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PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS,
NO. 82 CLIFF-STREET,
1 8 35.
It is nearly fourteen years since I was, for the first time, enabled to become a frequent and attentive visiter in Mr. Coleridge's domestic society. His exhibition of intellectual power in living discourse struck me at once as unique and transcendent; and upon my return home, on the very first evening which I spent with him after my boyhood, I committed to writing, as well as I could, the principal topics of his conversation, in his own words. I had no settled design at that time of continuing the work, but simply.made the note in something like a spirit of vexation that such a strain of music as I had just heard, should not last for ever. What I did once, I was easily induced by the same feeling to do again; and when, after many years of affectionate communion between us, the painful existence of my revered relative on earth was at length finished in peace, my occasional notes of what he had said in my presence had grown to a mass, of which these volumes contain only such parts as seem fit for present publication. I know, better than any one can tell me, how inadequately these specimens represent the peculiar splendour and individuality of Mr. Coleridge's conversation. How should it be otherwise ? Who could always follow to the turning-point his long arrow-flights of thought ? Who could fix those ejaculations of light, those tones of a prophet, which at times have made me bend before him as before an inspired man? Such acts of spirit as these were too subtle to be fettered down on paper; they live-if they can live anywhere-in the memories alone of those who witnessed them. Yet I would fain hope that these pages will prove that all is not lost ;—that something of the wisdom, the learning,