There are some things readable in these volumes; — and if the learned author could only have been persuaded to make them a little more conformable to their title, we have no doubt that they would have been the most popular of all his productions. Unfortunately, however, this work is not so properly an account of his Life and Opinions, as an Apology for them. "It will be found," says our Auto-Biographer, that the least of what I have written concerns myself personally." What then, it may be asked, is the work taken up with? With the announcement of an explanation of the author's Political and Philosophical creed, to be contained in another work — with a prefatory introduction of 200 pages to an Essay on the difference between Fancy and Imagination, which was intended to form part of this, but has been suppressed, at the request of a judicious friend, as unintelligible — with a catalogue of Mr. Southey's domestic virtues, and author-like qualifications — a candid defence of the Lyrical Ballads — a critique on Mr. Wordsworth's poetry — quotations from the Friend — and attacks on the Edinburgh Review. There are, in fact, only two or three passages in the work which relate to the details of the author's life, — such as the account of his school, education, and of his setting up the Watchman newspaper. We shall make sure of the first of these curious documents, before we completely lose ourselves in the multiplicity of his speculative opinions.
"At school, I enjoyed the inestimable advantage of a very sensible, though at the same time, a very severe master, the Rev. James Bowyer, many years Head Master of the Grammar-School, Christ's Hospital. He early moulded my taste to the preference of Demosthenes to Cicero, of Homer and Theocritus to Virgil, and again, of Virgil to Ovid. He habituated me to compare Lucretius (in such extracts as I then read), Terence, and, above all, the chaster poems of Catullus, not only with the Roman poets of the so called silver and brazen ages, but with even those of the Augustan era; and, on grounds of plain sense, and universal logic, to see and assert the superiority of the former, in the truth and nativeness both of their thoughts and diction. At the same time that we were studying the Greek tragic poets, he made us read Shakespeare and Milton as lessons: and they were the lessons, too, which required most time and trouble to bring up, so as to escape his censure. I learnt from him, that Poetry, even that of the loftiest, and, seemingly, that of the wildest odes, had a logic of its own, as severe as that of science; and more difficult, because more subtle, more complex, and dependent on more, and more fugitive causes. In the truly, great poets, he would say, there is a reason assignable, not only for every word, but for the position of every word; and I well remember, that, availing himself of the synonimes to the Homer of Didymus, he made us attempt to show, with regard to each, why it would not have answered the same purpose; and wherein consisted the peculiar fitness of the word in the original text.
"I had just entered on my seventeenth year, when the Sonnets of Mr. Bowles, twenty in number, and just then published in a quarto pamphlet, were first made known and presented to me, by a schoolfellow who had quitted us for the University, and who, during the whole time that he was in our first form (or, in our school language, a GRECIAN), had been my patron and protector. I refer to Dr Middleton, the truly learned, and every way excellent Bishop of Calcutta—
Qui laudibus amplis
Ingenium celebrare meum, calamumque solebat,
Calcar agens animmio validum. Non omnia terrae
Obruta! Vivit amor, vivit dolor! Ora negatur
Dulcia conspicere; at flere et meminisse relictum est.
Petr. Ep. Lib. 7. Ep. 1.
It was a double pleasure to me, and still remains a tender recollection, that I should have received from a friend so revered, the first knowledge of a poet, by whose works, year after year, I was enthusiastically delighted and inspired. My earliest acquaintances will not have forgotten the undisciplined eagerness and impetuous zeal, with which I laboured to make proselytes, not only of my companions, but of all with whom I conversed, of whatever rank, and in whatever place. As my school finances did not permit me to purchase copies, I made, within less than a year and an half, more than forty transcriptions, as the best presents I could offer to those who had in any way won my regard. And, with almost equal delight, did I receive the three or four following publications of the same author.
Though I have seen and known enough of mankind to be well, aware that I shall perhaps stand alone in my creed, and that it will be well, if I subject myself to no worse charge than that of singularity; I am not therefore deterred from avowing, that I regard, and ever have regarded the obligations of intellect among the most sacred of the claims of gratitude. A valuable thought, or a particular train of thoughts, gives me additional pleasure, when I can safely refer and attribute it to the conversation or correspondence of another. My obligations to Mr. Bowles were indeed important, and for radical good. At a very premature age, even before my fifteenth year, I had bewildered myself in metaphysicks, and in theological controversy. Nothing else pleased me. History, and particular facts, lust all interest in my mind. Poetry (though for a school-boy of that age, I was above par in English versification, and had already produced two or three compositions which, I may venture to say, without reference to my age, were somewhat above mediocrity, and which had gained me more credit, than the sound, good sense of my old master was at all pleased with) — poetry itself, yea novels and romances, became insipid to me. In my friendless wanderings on our leave-days, (for I was an orphan, and had scarcely any connexions in London), highly was I delighted, if any passenger, especially if he were drest in black, would enter into conversation with me. For I soon found the means of directing it to my favourite subjects
Of providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate,
Fix'd fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute,
And found no end in wandering mazes lost.
"This preposterous pursuit was, beyond doubt, injurious, both to my natural powers, and to the progress of my education. It would perhaps have been destructive, had it been continued; but from this I was auspiciously withdrawn, partly indeed by an accidental introduction to an amiable family, chiefly however by the genial influence of a style of poetry, so tender, and yet so manly, so natural and real, and yet so dignified and harmonious, as the sonnets, &c. of Mr. Bowles. Well were it for me, perhaps, had I never relapsed into the same mental disease; if I had continued to pluck the flower, and reap the harvest from the cultivated surface, instead of delving in the unwholesome quicksilver mines of metaphysic depths. But if in after-time I have sought a refuge from bodily pain and mismanaged sensibility, in abstruse researches, which exercised the strength and subtlety of the understanding, without awakening the feelings of the heart; still there was a long and blessed interval, during which my natural faculties were allowed to expand, and my original tendencies to develop themselves — my fancy, and the love of nature, and the sense of beauty in forms and sounds." p. 17.
Mr. Coleridge seems to us, from this early association, to overrate the merits of Bowles's Sonnets, which he prefers to Warton's, which last we, in our turn, prefer to Wordsworth's, and indeed to any Sonnets in the language. He cannot, however, be said to overrate the extent of the intellectual obligations which he thinks he owes to his favourite writer. If the study of Mr. Bowles's poems could have effected a permanent cure of that "preposterous" state of mind which he has above described, his gratitude, we admit, should be boundless: But the disease, we fear, was in the mind itself; and the study of poetry, instead of counteracting, only gave force to the original propensity; and Mr. Coleridge has ever since, from the combined forces of poetic levity and metaphysic bathos, been trying to fly, not in the air, but under ground — playing at hawk and buzzard between sense and nonsense, — floating or sinking in fine Kantean categories, in a state of suspended animation 'twixt dreaming and awake, — quitting the plain ground of "history and particular facts" for the first butterfly theory, fancy-bred from the maggots of his brain, — going up in an air-balloon filled with fetid gas from the writings of Jacob Behmen and the mystics, and coming down in a parachute made of the soiled and fashionable leaves of the Morning Post, — promising us an account of the Intellectual System of the Universe, and putting us off with a reference to a promised dissertation on the Logos, introductory to an intended commentary on the entire Gospel of St. John. Its the above extract, he tells us, with a degree of naivete not usual with him, that, "even before his fifteenth year, history and particular facts had lost all interest in his mind." Yet, so little is he himself aware of the influence which this feeling still continues to exert over his mind, and of the way in which it has mixed itself up in his philosophical faith, that he afterwards snakes it the test and definition of a sound understanding and true genius, that "the mind is affected by thoughts, rather than by things; and only then feels the requisite interest even. for the most important events and accidents, when by means of meditation they have passed into thoughts." p. 30. We do not see, after this, what right Mr. C. has to complain of those who say that he is neither the most literal nor logical of mortals; and the worst that has ever been said of him is, that he is the least so. If it is the proper business of the philosopher to dream over theories, and to neglect or gloss over facts, to fit them to his theories or his conscience; we confess we know of few writers, ancient or modern, who have come nearer to the perfection of this character than the author before us.
After a desultory and unsatisfactory attempt (Chap. II.) to account for and disprove the common notion of the irritability of authors, Mr. Coleridge proceeds (by what connexion we know not) to a full, true and particular account of the personal, domestic, and literary habits of his friend Mr. Southey, — to all which we have but one objection, namely, that it seems quite unnecessary, as we never heard them impugned, — except indeed by the Antijacobin writers, here quoted by Mr. Coleridge, who is no less impartial as a friend, than candid as an enemy. The passage altogether is not a little remarkable.
"It is not, however," says our author, "from grateful recollections only, that I have been impelled thus to leave these my deliberate sentiments on record; but in some sense as a debt of justice to the man, whose name has been so often connected with mine, for evil to which he is a stranger. As a specimen, I subjoin part of a note from the 'Beauties of the Anti-Jacobin,' in which, having previously informed the Public that I had been dishonoured at Cambridge for preaching Deism, at a time when, for my youthful ardour in defiance of Christianity, I was decried as a bigot by the proselytes of French philosophy, the writer concludes with these words — 'Since this time he has left his native country, commenced citizen of the world, left his poor children fatherless, and his wife destitute. Ex his disce his friends, Lamb and Southey.'" "With severest truth, " continues Mr. Coleridge, it may he asserted, that it would not he easy to select two men more exemplary in their domestic affections, than those whose names were thus printed at full length, as in the same rank of morals with a denounced infidel and fugitive, who had left his children fatherless, and his wife destitute! Is it surprising that many good men remained longer than perhaps they otherwise would have done, adverse to a party which encouraged and openly rewarded the authors of such atrocious calumnies?" p. 71.
With us, we confess the wonder does not lie there: — all that surprises us is, that the objects of these atrocious calumnies were ever reconciled to the authors of them; — for the calumniators were the party itself. The Cannings, the Giffords, and the Freres, have never made any apology for the abuse which they then heaped upon every nominal friend of freedom; and yet Mr. Coleridge thinks it necessary to apologize in the name of all good men, for having remained so long adverse to a party which recruited upon such a bounty; and seems not obscurely to intimate that they had such effectual means of propagating their slanders against those good men who differed with them, that most of the latter found there was no other way of keeping their good name but by giving up their principles, and joining in the same venal cry against all those who did not become apostates or converts, ministerial Editors, and "laurel-honouring Laureates" like themselves! — What! at the very moment when this writer is complaining of a foul and systematic conspiracy against the characters of himself, and his most intimate friends, he suddenly stops short in his half-finished burst of involuntary indignation, and ends with a lamentable affectation of surprise at the otherwise unaccountable slowness of good men in yielding implicit confidence to a party, who had such powerful arts of conversion in their hands, — who could with impunity, and triumphantly, take away by atrocious calumnies the characters of all who disdained to be their tools, — and rewarded with honours, places, and pensions all those who were. This is pitiful enough, we confess; but it is too painful to be dwelt on.
Passing from the Laureate's old Antijacobin, to his present Antiministerial persecutors — "Publicly," exclaims Mr. Coleridge, "has Mr. Southey been reviled by men, who (I would fain hope, for the honour of human nature) hurled fire-brands against a figure of their own imagination, — publicly have his talents been depreciated, his principles denounced." This is very fine and lofty, no doubt; but we wish Mr. C. would speak a little plainer. Mr. Southey has come voluntarily before the public; and all the world has a right to speak of his publications. It is those only that have been either depreciated or denounced. We are not aware, at least, of any attacks that have been made, publicly or privately, on his private life or morality. The charge is, that he wrote democratical nonsense in his youth; and that he has not only taken to write against democracy in his maturer age, but has abused and reviled those who adhere to his former opinions; and accepted of emoluments from the party which formerly calumniated him, for those good services. Now, what has Mr. Coleridge to oppose to this? Mr. Southey's private character! He evades the only charge brought against him, by repelling one not brought against him, except by his Antijacobin patrons — and answers for his friend, as if he was playing at cross-purposes. Some people say, that Mr. Southey has deserted the cause of liberty: Mr. Coleridge tells us, that he has not separated from his wife. They say, that he has changed his opinions: Mr. Coleridge says, that he keeps his appointments; and has even invented a new word, "reliability," to express his exemplariness in this particular. It is also objected, that the worthy Laureate was as extravagant in his early writings, as he is virulent in his present ones: Mr. Coleridge answers, that he is an early riser, and not a late sitter up. It is further alleged, that he is arrogant and shallow in political discussion, and clamours for vengeance in a cowardly and intemperate tone: Mr. Coleridge assures us, that he eats, drinks, and sleeps moderately. It is said that he must either have been very hasty in taking up his first opinions, or very unjustifiable in abandoning them for their contraries; and Mr. Coleridge observes, that Mr. Southey exhibits, in his own person and family, all the regularity and praiseworthy punctuality of an eight-day clock. With all this we have nothing to do. Not only have we said nothing against this gentleman's private virtues, but we have regularly borne testimony to his talents and attainments as an author, while we have been compelled to take notice of his defects. Till this panegyric of Mr. Coleridge, indeed, we do not know where there was so much praise of him to be found as in our pages. Does Mr. Coleridge wish to get a monopoly for criticising the works of his friends? If we had a particular grudge against any of them, we might perhaps apply to him for his assistance.
Of Mr. Southey's prose writings we have had little opportunity to speak; but we should speak moderately. He has a clear and easy style, and brings a large share of information to most subjects he handles. But, on practical and political matters, we cannot think him a writer of any weight. He has too little sympathy with the common pursuits, the follies, the vices, and even the virtues of the rest of mankind, to have any tact or depth of insight into the actual characters or manners of men. He is in this respect a mere book-worm, shut up in his study, and too attentive to his literary duty to mind what is passing about him. He has no humour. His wit is at once scholastic and vulgar. As to general principles of any sort, we see no traces of any thing like them in any of his writings. He shows the same contempt for abstract reasoning that Mr. Coleridge has for "history and particular facts." Even his intimacy, with the metaphysical author of "The Friend," with whom he has chimed in, both in poetry and politics, in verse and prose, in Jacobinism and Antijacobinism, any time these twenty years, has never inoculated him with the most distant admiration of Hartley, or Berkeley, or Jacob Behmen, or Spinosa, or Kant, or Fichte, or Schelling. His essays are in fact the contents of his commonplace-books strung together with little thought or judgment, and rendered marketable by their petulant adaptation to party-purposes — "full of wise saws and modern instances" — with assertions for proofs — conclusions that savour more of a hasty temper than patient thinking — supported by learned authorities that oppress the slenderness of his materials, and quarrel with one another. But our business is not with him; and we leave him to his studies.
With chap. IV. begins the formidable ascent of that mountainous and barren ridge of clouds piled on precipices and precipices on clouds, from the top of which the author deludes us with a view of the Promised Land that divides the regions of Fancy from those of the Imagination, and extends through 200 pages with various inequalities and declensions to the end of the volume. The object of this long-winding metaphysical march, which resembles a patriarchal journey, is to point out and settle the true grounds of Mr. Wordsworth's claim to originality as a poet; which, if we rightly understand the deduction, turns out to be, that there is nothing peculiar about him; and that his poetry, in so far as it is good for anything at all, is just like any other good poetry. The learned author, indeed, judiciously observes, that Mr. Wordsworth would never have been "idly and absurdly" considered as "the founder of a school in poetry," if he had not, by some strange mistake, announced the fact himself in his preface to the Lyrical Ballads. This, it must be owned, looks as if Mr. Wordsworth thought more of his peculiar pretensions than Mr. Coleridge appears to do, and really furnishes some excuse for those who took the poet at his word; for which idle and hasty conclusion, moreover, his friend acknowledges that there was some little foundation in diverse silly, and puerile passages of that collection, equally unworthy of the poet's great genius and classical taste.
We shall leave it to Mr. Wordsworth, however, to settle the relative worthlessness of these poems with his critical patron, and also to ascertain whether his commentator has discovered, either his real or his probable meaning in writing that Preface, — and should now proceed with Mr. Coleridge up those intricate and inaccessible steeps to which he invites our steps. "It has been hinted, " says he, with characteristic simplicity, "that metaphysics and psychology have long been my hobbyhorse. But to have a hobby-horse, and to be vain of it, are so commonly found together, that they pass almost for the same." We own the soft impeachment, as Mrs. Malaprop says, and can with difficulty resist the temptation of accepting this invitation — especially as it is accompanied with a sort of challenge. "Those at least," he adds, "who have taken so much pains to render me ridiculous for a perversion of taste, and have supported the charge by attributing strange notions to me, on no other authority than their own conjectures, owe it to themselves as well as to me, not to refuse their attention to my own statement of the theory which I do acknowledge, or shrink from the trouble of examining the grounds on which I rest it, or the arguments which I offer in its justification." But, in spite of all this, we must not give way to temptation — and cannot help feeling, that the whole of this discussion is so utterly unreadable in Mr. Coleridge, that it would be most presumptuous to hope that it would become otherwise in our hands. We shall dismiss the whole of this metaphysical investigation, therefore, into the law of association and the nature of fancy, by shortly observing, that we can by no means agree with Mr. C. in refusing to Hobbes the merit of originality in promulgating that law, with its consequences — that we agree with him, generally, in his refutation of Hartley — and that we totally dissent from his encomium on Kant and his followers.
With regard to the claims of the philosopher of Malmesbury as the first discoverer of the principle of association, as it is now understood among metaphysicians, Mr. C. thinks fit to deny it in toto, because Descartes's work, "e Methodo," in which there is an intimation of the same doctrine, preceded Hobbes's "De Natura Humana" by a whole year. — What an interval to invent and mature a whole system in! — But we conceive that Hobbes has a strict claim to the merit of originality in this respect, because he is the first writer who laid down this principle as the sole and universal law of connexion among our ideas: — which principle Hartley afterwards illustrated and applied to an infinite number of particular cases, but did not assert the general theorem itself more broadly or explicitly. We deny that the statement of this principle, as the connecting band of our ideas, is to be found in any of those writers before Hobbes, whom Mr. Coleridge enumerates; Descartes or Melancthon, or those more "illustrious obscure, " Ammerbach, or Ludovicus Vives, or even Aristotle. It is not the having remarked, that association was one source of connexion among certain ideas, that would anticipate this discovery or the theory of Hartley; but the asserting, that this principle was alone sufficient to account for every operation of the human mind, and that there was no other source of connexion among our ideas, — a proposition which Hobbes was undoubtedly the first to assert, and by the assertion of which lie did certainly anticipate the system of Hartley; for all that the latter could do, or has attempted to do, after this, was to prove the proposition in detail, or to reduce all the phenomena this one general law. That Hobbes was in fact the original inventor of the doctrine of Association, and of the modern system of philosophy in general, is matter of fact and history; as to which, we are surprised that Mr. C. should profess any doubt, and which we had gratified ourselves by illustrating by a series of citations from his greater works — which nothing but a sense of the prevailing indifference to such discussions prevents us from laying before our readers.
As for the great German oracle Kant, we must take the liberty to say, that his system appears to us the most wilful and monstrous absurdity that ever was invented. If the French theories of the mind were too chemical, this is too mechanical: — If the one referred every thing to nervous sensibility, the other refers every thing to the test of muscular resistance, and voluntary prowess. It is an enormous heap of dogmatical and hardened assertions, advanced in contradiction to all former systems, and all unsystematical opinions and impressions. He has but one method of getting over difficulties: — when he is at a loss to account for any thing, and cannot give a reason for it, he turns short round upon the inquirer, and says that it is self-evident. If he cannot make good an inference upon acknowledged premises, of known methods of reasoning, he coolly refers the whole to a new class of ideas, and the operation of some unknown faculty, which he has invented for the purpose, and which he assures you must exist, — because there is no other proof of it. His whole theory is machinery and scaffolding — an elaborate account of what he has undertaken to do, because no one else has been able to do it — and an assumption that he has done it, because he has undertaken it. If the will were to go for the deed, and to be confident were to be wise, he would indeed be the prince of philosophers. For example, he sets out with urging the indispensable necessity of answering Hume's argument on the origin of our idea of cause and effect; and because he can find no answer to this argument, in the experimental philosophy, he affirms, that this idea must be "a self-evident truth, contained in the first forms or categories of the understanding;" that is, the thing must be as he would have it, whether it is so or not. Again, he argues that external objects exist because they seem to exist; and yet he denies that we know any thing at all about the matter, further than their appearances. He defines beauty to be perfection, and virtue to consist in a conformity to our duty; with other such deliberate truisms; and then represents necessity as inconsistent with morality, and insists on the existence and certainty of the free-will as a faculty necessary to explain the moral sense, which could not exist without it. This transcendental philosopher is also pleased to affirm, in so many words, that we have neither any possible idea, nor any possible proof of the existence of the Soul, God, or Immortality, by means of the ordinary faculties of sense, understanding, or reason; and he therefore (like a man who had been employed to construct machine for some particular purpose), invents a new faculty, for the admission and demonstration of these important truths, namely, the practical reason; in other words, the will or determination that these things should be infinitely true because they are in finitely desireable to the human mind, — though he says it is impossible for the human mind to have any idea whatever of these objects, either as true or desirable. But we turn gladly from absurdities that have not even the merit of being amusing; an leave Mr. Coleridge to the undisturbed adoration of an idol who will have few other worshippers in this country. His own speculations are, beyond all comparison, more engaging.
In Chap. IX. Mr. Coleridge, taking leave of that "sound book-learnedness" which he had opposed, in the Lay Sermon, to the upstart pretensions of modern literature, praises the inspired ignorance, upward flights, and inward yearnings of Jacob Behmen, George Fox and De Thoyras, and proceeds to, defend himself against the charge of plagiarism, of which he suspects that he may be suspected by the readers of Schlegel and Schelling, when he comes to unfold, in fulness of time, the mysterious laws of the drama and the human mind. An thereafter, the "extravagant and erring" author takes leave of the Pantheism of Spinoza, of Proclus, and Gemistius Pletho, of the philosopher of Nola, "whom the idolaters of Rome, the predecessors of that good old man, the present Pope, burnt a an atheist in the year 1660;" of the Noumenon, or Thing in itself; of Fichte's ORDO ORDINANS, or exoteric God; of Simon Grynaeus, Barclay's Argenis, and Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, from whom the author "cites a cluster of citations, to amuse the reader, as with a voluntary before a sermon" — to plunge into Chap. X., entitled "A Chapter of Digressions and Anecdotes, as an interlude preceding that on the Nature and Genesis of the Imagination or Plastic Power!"
As this latter chapter, by the advice of a correspondent, has been omitted, we must make the most of what is left, and "wander down into a lower world obscure and wild," to give the reader an account a Mr. Coleridge's setting up the Watchman, which is one the first things to which he digresses, in the tenth chapter of his Literary Biography. Out of regard to Mr. C. as well as to our readers, we give our longest extract from this narrative part of the work — which is more likely to be popular than any other part — and is, upon the whole, more pleasingly written. We cannot say much, indeed, either for the wit or the soundness of judgment it displays. But it is an easy, gossipping, garrulous account of youthful adventures — by a man sufficiently ford of talking of himself, and sufficiently disposed to magnify small matters into ideal importance.
"Toward the close of the first year from the time that, in an inauspicious hour, I left the friendly cloysters, and the happy grove of quiet, ever-honoured, Jesus College, Cambridge, I was persuaded, by sundry Philanthropists and Antipolemists, to set on foot a periodical work, entitled THE WATCHMAN, that (according to the general motto of the work) all might know the truth, and that the truth might make us free! In order to exempt it from the stamp-tax, and likewise to contribute as little as possible to the supposed guilt of a war against freedom, it was to be published on every eighth day, thirty-two pages, large octavo, closely printed, and price only Four-pence. Accordingly, with a flaming prospectus, "Knowledge is power," &c. to try the state of the political atmosphere, and so forth, I set off on a tour to the North, from Bristol to Sheffield, for the purpose of procuring customers; preaching by the way in most of the great towns, as a hireless volunteer, in a blue coat and white waistcoat, that not a rag of the woman of Babylon might be seen on me. For I was at that time, and long after, though a Trinitarian (i.e. ad normam Plotonis) in philosophy, yet a zealous Unitarian in religion; more accurately, I was a psilanthropist, one of those who believe our Lord to have been the real son of Joseph, and who lay the main stress on the resurrection, rather than on the crucifixion. O! never can I remember those days with either shame or regret. For I was most sincere, most disinterested! My opinions were indeed in many and most important points erroneous; but my heart was single. Wealth, rank, life itself then seemed cheap to me, compared with the interests of (what I believed to be) the truth, and the will of my Maker. I cannot even accuse myself of having been actuated by vanity; for in the expansion of my enthusiasm, I did not think of myself at all.
"My campaign commenced at Birmingham; and my first attack was on a rigid Calvinist, a tallow-chandler by trade. He was a tall dingy man, in whom length was so predominant over breadth, that be might almost have been borrowed for a foundery poker. O that face! a face [Greek characters]! I have it before me at this moment. The lank, black, twine-like hair, pingui-nitescent, cut in a straight line along the black stubble of his thin gunpowder eyebrows, that looked like a scorched aftermath from a last week's shaving. His coat-collar behind in perfect unison, both of colour and lustre, with the coarse, yet glib cordage, that I suppose he called his hair, and which, with a bent inward at the nape of the neck, (the only approach to flexure in his whole figure), slunk in behind his waistcoat; while the countenance, lank, dark, very hard, and with strong perpendicular furrows, gave me a dim notion of some one looking at me through a used gridiron, all soot, grease, and iron! But he was one of the thorough-bred, a true lover of liberty; and (I was informed) had proved to the satisfaction of many, that Mr. Pitt was one of the horns of the second beast in the Revelation, that spoke like a dragon. A person, to whom one of my letters of recommendation had been addressed, was introducer. It was a new event in my life, my first stroke in the new business I had undertaken, of an author; yea, and of an author trading on his own account. My companion, after some imperfect sentences, and a multitude of hums and haas, abandoned the cause to his client; and I commenced an harangue of half an hour to Phileleutheros the tallow-chandler, varying my notes through the whole gamut of eloquence, from the ratiocinative to the declamatory, and in the latter, from the pathetic to the indignant. I argued, I described, I promised, I prophesied; and, beginning with, the captivity of nations, I ended with the near approach of the millennium; finishing the whole with some of my own verses, describing that glorious state, out of the Religious Musings.
As float to earth, permitted visitants!
When in some hour of solemn jubilee
The massive gates of Paradise are thrown
Wide open: and forth come in fragments wild
Sweet echoes of unearthly melodies,
And odours snatch'd from beds of amaranth,
And they that from the chrystal river of life
Spring up on freshen'd wings, ambrosial gales!
"My taper man of lights listened with perseverant and praiseworthy patience, though (as I was afterwards told on complaining of certain gales that were not altogether ambrosial) it was a melting day with him. And what, Sir! (he said, after a short pause) might the cost be? Only four-pence, (O! how I felt the anti-climax, the abysmal bathos of that four-pence!) only four-pence, Sir, each Number, to be published on every eighth day. That comes to a deal of money at the end of a year. And how much did you say there was be for the money? Thirty-two pages, Sir! large octavo, closely printed. Thirty and two pages? Bless me; why, except what I does in a family way on the Sabbath, that's more than I ever reads, all the year round. I am as great a one as any man in Brumagem, Sir! for liberty, and truth, and all them sort of things; but to this, (no offence, I hope, Sir!) I must beg to be excused.
"So ended my first canvass: from causes that I shall presently mention, I made but one other application in person. This took place at Manchester, to a stately and opulent wholesale dealer in cottons. He took my letter of introduction, and having perused it, measured me from head to foot, and again from foot to head, and then asked if I had any bill or invoice of the thing. I presented my prospectus to him; he rapidly skimmed and hummed over the first side, and still more rapidly the second and concluding page; crushed it within his fingers and the palm of his hand; then most deliberately and significantly rubbed and smoothed one part against the other; and lastly, putting it into his pocket, turned his back on me with an "overrun with these articles" and so without another syllable retired into his counting-house — and, I can truly say, to my unspeakable amusement.
"This, I have said, was my second and last attempt. On returning baffled from the first, in which I had vainly essayed to repeat the miracle of Orpheus with the Brummagem patriot, I dined with the tradesman who had introduced me to him. After dinner, he importuned me to smoke a pipe with him, and two or three other illuminati of the same rank. I objected, both because I was engaged to spend the evening with a minister and his friends, and because I had never smoked except once or twice in my lifetime; and then it was herb tobacco, mixed with Oronooko. On the assurance, however, that the tobacco was equally mild, and seeing too that it was of a yellow colour, (not forgetting the lamentable difficulty I have always experienced in saying, No! and in abstaining from what the people about me were doing), I took half a pipe, filling the lower half of the bole with salt. I was soon, however, compelled to resign it, in consequence of a giddiness and distressful feeling in my eyes, which, as I had drank but a single glass of ale, must, I knew, have been the effect of the tobacco. Soon after, deeming myself recovered, I sallied forth to my engagement; but the walk and the fresh air brought on all the symptoms again; and I had scarcely entered the minister's drawing-room, and opened a small packet of letters which he had received from Bristol for me, ere I sunk back on the sofa, in a sort swoon rather than sleep. Fortunately I had found just time enough to inform him of the confused state of my feelings, and of the occasion. For here and thus I lay, my face like a wall that is white-washing, deathy pale, and with the cold drops of perspiration running down it from my forehead, while, one after another, there dropt in the different gentlemen, who had been invited to meet and spend the evening with me, to the number of from fifteen to twenty. As the poison of tobacco acts but for a short time, I at length awoke from insensibility, and looked around on the party; my eyes dazzled by the candles which had been lighted in the interim. By way of relieving my embarrassment, one of the gentlemen. began the conversation with "Have you seen a paper to day, Mr. Coleridge?" — "Sir! (I replied, rubbing my eyes), I am far from convinced, that a Christian is permitted to read either newspapers or any other works of merely political and temporary interest." This remark, so ludicrously inapposite to, or rather incongruous with, the purpose for which I was known to have visited Birmingham, and to assist me in which they were all then met, produced an involuntary and general burst of laughter; and seldom, indeed, have I passed so many delightful hours as I enjoyed in that room, from the moment of that laugh to an early hour the next morning. Never, perhaps, in so mixed and numerous a party, have I since heard conversation sustained with such animation, enriched with such variety of information, and enlivened with such a flow of anecdote. Both then and afterwards, they all joined in dissuading me from proceeding with my scheme; assured me, with the most friendly, and yet most flattering expressions, that the employment was, neither fit for me, nor I fit for the employment. Yet if I had determined on persevering in it, they promised to exert themselves to the utmost to procure subscribers, and insisted that I should make no more applications in person, but carry on the canvass by proxy. The same hospitable reception, the same dissuasion, and (that failing) the same kind exertions in my behalf, I met with at Manchester, Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, indeed at every place in which I took up my sojourn. I often recall, with affectionate pleasure, the many respectable men who interested themselves for me, a perfect stranger to them, not a few of whom I can still name among my friends. They will bear witness for me, how opposite, even then, my principles were to those of Jacobinism, or even of Democracy, and can attest the strict accuracy of the statement which I have left on record in the 10th and 11th Numbers of The Friend." p. 174.
We shall not stop at present to dispute with Mr. Coleridge, how far the principles of the Watchman, and the Conciones ad Populum were or were not akin to those of the Jacobins. His style, in general, admits of a convenient latitude of interpretation. But we think we are quite safe in asserting, that they were still more opposite to those of the Anti-Jacobins, and the party to which he admits he has gone over.
Our author next gives a somewhat extraordinary account of his having been set upon with his friend Wordsworth, by a Government spy, in his retreat at Nether-Stowey — the most lively thing in which is, that the said spy, who, it seems had a great red nose, and had overheard the friends discoursing about Spinosa, reported to his employers, that he could make out very little of what they said, — only he was sure they were aware of his vicinity, as he heard them very often talking of Spy-nosy! If this is not the very highest vein of wit in the world, it must admitted at least to be very innocent merriment. Another excellent joke of the same character is his remark on an Earl of Cork not paying for his copy of the Friend — that he might have been an Earl of Bottle for him! — We have then some memorandums of his excursion into Germany, and the conditions on which he agreed, on his return home in 1800, to write for the Morning Post, which was at that time not a very ministerial paper, if we remember right.
A propos of the Morning Post, Mr. C. takes occasion to eulogise the writings of Mr. Burke, and observes, that "as our very sign-boards give evidence that there has been a Titian in the world, so the essays and leading paragraphs of our journals are so many remembrancers of Edmund Burke." This is modest and natural we suppose for a newspaper editor: But our learned author is desirous of carrying the parallel a little further, — and assures us, that nobody can doubt of Mr. Burke's consistency. "Let the scholar," says our biographer, "who doubts this assertion, refer only to the speeches and writings of Edmund Burke at the commencement of the American war, and compare them with his speeches and writings at the commencement of the French Revolution. He will find the principles exactly the same, and the deductions the same — but the practical inferences almost opposite in the one case from those drawn in the other, yet in both equally legitimate and confirmed by the results."
It is not without reluctance that we speak of the vices and infirmities of such a mind as Burke's: But the poison of high example has by far the widest range of destruction; and, for the sake of public honour and individual integrity, we think it right to say, that however it may be defended upon other grounds, the political career of that eminent individual has no title to the praise of consistency. Mr. Burke, the opponent of the American war — and Mr. Burke, the opponent of the French Revolution, are not the same person, but opposite persons — not opposite persons only, but deadly enemies. In the latter period, he abandoned not only all his practical conclusions, but all the principles on which they were founded. He proscribed all his former sentiments, denounced all his former friends, rejected and reviled all the maxims to which he had formerly appealed as incontestable. In the American war, he constantly spoke of the rights of the people as inherent, and inalienable: After the French Revolution, he began by treating them with the chicanery of a sophist, and ended by raving at them with the fury of a maniac. In the former case, he held out the duty of resistance to oppression, as the palladium, and only ultimate resource, of natural liberty; in the latter, he scouted, prejudged, vilified and nicknamed, all resistance in the abstract, as a foul and unnatural union of rebellion and sacrilege. In the one case, to answer the purposes of faction, he made it out, that the people are always in the right; in the other, to answer different ends, he made it out that they are always in the wrong — lunatics in the hands of their royal keepers, patients in the sick-wards of an hospital, or felons in the condemned cells of a prison. In the one, be considered that there was a constant tendency on the part of the prerogative to encroach on the rights of the people, which ought always to be the object of the most watchful jealousy, and of resistance, when necessary: In the other, he pretended to regard it as the sole occupation and ruling passion of those in power, to watch over the liberties and happiness of their subjects. The burthen of all his speeches on the American war was conciliation, concession, timely reform, as the only practicable or desirable alternative of rebellion: The object of all his writings on the French Revolution was, to deprecate and explode all concession and all reform, as encouraging rebellion, and an irretrievable step to revolution and anarchy. In the one, he insulted kings personally, as among the lowest and worst of mankind; in the other, he held them up to the imagination of his readers as sacred abstractions. In the one case, he was a partisan of the people, to court popularity; in the other, to gain the favour of the Court, he became the apologist of all courtly abuses. In the one case, he took part with those who were actually rebels against his Sovereign; in the other, he denounced, as rebels and traitors, all those of his own countrymen who did not yield sympathetic allegiance to a foreign Sovereign, whom we had always been in the habit of treating as an arbitrary tyrant.
Judging from plain facts and principles, then, it is difficult to conceive more ample proofs of inconsistency. But try it by the more vulgar and palpable test of comparison. Even Mr. Fox's enemies, we think, allow him the praise of consistency. He asserted the rights of the people in the American war, and continued to assert them in the French Revolution. He remained visibly in his place; and spoke, throughout, the same principles in the same language. When Mr. Burke abjured these principles, he left this associate; nor did it ever enter into the mind of a human being to impute the defection to any change in Mr. Fox's sentiments — any desertion by him of the maxims by which his public life had been guided. Take another illustration, from an opposite quarter. Nobody will accuse the principles of his present Majesty, or the general measures of his reign, of inconsistency. If they had no other merit, they have at least that of having been all along actuated by one uniform and constant spirit: Yet Mr. Burke at one time vehemently opposed, and afterwards most intemperately extolled them; and it was for his recanting his opposition, not for his persevering in it, that he received his pension. He does not himself mention his flaming speeches in the American war, as among the public services which had entitled him to this remuneration.
The truth is, that Burke was a man of fine fancy and subtle reflection; but not of sound and practical judgment — nor of high or rigid principles. — As to his understanding, he certainly was not a great philosopher; for his works of mere abstract reasoning are shallow and inefficient: — Nor a man of sense and business; for, both in counsel and in conduct, he alarmed his friends as much at least as his opponents: — but he was a keen and accomplished pamphleteer — an ingenious political essayist. He applied the habit of reflection, which he had borrowed from his metaphysical studies, but which was not competent to the discovery of any elementary truth in that department, with great felicity and success, to the mixed mass of human affairs. He knew more of the political machine than a recluse philosopher; and he speculated more profoundly on its principles and general results than a mere politician. He saw a number of fine distinctions and changeable aspects of things, the good mixed with the ill, the ill mixed with the good; and with a sceptical indifference, in which the exercise of his own ingenuity was always the governing principle, suggested various topics to qualify or assist the judgment of others. But for this very reason he was little calculated to become a leader or a partisan in any important practical measure: For the habit of his mind would lead him to find out a reason for or against any thing: And it is not on speculative refinements, (which belong to every side of a question), but on a just estimate of the aggregate mass and extended combinations of objections and advantages, that we ought to decide and act. Burke had the power, almost without limit, of throwing true or false weights into the scales of political casuistry, but not firmness of mind — or, shall we say, honesty enough — to hold the balance. When he took a side, his vanity or his spleen more frequently gave the casting vote than his judgment; and the fieriness of his zeal was in exact proportion to the levity of his understanding, and the want of conscious sincerity.
He was fitted by nature and habit for the studies and labours of the closet; and was generally mischievous when he came out; — because the very subtlety of his reasoning, which, left to itself, would have counteracted its own activity, or found its level in the common sense of mankind, became a dangerous engine in the hands of power, which is always eager to make use of the most plausible pretexts to cover the most fatal designs. That which, if applied as a general observation on human affairs, is a valuable truth suggested to the mind, many, when forced into the interested defence of a particular measure or system, become the grossest and basest sophistry. Facts or consequences never stood in the way of this speculative politician. He fitted them to his preconceived theories, instead of conforming his theories to them. They were the playthings of his style, the sport of his fancy. They were the straws of which his imagination made a blaze, and were consumed, like straws, in the blaze they had served to kindle. The fine things he said about Liberty and Humanity, in his speech on the Begum's affairs, told equally well, whether Warren Hastings was a tyrant or not: Nor did he care one jot who caused the famine he described, so that he described it in a way to attract admiration. On the same principle, he represents the French priests and nobles under the old regime as excellent moral people, very charitable, and very religious, in the teeth of notorious facts, — to answer to the handsome things he has to say in favour of priesthood and nobility in general; and, with similar views, he falsifies the records of our English Revolution, and puts an interpretation on the word "abdication," of which a schoolboy would be ashamed. He constructed his whole theory of government, in short, not on rational, but on picturesque and fanciful principles; as if the King's crown were a painted gewgaw, to be looked at on gala-days; titles an empty sound to please the ear; and the whole order of society a theatrical procession. His lamentation over the age of chivalry, and his projected crusade to restore it, is about as wise as if any one, from reading the Beggar's Opera, should take to picking of pockets; or, from admiring the landscapes of Salvator Rosa, should wish to convert the abodes of civilized life into the haunts of wild beasts and banditti. On this principle of false refinement, there is no abuse, nor system of abuses, that does not admit of an easy and triumphant defence; for there is something which a merely speculative inquirer may always find out, good as well as bad, in every possible system, the best or the worst; and if we can once get rid of the restraints of common sense and honesty, we may easily prove, by plausible words, that liberty and slavery, peace and war, plenty and famine, are matters of perfect indifference. This is the school of politics, of which Mr. Burke was at the head; and it is perhaps to his example, in this respect, that we owe the prevailing tone of many of those newspaper paragraphs, which Mr. Coleridge thinks so invaluable an accession to our political philosophy.
Burke's literary talents, were, after all, his chief excellence. His style has all the familiarity of conversation, and all the research of the most elaborate composition. He says what he wants to say, by any means, nearer or more remote, within his reach. He wakes use of the most common or scientific terms, of the longest or shortest sentences, of the plainest and most downright, or of the most figurative modes of speech. He gives for the most part loose reins to his imagination, and follows it as far as the language will carry him. As long as the one or the other has any resources in store to make the reader feel and see the thing as he has conceived it, — in its nicest shade of difference, in its utmost degree of force and splendour, — he never disdains, and never fails to employ them. Yet, in the extremes of his mixed style there is not much affectation, and but little either of pedantry or of coarseness. He everywhere gives the image he wishes to give, in its true and appropriate colouring: and it is the very crowd and variety of these images that have given to his language its peculiar tone of animation, and even of passion. It is his impatience to transfer his conceptions entire, living, in all their rapidity, strength, and glancing variety — to the minds of others, that constantly pushes him to the verge of extravagance, and yet supports him there in dignified security—
Never so sure our rapture to create,
As when he treads the brink of all we hate.
He is, with the exception of Jeremy Taylor, the most poetical of prose writers, and at the same time his prose never degenerates into the mere glitter or tinkling of poetry; for he always aims at overpowering rather than at pleasing; and consequently sacrifices beauty and grandeur to force and vividness. He has invariably a task to perform, a positive purpose to execute, an effect to produce. His only object is therefore to strike hard, and in the right place; if he misses his mark, he repeats his blow; and does not care how ungraceful the action, or how clumsy the instrument, provided it brings clown his antagonist.
Mr. C. enters next into a copious discussion of the merits of his friend Mr. Wordsworth's poetry, — which we do not think very remarkable either for clearness or candour; but us a very great part of it is occupied with specific inculpations of our former remarks on that ingenious author, it would savour too much of mere controversy and recrimination, if we were to indulge ourselves with any observations on the subject. Where we are parties to any dispute, and consequently to be regarded as incapable of giving an impartial account of our adversary's argument, we shall not pretend to give any account of it at all; and therefore, though we shall endeavour to give all due weight t Mr. C.'s reasonings, when we have occasion to consider any new publication from the Lake school, we must for the present decline any notice of the particular objections he has here urged to our former judgments on their productions; and shall pass over all this part of the work before us, by merely remarking, that with regard to Mr. Wordsworth's ingenious project of confining the language of poetry to that which is chiefly in use among the lower orders of society, and that, from horror or contempt, for the abuses of what has been called poetic diction, it is really unnecessary to say anything — the truth and common sense of the thing being so obvious, and, we apprehend, so generally acknowledged, that nothing but a pitiful affectation of singularity could have raised a controversy on the subject. There is, no doubt, a simple and familiar language, common to almost all ranks, and intelligible through many ages, which is the best fitted for the direct expression of strong sense and deep passion, and which, consequently, is the language of the best poetry as well as of the best prose. But it is not the exclusive language of poetry. There is another language peculiar to this manner of writing, which has been called poetic diction, — those flowers of speech, which, whether natural or artificial, fresh or faded are strewed over the plainer ground which poetry has in common with prose; a paste of rich and honeyed words, like the candied coat of the auricula; a glittering tissue of quaint conceits and sparkling metaphors, crusting over the rough stalk of homely thoughts. Such is the style of almost all our modern poets; such is the style of Pope and Gray; such, too, very often, is that of Shakespeare and Milton; and, notwithstanding Mr. Coleridge's decision to the contrary, of Spenser's Faery Queen. Now this style is the reverse of one made up of slang phrases; for, as they are words associated only with mean and vulgar ideas, poetic diction is such as is connected only with the most pleasing and elegant associations; and both differ essentially from the middle or natural style, which is a mere transparent medium of the thoughts, neither degrading nor setting them off by any adventitious qualities of its own, but leaving them to make their own impression, by the force of truth and nature. Upon the whole, therefore, we should think this ornamented and coloured style, most proper to descriptive or fanciful poetry, where the writer has to lend a borrowed, and, in some sort, meretricious lustre to outward objects, which he can best do by enshrining them in a language that, by custom and long prescription, reflects the image of a poetical mind, — as we think the common or natural style is the truly dramatic style, that in which he can best give the impassioned, unborrowed, unaffected thoughts of others. The pleasure derived from poetic diction is the same as that derived from classical diction. It is in like manner made up of words dipped in "the dew of Castalio" — tinged with colours borrowed from the rainbow, — "sky tinctured," warmed with the glow of genius, purified by the breath of time, — that soften into distance, and expand into magnitude, whatever is seen through their medium, — that varnish over the trite and commonplace, and lend a gorgeous robe to the forms of fancy, but are only an incumbrance and a disguise in conveying the true touches of nature, the intense strokes of passion. The beauty of poetic diction is, in short, borrowed and artificial. It is a glittering veil spread over the forms of things and the feelings of the heart; and is best laid aside, when we wish to show either the one or the other in their naked beauty or deformity. As the dialogues in Othello and Lear furnish the most striking instances of plain, point-blank speaking, or the real language of nature and passion, so the Choruses in Samson Agonistes abound in the fullest and finest adaptations of classic and poetic phrases to express distant and elevated notions, born of fancy, religion and learning.
Mr. Coleridge bewilders himself sadly in endeavouring to determine in what the essence of poetry consists; — Milton, we think, has told it in a single line—
—Thoughts that voluntary move
Poetry is the music of language, expressing the music of the mind. Whenever any object takes such a hold on the mind as to make us dwell upon it, and brood over it, melting the heart in love, or kindling it to a sentiment of admiration; — whenever a movement of imagination or passion is impressed on the mind by which it seeks to prolong and repeat the emotion, to bring all other objects into accord with it, and to give the same movement of harmony, sustained and continuous, to the sounds that express it, — this is poetry. The musical in sound is the sustained and continuous; the musical in thought and feeling is the sustained and continuous also. Whenever articulation passes naturally into intonation, this is the beginning of poetry. There is no natural harmony in the ordinary combinations of significant sounds: the language of prose is not the language of music, or of Passion and it is to supply this inherent defect in the mechanism of language — to make the sound an echo to the sense, when the sense becomes a sort of echo to itself — to mingle the tide of verse, "the golden cadences of poesy," with the tide of feeling, flowing, and murmuring as it flows — or to take the imagination off its feet, and spread its wings where it may indulge its own impulses, without being stopped or perplexed by the ordinary ahruptnesses, or discordant flats and sharps of prose that poetry was invented.
As Mr. C. has suppressed his Disquisition on the Imagination as unintelligible, we do not think it fair to make any remarks on the 200 pages of prefatory matter, which were printed, it seems, in the present work, before a candid friend apprised him of this little objection to the appearance of the Disquisition itself. We may venture, however, on one observation, of a very plain and practical nature, which is forced upon us by the whole tenor of the extraordinary history before us, — Reason and imagination are both excellent things; but perhaps their provinces ought to be kept more distinct than they have lately been. "Poets have such seething brains," that they are disposed to meddle with everything, and mar all. Mr. C., with great talents, has, by an ambition to be everything, become nothing. His metaphysics have been a dead weight on the wings of his imagination — while his imagination has run away with his reason and common sense. He might, we seriously think, have been a very considerable poet — instead of which he has chosen to be a bad philosopher and a worse politician. There is something, we suspect, in these studies that does not easily amalgamate. We would not, with Plato, absolutely banish poets from the commonwealth; but we really think they should meddle as little with its practical administration as may be. They live in an ideal world of their own; and it would be, perhaps, as well if they were confined to it. Their flights and fancies are delightful to themselves and to every body else; but they make strange work with matter of fact; and, if they were allowed to act in public affairs, would soon turn the world upside down. They indulge only their own flattering dreams or superstitious prejudices, and make idols or bugbears of what they please, caring as little for "history or particular facts," as for general reasoning. They are dangerous leaders anti treacherous followers. Their inordinate vanity runs them into all sorts of extravagances; and their habitual effeminacy gets them out of them at any price. Always pampering their own appetite for excitement, and wishing to astonish others, their whole aim is to produce a dramatic effect, one way or other — to shock or delight their observers; and they are as perfectly indifferent to the consequences of what they write, as if the world were merely a stage for them to play their fantastic tricks on. — As romantic in their servility as in their independence, and equally importunate candidates for lame or infamy they require only to be distinguished, and are not scrupulous as to the means of distinction. Jacobins or Antijacobins — outrageous advocates for anarchy and licentiousness, or flaming apostles of persecution — always violent and vulgar in their opinions, they oscillate, with a giddy and sickening motion, from one absurdity to another, and expiate the follies of their youth by the heartless vices of their advancing age. None so ready as they to carry every paradox to its most revolting and nonsensical excess — none so sure to caricature, in their own persons, every feature of an audacious and insane philosophy: — In their days of innovation, indeed, the philosophers crept at their heels like hounds, while they darted on their distant quarry like hawks; stooping always to the lowest game; eagerly snuffing up the most tainted and rankest scents; feeding their vanity with the notion of the strength of their digestion of poisons, and most ostentatiously avowing whatever would most effectually startle the prejudices of others. Preposterously seeking for the stimulus of novelty in truth, and the eclat of theatrical exhibition in pure reason, it is no wonder that these persons at last became disgusted with their own pursuits, and that, in consequence of the violence of the change, the most inveterate prejudices and uncharitable sentiments have rushed in to fill up the vacuum produced by the previous annihilation of common sense, wisdom, and humanity.
This is the true history of our reformed Antijacobin poets; the life of one of whom is here recorded. The cant of Morality, like the cant of Methodism, comes in most naturally to close the scene; and as the regenerated sinner keeps alive his old raptures and new-acquired horrors, by anticipating endless ecstasies or endless tortures in another world; so, our disappointed demagogue keeps up that "pleasurable poetic fervour" which has been the cordial and the bane of his existence, by indulging his maudlin egotism arid his mawkish spleen in fulsome eulogies of his own virtues, and nauseous abuse of his contemporaries — in making excuses for doing nothing himself, and assigning bad motives for what others have done. — Till he can do something better, we would rather hear no more of him.