ST Coleridge as a Romantic Poet

st coleridge as a romantic poet

ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge has been known best as a romantic poet because of his contribution to romanticism. It is also said that he is the co-founder of the Romantic Movement as he brought many changes in poetry. He published Lyrical Ballads in 1798, which is a great book of romantic poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. Poetry before Coleridge was known as neo-classical poetry; besides Coleridge, many other poets felt that it needed improvements and alterations due to too much logic and reasoning; hence, the Romantic Movement was started not unintentionally but deliberately and intentionally at the end of the eighteenth century.

It is recommended to read Rime of the Ancient Mariner summary to understand romantic elements in S. T. Coleridge’s poems.

Romantic Movement in Poetry

Romantic poetry was a new form of poetry, which did not follow any rules and regulations; however, the purpose of romanticism was to promote emotions and feelings. It was an artistic movement in which the artist considered blending feelings with thoughts. It is not the poetry of reason but the poetry of human emotions and revival of the past. The poets focused more on personal sentiments rather than the opinions of minds; hence, there is more subjectivity in it.

It is also one of the salient features of romanticism that the poets did not like to write poetry for the purpose of reformation. They were more interested in discussing rural life, nature, senses, the medieval era, the Greeks era and art in their poetry. ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge is a famous romantic poet in this regard, who wrote poems on the basis of the aforementioned components of romantic poetry.

Most prominent poets who are remembered as pioneers of the romantic movement in poetry are:

William Wordsworth

  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • Lord Byron
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • John Keats

Among them, John Keats is the last but best romantic poet in the history of English literature. 

Characteristics of Romantic Poetry

It is necessary to know more about romantic poetry to understand Coleridge as one of the poets of romanticism. Must have ingredients of romantic poetry that are obvious from the poems of romantic poets are:

  • Illustration of emotions and feelings
  • Discussion on nature
  • Escapism
  • Love for past
  • Quest for beauty
  • Freedom of mind
  • Limitless thoughts
  • Imagination and exaggeration
  • Lyricism
  • Supernaturalism
  • Reference to landscapes
  • Gloomy mods and melancholic themes

ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge as a Romantic Poet

He is the best romantic poet followed by John Keats and William Wordsworth. He writes poetry on the basis of his experiences. It is also one of the key factors of his poetry that he blends religious thoughts with emotions and feelings; therefore, somehow, there is always morality in his poems. For instance, in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, he apparently sketches the cruelty of humans on a bird. Symbolically, the poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner gives a moral lesson to mend the mistakes and portrays the theme of repentance. Some other ingredients in the poetry of romantic poet ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge that help us to differentiate him from neoclassical poets are:

Lyricism Makes ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge a Romantic Poet

There is music in the poetry of Coleridge. It is, therefore, he has been regarded as a musician. Critics think that there is a strange kind of melody in his poems which delights his readers. His famous poem The Rime of Ancient Mariner is an example of it. It is also a matter of fact that he never uses such words that are beyond the knowledge of common readers. He always uses familiar words so that his readers can understand the picture that he wants to create with the help of his imagination. 

Coleridge’s initial poetry is experimental but later on, he has written poems that grab the attention of his readers. There is a delight in his poetry due to lyricism. The only purpose of romantic poetry is to give charm and pleasure; therefore, lyricism was the only thing on which the romantic poets used to focus. Resultantly, the poems become perfect in rhythm, sound and cadence. Romantic poets are masters in creating harmony in words due to lyricism in their poetry. The lyricism in the poetry of ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge is a piece of evidence that he is a romantic poet.

Connection Between Mind and Soul

Coleridge creates a bridge between mind and soul. The human psyche (mind) and emotions are interlinked but there is a lot of difference in their paths. One follows the path of logic and reasoning whereas the other has feelings. Due to these differences, both are entirely distinct from each other. These differences create mental and emotional strain; harmony between the two can give a person pleasure and peace of mind.

Coleridge’s poetry helps in creating harmony between the two. He creates a connection between mind and soul through his poetry. Although he exaggerates the incidents while using supernatural elements, that does not mean his poetry is not linked to the mind. It is not wrong to say that he creates a balance between the soul and human thoughts.

Coleridge also helps his readers in exploring the inner consciousness. It is only possible if one sees his reflection in society. Self-discovery should not be stopped until death; one can know more about himself if he thinks more about himself. It is also an element of romantic poetry that focuses more on personal feelings rather than thinking about what people say. Thus, the romantic poet ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge writes poetry that explores the human soul as accurately as William Shakespeare did it.

Supernaturalism and Dreamy Worlds

Romantic poetry is the poetry of imagination. It is very much obvious from the poetry of John Keats, William Wordsworth and Shelly; however, the technique of supernaturalism exclusively belongs to Coleridge. If someone else uses this technique then he borrows it from him.

The Rime of The Ancient Mariner is an example of the perfect use of supernatural elements. In this poem, the poet goes beyond the limitations of physics. The story that he tells in this poem does not seem true by any stretch of the imagination. It is the best use of the technique of supernaturalism that makes this poem believable. People are compelled to accept that the deads become alive and the boats can move on the surface of the water.

He writes:

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

Kubla Khan is an example in which the poet creates a utopian world. He has a god-gifted quality of creating dreamy worlds. He uses it plentifully to generate pleasurable elements in his poems. The poem is also highly imaginative and also has a direct effect on the senses. In this way, the depiction of supernaturalism and dreamy worlds in his poetry makes ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge a romantic poet.

Imagination and Escapism Makes ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge a Romantic Poet

Romantic poets do not like the harsh world; thus, they create their own. Some like to see the forests, some landscapes whereas others see dreams of rivers. Thus, they escape from this world and live in the perfect world that they create in their dreams. Romantic poetry is about personal thoughts and feelings. Every poet has their own world but love for nature is a common factor. Thus, we see every romantic poet glorifying nature in his poetry.

Escapism is the necessary element of romantic poetry. In fact, the more a poet is an escapist, the more romantic he becomes. John Keats is the most escapist poet; hence, he becomes the most romantic poet. Coleridge also leaves the barren world and creates a world of his own with the help of his imagination. Kubla Khan can be re-referred to in this regard. He creates a utopian world when he becomes tired of the harsh realities of life. Imagination and Escapism also make ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge a romantic poet.


Almost all the features of romantic poetry are there in the poems of poet ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge. His poetry is not the poetry of reasoning. There is morality in some of his poems even though he does not want to reform the world. Like other romantic poets, he does poetry for the sake of poetry. Conversely, some critics think that there are some elements of the French Revolution in the poetry of Coleridge.

The most romantic poems of the poet ST (Samuel Tylor) Coleridge are:

  • The Rime of Ancient Mariner,
  • Kubla Khan
  • Christabel.

He has also added supernaturalism to these poems.