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philosophy in a saying of Farquhar's, though he puts it into the mouth of a ruined rake and fortune-hunter, that 'past pleasures are best.' 'Not e'en the gods upon the past have power.' To walk with reverted eyes, to live in the days that are gone, is commonly accounted to be the natural propensity of old age, or the acquired indulgence of affliction. For myself, I remember not a time when it was not so with me. Distant hopes were never the stuff of my day-dreams. If in childhood, or, as was more frequently the case, in the turbulent period of transition betwixt boyhood and adolescence, I sometimes felt in haste to be a man, no anticipated delight, no definite purpose, or indefinite yearning, mingled with my angry impatience. The idle wish arose merely from a horror of restraint, a sore antipathy to counsel. Yet, in my earliest childhood I was not without a sense, a presentiment that I was enjoying more freedom than I could ever expect againthough I rather envied the dirty, ragged boys who were not made to change their stockings when they got wetshod, and if they had pennies given them, were allowed to spend them in gunpowder and little cannons. I believe that obstinacy, or the dread of control and discipline, arises not so much from self-willedness, as from a conscious defect of voluntary power, as fool-hardiness is not seldom the self-disguise of conscious timidity. You will not wonder (I hope, indeed, you have too much sense to wonder or be shocked at any. thing) that I regard all the reforms wrought on these premises as unfavourably as the stanchest Conservative can regard the Reformed Parliament. Even the conversion of Paul seems to me little better than apostasy.* The organ room is out of tune; not at all comparable to what it was with its bare walls, whereon the damp had played the geographer, mapping out Ejuxras and Eutopias, With shores
* “Hartley's parlour," as it was once called, had been converted into a supplementary library, and morning-room for the family. The process by which this was effected was termed robbing Peter to pay Paul. Hence its new name,
embayed, and winding rivers long and wide, And forests vast of mouldy greenery, Sharp-jutting capes to cleave the longbacked waves ; What time my cousin Robert and myself On fiddle, hight of Caledon, did play Broad Scotia’s ancient music. Poor dear Wilsy's kitchen !—but of this I cannot bear to speak; besides, I suppose you know the changes well enough, though some have taken place since your departure. But there are worse alterations than these. Our dear Mother's chair and little table no longer occupy their 'customed nook. You are no longer the shorty.' Edith's queen-like form is seen no more: and, alas ! the churchyard is full of our hopes and affections. But enough. Uncle is still the same-quite as good, and sometimes quite as funny and light-hearted, though assuredly he has more frequent fits of silence and abstraction ; and I am assured he looks gloomily on public affairs. And what do you think of the 'Doctor?' And what do you think of Lockhart's wise conjecture ? that I—even I—Hartley Coleridge, assisted by my father, am the author thereof? A great compliment, doubtless. It is a book ! a book indeed: it must be delightful to every one ; and yet there are touches that can only be felt by a few. I do, I confess, like the Pantagruelism, and the narrative, and the love, better than the good advice, or the religion, or the politics, which may be all very good in their kind (although, entre nous, the sort of sectarian Church of Englandism which it breathes is anything but
-, no matter); but the contrast between the serious and comic parts seems to me too sharp. I have to review it in ‘Blackwood,' and shall throw out some sapient innuendos respecting the author, just to lead the wiseacres astray. I shall insist upon it, that it could be written by none but a clergyman, a Doncastrian, a valetudinarian, a great traveller, a man who had experienced disappointments in love, probably—an Oxonian and a senior fellow. Of course the A. I. Chapters must be regarded as altogether fabulous or allegorical; and I shall prove by irrefragable arguments that the Bhow-Begum is the Church. But uncle is just going out; so I must end with
thanking you for your letter. To-morrow I shall most likely return to Grasmere and my labours. All here send their best loves to you all. Commend me to mamma and Henry; I shall write to them both soon. God bless you, and be thanked for the improvement in your health.
In the autumn of the year 1834, he lost his father. His letters to his mother and myself, on receiving the tidings of this event, are so characteristic of his better self, and do so much honour to his father's memory, that I cannot entirely withhold them. To his mother he writes :
“ MY DEAR MOTHER,
“Though from Miss Hutchinson's report I had too much reason to expect the sad event announced in Henry's letter of last Friday, and though I cannot say that I was much surprised, yet so little had I prepared my mind for the loss, that it fell upon me as the fulfilment of an unbelieved prophecy: and even yet, though I know it, I hardly believe it. I do not feel fatherless. I often find my mind disputing with itself—What would my father think of this ? and when the recollection awakes, that I have no father, it appears more like a possible evil than an actual bereavement. You may, perhaps, have felt something like this on first hearing of the departure of distant friends; I am sure I do not express it well; yet, had I been forewarned by that mysterious presentiment which the future still throws before, I could not but feel that something was coming. Nightly I dreamed of my father, and had daily an especial longing to see him. But this is sad talk, and vain. Henry, God bless him ! bids me write comfortably to you. Whence can that comfort be derived if not from the consideration that he departed in the faith of Christ, with the Holy Spirit conducting his soul
through pain to victory? But this I need not say to you. When we mourn for the dead, we mourn but for our own bereavement; we believe, or strive to believe, that they live for themselves and for God; but for us the dead are dead.* It is common on these occasions to dwell on the shortness and uncertainty of life; I know not why, but that is not the moral I draw from death. I rather grieve that it was not I; that I was not, like Kirke White, called away in my youth ; that my beloved parents did not close my eyes; that my death should have been the only sorrow I had ever caused them; that when they talked of me, they might weep tears of tender joy, thinking of what I might have been, and no painful thought of what I had been, ever joined
“The silent melody of thought that sings
“Dear mother, this is a sad attempt at verse, and it may seem to you to evidence small sense of my orphan state that I should choose such a vehicle; but I have so long used myself to express my deeper feelings in metre, that I find a difficulty in expressing them in prose.”
* This thought is expanded in the beautiful sonnet,
“Still for the world he lives, and lives in bliss,
His letter to myself, in which the first gush of his feeling had found vent, I cannot trust myself to characterise. It is, as he said, “a long, long, very long letter," written in all the eloquence of a grief embittered by self-reproach. A short extract, which the object of this memoir seems to require, is all that can be given from this sacred memorial.
“ Grasmere, August 1, 1834.
“ DEAR DERWENT,
“I feel, I know how utterly incommensurate my grief is to its occasion. Friends think they have nothing to do but console. Perhaps other people do, or think they do, lament the departed enough ; I declare that I reproach my own heart for its unfilial insensibility. All the sorrow I feel were scarce adequate to the loss of an affectionate dog. In times past I have shed tears, hot, scalding, painful tears, for mere nothings, and now I cannot weep, though now my tears might be a second baptism, washing my soul from sins of many days. But this day I saw a mother and a father parting with their child for six months only, and they wept, and I could have wept with them. And why? they had no cause, no hint of grief, and yet I envied them not their hope, but their pregnancy of sorrow. And yet, why sorrow? It was his wish that he might so meet death as to testify the depth and sincerity of his faith in Jesus. And was he not, while life and breath were granted him, a powerful preacher of Jesus ? For myself I can speak that he, he only, made me a Christian. What with my irregular passions and my intellect-powerful, perhaps, in parts, but ever like 'a crazy old church clock and its bewildered chimes '- what but for him I might have been, I tremble to think.
But I never forgot him ; no, Derwent, I have forgot myself too often, but I never forgot my father. And now if his beatified spirit be