Samuel taylor coleridge essays on his own times


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Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Brown; and sold by Messrs. Longman and Co. London; No. Branthwaite; Published and sold by Mr. Brown, Penrith; and Messrs. This is the universal law of polarity or essential dualism, first promulgated by Heraclitus, years afterwards republished, and made the foundation both of logic, of physics, and of metaphysics by Giordano Bruno.

The principle may be thus expressed. Thus water is neither oxygen nor hydrogen, nor yet is it a commixture of both; but the synthesis or indifference of the two: and as long as the copula endures, by which it becomes water, or rather which alone is water, it is not less a simple body than either of the imaginary elements, improperly called its ingredients or components. It is the object of the mechanical atomistic philosophy to confound synthesis with synartesis , or rather with mere juxta-position of corpuscules separated by invisible interspaces.

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I find it difficult to determine, whether this theory contradicts the reason or the senses most: for it is alike inconceivable and unimaginable. See also Julius Charles Hare, Archdeacon of Lewes [ Note that Sect. Note that H. We are ashamed of expecting the end without the means? Such were the doctrines proclaimed by the first Christians to the Pagan world; such were the lightnings flashed by Wickliff, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, Latimer, and [59] others, across the Papal darkness; and such in our own times the agitating truths, with which Thomas Clarkson and his excellent confederates, the Quakers, fought and conquered the legalized banditti of men-stealers, the numerous and powerful perpetrators and advocates of rapine, murder, and of blacker guilt than either slavery.

Truths of this kind being indispensable to man, considered as a moral being, are above all expedience, all accidental consequences; for as sure as God is holy, and man immortal, there can be no evil so great as the ignorance or disregard of them. How shall we solve this problem?

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (DNB00)

Its solution is to be found in that spirit which, like the universal menstruum , sought for by the old alchemists, can blend and harmonize the most discordant elements; it is to be found in the spirit of rational freedom diffused and become national, and in the consequent influence and controul [sic] of public opinion, and its most precious organ, the jury.

It is to be found, wherever juries are sufficiently enlightened to perceive the difference, and to comprehend the origin and the necessity of the difference, between libels and other criminal overt-acts, and are sufficiently independent to act upon the conviction, that in a charge of libel, the degree the circumstances, and the intention, constitute - not merely the offence, give it its being, and deterine its legal name. If I may trust my own memory, it is indeed a very old truth: and yet if the fashion of acting in apparent ignorance thereof be any presumption of its novelty, it ought to be new, or at least have become so by courtesy of oblivion.

It is this: that as far as human practice [96] can realize the sharp limits and exclusive proprieties of science, law and religion should be kept distinct, there is, in strictness, no proper opposition but between the two polar forces of one and the same power. Coleridge died in Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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His friends were generous in assisting him with money. But between and Coleridge made a good deal by his work, and was able to send money to his wife in addition to the annuity she received. The tragedy of Remorse was produced at Drury Lane in , and met with considerable success. Three years after this, having failed to conquer the opium habit, he determined to enter the family of Mr.

James Gillman, who lived at Highgate.

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The letter in which he discloses his misery to this kind and thoughtful man gives a real insight into his character. Under judicious treatment the hour of mastery at last arrived. The shore was reached, but the vessel had been miserably shattered in its passage through the rocks.

Coleridge as Critic

For the rest of his life he hardly ever left his home at Highgate. During his residence there, Christabel , written many years before, and known to a favored few, was first published in a volume with Kubla Khan and the Pains of Sleep in He read widely and wisely, in poetry, philosophy and divinity. In and the following year, he gave his Lay Sermons to the world.

Sibylline Leaves appeared in ; the Biographia Literaria and a revised edition of The Friend soon followed. Seven years afterwards his most popular prose work -- The Aids to Reflection -- first appeared. His last publication, in , was the work on Church and State. It was not until that his Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit , by far his most seminal work, was posthumously published. In he appeared at the meeting of the British Association at Cambridge, but he died in the following year 25th of July , and was buried in the churchyard close to the house of Mr.

Giliman, where he had enjoyed every consolation which friendship and love could render. Coleridge died in the communion of the Church of England, of whose polity and teaching he had been for many years a loving admirer. An interesting letter to his godchild, written twelve days before his death, sums up his spiritual experience in a most touching form. Of the extraordinary influence which he exercised in conversation it is impossible to speak fully here. Many of the most remarkable among the younger men of that period resorted to Highgate as to the shrine of an oracle, and although one or two disparaging judgments, such as that of Thomas Carlyle , have been recorded, there can be no doubt that since Samuel Johnson there had been no such power in England.

His nephew, Henry Nelson Coleridge, gathered together some specimens of the Table Talk of the few last years. But remarkable as these are for the breadth of sympathy and extent of reading disclosed, they will hardly convey the impressions furnished in a dramatic form, as in James Boswell 's great work. Four volumes of Literary Remains were published after his death, and these, along with the chapters on the poetry of Wordsworth in the Biographia Literaria , may be said to exhibit the full range of Coleridge's power as a critic of poetry.

In this region he stands supreme. With regard to the preface, which contains Wordsworth's theory, Coleridge has honestly expressed his dissent: "With many parts of this preface, in the sense attributed to them, and which the words undoubtedly seem to authorize, I never concurred; but, on the contrary, objected to them as erroneous in principle, and contradictory in appearance at least both to other parts of the same preface, and to the author's own practice in the greater number of the poems themselves.

Coleridge was in England the creator of that higher criticism which had already in Germany accomplished so much in the hands of Lessing and Goethe. It is enough to refer here to the fragmentary series of his Shakespearian criticisms, containing evidence of the truest insight, and a marvellous appreciation of the judicial "sanity" which raises the greatest name in literature far above even the highest of the poets who approached him.

As a poet Coieridge's own place is safe. His niche in the great gallery of English poets is secure. Of no one can it be more emphatically said that at his highest he was "of imagination all compact. In his early poems may be found traces of the fierce struggle of his youth. In what may be called his second period, the ode entitled France , considered by Shelley the finest in the language, is most memorable.

The whole soul of the poet is reflected in the Ode to Dejection. The well-known lines: O Lady! Christabel and the Ancient Mariner have so completely taken possession of the highest place, that it is needless to do more than allude to them. The supernatural has never received such treatment as in these two wonderful productions of his genius, and though the first of them remains a torso, it is the loveliest torso in the gallery of English literature.

Although Coleridge had, for many years before his death, almost entirely forsaken poetry, the few fragments of work which remain, written in later years, show little trace of weakness, although they are wanting in the unearthly melody which imparts such a charm to Kubla Khan , Love and Youth and Age. In the latter part of his life, and for the generation which followed, Coleridge was ranked by many young English churchmen of liberal views as the greatest religious thinker of their time.

As Carlyle has told in his Life of Sterling , the poet's distinction, in the eyes of the younger churchmen with philosophic interests, lay in his having recovered and preserved his Christian faith after having passed through periods of rationalism and Unitarianism, and faced the full results of German criticism and philosophy. His opinions, however, were at all periods somewhat mutable, and it would be difficult to state them in any form that would hold good for the whole even of his later writings.

He was, indeed, too receptive of thought impressions of all kinds to be a consistent systematizer.

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