1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Anonymous, "A Ghost Seer" The Kaleidoscope [Liverpool] NS 5 (7 June 1825) 416.



A correspondent, who calls himself "A Sceptic," asks our opinion of the following paragraph, which is now travelling through the papers without note or comment: — "A lady once asked me," said Mr. Colerdige, "if I believed in ghosts and apparitions?" I answered with truth and simplicity, "No, Madam, I have seen far too many myself." In our opinion, the only construction which Mr. Coleridge's words can bear is, that he has really seen ghosts. Belief is only relying on the testimony of others. If we, therefore, actually see any thing, it is not, strictly speaking, correct to say we believe it. Mr. Coleridge, who is a great metaphysician, has, by this distinction, shown the inaccuracy of that common saying — "Seeing's believing, but feeling has no fellow." As for the fact itself, we do not believe Coleridge's assertion, that he has seen apparitions; but we do believe that he has seen such sights; and we believe further, that, when he so believed, he was under the influence of opium, to which we believe he is much addicted. This is our belief on this subject, to which, we believe, we shall have occasion to recur in a future publication. A friend does not agree in this explanation; and we have introduced the subject, in the hope that it may elicit some ingenious discussion. By the bye, there is a ghost story in the present Kaleidoscope, from the lately published memoirs of Madame de Genlis.