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Your browser will redirect to your requested content shortly. Jump to navigation Jump to search “Coleridge” redirects here. This article is about the early 19th-century English poet. For the late 19th-century British composer, see Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. Coleridge was born on 21 October 1772 in the town of Ottery St Mary in Devon, England. From 1791 until 1794, Coleridge attended Jesus College, Cambridge.
In 1792, he won the Browne Gold Medal for an ode that he wrote on the slave trade. At Jesus College, Coleridge was introduced to political and theological ideas then considered radical, including those of the poet Robert Southey. The years 1797 and 1798, during which he lived in what is now known as Coleridge Cottage, in Nether Stowey, Somerset, were among the most fruitful of Coleridge’s life. In 1795, Coleridge met poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. In 1798, Coleridge and Wordsworth published a joint volume of poetry, Lyrical Ballads, which proved to be the starting point for the English romantic age.
This section needs additional citations for verification. Coleridge also worked briefly in Shropshire, where he came in December 1797 as locum to its local Unitarian minister, Dr Rowe, in their church in the High Street at Shrewsbury. He is said to have read his Rime of the Ancient Mariner at a literary evening in Mardol. Coleridge soon went his own way and spent much of his time in university towns. In 1799, Coleridge and the Wordsworths stayed at Thomas Hutchinson’s farm on the River Tees at Sockburn, near Darlington. It was at Sockburn that Coleridge wrote his ballad-poem Love, addressed to Sara Hutchinson. The knight mentioned is the mailed figure on the Conyers tomb in ruined Sockburn church.
Coleridge’s early intellectual debts, besides German idealists like Kant and critics like Lessing, were first to William Godwin’s Political Justice, especially during his Pantisocratic period, and to David Hartley’s Observations on Man, which is the source of the psychology which is found in Frost at Midnight. Coleridge was critical of the literary taste of his contemporaries, and a literary conservative insofar as he was afraid that the lack of taste in the ever growing masses of literate people would mean a continued desecration of literature itself. In 1800, he returned to England and shortly thereafter settled with his family and friends at Keswick in the Lake District of Cumberland to be near Grasmere, where Wordsworth had moved. In 1802, Coleridge took a nine-day walking holiday in the fells of the Lake District. Coleridge is credited with the first recorded descent of Scafell to Mickledore via Broad Stand, although this was more due to his getting lost than a keenness for mountaineering. In 1804, he travelled to Sicily and Malta, working for a time as Acting Public Secretary of Malta under the Civil Commissioner, Alexander Ball, a task he performed quite successfully.