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INDIANA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
Set up and electrotyped.
Printed in the United States of America by
STRATFORD PRESS, INC.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, poet, critic, philosopher, was born October 21, 1772, at Ottery St. Mary, Devonshire. He was the youngest of the thirteen children of Rev. John Coleridge, the vicar and head of a well-known school. In 1782, the year after his father's death, Coleridge was admitted, through the efforts of a friend of the family, to Christ Hospital School, London. Here he remained from his tenth to his nineteenth year. Charles Lamb, his school-fellow, wrote in later years his impressions of Coleridge's extraordinary classical knowledge and conversational powers at that early age, calling him "the inspired charity-boy.' Even before he had become a blue-coat in that famous old school, he had shown himself a precocious dreamer, physically indolent, unpopular with other boys because of his indifference to play, his passion for knowledge, and his proneness to reverie. His main interest seems during these early schooldays to have been in reading and talking metaphysics and theology; he was, of course, interested in poetry, particularly in the sonnets of William Lisle Bowles, a minor poet of the day, but his poetic activity was not specially notable in these boyhood years. The range of his intellectual interests included medicine, in which he read considerably; frequent visits to the hospital, where his brother was serving an apprenticeship, led him to think of becoming a surgeon, but this impulse, like many others, soon passed.
At Cambridge, where he entered Jesus College in 1791, Coleridge was noted for his interest in Greek, his conversational powers, and his "desultory and capricious reading.' He won the gold medal for the Greek prize poem the same year. Outside of philosophic and general literature, he was an eager reader of the political pamphlets of the day,