|Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Poet, philosopher, and critic, son of the Rev. John Coleridge, vicar and schoolmaster of Ottery St. Mary, Devonshire, was born there in 1772, the youngest of 13 children. He was at Christ's Hospital from 1782 to 1790, and had Charles Lamb for a schoolfellow, and the famous scholar and disciplinarian, James Boyer, for his master. Thence he proceeded to Jesus Coll., Cambridge.
In Sept. 1794 his first work, The Fall of Robespierre, a drama, to which Southey contributed two acts, the second and third, was published.
After his marriage he settled first at Clevedon, and thereafter at Nether Stowey, Somerset, where he had Wordsworth for a neighbour, with whom he formed an intimate association. About 1796 he fell into the fatal habit of taking laudanum, which had such disastrous effects upon his character and powers of will. In the same year Poems on various Subjects appeared, and a little later Ode to the Departing Year.
While at Nether Stowey he was practically supported by Thomas Poole, a tanner, with whom he had formed a friendship. Here he wrote The Ancient Mariner, the first part of Christabel and Kubla Khan, and here he joined with Wordsworth in producing the Lyrical Ballads.
His great translation of Schiller's Wallenstein appeared in 1800. In the same year he migrated to Greta Hall, near Keswick, where he wrote the second part of Christabel.
In 1804 he went to Malta in search of health, and there became the friend of the governor, Sir Alexander Ball, who appointed him his sec., in which position he showed remarkable capacity for affairs. Resigning this occupation, of which he had become tired, he travelled in Italy, and in the beginning of 1806 reached Rome, where he enjoyed the friendship of Tieck, Humboldt, and Bunsen. He returned to England in the end of 1806, and in 1808 delivered his first course of lectures on Shakespeare at the Royal Institution, and thereafter (1809), leaving his family at Keswick, he went to live with Wordsworth at Grasmere.
Here he started The Friend, a philosophical and theological periodical, which lasted for 9 months. Leaving his family dependent upon Southey, he lived with various friends, first, from 1816 to 1819, with John Morgan at Calne. While there he published Christabel and Kubla Khan in 1816, and in 1817 Biographia Literaria, Sybilline Leaves, and an autobiography.
His nervous system was shattered, and he was a constant sufferer. Yet these last years were, in some respects, his best. In 1824 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of Literature, which brought him a pension of 100 guineas.
His latest publications were Aids to Reflection (1825) and The Constitution of Church and State.
After his death there were published , among other works, Table Talk (1835), Confessions of an Enquiring Spirit (1840), Letters and Anima Poets (1895).