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TO THE BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA.
BY THE LATE H. N. COLERIDGE, ESQ., M.A.
[1772 to 1791.]
While here, thou fed'st upon ethereal beams,
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE was the youngest child of the Reverend John Coleridge, Chaplain-Priest and Vicar of the Parish of Ottery St. Mary, in the county of Devon, and Master of the Free Grammar, or King's School, as it is called, founded by Henry VIII. in that town. His mother's maiden name was Ann Bowdon. He was born at Ottery on the 21st of October, 1772, "about eleven o'clock in the forenoon," as his father, the Vicar, has, with rather unusual particularity, entered it in the register.
John Coleridge, who was born in 1719, and finished his education at Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge,† was a country clergyman and schoolmaster of no ordinary kind. He was a good Greek and Latin scholar, a profound Hebraist, and, according to the measure of his day, an accomplished mathematician. He was on terms of literary friendship with Samuel Badcock, and, by his knowledge of Hebrew, rendered material assistance to Dr. Kennicott, in his well-known critical works. Some curious papers on theological and antiquarian subjects appear with his signature in the early numbers of The Gentleman's Magazine, between the years 1745 and 1780; almost all of
* [From a Sonnet To Coleridge by Sir Egerton Bridges-written 16th Feb. 1837.-8. C.] [He was matriculated at Sidney a sizar on the 18th of March, 1748, but does not appear to have taken any degree at the University.-S. C
which have been inserted in the interesting volumes of Selections made several years ago from that work. In 1768 he published miscellaneous Dissertations arising from the 17th and 18th chapters of the Book of Judges; in which a very learned and ingenious attempt is made to relieve the character of Micah from the charge of idolatry ordinarily brought against it; and in 1772 appeared a “Critical Latin Grammar," which his son called "his best work," and which is not wholly unknown even now to the inquisitive by the proposed substitution of the terms "prior, possessive, attributive, posterior, interjective, and quale-quare-quidditive," for the vulgar names of the cases. This little Grammar, however, deserves a philologer's perusal, and is indeed in many respects a very valuable work in its kind. He also published a Latin Exercise Book, and a Sermon. His school was celebrated, and most of the country gentlemen of that generation, belonging to the south and east parts of Devon, had been his pupils. Judge Buller was one. The amiable character and personal eccentricities of this excellent man are not yet forgotten amongst some of the elders of the parish and neighborhood, and the latter, as is usual in such cases, have been greatly exaggerated. He died suddenly in the month of October, 1781, after riding to Ottery from Plymouth, to which latter place he had gone for the purpose of embarking his son Francis, as a midshipman, for India.
Many years afterwards, in 1797, S. T. Coleridge commenced a series of Letters to his friend Thomas Poole, of Nether Stowey, in the county of Somerset, in which he proposed to give an account of his life up to that time. Five only were written, and unfortunately they stop short of his residence at Cambridge. This series will properly find a place here.
TO MR. POOLE.
"MY DEAR POOLE,
"I could inform the dullest author how he might write an interesting book. Let him relate the events of his own life with honesty, not disguising the feelings that accompanied them. I never yet read even a Methodist's 'Experience' in the Gospel Magazine without receiving instruction and amusement; and I should almost despair of that man who could peruse the Life of John Woolman without an amelioration of heart. As to my Life, it has all the charms of variety, high life and low life, vices and virtues, great folly and some wisdom. However, what I am depends on what I have been; and you, my best friend, have a right to the narration. To me the task will be a useful one. It will renew and deepen my reflections on the past; and it will perhaps make you behold with no unforgiving