Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one of the greatest poets of the Romantic period.
His life was a roller coaster of ups and downs, setting him apart from others. This
roller coaster of events was greatly influenced by his fear of rejection, and an
addiction to opium he was never fully aware of.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on October 21, 1772, in Ottery St. Mary,
Devonshire. He was the younges of fourteen children. With elders always
surrounding him he quickly became very dependent upon others, with no one
dependent on him. Coleridge was always admiring and looking up to others who
were self-sufficient, unlike himself. His maturity and knowledge was
acknowledged at an early age. He eventually grew to become “a character.” He
was still constantly looking for approval from others.
In grammar school, Coleridge surpassed all the other students. Reading any
book he could get his hands on and often acting the scenes out. The local grammar
school didn’t seem to be challenging enough. After his father died, shortly after
Coleridge turned nine, he was moved to the great London school, Christ’s
Hospital. All the while he was in school his passion for reading never died.
Always rising to the top of his classes. He continued at Christ’s Hospital until he
entered into Cambridge, when he was twenty. His feelings of self-dissatisfaction
Close to the time he was leaving school and going to Cambridge was when
he wrote Biographia. He didn’t have the money to buy books to distribute it, so he
wrote it out forty times to hand out.
After his first year at Jesus College, Cambridge, is when he was first
prescribed opium, for a neurologic or rheumatic attack. At that time, opium was
prescribed very commonly without the knowledge of its ability to become
As he spent more time at Cambridge and began reading more widely, his
acquaintances broadened. He was still very bright and quick to begin a long
conversation. Eventually Coleridge came to meet Robert Southey, a student at
Balliot. Both were intrigued with each other. From there they became good
friends whom began working on a government type project together. Throughout
Southey, Coleridge met the Frickers, which included Sarah Fricker. After
spending quite a bit of time with Sarah, the two became engaged. After much
reluctance on Coleridge’s part, they were wed. They were to reside in a cottage
near Bristol.
In the beginning of his marriage he was happy, but eventually that
happiness would fade. In 1875, Coleridge and Wordsworth met. The two had met
briefly in the Autumn. Wordsworth lived with his sister in Dorset, near Coleridge.
Coleridge repaid Wordsworth’s visit in June. This is when and where the famous
friendship began. This was a golden time in Coleridge’s life. He was accepted
and liked by Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy.
Many aspects played into Coleridge’s “golden time,” with his best friend.
He was always searching for someone to look up to, and he found that in
Wordsworth. He not only looked up to him as a person, but also as a poet and
artist. Coleridge was always afraid of disappointing people and during this time,
he pretty much didn’t have to worry about that because Wordsworth also admired
his work. coleridge was always looking for a good, long, deep discussion, this he
could also get from his friend, and also Wordsworth’s sister. The three of them
seemed perfect for each other. Three peas in a pod, they fit each others’ needs.
Wordsworth’s companionship seemed to be directing Coleridge in the right
direction for once. His confidence was growing as well as his artistic abilities. He
was thrilled with the idea that his views were accepted and listened to. Coleridge
began deepening in Wordsworth’s beliefs, which were more simplistic than his
previous ones. Wordsworth thought that Coleridge was unique among all the
people he had known.
After a while, of Coleridge and Wordsworth seeing each other daily, they
began talking of writing together, a volume of poems perhaps. Thus producing the
joint publication of Lyrical Ballads. After their publication the two traveled to
Germany for the winter. There they studied Kant and the post-Kantian German
philosophers. Which eventually later came to affect his ways of thinking on
philosophy and religion. While gone he had started to grow away from his wife.
Many reasons could play into why Coleridge grew apart from Sarah. A
major factor could be that Coleridge had been hesitant to marry Sarah in the first
place, due to his uncertainty about his feelings for her. He was getting all the
companionship he needed from Wordsworth. He had