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views, increased his stores of knowledge, and matured his mental powers; but his genius, as pictured in his writings, though strengthened and fertilized, thenceforth loses much of its unity. Its emanations are frequently more grand and startling, but less simple and direct.
There is more machinery, and often a confusion of appliances. We feel that it is the same mind in an advanced state ; the same noble instrument breathing deeper strains, but with a melody more intricate and sad.
In the Sibylline Leaves we have depicted a later stage of the poet's life. Language is now a more effective expedient. It follows the thought with a clearer echo. It is woven with a firmer hand. The subtle intellect is evidently at work in the very rush of emotion. The poet has discovered that he cannot hope
" from outward forms to win The passion and the life, whose fountains are within."
A new sentiment, the most solemn that visits the breast of humanity, is aroused by this reflective process —the sentiment of duty. Upon the sunny landscape of youth falls the twilight of thought. A conviction has entered the bosom of the minstrel that he is not free to wander at will to the sound of his own music. His life cannot be a mere revel in the embrace of beauty. He too is a man, born to suffer and to act. He cannot throw off the responsibility of life. He must sustain relations to his fellows. The scenery that delights him assumes a new aspect. It appeals not only to his love of nature, but his sense of patriotism :
More tender ties bind the poet-soul to his native isle
A pledge of more than passing life-
Then was I thrilled and melted, and most warm
Thus gather the many-tinted hues of human destiny around the life of the young hard. To a mind of philosophical cast, the transition is most interesting. It is the distinguishing merit of Coleridge, that in his verse we find these epochs warmly chronicled. Most just is his vindication of himself from the charge of egotism. To what end are beings peculiarly sensitive, and capable of rare expression, sent into the world, if not to make us feel the mysteries of our nature, by faithful delineations, drawn from their own consciousness? It is the lot, not of the individual, but of man in general, to feel the sublimity of the mountain-the loveliness of the flower—the awe of devotion--and the ecstasy of love ; and we should bless those who truly set forth the traits and triumphs of our nature—the consolations and anguish of our human life. We are thus assured of the universality of Nature's laws-of the sympathy of all genuine hearts. Something of a new dignity invests the existence, whose common experience is susceptible of such portraiture. In the keen regrets, the vivid enjoyments, the agonizing remorse, and the glowing aspirations recorded by the poet, we find the truest reflections of our own souls. There is a nobleness in the lineaments thus displayed, which we can scarcely trace in the bustle and strife of the world. Self-respect is nourished by such poetry, and the hope of immortality rekindled at the inmost shrine of the heart. Of recent poets, Coleridge has chiefly added to such obligations. He has directed our gaze to Mont Blanc as to an everlasting altar of praise ; and kindled a perennial flame of devotion amid the snows of its cloudy summit. He has made the icy pillars of the Alps ring with solemn anthems. The pilgrim to the Vale of Chamounj shall not hereafter want a Hymn, by which his admiring soul may 66 wreak” itself upon expression.
Rise, o ever rise,
Earth, and her thousand voices, praises God. To one other want of the heart has the muse of Coleridge given genuine expression. Fashion, selfishness, and the mercenary spirit of the age, have widely and deeply profaned the very name of Love. To poetry it flies as to an ark of safety. The English bard has set apart and consecrated a spot sacred to its meditation
midway on the mount,” - beside the ruined tower;" and thither may we repair to cool the eye fevered with the glare of art, by gazing on the fresh verdure of nature, when
The moonshine stealing o'er the scene
Has blended with the lights of eve,
Our own dear Genevieve.
COMPOSITIONS resembling those of the present volume are
not unfrequently condemned for their querulous egotism. But egotism is to be condemned then only when it offends against time and place, as in a history or an epic poem. To censure it in a monody or sonnet is almost as absurd as to dislike a circle for being round. Why then write Sonnets or Monodies ? Because they give me pleasure when perhaps nothing else could. After the more violent emotions of sorrow, the mind demands amusement, and can find it in employment alone: but full of its late sufferings, it can endure no employment not in some measure connected with them. Forcibly to turn away our attention to general subjects is a painful and most often an unavailing effort.
“ But 0! how grateful to a wounded heart
The tale of misery to impart-
The communicativeness of our nature leads us to describe our own sorrows; in the endeavor to describe them, intellectual activity is exerted; and from intellectual activity there results a pleasure, which is gradually associated, and mingles as a corrective, with the painful subject of the description. - True !" (it may be an