« PreviousContinue »
longed to foster an exclusive sentiment Let us be allowed to terminate this of piety, threw himself into a cloister; our glance at the Dark Ages by the he covered his head with a monk's portrait of one whose life and charachood, and the world understood and ter display them very vividly in all respected him ; but if the blood was their glory and superstition, in their bounding in a man's veins, and he high faith, in their absurd fears, in all panted for enterprize, and for specta- their ignorance and heroism. It is tors for his enterprize, he joined, his Joan d'Arc, or the Maid of Orleans, steed and lance perhaps all his wealth, we wish to call to remembrance, one the banner of his sovereign, or some whose character and exploits, marvel. adventurous noble, and pricked for- lous as they are, we have ample means ward with a heart as entirely self- of understanding. The judicial exsatisfied. The Church, that reproved amination both of herself and of other all in turn, gave a free scope to all. witnesses, taken when she was in capWe moderns are so educated by self- tivity to the English, supply more cer. reflection and mutual observation, and tain materials for biography than are are so familiar with the thoughts and usually possessed. Mr Sharon Turner, passions of other men, in other posi- who is invaluable for the diligence tions, that what we ourselves are, we with which he collects his materials, scarcely know. These men performed and the impartiality with which he their part in life, doubtless with even spreads them on his page, has, in his more egregious blunders than we poor History of England, framed his acmortals commit, but with a heartiness count of Joan from these examinations, and sincerity which more cogitating and his account we follow in the preanimals can never experience.
In the village of Domremy, on the father's horses, which she has frequent borders of Lorraine, there is a little occasion to do, for the pond at which girl of humble parents, who are not, they drink is at some distance from however, as some relate, the keepers the house, she arms herself with a of an inn, but small farmers cultivating wooden lance or long pole, and, ma. their own land. She is now about the naging her steed in quite knightly age of thirteen or fourteen, and is re- fashion, she tilts at the trees or any markable for her amiable temper and other object she can make a mark of, singular piety. She prefers solitude and deals her blow with wondrous and the sacred service to the village force and dexterity. Alone she prays, fête ; and may often be found kneeling alone she muses, alone she rides and alone in the church before the crucifix tilts, growing up in a complete world or the Virgin Mary. There is a beau- of her own of visionary religion and tiful tree in the neighbourhood ; they chivalrous exploit. call it the fairy tree, and other child. Henry V., the conqueror of Aginren are afraid to pass by it unaccom- court and the terror of France, is panied ; she takes her work and sits dead-his infant son has been crowned there by herself. She sees no fairies, at Paris, King of France and England but the forms of angels and of saints. -to the Dauphin, now Charles VII., St Margaret and St Catharine come a very small share of his hereditary and stand beside her, and smile so kingdom remains-Orleans is the only sweetly on her, that she weeps when town of any magnitude that adheres to the vision departs. At other times she him—the Regent Bedford has laid sits watching her father's sheep; and so siege to it—the siege is far advanced, gentle is she, that the birds will come the little court of Charles is in despair, and feed from her hand, and so modest and Charles himself meditates a flight and bashful, that, if addressed by a from his lost dominions, into Spain or stranger, she is utterly disconcerted. Scotland. The village of Domremy
Notwithstanding this susceptible is far from the scene of contest, but is temperament, she grows up into no not without sharing its agitation. It weak and sickly frame. With this lies on the borders of Burgundy, and musing visionary mood she combines the Duke of Burgundy is an ally of the rustic and invigorating labours of England. The very next village of ' ner station ; and now, as she rides her Marcy is of the Burgundian faction;
and the youths of Domremy and give her letters to the King, and supMarcy have frequently met and fought plies her with a horse, arms, and an each other upon
very quarrel. escort. “ Go," says the half-believJoan d'Arc hears all this with beat- ing, half-doubting man;
gol and ing heart, and grows up a warm friend let come what may of it." of her native prince. Nay, there is a The first step, which is proverbially prophecy current, that from the bor. so difficult, is achieved. Her fellowders of Lorraine a virgin should arise travellers, being constant witnesses of who would deliver France. When her firmness, her intrepidity, her undid France need deliverance more than shaken confidence in her holy mission, now? She prays more devoutly than are made converts, and believe in her. ever-visions and voices attend her- All ranks visit her; and many who and now it is not St Catharine only, come in sceptical mood, return, deand St Margaret, but the martial form claring, with tears in their eyes, that of St Michael that enters on the scene. « she is a creature of God.” Dressed She begins to talk mysteriously to her in male attire, her countenance pleasfriends of something that must be un- ing, her shape beautiful, but yet prodertaken by one as yet unthought of- portioned rather for strength than she must go and raise the siege of Or- gracefulness, she is introduced to leans, and crown the Dauphin, as she Charles. His council are divided in still calls him, in the city of Rheims ! opinion, but even those who share not
But how is a peasant girl to intro- the popular enthusiasm think fit to produce herself even, on the theatre of fit by it. Stories are circulated which, such exploits? In a neighbouring vile whether inventions of these cooler lage, there dwells a Seigneur of some heads, or the genuine blunders of creconsequence in the world, Baudricourt dulity, serve still further to promote by name. To him she will go, he that popular faith by which they gainwill introduce her to Charles. In that ed their credence. Has she not whis. same village she has an uncle, and pered to the Dauphin a secret which through him she can be presented to none but himself could by natural Lord Baudricourt. The uncle is first means be acquainted with ? Has she gained; he takes his niece, a country not sent her messenger for a sword girl, now about the age of eighteen, concealed behind an altar of St Cathedressed, as we are told, in her rine; a sword whose existence none shabby red gown," and presents her knew of, and concealed in a church to the Seigneur as the champion of where she herself had never been ? France, commissioned by Heaven to The clergy solemnly examine her. deliver the kingdom from its enemies, To one, who requests a miracle to be and to crown its native sovereign. performed instanter, in proof of her Baudricourt will not listen a moment, divine mission, she replies—“Conduct bids the uncle “ whip the girl, ånd me to Orleans, and there I will show send her back home.
you for what I am sent.” 6. The mi. Home, however, Joan by no means racle,” she said to another," which is goes. She stays at the village with given me to do is to raise the seige of her uncle-she talks of her divine Orleans. Give me men-at-arms, in mission-she is perpetual in her reli- what number or as few as you please, gious exercises. The old prophecy is and I will do it!” brought up; people listen and believe; How she went-how she won her Lord Baudricourt holds serious dis- way into the town—what brave sallies course with the clergymen of the she made from it-how she turned the place; they visit her together. At tide of hope and victory—is matter of this time the Duke of Lorraine is lying very familiar history. She infused as ill of a fever which his physicians do much terror into the English as of not understand, and thinks this maid confidence in the French. Not that may probably have some spell, some our ancestors, good catholics as they witchcraft, or saintcraft, by which to were, could believe that Heaven had cure him. She is introduced to the commissioned the Maid to scourge Duke; but she declares she knows them out of France-no; but there nothing of pharmacy-her business is were other powers, beside St Michael with France, and to set her prince and the Virgin, very busily at work in upon his throne.
All this, however, those days. Dreadful things were increases her celebrity. Baudricourt done by magic and the influence of is shaken. He consents, at length, to demons. As prayers and pious offer
ings secured the assistance of a saint, like a hero, and been almost worshipso there were incantations and sacri. ped like a saint. Her enemies watchlegious rites that would prompt and ed her conduct. They saw her, after direct the malevolence of fiends. They looking long at the once familiar dress, suffered from her witchcraft. Her begin to put it on. They rushed into spells had withered their hearts, and her presence and proclaimed her reparalysed their limbs.
lapsed. When Joan had performed her pro- Do not the character and career of mise, had raised the siege of Orleans, the Maid of Orleans illustrate with crowned the King at Rheims, and singular felicity the spirit of the times turned the tide of conquest decidedly she lived in ? The combination of in favour of her countrymen, she qualities which she herself presents to wished to retire from the scene. But our view is curious in the extreme ; the selfish policy of the King would but the greater curiosity lies in the not permit it; she must still animate temper, and notions, and tendencies of his soldiers by her presence. Her the age, which could have brought such career was, however, run-she was a person into the very foremost positaken prisoner, and the angel of tion of public life-placed her in the France was now the captive sorceress, van of armies-at the head of councils. forsaken of her demon. Bedford and in the mind of the Maiden herself we others of the English council treated see the noblest heroism, a courage unher with great cruelty. After having, daunted, an ardour and perseverance by promises of pardon, on the one fitted for the actual conduct of great hand, and, on the other, by long con- enterprises, and all these animated by finement and the torture of repeated dreams, and fancies, and spectral illuexaminations, worn down the enthu- sions. Strange that a courage so real siasm of her mind, and reduced her to should have been under guidance of the level of a sad, weak, and suffering visions so weak! Strange that the woman-after having, by the influence imagination of a lonely girl should not of the clergy of their own faction, have forsaken her on her entrance upon driven her to confess like a penitent, the palpable scene of military action ! and lament as a sinful presumption But still more strange that this nursthe lofty imagination that had been ling of solitude should find in the the source of all her glory-after hav- living world a theatre for the realizaing thus destroyed all the charm that tion of her visionary hopes ! But the surrounded her, they nevertheless re- world without was fantastic as the solved upon her execution. To obtain world within. The villager of Domsome pretence for their breach of good remy, without quitting her dreams, faith, they tricked her into what they leads the armies of France to conquest. called a relapse into witchcraft. All Her supernatural power is undisputed her exploits had been performed in either by friend or foe, but, alas! very male attire, and with that dress were differently construed. She places the associated all her dreams of glory. crown with her own hands upon the Since her captivity she had been cloth brows of her monarch; and this aded in the usual garments of her sex. mirable heroine dies, burnt at the One night they conveyed into her cell stake for a pestilent witch! that old attire in which she had fought
Edinburgh : Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work.
Of late years the works of Mr Cole- broadest grounds, both literary an ridge, both in prose and verse, have moral. been continually gaining upon public We are aware that this subject is notice, and now enjoy, we believe, a not now broached for the first time. pretty extensive popularity. Most of It was mooted some years ago in them have been reprinted since his Tait's Magazine, (September 1834,) death, and several volumes of posthu- and in the British Magazine, (January mous miscellanies have been added to 1835,) Mr De Quincy appearing in their number. Their celebrity being the former for the prosecution, and thus established, and on the daily in- Mr J. C. Hare in the latter for the crease, we think it not improbable that defence. But on both sides the case his Biographia Literaria (one of his was very badly conducted; indeed we principal works, and one which has may say it was altogether bungled. been long out of print) may likewise Neither party appears to have posbe re-issued before long by some enter- sessed a competent knowledge of the prising bookseller. But at the same facts; and the question was not fairly time we think it would be highly dis- and fully argued on the grounds creditable to the literature of the either of its condemning or justifying country, if any reprint of that work circumstances. The Opium-Eater was were allowed to go abroad, without evidently ignorant of the extent to embodying some accurate notice and which Coleridge's plagiarisms from admission of the very large and unac- Schelling had been carried; and thereknowledged appropriations it contains fore, with all his willingness, he was from the writings of the great German not in a position to press the charge philosopher Schelling. Partly, there. very far or very successfully. But fore, for the sake of any future editor besides this, even in the one great inor publisher who may choose to pro- stance in which he convicts Coleridge, fit by our animadversions, and partly losing sight of his usual extreme acbecause we think the case can hardly curacy, he not only does not lead us fail to be a matter of some interest to to the right work of Schelling from the general reader, as disclosing a cu- which the “ borrowed plumes” are rious page in the history of literature, taken ; but he refers us to a work we propose to do our best to supply which, under the title he gives it, is the requisite information on this sub- not to be found in the list of the Gerject-tracing Coleridge's plagiarisms man philosopher's publications. As to their true sources, fixing their pre- the source of Coleridge's plagiarisms, cise amount, or nearly so, (as far, at his accuser refers the inquisitive reader least, as Schelling is concerned,) and to a work which never existed ! * This, arguing the whole question on its it must be admitted, is not a very sa
* Instead of calling the work of Schelling, which he has in his mind's eye, by its right name, Philosophische Schriften, he calls it his Kleine Philosophische Werke. We NO. CCXCIII, VOL. XLVII.
tisfactory way of conducting a discus- ers of this Magazine will suppose us sion, or of throwing light upon a actuated by a desire to detract from doubtful matter ; and therefore, so far the merits, or to affix a stigma upon as the Opium-Eater's side of the con- the memory, of Mr Coleridge. The troversy is concerned, he will excuse high terms in which he has been spous for saying that he has left the ken of all along throughout our pages, question as much in the dark as ever, and the exalted rank assigned therein or rather involved in greater confusion to his genius, will secure us, we should and obscurity than before.
hope, against any such imputation. Neither is Mr Hare's side of the We are extremely unwilling to hold question a bit better managed. He him guilty of any direct and intenlikewise is either ignorant of the tional literary dishonesty ; but it is amount to which Coleridge was in- only when we take into consideration debted to Schelling, or else he does what we believe to have been his very not choose to speak out. He talks of peculiar idiosyncrasy, that we are able Coleridge having transferred into his to attribute to some strange intellectual work “ half-a-dozen pages," or little hallucination a practice, which, in the more, of Schelling. By our Lady !
other man, we should have they are nearer twenty. He brings called by the stronger name of a gross forward what he conceives to be the moral misdemeanour. But, be that as triumphantly exculpatory circumstan- it may, we are not going to sacrifice ces of the case, as they are to be found what we conceive to be truth and jusin the Biographia Literaria itself; tice out of regard to the genius of any but he evidently sees through them as man, however high it may have been, little as though they had been so many or to the memory of any man, how. milestones, and the inferences he draws ever illustrious and apparently unsul. from them appear to us to be very lied it may be. Fair play is a jewel : shallow and very questionable. The and we think it our duty to see fair reader shall be able to judge of this play upon all sides ; and, if our admifor himself by-and-by. And, lastly, ration of Coleridge has whispered in the great body of his defence consists our ear to keep this disclosure back, of recriminations against Mr De our admiration of Schelling (which we Quincy for having been the first to admit to be greater than that which bring the charge of plagiarism against we feel for Coleridge) was ever at a man who had been his friend, and hand, appealing to our conscience with whom he admired so much-as if the a still louder voice to bring it forward, Opium-Eater's delinquency in this and to do justice to the claims of forespect, admiiting it to have been— reign philosophy, and of individual which we do not--the blackest ever genius, by showing that one of the committed under heaven, were any most distinguished English authors of exculpation of Coleridge, or had any the nineteenth century, at the mature thing whatever to do with the merits age of forty-five, succeeded in foundof the case. We think, therefore, that ing by far the greater part of his methe whole question requires to be re- taphysical reputation-which was very vised, and that some attempt ought to considerable—upon verbatim plagiabe made to bring out its details with risms from works written and publishthe justice and accuracy befitting a ed by a German youth,* when little literature which does not choose to more than twenty years of age ! close its eyes, and have foreign pro- We start, then, by supposing it adductions palmed off upon it as the in- mitted (as it must be) that Coleridge, digenous growth of its own soil. in his Biographia Literaria, borrowed
In bringing this matter before the to a certain extent from Schelling, public, we have no fear that the read without making any specific acknow
admit he tells us that he is drawing upon his memory or his belief. But he ought not to have done so; for in a case of this kind nothing can be tolerated short of the most scrupulous accuracy. Besides, the passage he refers to is not contained even in the Phil. Schrift.; it occurs in Schelling's System des Transcendentalen Idealismus.
Schelling was born in 1775. The one of his works which Coleridge unmercifully. rifles was written in 1796–97, (Phil. Schrift., p. 201 ;) the other, the Transcendental Idealismi, was published in 1800. Coleridge was born in 1772-and his work, the Biographia Literaria, was not published until 1817.