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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
SIR JOHN TAYLOR COLERIDGE,
THE NEPHEW OF COLERIDGE,
THE FRIEND OF WORDSWORTH,
THE LIFE-LONG FRIEND OF KEBLE,
AND HIS BIOGRAPHER,
IN WHOSE SERENE AGE AND BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER
ANOTHER GENERATION SEES EMBODIED
THE BEST WISDOM OF HIS POET FRIENDS.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
THE Essays on Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keble, were, as stated in the former Preface, intended to be in some sort thank-offerings, single stones contributed to their memorial cairns. Another name I feel should have followed, or rather have preceded, these. Of Walter Scott and his poetry, the first poetry I knew, it was my wish to have said something in another essay, and to have added it to this series, or perhaps put it in the first, which would have been its proper, place. But before this was done, his Centenary had come, during which so much was spoken, and well spoken, on the subject, that this does not seem the time for saying more. But if, adopting Wordsworth's lines, we say
Blessings be with them—and eternal praise,
to Walter Scott will fall a large share in that benediction
These Essays are in no sense criticisms of the poets they deal with, at least as that word is generally understood. To take the measure of these great and good men, and assign them, as the phrase goes, their place in literature, I would not try if I could, and I could not if I would. Such attempts seem to me to be generally more pretentious than solid. Enough will have been done, if by pointing to some of the sources of delight I found in them, others may be induced to study them and find the same.
A hope was expressed that all the four Essays, distinct though they are in subject, might yet be found pervaded by a unity of thought and purpose. Of the reviewers who have noticed the Essays—and all whom I have read have done so very kindly-some have perceived no such unity, others have not failed to find it. One reviewer has so well described this thread of connexion, that I cannot do better than give his words :
His subjects—Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keble, and the Moving Force of the Moral Life-are all,