the dates of all the poems, but no pains have been spared in the endeavour ; and in all doubtful cases a “?' has been attached to the dates conjecturally assigned. I think, however, that in the great majority of instances the true years have been ascertained.

As regards the INTRODUCTION, I believe I shall be readily excused for making it, not an estimate of Coleridge as a poet, but a plain narrative of the events of his life. Explanations have been offered when such seemed necessary or desirable, but comment, especially moralising, has been studiously avoided. I readily and gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness, in varying measure, to all the biographical sketches which have hitherto appeared. If I venture to claim for my own a position to some small extent independent, it is because, for its compilation, all the old material has been carefully sifted, and much of it corrected from sadly misused original documents; while I have been privileged to make use of a large quantity of important material which is either absolutely new, or which was unavailable to my predecessors. Coleridge's biography may be looked for in due time from the hands of his grandson, Mr. E. H. Coleridge, who has been engaged for some time past on its preparation ; but I believe that in the narrative I have compiled there is enough that is new, not only as regards the facts, but in the order in which old and new are presented, to render it worthy of the attention of any who may be willing to reconsider their estimate of its subject. Such readers, of course, will not be satisfied with this necessarily meagre outline, and it is primarily for their convenience that the pages have been encumbered, somewhat unduly perhaps, with citations of authorities. The general reader will be pleased to ignore all the foot-notes in the INTRODUCTION to which the figures 1, 2, 3, etc., are attached, giving attention only to those bearing the signs *, †, etc.

In the Notes I have found frequent opportunity of offering my sincere thanks for help rendered in the preparation of this work; to name all those to whom I am indebted for kind services, were I able to make the list complete, would be tedious; but I cannot conclude without special acknowledgment of the unwearied kindness and enerosity of my friend Mr. Ernest Hartley Coleridge, to whom all that is worthy in the editorial part of this volume owes more than I can adequately express. For nothing am I under greater obligation to him than for permission to use as freely as I have done, and with so much advantage, the Letters from the Lake Poets, which he edited and annotated for the daughters of their recipient, the late

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Mr. Daniel Stuart of the Morning Post and the Courier. The volume was prepared and printed exclusively for private circulation, and the copyright of the contents is vested in Mr. Coleridge.

Portraits of Coleridge are numerous. To my mind, in none does he look very like a poet except in that which has been selected to form the frontispiece to the present volume. It has been reproduced directly from the original, now in the National Portrait Gallery. This belonged to Cottle, and was admirably engraved in his Early Recollections, where he thus writes of it: “This portrait of Mr. Coleridge was taken in oils by a Mr. [Peter] Vandyke (a descendant of the great Vandyke).

He was invited over from Holland by the late Sir Joshua Reynolds, to assist hiin in his portraits, particularly in the drapery department; in which capacity he remained with him many years. Mr. Vandyke afterwards settled in Bristol, and obtained great and just celebrity for his likenesses. His portrait of Mr. Coleridge did him great credit, as a better likeness was never taken ; and it has the additional advantage of exhibiting Mr. C. in one of his animated conversations, the expression of which the painter has in good degree preserved.' Hancock's portrait of the following year has been more frequently engraved, and is therefore more familiar. Cottle says it was much admired at the time, and has an additional interest from having been drawn when Mr. C.'s spirits were in a state of depression, on account of the failure of the Watchman.'



March 23, 1893.




SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE was born at the Vicarage of Ottery St. Mary, in Devonshire, on the 21st October 1772. His father was the Rev. John Coleridge, Vicar of the Parish, and Chaplain-Priest and Master of its Free Grammar School (commonly called the King's School '), founded by Henry VIII. His mother was the Vicar's second wife, and her maiden name was Anne Bowdon. By his first wife, Mary Lendon, the Vicar had three daughters, who were all alive in 1797; and by his second, nine sons (of whom Samuel Taylor was the youngest) and one daughter. The poet's paternal grandfather, who had been a considerable woollen trader in Southmolton,' fell into poor circumstances when his son was about sixteen (1735), and John was then supported at school by a friend of the family. When, in 1748,1 he matriculated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, he was already married, and on leaving the University, without a degree, he settled as a schoolmaster at Southampton, where his wife died. Having remarried, in 1760 he removed to Ottery St. Mary, having in that year obtained both the living and the mastership of the school. At that time, besides a son who died in infancy, there were two children of his second marriage-John who died in 1786, a captain H.E.I.C.S., and William who died in 1780, both unmarried. In 1760 was born James, who entered the army and married one of the co-heiresses of Robert Duke, of Otterton, Esquire. James's eldest son became Sir John Taylor Coleridge (better known as 'Mr. Justice Coleridge'), the father of the present Lord Chief Justice. James's third son was Henry Nelson Coleridge, who married his cousin Sara, the poet's only daughter. The Vicar's next two sons, Edward and George, both took orders. The latter succeeded (though not immediately) to the Grammar School, and to the private boarding-school which his father had carried on. The seventh son, Luke Herman, became a surgeon, but died at an early age, in 1790, leaving but one child, a son, who became 1824 the first Bishop of Barbadoes. Next came Ann (' Nancy '), whose early death, coming soon after that of Luke, deeply affected the young poet.2 The eighth son was Francis

1 When about 29 years of age, not '20' as stated by S. T. C. in his letter to Poole, Biog. Lit. 1847, ii. 314.

2 See On receiving an Account that his only Sister's Death was inevitable, and the poem next

following, p. 13.
See also To a Friend who
had declared his Intention of writing no more
Poetry, p. 69. Nancy' died in her twenty-fifth,
not in her twenty-first year, as misprinted in
'Note 22,'

Syndercombe, who died in 1792, a lieutenant H.E.I.C.S. The ninth son, and latest born of the Vicar's thirteen children, was the poet, baptized Samuel Taylor, after one of his godfathers. Of all the thirteen there are now alive descendants of but three-James, Luke, and Samuel Taylor. Those of James are numerous; of Luke there are a grandson and great-grandson; and of the poet, a grandson with his four children, and a grand-daughter.

The Vicar is said to have been an amiable, simple-minded, and somewhat eccentric scholar, sound in Greek and Latin, and profound in Hebrew. Many stories of his absent-mindedness were told in the neighbourhood,1 some of them probably true. His famous son thus describes him to Poole: In learning, goodheartedness, absentness of mind, and excessive ignorance of the world, he was a perfect Parson Adams.'2 He printed several books 3 by subscription. In A Critical Latin Grammar, he proposed (among other innovations) to substitute for the vulgar names of the cases (for which antiquity pleads in opposition to reason') prior, possessive, attributive, posterior, interjective, and quale-quarequidditive.'

The Vicar's wife was fortunately of a more practical turn than himself. She was, comparatively, an uneducated woman, and unemotional; but was an admirable wife, mother, and housekeeper; and although she disliked 'your harpsichord ladies,' determined to make gentlemen of her sons-an ambition in which their father was deficient.

Our knowledge of Coleridge's childhood is derived entirely from his letters to Poole written in 1797.4 He describes himself as a precocious and imaginative child, never mixing with other boys. At the age of three, he was sent to a dame's school, where he remained till he was six. 'My father was very fond of me, and I was my mother's darling; in consequence whereof, I was very miserable. For Molly, who had nursed my brother Francis, and was immoderately fond of him, hated me because my mother took more notice of me than of Frank; and Frank hated me because my mother gave me now and then a bit of cake when he had none'-Frank enjoying many tit-bits from Molly, who had only thumps and illnames' for 'Sam,' which through life was the family abbreviation of his name. 'So I became fretful and timorous, and a tell-tale; and the schoolboys drove me


1 See Gillman's Life of S. T. C. chap. i., and De Quincey in his Works (1863), ii. 70.

2 Biog. Lit. 1847, ii. 315.

3 (I.) Miscellaneous Dissertations arising from the 17th and 18th chapters of the book of Judges, 1768. 8vo, pp. 275.

(II.) A Critical Latin Grammar, containing clear and distinct rules for boys just initiated; and Notes explanatory of almost every antiquity and obscurity in the Language, for youth somewhat advanced in Latin learning. 1772. 12mo, pp. xiv.; 161.

(III.) Also, 'For the use of Schools,' price 25. bound, Sententia Excerptæ, explaining the Rules of Grammar, and the various signification of all the Prepositions, etc.

(IV.) Government not originally proceeding from Human Agency, but Divine Institution, shewn in a Sermon preached at Ottery St. Mary,

Devon, December 13, 1776, on the Fast Day appointed by reason of our much-to-be-lamente American War, and published at the request o the hearers. By John Coleridge, Vicar of and Schoolmaster at Ottery St. Mary, Devon. Lon don printed for the Author, 1777. 4to, pp. 15.

To No. I. is appended a long school pros pectus, setting forth the method of teaching, etc. and to No. II. an advertisement referring to the prospectus. From these we learn that the-Vicai took about twenty boys, who paid two guinea entrance-fee, and sixteen guineas a year for board and the teaching of Latin, Greek, and Mathe matics. A Writing Master attends, for those who chuse it, at sixteen shillings per year; and a Dancing Master (at present Mr. Louis o Exeter) once a week, at two guineas per year.' 4 'Biog. Supplement' to Biog. Lit. 1847, ii 315 et seq.

from play and were always tormenting me. And hence I took no pleasure in boyish · sports, but read incessantly.' He read all the children's books he could find-Jack the Giant-Killer, and the like. And I used to lie by the wall and mope; and my spirits used to come upon me sudden, and in a flood; and I then was accustomed to run up and down the churchyard and act over again all I had been reading, to the docks and the nettles and the rank grass. At six years of age, I remember to have read Belisarius, Robinson Crusoe, and Philip Quarll; and then I found the Arabian Nights Entertainments, one tale of which (the tale of a man who was compelled to seek for a pure virgin) made so deep an impression on me . . . that I was haunted by spectres whenever I was in the dark; and I distinctly recollect the anxious and fearful eagerness with which I used to watch the window where the book lay, and when the sun came upon it, I would seize it, carry it by the wall, and bask and read. My father found out the effect which these books had produced, and burned them. So I became a dreamer, and acquired an indisposition to all bodily activity." I was fretful and inordinately passionate; . . . despised and hated by the boys flattered and wondered at by all the old women. And before I was eight years old I was a character. That which I began to be from three to six, I continued to be from six to nine.' In this year (1778) I was admitted into the Grammar School, and soon outstripped all of my age." About this time the child had a fever. His nightly prayer' was the old rhyme, beginning Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,' and 'frequently have I (half-awake and half-asleep, my body diseased, and fevered by imagination) seen armies of ugly things bursting in upon me, and then four angels ["Four good angels round me spread"] keeping them off.' And so the child went on, living by himself in a fairy world of nursery rhymes, and Arabian Nights, 'cutting down weeds and nettles, as one of the Seven Champions of Christendom.' 'Alas! I had all the simplicity, all the docility of the little child, but none of the child's habits. I never thought as a child, never had the language of a child.' Happily, wandering in Fairy Land is one of the habits of most children, but in Coleridge's case the usual correctives were wanting. One childish adventure is worth recalling, as it is not improbable that its effects on his constitution were never entirely got rid of. One evening, fearing punishment for a somewhat serious fault, he ran away, not stopping until he was a mile from home. Both rage and fear passed off, but he felt a gloomy satisfaction in making his mother miserable,' and determined not to go home. He fell asleep, and in his slumber rolled down to the unfenced bank of the Otter. The night had become stormy, and he awoke about five o'clock, wet, and so cold and stiff that he could not move. The Sir Stafford Northcote of the period, who, with many of the neighbours, had been searching all night for the lost child, found him, and he was carried home. 'I was put to bed,' he says, and recovered in a day or so. But I was certainly injured; for I was weakly and subject to ague for many years after.'

It was apparently when Coleridge was about eight that his future career was marked out for him. My father,' he writes, who had so little parental ambition in him, that but for my mother's pride and spirit, he would certainly have brought up his other sons to trades, had nevertheless resolved that I should be a parson.' On his father's knee and in their walks together, the child learnt the names of the stars and something of the wonders of the heavens. 'I heard him' (remembered Coleridge) with a profound delight and admiration, but without the least mixture

1 See this reminiscence repeated, with some others, in The Friend, 1818, i. 251 et seq.


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