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doubt, sir !” “ Yes,” said Coleridge;" he brought me here a matter of four miles an hour.” He was at no loss to perceive the honourable member's drift, who wished to shew off before the ladies : so he quietly waited the opportunity of a suitable reply." What a fore-hand he has !” continued Nimrod, “how finely he carries his tail ! Bridle and saddle well suited! and appropriately appointed !” “Yes,” said Coleridge.—“Will you sell him ?” asked the sporting baronet. “Yes !" was the answer, “ if I can have my price.” “Name your price, then, putting the rider into the bargain !”– This was too pointed to be passed over by a simple answer, and Coleridge was ready. “My price for the horse, sir, if I sell him, is one hundred guineas,-as to the rider, never having been in parliament, and never intending to go, his price is not yet fixed.” The baronet sat down more suddenly than he had risen--the ladies began to titter-while Coleridge quietly left him to his chagrin, and them to the enjoyment of their mirth.
We are now arrived at that period of Coleridge's life, in which it may be said, he received his first great warning of approaching danger. But it will be necessary to review his previous state of health. From childhood he discovered strong symptoms of a feeble stomach. As observed in the account of his school experience, when compelled to turn over the shoes in the shoe closet, exhausted by the fatigue, and overpowered by the scent, he suffered so much, that in after years the very remembrance almost made him shudder. Then his frequent bathing in the New River was an imprudence so injurious in its consequences, as to place him for nearly twelve months in the sick ward in the hospital of the school, with rheumatism connected with jaundice. These, to a youthful constitution, were matters of so serious a nature, as to explain to those acquainted with disease the origin and cause of his subsequent bodily sufferings. His sensitiveness was consequent on these, and so was his frequent incapability of continuous sedentary employment-an employment requiring far stronger health in an individual whose intellectual powers were ever at work. When overwhelmed at College, by that irresistible alarm and despondency which caused him to leave it, and to enlist as a soldier in the army, he continued in such a state of bodily ailment as to be deprived of the power of stooping, so that Cumberback,-a thing unheard of before,—was compelled to depute another to perform this part of his duty. On his voyage to Malta, he had complained of suffering from shortness of breath; and on returning to his residence at the Lakes, his difficulty of breathing and his rheumatism increased to a great degree. About the year 1809, ascending Skiddaw with his younger son, he was suddenly seized in the chest, and so overpowered as to attract the notice of the child. After the relation of these circumstances to some medical friend, he was advised by him not to bathe in the sea. The love, however, which he had from a boy, for going into the water, he retained till a late period of life. Strongly impressed with this feeling, he seems to have written the poem, entitled “On Revisiting the Sea Shore :"
“ Dissuading spake the mild physician,
Those briny waves for thee are death,
In the year 1810, he left the Lakes, in company with Mr. Basil Montagu, whose affectionate regard for Mr. Coleridge, though manifested upon every occasion, was more particularly shown in seasons of difficulty and affliction. By Coleridge, Mr. Montagu's friendship was deeply felt,--and his gentle manners and unremitted kindness had the most soothing effect upon the sensitive and grateful mind of Coleridge. He remained for some time at Mr. Montagu's house. He afterwards resided at Hammersmith, with an amiable and common friend of his and Mr. Southey’s – Mr. Morgan, with whom they had formed an intimacy in Bristol. Whilst here he delivered a course of lectures at the London Philosophical Society. The prospectus was as follows:
* This poem is supposed to have been written in 1813, when on a visit to some friends at Bexhill, Sussex.
“Mr. Coleridge will commence, on Monday, November 18, 1811, a Course of Lectures on Shakspeare and Milton, in illustration of the principles of poetry, and their application, as grounds of criticism, to the most popular works of later English Poets, those of the living included.” After an introductory lecture on False Criticism (especially in poetry), and on its causes; two thirds of the remaining course will be assigned, Ist, to a philosophical analysis, and explanation of all the principal characters of our great dramatist, as Othello, Falstaff, Richard the Third, Iago, Hamlet, &c.; and 2nd, to a critical comparison of Shakspeare, in respect of diction, imagery, management of the passions, judgment in the construction of his dramas, in short, of all that belongs to him as a poet, and as a dramatic poet, with his contemporaries or immediate successors, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford, Massinger, &c. in the endeavour to determine what of Shakspeare's merits and defects are common to him, with other writers of the same age, and what remain peculiar to his own genius.
- The course will extend to fifteen lectures, which will be given on Monday and Thursday evenings successively.”
Mr. Coleridge afterwards delivered another course of lectures at the Royal Institution. Dr. Dibdin, one of his auditors, gives the following account of the lecturer : *_" It was during my constant and familiar intercourse with Sir T. Bernard, while • The Director' was going on, that I met the celebrated Mr. Coleridge-himself a lecturer. He was not a constant lecturer
—not in constant harness like others for the business of the day. Indisposition was generally preying upon him,t and habitual indolence would now and then frustrate the performance of his own better wishes. I once came from Kensington in a snow-storm, to hear him lecture upon Shakspeare. I might have sat as wisely and more comfortably by my own fire side--for no Coleridge appeared. And this I think occurred more than once at the Royal Institution. I shall never forget the effect his conversation made upon me at the first meeting. It struck me as something not only quite out of the ordinary course of things, but as an intellectual exhibition altogether matchless. The viands were unusually costly, and the banquet was at once rich and varied ; but there seemed
* Reminiscences of a Literary Life, Vol. i. p. 253.
+ If “indisposition were generally preying upon him," as at this time was indeed the fact, could this occasional failure in the delivery of a lecture (though naturally very disappointing to his audience,) be fairly attributed to indolence ?