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over the world could not live peacefully among themselves. First, Coleridge quarrelled with Lovell, and then he quarrelled with Southey. That ponderous but restless genius, never at ease with itself, could not adapt itself to the ways of others. Coleridge could not be happy in his youth any more than he was tranquil and contented in his meridian. As a boy, he pined for the solitudes of America; as a man, for vastness greater than the earth could give. The spirit, tremendous in its powers, and divine in its longings, was discontented and wretched in its bondage. Hence, the singular and humiliating contradiction presented in his character; the greatness and the smallness continually clashing and contrasting; the magnificent and gorgeous visions of the gifted dreamer now placing him at the front of his contemporaries, now the small and pitiful doings of the man banishing him to the lowest seat in the company.
It is, perhaps, unnecessary to state that Coleridge received his thirty guineas a very long time before Cottle saw his poems. In the mildest possible way, we are assured, and we believe our informant, for it is the scrupulous Cottle himself, the bookseller communicated to the poet the grievous complaints of the printer; but the answers received were those of injured innocence and offended virtue. Still there was noble forgiveness at the heart of the Pantisocritan, as the following moving epistle, written in the midst of the printing annoyances, abundantly testifies :
“Dear Cottle,--Shall I trouble you (I being over the mouth and nose in doing something of importance at Lovell's) to send your servant into the market and
HIS TREATMENT OF COLERIDGE.
" When a
buy a pound of bacon and two quarts of broad beans; and when he carries it down to College-street, to desire the maid to dress it for dinner, and tell her I shall be home by 3 o'clock ?
“ Yours affectionately,
“S. T. C." The American delusion abandoned, Coleridge without any reasonable means of keeping a wife, married, The less able Coleridge became to provide for his establishment, the more necessary it was for the indefatigable Cottle to look after him. common friend familiarly asked Coleridge how he was to keep the pot boiling when married ? he very promptly answered that Mr. Cottle had made him an offer, and he felt no solicitude on the subject." The offer was one guinea and a half for every 100 lines he might present in blank verse o rhyme. Of course, many guineas and a half were dissipated before the publication of a single line. Still Cottle complained not. Nay, to console and sustain his debtor, he on one occasion sent him a kind invitation to dinner, which the messenger, not finding Coleridge at home, inconsiderately brought back. Coleridge heard of the occurrence, and, concluding that the letter could refer only to one subject, returned an answer to the invitation, thanking God for his dispensations, but asserting his belief that he should have thanked Heaven more had he been born a shoemaker, and not a poet; imprecating his fate, and upbraiding poor Cottle for unkindness which he would have died rather than commit, and imputing to him motives to which his heart was altogether a stranger. “My happiest moments for composition
are broken in upon by the reflection that I must make haste! I am too late! I am already months behind! I have received my pay beforehand ! I have not seen the note, but I guess its contents. I am writing as fast as I can. Depend upon it, you shall not be out of pocket by me."
“At the receipt of this painful letter," beautifully proceeds Cottle, “my first care was to send the young and desponding bard some of the precious metal, to cheer his drooping spirits, to inform him of his mistake, and to renew my invitation.” Shortly afterwards came a proposition from the poet. He desired to publish a pamphlet on a subject of importance connected with the city of Bristol. All he asked was three guineas for the copyright, the first sheet to be delivered on Thursday, the second on Monday, &c. The pamphlet never appeared, but “I presented Mr. C. with the three guineas,” says poor Cottle in a note. It would be an endless task to narrate all the exquisite pecuniary adventures with which Mr. Cottle's very amusing volume abounds. They are not confined to the earliest period of the bookseller's acquaintance with the bard, but they are dotted here and there through the whole course of their friendship. The following is very instructive in its way :
During the delivery of one of his lectures it was remarked by many of Mr. Coleridge's friends, with great pain, that there was something unusual and strange in his look and deportment. The true cause was known to few, and least of all to myself. At one of the lectures, meeting Mr. Coleridge at the inn door, he said, grasping my hand with great solemnity, Cottle, this day week I shall not be alive.' I was
COLERIDGE'S TREATMENT OF COTTLE.
alarmed, but, speaking to another friend, he replied, Do not be afraid. It is only one of Mr. Coleridge's odd fancies. Afterwards he called me on one side, and said, 'My dear friend, a dirty fellow has threatened to arrest me for 101. Shocked at the idea, I said, Coleridge, you shall not go to gaol while I can help it,' and immediately gave him the 101."
The Cottle family were doomed to be victimised, it would seem, by the too facile protégé of the bookseller. On one occasion Cottle ventured to entreat for copy, which the printer imperiously demanded. Coleridge excused himself on the plea that he was wholly absorbed in the interest and affairs of Cottle's brother. Hear the biographer !
“My brother, when at Cambridge, had written a Latin poem for the prize,—the subject, Italia Vastata, - and sent it to Mr. Coleridge, with whom he was on friendly terms, in manuscript, requesting the favour of his remarks, and this he did about six weeks before it was necessary to deliver it in. Mr. Coleridge, in an immediate letter, expressed his approbation of the poem, and cheerfully undertook the task; but, with a little (oh! gentle Cottle !) of his procrastination, he returned the manuscript, with his remarks, just one day after it was too late to send the
The intellectual and social existences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge were as distinct as two parallel streams flowing side by side, but never joining. The anomalies of human nature, whilst they solemnly testify to the fact of our fallen condition, give us no clue to reconcile or repair them. The most learned and devout of the present generation humbly .
acknowledge for their teacher, master, counsellor, and guide, the man who knew not what domestic virtue means, what social obligations lawfully impose; the slave who gave himself up to a degrading passion and sacrificed for it all that men are accustomed to hold most dear on earth. The means of enriching himself by honest labour were prodigally given him, yet he preferred to manly exertion the ignoble idleness of the pitied mendicant. He received single pounds in charity, when he might have commanded hundreds as the just payment of his honourable toil. He knew not the sanctity of a pledged word. Engagements deliberately undertaken were given up without a thought. If he contracted to deliver a lecture, the chances were as much against as in favour of his appearing before the crowded audience assembled to listen to the teacher who spoke as one inspired. It was nothing that Coleridge had sold his tickets and been paid for them. The additional fact was not worth a straw in the calculation. And, then, as to his home! What shall be said of the man whom a faithful friend, smitten by his negligence and wilful perseverance in a life-destroying habit, thus ventures to address ?
Your wife and children are domesticated with Southey. He has a family of his own, which, by his literary labour, he supports, to his great honour; and to the extra provision required of him on your account he cheerfully submits; still, will you not divide with him the honour ? You have not extin. guished in your heart the father's feelings. Your daughter is a sweet girl. Your two boys are promising, and Hartley, concerning whom you once