"To Sheridan" or "To Richard Brinsley Sheridan" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in the 29 January 1795 Morning Chronicle. As the last poem running as part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series, it describes Coleridge's appreciation of Richard Brinsley Sheridan and his theatre talents. Coleridge, unlike most, preferred Sheridan's somber works over his comedies and emphasizes them within the poem. Coleridge also respects Sheridan's political actions.
Coleridge's "To Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Esq." became the final poem in his Sonnets on Eminent Characters series when it was published in the 29 January 1795 Morning Chronicle. It was revised somewhat and published again in Coleridge's 1796 collection of poems with a note about Hymettian Flowrets. It was reprinted again in 1803 without any changes. The poem was included in Coleridge's collections in 1828, 1829, and 1834, with the only change being the removal of the note.
Sheridan was a famous comic playwright, but Coleridge emphasized the sentimental aspects of Sheridan's writing. The connection that Coleridge felt in regards to the sadder works of Sheridan is what prompted him to dedicate a poem to the playwright and not to someone else, such as a political figure. Coleridge also had a personal connection to Sheridan through his friendship with William Smyth, the tutor to Thomas Sheridan, the playwright's son.Coleridge also knew of Sheridan as a political figure; Sheridan was a witness during the 1794 Treason Trials and also argued for the repeal of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act. A speech on the matter was printed in the January Morning Chronicle before Coleridge's sonnet was published.
The 1796 edition of the poem read:
It was some spirit, SHERIDAN! that breath'd
O'er thy young mind such wildly-various power!
My soul hath mark'd thee in her shaping hour,
They temples with Hymettian flowrets wreath'd:
And sweet thy voice, as when o'er Laura's bier
Sad music trembled thro' Vauclusa's glade;
Sweet, as at dawn the love-lorn Serenade
That wafts soft dreams to Slumber's list'ning ear.
Now patriot Rage and Indignation high
Sweet the full tones! And now thine eye-beams dance
Meaning of Scorn and Wit's quaint revelry!
Writhes inly from the bosom-probing glance
Th' Apostate by the brainless rout ador'd,
As erst that elder Fiend beneath great Michael's sword.
A note attached to line four read: "Hymettian Flowrets. Hymettus a mountain near Athens, celebrated for its honey. This alludes to Mr. Sheridan's classical attainments, and the following four lines to the exquisite sweetness and almost Italian delicacy of his Poetry.—In Shakespeare's 'Lover's Complaint' there is a fine stanza almost prophetically characteristic of Mr. Sheridan."Following the note are these verses:
So on the tip of his subduing tongue
All kinds of argument and question deep,
All replication prompt and reason strong
For his advantage still did wake and sleep,
To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weep:
He had the dialect and different skill
Catching all passions in his craft of will;
That he did in the general bosom reign
Of young and old. [...]
In the original Morning Chronicle edition, the first four lines read:
Was it some Spirit, SHERIDAN! that breath'd
His various influences on thy natal hour?—
My Fancy bodies forth the Guardian Power
His temples with Hymettian flowrets wreath'd;— lines 1–4
The Sonnets on Eminent Characters contained many poems dedicated to those Coleridge considered his hero from many fields.The heroes were divided into those who were artists, intellectuals, political figures, and military figures in a way similar to how John Milton divided his poems dedicated to various individuals. In particular, Milton's sonnet on Henry Vane ("Sonnet 17") was the model for Coleridge's poem on Sherida along with the poem "To Erskine". With Coleridge's poem "To Bowles", "To Sheridan" was the only representation of Coleridge's contemporaries from literature within his 1796 collection of poems.
Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey is a poem by William Wordsworth. The title, Lines Writtena Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798, is often abbreviated simply to Tintern Abbey, although that building does not appear within the poem. It was written by Wordsworth after a walking tour with his sister in this section of the Welsh Borders. The description of his encounters with the countryside on the banks of the River Wye grows into an outline of his general philosophy. There has been considerable debate about why evidence of the human presence in the landscape has been downplayed and in what way the poem fits within the 18th-century loco-descriptive genre.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
"Monody on the Death of Chatterton" was composed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1790 and was rewritten throughout his lifetime. The poem deals with the idea of Thomas Chatterton, a poet who committed suicide, as representing the poetic struggle.
"Pain: Composed in Sickness" is a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The poem marks a time in Coleridge's life in which he began to take opium.
Religious Musings was composed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1794 and finished by 1796. It is one of his first poems of critical merit and contains many of his early feelings about religion and politics.
"To the River Otter" is a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Though its date of creation is uncertain, it was possibly composed in 1793. The poem deals with the image of the River Otter, near Coleridge's childhood home in Devon.
Ode on the Departing Year was composed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1796. The poem describes Coleridge's feelings on politics and religion, and it emphasises an idyllic lifestyle as an optimal way of living.
The Eolian Harp is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1795 and published in his 1796 poetry collection. It is one of the early conversation poems and discusses Coleridge's anticipation of a marriage with Sara Fricker along with the pleasure of conjugal love. However, The Eolian Harp is not a love poem and instead focuses on man's relationship with nature. The central images of the poem is an Aeolian harp, an item that represents both order and wildness in nature. Along with the harp is a series of oppositional ideas that are reconciled with each other. The Eolian Harp also contains a discussion on "One Life", Coleridge's idea that humanity and nature are united along with his desire to try to find the divine within nature. The poem was well received for both its discussion of nature and its aesthetic qualities.
Sonnets on Eminent Characters or Sonnets on Eminent Contemporaries is an 11-part sonnet series created by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and printed in the Morning Chronicle between 1 December 1794 and 31 January 1795. Although Coleridge promised to have at least 16 poems within the series, only one addition poem, "To Lord Stanhope", was published.
"To Erskine" or "To the Hon Mr Erskine" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in November 1794. The subject of the poem is Thomas Erskine, a lawyer and member of the Whig party that successfully served in the defense of three political radicals during the 1794 Treason Trials. Coleridge admired Erskine's defense and praised Erskine's refusal to accept money for his service. The poem was published in the 1 December 1794 Morning Chronicle as part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. It was later included in various collections of Coleridge's poetry published later.
"To Burke" is a sonnet by Samuel Taylor Coleridge first published in the 9 December 1794 Morning Chronicle. Unlike most of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters, "To Burke" describes a person whom Coleridge disagreed with; he felt Edmund Burke abused the idea of freedom within various speeches and turned his back on liberty.
"To Priestley" is a sonnet by Samuel Taylor Coleridge first published in the 11 December 1794 Morning Chronicle. Like most of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters, "To Priestley" addresses an individual Coleridge particularly admired; Joseph Priestley held many political and theological beliefs that Coleridge adopted during this time.
"To Fayette" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in the 26 December 1794 Morning Chronicle as part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. Coleridge, like other Romantic poets, viewed Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette as a hero of liberty for his part in the American and French revolutions. The poem coincides with Fayette's imprisonment in Austria, and he is treated as a martyr for liberty. The language Coleridge uses within the poem to describe Fayette and revolutions appears in many of his later works.
"To Kosciusko" is the name shared by three sonnets written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, and John Keats. Coleridge's, the original, was written in December 1794 and published in the 16 December 1794 Morning Chronicle as the fifth of his Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. Hunt and Keats were inspired to follow his poem with their own versions in November 1815 and December 1816, respectively. The sonnets were dedicated to heroism of Tadeusz Kościuszko, leader of the 1794 Polish rebellion against Prussian and Russian control.
"To Pitt" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in the 26 December 1794 Morning Chronicle as part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. Describing William Pitt the Younger and his role as Prime Minister of Great Britain, the poem is one of the few in the series that is not about a hero of Coleridge. Instead, Pitt is described as Judas, the betrayer of Christ, because of, among other issues, his treatment of political dissidents.
"To Bowles" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in the 26 December 1794 Morning Chronicle as part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. William Lisle Bowles's poetry was introduced to Coleridge in 1789 and Bowles had an immediate impact on Coleridge's views of poetry. The sonnet celebrates Bowles's status as a poet. The poem also discusses Bowles's political beliefs, as these views also help shaped Coleridge's ideas on government and politics.
"To Mrs Siddons" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in the 29 December 1794 Morning Chronicle as part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. It describes Sarah Siddons, an actress that Coleridge became fond of during his visits to London during college. The poem celebrates watching Siddons perform her various roles on stage. It is uncertain as to the actual authorship of the poem, since it was attributed to Charles Lamb in various works. It is possible that Lamb and Coleridge worked on the poem together, and it would represent one of Lamb's earliest works.
"To Godwin" or "To William Godwin" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in the 10 January 1795 Morning Chronicle as part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. William Godwin was admired by Coleridge for his political beliefs. However, Coleridge did not support Godwin's atheistic views, which caused tension between the two. Although the poem praises Godwin, it invokes an argument that the two shared over theological matters. After the poem was written, the relationship between Coleridge and Godwin cooled and the poem was not reprinted.
"To Southey" or "To Robert Southey" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in the 14 January 1795 Morning Chronicle as part of his Sonnets on Eminent Characters series. Robert Southey became a close friend of Coleridge during the summer of 1794 and the two originally formed a plan to start an ideal community together. Although the plan fell apart, Coleridge dedicated the poem to his friend and emphasized Southey's poetic abilities. Following the poem, Coleridge further drifted from Southey and the poem was not republished.
"To Lord Stanhope" is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It was published in his 1796 collection of poems. The subject, Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope, had originally shared political views with Coleridge, but as time passed, Coleridge's views gradually shifted. By 1803, Coleridge was claiming that he did not want the poem published anymore and that it was originally intended to mock those who held the beliefs which Coleridge had held years earlier. It is part of the Sonnets on Eminent Characters series, although it was not published in the Morning Chronicle unlike the others in the series. There is, however, a possible predecessor sonnet to the 1796 version that some editors have attributed to Coleridge.