1847 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Cyrus Redding, in "Life and Reminiscences of Thomas Campbell" New Monthly Magazine 79 (April 1847) 429.



Now as with Hazlitt, so with Coleridge, though in a less degree, for Coleridge spoke of the style of poetry and did not criticise the individual. He attacked all works of that particular class [as of Pleasure of Hope]. Campbell ever showed a great distaste afterwards towards Coleridge. Indeed he was, speaking of his better days, no lover of the Lake School of poets generally. He was no believer in their theories, theories delivered with no small mixture of conceit and self-assumption. Campbell thought that while doing good in untrammelling writers from superfluous and custom-ridden rules, they, on the other hand, went too far, and substituted licentiousness in place of wholesome freedom, when they scorned to discipline their verse and advocated its running wild without curb or reign. He contended that painstaking composition and careful finish were necessary to ensure endurance in poetry, and that poetical composition requires pruning and judicious management to bear good fruit fully as much as the espalier of the garden.