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lowed the above treaty, was a was raised by The i thor upon this subject, to solve the riddle which Morning Post. Whilst Mr. Coleridge was staying is appended as a conclusion to Christabel. He at Rome, Bonaparte is said to have sent an order might as well attribute deficiency of capacity to a for his arrest, from which he was rescued, partly, by beholder of his countenance, who should fail, in its the forbearance of the late pope, Pius the Seventh. workings, to discover the exact emotions of his Our poct, however, has never displayed any evi- | mind; for Mr. Coleridge has afforded no clearer clue dence of his having been guided by any fixed poli- to the generality of his poetical arcana. This is tical creed; and he altogether disowns, as was particularly manifest in his singularly wild and binted by The Morning Chronicle, that he ever striking poem of The Ancient Mariner, on which he bertered his fortune by his labours as a political is said to have written the following epigram, adwriter. Indeed, it is as a poet only that he will dressed to himself : te known by posterity ; however zealously his friends may labour to procure a reputation for him
"Your poem must eternal be,
Dear sir ! il cannot fail; as the founder of a sect in morals or philosophy.
For, 'tis incomprehensible, The chief fault of Coleridge's poetry lies in the style,
And without head or tail." which has been justly objected to on account of its chiscurity, general turgidness of diction, and a pro- Mr. Coleridge is unquestionably at the head of fusion of new-coined double epithets. With regard the Lake-school of poetry, and excels all his fraterto its obscurity, he says, in the preface to a late nity of that class in feeling, fancy, and sublimity. edition of his poems, that where he appears un- Some of his minor poems will bear comparison with intelligible, “the deficiency is in the reader.” This those of the bards of this or any other age or counis nothing more or less than to suppose his readers try; and his verses on Love appear to us the most endowed with the powers of divination ; for we touching, delicate, and beautiful delineation of that defy any one who is not in the confidence of the au- passion that ever was penned.
who died of an apoplexy on the 17th of November, 1796; having just concluded a subsidiary treaty with the kings combined against France. The first and second antistrophe describe the image of the departing year, etc. as in a vision. The second epode prophesies, in anguish of spirit, lhe downfall of this country.
I. POEMS OCCASIONED BY POLITICAL EVENTS
OR FEELINGS CONNECTED WITH THEM.
When I have borne in memory what has tamed
ODE TO THE DEPARTING YEAR.*
loù, iov, ü kaxá. Yτ' αύ με δεινός ορθομαντείας πόνος Στροβεί, ταράσσων φροιμίοις έφημίοις. Το μέλλον ήξει. Και ου μην πάχει παρών 'Αγαν γ' αληθήμαντιν μ' έρείς.
Æschyl. Agam. 1225.
vidence, that regulates into one vast harmony all the
Spirit who sweepest the wild harp of time!
It is most hard with an untroubled ear
Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear!
With inward stillness, and submitted mind;
When lo! its folds far waving on the wind, I saw the train of the departing year!
Starting from my silent sadness,
Then with no unholy madness,
From the prison's direr gloom,
From distemper's midnight anguish;
Or where, his two bright torches blending,
Love illumines manhood's maze ;
Hither, in perplexed dance,
Whose indefatigable sweep
Raises its fateful strings from sleep,
And each domestic hearth,
2 x 2
* This ode was composed on the 21th, 25th, and 26th days of December, 1796: and was first published on the last day of that year.
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
But chief by Afric's wrongs,
Strange, horrible, and foul !
By what deep guilt belongs
To the deaf synod, ‘full of gifts and lies!'
Speak! from thy storm black heaven, speak aloud!
And on the darkliog foe I mark'd Ambition in his war array !
Open thine eye of fire from some uncertain cloud ! I heard the mailed monarch's troublous cry
O dart the flash ! O rise and deal the blow! « Ah! wherefore does the northern conqueress
The past to thee, to thee the future cries ! stay!
Hark! bow wide nature joins her groans below! Groans not her chariot on its onward way ?"
Rise, God of nature ! rise."
The voice had ceased, the vision Aled; Th'insatiate hag shall gloat with drunken eye.! Yet still I gasp'd and reel'd with dread. Manes of the unnumber'd slain !
And ever, when the dream of night Ye that gasp'd on Warsaw's plain!
Renews the phantom to my sight, Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,
Cold sweat-drops gather on my limbs; Whep human ruin choked the streams,
My ears throb hot; my eyeballs start; Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
My brain with horrid tumult swims; 'Mid women's shrieks and infant's screams!
Wild is the tempest of my heart; Spirits of the uncoffin'd slain,
And my thick and struggling breath Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
Imitates the toil of death! Oft, at night, in misty train,
No stronger agony confounds Rush around her narrow dwelling !
The soldier on the war-field spread, The exterminating fiend is filed
When all foredone with toil and wounds, (Foul her life, and dark her doom)
Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead! Mighty armies of the dead
(The strife is o'er, the daylight fled, Dance like death-fires round her tomb !
And the night-wind clamours hoarse ! Then with prophetic song relate,
See! the starting wretch's head
Lies pillow'd on a brother's corse !)
Not yet enslaved, not wholly vile, My soul beheld thy vision ! where alone,
O Albion ! O my mother isle ! Voiceless and stern, before the cloudy throne, Thy valleys, fair as Eden's bowers, Aye Memory sits: thy robe inscribed with gore, Glitter green with sunny showers; With many an unimaginable groan
Thy grassy uplands' gentle swells Thou storied'st thy sad hours ! Silence ensued, Echo to the bleat of flocks, Deep silence o'er th' ethereal multitude,
(Those grassy hills, those glittering dells Whose locks with wreaths, whose wreaths with Proudly ramparted with rocks ;) glories shone,
And ocean, 'mid his uproar wild, Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,
Speaks safely to his island child ! From the choired gods advancing,
Hence, for many a fearless age The Spirit of the earth made reverence mest,
Has social quiet loved thy shore ! And stood up, beautiful, before the cloudy seat. Nor ever proud invader's rage
Or sack'd thy towers, or stain'd thy fields with gore V. Throughout the blissful throng:
VIII. Hush'd were harp and song:
Abandon d of Heaven! mad avarice thy guide, Till wheeling round the throne the Lampads seven At cowardly distance, yet kindling with pride (The mystic words of heaven)
'Mid thy herds and thy corn-fields secure thou hast Permissive signal make:
stood, The fervent spirit bow'd, then spread his wings And join'd the wild yelling of farine and blood ! and spake!
The nations curse thee ! They with eager wondering " Thou in stormy blackness throning
Shall hear destruction, like a vulture, scream! Love and uncreated light,
Strange-eyed destruction! who with many a By the earth's unsolaced groaning,
dream Seize thy terrors, Arm of might!
Of central fires through nether seas upthundering By peace with proffer'd insult scared,
Soothes her fierce solitude; yet, as she lies
By livid fount, or red volcanic stream,
If ever to her lidless dragon-eyes,
The fiend hag on her perilous couch doth leap, For ne'er, 0 Liberty! with partial aim
But bless'd the pæans of deliver'd France,
And hung my head, and wept at Britain's name.
III. And hark! I hear the famish'd brood of prey
“ And what,” I said, “though blasphemy's loud Flap their lank pennons on the groaning wind! Away, my soul, away!
With that sweet music of deliverance strove ! I, unpartaking of the evil thing,
Though all the fierce and drunken passions wove With daily prayer and daily toil
A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream! Soliciting for food my scanty soil,
Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, Have wail'd my country with a loud lament.
The sun was rising, though he hid his light! Now I recentre my immortal mind
And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and In the deep sabbath of meek self-content;
trembled, Cleansed from the vaporous passions that bedim
The dissonance ceased, and all seem'd calm and God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.
When, insupportably advancing,
Her arm made mockery of the warrior's tramp;
While timid looks of fury glancing,
Domestic treason, crush'd beneath her fatal stamp, I.
Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore ; Ye clouds! that far above me float and pause,
Then I reproach'd my fears that would not fee ; Whose pathless march no mortal may control! “ And soon," I said, “ shall wisdom teach her lore Ye ocean waves ! that, wheresoe'er ye roll,
In the low huts of them that toil and groan ! Yield homage only to eternal laws !
And, conquering by her happiness alone, Ye woods! that listen to the night-birds' singing,
Shall France compel the nations to be free, Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined, Till love and joy look round, and call the earth Save when your own imperious branches swinging,
their own." Have made a solemn music of the wind !
IV. Where, like a man beloved of God, Through glooms, which never woodman trod, Forgive me, Freedom ! O forgive those dreams! How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament, My moonlight way o'er flowering weeds I wound, From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sentInspired, beyond the guess of folly,
I hear thy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams ! By each rude shape and wild unconquerable sound ! Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd; Oye loud waves! and 0 ye forests high! And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain snows
And Oye clouds that far above me soar'd ! With bleeding wounds; forgive me that I cherish'd Thou rising sun ! thou blue, rejoicing sky! One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes! Yea, every thing that is and will be free !
To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt, Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er ye be,
Where peace her jealous home had built ; With what deep worship I have still adored
A patriot race to disinherit The spirit of divinest Liberty.
Of all that made their stormy wilds so dear ;
And with inexpiable spirit
To taint the bloodless freedom of the mountaineer When France in wrath her giant-limbs upreard, O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind, And with that oath, which smote air, earth and And patriot only in pernicious toils ! sea,
Are these thy boasts, champion of human kind ? Stamp'd her strong foot, and said she would be To mix with kings in the low lust of sway, free,
Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey; Bear witness for me, how I hoped and fear'd! To insult the shrine of liberty with spoils With what a joy my lofty gratulation
From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray? Unawed I sang, amid a slavish band : And when to whelm the disenchanted nation,
V. Like fiends embattled by a wizard's wand,
The sensual and the dark rebel in vain, The monarchs march'd in evil day,
Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad game And Britain join'd the dire array;
They burst their manacles, and wear the name Though dear her shores and circling ocean,
Of freedom, graven on a heavier chain ! Though many friendships, many youthful loves O Liberty ! with profitless endeavour Had swoln the patriot emotion,
Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour; And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves ; But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, not ever Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat
Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power. To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee, And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat! (Not prayer nor boastful name delays thee,)
Alike from priestcraft's harpy minions, Our brethren! Like a cloud that travels on, And factious blasphemy's obscener slaves, Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence, Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions,
E'en so, my countrymen ! have we gone forth, The guide of homeless winds, and playmates of the And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs, waves!
And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint And there I felt thee on that sea-cliff's verge, With slow perdition murders the whole man,
Whose pines, scarce travell’d by the breeze above, His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home, Had made one murmur with the distant surge! All individual dignity and power Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare, Ingulf'd in courts, committees, institutions, And shot my being through earth, sea, and air, Associations and societies,
Possessing all things with intensest love, A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting guild, O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
One benefit club for mutual flattery,
We have drunk up, demure as at a grace,
Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life
For gold, as at a market! The sweet words WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF Of Christian promise, words that even yet
Might stem destruction were they wisely preachd,
Are mutter'd o'er by men whose tones proclaim A GREEN and silent spot amid the hills,
How flat and wearisome they feel their trade: A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent No sinking skylark ever poised himself.
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth. The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope, 0! blasphemous! the book of life is made Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on, A superstitious instrument, on which All golden with the never-bloomless furze, We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break; Which now blooms most profusely ; but the dell, For all must swear--all and in every place, Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate
College and wharf, council and justice court; As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax,
All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed, When, through its half-transparent stalks, at eve, Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest, The level sunshine glimmers with green light. The rich, the poor, the old man and the young; 0! 'tis a quiet, spirit-healing nook!
All, all make up one scheme of perjury, Which all, methinks, would love ; but chiefly he, That faith doth reel; the very name of God The humble man, who, in his youthful years, Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy, Knew just so much of folly as had made
Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place, His early manhood more securely wise !
(Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism,
And hooting at the glorious sun in heaven,
Thankless too for peace, And he, with many feelings, many thoughts, (Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas,) Made up a meditative joy, and found
Secure from actual warfare, we have loved Religious meanings in the forms of nature ! To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! And so, his senses gradually wrapt
Alas! for ages ignorant of all In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds, Its ghastlier workinys (famine or blue plague, And dreaming hears thee still, O singing lark ! Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,) That singest like an angel in the clouds !
We, this whole people, have been clamorous My God! it is a melancholy thing
For war and bloodshed; animating sports, For such a man, who would full fain preserve The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel Spectators and not combatants! No guess For all his human brethren-O my God!
Anticipative of a wrong unfelt, It weighs upon the heart, that he must think
No speculation or contingency, What uproar and what strife may now be stirring However dim and vague, too vague and dim This way or that way o'er these silent hills
To yield a justifying cause; and forth Invasion, and the thunder and the shout,
(Stuff?d out with big preamble, holy names, And all the crash of onset; fear and rage,
And adjurations of the God in heaven) And undetermined conflict-even now,
We send our mandates for the certain death E’en now, perchance, and in his native isle ; Of thousands and ten thousands ! Boys and girls, Carnage and groans beneath this blessed sun! And women, that would groan to see a child We have offended, 0! my countrymen!
Pull off an insect's leg, ali read of war, We have offended very grievously,
The best amusement for our morning meal ? And been most tyrannous. From east to west The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers A groan of accusation pierces heaven!
From curses, who knows scarcely words enough The wretched plead against us; multitudes To ask a blessing from his heavenly Father, Countless and vehement, the sons of God,
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute
And technical in victories and defeats,
And yield them worship, they are enemies And all our dainty terms for fratricide ;
E’en of their country! Terms which we trundle smoothly o’er our tongues
Such have I been deem'dLike mere abstractions, empty sounds, to which But, О dear Britain ! O my mother isle ! We join no feeling and attach no form!
Needs must thou prove a name most dear and As if the soldier died without a wound;
holy As if the fibres of this godlike frame
| To me, a son, a brother, and a friend, Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch, A husband, and a father! who revere Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
All bonds of natural love, and find them all Pass'd off to heaven, translated and not kill'd: Within the limits of thy rocky shores. As though he had no wife to pine for him, O native Britain ! O my mother isle! No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days How shouldst thou prove aught else but dear and Are coming on us, O my countrymen!
holy And what if all-avenging Providence,
To me, who from thy lakes and mountain-hills Strong and retributive, should make us know Thy clouds, thy quiet dales, thy rocks and seas, The meaning of our words, force us to feel Have drunk in all my intellectual life, The desolation and the agony
All sweet sensations, all ennobling thoughts,
All adoration of the God in natuie,
Unborrow'd from my country. O divine Laugh'd at the breast ! Sons, brothers, husbands, all And beauteous island! thou hast been my sole Who ever gazed with fondness on the forms And most magnificent temple, in the which Which grew up with you round the same fireside, I walk with awe, and sing my stately songs, And all who ever heard the Sabbath-bells
Loving the God that made me ! Without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves pure'
May my fears, Stand forth: be men ! repel an impious foe, My filial fears, be vain! and may the vaunts Impious and false, a light yet cruel race,
And menace of the vengeful enemy Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth Pass like the gust, that roard and died away With deeds of murder; and still promising In the distant tree: which heard, and only heard Freedom, themselves too sensual to be free, In this low dell, bow'd not the delicate grass. Poison life's amities, and cheat the heart
But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad Of faith and quiet hope, and all that soothes The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze: And all that lifts the spirit! Stand we forth; The light has left the summit of the hill, Render them back upon the insulted ocean, Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful, And let them toss as idly on its waves
Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell,
I find myself upon the brow, and pause
Startled! And after lonely sojourning
In such a quiet and surrounding nook, Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.
This burst of prospect, here the shadowy main, Nor deem my zeal or factious or mistimed ; Dim-tinted, there the mighty majesty For never can true courage dwell with them, Of that huge amphitheatre of rich Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look And elmy fields, seems like societyAt their own vices. We have been too long Conversing with the mind, and giving it Dupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike
A livelier impulse and a dance of thought! Groaning with restless enmity, expect
And now, beloved Stowey! I behold All change from change of constituted power ; Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge As if a government had been a robe,
elms On which our vice and wretchedness were tagg'd Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend, Like fancy points and fringes, with the robe And close behind them, hidden from my view, Pu!ld off at pleasure. Fondly these attach Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe A radical causation to a few
And my babe's mother dwell in peace! With light Poor drudges of chastising Providence,
And quicken’d footsteps thitherward I tend, Who horrow all their hues and qualities
Remembering thee, O green and silent dell! From our own folly and rank wickedness, And grateful, that, by nature's quietness Which gave them birth and nursed them. Others, And solitary musings, all my heart meanwhile,
Is soften'd, and made worthy to indulge Dote with a mad idolatry; and all
Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human kind. Who will not fall before their images,
Nether Stowey, April 28th, 1798.