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these hills, and one of these very dells, are described with graphic truth and affection.
“A green and silent spot amid the hills,
A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
That singest like an angel in the clouds." Here, buried in summer beauty from the world, in this green and delicious oratory, he lay and poured out those finely human thoughts on war and patriotism, which enrich this poem ; which closes with a descriptive view of these hills, the wide prospects from them, and of little quiet Stowey lying at their feet.
" But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad
The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze;
Stowey, like all other places where remarkable men have lived, even but a few years ago, impresses us with a melancholy sense of rapid change, of the swift flight of human life. There is the little town, there ascend beyond it the green slopes and airy range of the Quantock hills, scattered with masses of woodland, which give a feeling of deep solitude. But where is the poet, who used here to live, and there to wander and think? Where is his friend Poole? All are gone, and village and country are again resigned to the use of simple and little-informed people, who take poets for spies and dark traitors. The little town is vastly like a continental one. It consists of one street, which at an old market cross diverges into two others, exactly forming an old-fashioned letter Y. The houses are, like continental ones, white, and down the street rolls a little full stream, quite in the fashion of a foreign village, with broad flags laid across to get at the houses. It stands in a particularly agreeable, rich, and well-wooded country, with the range of the Quantock hills, at some half mile distance, and from them a fine view of the sea and the Welsh coast, on the other side of the Bristol channel
The house in which Thomas Poole used to live, and where Coleridge and his friend had a second home, is about the centre of the village. It is a large old-fashioned house, with pleasant garden, and ample farm-yard, with paddocks behind. I found it inhabited by a medical man and his sister, who did all honour to the memory of Coleridge, and very courteously allowed me to see the house. The lady obligingly took me round the garden, and pointed out to mo the windows of the room overlooking it, where so many remarkable men used to assemble.
Mr. Poole, who was a bachelor, and a magistrate, died a few years ago, leaving behind him the character of an upright man, and a genuine friend to the poor. On his monument in the church is inscribed, that he was the friend of Coleridge and Southey.
The cottage inhabited by Coleridge is the last on the left band going out towards Allfoxden. It is now, according to the very common and odd fate of poets' cottages, a Tom and Jerry shop. Moore's native abode is a whisky shop; Burns's native cottage is a little public-house ; Shelley's house at Great Marlowe is a beer shop; it is said that a public-house has been built on the spot where Scott was born, since I was in that city ; Coleridge's house here is a beer shop. Its rent was about 71. a-year, and it could not be expected to be very superb. It stands close to the road, and has nothing now to distinguish it from any other ordinary pot-house. Where Coleridge sate penning the Ode to the Nightingale, with its
"Jug, jug, jug.
And that low pote more sweet than all;" which the printer, by a very natural association, but to the poet's infinite consternation, converted into
"Jug, jug, jug.
And that low note more sweet ihan ale;" sate, when I entered, a number of country fellows, and thought their ale more sweet than any poet's or nightingale's low notes. Behind
the house, however, there were traces of the past pleasantness, two
“Yes, they wander on
Spirits perceive his presence."
“A great man, did he say? Why, he was a poet."
“ Well, he was just what I tell you—a poet-a ballad maker, and all that. Nothing more, I assure you."
“ Good lauk-a-me ! how could the gentleman say it was a great man! Is it the same man you mean, think you ?”
« Oh! no doubt of it. But let me see your garden."
The sister went to show it me. There were, as I have said, two gardens, lying high above the house, so that you could see over part of the town, and, in the other direction, the upland slopes and hills. Behind the garden was still the orchard, in which Coleridge had so often mused. Returning towards the house, the remains of a fine bay-tree caught my attention, amid the ruins of the garden near the house, now defaced with weeds, and scattered with old tubs and empty beer barrels.
“That,” said I, “ was once a fine bay-tree."
“No doubt of it. That poet planted it, as sure as it is there. That is just one of those people's tricks. Wherever they go they are always planting that tree."
“Good Lord, do they? what odd men they must be !” said the young woman.
Such is the intelligence of the common people in the west, and in many other parts of England. Is it any wonder that the parents of these people took Coleridge for a spy, and Wordsworth for a dark traitor ? But these young women were very civil, if not very enlightened. As I returned through the house, the young landlarly, evidently desirous to enter into further discourse, came smiling up, and said, “It's very pleasant to see relations addicting to the old place." Not knowing exactly what she meant, but supposing that she imagined I had come to see the house because the poet was a relation of mine, I said, “ Very; but I was no relation of the poet's.”
“No! and yet you come to see the house ; and perhaps you have come a good way ?”
“ Yes; from London."
Here the amazement of herself, her sister, and the men drinking, grew astoundingly. “Ah!" I added, “ he was a great man- very great man-he was a particular friend of Mr. Poole's."
"Oh, indeed !" said they. “Ay, he must have been a gentleman, then, for Mr. Poole was a very great man, and a justice."
Having elevated the character of Coleridge from that of a poet into the friend of a justice of the peace, I considered that I had vindicated his memory, and took my leave.
In September, 1798, Coleridge quitted Stowey and England, in company with Wordsworth, for a tour in Germany. His two wealthy friends, Thomas and Josiah Wedgwood, the great Staffordshire potters, had settled on him 1501. a-year for life, which, with other slight means, enabled him to undertake this journey, with Wordsworth and his sister. The Wedgwoods were Unitarians, and now looked on Coleridge as the great champion of the cause, for be preached at Taunton and other places in the chapels of that denomination ; and in his journey on account of the Watchman had done so in most of the large manufacturing towns, entering the pulpit in a blue coat and white waistcoat, that not a rag of the woman of Babylon might be seen on him. These are his own words, in his Biographia Literaria. Thomas Wedgwood either died long before Coleridge, and so the annuity died with him, or he might have withdrawn his moiety when Coleridge ceased to fulfil his religious hopes: it did, however, cease ; but the 751. from Josiah Wedgwood was paid punctually to the day of his death.
From this journey to Germany we may date a great change in the tone of Coleridge's mind. He became more metaphysical, and s thorough Kantist. From this period, there can be no doubt, on looking over his poems, that his poetry suffered from the effects of his philosophy. But to this journey we owe also the able translation of Wallenstein, which was then a new production, the original being published only on the eve of Coleridge's return to England, Septem ber, 1799, and the translation appearing in 1800. In Coleridge's own account of his tour, the description of the ascent of the Brocken is one of the most living and graphic possible. Having gone over the ground myself, the whole scene, and feeling of the scene, has never since been revived by anything which I have read in any degree like the account of Coleridge. In that, too, is to be found the same story of their rude treatment at an inn in Hesse, which is given in the article on Wordsworth.
On Coleridge's return to England, he settled in London for a time, and brought out his translation of Wallenstein, which was purchased by the Messrs. Longman, on the condition that the English version, and Schiller's play in German, should be published simultaneously. Coleridge now engaged to execute the literary and political department of the Morning Post, to which Southey, Wordsworth, and Lainb were also contributors. In this situation he was accused by Mr. Fox, under the broad appellation of the Morning Post, but with allusion to his articles, of having broken up the peace of Amiens, and renewing the war. It was a war, said Fox, produced by the Morning Post. Coleridge's strictures on Buonaparte occasioned that tyrant to select him for one of the objects of his vengeance, and to issue an order for his arrest when in ItalyColeridge, on quitting the Morning Post, went to reside near his friends Southey and Wordsworth. He was much at the houses of each. In 1801, he regularly took a house at Keswick, thinking, like his two great friends, to reside there permanently. The house, if not built for him, was expressly finished for him by a then neighbour, Mr. Jackson ; but it was soon found that the neighbourhood of the lakes was too damp for his rheumatic habit. In 1803, his health was so much worse that it was considered necessary for him to seek a warmer climate ; and he accepted an invitation from his friend Mr., since Sir John Stoddart, to visit him at Malta, which he accepted. Here he acted for some time as public secretary of the island. In 1805 he returned, not much benefited by his sojourn. He came back through Italy, and at Rome saw Allston, the American painter, and Tieck, the German poet. It was on this occasion that he was warned of the order of Buonaparte to arrest him ; and hastening to Leghorn with a passport furnished him by the Pope, was carried out to sea by an American captain. At sea, however, they were chased by a French vessel, which so alarmed the American that he compelled Coleridge to throw all his papers overboard, by which all the fruits of his literary labours in Rome were lost.
On his return to England he again went to the lakes, but this time was more with Wordsworth than with Southey. Wordsworth was at this time living at Grasmere, and we have a humorous scopunt of Coleridge, in his “Stanzas in my pocket copy of Thomson's Castle of Indolence," as “the noticeable man with large grey tjes." In another place Wordsworth has, in one line descriptive of