Imágenes de página
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6 Remorse" was first cast at Stowey, in 1797 or 8. Alvar's Soliloquy (Act v. Scene 1,) was published with the " Lyrical Ballads,” in 1798, under the title of “ The Dungeon.” The translation of “ Wallenstein” was made in the winter of 1800. Zapolya,” published in 1817, must have been composed somewhere between 1814 and 1816.*

3. Poems written in Later Life. The second edition of the 66 Sibylline Leaves contained a certain number of short poems, quaintly designated “Prose in Rhyme, Moralities, Epigrams, and Poems without a Name.” The whole of these as late productions, are placed in the last section, and to them are added many other pieces, serious and sportive, which are known to have been the harvest of the latest season accorded to the Poet in this state of existence.

The present Editors have been guided in the general arrangement of this edition by those of 1817 and 1828, which may be held to represent the author's matured judgment upon the larger and more important part of his poetical productions. They have reason, indeed, to believe, that . the edition of 1828 was the last upon which he was able to bestow personal care and attention. That of 1834, the last year of his earthly sojourning, a period when his thoughts were wholly en

See Dramatic Works.

grossed, so far as the decays of his frail outward part left them free for intellectual pursuits and speculations, by a grand scheme of Christian Philosophy, to the enunciation of which in a long projected work his chief thoughts and aspirations had for many years been directed, was arranged mainly, if not entirely, at the discretion of his earliest Editor, H. N. Coleridge, who, not to mention the boon he has conferred on the public in preserving so valuable a record of his Uncle's conversation as is contained in the Table Talk of S. T. Coleridge, performed his task in editing The Friend, The Literary Remains, The Church and State and Lay Sermons, and T'he Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, in a manner which must ever procure him sentiments of gratitude from all who prize the writings of Coleridge. Such alterations only have been made in this final arrangement of the Poetical and Dramatic Works of S. T. Coleridge, by those into whose charge they have devolved, as they feel assured, both the Author himself and his earliest Editor would at this time find to be either necessary or desirable. The observations and experience of eighteen years, a period long enough to bring about many changes in literary opinion, have satisfied them that the immature essays of boyhood and adolescence, not marked with any such prophetic note of genius as certainly does belong to the four school-boy poems they have retained, tend to injure the general

[ocr errors][merged small]

effect of a body of poetry. That a writer, especially a writer of verse, should keep out of sight his third-rate performances, is now become a maxim with critics ; for they are not, at the worst, effectless : they have an effect, that of diluting and weakening, to the reader's feelings, the general power of the collection. Mr. Coleridge himself constantly, after 1796, rejected a certain portion of his earliest published Juvenilia : never printed any attempts of his boyhood, except those four with which the present publication commences; and there can be no doubt that his Editor of 1834 would ere now have come to the conclusion, that only such of the Author's early performances as were sealed by his own approval ought to form a permanent part of the body of his poetical works.

The “ Allegoric Vision," as it cannot be considered poetry in the full sense of the word, and may be read with much more advantage in its proper place — the Introduction to the Author's second Lay Sermon, the Editors have thought fit to withdraw from this collection.

And a piece of extravagant humour, printed for the first time among the Author's works in 1834, rather it would appear with his acquiescence, than by his desire, has been excluded for the reasons assigned by the Author himself in the Apologetic Preface. The “ Devil's Walk," having been reproduced with his full authority in the Edition of 1828, has


[ocr errors]


been retained, — restored, however, as in the Edition of 1834, to its original form and complete

To this extent a discretionary privilege has been exercised, for which, it is believed, that little apology will be required by the public.*

It must be added, that time has robbed of their charm certain sportive effusions of Mr. C.'s later years, which were given to the public, in the first gloss and glow of novelty in 1834, and has proved that, though not devoid of the quality of genius, they possess, upon the whole, not more than an ephemeral interest. These the Editors have not scrupled to omit on the same grounds and in the same confidence that has been already explained.

Four short pieces only have been added, the third and ninth Sonnets (pages 41 and 45,) from the edition of 1796, the “Day-Dream” (page 221,) from the Appendix to Coleridge's “Essays on his own Times," and the “Hymn" (page 315,) which is now printed for the first time.

The Portrait has been engraved from a picture of S. T. Coleridge, at twenty-six years of age, which originally belonged to the poet's admirable friend, Thomas Poole, of Nether Stowey, by the

[ocr errors]

* This humorous piece first appeared in the Morning Post, when, escording to the Editor of that Journal, it made so great a sensation that several hundred sheets extra were sold by them, as the paper was in request for days and weeks afterwards.


• kind permission of R. P. King, Esq., of Brisling

ton, near Bath, its present owner. It is presented, not as altogether satisfactory, but as the best and most interesting record of the Poet's youthful face that was to be obtained.

S. C.


March, 1852.

« AnteriorContinuar »