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tombed, or restored to human admiration. Like the sea it has swallowed treasures without end, that no diving bell will bring up again. But nowhere throughout its shoreless magazines of wealth does there lie such a bed of pearls confounded with the rubbish and 'purgamenta' of ages, as in the political papers of Coleridge. No more appreciable monument could be raised to the memory of Coleridge than a republication of his essays in the Morning Post, but still more, of those afterwards published in the Courier. And here, by the way, it may be mentioned, that the sagacity of Coleridge, as applied to the signs of the times, is illustrated by the fact that distinctly and solemnly he foretold the restoration of the Bourbons, at a period when most people viewed such an event as the most romantic of visions, and not less chimerical than that ‘march upon Paris,' of Lord Hawkesbury's, which for so many years supplied a theme of laughter to the Whigs." S. C.
Note I. 2, p. 324.
William Whitehead was born at Cambridge in 1714-15. He was the author of several successful plays—The Roman Father, Creüsa, and The School for Lovers; and of miscellaneous poems, that have scarce any individualizing characteristics, but are in the manner of writers of the time of Queen Anne. On his return from travelling with noble pupils he published an Ode to the Tiber and six Elegiac Epistles, which were applauded at first, and in course of time neglected; the usual fate of poems produced by Talent apart from Genius: the Junonian offspring of a female parent alone. This Ode to the Tiber is an excellent specimen of such poetry as may be written by a clever man, on command, having everything that is to be desired, except a soul of its own; it reads like a first-rate school exercise, or such an exercise as might be produced in an adult School of Poetry. Whitehead succeeded to the laureateship on the death of Cibber, and died suddenly, April, 1785, after a life unusually calm and comfortable for a votary of the Muses, and for one who had originally to live by his wits, though very substantial patronage, together with singlehood, exempted him from actually depending upon them; and in the opinion of those who agree with the "misogyne," Boccaccio, on the subject of marriage, will partly account for his ease and tranquillity. He published two volumes of his works in 1774: to these Mason added a third, with a Memoir of his Life and writings prefixed to it.
His highest ambition as a poet, it is said, was to resemble Pope, whose notice he gained, when at Winchester School, by his talent in verse writing. It is remarkable that another imitator of Pope, named Whitehead, lived at the same time with the former: was born 1710, died 1774. In his satire entitled Manners, this Paul Whitehead com
plains, that he was not allowed, like Pope, to "lash the sins of men without being himself lashed by scornful censure in return: and speaks of it as a hardship, that little satirists are punished while great ones are applauded. How little he was he probably never knew, nor do they appear to have felt it, who have given him a place in the tenth volume of the British Poets. S. C.
A Charge to the Poels.
This poem, first printed in 1741, may be considered as a sequel to The danger of writing verse, an Epistle by the same Author, in which he observes shrewdly enough:
One fatal rock on which good authors split
In the latter he says,
If nature prompts you, or if friends persuade,
After giving his reasons, and displaying the evils of a life of writing, he thus proceeds:—
What refuge then remains ?—with gracious grin
Where luckless bards, condemn'd to court the town
Or, friendless, shirtless, pennyless complain,
Not of the world's, but "Cœlia's cold disdain."
A pendant to this picture might be obtained from Mrs. Charlotte Smith's poetical description of strolling actors.
While shivering Edgar in his blanket roll'd,
Exclaims, with too much reason, "Tom's a-cold!"
And vainly tries his sorrows to divert
While Goneril or Regan-wash his shirt!"
The author of this work observes, that though "praises of the unwor thy are felt by ardent minds as robberies of the deserving," yet in "promiscuous company no prudent man can oppugn the merits of a contemporary." On the same subject, Whitehead, after advising the guardians of the sacred font to "keep the peace," writes thus:
What is't to you, that half the town admire
False sense, false strength, false softness, or false fire?
Old Time will settle all your claims at once,
but sometimes not till "the genius" has settled his account with time altogether, and forgotten a world which once forgot him! S. C.
Note M., p. 330.
Boccaccio does not appear a Misogyne" when he is describing Dante's adored Beatrice at eight years old,—" assai leggiadretta e bella secondo la sua fanciullezza," with features "piene, oltre alla bellezza, di tanta onesta vaghezza che quasi un' angioletta era refutata da molti”— unless he thought that, as certain fruits are not good till they are past maturity, ladies, on the contrary, are only in perfection before they have attained it. His account of woman as wife, if it be meant for that of the genus and not merely of some rare species, may be pronounced not almost, but altogether slanderous. Well might he exclaim of such a creature as he describes-who compels her husband to render an account, not only of weightier matters, but even of every little sigh: what caused it, whence it came, and whither it is going; who, when he is glad, ascribes it to love of some one else, and when he is sorry, sets it down to hatred of herself" oh fatica inestimabile avere con così sospettoso animale a vivere, a conversare, ed ultimamento ad invecchiare e morire !" The last is all he could be supposed likely to do with satisfaction in such company. "Who does not know," says he, "that all other things are tried, before they are taken for better for worse, whether they please or not; but every one who takes a wife must have her, not such as he could wish, but such as Fortune grants her?" One might suppose that wives invariably turned out as ill as those of Socrates, of Dante, and of Hooker, as the first espoused of Milton and the jealous partner of John Wesley. That he spoke generally is too plain by his concluding words: Lascino i filosofanti lo sposarsi a' ricchi stolti, a' signori e a' lavoratori; ed essi colla filosofia si dilettino, mollo migliore sposa che alcuna altra.
All the wives above-mentioned would have sown thorns in any bosom closely connected with them, unless they have been grievously belied. If men of letters and philosophers fare worse in marriage than other men, the last words of the sentence above quoted will suggest to the mind why this may be. It may be because, too often, at least, they not only wed philosophy and literature as no man weds an ordinary profession, but are apt to both think her the best of wives and to treat her as such; to make a Sarah of her, and to sink the poor mortal spouse into the place of Hagar; in consequence of which, the children of the latter have to fight their way through life, like Ishmael, in a sort of wilderness. Kindly as well as wisely does Mr. C. advise that no man should permit the interests of an intellectual pursuit thus to over-ride those of the affections, but that the two should be made to bear equally upon the moral being and to sustain it. Philosophy has often sufficed so to fill a man's mind, that it has stood him in stead of marriage; he who unites it with marriage must not suffer it to be thus engrossing, nor expect heart-service from one to whom he has not given his heart,-in reality, though she may have no rival breathing.
Any reader who wishes to pursue Boccaccio's wicked but amusing remarks on this subject, which are written in very racy Italian, may find them in the Opere Volgari di G. Boccaccio, Firenza, 1833, vol. xv. (which contains La vita di Dante Alighieri), pp. 17-27.
On behalf of Dante's wife, I must add that marks of a harsh temper in the author of the Inferno seem to me plainly discernible in the Poem itself. His behavior to Alberigo, in the third sphere of the last circle, was worthy of the place and unworthy of a gentleman.* Milton would not have suffered one of his Fallen Angels to behave so unhandsomely in the "heart of hell," or so to forget the "imperial palace whence they came." If it were true that brutality to one in bale was good manners -costezia fu lui esser villano-(which I deny, in such a case as this, where no ideal child of perdition, or abstraction of wickedness, was exhibited, but a certain sinful, suffering fellow-creature), by what alchemy was false swearing and deceit rectified into righteous dealing? "May I go to the bottom of the ice myself," said he, "if I don't free thine eyes!" Yet, after hearing his story, went and left them cased in crystal! Here was the spirit that christens falsehood and ferocity by the name of religious zeal and strictness. A little further on he finds Brutus in the lowest depths of the descending circles-the patriot Brutus !—and he so great a patriot himself! It seems as if the Infernal journey had turned his brain, or touched his heart with madness.
* Canto xxxiii., 1. 115–150.
We may well believe that such a man would act as the "Misogyne boasts of his having acted, cast off the mother of his children utterly and for ever; unlike our humane as well as "divine Milton," who took back his wife after her most disloyal and disobedient conduct,-after a desertion which left him "nothing belonging to matrimony but its chain," and even extended his protection to her mean and insolent relations. S. C.
P. S. Since writing these bold remarks on the " great philosophic poet" (as some consider him) of Italy, I have read Mr. Landor's delight ful Pentameron, which contains a remarkable critique on Dante, and will just add, that the passage concerning Alberigo, slight as it seems, spoke to my mind of Dante's temper more unequivocally than the striking instances of fierce and malignant sentiment which Mr. Landor adduces from the poem; because it is possible to look upon them as the mere results of theory and opinion. Many a speculative atrocity may be found in the works of writers, who would have been incapable of conceiving and coolly describing such conduct on their own part towards an individual, as Dante's imaginary treatment of the ice-bound Alberigo. S. C.
Note N., p. 331.
I have not yet been able to light upon the passage here quoted, in the labyrinth of Herder's prose writings.* An account of this author is given in Vol. iii. of Taylor's Historic Survey. He was born in 1744, and was the son of a village schoolmaster, who taught at Mohrungen, in Prussia. He seems to have been one of those whom Nature and Fortune conspire to favor, till he fell under the dominion of that foe to genius, nervous derangement. He had a fine face, a fine figure, a fine voice, a fine flow of words; was thought by many to have a fine talent both for prose and poetry, and first brought himself into notice in boyhood by writing a remarkably fine hand. He took holy orders at the usual age, and "obtained the situation of Lutheran minister at Riga, as well as that of rector over the high-school attached to the cathedral there." After obtaining many honors, he died on the 18th of December, 1803; Taylor adds, "occupied in composing a hymn to Deity-which breaks off where he laid down at once his pen and his life." The biographer seems to have caught at this story, for the sake of one of his silent sneers at earnestness in religion; Herder's wife, however, declares that "he slept the whole day, nor in this world ever woke again; but, at half-past eleven at night, gently and without a groan, slumbered away into the
• From an article on Herder, in the London Magazine of April, 1823