A Very Indocile Equestrian

LETTER TO GEORGE COLERIDGE Samuel Taylor Coleridge 23 February 1794 Sweet in the sight of God and celestial Spirits are the tears of Penitence—the pearls of heaven—the Wine of Angels! Such has been the language of Divines— but Divines have exaggerated.—Repentance may bestow that tranquillity, which will enable man to pursue a course of undeviating […]

The Ode on the Slave Trade

THE ODE Samuel Taylor Coleridge From the translation by J.C.C. May in Poetical Works O ye who revel in the ills of Slavery, O feeders on the groans of the wretched, insolent sons of Excess, shedders of own brothers’ blood, does not the inescapable Eye see these things? Does not Nemesis threaten fire-breathing reprisal? Do […]

Jesus and the Dragoons

THE GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 1834 Charles Valentine Le Grice Of Christ’s Hospital and Trinity College, Cambridge What evenings I have spent in those rooms! . . . when Aeschylus, and Plato, and Thucydides were pushed aside, with a pile of lexicons etc, to discuss the pamphlets of the day. Ever and anon, a pamphlet issued […]

The Lighthouse Top

CHRIST’S HOSPITAL FIVE-AND-THIRTY YEARS AGO Charles Lamb Come back into memory, like as thou wert in the dayspring of thy fancies, with hope like a fiery column before thee—the dark pillar not yet turned—Samuel Taylor Coleridge—Logician, Metaphysician, Bard—How have I seen the casual passer through the cloisters stand still, intranced with admiration (while he the […]

The Growth of a Poet’s Mind

THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER Samuel Taylor Coleridge The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, Merrily did we drop Below the kirk, below the hill, Below the lighthouse top. Lines 21–24 Today we begin the first of two parts into which Malcolm Guite’s book Mariner is divided.  The Prelude examines the foreground of  Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s  life which […]

Spiritual Navigation

ARCAEOLOGIAE PHILOSOPHICAE Epigraph I readily believe that there are more invisible beings in the universe than visible. But who will declare to us the nature of all these, the rank, relationships, distinguishing characteristics and qualities of each? What is it they do? Where is it they dwell? Always the human intellect circles around the knowledge of […]

An Astonishingly Prescient Poem

BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA Samuel Taylor Coleridge They and only they can acquire the philosophic imagination, the sacred power of self-intuition, who within themselves can interpret and understand the symbol, that the wings of the air-sylph are forming within the skin of the caterpillar; those only, who feel in their own spirits the same instinct, which impels […]