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exertion on his behalf. A lengthened period of comparative happiness, and consequent usefulness, awaited him in the society of those honoured friends, Mr. and Mrs. Gillman, with whom he was soon after domesticated at Highgate; and when it became necessary to make provision for the residence of his younger son at the University, he was enabled to exert himself effectually
As far as if from black to white,
very likely that of France
School-boys are not wont to give "sarcenet surety for their words,” but my brother's expletives were purely literaryborrowed from old-fashioned plays and poems.
for this object. In my brother's case, means were supplied by his father's friends and relatives through the active intervention of Mr. Southey ;* and in the following year he went to Oxford, as a scholar or postmaster, as it is termed, of Merton College.
Of his carlier life at Oxford I have very slight memoranda. I knew but one of his college friends, and he did honour to his choice. He was a man of the highest principles, and the most spotless life,-an excellent scholar, of the Eton breed, being a successful competitor for the Latin-verse prize, a mathematician, and, in due course, a
* In the fourth volume of Mr. Southey's “Life and Correspondence," a work conducted with singular delicacy and judgment on the part of the editor, my near and highly esteemed relative, to whom, if only for the feeling manifested towards my lamented brother, my affectionate thanks are due, there appears a letter on this subject, exhibiting the active kindness of the writer, ever gratefully acknowledged by him to whom it was shown on this as on so many other occasions, and in so many other ways; but which, as regards my father, requires more explanation than could be given there, or than can find a place here. Not till the life of S. T. Coleridge shall have been published in extenso, if this be ever possible, will he be truly known either in his weakness or in his strength. It is one object of this publication to show how my brother felt towards both his parents, believing that such a record of veneration and love can lead but to one inference. *
* See Appendix C.
double first-classman, after which he became a Fellow of Exeter College.* He always spoke of my brother with affection and respect, which I have every reason to believe he fully merited.
As might have been expected, he was more distinguished for general talent and information, than for technical scholarship. The interesting statement which follows has been communicated to me by the writer, the Rev. Alexander Dyce, through the kindness of Mr. Moxon.
“9, GRAY'S INN SQUARE, July 30, 1849. “My acquaintance with Hartley Coleridge commenced at Oxford, soon after his first examination in the schools, and it continued till the time when he stood for the Oriel fellowship. I then quitted the University, and we never met again.
“If I had known Hartley later in his career, perhaps something painful might have mingled with my recollections of him ; but I remember him only as a young man who possessed an intellect of the highest order, with great simplicity of character, and considerable oddity of manner.
“His extraordinary powers as a converser (or rather a declaimer) procured for him numerous invitations to what are called at Oxford 'wine-parties. He knew that he was expected to talk, and talking was his delight. Leaning his head on one shoulder, turning up his dark bright eyes, and swinging backwards and forwards in his chair, he would hold forth by the hour (for no one wished to interrupt him) on whatever subject might have been started—either of
* Robert Burton. He died young, after having commenced a successful career as a lawyer, of a phrenzy fever.
literature, politics, or religion—with an originality of thought, a force of illustration, and a facility and beauty of expression, which I question if any man then living, except his father, could have surpassed.
“I have reason to believe that this display of eloquence did him some harm eventually at the University. Reports were rife that he was fond of inveighing against all establishments, (a more unpardonable offence than his having been seen in his cap and gown buying a pennyworth of apples from an old woman in Oriel Lane,) and very probably he had given cause for such reports being spread abroad by matterof-fact persons, who could not distinguish between what he said when truth was his sole object, and what he uttered when he was declaiming merely to show his ingenuity in argument. I have little doubt he was no more serious in those supposed 'attacks on Church and State'than he was when he maintained (as I have heard him do) that ages of darkness would again prevail in Europe, to the destruction of literature and the arts; (a catastrophe which the discovery of printing has rendered impossible ;) or when he gravely asserted that, for all we know, dogs may have a language of smell, and that what is to our organs a very disagreeable odour may be to the canine organs a most beautiful poem.
“In accurate knowledge of Greek and Latin he was inferior to many youths of his standing; but he used to read sundry classics which are seldom opened at the University; for instance, he had carefully gone through the whole of Aulus Gellius, and he would take great pleasure in talking to me about passages in that curious writer.
“ ALEX. DYCE."
It is delightful to me to record such testimony from such a witness. My brother was, however, more sincere in his invectives against establishments, as they appeared to his eyes at Oxford and elsewhere, than Mr. Dyce supposes. Though far
from a destructive in politics, he was always keenly alive to what he supposed to be the evils and abuses of the existing state of things both in Church and State, while he remained constant in his allegiance to what he believed to be the essentials of both. He was neither a high Churchman nor a high Tory; but views similar to his, in many particulars, have since been adopted by a class of ardent and generous reformers who claim both names. On these points his creed was early formed, and never changed. On all subjects he spoke his mind, often, through whim or impatience, more than his mind, freely, without regard to consequences. This, at the time of which we are speaking, helped to bring him into trouble. Soon afterwards, he bought the privilege of impunity at a very dear rate.
His first vacation was spent with his father at Calne, in Wiltshire, of which place, and of his life while there, he has left the following interesting and characteristic account in one of his notebooks.
“Calne, a place I can never think of without a strong twitching of the eye, though I have long lost the comfort of tears. Alas, what was I then ! what might I have made myself? Even a comfort and a stay to those who loved me then, and upon whose latter day misfortune, not then a stranger, returned in the threadbare coat of poverty. Calne is not a very pretty place, nothing like so pretty as Stowey,