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after a day.'s, voyage, arrived at Syracuse. : He remained in Sicily a short time only, for he was eager to visit the “ eternal city” (Rome,) in which he staid some months. The next date marking his progress, is the 15th December, 1806, Naples,--the usual place of the residence of travellers during summer. * This gap in his minutes is partly filled up by his own verbal account, repeated at various times to the writer of this memoir.. While in Rome, he was actively employed in visiting the great works of art, statues, pictures, buildings, palaces, &c. &c. observations on which he minuted down for publication. Here he became acquainted with the eminent literary men at that time collected there, and here he first saw the great American painter Alston, for whom he always cherished an unfeigned regard. The German poet Tieck, he then for the first time also saw, and many others of celebrity. To one of them he was mainly indebted for his safety, otherwise he might have terminated his career in the Temple at Paris : for to Buonaparte, through one of his industrious emissaries, Coleridge had become obnoxious, in consequence of an article written by him in the Morning Post. This salutary warning he obtained from the brother of the celebrated traveller, Humboldt, of whom he had enquired, whether he could pass through Switzerland and Germany, and return by that route to England. Humboldt then informed Coleridge, that having passed through Paris on his journey to Rome, he had learnt that he, Coleridge, was a marked man, and unsafe : when within the reach of Buonaparte he advised him to be more than usually circumspect, and do all in his power to remain unknown.* Rather unexpectedly, he had a visit early one morning from a noble Benedictine, with a passport signed by the Pope, in order to facilitate his departure. He left him a carriage, and an admonition for instant flight, which was
* The following memoranda written in pencil, and apparently as he journeyed along, but now scarcely legible, may perhaps have an interest for some readers :
“ Sunday, December 15th, 1805. “ Naples, view of Vesuvius, the Hail-mist—Torre del Greco“ bright amid darkness—the mountains above it flashing here and “ there from their snows; but Vesuvius, it had not thinned as I “ have seen at Keswick, but the air so consolidated with the massy “ cloud curtain, that it appeared like a mountain in basso relievo, “ in an interminable wall of some pantheon.”
* The order for Coleridge's arrest had already been sent from Paris, but his escape was so contrived by the good old Pope, as to defeat the intended indulgence of the Tyrant's vindictive appetite, which would have preyed equally on a Duc D’Enghien, and a contributor to a public journal. In consequence of Mr. Fox having asserted in the House of Commons, that the rupture of the Truce of Amiens had its origin in certain essays written in the Morning Post, which were soon known to have been Coleridge's, and that he was at Rome within reach, the ire of Buonaparte was immediately excited.
promptly obeyed by Coleridge. Hastening to Leghorn, he discovered an American vessel ready to sail for England, on board of which he embarked. On the voyage she was chased by a French vessel, which so alarmed the American, that he compelled Coleridge to throw his papers overboard, and thus to his great regret, were lost the fruits of his literary labours in Rome.*
In 1806 he returned to England, and took up his residence for a time at Keswick, but was more generally with his friend Wordsworth, then living at Grassmere.
At Grassmere he planned The Friend, for which Mr. Wordsworth wrote a few contributions; and receiving occasionally some little assistance from other writers, he was enabled to
* Though his Note Books are full of memoranda, not an entry or date of his arrival at Rome is to be found. To Rome itself and its magnificence, he would often refer in conversation. Unfortunately there is not a single document to recall the beautiful images he would place before your mind in perspective, when inspired by the remembrance of its wonder-striking and splendid objects. He however preserved some short essays, which he wrote when in Malta, Observations on Sicily, Cairo, &c. &c. political and statistical, which will probably form part of the literary remains in train of publication.
Malta, on a first view of the subject, seemed to present a situation so well fitted for a landing place, that it was intended to have adopted this mode, as in The Friend, of dividing the present memoir ; but this loss of Ms. and the breaches of continuity, render it impracticable.
furnish the quantity of valuable matter which appeared in that publication. Some of his earnest admirers, and those too persons best acquainted with his works, are disposed to give this the preference..
His friend, Lamb, who is justly considered a man of exquisite taste, used to say, in his odd and familiar way, “Only now listen to his talk, it is as fine as an angel's !” and then, by way of a superlative, would add, “ but after all, his best talk is in The Friend.”
To the Lake Edition of this work, as it has been termed, is appended the following prospectus, addressed to a correspondent:
“ It is not unknown to you, that I have em“ployed almost the whole of my life in ac“quiring, or endeavouring to acquire, useful “knowledge by study, reflection, observation, “ and by cultivating the society of my superiors “ in intellect, both at home and in foreign coun“ tries. You know too, that at different periods “ of my life, I have not only planned, but col“lected the materials for many works on various “and important subjects : so many indeed, that “ the number of my unrealized schemes, and the “mass of my miscellaneous fragments, have “ often furnished my friends with a subject of “raillery, and sometimes of regret and reproof. • Waiving the mention of all private and acci
“ dental hinderances, I am inclined to believe, " that this want of perseverance has been pro“ duced in the main by an over-activity of " thought, modified by a constitutional indo“ lence, which made it more pleasant to me to “ continue acquiring, than to reduce what I had “acquired to a regular form. Add too, that “ almost daily throwing off my notices or reflec“tions in desultory fragments, I was still tempted “onward by an increasing sense of the imper “ fection of my knowledge, and by the convic“tion, that in order fully to comprehend and “ develope any one subject, it was necessary that “I should make myself master of some other, “ which again as regularly involved a third, and “ so on, with an ever-widening horizon. Yet one “ habit, formed during long absences from those “ with whom I could converse with full sym“pathy, has been of advantage to me—that of “ daily noting down, in my memorandum or “common place books, both incidents and ob“servations, whatever had occurred to me from “ without, and all the flux and reflux of my “mind within itself. The number of these no“tices and their tendency, miscellaneous as they “ were, to one common end (* quid sumus et quid “ futuri gignimur,' what we are and what we “ are born to become ; and thus from the end of "our being to deduce its proper objects), first