Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 11.djvu/319

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Coleridge
Coleridge
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friend, whose friendship has hardly received justice from Coleridge's biographers. Coleridge stayed at Calne during a great part of 1815, and he was there in January 1816 (letters in Westminster Review, April and July 1870). He says (29 July 1815) that he has finished the 'Biographia Literaria,' and he was at work upon play-writing. During part of this period his friends had almost lost sight of him.- On 17 Oct. 1814 Southey wrote to Cottle asking for news of Coleridge, whom he had not seen for thirteen months. Southey was providing means for sending Hartley Coleridge to college, but could extract no reply to a letter addressed to Coleridge himself.

Coleridge at last resolved to make a final effort to retrieve his position. On 9 April 1816 Dr. Joseph Adams [q. v.], whom he had consulted, applied to Mr. Gillman of Highgate, asking whether he would receive Coleridge into his family. A day or two later Gillman saw Coleridge himself, and was fascinated by his conversation. An agreement was at once made, and Coleridge came to Gillman's house 15 April 1816, where for the rest of his days he remained as an honoured and cherished guest. Gillman and his wife appear to have been in the highest degree judicious and affectionate, and deserved the gratitude with which Coleridge continued to regard them. It does not appear how far the habit of opium-eating was finally abandoned, but at least Coleridge was enabled to exert much personal influence, and to collect such fragments of his speculations as still remain.

His literary activity for a time was considerable, and Gillman thought (Robinson, ii. 39) too much for his strength. Byron had asked him for another tragedy. The result was ' Zapolya,' dictated to Morgan at Calne (Gillman, p. 268), to which, to Coleridge's great disgust, Maturin's tragedy ' Bertram ' was preferred (see Biog. Lit. ii. 255, &c.) Byron, however, according to Moore, recommended 'Zapolya' to Murray (To Murray, 4 Nov. 1815), by whom it was published as a 'Christmas Tale,' in two parts, in 1817. It is more probable that Byron's letter to Murray refers to ' Christabel ' (see Westminster Review for July 1870, pp. 4, 5. From the same source, and from letters published in Lippincott's Magazine for June 1874, pp. 698 and 705, we learn that Coleridge had written another 'dramatic piece,' which, if it ever really existed, is not forthcoming, though he expected it to be brought out at Drury Lane at Christmas 1816). Murray, at any rate, accepted 'Christabel,' which was at press when Coleridge first saw Gillman, and was published with ' Kubla Khan ' and the ' Pains of Sleep ' in 1816. The poem had long been well known. Stoddart had repeated it to Scott, who profited by its new system of versification in the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel.' Coleridge refers to this imitation as an injury in a letter to Josiah Wedgwood (Meteyard, 327-8) in June 1807, when he speaks of 'two volumes of poems,' including 'Christabel,' as about to go to press. The poem was already so well known that a ' sequel ' called 'Christobell ' appeared in the ' European Magazine ' for April 1815 (republished in 'Fraser,' January 1835). A later parody, probably by Maginn, appeared in 'Blackwood' for June 1819. The poem struck the fancy of the public more than any of his previously published works, and three editions were sold in the year. Coleridge always professed an intention of executing a conclusion, and a sketch of his design is given by Gillman (pp. 301-2). In the 'Canterbury Magazine' for September 1834, p. 126, is Coleridge's indignant denial of a theory suggested that Geraldine was meant to be a man. 'Christabel' was attacked by Moore (Dibdin, Reminiscences, i. 340) in the 'Edinburgh Review.' Murray had given him 80l. for it, which he had handed over to the Morgans, now in distress. Murray was alarmed by the reviews, and Coleridge transferred his other writings to a publisher named Curtis. Curtis soon became bankrupt, and Coleridge lost a considerable sum in consequence (see letter in Brandl, p. 385).

In 1817 appeared a collection of his poems, called ' Sibylline Leaves.' Other publications followed about the same timeĀ ; two lay sermons appeared in 1816 and 1817, and in 1818 a new and greatly altered edition of the 'Friend.' In 1817 appeared the 'Biographia Literaria,' a work primarily intended as a kind of 'Apologia,' or rather as a claim for public recognition, but diverging into some of his most admirable criticism. He gave his last series of lectures in Flower-de-Luce Court, Fetter Lane, between January and March 1818, to crowded and sympathetic audiences. His later publications were the ' Aids to Reflection,' 1825, and the ' Essay on Church and State,' 1820. At Gillman's Coleridge led a quiet and monotonous life, soothed by the attention of his hosts and the admiration of many friends who came to wonder at his discourses. Among them was Thomas Allsop [q. v.], who wrote to him about one of the lectures of 1818. A personal acquaintance soon followed, and Coleridge wrote many letters to his young friend, showing that he still dwelt upon grand schemes of future work, and hoped to complete his poems. In January 1821 he sketches a series of writings, including his 'great work,' part of which, he says, has been already dictated to his disciple, Green.