Imágenes de páginas

ate of other men's property, he was profuse of his own; and, in truth, such was his temper in regard to all property, of what kind soever; he did not enough regard or value it whether for himself or his neighbor. Nor is it proof to the contrary that he did at times speak of his share in the promulgation of truth and awakening of reflection, and of the world's unthankfulness. 'This he did, rather in self-defence, when he was accused of neglecting to employ or of misemploying his natural gifts, than from an inordinate desire to parade and exalt them. He was goaded into some degree of egotism by the charges continually brought against him, that he suffered his powers to lie dormant, or to spend themselves in a fruitless activity. But they who spoke thus, on the one hand, underrated his actual achievements, the importance of which time and trial were to discover, since speculations like his show what they are worth in the using, and come into use but slowly ; and on the other hand, over-rated his powers of literary execution. They were struck by his marked intellectual gifts, but took no note of his intellectual impediments,—were not aware that there was a want of proportion in the faculties of his mind, which would always have prevented him from making many or good books; for, even had he pos. sessed the ordinary amount of skill in the arranging and methodizing of thought with a view to publication and in reference to the capacities of a volume, this would have been inadequate to the needs of one whose genius was ever impelling him to trace things down to their deepest source, and to follow them out in their remotest ramifications. His powers, compounded and balanced as they were, enabled him to do that which he did, and possibly that alone.

Great as was the activity of his intellect in its own 'congenial sphere, he wanted that agility of mind which can turn the understanding from its wonted mode of movement, to set it upon new tasks necessary to the completeness and efficiency of what has been produced of another kind, but uninteresting in themselves to the mind of the producer. He loved to go forward, expanding and ennobling the soul of his teaching, and hated the trouble of turning back to look after its body. To the healthful and vigorous such trouble appears nothing, simply because they are healthful and vigorous; but to feel all exertion a labor, all labor pain and weariness, this is the very symptom of disease and its most grievous consequence.

The nerveless languor, which, after early youth, became almost the habit of his body and bodily mind, which to a great degree paralysed his powers both of rest and action, precluding by a turpid irritability their happy vicissitude,-rendered all ex. ercises difficult to him except of thought and imagination flowing onward freely and in self-made channels; for these brought with them their own warm atmosphere to thaw the chains of frost that bound his spirit. Soon as that spontanec is impulse was suspended, the apathy and sadness induced by his physical condition reabsorbed his mind, as sluggish mists creep over the valley when the breeze ceases to blow; and to counteract it he lacked any other sufficient stimulus :

With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll;
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul !
Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope, without an object, cannot live.

He had no hope of gainful popularity, even from the most laborious efforts that he was capable of making ; nor would this in itself have been an adequate object of hope to him, without a further one, more deeply satisfying, a dream of which was ever unbracing his mind, but which life, such as he had made it, and such as it was given him from above, had not afforded. Then the complaints and warnings from “all quarters,” of the obscurity of his prose writings, were, as he expressed it, like “cold water poured ” upon him. It may be questioned whether they who thus complained were making any attempt to meet him half way,—whether they had done their part towards un. derstanding what they called unintelligible. It is the chief ust and aim of writings of such a character as his to excite the reader to think,—to draw out of his mind a native flame rather than to make it bright for a moment by the reflection of alien fires. All literary productions indeed demand some answering movement on the part of readers, but, in common cases, the motion required is so easy, so much in known ways and smooth well-beaten tracks, that it seems spontaneous, and is more like rest than labor. This is the difficulty with which introducere of new thought have to contend; the minds that are to receive these accessions must themselves, in order to their reception of them, be renewed proportionately, renewed not from without alone, but by co-operation from within,-a process full of conflict and struggle, like the fermenting of raw juices into gene. rous wines. Though my Father understood this well in the end he was by no means prepared for it, and for all its consequences, in the beginning; coming upon him as it did, it acted as a narcotic, and by deepening his despondency increased his literary inertness. Speaking of “ The Friend” he observes, “ Throughout these Essays the want of illustrative examples and varied exposition is the main defect, and was occasioned by the haunting dread of being tedious."

The Biographia Literaria he composed at that period of his life when his health was most deranged, and his mind most subjected to the influence of bodily disorder. It bears marks of this throughout, for it is even less methodical in its arrangement than aay of his other works. Up to a certain point the author pur. sues his plan of writing his literary life, but, in no long time, his “slack hand” abandons its grasp of the subject, and the book is filled out to a certain size, with such miscellaneous contents of his desk as seem least remote from it. To say, with the writer in Blackwood, that he stopped short in the process of unfolding a theory of the imagination, merely because he had come to the end of all that Schelling had taught concerning it, and thus to account for the abrupt termination of the first volume, is to place the matter in a perfectly false light; he broke down in the prosecution of his whole scheme, the regular history of his literary life and opinions, and this not for want of help in one particu. lar line, but because his energies for regular composition in any line were deserting him, at least for a time. It is suggested, that “ interspersed throughout the works of Schelling, glimpses and indications are to be found of some stupendous theory on the subject of the imagination ;" that Coleridge expected to " catch and unriddle these shadowy intimations,” but that, finding him. self unable to do this, he “had nothing else for it but to abandon

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his work altogether, and leave his readers in the lurch.” What
these glimpses of a stupendous theory" are, and where they are,
except “ throughout the works of Schelling,” the announcer does
not inform us: his own imagination may have discovered to him
what was never discerned by Coleridge, in all whose notes upon
Schelling not a hint is given of this stupendous theory in embryo.
In the last part of the Transcendental Idealism, which relates to
the philosophy of Art, at p. 473, a passage occurs in which the
poetic faculty and the productive intuition are identified, and that
which is active in both, that one and the same, declared to be the
Imagination : but this appears to be the crown and completion of
a system already laid down, not a germ of a system to be evolved
in future. The imagination is also characterized in aphorisms
34, 35, of Schelling's Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen; but we
must strain our eyes very much to find any indications of a grand
philosophical design there. I suspect that this “stupendous.
theory” has its habitation in the clouds of the accuser's fancy,-
clouds without water, though black as if they were big with show.
ers of rain.

The extent of Schelling's teaching on the subject of the Imagi. nation


father well knew before he commenced the Biographia Literaria, and he must also have known how far he was able to “catch and unriddle his shadowy intimations ;” what he did not know or sufficiently consider was the space which such a disquisition ought to occupy in his work, and the relation which it

had to his undertaking. But for the failure of his powers, he

might have recast what he had already written, and given it such shape and proportions, as would have made it seem suitable to the work in which he was engaged. ? Of this effort he felt incapable, and the letter was devised in order to enable him to print what he had already written without further trouble. But he still cherished the intention of continuing the subject, thus commenced, in a future work, which was to explain his system of thought at large, and to this object he devoted much time and thought, during the latter years of his life with what fruit will,

? I have asked two students of Schelling if they ever met with this the. ory in traversing his works, but could learn nothing of it from either o them..

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it is to be troped, hereafter appear in a philosophical work by his friend and fellow student Mr. Green.

The second great ground of accusation against my father is his having laid claim to “the main and fundamental ideas” of Schelling's system. “We ourselves,” says the critic, “ in our day have had some small dealings with main and fundamental

ideas,' and we know thus much about them, that it is very easy · for any man or for every man to have them; the difficulty is in

bringing them intelligibly, effectively, and articulately out in elaborating them into clear and intelligible shapes." He proceeds to illustrate his argument, on the hint of an expression used by Mr. Gillman, in his Life of Coleridge, with a choice simile. “Wasps,” says he, “ and even” other insects, which I decline naming after him, "are, we suppose, capable of collecting the juice of flowers, and this juice may be called their .fundamental ideas ;' but the bee alone is a genius among flies, because he alone can put forth his ideas in the shape of honey, and make the breakfast-table glad.” True or false, all this has little to do with anything that my father has said in the Biographia Literaria. As for the bare “raw material” (to use the critic's own expression), out of which intellectual systems are formed, it is possessed by every human being, from Adam to his children of the present day, by one just as much as another. Clodpates, who draw no lines save with the plough across the field, have all the geometry folded up in their minds that Euclid unfolded in his book; Kant's doctrine of .pure reason is a web woven out of stuff that is in every man's brain ; and the simplest Christian is implicitly as great a divine as Thomas Aquinas. But when a man declares that the fundamental ideas of a system are born and matured in his mind, he evidently means, not merely that he possesses the mere material or elements of the system, but that the system itself, as to its leading points and most general posi. tions, has been evolved from the depths of his spirit by his own independent efforts; this has certainly more relation to the wrought honey than to the raw. My father's allegation, that the principal points of Schelling's system were not new to him when br. found them uttered in Schelling's words, shall be considered

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