Poems: 1797

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Woodstock Books, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 278 pages
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Poems on various subjects 1796 sold well enough for a 'second edition' to appear in the following year, Coleridge replacing about a third of the original with new poems, including 'Ode on the departing year', 'To the river Otter', and a revised text of his major poem 'Religious Musings'. The decision to include sections by his schoolfellow Charles Lamb and his protege Charles Lloyd came at an important moment. In his Nehemiah Higginbottom sonnets of November 1797 Coleridge ridiculed the affected simplicity of style of many of the poems, a criticism his collaborators took personally. Lloyd had his revenge in the following year with his novel Edmund Oliver, and Lamb for the first and only time in his life cut himself off from his great friend and mentor.

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Contents

Ode to the Ne u Year i
17
Songs of the Pixie
33
The Rose
41
Domestic Peace
48
To a young Lady 61
61
To W L Bowles
69
On a discovery made too late
76
Sonnet
82
Composed at Clevedon
96
On an unfortunate Woman
107
Lines to C Lloyd
117
The Melancholy Man
153
The Maniac
161
To CraigMillar Castle
169
Sonnet 6
175
Copyright

About the author (1997)

Born in Ottery St. Mary, England, in 1772, Samuel Taylor Coleridge studied revolutionary ideas at Cambridge before leaving to enlist in the Dragoons. After his plans to start a communist society in the United States with his friend Robert Southey, later named poet laureate of England, were botched, Coleridge instead turned his attention to teaching and journalism in Bristol. Coleridge married Southey's sister-in-law Sara Fricker, and they moved to Nether Stowey, where they became close friends with William and Dorothy Wordsworth. From this friendship a new poetry emerged, one that focused on Neoclassic artificiality. In later years, their relationship became strained, partly due to Coleridge's moral collapse brought on by opium use, but more importantly because of his rejection of Wordworth's animistic views of nature. In 1809, Coleridge began a weekly paper, The Friend, and settled in London, writing and lecturing. In 1816, he published Kubla Kahn. Coleridge reported that he composed this brief fragment, considered by many to be one of the best poems ever written lyrically and metrically, while under the influence of opium, and that he mentally lost the remainder of the poem when he roused himself to answer an ill-timed knock at his door. Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel, and his sonnet Ozymandias are all respected as inventive and widely influential Romantic pieces. Coleridge's prose works, especially Biographia Literaria, were also broadly read in his day. Coleridge died in 1834.

Charles Lamb was born in London, England in 1775. He was educated at the well-known Christ's Hospital school, which he attended from age eight to 15. It was there that he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who became a lifelong friend; the friendship was to have a significant influence on the literary careers of both men. Lamb did not continue his education at the university, probably because of a nervous condition that resulted in a severe stammer. Instead, he went to work as a clerk, eventually becoming an accounting clerk with the East India Company, where he worked for most of his adult life. However, he continued to pursue his literary interests as well and became well-known as a writer. His best work is considered to be his essays, originally published under the pen name Elia, but Lamb also wrote poetry, plays, and stories for children under his own name. In 1796, Lamb's sister, Mary Ann, went mad and attacked her parents with a knife, killing her mother and wounding her father. She was placed in an institution for a time, but was eventually released into her brother's guardianship. This incident, and later periods when she was institutionalized again, had a great effect on Lamb, who had always been very close to his sister. Charles and Mary Ann Lamb collaborated on several books, including Poetry for Children, Mrs. Leicester's School, and Beauty and the Beast. Probably their best-known collaboration, however, was Tales from Shakespeare, a series of summaries of the plots from 20 Shakespearean plays, which was published in 1807. Charles Lamb died in 1834.