“Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.”
Described by his friend Charles Lamb as “an archangel slightly damaged”, Coleridge was deemed a towering genius by many of his contemporaries, and one who, in conversation, had no equal. Fascinated by, among other subjects, psychology, philosophy and chemistry, his mind roamed extravagantly and without restraint, leading Hazlitt to opine that “there is no subject on which he has not touched, none on which he has rested”. Yet, while this literary itinerancy left some to lament his refusal to devote himself to verse, Coleridge remains one of English literature's most enduringly popular poets.
From sonnets and ballads to elegies and intimate blank verse, this collection brings together poetry written throughout Coleridge's life, particularly his prolific early years, which saw the composition of poems such as 'Christabel', 'The Eolian Harp' and 'Frost at Midnight'. This volume also includes 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', one of the most popular poems ever written in the English language, and 'Kubla Khan', which highlight Coleridge's gift for suffusing his strange, haunting and captivating verse with unsurpassed musical and rhythmic qualities.