Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Literary Remains, 4 vols. (Pickering 1836-39)

Literary Remains (1836)

Versions of remarks on Giordano Bruno

See especially extracts on Giordano Bruno - infra.

Bibliographical details: Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Collected and edited by Henry Nelson Coleridge, Esq, M.A. [2 vols.] (London: William Pickering 1836) - Vol. I [Sect.:] “Omniana, ... &c.”, 291pp.


See Table of Contents [infra], or proceed directly to textual extracts (i.e., “Egoism” [infra].)

Facsimile rep. edition:
Literary Remains, 4 vols. (NY: AMS Press 1967), 22 cm. Contents. Vol. 1: The fall of Robespierre. Poems. A course of lectures. Omniana. Vol. 2: Shakespeare, with introductory matter on poetry, the drama, and the stage. Notes on Ben Jonson; Beaumont and Fletcher; On the Prometheus of Ęschylus [and others. Vol. 3: Preface. Formula fidei de ss. Trinitate. Nightly prayer. Notes on the book of common prayer; Hooker; Field; Donne; Henry More; Heinrichs; Hacket; Jeremy Taylor; The pilgrim’s progress; John Smith. Letter to a godchild. Vol. 4: Notes on Luther; St. Theresa; Bedell; Baxter; Leighton; Sherlock; Waterland; Skelton; Andrew Fuller; Whitaker; Oxlee; A barrister's Hints; Davison; Irving; Noble. Essay on faith.

Internet sources

Contents of Vol. I - Omniana [sect.]*
  • The French Decade
  • Ride and Tie
  • Jeremy Taylor
  • Criticism
  • Public Instruction
  • Picturesque Words
  • Toleration
  • War
  • Parodies
  • M. Dupuis
  • Origin of the Worship of Hymen
  • Egotism
  • Cap of Liberty
  • Bulls
  • Wise Ignorance
  • Rouge
  • Hasty Words
  • Motives and Impulses
  • Inward Blindness
  • The Vices of Slaves no excuse for Slavery
  • Circulation of the Blood
  • ‘Peritura Parcere Chartae’
  • To have and to be
  • Party Passion
  • Goodness of Heart Indispensable to a Man of Genius
  • Milton and Ben Jonson
  • Statistics
  • Magnanimity
  • Negroes and Narcissuses
  • An Anecdote
  • The Pharos at Alexandria
  • Sense and Common Sense
  • Toleration
  • Hint for a New Species of History
  • Text Sparring
  • Pelagianism
  • The Soul and its Organs of Sense
  • Sir George Etherege, &c.
  • Evidence
  • Force of Habit
  • Phoenix
  • Memory and Recollection
  • ‘Aliquid ex Nihilo’
  • Brevity of the Greek and English compared
  • The Will and the Deed
  • The Will for the Deed
  • Sincerity
  • Truth and Falsehood
  • Religious Ceremonies
  • Association
  • Curiosity
  • New Truths
  • Vicious Pleasures
  • Meriting Heaven
  • Dust to Dust
  • Human Countenance
  • Lie useful to Truth
  • Science in Roman Catholic States
  • Voluntary Belief
  • Amanda
  • Hymen’s Torch
  • Youth and Age
  • December Morning
  • Archbishop Leighton
  • Christian Honesty
  • Inscription on a Clock in Cheapside
  • Rationalism is not Reason
  • Inconsistency
  • Hope in Humanity
  • Self-love in Religion
  • Limitation of Love of Poetry
  • Humility of the Amiable
  • Temper in Argument
  • Patriarchal Government
  • Callous self-conceit
  • A Librarian
  • Trimming
  • Death
  • Love an Act of the Will
  • Wedded Union
  • Difference between Hobbes and Spinosa
  • The End may justify the Means
  • Negative Thought
  • Man’s return to Heaven
  • Young Prodigies
  • Welch names
  • German Language
  • The Universe
  • Harberous
  • An Admonition
  • To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry
  • Definition of Miracle
  • Death, and grounds of belief in a Future State
  • Hatred of Injustice
  • Religion
  • The Apostles’ Creed
  • A Good Heart
  • Evidences of Christianity
  • Confessio Fidei

*The “Omniana” [sect.] follows other sections on Poems; Course of Lectures; Notes [in the form of ‘notes on ...’]; Poems and Poetical Fragments.

It is hard and uncandid to censure the great reformers in philosophy and religion for the[ir] egotism and boastfulness. It is scarcely possible for a man to meet with continual personal abuse, on account of his superior talents, without associating more and more the sense of the value of his discoveries or detections with his own person. The necessity of repelling unjust contempt, forces the most modest man into a feeling of pride and self-consciousness. How can a tall man help thinking of his size, when dwarfs are constantly on tiptoe beside him? Parcelsus was a braggard and a quack; so was Cardan; but it was their merits, and not their follies, which drew upon them that torrent of detraction and calumny, which compelled them so frequently to think and write concerning themselves, that at length it became a habit to do so. Wolff too, though not a boaster, was yet persecuted into a habit of egotism both in his prefaces and in his ordinary [291] conversation, and the same holds good of the founder of the Brunonian system, and his great namesake Giordano Bruno. The more decorous manner of the present age have attached a disproportionate opprobrium to this foible, and many therefore abstain with cautious prudence from all displays of what they feel. Nay, some do actually flatter themselves, that they abhor all egotism and never betray it either in their writings or their discourse. But watch these men narrowly; and in the greater number of cases you will find their thoughts, feelings, and mode of expression, saturated with the passion of contempt, which is the concentrated vinegar of egotism. [... &c.; dated 1800; here pp.291-92.)


Contempt is egotism in ill humour. Appetite without moral affection, social sympathy, and even without passion and imagination - (in plain English, mere lust) - is the basest form of egotism, - and being infra human, or below humanity, should be pronounced with the harsh breathing, as he-goat-ism. [End sect.; dated 1820; here p.293.]


I have read many attempts at a definition of a Bull, and lately in the Edinburgh Review; but it then appeared to me that the definers had fallen into the same fault as Miss Edgeworth, in her delightful essay on Bulls, and given the definition of the genus, Blunder, for that of the [194] particular species. I will venture, therefore, to propose the following: A Bull consists in the mental juxtaposition of incongruous images and thoughts with the sensation, but without the sense, of connection. The psychological conditions of the possibility of a Bull it would not be difficult to determine; but it would require a larger space than can be afforded here, at least more attention than my readers would be likely to afford.
  There is a sort of spurious Bull which consists wholly in mistake of languge, and which the closest thinker may make, if speaking in a languge of which he his not master. [End. sect.; pp.294-95.]


Circulation of the Blood
The ancients attributed to the blood the same motion of ascent and descent which really takes place in the sap of trees. Servetus discovered the minor circulation from the heart to the lungs. Do not the following passages of Giordano Bruno (published in 1591) seem to imply more? I put the question, pauperis forma, with unfeigned diffidence.

De Immenso et Innumerabili[,] lib. vi. cap. 8:

Ut in nostro corpore sanguis per totum circumcursat et re-
cursat, sic in toto mundo, astro, tellure.

Quare non aliter quam nostro in corpore sanguis
Hinc meat, hinc remeat, neque ad inferiora fluit vi
Majore, ad supera a pedibus quam deinde recedat:

and still more plainly, in the ninth chapter of the same book,

                                             Quid esset
Quodam ni gyro natura cuncta redirent
Ortus ad proprios rursum; si sorbeat omnes
Pontus aquas, totum non restituatque perenni
Ordine; qua possit rerum consistere vita?
Tanquam si totus concurrat sanguis in unam,
In qua consistat, partem, nee prima revisat
Ordia, et antiquos cursus non inde resumat

It is affirmed in the “Supplement to the Scotch Encyclopaedia Britannica,” that Des Cartes was the first who in defiance of Aristotle and the Schools, attributed infinity to [301] the universe. The very title of Bruno’s poem proves, that this honour belongs to him. [...]

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We all remember Burke’s curious assertion that there were 80,000 incorrigible jacobins in England. Mr. Colquhoun is equally precise in the number of beggars, prostitutes, and thieves in the City of London. Mercetinus, who wrote under Lewis [Louis] XV, seems to have afforded the precedent; he assures his readers, that by an accurate calculation there were 50,000 incorrigible atheists in the City of Paris! Atheism then may have been a co-cause of the French revolution; but it should not be burthened on it, as its monster-child. (p.305; end sect. - and note that “Magnanimity”, follows immediately, as infra.)

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The following ode was written by Giordano Bruno, under prospect of that martyrdom which he soon after suffered at Rome, for atheism: that is, as is proved by all his works, for a lofty and enlightened piety, which was of course unintelligible to bigots and dangerous to an apostate hierarchy. If the human mind be, as it assuredly is, the sublimest object which nature affords to our contemplation, these lines which portray the human mind under the action of its most elevated affections, have a fair claim to the praise of sublimity. The work from which they are extracted is exceedingly rare (as are, indeed, all the works of the Nolan philosopher), and I have never seen them quoted:-

Daedaleas [sic] vacuis plumas nectere humeris
Concupiant alii; aut vi suspendi nubium
Alis, ventorumve appetant remigium;
Aut orbitæ flammantis raptari alveo;
Bellerophontisve alitem

Nos vero illo donati sumus genio,
Ut fatum intrepedi
[recte intrepidi] objectasque umbras cernimus,
Ne caeci ad lumen solis, ad perspicuas
Naturae voces surdi, ad Divum munera
Ingrato adsimus pectore.

Non curamus stultorum quid opinio
De nobis ferat, aut queis dignetur sedibus.
Alis ascendimus sursum melioribus!
Quid nubes ultra, ventorum ultra est semita,
Vidimus, quantum satis est.

Illuc conscendent plurimi, nobis ducibus,
Per scalam proprio erectam et firmam in pectore,
Quam Deus, et vegeti sors dabit ingeni;
Non manes, pluma, ignis, ventus, nubes, spiritus,
Divinantum phantasmata.

Non sensus vegetans, non me ratio arguet,
Non indoles exculti clara ingenii;
Sed perfidi sycophantae supercilium
Absque lance, statera, trutina, oculo,
Miraculum armati segete.

Versificantis grammatistae encomium,
Buglossae Graecissantum, et epistolia
Lectorem libri salutantum a limine,
Latrantum adversum Zoilos, Momos, mastiges,
Hinc absint testimonia!

Procedat nudus, quem non ornant nubila,
Sol! Non conveniunt quadrupedum phalerae
Humano dorso! Porra veri species
Quaesita, inventa, et patefacta me efferat!
Etsi nullus intelligat,
Si cum natura sapio, et sub numine,
Id vere plus quam satis est

[ Note: In Robert Southey’s Omniana, hor otiosiores, 2 vols. (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown 1812), Vol. 1 - which contains essays by Coleridge - the version of the ode contains the correct Latin forms Daedalias and intrepidi - here corrected. (Southey, op. cit. pp.241-42.) In the subsequent version printed in Table-talk and Omniana, ed. T. Ashe [Bohn’s Library] (G. Bell 1884, &c.), Daedaleas appears thus while intrepidi appears correctly - as attached. BS. ]

The conclusion alludes to a charge of impenetrable obscurity, in which Bruno shares one and the same fate with Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and in truth with every great discoverer and benefactor of the human race; excepting only when the discoveries have been capable of being rendered palpable to the outward senses, and have therefore come under the cognizance [307] of our “sober judicious critics,” the men of “sound common sense”; that is, of those snails in intellect, who wear their eyes at the tips of their feelers, and cannot even see unless they at the same time touch. When these finger-philosophers affirm that Plato, Bruno, &c. must have been “out of their senses,” the just and proper retort is, - “Gentlemen! it is still worse with you! you have lost your reason!”

By the by, Addison in the Spectator has grossly misrepresented the design and tendency of Bruno’s Bestia Triomphante; the object of which was to show of all the theologies and theogonies which have been conceived for the mere purpose of solving problems in the material universe, that as they originate in fancy, so they all end in delusion, and act to the hindrance or prevention of sound knowledge and actual discovery. But the principal and most important truth taught in this allegory is, that in the concerns of morality all pretended knowledge of the will of Heaven which is not revealed to man through his conscience; that all commands which do not consist in the unconditional obedience of the will to the pure reason, without tampering with consequences (which are in God’s power, not in ours); in short, that all motives of hope and fear from invisible powers, which are not immediately derived from, and absolutely coincident with, the reverence due to the supreme reason of the [308] universe, are all alike dangerous superstitions. The worship founded on them, whether offered by the Catholic to St. Francis, or by the poor African to his Fetish differ in form only, not in substance. Herein Bruno speaks not only as a philosopher, but as an enlightened Christian; - the Evangelists and Apostles every where representing their moral precepts not as doctrines then first revealed, but as truths implanted in the hearts of men, which their vices only could have obscured. (pp.306-08.)

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The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 4 vols. (1836), 8°
Vol the First. The fall of Robespierre. Poems. A course of lectures. Omniana (xix, 395p. - see sect. contents - infra.)
Vol. the Second. Shakespeare, with introductory matter on poetry, the drama, and the stage. Notes on Ben Jonson; Beaumont and Fletcher; On the Prometheus of Æschylus [and others]
Volume the Third. Preface. Formula fidei de ss. Trinitate. Nightly prayer. Notes on the book of common prayer; Hooker; Field; Donne; Henry More; Heinrichs; Hacket; Jeremy Taylor; The pilgrim’s progress; John Smith. Letter to a godchild
Volume the Fourth. Notes on Luther; St. Theresa; Bedell; Baxter; Leighton; Sherlock; Waterland; Skelton; Andrew Fuller; Whitaker; Oxlee; A barrister’s Hints; Davison; Irving; Noble. Essay on faith.
[ Rep. edition: NY: AMS Press 1967, 22 cm.]


See also Thomas Carlyle, “Coleridge”, being Chap. VIII of John Sterling [1851], in The Life of John Sterling; Latter Day Pamphlets [as] The Works of Thomas Carlyle [NY 19--?], p.52 [of 464pp.]; rep. as Do. [facs.] (NY: Kessinger 2004): ‘[...] His express contributions to poetry, philosophy, or any specific province of human enlightenment, had been small and sadly intermittent; but he had, especially among young inquiring men, a higher than literary, a kind of prophetic or magician character. He was thought to hold, he alone in England, the key of German and other Transcendentalisms; knew the sublime secret of believing by “the reason” what “the understanding” had been obliged to fling out as incredible; and could still, after Hume and Voltaire had done their best and worst with him, profess himself an orthodox Christian, and say and print to the Church of England, with its singular old rubrics and surplices at Allhallowtide, Esto perpetua. A sublime man; who, alone in these dark days, has saved his crown of spiritual manhood; escaping from the black materialisms, and revolutionary deluges, with “God, Freedom, Immortality” still his: a king of men. The practical intellects of the world did not much heed him, or carelessly reckoned him a metaphysical dreamer: but to the rising spirits of the young generation he had this dusky sublime character; and sat there as a kind of Magus, girt in mystery and enigma; his Dodona oak-grove (Mr. Gilman’s house at Highgate) whispering strange things, uncertain whether oracles or jargon.’ [available at Google Books - online].

Note that J. C. Hare, about whom Coleridge complains in regard to rare works of Bruno, was Sterling’s biographer. (Cited by Carlyle, in John Sterling, p.54.) See also Anthony John Harding, Coleridge and the Inspired Word (1985), in which Harding writes: ‘Carlyle was prompted to write his Life of Sterling in part at least by his resentment at the favourable treatment given to Coleridge in Hare’s memoir.’ (p.115.)

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