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Collected Poems

Sara Coleridge

Edited by Peter Swaab

Sara Coleridge Selected Poems cover
Categories: 19th Century, Women
Imprint: Fyfield Books
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (256 pages)
(Pub. Jan 2007)
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  • Contents
  • Although she is best known as the daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sara Coleridge was herself a writer of rare intelligence and great versatility, and a very notable poet. Her poetry has never been published as a collection, so it has never had the readership it deserves. Some of the poems appeared in various fugitive sources, but about half have never been published until now. But even on this basis she has had discerning advocates. In 1950, for instance, Edmund Blunden wrote an admiring essay proposing that 'it would be delightful if her centenary...might result in an edition of her poems, of which I understand some were never published; and I know that others in her Phantasmion are uncommonly good'.

    She was a remarkably versatile poet. She wrote children's verses, album verses, translations from Aeschylus and Lucretius, love poetry, religious poetry, and a long incomplete ballad on a chivalric theme. The poems are ambitious, accomplished, and far from amateurish: she is among the best women poets writing between the end of Charlotte Smith's career and the start of Elizabeth Barrett's. Her poetic voice deserves to be heard as an important one - alongside Hemans and LEL, for instance - in our recent reassessments of women's poetry in the early to mid-nineteenth-century.

    Introduction 1
    Note on the Text 15
    List of Abbreviations 17
    Guide to Further Reading 19

    (* indicates previously published works)

    Early Poems 1815"1829
    Valentine written in girlhood " perhaps at 13 years of age 25
    Translated from Horace in early youth 26
    Praises of a Country Life 27
    ‘I dolci colli, ov’io lasciai me stesso’ (‘Those pleasant hills high towering into air,’) 29
    ‘Vago augelletto, che cantando vai’ (‘Sweet little bird, that in such piteous strains’) 30
    Extract from an Epistle from Emma to Henry 30
    To Elizabeth S.K. Poole 32
    To Zoe King 32
    To Edith May Southey during absence on the Lily of the Nile 33
    [Valentine to Rose Lynn] 34
    My dear dear Henry! 34
    To the tune of ‘When icicles hang by the wall’ 35
    Sequel 35
    ‘Let it not a Lover pique’ 36
    ‘How now, dear suspicious Lover!’ 36
    ‘Now to bed will I fly,’ 37
    ‘They tell me that my eye is dim, my cheek is lily pale,’ 38
    Go, you may call it madness, folly " &c. 39
    ‘O! once again good night!’ 39
    ‘Art thou too at this hour awake,’ 40
    To Louisa and Emma Powles 41
    ‘Yes! With fond eye my Henry will peruse’ 42
    ‘“How swift is a thought of the mind”’ 43
    Verses to my Beloved with an empty purse 44
    ‘My Henry, like a modest youth,’ 47
    To Mrs Whitbread 48
    ‘O, how, Love, must I fill’ 49
    ‘When this you see’ 50
    ‘“I am wreathing a garland for wintry hours”,’ 50
    ‘Henry comes! No sweeter music’ 51
    To Susan Patteson with a purse 52
    ‘Th’enamour’d Nymph, whose faithful voice’ 53
    Epistle from Sara to her sister Mary whom she has never yet seen, her ‘Yarrow Unvisited’* 53
    ‘The Rose of Love my Henry sends,’ 58
    ‘’Mid blooming fields I daily rove’ 58
    ‘Those parched lips I’d rather press’ 59

    Poems 1829"1843
    Sickness 60
    Written in my Illness at Hampstead during Edith’s Infancy 61
    Verses written in sickness 1833, before the Birth of Berkeley and Florence 62
    To Herbert Coleridge. Feb 13 1834 63
    Benoni. Dedication* 64
    The Months* 65
    Trees* 66
    What Makes a Noise* 66
    The Nightingale* 66
    Foolish Interference* 67
    Fine Names for Fine Things* 68
    The Seasons* 68
    The Squirrel* 69
    Poppies* 70
    The Usurping Bird* 71
    Edith Asleep* 73
    The Blessing of Health* 74
    The Humming-Birds* 75
    Childish Tears* 77
    Providence* 78
    ‘Nox is the night’* 79
    ‘A father’s brother, mother’s brother, are not called the same’* 79
    The Celandine 80
    ‘January is the first month in the year’ 80
    ‘January brings the blast,’ 82
    ‘Little Sister Edith now’ 85
    ‘Why those tears my little treasure’ 86
    Sara Coleridge for Herbert and Edith. April 19th 1834 87
    Eye has not seen nor can the heart of man conceive the blessedness of Heaven 87
    Consolation in Trouble 88
    Silence and attention at Church 90
    ‘Grief’s heavy hand hath swayed the lute;’ 90
    The Little Invalid 91
    The mansion of Peace 92
    ‘My friends in vain you chide my tears’ 92
    The Crag-fast sheep 93
    ‘Bindweed whiter e’en than lilies’ 93
    ‘The hart delights in cooling streams’ 93
    The birth of purple Columbine 94
    Forget me not 94
    The Staining of the Rose 96
    ‘No joy have I in passing themes,’ 96
    ‘When Herbert’s Mama was a slim little Maid’* 97
    Summer 98
    The lamb in the Slough 99
    The Water Lily 99
    The Pair that will not meet 100
    Written on a blank leaf of ‘Naturalist’s’ Magazine 101
    Young Days of Edith and Sara 101
    The Plunge 102
    The narrow Escape 103
    ‘See the Halcyon fishing’ 105
    Daffodil or King’s Spear 105
    Fine birds and their plain wives 106
    The Glow-worm (‘Glow-worm lights her starry lamp’) 106
    The Glow-worm (‘’Mid the silent murky dell’) 107
    Herbert looking at the Moon 108
    Game 109
    ‘From Isles far over the sea’ 110
    Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven 110
    A Sister’s Love 112
    From Petrarch 113
    Poems from Phantasmion
    ‘See the bright stranger!’* 114
    ‘Tho’ I be young " ah well-a-day!’* 114
    ‘Sylvan stag, securely play,’* 116
    ‘Bound along or else be still,’* 117
    ‘Milk-white doe, ’tis but the breeze’* 117
    ‘One face alone, one face alone,’* 118
    ‘Deem not that our eldest heir’* 119
    ‘While the storm her bosom scourges,’* 120
    ‘Many a fountain cool and shady’* 121
    ‘The captive bird with ardour sings,’* 121
    ‘The sun may speed or loiter on his way,’* 122
    ‘Grief’s heavy hand hath swayed the lute;’* 123
    ‘Life and light, Anthemna bright,’* 123
    ‘O sleep, my babe, hear not the rippling wave,’* 124
    ‘How gladsome is a child, and how perfect is his mirth,’* 125
    ‘I tremble when with look benign’* 125
    ‘Ne’er ask where knaves are mining,’* 126
    ‘How high yon lark is heavenward borne!’* 127
    ‘Newts and blindworms do no wrong,’* 128
    ‘The winds were whispering, the waters glistering,’* 128
    ‘False Love, too long thou hast delayed,’* 129
    ‘He came unlooked for, undesired,’* 129
    ‘Yon changeful cloud will soon thy aspect wear’* 130
    ‘I was a brook in straitest channel pent,’* 131
    ‘By the storm invaded’* 131
    ‘I thought by tears thy soul to move,’* 132
    ‘Blest is the tarn which towering cliffs o’ershade,’* 133
    ‘What means that darkly-working brow,’* 133
    ‘Methought I wandered dimly on,’* 134
    ‘“The spring returns, and balmy budding flow’rs’* 135
    ‘Full oft before some gorgeous fane’* 136
    ‘See yon blithe child that dances in our sight!’* 136
    ‘Their armour is flashing,’* 137
    ‘Ah, where lie now those locks that lately streamed’* 139
    ‘Poor is the portrait that one look portrays,’* 140
    The Three Humpbacked Brothers 141
    Reflections on Reading Lucretius 145
    from ‘Kings of England from the Conquest’* 149
    Receipt for a Cake 153
    Lines on the Death of "" 155

    Poems 1843"1852
    For my Father on his lines called ‘Work Without Hope’* 156
    ‘Friend, thou hast been a traveller bold;’ 157
    To a fair young Lady who declared that she and I were coevals 158
    To a Fair Friend arguing in support of the theory of the renovation in a literal sense of the material system* 159
    I The Lilies 160
    II Time’s Acquittal 160
    III To a Friend 162
    Asceticism 164
    Blanco White* 165
    To a Friend who wished to give me half her sleep 165
    To a Friend who prayed, that my heart might still be young 166
    On reading my Father’s ‘Youth and Age’ 167
    To a little weanling Babe, who returned a kiss with great eagerness 168
    Dream-love* 168
    To my Son 169
    Tennyson’s ‘Lotos Eaters’ with a new conclusion 171
    Crashaw’s Poetry 173
    ‘On the same’ 174
    ‘Toil not for burnished gold that poorly shines,’ 175
    Sketch from Life. Morning Scene. Sept 22 1845 176
    A Boy’s complaint of Dr Blimber 177
    L’Envoy to ‘Phantasmion’* 177
    Feydeleen to Zelneth 178
    Song of Leucoia 179
    Song for ‘Phantasmion’ 180
    Zelneth. Love unreturned 180
    Matthew VI.28-9 181
    Prayer for Tranquillity* 183
    The melancholy Prince 183
    Zelneth’s Song in Magnart’s Garden 184
    Children 185
    ‘Passion is blind not Love: her wondrous might’* 186
    ‘O change that strain with man’s best hopes at strife,’* 187
    ‘O vain expenditure! unhallowed waste!’* 188
    Darling Edith 189
    First chorus in ‘The Agamemnon’ of Æschylus 190
    Poems written for a book of Dialogues on the Doctrines of grace
    I ‘While disputants for victory fight’ 192
    II Water can but rise to its own level 192
    II Reason 193
    IV Mystic Doctrine of Baptism 193
    V Baptism 194
    [Verses from ‘Regeneration’] (‘This is a giddy world of chance and changing’) 195
    Missionary Poem 195
    [From Sara Coleridge’s Journal, September 1850] (‘Danced forty times? We know full well’) 196
    [From a letter to Mrs Derwent Coleridge, 16 January 1852] (‘Sing hey diddle diddle,’) 196
    [From a letter to Derwent Coleridge, 22 January 1852] (‘Darran was a bold man’) 197
    Doggrel Charm 198

    Appendix: ‘Howithorn’ 199
    Notes on the Poems 212
    Index of First Lines 246
    Index of Titles 252
    Sara Coleridge
    Sara Coleridge was born at Greta Hall, Keswick in 1802. She was an English author and translator, and the daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. She died in 1852. ... read more
    Peter Swaab
    Peter Swaab, Reader in English at University College London, has published Lives of the Great Romantics: Wordsworth (Pickering, 1996) and essays on Wollstonecraft, Hopkins, James, and Gunn, and a life of Charles Lamb for the New DNB . He edited Over the Land and Over the Sea: Selected Nonsense and ... read more
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