January 25, 2013
And winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring…
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) from “Work Without Hope” 1832
An English poet and aesthetic philosopher, Coleridge may be best known for his long poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Kubla Khan. He had intended to enter the ministry but was given an annuity by Josiah Wedgewood so that he might devote himself to writing. A life-long friend of William Wordsworth, he was an important influence on Emerson and the Transcendentalists and is frequently credited with helping to foster both the Romantic and Gothic sensibilities. His lectures on Shakespeare and Milton did much to raise awareness of their writing to the heights they enjoy today. He suffered from depression, which he treated with laudanum, leading to opium addiction, against which he struggled for many years, but which ultimately contributed to his demise.