Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and Select Poems: Original Text

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Independently Published, 2020 M03 24 - 126 pages
Coleridge lived in what may safely be called the most momentous period of modern history. In the year following his birth Warren Hastings was appointed first governor-general of India, where he maintained English empire during years of war with rival nations, and where he committed those acts of cruelty and tyranny which called forth the greatest eloquence of the greatest of English orators, in the famous impeachment trial at Westminster, when Coleridge was a sixteen-year-old schoolboy in London. A few years before his birth the liberal philosophy of France had found a popular voice in the writings of Rousseau, which became the gospel of revolution throughout Europe in Coleridge's youth and early manhood. "The New Héloise" in the field of sentiment and of the relation of the sexes, "The Social Contract" In political theory, and "Émile" in matters of education, were books whose influence upon Coleridge's generation it would be hard to estimate. When Coleridge was four years old the English colonies in America declared their independence and founded a new nation upon the natural rights of man,--a nation that has grown to be the mightiest and most beneficent on the globe. Coleridge was seventeen when the French Revolution broke out; he was forty-three when Napoleon was sent to St. Helena. He saw the whole career of the greatest political upheaval and of the greatest military genius of the modern world. Fox, Pitt, and Burke,--the greatest Liberal orator, the greatest Parliamentary leader, and the greatest philosophic statesman that England has produced--were at the height of their glory when Coleridge went up to Cambridge in 1791.

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About the author (2020)

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.

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