Monday, February 1, 2016

Samuel Taylor Coleridge*

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772—1834) is a significant poet of English Romanticism, best known for such long poems as "Kubla Khan" and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." His primary interests were philosophy and religion. Between 1808 and 1819 he gave a series of lectures in London and Bristol, including many about William Shakespeare, which helped to renew interest in the bard.

In 1798 he became a Unitarian minister, but later came to believe that Unitarianism was incompatible with Christian belief. It is said that Coleridge's religious writings led to a revival of Christian philosophy in England.

The poet, Malcolm Guite, has written: "I could not begin to reckon the personal debt I owe to Coleridge; for his poetry, for his personal and Christian wisdom, above all for his brilliant exploration and defence of the poetic imagination as a truth-bearing faculty which participates in, and is redeemed by the Logos, the living Word, himself the Divine Imagination." Guite's book, Mariner! A Voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Hodder & Stoughton) is to appear in 2017.

My Baptismal Birthday

God's child in Christ adopted, — Christ my all, —
What that earth boasts were not lost cheaply, rather
Than forfeit that blest name, by which I call
The Holy One, the Almighty God, my Father? —
Father! in Christ we live, and Christ in Thee —
Eternal Thou, and everlasting we.
The heir of heaven, henceforth I fear not death:
In Christ I live! in Christ I draw the breath
Of the true life! — Let then earth, sea, and sky
Make war against me! On my heart I show
Their mighty master's seal. In vain they try
To end my life, that can but end its woe. —
Is that a death-bed where a Christian lies? —
Yes! but not his — 'tis Death itself there dies.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Samuel Taylor Coleridge: first post

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.