer-day! I shall never pass such another. The sun was setting behind Caen Wood, and the calm of the evening was so exceedingly deep that it arrested Mr. Coleridge's attention. We were alone together in Mr. Gillman's drawing-room, and Mr. C. left off talking, and fell into an almost trance-like state for ten minutes whilst contemplating the beautiful prospect before us. His eyes swam in tears, his head inclined a little forward, and there was a slight uplifting of the fingers, which seemed to tell me that he was in prayer. I was awestricken, and remained absorbed in looking at the man, in forgetfulness of external nature, when he recovered himself, and after a word or two fell by some secret link of association upon Spenser's poetry. Upon my telling him that I did not very well recollect the Prothalamion: "Then I must read you a bit of it," said he; and, fetching the book from the next room, he recited the whole of it in his finest and most musical manner. I particularly bear in mind the sensible diversity of tone and rhythm with which he gave:—

"Sweet Thames! run softly till I end my song,"

the concluding line of each of the ten strophes of the poem.

When I look upon the scanty memorial, which I have alone preserved of this afternoon's converse, I am tempted to burn these pages in despair. Mr. Coleridge talked a volume of criticism that day, which, printed verbatim as he spoke it, would have made the reputation of any other person but himself. He was, indeed, particularly brilliant and enchanting; and I left him at night so thoroughly magnetized, that I could not for two or three days afterwards reflect enough to put any thing on paper,—ED.]

* * * * *

I have often told you that I do not think there is any jealousy, properly so called, in the character of Othello. There is no predisposition to suspicion, which I take to be an essential term in the definition of the word. Desdemona very truly told Emilia that he was not jealous, that is, of a jealous habit, and he says so as truly of himself. Iago's suggestions, you see, are quite new to him; they do not correspond with any thing of a like nature previously in his mind. If Desdemona had, in fact, been guilty, no one would have thought of calling Othello's conduct that of a jealous man. He could not act otherwise than he did with the lights he had; whereas jealousy can never be strictly right. See how utterly unlike Othello is to Leontes, in the Winter's Tale, or even to Leonatus, in Cymbeline! The jealousy of the first proceeds from an evident trifle, and something like hatred is mingled with it; and the conduct of Leonatus in accepting the wager, and exposing his wife to the trial, denotes a jealous temper already formed.

* * * * *

Hamlet's character is the prevalence of the abstracting and generalizing habit over the practical. He does not want courage, skill, will, or opportunity; but every incident sets him thinking; and it is curious, and at the same time strictly natural, that Hamlet, who all the play seems reason itself, should he impelled, at last, by mere accident to effect his object. I have a smack of Hamlet myself, if I may say so.

* * * * *

A Maxim is a conclusion upon observation of matters of fact, and is merely retrospective: an Idea, or, if you like, a Principle, carries knowledge within itself, and is prospective. Polonius is a man of maxims. Whilst he is descanting on matters of past experience, as in that excellent speech to Laertes before he sets out on his travels, he is admirable; but when he comes to advise or project, he is a mere dotard. [1] You see Hamlet, as the man of ideas, despises him.

[Footnote 1: Act i. sc. 3]

* * * * *

A man of maxims only is like a Cyclops with one eye, and that eye placed in the back of his head.

* * * * *

In the scene with Ophelia, in the third act,[1] Hamlet is beginning with great and unfeigned tenderness; but, perceiving her reserve and coyness, fancies there are some listeners, and then, to sustain his part, breaks out into all that coarseness.

Love is the admiration and cherishing of the amiable qualities of the beloved person, upon the condition of yourself being the object of their action. The qualities of the sexes correspond. The man's courage is loved by the woman, whose fortitude again is coveted by the man. His vigorous intellect is answered by her infallible tact. Can it be true, what is so constantly affirmed, that there is no sex in souls?—I doubt it, I doubt it exceedingly. [2]

[Footnote 1: Sc. 1.]

[Footnote 2: Mr. Coleridge was a great master in the art of love, but he had not studied in Ovid's school. Hear his account of the matter:—

"Love, truly such, is itself not the most common thing in the world, and mutual love still less so. But that enduring personal attachment, so beautifully delineated by Erin's sweet melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the well-known ballad, 'John Anderson, my Jo, John,' in addition to a depth and constancy of character of no every-day occurrence, supposes a peculiar sensibility and tenderness of nature; a constitutional communicativeness and utterancy of heart and soul; a delight in the detail of sympathy, in the outward and visible signs of the sacrament within,—to count, as it were, the pulses of the life of love. But, above all, it supposes a soul which, even in the pride and summer-tide of life, even in the lustihood of health and strength, had felt oftenest and prized highest that which age cannot take away, and which in all our lovings is the love; I mean, that willing sense of the unsufficingness of the self for itself, which predisposes a generous nature to see, in the total being of another, the supplement and completion of its own; that quiet perpetual seeking which the presence of the beloved object modulates, not suspends, where the heart momently finds, and, finding again, seeks on; lastly, when 'life's changeful orb has passed the full,' a confirmed faith in the nobleness of humanity, thus brought home and pressed, as it were, to the very bosom of hourly experience; it supposes, I say, a heartfelt reverence for worth, not the less deep because divested of its solemnity by habit, by familiarity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling of modesty which will arise in delicate minds, when they are conscious of possessing the same, or the correspondent, excellence in their own characters. In short, there must be a mind, which, while it feels the beautiful and the excellent in the beloved as its own, and by right of love appropriates it, can call goodness its playfellow; and dares make sport of time and infirmity, while, in the person of a thousand-foldly endeared partner, we feel for aged virtue the caressing fondness that belongs to the innocence of childhood, and repeat the same attentions and tender courtesies which had been dictated by the same affection to the same object when attired in feminine loveliness or in manly beauty." (Poetical Works, vol. ii. p. 120.)—ED.]

Measure for Measure is the single exception to the delightfulness of
Shakspeare's plays. It is a hateful work, although Shakspearian throughout.
Our feelings of justice are grossly wounded in Angelo's escape. Isabella
herself contrives to be unamiable, and Claudio is detestable.

* * * * *

I am inclined to consider The Fox as the greatest of Ben Jonson's works.
But his smaller works are full of poetry.

* * * * *

Monsieur Thomas and the little French Lawyer are great favourites of mine amongst Beaumont and Fletcher's plays. How those plays overflow with wit! And yet I scarcely know a more deeply tragic scene any where than that in Rollo, in which Edith pleads for her father's life, and then, when she cannot prevail, rises up and imprecates vengeance on his murderer. [1]

[Footnote 1: Act iii. sc. 1.:—

"ROLLO. Hew off her hands!

HAMOND. Lady, hold off!

EDITH. No! hew 'em;
Hew off my innocent hands, as he commands you!
They'll hang the faster on for death's convulsion.—
Thou seed of rocks, will nothing move thee, then?
Are all my tears lost, all my righteous prayers
Drown'd in thy drunken wrath? I stand up thus, then,
Thou boldly bloody tyrant,
And to thy face, in heav'n's high name defy thee!
And may sweet mercy, when thy soul sighs for it,—
When under thy black mischiefs thy flesh trembles,—
When neither strength, nor youth, nor friends, nor gold,
Can stay one hour; when thy most wretched conscience,
Waked from her dream of death, like fire shall melt thee,—
When all thy mother's tears, thy brother's wounds,
Thy people's fears, and curses, and my loss,
My aged father's loss, shall stand before thee—

ROLLO. Save him, I say; run, save him, save her father;
Fly and redeem his head!

EDITH. May then that pity," &c.]

* * * * *

Our version of the Bible is to be loved and prized for this, as for a thousand other things,—that it has preserved a purity of meaning to many terms of natural objects. Without this holdfast, our vitiated imaginations would refine away language to mere abstractions. Hence the French have lost their poetical language; and Mr. Blanco White says the same thing has happened to the Spanish.

* * * * *

I have the perception of individual images very strong, but a dim one of the relation of place. I remember the man or the tree, but where I saw them I mostly forget.[1]

[Footnote 1: There was no man whose opinion in morals, or even in a matter of general conduct in life, if you furnished the pertinent circumstances, I would have sooner adopted than Mr. Coleridge's; but I would not take him as a guide through streets or fields or earthly roads. He had much of the geometrician about him; but he could not find his way. In this, as in many other peculiarities of more importance, he inherited strongly from his learned and excellent father, who deserves, and will, I trust, obtain, a separate notice for himself when his greater son's life comes to be written. I believe the beginning of Mr. C.'s liking for Dr. Spurzheim was the hearty good humour with which the Doctor bore the laughter of a party, in the presence of which he, unknowing of his man, denied any Ideality, and awarded an unusual share of Locality, to the majestic silver-haired head of my dear uncle and father-in-law. But Mr. Coleridge immediately shielded the craniologist under the distinction preserved in the text, and perhaps, since that time, there may be a couple of organs assigned to the latter faculty.—ED.]

* * * * *

Craniology is worth some consideration, although it is merely in its rudiments and guesses yet. But all the coincidences which have been observed could scarcely be by accident. The confusion and absurdity, however, will be endless until some names or proper terms are discovered for the organs, which are not taken from their mental application or significancy. The forepart of the head is generally given up to the higher intellectual powers; the hinder part to the sensual emotions.

* * * * *

Silence does not always mark wisdom. I was at dinner, some time ago, in company with a man, who listened to me and said nothing for a long time; but he nodded his head, and I thought him intelligent. At length, towards the end of the dinner, some apple dumplings were placed on the table, and my man had no sooner seen them, than he burst forth with—"Them's the jockies for me!" I wish Spurzheim could have examined the fellow's head.

* * * * *

Some folks apply epithets as boys do in making Latin verses. When I first looked upon the Falls of the Clyde, I was unable to find a word to express my feelings. At last, a man, a stranger to me, who arrived about the same time, said:—"How majestic!"—(It was the precise term, and I turned round and was saying—"Thank you, Sir! that is the exact word for it"—when he added, eodem flatu)—"Yes! how very pretty!"

* * * * *

July 8. 1827.


Bull and Waterland are the classical writers on the Trinity.[1]

In the Trinity there is, 1. Ipseity. 2. Alterity. 3. Community. You may express the formula thus:—

God, the absolute Will or Identity, = Prothesis. The Father = Thesis. The
Son = Antithesis. The Spirit = Synthesis.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge's admiration of Bull and Waterland as high theologians was very great. Bull he used to read in the Latin Defensio Fidei Nicaenae, using the Jesuit Zola's edition of 1784, which, I think, he bought at Rome. He told me once, that when he was reading a Protestant English Bishop's work on the Trinity, in a copy edited by an Italian Jesuit in Italy, he felt proud of the church of England, and in good humour with the church of Rome.—ED.]

* * * * *

The author of the Athanasian Creed is unknown. It is, in my judgment, heretical in the omission, or implicit denial, of the Filial subordination in the Godhead, which is the doctrine of the Nicene Creed, and for which Bull and Waterland have so fervently and triumphantly contended; and by not holding to which, Sherlock staggered to and fro between Tritheism and Sabellianism. This creed is also tautological, and, if not persecuting, which I will not discuss, certainly containing harsh and ill-conceived language.

* * * * *

How much I regret that so many religious persons of the present day think it necessary to adopt a certain cant of manner and phraseology as a token to each other. They must improve this and that text, and they must do so and so in a prayerful way; and so on. Why not use common language? A young lady the other day urged upon me that such and such feelings were the marrow of all religion; upon which I recommended her to try to walk to London upon her marrow-bones only.

* * * * *

July 9. 1827.


In the very lowest link in the vast and mysterious chain of Being, there is an effort, although scarcely apparent, at individualization; but it is almost lost in the mere nature. A little higher up, the individual is apparent and separate, but subordinate to any thing in man. At length, the animal rises to be on a par with the lowest power of the human nature. There are some of our natural desires which only remain in our most perfect state on earth as means of the higher powers' acting.[1]

[Footnote 1: These remarks seem to call for a citation of that wonderful passage, transcendant alike in eloquence and philosophic depth, which the readers of the Aids to Reflection have long since laid up in cedar:—

"Every rank of creatures, as it ascends in the scale of creation, leaves death behind it or under it. The metal at its height of being seems a mute prophecy of the coming vegetation, into a mimic semblance of which it crystallizes. The blossom and flower, the acme of vegetable life, divides into correspondent organs with reciprocal functions, and by instinctive motions and approximations seems impatient of that fixture, by which it is differenced in kind from the flower-shaped Psyche that flutters with free wing above it. And wonderfully in the insect realm doth the irritability, the proper seat of instinct, while yet the nascent sensibility is subordinate thereto,—most wonderfully, I say, doth the muscular life in the insect, and the musculo-arterial in the bird, imitate and typically rehearse the adaptive understanding, yea, and the moral affections and charities of man. Let us carry ourselves back, in spirit, to the mysterious week, the teeming work-days of the Creator, as they rose in vision before the eye of the inspired historian "of the generations of the heaven and earth, in the days that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." And who that hath watched their ways with an understanding heart, could, as the vision evolving still advanced towards him, contemplate the filial and loyal bee; the home building, wedded, and divorceless swallow; and, above all, the manifoldly intelligent ant tribes, with their commonwealth and confederacies, their warriors and miners, the husband-folk, that fold in their tiny flocks on the honied leaf, and the virgin sisters with the holy instincts of maternal love, detached and in selfless purity, and not say to himself, Behold the shadow of approaching Humanity, the sun rising from behind, in the kindling morn of creation! Thus all lower natures find their highest good in semblances and seekings of that which is higher and better. All things strive to ascend, and ascend in their striving. And shall man alone stoop? Shall his pursuits and desires, the reflections of his inward life, be like the reflected image of a tree on the edge of a pool, that grows downward, and seeks a mock heaven in the unstable element beneath it, in neighbourhood with the slim water-weeds and oozy bottom-grass that are yet better than itself and more noble, in as far as substances that appear as shadows are preferable to shadows mistaken for substance? No! it must be a higher good to make you happy. While you labour for any thing below your proper humanity, you seek a happy life in the region of death. Well saith the moral poet:—

            'Unless above himself he can
  Erect himself, how mean a thing is man!'"

P. 105. 2d ed.—ED.]

July 12. 1827.


What a grand subject for a history the Popedom is! The Pope ought never to have affected temporal sway, but to have lived retired within St. Angelo, and to have trusted to the superstitious awe inspired by his character and office. He spoiled his chance when he meddled in the petty Italian politics.

* * * * *

Scanderbeg would be a very fine subject for Walter Scott; and so would Thomas à Becket, if it is not rather too much for him. It involves in essence the conflict between arms, or force, and the men of letters.

* * * * *

Observe the superior truth of language, in Greek, to Theocritus inclusively; in Latin, to the Augustan age exclusively; in Italian, to Tasso exclusively; and in English, to Taylor and Barrow inclusively.

* * * * *

Luther is, in parts, the most evangelical writer I know, after the apostles and apostolic men.

* * * * *

Pray read with great attention Baxter's Life of himself. It is an inestimable work. [1] I may not unfrequently doubt Baxter's memory, or even his competence, in consequence of his particular modes of thinking; but I could almost as soon doubt the Gospel verity as his veracity.

[Footnote 1: This, a very thick folio of the old sort, was one of Mr. Coleridge's text books for English church history. He used to say that there was no substitute for it in a course of study for a clergyman or public man, and that the modern political Dissenters, who affected to glory in Baxter as a leader, would read a bitter lecture on themselves in every page of it. In a marginal note I find Mr. C. writing thus: "Alas! in how many respects does my lot resemble Baxter's! But how much less have my bodily evils been, and yet how very much greater an impediment have I suffered them to be! But verily Baxter's labours seem miracles of supporting grace."—ED.]

* * * * *

I am not enough read in Puritan divinity to know the particular objections to the surplice, over and above the general prejudice against the retenta of Popery. Perhaps that was the only ground,—a foolish one enough.

In my judgment Bolingbroke's style is not in any respect equal to that of Cowley or Dryden. Read Algernon Sidney; his style reminds you as little of books as of blackguards. What a gentleman he was!

* * * * *

Burke's Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful seems to me a poor thing; and what he says upon Taste is neither profound nor accurate.

* * * * *

Well! I am for Ariosto against Tasso; though I would rather praise Aristo's poetry than his poem.

* * * * *

I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose = words in their best order;—poetry = the best words in the best order.

* * * * *

I conceive Origen, Jerome, and Augustine to be the three great fathers in respect of theology, and Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and Chrysostom in respect of rhetoric.

* * * * *

Rhenferd possessed the immense learning and robust sense of Selden, with the acuteness and wit of Jortin.

* * * * *

Jacob Behmen remarked, that it was not wonderful that there were separate languages for England, France, Germany, &c.; but rather that there was not a different language for every degree of latitude. In confirmation of which, see the infinite variety of languages amongst the barbarous tribes of South America.

July 20. 1827.


What is said of some persons not being able to distinguish colours, I believe. It may proceed from general weakness, which will render the differences imperceptible, just as the dusk or twilight makes all colours one. This defect is most usual in the blue ray, the negative pole.

* * * * *

I conjecture that when finer experiments have been applied, the red, yellow, and orange rays will be found as capable of communicating magnetic action as the other rays, though, perhaps, under different circumstances. Remember this, if you are alive twenty years hence, and think of me.

July 21. 1827.


The elements had been well shaken together during the civil wars and interregnum under the Long Parliament and Protectorate; and nothing but the cowardliness and impolicy of the Nonconformists, at the Restoration, could have prevented a real reformation on a wider basis. But the truth is, by going over to Breda with their stiff flatteries to the hollow-hearted King, they put Sheldon and the bishops on the side of the constitution.

* * * * *

The Reformation in the sixteenth century narrowed Reform. As soon as men began to call themselves names, all hope of further amendment was lost.

July 23. 1827.


William the Third was a greater and much honester man than any of his ministers. I believe every one of them, except Shrewsbury, has now been detected in correspondence with James.

* * * * *

Berkeley can only be confuted, or answered, by one sentence. So it is with
Spinosa. His premiss granted, the deduction is a chain of adamant.

* * * * *

Genius may co-exist with wildness, idleness, folly, even with crime; but not long, believe me, with selfishness, and the indulgence of an envious disposition. Envy is *[Greek: kakistos kai dikaiotatos theos], as I once saw it expressed somewhere in a page of Stobaeus: it dwarfs and withers its worshippers.

* * * * *

The man's desire is for the woman; but the woman's desire is rarely other than for the desire of the man.[1]

[Footnote 1: "A woman's friendship," I find written by Mr. C. on a page dyed red with an imprisoned rose-leaf, "a woman's friendship borders more closely on love than man's. Men affect each other in the reflection of noble or friendly acts; whilst women ask fewer proofs, and more signs and expressions of attachment."—ED.]

August 29. 1827.


Jeremy Taylor is an excellent author for a young man to study, for the purpose of imbibing noble principles, and at the same time of learning to exercise caution and thought in detecting his numerous errors.

* * * * *

I must acknowledge, with some hesitation, that I think Hooker has been a little over-credited for his judgment.

Take as an instance of an idea the continuity and coincident distinctness of nature; or this,—vegetable life is always striving to be something that it is not; animal life to be itself.[1] Hence, in a plant the parts, as the root, the stem, the branches, leaves, &c. remain after they have each produced or contributed to produce a different status of the whole plant: in an animal nothing of the previous states remains distinct, but is incorporated into, and constitutes progressively, the very self.

[Footnote 1: The reader who has never studied Plato, Bacon, Kant, or Coleridge in their philosophic works, will need to be told that the word Idea is not used in this passage in the sense adopted by "Dr. Holofernes, who in a lecture on metaphysics, delivered at one of the Mechanics' Institutions, explodes all ideas but those of sensation; whilst his friend, deputy Costard, has no idea of a better-flavoured haunch of venison, than he dined off at the London Tavern last week. He admits (for the deputy has travelled) that the French have an excellent idea of cooking in general; but holds that their most accomplished maîtres de cuisine have no more idea of dressing a turtle, than the Parisian gourmands themselves have any real idea of the true taste and colour of the fat." Church and State, p. 78. No! what Mr. Coleridge meant by an idea in this place may be expressed in various ways out of his own works. I subjoin a sufficient definition from the Church and State, p. 6. "That which, contemplated objectively, (that is, as existing externally to the mind,) we call a law; the same contemplated subjectively, (that is, as existing in a subject or mind,) is an idea. Hence Plato often names Ideas, Laws; and Lord Bacon, the British Plato, describes the laws of the material universe as the ideas in nature. "Quod in natura naturata Lex, in natura naturante Idea dicitur." A more subtle limitation of the word may be found in the last paragraph of Essay (E) in the Appendix to the Statesman's Manual.—ED.]

* * * * *

To know any thing for certain is to have a clear insight into the inseparability of the predicate from the subject (the matter from the form), and vice versâ. This is a verbal definition,—a real definition of a thing absolutely known is impossible. I know a circle, when I perceive that the equality of all possible radii from the centre to the circumference is inseparable from the idea of a circle.

August 30. 1827.


Painting is the intermediate somewhat between a thought and a thing.

April 13. 1830.


If the prophecies of the Old Testament are not rightly interpreted of Jesus our Christ, then there is no prediction whatever contained in it of that stupendous event—the rise and establishment of Christianity—in comparison with which all the preceding Jewish history is as nothing. With the exception of the book of Daniel, which the Jews themselves never classed among the prophecies, and an obscure text of Jeremiah, there is not a passage in all the Old Testament which favours the notion of a temporal Messiah. What moral object was there, for which such a Messiah should come? What could he have been but a sort of virtuous Sesostris or Buonaparte?

* * * * *

I know that some excellent men—Israelites without guile—do not, in fact, expect the advent of any Messiah; but believe, or suggest, that it may possibly have been God's will and meaning, that the Jews should remain a quiet light among the nations for the purpose of pointing at the doctrine of the unity of God. To which I say, that this truth of the essential unity of God has been preserved, and gloriously preached, by Christianity alone. The Romans never shut up their temples, nor ceased to worship a hundred or a thousand gods and goddesses, at the bidding of the Jews; the Persians, the Hindus, the Chinese, learned nothing of this great truth from the Jews. But from Christians they did learn it in various degrees, and are still learning it. The religion of the Jews is, indeed, a light; but it is as the light of the glow-worm, which gives no heat, and illumines nothing but itself.

* * * * *

It has been objected to me, that the vulgar notions of the Trinity are at variance with this doctrine; and it was added, whether as flattery or sarcasm matters not, that few believers in the Trinity thought of it as I did. To which again humbly, yet confidently, I reply, that my superior light, if superior, consists in nothing more than this,—that I more clearly see that the doctrine of Trinal Unity is an absolute truth transcending my human means of understanding it, or demonstrating it. I may or may not be able to utter the formula of my faith in this mystery in more logical terms than some others; but this I say, Go and ask the most ordinary man, a professed believer in this doctrine, whether he believes in and worships a plurality of Gods, and he will start with horror at the bare suggestion. He may not be able to explain his creed in exact terms; but he will tell you that he does believe in one God, and in one God only,— reason about it as you may.

* * * * *

What all the churches of the East and West, what Romanist and Protestant believe in common, that I call Christianity. In no proper sense of the word can I call Unitarians and Socinians believers in Christ; at least, not in the only Christ of whom I have read or know any thing.

April 14, 1830.


There is no hope of converting the Jews in the way and with the spirit unhappily adopted by our church; and, indeed, by all other modern churches. In the first age, the Jewish Christians undoubtedly considered themselves as the seed of Abraham, to whom the promise had been made; and, as such, a superior order. Witness the account of St. Peter's conduct in the Acts [1], and the Epistle to the Galatians.[2] St. Paul protested against this, so far as it went to make Jewish observances compulsory on Christians who were not of Jewish blood, and so far as it in any way led to bottom the religion on the Mosaic covenant of works; but he never denied the birthright of the chosen seed: on the contrary, he himself evidently believed that the Jews would ultimately be restored; and he says,—If the Gentiles have been so blest by the rejection of the Jews, how much rather shall they be blest by the conversion and restoration of Israel! Why do we expect the Jews to abandon their national customs and distinctions? The Abyssinian church said that they claimed a descent from Abraham; and that, in virtue of such ancestry, they observed circumcision: but declaring withal, that they rejected the covenant of works, and rested on the promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In consequence of this appeal, the Abyssinians were permitted to retain their customs.

If Rhenferd's Essays were translated—if the Jews were made acquainted with the real argument—if they were addressed kindly, and were not required to abandon their distinctive customs and national type, but were invited to become Christians as of the seed of Abraham—I believe there would be a Christian synagogue in a year's time. As it is, the Jews of the lower orders are the very lowest of mankind; they have not a principle of honesty in them; to grasp and be getting money for ever is their single and exclusive occupation. A learned Jew once said to me, upon this subject:—"O Sir! make the inhabitants of Hollywell Street and Duke's Place Israelites first, and then we may debate about making them Christians."[3]

In Poland, the Jews are great landholders, and are the worst of tyrants. They have no kind of sympathy with their labourers and dependants. They never meet them in common worship. Land, in the hand of a large number of Jews, instead of being, what it ought to be, the organ of permanence, would become the organ of rigidity, in a nation; by their intermarriages within their own pale, it would be in fact perpetually entailed. Then, again, if a popular tumult were to take place in Poland, who can doubt that the Jews would be the first objects of murder and spoliation?

[Footnote 1: Chap. xv.]

[Footnote 2 : Chap. ii.]

[Footnote 3: Mr. Coleridge had a very friendly acquaintance with several learned Jews in this country, and he told me that, whenever he had fallen in with a Jew of thorough education and literary habits, he had always found him possessed of a strong natural capacity for metaphysical disquisitions. I may mention here the best known of his Jewish friends, one whom he deeply respected, Hyman Hurwitz.—ED.]

April 17. 1830.


In the miracles of Moses, there is a remarkable intermingling of acts, which we should now-a-days call simply providential, with such as we should still call miraculous. The passing of the Jordan, in the 3d chapter of the book of Joshua, is perhaps the purest and sheerest miracle recorded in the Bible; it seems to have been wrought for the miracle's sake, and so thereby to show to the Jews—the descendants of those who had come out of Egypt— that the same God who had appeared to their fathers, and who had by miracles, in many respects providential only, preserved them in the wilderness, was their God also. The manna and quails were ordinary provisions of Providence, rendered miraculous by certain laws and qualities annexed to them in the particular instance. The passage of the Red Sea was effected by a strong wind, which, we are told, drove hack the waters; and so on. But then, again, the death of the first-born was purely miraculous. Hence, then, both Jews and Egyptians might take occasion to learn, that it was one and the same God who interfered specially, and who governed all generally.

* * * * *

Take away the first verse of the hook of Genesis, and then what immediately follows is an exact history or sketch of Pantheism. Pantheism was taught in the mysteries of Greece; of which the Samothracian or Cabeiric were probably the purest and the most ancient.

April 18. 1830.


In the present age it is next to impossible to predict from specimens, however favourable, that a young man will turn out a great poet, or rather a poet at all. Poetic taste, dexterity in composition, and ingenious imitation, often produce poems that are very promising in appearance. But genius, or the power of doing something new, is another thing. Mr. Tennyson's sonnets, such as I have seen, have many of the characteristic excellencies of those of Wordsworth and Southey.

April 19. 1830.

It is a small thing that the patient knows of his own state; yet some things he does know better than his physician.

* * * * *

I never had, and never could feel, any horror at death, simply as death.

* * * * *

Good and bad men are each less so than they seem.

April 30. 1830.


The result of my system will be, to show, that, so far from the world being a goddess in petticoats, it is rather the Devil in a strait waistcoat.

* * * * *

The controversy of the Nominalists and Realists was one of the greatest and most important that ever occupied the human mind. They were both right, and both wrong. They each maintained opposite poles of the same truth; which truth neither of them saw, for want of a higher premiss. Duns Scotus was the head of the Realists; Ockham,[1] his own disciple, of the Nominalists. Ockham, though certainly very prolix, is a most extraordinary writer.

[Footnote 1: John Duns Scotus was born in 1274, at Dunstone in the parish of Emildune, near Alnwick. He was a fellow of Merton College, and Professor of Divinity at Oxford. After acquiring an uncommon reputation at his own university, he went to Paris, and thence to Cologne, and there died in 1308, at the early age of thirty-four years. He was called the Subtle Doctor, and found time to compose works which now fill twelve volumes in folio. See the Lyons edition, by Luke Wadding, in 1639.

William Ockham was an Englishman, and died about 1347; but the place and year of his birth are not clearly ascertained. He was styled the Invincible Doctor, and wrote bitterly against Pope John XXII. We all remember Butler's account of these worthies:—

  "He knew what's what, and that's as high
  As metaphysic wit can fly;
  In school divinity as able
  As he that hight Irrefragable,
  A second Thomas, or at once
  To name them all, another Dunse;
  Profound in all the Nominal
  And Real ways beyond them all;
  For he a rope of sand could twist
  As tough as learned Sorbonist."
      HUDIBRAS. Part I. Canto I. v. 149.

The Irrefragable Doctor was Alexander Hales, a native of Gloucestershire, who died in 1245. Amongst his pupils at Paris, was Fidanza, better known by the name of Bonaventura, the Seraphic Doctor. The controversy of the Realists and the Nominalists cannot he explained in a note; but in substance the original point of dispute may be thus stated. The Realists held generally with Aristotle, that there were universal ideas or essences impressed upon matter, and covëal with, and inherent in, their objects. Plato held that these universal forms existed as exemplars in the divine mind previously to, and independently of, matter; but both maintained, under one shape or other, the real existence of universal forms. On the other hand, Zeno and the old Stoics denied the existence of these universals, and contended that they were no more than mere tenms and nominal representatives of their particular objects. The Nominalists were the followers of Zeno, and held that universal forms are merely modes of conception, and exist solely in and for the mind. It does not require much reflection to see how great an influence these different systems might have upon the enunciation of the higher doctrines of Christianity.—ED.]

* * * * *

It is remarkable, that two thirds of the eminent schoolmen were of British birth. It was the schoolmen who made the languages of Europe what they now are. We laugh at the quiddities of those writers now, but, in truth, these quiddities are just the parts of their language which we have rejected; whilst we never think of the mass which we have adopted, and have in daily use.

* * * * *

One of the scholastic definitions of God is this,—Deus est, cui omne quod est est esse omne quod est: as long a sentence made up of as few words, and those as oligosyllabic, as any I remember. By the by, that oligosyllabic is a word happily illustrative of its own meaning, ex opposito.

* * * * *

Spinosa, at the very end of his life, seems to have gained a glimpse of the truth. In the last letter published in his works, it appears that he began to suspect his premiss. His unica substantia is, in fact, a mere notion, —a subject of the mind, and no object at all.

* * * * *

Plato's works are preparatory exercises for the mind. He leads you to see, that propositions involving in themselves contradictory conceptions, are nevertheless true; and which, therefore, must belong to a higher logic— that of ideas. They are contradictory only in the Aristotelian logic, which is the instrument of the understanding. I have read most of the works of Plato several times with profound attention, but not all his writings. In fact, I soon found that I had read Plato by anticipation. He was a consummate genius.[1]

[Footnote 1: "This is the test and character of a truth so affirmed (—a truth of the reason, an Idea)—that in its own proper form it is inconceivable. For to conceive, is a function of the understanding, which can he exercised only on subjects subordinate thereto. And yet to the forms of the understanding all truth must be reduced, that is to be fixed as an object of reflection, and to be rendered expressible. And here we have a second test and sign of a truth so affirmed, that it can come forth out of the moulds of the understanding only in the disguise of two contradictory conceptions, each of which is partially true, and the conjunction of both conceptions becomes the representative or expression (—the exponent) of a truth beyond conception and inexpressible. Examples: before Abraham WAS, I AM. God is a circle, the centre of which is every where, and the circumference no where. The soul is all in every part." Aids to Reflection, n. 224.n. See also Church and State, p. 12.—ED.]

* * * * *

My mind is in a state of philosophical doubt as to animal magnetism. Von Spix, the eminent naturalist, makes no doubt of the matter, and talks coolly of giving doses of it. The torpedo affects a third or external object, by an exertion of its own will: such a power is not properly electrical; for electricity acts invariably under the same circumstances. A steady gaze will make many persons of fair complexions blush deeply. Account for that. [1]

[Footnote 1: I find the following remarkable passage in p. 301. vol. i. of the richly annotated copy of Mr. Southey's Life of Wesley, which Mr. C. bequeathed as his "darling book and the favourite of his library" to its great and honoured author and donor:—

"The coincidence throughout of all these Methodist cases with those of the Magnetists makes me wish for a solution that would apply to all. Now this sense or appearance of a sense of the distant, both in time and space, is common to almost all the magnetic patients in Denmark, Germany, France, and North Italy, to many of whom the same or a similar solution could not apply. Likewise, many cases have been recorded at the same time, in different countries, by men who had never heard of each other's names, and where the simultaneity of publication proves the independence of the testimony. And among the Magnetisers and Attesters are to be found names of men, whose competence in respect of integrity and incapability of intentional falsehood is fully equal to that of Wesley, and their competence in respect of physio- and psychological insight and attainments incomparably greater. Who would dream, indeed, of comparing Wesley with a Cuvier, Hufeland, Blumenbach, Eschenmeyer, Reil, &c.? Were I asked, what I think, my answer would be,—that the evidence enforces scepticism and a non liquet;—too strong and consentaneous for a candid mind to be satisfied of its falsehood, or its solvibility on the supposition of imposture or casual coincidence;—too fugacious and unfixable to support any theory that supposes the always potential, and, under certain conditions and circumstances, occasionally active, existence of a correspondent faculty in the human soul. And nothing less than such an hypothesis would be adequate to the satisfactory explanation of the facts;—though that of a metastasis of specific functions of the nervous energy, taken in conjunction with extreme nervous excitement, plus some delusion, plus some illusion, plus some imposition, plus some chance and accidental coincidence, might determine the direction in which the scepticism should vibrate. Nine years has the subject of Zoo-magnetism been before me. I have traced it historically, collected a mass of documents in French, German, Italian, and the Latinists of the sixteenth century, have never neglected an opportunity of questioning eye-witnesses, ex. gr. Tieck, Treviranus, De Prati, Meyer, and others of literary or medical celebrity, and I remain where I was, and where the first perusal of Klug's work had left me, without having moved an inch backward or forward. The reply of Treviranus, the famous botanist, to me, when he was in London, is worth recording:—'Ich habe gesehen was (ich weiss das) ich nicht würde geglaubt haben auf ihren erzählung,' &c. 'I have seen what I am certain I would not have believed on your telling; and in all reason, therefore, I can neither expect nor wish that you should believe on mine.'"—ED.]

May 1. 1830.


A Fall of some sort or other—the creation, as it were, of the non- absolute—is the fundamental postulate of the moral history of man. Without this hypothesis, man is unintelligible; with it, every phenomenon is explicable. The mystery itself is too profound for human insight.

* * * * *

Madness is not simply a bodily disease. It is the sleep of the spirit with certain conditions of wakefulness; that is to say, lucid intervals. During this sleep, or recession of the spirit, the lower or bestial states of life rise up into action and prominence. It is an awful thing to be eternally tempted by the perverted senses. The reason may resist—it does resist—for a long time; but too often, at length, it yields for a moment, and the man is mad for ever. An act of the will is, in many instances, precedent to complete insanity. I think it was Bishop Butler who said, that he was "all his life struggling against the devilish suggestions of his senses," which would have maddened him, if he had relaxed the stern wakefulness of his reason for a single moment.

* * * * *

Brown's and Darwin's theories are both ingenious; but the first will not account for sleep, and the last will not account for death: considerable defects, you must allow.

* * * * *

It is said that every excitation is followed by a commensurate exhaustion. That is not so. The excitation caused by inhaling nitrous oxide is an exception at least; it leaves no exhaustion on the bursting of the bubble. The operation of this gas is to prevent the decarbonating of the blood; and, consequently, if taken excessively, it would produce apoplexy. The blood becomes black as ink. The voluptuous sensation attending the inhalation is produced by the compression and resistance.

May 2. 1830.


Plants exist in themselves. Insects by, or by means of, themselves. Men, for themselves. The perfection of irrational animals is that which is best for them; the perfection of man is that which is absolutely best. There is growth only in plants; but there is irritability, or, a better word, instinctivity, in insects.

* * * * *

You may understand by insect, life in sections—diffused generally over all the parts.

* * * * *

The dog alone, of all brute animals, has a [*Greek: storgae], or affection upwards to man.

* * * * *

The ant and the bee are, I think, much nearer man in the understanding or faculty of adapting means to proximate ends than the elephant.[1]

[Footnote 1: I remember Mr. C. was accustomed to consider the ant, as the most intellectual, and the dog as the most affectionate, of the irrational creatures, so far as our present acquaintance with the facts of natural history enables us to judge.—ED.]

May 3. 1830.


What an excellent character is the black Colonel in Mrs. Bennett's "Beggar

If an inscription be put upon my tomb, it may be that I was an enthusiastic lover of the church; and as enthusiastic a hater of those who have betrayed it, be they who they may.[2]

[Footnote 1: This character was frequently a subject of pleasant description and enlargement with Mr. Coleridge, and he generally passed from it to a high commendation of Miss Austen's novels, as being in their way perfectly genuine and individual productions.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: This was a strong way of expressing a deep-rooted feeling. A better and a truer character would be, that Coleridge was a lover of the church, and a defender of the faith! This last expression is the utterance of a conviction so profound that it can patiently wait for time to prove its truth.—ED.]

May 4. 1830.


Holland and the Netherlands ought to be seen once, because no other country is like them. Every thing is artificial. You will be struck with the combinations of vivid greenery, and water, and building; but every thing is so distinct and rememberable, that you would not improve your conception by visiting the country a hundred times over. It is interesting to see a country and a nature made, as it were, by man, and to compare it with God's nature.[1]

If you go, remark, (indeed you will be forced to do so in spite of yourself,) remark, I say, the identity (for it is more than proximity) of a disgusting dirtiness in all that concerns the dignity of, and reverence for, the human person; and a persecuting painted cleanliness in every thing connected with property. You must not walk in their gardens; nay, you must hardly look into them.

[Footnote 1: In the summer of 1828, Mr. Coleridge made an excursion with Mr. Wordsworth in Holland, Flanders, and up the Rhine, as far as Bergen. He came back delighted, especially with his stay near Bonn, but with an abiding disgust at the filthy habits of the people. Upon Cologne, in particular, he avenged himself in two epigrams. See Poet. Works, vol. ii. p. 144.—ED.]

* * * * *

The Dutch seem very happy and comfortable, certainly; but it is the happiness of animals. In vain do you look for the sweet breath of hope and advancement among them. [1]In fact, as to their villas and gardens, they are not to be compared to an ordinary London merchant's box.

[Footnote 1:
  "For every gift of noble origin
  Is breathed upon by Hope's perpetual breath."

May 5. 1830.


You may depend upon it, religion is, in its essence, the most gentlemanly thing in the world. It will alone gentilize, if unmixed with cant; and I know nothing else that will, alone. Certainly not the army, which is thought to be the grand embellisher of manners.

* * * * *

A woman's head is usually over ears in her heart. Man seems to have been designed for the superior being of the two; but as things are, I think women are generally better creatures than men. They have, taken universally, weaker appetites and weaker intellects, but they have much stronger affections. A man with a bad heart has been sometimes saved by a strong head; but a corrupt woman is lost for ever.

* * * * *

I never could get much information out of the biblical commentators. Cocceius has told me the most; but he, and all of them, have a notable trick of passing siccissimis pedibus over the parts which puzzle a man of reflection.

The Walkerite creed, or doctrine of the New Church, as it is called, appears to be a miscellany of Calvinism and Quakerism; but it is hard to understand it.

* * * * *

May 7, 1830.


Horne Tooke was pre-eminently a ready-witted man. He had that clearness which is founded on shallowness. He doubted nothing; and, therefore, gave you all that he himself knew, or meant, with great completeness. His voice was very fine, and his tones exquisitely discriminating. His mind had no progression or developement. All that is worth any thing (and that is but little) in the Diversions of Purley is contained in a short pamphlet-letter which he addressed to Mr. Dunning; then it was enlarged to an octavo, hut there was not a foot of progression beyond the pamphlet; at last, a quarto volume, 1 believe, came out; and yet, verily, excepting newspaper lampoons and political insinuations, there was no addition to the argument of the pamphlet, It shows a base and unpoetical mind to convert so beautiful, so divine, a subject as language into the vehicle or make-weight of political squibs. All that is true in Horne Tooke's book is taken from Lennep, who gave it for so much as it was worth, and never pretended to make a system of it. Tooke affects to explain the origin and whole philosophy of language by what is, in fact, only a mere accident of the history of one language, or one or two languages. His abuse of Harris is most shallow and unfair. Harris, in the Hermes, was dealing—not very profoundly, it is true,—with the philosophy of language, the moral, physical, and metaphysical causes and conditions of it, &c. Horne Tooke, in writing about the formation of words only, thought he was explaining the philosophy of language, which is a very different thing. In point of fact, he was very shallow in the Gothic dialects. I must say, all that decantata fabula about the genders of the sun and moon in German seems to me great stuff. Originally, I apprehend, in the Platt-Deutsch of the north of Germany there were only two definite articles—die for masculine and feminine, and das for neuter. Then it was die sonne, in a masculine sense, as we say with the same word as article, the sun. Luther, in constructing the Hoch-Deutsch (for really his miraculous and providential translation of the Bible was the fundamental act of construction of the literary German), took for his distinct masculine article the der of the Ober-Deutsch, and thus constituted the three articles of the present High German, der, die, das. Naturally, therefore, it would then have been, der sonne; but here the analogy of the Greek grammar prevailed, and as sonne had the arbitrary feminine termination of the Greek, it was left with its old article die, which, originally including masculine and feminine both, had grown to designate the feminine only. To the best of my recollection, the Minnesingers and all the old poets always use the sun as masculine; and, since Luther's time, the poets feel the awkwardness of the classical gender affixed to the sun so much, that they more commonly introduce Phoebus or some other synonyme instead. I must acknowledge my doubts, whether, upon more accurate investigation, it can be shown that there ever was a nation that considered the sun in itself, and apart from language, as the feminine power. The moon does not so clearly demand a feminine as the sun does a masculine sex: it might be considered negatively or neuter;—yet if the reception of its light from the sun were known, that would have been a good reason for making her feminine, as being the recipient body.

* * * * *

As our the was the German die, so I believe our that stood for das, and was used as a neuter definite article.

The Platt-Deutsch was a compact language like the English, not admitting much agglutination. The Ober-Deutsch was fuller and fonder of agglutinating words together, although it was not so soft in its sounds.

May 8. 1830.


Horne Tooke said that his friends might, if they pleased, go as far as Slough,—he should go no farther than Hounslow; but that was no reason why he should not keep them company so far as their roads were the same. The answer is easy. Suppose you know, or suspect, that a man is about to commit a robbery at Slough, though you do not mean to be his accomplice, have you a moral right to walk arm in arm with him to Hounslow, and, by thus giving him your countenance, prevent his being taken up? The history of all the world tells us, that immoral means will ever intercept good ends.

* * * * *

Enlist the interests of stern morality and religious enthusiasm in the cause of political liberty, as in the time of the old Puritans, and it will be irresistible; but the Jacobins played the whole game of religion, and morals, and domestic happiness into the hands of the aristocrats. Thank God! that they did so. England was saved from civil war by their enormous, their providential, blundering.

* * * * *

Can a politician, a statesman, slight the feelings and the convictions of the whole matronage of his country? The women are as influential upon such national interests as the men.

* * * * *

Horne Tooke was always making a butt of Mr. Godwin; who, nevertheless, had that in him which Tooke could never have understood. I saw a good deal of Tooke at one time: he left upon me the impression of his being a keen, iron man.

May 9. 1830.


I must acknowledge I never could see much merit in the Persian poetry, which I have read in translation. There is not a ray of imagination in it, and but a glimmering of fancy. It is, in fact, so far as I know, deficient in truth. Poetry is certainly something more than good sense, but it must be good sense, at all events; just as a palace is more than a house, but it must be a house, at least. The Arabian Nights' Tales are a different thing —they are delightful, but I cannot help surmising that there is a good deal of Greek fancy in them. No doubt we have had a great loss in the Milesian Tales.[1] The book of Job is pure Arab poetry of the highest and most antique cast.

Think of the sublimity, I should rather say the profundity, of that passage in Ezekiel, [2]"Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest." I know nothing like it.

[Footnote 1: The Milesiacs were so called, because written or composed by Aristides of Miletus, and also because the scene of all or most of them was placed in that rich and luxurious city. Harpocration cites the sixth book of this collection. Nothing, I believe, is now known of the age or history of this Aristides, except what may be inferred from the fact that Lucius Cornelius Sisenna translated the tales into Latin, as we learn from Ovid:—

Junxit Aristides Milesia crimina secum—

and afterwards,

  Vertit Aristidem Sisenna, nec obfuit illi
  Historiae turpes inseruisse jocos:—

Fasti, ii. 412-445.

and also from the incident mentioned in the Plutarchian life of Crassus, that after the defeat at Carrhae, a copy of the Milesiacs of Aristides was found in the baggage of a Roman officer, and that Surena (who, by the by, if history has not done him injustice, was not a man to be over scrupulous in such a case,) caused the book to be brought into the senate house of Seleucia, and a portion of it read aloud, for the purpose of insulting the Romans, who, even during war, he said, could not abstain from the perusal of such infamous compositions,—c. 32. The immoral character of these tales, therefore, may be considered pretty clearly established; they were the Decameron and Heptameron of antiquity.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: Chap. xxxvii. v. 3.]

May 11. 1830.


Sir Thomas Monro and Sir Stamford Raffles were both great men; but I recognise more genius in the latter, though, I believe, the world says otherwise.

* * * * *

I never found what I call an idea in any speech or writing of ——'s. Those enormously prolix harangues are a proof of weakness in the higher intellectual grasp. Canning had a sense of the beautiful and the good; —- rarely speaks but to abuse, detract, and degrade. I confine myself to institutions, of course, and do not mean personal detraction. In my judgment, no man can rightly apprehend an abuse till he has first mastered the idea of the use of an institution. How fine, for example, is the idea of the unhired magistracy of England, taking in and linking together the duke to the country gentleman in the primary distribution of justice, or in the preservation of order and execution of law at least throughout the country! Yet some men never seem to have thought of it for one moment, but as connected with brewers, and barristers, and tyrannical Squire Westerns! From what I saw of Homer, I thought him a superior man, in real intellectual greatness.

* * * * *

Canning flashed such a light around the constitution, that it was difficult to see the ruins of the fabric through it.

May 12. 1830.


Shakspeare is the Spinosistic deity—an omnipresent creativeness. Milton is the deity of prescience; he stands ab extra, and drives a fiery chariot and four, making the horses feel the iron curb which holds them in. Shakspeare's poetry is characterless; that is, it does not reflect the individual Shakspeare; but John Milton himself is in every line of the Paradise Lost. Shakspeare's rhymed verses are excessively condensed,— epigrams with the point every where; but in his blank dramatic verse he is diffused, with a linked sweetness long drawn out. No one can understand Shakspeare's superiority fully until he has ascertained, by comparison, all that which he possessed in common with several other great dramatists of his age, and has then calculated the surplus which is entirely Shakspeare's own. His rhythm is so perfect, that you may be almost sure that you do not understand the real force of a line, if it does not run well as you read it. The necessary mental pause after every hemistich or imperfect line is always equal to the time that would have been taken in reading the complete verse.

* * * * *

I have no doubt whatever that Homer is a mere concrete name for the rhapsodies of the Iliad.[1] Of course there was a Homer, and twenty besides. I will engage to compile twelve books with characters just as distinct and consistent as those in the Iliad, from the metrical ballads, and other chronicles of England, about Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I say nothing about moral dignity, but the mere consistency of character. The different qualities were traditional. Tristram is always courteous, Lancelot invincible, and so on. The same might be done with the Spanish romances of the Cid. There is no subjectivity whatever in the Homeric poetry. There is a subjectivity of the poet, as of Milton, who is himself before himself in everything he writes; and there is a subjectivity of the persona, or dramatic character, as in all Shakspeare's great creations, Hamlet, Lear, &c.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge was a decided Wolfian in the Homeric question; but he had never read a word of the famous Prolegomena, and knew nothing of Wolf's reasoning, but what I told him of it in conversation. Mr. C. informed me, that he adopted the conclusion contained in the text upon the first perusal of Vico's Scienza Nuova; "not," he said, "that Vico has reasoned it out with such learning and accuracy as you report of Wolf, but Vico struck out all the leading hints, and I soon filled up the rest out of my own head."— ED.]

May 14. 1830.


Until you have mastered the fundamental difference, in kind, between the reason and the understanding as faculties of the human mind, you cannot escape a thousand difficulties in philosophy. It is pre-eminently the Gradus ad Philosophiam.

* * * * *

The general harmony between the operations of the mind and heart, and the words which express them in almost all languages, is wonderful; whilst the endless discrepancies between the names of things is very well deserving notice. There are nearly a hundred names in the different German dialects for the alder-tree. I believe many more remarkable instances are to be found in Arabic. Indeed, you may take a very pregnant and useful distinction between words and mere arbitrary names of things.

May 15. 1830.


The Trinity is, 1. the Will; 2. the Reason, or Word; 3. the Love, or Life. As we distinguish these three, so we must unite them in one God. The union must be as transcendant as the distinction.

Mr. Irving's notion is tritheism,—nay, rather in terms, tri-daemonism. His opinion about the sinfulness of the humanity of our Lord is absurd, if considered in one point of view; for body is not carcass. How can there be a sinful carcass? But what he says is capable of a sounder interpretation. Irving caught many things from me; but he would never attend to any thing which he thought he could not use in the pulpit. I told him the certain consequence would be, that he would fall into grievous errors. Sometimes he has five or six pages together of the purest eloquence, and then an outbreak of almost madman's babble.[1]

[Footnote 1: The admiration and sympathy which Mr. Coleridge felt and expressed towards the late Mr. Irving, at his first appearance in London, were great and sincere; and his grief at the deplorable change which followed was in proportion. But, long after the tongues shall have failed and been forgotten, Irving's name will live in the splendid eulogies of his friend. See Church and State, p. 180. n.—ED.]

May 16. 1830.


How wonderfully beautiful is the delineation of the characters of the three patriarchs in Genesis! To be sure, if ever man could, without impropriety, be called, or supposed to be, "the friend of God," Abraham was that man. We are not surprised that Abimelech and Ephron seem to reverence him so profoundly. He was peaceful, because of his conscious relation to God; in other respects, he takes fire, like an Arah sheikh, at the injuries suffered by Lot, and goes to war with the combined kinglings immediately.

* * * * *

Isaac is, as it were, a faint shadow of his father Abraham. Born in possession of the power and wealth which his father had acquired, he is always peaceful and meditative; and it is curious to observe his timid and almost childish imitation of Abraham's stratagem about his wife. [1] Isaac does it before-hand, and without any apparent necessity.

[Footnote 1: Gen. xxvi. 6.]

* * * * *

Jacob is a regular Jew, and practises all sorts of tricks and wiles, which, according to our modern notions of honour, we cannot approve. But you will observe that all these tricks are confined to matters of prudential arrangement, to worldly success and prosperity (for such, in fact, was the essence of the birthright); and I think we must not exact from men of an imperfectly civilized age the same conduct as to mere temporal and bodily abstinence which we have a right to demand from Christians. Jacob is always careful not to commit any violence; he shudders at bloodshed. See his demeanour after the vengeance taken on the Schechemites. [1] He is the exact compound of the timidity and gentleness of Isaac, and of the underhand craftiness of his mother Rebecca. No man could be a bad man who loved as he loved Rachel. I dare say Laban thought none the worse of Jacob for his plan of making the ewes bring forth ring-streaked lambs.

[Footnote 1: Gen. xxxiv.]

May 17. 1830.


If a man's conduct cannot be ascribed to the angelic, nor to the bestial within him, what is there left for us to refer to it, but the fiendish? Passion without any appetite is fiendish.

* * * * *

The best way to bring a clever young man, who has become sceptical and unsettled, to reason, is to make him feel something in any way. Love, if sincere and unworldly, will, in nine instances out of ten, bring him to a sense and assurance of something real and actual; and that sense alone will make him think to a sound purpose, instead of dreaming that he is thinking.

* * * * *

"Never marry but for love," says William Penn in his Reflexions and Maxims; "but see that thou lovest what is lovely."

May 18. 1830.


Lord Eldon's doctrine, that grammar schools, in the sense of the reign of Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth, must necessarily mean schools for teaching Latin and Greek, is, I think, founded on an insufficient knowledge of the history and literature of the sixteenth century. Ben Jonson uses the term "grammar" without any reference to the learned languages.

* * * * *

It is intolerable when men, who have no other knowledge, have not even a competent understanding of that world in which they are always living, and to which they refer every thing.

* * * * *

Although contemporary events obscure past events in a living man's life, yet as soon as he is dead, and his whole life is a matter of history, one action stands out as conspicuously as another.

A democracy, according to the prescript of pure reason, would, in fact, be a church. There would he focal points in it, but no superior.

May 20. 1830.


No doubt, Chrysostom, and the other rhetorical fathers, contributed a good deal, by their rash use of figurative language, to advance the superstitious notion of the eucharist; but the beginning had been much earlier. [1] In Clement, indeed, the mystery is treated as it was treated by Saint John and Saint Paul; but in Hermas we see the seeds of the error, and more clearly in Irenaeus; and so it went on till the idea was changed into an idol.

[Footnote 1:
Mr. Coleridge made these remarks upon my quoting Selden's well-known saying
(Table Talk), "that transubstantiation was nothing but rhetoric turned into

* * * * *

The errors of the Sacramentaries, on the one hand, and of the Romanists on the other, are equally great. The first have volatilized the eucharist into a metaphor; the last have condensed it into an idol.

Jeremy Taylor, in his zeal against transubstantiation, contends that the latter part of the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel has no reference to the eucharist. If so, St. John wholly passes over this sacred mystery; for he does not include it in his notice of the last supper. Would not a total silence of this great apostle and evangelist upon this mystery be strange? A mystery, I say; for it is a mystery; it is the only mystery in our religious worship. When many of the disciples left our Lord, and apparently on the very ground that this saying was hard, he does not attempt to detain them by any explanation, but simply adds the comment, that his words were spirit. If he had really meant that the eucharist should he a mere commemorative celebration of his death, is it conceivable that he would let these disciples go away from him upon such a gross misunderstanding? Would he not have said, "You need not make a difficulty; I only mean so and so?"

* * * * *

Arnauld, and the other learned Romanists, are irresistible against the low sacramentary doctrine.

* * * * *

The sacrament of baptism applies itself, and has reference to the faith or conviction, and is, therefore, only to be performed once;—it is the light of man. The sacrament of the eucharist is a symbol of all our religion;— it is the life of man. It is commensurate with our will, and we must, therefore, want it continually.

* * * * *

The meaning of the expression, [Greek: ei m_e _en soi didomenon an_othen], "except it were given thee from above," in the 19th chapter of St. John, ver. 11., seems to me to have been generally and grossly mistaken. It is commonly understood as importing that Pilate could have no power to deliver Jesus to the Jews, unless it had been given him by God, which, no doubt, is true; but if that is the meaning, where is the force or connection of the following clause, [Greek: dia touto], "therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin?" In what respect were the Jews more sinful in delivering Jesus up, because Pilate could do nothing except by God's leave? The explanation of Erasmus and Clarke, and some others, is very dry- footed. I conceive the meaning of our Lord to have been simply this, that Pilate would have had no power or jurisdiction—[Greek: exousian]—over him, if it had not been given by the Sanhedrin, the [Greek: an_o boul_e], and therefore it was that the Jews had the greater sin. There was also this further peculiar baseness and malignity in the conduct of the Jews. The mere assumption of Messiahship, as such, was no crime in the eyes of the Jews; they hated Jesus, because he would not be their sort of Messiah: on the other hand, the Romans cared not for his declaration that he was the Son of God; the crime in their eyes was his assuming to be a king. Now, here were the Jews accusing Jesus before the Roman governor of that which, in the first place, they knew that Jesus denied in the sense in which they urged it, and which, in the next place, had the charge been true, would have been so far from a crime in their eyes, that the very gospel history itself, as well as all the history to the destruction of Jerusalem, shows it would have been popular with the whole nation. They wished to destroy him, and for that purpose charge him falsely with a crime which yet was no crime in their own eyes, if it had been true; but only so as against the Roman domination, which they hated with all their souls, and against which they were themselves continually conspiring!

* * * * *

Observe, I pray, the manner and sense in which the high-priest understands the plain declaration of our Lord, that he was the Son of God. [Footnote: Matt. xxvi. v. 63. Mark, xiv. 61.] "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God," or "the Son of the Blessed," as it is in Mark. Jesus said, "I am,—and hereafter ye shall see the Son of man (or me) sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Does Caiaphas take this explicit answer as if Jesus meant that he was full of God's spirit, or was doing his commands, or walking in his ways, in which sense Moses, the prophets, nay, all good men, were and are the sons of God? No, no! He tears his robes in sunder, and cries out, "He hath spoken blasphemy. What further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy." What blasphemy, I should like to know, unless the assuming to be the "Son of God" was assuming to be of the divine nature?

* * * * *

One striking proof of the genuineness of the Mosaic books is this,—they contain precise prohibitions—by way of predicting the consequences of disobedience—of all those things which David and Solomon actually did, and gloried in doing,—raising cavalry, making a treaty with Egypt, laying up treasure, and polygamising. Now, would such prohibitions have been fabricated in those kings' reigns, or afterwards? Impossible.

* * * * *

The manner of the predictions of Moses is very remarkable. He is like a man standing on an eminence, and addressing people below him, and pointing to things which he can, and they cannot, see. He does not say, You will act in such and such a way, and the consequences will be so and so; but, So and so will take place, because you will act in such a way!

May 21. 1830.


Talent, lying in the understanding, is often inherited; genius, being the action of reason and imagination, rarely or never.

* * * * *

Motives imply weakness, and the existence of evil and temptation. The angelic nature would act from impulse alone. A due mean of motive and impulse is the only practicable object of our moral philosophy.

May 23. 1830.


It is a great error in physiology not to distinguish between what may be called the general or fundamental life—the principium vitae, and the functional life—the life in the functions. Organization must presuppose life as anterior to it: without life, there could not be or remain any organization; but then there is also a life in the organs, or functions, distinct from the other. Thus, a flute presupposes,—demands the existence of a musician as anterior to it, without whom no flute could ever have existed; and yet again, without the instrument there can be no music.

* * * * *

It often happens that, on the one hand, the principium vitae, or constitutional life, may be affected without any, or the least imaginable, affection of the functions; as in inoculation, where one pustule only has appeared, and no other perceptible symptom, and yet this has so entered into the constitution, as to indispose it to infection under the most accumulated and intense contagion; and, on the other hand, hysteria, hydrophobia, and gout will disorder the functions to the most dreadful degree, and yet often leave the life untouched. In hydrophobia, the mind is quite sound; but the patient feels his muscular and cutaneous life forcibly removed from under the control of his will.

* * * * *

Hysteria may be fitly called mimosa, from its counterfeiting so many diseases,—even death itself.

* * * * *

Hydro-carbonic gas produces the most death-like exhaustion, without any previous excitement. I think this gas should be inhaled by way of experiment in cases of hydrophobia.

There is a great difference between bitters and tonics. Where weakness proceeds from excess of irritability, there bitters act beneficially; because all bitters are poisons, and operate by stilling, and depressing, and lethargizing the irritability. But where weakness proceeds from the opposite cause of relaxation, there tonics are good; because they brace up and tighten the loosened string. Bracing is a correct metaphor. Bark goes near to be a combination of a bitter and a tonic; but no perfect medical combination of the two properties is yet known.

* * * * *

The study of specific medicines is too much disregarded now. No doubt the hunting after specifics is a mark of ignorance and weakness in medicine, yet the neglect of them is proof also of immaturity; for, in fact, all medicines will be found specific in the perfection of the science.

May 25. 1830.


The Epistle to the Ephesians is evidently a catholic epistle, addressed to the whole of what might be called St. Paul's diocese. It is one of the divinest compositions of man. It embraces every doctrine of Christianity;— first, those doctrines peculiar to Christianity, and then those precepts common to it with natural religion. The Epistle to the Colossians is the overflowing, as it were, of St. Paul's mind upon the same subject.

* * * * *

The present system of taking oaths is horrible. It is awfully absurd to make a man invoke God's wrath upon himself, if he speaks false; it is, in my judgment, a sin to do so. The Jews' oath is an adjuration by the judge to the witness: "In the name of God, I ask you." There is an express instance of it in the high-priest's adjuring or exorcising Christ by the living God, in the twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew, and you will observe that our Lord answered the appeal.[1]

You may depend upon it, the more oath-taking, the more lying, generally among the people.

[Footnote 1: See this instance cited, and the whole history and moral policy of the common system of judicial swearing examined with clearness and good feeling, in Mr. Tyler's late work on Oaths.—ED.]

May 27. 1830.


I had one just flogging. When I was about thirteen, I went to a shoemaker, and begged him to take me as his apprentice. He, being an honest man, immediately brought me to Bowyer, who got into a great rage, knocked me down, and even pushed Crispin rudely out of the room. Bowyer asked me why I had made myself such a fool? to which I answered, that I had a great desire to be a shoemaker, and that I hated the thought of being a clergyman. "Why so?" said he.—"Because, to tell you the truth, sir," said I, "I am an infidel!" For this, without more ado, Bowyer flogged me,— wisely, as I think,—soundly, as I know. Any whining or sermonizing would have gratified my vanity, and confirmed me in my absurdity; as it was, I was laughed at, and got heartily ashamed of my folly.

* * * * *

How rich the Aristophanic Greek is in the eloquence of abuse!—

'O Bdelyre, kanaischunte, kai tolmaere su,
Kai miare, kai pammiare, kai miarotate.][1]

We are not behindhand in English. Fancy my calling you, upon a fitting occasion,—Fool, sot, silly, simpleton, dunce, blockhead, jolterhead, clumsy-pate, dullard, ninny, nincompoop, lackwit, numpskull, ass, owl, loggerhead, coxcomb, monkey, shallow-brain, addle-head, tony, zany, fop, fop-doodle; a maggot-pated, hare-brained, muddle-pated, muddle-headed, Jackan-apes! Why I could go on for a minute more!

[Footnote 1: In The Frogs.—ED.]

May 28. 1830.


I deeply regret the anti-American articles of some of the leading reviews. The Americans regard what is said of them in England a thousand times more than they do any thing said of them in any other country. The Americans are excessively pleased with any kind or favourable expressions, and never forgive or forget any slight or abuse. It would be better for them if they were a trifle thicker-skinned.

* * * * *

The last American war was to us only something to talk or read about; but to the Americans it was the cause of misery in their own homes.

* * * * *

I, for one, do not call the sod under my feet my country. But language, religion, laws, government, blood,—identity in these makes men of one country.

May 29. 1830.


The Book of Job is an Arab poem, antecedent to the Mosaic dispensation. It represents the mind of a good man not enlightened by an actual revelation, but seeking about for one. In no other book is the desire and necessity for a Mediator so intensely expressed. The personality of God, the I AM of the Hebrews, is most vividly impressed on the book, in opposition to pantheism.

* * * * *

I now think, after many doubts, that the passage, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," &c. may fairly be taken as a burst of determination, a quasi prophecy. [1] "I know not how this can be; but in spite of all my difficulties, this I do know, that I shall be recompensed."

[Footnote 1: Chap. xix. 25, 26.]

* * * * *

It should be observed, that all the imagery in the speeches of the men is taken from the East, and is no more than a mere representation of the forms of material nature. But when God speaks, the tone is exalted; and almost all the images are taken from Egypt, the crocodile, the war-horse, and so forth. Egypt was then the first monarchy that had a splendid court.

* * * * *

Satan, in the prologue, does not mean the devil, our Diabolus. There is no calumny in his words. He is rather the circuitor, the accusing spirit, a dramatic attorney-general. But after the prologue, which was necessary to bring the imagination into a proper state for the dialogue, we hear no more of this Satan.

* * * * *

Warburton's notion, that the Book of Job was of so late a date as Ezra, is wholly groundless. His only reason is this appearance of Satan.

May 30. 1830.


I wish the Psalms were translated afresh; or, rather, that the present version were revised. Scores of passages are utterly incoherent as they now stand. If the primary visual images had been oftener preserved, the connection and force of the sentences would have been better perceived.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge, like so many of the elder divines of the Christian church, had an affectionate reverence for the moral and evangelical portion of the Book of Psalms. He told me that, after having studied every page of the Bible with the deepest attention, he had found no other part of Scripture come home so closely to his inmost yearnings and necessities. During many of his latter years he used to read ten or twelve verses every evening, ascertaining (for his knowledge of Hebrew was enough for that) the exact visual image or first radical meaning of every noun substantive; and he repeatedly expressed to me his surprise and pleasure at finding that in nine cases out of ten the bare primary sense, if literally rendered, threw great additional light on the text. He was not disposed to allow the prophetic or allusive character so largely as is done by Horne and others; but he acknowledged it in some instances in the fullest manner. In particular, he rejected the local and temporary reference which has been given to the 110th Psalm, and declared his belief in its deep mystical import with regard to the Messiah. Mr. C. once gave me the following note upon the 22d Psalm written by him, I believe, many years previously, but which, he said, he approved at that time. It will find as appropriate a niche here as any where else:—

"I am much delighted and instructed by the hypothesis, which I think probable, that our Lord in repeating Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani, really recited the whole or a large part of the 22d Psalm. It is impossible to read that psalm without the liveliest feelings of love, gratitude, and sympathy. It is, indeed, a wonderful prophecy, whatever might or might not have been David's notion when he composed it. Whether Christ did audibly repeat the whole or not, it is certain. I think, that he did it mentally, and said aloud what was sufficient to enable his followers to do the same. Even at this day to repeat in the same manner but the first line of a common hymn would be understood as a reference to the whole. Above all, I am thankful for the thought which suggested itself to my mind, whilst I was reading this beautiful psalm, namely, that we should not exclusively think of Christ as the Logos united to human nature, but likewise as a perfect man united to the Logos. This distinction is most important in order to conceive, much more, appropriately to feel, the conduct and exertions of Jesus."—ED.]

May 31. 1830.


Mrs. Barbauld once told me that she admired the Ancient Mariner very much, but that there were two faults in it,—it was improbable, and had no moral. As for the probability, I owned that that might admit some question; but as to the want of a moral, I told her that in my own judgment the poem had too much; and that the only, or chief fault, if I might say so, was the obtrusion of the moral sentiment so openly on the reader as a principle or cause of action in a work of such pure imagination. It ought to have had no more moral than the Arabian Nights' tale of the merchant's sitting down to eat dates by the side of a well, and throwing the shells aside, and lo! a genie starts up, and says he must kill the aforesaid merchant, because one of the date shells had, it seems, put out the eye of the genie's son.[1]

I took the thought of "grinning for joy," in that poem, from my companion's remark to me, when we had climbed to the top of Plinlimmon, and were nearly dead with thirst. We could not speak from the constriction, till we found a little puddle under a stone. He said to me,—"You grinned like an idiot!" He had done the same.

[Footnote 1: "There he found, at the foot of a great walnut-tree, a fountain of a very clear running water, and alighting, tied his horse to a branch of a tree, and sitting clown by the fountain, took some biscuits and dates out of his portmanteau, and, as he ate his dates, threw the shells about on both sides of him. When he had done eating, being a good Mussulman, he washed his hands, his face, and his feet, and said his prayers. He had not made an end, but was still on his knees, when he saw a genie appear, all white with age, and of a monstrous bulk; who, advancing towards him with a cimetar in his hand, spoke to him in a terrible voice thus:—'Rise up, that I may kill thee with this cimetar as you have killed my son!' and accompanied these words with a frightful cry. The merchant being as much frightened at the hideous shape of the monster as at these threatening words, answered him trembling:—'Alas! my good lord, of what crime can I be guilty towards you that you should take away my life?'—'I will,' replies the genie, 'kill thee, as thou hast killed my son!'—'O heaven!' says the merchant, 'how should I kill your son? I did not know him, nor ever saw him.'—'Did not you sit down when you came hither?' replies the genie. 'Did not you take dates out of your portmanteau, and, as you ate them, did not you throw the shells about on both sides?'—'I did all that you say,' answers the merchant, 'I cannot deny it.'—'If it be so,' replied the genie, 'I tell thee that thou hast killed my son; and the way was thus: when you threw the nutshells about, my son was passing by, and you threw one of them into his eye, which killed him, therefore I must kill thee.'—'Ah! my good lord, pardon me!' cried the merchant.—'No pardon,' answers the genie, 'no mercy! Is it not just to kill him that has killed another?'—'I agree to it,' says the merchant, 'but certainly I never killed your son, and if I have, it was unknown to me, and I did it innocently; therefore I beg you to pardon me, and suffer me to live.'—'No, no,' says the genie, persisting in his resolution, 'I must kill thee, since thou hast killed my son;' and then taking the merchant by the arm, threw him with his face upon the ground, and lifted up his cimetar to cut off his head!"—The Merchant and the Genie. First night.—Ed.]

* * * * *

Undine is a most exquisite work. It shows the general want of any sense for the fine and the subtle in the public taste, that this romance made no deep impression. Undine's character, before she receives a soul, is marvellously beautiful.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge's admiration of this little romance was unbounded. He read it several times in German, and once in the English translation, made in America, I believe; the latter he thought inadequately done. Mr. C. said that there was something in Undine even beyond Scott,—that Scott's best characters and conceptions were composed; by which I understood him to mean that Baillie Nicol Jarvie, for example, was made up of old particulars, and received its individuality from the author's power of fusion, being in the result an admirable product, as Corinthian brass was said to be the conflux of the spoils of a city. But Undine, he said, was one and single in projection, and had presented to his imagination, what Scott had never done, an absolutely new idea—ED.]

* * * * *

It seems to me, that Martin never looks at nature except through bits of stained glass. He is never satisfied with any appearance that is not prodigious. He should endeavour to school his imagination into the apprehension of the true idea of the Beautiful.[1]

The wood-cut of Slay-good[2] is admirable, to be sure; but this new edition of the Pilgrim's Progress is too fine a book for it. It should be much larger, and on sixpenny coarse paper.

The Pilgrim's Progress is composed in the lowest style of English, without slang or false grammar. If you were to polish it, you would at once destroy the reality of the vision. For works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain.

This wonderful work is one of the few books which may be read over repeatedly at different times, and each time with a new and a different pleasure. I read it once as a theologian—and let me assure you, that there is great theological acumen in the work—once with devotional feelings—and once as a poet. I could not have believed beforehand that Calvinism could be painted in such exquisitely delightful colours.[3]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge said this, after looking at the engravings of Mr. Martin's two pictures of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and the Celestial City, published in the beautiful edition of the Pilgrim's Progress by Messrs. Murray and Major, in 1830. I wish Mr. Martin could have heard the poet's lecture: he would have been flattered, and at the same time, I believe, instructed; for in the philosophy of painting Coleridge was a master.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: P. 350., by S. Mosses from a design by Mr. W. Harvey. "When they came to the place where he was, they found him with one Feeble-mind in his hand, whom his servants had brought unto him, having taken him in the way. Now the giant was rifling him, with a purpose, after that, to pick his bones; for he was of the nature of flesh eaters."—ED.]

[Footnote 3: I find written on a blank leaf of my copy of this edition of the P.'s P. the following note by Mr. C.:—"I know of no book, the Bible excepted as above all comparison, which I, according to my judgment and experience, could so safely recommend as teaching and enforcing the whole saving truth according to the mind that was in Christ Jesus, as the Pilgrim's Progress. It is, in my conviction, incomparably the best summa theologiae evangalicae ever produced by a writer not miraculously inspired." June 14. 1830.—ED.]

June 1. 1830.


There are three sorts of prayer:—1. Public; 2. Domestic; 3. Solitary. Each has its peculiar uses and character. I think the church ought to publish and authorise a directory of forms for the latter two. Yet I fear the execution would be inadequate. There is a great decay of devotional unction in the numerous books of prayers put out now-a-days. I really think the hawker was very happy, who blundered New Form of Prayer into New former Prayers.[1]

I exceedingly regret that our church pays so little attention to the subject of congregational singing. See how it is! In that particular part of the public worship in which, more than in all the rest, the common people might, and ought to, join,—which, by its association with music, is meant to give a fitting vent and expression to the emotions,—in that part we all sing as Jews; or, at best, as mere men, in the abstract, without a Saviour. You know my veneration for the Book of Psalms, or most of it; but with some half dozen exceptions, the Psalms are surely not adequate vehicles of Christian thanksgiving and joy! Upon this deficiency in our service, Wesley and Whitfield seized; and you know it is the hearty congregational singing of Christian hymns which keeps the humbler Methodists together. Luther did as much for the Reformation by his hymns as by his translation of the Bible. In Germany, the hymns are known by heart by every peasant: they advise, they argue from the hymns, and every soul in the church praises God, like a Christian, with words which are natural and yet sacred to his mind. No doubt this defect in our service proceeded from the dread which the English Reformers had of being charged with introducing any thing into the worship of God but the text of Scripture.

[Footnote 1: "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 very 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 prayer."—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 bedside 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 upon 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!—ED.]

* * * * *

Hooker said,—That by looking for that in the Bible which it is impossible that any book can have, we lose the benefits which we might reap from its being the best of all books.

* * * * *

You will observe, that even in dreams nothing is fancied without an antecedent quasi cause. It could not be otherwise.

June 4. 1830.


Taylor's was a great and lovely mind; yet how much and injuriously was it perverted by his being a favourite and follower of Laud, and by his intensely popish feelings of church authority. [1] His Liberty of Prophesying is a work of wonderful eloquence and skill; but if we believe the argument, what do we come to? Why to nothing more or less than this, that—so much can be said for every opinion and sect,—so impossible is it to settle any thing by reasoning or authority of Scripture,—we must appeal to some positive jurisdiction on earth, ut sit finis controversiarum. In fact, the whole book is the precise argument used by the Papists to induce men to admit the necessity of a supreme and infallible head of the church on earth. It is one of the works which preeminently gives countenance to the saying of Charles or James II., I forget which:—"When you of the Church of England contend with the Catholics, you use the arguments of the Puritans; when you contend with the Puritans, you immediately adopt all the weapons of the Catholics." Taylor never speaks with the slightest symptom of affection or respect of Luther, Calvin, or any other of the great reformers—at least, not in any of his learned works; but he saints every trumpery monk and friar, down to the very latest canonizations by the modern popes. I fear you will think me harsh, when I say that I believe Taylor was, perhaps unconsciously, half a Socinian in heart. Such a strange inconsistency would not be impossible. The Romish church has produced many such devout Socinians. The cross of Christ is dimly seen in Taylor's works. Compare him in this particular with Donne, and you will feel the difference in a moment. Why are not Donne's volumes of sermons reprinted at Oxford?[2]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge placed Jeremy Taylor amongst the four great geniuses of old English literature. I think he used to reckon Shakspeare and Bacon, Milton and Taylor, four-square, each against each. In mere eloquence, he thought the Bishop without any fellow. He called him Chrysostom. Further, he loved the man, and was anxious to find excuses for some weak parts in his character. But Mr. Coleridge's assent to Taylor's views of many of the fundamental positions of Christianity was very limited; and, indeed, he considered him as the least sound in point of doctrine of any of the old divines, comprehending, within that designation, the writers to the middle of Charles II.'s reign. He speaks of Taylor in "The Friend" in the following terms:—"Among the numerous examples with which I might enforce this warning, I refer, not without reluctance, to the most eloquent, and one of the most learned, of our divines; a rigorist, indeed, concerning the authority of the church, but a latitudinarian in the articles of its faith; who stretched the latter almost to the advanced posts of Socinianism, and strained the former to a hazardous conformity with the assumptions of the Roman hierarchy." Vol. ii. p. 108.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: Why not, indeed! It is really quite unaccountable that the sermons of this great divine of the English church should be so little known as they are, even to very literary clergymen of the present day. It might have been expected, that the sermons of the greatest preacher of his age, the admired of Ben Jonson, Selden, and all that splendid band of poets and scholars, would even as curiosities have been reprinted, when works, which are curious for nothing, are every year sent forth afresh under the most authoritative auspices. Dr. Donne was educated at both universities, at Hart Hall, Oxford, first, and afterwards at Cambridge, but at what college Walton does not mention—ED.]

* * * * *

In the reign of Edward VI., the Reformers feared to admit almost any thing on human authority alone. They had seen and felt the abuses consequent on the popish theory of Christianity; and I doubt not they wished and intended to reconstruct the religion and the church, as far as was possible, upon the plan of the primitive ages? But the Puritans pushed this bias to an absolute bibliolatry. They would not put on a corn-plaster without scraping a text over it. Men of learning, however, soon felt that this was wrong in the other extreme, and indeed united itself to the very abuse it seemed to shun. They saw that a knowledge of the Fathers, and of early tradition, was absolutely necessary; and unhappily, in many instances, the excess of the Puritans drove the men of learning into the old popish extreme of denying the Scriptures to be capable of affording a rule of faith without the dogmas of the church. Taylor is a striking instance how far a Protestant might be driven in this direction.

June 6. 1830.


In the first century, catholicity was the test of a book or epistle— whether it were of the Evangelicon or Apostolicon—being canonical. This catholic spirit was opposed to the gnostic or peculiar spirit,—the humour of fantastical interpretation of the old Scriptures into Christian meanings. It is this gnosis, or knowingness, which the Apostle says puffeth up,—not knowledge, as we translate it. The Epistle of Barnabas, of the genuineness of which I have no sort of doubt, is an example of this gnostic spirit. The Epistle to the Hebrews is the only instance of gnosis in the canon: it was written evidently by some apostolical man before the destruction of the Temple, and probably at Alexandria. For three hundred years, and more, it was not admitted into the canon, especially not by the Latin church, on account of this difference in it from the other Scriptures. But its merit was so great, and the gnosis in it is so kept within due bounds, that its admirers at last succeeded, especially by affixing St. Paul's name to it, to have it included in the canon; which was first done, I think, by the council of Laodicea in the middle of the fourth century. Fortunately for us it was so.

* * * * *

I beg Tertullian's pardon; but amongst his many bravuras, he says something about St. Paul's autograph. Origen expressly declares the reverse.

* * * * *

It is delightful to think, that the beloved apostle was born a Plato. To him was left the almost oracular utterance of the mysteries of the Christian religion while to St. Paul was committed the task of explanation, defence, and assertion of all the doctrines, and especially of those metaphysical ones touching the will and grace;[1] for which purpose his active mind, his learned education, and his Greek logic, made him pre-eminently fit.

[Footnote 1:
"The imperative and oracular form of the inspired Scripture is the form of
reason itself, in all things purely rational and moral."—Statesman's
, p. 22.]

June 7. 1830.


Notwithstanding what you say, I am persuaded that a review would amply succeed even now, which should be started upon a published code of principles, critical, moral, political, and religious; which should announce what sort of books it would review, namely, works of literature as contradistinguished from all that offspring of the press, which in the present age supplies food for the craving caused by the extended ability of reading without any correspondent education of the mind, and which formerly was done by conversation, and which should really give a fair account of what the author intended to do, and in his own words, if possible, and in addition, afford one or two fair specimens of the execution,—itself never descending for one moment to any personality. It should also be provided before the commencement with a dozen powerful articles upon fundamental topics to appear in succession. You see the great reviewers are now ashamed of reviewing works in the old style, and have taken up essay writing instead. Hence arose such publications as the Literary Gazette and others, which are set up for the purpose—not a useless one—of advertizing new books of all sorts for the circulating libraries. A mean between the two extremes still remains to be taken.

* * * * *

Party men always hate a slightly differing friend more than a downright enemy. I quite calculate on my being one day or other holden in worse repute by many Christians than the Unitarians and open infidels. It must be undergone by every one who loves the truth for its own sake beyond all other things.

* * * * *

Truth is a good dog; but beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out.

June 10. 1830.


Southey's Life of Bunyan is beautiful. I wish he had illustrated that mood of mind which exaggerates, and still more, mistakes, the inward depravation, as in Bunyan, Nelson, and others, by extracts from Baxter's Life of himself. What genuine superstition is exemplified in that bandying of texts and half texts, and demi-semi-texts, just as memory happened to suggest them, or chance brought them before Bunyan's mind! His tract, entitled, "Grace abounding to the Chief of Sinners"[1] is a study for a philosopher.

[Footnote 1: "Grace abounding to the Chief of Sinners, in a faithful Account of the Life and Death of John Bunyan, &c." Is it not, however, an historical error to call the Puritans dissenters? Before St. Bartholomew's day, they were essentially a part of the church, and had as determined opinions in favour of a church establishment as the bishops themselves.

* * * * *

Laud was not exactly a Papist to be sure; but he was on the road with the church with him to a point, where declared popery would have been inevitable. A wise and vigorous Papist king would very soon, and very justifiably too, in that case, have effected a reconciliation between the churches of Rome and England, when the line of demarcation had become so very faint.

* * * * *

The faults of the Puritans were many; but surely their morality will, in general, bear comparison with that of the Cavaliers after the Restoration.

* * * * *

The Presbyterians hated the Independents much more than they did the bishops, which induced them to cooperate in effecting the Restoration.

* * * * *

The conduct of the bishops towards Charles, whilst at Breda, was wise and constitutional. They knew, however, that when the forms of the constitution were once restored, all their power would revive again as of course.

June 14. 1830.


Intense study of the Bible will keep any writer from being vulgar, in point of style.

June 15. 1830.


Rabelais is a most wonderful writer. Pantagruel is the Reason; Panurge the Understanding,—the pollarded man, the man with every faculty except the reason. I scarcely know an example more illustrative of the distinction between the two. Rabelais had no mode of speaking the truth in those days but in such a form as this; as it was, he was indebted to the King's protection for his life. Some of the commentators talk about his book being all political; there are contemporary politics in it, of course, but the real scope is much higher and more philosophical. It is in vain to look about for a hidden meaning in all that he has written; you will observe that, after any particularly deep thrust, as the Papimania[1] for example, Rabelais, as if to break the blow, and to appear unconscious of what he has done, writes a chapter or two of pure buffoonery.

He, every now and then, flashes you a glimpse of a real face from his magic lantern, and then buries the whole scene in mist. The morality of the work is of the most refined and exalted kind; as for the manners, to be sure, I cannot say much.

Swift was anima Rabelaisii habitans in sicco,—the soul of Rabelais dwelling in a dry place.

Yet Swift was rare. Can any thing beat his remark on King William's motto, —Recepit, non rapuit,—"that the receiver was as bad as the thief?"

[Footnote 1: B. iv. c. 48. "Comment Pantagruel descendit en l'Isle de Papimanes." See the five following chapters, especially c. 50.; and note also c. 9. of the fifth book; "Comment nous fut monstré Papegaut à grande difficulté."—ED.]

* * * * *

The effect of the Tory wits attacking Bentley with such acrimony has been to make them appear a set of shallow and incompetent scholars. Neither Bentley nor Burnet suffered from the hostility of the wits. Burnet's "History of his own Times" is a truly valuable book. His credulity is great, but his simplicity is equally great; and he never deceives you for a moment.

June 25. 1830.


The fresco paintings by Giotto[1] and others, in the cemetery at Pisa, are most noble. Giotto was a contemporary of Dante: and it is a curious question, whether the painters borrowed from the poet, or vice versa. Certainly M. Angelo and Raffael fed their imaginations highly with these grand drawings, especially M. Angelo, who took from them his bold yet graceful lines.

[Footnote 1: Giotto, or Angiolotto's birth is fixed by Vasari in 1276, but there is some reason to think that he was born a little earlier. Dante, who was his friend, was born in 1265. Giotto was the pupil of Cimabue, whom he entirely eclipsed, as Dante testifies in the well-known lines in the Purgatorio:—

  "O vana gloria dell'umane posse!
  Com' poco verde in su la cima dura,
  Se non e giunta dall' etati grosse!
  Credette Cirnabue nella pintura
  Tener lo campo: ed ora ha Giotto il grido,
  Si che la fama di colui oscura."—C. xi. v. 91.

His six great frescos in the cemetery at Pisa are upon the sufferings and patience of Job.—ED.]

* * * * *

People may say what they please about the gradual improvement of the Arts. It is not true of the substance. The Arts and the Muses both spring forth in the youth of nations, like Minerva from the front of Jupiter, all armed: manual dexterity may, indeed, he improved by practice.

* * * * *

Painting went on in power till, in Raffael, it attained the zenith, and in him too it showed signs of a tendency downwards by another path. The painter began to think of overcoming difficulties. After this the descent was rapid, till sculptors began to work inveterate likenesses of perriwigs in marble,—as see Algarotti's tomb in the cemetery at Pisa,—and painters did nothing but copy, as well as they could, the external face of nature. Now, in this age, we have a sort of reviviscence,—not, I fear, of the power, but of a taste for the power, of the early times.

June 26. 1830.


You may get a motto for every sect in religion, or line of thought in morals or philosophy, from Seneca; but nothing is ever thought out by him.

July 2. 1830.


Every man is born an Aristotelian, or a Platonist. I do not think it possible that any one born an Aristotelian can become a Platonist; and I am sure no born Platonist can ever change into an Aristotelian. They are the two classes of men, beside which it is next to impossible to conceive a third. The one considers reason a quality, or attribute; the other considers it a power. I believe that Aristotle never could get to understand what Plato meant by an idea. There is a passage, indeed, in the Eudemian Ethics which looks like an exception; but I doubt not of its being spurious, as that whole work is supposed by some to be. With Plato ideas are constitutive in themselves.[1]

Aristotle was, and still is, the sovereign lord of the understanding; the faculty judging by the senses. He was a conceptualist, and never could raise himself into that higher state, which was natural to Plato, and has been so to others, in which the understanding is distinctly contemplated, and, as it were, looked down upon from the throne of actual ideas, or living, inborn, essential truths.

Yet what a mind was Aristotle's—only not the greatest that ever animated the human form!—the parent of science, properly so called, the master of criticism, and the founder or editor of logic! But he confounded science with philosophy, which is an error. Philosophy is the middle state between science, or knowledge, and sophia, or wisdom.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge said the Eudemian Ethics; but I half suspect he must have meant the Metaphysics, although I do not know that all the fourteen books under that title have been considered non-genuine. The [Greek: Aethicha Eusaemeia] are not Aristotle's. To what passage in particular allusion is here made, I cannot exactly say; many might be alleged, but not one seems to express the true Platonic idea, as Mr. Coleridge used to understand it; and as, I believe, he ultimately considered ideas in his own philosophy. Fourteen or fifteen years previously, he seems to have been undecided upon this point. "Whether," he says, "ideas are regulative only, according to Aristotle and Kant, or likewise constitutive, and one with the power and life of nature, according to Plato and Plotinus [Greek:—eg logo zoae aeg, chai ae zoae aeg to phos tog agthwpog] is the highest problem of philosophy, and not part of its nomenclature." Essay (E) in the Appendix to the Statesman's Manual, 1816.—ED.]

July 4. 1830.


I sometimes fear the Duke of Wellington is too much disposed to imagine that he can govern a great nation by word of command, in the same way in which he governed a highly disciplined army. He seems to be unaccustomed to, and to despise, the inconsistencies, the weaknesses, the bursts of heroism followed by prostration and cowardice, which invariably characterise all popular efforts. He forgets that, after all, it is from such efforts that all the great and noble institutions of the world have come; and that, on the other hand, the discipline and organization of armies have been only like the flight of the cannon-ball, the object of which is destruction.[1]

[Footnote 1:
                        Straight forward goes
The lightning's path, and straight the fearful path
Of the cannon-ball. Direct it flies and rapid,
Shattering that it may reach, and shattering what it reaches.

Wallenstein, Part I, act i, sc. 4]

* * * * *

The stock-jobbing and moneyed interest is so strong in this country, that it has more than once prevailed in our foreign councils over national honour and national justice. The country gentlemen are not slow to join in this influence. Canning felt this very keenly, and said he was unable to contend against the city trained-bands.

July 6, 1830.


Bourienne is admirable. He is the French Pepys,—a man with right feelings, but always wishing to participate in what is going on, be it what it may. He has one remark, when comparing Buonaparte with Charlemagne, the substance of which I have attempted to express in "The Friend"[1] but which Bourrienne has condensed into a sentence worthy of Tacitus, or Machiavel, or Bacon. It is this; that Charlemagne was above his age, whilst Buonaparte was only above his competitors, but under his age! Bourrienne has done more than any one else to show Buonaparte to the world as he really was,—always contemptible, except when acting a part, and that part not his own.

[Footnote 1: Vol. i. Essay 12. p. 133.]

July 8. 1830.


The other day I was what you would call floored by a Jew. He passed me several times crying out for old clothes in the most nasal and extraordinary tone I ever heard. At last I was so provoked, that I said to him, "Pray, why can't you say 'old clothes' in a plain way as I do now?" The Jew stopped, and looking very gravely at me, said in a clear and even fine accent, "Sir, I can say 'old clothes' as well as you can; but if you had to say so ten times a minute, for an hour together, you would say Ogh Clo as I do now;" and so he marched off. I was so confounded with the justice of his retort, that I followed and gave him a shilling, the only one I had.

* * * * *

I have had a good deal to do with Jews in the course of my life, although I never borrowed any money of them. Once I sat in a coach opposite a Jew—a symbol of old clothes' bags—an Isaiah of Hollywell Street. He would close the window; I opened it. He closed it again; upon which, in a very solemn tone, I said to him, "Son of Abraham! thou smellest; son of Isaac! thou art offensive; son of Jacob! thou stinkest foully. See the man in the moon! he is holding his nose at thee at that distance; dost thou think that I, sitting here, can endure it any longer?" My Jew was astounded, opened the window forthwith himself, and said, "he was sorry he did not know before I was so great a gentleman."

July 24. 1830.


During the early part of the middle ages, the papacy was nothing, in fact, but a confederation of the learned men in the west of Europe against the barbarism and ignorance of the times. The Pope was chief of this confederacy; and so long as he retained that character exclusively, his power was just and irresistible. It was the principal mean of preserving for us and for our posterity all that we now have of the illumination of past ages. But as soon as the Pope made a separation between his character as premier clerk in Christendom and as a secular prince; as soon as he began to squabble for towns and castles; then he at once broke the charm, and gave birth to a revolution. From that moment, those who remained firm to the cause of truth and knowledge became necessary enemies to the Roman See. The great British schoolmen led the way; then Wicliffe rose, Huss, Jerome, and others;—in short, every where, but especially throughout the north of Europe, the breach of feeling and sympathy went on widening,—so that all Germany, England, Scotland, and other countries started like giants out of their sleep at the first blast of Luther's trumpet. In France, one half of the people—and that the most wealthy and enlightened— embraced the Reformation. The seeds of it were deeply and widely spread in Spain and in Italy; and as to the latter, if James I. had been an Elizabeth, I have no doubt at all that Venice would have publicly declared itself against Rome. It is a profound question to answer, why it is, that since the middle of the sixteenth century the Reformation has not advanced one step in Europe.

* * * * *

In the time of Leo X. atheism, or infidelity of some sort, was almost universal in Italy amongst the high dignitaries of the Romish church.

July 27. 1830.


John Thelwall had something very good about him. We were once sitting in a beautiful recess in the Quantocks, when I said to him, "Citizen John, this is a fine place to talk treason in!"—"Nay! Citizen Samuel," replied he, "it is rather a place to make a man forget that there is any necessity for treason!"

Thelwall thought it very unfair to influence a child's mind by inculcating any opinions before it should have come to years of discretion, and be able to choose for itself. I showed him my garden, and told him it was my botanical garden. "How so?" said he, "it is covered with weeds."—"Oh," I replied, "that is only because it has not yet come to its age of discretion and choice. The weeds, you see, have taken the liberty to grow, and I thought it unfair in me to prejudice the soil towards roses and strawberries."

* * * * *

I think Swift adopted the name of Stella, which is a man's name, with a feminine termination, to denote the mysterious epicene relation in which poor Miss Johnston stood to him.

July 28. 1830.


That legislation is iniquitous which sets law in conflict with the common and unsophisticated feelings of our nature. If I were a clergyman in a smuggling town, I would not preach against smuggling. I would not be made a sort of clerical revenue officer. Let the government, which by absurd duties fosters smuggling, prevent it itself, if it can. How could I show my hearers the immorality of going twenty miles in a boat, and honestly buying with their money a keg of brandy, except by a long deduction which they could not understand? But were I in a place where wrecking went on, see if I would preach on any thing else!

July 29. 1830.


Spurzheim is a good man, and I like him; but he is dense, and the most ignorant German I ever knew. If he had been content with stating certain remarkable coincidences between the moral qualities and the configuration of the skull, it would have been well; but when he began to map out the cranium dogmatically, he fell into infinite absurdities. You know that every intellectual act, however you may distinguish it by name in respect of the originating faculties, is truly the act of the entire man; the notion of distinct material organs, therefore, in the brain itself, is plainly absurd. Pressed by this, Spurzheim has, at length, been guilty of some sheer quackery; and ventures to say that he has actually discovered a different material in the different parts or organs of the brain, so that he can tell a piece of benevolence from a bit of destructiveness, and so forth. Observe, also, that it is constantly found, that so far from there being a concavity in the interior surface of the cranium answering to the convexity apparent on the exterior—the interior is convex too. Dr. Baillie thought there was something in the system, because the notion of the brain being an extendible net helped to explain those cases where the intellect remained after the solid substance of the brain was dissolved in water.[1]

That a greater or less development of the forepart of the head is generally coincidedent with more or less of reasoning power, is certain. The line across the forehead, also, denoting musical power, is very common.

[Footnote 1: "The very marked, positive as well as comparative, magnitude and prominence of the bump, entitled benevolence (see Spurzheim's map of the human skull) on the head of the late Mr. John Thurtell, has woefully unsettled the faith of many ardent phrenologists, and strengthened the previous doubts of a still greater number into utter disbelief. On my mind this fact (for a fact it is) produced the directly contrary effect; and inclined me to suspect, for the first time, that there may be some truth in the Spurzheimian scheme. Whether future craniologists may not see cause to new-name this and one or two others of these convex gnomons, is quite a different question. At present, and according to the present use of words, any such change would be premature; and we must be content to say, that Mr. Thurtell's benevolence was insufficiently modified by the unprotrusive and unindicated convolutes of the brain, that secrete honesty and common sense. The organ of destructiveness was indirectly potentiated by the absence or imperfect development of the glands of reason and conscience in this '_unfortunate gentleman.'"—Aids to Reflection, p. 143. n.]

August 20. 1830.


The French must have greatly improved under the influence of a free and regular government (for such it, in general, has been since the restoration), to have conducted themselves with so much moderation in success as they seem to have done, and to be disposed to do.

* * * * *

I must say I cannot see much in Captain B. Hall's account of the Americans, but weaknesses—some of which make me like the Yankees all the better. How much more amiable is the American fidgettiness and anxiety about the opinion of other nations, and especially of the English, than the sentiments of the rest of the world.[1]

As to what Captain Hall says about the English loyalty to the person of the King—I can only say, I feel none of it. I respect the man while, and only while, the king is translucent through him: I reverence the glass case for the Saint's sake within; except for that it is to me mere glazier's work,— putty, and glass, and wood.

[Footnote 1: "There exists in England a gentlemanly character, a gentlemanly feeling, very different even from that which is most like it,—the character of a well-born Spaniard, and unexampled in the rest of Europe. This feeling originated in the fortunate circumstance, that the titles of our English nobility follow the law of their property, and are inherited by the eldest sons only. From this source, under the influences of our constitution and of our astonishing trade, it has diffused itself in different modifications through the whole country. The uniformity of our dress among all classes above that of the day labourer, while it has authorized all ranks to assume the appearance of gentlemen, has at the same time inspired the wish to conform their manners, and still more their ordinary actions in social intercourse, to their notions of the gentlemanly the most commonly received attribute of which character is a certain generosity in trifles. On the other hand, the encroachments of the lower classes on the higher, occasioned and favoured by this resemblance in exteriors, by this absence of any cognizable marks of distinction, have rendered each class more reserved and jealous in their general communion; and, far more than our climate or natural temper, have caused that haughtiness and reserve in our outward demeanour, which is so generally complained of among foreigners. Far be it from me to depreciate the value of this gentlemanly feeling: I respect it under all its forms and varieties, from the House of Commons * to the gentleman in the one-shilling gallery. It is always the ornament of virtue, and oftentimes a support; but it is a wretched substitute for it. Its worth, as a moral good, is by no means in proportion to its value as a social advantage. These observations are not irrelevant: for to the want of reflection that this diffusion of gentlemanly feeling among us is not the growth of our moral excellence, but the effect of various accidental advantages peculiar to England; to our not considering that it is unreasonable and uncharitable to expect the same consequences, where the same causes have not existed to produce them; and lastly, to our prorieness to regard the absence of this character (which, as I have before said, does, for the greater part, and in the common apprehension, consist in a certain frankness and generosity in the detail of action) as decisive against the sum total of personal or national worth; we must, I am convinced, attribute a large portion of that conduct, which in many instances has left the inhabitants of countries conquered or appropriated by Great Britain doubtful whether the various solid advantages which they have derived from our protection and just government were not bought dearly by the wounds inflicted on their feelings and prejudices, by the contemptuous and insolent demeanour of the English, as individuals."—Friend, vol. iii. p, 322.

This was written long before the Reform Act.—ED.]

September 8. 1830.


The fatal error into which the peculiar character of the English Reformation threw our Church, has borne bitter fruit ever since,—I mean that of its clinging to court and state, instead of cultivating the people. The church ought to be a mediator between the people and the government, between the poor and the rich. As it is, I fear the Church has let the hearts of the common people be stolen from it. See how differently the Church of Rome—wiser in its generation—has always acted in this particular. For a long time past the Church of England seems to me to have been blighted with prudence, as it is called. I wish with all my heart we had a little zealous imprudence.

September 19. 1830.


It has never yet been seen, or clearly announced, that democracy, as such, is no proper element in the constitution of a state. The idea of a state is undoubtedly a government [Greek: ek ton aristou]—an aristocracy. Democracy is the healthful life-blood which circulates through the veins and arteries, which supports the system, but which ought never to appear externally, and as the mere blood itself.

A state, in idea, is the opposite of a church. A state regards classes, and not individuals; and it estimates classes, not by internal merit, but external accidents, as property, birth, &c. But a church does the reverse of this, and disregards all external accidents, and looks at men as individual persons, allowing no gradation of ranks, but such as greater or less wisdom, learning, and holiness ought to confer. A church is, therefore, in idea, the only pure democracy. The church, so considered, and the state, exclusively of the church, constitute together the idea of a state in its largest sense.

September 20. 1830.


All temporal government must rest on a compromise of interests and abstract rights. Who would listen to the county of Bedford, if it were to declare itself disannexed from the British empire, and to set up for itself?

* * * * *

The most desirable thing that can happen to France, with her immense army of gensd'armes, is, that the service may at first become very irksome to the men themselves, and ultimately, by not being called into real service, fall into general ridicule, like our trained bands. The evil in France, and throughout Europe, seems now especially to be, the subordination of the legislative power to the direct physical force of the people. The French legislature was weak enough before the late revolution; now it is absolutely powerless, and manifestly depends even for its existence on the will of a popular commander of an irresistible army. There is now in France a daily tendency to reduce the legislative body to a mere deputation from the provinces and towns.

September 21. 1830.


I do not know whether I deceive myself, but it seems to me that the young men, who were my contemporaries, fixed certain principles in their minds, and followed them out to their legitimate consequences, in a way which I rarely witness now. No one seems to have any distinct convictions, right or wrong; the mind is completely at sea, rolling and pitching on the waves of facts and personal experiences. Mr. —— is, I suppose, one of the rising young men of the day; yet he went on talking, the other evening, and making remarks with great earnestness, some of which were palpably irreconcilable with each other. He told me that facts gave birth to, and were the absolute ground of, principles; to which I said, that unless he had a principle of selection, he would not have taken notice of those facts upon which he grounded his principle. You must have a lantern in your hand to give light, otherwise all the materials in the world are useless, for you cannot find them; and if you could, you could not arrange them. "But then," said Mr. ——, "that principle of selection came from facts!"—"To be sure!" I replied; "but there must have been again an antecedent light to see those antecedent facts. The relapse may be carried in imagination backwards for ever,—but go back as you may, you cannot come to a man without a previous aim or principle." He then asked me what I had to say to Bacon's induction: I told him I had a good deal to say, if need were; but that it was perhaps enough for the occasion to remark, that what he was evidently taking for the Baconian _in_duction was mere _de_duction—a very different thing.[1]

[Footnote 1: As far as I can judge, the most complete and masterly thing ever done by Mr. Coleridge in prose, is the analysis and reconcilement of the Platonic and Baconian methods of philosophy, contained in the third volume of the Friend, from p. 176 to 216. No edition of the Novum Organum should ever be published without a transcript of it.—ED.]

September 22. 1830.


The object of Thucydides was to show the ills resulting to Greece from the separation and conflict of the spirits or elements of democracy and oligarchy. The object of Tacitus was to demonstrate the desperate consequences of the loss of liberty on the minds and hearts of men.

* * * * *

A poet ought not to pick nature's pocket: let him borrow, and so borrow as to repay by the very act of borrowing. Examine nature accurately, but write from recollection; and trust more to your imagination than to your memory.

* * * * *

Really the metre of some of the modern poems I have read, bears about the same relation to metre properly understood, that dumb bells do to music; both are for exercise, and pretty severe too, I think.

* * * * *

Nothing ever left a stain on that gentle creature's mind, which looked upon the degraded men and things around him like moonshine on a dunghill, which shines and takes no pollution. All things are shadows to him, except those which move his affections.

September 23. 1830.


There are two kinds of logic: 1. Syllogistic. 2. Criterional. How any one can by any spinning make out more than ten or a dozen pages about the first, is inconceivable to me; all those absurd forms of syllogisms are one half pure sophisms, and the other half mere forms of rhetoric.

All syllogistic logic is—1. _Se_clusion; 2. _In_clusion; 3. _Con_clusion; which answer to the understanding, the experience, and the reason. The first says, this ought to be; the second adds, this is; and the last pronounces, this must be so. The criterional logic, or logic of premisses, is, of course, much the most important; and it has never yet been treated.

* * * * *

The object of rhetoric is persuasion,—of logic, conviction,—of grammar, significancy. A fourth term is wanting, the rhematic, or logic of sentences.

September 24. 1830.


What a loss we have had in Varro's mythological and critical works! It is said that the works of Epicurus are probably amongst the Herculanean manuscripts. I do not feel much interest about them, because, by the consent of all antiquity, Lucretius has preserved a complete view of his system. But I regret the loss of the works of the old Stoics, Zeno and others, exceedingly.

* * * * *

Socrates, as such, was only a poetical character to Plato, who worked upon his own ground. The several disciples of Socrates caught some particular points from him, and made systems of philosophy upon them according to their own views. Socrates himself had no system.

* * * * *

I hold all claims set up for Egypt having given birth to the Greek philosophy, to be groundless. It sprang up in Greece itself, and began with physics only.

Then it took in the idea of a living cause, and made pantheism out of the two. Socrates introduced ethics, and taught duties; and then, finally, Plato asserted or re-asserted the idea of a God the maker of the world. The measure of human philosophy was thus full, when Christianity came to add what before was wanting—assurance. After this again, the Neo-Platonists joined theurgy with philosophy, which ultimately degenerated into magic and mere mysticism.

Plotinus was a man of wonderful ability, and some of the sublimest passages
I ever read are in his works.

I was amused the other day with reading in Tertullian, that spirits or demons dilate and contract themselves, and wriggle about like worms— lumbricix similes.

September 26. 1830.


The five finest things in Scotland are—1. Edinburgh; 2. The antechamber of the Fall of Foyers; 3. The view of Loch Lomond from Inch Tavannach, the highest of the islands; 4. The Trosachs; 5. The view of the Hebrides from a point, the name of which I forget. But the intervals between the fine things in Scotland are very dreary;—whereas in Cumberland and Westmoreland there is a cabinet of beauties,—each thing being beautiful in itself, and the very passage from one lake, mountain, or valley, to another, is itself a beautiful thing again. The Scotch lakes are so like one another, from their great size, that in a picture you are obliged to read their names; but the English lakes, especially Derwent Water, or rather the whole vale of Keswick, is so rememberable, that, after having been once seen, no one ever requires to be told what it is when drawn. This vale is about as large a basin as Loch Lomond; the latter is covered with water; but in the former instance, we have two lakes with a charming river to connect them, and lovely villages at the foot of the mountain, and other habitations, which give an air of life and cheerfulness to the whole place.

* * * * *

The land imagery of the north of Devon is most delightful.

September 27. 1830.


A person once said to me, that he could make nothing of love, except that it was friendship accidentally combined with desire. Whence I concluded that he had never been in love. For what shall we say of the feeling which a man of sensibility has towards his wife with her baby at her breast! How pure from sensual desire! yet how different from friendship!

Sympathy constitutes friendship; but in love there is a sort of antipathy, or opposing passion. Each strives to be the other, and both together make up one whole.

Luther has sketched the most beautiful picture of the nature, and ends, and duties of the wedded life I ever read. St. Paul says it is a great symbol, not mystery, as we translate it.[1]

[Footnote 1:
Greek: —— ]

* * * * *

"Most women have no character at all," said Pope[1] and meant it for satire. Shakspeare, who knew man and woman much better, saw that it, in fact, was the perfection of woman to be characterless.

Every one wishes a Desdemona or Ophelia for a wife,—creatures who, though they may not always understand you, do always feel you, and feel with you.

[Footnote 1:
  "Nothing so true as what you once let fall—
  'Most women have no character at all,'—
  Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
  And best distinguish'd by black, brown, and fair."
  Epist. to a Lady, v. I.],

September 28. 1830.


Why need we talk of a fiery hell? If the will, which is the law of our nature, were withdrawn from our memory, fancy, understanding, and reason, no other hell could equal, for a spiritual being, what we should then feel, from the anarchy of our powers. It would be conscious madness—a horrid thought!

October 5. 1830.


In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.

* * * * *

An ear for music is a very different thing from a taste for music. I have no ear whatever; I could not sing an air to save my life; but I have the intensest delight in music, and can detect good from bad. Naldi, a good fellow, remarked to me once at a concert, that I did not seem much interested with a piece of Rossini's which had just been performed. I said, it sounded to me like nonsense verses. But I could scarcely contain myself when a thing of Beethoven's followed.

* * * * *

I never distinctly felt the heavenly superiority of the prayers in the
English liturgy, till I had attended some kirks in the country parts of
Scotland, I call these strings of school boys or girls which we meet near
London—walking advertisements.

* * * * *

The Brussels riot—I cannot bring myself to dignify it with a higher name
—is a wretched parody on the last French revolution. Were I King William,
I would banish the Belgians, as Coriolanus banishes the Romans in

It is a wicked rebellion without one just cause.

[Footnote 1:
  "You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
  As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
  As the dead carcasses of unburied men
  That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
  And here remain with your uncertainty!"
    Act iii. sc. 3.]

October 8. 1830.


Galileo was a great genius, and so was Newton; but it would take two or three Galileos and Newtons to make one Kepler.[1] It is in the order of Providence, that the inventive, generative, constitutive mind—the Kepler— should come first; and then that the patient and collective mind—the Newton—should follow, and elaborate the pregnant queries and illumining guesses of the former. The laws of the planetary system are, in fact, due to Kepler. There is not a more glorious achievement of scientific genius upon record, than Kepler's guesses, prophecies, and ultimate apprehension of the law[2] of the mean distances of the planets as connected with the periods of their revolutions round the sun. Gravitation, too, he had fully conceived; but, because it seemed inconsistent with some received observations on light, he gave it up, in allegiance, as he says, to Nature. Yet the idea vexed and haunted his mind; "Vexat me et lacessit," are his words, I believe.

We praise Newton's clearness and steadiness. He was clear and steady, no doubt, whilst working out, by the help of an admirable geometry, the idea brought forth by another. Newton had his ether, and could not rest in—he could not conceive—the idea of a law. He thought it a physical thing after all. As for his chronology, I believe, those who are most competent to judge, rely on it less and less every day. His lucubrations on Daniel and the Revelations seem to me little less than mere raving.

[Footnote 1:
Galileo Galilei was born at Pisa, on the 15th of February, 1564. John
Kepler was born at Weil, in the duchy of Wirtemberg, on the 2lst of
December, 1571.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: Namely, that the squares of their times vary as the cubes of their distances,—ED.]

* * * * *

Personal experiment is necessary, in order to correct our own observation of the experiments which Nature herself makes for us—I mean, the phenomena of the universe. But then observation is, in turn, wanted to direct and substantiate the course of experiment. Experiments alone cannot advance knowledge, without observation; they amuse for a time, and then pass off the scene and leave no trace behind them.

* * * * *

Bacon, when like himself—for no man was ever more inconsistent—says, "Prudens qiuestio—dimidium scientiæ est."

October 20. 1830.


At the Reformation, the first reformers were beset with an almost morbid anxiety not to be considered heretical in point of doctrine. They knew that the Romanists were on the watch to fasten the brand of heresy upon them whenever a fair pretext could be found; and I have no doubt it was the excess of this fear which at once led to the burning of Servetus, and also to the thanks offered by all the Protestant churches, to Calvin and the Church of Geneva, for burning him.

November 21. 1830.


—— never makes a figure in quietude. He astounds the vulgar with a certain enormity of exertion; he takes an acre of canvass, on which he scrawls every thing. He thinks aloud; every thing in his mind, good, bad, or indifferent, out it comes; he is like the Newgate gutter, flowing with garbage, dead dogs, and mud. He is preeminently a man of many thoughts, with no ideas: hence he is always so lengthy, because he must go through every thing to see any thing.

* * * * *

It is a melancholy thing to live when there is no vision in the land. Where are our statesmen to meet this emergency? I see no reformer who asks himself the question, What is it that I propose to myself to effect in the result?

Is the House of Commons to be re-constructed on the principle of a representation of interests, or of a delegation of men? If on the former, we may, perhaps, see our way; if on the latter, you can never, in reason, stop short of universal suffrage; and in that case, I am sure that women have as good a right to vote as men.[1]

[Footnote 1: In Mr. Coleridge's masterly analysis and confutation of the physiocratic system of the early French revolutionists, in the Friend, he has the following passage in the nature of a reductio ad absurdum. "Rousseau, indeed, asserts that there is an inalienable sovereignty inherent in every human being possessed of reason; and from this the framers of the Constitution of 1791 deduce, that the people itself is its own sole rightful legislator, and at most dare only recede so far from its right as to delegate to chosen deputies the power of representing and declaring the general will. But this is wholly without proof; for it has been already fully shown, that, according to the principle out of which this consequence is attempted to be drawn, it is not the actual man, but the abstract reason alone, that is the sovereign and rightful lawgiver. The confusion of two things so different is so gross an error, that the Constituent Assembly could scarce proceed a step in their declaration of rights, without some glaring inconsistency. Children are excluded from all political power; are they not human beings in whom the faculty of reason resides? Yes! but|in them the faculty is not yet adequately developed. But are not gross ignorance, inveterate superstition, and the habitual tyranny of passion and sensuality, equally preventives of the developement, equally impediments to the rightful exercise, of the reason, as childhood and early youth? Who would not rely on the judgment of a well-educated English lad, bred in a virtuous and enlightened family, in preference to that of a brutal Russian, who believes that he can scourge his wooden idol into good humour, or attributes to himself the merit of perpetual prayer, when he has fastened the petitions, which his priest has written for him, on the wings of a windmill? Again: women are likewise excluded; a full half, and that assuredly the most innocent, the most amiable half, of the whole human race is excluded, and this too by a Constitution which boasts to have no other foundations but those of universal reason! Is reason, then, an affair of sex? No! but women are commonly in a state of dependence, and are not likely to exercise their reason with freedom. Well! and does not this ground of exclusion apply with equal or greater force to the poor, to the infirm, to men in embarrassed circumstances, to all, in short, whose maintenance, be it scanty, or be it ample, depends on the will of others? How far are we to go? Where must we stop? What classes should we admit? Whom must we disfranchise? The objects concerning whom we are to determine these questions, are all human beings, and differenced from each other by degrees only, these degrees, too, oftentimes changing. Yet the principle on which the whole system rests, is that reason is not susceptible of degree. Nothing, therefore, which subsists wholly in degrees, the changes of which do not obey any necessary law, can be the object of pure science, or determinate by mere reason,"—Vol. i. p. 341, ED.]

March 20. 1831.


Government is not founded on property, taken merely as such, in the abstract; it is founded on unequal property; the inequality is an essential term in the position. The phrases—higher, middle, and lower classes, with reference to this point of representation—are delusive; no such divisions as classes actually exist in society. There is an indissoluble blending and interfusion of persons from top to bottom; and no man can trace a line of separation through them, except such a confessedly unmeaning and unjustifiable line of political empiricism as 10_l_. householders. I cannot discover a ray of principle in the government plan, —not a hint of the effect of the change upon the balance of the estates of the realm,—not a remark on the nature of the constitution of England, and the character of the property of so many millions of its inhabitants. Half the wealth of this country is purely artificial,—existing only in and on the credit given to it by the integrity and honesty of the nation. This property appears, in many instances, a heavy burthen to the numerical majority of the people, and they believe that it causes all their distress: and they are now to have the maintenance of this property committed to their good faith—the lamb to the wolves!

Necker, you remember, asked the people to come and help him against the aristocracy. The people came fast enough at his bidding; but, somehow or other, they would not go away again when they had done their work. I hope Lord Grey will not see himself or his friends in the woeful case of the conjuror, who, with infinite zeal and pains, called up the devils to do something for him. They came at the word, thronging about him, grinning, and howling, and dancing, and whisking their long tails in diabolic glee; but when they asked him what he wanted of them, the poor wretch, frightened out his of wits, could only stammer forth,—"I pray you, my friends, be gone down again!" At which the devils, with one voice, replied,—

  "Yes! yes! we'll go down! we'll go down!—
  But we'll take you with us to swim or to drown!"[1]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge must have been thinking of that "very pithy and profitable" ballad by the Laureate, wherein is shown how a young man "would read unlawful books, and how he was punished:"—

  "The young man, he began to read
  He knew not what, but he would proceed,
  When there was heard a sound at the door,
  Which as he read on grew more and more.

  "And more and more the knocking grew,
  The young man knew not what to do:
  But trembling in fear he sat within,
  Till the door was broke, and the devil came in.

  "'What would'st thou with me?' the wicked one cried;
  But not a word the young man replied;
  Every hair on his head was standing upright,
  And his limbs like a palsy shook with affright.

  "'What would'st thou with me?' cried the author of ill;
  But the wretched young man was silent still," &c.

The catastrophe is very terrible, and the moral, though addressed by the poet to young men only, is quite as applicable to old men, as the times show.

  "Henceforth let all young men take heed
  How in a conjuror's books they read!"
Southey's Minor Poems, vol. iii. p. 92.—ED.]

* * * * *

June 25. 1831.


The three great ends which a statesman ought to propose to himself in the government of a nation, are,—1. Security to possessors; 2. Facility to acquirers; and; 3. Hope to all.

* * * * *

A nation is the unity of a people. King and parliament are the unity made visible. The king and the peers are as integral portions of this manifested unity as the commons.[1]

In that imperfect state of society in which our system of representation began, the interests of the country were pretty exactly commensurate with its municipal divisions. The counties, the towns, and the seaports, accurately enough represented the only interests then existing; that is say,—the landed, the shop-keeping or manufacturing, and the mercantile. But for a century past, at least, this division has become notoriously imperfect, some of the most vital interests of the empire being now totally unconnected with any English localities. Yet now, when the evil and the want are known, we are to abandon the accommodations which the necessity of the case had worked out for itself, and begin again with a rigidly territorial plan of representation! The miserable tendency of all is to destroy our nationality, which consists, in a principal degree, in our representative government, and to convert it into a degrading delegation of the populace. There is no unity for a people but in a representation of national interests; a delegation from the passions or wishes of the individuals themselves is a rope of sand. Undoubtedly it is a great evil, that there should be such an evident discrepancy between the law and the practice of the constitution in the matter of the representation. Such a direct, yet clandestine, contravention of solemn resolutions and established laws is immoral, and greatly injurious to the cause of legal loyalty and general subordination in the minds of the people. But then a statesman should consider that these very contraventions of law in practice point out to him the places in the body politic which need a remodelling of the law. You acknowledge a certain necessity for indirect representation in the present day, and that such representation has been instinctively obtained by means contrary to law; why then do you not approximate the useless law to the useful practice, instead of abandoning both law and practice for a completely new system of your own?

[Footnote 1:
Mr. Coleridge was very fond of quoting George Withers's fine lines:—

  "Let not your king and parliament in one,
  Much less apart, mistake themselves for that
  Which is most worthy to be thought upon:
  Nor think they are, essentially, The STATE.
  Let them not fancy that th' authority
  And privileges upon them bestown,
  Conferr'd are to set up a majesty,
  A power, or a glory, of their own!
  But let them know, 't was for a deeper life,
  Which they but represent
  That there's on earth a yet auguster thing,
  Veil'd though it be, than parliament and king!"—ED.]

* * * * *

The malignant duplicity and unprincipled tergiversations of the specific Whig newspapers are to me detestable. I prefer the open endeavours of those publications which seek to destroy the church, and introduce a republic in effect: there is a sort of honesty in that which I approve, though I would with joy lay down my life to save my country from the consummation which is so evidently desired by that section of the periodical press.

June 26. 1831.


I have been exceedingly impressed with the evil precedent of Colonel Napier's History of the Peninsular War. It is a specimen of the true French military school; not a thought for the justice of the war,—not a consideration of the damnable and damning iniquity of the French invasion. All is looked at as a mere game of exquisite skill, and the praise is regularly awarded to the most successful player. How perfectly ridiculous is the prostration of Napier's mind, apparently a powerful one, before the name of Buonaparte! I declare I know no book more likely to undermine the national sense of right and wrong in matters of foreign interference than this work of Napier's.

If A. has a hundred means of doing a certain thing, and B. has only one or two, is it very wonderful, or does it argue very transcendant superiority, if A. surpasses B.? Buonaparte was the child of circumstances, which he neither originated nor controlled. He had no chance of preserving his power but by continual warfare. No thought of a wise tranquillization of the shaken elements of France seems ever to have passed through his mind; and I believe that at no part of his reign could be have survived one year's continued peace. He never had but one obstacle to contend with—physical force; commonly the least difficult enemy a general, subject to courts- martial and courts of conscience, has to overcome.

* * * * *

Southey's History[1] is on the right side, and starts from the right point; but he is personally fond of the Spaniards, and in bringing forward their nationality in the prominent manner it deserves, he does not, in my judgment, state with sufficient clearness the truth, that the nationality of the Spaniards was not founded on any just ground of good government or wise laws, but was, in fact, very little more than a rooted antipathy to all strangers as such.

In this sense every thing is national in Spain. Even their so called Catholic religion is exclusively national in a genuine Spaniard's mind; he does not regard the religious professions of the Frenchman or Italian at all in the same light with his own.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge said that the conclusion of this great work was the finest specimen of historic eulogy he had ever read in English;—that it was more than a campaign to the duke's fame.—ED.]

July 7. 1831.


The darkest despotisms on the Continent have done more for the growth and elevation of the fine arts than the English government. A great musical composer in Germany and Italy is a great man in society, and a real dignity and rank are universally conceded to him. So it is with a sculptor, or painter, or architect. Without this sort of encouragement and patronage such arts as music and painting will never come into great eminence. In this country there is no general reverence for the fine arts; and the sordid spirit of a money-amassing philosophy would meet any proposition for the fostering of art, in a genial and extended sense, with the commercial maxim,—Laissez faire. Paganini, indeed, will make a fortune, because he can actually sell the tones of his fiddle at so much a scrape; but Mozart himself might have languished in a garret for any thing that would have been done for him here.

* * * * *

There are three classes into which all the women past seventy that ever I knew were to be divided:—1. That dear old soul; 2. That old woman; 3. That old witch.

July 24. 1831.


Observe the remarkable difference between Claude and Teniers in their power of painting vacant space. Claude makes his whole landscape a plenum: the air is quite as substantial as any other part of the scene. Hence there are no true distances, and every thing presses at once and equally upon the eye. There is something close and almost suffocating in the atmosphere of some of Claude's sunsets. Never did any one paint air, the thin air, the absolutely apparent vacancy between object and object, so admirably as Teniers. That picture of the Archers[2] exemplifies this excellence. See the distances between those ugly louts! how perfectly true to the fact!

But oh! what a wonderful picture is that Triumph of Silenus![3] It is the very revelry of hell. Every evil passion is there that could in any way be forced into juxtaposition with joyance. Mark the lust, and, hard by, the hate. Every part is pregnant with libidinous nature without one spark of the grace of Heaven. The animal is triumphing—not over, but—in the absence, in the non-existence, of the spiritual part of man. I could fancy that Rubens had seen in a vision—

  All the souls that damned be
  Leap up at once in anarchy,
  Clap their hands, and dance for glee!

That landscape[4] on the other side is only less magnificent than dear Sir George Beaumont's, now in the National Gallery. It has the same charm. Rubens does not take for his subjects grand or novel conformations of objects; he has, you see, no precipices, no forests, no frowning castles,— nothing that a poet would take at all times, and a painter take in these times. No; he gets some little ponds, old tumble-down cottages, that ruinous château, two or three peasants, a hay-rick, and other such humble images, which looked at in and by themselves convey no pleasure and excite no surprise; but he—and he Peter Paul Rubens alone—handles these every- day ingredients of all common landscapes as they are handled in nature; he throws them into a vast and magnificent whole, consisting of heaven and earth and all things therein. He extracts the latent poetry out of these common objects,—that poetry and harmony which every man of genius perceives in the face of nature, and which many men of no genius are taught to perceive and feel after examining such a picture as this. In other landscape painters the scene is confined and as it were imprisoned;—in Rubens the landscape dies a natural death; it fades away into the apparent infinity of space.

So long as Rubens confines himself to space and outward figure—to the mere animal man with animal passions—he is, I may say, a god amongst painters. His satyrs, Silenuses, lions, tigers, and dogs, are almost godlike; but the moment he attempts any thing involving or presuming the spiritual, his gods and goddesses, his nymphs and heroes, become beasts, absolute, unmitigated beasts.

[Footnote 1: All the following remarks in this section were made at the exhibition of ancient masters at the British Gallery in Pall Mall. The recollection of those two hours has made the rooms of that Institution a melancholy place for me. Mr. Coleridge was in high spirits, and seemed to kindle in his mind at the contemplation of the splendid pictures before him. He did not examine them all by the catalogue, but anchored himself before some three or four great works, telling me that he saw the rest of the Gallery potentially. I can yet distinctly recall him, half leaning on his old simple stick, and his hat off in one hand, whilst with the fingers of the other he went on, as was his constant wont, figuring in the air a commentary of small diagrams, wherewith, as he fancied, he could translate to the eye those relations of form and space which his words might fail to convey with clearness to the ear. His admiration for Rubens showed itself in a sort of joy and brotherly fondness; he looked as if he would shake hands with his pictures. What the company, which by degrees formed itself round this silver-haired, bright-eyed, music-breathing, old man, took him for, I cannot guess; there was probably not one there who knew him to be that Ancient Mariner, who held people with his glittering eye, and constrained them, like three years' children, to hear his tale. In the midst of his speech, he turned to the right hand, where stood a very lovely young woman, whose attention he had involuntarily arrested;—to her, without apparently any consciousness of her being a stranger to him, he addressed many remarks, although I must acknowledge they were couched in a somewhat softer tone, as if he were soliciting her sympathy. He was, verily, a gentle-hearted man at all times; but I never was in company with him in my life, when the entry of a woman, it mattered not who, did not provoke a dim gush of emotion, which passed like an infant's breath over the mirror of his intellect.—ED.]

[Footnote 2:
"Figures shooting at a Target," belonging, I believe, to Lord Bandon.—ED.]

[Footnote 3: This belongs to Sir Robert Peel.—ED.]

[Footnote 4:
"Landscape with setting Sun,"—Lord Farnborough's picture.—ED.]

* * * * *

The Italian masters differ from the Dutch in this—that in their pictures ages are perfectly ideal. The infant that Raffael's Madonna holds in her arms cannot be guessed of any particular age; it is Humanity in infancy. The babe in the manger in a Dutch painting is a fac-simile of some real new-born bantling; it is just like the little rabbits we fathers have all seen with some dismay at first burst.

* * * * *

Carlo Dolce's representations of our Saviour are pretty, to be sure; but they are too smooth to please me. His Christs are always in sugar-candy.

* * * * *

That is a very odd and funny picture of the Connoisseurs at Rome[1] by Reynolds.

[Footnote 1:
"Portraits of distinguished Connoisseurs painted at Rome,"—belonging to
Lord Burlington.—ED.]

* * * * *

The more I see of modern pictures, the more I am convinced that the ancient art of painting is gone, and something substituted for it,—very pleasing, but different, and different in kind and not in degree only. Portraits by the old masters,—take for example the pock-fritten lady by Cuyp[1]—are pictures of men and women: they fill, not merely occupy, a space; they represent individuals, but individuals as types of a species.

Modern portraits—a few by Jackson and Owen, perhaps, excepted—give you not the man, not the inward humanity, but merely the external mark, that in which Tom is different from Bill. There is something affected and meretricious in the Snake in the Grass[2] and such pictures, by Reynolds.

[Footnote 1:
I almost forget, but have some recollection that the allusion is to Mr.
Heneage Finch's picture of a Lady with a Fan.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: Sir Robert Peel's.—ED.]

July 25. 1831.


It is now twenty years since I read Chillingworth's book[1]; but certainly it seemed to me that his main position, that the mere text of the Bible is the sole and exclusive ground of Christian faith and practice, is quite untenable against the Romanists. It entirely destroys the conditions of a church, of an authority residing in a religious community, and all that holy sense of brotherhood which is so sublime and consolatory to a meditative Christian. Had I been a Papist, I should not have wished for a more vanquishable opponent in controversy. I certainly believe Chillingworth to have been in some sense a Socinian. Lord Falkland, his friend, said so in substance. I do not deny his skill in dialectics; he was more than a match for Knott[2] to be sure.

I must be bold enough to say, that I do not think that even Hooker puts the idea of a church on the true foundation.

[Footnote 1:
"The Religion of Protestants a safe Way to Salvation; or, an Answer to a
Booke entitled 'Mercy and Truth; or, Charity maintained by Catholicks,'
which pretends to prove the contrary."]

[Footnote 2: Socinianism, or some inclination that way, is an old and clinging charge against Chillingworth. On the one hand, it is well known that he subscribed the articles of the church of England, in the usual form, on the 20th of July, 1638; and on the other, it is equally certain that within two years immediately previous, he wrote the letter to some unnamed correspondent, beginning "Dear Harry," and printed in all the Lives of Chillingworth, in which letter he sums up his arguments upon the Arian doctrine in this passage:—"In a word, whosoever shall freely and impartially consider of this thing, and how on the other side the ancient fathers' weapons against the Arrians are in a manner only places of Scripture (and these now for the most part discarded as importunate and unconcluding), and how in the argument drawn from the authority of the ancient fathers, they are almost always defendants, and scarse ever opponents, he shall not choose but confesses or at least be very inclinable to beleeve, that the doctrine of Arrius is eyther a truth, or at least no damnable heresy." The truth is, however, that the Socinianism of Chillingworth, such as it may have been, had more reference to the doctrine of the redemption of man than of the being of God.

Edward Knott's real name was Matthias Wilson.—ED.]

* * * * *

The superstition of the peasantry and lower orders generally in Malta, Sicily, and Italy exceeds common belief. It is unlike the superstition of Spain, which is a jealous fanaticism, having reference to their catholicism, and always glancing on heresy. The popular superstition of Italy is the offspring of the climate, the old associations, the manners, and the very names of the places. It is pure paganism, undisturbed by any anxiety about orthodoxy, or animosity against heretics. Hence, it is much more good-natured and pleasing to a traveller's feelings, and certainly not a whit less like the true religion of our dear Lord than the gloomy idolatry of the Spaniards.

* * * * *

I well remember, when in Valetta in 1805, asking a boy who waited on me, what a certain procession, then passing, was, and his answering with great quickness, that it was Jesus Christ, who lives here (sta di casa qui), and when he comes out, it is in the shape of a wafer. But, "Eccelenza," said he, smiling and correcting himself, "non è Cristiano."[1]

[Footnote 1: The following anecdote related by Mr. Coleridge, in April, 1811, was preserved and communicated to me by Mr. Justice Coleridge:—"As I was descending from Mount AEtna with a very lively talkative guide, we passed through a village (I think called) Nicolozzi, when the host happened to be passing through the street. Every one was prostrate; my guide became so; and, not to be singular, I went down also. After resuming our journey, I observed in my guide an unusual seriousness and long silence, which, after many hums and hahs, was interrupted by a low bow, and leave requested to ask a question. This was of course granted, and the ensuing dialogue took place. Guide. "Signor, are you then a Christian?" Coleridge. "I hope so." G. "What! are all Englishmen Christians?" C. "I hope and trust they are." G. "What! are you not Turks? Are you not damned eternally?" C. "I trust not, through Christ." G. "What! you believe in Christ then?" C. "Certainly." This answer produced another long silence. At length my guide again spoke, still doubting the grand point of my Christianity. G. "I'm thinking, Signor, what is the difference between you and us, that you are to be certainly damned?" C. "Nothing very material; nothing that can prevent our both going to heaven, I hope. We believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." G. (interrupting me) "Oh those damned priests! what liars they are! But (pausing) we can't do without them; we can't go to heaven without them. But tell me, Signor, what are the differences?" C. "Why, for instance, we do not worship the Virgin." G. "And why not, Signor?" C. "Because, though holy and pure, we think her still a woman, and, therefore, do not pay her the honour due to God." G. "But do you not worship Jesus, who sits on the right hand of God?" C. "We do." G. "Then why not worship the Virgin, who sits on the left?" C. "I did not know she did. If you can show it me in the Scriptures, I shall readily agree to worship her." "Oh," said my man, with uncommon triumph, and cracking his fingers, "sicuro, Signor! sicuro, Signor!""—ED.]

July 30. 1831.


Asgill was an extraordinary man, and his pamphlet[1] is invaluable. He undertook to prove that man is literally immortal; or, rather, that any given living man might probably never die. He complains of the cowardly practice of dying. He was expelled from two Houses of Commons for blasphemy and atheism, as was pretended;—really I suspect because he was a staunch Hanoverian. I expected to find the ravings of an enthusiast, or the sullen snarlings of an infidel; whereas I found the very soul of Swift—an intense half self-deceived humorism. I scarcely remember elsewhere such uncommon skill in logic, such lawyer-like acuteness, and yet such a grasp of common sense. Each of his paragraphs is in itself a whole, and yet a link between the preceding and following; so that the entire series forms one argument, and yet each is a diamond in itself.

[Footnote 1: "An argument proving, that, according to the covenant of eternal life, revealed in the Scriptures, man may be translated from hence, without passing through death, although the human nature of Christ himself could not be thus translated, till he had passed through death." Asgill died in the year 1738, in the King's Bench prison, where he had been a prisoner for debt thirty years.—ED.]

* * * * *

Was there ever such a miserable scene as that of the exhibition of the Austrian standards in the French house of peers the other day?[1] Every other nation but the French would see that it was an exhibition of their own falsehood and cowardice. A man swears that the property intrusted to him is burnt, and then, when he is no longer afraid, produces it, and boasts of the atmosphere of "honour," through which the lie did not transpire.

Frenchmen are like grains of gunpowder,—each by itself smutty and contemptible, but mass them together and they are terrible indeed.

[Footnote 1: When the allies were in Paris in 1815, all the Austrian standards were reclaimed. The answer was that they had been burnt by the soldiers at the Hôtel des Invalides. This was untrue. The Marquis de Semonville confessed with pride that he, knowing of the fraud, had concealed these standards, taken from Mack at Ulm in 1805, in a vault under the Luxemburg palace. "An inviolable asylum," said the Marquis in his speech to the peers, "formed in the vault of this hall has protected this treasure from every search. Vainly, during this long space of time, have the most authoritative researches endeavoured to penetrate the secret. It would have been culpable to reveal it, as long as we were liable to the demands of haughty foreigners. No one in this atmosphere of honour is capable of so great a weakness," &c.—ED.]

August 1. 1831.

As there is much beast and some devil in man; so is there some angel and some God in him. The beast and the devil may be conquered, but in this life never destroyed.

* * * * *

I will defy any one to answer the arguments of a St. Simonist, except on the ground of Christianity—its precepts and its assurances.

August 6. 1831.


There is the love of the good for the good's sake, and the love of the truth for the truth's sake. I have known many, especially women, love the good for the good's sake; but very few, indeed, and scarcely one woman, love the truth for the truth's sake. Yet; without the latter, the former may become, as it has a thousand times been, the source of persecution of the truth,—the pretext and motive of inquisitorial cruelty and party zealotry. To see clearly that the love of the good and the true is ultimately identical—is given only to those who love both sincerely and without any foreign ends.

* * * * *

Look through the whole history of countries professing the Romish religion, and you will uniformly find the leaven of this besetting and accursed principle of action—that the end will sanction any means.

August 8. 1831.


The conduct of this country to King William of Holland has been, in my judgment, base and unprincipled beyond any thing in our history since the times of Charles the Second. Certainly, Holland is one of the most important allies that England has; and we are doing our utmost to subject it, and Portugal, to French influence, or even dominion! Upon my word, the English people, at this moment, are like a man palsied in every part of his body but one, in which one part he is so morbidly sensitive that he cannot bear to have it so much as breathed upon, whilst you may pinch him with a hot forceps elsewhere without his taking any notice of it.

August 8. 1831.


Iron is the most ductile of all hard metals, and the hardest of all ductile metals. With the exception of nickel, in which it is dimly seen, iron is the only metal in which the magnetic power is visible. Indeed, it is almost impossible to purify nickel of iron.

* * * * *

Galvanism is the union of electricity and magnetism, and, by being continuous, it exhibits an image of life;—I say, an image only: it is life in death.

* * * * *

Heat is the mesothesis or indifference of light and matter.

August 14. 1831.


The character of most nations in their colonial dependencies is in an inverse ratio of excellence to their character at home. The best people in the mother-country will generally be the worst in the colonies; the worst at home will be the best abroad. Or, perhaps, I may state it less offensively thus:—The colonists of a well governed-country will degenerate; those of an ill-governed country will improve. I am now considering the natural tendency of such colonists if left to themselves; of course, a direct act of the legislature of the mother-country will break in upon this. Where this tendency is exemplified, the cause is obvious. In countries well governed and happily conditioned, none, or very few, but those who are desperate through vice or folly, or who are mere trading adventurers, will be willing to leave their homes and settle in another hemisphere; and of those who do go, the best and worthiest are always striving to acquire the means of leaving the colony, and of returning to their native land. In ill-governed and ill-conditioned countries, on the contrary, the most respectable of the people are willing and anxious to emigrate for the chance of greater security and enlarged freedom; and if they succeed in obtaining these blessings in almost any degree, they have little inducement, on the average, to wish to abandon their second and better country. Hence, in the former case, the colonists consider themselves as mere strangers, sojourners, birds of passage, and shift to live from hand to mouth, with little regard to lasting improvement of the place of their temporary commerce; whilst, in the latter case, men feel attached to a community to which they are individually indebted for otherwise unattainable benefits, and for the most part learn to regard it as their abode, and to make themselves as happy and comfortable in it as possible. I believe that the internal condition and character of the English and French West India islands of the last century amply verified this distinction; the Dutch colonists most certainly did, and have always done.

Analogous to this, though not founded on precisely the same principle, is the fact that the severest naval discipline is always found in the ships of the freest nations, and the most lax discipline in the ships of the most oppressed. Hence, the naval discipline of the Americans is the sharpest; then that of the English;[1] then that of the French (I speak as it used to be); and on board a Spanish ship, there is no discipline at all.

At Genoa, the word "Liberty" is, or used to be, engraved on the chains of the galley-slaves, and the doors of the dungeons.

[Footnote 1: This expression needs explanation. It looks as if Mr. Coleridge rated the degree of liberty enjoyed by the English, after that of the citizens of the United States; but he meant no such thing. His meaning was, that the form of government of the latter was more democratic, and formally assigned more power to each individual. The Americans, as a nation, had no better friend in England than Coleridge; he contemplated their growth with interest, and prophesied highly of their destiny, whether under their present or other governments. But he well knew their besetting faults and their peculiar difficulties, and was most deliberately of opinion that the English had, for 130 years last past, possessed a measure of individual freedom and social dignity which had never been equalled, much less surpassed, in any other country ancient or modern. There is a passage in Mr. Coleridge's latest publication (Church and State}, which clearly expresses his opinion upon this subject: "It has been frequently and truly observed that in England, where the ground-plan, the skeleton, as it were, of the government is a monarchy, at once buttressed and limited by the aristocracy (the assertions of its popular character finding a better support in the harangues and theories of popular men, than in state documents, and the records of clear history), afar greater degree of liberty is, and long has been, enjoyed, than ever existed in, the ostensibly freest, that is, most democratic, commonwealths of ancient or modern times; greater, indeed, and with a more decisive predominance of the spirit of freedom, than the wisest and most philanthropic statesmen of antiquity, or than the great commonwealth's men,—the stars of that narrow interspace of blue sky between the black clouds of the first and second Charles's reigns—believed compatible, the one with the safety of the state, the other with the interests of morality. Yes! for little less than a century and a half, Englishmen have, collectively and individually, lived and acted with fewer restraints on their free-agency, than the citizens of any known republic, past or present." (p. 120.) Upon which he subjoins the following note: "It will be thought, perhaps, that the United States of North America should have been excepted. But the identity of stock, language, customs, manners, and laws scarcely allows us to consider this an exception, even though it were quite certain both that it is and that it will continue such. It was at all events a remark worth remembering, which I once heard from a traveller (a prejudiced one, I must admit), that where every man may take, liberties, there is little liberty for any man; or, that where every man takes liberties, no man can enjoy any." (p. 121.) See also a passage to the like effect in the Friend, vol. i. p. 129—ED.]

August 15. 1831.


I cannot contain my indignation at the conduct of our government towards Holland. They have undoubtedly forgotten the true and well-recognized policy of this country in regard to Portugal in permitting the war faction in France to take possession of the Tagus, and to bully the Portuguese upon so flimsy—indeed, false—a pretext[1] yet, in this instance, something may be said for them.

Miguel is such a wretch, that I acknowledge a sort of morality in leaving him to be cuffed and insulted; though, of course, this is a poor answer to a statesman who alleges the interest and policy of the country. But, as to the Dutch and King William: the first, as a nation, the most ancient ally, the alter idem of England, the best deserving of the cause of freedom and religion and morality of any people in Europe; and the second, the very best sovereign now in Christendom, with, perhaps, the single exception of the excellent king of Sweden[2]—was ever any thing so mean and cowardly as the behaviour of England!

The Five Powers have, throughout this conference, been actuated exclusively by a selfish desire to preserve peace—I should rather say, to smother war —at the expense of a most valuable but inferior power. They have over and over again acknowledged the justice of the Dutch claims, and the absurdity of the Belgian pretences; but as the Belgians were also as impudent as they were iniquitous,—as they would not yield their point, why then—that peace may be preserved—the Dutch must yield theirs! A foreign prince comes into Belgium, pending these negotiations, and takes an unqualified oath to maintain the Belgian demands:—what could King William or the Dutch do, if they ever thereafter meant to call themselves independent, but resist and resent this outrage to the uttermost? It was a crisis in which every consideration of state became inferior to the strong sense and duty of national honour. When, indeed, the French appear in the field, King William retires. "I now see," he may say, "that the powers of Europe are determined to abet the Belgians. The justice of such a proceeding I leave to their conscience and the decision of history. It is now no longer a question whether I am tamely to submit to rebels and a usurper; it is no longer a quarrel between Holland and Belgium: it is an alliance of all Europe against Holland,—in which case I yield. I have no desire to sacrifice my people."

[Footnote 1:
Meaning, principally, the whipping, so richly deserved, inflicted on a
Frenchman called Bonhomme, for committing a disgusting breach of
common decency in the cathedral of Coimbra, during divine service in
Passion Week.—ED.];

[Footnote 2: "Every thing that I have heard or read of this sovereign has contributed to the impression on my mind, that he is a good and a wise man, and worthy to be the king of a virtuous people, the purest specimen of the Gothic race."—Church and State, p. 125. n.—ED.]

* * * * *

When Leopold said that he was called to "reign over four millions of noble Belgians," I thought the phrase would have been more germane to the matter, if he had said that he was called to "rein in four million restive asses."

August 20. 1831.


O. P. Q. in the Morning Chronicle is a clever fellow. He is for the greatest possible happiness for the greatest possible number, and for the longest possible time! So am I; so are you, and every one of us, I will venture to say, round the tea-table. First, however, what does O. P. Q. mean by the word happiness? and, secondly, how does he propose to make other persons agree in his definition of the term? Don't you see the ridiculous absurdity of setting up that as a principle or motive of action, which is, in fact, a necessary and essential instinct of our very nature—an inborn and inextinguishable desire? How can creatures susceptible of pleasure and pain do otherwise than desire happiness? But, what happiness? That is the question. The American savage, in scalping his fallen enemy, pursues his happiness naturally and adequately. A Chickasaw, or Pawnee Bentham, or O. P. Q., would necessarily hope for the most frequent opportunities possible of scalping the greatest possible number of savages, for the longest possible time. There is no escaping this absurdity, unless you come back to a standard of reason and duty, imperative upon our merely pleasurable sensations. Oh! but, says O. P. Q., I am for the happiness of others! Of others! Are you, indeed? Well, I happen to be one of those others, and, so far as I can judge from what you show me of your habits and views, I would rather be excused from your banquet of happiness. Your mode of happiness would make me miserable. To go about doing as much good as possible to as many men as possible, is, indeed, an excellent object for a man to propose to himself; but then, in order that you may not sacrifice the real good and happiness of others to your particular views, which may be quite different from your neighbour's, you must do that good to others which the reason, common to all, pronounces to be good for all. In this sense your fine maxim is so very true as to be a mere truism.

* * * * *

So you object, with old Hobbes, that I do good actions for the pleasure of a good conscience; and so, after all, I am only a refined sensualist! Heaven bless you, and mend your logic! Don't you see that if conscience, which is in its nature a consequence, were thus anticipated and made an antecedent—a party instead of a judge—it would dishonour your draft upon it—it would not pay on demand? Don't you see that, in truth, the very fact of acting with this motive properly and logically destroys all claim upon conscience to give you any pleasure at all?

August 22. 1831.


There are many able and patriotic members in the House of Commons—Sir Robert Inglis, Sir Robert Peel, and some others. But I grieve that they never have the courage or the wisdom—I know not in which the failure is— to take their stand upon duty, and to appeal to all men as men,—to the Good and the True, which exist for all, and of which all have an apprehension. They always set to work—especially, his great eminence considered, Sir Robert Peel—by addressing themselves to individual interests; the measure will be injurious to the linen-drapers, or to the bricklayers; or this clause will bear hard on bobbin-net or poplins, and so forth. Whereas their adversaries—the demagogues—always work on the opposite principle: they always appeal to men as men; and, as you know, the most terrible convulsions in society have been wrought by such phrases as Rights of Man, Sovereignty of the People, &c., which no one understands, which apply to no one in particular, but to all in general.[1]

The devil works precisely in the same way. He is a very clever fellow; I have no acquaintance with him, but I respect his evident talents. Consistent truth and goodness will assuredly in the end overcome every thing; but inconsistent good can never be a match for consistent evil. Alas! I look in vain for some wise and vigorous man to sound the word Duty in the ears of this generation.

[Footnote 1: "It is with nations as with individuals. In tranquil moods and peaceable times we are quite practical; facts only, and cool common sense, are then in fashion. But let the winds of passion swell, and straightway men begin to generalize, to connect by remotest analogies, to express the most universal positions of reason in the most glowing figures of fancy; in short, to feel particular truths and mere facts as poor, cold, narrow, and incommensurate with their feelings."—Statesman's Manual, p. 18.

"It seems a paradox only to the unthinking, and it is a fact that none but the unread in history will deny, that, in periods of popular tumult and innovation, the more abstract a notion is, the more readily has it been found to combine, the closer has appeared its affinity, with the feelings of a people, and with all their immediate impulses to action. At the commencement of the French Revolution, in the remotest villages every tongue was employed in echoing and enforcing the almost geometrical abstractions of the physiocratic politicians and economists. The public roads were crowded with armed enthusiasts, disputing on the inalienable sovereignty of the people, the imprescriptible laws of the pure reason, and the universal constitution, which, as rising out of the nature and rights of man as man, all nations alike were under the obligation of adopting."— Statesman's Manual.]

August 24. 1831.


The English public is not yet ripe to comprehend the essential difference between the reason and the understanding—between a principle and a maxim— an eternal truth and a mere conclusion generalized from a great number of facts. A man, having seen a million moss roses all red, concludes from his own experience and that of others that all moss roses are red. That is a maxim with him—the greatest amount of his knowledge upon the subject. But it is only true until some gardener has produced a white moss rose,— after which the maxim is good for nothing. Again, suppose Adam watching the sun sinking under the western horizon for the first time; he is seized with gloom and terror, relieved by scarce a ray of hope that he shall ever see the glorious light again. The next evening, when it declines, his hopes are stronger, but still mixed with fear; and even at the end of a thousand years, all that a man can feel is a hope and an expectation so strong as to preclude anxiety. Now compare this in its highest degree with the assurance which you have that the two sides of any triangle are together greater than the third. This, demonstrated of one triangle, is seen to be eternally true of all imaginable triangles. This is a truth perceived at once by the intuitive reason, independently of experience. It is and must ever be so, multiply and vary the shapes and sizes of triangles as you may.

* * * * *

It used to be said that four and five make nine. Locke says, that four and five are nine. Now I say, that four and five are not nine, but that they will make nine. When I see four objects which will form a square, and five which will form a pentagon, I see that they are two different things; when combined, they will form a third different figure, which we call nine. When separate they are not it, but will make it.

September 11. 1831.


Drayton is a sweet poet, and Selden's notes to the early part of the Polyolbion are well worth your perusal. Daniel is a superior man; his diction is pre-eminently pure,—of that quality which I believe has always existed somewhere in society. It is just such English, without any alteration, as Wordsworth or Sir George Beaumont might have spoken or written in the present day.

Yet there are instances of sublimity in Drayton. When deploring the cutting down of some of our old forests, he says, in language which reminds the reader of Lear, written subsequently, and also of several passages in Mr. Wordsworth's poems:—

   ——"our trees so hack'd above the ground,
  That where their lofty tops the neighbouring countries
  Their trunks (like aged folks) now bare and naked stand,
  As for revenge to Heaven each held a wither'd hand." [1]

That is very fine.

[Footnote 1: Polyol VII.

"He (Drayton) was a poet by nature, and carefully improved his talent; one who sedulously laboured to deserve the approbation of such as were capable of appreciating and cared nothing for the censures which others might pass upon him." 'Like me that list,' he says,

——'my honest rhymes Nor care for critics, nor regard the times.'

And though he is not a poet virum volitarc per ora, nor one of those whose better fortune it is to live in the hearts of their devoted admirers,—yet what he deemed his greatest work will be preserved by its subject; some of his minor poems have merit enough in their execution to ensure their preservation; and no one who studies poetry as an art will think his time misspent in perusing the whole, if he have any real love for the art he is pursuing. The youth who enters upon that pursuit without a feeling of respect and gratitude for those elder poets, who by their labours have prepared the way for him, is not likely to produce any thing himself that will be held in remembrance by posterity."-The Doctor, &c. c. 36. P.I.

I heartily trust that the author or authors, as the case may be, of this singularly thoughtful and diverting book will in due time continue it. Let some people say what they please, there has not been the fellow of it published for many a long day.—ED.]

September 12. 1831.


My system, if I may venture to give it so fine a name, is the only attempt, I know, ever made to reduce all knowledges into harmony. It opposes no other system, but shows what was true in each; and how that which was true in the particular, in each of them became error, because it was only half the truth. I have endeavoured to unite the insulated fragments of truth, and therewith to frame a perfect mirror. I show to each system that I fully understand and rightfully appreciate what that system means; but then I lift up that system to a higher point of view, from which I enable it to see its former position, where it was, indeed, but under another light and with different relations;—so that the fragment of truth is not only acknowledged, but explained. Thus the old astronomers discovered and maintained much that was true; but, because they were placed on a false ground, and looked from a wrong point of view, they never did, they never could, discover the truth—that is, the whole truth. As soon as they left the earth, their false centre, and took their stand in the sun, immediately they saw the whole system in its true light, and their former station remaining, but remaining as a part of the prospect. I wish, in short, to connect by a moral copula natural history with political history; or, in other words, to make history scientific, and science historical—to take from history its accidentality, and from science its fatalism.

* * * * *

I never from a boy could, under any circumstances, feel the slightest dread of death as such. In all my illnesses I have ever had the most intense desire to be released from this life, unchecked by any but one wish, namely, to be able to finish my work on Philosophy. Not that I have any author's vanity on the subject: God knows that I should be absolutely glad, if I could hear that the thing had already been done before me.

* * * * *

Illness never in the smallest degree affects my intellectual powers. I can think with all my ordinary vigour in the midst of pain; but I am beset with the most wretched and unmanning reluctance and shrinking from action. I could not upon such occasions take the pen in hand to write down my thoughts for all the wide world.

October 26. 1831.


Few men of genius are keen; but almost every man of genius is subtle. If you ask me the difference between keenness and subtlety, I answer that it is the difference between a point and an edge. To split a hair is no proof of subtlety; for subtlety acts in distinguishing differences—in showing that two things apparently one are in fact two; whereas, to split a hair is to cause division, and not to ascertain difference.

October 27. 1831.


There is undoubtedly a limit to the exertions of an advocate for his client. He has a right, it is his bounden duty, to do every thing which his client might honestly do, and to do it with all the effect which any exercise of skill, talent, or knowledge of his own may be able to produce. But the advocate has no right, nor is it his duty, to do that for his client which his client in foro conscientiae has no right to do for himself; as, for a gross example, to put in evidence a forged deed or will, knowing it to be so forged. As to mere confounding of witnesses by skilful cross-examination, I own I am not disposed to be very strict. The whole thing is perfectly well understood on all hands, and it is little more in general than a sort of cudgel-playing between the counsel and the witness, in which, I speak with submission to you, I think I have seen the witness have the best of it as often as his assailant. It is of the utmost importance in the administration of justice that knowledge and intellectual power should be as far as possible equalized between the crown and the prisoner, or plaintiff and defendant. Hence especially arises the necessity for an order of advocates,—men whose duty it ought to be to know what the law allows and disallows; but whose interests should be wholly indifferent as to the persons or characters of their clients. If a certain latitude in examining witnesses is, as experience seems to have shown, a necessary mean towards the evisceration of the truth of matters of fact, I have no doubt, as a moralist, in saying, that such latitude within the bounds, now existing is justifiable. We must be content with a certain quantum in this life, especially in matters of public cognizance; the necessities of society demand it; we must not be righteous overmuch, or wise overmuch; and, as an old father says, in what vein may there not be a plethora, when the Scripture tells us that there may under circumstances be too much of virtue and of wisdom?

Still I think that, upon the whole, the advocate is placed in a position unfavourable to his moral being, and, indeed, to his intellect also, in its higher powers. Therefore I would recommend an advocate to devote a part of his leisure time to some study of the metaphysics of the mind, or metaphysics of theology; something, I mean, which shall call forth all his powers, and centre his wishes in the investigation of truth alone, without reference to a side to be supported. No studies give such a power of distinguishing as metaphysical, and in their natural and unperverted tendency they are ennobling and exalting. Some such studies are wanted to counteract the operation of legal studies and practice, which sharpen, indeed, but, like a grinding-stone, narrow whilst they sharpen.

November 19. 1831.


I cannot say what the French peers will do; but I can tell you what they ought to do. "So far," they might say, "as our feelings and interests, as individuals, are concerned in this matter—if it really be the prevailing wish of our fellow-countrymen to destroy the hereditary peerage—we shall, without regret, retire into the ranks of private citizens: but we are bound by the provisions of the existing constitution to consider ourselves collectively as essential to the well-being of France: we have been placed here to defend what France, a short time ago at least, thought a vital part of its government; and, if we did not defend it, what answer could we make hereafter to France itself, if she should come to see, what we think to be an error, in the light in which we view it? We should be justly branded as traitors and cowards, who had deserted the post which we were specially appointed to maintain. As a House of Peers, therefore,—as one substantive branch of the legislature, we can never, in honour or in conscience, consent to a measure of the impolicy and dangerous consequences of which we are convinced.

"If, therefore, this measure is demanded by the country, let the king and the deputies form themselves into a constituent assembly; and then, assuming to act in the name of the total nation, let them decree the abolition. In that case we yield to a just, perhaps, but revolutionary, act, in which we do not participate, and against which we are, upon the supposition, quite powerless. If the deputies, however, consider themselves so completely in the character of delegates as to be at present absolutely pledged to vote without freedom of deliberation, let a concise, but perspicuous, summary of the ablest arguments that can be adduced on either side be drawn up, and printed, and circulated throughout the country; and then, after two months, let the deputies demand fresh instructions upon this point. One thing, as men of honour, we declare beforehand—that, come what will, none of us who are now peers will ever accept a peerage created de novo for life."

November 20. 1831.


The present ministers have, in my judgment, been guilty of two things preeminently wicked, sensu politico, in their conduct upon this Reform Bill. First, they have endeavoured to carry a fundamental change in the material and mode of action of the government of the country by so exciting the passions, and playing upon the necessary ignorance of the numerical majority of the nation, that all freedom and utility of discussion, by competent heads, in the proper place, should be precluded. In doing this they have used, or sanctioned the use of, arguments which may he applied with equal or even greater force to the carrying of any measure whatever, no matter how atrocious in its character or destructive in its consequences. They have appealed directly to the argument of the greater number of voices, no matter whether the utterers were drunk or sober, competent or not competent; and they have done the utmost in their power to rase out the sacred principle in politics of a representation of interests, and to introduce the mad and barbarizing scheme of a delegation of individuals. And they have done all this without one word of thankfulness to God for the manifold blessings of which the constitution as settled at the Revolution, imperfect as it may be, has been the source or vehicle or condition to this great nation,—without one honest statement of the manner in which the anomalies in the practice grew up, or any manly declaration of the inevitable necessities of government which those anomalies have met. With no humility, nor fear, nor reverence, like Ham the accursed, they have beckoned, with grinning faces, to a vulgar mob, to come and insult over the nakedness of a parent; when it had become them, if one spark of filial patriotism had burnt within their breasts, to have marched with silent steps and averted faces to lay their robes upon his destitution!

Secondly, they have made the king the prime mover in all this political wickedness: they have made the king tell his people that they were deprived of their rights, and, by direct and necessary implication, that they and their ancestors for a century past had been slaves: they have made the king vilify the memory of his own brother and father. Rights! There are no rights whatever without corresponding duties. Look at the history of the growth of our constitution, and you will see that our ancestors never upon any occasion stated, as a ground for claiming any of their privileges, an abstract right inherent in themselves; you will nowhere in our parliamentary records find the miserable sophism of the Rights of Man. No! they were too wise for that. They took good care to refer their claims to custom and prescription, and boldly—sometimes very impudently—asserted them upon traditionary and constitutional grounds. The Bill is bad enough, God knows; but the arguments of its advocates, and the manner of their advocacy, are a thousand times worse than the Bill itself; and you will live to think so.

I am far, very far, from wishing to indulge in any vulgar abuse of the vulgar. I believe that the feeling of the multitude will, in most cases, be in favour of something good; but this it is which I perceive, that they are always under the domination of some one feeling or view;—whereas truth, and, above all, practical wisdom, must be the result of a wide comprehension of the more and the less, the balance and the counter- balance.

December 3. 1831.


A religion, that is, a true religion, must consist of ideas and facts both; not of ideas alone without facts, for then it would be mere Philosophy;— nor of facts alone without ideas, of which those facts are the symbols, or out of which they arise, or upon which they are grounded, for then it would be mere History.

December 17. 1831.


I am quite sure that no dangers are to be feared by England from the disannexing and independence of Ireland at all comparable with the evils which have been, and will yet be, caused to England by the Union. We have never received one particle of advantage from our association with Ireland, whilst we have in many most vital particulars violated the principles of the British constitution solely for the purpose of conciliating the Irish agitators, and of endeavouring—a vain endeavour—to find room for them under the same government. Mr. Pitt has received great credit for effecting the Union; but I believe it will sooner or later be discovered that the manner in which, and the terms upon which, he effected it, made it the most fatal blow that ever was levelled against the peace and prosperity of England. From it came the Catholic Bill. From the Catholic Bill has come this Reform Bill! And what next?

* * * * *

The case of the Irish Church is certainly anomalous, and full of practical difficulties. On the one hand, it is the only church which the constitution can admit; on the other, such are the circumstances, it is a church that cannot act as a church towards five sixths of the persons nominally and legally within its care.

December 18. 1831.


The difference between an inorganic and an organic body lies in this:—In the first—a sheaf of corn—the whole is nothing more than a collection of the individual parts or phenomena. In the second—a man—the whole is the effect of, or results from, the parts; it—the whole—is every thing, and the parts are nothing.

A State is an idea intermediate between the two—the whole being a result from, and not a mere total of, the parts, and yet not so merging the constituent parts in the result, but that the individual exists integrally within it. Extremes, especially in politics, meet. In Athens each individual Athenian was of no value; but taken altogether, as Demus, they were every thing in such a sense that no individual citizen was any thing. In Turkey there is the sign of unity put for unity. The Sultan seems himself the State; but it is an illusion: there is in fact in Turkey no State at all: the whole consists of nothing but a vast collection of neighbourhoods.

* * * * *

When the government and the aristocracy of this country had subordinated persons to things, and treated the one like the other,—the poor, with some reason, and almost in self-defence, learned to set up rights above duties. The code of a Christian society is, Debeo, et tu debes—of Heathens or Barbarians, Teneo, teneto et tu, si potes.[1]

[Footnote 1: "And this, again, is evolved out of the yet higher idea of person in contradistinction from thing, all social law and justice being grounded on the principle that a person can never, but by his own fault, become a thing, or, without grievous wrong, be treated as such; and the distinction consisting in this, that a thing may be used altogether, and merely as the means to an end; but the person must always be included in the end; his interest must always form a part of the object,—a mean to which he, by consent, that is, by his own act, makes himself. We plant a tree, and we fell it; we breed the sheep, and we shear, or we kill it,—in both cases wholly as means to our ends: for trees and animals are things. The woodcutter and the hind are likewise employed as means; but on agreement, and that too an agreement of reciprocal advantage, which includes them as well as their employer in the end; for they are persons. And the government under which the contrary takes place is not worthy to be called a state, if, as in the kingdom of Dahomey, it be unprogressive; or only by anticipation, where, as in Russia, it is in advance to a better and more manworthy order of things."—Church and State, p. 10.]

* * * * *

If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us!

December 27. 1831.


The old definition of beauty in the Roman school of painting was, il più nell' uno—multitude in unity; and there is no doubt that such is the principle of beauty. And as one of the most characteristic and infallible criteria of the different ranks of men's intellects, observe the instinctive habit which all superior minds have of endeavouring to bring, and of never resting till they have brought, into unity the scattered facts which occur in conversation, or in the statements of men of business. To attempt to argue any great question upon facts only, is absurd; you cannot state any fact before a mixed audience, which an opponent as clever as yourself cannot with ease twist towards another bearing, or at least meet by a contrary fact, as it is called. I wonder why facts were ever called stubborn things: I am sure they have been found pliable enough lately in the House of Commons and elsewhere. Facts, you know, are not truths; they are not conclusions; they are not even premisses, but in the nature and parts of premisses. The truth depends on, and is only arrived at, by a legitimate deduction from all the facts which are truly material.

* * * * *

December 28. 1831.


Even to a church,—the only pure democracy, because in it persons are alone considered, and one person à priori is equal to another person,—even to a church, discipline is an essential condition. But a state regards classes, and classes as they represent classified property; and to introduce a system of representation which must inevitably render all discipline impossible, what is it but madness-the madness of ignorant vanity, and reckless obstinacy?

* * * * *

I have known, and still know, many Dissenters, who profess to have a zeal for Christianity; and I dare say they have. But I have known very few Dissenters indeed, whose hatred to the Church of England was not a much more active principle of action with them than their love for Christianity. The Wesleyans, in uncorrupted parts of the country, are nearly the only exceptions. There never was an age since the days of the apostles, in which the catholic spirit of religion was so dead, and put aside for love of sects and parties, as at present.

* * * * *

January 1. 1832.


How inimitably graceful children are in general before they learn to dance!

* * * * *

There seems a sort of sympathy between the more generous dogs and little children. I believe an instance of a little child being attacked by a large dog is very rare indeed.

January 28. 1832.


The ideal Tory and the ideal Whig (and some such there have really been) agreed in the necessity and benefit of an exact balance of the three estates: but the Tory was more jealous of the balance being deranged by the people; the Whig, of its being deranged by the Crown. But this was a habit, a jealousy only; they both agreed in the ultimate preservation of the balance; and accordingly they might each, under certain circumstances, without the slightest inconsistency, pass from one side to the other, as the ultimate object required it. This the Tories did at the Revolution, but remained Tories as before.

I have half a mind to write a critical and philosophical essay on Whiggism, from Dryden's Achitophel (Shaftesbury), the first Whig, (for, with Dr. Johnson's leave, the devil is no such cattle,) down to ——, who, I trust, in God's mercy to the interests of peace, union, and liberty in this nation, will be the last. In it I would take the last years of Queen Anne's reign as the zenith, or palmy state, of Whiggism in its divinest avatar of common sense, or of the understanding, vigorously exerted in the right direction on the right and proper objects of the understanding; and would then trace the rise, the occasion, the progress, and the necessary degeneration of the Whig spirit of compromise, even down to the profound ineptitudes of their party in these days. A clever fellow might make something of this hint. How Asgill would have done it!

February 22. 1832.


The church is the last relic of our nationality. Would to God that the bishops and the clergy in general could once fully understand that the Christian church and the national church are as little to be confounded as divided! I think the fate of the Reform Bill, in itself, of comparatively minor importance; the fate of the national church occupies my mind with greater intensity.

February 24. 1832.


I could not help smiling, in reading the report of Lord Grey's speech in the House of Lords, the other night, when he asked Lord Wicklow whether he seriously believed that he, Lord Grey, or any of the ministers, intended to subvert the institutions of the country. Had I been in Lord Wicklow's place, I should have been tempted to answer this question something in the following way:—"Waiving the charge in an offensive sense of personal consciousness against the noble earl, and all but one or two of his colleagues, upon my honour, and in the presence of Almighty God, I answer, Yes! You have destroyed the freedom of parliament; you have done your best to shut the door of the House of Commons to the property, the birth, the rank, the wisdom of the people, and have flung it open to their passions and their follies. You have disfranchised the gentry, and the real patriotism of the nation: you have agitated and exasperated the mob, and thrown the balance of political power into the hands of that class (the shopkeepers) which, in all countries and in all ages, has been, is now, and ever will be, the least patriotic and the least conservative of any. You are now preparing to destroy for ever the constitutional independence of the House of Lords; you are for ever displacing it from its supremacy as a co-ordinate estate of the realm; and whether you succeed in passing your bill by actually swamping our votes by a batch of new peers, or by frightening a sufficient number of us out of our opinions by the threat of one,—equally you will have superseded the triple assent which the constitution requires to the enactment of a valid law, and have left the king alone with the delegates of the populace!"

March 3. 1832.


I am afraid the Conservative party see but one half of the truth. The mere extension of the franchise is not the evil; I should be glad to see it greatly extended;—there is no harm in that per se; the mischief is that the franchise is nominally extended, but to such classes, and in such a manner, that a practical disfranchisement of all above, and a discontenting of all below, a favoured class are the unavoidable results.

March 17. 1832.


——'s face is almost the only exception I know to the observation, that something feminine—not effeminate, mind—is discoverable in the countenances of all men of genius. Look at that face of old Dampier, a rough sailor, but a man of exquisite mind. How soft is the air of his countenance, how delicate the shape of his temples!

* * * * *

I think it very absurd and misplaced to call Raleigh and Drake, and others of our naval heroes of Elizabeth's age, pirates. No man is a pirate, unless his contemporaries agree to call him so. Drake said,—"The subjects of the king of Spain have done their best to ruin my country: ergo, I will try to ruin the king of Spain's country." Would it not be silly to call the Argonauts pirates in our sense of the word?

March 18. 1832.


It is curious to mark how instinctively the reason has always pointed out to men the ultimate end of the various sciences, and how immediately afterwards they have set to work, like children, to realize that end by inadequate means. Now they applied to their appetites, now to their passions, now to their fancy, now to the understanding, and lastly, to the intuitive reason again. There is no doubt but that astrology of some sort or other would be the last achievement of astronomy: there must he chemical relations between the planets; the difference of their magnitudes compared with that of their distances is not explicable otherwise; but this, though, as it were, blindly and unconsciously seen, led immediately to fortune- telling and other nonsense. So alchemy is the theoretic end of chemistry: there must be a common law, upon which all can become each and each all; but then the idea was turned to the coining of gold and silver.

March 20. 1832.


I have heard but two arguments of any weight adduced in favour of passing this Reform Bill, and they are in substance these:—1. We will blow your brains out if you don't pass it. 2. We will drag you through a horsepond if you don't pass it; and there is a good deal of force in both.

* * * * *

Talk to me of your pretended crisis! Stuff! A vigorous government would in one month change all the data for your reasoning. Would you have me believe that the events of this world are fastened to a revolving cycle with God at one end and the Devil at the other, and that the Devil is now uppermost! Are you a Christian, and talk about a crisis in that fatalistic sense!

March 31. 1832.


I certainly understand the [Greek: ti emoi kai soi gynai] in the second chapter[1] of St. John's Gospel, as having a liquid increpationis in it— a mild reproof from Jesus to Mary for interfering in his ministerial acts by requests on her own account.

I do not think that [Greek: gynai] was ever used by child to parent as a common mode of address: between husband and wife it was; but I cannot think that [Greek: m_eter] and [Greek: gynai] were equivalent terms in the mouth of a son speaking to his mother. No part of the Christopaedia is found in John or Paul; and after the baptism there is no recognition of any maternal authority in Mary. See the two passages where she endeavours to get access to him when he is preaching:—"Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and my mother"[2] and also the recommendation of her to the care of John at the crucifixion.

[Footnote 1: Verse 4.]

[Footnote 2: Mark, ch. iii. ver. 35.]

* * * * *

There may be dictation without inspiration, and inspiration without dictation; they have been and continue to be grievously confounded. Balaam and his ass were the passive organs of dictation; but no one, I suppose, will venture to call either of those worthies inspired. It is my profound conviction that St. John and St. Paul were divinely inspired; but I totally disbelieve the dictation of any one word, sentence, or argument throughout their writings. Observe, there was revelation. All religion is revealed;— revealed religion is, in my judgment, a mere pleonasm. Revelations of facts were undoubtedly made to the prophets; revelations of doctrines were as undoubtedly made to John and Paul;—but is it not a mere matter of our very senses that John and Paul each dealt with those revelations, expounded them, insisted on them, just exactly according to his own natural strength of intellect, habit of reasoning, moral, and even physical temperament? We receive the books ascribed to John and Paul as their books on the judgment of men, for whom no miraculous discernment is pretended; nay, whom, in their admission and rejection of other books, we believe to have erred. Shall we give less credence to John and Paul themselves? Surely the heart and soul of every Christian give him sufficient assurance that, in all things that concern him as a man, the words that he reads are spirit and truth, and could only proceed from Him who made both heart and soul.— Understand the matter so, and all difficulty vanishes: you read without fear, lest your faith meet with some shock from a passage here and there which you cannot reconcile with immediate dictation, by the Holy Spirit of God, without an absurd violence offered to the text. You read the Bible as the best of all books, but still as a book; and make use of all the means and appliances which learning and skill, under the blessing of God, can afford towards rightly apprehending the general sense of it—not solicitous to find out doctrine in mere epistolary familiarity, or facts in clear ad hominem et pro tempore allusions to national traditions.

* * * * *

Tertullian, I think, says he had seen the autograph copies of some of the apostles' writings. The truth is, the ancient Church was not guided by the mere fact of the genuineness of a writing in pronouncing it canonical;— its catholicity was the test applied to it. I have not the smallest doubt that the Epistle of Barnabas is genuine; but it is not catholic; it is full of the [Greek: gn_osis], though of the most simple and pleasing sort. I think the same of Hermas. The Church would never admit either into the canon, although the Alexandrians always read the Epistle of Barnabas in their churches for three hundred years together. It was upwards of three centuries before the Epistle to the Hebrews was admitted, and this on account of its [Greek: gn_osis]; at length, by help of the venerable prefix of St. Paul's name, its admirers, happily for us, succeeded.

* * * * *

So little did the early bishops and preachers think their Christian faith wrapped up in, and solely to be learned from, the New Testament,—indeed, can it be said that there was any such collection for three hundred years? —that I remember a letter from ——[1] to a friend of his, a bishop in the East, in which he most evidently speaks of the Christian Scriptures as of works of which the bishop knew little or nothing.

[Footnote 1: I have lost the name which Mr. Coleridge mentioned.—ED.]

April 4. 1832.


I make the greatest difference between ans and isms. I should deal insincerely with you, if I said that I thought Unitarianism was Christianity. No; as I believe and have faith in the doctrine, it is not the truth in Jesus Christ; but God forbid that I should doubt that you, and many other Unitarians, as you call yourselves, are, in a practical sense, very good Christians. We do not win heaven by logic.

By the by, what do you mean by exclusively assuming the title of Unitarians? As if Tri-Unitarians were not necessarily Unitarians, as much (pardon the illustration) as an apple-pie must of course be a pie! The schoolmen would, perhaps, have called you Unicists; but your proper name is Psilanthropists—believers in the mere human nature of Christ.

Upon my word, if I may say so without offence, I really think many forms of Pantheistic Atheism more agreeable to an imaginative mind than Unitarianism as it is professed in terms: in particular, I prefer the Spinosistic scheme infinitely. The early Socinians were, to be sure, most unaccountable logicians; but, when you had swallowed their bad reasoning, you came to a doctrine on which the heart, at least, might rest for some support. They adored Jesus Christ. Both Laelius and Faustus Socinus laid down the adorability of Jesus in strong terms. I have nothing, you know, to do with their logic. But Unitarianism is, in effect, the worst of one kind of Atheism, joined to the worst of one kind of Calvinism, like two asses tied tail to tail. It has no covenant with God; and looks upon prayer as a sort of self-magnetizing—a getting of the body and temper into a certain status, desirable per se, but having no covenanted reference to the Being to whom the prayer is addressed.

* * * * *

The sum total of moral philosophy is found in this one question, Is Good a superfluous word,—or mere lazy synonyme for the pleasurable, and its causes;—at most, a mere modification to express degree, and comparative duration of pleasure?—Or the question may be more unanswerably stated thus, Is good superfluous as a word exponent of a kind?—If it be, then moral philosophy is but a subdivision of physics. If not, then the writings of Paley and all his predecessors and disciples are false and most pernicious; and there is an emphatic propriety in the superlative, and in a sense which of itself would supply and exemplify the difference between most and very.

April 5. 1832.


It is curious to trace the operation of the moral law of polarity in the history of politics, religion, &c. When the maximum of one tendency has been attained, there is no gradual decrease, but a direct transition to its minimum, till the opposite tendency has attained its maximum; and then you see another corresponding revulsion. With the Restoration came in all at once the mechanico-corpuscular philosophy, which, with the increase of manufactures, trade, and arts, made every thing in philosophy, religion, and poetry objective; till, at length, attachment to mere external worldliness and forms got to its maximum,—when out burst the French revolution; and with it every thing became immediately subjective, without any object at all. The Rights of Man, the Sovereignty of the People, were subject and object both. We are now, I think, on the turning point again. This Reform seems the ne plus ultra of that tendency of the public mind which substitutes its own undefined notions or passions for real objects and historical actualities. There is not one of the ministers—except the one or two revolutionists among them—who has ever given us a hint, throughout this long struggle, as to what he really does believe will be the product of the bill; what sort of House of Commons it will make for the purpose of governing this empire soberly and safely. No; they have actualized for a moment a wish, a fear, a passion, but not an idea.

April 1. 1832.


There are two grand divisions under which all contagious diseases may be classed:—1. Those which spring from organized living beings, and from the life in them, and which enter, as it were, into the life of those in whom they reproduce themselves—such as small-pox and measles. These become so domesticated with the habit and system, that they are rarely received twice. 2. Those which spring from dead organized, or unorganized matter, and which may be comprehended under the wide term malaria.

You may have passed a stagnant pond a hundred times without injury: you happen to pass it again, in low spirits and chilled, precisely at the moment of the explosion of the gas: the malaria strikes on the cutaneous or veno-glandular system, and drives the blood from the surface; the shivering fit comes on, till the musculo-arterial irritability re-acts, and then the hot fit succeeds; and, unless bark or arsenic—particularly bark, because it is a bitter as well as a tonic—be applied to strengthen the veno- glandular, and to moderate the musculo-arterial, system, a man may have the ague for thirty years together.

But if, instead of being exposed to the solitary malaria of a pond, a man, travelling through the Pontine Marshes, permits his animal energies to flag, and surrenders himself to the drowsiness which generally attacks him, then blast upon blast strikes upon the cutaneous system, and passes through it to the musculo-arterial, and so completely overpowers the latter that it cannot re-act, and the man dies at once, instead of only catching an ague.

There are three factors of the operation of an epidemic or atmospheric disease. The first and principal one is the predisposed state of the body; secondly, the specific virus in the atmosphere; and, thirdly, the accidental circumstances of weather, locality, food, occupation, &c. Against the second of these we are powerless: its nature, causes, and sympathies are too subtle for our senses to find data to go upon. Against the first, medicine may act profitably. Against the third, a wise and sagacious medical police ought to be adopted; but, above all, let every man act like a Christian, in all charity, and love, and brotherly kindness, and sincere reliance on God's merciful providence.

Quarantine cannot keep out an atmospheric disease; but it can, and does always, increase the predisposing causes of its reception.

April 10. 1832.


All harmony is founded on a relation to rest—on relative rest. Take a metallic plate, and strew sand on it; sound an harmonic chord over the sand, and the grains will whirl about in circles, and other geometrical figures, all, as it were, depending on some point of sand relatively at rest. Sound a discord, and every grain will whisk about without any order at all, in no figures, and with no points of rest.

The clerisy of a nation, that is, its learned men, whether poets, or philosophers, or scholars, are these points of relative rest. There could be no order, no harmony of the whole, without them.

April 21. 1832.


There have been three silent revolutions in England:—first, when the professions fell off from the church; secondly, when literature fell off from the professions; and, thirdly, when the press fell off from literature.

* * * * *

Common phrases are, as it were, so stereotyped now by conventional use, that it is really much easier to write on the ordinary politics of the day in the common newspaper style, than it is to make a good pair of shoes.

An apprentice has as much to learn now to be a shoemaker as ever he had; but an ignorant coxcomb, with a competent want of honesty, may very effectively wield a pen in a newspaper office, with infinitely less pains and preparation than were necessary formerly.

April 23. 1832.


The genius of the Spanish people is exquisitely subtle, without being at all acute; hence there is so much humour and so little wit in their literature. The genius of the Italians, on the contrary, is acute, profound, and sensual, but not subtle; hence what they think to be humorous is merely witty.

* * * * *

To estimate a man like Vico, or any great man who has made discoveries and committed errors, you ought to say to yourself—"He did so and so in the year 1720, a Papist, at Naples. Now, what would he not have done if he had lived now, and could have availed himself of all our vast acquisitions in physical science?"

* * * * *

After the Scienza Nuova[1] read Spinosa, De Monarchia ex rationis praescripto[2].They differed—Vico in thinking that society tended to monarchy; Spinosa in thinking it tended to democracy. Now, Spinosa's ideal democracy was realized by a contemporary—not in a nation, for that is impossible, but in a sect—I mean by George Fox and his Quakers.[3]

[Footnote 1:
See Michelet's Principes de la Philosophie de l'Histoire, &c. Paris, 1827.
An admirable analysis of Vico.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: Tractatus Politici, c. vi.]

[Footnote 3: Spinosa died in 1677; Fox in 1681.—ED.]

April 24. 1832.


Colours may best be expressed by a heptad, the largest possible formula for things finite, as the pentad is the smallest possible form. Indeed, the heptad of things finite is in all cases reducible to the pentad. The adorable tetractys, or tetrad, is the formula of God; which, again, is reducible into, and is, in reality, the same with, the Trinity. Take colours thus:—

                 Red, or Colour [Greek: kat exoch_en].
                                / \
Mesothesis, or Indifference of / \
Red and Yellow = Orange. 4/ \5 Indigo, Violet = Indifference
                             /Synthesis\ of Red and Blue.
                            /—6 \
        Thesis = Yellow. 2 3 Blue = Antithesis.
                            \Green indi-/
                             \componi- /
                              \ble /
                               \ /
                                \ /
           To which you must add \7/ which is spurious or artificial
                                  v synthesis of Yellow and Blue.

Green, decom- ponible

April 28. 1832.


The destruction of Jerusalem is the only subject now remaining for an epic poem; a subject which, like Milton's Fall of Man, should interest all Christendom, as the Homeric War of Troy interested all Greece. There would be difficulties, as there are in all subjects; and they must he mitigated and thrown into the shade, as Milton has done with the numerous difficulties in the Paradise Lost. But there would be a greater assemblage of grandeur and splendour than can now be found in any other theme. As for the old mythology, incredulus odi; and yet there must be a mythology, or a quasi-mythology, for an epic poem. Here there would be the completion of the prophecies—the termination of the first revealed national religion under the violent assault of Paganism, itself the immediate forerunner and condition of the spread of a revealed mundane religion; and then you would have the character of the Roman and the Jew, and the awfulness, the completeness, the justice. I schemed it at twenty-five; but, alas! venturum expectat.

April 29. 1832.


I never said that the vox populi was of course the vox Dei. It may be; but it may be, and with equal probability, a priori, vox Diaboli. That the voice of ten millions of men calling for the same thing is a spirit, I believe; but whether that be a spirit of Heaven or Hell, I can only know by trying the thing called for by the prescript of reason and God's will.

* * * * *

Black is the negation of colour in its greatest energy. Without lustre, it indicates or represents vacuity, as, for instance, in the dark mouth of a cavern; add lustre, and it will represent the highest degree of solidity, as in a polished ebony box.

* * * * *

In finite forms there is no real and absolute identity. God alone is identity. In the former, the prothesis is a bastard prothesis, a quasi identity only.

April 30. 1832.


I know no genuine Saxon English superior to Asgill's. I think his and
Defoe's irony often finer than Swift's.

May 1. 1832.


Horne Tooke's advice to the Friends of the People was profound:—"If you wish to be powerful, pretend to be powerful."

* * * * *

Fox and Pitt constantly played into each other's hands. Mr. Stuart, of the Courier, who was very knowing in the politics of the day, soon found out the gross lies and impostures of that club as to its numbers, and told Fox so. Yet, instead of disclaiming them and exposing the pretence, as he ought to have done, Fox absolutely exaggerated their numbers and sinister intentions; and Pitt, who also knew the lie, took him at his word, and argued against him triumphantly on his own premisses.

Fox's Gallicism, too, was a treasury of weapons to Pitt. He could never conceive the French right without making the English wrong. Ah! I remember—

—it vex'd my soul to see
So grand a cause, so proud a realm
With Goose and Goody at the helm;
Who long ago had fall'n asunder
But for their rivals' baser blunder,
The coward whine and Frenchified
Slaver and slang of the other side!

May 2. 1832.


I cannot say that I thought Mr. Horner a man of genius. He seemed to me to be one of those men who have not very extended minds, but who know what they know very well—shallow streams, and clear because they are shallow. There was great goodness about him.

May 3. 1832.


——— is one of those men who go far to shake my faith in a future state of existence; I mean, on account of the difficulty of knowing where to place him. I could not bear to roast him; he is not so bad as all that comes to: but then, on the other hand, to have to sit down with such a fellow in the very lowest pothouse of heaven is utterly inconsistent with the belief of that place being a place of happiness for me.

* * * * *

In two points of view I reverence man; first, as a citizen, a part of, or in order to, a nation; and, secondly, as a Christian. If men are neither the one nor the other, but a mere aggregation of individual bipeds, who acknowledge no national unity, nor believe with me in Christ, I have no more personal sympathy with them than with the dust beneath my feet.

May 21. 1832.


Professor Park talks[1] about its being very doubtful whether the constitution described by Blackstone ever in fact existed. In the same manner, I suppose, it is doubtful whether the moon is made of green cheese, or whether the souls of Welchmen do, in point of fact, go to heaven on the backs of mites. Blackstone's was the age of shallow law. Monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, as such, exclude each the other: but if the elements are to interpenetrate, how absurd to call a lump of sugar hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon! nay, to take three lumps, and call the first hydrogen; the second, oxygen; and the third, carbon! Don't you see that each is in all, and all in each?

The democracy of England, before the Reform Bill, was, where it ought to be, in the corporations, the vestries, the joint-stock companies, &c. The power, in a democracy, is in focal points, without a centre; and in proportion as such democratical power is strong, the strength of the central government ought to be intense—otherwise the nation will fall to pieces.

We have just now incalculably increased the democratical action of the people, and, at the same time, weakened the executive power of the government.

[Footnote 1: In his "Dogmas of the Constitution, four Lectures on the Theory and Practice of the Constitution, delivered at the King's College, London," 1832. Lecture I. There was a stiffness, and an occasional uncouthness in Professor Park's style; but his two works, the one just mentioned, and his "Contre-Projet to the Humphreysian Code," are full of original views and vigorous reasonings. To those who wished to see the profession of the law assume a more scientific character than for the most part it has hitherto done in England, the early death of John James Park was a very great loss.—ED.]

* * * * *

It was the error of Milton, Sidney, and others of that age, to think it possible to construct a purely aristocratical government, defecated of all passion, and ignorance, and sordid motive. The truth is, such a government would be weak from its utter want of sympathy with the people to be governed by it.

May 25. 1832.


Mercury strongly illustrates the theory de vi minimorum. Divide five grains into fifty doses, and they may poison you irretrievably. I don't believe in all that Hahnemann says; but he is a fine fellow, and, like most Germans, is not altogether wrong, and like them also, is never altogether right.

* * * * *

Six volumes of translated selections from Luther's works, two being from his Letters, would be a delightful work. The translator should be a man deeply imbued with his Bible, with the English writers from Henry the Seventh to Edward the Sixth, the Scotch divines of the 16th century, and with the old racy German.[1]

Hugo de Saint Victor, Luther's favourite divine, was a wonderful man, who, in the 12th century, the jubilant age of papal dominion, nursed the lamp of Platonic mysticism in the spirit of the most refined Christianity.[2]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge was fond of pressing this proposed publication:—"I can scarcely conceive," he says in the Friend, "a more delightful volume than might be made from Luther's letters, especially those that were written from the Warteburg, if they were translated in the simple, sinewy, idiomatic, hearty mother tongue of the original. A difficult task I admit, and scarcely possible for any man, however great his talents in other respects, whose favourite reading has not lain among the English writers from Edward the Sixth to Charles the First." Vol. i. p. 235. n.— ED.]

[Footnote 2: This celebrated man was a Fleming, and a member of the Augustinian society of St. Victor. He died at Paris in 1142, aged forty-four. His age considered, it is sufficient praise for him that Protestants and Romanists both claim him for their own on the subject of transubstantiation.—ED.]

June 9. 1832.


If you take Sophocles, Catullus, Lucretius, the better parts of Cicero, and so on, you may, just with two or three exceptions arising out of the different idioms as to cases, translate page after page into good mother English, word by word, without altering the order; but you cannot do so with Virgil or Tibullus: if you attempt it, you will make nonsense.

* * * * *

There is a remarkable power of the picturesque in the fragments we have of Ennius, Actius, and other very old Roman writers. This vivid manner was lost in the Augustan age.

* * * * *

Much as the Romans owed to Greece in the beginning, whilst their mind was, as it were, tuning itself to an after-effort of its own music, it suffered more in proportion by the influence of Greek literature subsequently, when it was already mature and ought to have worked for itself. It then became a superfetation upon, and not an ingredient in, the national character. With the exception of the stern pragmatic historian and the moral satirist, it left nothing original to the Latin Muse.[1]

A nation, to be great, ought to be compressed in its increment by nations more civilized than itself—as Greece by Persia; and Rome by Etruria, the Italian states, and Carthage. I remember Commodore Decatur saying to me at Malta, that he deplored the occupation of Louisiana by the United States, and wished that province had been possessed by England. He thought that if the United States got hold of Canada by conquest or cession, the last chance of his country becoming a great compact nation would be lost.

[Footnote 1: Perhaps it left letter-writing also. Even if the Platonic epistles are taken as genuine, which Mr. Coleridge, to my surprise, was inclined to believe, they can hardly interfere, I think, with the uniqueness of the truly incomparable collections from the correspondence of Cicero and Pliny.—ED.]

* * * * *

War in republican Rome was the offspring of its intense aristocracy of spirit, and stood to the state in lieu of trade. As long as there was any thing ab extra to conquer, the state advanced: when nothing remained but what was Roman, then, as a matter of course, civil war began.

June 10. 1832.


When I was a little hoy at the Blue-coat School, there was a charm for one's foot when asleep; and I believe it had been in the school since its foundation, in the time of Edward the Sixth. The march of intellect has probably now exploded it. It ran thus:—

Foot! foot! foot! is fast asleep!
Thumb! thumb! thumb! in spittle we steep:
Crosses three we make to ease us,
Two for the thieves, and one for Christ Jesus!

And the same charm served for a cramp in the leg, with the following substitution:—

The devil is tying a knot in my leg!
Mark, Luke, and John, unloose it I beg!—
Crosses three, &c.

And really upon getting out of bed, where the cramp most frequently occurred, pressing the sole of the foot on the cold floor, and then repeating this charm with the acts configurative thereupon prescribed, I can safely affirm that I do not remember an instance in which the cramp did not go away in a few seconds.

I should not wonder if it were equally good for a stitch in the side; but I cannot say I ever tried it for that.

July 7. 1832.


It is hardly possible to conceive a language more perfect than the Greek. If you compare it with the modern European tongues, in the points of the position and relative bearing of the vowels and consonants on each other, and of the variety of terminations, it is incalculably before all in the former particulars, and only equalled in the last by German. But it is in variety of termination alone that the German surpasses the other modern languages as to sound; for, as to position, Nature seems to have dropped an acid into the language, when a-forming, which curdled the vowels, and made all the consonants flow together. The Spanish is excellent for variety of termination; the Italian, in this particular, the most deficient. Italian prose is excessively monotonous.

* * * * *

It is very natural to have a dual, duality being a conception quite distinct from plurality. Most very primitive languages have a dual, as the Greek, Welch, and the native Chilese, as you will see in the Abbé Raynal.

The neuter plural governing, as they call it, a verb singular is one of the many instances in Greek of the inward and metaphysic grammar resisting successfully the tyranny of formal grammar. In truth, there may be Multeity in things; but there can only be Plurality in persons.

Observe also that, in fact, a neuter noun in Greek has no real nominative case, though it has a formal one, that is to say, the same word with the accusative. The reason is—a thing has no subjectivity, or nominative case: it exists only as an object in the accusative or oblique case.

It is extraordinary that the Germans should not have retained or assumed the two beautifully discriminated sounds of the soft and hard theta; as in thy thoughtsthe thin ether that, &c. How particularly fine the hard theta is in an English termination, as in that grand word—Death— for which the Germans gutturize a sound that puts you in mind of nothing but a loathsome toad.

July 8. 1832.


I regret to see that vile and barbarous vocable talented, stealing out of the newspapers into the leading reviews and most respectable publications of the day. Why not shillinged, farthinged, tenpenced, &c.? The formation of a participle passive from a noun is a licence that nothing but a very peculiar felicity can excuse. If mere convenience is to justify such attempts upon the idiom, you cannot stop till the language becomes, in the proper sense of the word, corrupt. Most of these pieces of slang come from America.[1]

[Footnote 1: See "eventuate," in Mr. Washington Irving's "Tour On the Prairies," passim.—ED.]

* * * * *

Never take an iambus as a Christian name. A trochee, or tribrach, will do very well. Edith and Rotha are my favourite names for women.

July 9. 1832.


I have the firmest conviction that Homer is a mere traditional synonyme with, or figure for, the Iliad. You cannot conceivefor a moment any thing about the poet, as you call him, apart from that poem. Difference in men there was in a degree, but not in kind; one man was, perhaps, a better poet than another; but he was a poet upon the same ground and with the same feelings as the rest.

The want of adverbs in the Iliad is very characteristic. With more adverbs there would have been some subjectivity, or subjectivity would have made them.

The Greeks were then just on the verge of the bursting forth of individuality.

Valckenaer's treatise[1] on the interpolation of the Classics by the later Jews and early Christians is well worth your perusal as a scholar and critic.

[Footnote 1: Diatribe de Aristobulo Judaeo.—ED.]

July 13. 1832.


I have read all the famous histories, and, I believe, some history of every country and nation that is, or ever existed; but I never did so for the story itself as a story. The only thing interesting to me was the principles to be evolved from, and illustrated by, the facts.[1] After I had gotten my principles, I pretty generally left the facts to take care of themselves. I never could remember any passages in books, or the particulars of events, except in the gross. I can refer to them. To be sure, I must be a different sort of man from Herder, who once was seriously annoyed with himself, because, in recounting the pedigree of some German royal or electoral family, he missed some one of those worthies and could not recall the name.

[Footnote 1: "The true origin of human events is so little susceptible of that kind of evidence which can compel our belief; so many are the disturbing forces which, in every cycle or ellipse of changes, modify the motion given by the first projection; and every age has, or imagines it has, its own circumstances, which render past experience no longer applicable to the present case; that there will never be wanting answers, and explanations, and specious flatteries of hope, to persuade and perplex its government, that the history of the past is inapplicable to their case. And no wonder, if we read history for the facts, instead of reading it for the sake of the general principles, which are to the facts as the root and sap of a tree to its leaves: and no wonder if history so read should find a dangerous rival in novels; nay, if the latter should be preferred to the former, on the score even of probability. I well remember that, when the examples of former Jacobins, as Julius Caesar, Cromwell, and the like, were adduced in France and England, at the commencement of the French consulate, it was ridiculed as pedantry and pedants' ignorance, to fear a repetition of usurpation and military despotism at the close of the enlightened eighteenth century! Even so, in the very dawn of the late tempestuous day, when the revolutions of Corcyra, the proscriptions of the reformers Marius, Cæsar, &c., and the direful effects of the levelling tenets in the peasants' war in Germany (differenced from the tenets of the first French constitution only by the mode of wording them, the figures of speech being borrowed in the one instance from theology, and in the other from modern metaphysics), were urged on the convention and its vindicators; the magi of the day, the true citizens of the world, the plusquam perfecti of patriotism, gave us set proofs that similar results were impossible, and that it was an insult to so philosophical an age, to so enlightened a nation, to dare direct the public eye towards them as to lights of warning."—Statesman's Manual, p. 14.]

* * * * *

Schmidt[1] was a Romanist; but I have generally found him candid, as indeed almost all the Austrians are. They are what is called good Catholics; but, like our Charles the Second, they never let their religious bigotry interfere with their political well-doing. Kaiser is a most pious son of the church, yet he always keeps his papa in good order.

[Footnote 1: Michael Ignatius Schmidt, the author of the History of the Germans. He died in the latter end of the last century.—ED.]

July 20. 1832.


It was God's mercy to our age that our Jacobins were infidels and a scandal to all sober Christians. Had they been like the old Puritans, they would have trodden church and king to the dust—at least for a time.

* * * * *

For one mercy I owe thanks beyond all utterance,—that, with all my gastric and bowel distempers, my head hath ever been like the head of a mountain in blue air and sunshine.

July 21. 1832.


I have often wished that the first two books of the Excursion had been published separately, under the name of "The Deserted Cottage." They would have formed, what indeed they are, one of the most beautiful poems in the language.

* * * * *

Can dialogues in verse be defended? I cannot but think that a great philosophical poet ought always to teach the reader himself as from himself. A poem does not admit argumentation, though it does admit development of thought. In prose there may be a difference; though I must confess that, even in Plato and Cicero, I am always vexed that the authors do not say what they have to say at once in their own persons. The introductions and little urbanities are, to be sure, very delightful in their way; I would not lose them; but I have no admiration for the practice of ventriloquizing through another man's mouth.

* * * * *

I cannot help regretting that Wordsworth did not first publish his thirteen books on the growth of an individual mind—superior, as I used to think, upon the whole, to the Excursion. You may judge how I felt about them by my own poem upon the occasion.[1] Then the plan laid out, and, I believe, partly suggested by me, was, that Wordsworth should assume the station of a man in mental repose, one whose principles were made up, and so prepared to deliver upon authority a system of philosophy. He was to treat man as man, —a subject of eye, ear, touch, and taste, in contact with external nature, and informing the senses from the mind, and not compounding a mind out of the senses; then he was to describe the pastoral and other states of society, assuming something of the Juvenalian spirit as he approached the high civilization of cities and towns, and opening a melancholy picture of the present state of degeneracy and vice; thence he was to infer and reveal the proof of, and necessity for, the whole state of man and society being subject to, and illustrative of, a redemptive process in operation, showing how this idea reconciled all the anomalies, and promised future glory and restoration. Something of this sort was, I think, agreed on. It is, in substance, what I have been all my life doing in my system of philosophy.

[Footnote 1: Poetical Works, vol. i. p. 206. It is not too much to say of this beautiful poem, and yet it is difficult to say more, that it is at once worthy of the poet, his subject, and his object:—

  "An Orphic song indeed,
A song divine of high and passionate thoughts,
To their own music chanted."—ED.]

* * * * *

I think Wordsworth possessed more of the genius of a great philosophic poet than any man I ever knew, or, as I believe, has existed in England since Milton; but it seems to me that he ought never to have abandoned the contemplative position, which is peculiarly—perhaps I might say exclusively—fitted for him. His proper title is Spectator ab extra.

* * * * *

July 23. 1832.


No man was more enthusiastic than I was for France and the Revolution: it had all my wishes, none of my expectations. Before 1793, I clearly saw and often enough stated in public, the horrid delusion, the vile mockery, of the whole affair.[1]

When some one said in my brother James's presence[2] that I was a Jacobin, he very well observed,—"No! Samuel is no Jacobin; he is a hot-headed Moravian!" Indeed, I was in the extreme opposite pole.

[Footnote 1:

  "Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams!
  I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament,
  From bleak Helvetia's icy cavern sent—
  I hear thy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams!
  Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd,
  And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain snows
  With bleeding wounds; forgive me, that I cherish'd
  One thought that ever blest your cruel foes!
  To scatter rage and traitorous guilt,
  Where Peace her jealous home had built;
  A patriot race to disinherit
  Of all that made her stormy wilds so dear:
  And with inexpiable spirit
  To taint the bloodless freedom of the mountaineer—
  O France, that mockest Heaven, adult'rous, blind,
  And patriot only in pernicious toils,
  Are these thy boasts, champion of human-kind?
  To mix with kings in the low lust of sway,
  Yell in the hunt and share the murderous prey—
  To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils
  From freemen torn—to tempt and to betray?—

  The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain,
  Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad game
  They burst their manacles, and wear the name
  Of freedom, graven on a heavier chain!
  O Liberty! with profitless endeavour
  Have I pursued thee many a weary hour;
  But thou nor swell'st the victor's train, nor ever
  Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power.
  Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee,
  (Nor prayer, nor boastful name delays thee,)
  Alike from priestcraft's harpy minions,
  And factious blasphemy's obscener slaves,
  Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions,
  The guide of homeless winds, and playmate of the waves!

France, an Ode. Poetical Works, vol. i. p. 130.]

[Footnote 2: A soldier of the old cavalier stamp, to whom the King was the symbol of the majesty, as the Church was of the life, of the nation, and who would most assuredly have taken arms for one or the other against all the Houses of Commons or committees of public safety in the world.—ED.]

July 24. 1832.


I have no faith in act of parliament reform. All the great—the permanently great—things that have been achieved in the world have been so achieved by individuals, working from the instinct of genius or of goodness. The rage now-a-days is all the other way: the individual is supposed capable of nothing; there must be organization, classification, machinery, &c., as if the capital of national morality could be increased by making a joint stock of it. Hence you see these infant schools so patronized by the bishops and others, who think them a grand invention. Is it found that an infant-school child, who has been bawling all day a column of the multiplication-table, or a verse from the Bible, grows up a more dutiful son or daughter to its parents? Are domestic charities on the increase amongst families under this system? In a great town, in our present state of society, perhaps such schools may be a justifiable expedient—a choice of the lesser evil; but as for driving these establishments into the country villages, and breaking up the cottage home education, I think it one of the most miserable mistakes which the well-intentioned people of the day have yet made; and they have made, and are making, a good many, God knows.

July 25. 1832.


The pith of my system is to make the senses out of the mind—not the mind out of the senses, as Locke did.

* * * * *

Could you ever discover any thing sublime, in our sense of the term, in the classic Greek literature? never could. Sublimity is Hebrew by birth.

* * * * *

I should conjecture that the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes were written, or, perhaps, rather collected, about the time of Nehemiah. The language is Hebrew with Chaldaic endings. It is totally unlike the language of Moses on the one hand, and of Isaiah on the other.

* * * * *

Solomon introduced the commercial spirit into his kingdom. I cannot think his idolatry could have been much more, in regard to himself, than a state protection or toleration of the foreign worship.

* * * * *

When a man mistakes his thoughts for persons and things, he is mad. A madman is properly so defined.

* * * * *

Charles Lamb translated my motto Sermoni propriora by—properer for a sermon!

* * * * *

I was much amused some time ago by reading the pithy decision of one of the Sforzas of Milan, upon occasion of a dispute for precedence between the lawyers and physicians of his capital;—Paecedant fures—sequantur carnifices. I hardly remember a neater thing.

July 28. 1832.


The sublime and abstruse doctrines of Christian belief belong to the church; but the faith of the individual, centered in his heart, is or may be collateral to them.[1]

Faith is subjective. I throw myself in adoration before God; acknowledge myself his creature,—simple, weak, lost; and pray for help and pardon through Jesus Christ: but when I rise from my knees, I discuss the doctrine of the Trinity as I would a problem in geometry; in the same temper of mind, I mean, not by the same process of reasoning, of course.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge used very frequently to insist upon the distinction between belief and faith. He once told me, with very great earnestness, that if he were that moment convinced—a conviction, the possibility of which, indeed, he could not realize to himself—that the New Testament was a forgery from beginning to end—wide as the desolation in his moral feelings would be, he should not abate one jot of his faith in God's power and mercy through some manifestation of his being towards man, either in time past or future, or in the hidden depths where time and space are not. This was, I believe, no more than a vivid expression of what he always maintained, that no man had attained to a full faith who did not recognize in the Scriptures a correspondency to his own nature, or see that his own powers of reason, will, and understanding were preconfigured to the reception of the Christian doctrines and promises.—ED.]

August 4. 1832.


I hardly know any thing more amusing than the honest German Jesuitry of Dobrizhoffer. His chapter on the dialects is most valuable. He is surprised that there is no form for the infinitive, but that they say,—I wish, (go, or eat, or drink, &c.) interposing a letter by way of copula,—forgetting his own German and the English, which are, in truth, the same. The confident belief entertained by the Abipones of immortality, in connection with the utter absence in their minds of the idea of a God, is very remarkable. If Warburton were right, which he is not, the Mosaic scheme would be the exact converse. My dear daughter's translation of this book[2] is, in my judgment, unsurpassed for pure mother English by any thing I have read for a long time.

[Footnote 1:

"He was a man of rarest qualities,
  Who to this barbarous region had confined
  A spirit with the learned and the wise
  Worthy to take its place, and from mankind
  Receive their homage, to the immortal mind
  Paid in its just inheritance of fame.
  But he to humbler thoughts his heart inclined:
  From Gratz amid the Styrian hills he came,
And Dobrizhofter was the good man's honour'd name.

"It was his evil fortune to behold
  The labours of his painful life destroyed;
  His flock which he had brought within the fold
  Dispers'd; the work of ages render'd void,
  And all of good that Paraguay enjoy'd
  By blind and suicidal power o'erthrown.
  So he the years of his old age employ'd,
  A faithful chronicler, in handing down
Names which he lov'd, and things well worthy to be known.

"And thus when exiled from the dear-loved scene,
   In proud Vienna he beguiled the pain
  Of sad remembrance: and the empress-queen,
  That great Teresa, she did not disdain
  In gracious mood sometimes to entertain
  Discourse with him both pleasurable and sage;
  And sure a willing ear she well might deign
  To one whose tales may equally engage
The wondering mind of youth, the thoughtful heart of age.

"But of his native speech, because well-nigh
  Disuse in him forgetfulness had wrought,
  In Latin he composed his history;
  A garrulous, but a lively tale, and fraught
  With matter of delight, and food for thought.
  And if he could in Merlin's glass have seen
  By whom his tomes to speak our tongue were taught,
  The old man would have felt as pleased, I ween,
As when he won the ear of that great empress-queen.

"Little he deem'd, when with his Indian band
  He through the wilds set forth upon his way,
  A poet then unborn, and in a land
  Which had proscribed his order, should one day
  Take up from thence his moralizing lay,
  And, shape a song that, with no fiction drest,
  Should to his worth its grateful tribute pay,
  And sinking deep in many an English breast,
Foster that faith divine that keeps the heart at rest."

Southey's Tale of Paraguay, canto iii. st. 16.]

[Footnote 2:
"An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian People of Paraguay, From the
Latin of Martin Dobrizhoffer, eighteen Years a Missionary in that
Country."—Vol. ii. p. 176.]

August 6. 1832.


I have generally found a Scotchman with a little literature very disagreeable. He is a superficial German or a dull Frenchman. The Scotch will attribute merit to people of any nation rather than the English; the English have a morbid habit of petting and praising foreigners of any sort, to the unjust disparagement of their own worthies.

* * * * *

You will find this a good gage or criterion of genius,—whether it progresses and evolves, or only spins upon itself. Take Dryden's Achitophel and Zimri,—Shaftesbury and Buckingham; every line adds to or modifies the character, which is, as it were, a-building up to the very last verse; whereas, in Pope's Timon, &c. the first two or three couplets contain all the pith of the character, and the twenty or thirty lines that follow are so much evidence or proof of overt acts of jealousy, or pride, or whatever it may be that is satirized. In like manner compare Charles Lamb's exquisite criticisms on Shakspeare with Hazlitt's round and round imitations of them.

August 7. 1832.


It is very remarkable that in no part of his writings does Milton take any notice of the great painters of Italy, nor, indeed, of painting as an art; whilst every other page breathes his love and taste for music. Yet it is curious that, in one passage in the Paradise Lost, Milton has certainly copied the fresco of the Creation in the Sistine Chapel at Rome. I mean those lines,—

               ——"now half appear'd
 The tawny lion, pawing to get free
 His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds,
 And rampant shakes his brinded mane;—"&c.[1]

an image which the necessities of the painter justified, but which was wholly unworthy, in my judgment, of the enlarged powers of the poet. Adam bending over the sleeping Eve in the Paradise Lost[2] and Dalilah approaching Samson, in the Agonistes[3] are the only two proper pictures I remember in Milton.

[Footnote 1: Par. Lost, book vii. ver. 463.]

[Footnote 2:

      ——"so much the more
  His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
  With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
  As through unquiet rest: he on his side
  Leaning, half raised, with looks of cordial love
  Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
  Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
  Shot forth peculiar graces; then, with voice
  Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
  Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus: Awake,
  My fairest," &c.

Book v. ver. 8.]

[Footnote 3:

  "But who is this, what thing of sea or land?
   Female of sex it seems,
   That so bedeck'd, ornate, and gay,
   Comes this way sailing
   Like a stately ship
   Of Tarsus, bound for the isles
   Of Javan or Gadire,
   With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
   Sails fill'd, and streamers waving,
   Courted by all the winds that hold them play;
   An amber-scent of odorous perfume
   Her harbinger, a damsel train behind!"]

August 9. 1832.


I think the baptismal service almost perfect. What seems erroneous assumption in it to me, is harmless. None of the services of the church affect me so much as this. I never could attend a christening without tears bursting forth at the sight of the helpless innocent in a pious clergyman's arms.

* * * * *

The Jews recognized three degrees of sanctity in their Scriptures:—first, the writings of Moses, who had the [Greek: autopsia]; secondly, the Prophets; and, thirdly, the Good Books. Philo, amusingly enough, places his works somewhere between the second and third degrees.

* * * * *

The claims of the Sanskrit for priority to the Hebrew as a language are ridiculous.

August 11. 1832.


I like reading Hesiod, meaning the Works and Days. If every verse is not poetry, it is, at least, good sense, which is a great deal to say.

* * * * *

There is nothing real in the Georgies, except, to be sure, the verse.[1] Mere didactics of practice, unless seasoned with the personal interests of the time or author, are inexpressibly dull to me. Such didactic poetry as that of the Works and Days followed naturally upon legislation and the first ordering of municipalities.

[Footnote 1: I used to fancy Mr. Coleridge paulo iniquior Virgilio, and told him so; to which he replied, that, like all Eton men, I swore per Maronem. This was far enough from being the case; but I acknowledge that Mr. C.'s apparent indifference to the tenderness and dignity of Virgil excited my surprise.—ED.]

* * * * *

All genius is metaphysical; because the ultimate end of genius is ideal, however it may be actualized by incidental and accidental circumstances.

* * * * *

Don Quixote is not a man out of his senses, but a man in whom the imagination and the pure reason are so powerful as to make him disregard the evidence of sense when it opposed their conclusions. Sancho is the common sense of the social man-animal, unenlightened and unsanctified by the reason. You see how he reverences his master at the very time he is cheating him.

August 14. 1832.


Poor dear Steinmetz is gone,—his state of sure blessedness accelerated; or, it may be, he is buried in Christ, and there in that mysterious depth grows on to the spirit of a just man made perfect! Could I for a moment doubt this, the grass would become black beneath my feet, and this earthly frame a charnel-house. I never knew any man so illustrate the difference between the feminine and the effeminate.

* * * * *

A loose, slack, not well-dressed youth met Mr. —— and myself in a lane near Highgate.—— knew him, and spoke. It was Keats. He was introduced to me, and staid a minute or so. After he had left us a little way, he came back and said: "Let me carry away the memory, Coleridge, of having pressed your hand!"—"There is death in that hand," I said to ——, when Keats was gone; yet this was, I believe, before the consumption showed itself distinctly.

August 16. 1832.


The discipline at Christ's Hospital in my time was ultra-Spartan;—all domestic ties were to be put aside. "Boy!" I remember Bowyer saying to me once when I was crying the first day of my return after the holidays, "Boy! the school is your father! Boy! the school is your mother! Boy! the school is your brother! the school is your sister! the school is your first cousin, and your second cousin, and all the rest of your relations! Let's have no more crying!"

* * * * *

No tongue can express good Mrs. Bowyer. Val. Le Grice and I were once going to be flogged for some domestic misdeed, and Bowyer was thundering away at us by way of prologue, when Mrs. B. looked in, and said, "Flog them soundly, sir, I beg!" This saved us. Bowyer was so nettled at the interruption that he growled out, "Away, woman! away!" and we were let off.

August 28. 1832.


The belief that Malta is the island on which St. Paul was wrecked is so rooted in the common Maltese, and is cherished with such a superstitious nationality, that the Government would run the chance of exciting a tumult, if it, or its representatives, unwarily ridiculed it. The supposition itself is quite absurd. Not to argue the matter at length, consider these few conclusive facts:—The narrative speaks of the "barbarous people," and "barbarians,"[1] of the island. Now, our Malta was at that time fully peopled and highly civilized, as we may surely infer from Cicero and other writers.[2] A viper comes out from the sticks upon the fire being lighted: the men are not surprised at the appearance of the snake, but imagine first a murderer, and then a god from the harmless attack. Now in our Malta there are, I may say, no snakes at all; which, to be sure, the Maltese attribute to St. Paul's having cursed them away. Melita in the Adriatic was a perfectly barbarous island as to its native population, and was, and is now, infested with serpents. Besides the context shows that the scene is in the Adriatic.

[Footnote 1:
Acts xxviii. 2. and 4. Mr. C. seemed to think that the Greek words had
reference to something more than the fact of the islanders not speaking
Latin or Greek; the classical meaning of [Greek: Barbaroi].-ED.]

[Footnote 2: Upwards of a century before the reign of Nero, Cicero speaks at considerable length of our Malta in one of the Verrine orations. See Act. ii. lib. iv. c. 46. "Insula est Melita, judices," &c. There was a town, and Verres had established in it a manufactory of the fine cloth or cotton stuffs, the Melitensis vestis, for which the island is uniformly celebrated:—

"Fertilis est Melite sterili vicina Cocyrae
  Insula, quam Libyci verberat unda freti."

Ovid. Fast. iii. 567.

And Silius Italicus has—

——"telaque superba Lanigera Melite."

Punic. xiv. 251.

Yet it may have been cotton after all—the present product of Malta. Cicero describes an ancient temple of Juno situated on a promontory near the town, so famous and revered, that, even in the time of Masinissa, at least 150 years B.C., that prince had religiously restored some relics which his admiral had taken from it. The plunder of this very temple is an article of accusation against Verres; and a deputation of Maltese (legati Melitenses) came to Rome to establish the charge. These are all the facts, I think, which can be gathered from Cicero; because I consider his expression of nudatae urbes, in the working up of this article, a piece of rhetoric. Strabo merely marks the position of Melita, and says that the lap-dogs called [Greek: kunidia Melitaia] were sent from this island, though some writers attribute them to the other Melite in the Adriatic, (lib. vi.) Diodorus, however, a Sicilian himself by birth, gives the following remarkable testimony as to the state of the island in his time, which, it will be remembered, was considerably before the date of St. Paul's shipwreck. "There are three islands to the south of Sicily, each of which has a city or town ([Greek: polin]), and harbours fitted for the safe reception of ships. The first of these is Melite, distant about 800 stadia from Syracuse, and possessing several harbours of surpassing excellence. Its inhabitants are rich and luxurious ([Greek: tous katoikountas tais ousiais eudaimonas]). There are artizans of every kind ([Greek: pantodapous tais exgasias]); the best are those who weave cloth of a singular fineness and softness. The houses are worthy of admiration for their superb adornment with eaves and brilliant white-washing ([Greek: oikias axiologous kai kateskeuasmenas philotimos geissois kai koniamasi pezittotezon])."— Lib. v. c. 12. Mela (ii. c. 7.) and Pliny (iii. 14.) simply mark the position.—ED.]

* * * * *

The Maltese seem to have preserved a fondness and taste for architecture from the time of the knights—naturally enough occasioned by the incomparable materials at hand.[1]

[Footnote 1: The passage which I have cited from Diodorus shows that the origin was much earlier.—ED.]

August 19. 1832.


It may be doubted whether a composite language like the English is not a happier instrument of expression than a homogeneous one like the German. We possess a wonderful richness and variety of modified meanings in our Saxon and Latin quasi-synonymes, which the Germans have not. For "the pomp and prodigality of Heaven," the Germans must have said "the spendthriftness."[1] Shakspeare is particularly happy in his use of the Latin synonymes, and in distinguishing between them and the Saxon.

[Footnote 1: Verschwendung, I suppose.—ED.]

* * * * *

That is the most excellent state of society in which the patriotism of the citizen ennobles, but does not merge, the individual energy of the man.

September 1. 1832.


In chemistry and nosology, by extending the degree to a certain point, the constituent proportion may be destroyed, and a new kind produced.

* * * * *

I have known strong minds with imposing, undoubting, Cobbett-like manners, but I have never met a great mind of this sort. And of the former, they are at least as often wrong as right. The truth is, a great mind must be androgynous. Great minds—Swedenborg's for instance—are never wrong but in consequence of being in the right, but imperfectly.

* * * * *

A philosopher's ordinary language and admissions, in general conversation or writings ad populum, are as his watch compared with his astronomical timepiece. He sets the former by the town-clock, not because he believes it right, but because his neighbours and his cook go by it.

January 2. 1833.


I certainly think that juries would be more conscientious, if they were allowed a larger discretion. But, after all, juries cannot be better than the mass out of which they are taken. And if juries are not honest and single-minded, they are the worst, because the least responsible, instruments of judicial or popular tyranny.

I should he sorry to see the honorary character of the fees of barristers and physicians done away with. Though it seems a shadowy distinction, I believe it to be beneficial in effect. It contributes to preserve the idea of a profession, of a class which belongs to the public,—in the employment and remuneration of which no law interferes, but the citizen acts as he likes in foro conscientiae.

* * * * *

There undoubtedly ought to be a declaratory act withdrawing expressly from the St. John Longs and other quacks the protection which the law is inclined to throw around the mistakes or miscarriages of the regularly educated practitioner.

* * * * *

I think there are only two things wanting to justify a surgeon in performing the Caesarean operation: first, that he should possess infallible knowledge of his art: and, secondly, that he should be infallibly certain that he is infallible.

* * * * *

Can any thing he more dreadful than the thought that an innocent child has inherited from you a disease or a weakness, the penalty in yourself of sin or want of caution?

* * * * *

In the treatment of nervous cases, he is the best physician, who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.

January 3. 1833.


I cannot bring myself to think much of Mason's poetry. I may be wrong; but all those passages in the Caractacus, which we learn to admire at school, now seem to me one continued falsetto.

January 4. 1833.


Naturally one would have thought that there would have been greater sympathy between the northern and north-western states of the American Union and England, than between England and the Southern states. There is ten times as much English blood and spirit in New England as in Virginia, the Carolinas, &c. Nevertheless, such has been the force of the interests of commerce, that now, and for some years past, the people of the North hate England with increasing bitterness, whilst, amongst those of the south, who are Jacobins, the British connection has become popular. Can there ever be any thorough national fusion of the Northern and Southern states? I think not. In fact, the Union will be shaken almost to dislocation whenever a very serious question between the states arises. The American Union has no centre, and it is impossible now to make one. The more they extend their borders into the Indians' land, the weaker will the national cohesion be. But I look upon the states as splendid masses to be used, by and by, in the composition of two or three great governments.

* * * * *

There is a great and important difference, both in politics and metaphysics, between all and the whole. The first can never be ascertained as a standing quantity; the second, if comprehended by insight into its parts, remains for ever known. Mr. Huskisson, I thought, satisfactorily refuted the ship owners; and yet the shipping interest, who must know where the shoe pinches, complain to this day.

January 7, 1833.


"Very far gone," is quam longissime in the Latin of the ninth article,— as far gone as possible, that is, as was possible for man to go; as far as was compatible with his having any redeemable qualities left in him. To talk of man's being utterly lost to good, is absurd; for then he would be a devil at once.

* * * * *

One mistake perpetually made by one of our unhappy parties in religion,— and with a pernicious tendency to Antinomianism,—is to confound sin with sins. To tell a modest girl, the watchful nurse of an aged parent, that she is full of sins against God, is monstrous, and as shocking to reason as it is unwarrantable by Scripture. But to tell her that she, and all men and women, are of a sinful nature, and that, without Christ's redeeming love and God's grace, she cannot be emancipated from its dominion, is true and proper.[1]

[Footnote 1: In a marginal scrap Mr. C. wrote:—"What are the essential doctrines of our religion, if not sin and original sin, as the necessitating occasion, and the redemption of sinners by the Incarnate Word as the substance of the Christian dispensation? And can these be intelligently believed without knowledge and steadfast meditation. By the unlearned, they may be worthily received, but not by the unthinking and self-ignorant, Christian."—ED.]

* * * * *

No article of faith can be truly and duly preached without necessarily and simultaneously infusing a deep sense of the indispensableness of a holy life.

* * * * *

How pregnant with instruction, and with knowledge of all sorts, are the sermons of our old divines! in this respect, as in so many others, how different from the major part of modern discourses!

* * * * *

Every attempt, in a sermon, to cause emotion, except as the consequence of an impression made on the reason, or the understanding, or the will, I hold to be fanatical and sectarian.

* * * * *

No doubt preaching, in the proper sense of the word, is more effective than reading; and, therefore, I would not prohibit it, but leave a liberty to the clergyman who feels himself able to accomplish it. But, as things now are, I am quite sure I prefer going to church to a pastor who reads his discourse: for I never yet heard more than one preacher without book, who did not forget his argument in three minutes' time; and fall into vague and unprofitable declamation, and, generally, very coarse declamation too. These preachers never progress; they eddy round and round. Sterility of mind follows their ministry.

January 20. 1833.


When the Church at the Reformation ceased to be extra-national, it unhappily became royal instead; its proper bearing is intermediate between the crown and the people, with an inclination to the latter.

* * * * *

The present prospects of the Church weigh heavily on my soul. Oh! that the words of a statesman-like philosophy could win their way through the ignorant zealotry and sordid vulgarity of the leaders of the day!

February 5. 1833.


If any modification of the Union takes place, I trust it will be a total divorce a vinculo matrimonii. I am sure we have lived a cat and dog life of it. Let us have no silly saving of one crown and two legislatures; that would be preserving all the mischiefs without any of the goods, if there are any, of the union.

I am deliberately of opinion, that England, in all its institutions, has received injury from its union with Ireland. My only difficulty is as to the Protestants, to whom we owe protection. But I cannot forget that the Protestants themselves have greatly aided in accelerating the present horrible state of things, by using that as a remedy and a reward which should have been to them an opportunity.[1]

If the Protestant Church in Ireland is removed, of course the Romish Church must be established in its place. There can be no resisting it in common reason.

How miserably imbecile and objectless has the English government of Ireland been for forty years past! Oh! for a great man—but one really great man,— who could feel the weight and the power of a principle, and unflinchingly put it into act! But truly there is no vision in the land, and the people accordingly perisheth. See how triumphant in debate and in action O'Connell is! Why? Because he asserts a broad principle, and acts up to it, rests all his body on it, and has faith in it. Our ministers—true Whigs in that— have faith in nothing but expedients de die in diem. Indeed, what principles of government can they have, who in the space of a month recanted a life of political opinions, and now dare to threaten this and that innovation at the huzza of a mob, or in pique at a parliamentary defeat?

[Footnote 1: "Whatever may be thought of the settlement that followed the battle of the Boyne and the extinction of the war in Ireland, yet when this had been made and submitted to, it would have been the far wiser policy, I doubt not, to have provided for the safety of the constitution by improving the quality of the elective franchise, leaving the eligibility open, or like the former, limited only by considerations of property. Still, however, the scheme of exclusion and disqualification had its plausible side. The ink was scarcely dry on the parchment-rolls and proscription-lists of the Popish parliament. The crimes of the man were generalized into attributes of his faith; and the Irish catholics collectively were held accomplices in the perfidy and baseness of the king. Alas! his immediate adherents had afforded too great colour to the charge. The Irish massacre was in the mouth of every Protestant, not as an event to be remembered, but as a thing of recent expectation, fear still blending with the sense of deliverance. At no time, therefore, could the disqualifying system have been enforced with so little reclamation of the conquered party, or with so little outrage on the general feeling of the country. There was no time, when it was so capable of being indirectly useful as a sedative in order to the application of the remedies directly indicated, or as a counter-power reducing to inactivity whatever disturbing forces might have interfered with their operation. And had this use been made of these exclusive laws, and had they been enforced as the precursors and negative conditions,—but, above all, as bonâ fide accompaniments, of a process of emancipation, properly and worthily so named, the code would at this day have been remembered in Ireland only as when, recalling a dangerous fever of our boyhood, we think of the nauseous drugs and drenching-horn, and congratulate ourselves that our doctors now-a-days know how to manage these things less coarsely. But this angry code was neglected as an opportunity, and mistaken for a substitute: et hinc illae* lacrymae!"—Church and State, p. 195.]

* * * * *

I sometimes think it just possible that the Dissenters may once more be animated by a wiser and nobler spirit, and see their dearest interest in the church of England as the bulwark and glory of Protestantism, as they did at the Revolution. But I doubt their being able to resist the low factious malignity to the church which has characterized them as a body for so many years.

February 16. 1833.


Before I had ever seen any part of Goethe's Faust[1], though, of course, when I was familiar enough with Marlowe's, I conceived and drew up the plan of a work, a drama, which was to be, to my mind, what the Faust was to Goethe's. My Faust was old Michael Scott; a much better and more likely original than Faust. He appeared in the midst of his college of devoted disciples, enthusiastic, ebullient, shedding around him bright surmises of discoveries fully perfected in after-times, and inculcating the study of nature and its secrets as the pathway to the acquisition of power. He did not love knowledge for itself—for its own exceeding great reward—but in order to be powerful. This poison-speck infected his mind from the beginning. The priests suspect him, circumvent him, accuse him; he is condemned, and thrown into solitary confinement: this constituted the prologus of the drama. A pause of four or five years takes place, at the end of which Michael escapes from prison, a soured, gloomy, miserable man. He will not, cannot study; of what avail had all his study been to him? His knowledge, great as it was, had failed to preserve him from the cruel fangs of the persecutors; he could not command the lightning or the storm to wreak their furies upon the heads of those whom he hated and contemned, and yet feared. Away with learning! away with study! to the winds with all pretences to knowledge! We know nothing; we are fools, wretches, mere beasts. Anon I began to tempt him. I made him dream, gave him wine, and passed the most exquisite of women before him, but out of his reach. Is there, then, no knowledge by which these pleasures can be commanded? That way lay witchcraft, and accordingly to witchcraft Michael turns with all his soul. He has many failures and some successes; he learns the chemistry of exciting drugs and exploding powders, and some of the properties of transmitted and reflected light: his appetites and his curiosity are both stimulated, and his old craving for power and mental domination over others revives. At last Michael tries to raise the Devil, and the Devil comes at his call. My Devil was to be, like Goethe's, the universal humorist, who should make all things vain and nothing worth, by a perpetual collation of the great with the little in the presence of the infinite. I had many a trick for him to play, some better, I think, than any in the Faust. In the mean time, Michael is miserable; he has power, but no peace, and he every day more keenly feels the tyranny of hell surrounding him. In vain he seems to himself to assert the most absolute empire over the Devil, by imposing the most extravagant tasks; one thing is as easy as another to the Devil. "What next, Michael?" is repeated every day with more imperious servility. Michael groans in spirit; his power is a curse: he commands women and wine! but the women seem fictitious and devilish, and the wine does not make him drunk. He now begins to hate the Devil, and tries to cheat him. He studies again, and explores the darkest depths of sorcery for a receipt to cozen hell; but all in vain. Sometimes the Devil's finger turns over the page for him, and points out an experiment, and Michael hears a whisper—"Try that, Michael!" The horror increases; and Michael feels that he is a slave and a condemned criminal. Lost to hope, he throws himself into every sensual excess,—in the mid-career of which he sees Agatha, my Margaret, and immediately endeavours to seduce her. Agatha loves him; and the Devil facilitates their meetings; but she resists Michael's attempts to ruin her, and implores him not to act so as to forfeit her esteem. Long struggles of passion ensue, in the result of which his affections are called forth against his appetites, and, love-born, the idea of a redemption of the lost will dawns upon his mind. This is instantaneously perceived by the Devil; and for the first time the humorist becomes severe and menacing. A fearful succession of conflicts between Michael and the Devil takes place, in which Agatha helps and suffers. In the end, after subjecting him to every imaginable horror and agony, I made him triumphant, and poured peace into his soul in the conviction of a salvation for sinners through God's grace.

The intended theme of the Faust is the consequences of a misology, or hatred and depreciation of knowledge caused by an originally intense thirst for knowledge baffled. But a love of knowledge for itself, and for pure ends, would never produce such a misology, but only a love of it for base and unworthy purposes. There is neither causation nor progression in the Faust; he is a ready-made conjuror from the very beginning; the incredulus odi is felt from the first line. The sensuality and the thirst after knowledge are unconnected with each other. Mephistopheles and Margaret are excellent; but Faust himself is dull and meaningless. The scene in Auerbach's cellars is one of the best, perhaps the very best; that on the Brocken is also fine; and all the songs are beautiful. But there is no whole in the poem; the scenes are mere magic-lantern pictures, and a large part of the work is to me very flat. The German is very pure and fine.

The young men in Germany and England who admire Lord Byron, prefer Goethe to Schiller; but you may depend upon it, Goethe does not, nor ever will, command the common mind of the people of Germany as Schiller does. Schiller had two legitimate phases in his intellectual character:—the first as author of the Robbers—a piece which must not be considered with reference to Shakspeare, but as a work of the mere material sublime, and in that line it is undoubtedly very powerful indeed. It is quite genuine, and deeply imbued with Schiller's own soul. After this he outgrew the composition of such plays as the Robbers, and at once took his true and only rightful stand in the grand historical drama—the Wallenstein;—not the intense drama of passion,—he was not master of that—but the diffused drama of history, in which alone he had ample scope for his varied powers. The Wallenstein is the greatest of his works; it is not unlike Shakspeare's historical plays—a species by itself. You may take up any scene, and it will please you by itself; just as you may in Don Quixote, which you read through once or twice only, but which you read in repeatedly. After this point it was, that Goethe and other writers injured by their theories the steadiness and originality of Schiller's mind; and in every one of his works after the Wallenstein you may perceive the fluctuations of his taste and principles of composition. He got a notion of re-introducing the characterlessness of the Greek tragedy with a chorus, as in the Bride of Messina, and he was for infusing more lyric verse into it. Schiller sometimes affected to despise the Robbers and the other works of his first youth; whereas he ought to have spoken of them as of works not in a right line, but full of excellence in their way. In his ballads and lighter lyrics Goethe is most excellent. It is impossible to praise him too highly in this respect. I like the Wilhelm Meister the best of his prose works. But neither Schiller's nor Goethe's prose style approaches to Lessing's, whose writings, for manner, are absolutely perfect.

Although Wordsworth and Goethe are not much alike, to be sure, upon the whole; yet they both have this peculiarity of utter non-sympathy with the subjects of their poetry. They are always, both of them, spectators ab extra,—feeling for, but never with, their characters. Schiller is a thousand times more hearty than Goethe.

I was once pressed—many years ago—to translate the Faust; and I so far entertained the proposal as to read the work through with great attention, and to revive in my mind my own former plan of Michael Scott. But then I considered with myself whether the time taken up in executing the translation might not more worthily be devoted to the composition of a work which, even if parallel in some points to the Faust, should be truly original in motive and execution, and therefore more interesting and valuable than any version which I could make; and, secondly, I debated with myself whether it became my moral character to render into English—and so far, certainly, lend my countenance to language—much of which I thought vulgar, licentious, and blasphemous. I need not tell you that I never put pen to paper as a translator of Faust.

I have read a good deal of Mr. Hayward's version, and I think it done in a very manly style; but I do not admit the argument for prose translations. I would in general rather see verse attempted in so capable a language as ours. The French cannot help themselves, of course, with such a language as theirs.

[Footnote 1: "The poem was first published in 1790, and forms the commencement of the seventh volume of Goethe's Schriften, Wien und Leipzig, bey J. Stahel and G. J. Goschen, 1790. This edition is now before me. The poem entitled, Faust, ein Fragment (not Doktor Faust, ein Trauerspiel, as Döring says), and contains no prologue or dedication of any sort. It commences with the scene in Faust's study, antè, p. 17., and is continued, as now, down to the passage ending, antè, p. 26. line 5. In the original, the line—

"Und froh ist, wenn er Regenwürmer findet,"

ends the scene.

The next scene is one between Faust and Mephistopheles, and begins thus:—

"Und was der ganzen Menschheit zugetheilt ist,"

i. e. with the passage (antè, p. 70.) beginning, "I will enjoy, in my own heart's core, all that is parcelled out among mankind," &c. All that intervenes, in later editions, is wanting. It is thenceforth continued, as now, to the end of the cathedral scene (antè, p. (170)), except that the whole scene, in which Valentine is killed, is wanting. Thus Margaret's prayer to the Virgin and the cathedral scene come together, and form the conclusion of the work. According to Düring's Verzeichniss, there was no new edition of Faust until 1807. According to Dr. Sieglitz, the first part of Faust first appeared, in its present shape, in the collected edition of Goethe's works, which was published in 1808.—Hayward's Translation of Faust, second edition, note, p. 215.]

February 17. 1833.


In the romantic drama Beaumont and Fletcher are almost supreme. Their plays are in general most truly delightful. I could read the Beggar's Bush from morning to night. How sylvan and sunshiny it is! The Little French Lawyer is excellent. Lawrit is conceived and executed from first to last in genuine comic humour. Monsieur Thomas is also capital. I have no doubt whatever that the first act and the first scene of the second act of the Two Noble Kinsmen are Shakspeare's. Beaumont and Fletcher's plots are, to be sure, wholly inartificial; they only care to pitch a character into a position to make him or her talk; you must swallow all their gross improbabilities, and, taking it all for granted, attend only to the dialogue. How lamentable it is that no gentleman and scholar can he found to edit these beautiful plays![1] Did the name of criticism ever descend so low as in the hands of those two fools and knaves, Seward and Simpson? There are whole scenes in their edition which I could with certainty put back into their original verse, and more that could he replaced in their native prose. Was there ever such an absolute disregard of literary fame as that displayed by Shakspeare, and Beaumont and Fletcher?[2]

[Footnote 1: I believe Mr. Dyce could edit Beaumont and Fletcher as well as any man of the present or last generation; but the truth is, the limited sale of the late editions of Ben Jonson, Shirley, &c., has damped the spirit of enterprise amongst the respectable publishers. Still I marvel that some cheap reprint of B. and F. is not undertaken.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: "The men of the greatest genius, as far as we can judge from their own works, or from the accounts of their contemporaries, appear to have been of calm and tranquil temper, in all that related to themselves. In the inward assurance of permanent fame, they seem to have been either indifferent or resigned, with regard to immediate reputation."

* * * * *

"Shakspeare's evenness and sweetness of temper were almost proverbial in his own age. That this did not arise from ignorance of his own comparative greatness, we have abundant proof in his sonnets, which could scarcely have been known to Mr. Pope, when he asserted, that our great bard 'grew immortal in his own despite.'"—Biog. Lit. vol. i, p. 32.]

* * * * *

In Ben Jonson you have an intense and burning art. Some of his plots, that of the Alchemist, for example, are perfect. Ben Jonson and Beaumont and Fletcher would, if united, have made a great dramatist indeed, and yet not have come near Shakspeare; but no doubt Ben Jonson was the greatest man after Shakspeare in that age of dramatic genius.

The styles of Massinger's plays and the Sampson Agonistes are the two extremes of the arc within which the diction of dramatic poetry may oscillate. Shakspeare in his great plays is the midpoint. In the Samson Agonistes, colloquial language is left at the greatest distance, yet something of it is preserved, to render the dialogue probable: in Massinger the style is differenced, but differenced in the smallest degree possible, from animated conversation by the vein of poetry.

There's such a divinity doth hedge our Shakspeare round, that we cannot even imitate his style. I tried to imitate his manner in the Remorse, and, when I had done, I found I had been tracking Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger instead. It is really very curious. At first sight, Shakspeare and his contemporary dramatists seem to write in styles much alike: nothing so easy as to fall into that of Massinger and the others; whilst no one has ever yet produced one scene conceived and expressed in the Shakspearian idiom. I suppose it is because Shakspeare is universal, and, in fact, has no manner; just as you can so much more readily copy a picture than Nature herself.

February 20. 1833.


I was just now reading Sir John Cam Hobhouse's answer to Mr. Hume, I believe, upon the point of transferring the patronage of the army and navy from the Crown to the House of Commons. I think, if I had been in the House of Commons, I would have said, "that, ten or fifteen years ago, I should have considered Sir J. C. H.'s speech quite unanswerable,—it being clear constitutional law that the House of Commons has not, nor ought to have, any share, directly or indirectly, in the appointment of the officers of the army or navy. But now that the King had been reduced, by the means and procurement of the Honourable Baronet and his friends, to a puppet, which, so far from having any independent will of its own, could not resist a measure which it hated and condemned, it became a matter of grave consideration whether it was not necessary to vest the appointment of such officers in a body like the House of Commons, rather than in a junta of ministers, who were obliged to make common cause with the mob and democratic press for the sake of keeping their places."

March 9. 1833.


The penal code in Ireland, in the beginning of the last century, was justifiable, as a temporary mean of enabling government to take breath and look about them; and if right measures had been systematically pursued in a right spirit, there can be no doubt that all, or the greater part, of Ireland would have become Protestant. Protestantism under the Charter Schools was greatly on the increase in the early part of that century, and the complaints of the Romish priests to that effect are on record. But, unfortunately, the drenching-horn was itself substituted for the medicine.

* * * * *

There seems to me, at present, to be a curse upon the English church, and upon the governors of all institutions connected with the orderly advancement of national piety and knowledge; it is the curse of prudence, as they miscall it—in fact, of fear.

Clergymen are now almost afraid to explain in their pulpits the grounds of their being Protestants. They are completely cowed by the vulgar harassings of the press and of our Hectoring sciolists in Parliament. There should be no party politics in the pulpit to be sure; but every church in England ought to resound with national politics,—I mean the sacred character of the national church, and an exposure of the base robbery from the nation itself—for so indeed it is[1]—about to be committed by these ministers, in order to have a sop to throw to the Irish agitators, who will, of course, only cut the deeper, and come the oftener. You cannot buy off a barbarous invader.

[Footnote 1: "That the maxims of a pure morality, and those sublime truths of the divine unity and attributes, which a Plato found it hard to learn, and more difficult to reveal; that these should have become the almost hereditary property of childhood and poverty, of the hovel and the workshop; that even to the unlettered they sound as common-place; this is a phenomenon which must withhold all but minds of the most vulgar cast from undervaluing the services even of the pulpit and the reading-desk. Yet he who should confine the efficiency of an established church to these, can hardly be placed in a much higher rank of intellect. That to every parish throughout the kingdom there is transplanted a germ of civilization; that in the remotest villages there is a nucleus, round which the capabilities of the place may crystallize and brighten; a model sufficiently superior to excite, yet sufficiently near to encourage and facilitate imitation; this unobtrusive, continuous agency of a Protestant church establishment, this it is, which the patriot and the philanthropist, who would fain unite the love of peace with the faith in the progressive amelioration of mankind, cannot estimate at too high a price. 'It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. No mention shall be made of coral or of pearls; for the price of wisdom is above rubies.'—The clergyman is with his parishioners and among them; he is neither in the cloistered cell, nor in the wilderness, but a neighbour and family man, whose education and rank admit him to the mansion of the rich landholder, while his duties make him the frequent visitor of the farm-house and the cottage. He is, or he may become, connected with the families of his parish or its vicinity by marriage. And among the instances of the blindness, or at best of the short-sightedness, which it is the nature of cupidity to inflict, I know few more striking than the clamours of the farmers against church property. Whatever was not paid to the clergyman would inevitably at the next lease be paid to the landholder; while, as the case at present stands, the revenues of the church are in some sort the reversionary property of every family that may have a member educated for the church, or a daughter that may marry a clergyman. Instead of being foreclosed and immovable, it is, in fact, the only species of landed property that is essentially moving and circulative. That there exist no inconveniences who will pretend to assert?—But I have yet to expect the proof, that the inconveniences are greater in this than in any other species; or that either the farmers or the clergy would be benefited by forcing the latter to become either Trullibers or salaried placemen."—Church and State, p. 90.]

March 12. 1833.


Lord Grey has, in Parliament, said two things: first, that the Coronation Oaths only bind the King in his executive capacity; and, secondly, that members of the House of Commons are bound to represent by their votes the wishes and opinions of their constituents, and not their own. Put these two together, and tell me what useful part of the constitutional monarchy of England remains. It is clear that the Coronation Oaths would be no better than Highgate oaths. For in his executive capacity the King cannot do any thing, against the doing of which the oaths bind him; it is only in his legislative character that he possesses a free agency capable of being bound. The nation meant to bind that.

March 14. 1833.


Divinity is essentially the first of the professions, because it is necessary for all at all times; law and physic are only necessary for some at some times. I speak of them, of course, not in their abstract existence, but in their applicability to man.

* * * * *

Every true science bears necessarily within itself the germ of a cognate profession, and the more you can elevate trades into professions the better.

March 17. 1833.


What solemn humbug this modern political economy is! What is there true of the little that is true in their dogmatic books, which is not a simple deduction from the moral and religious credenda and agenda of any good man, and with which we were not all previously acquainted, and upon which every man of common sense instinctively acted? I know none. But what they truly state, they do not truly understand in its ultimate grounds and causes; and hence they have sometimes done more mischief by their half- ignorant and half-sophistical reasonings about, and deductions from, well- founded positions, than they could have done by the promulgation of positive error. This particularly applies to their famous ratios of increase between man and the means of his subsistence. Political economy, at the highest, can never be a pure science. You may demonstrate that certain properties inhere in the arch, which yet no bridge-builder can ever reduce into brick and mortar; but an abstract conclusion in a matter of political economy, the premisses of which neither exist now, nor ever will exist within the range of the wildest imagination, is not a truth, but a chimera—a practical falsehood. For there are no theorems in political economy—but problems only. Certain things being actually so and so; the question is, how to do so and so with them. Political philosophy, indeed, points to ulterior ends, but even those ends are all practical; and if you desert the conditions of reality, or of common probability, you may show forth your eloquence or your fancy, but the utmost you can produce will be a Utopia or Oceana.

You talk about making this article cheaper by reducing its price in the market from 8_d_. to 6_d_. But suppose, in so doing, you have rendered your country weaker against a foreign foe; suppose you have demoralized thousands of your fellow-countrymen, and have sown discontent between one class of society and another, your article is tolerably dear, I take it, after all. Is not its real price enhanced to every Christian and patriot a hundred-fold?

* * * * *

All is an endless fleeting abstraction; the whole is a reality.

March 31. 1833.


What evil results now to this country, taken at large, from the actual existence of the National Debt? I never could get a plain and practical answer to that question. I do not advert to the past loss of capital, although it is hard to see how that capital can be said to have been unproductive, which produces, in the defence of the nation itself, the conditions of the permanence and productivity of all other capital. As to taxation to pay the interest, how can the country suffer by a process, under which the money is never one minute out of the pockets of the people? You may just as well say that a man is weakened by the circulation of his blood. There may, certainly, be particular local evils and grievances resulting from the mode of taxation or collection; but how can that debt be in any proper sense a burthen to the nation, which the nation owes to itself, and to no one but itself? It is a juggle to talk of the nation owing the capital or the interest to the stockholders; it owes to itself only. Suppose the interest to be owing to the Emperor of Russia, and then you would feel the difference of a debt in the proper sense. It is really and truly nothing more in effect than so much moneys or money's worth, raised annually by the state for the purpose of quickening industry.[1]

I should like to see a well graduated property tax, accompanied by a large loan.

One common objection to a property tax is, that it tends to diminish the accumulation of capital. In my judgment, one of the chief sources of the bad economy of the country now is the enormous aggregation of capitals.

When shall we return to a sound conception of the right to property— namely, as being official, implying and demanding the performance of commensurate duties! Nothing but the most horrible perversion of humanity and moral justice, under the specious name of political economy, could have blinded men to this truth as to the possession of land,—the law of God having connected indissolubly the cultivation of every rood of earth with the maintenance and watchful labour of man. But money, stock, riches by credit, transferable and convertible at will, are under no such obligations; and, unhappily, it is from the selfish autocratic possession of such property, that our landholders have learnt their present theory of trading with that which was never meant to be an object of commerce.

[Footnote 1: See the splendid essay in the Friend (vol. ii, p. 47.) on the vulgar errors respecting taxes and taxation.

"A great statesman, lately deceased, in one of his anti-ministerial harangues against some proposed impost, said, 'The nation has been already bled in every vein, and is faint with loss of blood.' This blood, however, was circulating in the mean time through the whole body of the state, and what was received into one chamber of the heart was instantly sent out again at the other portal. Had he wanted a metaphor to convey the possible injuries of taxation, he might have found one less opposite to the fact, in the known disease of aneurism, or relaxation of the coats of particular vessels, by a disproportionate accumulation of blood in them, which sometimes occurs when the circulation has been suddenly and violently changed, and causes helplessness, or even mortal stagnation, though the total quantity of blood remains the same in the system at large.

"But a fuller and fairer symbol of taxation, both in its possible good and evil effects, is to be found in the evaporation of waters from the surface of the earth. The sun may draw up the moisture from the river, the morass, and the ocean, to be given back in genial showers to the garden, to the pasture, and the corn field; but it may, likewise, force away the moisture from the fields of tillage, to drop it on the stagnant pool, the saturated swamp, or the unprofitable sand-waste. The gardens in the south of Europe supply, perhaps, a not less apt illustration of a system of finance judiciously conducted, where the tanks or reservoirs would represent the capital of a nation, and the hundred rills, hourly varying their channels and directions under the gardener's spade, give a pleasing image of the dispersion of that capital through the whole population by the joint effect of taxation and trade. For taxation itself is a part of commerce, and the government maybe fairly considered as a great manufacturing house, carrying on, in different places, by means of its partners and overseers, the trades of the shipbuilder, the clothier, the iron-founder," &c. &c.—ED.]

April 5. 1833.


To please me, a poem must be either music or sense; if it is neither, I confess I cannot interest myself in it.

* * * * *

The first act of the Virgin Martyr is as fine an act as I remember in any play. The Very Woman is, I think, one of the most perfect plays we have. There is some good fun in the first scene between Don John, or Antonio, and Cuculo, his master[1]; and can any thing exceed the skill and sweetness of the scene between him and his mistress, in which he relates his story?[2] The Bondman is also a delightful play. Massinger is always entertaining; his plays have the interest of novels.

But, like most of his contemporaries, except Shakspeare, Massinger often deals in exaggerated passion. Malefort senior, in the Unnatural Combat, however he may have had the moral will to be so wicked, could never have actually done all that he is represented as guilty of, without losing his senses. He would have been, in fact, mad. Regan and Goneril are the only pictures of the unnatural in Shakspeare; the pure unnatural—and you will observe that Shakspeare has left their hideousness unsoftened or diversified by a single line of goodness or common human frailty. Whereas in Edmund, for whom passion, the sense of shame as a bastard, and ambition, offer some plausible excuses, Shakspeare has placed many redeeming traits. Edmund is what, under certain circumstances, any man of powerful intellect might be, if some other qualities and feelings were cut off. Hamlet is, inclusively, an Edmund, but different from him as a whole, on account of the controlling agency of other principles which Edmund had not.

It is worth while to remark the use which Shakspeare always makes of his bold villains as vehicles for expressing opinions and conjectures of a nature too hazardous for a wise man to put forth directly as his own, or from any sustained character.

[Footnote 1: Act iii. sc. 2.]

[Footnote 2: Act iv. sc. 3.:—

  "ANT. Not far from where my father lives, a lady,
A neighbour by, bless'd with as great a beauty
As nature durst bestow without undoing,
Dwelt, and most happily, as I thought then,
And bless'd the home a thousand times she dwelt in.
This beauty, in the blossom of my youth,
When my first fire knew no adulterate incense,
Nor I no way to flatter, but my fondness;
In all the bravery my friends could show me,
In all the faith my innocence could give me,
In the best language my true tongue could tell me,
And all the broken sighs my sick heart lent me,
I sued and served: long did I love this lady,
Long was my travail, long my trade to win her;
With all the duty of my soul, I served her.

  ALM. How feelingly he speaks! (Aside.) And she loved you too?
It must be so.

  ANT. I would it had, dear lady;
This story had been needless, and this place,
I think, unknown to me.

ALM. Were your bloods equal?

ANT. Yes; and I thought our hearts too.

ALM. Then she must love.

  ANT. She did—but never me; she could not love me,
She would not love, she hated; more, she scorn'd me,
And in so poor and base a way abused me,
For all my services, for all my bounties,
So bold neglects flung on me—

  ALM. An ill woman!
Belike you found some rival in your love, then?

  ANT. How perfectly she points me to my story! (Aside.)
Madam, I did; and one whose pride and anger,
Ill manners, and worse mien, she doted on,
Doted to my undoing, and my ruin.
And, but for honour to your sacred beauty,
And reverence to the noble sex, though she fall,
As she must fall that durst be so unnoble,
I should say something unbeseeming me.
What out of love, and worthy love, I gave her,
Shame to her most unworthy mind! to fools,
To girls, and fiddlers, to her boys she flung,
And in disdain of me.

  ALM. Pray you take me with you.
Of what complexion was she?

  ANT. But that I dare not
Commit so great a sacrilege 'gainst virtue,
She look'd not much unlike—though far, far short,
Something, I see, appears—your pardon, madam—
Her eyes would smile so, but her eyes could cozen;
And so she would look sad; but yours is pity,
A noble chorus to my wretched story;
Hers was disdain and cruelty.

  ALM. Pray heaven,
Mine be no worse! he has told me a strange story, (Aside.)" &c.—ED.]

* * * * *

The parts pointed out in Hieronimo as Ben Jonson's bear no traces of his style; but they are very like Shakspeare's; and it is very remarkable that every one of them re-appears in full form and development, and tempered with mature judgment, in some one or other of Shakspeare's great pieces.[1]

[Footnote 1: By Hieronimo Mr. Coleridge meant The Spanish Tragedy, and not the previous play, which is usually called The First Part of Jeronimo. The Spanish Tragedy is, upon the authority of Heywood, attributed to Kyd. It is supposed that Ben Jonson originally performed the part of Hieronimo, and hence it has been surmised that certain passages and whole scenes connected with that character, and not found in some of the editions of the play, are, in fact, Ben Jonson's own writing. Some of these supposed interpolations are amongst the best things in the Spanish Tragedy; the style is singularly unlike Jonson's, whilst there are turns and particular images which do certainly seem to have been imitated by or from Shakspeare. Mr. Lamb at one time gave them to Webster. Take this, passage, in the fourth act:—

"HIERON. What make you with your torches in the dark?

PEDRO. You bid us light them, and attend you here.

  HIERON. No! you are deceived; not I; you are deceived.
Was I so mad to bid light torches now?
Light me your torches at the mid of noon,
When as the sun-god rides in all his glory;
Light me your torches then.

PEDRO. Then we burn day-light.

  HIERON. Let it be burnt; Night is a murd'rous slut,
That would not have her treasons to be seen;
And yonder pale-faced Hecate there, the moon,
Doth give consent to that is done in darkness;
And all those stars that gaze upon her face
Are aglets on her sleeve, pins on her train;
And those that should be powerful and divine,
Do sleep in darkness when they most should shine.

  PEDRO. Provoke them not, fair sir, with tempting words.
The heavens are gracious, and your miseries and sorrow
Make you speak you know not what

  HIERON. Villain! thou liest, and thou dost nought
But tell me I am mad: thou liest, I am not mad;
I know thee to be Pedro, and he Jaques;
I'll prove it thee; and were I mad, how could I?
Where was she the same night, when my Horatio was murder'd!
She should have shone then; search thou the book:
Had the moon shone in my boy's face, there was a kind of grace,
That I know—nay, I do know, had the murderer seen him,
His weapon would have fallen, and cut the earth,
Had he been framed of nought but blood and death," &c.

Again, in the fifth act:—

"HIERON. But are you sure that they are dead?

CASTILE. Ay, slain, too sure.

HIERON. What, and yours too?

VICEROY. Ay, all are dead; not one of them survive.

  HIBRON. Nay, then I care not—come, we shall be friends;
Let us lay our heads together.
See, here's a goodly noose will hold them all.

VICEROY. O damned devil! how secure he is!

HIERON. Secure! why dost thou wonder at it? I tell thee, Viceroy, this day I've seen Revenge, d in that sight am grown a prouder monarch Than ever sate under the crown of Spain. Had I as many lives at there be stars,, As many heavens to go to as those lives, I'd give them all, ay, and my soul to boot, But I would see thee ride in this red pool. Methinks, since I grew inward with revenge, I cannot look with scorn enough on death.

KING. What! dost thou mock us, slave? Bring tortures forth.

  HIERON. Do, do, do; and meantime I'll torture you.
You had a son as I take it, and your son
Should have been married to your daughter: ha! was it not so?
You had a son too, he was my liege's nephew.
He was proud and politic—had he lived,
He might have come to wear the crown of Spain:
I think 't was so—'t was I that killed him;
Look you—this same hand was it that stabb'd
His heart—do you see this hand?
For one Horatio, if you ever knew him—
A youth, one that they hang'd up in his father's garden—
One that did force your valiant son to yield
," &c.—ED. ]

April 7. 1833.


I think I could point out to a half line what is really Shakspeare's in Love's Labour Lost, and some other of the not entirely genuine plays. What he wrote in that play is of his earliest manner, having the all-pervading sweetness which he never lost, and that extreme condensation which makes the couplets fall into epigrams, as in the Venus and Adonis, and Rape of Lucrece. [1] In the drama alone, as Shakspeare soon found out, could the sublime poet and profound philosopher find the conditions of a compromise. In the Love's Labour Lost there are many faint sketches of some of his vigorous portraits in after-life—as for example, in particular, of Benedict and Beatrice.[2]

[Footnote 1: "In Shakspeare's Poems the creative power and the intellectual energy wrestle as in a war embrace. Each in its excess of strength seems to threaten the extinction of the other. At length, in the drama, they were reconciled, and fought each with its shield before the breast of the other. Or like two rapid streams, that, at their first meeting within narrow and rocky banks, mutually strive to repel each other, and intermix reluctantly, and in tumult; but soon finding a wider channel and more yielding shores, blend, and dilate, and flow on in one current, and with one voice."—Biog. Lit. vol. ii. p. 21.]

[Footnote 2: Mr. Coleridge, of course, alluded to Biron and Rosaline; and there are other obvious prolusions, as the scene of the masque with the courtiers, compared with the play in A Midsummer Night's Dream.—ED.]

* * * * *

Gifford has done a great deal for the text of Massinger, but not as much as might easily be done. His comparison of Shakspeare with his contemporary dramatists is obtuse indeed.[1]

[Footnote 1: See his Introduction to Massinger, vol.i. p. 79., in which, amongst other most extraordinary assertions, Mr. Gifford pronounces that rhythmical modulation is not one of Shakspeare's merits!—ED.]

* * * * *

In Shakspeare one sentence begets the next naturally; the meaning is all inwoven. He goes on kindling like a meteor through the dark atmosphere; yet, when the creation in its outline is once perfect, then he seems to rest from his labour, and to smile upon his work, and tell himself that it is very good. You see many scenes and parts of scenes which are simply Shakspeare's, disporting himself in joyous triumph and vigorous fun after a great achievement of his highest genius.

* * * * *

The old dramatists took great liberties in respect of bringing parties in scene together, and representing one as not recognizing the other under some faint disguise. Some of their finest scenes are constructed on this ground. Shakspeare avails himself of this artifice only twice, I think,—in Twelfth Night, where the two are with great skill kept apart till the end of the play; and in the Comedy of Errors, which is a pure farce, and should be so considered. The definition of a farce is, an improbability or even impossibility granted in the outset, see what odd and laughable events will fairly follow from it!

_April _8. 1833.


I never was much subject to violent political humours or accesses of feelings. When I was very young, I wrote and spoke very enthusiastically, but it was always on subjects connected with some grand general principle, the violation of which I thought I could point out. As to mere details of administration, I honestly thought that ministers, and men in office, must, of course, know much better than any private person could possibly do; and it was not till I went to Malta, and had to correspond with official characters myself, that I fully understood the extreme shallowness and ignorance with which men of some note too were able, after a certain fashion, to carry on the government of important departments of the empire. I then quite assented to Oxenstiern's saying, Nescis, mi fili, quam parva sapientia regitur mundus.

* * * * *

Burke was, indeed, a great man. No one ever read history so philosophically as he seems to have done. Yet, until he could associate his general principles with some sordid interest, panic of property, jacobinism, &c., he was a mere dinner bell. Hence you will find so many half truths in his speeches and writings. Nevertheless, let us heartily acknowledge his transcendant greatness. He would have been more influential if he had less surpassed his contemporaries, as Fox and Pitt, men of much inferior minds in all respects.

* * * * *

As a telegraph supposes a correspondent telescope, so a scientific lecture requires a scientific audience.

_April _9. 1833.


I have a deep, though paradoxical, conviction that most of the European nations are more or less on their way, unconsciously indeed, to pure monarchy; that is, to a government in which, under circumstances of complicated and subtle control, the reason of the people shall become efficient in the apparent will of the king.[1] As it seems to me, the wise and good in every country will, in all likelihood, become every day more and more disgusted with the representative form of government, brutalized as it is, and will be, by the predominance of democracy in England, France, and Belgium. The statesmen of antiquity, we know, doubted the possibility of the effective and permanent combination of the three elementary forms of government; and, perhaps, they had more reason than we have been accustomed to think.

[Footnote 1: This is backing Vico against Spinosa. It must, however, be acknowledged that at present the prophet of democracy has a good right to be considered the favourite.—ED.]

* * * * *

You see how this House of Commons has begun to verify all the ill prophecies that were made of it—low, vulgar, meddling with every thing, assuming universal competency, flattering every base passion, and sneering at every thing noble, refined, and truly national! The direct and personal despotism will come on by and by, after the multitude shall have been gratified with the ruin and the spoil of the old institutions of the land. As for the House of Lords, what is the use of ever so much fiery spirit, if there be no principle to guide and to sanctify it?

_April _10. 1833.


The possible destiny of the United States of America,—as a nation of a hundred millions of freemen,—stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, living under the laws of Alfred, and speaking the language of Shakspeare and Milton, is an august conception. Why should we not wish to see it realized? America would then be England viewed through a solar microscope; Great Britain in a state of glorious magnification! How deeply to be lamented is the spirit of hostility and sneering which some of the popular books of travels have shown in treating of the Americans! They hate us, no doubt, just as brothers hate; but they respect the opinion of an Englishman concerning themselves ten times as much as that of a native of any other country on earth. A very little humouring of their prejudices, and some courtesy of language and demeanour on the part of Englishmen, would work wonders, even as it is, with the public mind of the Americans.

* * * * *

Captain Basil Hall's book is certainly very entertaining and instructive; but, in my judgment, his sentiments upon many points, and more especially his mode of expression, are unwise and uncharitable. After all, are not most of the things shown up with so much bitterness by him mere national foibles, parallels to which every people has and must of necessity have?

* * * * *

What you say about the quarrel in the United States is sophistical. No doubt, taxation may, and perhaps in some cases must, press unequally, or apparently so, on different classes of people in a state. In such cases there is a hardship; but, in the long run, the matter is fully compensated to the over-taxed class. For example, take the householders of London, who complain so bitterly of the house and window taxes. Is it not pretty clear that, whether such householder be a tradesman, who indemnifies himself in the price of his goods,—or a letter of lodgings, who does so in his rent, —or a stockholder, who receives it back again in his dividends,—or a country gentleman, who has saved so much fresh levy on his land or his other property,—one way or other, it comes at last pretty nearly to the same thing, though the pressure for the time may be unjust and vexatious, and fit to be removed? But when New England, which may be considered a state in itself, taxes the admission of foreign manufactures in order to cherish manufactures of its own, and thereby forces the Carolinians, another state of itself, with which there is little intercommunion, which has no such desire or interest to serve, to buy worse articles at a higher price, it is altogether a different question, and is, in fact, downright tyranny of the worst, because of the most sordid, kind. What would you think of a law which should tax every person in Devonshire for the pecuniary benefit of every person in Yorkshire? And yet that is a feeble image of the actual usurpation of the New England deputies over the property of the Southern States.

* * * * *

There are two possible modes of unity in a State; one by absolute coordination of each to all, and of all to each; the other by subordination of classes and offices. Now, I maintain that there never was an instance of the first, nor can there be, without slavery as its condition and accompaniment, as in Athens. The poor Swiss cantons are no exception.

The mistake lies in confounding a state which must be based on classes and interests and unequal property, with a church, which is founded on the person, and has no qualification but personal merit. Such a community may exist, as in the case of the Quakers; but, in order to exist, it must be compressed and hedged in by another society—mundus mundulus in mundo immundo.

* * * * *

The free class in a slave state is always, in one sense, the most patriotic class of people in an empire; for their patriotism is not simply the patriotism of other people, but an aggregate of lust of power and distinction and supremacy.

_April _11. 1833.


Land was the only species of property which, in the old time, carried any respectability with it. Money alone, apart from some tenure of land, not only did not make the possessor great and respectable, but actually made him at once the object of plunder and hatred. Witness the history of the Jews in this country in the early reigns after the Conquest.

* * * * *

I have no objection to your aspiring to the political principles of our old
Cavaliers; but embrace them all fully, and not merely this and that
feeling, whilst in other points you speak the canting foppery of the
Benthamite or Malthusian schools.

_April _14. 1833.


There are three ways of treating a subject:—

In the first mode, you begin with a definition, and that definition is necessarily assumed as the truth. As the argument proceeds, the conclusion from the first proposition becomes the base of the second, and so on. Now, it is quite impossible that you can be sure that you have included all the necessary, and none but the necessary, terms in your definition; as, therefore, you proceed, the original speck of error is multiplied at every remove; the same infirmity of knowledge besetting each successive definition. Hence you may set out, like Spinosa, with all but the truth, and end with a conclusion which is altogether monstrous; and yet the mere deduction shall be irrefragable. Warburton's "Divine Legation" is also a splendid instance of this mode of discussion, and of its inability to lead to the truth: in fact, it is an attempt to adopt the mathematical series of proof, in forgetfulness that the mathematician is sure of the truth of his definition at each remove, because he _creates _it, as he can do, in pure figure and number. But you cannot _make _any thing true which results from, or is connected with, real externals; you can only _find _it out. The chief use of this first mode of discussion is to sharpen the wit, for which purpose it is the best exercitation.

2. The historical mode is a very common one: in it the author professes to find out the truth by collecting the facts of the case, and tracing them downwards; but this mode is worse than the other. Suppose the question is as to the true essence and character of the English constitution. First, where will you begin your collection of facts? where will you end it? What facts will you select, and how do you know that the class of facts which you select are necessary terms in the premisses, and that other classes of facts, which you neglect, are not necessary? And how do you distinguish phenomena which proceed from disease or accident from those which are the genuine fruits of the essence of the constitution? What can be more striking, in illustration of the utter inadequacy of this line of investigation for arriving at the real truth, than the political treatises and constitutional histories which we have in every library? A Whig proves his case convincingly to the reader who knows nothing beyond his author; then comes an old Tory (Carte, for instance), and ferrets up a hamperful of conflicting documents and notices, which proves _his _case per contra. A. takes this class of facts; B. takes that class: each proves something true, neither proves the truth, or any thing like _the _truth; that is, the whole truth.

3. You must, therefore, commence with the philosophic idea of the thing, the true nature of which you wish to find out and manifest. You must carry your rule ready made, if you wish to measure aright. If you ask me how I can know that this idea—my own invention—is the truth, by which the phenomena of history are to be explained, I answer, in the same way exactly that you know that your eyes were made to see with; and that is, because you _do _see with them. If I propose to you an idea or self-realizing theory of the constitution, which shall manifest itself as in existence from the earliest times to the present,—which shall comprehend within it _all _the facts which history has preserved, and shall give them a meaning as interchangeably causals or effects;—if I show you that such an event or reign was an obliquity to the right hand, and how produced, and such other event or reign a deviation to the left, and whence originating,—that the growth was stopped here, accelerated there,—that such a tendency is, and always has been, corroborative, and such other tendency destructive, of the main progress of the idea towards realization;—if this idea, not only like a kaleidoscope, shall reduce all the miscellaneous fragments into order, but shall also minister strength, and knowledge, and light to the true patriot and statesmen for working out the bright thought, and bringing the glorious embryo to a perfect birth;—then, I think, I have a right to say that the idea which led to this is not only true, but the truth, the only truth. To set up for a statesman upon historical knowledge only, is as about as wise as to set up for a musician by the purchase of some score flutes, fiddles, and horns. In order to make music, you must know how to play; in order to make your facts speak truth, you must know what the truth is which ought to be proved,—the ideal truth,—the truth which was consciously or unconsciously, strongly or weakly, wisely or blindly, intended at all times.[1]

[Footnote 1: I have preserved this passage, conscious, the while, how liable it is to be misunderstood, or at least not understood. The readers of Mr. Coleridge's works generally, or of his "Church and State" in particular, will have no difficulty in entering into his meaning; namely, that no investigation in the non-mathematical sciences can be carried on in a way deserving to be called philosophical, unless the investigator have in himself a mental initiative, or, what comes to the same thing, unless he set out with an intuition of the ultimate aim or idea of the science or aggregation of facts to be explained or interpreted. The analysis of the Platonic and Baconian methods in "The Friend," to which I have before referred, and the "Church and State," exhibit respectively a splendid vindication and example of Mr. Coleridge's mode of reasoning on this subject.—ED.]

_April _18. 1833.


In my judgment, Protestants lose a great deal of time in a false attack when they labour to convict the Romanists of false doctrines. Destroy the Papacy, and help the priests to wives, and I am much mistaken if the doctrinal errors, such as there really are, would not very soon pass away. They might remain in terminis, but they would lose their sting and body, and lapse back into figures of rhetoric and warm devotion, from which they, most of them,—such as transubstantiation, and prayers for the dead and to saints,—originally sprang. But, so long as the Bishop of Rome remains Pope, and has an army of Mamelukes all over the world, we shall do very little by fulminating against mere doctrinal errors. In the Milanese, and elsewhere in the north of Italy, I am told there is a powerful feeling abroad against the Papacy. That district seems to be something in the state of England in the reign of our Henry the Eighth.

How deep a wound to morals and social purity has that accursed article of the celibacy of the clergy been! Even the best and most enlightened men in Romanist countries attach a notion of impurity to the marriage of a clergyman. And can such a feeling be without its effect on the estimation of the wedded life in general? Impossible! and the morals of both sexes in Spain, Italy, France, &c. prove it abundantly.

The Papal church has had three phases,—anti-Caesarean, extra-national, anti-Christian.

_April _20. 1833.


The Romans would never have subdued the Italian tribes if they had not boldly left Italy and conquered foreign nations, and so, at last, crushed their next-door neighbours by external pressure.

_April _24. 1833.


Except in Shakspeare, you can find no such thing as a pure conception of wedded love in our old dramatists. In Massinger, and Beaumont and Fletcher, it really is on both sides little better than sheer animal desire. There is scarcely a suitor in all their plays, whose abilities are not discussed by the lady or her waiting-woman. In this, as in all things, how transcendant over his age and his rivals was our sweet Shakspeare!

* * * * *

I have not read through all Mr. Tennyson's poems, which have been sent to me; but I think there are some things of a good deal of beauty in what I have seen. The misfortune is, that he has begun to write verses without very well understanding what metre is. Even if you write in a known and approved metre, the odds are, if you are not a metrist yourself, that you will not write harmonious verses; but to deal in new metres without considering what metre means and requires, is preposterous. What I would, with many wishes for success, prescribe to Tennyson,—indeed without it he can never be a poet in act,—is to write for the next two or three years in none but one or two well-known and strictly defined metres, such as the heroic couplet, the octave stanza, or the octo-syllabic measure of the Allegro and Penseroso. He would, probably, thus get imbued with a sensation, if not a sense, of metre without knowing it, just as Eton boys get to write such good Latin verses by conning Ovid and Tibullus. As it is, I can scarcely scan some of his verses.

_May _1. 1833.


I think with some interest upon the fact that Rabelais and Luther were born in the same year.[1] Glorious spirits! glorious spirits!

          ——"Hos utinam inter
  Heroas natum me!"

[Footnote 1:
They were both born within twelve months of each other, I believe; but
Luther's birth was in November, 1484, and that of Rabelais is generally
placed at the end of the year preceding.—ED.]

* * * * *

"Great wits are sure to madness near allied,"

says Dryden, and true so far as this, that genius of the highest kind implies an unusual intensity of the modifying power, which detached from the discriminative and reproductive power, might conjure a platted straw into a royal diadem: but it would be at least as true, that great genius is most alien from madness,—yea, divided from it by an impassable mountain,— namely, the activity of thought and vivacity of the accumulative memory, which are no less essential constituents of "great wit."

_May _4. 1833.


Colonization is not only a manifest expedient for, but an imperative duty on, Great Britain. God seems to hold out his finger to us over the sea. But it must be a national colonization, such as was that of the Scotch to America; a colonization of hope, and not such as we have alone encouraged and effected for the last fifty years, a colonization of despair.

* * * * *

The wonderful powers of machinery can, by multiplied production, render the mere _arte facta _of life actually cheaper: thus money and all other things being supposed the same in value, a silk gown is five times cheaper now than in Queen Elizabeth's time; but machinery cannot cheapen, in any thing like an equal degree, the immediate growths of nature or the immediate necessaries of man. Now the _arte facta _are sought by the higher classes of society in a proportion incalculably beyond that in which they are sought by the lower classes; and therefore it is that the vast increase of mechanical powers has not cheapened life and pleasure to the poor as it has done to the rich. In some respects, no doubt, it has done so, as in giving cotton dresses to maid-servants, and penny gin to all. A pretty benefit truly!

* * * * *

I think this country is now suffering grievously under an excessive accumulation of capital, which, having no field for profitable operation, is in a state of fierce civil war with itself.

_May _6. 1833.


The Romans had no national clerisy; their priesthood was entirely a matter of state, and, as far back as we can trace it, an evident stronghold of the Patricians against the increasing powers of the Plebeians. All we know of the early Romans is, that, after an indefinite lapse of years, they had conquered some fifty or sixty miles round their city. Then it is that they go to war with Carthage, the great maritime power, and the result of that war was the occupation of Sicily. Thence they, in succession, conquered Spain, Macedonia, Asia Minor, &c., and so at last contrived to subjugate Italy, partly by a tremendous back blow, and partly by bribing the Italian States with a communication of their privileges, which the now enormously enriched conquerors possessed over so large a portion of the civilized world. They were ordained by Providence to conquer and amalgamate the materials of Christendom. They were not a national people; they were truly—

Romanos rerum dominos—

—and that's all.

* * * * *

Under Constantine the spiritual power became a complete reflex of the temporal. There were four patriarchs, and four prefects, and so on. The Clergy and the Lawyers, the Church and the State, were opposed.

* * * * *

The beneficial influence of the Papacy upon the whole has been much over- rated by some writers; and certainly no country in Europe received less benefit and more harm from it than England. In fact, the lawful kings and parliaments of England were always essentially Protestant in feeling for a national church, though they adhered to the received doctrines of the Christianity of the day; and it was only the usurpers, John, Henry IV., &c., that went against this policy. All the great English schoolmen, Scotus Erigena[1], Duns Scotus, Ockham, and others, those morning stars of the Reformation, were heart and soul opposed to Rome, and maintained the Papacy to be Antichrist. The Popes always persecuted, with rancorous hatred, the national clerisies, the married clergy, and disliked the universities which grew out of the old monasteries. The Papacy was, and is, essentially extra- national, and was always so considered in this country, although not believed to be anti-Christian.

[Footnote 1: John Scotus, or Erigena, was born, according to different authors, in Wales, Scotland, or Ireland; but I do not find any account making him an Englishman of Saxon blood. His death is uncertainly placed in the beginning of the ninth century. He lived in well-known intimacy with Charles the Bald, of France, who died about A. D. 874. He resolutely resisted the doctrine of transubstantiation, and was publicly accused of heresy on that account. But the king of France protected him—ED.]

May 8. 1833.


I know no portion of history which a man might write with so much pleasure as that of the great struggle in the time of Charles I., because he may feel the profoundest respect for both parties. The side taken by any particular person was determined by the point of view which such person happened to command at the commencement of the inevitable collision, one line seeming straight to this man, another line to another. No man of that age saw the truth, the whole truth; there was not light enough for that. The consequence, of course, was a violent exaggeration of each party for the time. The King became a martyr, and the Parliamentarians traitors, and vice versâ. The great reform brought into act by and under William the Third combined the principles truly contended for by Charles and his Parliament respectively: the great revolution of 1831 has certainly, to an almost ruinous degree, dislocated those principles of government again. As to Hampden's speech[1], no doubt it means a declaration of passive obedience to the sovereign, as the creed of an English Protestant individual: every man, Cromwell and all, would have said as much; it was the antipapistical tenet, and almost vauntingly asserted on all occasions by Protestants up to that time. But it implies nothing of Hampden's creed as to the duty of Parliament.

[Footnote 1: On his impeachment with the other four members, 1642. See the "Letter to John Murray, Esq. touching Lord Nugent," 1833. It is extraordinary that Lord N. should not see the plain distinction taken by Hampden, between not obeying an unlawful command, and rebelling against the King because of it. He approves the one, and condemns the other. His words are, "to yield obedience to the commands of a King, if against the true religion, against the ancient and fundamental laws of the land, is another sign of an ill subject:"—"To resist the lawful power of the King; to raise insurrection against the King; admit him adverse in his religion; to conspire against his sacred person, or any ways to rebel, though commanding things against our consciences in exercising religion, or against the rights and privileges of the subject, is an absolute sign of the disaffected and traitorous subject."—ED.]

May 10. 1833.


Well, I think no honest man will deny that the prophetic denunciations of those who seriously and solemnly opposed the Reform Bill are in a fair way of exact fulfilment! For myself, I own I did not expect such rapidity of movement. I supposed that the first parliament would contain a large number of low factious men, who would vulgarize and degrade the debates of the House of Commons, and considerably impede public business, and that the majority would be gentlemen more fond of their property than their politics. But really the truth is something more than this. Think of upwards of 160 members voting away two millions and a half of tax on Friday[1], at the bidding of whom, shall I say? and then no less than 70 of those very members rescinding their votes on the Tuesday next following, nothing whatever having intervened to justify the change, except that they had found out that at least seven or eight millions more must go also upon the same principle, and that the revenue was cut in two! Of course I approve the vote of rescission, however dangerous a precedent; but what a picture of the composition of this House of Commons!

[Footnote 1: On Friday, the 26th of April, 1833, Sir William Ingilby moved and carried a resolution for reducing the duty on malt from 28s. 8d. to l0s. per quarter. One hundred and sixty-two members voted with him. On Tuesday following, the 30th of April, seventy-six members only voted against the rescission of the same resolution.—ED.]

May 13. 1833.


1. That which is digested wholly, and part of which is assimilated, and part rejected, is—Food.

2. That which is digested wholly, and the whole of which is partly assimilated, and partly not, is—Medicine.

3. That which is digested, but not assimilated, is—Poison.

4. That which is neither digested nor assimilated is—Mere Obstruction.

As to the stories of slow poisons, I cannot say whether there was any, or what, truth in them; but I certainly believe a man may be poisoned by arsenic a year after he has taken it. In fact, I think that is known to have happened.

May 14. 1833.


Professor Wilson's character of Charles Lamb in the last Blackwood, Twaddle on Tweed-side[1], is very sweet indeed, and gratified me much. It does honour to Wilson, to his head and his heart.

[Footnote 1: "Charles Lamb ought really not to abuse Scotland in the pleasant way he so often does in the sylvan shades of Enfield; for Scotland loves Charles Lamb; but he is wayward and wilful in his wisdom, and conceits that many a Cockney is a better man even than Christopher North. But what will not Christopher forgive to genius and goodness! Even Lamb, bleating libels on his native land. Nay, he learns lessons of humanity even from the mild malice of Elia, and breathes a blessing on him and his household in their bower of rest."

Some of Mr. Coleridge's poems were first published with some of C. Lamb's at Bristol in 1797. The remarkable words on the title-page have been aptly cited in the New Monthly Magazine for February, 1835, p. 198.: "Duplex nobis vinculum, et amicitiae et similium junctarumque Camcoenarum,—quod utinam neque mors solvat, neque temporis longinquitas." And even so it came to pass after thirty seven years more had passed over their heads,—ED.]

* * * * *

How can I wish that Wilson should cease to write what so often soothes and suspends my bodily miseries, and my mental conflicts! Yet what a waste, what a reckless spending, of talent, ay, and of genius, too, in his I know not how many years' management of Blackwood! If Wilson cares for fame, for an enduring place and prominence in literature, he should now, I think, hold his hand, and say, as he well may,—

    "Militavi non sine gloria:
      Nunc arma defunctumque bello
        Barbiton hic paries habebit."

Two or three volumes collected out of the magazine by himself would be very delightful. But he must not leave it for others to do; for some recasting and much condensation would be required; and literary executors make sad work in general with their testators' brains.

* * * * *

I believe it possible that a man may, under certain states of the moral feeling, entertain something deserving the name of love towards a male object—an affection beyond friendship, and wholly aloof from appetite. In Elizabeth's and James's time it seems to have been almost fashionable to cherish such a feeling; and perhaps we may account in some measure for it by considering how very inferior the women of that age, taken generally, were in education and accomplishment of mind to the men. Of course there were brilliant exceptions enough; but the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher— the most popular dramatists that ever wrote for the English stage—will show us what sort of women it was generally pleasing to represent. Certainly the language of the two friends, Musidorus and Pyrocles, in the Arcadia, is such as we could not now use except to women; and in Cervantes the same tone is sometimes adopted, as in the novel of the Curious Impertinent. And I think there is a passage in the New Atlantis[1] of Lord Bacon, in which he speaks of the possibility of such a feeling, but hints the extreme danger of entertaining it, or allowing it any place in a moral theory. I mention this with reference to Shakspeare's sonnets, which have been supposed, by some, to be addressed to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, whom Clarendon calls[2] the most beloved man of his age, though his licentiousness was equal to his virtues.

I doubt this. I do not think that Shakespeare, merely because he was an actor, would have thought it necessary to veil his emotions towards Pembroke under a disguise, though he might probably have done so, if the real object had perchance been a Laura or a Leonora. It seems to me that the sonnets could only have come from a man deeply in love, and in love with a woman; and there is one sonnet which, from its incongruity, I take to be a purposed blind. These extraordinary sonnets form, in fact, a poem of so many stanzas of fourteen lines each; and, like the passion which inspired them, the sonnets are always the same, with a variety of expression,—continuous, if you regard the lover's soul,—distinct, if you listen to him, as he heaves them sigh after sigh.

These sonnets, like the Venus and Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrece, are characterized by boundless fertility and laboured condensation of thought, with perfection of sweetness in rhythm and metre. These are the essentials in the budding of a great poet. Afterwards habit and consciousness of power teach more ease—praecipitandum liberum spiritum.

[Footnote 1: I cannot fix upon any passage in this work, to which it can be supposed that Mr. Coleridge alluded, unless it be the speech of Joabin the Jew; but it contains nothing coming up to the meaning in the text. The only approach to it seems to be:—"As for masculine love, they have no touch of it; and yet there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the world again as are there; and to speak generally, as I said before, I have not read of any such chastity in any people as theirs."—ED.]

[Footnote 2: "William Earl of Pembroke was next, a man of another mould and making, and of another fame and reputation with all men, being the most universally beloved and esteemed of any man of that age." ……."He indulged to himself the pleasures of all kinds, almost in all excesses."—Hist. of the Rebellion, book i. He died in 1630, aged fifty years. The dedication by T. T. (Thomas Thorpe) is to "the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets, Mr. W. H." and Malone is inclined to think that William Hughes is meant. As to Mr. W. H. being the only begetter of these sonnets, it must be observed, that at least the last twenty-eight are beyond dispute addressed to a woman. I suppose the twentieth sonnet was the particular one conceived by Mr. C. to be a blind; but it seems to me that many others may be so construed, if we set out with a conviction that the real object of the poet was a woman.—ED.]

* * * * *

Every one who has been in love, knows that the passion is strongest, and the appetite weakest, in the absence of the beloved object, and that the reverse is the case in her presence.

May 15. 1833.


Wicliffe's genius was, perhaps, not equal to Luther's; but really the more I know of him from Vaughan and Le Bas, both of whose books I like, I think him as extraordinary a man as Luther upon the whole. He was much sounder and more truly catholic in his view of the Eucharist than Luther. And I find, not without some pleasure, that my own view of it, which I was afraid was original, was maintained in the tenth century, that is to say, that the body broken had no reference to the human body of Christ, but to the Caro Noumenon, or symbolical Body, the Rock that followed the Israelites.

Whitaker beautifully says of Luther;—Felix ille, quem Dominus eo honore dignatus est, ut homines nequissimos suos haberet inimicos.

* * * * *

There is now no reverence for any thing; and the reason is, that men possess conceptions only, and all their knowledge is conceptional only. Now as, to conceive, is a work of the mere understanding, and as all that can be conceived may be comprehended, it is impossible that a man should reverence that, to which he must always feel something in himself superior. If it were possible to conceive God in a strict sense, that is, as we conceive a horse or a tree, even God himself could not excite any reverence, though he might excite fear or terror, or perhaps love, as a tiger or a beautiful woman. But reverence, which is the synthesis of love and fear, is only due from man, and, indeed, only excitable in man, towards ideal truths, which are always mysteries to the understanding, for the same reason that the motion of my finger behind my back is a mystery to you now—your eyes not being made for seeing through my body. It is the reason only which has a sense by which ideas can be recognized, and from the fontal light of ideas only can a man draw intellectual power.

* * * * *

Samuel Johnson[1], whom, to distinguish him from the Doctor, we may call the Whig, was a very remarkable writer. He may be compared to his contemporary De Foe, whom he resembled in many points. He is another instance of King William's discrimination, which was so much superior to that of any of his ministers, Johnson was one of the most formidable advocates for the Exclusion Bill, and he suffered by whipping and imprisonment under James accordingly. Like Asgill, he argues with great apparent candour and clearness till he has his opponent within reach, and then comes a blow as from a sledge-hammer. I do not know where I could put my hand upon a book containing so much sense and sound constitutional doctrine as this thin folio of Johnson's Works; and what party in this country would read so severe a lecture in it as our modern Whigs!

A close reasoner and a good writer in general may be known by his pertinent use of connectives. Read that page of Johnson; you cannot alter one conjunction without spoiling the sense. It is a linked strain throughout. In your modern books, for the most part, the sentences in a page have the same connection with each other that marbles have in a bag; they touch without adhering.

Asgill evidently formed his style upon Johnson's, but he only imitates one part of it. Asgill never rises to Johnson's eloquence. The latter was a sort of Cobbett-Burke.

James the First thought that, because all power in the state seemed to proceed from the crown, all power therefore remained in the crown;—as if, because the tree sprang from the seed, the stem, branches, leaves, and fruit were all contained in the seed. The constitutional doctrine as to the relation which the king bears to the other components of the state is in two words this:—He is a representative of the whole of that, of which he is himself a part.

[Footnote 1: Dryden's Ben Jochanan, in the second part of Absalom and Achitophel. He was born in 1649, and died in 1703. He was a clergyman. In 1686, when the army was encamped on Hounslow Heath, he published "A humble and hearty Address to all English Protestants in the present Army." For this he was tried and sentenced to be pilloried in three places, pay a fine, and be whipped from Newgate to Tyburn. An attempt was also made to degrade him from his orders, but this failed through an informality. After the Revolution he was preferred.—ED.]

May 17. 1833.


When Sir Philip Sidney saw the enthusiasm which agitated every man, woman, and child in the Netherlands against Philip and D'Alva, he told Queen Elizabeth that it was the spirit of God, and that it was invincible. What is the spirit which seems to move and unsettle every other man in England and on the Continent at this time? Upon my conscience, and judging by St. John's rule, I think it is a special spirit of the devil—and a very vulgar devil too!

* * * * *

Your modern political economists say that it is a principle in their science—that all things find their level;—which I deny; and say, on the contrary, that the true principle is, that all things are finding their level like water in a storm.

May 18. 1833.


German is inferior to English in modifications of expression of the affections, but superior to it in modifications of expression of all objects of the senses.

* * * * *

Goethe's small lyrics are delightful. He showed good taste in not attempting to imitate Shakspeare's Witches, which are threefold,—Fates, Furies, and earthly Hags o' the caldron.

* * * * *

Man does not move in cycles, though nature does. Man's course is like that of an arrow; for the portion of the great cometary ellipse which he occupies is no more than a needle's length to a mile.

In natural history, God's freedom is shown in the law of necessity. In moral history, God's necessity or providence is shown in man's freedom.

June 8. 1833.


There can be no doubt of the gross violations of strict neutrality by this government in the Portuguese affair; but I wish the Tories had left the matter alone, and not given room to the people to associate them with that scoundrel Dom Miguel. You can never interest the common herd in the abstract question; with them it is a mere quarrel between the men; and though Pedro is a very doubtful character, he is not so bad as his brother; and, besides, we are naturally interested for the girl.

* * * * *

It is very strange that men who make light of the direct doctrines of the Scriptures, and turn up their noses at the recommendation of a line of conduct suggested by religious truth, will nevertheless stake the tranquillity of an empire, the lives and properties of millions of men and women, on the faith of a maxim of modern political economy! And this, too, of a maxim true only, if at all, of England or a part of England, or some other country;—namely, that the desire of bettering their condition will induce men to labour even more abundantly and profitably than servile compulsion,—to which maxim the past history and present state of all Asia and Africa give the lie. Nay, even in England at this day, every man in Manchester, Birmingham, and in other great manufacturing towns, knows that the most skilful artisans, who may earn high wages at pleasure, are constantly in the habit of working but a few days in the week, and of idling the rest. I believe St.

Monday is very well kept by the workmen in London. The love of indolence is universal, or next to it.

* * * * *

Must not the ministerial plan for the West Indies lead necessarily to a change of property, either by force or dereliction? I can't see any way of escaping it.

* * * * *

You are always talking of the rights of the negroes. As a rhetorical mode of stimulating the people of England here, I do not object; but I utterly condemn your frantic practice of declaiming about their rights to the blacks themselves. They ought to be forcibly reminded of the state in which their brethren in Africa still are, and taught to be thankful for the providence which has placed them within reach of the means of grace. I know no right except such as flows from righteousness; and as every Christian believes his righteousness to be imputed, so must his right be an imputed right too. It must flow out of a duty, and it is under that name that the process of humanization ought to begin and to be conducted throughout.

* * * * *

Thirty years ago, and more, Pitt availed himself, with great political dexterity, of the apprehension, which Burke and the conduct of some of the clubs in London had excited, and endeavoured to inspire into the nation a panic of property. Fox, instead of exposing the absurdity of this by showing the real numbers and contemptible weakness of the disaffected, fell into Pitt's trap, and was mad enough to exaggerate even Pitt's surmises. The consequence was, a very general apprehension throughout the country of an impending revolution, at a time when, I will venture to say, the people were more heart-whole than they had been for a hundred years previously. After I had travelled in Sicily and Italy, countries where there were real grounds for fear, I became deeply impressed with the difference. Now, after a long continuance of high national glory and influence, when a revolution of a most searching and general character is actually at work, and the old institutions of the country are all awaiting their certain destruction or violent modification—the people at large are perfectly secure, sleeping or gambolling on the very brink of a volcano.

June 15. 1833.


The necessity for external government to man is in an inverse ratio to the vigour of his self-government. Where the last is most complete, the first is least wanted. Hence, the more virtue the more liberty.

* * * * *

I think St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans the most profound work in existence; and I hardly believe that the writings of the old Stoics, now lost, could have been deeper. Undoubtedly it is, and must be, very obscure to ordinary readers; but some of the difficulty is accidental, arising from the form in which the Epistle appears. If we could now arrange this work in the way in which we may be sure St. Paul would himself do, were he now alive, and preparing it for the press, his reasoning would stand out clearer. His accumulated parentheses would be thrown into notes, or extruded to the margin. You will smile, after this, if I say that I think I understand St. Paul; and I think so, because, really and truly, I recognize a cogent consecutiveness in the argument—the only evidence I know that you understand any book. How different is the style of this intensely passionate argument from that of the catholic circular charge called the Epistle to the Ephesians!—and how different that of both from the style of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, which I venture to call [Greek: epistolal panloeideiz]

Erasmus's paraphrase of the New Testament is clear and explanatory; but you cannot expect any thing very deep from Erasmus. The only fit commentator on Paul was Luther—not by any means such a gentleman as the Apostle, but almost as great a genius.

June 17. 1833.


Have you been able to discover any principle in this Emancipation Bill for the Slaves, except a principle of fear of the abolition party struggling with a dread of causing some monstrous calamity to the empire at large? Well! I will not prophesy; and God grant that this tremendous and unprecedented act of positive enactment may not do the harm to the cause of humanity and freedom which I cannot but fear! But yet, what can be hoped, when all human wisdom and counsel are set at nought, and religious faith— the only miraculous agent amongst men—is not invoked or regarded! and that most unblest phrase—the Dissenting interest—enters into the question!

June 22. 1833.


What a delightful and instructive hook Bishop Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams is! You learn more from it of that which is valuable towards an insight into the times preceding the Civil War than from all the ponderous histories and memoirs now composed about that period.

* * * * *

Charles seems to have been a very disagreeable personage during James's life. There is nothing dutiful in his demeanour.

* * * * *

I think the spirit of the court and nobility of Edward III. and Richard II. was less gross than that in the time of Henry VIII.; for in this latter period the chivalry had evaporated, and the whole coarseness was left by itself. Chaucer represents a very high and romantic style of society amongst the gentry.

June 29. 1833.


It seems to me a great delusion to call or suppose the imagination of a subtle fluid, or molecules penetrable with the same, a legitimate hypothesis. It is a mere suffiction. Newton took the fact of bodies falling to the centre, and upon that built up a legitimate hypothesis. It was a subposition of something certain. But Descartes' vortices were not an hypothesis; they rested on no fact at all; and yet they did, in a clumsy way, explain the motions of the heavenly bodies. But your subtle fluid is pure gratuitous assumption; and for what use? It explains nothing.

Besides, you are endeavouring to deduce power from mass, in which you expressly say there is no power but the vis inertiae: whereas, the whole analogy of chemistry proves that power produces mass.

* * * * *

The use of a theory in the real sciences is to help the investigator to a complete view of all the hitherto discovered facts relating to the science in question; it is a collected view, [Greek: the_orhia], of all he yet knows in one. Of course, whilst any pertinent facts remain unknown, no theory can be exactly true, because every new fact must necessarily, to a greater or less degree, displace the relation of all the others. A theory, therefore, only helps investigation; it cannot invent or discover. The only true theories are those of geometry, because in geometry all the premisses are true and unalterable. But, to suppose that, in our present exceedingly imperfect acquaintance with the facts, any theory in chemistry or geology is altogether accurate, is absurd:—it cannot be true.

Mr. Lyell's system of geology is just half the truth, and no more. He affirms a great deal that is true, and he denies a great deal which is equally true; which is the general characteristic of all systems not embracing the whole truth. So it is with the rectilinearity or undulatory motion of light;—I believe both; though philosophy has as yet but imperfectly ascertained the conditions of their alternate existence, or the laws by which they are regulated.

* * * * *

Those who deny light to be matter do not, therefore, deny its corporeity.

* * * * *

The principle of the Gothic architecture is infinity made imaginable. It is no doubt a sublimer effort of genius than the Greek style; but then it depends much more on execution for its effect. I was more than ever impressed with the marvellous sublimity and transcendant beauty of King's College Chapel.[1] It is quite unparalleled.

I think Gerard Douw's "Schoolmaster," in the Fitzwilliam Museum, the finest thing of the sort I ever saw;—whether you look at it at the common distance, or examine it with a glass, the wonder is equal. And that glorious picture of the Venus—so perfectly beautiful and perfectly innocent—as if beauty and innocence could not be dissociated! The French thing below is a curious instance of the inherent grossness of the French taste. Titian's picture is made quite bestial.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge visited Cambridge upon the occasion of the scientific meeting there in June, 1833.—"My emotions," he said, "at revisiting the university were at first, overwhelming. I could not speak for an hour; yet my feelings were upon the whole very pleasurable, and I have not passed, of late years at least, three days of such great enjoyment and healthful excitement of mind and body. The bed on which I slept—and slept soundly too—was, as near as I can describe it, a couple of sacks full of potatoes tied together. I understand the young men think it hardens them. Truly I lay down at night a man, and arose in the morning a bruise." He told me "that the men were much amused at his saying that the fine old Quaker philosopher Dalton's face was like All Souls' College." The two persons of whom he spoke with the greatest interest were Mr. Faraday and Mr. Thirlwall; saying of the former, "that he seemed to have the true temperament of genius, that carrying-on of the spring and freshness of youthful, nay, boyish feelings, into the matured strength of manhood!" For, as Mr. Coleridge had long before expressed the same thought,—"To find no contradiction in the union of old and new; to contemplate the Ancient of Days and all his works with feelings as fresh as if all had then sprung forth at the first creative fiat, this characterizes the mind that feels the riddle of the world, and may help to unravel it. To carry on the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood; to combine the child's sense of wonder and novelty with the appearances which everyday for perhaps forty years had rendered familiar;

  'With sun and moon and stars throughout the year,
  And man and woman;'—

this is the character and privilege of genius, and one of the marks which distinguish genius from talent. And therefore is it the prime merit of genius, and its most unequivocal mode of manifestation, so to represent familiar objects as to awaken in the minds of others a kindred feeling concerning them, and that freshness of sensation which is the constant accompaniment of mental, no less than of bodily, convalescence. Who has not a thousand times seen snow fall on water? Who has not watched it with a new feeling, from the time that he has read Burns's comparison of sensual pleasure

  'To snow that falls upon a river,
  A moment white—then gone for ever!'"

Biog. Lit. vol. i, p. 85.—ED.]

* * * * *

I think Sir James Scarlett's speech for the defendant, in the late action of Cobbett v. The Times, for a libel, worthy of the best ages of Greece or Rome; though, to be sure, some of his remarks could not have been very palatable to his clients.

* * * * *

I am glad you came in to punctuate my discourse, which I fear has gone on for an hour without any stop at all.

July 1. 1833.


If I could ever believe that Mandeville really meant any thing more by his Fable of the Bees than a bonne bouche of solemn raillery, I should like to ask those man-shaped apes who have taken up his suggestions in earnest, and seriously maintained them as bases for a rational account of man and the world—how they explain the very existence of those dexterous cheats, those superior charlatans, the legislators and philosophers, who have known how to play so well upon the peacock-like vanity and follies of their fellow mortals.

By the by, I wonder some of you lawyers (sub rosa, of course) have not quoted the pithy lines in Mandeville upon this registration question:—

    "The lawyers, of whose art the basis
    Was raising feuds and splitting cases,
    Oppos'd all Registers, that cheats
    Might make more work with dipt estates;
    As 'twere unlawful that one's own
    Without a lawsuit should be known!
    They put off hearings wilfully,
    To finger the refreshing fee;
    And to defend a wicked cause
    Examined and survey'd the laws,
    As burglars shops and houses do,
    To see where best they may break through."

There is great Hudibrastic vigour in these lines; and those on the doctors are also very terse.

* * * * *

Look at that head of Cline, by Chantrey! Is that forehead, that nose, those temples and that chin, akin to the monkey tribe? No, no. To a man of sensibility no argument could disprove the bestial theory so convincingly as a quiet contemplation of that fine bust.

* * * * *

I cannot agree with the solemn abuse which the critics have poured out upon Bertram in "All's Well that ends Well." He was a young nobleman in feudal times, just bursting into manhood, with all the feelings of pride of birth and appetite for pleasure and liberty natural to such a character so circumstanced. Of course he had never regarded Helena otherwise than as a dependant in the family; and of all that which she possessed of goodness and fidelity and courage, which might atone for her inferiority in other respects, Bertram was necessarily in a great measure ignorant. And after all, her prima facie merit was the having inherited a prescription from her old father the doctor, by which she cures the king,—a merit, which supposes an extravagance of personal loyalty in Bertram to make conclusive to him in such a matter as that of taking a wife. Bertram had surely good reason to look upon the king's forcing him to marry Helena as a very tyrannical act. Indeed, it must be confessed that her character is not very delicate, and it required all Shakspeare's consummate skill to interest us for her; and he does this chiefly by the operation of the other characters,—the Countess, Lafeu, &c. We get to like Helena from their praising and commending her so much.

* * * * *

In Beaumont and Fletcher's tragedies the comic scenes are rarely so interfused amidst the tragic as to produce a unity of the tragic on the whole, without which the intermixture is a fault. In Shakspeare, this is always managed with transcendant skill. The Fool in Lear contributes in a very sensible manner to the tragic wildness of the whole drama. Beaumont and Fletcher's serious plays or tragedies are complete hybrids,—neither fish nor flesh,—upon any rules, Greek, Roman, or Gothic: and yet they are very delightful notwithstanding. No doubt, they imitate the ease of gentlemanly conversation better than Shakspeare, who was unable not to be too much associated to succeed perfectly in this.

When I was a boy, I was fondest of Æschylus; in youth and middle age I preferred Euripides; now in my declining years I admire Sophocles. I can now at length see that Sophocles is the most perfect. Yet he never rises to the sublime simplicity of Æschylus—simplicity of design, I mean—nor diffuses himself in the passionate outpourings of Euripides. I understand why the ancients called Euripides the most tragic of their dramatists: he evidently embraces within the scope of the tragic poet many passions,— love, conjugal affection, jealousy, and so on, which Sophocles seems to have considered as incongruous with the ideal statuesqueness of the tragic drama. Certainly Euripides was a greater poet in the abstract than Sophocles. His choruses may be faulty as choruses, but how beautiful and affecting they are as odes and songs! I think the famous [Greek: Euippoy Xene], in Oedipus Coloneus[1] cold in comparison with many of the odes of Euripides, as that song of the chorus in the Hippolytus—[Greek: "Eoos," Eoos[2]] and so on; and I remember a choric ode in the Hecuba, which always struck me as exquisitely rich and finished; I mean, where the chorus speaks of Troy and the night of the capture.[3]

There is nothing very surprising in Milton's preference of Euripides, though so unlike himself. It is very common—very natural—for men to like and even admire an exhibition of power very different in kind from any thing of their own. No jealousy arises. Milton preferred Ovid too, and I dare say he admired both as a man of sensibility admires a lovely woman, with a feeling into which jealousy or envy cannot enter. With Aeschylus or Sophocles he might perchance have matched himself.

In Euripides you have oftentimes a very near approach to comedy, and I hardly know any writer in whom you can find such fine models of serious and dignified conversation.

[Footnote 1:
  Euíppoy, Xége, tmsde chosas
  Tchoy tà chzátista gãs esaula
  tdn àxgaeta Kolanón'—ch. t. l. v. 668]

[Footnote 2:
 "Exos" Exos, ó chat' ômmátton
  s tázeos póthon eisagog glycheïan
  Psuchä cháriu oûs èpithtzateúsei
  mae moi totè sèn chachõ phaneiaes
    maeô ãrruthmos ëlthois—x.t.l v.527]

[Footnote 3:
I take it for granted that Mr. Coleridge alluded to the chorus,—

[Greek: Su men, _o patrhis Ilias t_on aporhth_et_on polis ouketi lexei toion El- lan_on nephos amphi se krhuptei, dorhi d_e, dorhi perhsan—k. t. l.] v. 899.

Thou, then, oh, natal Troy! no more
The city of the unsack'd shalt be,
So thick from dark Achaia's shore
The cloud of war hath covered thee.
    Ah! not again
    I tread thy plain—
The spear—the spear hath rent thy pride;
The flame hath scarr'd thee deep and wide;
Thy coronal of towers is shorn,
And thou most piteous art—most naked and forlorn!

  I perish'd at the noon of night!
When sleep had seal'd each weary eye;
    When the dance was o'er,
    And harps no more
Rang out in choral minstrelsy.
  In the dear bower of delight
    My husband slept in joy;
      His shield and spear
      Suspended near,
Secure he slept: that sailor band
Full sure he deem'd no more should stand
    Beneath the walls of Troy.
  And I too, by the taper's light,
    Which in the golden mirror's haze
    Flash'd its interminable rays,
  Bound up the tresses of my hair,
  That I Love's peaceful sleep might share.

I slept; but, hark! that war-shout dread,
Which rolling through the city spread;
And this the cry,—"When, Sons of Greece,
When shall the lingering leaguer cease;
When will ye spoil Troy's watch-tower high,
And home return?"—I heard the cry,
And, starting from the genial bed,
Veiled, as a Doric maid, I fled,
And knelt, Diana, at thy holy fane,
A trembling suppliant—all in vain.]

JULY 3. 1833.


The collocation of words is so artificial in Shakspeare and Milton, that you may as well think of pushing a[1] brick out of a wall with your forefinger, as attempt to remove a word out of any of their finished passages.[2]

A good lecture upon style might he composed, by taking on the one hand the slang of L'Estrange, and perhaps, even of Roger North,[3] which became so fashionable after the Restoration as a mark of loyalty; and on the other, the Johnsonian magniloquence or the balanced metre of Junius; and then showing how each extreme is faulty, upon different grounds.

It is quite curious to remark the prevalence of the Cavalier slang style in the divines of Charles the Second's time. Barrow could not of course adopt such a mode of writing throughout, because he could not in it have communicated his elaborate thinkings and lofty rhetoric; but even Barrow not unfrequently lets slip a phrase here and there in the regular Roger North way—much to the delight, no doubt, of the largest part of his audience and contemporary readers. See particularly, for instances of this, his work on the Pope's supremacy. South is full of it.

The style of Junius is a sort of metre, the law of which is a balance of thesis and antithesis. When he gets out of this aphorismic metre into a sentence of five or six lines long, nothing can exceed the slovenliness of the English. Horne Tooke and a long sentence seem the only two antagonists that were too much for him. Still the antithesis of Junius is a real antithesis of images or thought; but the antithesis of Johnson is rarely more than verbal.

The definition of good prose is—proper words in their proper places;—of good verse—the most proper words in their proper places. The propriety is in either case relative. The words in prose ought to express the intended meaning, and no more; if they attract attention to themselves, it is, in general, a fault. In the very best styles, as Southey's, you read page after page, understanding the author perfectly, without once taking notice of the medium of communication;—it is as if he had been speaking to you all the while. But in verse you must do more;—there the words, the media, must be beautiful, and ought to attract your notice—yet not so much and so perpetually as to destroy the unity which ought to result from the whole poem. This is the general rule, but, of course, subject to some modifications, according to the different kinds of prose or verse. Some prose may approach towards verse, as oratory, and therefore a more studied exhibition of the media may be proper; and some verse may border more on mere narrative, and there the style should be simpler. But the great thing in poetry is, quocunque modo, to effect a unity of impression upon the whole; and a too great fulness and profusion of point in the parts will prevent this. Who can read with pleasure more than a hundred lines or so of Hudibras at one time? Each couplet or quatrain is so whole in itself, that you can't connect them. There is no fusion,—just as it is in Seneca.

[Footnote 1:

  They led me to the sounding shore—
    Heavens! as I passed the crowded way,
    My bleeding lord before me lay—
  I saw—I saw—and wept no more,
  Till, as the homeward breezes bore
  The bark returning o'er the sea,
  My gaze, oh Ilion, turn'd on thee!
  Then, frantic, to the midnight air,
  I cursed aloud the adulterous pair:—
  "They plunge me deep in exile's woe;
  They lay my country low:
    Their love—no love! but some dark spell,
    In vengeance breath'd, by spirit fell.
  Rise, hoary sea, in awful tide,
  And whelm that vessel's guilty pride;
  Nor e'er, in high Mycene's hall,
  Let Helen boast in peace of mighty Ilion's fall."

The translation was given to me by Mr. Justice Coleridge.—ED.]

[Footnote 2: "The amotion or transposition will alter the thought, or the feeling, or at least the tone. They are as pieces of mosaic work, from which you cannot strike the smallest block without making a hole in the picture."— Quarterly Review, No. CIII. p. 7.]

[Footnote 3: But Mr. Coleridge took a great distinction between North and the other writers commonly associated with him. In speaking of the Examen and the Life of Lord North, in the Friend, Mr. C. calls them "two of the most interesting biographical works in our language, both for the weight of the matter, and the incuriosa felicitas of the style. The pages are all alive with the genuine idioms of our mother tongue. A fastidious taste, it is true, will find offence in the occasional vulgarisms, or what we now call slang, which not a few of our writers, shortly after the Restoration of Charles the Second, seem to have affected as a mark of loyalty. These instances, however, are but a trifling drawback. They are not sought for, as is too often and too plainly done by L'Estrange, Collyer, Tom Brown, and their imitators. North never goes out of his way, either to seek them, or to avoid them; and, in the main, his language gives us the very nerve, pulse, and sinew of a hearty, healthy, conversational English."—Vol. ii. p. 307.—ED.]

* * * * *

Imitation is the mesothesis of likeness and difference. The difference is as essential to it as the likeness; for without the difference, it would be copy or facsimile. But to borrow a term from astronomy, it is a librating mesothesis: for it may verge more to likeness as in painting, or more to difference, as in sculpture.

JULY 4. 1833.


Dr. Johnson's fame now rests principally upon Boswell. It is impossible not to be amused with such a book. But his bow-wow manner must have had a good deal to do with the effect produced;—for no one, I suppose, will set Johnson before Burke,—and Burke was a great and universal talker;—yet now we hear nothing of this except by some chance remarks in Boswell. The fact is, Burke, like all men of genius who love to talk at all, was very discursive and continuous; hence he is not reported; he seldom said the sharp short things that Johnson almost always did, which produce a more decided effect at the moment, and which are so much more easy to carry off.[1] Besides, as to Burke's testimony to Johnson's powers, you must remember that Burke was a great courtier; and after all, Burke said and wrote more than once that he thought Johnson greater in talking than writing, and greater in Boswell than in real life.[2]

[Footnote 1: Burke, I am persuaded, was not so continuous a talker as Coleridge. Madame de Stael told a nephew of the latter, at Coppet, that Mr. C. was a master of monologue, mais qu'il ne savait pas le dialogue. There was a spice of vindictiveness in this, the exact history of which is not worth explaining. And if dialogue must be cut down in its meaning to small talk, I, for one, will admit that Coleridge, amongst his numberless qualifications, possessed it not. But I am sure that he could, when it suited him, converse as well as any one else, and with women he frequently did converse in a very winning and popular style, confining them, however, as well as he could, to the detail of facts or of their spontaneous emotions. In general, it was certainly otherwise. "You must not be surprised," he said to me, "at my talking so long to you—I pass so much of my time in pain and solitude, yet everlastingly thinking, that, when you or any other persons call on me, I can hardly help easing my mind by pouring forth some of the accumulated mass of reflection and feeling, upon an apparently interested recipient." But the principal reason, no doubt, was the habit of his intellect, which was under a law of discoursing upon all subjects with reference to ideas or ultimate ends. You might interrupt him when you pleased, and he was patient of every sort of conversation except mere personality, which he absolutely hated.—ED.]

[Footnote 2:
This was said, I believe, to the late Sir James Mackintosh.—ED.]

* * * * *

Newton was a great man, but you must excuse me if I think that it would take many Newtons to make one Milton.

July 6. 1833.


It is a poor compliment to pay to a painter to tell him that his figure stands out of the canvass, or that you start at the likeness of the portrait. Take almost any daub, cut it out of the canvass, and place the figure looking into or out of a window, and any one may take it for life. Or take one of Mrs. Salmon's wax queens or generals, and you will very sensibly feel the difference between a copy, as they are, and an imitation, of the human form, as a good portrait ought to be. Look at that flower vase of Van Huysum, and at these wax or stone peaches and apricots! The last are likest to their original, but what pleasure do they give? None, except to children.[1]

Some music is above me; most music is beneath me. I like Beethoven and
Mozart—or else some of the aërial compositions of the elder Italians, as
Palestrina[2] and Carissimi.—And I love Purcell.

The best sort of music is what it should be—sacred; the next best, the military, has fallen to the lot of the Devil.

Good music never tires me, nor sends me to sleep. I feel physically refreshed and strengthened by it, as Milton says he did.

I could write as good verses now as ever I did, if I were perfectly free from vexations, and were in the ad libitum hearing of fine music, which has a sensible effect in harmonizing my thoughts, and in animating and, as it were, lubricating my inventive faculty. The reason of my not finishing Christabel is not, that I don't know how to do it—for I have, as I always had, the whole plan entire from beginning to end in my mind; but I fear I could not carry on with equal success the execution of the idea, an extremely subtle and difficult one.

Besides, after this continuation of Faust, which they tell me is very poor, who can have courage to attempt[3] a reversal of the judgment of all criticism against continuations? Let us except Don Quixote, however, although the second part of that transcendant work is not exactly uno flatu with the original conception.

[Footnote 1: This passage, and those following, will evidence, what the readers even of this little work must have seen, that Mr. Coleridge had an eye, almost exclusively, for the ideal or universal in painting and music. He knew nothing of the details of handling in the one, or of rules of composition in the other. Yet he was, to the best of my knowledge, an unerring judge of the merits of any serious effort in the fine arts, and detected the leading thought or feeling of the artist, with a decision which used sometimes to astonish me. Every picture which I have looked at in company with him, seems now, to my mind, translated into English. He would sometimes say, after looking for a minute at a picture, generally a modern one, "There's no use in stopping at this; for I see the painter had no idea. It is mere mechanical drawing. Come on; here the artist meant something for the mind." It was just the same with his knowledge of music. His appetite for what he thought good was literally inexhaustible. He told me he could listen to fine music for twelve hours together, and go away refreshed. But he required in music either thought or feeling; mere addresses to the sensual ear he could not away with; hence his utter distaste for Rossini, and his reverence for Beethoven and Mozart—ED.]

[Footnote 2: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was born about 1529, and died in 1594. I believe he may be considered the founder or reformer of the Italian church music. His masses, motets, and hymns are tolerably well known amongst lovers of the old composers; but Mr. Coleridge used to speak with delight of some of Palestrina's madrigals which he heard at Rome.

Giacomo Carissimi composed about the years 1640—1650. His style has been charged with effeminacy; but Mr. C. thought it very graceful and chaste. Henry Purcell needs no addition in England.—ED.]

[Footnote 3: "The thing attempted in Christabel is the most difficult of execution in the whole field of romance—witchery by daylight—and the success is complete."—Quarterly Review, No. CIII. p. 29.]

July 8. 1833.


I am clear for public schools as the general rule; but for particular children private education may be proper. For the purpose of moving at ease in the best English society,—mind, I don't call the London exclusive clique the best English society,—the defect of a public education upon the plan of our great schools and Oxford and Cambridge is hardly to be supplied. But the defect is visible positively in some men, and only negatively in others. The first offend you by habits and modes of thinking and acting directly attributable to their private education; in the others you only regret that the freedom and facility of the established and national mode of bringing up is not added to their good qualities.

* * * * *

I more than doubt the expediency of making even elementary mathematics a part of the routine in the system of the great schools. It is enough, I think, that encouragement and facilities should be given; and I think more will be thus effected than by compelling all. Much less would I incorporate the German or French, or any modern language, into the school labours. I think that a great mistake.[1]

[Footnote 1: "One constant blunder"—I find it so pencilled by Mr. C. on a margin—"of these New-Broomers—these Penny Magazine sages and philanthropists, in reference to our public schools, is to confine their view to what schoolmasters teach the boys, with entire oversight of all that the boys are excited to learn from each other and of themselves—with more geniality even because it is not a part of their compelled school knowledge. An Eton boy's knowledge of the St. Lawrence, Mississippi, Missouri, Orellana, &c. will be, generally, found in exact proportion to his knowledge of the Ilissus, Hebrus, Orontes, &c.; inasmuch as modern travels and voyages are more entertaining and fascinating than Cellarius; or Robinson Crusoe, Dampier, and Captain Cook, than the Periegesis. Compare the lads themselves from Eton and Harrow, &c. with the alumni of the New-Broom Institution, and not the lists of school-lessons; and be that comparison the criterion.—ED.]

August 4, 1833.


Dear Sir Walter Scott and myself were exact, but harmonious, opposites in this;—that every old ruin, hill, river, or tree called up in his mind a host of historical or biographical associations,—just as a bright pan of brass, when beaten, is said to attract the swarming bees;—whereas, for myself, notwithstanding Dr. Johnson, I believe I should walk over the plain of Marathon without taking more interest in it than in any other plain of similar features. Yet I receive as much pleasure in reading the account of the battle, in Herodotus, as any one can. Charles Lamb wrote an essay [1] on a man who lived in past time:—I thought of adding another to it on one who lived not in time at all, past, present, or future,—but beside or collaterally.

[Footnote 1: I know not when or where; but are not all the writings of this exquisite genius the effusions of one whose spirit lived in past time? The place which Lamb holds, and will continue to hold, in English literature, seems less liable to interruption than that of any other writer of our day.—ED.]

August 10. 1833.


A PERSON, nervously weak, has a sensation of weakness which is as bad to him as muscular weakness. The only difference lies in the better chance of removal.

* * * * *

The fact, that Hooker and Bull, in their two palmary works respectively, are read in the Jesuit Colleges, is a curious instance of the power of mind over the most profound of all prejudices.

There are permitted moments of exultation through faith, when we cease to feel our own emptiness save as a capacity for our Redeemer's fulness.

* * * * *

There is a species of applause scarcely less genial to a poet, than the vernal warmth to the feathered songsters during their nest-breeding or incubation; a sympathy, an expressed hope, that is the open air in which the poet breathes, and without which the sense of power sinks back on itself, like a sigh heaved up from the tightened chest of a sick man.

August 14. 1833.


A quaker is made up of ice and flame. He has no composition, no mean temperature. Hence he is rarely interested about any public measure but he becomes a fanatic, and oversteps, in his irrespective zeal, every decency and every right opposed to his course.

* * * * *

I have never known a trader in philanthropy who was not wrong in heart somewhere or other. Individuals so distinguished are usually unhappy in their family relations,—men not benevolent or beneficent to individuals, but almost hostile to them, yet lavishing money and labour and time on the race, the abstract notion. The cosmopolitism which does not spring out of, and blossom upon, the deep-rooted stem of nationality or patriotism, is a spurious and rotten growth.

* * * * *

When I read the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters of the Epistle to the Romans to that fine old man Mr. ——, at Ramsgate, he shed tears. Any Jew of sensibility must be deeply impressed by them.

* * * * *

The two images farthest removed from each other which can be comprehended under one term, are, I think, Isaiah [1]—"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!"—and Levi of Holywell Street—"Old clothes!"—both of them Jews, you'll observe. Immane quantum discrepant!

[Footnote 1: I remember Mr. Coleridge used to call Isaiah his ideal of the Hebrew prophet. He studied that part of the Scripture with unremitting attention and most reverential admiration. Although Mr. C. was remarkably deficient in the technical memory of words, he could say a great deal of Isaiah by heart, and he delighted in pointing out the hexametrical rhythm of numerous passages in the English version:—

"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, | O earth: for the Lord hath spoken.
I have nourished and brought up children, | and they have rebelled
  against me.
The ox knoweth his owner, | and the ass his master's crib:
But Israel doth not know, | my people doth not consider."—ED.]

August 15. 1833.


I consider the two works of Sallust which have come down to us entire, as romances founded on facts; no adequate causes are stated, and there is no real continuity of action. In Thucydides, you are aware from the beginning that you are reading the reflections of a man of great genius and experience upon the character and operation of the two great political principles in conflict in the civilized world in his time; his narrative of events is of minor importance, and it is evident that he selects for the purpose of illustration. It is Thucydides himself whom you read throughout under the names of Pericles, Nicias, &c. But in Herodotus it is just the reverse. He has as little subjectivity as Homer, and, delighting in the great fancied epic of events, he narrates them without impressing any thing as of his own mind upon the narrative. It is the charm of Herodotus that he gives you the spirit of his age—that of Thucydides, that he reveals to you his own, which was above the spirit of his age.

The difference between the composition of a history in modern and ancient times is very great; still there are certain principles upon which the history of a modern period may be written, neither sacrificing all truth and reality, like Gibbon, nor descending into mere biography and anecdote.

Gibbon's style is detestable, but his style is not the worst thing about him. His history has proved an effectual bar to all real familiarity with the temper and habits of imperial Rome. Few persons read the original authorities, even those which are classical; and certainly no distinct knowledge of the actual state of the empire can be obtained from Gibbon's rhetorical sketches. He takes notice of nothing but what may produce an effect; he skips on from eminence to eminence, without ever taking you through the valleys between: in fact, his work is little else but a disguised collection of all the splendid anecdotes which he could find in any book concerning any persons or nations from the Antonines to the capture of Constantinople. When I read a chapter in Gibbon, I seem to be looking through a luminous haze or fog:—figures come and go, I know not how or why, all larger than life, or distorted or discoloured; nothing is real, vivid, true; all is scenical, and, as it were, exhibited by candlelight. And then to call it a History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire!

Was there ever a greater misnomer? I protest I do not remember a single philosophical attempt made throughout the work to fathom the ultimate causes of the decline or fall of that empire. How miserably deficient is the narrative of the important reign of Justinian! And that poor scepticism, which Gibbon mistook for Socratic philosophy, has led him to misstate and mistake the character and influence of Christianity in a way which even an avowed infidel or atheist would not and could not have done. Gibbon was a man of immense reading; but he had no philosophy; and he never fully understood the principle upon which the best of the old historians wrote. He attempted to imitate their artificial construction of the whole work—their dramatic ordonnance of the parts—without seeing that their histories were intended more as documents illustrative of the truths of political philosophy than as mere chronicles of events.

The true key to the declension of the Roman empire—which is not to be found in all Gibbon's immense work—may be stated in two words:—the imperial character overlaying, and finally destroying, the national character. Rome under Trajan was an empire without a nation.

August 16. 1833.


I like Dr. Johnson's political pamphlets better than any other parts of his works:-particularly his "Taxation no Tyranny" is very clever and spirited, though he only sees half of his subject, and that not in a very philosophical manner. Plunder—Tribute—Taxation—are the three gradations of action by the sovereign on the property of the subject. The first is mere violence, bounded by no law or custom, and is properly an act only between conqueror and conquered, and that, too, in the moment of victory. The second supposes law; but law proceeding only from, and dictated by, one party, the conqueror; law, by which he consents to forego his right of plunder upon condition of the conquered giving up to him, of their own accord, a fixed commutation. The third implies compact, and negatives any right to plunder,—taxation being professedly for the direct benefit of the party taxed, that, by paying a part, he may through the labours and superintendence of the sovereign be able to enjoy the rest in peace. As to the right to tax being only commensurate with direct representation, it is a fable, falsely and treacherously brought forward by those who know its hollowness well enough. You may show its weakness in a moment, by observing that not even the universal suffrage of the Benthamites avoids the difficulty;—for although it may be allowed to be contrary to decorum that women should legislate; yet there can be no reason why women should not choose their representatives to legislate;—and if it be said that they are merged in their husbands, let it be allowed where the wife has no separate property; but where she has a distinct taxable estate, in which her husband has no interest, what right can her husband have to choose for her the person whose vote may affect her separate interest?—Besides, at all events, an unmarried woman of age, possessing one thousand pounds a year, has surely as good a moral right to vote, if taxation without representation is tyranny, as any ten-pounder in the kingdom. The truth, of course, is, that direct representation is a chimera, impracticable in fact, and useless or noxious if practicable.

Johnson had neither eye nor ear; for nature, therefore, he cared, as he knew, nothing. His knowledge of town life was minute; but even that was imperfect, as not being contrasted with the better life of the country.

Horne Tooke was once holding forth on language, when, turning to me, he asked me if I knew what the meaning of the final ive was in English words. I said I thought I could tell what he, Horne Tooke himself, thought. "Why, what?" said he. "Vis," I replied; and he acknowledged I had guessed right. I told him, however, that I could not agree with him; but believed that the final ive came from ickvicus, [Greek: —] a'txaq; the root denoting collectivity and community, and that it was opposed to the final ing, which signifies separation, particularity, and individual property, from ingle, a hearth, or one man's place or seat: [Greek: —] oi'xo?, vicus, denoted an aggregation of ingles. The alteration of the c and k of the root into the v was evidently the work of the digammate power, and hence we find the icus and ivus indifferently as finals in Latin. The precise difference of the etymologies is apparent in these phrases:—- The lamb is spor_tive;_ that is, has a nature or habit of sporting: the lamb is sport_ing;_ that is, the animal is now performing a sport. Horne Tooke upon this said nothing to my etymology; but I believe he found that he could not make a fool of me, as he did of Godwin and some other of his butts.

August 17. 1833.


It is very extraordinary that, in our translation of the Psalms, which professes to be from the Hebrew, the name Jehovah—[Hebrew: —] 'O — The Being, or God—should be omitted, and, instead of it, the [Hebrew: —] Ktlpio?, or Lord, of the Septuagint be adopted. The Alexandrian Jews had a superstitious dread of writing the name of God, and put [Greek: Kurhios] not as a translation, but as a mere mark or sign—every one readily understanding for what it really stood. We, who have no such superstition, ought surely to restore the Jehovah, and thereby bring out in the true force the overwhelming testimony of the Psalms to the divinity of Christ, the Jehovah or manifested God.[1]

[Footnote 1: I find the same remark in the late most excellent Bishop Sandford's diary, under date 17th December, 1827:—"[Greek: CHairhete en t_o Kurhi_o Kurhios] idem significat quod [Hebrew: —] apud Hebraeos. Hebraei enim nomine [Hebrew: —] sanctissimo nempe Dei nomine, nunquam in colloquio utebantur, sed vice ejus [Hebrew: —] pronuntiabant, quod LXX per [Greek: Kurhios] exprimebant."—Remains of Bishop Sandford, vol. i. p. 207.

Mr. Coleridge saw this work for the first time many months after making the observation in the text. Indeed it was the very last book he ever read. He was deeply interested in the picture drawn of the Bishop, and said that the mental struggles and bodily sufferings indicated in the Diary had been his own for years past. He conjured me to peruse the Memoir and the Diary with great care:—"I have received," said he, "much spiritual comfort and strength from the latter. O! were my faith and devotion, like my sufferings, equal to that good man's! He felt, as I do, how deep a depth is prayer in faith."

In connection with the text, I may add here, that Mr. C. said, that long before he knew that the late Bishop Middleton was of the same opinion, he had deplored the misleading inadequacy of our authorized version of the expression, [Greek: pr_ototokos pas_es ktise_os] in the Epistle to the Colossians, i. 15.: [Greek: hos estin eik_on tou THeou tou aoratou, pr_ototokos pas_es ktise_os.] He rendered the verse in these words:—"Who is the manifestation of God the invisible, the begotten antecedently to all creation;" observing, that in [Greek: pr_ototokos] there was a double superlative of priority, and that the natural meaning of "first-born of every creature,"—the language of our version,—afforded no premiss for the causal [Greek: hoti] in the next verse. The same criticism may be found in the Stateman's Manual, p. 56. n.; and see Bishop Sandford's judgment to the same effect, vol. i. p. 165.—ED.]

* * * * *

I cannot understand the conduct of the Scotch Kirk with regard to poor Irving. They might with ample reason have visited him for the monstrous indecencies of those exhibitions of the spirit;—perhaps the Kirk would not have been justified in overlooking such disgraceful breaches of decorum; but to excommunicate him on account of his language about Christ's body was very foolish. Irving's expressions upon this subject are ill judged, inconvenient, in had taste, and in terms false: nevertheless his apparent meaning, such as it is, is orthodox. Christ's body—as mere body, or rather carcass (for body is an associated word), was no more capable of sin or righteousness than mine or yours;—that his humanity had a capacity of sin, follows from its own essence. He was of like passions as we, and was tempted. How could he be tempted, if he had no formal capacity of being seduced?

It is Irving's error to use declamation, high and passionate rhetoric, not introduced and pioneered by calm and clear logic, which is—to borrow a simile, though with a change in the application, from the witty-wise, but not always wisely-witty, Fuller—like knocking a nail into a board, without wimbling a hole for it, and which then either does not enter, or turns crooked, or splits the wood it pierces.

August 18. 1833.


In the Paradise Lost—indeed in every one of his poems—it is Milton himself whom you see; his Satan, his Adam, his Raphael, almost his Eve—are all John Milton; and it is a sense of this intense egotism that gives me the greatest pleasure in reading Milton's works. The egotism of such a man is a revelation of spirit.

* * * * *

Claudian deserves more attention than is generally paid to him. He is the link between the old classic and the modern way of thinking in verse. You will observe in him an oscillation between the objective poetry of the ancients and the subjective mood of the moderns. His power of pleasingly reproducing the same thought in different language is remarkable, as it is in Pope. Read particularly the Phoenix, and see how the single image of renascence is varied.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge referred to Claudian's first Idyll:—"Oceani summo circumfluus cequore lucus Trans Indos Eurumque viret," &c. See the lines—

"Hic neque concepto fetu, nec semine surgit;
Sed pater est prolesque sibi, nulloque creante
Emeritos artus foecunda morte reformat,
Et petit alternam totidem per funera vitam.

Et cumulum texens pretiosa fronde Sabaeum
Componit bustumque sibi partumque futurum.

O senium positure rogo, falsisque sepulcris
Natales habiture vices, qui saepe renasci
Exitio, proprioque soles pubescere leto,
Accipe principium rursus.

Parturiente rogo—

Victuri cineres—

Qm fuerat genitor, natus nunc prosilit idem,
Succeditque novus—-

O felix, haeresque tui! quo solvimur omnes,
Hoc tibi suppeditat vires; praebetur origo
Per cinerem; moritur te non pereunte senectus."—ED.]

* * * * *

I think highly of Sterne—that is, of the first part of Tristram Shandy: for as to the latter part about the widow Wadman, it is stupid and disgusting; and the Sentimental Journey is poor sickly stuff. There is a great deal of affectation in Sterne, to be sure; but still the characters of Trim and the two Shandies[1] are most individual and delightful. Sterne's morals are bad, but I don't think they can do much harm to any one whom they would not find bad enough before. Besides, the oddity and erudite grimaces under which much of his dirt is hidden take away the effect for the most part; although, to be sure, the book is scarcely readable by women.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Coleridge considered the character of the father, the elder Shandy, as by much the finer delineation of the two. I fear his low opinion of the Sentimental Journey will not suit a thorough Sterneist; but I could never get him to modify his criticism. He said, "The oftener you read Sterne, the more clearly will you perceive the great difference between Tristram Shandy and the Sentimental Journey. There is truth and reality in the one, and little beyond a clever affectation in the other."—ED.]

August 20. 1833.


Men of humour are always in some degree men of genius; wits are rarely so, although a man of genius may amongst other gifts possess wit, as Shakspeare.

* * * * *

Genius must have talent as its complement and implement, just as in like manner imagination must have fancy. In short, the higher intellectual powers can only act through a corresponding energy of the lower.

* * * * *

Men of genius are rarely much annoyed by the company of vulgar people, because they have a power of looking at such persons as objects of amusement of another race altogether.

* * * * *

I quite agree with Strabo, as translated by Ben Jonson in his splendid dedication of the Fox[1]—that there can be no great poet who is not a good man, though not, perhaps, a goody man. His heart must be pure; he must have learned to look into his own heart, and sometimes to look at it; for how can he who is ignorant of his own heart know any thing of, or be able to move, the heart of any one else?

[Footnote 1: [Greek: 'H de (arhet_e) poi_etou synezeyktai t_e tou anthrh_opou kai ouch oion te agathon genesthai poi_et_en, m_e prhoterhon gen_ethenta angrha agathon.]—Lib. I. p. 33. folio.

"For, 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 first being a good man."]

* * * * *

I think there is a perceptible difference in the elegance and correctness of the English in our versions of the Old and New Testament. I cannot yield to the authority of many examples of usages which may be alleged from the New Testament version. St. Paul is very often most inadequately rendered, and there are slovenly phrases which would never have come from Ben Jonson or any other good prose writer of that day.

* * * * *

Hebrew is so simple, and its words are so few and near the roots, that it is impossible to keep up any adequate knowledge of it without constant application. The meanings of the words are chiefly traditional. The loss of Origen's Heptaglott Bible, in which he had written out the Hebrew words in Greek characters, is the heaviest which biblical literature has ever experienced. It would have fixed the sounds as known at that time.

* * * * *

Brute animals have the vowel sounds; man only can utter consonants. It is natural, therefore, that the consonants should be marked first, as being the framework of the word; and no doubt a very simple living language might be written quite intelligibly to the natives without any vowel sounds marked at all. The words would be traditionally and conventionally recognized as in short hand—thus—Gd crtd th Hvn nd th Rth. I wish I understood Arabic; and yet I doubt whether to the European philosopher or scholar it is worth while to undergo the immense labour of acquiring that or any other Oriental tongue, except Hebrew.

August 23. 1833.


The distinction between accent and quantity is clear, and was, no doubt, observed by the ancients in the recitation of verse. But I believe such recitation to have been always an artificial thing, and that the common conversation was entirely regulated by accent. I do not think it possible to talk any language without confounding the quantity of syllables with their high or low tones[1]; although you may sing or recitative the difference well enough. Why should the marks of accent have been considered exclusively necessary for teaching the pronunciation to the Asiatic or African Hellenist, if the knowledge of the acuted syllable did not also carry the stress of time with it? If [Greek: **anthropos] was to be pronounced in common conversation with a perceptible distinction of the length of the penultima as well as of the elevation of the antepenultima, why was not that long quantity also marked? It was surely as important an ingredient in the pronunciation as the accent. And although the letter omega might in such a word show the quantity, yet what do you say to such words as [Greek: lelonchasi, tupsasa], and the like—the quantity of the penultima of which is not marked to the eye at all? Besides, can we altogether disregard the practice of the modern Greeks? Their confusion of accent and quantity in verse is of course a barbarism, though a very old one, as the versus politici of John Tzetzes [2] in the twelfth century and the Anacreontics prefixed to Proclus will show; but these very examples prove a fortiori what the common pronunciation in prose then was.

[Footnote 1: This opinion, I need not say, is in direct opposition to the conclusion of Foster and Mitford, and scarcely reconcilable with the apparent meaning of the authorities from the old critics and grammarians. Foster's opponent was for rejecting the accents and attending only to the syllabic quantity;—Mr. C. would, in prose, attend to the accents only as indicators of the quantity, being unable to conceive any practical distinction between time and tone in common speech. Yet how can we deal with the authority of Dionysius of Halicarnassus alone, who, on the one hand, discriminates quantity so exquisitely as to make four degrees of shortness in the penultimates of [Greek: —hodos hr odos, tz opos] and [Greek: —stz ophos], and this expressly [Greek: —eu logois psilois], or plain prose, as well as in verse; and on the other hand declares, according to the evidently correct interpretation of the passage, that the difference between music and ordinary speech consists in the number only, and not in the quality, of tones:—[Greek: **to Poso diallattousa taes su odais kahi oznauois, kahi ouchi to Poio. (Pezhi Sun. c. 11.?]) The extreme sensibility of the Athenian ear to the accent in prose is, indeed, proved by numerous anecdotes, one of the most amusing of which, though, perhaps, not the best authenticated as a fact, is that of Demosthenes in the Speech for the Crown, asking, "Whether, O Athenians, does Aeschines appear to you to be the mercenary ([Greek: **misthothos]} of Alexander, or his guest or friend ([Greek: **xenos])?" It is said that he pronounced [Greek: **misthothos] with a false accent on the antepenultima, as [Greek: **misthotos], and that upon the audience immediately crying out, by way of correction, [Greek: **misthothos], with an emphasis, the orator continued coolly,—[Greek: **achoueis a legousi]—"You yourself hear what they say!" Demosthenes is also said, whether affectedly, or in ignorance, to have sworn in some speech by [Greek: Asklaepios], throwing the accent falsely on the antepenultima, and that, upon being interrupted for it, he declared, in his justification, that the pronunciation was proper, for that the divinity was [Greek: aepios], mild. The expressions in Plutarch are very striking:—"[Greek: **Thozuxon ekinaesen, omnue dhe kahi thon' Asklaepion, pzopasoxunon' Asklaepion, kai pazedeiknuen autohn ozthos legonta' einai gahz tohn thehon aepion' kahi epi outo polakis hethozuzaethae." Dec. Orat._—Ed.]

[Footnote 2: See his Chiliads. The sort of verses to which Mr. Coleridge alluded are the following, which those who consider the scansion to be accentual, take for tetrameter catalectic iambics, like—

[Greek: ——] (

Chil. I.

I 'll climb the frost | y mountains high |, and there I 'll coin | the weather;
I'll tear the rain | bow from the sky |, and tie both ends | together.

Some critics, however, maintain these verses to be trochaics, although very loose and faulty. See Foster, p. 113. A curious instance of the early confusion of accent and quantity may be seen in Prudentius, who shortens the penultima in eremus and idola, from [Greek: ezaemos] and [Greek: eidola].

Cui jejuna eremi saxa loquacibus Exundant scatebris, &c. Cathemer. V. 89.

—cognatumque malum, pigmenta, Camoenas, Idola, conflavit fallendi trina potestas. Cont. Symm. 47.—ED.]

August 24. 1833.


I am never very forward in offering spiritual consolation to any one in distress or disease. I believe that such resources, to be of any service, must be self-evolved in the first instance. I am something of the Quaker's mind in this, and am inclined to wait for the spirit.

* * * * *

The most common effect of this mock evangelical spirit, especially with young women, is self-inflation and busy-bodyism.

* * * * *

How strange and awful is the synthesis of life and death in the gusty winds and falling leaves of an autumnal day!

August 25. 1833.


Rosetti's view of Dante's meaning is in great part just, but he has pushed it beyond all bounds of common sense. How could a poet—and such a poet as Dante—have written the details of the allegory as conjectured by Rosetti? The boundaries between his allegory and his pure picturesque are plain enough, I think, at first reading.

* * * * *

To resolve laughter into an expression of contempt is contrary to fact, and laughable enough. Laughter is a convulsion of the nerves; and it seems as if nature cut short the rapid thrill of pleasure on the nerves by a sudden convulsion of them, to prevent the sensation becoming painful. Aristotle's definition is as good as can be:—surprise at perceiving any thing out of its usual place, when the unusualness is not accompanied by a sense of serious danger. Such surprise is always pleasurable; and it is observable that surprise accompanied with circumstances of danger becomes tragic. Hence farce may often border on tragedy; indeed, farce is nearer tragedy in its essence than comedy is.

August 28. 1833.


Baron von Humboldt, brother of the great traveller, paid me the following compliment at Rome:—"I confess, Mr. Coleridge, I had my suspicions that you were here in a political capacity of some sort or other; but upon reflection I acquit you. For in Germany and, I believe, elsewhere on the Continent, it is generally understood that the English government, in order to divert the envy and jealousy of the world at the power, wealth, and ingenuity of your nation, makes a point, as a ruse de guerre, of sending out none but fools of gentlemanly birth and connections as diplomatists to the courts abroad. An exception is, perhaps, sometimes made for a clever fellow, if sufficiently libertine and unprincipled." Is the case much altered now, do you know?

* * * * *

What dull coxcombs your diplomatists at home generally are. I remember dining at Mr. Frere's once in company with Canning and a few other interesting men. Just before dinner Lord —— called on Frere, and asked himself to dinner. From the moment of his entry he began to talk to the whole party, and in French—all of us being genuine English—and I was told his French was execrable. He had followed the Russian army into France, and seen a good deal of the great men concerned in the war: of none of those things did he say a word, but went on, sometimes in English and sometimes in French, gabbling about cookery and dress and the like. At last he paused for a little—and I said a few words remarking how a great image may be reduced to the ridiculous and contemptible by bringing the constituent parts into prominent detail, and mentioned the grandeur of the deluge and the preservation of life in Genesis and the Paradise Lost [1], and the ludicrous effect produced by Drayton's description in his Noah's Flood:—

"And now the beasts are walking from the wood,
As well of ravine, as that chew the cud.
The king of beasts his fury doth suppress,
And to the Ark leads down the lioness;
The bull for his beloved mate doth low,
And to the Ark brings on the fair-eyed cow," &c.

Hereupon Lord —— resumed, and spoke in raptures of a picture which he had lately seen of Noah's Ark, and said the animals were all marching two and two, the little ones first, and that the elephants came last in great majesty and filled up the fore-ground. "Ah! no doubt, my Lord," said Canning; "your elephants, wise fellows! staid behind to pack up their trunks!" This floored the ambassador for half an hour.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries almost all our ambassadors were distinguished men. [2] Read Lloyd's State Worthies. The third-rate men of those days possessed an infinity of knowledge, and were intimately versed not only in the history, but even in the heraldry, of the countries in which they were resident. Men were almost always, except for mere compliments, chosen for their dexterity and experience—not, as now, by parliamentary interest.

[Footnote 1: Genesis, c. vi. vii. Par. Lost, book xi. v. 728, &c.]

[Footnote 2: Yet Diego de Mendoza, the author of Lazarillo de Tormes, himself a veteran diplomatist, describes his brethren of the craft, and their duties, in the reigns of Charles the Emperor and Philip the Second, in the following terms:—

O embajadores, puros majaderos,
  Que si los reyes quieren engañar,
  Comienzan por nosotros los primeros.
Nuestro mayor negocio es, no dañar,
  Y jamas hacer cosa, ni dezilla,
  Que no corramos riesgo de enseñar.

What a pity it is that modern diplomatists, who, for the most part, very carefully observe the precept contained in the last two lines of this passage, should not equally bear in mind the importance of the preceding remark—that their principal business is just to do no mischief.—ED.]

* * * * *

The sure way to make a foolish ambassador is to bring him up to it. What can an English minister abroad really want but an honest and bold heart, a love for his country and the ten commandments? Your art diplomatic is stuff:—no truly greatly man now would negotiate upon any such shallow principles.

August 30. 1833.


If a man is not rising upwards to be an angel, depend upon it, he is sinking downwards to be a devil. He cannot stop at the beast. The most savage of men are not beasts; they are worse, a great deal worse.

* * * * *

The conduct of the Mohammedan and Western nations on the subject of contagious plague illustrates the two extremes of error on the nature of God's moral government of the world. The Turk changes Providence into fatalism; the Christian relies upon it—when he has nothing else to rely on. He does not practically rely upon it at all.

* * * * *

For compassion a human heart suffices; but for full and adequate sympathy with joy an angel's only. And ever remember, that the more exquisite and delicate a flower of joy, the tenderer must be the hand that plucks it.

September 2. 1833.


The English affect stimulant nourishment—beef and beer. The French, excitants, irritants—nitrous oxide, alcohol, champagne. The Austrians, sedatives—hyoscyamus. The Russians, narcotics—opium, tobacco, and beng.

* * * * *

It is worth particular notice how the style of Greek oratory, so full, in the times of political independence, of connective particles, some of passion, some of sensation only, and escaping the classification of mere grammatical logic, became, in the hands of the declaimers and philosophers of the Alexandrian era, and still later, entirely deprived of this peculiarity. So it was with Homer as compared with Nonnus, Tryphiodorus, and the like. In the latter there are in the same number of lines fewer words by one half than in the Iliad. All the appoggiaturas of time are lost.

All the Greek writers after Demosthenes and his contemporaries, what are they but the leavings of tyranny, in which a few precious things seem sheltered by the mass of rubbish! Yet, whenever liberty began but to hope and strive, a Polybius appeared. Theocritus is almost the only instance I know of a man of true poetic genius nourishing under a tyranny.

The old Latin poets attempted to compound as largely as the Greek; hence in Ennius such words as belligerentes, &c. In nothing did Virgil show his judgment more than in rejecting these, except just where common usage had sanctioned them, as omnipotens and a few more. He saw that the Latin was too far advanced in its formation, and of too rigid a character, to admit such composition or agglutination. In this particular respect Virgil's Latin is very admirable and deserving preference. Compare it with the language of Lucan or Statius, and count the number of words used in an equal number of lines, and observe how many more short words Virgil has.

* * * * *

I cannot quite understand the grounds of the high admiration which the ancients expressed for Propertius, and I own that Tibullus is rather insipid to me. Lucan was a man of great powers; but what was to be made of such a shapeless fragment of party warfare, and so recent too! He had fancy rather than imagination, and passion rather than fancy. His taste was wretched, to be sure; still the Pharsalia is in my judgment a very wonderful work for such a youth as Lucan[1] was.

I think Statius a truer poet than Lucan, though he is very extravagant sometimes. Valerius Flaccus is very pretty in particular passages. I am ashamed to say, I have never read Silius Italicus. Claudian I recommend to your careful perusal, in respect of his being properly the first of the moderns, or at least the transitional link between the Classic and the Gothic mode of thought.

I call Persius hard—not obscure. He had a bad style; but I dare say, if he had lived[2], he would have learned to express himself in easier language. There are many passages in him of exquisite felicity, and his vein of thought is manly and pathetic.

Prudentius[3] is curious for this,—that you see how Christianity forced allegory into the place of mythology. Mr. Frere [Greek: ho philokalos, ho kalokagathos] used to esteem the Latin Christian poets of Italy very highly, and no man in our times was a more competent judge than he.

[Footnote 1:
Lucan died by the command of Nero, A.D. 65, in his twenty-sixth year. I
think this should be printed at the beginning of every book of the

[Footnote 2:
Aulus Persius Flaccus died in the 30th year of his age, A.D. 62.—ED.]

[Footnote 3:
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was born A.D. 348, in Spain.—ED.]

* * * * *

How very pretty are those lines of Hermesianax in Athenaeus about the poets and poetesses of Greece![1]

[Footnote 1:
See the fragment from the Leontium:—

[Greek: HOi_en men philos huios an_egagen Oiagrhoio
  Agrhiop_en, THr_essan steilamenos kithar_en
Aidothen k. t. l.] Athen. xiii. s. 71—ED]

September 4. 1833.


I have already told you that in my opinion the destruction of Jerusalem is the only subject now left for an epic poem of the highest kind. Yet, with all its great capabilities, it has this one grand defect—that, whereas a poem, to be epic, must have a personal interest,—in the destruction of Jerusalem no genius or skill could possibly preserve the interest for the hero from being merged in the interest for the event. The fact is, the event itself is too sublime and overwhelming.

* * * * *

In my judgment, an epic poem must either be national or mundane. As to Arthur, you could not by any means make a poem on him national to Englishmen. What have we to do with him? Milton saw this, and with a judgment at least equal to his genius, took a mundane theme—one common to all mankind. His Adam and Eve are all men and women inclusively. Pope satirizes Milton for making God the Father talk like a school divine.[1] Pope was hardly the man to criticize Milton. The truth is, the judgment of Milton in the conduct of the celestial part of his story is very exquisite. Wherever God is represented as directly acting as Creator, without any exhibition of his own essence, Milton adopts the simplest and sternest language of the Scriptures. He ventures upon no poetic diction, no amplification, no pathos, no affection. It is truly the Voice or the Word of the Lord coming to, and acting on, the subject Chaos. But, as some personal interest was demanded for the purposes of poetry, Milton takes advantage of the dramatic representation of God's address to the Son, the Filial Alterity, and in those addresses slips in, as it were by stealth, language of affection, or thought, or sentiment. Indeed, although Milton was undoubtedly a high Arian in his mature life, he does in the necessity of poetry give a greater objectivity to the Father and the Son, than he would have justified in argument. He was very wise in adopting the strong anthropomorphism of the Hebrew Scriptures at once. Compare the Paradise Lost with Klopstock's Messiah, and you will learn to appreciate Milton's judgment and skill quite as much as his genius.

[Footnote 1:

"Milton's strong pinion now not Heav'n can bound,
Now, serpent-like, in prose he sweeps the ground;
In quibbles angel and archangel join,
And God the Father turns a school divine."

1 Epist. 2d book of Hor. v. 99.]

* * * * *

The conquest of India by Bacchus might afford scope for a very brilliant poem of the fancy and the understanding.

* * * * *

It is not that the German can express external imagery more fully than
English; but that it can flash more images at once on the mind than the
English can. As to mere power of expression, I doubt whether even the Greek
surpasses the English. Pray, read a very pleasant and acute dialogue in
Schlegel's Athenaeum between a German, a Greek, a Roman, Italian, and a
Frenchman, on the merits of their respective languages.

* * * * *

I wish the naval and military officers who write accounts of their travels
would just spare us their sentiment. The Magazines introduced this cant.
Let these gentlemen read and imitate the old captains and admirals, as
Dampier, &c.

October 15. 1833.


The Trinity is the idea: the Incarnation, which implies the Fall, is the fact: the Redemption is the mesothesis of the two—that is—the religion.

* * * * *

If you bring up your children in a way which puts them out of sympathy with the religious feelings of the nation in which they live, the chances are, that they will ultimately turn out ruffians or fanatics—and one as likely as the other.

October 23. 1833.


Elegy is the form of poetry natural to the reflective mind. It may treat of any subject, but it must treat of no subject for itself; but always and exclusively with reference to the poet himself. As he will feel regret for the past or desire for the future, so sorrow and love become the principal themes of elegy. Elegy presents every thing as lost and gone, or absent and future. The elegy is the exact opposite of the Homeric epic, in which all is purely external and objective, and the poet is a mere voice.

The true lyric ode is subjective too; but then it delights to present things as actually existing and visible, although associated with the past, or coloured highly by the subject of the ode itself.

* * * * *

I think the Lavacrum Pallados of Callimachus very beautiful indeed, especially that part about the mother of Tiresias and Minerva.[1] I have a mind to try how it would bear translation; but what metre have we to answer in feeling to the elegiac couplet of the Greeks?

I greatly prefer the Greek rhythm of the short verse to Ovid's, though, observe, I don't dispute his taste with reference to the genius of his own language. Augustus Schlegel gave me a copy of Latin elegiacs on the King of Prussia's going down the Rhine, in which he had almost exclusively adopted the manner of Propertius. I thought them very elegant.

[Footnote 1: Greek: Paides, Athanaia numphan mian en poka Th_ezais po_olu ti kai pezi d_e philato tan hetezan, mateza Teizesiao, kai oupoka ch_ozis egento k.t.l. v 57, &c.]

* * * * *

You may find a few minute faults in Milton's Latin verses; but you will not persuade me that, if these poems had come down to us as written in the age of Tiberius, we should not have considered them to be very beautiful.

* * * * *

I once thought of making a collection,—to be called "The Poetical Filter,"—upon the principle of simply omitting from the old pieces of lyrical poetry which we have, those parts in which the whim or the bad taste of the author or the fashion of his age prevailed over his genius. You would be surprised at the number of exquisite wholes which might be made by this simple operation, and, perhaps, by the insertion of a single line or half a line, out of poems which are now utterly disregarded on account of some odd or incongruous passages in them;—just as whole volumes of Wordsworth's poems were formerly neglected or laughed at, solely because of some few wilfulnesses, if I may so call them, of that great man—whilst at the same time five sixths of his poems would have been admired, and indeed popular, if they had appeared without those drawbacks, under the name of Byron or Moore or Campbell, or any other of the fashionable favourites of the day. But he has won the battle now, ay! and will wear the crown, whilst English is English.

* * * * *

I think there is something very majestic in Gray's Installation Ode; but as to the Bard and the rest of his lyrics, I must say I think them frigid and artificial. There is more real lyric feeling in Cotton's Ode on Winter.[1]

[Footnote 1:
Let me borrow Mr. Wordsworth's account of, and quotation from, this poem:—

"Finally, I will refer to Cotton's 'Ode upon Winter,' an admirable composition, though stained with some peculiarities of the age in which he lived, for a general illustration of the characteristics of Fancy. The middle part of this ode contains a most lively description of the entrance of Winter, with his retinue, as 'a palsied king,' and yet a military monarch, advancing for conquest with his army; the several bodies of which, and their arms and equipments, are described with a rapidity of detail, and a profusion of fanciful comparisons, which indicate, on the part of the poet, extreme activity of intellect, and a correspondent hurry of delightful feeling. He retires from the foe into his fortress, where—

                       a magazine
Of sovereign juice is cellared in;
Liquor that will the siege maintain
Should Phoebus ne'er return again."

Though myself a water-drinker, I cannot resist the pleasure of transcribing what follows, as an instance still more happy of Fancy employed in the treatment of feeling than, in its preceding passages, the poem supplies of her management of forms.

'Tis that, that gives the Poet rage,
And thaws the gelly'd blood of Age;
Matures the Young, restores the Old,
And makes the fainting coward bold.

It lays the careful head to rest,
Calms palpitations in the breast,
Renders our lives' misfortune sweet;

* * * * *

Then let the chill Scirocco blow,
And gird us round with hills of snow;
Or else go whistle to the shore,
And make the hollow mountains roar:

Whilst we together jovial sit
Careless, and crowned with mirth and wit;
Where, though bleak winds confine us home,
Our fancies round the world shall roam.

We'll think of all the friends we know,
And drink to all worth drinking to;
When, having drunk all thine and mine,
We rather shall want healths than wine.

But where friends fail us, we'll supply
Our friendships with our charity;
Men that remote in sorrows live
Shall by our lusty brimmers thrive.

We'll drink the wanting into wealth,
And those that languish into health,
Th' afflicted into joy, th' opprest
Into security and rest.

The worthy in disgrace shall find
Favour return again more kind,
And in restraint who stifled lie
Shall taste the air of liberty.

The brave shall triumph in success,
The lovers shall have mistresses,
Poor unregarded virtue, praise,
And the neglected poet, bays.

Thus shall our healths do others good,
Whilst we ourselves do all we would;
For, freed from envy and from care,
What would we be but what we are?

Preface to the editions of Mr. W.'s Poems, in 1815 and 1820.—ED.]

November 1. 1833.


Compare Nestor, Ajax, Achilles, &c. in the Troilus and Cressida of Shakspeare with their namesakes in the Iliad. The old heroes seem all to have been at school ever since. I scarcely know a more striking instance of the strength and pregnancy of the Gothic mind.

Dryden's genius was of that sort which catches fire by its own motion; his chariot wheels get hot by driving fast.

* * * * *

Dr. Johnson seems to have been really more powerful in discoursing vivâ voce in conversation than with his pen in hand. It seems as if the excitement of company called something like reality and consecutiveness into his reasonings, which in his writings I cannot see. His antitheses are almost always verbal only; and sentence after sentence in the Rambler may be pointed out to which you cannot attach any definite meaning whatever. In his political pamphlets there is more truth of expression than in his other works, for the same reason that his conversation is better than his writings in general. He was more excited and in earnest.

* * * * *

When I am very ill indeed, I can read Scott's novels, and they are almost the only books I can then read. I cannot at such times read the Bible; my mind reflects on it, but I can't bear the open page.

* * * * *

Unless Christianity be viewed and felt in a high and comprehensive way, how large a portion of our intellectual and moral nature does it leave without object and action!

* * * * *

Let a young man separate I from Me as far as he possibly can, and remove Me till it is almost lost in the remote distance. "I am me," is as bad a fault in intellectuals and morals as it is in grammar, whilst none but one—God— can say, "I am I," or "That I am."

November 9. 1833.


How many books are still written and published about Charles the First and his times! Such is the fresh and enduring interest of that grand crisis of morals, religion, and government! But these books are none of them works of any genius or imagination; not one of these authors seems to be able to throw himself back into that age; if they did, there would be less praise and less blame bestowed on both sides.

December 21. 1833.


When I reflect upon the subject of the messenger of the covenant, and observe the distinction taken in the prophets between the teaching and suffering Christ,—the Priest, who was to precede, and the triumphant Messiah, the Judge, who was to follow,—and how Jesus always seems to speak of the Son of Man in a future sense, and yet always at the same time as identical with himself; I sometimes think that our Lord himself in his earthly career was the Messenger; and that the way is now still preparing for the great and visible advent of the Messiah of Glory. I mention this doubtingly.

* * * * *

What a beautiful sermon or essay might be written on the growth of prophecy!—from the germ, no bigger than a man's hand, in Genesis, till the column of cloud gathers size and height and substance, and assumes the shape of a perfect man; just like the smoke in the Arabian Nights' tale, which comes up and at last takes a genie's shape.[1]

[Footnote 1: The passage in Mr. Coleridge's mind was, I suppose, the following:—"He (the fisherman) set it before him, and while he looked upon it attentively, there came out a very thick smoke, which obliged him to retire two or three paces from it. The smoke ascended to the clouds, and extending itself along the sea, and upon the shore, formed a great mist, which, we may well imagine, did mightily astonish the fisherman. When the smoke was all out of the vessel, it reunited itself, and became a solid body, of which there was formed a genie twice as high as the greatest of giants." Story of the Fisherman. Ninth Night.—ED.]

* * * * *

The logic of ideas is to that of syllogisms as the infinitesimal calculus to common arithmetic; it proves, but at the same time supersedes.

January 1. 1834.


What is it that Mr. Landor wants, to make him a poet? His powers are certainly very considerable, but he seems to be totally deficient in that modifying faculty, which compresses several units into one whole. The truth is, he does not possess imagination in its highest form,—that of stamping il più nell' uno. Hence his poems, taken as wholes, are unintelligible; you have eminences excessively bright, and all the ground around and between them in darkness. Besides which, he has never learned, with all his energy, how to write simple and lucid English.

* * * * *

The useful, the agreeable, the beautiful, and the good, are distinguishable. You are wrong in resolving beauty into expression or interest; it is quite distinct; indeed it is opposite, although not contrary. Beauty is an immediate presence, between (inter) which and the beholder nihil est. It is always one and tranquil; whereas the interesting always disturbs and is disturbed. I exceedingly regret the loss of those essays on beauty, which I wrote in a Bristol newspaper. I would give much to recover them.

* * * * *

After all you can say, I still think the chronological order the best for arranging a poet's works. All your divisions are in particular instances inadequate, and they destroy the interest which arises from watching the progress, maturity, and even the decay of genius.

January 3. 1834.


I have known books written on Tolerance, the proper title of which would be—intolerant or intolerable books on tolerance. Should not a man who writes a book expressly to inculcate tolerance learn to treat with respect, or at least with indulgence, articles of faith which tens of thousands ten times told of his fellow-subjects or his fellow-creatures believe with all their souls, and upon the truth of which they rest their tranquillity in this world, and their hopes of salvation in the next,—those articles being at least maintainable against his arguments, and most certainly innocent in themselves?—Is it fitting to run Jesus Christ in a silly parallel with Socrates—the Being whom thousand millions of intellectual creatures, of whom I am a humble unit, take to be their Redeemer, with an Athenian philosopher, of whom we should know nothing except through his glorification in Plato and Xenophon?—And then to hitch Latimer and Servetus together! To be sure there was a stake and a fire in each case, but where the rest of the resemblance is I cannot see. What ground is there for throwing the odium of Servetus's death upon Calvin alone?—Why, the mild Melancthon wrote to Calvin[1], expressly to testify his concurrence in the act, and no doubt he spoke the sense of the German reformers; the Swiss churches advised the punishment in formal letters, and I rather think there are letters from the English divines, approving Calvin's conduct!— Before a man deals out the slang of the day about the great leaders of the Reformation, he should learn to throw himself back to the age of the Reformation, when the two great parties in the church were eagerly on the watch to fasten a charge of heresy on the other. Besides, if ever a poor fanatic thrust, himself into the fire, it was Michael Servetus. He was a rabid enthusiast, and did every thing he could in the way of insult and ribaldry to provoke the feeling of the Christian church. He called the Trinity triceps monstrum et Cerberum quendam tripartitum, and so on.

Indeed, how should the principle of religious toleration have been acknowledged at first?—It would require stronger arguments than any which I have heard as yet, to prove that men in authority have not a right, involved in an imperative duty, to deter those under their control from teaching or countenancing doctrines which they believe to be damnable, and even to punish with death those who violate such prohibition. I am sure that Bellarmine would have had small difficulty in turning Locke round his fingers' ends upon this ground. A right to protection I can understand; but a right to toleration seems to me a contradiction in terms. Some criterion must in any case be adopted by the state; otherwise it might be compelled to admit whatever hideous doctrine and practice any man or number of men may assert to be his or their religion, and an article of his or their faith. It was the same Pope who commanded the Romanists of England to separate from the national church, which previously their own consciences had not dictated, nor the decision of any council,—and who also commanded them to rebel against Queen Elizabeth, whom they were bound to obey by the laws of the land; and if the Pope had authority for one, he must have had it for the other. The only true argument, as it seems to me, apart from Christianity, for a discriminating toleration is, that it is of no use to attempt to stop heresy or schism by persecution, unless, perhaps, it be conducted upon the plan of direct warfare and massacre. You cannot preserve men in the faith by such means, though you may stifle for a while any open appearance of dissent. The experiment has now been tried, and it has failed; and that is by a great deal the best argument for the magistrate against a repetition of it.

I know this,—that if a parcel of fanatic missionaries were to go to Norway, and were to attempt to disturb the fervent and undoubting Lutheranism of the fine independent inhabitants of the interior of that country, I should be right glad to hear that the busy fools had been quietly shipped off—any where. I don't include the people of the seaports in my praise of the Norwegians;—I speak of the agricultural population. If that country could be brought to maintain a million more of inhabitants, Norway might defy the world; it would be [Greek: autarhk_as] and impregnable; but it is much under-handed now.

[Footnote 1: Melancthon's words are:—"Tuo judicio prorsus assentior. Affirmo etiam vestros magistratus juste fecisse quod hominem blasphemum, re ordine judicata, interfecerunt." 14th Oct. 1554.—ED.]

January 12. 1834.


I have drawn up four or perhaps five articles of faith, by subscription, or rather by assent, to which I think a large comprehension might take place. My articles would exclude Unitarians, and I am sorry to say, members of the church of Rome, but with this difference—that the exclusion of Unitarians would be necessary and perpetual; that of the members of the church of Rome depending on each individual's own conscience and intellectual light. What I mean is this:—that the Romanists hold the faith in Christ,—but unhappily they also hold certain opinions, partly ceremonial, partly devotional, partly speculative, which have so fatal a facility of being degraded into base, corrupting, and even idolatrous practices, that if the Romanist will make them of the essence of his religion, he must of course be excluded. As to the Quakers, I hardly know what to say. An article on the sacraments would exclude them. My doubt is, whether Baptism and the Eucharist are properly any parts of Christianity, or not rather Christianity itself;—the one, the initial conversion or light,—the other, the sustaining and invigorating life;—both together the [Greek: ph_os ahi z_oh_a], which are Christianity. A line can only begin once; hence, there can be no repetition of baptism; but a line may be endlessly prolonged by continued production; hence the sacrament of love and life lasts for ever.

But really there is no knowing what the modern Quakers are, or believe, excepting this—that they are altogether degenerated from their ancestors of the seventeenth century. I should call modern Quakerism, so far as I know it as a scheme of faith, a Socinian Calvinism. Penn himself was a Sabellian, and seems to have disbelieved even the historical fact of the life and death of Jesus;—most certainly Jesus of Nazareth was not Penn's Christ, if he had any. It is amusing to see the modern Quakers appealing now to history for a confirmation of their tenets and discipline—and by so doing, in effect abandoning the strong hold of their founders. As an imperium in imperio, I think the original Quakerism a conception worthy of Lycurgus. Modern Quakerism is like one of those gigantic trees which are seen in the forests of North America,—apparently flourishing, and preserving all its greatest stretch and spread of branches; but when you cut through an enormously thick and gnarled bark, you find the whole inside hollow and rotten. Modern Quakerism, like such a tree, stands upright by help of its inveterate bark alone. Bark a Quaker, and he is a poor creature.

* * * * *

How much the devotional spirit of the church has suffered by that necessary evil, the Reformation, and the sects which have sprung up subsequently to it! All our modern prayers seem tongue-tied. We appear to be thinking more of avoiding an heretical expression or thought than of opening ourselves to God. We do not pray with that entire, unsuspecting, unfearing, childlike profusion of feeling, which so beautifully shines forth in Jeremy Taylor and Andrewes and the writings of some of the older and better saints of the Romish church, particularly of that remarkable woman, St. Theresa.[1] And certainly Protestants, in their anxiety to have the historical argument on their side, have brought down the origin of the Romish errors too late. Many of them began, no doubt, in the Apostolic age itself;—I say errors— not heresies, as that dullest of the fathers, Epiphanius, calls them. Epiphanius is very long and fierce upon the Ebionites. There may have been real heretics under that name; but I believe that, in the beginning, the name was, on account of its Hebrew meaning, given to, or adopted by, some poor mistaken men—perhaps of the Nazarene way—who sold all their goods and lands, and were then obliged to beg. I think it not improbable that Barnabas was one of these chief mendicants; and that the collection made by St. Paul was for them. You should read Rhenferd's account of the early heresies. I think he demonstrates about eight of Epiphanius's heretics to be mere nicknames given by the Jews to the Christians. Read "Hermas, or the Shepherd," of the genuineness of which and of the epistle of Barnabas I have no doubt. It is perfectly orthodox, but full of the most ludicrous tricks of gnostic fancy—the wish to find the New Testament in the Old. This gnosis is perceptible in the Epistle to the Hebrews, but kept exquisitely within the limit of propriety. In the others it is rampant, and most truly "puffeth up," as St. Paul said of it.

What between the sectarians and the political economists, the English are denationalized. England I see as a country, but the English nation seems obliterated. What could redintegrate us again? Must it be another threat of foreign invasion?

[Footnote 1: She was a native of Avila in Old Castile, and a Carmelite nun. Theresa established an order which she called the "Reformed," and which became very powerful. Her works are divided into ten books, of which her autobiography forms a remarkable part. She died in 1582, and was canonised by Gregory XV. in 1622—ED.]

* * * * *

I never can digest the loss of most of Origen's works: he seems to have been almost the only very great scholar and genius combined amongst the early Fathers. Jerome was very inferior to him.

January 20. 1834.


Some men are like musical glasses;—to produce their finest tones, you must keep them wet.

* * * * *

Well! that passage is what I call the sublime dashed to pieces by cutting too close with the fiery four-in-hand round the corner of nonsense.

* * * * *

How did the Atheist get his idea of that God whom he denies?

February 22. 1834.


Assume the existence of God,—and then the harmony and fitness of the physical creation may be shown to correspond with and support such an assumption;—but to set about proving the existence of a God by such means is a mere circle, a delusion. It can be no proof to a good reasoner, unless he violates all syllogistic logic, and presumes his conclusion.

Kant once set about proving the existence of God, and a masterly effort it was.* But in his later great work, the "Critique of the Pure Reason," he saw its fallacy, and said of it—that if the existence could he proved at all, it must be on the grounds indicated by him.

* * * * *

I never could feel any force in the arguments for a plurality of worlds, in the common acceptation of that term. A lady once asked me—"What then could be the intention in creating so many great bodies, so apparently useless to us?" I said—I did not know, except perhaps to make dirt cheap. The vulgar inference is in alio genere. What in the eye of an intellectual and omnipotent Being is the whole sidereal system to the soul of one man for whom Christ died?

March 1. 1834.


I am by the law of my nature a reasoner. A person who should suppose I meant by that word, an arguer, [1] would not only not understand me, but would understand the contrary of my meaning. I can take no interest whatever in hearing or saying any thing merely as a fact—merely as having happened. It must refer to something within me before I can regard it with any curiosity or care. My mind is always energic—I don't mean energetic; I require in every thing what, for lack of another word, I may call propriety,—that is, a reason why the thing is at all, and why it is there or then rather than elsewhere or at another time.

[Footnote 1:
In his essay, "Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des
Daseyns Gottes
."—"The only possible argument or ground of proof for a
demonstration of the existence of God." It was published in 1763; the
"Critique" in 1781.—ED.]

March 5. 1834.


Shakspeare's intellectual action is wholly unlike that of Ben Jonson or Beaumont and Fletcher. The latter see the totality of a sentence or passage, and then project it entire. Shakspeare goes on creating, and evolving B. out of A., and C. out of B., and so on, just as a serpent moves, which makes a fulcrum of its own body, and seems for ever twisting and untwisting its own strength.

* * * * *

I think Crabbe and Southey are something alike; but Crabbe's poems are founded on observation and real life—Southey's on fancy and books. In facility they are equal, though Crabbe's English is of course not upon a level with Southey's, which is next door to faultless. But in Crabbe there is an absolute defect of the high imagination; he gives me little or no pleasure: yet, no doubt, he has much power of a certain kind, and it is good to cultivate, even at some pains, a catholic taste in literature. I read all sorts of books with some pleasure except modern sermons and treatises on political economy.

* * * * *

I have received a great deal of pleasure from some of the modern novels, especially Captain Marryat's "Peter Simple." That book is nearer Smollett than any I remember. And "Tom Cringle's Log" in Blackwood is also most excellent.

March 15. 1834.


I take unceasing delight in Chaucer. His manly cheerfulness is especially delicious to me in my old age.[1] How exquisitely tender he is, and yet how perfectly free from the least touch of sickly melancholy or morbid drooping! The sympathy of the poet with the subjects of his poetry is particularly remarkable in Shakspeare and Chaucer; but what the first effects by a strong act of imagination and mental metamorphosis, the last does without any effort, merely by the inborn kindly joyousness of his nature. How well we seem to know Chaucer! How absolutely nothing do we know of Shakspeare!

I cannot in the least allow any necessity for Chaucer's poetry, especially the Canterbury Tales, being considered obsolete. Let a few plain rules be given for sounding the final è of syllables, and for expressing the termination of such words as ocëan, and natiön, &c. as dissyllables,— or let the syllables to be sounded in such cases be marked by a competent metrist. This simple expedient would, with a very few trifling exceptions, where the errors are inveterate, enable any reader to feel the perfect smoothness and harmony of Chaucer's verse.

[Footnote 1: Eighteen years before, Mr. Coleridge entertained the same feelings towards Chaucer:—"Through all the works of Chaucer there reigns a cheerfulness, a manly hilarity, which makes it almost impossible to doubt a correspondent habit of feeling in the author himself." Biog. Lit., vol. i. p. 32.—ED.]

* * * * *

As to understanding his language, if you read twenty pages with a good glossary, you surely can find no further difficulty, even as it is; but I should have no objection to see this done:—Strike out those words which are now obsolete, and I will venture to say that I will replace every one of them by words still in use out of Chaucer himself, or Gower his disciple. I don't want this myself: I rather like to see the significant terms which Chaucer unsuccessfully offered as candidates for admission into our language; but surely so very slight a change of the text may well be pardoned, even by black—letterati, for the purpose of restoring so great a poet to his ancient and most deserved popularity.

* * * * *

Shakspeare is of no age. It is idle to endeavour to support his phrases by quotations from Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, &c. His language is entirely his own, and the younger dramatists imitated him. The construction of Shakspeare's sentences, whether in verse or prose, is the necessary and homogeneous vehicle of his peculiar manner of thinking. His is not the style of the age. More particularly, Shakspeare's blank verse is an absolutely new creation. Read Daniel[1]—the admirable Daniel—in his "Civil Wars," and "Triumphs of Hymen."

The style and language are just such as any very pure and manly writer of the present day—Wordsworth, for example—would use; it seems quite modern in comparison with the style of Shakspeare. Ben Jonson's blank verse is very masterly and individual, and perhaps Massinger's is even still nobler. In Beaumont and Fletcher it is constantly slipping into lyricisms.

I believe Shakspeare was not a whit more intelligible in his own day than he is now to an educated man, except for a few local allusions of no consequence. As I said, he is of no age—nor, I may add, of any religion, or party, or profession. The body and substance of his works came out of the unfathomable depths of his own oceanic mind: his observation and reading, which was considerable, supplied him with the drapery of his figures.[2]

[Footnote 1: "This poet's well-merited epithet is that of the 'well-languaged Daniel;' but, likewise, and by the consent of his contemporaries, no less than of all succeeding critics, the 'prosaic Daniel.' Yet those who thus designate this wise and amiable writer, from the frequent incorrespondency of his diction with his metre, in the majority of his compositions, not only deem them valuable and interesting on other accounts, but willingly admit that there are to be found throughout his poems, and especially in his Epistles and in his Hymen's Triumph, many and exquisite specimens of that style, which, as the neutral ground of prose and verse, is common to both."—Biog. Lit., vol. ii. p. 82.]

[Footnote 2: Mr. Coleridge called Shakspeare "the myriad-minded man," [Greek: au_az muzioyous]—" a phrase," said he, "which I have borrowed from a Greek monk, who applies it to a patriarch of Constantinople. I might have said, that I have reclaimed, rather than borrowed, it, for it seems to belong to Shakspeare _de jure singulari, et ex privilegio naturae." See Biog. Lit., vol. ii. p. 13.—ED.]

* * * * *

As for editing Beaumont and Fletcher, the task would be one immensi laboris. The confusion is now so great, the errors so enormous, that the editor must use a boldness quite unallowable in any other case. All I can say as to Beaumont and Fletcher is, that I can point out well enough where something has been lost, and that something so and so was probably in the original; but the law of Shakspeare's thought and verse is such, that I feel convinced that not only could I detect the spurious, but supply the genuine, word.

March 20. 1834.


Lord Byron, as quoted by Lord Dover[1], says, that the "Mysterious Mother" raises Horace Walpole above every author living in his, Lord Byron's, time. Upon which I venture to remark, first, that I do not believe that Lord Byron spoke sincerely; for I suspect that he made a tacit exception in favour of himself at least;—secondly, that it is a miserable mode of comparison which does not rest on difference of kind. It proceeds of envy and malice and detraction to say that A. is higher than B., unless you show that they are in pari materia;—thirdly, that the "Mysterious Mother" is the most disgusting, vile, detestable composition that ever came from the hand of man. No one with a spark of true manliness, of which Horace Walpole had none, could have written it. As to the blank verse, it is indeed better than Rowe's and Thomson's, which was execrably bad:—any approach, therefore, to the manner of the old dramatists was of course an improvement; but the loosest lines in Shirley are superior to Walpole's best.

[Footnote 1: In the memoir prefixed to the correspondence with Sir H. Mann. Lord Byron's words are:—"He is the ultimus Romanorum, the author of the 'Mysterious Mother,' a tragedy of the highest order, and not a puling love play. He is the father of the first romance, and of the last tragedy, in our language; and surely worthy of a higher place than any living author, be he who he may."—Preface to Marino Faliero. Is not "Romeo and Juliet" a love play? —But why reason about such insincere, splenetic trash?—ED.]

* * * * *

Lewis's "Jamaica Journal" is delightful; it is almost the only unaffected book of travels or touring I have read of late years. You have the man himself, and not an inconsiderable man,—certainly a much finer mind than I supposed before from the perusal of his romances, &c. It is by far his best work, and will live and be popular. Those verses on the Hours are very pretty; but the Isle of Devils is, like his romances,—a fever dream— horrible, without point or terror.

April 16. 1834.


I found that every thing in and about Sicily had been exaggerated by travellers, except two things—the folly of the government and the wretchedness of the people. They did not admit of exaggeration.

Really you may learn the fundamental principles of political economy in a very compendious way, by taking a short tour through Sicily, and simply reversing in your own mind every law, custom, and ordinance you meet with. I never was in a country in which every thing proceeding from man was so exactly wrong. You have peremptory ordinances against making roads, taxes on the passage of common vegetables from one miserable village to another, and so on.

By the by, do you know any parallel in modern history to the absurdity of our giving a legislative assembly to the Sicilians? It exceeds any thing I know. This precious legislature passed two bills before it was knocked on the head: the first was, to render lands inalienable; and the second, to cancel all debts due before the date of the bill.

And then consider the gross ignorance and folly of our laying a tax upon the Sicilians! Taxation in its proper sense can only exist where there is a free circulation of capital, labour, and commodities throughout the community. But to tax the people in countries like Sicily and Corsica, where there is no internal communication, is mere robbery and confiscation. A crown taken from a Corsican living in the sierras would not get back to him again in ten years.

* * * * *

It is interesting to pass from Malta to Sicily—from the highest specimen of an inferior race, the Saracenic, to the most degraded class of a superior race, the European.

* * * * *

No tongue can describe the moral corruption of the Maltese when the island was surrendered to us. There was not a family in it in which a wife or a daughter was not a kept mistress. A marquis of ancient family applied to Sir Alexander Ball to be appointed his valet. "My valet!" said Ball, "what can you mean, Sir?" The marquis said, he hoped he should then have had the honour of presenting petitions to his Excellency. "Oh, that is it, is it!" said Sir Alexander: "my valet, Sir, brushes my clothes, and brings them to me. If he dared to meddle with matters of public business, I should kick him down stairs."

In short, Malta was an Augean stable, and Ball had all the inclination to be a Hercules.[1] His task was most difficult, although his qualifications were most remarkable. I remember an English officer of very high rank soliciting him for the renewal of a pension to an abandoned woman who had been notoriously treacherous to us. That officer had promised the woman as a matter of course—she having sacrificed her daughter to him. Ball was determined, as far as he could, to prevent Malta from being made a nest of home patronage. He considered, as was the fact, that there was a contract between England and the Maltese. Hence the government at home, especially Dundas, disliked him, and never allowed him any other title than that of Civil Commissioner. We have, I believe, nearly succeeded in alienating the hearts of the inhabitants from us. Every officer in the island ought to be a Maltese, except those belonging to the immediate executive: 100_l_. per annum to a Maltese, to enable him to keep a gilt carriage, will satisfy him where an Englishman must have 2000_l_.

[Footnote 1: I refer the reader to the five concluding essays of the third volume of the "Friend," as a specimen of what Mr. C. might have done as a biographer if an irresistible instinct had not devoted him to profounder labours. As a sketch—and it pretends to nothing more—is there any thing more perfect in our literature than the monument raised in those essays to the memory of Sir Alexander Ball?—and there are some touches added to the character of Nelson, which the reader, even of Southey's matchless Life of our hero, will find both new and interesting.—ED.]

May 1. 1834.


There are, to my grief, the names of some men to the Cambridge petition for admission of the Dissenters to the University, whose cheeks I think must have burned with shame at the degrading patronage and befouling eulogies of the democratic press, and at seeing themselves used as the tools of the open and rancorous enemies of the church. How miserable to be held up for the purpose of inflicting insult upon men, whose worth and ability and sincerity you well know,—and this by a faction banded together like obscene dogs and cats and serpents, against a church which you profoundly revere! The time—the time—the occasion and the motive ought to have been argument enough, that even if the measure were right or harmless in itself, not now, nor with such as these, was it to be effected!

May 3. 1834.


Those who argue that England may safely depend upon a supply of foreign corn, if it grow none or an insufficient quantity of its own, forget that they are subjugating the necessaries of life itself to the mere luxuries or comforts of society. Is it not certain that the price of corn abroad will be raised upon us as soon as it is once known that we must buy?—and when that fact is known, in what sort of a situation shall we be? Besides this, the argument supposes that agriculture is not a positive good to the nation, taken in and by itself, as a mode of existence for the people, which supposition is false and pernicious; and if we are to become a great horde of manufacturers, shall we not, even more than at present, excite the ill will of all the manufacturers of other nations? It has been already shown, in evidence which is before all the world, that some of our manufacturers have acted upon the accursed principle of deliberately injuring foreign manufactures, if they can, even to the ultimate disgrace of the country and loss to themselves.

May 19. 1834.


How grossly misunderstood the genuine character of the Christian sabbath, or Lord's day, seems to be even by the church! To confound it with the Jewish sabbath, or to rest its observance upon the fourth commandment, is, in my judgment, heretical, and would so have been considered in the primitive church. That cessation from labour on the Lord's day could not have been absolutely incumbent on Christians for two centuries after Christ, is apparent; because during that period the greater part of the Christians were either slaves or in official situations under Pagan masters or superiors, and had duties to perform for those who did not recognize the day. And we know that St. Paul sent back Onesimus to his master, and told every Christian slave, that, being a Christian, he was free in his mind indeed, but still must serve his earthly master, although he might laudably seek for his personal freedom also. If the early Christians had refused to work on the Lord's day, rebellion and civil war must have been the immediate consequences. But there is no notice of any such cessation.

The Jewish sabbath was commemorative of the termination of the great act of creation; it was to record that the world had not been from eternity, nor had arisen as a dream by itself, but that God had created it by distinct acts of power, and that he had hallowed the day or season in which he rested or desisted from his work. When our Lord arose from the dead, the old creation was, as it were, superseded, and the new creation then began; and therefore the first day and not the last day, the commencement and not the end, of the work of God was solemnized.

Luther, in speaking of the good by itself, and the good for its expediency alone, instances the observance of the Christian day of rest,— a day of repose from manual labour, and of activity in spiritual labour,—a day of joy and co-operation in the work of Christ's creation. "Keep it holy"—says he—"for its use' sake,—both to body and soul! But if any where the day is made holy for the mere day's sake,—if any where any one sets up its observance upon a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it—to do any thing that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit and liberty."

The early church distinguished the day of Christian rest so strongly from a fast, that it was unlawful for a man to bewail even his own sins, as such only, on that day. He was to bewail the sins of all, and to pray as one of the whole of Christ's body.

And the English Reformers evidently took the same view of the day as Luther and the early church. But, unhappily, our church, in the reigns of James and Charles the First, was so identified with the undue advancement of the royal prerogative, that the puritanical Judaizing of the Presbyterians was but too well seconded by the patriots of the nation, in resisting the wise efforts of the church to prevent the incipient alteration in the character of the day of rest. After the Restoration, the bishops and clergy in general adopted the view taken and enforced by their enemies.

By the by, it is curious to observe, in this semi-infidel and Malthusian Parliament, how the Sabbatarian spirit unites itself with a rancorous hostility to that one institution, which alone, according to reason and experience, can insure the continuance of any general religion at all in the nation at large. Some of these gentlemen, who are for not letting a poor labouring man have a dish of baked potatoes on a Sunday, religionis gratia—(God forgive that audacious blasphemy!)—are foremost among those who seem to live but in vilifying, weakening, and impoverishing the national church. I own my indignation boils over against such contemptible fellows.

I sincerely wish to preserve a decent quiet on Sunday. I would prohibit compulsory labour, and put down operas, theatres, &c., for this plain reason—that if the rich be allowed to play, the poor will be forced, or, what comes to the same thing, will be induced, to work. I am not for a Paris Sunday. But to stop coaches, and let the gentleman's carriage run, is monstrous.

May 25. 1834.


Your argument against the high prizes in the church might be put strongly thus:—Admit that in the beginning it might have been fairly said, that some eminent rewards ought to be set apart for the purpose of stimulating and rewarding transcendant merit; what have you to say now, after centuries of experience to the contrary?—Have the high prizes been given to the highest genius, virtue, or learning? Is it not rather the truth, as Jortin said, that twelve votes in a contested election will do more to make a man a bishop than an admired commentary on the twelve minor prophets?—To all which and the like I say again, that you ought not to reason from the abuse, which may be rectified, against the inherent uses of the thing. Appoint the most deserving—and the prize will answer its purpose. As to the bishops' incomes,—in the first place, the net receipts—that which the bishops may spend—have been confessedly exaggerated beyond measure; but, waiving that, and allowing the highest estimate to be correct, I should like to have the disposition of the episcopal revenue in any one year by the late or the present Bishop of Durham, or the present Bishops of London or Winchester, compared with that of the most benevolent nobleman in England of any party in politics. I firmly believe that the former give away in charity of one kind or another, public, official, or private, three times as much in proportion as the latter. You may have a hunks or two now and then; but so you would much more certainly, if you were to reduce the incomes to 2000_l_. per annum. As a body, in my opinion the clergy of England do in truth act as if their property were impressed with a trust to the utmost extent that can be demanded by those who affect to believe, ignorantly or not, that lying legend of a tripartite or quadripartite division of the tithe by law.

May 31. 1834.


I think Sir Charles Wetherell's speech before the Privy Council very effective. I doubt if any other lawyer in Westminster Hall could have done the thing so well.

* * * * *

The National Church requires, and is required by, the Christian Church, for the perfection of each. For if there were no national Church, the mere spiritual Church would either become, like the Papacy, a dreadful tyranny over mind and body;—or else would fall abroad into a multitude of enthusiastic sects, as in England in the seventeenth century. It is my deep conviction that, in a country of any religion at all, liberty of conscience can only be permanently preserved by means and under the shadow of a national church—a political establishment connected with, but distinct from, the spiritual Church.

* * * * *

I sometimes hope that the undisguised despotism of temper of the Dissenters may at last awaken a jealousy in the laity of the Church of England. But the apathy and inertness are, I fear, too profound—too providential.

* * * * *

Whatever the Papacy may have been on the Continent, it was always an unqualified evil to this country. It destroyed what was rising of good, and introduced a thousand evils of its own. The Papacy was and still is essentially extra-national;—it affects, temporally, to do that which the spiritual Church of Christ can alone do—to break down the natural distinctions of nations. Now, as the Roman Papacy is in itself local and peculiar, of course this attempt is nothing but a direct attack on the political independence of other nations.

The institution of Universities was the single check on the Papacy. The Pope always hated and maligned the Universities. The old coenobitic establishments of England were converted—perverted, rather—into monasteries and other monking receptacles. You see it was at Oxford that Wicliffe alone found protection and encouragement.

June 2. 1834.


Schiller's blank verse is bad. He moves in it as a fly in a glue bottle.
His thoughts have their connection and variety, it is true, but there is no
sufficiently corresponding movement in the verse. How different from
Shakspeare's endless rhythms!

There is a nimiety—a too-muchness—in all Germans. It is the national fault. Leasing had the best notion of blank verse. The trochaic termination of German words renders blank verse in that language almost impracticable. We have it in our dramatic hendecasyllable; but then we have a power of interweaving the iambic close ad libitum.

June 14. 1834.


The Roman Catholic Emancipation Act—carried in the violent, and, in fact, unprincipled manner it was—was in effect a Surinam toad;—and the Reform Bill, the Dissenters' admission to the Universities, and the attack on the Church, are so many toadlets, one after another detaching themselves from their parent brute.

* * * * *

If you say there is nothing in the Romish religion, sincerely felt, inconsistent with the duties of citizenship and allegiance to a territorial Protestant sovereign, cadit quæstio. For if that is once admitted, there can be no answer to the argument from numbers. Certainly, if the religion of the majority of the people be innocuous to the interests of the nation, the majority have a natural right to be trustees of the nationalty—that property which is set apart for the nation's use, and rescued from the gripe of private hands. But when I say—for the nation's use.—I mean the very reverse of what the Radicals mean. They would convert it to relieve taxation, which I call a private, personal, and perishable use. A nation's uses are immortal.

* * * * *

How lamentable it is to hear the Duke of Wellington expressing himself doubtingly on the abominable sophism that the Coronation Oath only binds the King as the executive power—thereby making a Highgate oath of it. But the Duke is conscious of the ready retort which his language and conduct on the Emancipation Bill afford to his opponents. He is hampered by that affair.

June 20. 1834.


In the argument on the Corn Laws there is a [Greek: metazasis eis allo gevos]. It may be admitted that the great principles of commerce require the interchange of commodities to be free; but commerce, which is barter, has no proper range beyond luxuries or conveniences;—it is properly the complement to the full existence and development of a state. But how can it be shown that the principles applicable to an interchange of conveniences or luxuries apply also to an interchange of necessaries? No state can be such properly, which is not self-subsistent at least; for no state that is not so, is essentially independent. The nation that cannot even exist without the commodity of another nation, is in effect the slave of that other nation. In common times, indeed, pecuniary interest will prevail, and prevent a ruinous exercise of the power which the nation supplying the necessary must have over the nation which has only the convenience or luxury to return; but such interest, both in individuals and nations, will yield to many stronger passions. Is Holland any authority to the contrary? If so, Tyre and Sidon and Carthage were so! Would you put England on a footing with a country, which can be overrun in a campaign, and starved in a year?

* * * * *

The entire tendency of the modern or Malthusian political economy is to denationalize. It would dig up the charcoal foundations of the temple of Ephesus to burn as fuel for a steam-engine!

June 21. 1834.

Mr. ——, in his poem, makes trees coeval with Chaos;—which is next door to Hans Sachse[1] who, in describing Chaos, said it was so pitchy dark, that even the very cats ran against each other!

[Footnote 1: Hans Sachse was born 1494, and died 1576.—ED],

June 23. 1834.


Faustus Socinus worshipped Jesus Christ, and said that God had given him the power of being omnipresent. Davidi, with a little more acuteness, urged that mere audition or creaturely presence could not possibly justify worship from men;—that a man, how glorified soever, was no nearer God in essence than the vulgarest of the race. Prayer, therefore, was inapplicable. And how could a man be a mediator between God and man? How could a man with sins himself offer any compensation for, or expiation of, sin, unless the most arbitrary caprice were admitted into the counsels of God?—And so, at last, you see, it was discovered by the better logicians amongst the Socinians, that there was no such thing as sin at all.

It is wonderful how any Socinian can read the works of Philo Judæus without some pause of doubt in the truth of his views as to the person of Christ. Whether Philo wrote on his own ground as a Jew, or borrowed from the Christians, the testimony as to the then Jewish expectation and belief, is equally strong. You know Philo calls the Logos [Greek: yios Theoy], the Son of God, and [Greek: agap_athon te non], beloved Son. He calls him [Greek: arhchierheus], high priest, [Greek: deuterhos Thehos], second divinity, [Greek: ei an Theoy], image of God, and describes him as [Greek: eggutat_o m_adenhos ovtos methorhioy diast_amatos], the nearest possible to God without any intervening separation. And there are numerous other remarkable expressions of the same sort.

My faith is this:—God is the Absolute Will: it is his Name and the meaning of it. It is the Hypostasis. As begetting his own Alterity, the Jehovah, the Manifested—He is the Father; but the Love and the Life—the Spirit— proceeds from both.

I think Priestley must be considered the author of the modern Unitarianism. I owe, under God, my return to the faith, to my having gone much further than the Unitarians, and so having come round to the other side. I can truly say, I never falsified the Scripture. I always told them that their interpretations of the Scripture were intolerable upon any principles of sound criticism; and that, if they were to offer to construe the will of a neighbour as they did that of their Maker, they would be scouted out of society. I said then plainly and openly, that it was clear enough that John and Paul were not Unitarians. But at that time I had a strong sense of the repugnancy of the doctrine of vicarious atonement to the moral being, and I thought nothing could counterbalance that. "What care I," I said, "for the Platonisms of John, or the Rabbinisms of Paul?— My conscience revolts!" That was the ground of my Unitarianism.

Always believing in the government of God, I was a fervent Optimist. But as I could not but see that the present state of things was not the best, I was necessarily led to look forward to some future state.

* * * * *

You may conceive the difference in kind between the Fancy and the Imagination in this way,—that if the check of the senses and the reason were withdrawn, the first would become delirium, and the last mania. The

Fancy brings together images which have no connection natural or moral, but are yoked together by the poet by means of some accidental coincidence; as in the well-known passage in Hudibras:

"The sun had long since in the lap
Of Thetis taken out his nap,
And like a lobster boyl'd, the morn
From black to red began to turn."[1]

The Imagination modifies images, and gives unity to variety; it sees all things in one, il più nell' uno. There is the epic imagination, the perfection of which is in Milton; and the dramatic, of which Shakspeare is the absolute master. The first gives unity by throwing back into the distance; as after the magnificent approach of the Messiah to battle[2], the poet, by one touch from himself—

—"far off their coming shone!"—

makes the whole one image.

And so at the conclusion of the description of the appearance of the entranced angels, in which every sort of image from all the regions of earth and air is introduced to diversify and illustrate,—the reader is brought back to the single image by—

"He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded."[3]

The dramatic imagination does not throw back, but brings close; it stamps all nature with one, and that its own, meaning, as in Lear throughout.

[Footnote 1: Part II. c. 2. v.29.]

[Footnote 2:
——"Forth rush'd with whirlwind sound
The chariot of Paternal Deity,
Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,
Itself instinct with spirit, but convoy'd
By four cherubic shapes; four faces each
Had wonderous; as with stars their bodies all
And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels
Of beryl, and careering fires between;
Over their heads a crystal firmament,
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure
Amber, and colours of the showery arch.
He, in celestial panoply all arm'd
Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
Ascended; at his right hand Victory
Sat eagle-wing'd; beside him hung his bow
And quiver, with three-bolted thunder stored;
And from about him fierce effusion roll'd
Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire;
Attended with ten thousand thousand saints,
He onward came; far off their coming shone;
And twenty thousand (I their number heard)
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen:
He on the wings of cherub rode sublime
On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned,
Illustrious far and wide; but by his own
First seen."—P. L. b. vi. v. 749, &c.]

[Footnote 3:
 ——"and call'd
His legions, angel forms, who lay intranced
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades,
High over arch'd, embower; or scatter'd sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd
Hath vex'd the Red Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Busiris, and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcasses
And broken chariot wheels; so thick bestrewn,
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded
."—P. L. b. i. v. 300, &c.]

* * * * *

At the very outset, what are we to think of the soundness of this modern system of political economy, the direct tendency of every rule of which is to denationalize, and to make the love of our country a foolish superstition?

June 28. 1834.


You may not understand my system, or any given part of it,—or by a determined act of wilfulness, you may, even though perceiving a ray of light, reject it in anger and disgust:—but this I will say,—that if you once master it, or any part of it, you cannot hesitate to acknowledge it as the truth. You cannot be sceptical about it.

The metaphysical disquisition at the end of the first volume of the "Biographia Literaria" is unformed and immature;—it contains the fragments of the truth, but it is not fully thought out. It is wonderful to myself to think how infinitely more profound my views now are, and yet how much clearer they are withal. The circle is completing; the idea is coming round to, and to be, the common sense.

* * * * *

The generation of the modern worldly Dissenter was thus: Presbyterian,
Arian, Socinian, and last, Unitarian.

* * * * *

Is it not most extraordinary to see the Dissenters calling themselves the descendants of the old Nonconformists, and yet clamouring for a divorce of Church and State? Why—Baxter, and the other great leaders, would have thought a man an atheist who had proposed such a thing. They were rather for merging the State in the Church. But these our modern gentlemen, who are blinded by political passion, give the kiss of alliance to the harlot of Rome, and walk arm in arm with those who deny the God that redeemed them, if so they may but wreak their insane antipathies on the National Church! Well! I suppose they have counted the cost, and know what it is they would have, and can keep.

July 5. 1834.


I do not remember a more beautiful piece of prose in English than the consolation addressed by Lord Brooke (Fulke Greville) to a lady of quality on certain conjugal infelicities. The diction is such that it might have been written now, if we could find any one combining so thoughtful a head with so tender a heart and so exquisite a taste.

* * * * *

Barrow often debased his language merely to evidence his loyalty. It was, indeed, no easy task for a man of so much genius, and such a precise mathematical mode of thinking, to adopt even for a moment the slang of L'Estrange and Tom Brown; but he succeeded in doing so sometimes. With the exception of such parts, Barrow must be considered as closing the first great period of the English language. Dryden began the second. Of course there are numerous subdivisions.

* * * * *

Peter Wilkins is to my mind a work of uncommon beauty; and yet Stothard's illustrations have added beauties to it. If it were not for a certain tendency to affectation, scarcely any praise could be too high for Stothard's designs. They give me great pleasure. I believe that Robinson Crusoe and Peter Wilkins could only have been written by islanders. No continentalist could have conceived either tale. Davis's story is an imitation of Peter Wilkins; but there are many beautiful things in it; especially his finding his wife crouching by the fireside—she having, in his absence, plucked out all her feathers—to be like him!

It would require a very peculiar genius to add another tale, ejusdem generis, to Robinson Crusoe and Peter Wilkins. I once projected such a thing; but the difficulty of a pre-occupied ground stopped me. Perhaps La Motte Fouqué might effect something; but I should fear that neither he, nor any other German, could entirely understand what may be called the "desert island" feeling. I would try the marvellous line of Peter Wilkins, if I attempted it, rather than the real fiction of Robinson Crusoe.

* * * * *

What a master of composition Fielding was! Upon my word, I think the Oedipus Tyrannus, the Alchemist, and Tom Jones the three most perfect plots ever planned. And how charming, how wholesome, Fielding always is! To take him up after Richardson, is like emerging from a sick room heated by stoves, into an open lawn, on a breezy day in May.

* * * * *

I have been very deeply interested in the account of Bishop Sandford's life, published by his son. He seems to have been a thorough gentleman upon the model of St. Paul, whose manners were the finest of any man's upon record.

* * * * *

I think I could have conformed to the then dominant Church before the Reformation. The errors existed, but they had not been riveted into peremptory articles of faith before the Council of Trent. If a Romanist were to ask me the question put to Sir Henry Wotton, [1]I should content myself by answering, that I could not exactly say when my religion, as he was pleased to call it, began—but that it was certainly some sixty or seventy years before his, at all events—which began at the Council of Trent.

[Footnote 1: "Having, at his being in Rome, made acquaintance with a pleasant priest, who invited him, one evening, to hear their vesper music at church; the priest, seeing Sir Henry stand obscurely in a corner, sends to him by a boy of the choir this question, writ in a small piece of paper;—'Where was your religion to be found before Luther?' To which question Sir Henry presently underwrit;—'My religion was to be found then, where yours is not to be found now—in the written word of God.'"—Isaak Walton's Life of Sir Henry Wotton.]

July 10. 1834.


I am, dying, but without expectation of a speedy release. Is it not strange that very recently by-gone images, and scenes of early life, have stolen into my mind, like breezes blown from the spice-islands of Youth and Hope— those twin realities of this phantom world! I do not add Love,—for what is Love but Youth and Hope embracing, and so seen as one? I say realities; for reality is a thing of degrees, from the Iliad to a dream; [Greek: *ai g_or t onar e Di s esti]. Yet, in a strict sense, reality is not predicable at all of aught below Heaven. "Es enim in coelis, Pater noster, qui tu vere es!" Hooker wished to live to finish his Ecclesiastical Polity;—so I own I wish life and strength had been spared to me to complete my Philosophy. For, as God hears me, the originating, continuing, and sustaining wish and design in my heart were to exalt the glory of his name; and, which is the same thing in other words, to promote the improvement of mankind. But visum aliter Deo, and his will be done.

* * * * *

** This note may well finish the present specimens. What followed was for the memory of private friends only. Mr. Coleridge was then extremely ill; but certainly did not believe his end to be quite so near at hand as it was.—ED.

The following Recollections of Mr. Coleridge, written in May, 1811, have been also communicated to me by my brother, Mr. Justice Coleridge:—

"20_th April_, 1811, at Richmond.

"We got on politics, and he related some curious facts of the Prince and Perceval. Then, adverting to the present state of affairs in Portugal, he said that he rejoiced not so much in the mere favourable turn, as in the end that must now be put to the base reign of opinion respecting the superiority and invincible skill of the French generals. Brave as Sir John Moore was, he thought him deficient in that greater and more essential manliness of soul which should have made him not hold his enemy in such fearful respect, and which should have taught him to care less for the opinion of the world at home.

"We then got, I know not how, to German topics. He said that the language of their literature was entirely factitious, and had been formed by Luther from the two dialects, High and Low German; that he had made it, grammatically, most correct, more so, perhaps, than any other language; it was equal to the Greek, except in harmony and sweetness. And yet the Germans themselves thought it sweet;—Klopstock had repeated to him an ode of his own to prove it, and really had deceived himself, by the force of association, into a belief that the harsh sounds, conveying, indeed, or being significant of, sweet images or thoughts, were themselves sweet. Mr. C. was asked what he thought of Klopstock. He answered, that his fame was rapidly declining in Germany; that an Englishman might form a correct notion of him by uniting the moral epigram of Young, the bombast of Hervey, and the minute description of Richardson. As to sublimity, he had, with all Germans, one rule for producing it;—it was, to take something very great, and make it very small in comparison with that which you wish to elevate. Thus, for example, Klopstock says,—'As the gardener goes forth, and scatters from his basket seed into the garden; so does the Creator scatter worlds with his right hand.' Here worlds, a large object, are made small in the hands of the Creator; consequently, the Creator is very great. In short, the Germans were not a poetical nation in the very highest sense. Wieland was their best poet: his subject was bad, and his thoughts often impure; but his language was rich and harmonious, and his fancy luxuriant. Sotheby's translation had not at all caught the manner of the original. But the Germans were good metaphysicians and critics: they criticised on principles previously laid down; thus, though they might be wrong, they were in no danger of being self-contradictory, which was too often the case with English critics.

"Young, he said, was not a poet to be read through at once. His love of point and wit had often put an end to his pathos and sublimity; but there were parts in him which must be immortal. He (Mr. C.) loved to read a page of Young, and walk out to think of him.

"Returning to the Germans, he said that the state of their religion, when he was in Germany, was really shocking. He had never met one clergyman a Christian; and he found professors in the universities lecturing against the most material points in the Gospel. He instanced, I think, Paulus, whose lectures he had attended. The object was to resolve the miracles into natural operations; and such a disposition evinced was the best road to preferment. He severely censured Mr. Taylor's book, in which the principles of Paulus were explained and insisted on with much gratuitous indelicacy. He then entered into the question of Socinianism, and noticed, as I recollect, the passage in the Old Testament; 'The people bowed their faces, and worshipped God and the king.' He said, that all worship implied the presence of the object worshipped: the people worshipped, bowing to the sensuous presence of the one, and the conceived omnipresence of the other. He talked of his having constantly to defend the Church against the Socinian Bishop of Llandaff, Watson. The subject then varied to Roman Catholicism, and he gave us an account of a controversy he had had with a very sensible priest in Sicily on the worship of saints. He had driven the priest from one post to another, till the latter took up the ground, that though the saints were not omnipresent, yet God, who was so, imparted to them the prayers offered up, and then they used their interference with Him to grant them. 'That is, father, (said C. in reply)—excuse my seeming levity, for I mean no impiety—that is; I have a deaf and dumb wife, who yet understands me, and I her, by signs. You have a favour to ask of me, and want my wife's interference; so you communicate your request to me, who impart it to her, and she, by signs back again, begs me to grant it.' The good priest laughed, and said, 'Populus milt decipi, et decipiatur!'

"We then got upon the Oxford controversy, and he was decidedly of opinion that there could be no doubt of Copleston's complete victory. He thought the Review had chosen its points of attack ill, as there must doubtless be in every institution so old much to reprehend and carp at. On the other hand, he thought that Copleston had not been so severe or hard upon them as he might have been; but he admired the critical part of his work, which he thought very highly valuable, independently of the controversy. He wished some portion of mathematics was more essential to a degree at Oxford, as he thought a gentleman's education incomplete without it, and had himself found the necessity of getting up a little, when he could ill spare the time. He every day more and more lamented his neglect of them when at Cambridge,

"Then glancing off to Aristotle, he gave a very high character of him. He said that Bacon objected to Aristotle the grossness of his examples, and Davy now did precisely the same to Bacon: both were wrong; for each of those philosophers wished to confine the attention of the mind in their works to the form of reasoning only, by which other truths might be established or elicited, and therefore the most trite and common-place examples were in fact the best. He said that during a long confinement to his room, he had taken up the Schoolmen, and was astonished at the immense learning and acute knowledge displayed by them; that there was scarcely any thing which modern philosophers had proudly brought forward as their own, which might not be found clearly and systematically laid down by them in some or other of their writings. Locke had sneered at the Schoolmen unfairly, and had raised a foolish laugh against them by citations from their Quid libet questions, which were discussed on the eyes of holydays, and in which the greatest latitude was allowed, being considered mere exercises of ingenuity. We had ridiculed their quiddities, and why? Had we not borrowed their quantity and their quality, and why then reject their quiddity, when every schoolboy in logic must know, that of every thing may be asked, Quantum est? Quale est? and Quid est? the last bringing you to the most material of all points, its individual being. He afterwards stated, that in a History of Speculative Philosophy which he was endeavouring to prepare for publication, he had proved, and to the satisfaction of Sir James Mackintosh, that there was nothing in Locke which his best admirers most admired, that might not be found more clearly and better laid down in Descartes or the old Schoolmen; not that he was himself an implicit disciple of Descartes, though he thought that Descartes had been much misinterpreted.

"When we got on the subject of poetry and Southey, he gave us a critique of the Curse of Kehama, the fault of which he thought consisted in the association of a plot and a machinery so very wild with feelings so sober and tender: but he gave the poem high commendation, admired the art displayed in the employment of the Hindu monstrosities, and begged us to observe the noble feeling excited of the superiority of virtue over vice; that Kehama went on, from the beginning to the end of the poem, increasing in power, whilst Kailyal gradually lost her hopes and her protectors; and yet by the time we got to the end, we had arrived at an utter contempt and even carelessness of the power of evil, as exemplified in the almighty Rajah, and felt a complete confidence in the safety of the unprotected virtue of the maiden. This he thought the very great merit of the poem.

"When we walked home with him to the inn, he got on the subject of the English Essay for the year at Oxford, and thought some consideration of the corruption of language should he introduced into it.

[Footnote: On Etymology.] It originated, he thought, in a desire to abbreviate all expression as much as possible; and no doubt, if in one word, without violating idiom, I can express what others have done in more, and yet be as fully and easily understood, I have manifestly made an improvement; but if, on the other hand, it becomes harder, and takes more time to comprehend a thought or image put in one word by Apuleius than when expressed in a whole sentence by Cicero, the saving is merely of pen and ink, and the alteration is evidently a corruption."

"April 21.—Richmond._

"Before breakfast we went into Mr. May's delightful book-room, where he was again silent in admiration of the prospect. After breakfast, we walked to church. He seemed full of calm piety, and said he always felt the most delightful sensations in a Sunday church-yard,—that it struck him as if God had given to man fifty-two springs in every year. After the service, he was vehement against the sermon, as common-place, and invidious in its tone towards the poor. Then he gave many texts from the lessons and gospel of the day, as affording fit subjects for discourses. He ridiculed the absurdity of refusing to believe every thing that you could not understand; and mentioned a rebuke of Dr. Parr's to a man of the name of Frith, and that of another clergyman to a young man, who said he would believe nothing which he could not understand:—'Then, young man, your creed will be the shortest of any man's I know.'

"As we walked up Mr. Cambridge's meadows towards Twickenham, he criticised Johnson and Gray as poets, and did not seem to allow them high merit. The excellence of verse, he said, was to be untranslatable into any other words without detriment to the beauty of the passage;—the position of a single word could not be altered in Milton without injury. Gray's personifications, he said, were mere printer's devils' personifications— persons with a capital letter, abstract qualities with a small one. He thought Collins had more genius than Gray, who was a singular instance of a man of taste, poetic feeling, and fancy, without imagination. He contrasted Dryden's opening of the 10th satire of Juvenal with Johnson's:—

  "'Let observation, with extensive view,
  Survey mankind from Ganges to Peru.'

which was as much as to say,—

"'Let observation with extensive observation observe mankind.'

"After dinner he told us a humorous story of his enthusiastic fondness for Quakerism, when he was at Cambridge, and his attending one of their meetings, which had entirely cured him. When the little children came in, he was in raptures with them, and descanted upon the delightful mode of treating them now, in comparison with what he had experienced in childhood. He lamented the haughtiness with which Englishmen treated all foreigners abroad, and the facility with which our government had always given up any people which had allied itself to us, at the end of a war; and he particularly remarked upon our abandonment of Minorca. These two things, he said, made us universally disliked on the Continent; though, as a people, most highly respected. He thought a war with America inevitable; and expressed his opinion, that the United States were unfortunate in the prematureness of their separation from this country, before they had in themselves the materials of moral society—before they had a gentry and a learned class,—the former looking backwards, and giving the sense of stability—the latter looking forwards, and regulating the feelings of the people.

"Afterwards, in the drawing-room, he sat down by Professor Rigaud, with whom he entered into a discussion of Kant's System of Metaphysics. The little knots of the company were speedily silent: Mr. C.'s voice grew louder; and abstruse as the subject was, yet his language was so ready, so energetic, and so eloquent, and his illustrations so very neat and apposite, that the ladies even paid him the most solicitous and respectful attention. They were really entertained with Kant's Metaphysics! At last I took one of them, a very sweet singer, to the piano-forte; and, when there was a pause, she began an Italian air. She was anxious to please him, and he was enraptured. His frame quivered with emotion, and there was a titter of uncommon delight on his countenance. When it was over, he praised the singer warmly, and prayed she might finish those strains in heaven!

"This is nearly all, except some anecdotes, which I recollect of our meeting with this most interesting, most wonderful man. Some of his topics and arguments I have enumerated; but the connection and the words are lost. And nothing that I can say can give any notion of his eloquence and manner,—of the hold which he soon got on his audience—of the variety of his stores of information—or, finally, of the artlessness of his habits, or the modesty and temper with which he listened to, and answered arguments, contradictory to his own."—J. T. C.

The following address has been printed before; but it cannot be too widely circulated, and it will form an appropriate conclusion to this volume.

To Adam Steinmetz K——.


I offer up the same fervent prayer for you now, as I did kneeling before the altar, when you were baptized into Christ, and solemnly received as a living member of his spiritual body, the Church.

Years must pass before you will be able to read, with an understanding heart, what I now write. But I trust that the all-gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies, who, by his only-begotten Son, (all mercies in one sovereign mercy!) has redeemed you from the evil ground, and willed you to be born out of darkness, but into light—out of death, but into life—out of sin, but into righteousness, even into the Lord our Righteousness; I trust that He will graciously hear the prayers of your dear parents, and be with you as the spirit of health and growth in body and mind!

My dear Godchild!—You received from Christ's minister at the baptismal font, as your Christian name, the name of a most dear friend of your father's, and who was to me even as a son, the late Adam Steinmetz, whose fervent aspiration, and ever-paramount aim, even from early youth, was to be a Christian in thought, word, and deed—in will, mind, and affections.

I too, your Godfather, have known what the enjoyments and advantages of this life are, and what the more refined pleasures which learning and intellectual power can bestow; and with all the experience that more than threescore years can give, I now, on the eve of my departure, declare to you, (and earnestly pray that you may hereafter live and act on the conviction,) that health is a great blessing,—competence obtained by honourable industry a great blessing,—and a great blessing it is to have kind, faithful, and loving friends and relatives; but that the greatest of all blessings, as it is the most ennobling of all privileges, is to be indeed a Christian. But I have been likewise, through a large portion of my later life, a sufferer, sorely afflicted with bodily pains, languors, and manifold infirmities; and, for the last three or four years, have, with few and brief intervals, been confined to a sick-room, and, at this moment, in great weakness and heaviness, write from a sick-bed, hopeless of a recovery, yet without prospect of a speedy removal; and I, thus on the very brink of the grave, solemnly bear witness to you, that the Almighty Redeemer, most gracious in his promises to them that truly seek him, is faithful to perform what he hath promised, and has preserved, under all my pains and infirmities, the inward peace that passeth all understanding, with the supporting assurance of a reconciled God, who will not withdraw his spirit from me in the conflict, and in his own time will deliver me from the Evil One!

O, my dear Godchild! eminently blessed are those who begin early to seek, fear, and love their God, trusting wholly in the righteousness and mediation of their Lord, Redeemer, Saviour, and everlasting High Priest, Jesus Christ!

O preserve this as a legacy and bequest from your unseen Godfather and friend,


Grove, Highgate, July 13. 1834.

He died on the 25th day of the same month.


* * * * *


Abuse, Eloquence of.
Acts, Origin of.
Advocate, Duties and Needs of an.
Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
All and the Whole.
America, United States of.
American Union, Northern and Southern States of the.
Americans, the.
Anarchy, Mental.
Ancient Mariner.
Animal Being, Scale of.
Ant and Bee.
Architecture, Gothic.
Ariosto and Tasso.
Army and Navy, House of Commons appointing the Officers of the.
Article, Ninth.
——-and Defoe.
Autumn Day.


Ball, Sir Alexander.
Baptismal Service.
Barrow and Dryden.
Bartram's Travels.
Beaumont and Fletcher.
——'s Dramas.
Behmen, Jacob.
Bertram, Character of.
Bestial Theory.
Bible, Study of the.
——, Version of the.
Biblical Commentators.
Biographia Literaria.
Bitters and Tonics.
Black, Colonel.
Blumenbach and Kant's Races.
Books of Moses, Genuineness of.
British Schoolmen.
Brooke, Lord.
Brown and Darwin.
Bull and Waterland.
Byron, Lord.
——and H. Walpole's "Mysterious Mother."
——, his Versification, and Don Juan.


Caesarean Operation.
Cambridge Petition to admit Dissenters.
Cavalier Slang.
Character, Differences of.
Charles I.
Children, Gracefulness of,
Christ, Divinity of,
Christ's Hospital,
Christian Sabbath,
——, Scope of,
——, High Prizes and Revenues of
——, National,
——of England,
——of Rome,
Church Singing,
Citizens and Christians,
Clergy, Celibacy of the,
Coleridge's (Mr.) System,
——, Non-perception of,
Commons, House of,
——, the Reformed House of,
Compounds, Latin,
Consolation in Distress,
Constitution, English,
Corn Laws,
Coronation Oaths,
Crabbe and Southey,
Cramp, Charm for,


Dancing, English and Greek,
Davy, Sir H.,
——, with Slavery,
Devotional Spirit,
De vi Minimorum,
Dictation and Inspiration,
Diction of the Old and New Testament Version,
Diplomatists, modern,
Diversions of Purley,
Divines, old,
Don Quixote,
Douw's (Gerard) "Schoolmaster," and Titian's "Venus,"
Dramatists, the Old,
Drayton and Daniel,
——and Ghosts, Difference between Stories of,
——and Pope,
Dual, Neuter plural, and Verb singular,


Egyptian Antiquaries,
Eldon's (Lord) Doctrine as to Grammar Schools,
Energy of Man and other Animals,
——and Holland,
English and German,
Epidemic Disease,
Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians,
——to the Hebrews,
——to the Romans,
Etymology of the final Ive,
Eucharist, the,
Evangelicals, Mock,


——, Articles of,
——and Belief
Fantasy and Imagination,
Fatalism and Providence,
Fathers, the,
Fees, Barristers' and Physicians',
Fielding and Richardson,
Fine Arts, Patronage of the,
Flaccus, Valerius,
Fox and Pitt,
French, the,
——Hereditary Peerage, Abolition of the,


Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Bacon,
Gas, Hydro-carbonic,
Gender of the Sun in German,
Genius, Criterion of.
——, Feminine.
——, Metaphysical.
——of the Spanish and Italians.
——Blank Verse.
——and English.
Gifford's Massier,
God, Proof of Existence of,
——'s Providence,
Good and the True, the,
Gray and Cotton
Great Minds androgynous,
——Poets, good Men,
——, Italian, and English, pure Ages of,
——Accent and Quantity,
Grey, Earl,


Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams,
Hall, Captain B.,
——and the Americans,
Hampden's Speech,
——, Jewish,
Holland and Belgium,
——and the Dutch,
Homeric Heroes in Shakspeare,
Hooker and Bull,
Humour and Genius,


Iapetic and Semitic,
Ideal Tory and Whig,
Ideal Truths, Reverence for,
Imitation and Copy,
Inherited Disease,
Interest, Monied,
Investigation, Methods of,
Ireland, Union with,
Irish Church,
Italy, Roman Conquest of,


James I,
Jerusalem, Destruction of,
——, Conversion of the,
——, Division of the Scripture,
——, in Poland,
Job, Book of,
Johnson, Dr.,
——, his Political Pamphlets,
——, the Whig,
Jonson, Ben,


Kant's Attempt,
Kant's Races of Mankind,
Keenness and Subtlety,
Kemble, John,


Lakes, Scotch and English,
Lamb, C.,
Land and Money,
Landholders, Duty of,
Landor's (W. S.) Poetry,
Laughter, Farce and Tragedy,
Lavacrum Pallados,
Legislation, Iniquitous,
Leo X.,
Lewis's Jamaica Journal,
Life, Constitutional and Functional,
Liturgy, English,
——, Character of the Age for,
Logic of Ideas and of Syllogisms.
Logos, the.
"Lord, the," in the English Version of the Psalms.
——and Friendship opposed.
Love's Labour Lost.
Lyell's Geology.


Mackintosh, Sir James.
Man cannot be stationary.
——Fall of.
——'s Freedom.
Mandeville's Fable of the Bees.
Manners under Edward III., Richard II., and Henry VIII.
——Parental Control in.
——of Cousins.
Mason's Poetry.
Measure for Measure.
Medicines, Specific.
Messenger of the Covenant.
Metre, Modern.
Miguel, Dom, and Dom Pedro.
Milesian Tales.
——and Sydney.
——'s disregard of Painting.
——'s Egotism.
——'s Latin Poems.
Ministers and the Reform Bill.
Monarchy or Democracy, Prospect of.
Monro, Sir T.
Mosaic Miracles.
Motives and Impulses.
——, Ear and Taste for, different.
Musical Glasses, some Men like.


National Colonial Character and Naval Discipline.
Nations, Characteristic Temperament of.
Negro Emancipation.
Nervous Weakness.
New Testament Canon.
Nitrous Oxide.
Nominalists and Realists.
Northern and Southern States.


Oath, Coronation.
Othello, Character of.


——and Idolatry.
——, the, and the Reformation.
——and the Schoolmen.
Paradise Lost.
Park, Professor.
Parliamentary Privilege.
Party Spirit.
Penal Code in Ireland.
Penn, Granville, and the Deluge.
Pentameter, Greek and Latin.
Permanency and Progression of Nations.
Persons and Things.
Peter Simple, and Tom Cringle's Log.
Phantom Portrait.
Philosopher's ordinary Language.
Philosophy, Greek.
——, Moral.
——, Mr. Coleridge's System of.
——of young Men of the present Day.
Pilgrim's Progress.
——and Xenophon.
Poem, Epic.
Poetic Promise.
Poetical Filter.
——, Persian and Arabic.
Polarity, Moral Law of.
Political Action, the two Modes of.
Political Economy, Modern.
Poor Laws.
Preaching extempore.
Presbyterians, Independents, and Bishops.
Principle, Greatest Happiness.
Principles and Facts.
——and Maxims.
Professions and Trades.
Property Tax.
Prophecies of the Old Testament.
Prose and Poetry.
——and Verse.
Psalms, Translation of the.
Puritans and Cavaliers.
——and Jacobins.


Quakerism, Modern.


——and Luther.
Raffles, Sir S.
Reason and Understanding.
Reasoner, a.
Reform of the House of Commons.
——, Conduct of Ministers on the.
——, English.
Religion gentilizes.
——of the Greeks.
——-, Roman Catholic.
——-, Romish
Representation, Popular.
——, Direct.
Review, Principles of a.
——, Belgian.
——, French.
——, Intellectual.
Roman Conquest.
——Empire. Key to the Decline of the.
——Catholic Emancipation.
Rosetti on Dante.


Sandford, Bishop.
Sarpi, Paul.
Scarlett, Sir J.
Schemes, Spinozistic and Hebrew.
——'s Robbers.
——'s Versification.
Schools, Infant.
——, Public.
Scotch and English.
——Kirk and Irving.
Scott, Michael.
——and Coleridge.
——'s Novels.
——, in Minimis.
——'s Intellectual Action.
——'s Sonnets.
Sidney, Sir P.
Sin and Sins.
Smith, Robert.
Society, best State of.
——'s Life of Bunyan.
Speech, Parts of.
Spurzheim and Craniology.
St. John.
——'s Gospel.
——, Chap. xix. Ver. 11.
——, Chap. iii. Ver. 4.
St. Paul's Melita.
——, a.
——, Idea of a.
——, Algernon Sydney's.
——, Modern.
Sublime and Nonsense.
Superstition of Maltese, Sicilians, and Italians.
Sympathy of old Greek and Latin with English, 168.


Talent and Genius.
Taylor, Jeremy.
Tennyson's Poems.
Things are finding their Level.
Thomas à Becket.
——and Tacitus.
Times of Charles I.
Tooke, Horne.
Travels, Modern.
Trinity, the.
Truths and Maxims.


Understanding, the.
Universal Suffrage.


Virtue and Liberty.
Von Humboldt, Baron.
Vote, Right of Women to.
Vowels and Consonants.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.


Walkerite Creed.
——, Civil, of the Seventeenth Century.
Wedded Love in Shakspeare and his contemporary Dramatists.
Wellington, Duke of.
Wetherell's (Sir Charles) Speech.
Whigs, Conduct of the.
Wilkins, Peter, and Stothard.
William III.
Wit and Madness.
Witch of Endor.
Women, Characterlessness of.
——, Old.
——and Men.
Words and Names of Things.
Works, Chronological Arrangement of.
Working to better one's condition.
Worlds, Plurality of.