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Farewell! and when thy days are told,
Then, why should I be loath to stir ?
methin till I grow old,
To a Highland Girl.
With earnest feeling I shall pray
What hand but would a garland cull
Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace
Laodamia. "With sacrifice before the rising morn, Vows have I made by fruitless hope inspired; And from the infernal gods, 'mid shades forlorn Of night, my slaughtered lord have I required : Celestial pity I again implore; Restore him to my sight-great Jove, restore !' So speaking, and by fervent love endowed With faith, the suppliant heavenward lifts her hands; While, like the sun emerging from a cloud, Her countenance brightens and her eye expands; Her bosom heaves and spreads, her stature grows ; And she expects the issue in repose. O terror! what hath she perceived 10 joy! What doth she look on ?-whom doth she behold ? Her hero slain upon the beach of Troy? His vital presence ? his corporeal mould ? It is—if sense deceive her not-'tis he! And a god leads him, winged Mercury ! Mild Hermes spake, and touched her with his wand That calms all fear, ‘Such grace hath crowned thy
prayer, Laodamia! that at Jove's command Thy husband walks the paths of upper air; He comes to tarry with thee three hours' space; Accept the gift, behold him face to face!' Forth sprang the impassioned queen her lord to clasp; Again that consummation she essayed ; But unsubstantial Form eludes her grasp As often as that eager grasp was made. The phantom parts—but parts to re-unite, And re-assume his place before her sight. ' Protesiláus, lo! thy guide is gone! Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice. This is our palace-yonder is thy throne ; Speak, and the floor thou tread'st on will rejoice. Not to appal me have the gods bestowed This precious boon; and blest a sad abode. Great Jove, Laodamia! doth not leave His gifts imperfect. Spectre though I be, I am not sent to scare thee or deceive; But in reward of thy fidelity. And something also did my worth obtain ; For fearless virtue bringeth boundless gain. Thou knowest, the Delphic oracle foretold That the first Greek who touched the Trojan strand Should die: but me the threat could not withhold: A generous cause a victim did demand; And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain ; A self-devoted chief-by Hector slain.' 'Supreme of heroes ; bravest, noblest, best ! Thy matchless courage I bewail no more, Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal shore ; Thou found'st-and I forgive thee-here thou artA nobler counsellor than my poor heart.
But thou, though capable of sternest deed,
Yet bitter, ofttimes bitter was the pang, Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave;
When of thy loss I thought, beloved wife! And he, whose power restores thee, hath decreed On thee too fondly did my memory hang, That thou shouldst cheat the malice of the grave. And on the joys we shared in mortal life; Redundant are thy locks, thy lips as fair
The paths which we had trod—these fountains, flowers;
But should suspense permit the foe to cry,
In soul I swept the indignity away:
In act embodied, my deliverance wrought.
I counsel thee by fortitude to seek And surely as they vanish. Earth destroys
Our blest reunion in the shades below. Those raptures duly-Erebus disdains;
The invisible world with thee hath sympathised; Calm pleasures there abide-majestic pains.
Be thy affections raised and solemnised. Be taught, O faithful consort, to control
Learn, by a mortal yearning, to ascendRebellious passion; for the gods approve
Seeking a higher object. Love was given, The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul;
Encouraged, sanctioned, chiefly for that end; A fervent, not ungovernable love.
For this the passion to excess was driven, Thy transports moderate; and meekly mourn That self might be annulled : her bondage prore When I depart, for brief is my sojourn.'
The fetters of a dream, opposed to love.' * Ah, wherefore ? Did not Hercules by force
Aloud she shrieked; for Hermes reappears! Wrest from the guardian monster of the tomb Round the dear shade she would have clung; 'tis vain; Alcestis, a reanimated corse,
The hours are past—too brief had they been years; Given back to dwell on earth in vernal bloom ?
And him no mortal effort can detain: Medea's spells dispersed the weight of years,
Swift toward the realms that know not earthly day, And Æson stood a youth 'mid youthful peers. He through the portal takes his silent way, The gods to us are merciful; and they
And on the palace-floor a lifeless corse she lay. Yet further may relent; for mightier far
By no weak pity might the gods be mored : Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway She who thus perished, not without the crime Of magic potent over sun and star,
Of lovers that in reason's spite have loved,
Was doomed to wear out her appointed time
And mortal hopes defeated and o'erthrown
As fondly he believes. Upon the side
A knot of spiry trees for ages grew In worlds whose course is equable and pure;
From out the tomb of him for whom she died; No fears to beat away, no strife to heal,
And ever, when such stature they had gained, The past unsighed for, and the future sure;
That Ilium's walls were subject to their view, Spake of heroic arts in graver mood
The tree's tall summits withered at the sightRevived, with finer harmony pursued.
A constant interchange of growth and blight!
One of the most enthusiastic admirers of WordsAn ampler ether, a diviner air,
worth was Coleridge, so long his friend and associate, And fields invested with purpureal gleams;
and who looked up to him with a sort of filial FeneClimes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day ration and respect. He has drawn his poetical Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.
character at length in the Biographia Literaria, and Yet there the soul shall enter which hath earned
if we consider it as applying to the higher characThat privilege by virtue. 'Ill,' said he,
teristics of Wordsworth, without reference to the The end of man's existence I discerned,
absurdity or puerility of some of his early fables, inWho from ignoble games and revelry
cidents, and language, it will be found equally just Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight,
and felicitous. First, • An austere purity of lanWhile tears were thy best pastime, day and night:
guage, both grammatically and logically; in short, a
perfect appropriateness of the words to the meaning. And while my youthful peers before my eyes Secondly, A correspondent weight and sanity of the (Each hero following his peculiar bent)
thoughts and sentiments won, not from books, but Prepared themselves for glorious enterprise
from the poet's own meditations. They are fresh, By martial sports; or, seated in the tent,
and have the dew upon them. Even throughout Chieftains and kings in council were detained
his smaller poems, there not one which is not renWhat time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained.
dered valuable by some just and original reflection. The wished-for wind was given : I then revolved Thirdly, The sinewy strength and originality of The oracle upon the silent sea;
single lines and paragraphs; the frequent curiosa And, if no worthier led the
felicitas of his diction. Fourthly, The perfect truth That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be
of nature in his images and descriptions, as taken The foremost prow in pressing to the strand
immediately from nature, and proving a long and Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand. genial intimacy with the very spirit which gives
a physiognomic expression to all the works of nature. daily drudgery for the periodical press, and in Fifthly, A meditative pathos, a union of deep and nightly dreams distempered and feverish, he wasted, subtle thought with sensibility: a sympathy with to use his own expression, the prime and manhood man as man; the sympathy, indeed, of a contem- of his intellect. The poet was a native of Devonplator rather than a fellow-sufferer and co-mate shire, being born on the 20th of October 1772 at (spectator, haud particeps), but of a contemplation from Ottery St Mary, of which parish his father was whose view no difference of rank conceals the same- vicar. He received the principal part of his educaness of the nature ; no injuries of wind or weather, tion at Christ's hospital, where he had Charles Lamb or toil, or even of ignorance, wholly disguise the for a schoolfellow. He describes himself as being, human face divine. Last, and pre-eminently, I from eight to fourteen, 'a playless day-dreamer, challenge for this poet the gift of imagination in the a helluo librorum ;' and in this instance the child was highest and strictest sense of the word. In the play father of the man,' for such was Coleridge to the of fancy, Wordsworth, to my feelings, is always end of his life. A stranger whom he had acci. graceful, and sometimes recondite. The likeness is dentally met one day on the streets of London, and occasionally too strange, or demands too peculiar a who was struck with his conversation, made him free point of view, or is such as appears the creature of of a circulating library, and he read through the predetermined research, rather than spontaneous catalogue, folios and all. At fourteen, he had, like presentation. Indeed, his fancy seldom displays Gibbon, a stock of erudition that might have puzzled itself as mere and unmodified fancy. But in imagi- a doctor, and a degree of ignorance of which a schoolnative power he stands nearest of all modern writers boy would have been ashamed. He had no ambito Sbakspeare and Milton, and yet in a mind per- tion; his father was dead, and he actually thought fectly unborrowed, and his own. To employ his own of apprenticing himself to a shoemaker who lived words, which are at once an instance and an illus- near the school. The head master, Bowyer, intertration, he does indeed, to all thoughts and to all fered, and prevented this additional honour to the objects
craft of St Crispin, already made illustrious by Add the gleam,
Gifford and Bloomfield. Coleridge became deputyThe light that never was on sea or land, Grecian, or head scholar, and obtained an exhibition The consecration and the poet's dream.' or presentation from Christ's hospital to Jesus'
college, Cambridge, where he remained from 1791 to SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.
1793. He quitted college abruptly, without taking
a degree, having become obnoxious to his superiors SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, a remarkable man from his attachment to the principles of the French and rich imaginative poet, enjoyed a high reputation Revolution. during the latter years of his life for his colloquial When France in wrath her giant-limbs upreared, eloquence and metaphysical and critical powers, of which only a few fragmentary specimens remain. His
And with that oath which smote air, earth, and sea, poetry also indicated more than it achieved. Visions Bear witness for me, how i hoped and feared !
Stamped her strong foot, and said she would be free,
Unawed I sang, amid a slavish band :
The monarchs marched in evil day,
many friendships, many youthful loves
To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance,
But blessed the pæans of delivered France,
France, an Ode. In London, Coleridge soon felt himself forlorn and destitute, and he enlisted as a soldier in the 15th, Elliot's Light Dragoons. On his arrival at the quarters of the regiment,' says his friend and biographer Mr Gillman, 'the general of the district inspected the recruits, and looking hard at Coleridge, with a military air, inquired, “What's your
name, sir?" “ Comberbach. (The name he had Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
assumed.) “What do you come here for, sir?" as if of grace, tenderness, and majesty, seem ever to have doubting whether he had any business there. “Sir," haunted bim. Some of these he embodied in exquisite said Coleridge," for what most other persons come verse; but he wanted concentration and steadiness of to be made a soldier.” “Do you think,” said the purpose to avail himself sufficiently of his intellectual general, “ you can run a Frenchman through the riches. A happier destiny was also perhaps wanting; body?” “I do not know," replied Coleridge," as I for much of Coleridge's life was spent in poverty and never tried; but I'll let a Frenchman run me through dependence, amidst disappointment and ill-health, the body before I'll run away." "That will do," and in the irregularity caused by an unfortunate and said the general, and Coleridge was turned into the excessive use of opium, which tyrannised over him ranks.' The poet made a poor dragoon, and never for many years with unrelenting severity. Amidst advanced beyond the awkward squad. He wrote
letters, however, for all his comrades, and they generous and munificent patronage' of Messrs attended to his horse and accoutrements. After Josiah and Thomas Wedgewood, Staffordshire, en. four months' service (December 1793 to April 1794), abled the poet to proceed to Germany to complete the history and circumstances of Coleridge became his education, and he resided there fourteen months. known. He had written under his saddle, on the At Ratzburg and Gottingen he acquired a wellstable wall, a Latin sentence (Eheu! quam in- grounded knowledge of the German language and fortunii miserrimum est fuisse felicem !') which led literature, and was confirmed in his bias towards to an inquiry on the part of the captain of his troop, philosophical and metaphysical studies. On his who had more regard for the classics than Ensign return in 1800, he found Southey established at Northerton in Tom Jones. Coleridge was dis- Keswick, and Wordsworth at Grassmere. He went charged, and restored to his family and friends. to live with the former, and there his opinions The same year he published his Juvenile Poems, and underwent a total change. The Jacobin became a a drama on the Fall of Robespierre. He was then an royalist, and the Unitarian a warm and devoted ardent republican and a Socinian-full of high hopes believer in the Trinity. In the same year he puband anticipations, the golden exhalations of the lished his translation of Schiller's Wallenstein,' into dawn.' In conjunction with two other poetical en- which he had thrown some of the finest graces of his thusiasts—Southey and Lloyd-he resolved on emi- own fancy. The following passage may be considered grating to America, where the party were to found, a revelation of Coleridge's poetical faith and belief, amidst the wilds of Susquehanna, a Pantisocracy, conveyed in language picturesque and musical:or state of society in which all things were to be in common, and neither king nor priest could
Oh! never rudely will I blame his faith mar their felicity. •From building castles in the
In the might of stars and angels! 'Tis not merely air,' as Southey has said, 'to framing common
The human being's pride that peoples space wealths, was an easy transition.' The dream was
With life and mystical predominance ;
Since likewise for the stricken heart of love never realised (it is said from a very prosaic causethe want of funds), and Coleridge, Southey, and
This visible nature, and this common world, Lloyd married three sisters—the Miss Frickers of
Is all too narrow: yea, a deeper import
Lurks in the legend told my infant years, Bristol. Coleridge, still ardent, wrote two political pamphlets, concluding that truth should be spoken
Than lies upon that truth we live to learn.
For fable is love's world, his house, his birthplace; at all times, but more especially at those times when to speak truth is dangerous.' He established also a
Delightedly dwells he 'mong fays, and talismans, periodical in prose and verse, entitled The Watchman,
And spirits; and delightedly believes with the motto, ‘that all might know the truth, and
Divinities, being himself divine. that the truth might make us free.' He watched in
The intelligible forms of ancient poets, vain. Coleridge's incurable want of order and punc
The fair humanities of old religion, tuality, and his philosophical theories, tired out and
The power, the beauty, and the majesty,
That had their haunts in dale, or piny mountain, disgusted his readers, and the work was discontinued
Or forest, by slow stream, or pebbly spring, after the ninth number. Of the unsaleable nature of this publication, he relates an amusing illustration.
Or chasms and watery depths; all these have vanished. Happening one day to rise at an earlier hour than
They live no longer in the faith of reason !
But still the heart doth need a language; still usual, he observed his servant girl putting an extra
Doth the old instinct bring back the old names; vagant quantity of paper into the grate, in order to
And to yon starry world they now are gone, light the fire, and he mildly checked her for her
Spirits or gods, that used to share this earth wastefulness. “La, sir, (replied Nanny) why, it is only With man as with their friend; and to the lover, Watchmen.' He went to reside in a cottage at Nether
Yonder they move, from yonder visible sky Stowey, at the foot of the Quantock hills, Somerset
Shoot influence down; and even at this day shire, which he has commemorated in his poetry.
'Tis Jupiter who brings whate'er is great, And now, beloved Stowey! I behold
And Venus who brings everything that's fair.
Mr Coleridge rose and gave out his text." He departed again And close behind them, hidden from my view,
into a mountain himself alone." As he gave out this text, his
voice rose like a stream of rich distilled perfumes; and when he Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe
came to the two last words, which he pronounced loud, deep, And my babe's mother dwell in peace! With light
and distinct, it seemed to me, who was then young, as if the And quickened footsteps thitherward I tread.
sounds had echoed from the bottom of the human heart, and Mr Wordsworth lived at Allfoxden, about two as if that prayer might have floated in solemn silence through miles from Stowey, and the kindred feelings and the universe. The idea of St John came into my mind, of one pursuits of the two poets bound them in the closest crying in the wilderness, who had his loins girt about, and friendship. At Stowey, Coleridge wrote some of his whose food was locusts and wild honey. The preacher then most beautiful poetry-his Ode on the Departing
launched into his subject like an eagle dallying with the wind. Year; Fears in Solitude; France, an Ode; Frost at -not their alliance, but their separation--on the spirit of the
The sermon was upon peace and war-upon church and state Midnight; the first part of Christabel; the Ancient world and the spirit of Christianity, not as the same, but as Mariner; and his tragedy of Remorse. The luxuriant opposed to one another. He talked of those who had inseribed fulness and individuality of his poetry show that he the cross of Christ on banners dripping with human gore! He was then happy, no less than eager, in his studies. made a poetical and pastoral excursion--and to show the fatal The two or three years spent at Stowey seem to have effects of war, drew a striking contrast between the simple been at once the most felicitous and the most illus- shepherd-boy driving his team a-field, or sitting under the trious of Coleridge's literary life. He had established hawthorn, piping to his flock, as though he should never be his name for ever, though it was long in struggling old, and the same poor country lad, crimped, kidnapped, to distinction. During his residence at Stowey, brought into town, made drunk at an alehouse, turned into a Coleridge officiated as Unitarian preacher at Taun-wretched drummer-boy, with his hair sticking on end with ton, and afterwards at Shrewsbury.* In 1798 the powder and pomatum, a long cue at his back, and tricked out
in the finery of the profession of blood: * Mr Hazlitt has described his walking ten miles in a winter “Such were the notes our once loved poet sung :** day to hear Coleridge preach. "When I got there,' he says, and, for myself, I could not have been more delighted if I had 'the organ was playing the 100th Psalm, and when it was done, I heard the music of the spheres.'
The lines which we have printed in Italics are an And even as life returns upon the drowned, expansion of two of Schiller's, which Mr Hayward Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of pains(another German poetical translator) thus literally Keen pangs of love, awakening as a babe renders :
Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart; The old fable-existences are no more ;
And fears self-willed, that shunned the eye of hope; The fascinating race has emigrated (wandered out or And hope that scarce would know itself from fear; away).
Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain ; As a means of subsistence Coleridge reluctantly. And all which I had culled in wood-walks wild,
And genius given, and knowledge won in vain; consented to undertake the literary and political And all which patient toil had reared, and all department of the Morning Post, in which he sup; Commune with thee had opened out-but flowers ported the measures of government. In 1804 we find Strewed on my corse, and borne upon my bier, him in Malta, secretary to the governor, Sir Alex. In the same coffin, for the self-same grave! . ander Ball, with a salary of £800 per annum. He held this lucrative office only nine months, having These were prophetic breathings, and should be a disagreed with the governor; and, after a tour in warning to young and ardent genius. In such magItaly, returned to England to resume his precarious nificent alternations of hope and despair, and in labours as an author and lecturer. The desultory discoursing on poetry and philosophy-sometimes irregular habits of the poet, caused partly by his committing a golden thought to the blank leaf of a addiction to opium, and the dreamy indolence and book or to a private letter, but generally content procrastination which marked him throughout life, with oral communication—the poet's time glided seem to have frustrated every chance and oppor- past. He had found an asylum in the house of a tunity of self-advancement. Living again at Grass- private friend, Mr James Gillman, surgeon, Highmere, he issued a second periodical, The Friend, gate, where he resided for the last nineteen years of which extended to twenty-seven numbers. The his life. Here he was visited by numerous friends essays were sometimes acute and eloquent, but as often rhapsodical, imperfect, and full of German mysticism. In 1816, chiefly at the recommendation of Lord Byron, the wild and wondrous tale' of Christabel' was published. The first part, as we have mentioned, was written at Stowey as far back as 1797, and a second had been added on his return from Germany in 1800. The poem was still unfinished; but it would have been almost as difficult to complete the Faëry Queen, as to continue in the same spirit that witching strain of supernatural fancy and melodious verse. Another drama, Zapoyla (founded on the Winter's Tale), was published by Coleridge in 1818, and, with the exception of some minor poems, completes his poetical works. He wrote several characteristic prose disquisitionsThe Statesman's Manual, or the Bible the Best Guide to Political Skill and Foresight; a Lay Sermon (1816); a Second Lay Sermon, addressed to the Higher and Middle Classes on the existing Distresses and Discontents (1817); Biographia Literaria, two volumes, 1817; Aids to Reflection (1825); On the Consti ion of the Church and State (1830) ; &c. He meditated a great theological and philosophical work, his magnum opus, on Christianity as the only revelation of permanent and universal validity,' which was to * reduce all knowledge into harmony'—to unite the insulated fragments of truth, and therewith to frame a perfect mirror.' He planned also an epic poem on the destruction of Jerusalem, which he considered the only subject now remaining for an epic poem ; a subject which, like Milton's Fall of Man, should interest all Christendom, as the Homeric War of Troy Mr Gillman's House, Highgate, the last residence of Coleridge. interested all Greece. Here,' said he, there would and admirers, who were happy to listen to his inbe the completion of the prophecies ; the termination spired monologues, which he poured forth with of the first revealed national religion under the vio- exhaustless fecundity. We believe,' says one of lent assault of paganism, itself the immediate fore- these rapt and enthusiastic listeners, it has not been runner and condition of the spread of a revealed the lot of any other literary man in England, since mundane religion ; and then you would have the Dr Johnson, to command the devoted admiration character of the Roman and the Jew; and the awful and steady zeal of so many and such widely-differing ness, the completeness, the justice. I schemed it at disciples--some of them having become, and others twenty-five, but, alas! venturum expectat. This being likely to become, fresh and independent sources ambition to execute some great work, and his consti- of light and
moral action in themselves upon the tutional infirmity of purpose, which made him defer principles of their common master. One half of or recoil from such an effort, he has portrayed with these affectionate disciples
have learned their lessons great beauty and pathos in an address to Words of philosophy from the teacher's mouth. He has worth, composed after the latter had recited to him been to them as an old oracle of the academy or a poem 'on the growth of an individual mind: '
Lyceum. The fulness, the inwardness, the ultimate Ah! as I listened with a heart forlorn,
scope of his doctrines, has never yet been published The pulses of my being beat anew :
in print, and, if disclosed, it has been from time to