Hartley Coleridge (19 September 1796 – 6 January 1849) was an English writer. He was the eldest son of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
He was born in Kingsdown, a suburb of Bristol, and spent his early years in the care of Robert Southey at Greta Hall, Keswick, and he was educated by the Rev. John Dawes at Ambleside. In 1815, he went to Oxford, as a scholar of Merton College. He had inherited much of his father’s character, and his lifestyle was such that, although he was successful in gaining an Oriel fellowship, at the close of the probationary year (1820) he was judged to have forfeited it. The authorities would not reverse their decision; but they awarded him a gift of £300.
Hartley Coleridge then spent two years in London, where he wrote short poems for the London Magazine. His next step was to become a partner in a school at Ambleside, but this scheme failed. In 1830 a Leeds publisher, F. E. Bingley, made a contract with him to write biographies of Yorkshire and Lancashire worthies. These were afterwards republished under the title of Biographia Borealis (1833) and Worthies of Yorkshire and Lancashire (1836). Bingley also printed a volume of his poems in 1833, and Coleridge lived in his house until the contract came to an end through the bankruptcy of the publisher.
From this time, except for two short periods in 1837 and 1838 when he acted as master at Sedbergh School, he lived quietly at Grasmere and (1840-1849) Rydal, spending his time in study and wanderings about the countryside. His figure was as familiar as Wordsworth’s, and he made many friends among the locals. In 1839 he brought out his edition of Massinger and Ford, with biographies of both dramatists. The closing decade of Coleridge’s life was wasted in what he himself calls “the woeful impotence of weak resolve.”
Hartley Coleridge’s literary reputation chiefly rests on his works of criticism, on his Prometheus, an unfinished lyric drama, and on his sonnets (a form which suited his particular skills). Essays and Marginalia, and Poems, with a memoir by his brother Derwent, appeared in 1851.
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Hartley Coleridge Poems
- Early Death
SHE pass’d away like morning dew Before the sun was high; So brief her time, she scarcely knew The meaning of a sigh.
WHEN we were idlers with the loitering rills, The need of human love we little noted: Our love was nature; and the peace that floated On the white mist, and dwelt upon the hills,
- Written On The Anniversary Of Our Father…
STILL for the world he lives, and lives in bliss, For God and for himself. Ten years and three Have now elapsed since he was dead to me
- Long Time A Child . . .
LONG time a child, and still a child, when years Had painted manhood on my cheek, was I, – For yet I lived like one not born to die;
- She Is Not Fair To Outward View
SHE is not fair to outward view, As many maidens be, Her loveliness I never knew Until she smiled on me:
- Address To Certain Golfishes
RESTLESS forms of living light Quivering on your lucid wings, Cheating still the curious sight
- The Solitary-Hearted
SHE was a queen of noble Nature’s crowning, A smile of hers was like an act of grace; She had no winsome looks, no pretty frowning, Like daily beauties of the vulgar race:
SHE is not fair to outward view As many maidens be, Her loveliness I never knew Until she smiled on me;
If I have sinned in act, I may repent; If I have erred in thought, I may disclaim My silent error, and yet feel no shame ;
- The Flight Of Youth
YOUTH, thou art fled, – but where are all the charms Which, though with thee they came, and passed with thee,
THE dark green Summer, with its massive hues, Fades into Autumn’s tincture manifold. A gorgeous garniture of fire and gold
- Full Well I Know . . .
FULL well I know – my friends – ye look on me A living specter of my Father dead – Had I not bourne his name, had I not fed
- No Life Vain
LET me not deem that I was made in vain, Or that my being was an accident, Which fate, in working its sublime intent,
- To Wordsworth
THERE have been poets that in verse display The elemental forms of human passions; Poets have been, to whom the fickle fashions