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ridicule of nine out of ten, who may read these pages, if I were to assert my opinion, that Mr. Coleridge is the greatest .genius, in every respect, of the present day. We have all been so accustomed to hear him and Wordsworth abused, laughed at, and cut up, by critics of every dimension, that we cannot emancipate ourselves from the habitual delusion. We have seen a weak poem cited as a chef-d'æuvre--an obscure disquisition as a sample of his poetry and philosophy; and it but rarely occurs to us that this may be all trick, nay, and a trick so contemptibly easy of execution, that it is notorious that the shallowest scribblers have, under the character of the anonymous “ We," written down with success the writings, and broken the hearts, of men of the most exquisite and hence susceptible genius. Kirke White cannot and ought not to be forgotten.
“ Well ! but you forget Lord Byron ! think of Childe Harold, The Corsair, Don Juan,' and The Bride of Abydos, says one;—"and Moore," says another ;-"or Southey ; -or at least your idol Wordsworth !"--True, I hear you all, and know your own convictions, and know also that the first, second, and third of you, have the world on your side. Howbeit, I am a Mede
Howbeit, I am a Mede or Persian in this my opinion, and will not retract or soften it even at the name of Wordsworth himself. To enter into a critical examination of meum and tuum between Wordsworth and Coleridge; to show or rather hint that much of the very essence of the former's poetical being is a transfusion of the life-blood of the latter; to demonstrate this fact by remarking upon the gradual decrease of intellectual vigour, observable in the recent poems of Mr. Wordsworth, occasioned, as I would have it, by his less intimate communion of late with the friend of his youth ; --all this would require, though it might justify, more time, labour, and delicacy of touch, than at present I can possibly afford it.
That to Coleridge and Wordsworth the poetry, the philosophy, and the criticism, of the present day, does actually owe its peculiar character, and its distinguishing excellence over that of the last century, those who would trace the origin of the present opinions back for thirty years would find no difficulty in believing. These two men, essentially different as they are in many respects, have been copied, imitated, and parodied, by every poet who now lives. Lord Byron has owned his obligations to Mr. Coleridge, and the third Canto of “Childe Harold” could not have been written unless Wordsworth had lived before it. The author of “ The Lay of the Last Minstrel” can best tell what poem was the motive of his own work, and the “ Lady of the Lake” is indebted almost for the very words of many of its most admired passages to Wordsworth's Poems. I do not deny that there are many assignable causes of the neglect which the writings of Mr. Coleridge have met with ; I have myself hinted above at the uncouth dress of his metaphysical meditations, and the general difficulty and hardness of his reasoning; but this censure does not apply to an immense portion even of “ The Friend,” or the first “ Lay Sermon;" to the second Sermon not at all ;and surely it is a little unreasonable to excommunicate the works of a man of such acknowledged excellence in most respects, because of his obliquities in a few particulars.
It is not much to the purpose, but yet I cannot help adverting to his personal manners and qualities ; for they are such
as when once seen and felt have never been forgotten, or not reverenced and loved even by his enemies themselves. Gentle and patient to every one; communicative and sympathizing, you perceive at the very first glance that you are near an extraordinary and selfsubdued being. His powers of conversation have, I suppose, never been equalled; there is a fervid continuousness of discourse, a brilliancy and justness of images and similes which charm and convince every hearer ; and a learning' so deep, so various, so perfectly under command, that you may come away from an evening's conversation with him, with more curious facts, wellconceived explications, and ingenious reasonings upon them, than you could possibly gain from a week's reading. Those who have attended his Lectures on Shakspeare may form some idea of what I would
but they cannot know all his winning fascination, all his almost infantine simplicity of manners, all his exquisite humour. I do not indulge myself in wilful flattery of this great man by these expressions ; for it is little probable that a Number of 6 The Etonian” should ever creep in between his Plato and his Bible; but I use them because they are justly his due; because they have been long and maliciously withheld or denied; and because, besides his universal claim for respect from his genius and eloquence, he has ties of another kind which assure him the love and esteem of
December 6. Took leave of the Members of the Club, and arrived in London.
Dec. 7.-Saw it notified in the papers that “ yesterday morning his Majesty left Windsor for Town. Dec. 13.-Received two letters of advice. The first
a Whig and an old Etonian.”—He is our very good friend, and deserves my most sincere thanks; but, being an old Etonian,” he must recollect that young Etonians have an hereditary attachment for hoaxing.
The second is from an old Etonian of from 1796 to 1801." - I am obliged to him for his suggestion, and will profit by it, should any future impression be found necessary. I must take this opportunity of observing, that under the numerous difficulties which our inexperience has to encounter, we trust our friend will not withhold from us any advice which may be of service to us in the prosecution of this work.
Dec. 16.—Received the following song from a highlyvalued correspondent:
Spring breathes her first kisses on mountain and vale,
The Morn in its loveliness bids us awake,
I wander at evening and dream of her eye :
Dec. 19.-Received some stanzas on 66 Balaam” not Blackwood's Balaam, but the Bible's Balaam. The author must get somebody to explain the term to him. We are unwilling to insert poems on Scriptural themes, unless they have
something extraordinary to recommend them.
Dec. 26.—This day I, Peregrine Courtenay, King of Clubs and Editor of “ The Etonian," paid my first visit
to Cambridge. N.B. Had excogitated in the Telegraph” sundry Burtonian compositions in the way of Song, Sonnet, and Serenade, all ornamented with « tique fanes,” “ hoary sages,” “etherial contemplations;” but the sight of the town (“ I shall offend if I describe") somewhat curbed my Pegasus, and I was finally recalled to sublunary considerations by my dinner in the Hall of St. John's.
Dec. 27.-After breakfast, sallied forth incog. in quest of the Arch-Fiend Criticism.Found him, with a smile on one side of his face and a frown on the other, in Mr. Deighton's shop. Many Gownsmen were lounging about, acting under his influence. Various, as usual, were the opinions expressed as to my own identity. I contained myself as much as possible; nevertheless I was somewhat provoked when I heard myself described by one orator as a jovial Hampshire sportsman; and by another, as a silent sickly Gentleman with a long face. I had a fit of the sullens when a Johnian Pensioner averred that I was the son of a Linen-draper, and laughed outright when two Fellow-Commoners of Trinity in a whisper elevated me to the Peerage.
Dec. 31. Found another old acquaintance, who is preparing for the Senate House, and is alarmed beyond
Went to bed in the horrors, and dreamed of the Wooden Spoon.
January 1, 1821.-I am this morning in possession of matter sufficient for 156 pages of letter-press: but it seems probable that the appearance of No IV. will be delayed till February, from causes which it is impossible for me to make public.
Jan. 3.-Left Cambridge with great regret. I have seen there very old edifices, and drank very old wine; met some very dear old friends, and found very kind new ones. Altogether I begin to rank Granta second only to Etona in my estimation, and look forward with tolerable complacency to a Pensioner's gown.