1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

George Dyer, in The Poet's Fate, a Poetical Dialogue (1797) 26-28 &n.



When hungry, smoke your pipe, or say your prayers:
Or plough, in learned pride, the Atlantic main,
Join Pantisocracy's harmonious train;
Haste, where young Love still spreads his brooding wings,
And freedom digs, and ploughs, and laughs, and sings.

A few years ago some young men of Oxford and Cambridge formed the design of going to America, in order to realize a "pantisocracy"; they intended to devote themselves to literature and agriculture; to accumulate no property, but to have a common flock. Of this number were two very ingenious modern poets, Robert Southey, the author of an epic poem, entitled Joan of Arc, and other poems; and S. T. Coleridge, author of a volume of poems. These two young poets are equally distinguished for their ardent love of liberty; the former more remarkable for his powers of description, and for exciting the softer feelings of benevolence; the latter for a rich and powerful imagination. In connection with these names, I cannot forbear mentioning those of three young men, who have given early proofs, that they can strike the true chords of poesy; W. Wordsworth, author of Descriptive Sketches in Verse, taken during a Pedestrian Tour in the Italian, Grison, Swiss, and Savoyard Alps; W. Lloyd, author of a volume of very elegant sonnets; and Charles Lamb, author of some tender sonnets in Coleridges's Poems, of a fine poem in Charles Lloyd's Poems, and of sonnets in the Monthly Magazine.