Excerpt from Christabel and the Lyrical and Imaginative Poems of S. T. Coleridge
Compare the nerveless and hysterical verses headed Fears in Solitude (exquisite as is the overture, faultless in tone and colour, and worthy of a better sequel) with the majestic and masculine sonnet of Wordsworth, written at the same time on the same subject the lesser poet - for, great as he is, I at least cannot hold Wordsworth, though so much the stronger and more admirable man, equal to Coleridge as mere poet - speaks with a calm force of thought and resolution; Coleridge wails, appeals, deprecates, objurgates in a ﬂaccid and querulous fashion without heart or spirit. This debility of mind and manner is set off in strong relief by the loveliness of landscape touches in the same poem. The eclogue of Fire, Famine, and Slaughter, being lyrical, is worthier of a great name; it has force and motion enough to keep it alive yet and fresh, impeded and trammelled though it usually be by the somewhat vain and verbose eloquence of a needlessly Apologetic Preface. Blank verse Coleridge could never handle with the security of conscious skill and a trained strength; it grows in his hands too facile and feeble to carry the due weight or accomplish the due work. I have not found any of his poems in this metre retouched and re invigorated as a few have been among his others. Onexviii essay 0n coleridge.
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