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English project

COMPARISION OF WORDSWORTHIAN
AND COLERIDGIAN POETRY

Submitted to: Dr Pratyush Kaushik

Submitted by: Deepesh Kumar
Roll No: 922
B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), 2
nd
Semester.

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COMPARISION OF POETIC WORKS OF WORDSWORTH AND
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
It is not possible to prepare a project report without the assistance & encouragement of other
people. This one is certainly no exception.
On the very outset of this report, I would like to extend my sincere & heartfelt obligation towards
all the personages who have helped me in this endeavor. Without their active guidance, help,
cooperation & encouragement, I would not have made headway in the project. .
I am extremely thankful and pay my gratitude to my faculty Dr Pratyush Kaushik for his
valuable guidance and support and, who took keen interest in my project work and guided me all
along, till the completion of my project work by providing all the necessary information for
developing a good system.
I extend my gratitude to Chanakya National Law University for giving me this opportunity. I
also acknowledge with a deep sense of reverence, my gratitude towards my parents and member
of my family, who has always supported me morally as well as economically.
My gratitude goes to all of my friends who directly or indirectly helped me to complete this
project report.
At last but not least I would like to thank Almighty God who gave me the strength and resolve to
complete this project.
Any omission in this brief acknowledgement does not mean lack of gratitude.

Thanking You
Deepesh Kumar.



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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Topic Page No:
1) INTRODUCTION6
AIM AND OBJECTIVE...11
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY.11
2) CHAPTERIZATION:
a) Poetic Styles of Wordsworth and Coleridge12
b) Comparative study of Wordsworthian and Coleridgian poetry...20
c) Analysis of William Wordsworths Ode: Intimations of Immortality from
Recollections of Early Childhood and Samuel Coleridges Dejection: An Ode...29
d) Conclusion..34
3) BIBLIOGRAPHY...35
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INTRODUCTION
The 19th century was heralded by a major shift in the conception and emphasis of literary art
and, specifically, poetry. During the 18th century the catchphrase of literature and art was reason.
Logic and rationality took precedence in any form of written expression. Ideas of validity and
aesthetic beauty were centered on concepts such as the collective "we" and the eradication of
passion in human behavior. In 1798 all of those ideas about literature were challenged by the
publication of Lyrical Ballads, which featured the poetry of William Wordsworth and Samuel
Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth and Coleridge both had strong, and sometimes conflicting,
opinions about what constituted well-written poetry. Their ideas were centered around the
origins of poetry in the poet and the role of poetry in the world, and these theoretical concepts
led to the creation of poetry that is sufficiently complex to support a wide variety of critical
readings in a modern context.
1

Wordsworth wrote a preface to Lyrical Ballads in which he puts forth his ideas about poetry. His
conception of poetry hinges on three major premises. Wordsworth asserts that poetry is the
language of the common man:
To this knowledge which all men carry about with them, and to these sympathies in which
without any other discipline than that of our daily life we are fitted to take delight, the poet
principally directs his attention.
2

Poetry should be understandable to anybody living in the world. Wordsworth eschews the use of
lofty, poetic diction, which in his mind is not related to the language of real life. He sees poetry
as acting like Nature, which touches all living things and inspires and delights them. Wordsworth
calls for poetry to be written in the language of the "common man," and the subjects of the
poems should also be accessible to all individuals regardless of class or position. Wordsworth
also makes the points that "poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its
origin from emotion recollected in tranquility". These two points form the basis for
Wordsworth's explanation of the process of writing poetry. First, some experience triggers a

1
http://www.preservearticles.com/2012031126558/compare-wordsworth-and-coleridge-as-theorists-of-
poetry.html
2
http://www.nationalgreatbooks.com/symposium/issue1/Wilson.asp
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transcendent moment, an instance of the sublime. The senses are overwhelmed by this
experience; the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" leaves an individual incapable of
articulating the true nature and beauty of the event. It is only when this emotion is "recollected in
tranquility" that the poet can assemble words to do the instance justice. It is necessary for the
poet to have a certain personal distance from the event or experience being described that he can
compose a poem that conveys to the reader the same experience of sublimity. With this distance
the poet can reconstruct the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" the experience caused
within himself.
3

Wordsworth's critical ideas are manifested in his writing. He uses the language and subjects of
the common man to convey his ideas. As he writes in "The Tables Turned," "One impulse from a
vernal wood / May teach you more of man, / Of moral evil and of good, / than all the sages.
These lines show that Wordsworth places little stock in the benefit of education or
institutionalized wisdom. He implies that any person with exposure to Nature can learn the
secrets of the world, regardless of social or economic considerations. In "I wandered lonely as a
cloud," Wordsworth uses the sonnet form to express his ideas about poetry being the
spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility:
For oft when on my couch I lie
I n vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
4

This stanza comes after Wordsworth has described experiencing in the natural world the
wonderment that the night creates. In the poem he meditates on the stars and the light bouncing
off waves on the water. He is unable to truly comprehend the beauty and importance of the

3
http://uh-engl-2306.blogspot.in/2007/10/comparison-of-william-wordsworth-and.html
4
http://www.free-essays.us/dbase/b6/tda7.shtml
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experience until he is resting afterward, and he is able to reconstruct the event in his mind. This
remembrance brings him a wave of emotion, and it is out of this second flood of feeling that the
poem is born. In Wordsworth's poetry, these ebbs of emotion are spurred on by his interaction
with Nature. In "Tintern Abbey" he writes that "Nature never did betray / the heart that loved
her". Indeed, Wordsworth is continually inspired and led into transcendent moments by his
experiences in Nature. These experiences bring to his mind a wide variety of contemplations and
considerations that can only be expressed, as he writes in "Expostulation and Reply," in "a wise
passiveness".
5

While Wordsworth's critical ideas obviously worked for his poetry, Coleridge differed in his take
on the art. Coleridge did not agree that poetry is the language of the common man. He thought
that lowering diction and content simply made it so that the poet had a smaller vocabulary of
both words and concepts to draw from. Coleridge focused mainly on imagination as the key to
poetry. He divided imagination into two main components: primary and secondary imagination.
In Biographia Literaria, one of his significant theoretical works, he writes:
The primary imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human
perception, and as a repetition in the finite of the eternal act of creation of the infinite I AM. The
secondary I consider as an echo of the former, coexisting with the conscious will, yet still
identical with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and in the mode
of its operation.
6

It is the imagination involved in the poetry that produces a higher quality verse. The primary
imagination is a spontaneous creation of new ideas, and they are expressed perfectly. The
secondary imagination is mitigated by the conscious act of imagination; therefore, it is hindered
by not only imperfect creation, but also by imperfect expression. To further subdivide the act of
imagination, Coleridge introduces his concept of fancy. Fancy is the lowest form of imagination
because it "has no other counters to play with but fixities and definites". With fancy there is no
creation involved; it is simply a reconfiguration of existing ideas. Rather than composing a
completely original concept or description, the fanciful poet simply reorders concepts, putting

5
http://flash.lakeheadu.ca/~emurray/1112RomanticismOutline.htm
6
Ibid.
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them in a new and, possibly, fresh relationship to each other. Coleridge also writes that poetry
"reveals itself in the balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant qualities". Through
juxtaposition ideas, concepts, and descriptions are made clear. The more imaginative the
juxtaposition is, the more exciting the poem becomes.
7

As with Wordsworth, Coleridge also combines his theoretical ideas in his poetry. He abandons
Wordsworth's notion of poetry for the common man, and uses lofty language, poetic diction, and
subject matter that is specialized. While he still holds a reverence for Nature inherent to romantic
literature, his poems are not exclusively based around the natural. He makes use of primary
imagination in his work, because it is the kind of imagination he values most, and avoids
secondary imagination or fancy as much as possible. "Kubla Kahn" illustrates his use of primary
imagination
The poem is the manifestation of a drug-induced vision. The lines have come to Coleridge
unbidden, and represent the creation of a previously nonexistent setting. He creates these
instances throughout the poem. Especially notable is the vision he describes in the last stanza, "A
damsel with a dulcimer / In a vision I once saw: / It was an Abyssinian maid, / And on her
dulcimer she played". Both of these segments create entirely new scenes in the reader's mind.
Coleridge also uses highly imaginative images to create juxtaposition in the poem. He writes, "A
sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice!" and uses this image twice in the poem. The
"reconciliation of opposites" manifests itself in lines such as these. The adjective "sunny" implies
warmth, while "ice" is cold. Together they hint at a darker side to the surfacially idyllic pleasure
dome. The simple fact that it is Kubla Kahn's pleasure dome is juxtaposition as well. The leader
of the Mongols is not colloquially thought of as a kind or benevolent man. This discordance, too,
hints at the underlying darkness of the poem, thereby exposing a truth that all is not perfect in
neither the pleasure dome nor Coleridge's hallucination.
8

Coleridge and Wordsworth valued artful poetry. Although they had some different theoretical
opinions, both of them succeeded at making poetry that is complex and dense enough to

7
http://www.inforefuge.com/compare-contrast-coleridge-wordsworth
8
http://classprojects.kenyon.edu/engl/exeter/Kenyon%20Web%20Site/Sid/Coleridge_Wordsworth_Final.html

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withstand two centuries of analysis, and modern critical practice has not yet fully distilled the
potential meaning to be found in their work. It is easy to see how their work places them firmly
in the realm of the Romantics, but it is quite difficult to come up with a single form of modern
criticism that can fully deal with these two poets. Mimetic forms of criticism, including
contemporary Platonists and Aristotelians, could offer observations about how the poetry of
Wordsworth seeks to imitate Nature and the effects of Nature on the individual. He works to
reconstruct an experience for the reader. Likewise, these same critics could say that Coleridge's
imitation of human beings in poems like "Christabel" and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
teaches us something about human nature and behavior. Unfortunately, purely mimetic criticism
would miss much of the rhetorical devices and aesthetic qualities embedded in the work.
Pragmatic forms of criticism, which focus on the rhetorical purpose of the author, could offer
insight as to how the poetry of Coleridge and Wordsworth seek to instruct the reader, and could
also elucidate the rhetorical structure of their works. Both of the poets seek to reinforce the
individual, the glory and value of Nature, and induce revelations in their readers. Also, as with
all of the Romantics, Coleridge and Wordsworth are constantly seeking the sublime. This period
follows the rediscovery of Longinus' ideas about the sublime, which describe how rhetorical
structure is used to gain the same feeling of transcendence as Nature promotes. The work of
Coleridge and Wordsworth is also rhetorically constructed to express their critical theories,
which a pragmatic reading of the text would pick up. The expressive forms of criticism could
offer valuable insights into the poems of Coleridge and Wordsworth by focusing on the texts as
products of the poets. Certainly forms of psychoanalytical criticism would have much to say
about Wordsworth's constant overflow of emotion and Coleridge's chemically altered
imagination. Objective critics like the New Critics and formalists could shed light on the synergy
created by the interaction of the various parts of Coleridge and Wordsworth's poems. In
Biographia Literaria, Coleridge wrote that a poem must be a cohesive unit, with every part
working together to build into a whole. Both poets pay close attention to form and diction in their
work, and create poems that are independent units of thought. Especially the work of
Wordsworth seems to precipitate Marxist criticism, which could provide insight about the
elements of class in his poems, and could also discuss the connection between form and content
in the poetry. Postmodern critics would especially enjoy looking at the fierce individuality of
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Coleridge and Wordsworth, who each create their own micro-narrative of the world while
rejecting the meta-narratives of their time.
9


AIM AND OBJECTIVE
To have a detailed study on Poetic works of Wordsworth and Coleridge.
To acquaint the researcher with poetic style of Wordsworth and Coleridge.
To compare and contrast the poetic style of Wordsworth and Coleridge.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
For the purpose of research work, doctrinal method is used.
Doctrinal Method includes conventional methods of research like library research, writings or
documents or through surfing the web.
The research is based on relevant text books, journals and web sources.








9
Fifteen Poets, Oxford University Press, First Edition, 1941
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POETIC STYLE OF WORDSWORTH AND COLERIDGE
William Wordsworths Poetic Style:
Wordsworth had a belief that poetic style should be as simple and sincere as the language of
everyday life and that the more the poet draws on ele-mental feelings and primal simplicities the
better for his art. He advocated the use of simple language in poetry. He said that poetry should
be written in a language really used by men in humble and rustic. He set himself to the task of
freeing poetry from all its conceits and its inane phraseology. He made certain very effective
and striking experiments in the use of simple language.
10

Wordsworth was the first poet who fully recognized and deliberately practiced the beauties of
ex-treme simplicity; and this achievement constitutes his most obvious claim to fame. Hardly
any interested reader misses the beauty of his simplicity.
11

One could quote numerous examples of the successful and effective manner in which
Wordsworth handled simple language. All Lucy poems offer striking examples. A poem like the
one on daffodils represents the successful simple style too.
12

Wordsworths use of the nobly-plain style has something unique and unmatchable. Wordsworth
feels his subjects with profound sincerity and, at the same time, his subject itself has a
profoundly sincere and natural character. His expres-sion may often be called bald as, for
instance, in the poem Resolution and Independence; but it is bald as the bare mountain tops are
bald, with a baldness which is full of grandeur.
13

Wordsworth prefers generally to employ an unostentatious, ascetic style. It demands a mature
and thoughtful reader to appre-ciate the power and comprehensiveness.
14

But many are the occasions when Wordsworths simplicity deteriorates into triviality. While the
daring simplicity is often highly successful, there is also the other kind of simplicity which has

10
http://www.nationalgreatbooks.com/symposium/issue1/Wilson.asp
11
Ibid.
12
http://www.nationalgreatbooks.com/symposium/issue1/Wilson.asp
13
http://www.free-essays.us/dbase/b6/tda7.shtml
14
Fifteen Poets, Oxford University Press, First Edition, 1941
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been called the bleat, as of an old, half-witted sheep. This creates a strange inequality in
Wordsworths verse, an inequality which has been noted and commented upon by almost every
critic.
His deficient sense of humour is responsible for many banalities, but the chief reason for this
mixture of puerility and grandeur is his poetic theory. According to this theory, Wordsworth was
to use a selection of the language really used by men in humble and rustic life, while at the
same time he was to throw a certain colouring of imagination over his subjects.
15

Wordsworths experiments in a simple style were intended to arouse the ordinary mans
sympathy for his fellow men. He sacrifices the idiomatic order of words to preserve simplicity of
diction and the demands of rhyme. He undermines his purpose with amazing effects. Sometimes
he offends merely by the use of such metre as
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans.
Fortunately Wordsworths splendid imagination was often too powerful for his theory; and in his
best work he unconsciously ignores it altogether.
In Tintern Abbey Wordsworth is far more willing than his theories would suggest to use the full
resources of the English vocabulary. In the more exalted passages of this, as of most of the
reflective blank verse poems, the influence of Milton is apparent. We sometimes find
Wordsworth using a Latinised and abstract vocabulary, commonly supposed to be most
uncharacteristic of his work, and directly due to Miltonic influence.
16

The journals of Dorothy Wordsworth show what pains Wordsworth took to find the right
expression. Few poets spent more time searching for the right word or revising their poems. The
result of such strenuous application was often exhaustion leading to dull prosaic verse; but the
same labour produced the wonderful poetry of Tintern Abbey which was written in a few hours
and hardly altered, and great extempore works, even in his declining years, such as the 1835
effusion on the death of James Hogg.

15
Fifteen Poets, Oxford University Press, First Edition, 1941
16
Ibid.
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The famous dullness of Wordsworth which measures the grave in The Thorn and finds it three
feet long and two feet wide is all part of his fearless search for a diction which should bypass; the
pompo-sity of literature, and take a sort of photograph or recording of experience itself, not just
the scene but the emotion connected with the scene.
Wordsworth was right in his banalities, given the premises from which he started. Only the metre
and the inversions employed to contain ordinary conversation in short lines create an unhappy
effect in some of the ballad poems.
Wordsworth often used imagery which is more visual, especially in similes from Nature. But
generally, he demands more of the readers imagination than most poets do. His poems
frequently echo Milton, Shakes-peare, Burns, the Elizabethan poet Daniel, Pope, Thom-son, and
Gray; but not a single work had as lasting an influence on him as Paradise Lost. Instead of being
dazzled with words, he had looked steadily at his subject. The imagery he used is derived from
his own experience and thought.
Wordsworths style can be summed up thus: Wordsworths language is usually worthy of his
themes. At its best it has restraint, quietness and integrity, a refusal to be clever or fanciful in
order to attract the reader. But there are other times when it is not so much serious.
17

Wordsworth was practicing his theory that poetry should be written in a selection of language
really used by men; but not paying enough attention to selection. Again, when his powers
failed, he fell back on bombast as a substitute.
Wordsworth never seriously believed that a poets means of expression should coincide
altogether with those of the most familiar speech. He does not try to identify entirely the
language of poetry with that of conversation among men of the low or of the middle class.
18

He was the exemplar of plain living and high thinking. He lived fairly humbly and insisted
that he spoke for the common man, but he expressed the exalted. This humble yet exalted
combination exemplified what became an enduring notion of what the poet is.

17
http://uh-engl-2306.blogspot.in/2007/10/comparison-of-william-wordsworth-and.html
18
Ibid.
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He was seen as a great poet of nature, and he made the Lake District a tourist spot.

Lake District, which became Wordsworths source of inspiration, for his poetry.
Wordsworth was a close friend of, and worked and published with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Together they produced a new style and a new spirit in poetry. Later the two fell out.
Wordsworth as a young man was living in France during the year of the storming of the Bastille,
1789. He admired the impulse for change in the French Revolution, but later was horrified by
the excesses of it and suspicious of Napoleon. He became increasingly conservative over the
years.
Poetry of the preceding period suffered from the artificiality of a language in which the means of
conveying intensity had been worn out by the deadening effect of custom and had lost all their
power of suggestion. To shake off these chains, to dare to employ the language of pure passion,
such a step meant a return to the practice of the old masters. Their style, when compared with
that of the eighteenth century at its close, was of a relatively simple quality, just as it was ever
racy, frank, and spontaneous.
19


19
http://uh-engl-2306.blogspot.in/2007/10/comparison-of-william-wordsworth-and.html
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The cult of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare is part and parcel of the faith animating the
literary reform of which the Lyrical Ballads are the symbol. To the pages of these writers,
Wordsworth and Coleridge go in quest of materials for the making of a permanent style.
Although unequal, and full of flaws, of lapses into the prosaic or into a tedious accuracy of
statement, Wordsworths shorter poems of the best period undoubtedly possess a unique value,
however mixed they may be. Among them are pure masterpieces, in which the tension of the
style is delightfully relaxed: an ecstatic or divinely childlike spontaneity replaces the effort of
concentration. These poems bring to a decisive realisation the revival towards which the previous
literary transition was tending.
Wordsworth broke the spell of an antiquated tradition, and his work inaugurated the reign of
liberty. England awoke to this fact, not indeed at once, but by degrees, and in the course of a
generation. All the English poets o f the nineteenth century are indirectly his heirs.
20


Samuel Coleridges Poetic Style:
Coleridges different perception of poetry is what sets him aside from Wordsworth. In fact,
Coleridge even reflected on the difference between his contributions and those of Wordsworth in
Lyrical Ballads. He stated, my endeavors would be directed to persons and characters
supernatural Mr. Wordsworth, on the other hand, wasto give charm of novelty to things of
everyday (Biographia, ch. xiv). Although Coleridges retrospective interpretation of this work
could be viewed as an overly simplistic division of labor, it nonetheless proves that Coleridge
viewed his poetic style as different as that of Wordsworth. Moreover, Coleridges retrospective
interpretation insinuated that he dealt with complex subject matter (supernatural), while
Wordsworth gave the ordinary a revitalizing freshness. Even though they worked together
successfully on the publication Lyrical Ballads, Coleridge and Wordsworth clearly had
contrasting opinions about what constituted well written poetry.
21


20
http://uh-engl-2306.blogspot.in/2007/10/comparison-of-william-wordsworth-and.html
21
Ibid.
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In the views of Coleridge, it is imagination that is vital to poetry, and imagination is also central
to his poetic style. He believed that high quality poetry is the result of imagination being
involved in the process. The imagination is broken into two sectors, according to Coleridge, the
primary imagination and the secondary imagination. In the workBiographia Literaria he
commented on his theory of the imagination: The primary imagination I hold to be the living
power and prime agent of all human perceptionthe secondary I consider as an echo of the
formeridentical with the primary in the kind of its agency, differing only in degree, and in the
mode of its operation. The primary imagination is spontaneous, while the secondary
imagination, aware of the conscious act of the imagination, is thus hindered and imperfect in
expression
22
. In particular, it was the chemically altered imagination upon which the addicted
Coleridge grew to rely. One of Coleridges most notorious poems, Kubla Khan, was a
manifestation of a drug-induced vision.
23

The liquid opium, known laudanum, was a double edge sword for Coleridge; it was the source of
his tragic addiction and the potion that enthused his imagination. This was because the drug
increases blood flow to certain parts of the brain, inducing a creative nature and often causing
hallucinations. This is an explanation as to why Coleridge concentrated on the power of the
imagination. The poem Kubla Khan was inspired by opium use, and this is evident because
Coleridge devised a completely original setting that had an undertone of darkness. The setting
was described with very innovative images, in lines such as, A damsel with a dulcimer/ In a
vision [he] once saw
24
. The event is described in the context of a vision, not a dream or a
thought, and this implies that the opium caused the vision. Moreover, the poem refers to an
evil Mongol ruler, Kubla Khan, who does not represent peace or joy. That creates an under tone
of darkness, and with opium the visions may have been glorious but the reality of the addiction
was very dark.
25

Coleridge asserts that a poets heart and intellect should be combined with appearances in
Nature not held inloose mixture in the shape of formal similes. This quote comes from his

22
Barfield 28.
23
Newlyn 91
24
Kubla Khan.
25
Homer 71
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criticism of Bowles, but can also be applied to Wordsworth because his experiences with nature
are based on mood, such as in the aforementioned Tintern Abbey. Passion, to Coleridge, was
much more important than language that was polished and artificial
26
.
Coleridge can thus be summed up:
For Coleridge the creative work of every poet springs from an imaginative power at once
available for analysis yet mysterious in its sources. He sees a poem as organic [Nortons
emphasis], true to itself, acquiring it shape like a plant from a seed and thereby growing
according to its own internal law of development.
27

This theory honours the creative capacity of persons while remaining steadfast to the primacy of
God. Coleridge was serious about his religion.
For Coleridge, allegory is mechanical, merely human-made, while symbol is organically
unified, fusing the particular and the general, the temporal and the eternal.
28

Coleridge distinguishes between fancy and imagination, and sees imagination as far
superior.
The first is the primary imagination, the living power of God, in the eternal act of creation, it
is also the power of creation in each person.
29

The secondary imagination echoes the primary; in conjunction with the will and
understanding, it dissolves in order to re-create, making whole and harmonizing as a synthetic
and magical power.
30

For Coleridge, fancy, in contrast, is an inferior ability. It merely associates fixities and
definites. It simply reproduces what one has already seen, in memory, without creativity.

26
Newlyn 89
27
Barfield 28
28
Newlyn 89
29
http://uh-engl-2306.blogspot.in/2007/10/comparison-of-william-wordsworth-and.html
30
Ibid.
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Coleridge criticized Wordsworths occasional exploitations of nature, and Wordsworth showed
disdain for Coleridges laboriously concise diction in Ancient Mariner. However, apart from
differences in their poetic diction and the ways in which they derived poetic inspiration, the two
poets also had different outlooks on religion.
31

Especially in his later years, Coleridge concerned himself a great deal with God, religion and
faith. His ill health had led him to read the New Testament in a new light, and he then began to
look for proof of God in the natural world
32
. He believed that men habitually needed to look
into their own souls instead of always looking out, both of themselves and their nature
33
.
Coleridge not only examined the Bible, but he also studied the Trinitarian view of Christianity
along with the works of St. Theresa. On the contrary, Wordsworth was an Anglican, as well as a
pantheist. Although he did focus on God through nature as a pantheist, Wordsworth differed
from Coleridge in that he did emphasize religious symbolism.
34

The poem Spots in the Sun is an example of how Coleridge incorporated God into his poetry.
The poem is filled with constant religious references, and begins My father confessor is strict
and holy
35
. Coleridge goes on to say, Good father, I would fain not do thee wrong
36
. The
stress Coleridge placed on religion and God is ironic because this poem intended to address the
strain on his relationship with Wordsworth. This poem addressed God and referenced religious
anecdotes (i.e. Mi fili peccare noli or Sin not, my son)
37
, and overall the poem is referred to
the strain in his relationship with Wordsworth; yet Coleridge incorporates religious symbolism
that essentially contrasted the ideals of Wordsworth. One would imagine that if Coleridge were
addressing the problematic relationship he would use language that is partial to Wordsworth, and
refrain from involving ideology different from that of Wordsworth. On a very deep level, this
may be an attempt by Coleridge to use juxtaposed concepts to convey his point. However, it is
important to note that Coleridge integrated God into this poem. It displayed that even though he

31
Newlyn 89
32
Holmes 72
33
Ibid.
34
Barfield 28
35
Romanticism, 511
36
Romanticism, 511
37
Ibid.
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was concerned about his relations with Wordsworth, a very worthwhile topic, he felt that he
could best address the situation by incorporating religious references.
38

COMPARATIVE STUDY OF WORDSWORTHIAN AND COLERIDGIAN POETRY
Romanticism, generally speaking is the expression in terms of art of sharpened sensibilities and
heightened imaginative feeling. Emotion and imagination are the bedrock of Romanticism.
Romanticism stands for freedom and liberty, and has therefore been designated as 'Liberalism in
Literature'. The poetry of this age was marked by intense human sympathy and a consequent
understanding of the human heart.
On impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man
of moral evil and of good
Then all the sages can.
- William Wordsworth

Off, wandering mother ! peak and pine !
I have power to bid thee flee !
Off, woman, off ! this how is mine -
Though thou her guardin spirit be,
Off, woman off ! tis given to me.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Wordsworth and Coleridge were the two great poets of Romanticism and it was by their joint
efforts that the romantic revival in poetry was brought about during the nineteenth century. The

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meeting of Coleridge and Wordsworth in 1797 at Nether Stowey was a momentous meeting in
the history of English poetry. This meeting made, then intimate friends. Both the friends decided
to transform the old currents of classicism and give a new turn and form to poetry.
39

Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Coleridge (1772-1834) were unhappy with the decorative
language of the eighteenth century poets and were completely dissatisfied with the kind of poetry
that was written by the pseudo - classical poets of the eighteenth century. Both the poets felt that
the type of poetry produced was neither desirable nor pleasing to the heart and soul of man. Both
the poets were gifted with the qualities of imagination, sensibility and creative power of course,
there were some notable differences in their temperament.
"Coleridge's intellect was quick, versatile, and penetrating. Wordsworth was less versatile but
more deeply meditative Coleridge was idealistic and ranged for in the realms of abstract thought;
Wordsworth though he changed them by the imagination, sought his inspiration among the
things of everyday life".
40

The first piece of work of their close association was the 'Lyrical Ballads'. The publication of the
'Lyrical Ballads' was a land-mark in the history of English poetry. Their joint venture brought
about a transformation in poetry and introduced a new way in poesy thought. Myres humorously
calls. The Lyrical Ballads as the Lyrical Blasts since its publication created a profound sensation
in the mind of the contemporary poetry reading public.
41

Studying the Lyrical Ballads minutely shows some similarities and contrasts in the outlook of
Wordsworth and Coleridge as poets. William Wordsworth studied the simple objects of nature
and gave them the imaginative colors. It wasn't his business to make excursions in the world of
supernaturalism. It was left to Coleridge to introduce the world of supernaturalism, mystery and
magic in poetry in this way, Wordsworth liked to give to the objects of Nature, the color of his
imagination, it was left to Coleridge to make the supernatural natural. As Coleridge remarks : "It
was agreed that my endeavors should be directed to persons and characters

39
Wordsworth, William. Preface to Lyrical Ballads. Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors.
Sixth Edition
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supernatural.Wordsworth, on the other hand was to propose to himself as his subject to give
the charm of novelty to things of everyday" so he aimed at representing "Perfectly that side of
the romantic imagination which seeks to lose itself in dream and marvel" Coleridge introduced
the dream-like quality which Romanticism upheld and clarified By the power of his imagination
he created a world a supernaturalism, magic and mystery in 'The Ancient Mariner, Christabel
and Kubla Khan. Some of his verses are -
"Holds him with his gittering eye -
The wedding Guest stood still
And listens like a three year's child:
The Mariner hath his will
The wedding Guest set on a stone
He cannot choose but hear"
- The Rime of Ancient Mariner

"The lady sank, belike through pain
And christable with might and main
Lifted her up, a weary weight
over the threshold of the gate."
- Christabel



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"I n Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure - dome decree;
Where Alph, the sacred river, run
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea
-Kubla Khan
Wordsworth, on the other hand, presented the common and simple life of peasants and
shepherds, and realistically described what he felt and experienced in his own life. Instead of
going to the world of imagination, mystery and magic, Wordsworth lived on the plan of common
life concentrating on the life that he saw around him, some of him. Some of his wonderful verses
are -
"Five years have passed; five summers with the length
of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
with a soft inland murmur"
- Lines





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The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love I cannot share,
But wear the chain.
- On this Day I complete
My Thirty - Sixth Year

Fair seedtime had my soul, and I grew up
Fostered alike by beauty and by Fear;
Much favored in my birthplace and no less
I n that beloved vale to which erelong.
- From The prelude.
Coleridge went to the medieval period for creating the atmosphere of magic and mystery.
Wordsworth lived on the pain of common life concentrating on the life that he saw around. He
did not leave the earth and his own times. The call of the Middle Ages was not for Wordsworth,
it was purely for Coleridge.
42

"In Wordsworth's poems we find an imaginative record of the pastoral life as well as the pastoral
beauties of place he lived in. This is not so in the case of Coleridge. He lived in a world of his
own thoughts and fancies, and did not take care of the external suggestions"
One special thing about Wordsworth and Coleridge was that both of them always loved and
appreciated Nature. Wordsworth saw the spirit of joy in Nature and at least in the early poems of

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Coleridge the spirit of joy in nature is represented. Wordsworth felt the divine spirit pervading
the objects of Nature. Coleridge also noticed the spirit of God permeating the objects of Nature.
In April, 1802, Wordsworth visited Coleridge at Keswick and read to him the first four stanzas of
his Immortality ode, Coleridge replied with the ode. On Dejection, Structurally the ode on
Dejection is a magnificent performance in a very difficult kind, finer even than the ode to France.
But it marks a parting of the ways. In the Nether Stowey days Coleridge had accepted
Wordsworth's view of Nature as living being and a Divine Figure; sense that Nature Figure;
since that time he had learned from kant that Nature Furnishes its own forms of thought.
O William! we receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does Nature live.
He tells Wordsworth that the celestial light in which he had once seen the earth appareled came
from the eyes of the beholder.
J oy, William, is the spirit and the power,
which wedding Nature to us gives in dower
A new Earth and new Heaven for Wordsworth, Germany winter was crucial That melancholy
dream, as he calls it, thought him that his passion for Annette and for France was dead. He
yearned for England and his first love; The Lucy poems were born of that yearning. He
possessed above all poets the ear for silence -
That is not quiet, is not ease,
But something deeper far than these,
a silence beyond silence
Of silent hills, and more than silent sky;
next, that he could here, or believed he could hear,
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The ghostly language of the ancient earth; and finally that he had a sense of space so remarkable
that he seems almost to have felt the earth as a solid globe and sensed its divrnal rotation: he sees
Lucy in death.
"Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
with rocks, and stones, and trees"
Such perceptions made up, or contributed to, that sense of the material sublime in which
Wordsworth comes near to Milton.
Wordsworth continued to believe throughout his life that the spirit of God lived through the
objects of Nature and formed the fountain of joy to humanity. A change came in the attitude of
Coleridge towards Nature in the latter period of his life. Coleridge later on started believing that
Nature had no life of its own, nor there was a soul moving in the objects in Nature. He puts Forth
this idea in one of his odes where he says -
"O Lady! we receive but what we give
And in our life does Nature live"
Wordsworth was a teacher throughout his life holding out moral lesson for the guidance of
humanity. The teaching element in Coleridge's poetry is almost nominal. Coleridge was greater
artist than Wordsworth and the claims of art were more on this poet than the climes of morality
and teaching. In this respect he stands apart from Wordsworth.
43

The touch of humanitarianism marked both Coleridge and Wordsworth. Like Wordsworth,
Coleridge, dreamt of the political regeneration of mankind and hoped that humanity will advance
on the path of nobility and virtue. Wordsworth's love for humanity is present almost in all his
poems of human life Coleridge's love for humanity is expressed in 'Reflections on Having. Left a
place of Retirement' Where he bids farewell to his cottage in order to go to the city and work for
the relief of human distress. He condemns those theoretical lovers of mankind who do nothing
practically for humanity.

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Coleridge excelled Wordsworth in melody. Coleridge was a master of sound. He has been called
an 'epicure - in sounds. The Ancient Mariner is one of the best examples of the witchery of his
music. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner contains a series of cunning sound pattern Quiller
Couch speaks highly of the lyrical genius of Coleridge. Wordsworth on the other hand was
deficient in music. He did not have that ear for fine sounds as Coleridge exhibited in the Rime
of The Ancient Mariner
"Water, water, everywhere
And all the boards did sink
Water, water, everywhere
Nor any drop to drink ...."
Alone, alone all, all alone
Alone, on a wide wide sea....."
Wordsworth did not have the high imaginative power which Coleridge had his poems of
supernaturalism. The imaginative power of Wordsworth was on a lower level particularly
because he had not to deal with themes of imaginative character, but was mainly concerned with
the life of the simple people. The imagination of Wordsworth was of a high character in poems
concerning philosophy, but in poems of Nature, Coleridge was for superior to Wordsworth.
Coleridge was the master of narration verse. The Ancient Mariner is a fine example of narrative
perfection. Wordsworth lacked the narrative skill. The ballads of Wordsworth do not have the
fire and till of Scott and the free flow of Coleridge.
"The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her, and she shall lean her ear
I n many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
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And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face".
Wordsworth believed in the simplicity of diction and brought poetry to the level of the common
speech of common life. Coleridge disagreed with Wordsworth's theory of poetic diction and
considered that the kind of language that Wordsworth found to implement for the composition in
the poetry was not the fitting vesture for poetic thought.
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Whatever difference between Wordsworth and Coleridge, the two poets considerably influenced
each other. It is a question whether Coleridge owed more to Wordsworth or Wordsworth to
Coleridge. Wordsworth was ideal for Coleridge. He always spoke of Wordsworth with great
honor and felt a 'little man' by his side.
If we give little attention to the chronological study it will show that Coleridge gave more to
Wordsworth than he actually received from him. In 1797 Coleridge wrote 'this lime tree bower'
and 'Frost at Midnight'. The following lines are from the two poems.
Yet still the solitary humble - bee
Sings in the bean flower! Henceforth I shall know
That nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure
... thou my babe! shall wander like a breeze.
By lakes and a sandy shores, beneath the crags,
of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds....
Great universal Teacher! He shall like a breeze
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee.
In certain respects it was Coleridge who had a better flowering of genius than Wordsworth.
Unfortunately the poetic imagination of Coleridge soon came to an end and the poet felt that he

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could not write much Wordsworth continued to compose poems with the result that before his
mighty production, Coleridge poems appeared to be very feeble and slender. Still in the little
gold that Coleridge has left behind, there is much to find than in the whole mass of the poems
that Wordsworth has left for posterity, leaving a few great poems the ode on the Intimations of
Immortality, Laodamia, character of the happy warrior, Lines composed above Intern Abbey etc.
Both the poets contributed to the healthy growth of poetry in brining Romanticism to English
poetry. Wordsworth steady nature and moral preoccupations had given effect on Coleridge's
wavering will and rambling tendencies. Yet, Wordsworth could not stop the decline in
Coleridge's poetic power, but one can say that their contribution to English was a landmark for
the Romance in English poetry.
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COMPARISON OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTHS
ODE: INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF
EARLY CHILDHOOD
AND SAMUEL COLERIDGES DEJECTION: AN ODE

The two odes cited herein share similar characteristics of style, genre, and conflict; however,
even within this context the two works differ greatly in their exposition of these qualities. The
style of each is an ode with the base meter in iambic pentameter and they were both written in
the English romantic period. William Wordsworth composed his Ode: Intimations of Immortality
from Recollections of Early Childhood between the years 1802 and 1804 and Samuel Coleridge
wrote and published Dejection: An Ode in 1802. Both writers engage the idea of reflecting upon
ones self, and the conflict in each work is that of the poems speaker struggling with the loss of
his youthful creative energy. One way to say this is that he is struggling against himself and the
aging process with ultimate resolution coming when he realizes that nature continues to exist
around us and youth is, in a way, eternal.
Wordsworth begins his work this way:
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore --
Turn wheresoer I may,
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By night or by day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
(Wordsworth, 796-797)

Caesurae in the first two lines emphasize the natural elements meadow, grove, stream, earth, and
every common sight; this sets the tone as reflective upon nature. The second main clause states
that he no longer sees the world in the same way immediately shifting the tone from celestial
light and freshness of a dream to that of loss. Similarly echoed in the second stanza, The
sunshine is a glorious birth; But yet I know, Whereer I go, That there hath passed away a glory
from the earth. (Wordsworth, 797) the awe inspiring impact of natural beauty is lost on the aged
and jaded speaker.
Beginning this way, the poet sets the tone as reminiscent of youth and builds a frame of reference
within which he reflects upon his past and his present feelings. Iambic meter is used consistently
throughout the first two stanzas. In the middle of the third stanza the meter shifts as the subject
shifts away from the speakers introspective and depressed thoughts back to nature:
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy!
(Wordsworth, 797)
Emphasis is dramatically changed here. Trochaic meter and catalectic emphasis are placed on
Land and sea and spondaic emphasis is used with Give themselves up and Shout round me
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noting the change from introspective thoughts back to nature and youth, the dominant theme.
Nature is emphasized and personified throughout the poem by similarly changing the meter.
Changing the meter in this way, Wordsworth very effectively adds importance to the main ideas
he is expressing.
Samuel Coleridge also adeptly employs the technique of changing meter to express his meaning.
His theme is similar, that of losing his youthful perspective and becoming jaded to natural
beauty; however, the mood of his poem and presentation of this idea varies greatly from
Wordsworths. In contrast to Wordsworth, Coleridge uses the tempo to accentuate the meaning
of his words. Extensive use of caesurae and enjambment in the beginning of his work imitates
the gathering storm that he is referring to:
Well! If the bard was weather-wise, who made
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence,
This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence
Unroused by winds, that ply a busier trade
Than those which mold yon cloud in lazy flakes,
Or the dull sobbing draft, that moans and rakes
Upon the strings of this Aeolian lute,
Which better far were mute.
(Coleridge, 828)

The rising meter of this iambic pentameter is hastened by the enjambment of lines, punctuated
intermittently by the medial caesurae. Nature is again the theme, but Coleridge illustrates the
idea with feelings more than words. The feeling here is expressed by allusion to the Ballad of Sir
Patrick Spence and foreshadowing the coming storm.
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Another theme that is common to both Wordsworth and Coleridge is the ennui that comes with
age; Coleridge engages this theme directly in the second and third stanzas, A grief without a
pang, void, dark, and drear, A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief, My genial spirits fail;
And what can these avail To lift the smothering weight from off my breast? (Coleridge, 828-
829). This explicit statement of dark feelings is a direct contrast to Wordsworths emphasis on
nature and his indirect treatment of his personal disposition.
Meter is also used by the poets in different ways. Coleridge creates a mood and feeling with his
use of spondee and pyrrhic whereas Wordsworth highlights particular words. Employed
throughout the poem, this technique indicates a changing mood as in the fifth stanza:
O pure of heart! Thou needst not ask of me
What this strong music in the soul may be!
What, and wherein it doth exist,
This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
This beautiful and beauty-making power.
(Coleridge, 829)

At this point in the poem, or just before this passage at the end of stanza four, the mood changes
from dark and introspective to light and reverent of nature. Oscillating back and forth in the
middle of the poem between iambic and trochaic meter parallels the rise and fall of gusting wind
until the last two stanzas. Trochaic and dactylic lines indicate the passage of the storm near the
end of the seventh stanza:



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But hush! There is a pause of deepest silence!
And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd,
With groans, and tremulous shudderings all is over --
It tells another tale, with sounds less deep and loud!
(Coleridge, 831)

Again, the use of changing meter indicates a change in mood.
Coleridge uses the changing meter and tempo very effectively to indicate change in mood, while
Wordsworth uses this technique to emphasize a thought. Both poets have similar themes in these
works and they achieve their goal using similar methods; however, they have created drastically
different effects. On first reading these two odes, they appear to have very little in common.
When looking further into their theme and style, however, it becomes clear how similar they are.
The two poets acknowledge the intrinsic beauty of nature but they attain this goal by entirely
different means.
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CONCLUSION
Although Wordsworth and Coleridge are both romantic poets, they describe nature in different
ways. Coleridge underlines the tragic, supernatural and sublime aspect of nature, while
Wordsworth uses anecdotes of everyday life and underlines the serene aspect of nature. In order
to imply a connection between nature and the human mind, Wordsworth uses the technique of
identification and comparison whereas Coleridge does the opposite in "The Ancient Mariner"
and "Kubla Khan". Both admire nature's healing strength and hope that their children will grow
up in a natural environment instead of growing up in cities.
For Wordsworth nature seems to sympathize with the love and suffering of the persona. The
landscape is seen as an interior presence rather than an external scene. His idea is that emotions
are reflected in the tranquility of nature. On the contrary, Coleridge says that poetry is clearly
distinguished from nature. Reading the poems of both Wordsworth and Coleridge, one
immediately notes a difference in the common surroundings presented by Wordsworth and the
bizarre creations of Coleridge. Thus they develop their individual attitudes towards life.
At its best, Wordsworths poetry is of stunning purity and power. One example comes from the
Lucy poems, included in later reprints of Lyrical Ballads. Breathtakingly simple and with only
eight lines, the poem nonetheless conveys compelling emotion. Coleridges agenda was
different. In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the first work in Lyrical Ballads, he compacts
into short-lined, four-line stanzas an amazingly pregnant and mystical narrative of the condition
of man in an incomprehensible natural universe. A religious order exists in this universe, but it is
an order that is enigmatic, although, mysteriously, meanings may be sensed. In writing this
poem, Coleridge drew on gothic fiction and an extraordinary range of reading in theology,
philosophy, and travel. His descriptions of the arctic regions are almost photographic.. The
narrative of The Rime is simple. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner indicates the new directions
that poetry would take over the next two centuries. A revolution had taken place and, arguably, is
still taking place in English literature as a result of Lyrical Ballads.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY
Books:
1) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Dejection: An Ode. Norton Anthology of Poetry, Fifth
Edition, 2005.
2) Wordsworth, William. Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early
Childhood. Norton Anthology of Poetry, Fifth Edition, 2005.
3) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Biographia Literaria. Norton Anthology of English Literature:
The Major Authors. Sixth Edition, M. H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 1996.
4) Wordsworth, William. Preface to Lyrical Ballads. Norton Anthology of English
Literature: The Major Authors. Sixth Edition, M. H.Abrams. New York: Norton, 1996.
5) Fifteen Poets, Oxford University Press, First Edition, 1941

Websites:
1) http://www.preservearticles.com/2012031126558/compare-wordsworth-and-coleridge-as-
theorists-of-poetry.html
2) http://www.nationalgreatbooks.com/symposium/issue1/Wilson.asp
3) http://uh-engl-2306.blogspot.in/2007/10/comparison-of-william-wordsworth-and.html
4) http://www.free-essays.us/dbase/b6/tda7.shtml
5) http://flash.lakeheadu.ca/~emurray/1112RomanticismOutline.htm
6) http://www.inforefuge.com/compare-contrast-coleridge-wordsworth
7) http://classprojects.kenyon.edu/engl/exeter/Kenyon%20Web%20Site/Sid/Coleridge_Wor
dsworth_Final.html