1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, in "Four Months in Europe" New-York Literary Gazette and American Athenaeum 3 (21 October 1826) 74.



Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the lord of idleness, the indefatigable talker, who eats opium as ordinary food, and supplies Lamb, Hunt, and others with the fuel of their fame, carries on his system of dreaming and reveries at Highgate, near the capital.*

* Mr. Coleridge is the finest looking person I ever saw. Though nearly sixty years of age, yet he almost realizes the beau ideal of lofty genius illuminating the features with its own ethereal light. The neglect of such a mind — the self-neglect, is to be depreciated alike and bewailed. Mr. Coleridge, comparatively, has done nothing during a long series of years — nothing of what he might have done, had his sensitive nature suffered less by misfortune and his genius burst from the toyshop and the nursery of the Lake school of Poetry. He has dreamed away his existence, he has suffered vultures, under the disguise of friends, to pluck the most beautiful plumage of his eagle spirit, and, while Hazlitt, Lamb, and Lloyd enjoy the favour of the public, the father of their thoughts is forgotten. Such a brow; such an eye; such a face as Coleridge's, I never beheld before, and I never expect to behold again. His whole manner is like that of Apollo — the genius of Poetry and the power of imperial Jove illumine and aggrandize every expression.