About the Nightingale by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


From a letter from Coleridge to Wordsworth after writing The Nightingale:

In stale blank verse a subject stale
I send per post my Nightingale;
And like an honest bard, dear Wordsworth,
You’ll tell me what you think, my Bird’s worth.
My own opinion’s briefly this–
His bill he opens not amiss;
And when he has sung a stave or so,
His breast, & some small space below,
So throbs & swells, that you might swear
No vulgar music’s working there.
So far, so good; but then, ‘od rot him!
There’s something falls off at his bottom.
Yet, sure, no wonder it should breed,
That my Bird’s Tail’s a tail indeed
And makes it’s own inglorious harmony
Æolio crepitû, non carmine

Date: 1798
Poet: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Romantic Movement
1772 – 1834
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a poet, philosopher, theologian and literary critic. He was a member of the Lake Poets and, along with William Wordsworth, a founder of the Romantic Movement in England. Throughout his adult life, he suffered bouts of anxiety and depression and it is now believed that he had bipolar disorder. His physical health was poor due to various illnesses during childhood. These illnesses were treated with laudanum, which fostered his lifelong addiction to opiates.

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