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This volume was prepared for the press by my lamented sister, Mrs. H. N. Coleridge, and will have an additional interest to many

readers as the last monument of her highly-gifted mind. At her earnest request, my Dame appears with hers on the title-page, but the assistance rendered by me has been, in fact, little more than mechanical. The preface, and the greater part of the notes, are her composition the selection and arrangement have been determined almost exclusively by her critical judgment, or from records in her possession. A few slight corrections and unimportant additions are all that have been found necessary, the first and last sheets not having had the benefit of her own revision.



May, 1852



As a chronological arrangement of Poetry in completed collections is now beginning to find general favour, pains have been taken to follow this method in the present Edition of S. T. Coleridge's Poetical Works, as far as circumstances permitted—that is to say, as far as the date of composition of each poem was ascertainable, and as far as the plan could be carried out without effacing the classes into which the Author had himself distributed his most important poetical publication, the “Sibylline Leaves," namely, POEMS OCCASIONED BY POLITICAL EVENTS, OR FEELINGS CONNECTED WITH THEM; LOVE POEMS; MEDITATIVE POEMS IN BLANK VERSE; ODES AND MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. On account of these impediments, together with the fact, that many

poem, such as it appears in its ultimate form, is the growth of different periods, the agreement with chronology in this Edition is approximative rather than perfect: yet in the majority of instances the date of each piece has been made out, and its place fixed accordingly.


In another point of view also, the Poems have been distributed with relation to time: they are thrown into three broad groups, representing, first the Youth, secondly, the Early Manhood and Middle Life,-thirdly, the Declining Age of the Poet;* and it will be readily perceived that each division has its own distinct tone and colour, corresponding to the period of life in which it was composed. It has been suggested, indeed, that Coleridge had four poetical epochs, more or less diversely characterised that there is a discernible difference betwixt the productions of his Early Manhood and of his Middle Age, the latter being distinguished from those of his Stowey life, which may be considered as his poetic prime, by a less buoyant spirit. Fire they have; but it is not the clear, bright, mounting fire of his earlier poetry, conceived and executed when “he and youth were housemates still.” In the course of a very few


after three-and-twenty all his very finest poems were produced; his twenty-fifth year has been called his annus mirabilis. To be a “Prodigal's favourite—then, worse truth! a Miser's pensioner," I is the lot of Man. In respect of poetry, Coleridge was a “Prodigal's favourite,” more, perhaps, than ever Poet was before.

1. The Juvenile Poems (now called Poems written in Youth), so named by the Author himself when he had long ceased to be juvenile, were first published in 1796. The second edition, which appeared in May,

* S. T. Coleridge was born Oct. 21, 1772, and died July 25, 1834.

+ See Supplement to the Second Edition of the Biographia Literaria, vol. ii., p. 417.

The Small Celandine.

# Wordsworth's Poetical Works, vol. v., p. 294. See motto to the last section.

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