is only within the last twenty years, however, that the study of Dante, in any true sense, became at all general.
Even Coleridge seems to have been familiar only with the Inferno. In America Professor Ticknor was the first to devote a special cours without the help of a single epithet.
We will only add a word on what seems to us an extraordinary misapprehension of Coleridge, who disparages Dante by comparing his Lucifer with Milton's Satan.
He seems to have forgotten that the precise measurho have but a superficial acquaintance with it, or rather with the Inferno, which is as far as most English critics go. Coleridge himself, who had a way of divining what was in books, may be justly suspected of not going further, though with Carey t
Inferno, XXXI. 136-138.
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars, That give away their motion to the stars. Coleridge, Dejection, an Ode. See also the comparison of the dimness of the faces seen around him in Paradise to a pearl on a whi
r to truth and nature.
The fact is that what we see is in the mind to a greater degree than we are commonly aware.
As Coleridge says,—
O lady, we receive but what we give, And in our life alone doth Nature live! I have made the unfortunate Duhan those of his contemporaries.
Some of his elegiacs are not ungrateful to the ear, and it can hardly be doubted that Coleridge borrowed from his eclogue of Strephon and Klaius the pleasing movement of his own Catullian Hendecasyllabics. Spenser, mable to barbara or celarent. Another pretty verse in the same eclogue,
But gently took that ungently came, pleased Coleridge so greatly that he thought it was his own. But in general it is not so much the sentiments and images that are new as tng to his great toe, about which he had seen Tartars and Turks, Romans and Carthaginians, fight in his imagination; and Coleridge has told us how his eyes made pictures when they were shut.
This is not uncommon, but I fancy that Spenser was more ha
sistent with a healthy productiveness.
Here Coleridge, who had contrived to see something more in as mistaken.
The contemporaneous letters of Coleridge to Cottle show that he was long in giving up which contained also The Ancient Mariner of Coleridge, attracted little notice, and that in great ely to have been derived from his talks with Coleridge in 1797.
A very improbable story of ColerColeridge's in the Biographia Literania represents the two friends as having incurred a suspicion of treference to the wider view and finer sense of Coleridge), and now says of the former volume that it m naturally as to Spenser and Shelley and to Coleridge in his higher moods.
Moreover, it was in thhis sister on a foot journey into Scotland.
Coleridge was their companion during a part of this ex.
One would think that the strange charm of Coleridge's most truly original poems lay in this verye or two of his contemporaries, notably than Coleridge or Shelley; but he was a masculine thinker, [9 more...]
rhyme and yet withhold it (rhyme-wraiths one might call them), that he is an artist and a master.
He even sometimes introduces rhyme with misleading intervals between and unobviously in his blank-verse:—
There rest, if any rest can harbour there; And, reassembling our afflicted powers, Consult how we may henceforth most offend Our enemy, our own loss how repair, How overcome this dire calamity, What reinforcement we may gain from hope, If not, what resolution from despair.
I think Coleridge's nice ear would have blamed the nearness of enemy and calamity in this passage.
Mr. Masson leaves out the comma after If not, the pause of which is needful, I think, to the sense, and certainly to keep not a little farther apart from what, (teach each!) There is one almost perfect quatrain,—
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win From me some plume, that thy success may show Destruction to the rest.
This pause between (Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know; and another hardly l