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cause I see in these productions, though inspired by a petulant fancy rather than by an angry heart, the one stain upon the face of my Father's literary character. Yet though I deeply regret in regard to both, but by far the most in regard to one of them,
life to undermining the Christian religion ;” why then should he rage so at the second clause of the sentence, “ expended his last breath in a blasphemous regret that he had not survived it?? Was it more discreditable to wish Christianity extinct than to have deliberately endeavored to destroy it? However if there be no authority for the anecdote reported in the Lay Serinon, a mark shall be set against it in future.
Mr. Coleridge's “ignorant petulance ” on the subject of Hume's history has been amply confirmed by examiners on opposite sides in politics since the opinion was expressed. If that history be faulty at all, it is not superficially so but internally and radically—it is to a considerable extent virtually faithless and misleading; no one less cool, calm, and able than Hume could have given so misleading a representation of a certain most important part of English history. Like Hobbes, because he had no eye for a spiritual law, and because man must find firm ground to rest on somewhere, Hume rested his whole weight on human authority and kingshipan earthly divine right. Every one must admire his fine talents, must like his kindly and gentle nature; but is not an Infidel writer's hand against every Christian, and must not every Christian's hand be against him,-not of course to write a word that is untrue concerning his life and actions, but to struggle with him when he strives against eternal hopes,-nay to trample on him, when, like Caiaphas in Dante's penal realın, he lies across the way—if that be the way of faith and salvation? Surely the Scotch may well afford to let Hume be judged according to his works,-1 should rather say to let his works be judged according to their contents. They are not so deficient in worthies whom a Christian can approve that they must vehemently patronize the patron of despotism and infidelity. My Father did not abuse him because he was a Scotchman; he had contended warmly against Infidels in Germany, partial as he was to Germans and German writers. One thing I regret in Mr. Carlyle's admirable essay on Johnson, that deep-hearted essay !—the parallel at the end between Johnson and Hume. Oh! surely Hume should not have been set over against Johnson, who could not have looked him in the face without shuddering, and turning pale for sorrow!
Right loath should I be to consider these Boreal blasts and Scotch mists, that have so outraged and obscured the Exteesian domain, as coming from bonny Scotland at large. The man of genius—the wise and liberal critic -is always a true Briton-neither English, Irish, nor Scotch. Acer Septentrio to S. T. C.—but this is a synecdoche-part for the whole. I have neressarily been looking of late 1ore at the bad weather of my Father's uterary life,-the rough gales and chilling snow-falls,-than at its calli
that he should ever have penned such pieces or suffered them to get abroad, I do not blame him for including them in his works when it was plain that they could not be suppressed. The wine was coarse and burning, but it was the same, however bad a sample, as that which glows in Kubla Khan and The Ancient Mariner, and no production, marked with a peculiar genius, if short and rememberable, will perish, though of small merit, especially when other more considerable fruits of that genius are before the world. It will ever be a grief to those interested in my Father's name that, when a young man, he wrote a lampoon, in sport, upon a good and gifted contemporary; but I scarce know what he could do more, after shooting off an arrow, which others would preserve on account of its curious make or some fantastic plumage with which its shaft was adorned, than try to blunt its point, and beg that it might be considered only as a plaything.
The Apologetic Preface has been much misrepresented : it has been represented as a defence and a sophistical one; if it were intended as a defence or vindication it would be sophistical indeed; but it is no such thing : it is an apology in the modern sense of the term; that is an excuse. “ It was not my intention, I said, to justify the publication, whatever its author's feelings might have been at the time of composing it. That they are calculated to call forth so severe a reprobation from a good man, is not the worst feature of such poems. Their moral deformity is aggravated in proportion to the pleasure which they are capable
and sunshine : but these were not present always, and I trust they will henceforth be infrequent.
Non semper imbres dulce-poeticos
Vexant inæquales procellæ
Usque ; nec ætheriis in oris,
Myrteta Colerigi laborant
The twining vines are popularity and usefulness : the elms literary pro ductions of slow growth and stately character.
of affording to vindictive, turbulent, and unprincipled readers."" Notwithstanding this declaration, an admirer of Mr. Pitt has affirmed that “the Apology is throughout defensive.” As this charge is made in the shape of mere assertion "to refute it with nut” will perhaps be sufficient. This and other assertions of the Pittite may be met with the counter-assertion, that the Preface contains neither "metaphysical jargon," " unphilosophical sentimentality," nor “wire-drawn argumentation," but expresses in clear language, and illustrates, I think, with some eloquence, the simple but not uninteresting psychological fact, that the wilder and more extravagant a satire appears, the more it contains of devious irrelevant fancy, and the less of individual application, or any attempt to give an air of reality and truth of fact to the representation, the less harm it does and the less of deliberate malice it shows." Such attacks may indeed be insults, but they are very seldom injuries, except so far as the one is the other. Had no one said worse of Mr. Coleridge himself than that the Old One was sure of him at last, he would never have complained so bitterly as he sometimes did of the mischiefs of the tongue. When Mr. Hatelight and Mr. Enmity employ a skilful artist to paint their enemy's portrait, he does not take a plain likeness of Satan and put the enemy's name under it; he takes the enemy's face as a foundation, and superinduces that of Satan upon it; there are perhaps few strongly marked minds that may not, with pains and skill, be made to assume somewhat of a Satanic aspect.
11 Poet. Works, vol. i., p. 275. The next sentence shows impliedly that palliation is the writer's aim. See also p. 280.
12 Mere outward marks for the identifying of the object, as “ letters four do form his name,” are distinct from individualizing features of mind.
The admirer of Mr. Pitt, who is so dissatisfied with the Apologetic Preface, is highly displeased because Mr. Coleridge did not express the deepest contrition for his censures of that minister, without sufficiently considering, that, as Mr. Coleridge's opinion of the Pitt policy continued pretty much the same throughout his life, he could not repent of it to please Mr. Pitt's devotees; and that he expressed quite as much regret for, and disapproval of, his “fame-colored " language on the subject as may suffice to satisfy any but partisans and bigots, whom he never considered it his duty to conciliate. Let them pour out their streams of “trash,” “nonsense,' "jargon,” “muddy metaphysics” over his pages; of the abundance of the head the mouth speaketh when it speaks at this rate.
On these points I think indeed that my Father, upon the whole, was more sinned against than sinning ; but I should be far from attempting to vindicate all the condemnatory parts even of his serious writings. Since he was laid in the grave there have been vehement renewals of former attacks upon him ; but if I. had not been called upon to republish his Literary Life personalities of this sort would not have engaged my thoughts for more than a passing moment. He is at rest; no longer to be disquieted by injustice or capable of being harmed by it; "the storms, reproaches and vilifyings” of this angry world come not nigh his dwelling. But some willingly hear his voice, as it yet speaks in his written remains, and will read with pleasure the following extract from the Aids to Reflection, “ on the keen and poi. soned shafts of the tongue,” which I give in conclusion, as appli. cable to the subject that has been discussed, but without intend. ing any particular application whatever.
“The slanders, perchance, may not be altogether forged or untrue; they may be the implements, not the inventions, of ma. lice. But they do not on this account escape the guilt of detraction. Rather it is characteristic of the evil spirit in question, to work by the advantage of real faults; but these stretched anc aggravated to the utmost. It is not expressible how deep a wound a tongue sharpened to the work will give, with no noise and a very little word. This is the true white gunpowder, which the dream. ing projectors of silent mischiefs and insensible poisons sought for in the laboratories of art and nature, in a world of good; but which was to be found in its most destructive form, in the World of Evil, the Tongue.'” 1x
I have heard it said that the lives and characters of men ought vever to be handled by near relations and friends, whose pride and partial affection are sure to corrupt their testimony. This is like saying that animal food should never come to table be.
13 Edit. 5, vol. i.
are it is liable, in warm weather, to become tainted; reports of friends and relations are the flesh diet of the Biographical Muse, whereby she is kept in health and strength ; without them her form would become attenuated, and her complexion sallow and wan. Contemporary biography can only proceed either from friends, from enemies, or from indifferent persons; the last class may be the most unbiassed in their testimony, but, for the most part, they have little testimony to give; they know nothing and care nothing about him whose life is to be recorded, till the task of writing it falls into their hands. It should be remembered, too, that a man's enemies—and it is wonderful how many enemies 'men of mark are sure to acquire—among the vulgar. minded, who hate genius, for its own sake, while they envy its outward rewards—among the high-minded and strong-headed, who are in violent antagonism to an individual genius, through the bent of their own),—that these will give their testimony against him gratuitously, and that unconcerned persons will adopt it for mere amusément's sake,—will carelessly repeat the severest judgments, insensible as the “ two-handed engine” itself, ihat cares not whether it descends upon a reprobate or a royal martyr. The testimony of friends is needed, if only to balance that of adversaries; and, indeed, what better grounds for judging of a man's character, upon the whole, can the world have, than the impression it has made on those who have come the nearest to him, and known him the longest and the best? I, for my part, have not striven to conceal any of my natural partialities, or to separate my love of my Father from my moral and intellectual sympathy with his mode of thought. I have endeavored to give the genuine impressions of my mind respecting him, believing that, if reporters will but be honest, and study to say that, and that alone, which they really think and feel, the color, which their opinions and feelings may cast upon the subject they have to treat of, will not finally obscure the truth. Of this I am sure. that no one ever studied my Father's writings earnestly, and so as to imbibe the author's spirit, who did not learn to care still more for Truth than for him, whatever interest in him such a study may have inspired.
These few lines are an attempt to bring out a sentiment, which