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SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834),

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Coleridge was the son of a Devonshire clergyman, about whose eccentricities some amusing stories are told. As a poor, friendless boy' he came to London at the age of ten, and entered Christ's Hospital, the famous charity school founded by Edward VI, at the same time as Charles Lamb, with whom he struck up a friendship which lasted as long as they lived. Coleridge was a dreamy, precocious youth, who talked neo-platonism and recited Homer and Pindar in Greek in the play ground. In 1791 he was admitted as a 'sizar' or poor. student at Jesus College, Cambridge, which he left in his second year, encumbered with debt and disappointed in love, to enlist in a dragoon regiment under the name of Silas Tomkyn Cumberback. As he could not ride or clean his horse and accoutrements, he proved unsuccessful as a cavalry soldier, and after four months was sent back to the university. He left Cambridge without a degree in 1795, having already formed with Southey, who was at Oxford, the design of the Pantisocracy, an ideal community to be founded on the banks of the Susquehanna by twelve gentlemen and twelve ladies of good education and liberal principles. Southey and Coleridge did not go to America, but they married the two Miss Frickers, who were to have been their partners in the adventure. Mrs. Coleridge complained that her husband would walk up and down composing poetry when he ought to have been in bed,' and the union proved an ill-assorted one, but as Coleridge brought his bride to a cottage near Bristol unfurnished with groceries or kitchen ware, the fault was not entirely on her side. Coleridge was all his life terribly impractical, as his own story of the publication of The Watchman at this time, given below, abundantly shows. In the same year (1796) Coleridge made the acquaintance of Wordsworth, and the two poets formed a strong friendship, based upon mutual affection, admiration, and reverence. Wordsworth thought Coleridge the only wonderful man he had ever met; ' Coleridge said of Wordsworth, I feel myself a little man by his side.' The two poets were very different in appearance and disposition. Wordsworth's tall, gaunt frame, his high ascetic forehead, stately expression and reserved manner contrasted sharply with Coleridge's stockish figure, awkward gait, and good-natured face with curly black hair and ardent gray eyes. For more than a year (1797-8) the two poets were constantly together, and their communion resulted, not only in the publication of Lyrical Ballads, as already related (p. 503), but in the permanent enrichment of each poetic nature by contact with another, richly though differently endowed. After transitory appearances as a Unitarian minister and a London journalist, Coleridge returned from his studies in Germany to publish his translation of Schiller's Wallenstein (1800) and to establish his family at Greta Hall, Keswick, a few miles from the Wordsworths. His lack of will power was increased by the habit of taking laudanum, which became fixed in 1803, and grew upon him to an alarming extent. Lamb described him in 1806 as an archangel, a little damaged'; a less humorous account says he was ill, penniless, and worse than homeless.' Another attempt at periodical publication, The Friend (1809), was no better managed, and no more successful than The Watchman. His lectures in London, begun about the same time, were more profitable, both to himself and to the public, in spite of his habit of lecturing on anything but the subject announced, and his occasional failure to come at all; the scattered notes he left behind contain some most valuable contributions to Shaksperean criticism. Unable to break himself of the opium habit, Coleridge in 1816 put himself under the care of Dr. Gillman, of Highgate, a London suburb, with whom he lived until his death. His poetic productivity had practically ceased years before, but he continued to write prose (Biographia Literaria, 1817; Aids to Reflection, 1825), and to pour forth the flood of impassioned and philosophical talk he had begun as a school boy at Christ's Hospital. Some of it is preserved in Table Talk, published after his death. Coleridge had all the powers of a great poet except the ordinary virtues of concentration and continuity of purpose. The only great poem he succeeded in completing was the Ancient Mariner, on which he worked under the spur of Wordsworth's influence. He projected innumerable literary undertakings, most of which were not even begun. Yet his influence in producing what a modern critic has called the renascence of wonder' was as revolutionary as that of Wordsworth in another way, and if the change in poetry is rightly named the romantic revival,' Coleridge must be given a place by the side of his greater friend and fellow poet as one of the makers of the new era.

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BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA

FROM CHAPTER X

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An imprudent man of common goodness of heart cannot but wish to turn even his imprudences to the benefit of others, as far as this is possible. If therefore any one of the readers of this semi-narrative should be preparing or intending a periodical work, I warn him, 10 in the first place, against trusting in the number of names on his subscription list. For he cannot be certain that the names were put down by sufficient authority; or, should that be ascertained, it still remains to be known, whether they were not extorted by some over zealous friend's importunity; whether the subscriber had not yielded his name, merely from want of courage to answer, no; and 20 with the intention of dropping the work as soon as possible. One gentleman procured me nearly a hundred names for The Friend, and not only took frequent opportunity to remind me of his success 25 in his canvass, but labored to impress my mind with the sense of the obligation, I was under to the subscribers; for, (as he very pertinently admonished me,) 'fifty-two shillings a year was a large 30 sum to be bestowed on one individual, where there were so many objects of charity with strong claims to the assistance of the benevolent.' Of these hundred patrons ninety threw up the 35 publication before the fourth number, without any notice; though it was well known to them, that in consequence of the distance, and the slowness and irregularity of the conveyance, I was com- 40 pelled to lay in a stock of stamped paper for at least eight weeks beforehand; each sheet of which stood me in five pence previously to its arrival at my printer's; though the subscription money was not to be received till the twenty-first week after the commencement of the work; and lastly, though it was in nine cases out of ten impracticable for me to receive the money for two or three numbers without 50 paying an equal sum for the postage.

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In confirmation of my first caveat, I will select one fact among many. On my list of subscribers, among a considerable number of names equally flattering, 55 was that of an Earl of Cork, with his address. He might as well have been an

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Earl of Bottle, for aught I knew of him, who had been content to reverence the peerage in abstracto, rather than in concretis. Of course The Friend was regularly sent as far, if I remember right, as the eighteenth number; that is, till a fortnight before the subscription was to be paid. And lo! just at this time I received a letter from his lordship, reproving me in language far more lordly than courteous for my impudence in directing my pamphlets to him, who knew nothing of me or my work! Seventeen or eighteen numbers of which, however, his lordship was pleased to retain, probably for the culinary or post-culinary conveniences of his servants.

Secondly, I warn all others from the attempt to deviate from the ordinary mode of publishing a work by the trade. I thought indeed, that to the purchaser it was indifferent, whether thirty per cent. of the purchase-money went to the booksellers or to the government; and that the convenience of receiving the work by the post at his own door would give the preference to the latter. It is hard, I own, to have been laboring for years, in collecting and arranging the materials; to have spent every shilling that could be spared after the necessaries of life had been furnished, in buying books, or in journeys for the purpose of consulting them or of acquiring facts at the fountain head; then to buy the paper, pay for the printing, and the like, all at least fifteen per cent. beyond what the trade would have paid; and then after all to give thirty per cent. not of the net profits, but of the gross results of the sale, to a man who has merely to give the books shelf or warehouse room, and permit his apprentice to hand them over the counter to those who may ask for them; and this too copy by copy, although, if the work be on any philosophical or scientific subject, it may be years before the edition is sold off. All this, I confess, must seem a hardship, and one, to which the products of industry in no other mode of exertion are subject. Yet even this is better, far better, than to attempt in any way to unite the functions of author and publisher. But the most prudent mode is to sell the copyright, at least of one or more editions, for the most that the trade will offer. By few only

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can a large remuneration be expected; but fifty pounds and ease of mind are of more real advantage to a literary man, than the chance of five hundred with the certainty of insult and degrading anxieties. I shall have been grievously misunderstood, if this statement should be interpreted as written with the desire of detracting from the character of booksellers or publishers. The individuals did 10 a work in two volumes?' 'O sir!'

much.'- Still nothing amiss. Selleridge (for orthography is no necessary part of a bookseller's literary acquirements) £3. 35. Bless me! only three guineas 5 for the what d'ye call it the selleridge?' 'No more, sir!' replied the rider. Nay, but that is too moderate!' rejoined my old friend. Only three guineas for selling a thousand copies of

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not make the laws and customs of their
trade, but, as in every other trade, take
them as they find them. Till the evil can
be proved to be removable, and without
the substitution of an equal or greater in-
convenience, it were neither wise nor
manly even to complain of it. But to use
it as a pretext for speaking, or even for
thinking, or feeling, unkindly or oppro-
briously of the tradesmen, as individuals, 20
would be something worse than unwise
or even than unmanly; it would be im-
moral and calumnious. My motives point
in a far different direction and to far
other objects, as will be seen in the con-
clusion of the chapter.

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(cries the young traveler) 'you have mistaken the word. There have been none of them sold; they have been sent back from London long ago; and this £3. 35. is for the cellaridge, or warehouse-room in our book cellar. The work was in consequence preferred from the ominous cellar of the publisher's to the author's garret; and, on presenting a copy to an acquaintance, the old gentleman used to tell the anecdote with great humor and still greater good nature.

With equal lack of worldly knowledge, I was a far more than equal sufferer for it, at the very outset of my authorship. Toward the close of the first year from the time, that in an inauspicious hour I left the friendly cloisters, and the happy grove of quiet, ever honored Jesus College, Cambridge, I was persuaded by sundry philanthropists and Anti-polemists to set on foot a periodical work, entitled The Watchman, that according to the general motto of the work, all might know the truth, and that the truth might make us free! In order to exempt it from the stamp-tax, and likewise to contribute as little as possible to the supposed guilt of a war against freedom, it 40 was to be published on every eighth day, thirty-two pages, large octavo, closely printed, and price only four-pence. Accordingly with a flaming prospectus,― 'Knowledge is power,' 'To cry the state of the political atmosphere, and so forth, I set off on a tour to the North. from Bristol to Sheffield, for the purpose of procuring customers, preaching by the way in most of the great towns, as a hireless volunteer, in a blue coat and white waistcoat, that not a rag of the woman of Babylon might be seen on me. For I was at that time and long after, though a Trinitarian (that is ad normam Platonis) in philosophy, yet a zealous Unitarian in religion; more accurately, I was a Psilanthropist, one of those who

A learned and exemplary old clergyman, who many years ago went to his reward followed by the regrets and blessings of his flock, published at his 30 own expense two volumes octavo, entitled, A New Theory of Redemption. The work was most severely handled in The Monthly or Critical Review, I forget which; and this unprovoked hos- 35 tility became the good old man's favorite topic of conversation among his friends. Well! (he used to exclaim,) in the second edition, I shall have an opportunity of exposing both the ignorance and the malignity of the anonymous critic. Two or three years however passed by without any tidings from the bookseller, who had undertaken the printing and publication of the work, and who was 45 perfectly at his ease, as the author was known to be a man of large property. At length the accounts were written for; and in the course of a few weeks they were presented by the rider for the house, in 50 person. My old friend put on his spectacles, and holding the scroll with no very firm hand, began - Paper, so much: moderate enough not at all beyond my expectation! Printing, so much: well! 55 moderate enough! Stitching, covers, advertisements, carriage, and so forth, so

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believe our Lord to have been the real son of Joseph, and who lay the main stress on the resurrection rather than on the crucifixion. O! never can I remember those days with either shame or regret. For I was most sincere, most disinterested. My opinions were indeed in many and most important points erroneous; but my heart was single.

Phileleutheros, the tallow-chandler, varying my notes, through the whole gamut of eloquence, from the ratiocinative to the declamatory, and in the latter from the 5 pathetic to the indignant. I argued, I described, I promised, I prophesied; and beginning with the captivity of nations I ended with the near approach of the millennium, finishing the whole with some

Wealth, rank, life itself then seemed 10 of my own verses describing that glorious

cheap to me, compared with the interests
of what I believed to be the truth, and
the will of my Maker. I cannot even
accuse myself of having been actuated by
vanity; for in the expansion of my en- 15
thusiasm I did not think of myself at all.

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state out of the Religious Musings:

Such delights

As float to earth, permitted visitants!
When in some hour of solemn jubilee
The massive gates of Paradise are thrown
Wide open, and forth come in fragments

wild

Sweet echoes of unearthly melodies,
And odors snatched from beds of ama-
ranth,

And they, that from the crystal river of
life

Spring up on freshened wing, ambrosial gales!

My campaign commenced at Birmingham; and my first attack was on a rigid Calvinist, a tallow-chandler by trade. He was a tall dingy man, in whom length was so predominant over breadth, that he might almost have been borrowed for a foundry poker. O that face! a face κατ ̓ ἔμφασιν! I have it before me at this moment. The lank, black, twine-like 25 hair, pingui-nitescent, cut in a straight line along the black stubble of his thin gunpowder eye-brows, that looked like a scorched after-math from a last week's shaving. His coat collar behind in per- 30 fect unison, both of color and luster, with the coarse yet glib cordage, which I suppose he called his hair, and which with a bend inward at the nape of the neck, the only approach to flexure in his 35 whole figure,- slunk in behind his waistcoat; while the countenance lank, dark, very hard, and with strong perpendicular furrows, gave me a dim notion of some one looking at me through a used gridiron, all soot, grease, and iron! But he was one of the thorough-bred, a true lover of liberty, and, as I was informed, had proved to the satisfaction of many, that Mr. Pitt was one of the horns of 45 bath, that's more than I ever reads, Sir!

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the second beast in The Revelations, that spake as a dragon. A person, to whom one of my letters of recommendation had been addressed, was my introducer. It was a new event in my life, 50 my first stroke in the new business I had undertaken of an author, yea, and of an author trading on his own account. My companion after some imperfect sentences and a multitude of hums and ha's aban- 55 doned the cause of his client; and I commenced an harangue of half an hour to

My taper man of lights listened with perseverant and praiseworthy patience, though, as I was afterwards told, on complaining of certain gales that were not altogether ambrosial, it was a melting day with him. And what, Sir,' he said, after a short pause, 'might the cost be?' 'Only four-pence,'-(O! how I felt the anti-climax, the abysmal bathos of that four-pence!)- Only four-pence, Sir, each number, to be published on every eighth day.'-' That comes to a deal of money at the end of a year. And how much, did you say, there was to be for the money?'-Thirty-two pages, Sir, large octavo, closely printed. Thirty and two pages? Bless me! why except what I does in a family way on the Sab

all the year round. I am as great a one, as any man in Brummagem, Sir! for liberty and truth and all them sort of things, but as to this,- no offense, I hope, sir, I must beg to be excused.'

So ended my first canvass: from causes that I shall presently mention, I made but one other application in person. This took place at Manchester to a stately and opulent wholesale dealer in cottons. He took my letter of introduction, and, having perused it, measured me from head

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