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perfect.” A sensible discourse ; Paul and James harmonised ; still the grand truth that real faith cannot but display itself in works of love, truth, and purity, though implied, was not so clearly enunciated as it might have been; nor was any allusion made to the distinction between good works and righteous actions; faith rather spoken of as a concurrent duty than as the constituent power of good works. St. Paul's, logical Epistle. Right. But Paul's logic is neither Aristotle's, nor Aldrich’s, nor Lully's, nor Ramus's, but his own. C. D. as sweet looking as ever; what a blessing in her smile ! E. C. a lovely creature, and all her roses returned. Clouds dispersed with the congregation-mists rolled away in sunshine, and the green mountain tops, bedecked with white array, like young brides shone forth happily. Drank glass of wine with F. Corrected my political views of the Beer Tax. Dinner, eggs and bacon; nothing better. Nap, dreamed that one eye was bunged up-found that my arm was on it. Tea. Last
years of Lord Byron-Count de Gamba raised him in my esteem. The spirit of music came upon me; the horned moon, looking tranquillity; promise of better times. Now will I read a chapter and smoke a pipe, and so to bed, for it is Monday morning. Tomorrow, ay, to-morrow, for it is to-day till one goes to bed, spite of clocks—will finish if possible the article on the Fine Arts. Amen.
“I did not know when writing the above that the Count de Gamba was the brother of Byron's paramour, or I should have received his testimony with more caution.”
From the year 1826 to the year 1831, he wrote occasionally in “ Blackwood's Magazine,” to which he was introduced by the kindness of his friend, Professor Wilson. His contributions to this periodical form part of the general collection of his Essays. He used to speak of them slightly, as written for a temporary purpose. They will be found, however, full of spirit and drollery, with a certain characteristic humour, and with no attempt at condensation, yet acute, thoughtful and suggestive. The essay on the character of Hamlet, in particular, excited much attention, and may certainly be compared, without prejudice, to the celebrated critique in Goethe's Wilhelm Meister,—perhaps to any piece of criticism extant on this subject, or in this kind.* In Blackwood also first appeared the beautiful poem of “Leonard and Susan."
He had now acquired considerable literary reputation, sufficient to induce a young printer and publisher, Mr. F. E. Bingley, to take him with him to Leeds, with whom he entered into engagements, secured by a bond, to furnish matter for a biographical work on the Worthies of Yorkshire and Lancashire, with a number of poems, sufficient for two small volumes. During his residence in Leeds, he was domesticated in Mr. Bingley's family, where he was treated with much kindness and regard, and for some time the undertaking proceeded prosperously. The publication of “The Worthies” proceeded as far as the third number,
* These essays may be studied as specimens of diction. The easy mastery of the language, which rises without an effort to the very height of the subject, and falls as naturally to a lower level, will be apparent to every reader,—the style throughout being rich, varied, and chromatic, with little quaintness, and with no affectation.
forming a large octavo volume, of 632 pages, during the year 1832; and in the following year, 1833, a volume of poems was published; when the connexion between my brother and Mr. Bingley was interrupted by the bankruptcy of the latter. My brother returned to Grasmere, and, after considerable delay and negotiation, was released from his engagement, through the intervention of an invaluable friend, Mr. James Brancker, to whom my brother had already been indebted for much judicious kindness during his residence at Croft Lodge, near Ambleside, and who continued to the end of his life to regard him with affectionate interest. Mr. Bingley's letter on this occasion will spare the necessity of further comment
Leeds, January, 1833. “MY DEAR SIR,
Having been informed by your friend Mr. Brancker that
you feel no inclination to resume the editorship of The Worthies, and that your mind is not at ease respecting your promise to furnish me at some time with MS. for a second volume of poems and a pamphlet, I beg to state that you need no longer consider yourself under any engagements to furnish me with MS. either for the aforesaid volume of poems, or for any other work. But although I shall never call upon you to redeem any engagement that you have entered into with me, I shall consider myself both honoured and obliged by the offer of any of your MS., either now ready or in embryo, for publication.
“I remain, my dear Sir, “With sentiments of respect and esteem,
Yours very truly,
“F. E. BINGLEY."
The “Worthies, consisting of thirteen lives, as published in a collected form under the title of “Biographia Borealis," immediately obtained, and continues to enjoy, considerable reputation. The work may even be said to be popular. That the Lives are drawn up, for the most part, from obvious materials, skilfully put together, with more pretension to original thought and lively illustration, than to independent research, is no matter of surprise, considering the circumstances under which they were composed, written as they were against time, to meet the demands of the press, in a country town, affording scanty opportunities for literary investigation. As mere biography they show what Hartley Coleridge might have achieved in this department, if not in the higher walks of history. But they are more than what they profess to be: they run over with acute observations and ingenious speculation on all sorts of subjects,-a manner of writing natural to the author and parallel to his style of conversation, expressed in an easy and vivacious diction, and supported by a large amount of miscellaneous information.
It is pleasant to know that this production was read by his father carefully and with evident gratification, as appears from the tenor of his remarks (which, however, are for the most part expostulatory), recorded in the margin of the copy, which had been placed in his hands. These annotations will appear in a new edition of the work.*
To the poems a larger meed of praise is, in my judgment, to be awarded. Though printed for sale, they can hardly be said to have been published; but by the few readers of poetry to whom they are known, they are much, and I think justly, admired as works of genial inspiration and of finished art. They have been long out of print, and a copy is scarcely to be procured.
The following letters to his sister, shortly after his return from Leeds, on the occasion of Miss Southey's marriage, is sufficiently characteristic to find a place here.
“ Greta Hall, March 24, 1834. “MY DEAR SARA,
“It was a sweet consolation to hear soon after Edith's marriage that your old playmate and cousin-bride bad seen you, and that you were at least well enough to take pleasure in the meeting; nor could the good tidings have transpired in a more fitting place than this identical parlour, where, changed as most things are, there are still some lingering relics of old times: of the happy times which have left a joy for memory'—times, which are the most invaluable possession of my heart, and, paradoxical as it may sound, the better for being flown. There is much and true
* This edition is now in the press, and may be expected in a few weeks.—December 1, 1851.