Letters of Hartley Coleridge

By Grace Griggs Evelyn; Earl Griggs Leslie et al. | Go to book overview

LETTER 65
To MISS MARY CLAUDE.

Dear Mary [ Sept. 1838.]

I do not send you this Sonnet because I think it worthy of its subject. Indeed, hastily got up as it has been, it is hardly worthy of its author. But knowing your partiality for the person to whom it is addressed (in his clerical capacity I mean) I thought you would not be displeased to see that Heretic as I must needs appear in his eyes--I hold him in high honour. Besides, I would fain send you some thing, and what can a poor scribbler send but his love and his verses? The first you would hardly accept, the latter you may deign to look at. The first line is literally true. Fearing a collision on points that should never be prophaned by casual angry disputation, I could never screw up my courage to call upon Mr. Faber,1 though I had just come to a determination when I heard he was gone. He has made some converts, I believe, to the High Church--he certainly made a Polish Countess whose name I can neither pronounce nor spell, cry out in an audible whisper, Ah, ma Pauvre Eglise, by his reflections on Popery. But I am afraid he has prevail'd on nobody to fast upon Fridays. But you have enough of controversy at Liverpool, if you choose to listen to it, which I very strongly disadvise and remain, Dear Mary, Yours truly

H. COLERIDGE.

To the Reverend Frederick Faber.

I fear'd to meet thee, for I know too well
I am not all, in will, or work, or creed,
Which thou demandest of the chosen seed:
Of mind too volant, perhaps too proud to dwell
A settled inmate of a lowly cell,
In that time-hallow'd temple, founded deep
By holy sages, that in glory sleep.
Yet, by our common faith I love thee well.
Bold art thou in thy function, as the seer
That call'd upon Jehovah for his flame,
Yet in thyself as meek as womanhood,
And modest as the virgin face of shame:
Stern to thyself, as God were all severe--
To others kind, as he were only good--2

____________________
1
Frederick William Faber ( 1814-63), who after a distinguished career at Oxford, had taken the pulpit at Ambleside. He later followed Newman into the Catholic Church.
2
This sonnet has not been previously published.

-225-

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