THE REMOTEST SPHERE OF LIVING FLAME

Dreams have nothing in them which are absurd and nonsensical; and, though most of the coincidences may be readily explained by the diseased system of the dreamer, and the great and surprising power of association, yet it is impossible to say whether an inner sense does not really exist in the mind, seldom developed, indeed, but which may have a power of presentiment.

All the external senses have their correspondents in the mind; the eye can see an object before it is distinctly apprehended – why may there not be a corresponding power in the soul? The power of prophecy might have been merely a spiritual excitation of this dormant faculty.

Everything in nature has a tendency to move in cycles; and it would be a miracle if, out of such myriads of cycles moving concurrently, some incidences did not take place. No doubt, many such take place in the daytime; but then our senses drive out the remembrance of them, and render the impression hardly felt, but when we sleep the mind acts without interruption.

Terror and the heated imagination will, even in the daytime, create all sorts of features, shapes and colours out of a simple object possessing none of them in reality.

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE 1823

GENIUS AND VIRTUE

With the exception of one extraordinary man, I have never known an individual, least of all an individual of genius, healthy or happy without a profession, ie some regular employment, which does not depend on the will of the moment, and which can be carried on so far mechanically that an average quantum only of health, spirits, and intellectual exertion are requisite to its faithful discharge.

Three hours of leisure, unannoyed by any alien anxiety, and looked forward to with delight as a change and recreation, will suffice to realise in literature a larger product of what is truly genial, than weeks of compulsion.

Money and immediate reputation form only an arbitrary and accidental end of literary labour. The hope of increasing them by any given exertion will often prove a stimulant to industry, but the necessity of acquiring them will in all works of genius convert the stimulant into a narcotic.

Motives by excess reverse their very nature, and instead of exciting, stun and stupefy the mind.

For it is one contradistinction of genius from talent, that the predominant end is always compromised in the means; and this is one of the many points, which establish an analogy between genius and virtue.

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE 1815-1817