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or coincides with the doctrines of my German predecessor, though
contemporary, be wholly attributed to him, provided, that in the absence
of direct references to his books, which I could not at all times make
with truth, as designating citations or thoughts actually derived from
him - and which, I trust, would, after this general acknowledgment, be
superfluous - be not charged on me as an ungenerous concealment or
intentional plagiarism." (See "Biographia Literaria.")

Either in forgetfulness or ignorance of this "general acknowledgment,"
which goes so far as to make over to Shelling anything and everything
that may be found to resemble the doctrines of that author, the identical
charge which he so honorably provides for, anticipates, and defeats, is
brought against him; and by one professing to be a friend, and one of
Coleridge's "foremost admirers." "Oh, shame, where is thy blush?" Now for
the conclusion of this note.

It is _my_ conviction that Coleridge had worked out, just as stated by
him, "all the main and fundamental ideas" embraced in that part of
Shelling's system which appears in the "Biographia Literaria." I believe
that he had thought it out, but that the incubus of opium weighing down
and poisoning the very springs of his energies with "all blasting" power,
"o'ercrowed" his spirit and prevented his realizing in a palpable form, by
publication, the knowledge he had accumulated. Thus Shelling got ahead of
him, and being ahead, Coleridge was forestalled and estopped from
developing to the world his philosophical acquirements. 'Twas thus he came
to recommend Shelling's system, and when writing the fragment of
transcendental philosophy that appears in the "Biographia Literaria," his
and Shelling's opinions being about the same, he expressed himself in the
language of the latter.

He considered the subject as one in which all were interested, and the
thought of "rendering the system itself intelligible to his countrymen,"
for their benefit, so engrossed his mind as to render him less regardful
of other questions involved in the matter than he should have been. "Rest
perturbed spirit."



[1] At that time. For the cause of this depravity, see theory of the
"Confessions," chapter xv.

[2] This was by hypodermie, and in the first stages. Taking it by mouth,
it is not so _much_ disposed to run off in this way; the stimulation is
less evanescent and more stationary; still, one is more or less extremely
nervous in the first stages, when under the stimulation of opium, no
matter how administered.

[3] That is, after my rupture with the doctor; but about all that I have
stated in this chapter must be referred to that period, - (to wit, ensuing
after my break with the physician;) - save the remark touching the
hypodermic syringe, which was interpolated and stands somewhat out of
place, though intended as cumulative as to general suffering.

[4] See note at end of chapter.

[5] A very important incident in the life of an opium eater has been
omitted here in the text, namely: the occasional recurrence of an
overdose. This event is more likely to arise when one has been drawing
rather heavily, than otherwise, upon his supply of opium. He gets clogged
up and miserable, - and from too much; but _then_ is the very hardest time
to reduce, and, instead of diminishing the quantity, he, blind in his
anxious search of happiness, takes more. He apparently notices no material
difference at first, and may add still to this. But the night cometh, and
with the shades of night the heavy and increased volume of soporific
influence descends upon his brain; frightening him into a sense of the
present, at least, if ineffectual as to the past or future. He dare not
surrender himself to the pressure of sleep, lest he yield to the embrace
of death. And so, in this anomalous condition, he passes the hours that
relieve him of his dangerous burden. Never was man so sleepy, yet never
sleep so dangerous. Scarce able to resist the temptation, which his
stupefaction renders more potent in disarming his faculties and vitiating
his judgment to some degree, he sits upon the edge of eternity. Now giving
way, now rousing up frantically, he passes a terrible night. When the
benumbing effects so torpify the mind that a man no longer appreciates the
danger of his situation, he tumbles off into the everlasting. No sounding
drum, or "car rattling o'er the stony street," can awaken him now. No
opium can hurt him. He furnishes an item for the morning papers, and an
inquest for the coroner, and his affairs earthly are wound up.

[6] This is a mistake; it is another paper that is entitled "Greek


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Online LibraryAnonymousOpium Eating → online text (page 9 of 9)