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The Students' Series of English Classics.
COLERIDGE'S ANCIENT MARINER.
KATHARINE LEE BATES.
“Nothing can be truer than fairy wisdom. It is as true as sunbeams."
LEACH, SHEWELL, & SANBORN,
BOSTON, NEW YORK, CHICAGO.
JUIN 13 1521
C. J. PETERS & SON,
145 HIGH STREET, BOSTON.
On the list of entrance requirements in English literature, as recently adopted by the Association of New England Colleges, stands Coleridge's “ Ancient Mariner.” The selection is a happy one, for the reason that the poem, exquisite in melody and imagery, and abounding in nature-pictures equally remarkable for wide range and delicate accuracy, nevertheless produces at first so vivid an impression of spectral horror as to blind the casual reader to its rare poetic grace and charm. But as the poem is dwelt upon in the class-room, the student being brought to realize the marvellous succession of moonlight, ocean scenes, then the agonies of that disordered soul and the frightfulness of the images reflected from its guilty consciousness will but serve to throw into fairer contrast the blessedness of the spirit restored to the life of love, and the peaceful beauty of the universe as beheld by eyes purged from selfishness and sin.
Coleridge at his best is so purely poetical that he is an especially valuable author for class-room use, his mastery of diction, melody and figure tending to culti
vate in the student a high poetic standard. Yet Coleridge at his best could be comprehended within the limits of a very thin volume. If it should be desired to extend the study of Coleridge beyond the “Ancient Mariner,” the finest of his other poems might be brought before the class by recitations or readings. Such poems are “Christabel," "Genevieve," "Kubla Khan,” “Ballad of the Dark Ladie,” “France," "Fears in Solitude," " “ The Eolian Harp," "Reflections on Having Left a Place of Retirement,” “The Foster Mother's Tale,” “ Sonnet to Burke," " Answer to a Child's Question,” “Hymn before Sunrise," "The Lime Tree Bower My Prison,” “The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem,” “ Frost at Midnight,” “Dejection,” “Ode to Tranquillity," "Lines to W. L.," "The Pains of Sleep,” “The Knight's Tomb,” “Youth and Age,” “Fancy in Nubibus,” the bird song in “ Zapolya,” the Miserere in “Remorse," and the famous original passage upon “ The fair humanities of old religion” in “The Piccolomini.”
KATHARINE LEE BATES.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, born in Devonshire, England, Oct. 21, 1772, was the youngest of thirteen children. His father was a clergyman, schoolmaster, and bookworm, holding the two positions of vicar of Ottery St. Mary and master of Henry VIII.'s Free Grammar School in the same parish. Coleridge has recorded of his mother that she was, as doubtless she had need to be, “ an admirable economist.” His childish love, however, seems to have gone out less to her, the Martha “careful and troubled about many things,” than to the absent-minded, unworldly old vicar, who is remembered for his “ Critical Latin Grammar,” wherein he proposed a change in the names of the cases, designating the ablative, for example, as “the quare-quale-quidditive case ;” and also for the Hebrew quotations, which, copiously besprinkled throughout his sermons, he used to recommend to the awestricken hearts of his rustic congregation, as “the immediate language of the Holy Ghost.” “The truth is," says Coleridge, "my father was not a first-rate genius; he was, however, a first-rate Christian, which is much better.”