The purpose of this paper is to analyze Samuel Taylor Coleridge's use of the supernatural and the concept of good and evil in his poems 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and 'Christabel.'
William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are two poets whose poetic endeavors are inextricably linked in the history of romantic poetry. Although Coleridge and Wordsworth collaborated in Lyrical Ballads (1798), both poets were considerably different in their approach to poetry. Wordsworth for instance, was not particularly concerned with the supernatural, while Coleridge was very involved in the subject. When the two poets decided to publish a volume of verse, they agreed on their personal poetic principles.
Wordsworth's approach was more typically romantic than Coleridge's objectives. Nature to Wordsworth, was alive, powerful, and healthy; for Coleridge, it was powerful, and healthy. Coleridge, in the two poems discussed in this essay, was more concerned with the supernatural aspects of existence.
Wordsworth declared his poetic credo in his 'Preface' to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800). This is a basic and major voicing of the spirit of English romanticism. The emphasis moves from the relationship between poem and reader to that between reader and poem. As Wordsworth states: "The principle object then, proposed in these poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them
throughout, as far as was possible, in a selection of language
really used by men . . . . Humble and rustic life was usually chosen" (Wordsworth 434).
This is light-years different from Coleridge's poetic posture, which uncharacteristic of Wordsworth, explores the supernatural to achieve his poetic effects. Coleridge elaborates on his contribution to Lyrical Ballads in his Biographia Literaria: "In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeav...