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Literary and Political Journal.











Dublin: Printed by JOHN S. FOLDS, 5, Bachelor's-Walk,


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THIS is one of those books which it is wholly impossible for any work professing to give an account of our passing literature to omit noticing. It is, in every respect, one of the most interesting books which we have ever happened to read, and, from the variety of its contents, one of the most difficult to review. There has been about the aunouncement of it something which we do not perfectly understand. Several of the reviews have, before the publication of the book, given considerable extracts from it; and, with all our wishes to give the earliest accounts which we can of such books as we think sufficiently interesting to engage our own attention or that of our readers, here are two of the most amusing volumes in the language, of which, owing to the mode of publication, our readers will have already read in the newspapers and reviews such considerable portions, that we are led to give a much less detailed account of the work than we could at all wish, as we are already anticipated by notices of the book in the Edinburgh, Quarterly, and Westminster Reviews; all of which reviewed the book before its publication. We have heard that the delay in issuing the book after it had been not only printed but reviewed, has arisen from a wish to make arrangements that would secure the advantage of copyright in America.

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Of the injustice of the existing law of copyright in these countries, and the way in which it most affects works of the greatest merit, (while the right of the author, terminating at the end of twentyeight years after publication, necessa rily tends to increase the price of the book during the interval,) no one who has given any consideration to the subject can, we should think, entertain a doubt. The fashionable novels of the season, which in a few weeks are not worth the price of the paper on which they are printed, are in no way affected by the law, nor would they, if the copyright was to terminate at the end of one year, instead of twenty-eight. That a state of the law which bears with exclusive hardship on the authors of books of permanent value should remain unremedied is certainly unjust: but, of anything so chimerical as the hope of securing a copyright through America or over the Continent,(though, of course, publishers in America or France may give something for copies of the sheets as they are printed, or such other assistance as may secure to the particular house priority of publication)-we think there never can be anything like a fair chance.

Of our modern poets Coleridge is, in every respect, the most original. In his very earliest writings-in the lovepoems, &c. which are the first works of every poet, are the germs of the pecu

Specimens of the Table-Talk of the late S. T. Coleridge, Esq. 2 vols. small 8vo. London, 1835.

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liar powers which bore such rich fruit in his after life. We transcribe in evidence of this from the Sibylline

Leaves a school-boy poem, which was among the first verses he ever wrote.



On the wide level of a mountain's head,
(I knew not where, but 'twas some faery place,)
Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread,
Two lovely children run an endless race,
A sister and a brother!

This far outstripp'd the other;
Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
And looks and listens for the boy behind:
For he, alas! is blind!

O'er rough and smooth with even step he passed,
And knows not whether he be first or last.

Of this poem Mr. Coleridge has said, "I scarcely know what title I should prefix to it. By Imaginary Time, I meant the state of a schoolboy's mind, when on his return to school, he projects his being in his day dreams, and lives in his holydays six months hence, and this I contrasted with real time." Think of a schoolboy already engaged in giving language such as this to such thoughts! Think of his embodying in such personification his own consciousnessalready finding in the notions of time, but forms and inoods of his own mindalready making outward and visible pictures of the invisible workings of his inward nature-think then of the simplicity and power and perfect beauty of the language-less exquisite no doubt, but scarcely less true than that of his last verses, written after a life of study-not one word, which is not inother English-not one word of which is not such as Mr. Coleridge might have written in the last year of his life. The versification, though not complex, or of any varied power, is rich and musical, and wins the ear on through the whole stanza; but think of the picture itself, seen in the morning light of a young poet's imagination

A sister and a brother!
This far outstript the other;
Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
And looks and listens for the boy behind;
For he, alas! is blind!

Had this been a picture from actual phænomenal life, the lines would have been pleasing-would have been a dawn

of promise such as the early verses of Pope and Cowley gave; but it is as the effort of the "marvellous boy" to image to himself the world within-to shape into phantoms-to wreathe with flowers and crown with haloes the floating and perishable dreams which with millions and millions pass away and are forgotten; which, while the very facts impersonated have past, and are for ever passing, more or less dimly before the mind of every one that lives, can with difficulty be brought into such distinct consciousness, as to be made intelligible to the understanding. It is this power of giving a poetical life-nay, permanence, and such immortality as man's language can confer on mere abstractions, that is to us the wonderful thing in those early verses-the lively imagery delights us, but the notion of translating into any imagery thoughts, shapeless as the dust of the desert, is to us the thing of wonder. We feel convinced that the longer the image is dwelt upon the more perfect will it appear. there not more than metaphor in the language which describes the poet as a



It is said that as old age comes on, the feelings and images which had occupied the affections of our youth return, and we have known parents urged themselves to domestic piety, by this consideration, as the strongest of all appeals to a parent's heart-we have heard it urged upon them, that though the world may win your child, yet if life be prolonged for him, a time will come in the ordinary progress of nature, in which the

remembrances of his youth are sure
to reappear vividly, in which the mind
seems to live again in the recollection of
its earliest boyhood—and all that had
intervened of bustle and anxiety, and
the struggles, in which the good
seed seems to be trodden down and
destroyed, being almost forgotten, the
old man thinks alone of his youth-of
the friends of his youth;-and when
that time comes, and those recollec-
tions return-with what effect,-it was
urged-with what effect will not the so-
lemn and tender images of the dead
come back upon the old man's heart
his father's voice in prayer-the voice
that has been still for perhaps half a
century-which could it be heard
again on earth, no other heart or ear
could recognize. As you love your
children, such was the resistless
language of the affectionate appeal,
as you love your children, let them
see that you love your God; if they
fall, if they disappoint all your
hopes and all your wishes-despair
not; and the preacher again dwelt upon
the existence of this second spring in
man's life, and the irresistible effects

which early recollections of good
would then bring with them.
are reminded of this by the circum-
stance that the volumes before us
show, how, in the very last years of
Mr. Coleridge's life, the state of mind,

O bliss of blissful hours!

I do

which is described in this his first poem,
seems to have recurred, and to have
re-awakened a poetry which is in some
sort the echo of these earliest feelings.
of a speedy release.
"I am dying, but without expectation
Is it not strange
that very recently by-gone images, and
scenes of early life, have stolen into my
mind, like breezes blown from the spice-
islands of Youth and Hope those two
realities of this phantom world!
not add Love,-for what is Love but
Youth and Hope embracing, and so seen
as one? I say realities; for reality is a
thing of degrees, from the Iliad to a
dream; xai yág 7' övag in Aíos öer. Yet
in a strict sense, reality is not predicable
at all of aught below Heaven. "Es enim
in calis, Pater noster, qui tu vere es!"
Hooker wished to live to finish his Eccle-
siastical Polity ;-so I own I wish life and
strength had been spared to me to com-
plete my Philosophy. For, as God
hears me, the originating, continuing,
and sustaining wish and design in my
heart was to exalt the glory of his name;
and, which is the same thing in other
words, to promote the improvement of
mankind. But visum aliter Deo, and

his will be done."-Table Talk, Vol. 2,
page 341.

Of that later poetry we transcribe some passages of great beauty-" The Garden of Boccaccio" has all the warmth of Dryden's happiest style :

The boon of Heaven's decreeing,
While yet in Eden's bowers

Dwelt the first husband and his sinless mate!

The one sweet plant, which, piteous Heaven agreeing,
They bore with them thro' Eden's closing gate!

Of life's gay summer tide the sovran rose!

Late autumn's amaranth, that more fragrant blows
When passion's flowers all fall or fade;

If this were ever his, in outward being,

Or but his own true love's projected shade,

Now that at length by certain proof he knows,

That whether real or a magic show,

Whate'er it was, it is no longer so;

Though heart be lonesome, hope laid low,

Yet, Lady! deem him not unblest :

The certainty that struck hope dead,
Hath left contentment in her stead:

And that is next the best!

Poetical Works, Aldine Edition, Vol. 2.


Of late, in one of those most weary hours,
When life seems emptied of all genial powers,
A dreary mood, which he who ne'er has known
May bless his happy lot, I sate alone;

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