learning here displayed to nothing but his own researches. But no such thing -he is indebted for it entirely to Maasz. He found all the quotations, and nearly all the observations connected with them, ready-made to his hand in the pages of that philosopher. "Long before," says Coleridge, p.100, "either Hobbes or Des Cartes, the law of association had been defined, and its important functions set forth by Melanchthon, Amerbach, and Ludovicus Vives, more especially the last." Maasz says precisely the same thing, p. 343. Then follows (p. 101) Coleridge's account of the distinction which Vives makes between Imaginatio and Phantasia. This distinction is distinctly pointed out by Maasz, p. 344. Then follow four quotations from Vives -all of which are to be found in Maasz, pp. 344, 345. In a word, all Coleridge's learning bearing upon Melanchthon, Amerbach, and Vives, is to be found in Maasz. Passing on to Coleridge's remarks on what Aristotle says on the subject of association, we find that here, too, his coincidences with Maasz are a good deal more than coincidences. In B. L., p. 102, we read that "Aristotle's positions on this subject (the association of ideas) are unmixed with fiction." Maasz, p. 345, tells us that Aristotle is (ganz aufs reine gekommen) "as pure as possible" in his doctrines upon this point. Then Coleridge's observation (p. 103) respecting Aristotle's use of the word is, in which he informs us that Aristotle uses this word "to express what we call ideas or representations ;" and that when he uses it to denote "material motion," he invariably annexes to it "the words TOT or naтα Toяo","-all this is to be found distinctly brought forward by Maasz, pp. 321, 324; and finally, a good deal of what follows in B. L., pp. 103, 104, may be traced to Maasz, p. 325, et seq.

To return for one moment to Schelling. On looking through Coleridge's Literary Remains, we find that he is not contented with purloining Schelling's philosophy, but he must also plunder him of his Aesthetics. Lecture XIII., " On Poesy or Art," (vide L. R., vol. i. p. 216, et seq.,) is closely copied, and many parts of it are translated from Schelling's very eloquent "Discourse upon the Relation

in which the Plastic Arts stand to Nature," (vide Phil. Schrift., 343, et seq.) What will Coleridge's admirers say, up on finding it thus proved that even his notions upon poetry and the fine arts in general are mainly drawn from the profound wells of the German philosopher-that his diamonds, no less than his fuel, are dug up from Schelling's inexhaustible mines!

We have seen, then, that Coleridge is indebted to Schelling for most of his philosophy, and for some of his profoundest views on the subject of the great art in which he most excelledthe art of poetry; but to whom is he indebted for some of the brightest gems in his poetic wreath itself? We answer, that among other sources he is indebted in particular to Schiller and to Christian Count Stolberg, some of whose most exquisite productions he has appropriated without one word of acknowledgement. His obligations to Frederica Brun for many of the leading ideas of his " Hymn before Sunrise in the vale of Chamouni," have been already pointed out elsewhere, and are admitted, (see Preface to his Table Talk, p. L.,) and therefore we need say no more on that subject. We proceed to particularize three other instances of the grossest plagiarism committed upon the works of the two authors just mentioned; which cases have never, we believe, been exposed till now-a very extraordinary circumstance, in so far, at least, as Schiller is concerned.

When we first read, a good many years ago, (we think in an annual,) these verses of Coleridge's in which he at once describes and exemplifies the Homeric hexameter and the Ovi- ' dian elegiac metre, we remember being quite petrified with astonishment and delight. It appeared to us that words-particularly in the instance of the hexameter and pentameter distich -had never before been made to perform so exquisite and miraculous a feat. This, thought we, is certainly absolute perfection in the kind of thing which is attempted. The lines are these:

[ocr errors][merged small]


SCRIBED AND EXEMPLIFIED. "In the hexameter rises the fountain's silvery column;

In the pentameter aye falling in melody back.

What was our surprise and mortifi cation, when, some years afterwards, we found that, in both instances, these lines had been copied verbatim from Schiller. We confess we even felt somewhat indignant at the imposition that had been played off upon us; and besides, we thought it very shameful that Schiller should have been defrauded of his own property, and of his own proper honours. As a translation, Coleridge's verses are certainly very admirable, because, tallying almost word for word with the original, they preserve exactly the effect which it produces but that is no justifi. cation of his concealment. Perhaps he thought that he had improved so much upon the original that he was entitled to claim the verses as his own. But this we deny ;-his lines on the Homeric metre are not quite so good as Schiller's; his lines on the Ovidian distich are as good, (with the exception of the word "silvery," which is inferior to "flüssige,") but not one whit better than Schiller's. But that German readers may judge of this for themselves, we subjoin the original verses. Coleridge's translation may be seen in his own Works, vol. ii. p. 146, Ed. 1836.

We first read the following verses in the Quarterly Review, vol. li. p. 26; they are now embodied in Coleridge's Works, vol. ii. p. 131, Ed. 1836.

* Der epische Hexameter:

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

At the shrine of his ceaseless renewing:
It embosoms the roses of dawn;

It entangles the shafts of the noon;
And into the bed of its stillness
The moonshine sinks down as in slumber-
That the sun of the rock-that the nurs-
ling of heaven

May be born in a holy twilight."

The Quarterly Review informs us that Mr Coleridge recited these lines "as a specimen of lyric rhythm, which he thought might satisfy the ear without rhyme;"-and he certainly establishes his point-nothing can be more exquisite than the versification here presented to us, and the ideas, too, are good; but we are under the necessity of adding this qualification-alas! he establishes his point, only by closely adopting the metre, the language, and the thoughts of another man. He is but the shadow-a glorified shadow, perhaps but here is the substance from which it is thrown, presented before us in the person of Count Stolberg. This coincidence was pointed out to us by a friend some time ago. We thus translate, word for word, the

"Schwindelnd trägt er dich fort auf rastlos strömenden Wogen:
Hinter dir siehst du, du siehst vor dir nur Himmel und Meer."

Das Distichon

"Im Hexameter steigt des Spring-quells flüssige Säule :

Im Pentameter drauf fällt sie melodisch herab."

-SCHILLER'S Werke, Vol. I., p. 262. Ed: Stuttgart und Tubingen: 1827. Let the classical reader take up Ovid's Heroides or Tristia, and he will find in every page illustrations of the manner in which the hexameter breaks, as it were, and falls back in the pentameter-thereby adding a most exquisite grace to the rhythm. The secret genius of the metre appears to consist in this play. Here are one or two instances taken from Penelope's Letter to Ulysses :—



"Troja jacet certe, Danais invisa puellis.
Vix Priamus tanti totaque Troja fuit."

"Quando ego non timui graviora pericula veris ?
Res est solliciti plena timoris amor."

"Sive quis Antilochum narrabat ab Hectore victum
Antilochus nostri causa timoris erat.' ""

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The babbling of the noble one in his spray- pleaded as an excuse for deviations

scattering well.

The sun clothes thee

In rays of glory;

He paints with the colours of the heavenly bow

The wavering clouds of the dust-flood."

Having alluded to the Quarterly Review, we shall here take the liberty of extracting part of a sentence, from that very able work, touching another of Coleridge's coincidences:-"We cannot" (says the Quarterly, vol. lii. p. 21)" we cannot miss this opportunity of mentioning the curious fact, that, long before Goethe's Faust had appeared in a complete state-indeed before Mr Coleridge had ever seen any part of it—he had planned a work upon the same, or what he takes to be the same, idea." This is certainly a curious fact; but we do not think our readers will consider it so very curious, now that a good deal of light has been thrown upon the nature of his other "coincidences.",

We have now done with our subject. We have set forth and argued the case of Coleridge's plagiarisms, precisely as we should have done that of any other person who had carried them on to the same extent. By this we mean to say, that we have accorded to him-on the plea of peculiar habits, or peculiar intellectual conformation-no privilege, or immunity, or indulgence, which we would not equally have accorded to any plagiarist of the most methodical ways and of the most common clay. And in act

"Unsterblicher Jüngling!

Du strömest hervor
Aus der Felsenkluft.
Kein Sterblicher sah

Die Wiege des Starken:

Es hörte kein Ohr,

Das Lallen des Edlen im sprudelnden


from the plain path of rectitude, or be held up as a precedent which the leading men of future generations may avail themselves of, should they be inclined to depart from the strict standards of propriety and truth.

That Coleridge was tempted into this course by vanity, by the paltry desire of applause, or by any direct intention to defraud others of their due, we do not believe: this never was believed, and never will be believed. But still he was seduced into it-God knows how: he did defraud others of their due, and therefore we have considered it necessary to expose his proceedings, and to vindicate the rights of his victims. Perhaps we might have dwelt more than we have done upon what many may consider the extenuating circumstances of his case-we mean his moral and intellectual conformation, originally very peculiar, and further modified by the effects of immoderate opium-taking. But this would only take us out of one painful subject into another still more distressing. We therefore say no more. Our purpose will have been answered, should any future author who may covet his neighbour's Pegasus or prose-nag, and conceive that the high authority of Coleridge may, to a certain extent, justify him in making free with them, be deterred from doing so by the example we have now put forth in terrorem. Let all men know and consider that plagiarism, like murder, sooner or later will out.

Dich kleidet die Sonne
In Strahlen des Ruhmes!

Sie mahlet mit Farben des himmlischen Bogens

Die schwebenden Wolken der staudenden Fluth."

-Vide Vol. I., p. 104, Gesammelte Werke der Bruder Christian und Fred. Leopold Grafen zu Stolberg. Hamburg: 1829,






LIFT up your heads, ye glorious gates!
Ye doors, by kings uprear'd, give way!
Th' Imperial Isles' assembled States,
By Counsel led-where Valour waits,
And white-stoled Pomp predominates-

Before your thresholds pause to-day,
Presenting to a Power divine
The Daughter of their Monarch-line,
Of laurel'd chiefs and leaders sage,
Wide Ocean's lords from age to age,
Since first the Norman's brilliant mail
Flash'd through fierce Hastings' battle hail,
To her great Sire whose Captain died
What time the galleys of his war
Heaved, victory-rock'd, upon thy tide,
Tremendous Trafalgar :

For evermore their red-cross reign
Without a rival on the main !

Nor must the Sea-Kings' branch decrease, 'Nor from their hands the sceptre cease: To-day proud Albion's peerless child,

Girt by the gallants of her land— Earth's mightiest Queen, a maiden mildShall at the altar stand,

-And meekly pledge her spousal faith, And wear her hope-woven bridal wreath, While round the Nations-gladness-fill'd— The trident-arm'd and thunder-hill'd,

Raise the rejoicing hand.

Hark to the bursting trumpet's bray,

As slow the gorgeous ranks unfold Above whose far-resplendent way, Guarding his banner's floating day, The Lion leaps in gold!


Lift up your heads, ye glorious gates!
And you, majestic doors, unclose!
The solemn pomp no longer waits,

But on in bright succession flows.
No need to ask before whose train

The stately pursuivants advance,
Where ring gold spur and knightly chain,
And tabards gaily glance.

We pass thee not ungreeted by,
Thou graceful youth, with pensive eye,


Ode on the Marriage of the Queen of England.
And forehead not by thought untraced,
-Thou, with the kingly garter graced;
(And if, as courtly babblers say,
Thou'st won and worn the poet's bay,
Perchance thy collar's jewels shine

To thee with one soft ray the more,
At thought that He, the bard divine,
Who couch'd his lance for GERALDINE,
That badge unsullied bore.)

Pass on a people's blessings now
Press like the air upon thy brow,
And hope prays out that thou may'st be
Undazzled by thy destiny-

For when, since empire's game began,
Did lot so brilliant circle man?


Again that regal trumpet pealing!

And lo, yon radiant pathway down-
Her handmaids Love and Vestal Feeling,
And paged by old Renown-
Soft-gleaming through that rosy cloud,
Where youth, and grace, and beauty crowd,
Shines forth conspicuous from afar,

The white-cliff'd Island's MORNING STAR!
And now she lights the purple gloom
Within the saintly chapel shed,
Where starry chief, and woman's bloom,
And wisdom's reverend head,

From vaulted gallery to the ground
In throng compact are ranged around,


And well might some amid that throng
Claim portion of the minstrel's song
But to his eager vision fast

Far other shapes are crowding past:

Yet there is ONE-and who shall raise
The strain, unmindful of his praise?—
The wise in council as in war,

Who shiver'd Gaul's imperial shield,
Still fancy sees each thunder-scar
Of that stern Flemish field

Upon his front, as when he hurl'd
The last red bolt that saved the world.
Long may a grateful country own
His aid to temple and to throne!


That festal trump has ceased to peal
From arch and portal richly dim-
Before the mitred priests they kneel;
And now the nuptial hymn,
While its full tide the organ pours,

With many a solemn close, in choral grandeur soars.
Far from the minstrel's vision fly

Attendant dame and sworded peer,

What shapes of mightier port are nigh?

What coldly beauteous eyes are here?


« ElőzőTovább »