Samuel Taylor Coleridge

major characteristics of coleridge's imagination

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Coleridge (1772-1834)had no such definite gospel to expound. He was a man of the most varied gifts, critic and philosopher as well as poet. And in each capacity, he exhibited gleams of extraordinary genius. But, owing to some inexplicable inability to concentrate his powers, they only found complete fulfilment in a handful of poems. The most famous of these, The Ancient Mariner and Christabel, reveal another aspect of the romantic impulse, its sensiblity to the imaginative appeal of the remote and the marvellous. In a sucsession, of pictures, preternaturally vivid as those of a dream, and set to a haunting word music, they evoke the airy enchantment of medival legend.The Ancient Mariner is an elementary ballad form which, touched by the magic pen of coleridge sends forth an atmosphere of eerie, fevered, and magnetic mystery and suspense:

About, about, in reel and rout,

The death-fires danced at night;

The water like a witch's oils,

Burnt green, and blue, and white,

The boldness and direct force of his simple figures of comparision whole the reader's imagination spellbound. Despite his paucity of production of poetic merit, colerige must be accorded a foremost place in English romantic verse for the little that he did succed in writing (some eight poems written between 1797 and 1802). He planned many literary masterpieces which he never wrote; what he did write shows full well that, given a power of concentration and steadfastness of purpose, his genius could have produced them in abundance.