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No one can leap over his own shadow, but poets leap over death. The old world begins a new year. That is ours, but this is from God.

We may think of time as threefold. Slowly comes the Future, swift the Present passes by, but the Past is unmoveable. No impatience will quicken the loiterer, no terror, no delight rein in the flyer, and no regret set in motion the stationary.

Wouldst be happy, take the delayer for thy counsellor; do not choose the flyer for thy friend, nor the ever-remainer for thine enemy. A numb limb seems twice its real size. Take away from sounds the sense of outness, and what a horrible disease would every minute become! A drive over a pavement would be exquisite torture.

What, then, is sympathy if the feelings be not disclosed? An inward reverberation of the stifled cry of distress. A kind-hearted man who is obliged to give a refusal or the like which will inflict great pain, finds a relief in doing it roughly and fiercely. Explain this and use it in Christabel. The hope of this, always more or less disappointed, gives the passion to friendship.

October, Hartley, at Mr. The seems made him miserable. What seems to be and is not, men and faces, and I do not [know] what, ugly, and sometimes pretty, and these turn ugly, and they seem when my eyes are open and worse when they are shut—and the candle cures the seems.

If it be false, as assuredly it is, the opinion has deprived us of a test which every man might apply. First volume, containing "Tale of a Tub," wanting. Second volume—the sermon on the Trinity, rank Socinianism, purus putus Socinianism, while the author rails against the Socinians for monsters. The first sight of green fields with the numberless nodding gold cups, [25] and the winding river with alders on its banks, affected me, coming out of a city confinement, with the sweetness and power of a sudden strain of music.

In natural objects we feel ourselves, or think of ourselves, only by likenesses—among men, too often by differences. Hence the soothing, love-kindling effect of rural nature—the bad passions of human societies. And why is difference linked with hatred?

Socinianism, moonlight; methodism, a stove. O for some sun to unite heat and light! Sunday, December 19 Remember the pear trees in the lovely vale of Teme. Every season Nature converts me from some unloving heresy, and will make a Catholic of me at last.

A fine and apposite quotation, or a good story, so far from promoting, are wont to damp the easy commerce of sensible chit-chat. We imagine ourselves discoverers, and that we have struck a light, when, in reality, at most, we have but snuffed a candle.

A thief in the candle, consuming in a blaze the tallow belonging to the wick which has sunk out of sight, is an apt simile for a plagiarist from a dead author. An author with a new play which has been hissed off the stage is not [27] unlike a boy who has launched on a pond a ship of his own making, and tries to prove to his schoolfellows that it ought to have sailed.

Repose after agitation is like the pool under a waterfall, which the waterfall has made. Something inherently mean in action! The great federal republic of the universe. A thought and thoughts are quite different words from Thought, as a fancy from Fancy, a work from Work, a life from Life, a force and forces from Force, a feeling, a writing [from Feelings, Writings.

Is not a real event in the body well represented by this phrase? Is it in excess when on first dropping asleep we fall [28] down precipices, or sink down, all things sinking beneath us, or drop down?

Is there not a disease from deficiency of this critical sensation when people imagine that they have been awake all night, and actually lie dreaming, expecting and wishing for the critical sensation?

Southey, i. A curious, and more than curious, fact, that when the country does not benefit, it depraves. Hence the violent, vindictive passions [29] and the outrageous and dark and wild cruelties of very many country folk.

Tuesday night, July 19, Intensely hot day; left off a waistcoat and for yarn wore silk stockings. Instantly came on my mind that night I slept out at Ottery, and the calf in the field across the river whose lowing so deeply impressed me. Never to lose an opportunity of reasoning against the head-dimming, [30] heart-damping principle of judging a work by its defects, not its beauties.

Every work must have the former—we know it a priori—but every work has not the latter, and he, therefore, who discovers them, tells you something that you could not with certainty, or even with probability, have anticipated. In those little poems, his own corrections coming of necessity so often—at the end of every fourteen or twenty lines, or whatever the poem might chance to be—wore him out; difference of opinion with his best friends irritated him, and he wrote, at times, too much with a sectarian spirit, in a sort of bravado.

But now he is at the helm of a noble bark; now he sails right onward; it is all open ocean and a steady breeze, and he drives before it, unfretted by short tacks, reefing and unreefing the sails, hauling and disentangling the ropes. His only disease is the having been out of his element; his return to it is food to famine; it is both the specific remedy and the condition of health. Music, [31] too, is wanting to me. Man exists herein to himself and to God alone—yea!

The tree or sea-weed like appearance of the side of the mountain, all white with snow, made by little bits of snow loosened. Introduce this and the stones leaping rabbit-like down on my sopha of sods. It either stupefies me, and I, perhaps, look at a merry-make and dance-the-hay of flies, or listen entirely to the loud click of the great clock, or I am simply indifferent, not without some sense of philosophical self-complacency. For a thing at the moment is but a thing of the moment; it must be taken up into the mind, diffuse itself through the whole multitude of shapes and thoughts, not one of which it leaves untinged, between [not one of] which and it some [32] new thought is not engendered.

Now this is a work of time, but the body feels it quicker with me. Unspoken grief is a misty medley of which the real affliction only plays the first fiddle, blows the horn to a scattered mob of obscure feelings.

Perhaps, at certain moments, a single, almost insignificant sorrow may, by association, bring together all the little relicts of pain and discomfort, bodily and mental, that we have endured even from infancy. Who has not known men who have passed the day in honourable toil with [33] honour and ability, and at night sought the vilest pleasure in the vilest society?

What this is depends, seemingly, on temperament. Yet A and B are both good men, as the world goes. They do not act from conscious self-love, and are amenable to principles in their own minds.

Heavy masses of shapeless vapour upon the mountains O the perpetual forms of Borrowdale! Slanting pillars travel across the lake at long intervals, the vaporous mass whitens in large stains of light—on the lakeward ridge of that huge arm-chair of Lodore fell a gleam of softest light, that brought out the rich hues of the late autumn.

The woody Castle Crag between me and Lodore is a rich flower-garden of colours—the brightest yellows with the deepest crimsons and the infinite shades of brown and green, the infinite diversity of which blends the whole, so that the brighter colours seem to be colours upon a ground, not coloured things. Little woolpacks of white bright vapour rest on different summits and declivities. The vale is narrowed by the mist and cloud, yet through the wall of mist you can see into a bower of sunny light, in Borrowdale; the birds are singing in the tender rain, as if it were the rain of April, and the decaying foliage were flowers and blossoms.

I spoke, I fear, too contemptuously; but they spoke so irreverently, so malignantly of the Divine Wisdom that it overset me. Hazlitt, how easily raised to rage and hatred self-projected! Peace be with him! But thou, dearest Wordsworth—and what if Ray, Durham, Paley have carried the observation of the aptitude of things too far, too habitually into pedantry? O how many worse pedantries! Dear William, pardon pedantry in others, and avoid it in yourself, instead of scoffing and reviling at pedantry in good men and a good cause and becoming a pedant yourself in a bad cause—even by that very act becoming one.

But, surely, always to look at the superficies of objects for the purpose of taking delight in their beauty, and sympathy with their real or imagined life, is as deleterious to the health and manhood of intellect as, always [36] to be peering and unravelling contrivance may be to the simplicity of the affection and the grandeur and unity of the imagination.

O dearest William! Hazlitt to the feelings of anger and hatred, phosphorus—it is but to open the cork and it flames—but to love and serviceable friendship, let them, like Nebuchadnezzar, heat the furnace with a sevenfold heat, this triune, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, will shiver in the midst of it. I made out, however, the whole business of the origin of evil satisfactorily to my own mind, and forced H.

The hollowness and impiety of the argument will be felt by considering that, suppose a universal happiness, a perfection of the moral as well as natural world, still the whole objection applies just as forcibly as at this [37] moment. The malignity of the Deity I shudder even at the assumption of this affrightful and Satanic language is manifested in the creation of archangels and cherubs and the whole company of pure Intelligences burning in their unquenchable felicity, equally as in the creation of Neros and Tiberiuses, of stone and leprosy.

Suppose yourself perfectly happy, yet, according to this argument, you ought to charge God with malignity for having created you—your own life and all its comforts are in the indictment against the Creator—for surely even a child would be ashamed to answer, "No!

I should still exist, only in that case, instead of being a man, I should be an infinite being. Thus, then, it appears that the sole justification of those who, offended by the vice and misery of the created world, as far as we know it, impeach the power and goodness of the Almighty, making the proper cause of such vice and misery to have been a defect either of power or goodness—it appears, I say, [38] that their sole justification rests on an argument which has nothing to do with vice and misery, as vice and misery—on an argument which would hold equally good in heaven as in hell—on an argument which it might be demonstrated no human being in a state of happiness could ever have conceived—an argument which a millennium would annihilate, and which yet would hold equally good then as now!

But even in point of metaphysic the whole rests at last on the conceivable. Let him have created this infinity of infinites, still there is space in the imagination for the creation of finites; but instead of these, let him again create infinites; yet still the same space is left, it is no way filled up. I feel, too, that the whole rests on a miserable sophism of applying to an Almighty Being such words as [39] all. Why were not all Gods?

But there is no all in creation. It is composed of infinites, and the imagination, bewildered by heaping infinites on infinites and wearying of demanding increase of number to a number which it conceives already infinite, deserted by images and mocked by words, whose sole substance is the inward sense of difficulty that accompanies all our notions of infinity applied to numbers—turns with delight to distinct images and clear ideas, contemplates a world, an harmonious system, where an infinity of kinds subsist each in a multitude of individuals apportionate to its kind in conformity to laws existing in the divine nature, and therefore in the nature of things.

We cannot, indeed, prove this in any other way than by finding it as impossible to deny omniform, as eternal, agency to God—by finding it impossible to conceive that an omniscient Being should not have a distinct idea of finite beings, or that distinct ideas in the mind of God should be without the perfection of real existence, that is, imperfect. But this is a proof subtle indeed, yet not more so than the difficulty.

The intellect that can start the one can understand the other, if his vices do not prevent him. Admit for a moment that "conceive" is equivalent to creation in the divine nature, synonymous with "to beget" a feeling of which has given to marriage a mysterious sanctity and sacramental significance in [40] the mind of many great and good men —admit this, and all difficulty ceases, all tumult is hushed, all is clear and beautiful.

We sit in the dark, but each by the side of his little fire, in his own group, and lo! All night long it has dwelt there, and we look at it and know that the sun is not extinguished, that he is elsewhere bright and vivifying, that he is coming to us, to make our fires needless; yet, even now, that our cold and darkness are so called only in comparison with the heat and light of the coming day, never wholly deserted of the rays.

Awakening gradually, I was able completely to detect that it was the ticking of my watch, which lay in the pen-place in my desk, on the round table close by my ear, and which, in the diseased state of my nerves, had [41] fretted on my ears. I arose instantly and wrote it down.

It is now ten minutes past five. To return to the question of evil—woe to the man to whom it is an uninteresting question, though many a mind over-wearied by it may shun it with dread.


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No one can leap over his own shadow, but poets leap over death. The old world begins a new year. That is ours, but this is from God. We may think of time as threefold. Slowly comes the Future, swift the Present passes by, but the Past is unmoveable. No impatience will quicken the loiterer, no terror, no delight rein in the flyer, and no regret set in motion the stationary. Wouldst be happy, take the delayer for thy counsellor; do not choose the flyer for thy friend, nor the ever-remainer for thine enemy.


Ernest Hartley Coleridge

He also took part in the campaign to buy the Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey for the nation. Page — The many men, so beautiful! Thank you for your interest in helping us moderate questionable content on Lulu. Your digital signature is as legally binding as a physical signature.


Anima Poetae: From the Unpublished Note-books of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This is an OCR edition with typos. Unlike the Biographia Literaria, or the original and revised versions of The Friend, which never had their day at all, or the Aids to Reflection, which passed through many editions, but now seems to have delivered its message, the Table Talk is still well-known and widely read, and that not only by students of literature. The task which the editor set himself was a difficult one, but it lay within the powers of an attentive listener, possessed of a good memory and those rarer gifts of a refined and scholarly taste, a sound and luminous common sense. Here are the balmy sunny islets of the blest and the intelligible, an unvexed and harborous archipelago.


Anima poetæ : from the unpublished notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge


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