Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Critical and Biographical Essay by Richard Garnett
Sarah Coleridge (1802–1850)
THERE is little to recount respecting the life of Sara Coleridge. Born December 22nd, 1802, she was brought up under the roof of her uncle, Southey, and owed nothing to her father except the inheritance of his mental power, of which she gave proof at a surprisingly early age, by her translation of Dobrizhofer’s “History of the Abipones,” a feat requiring an equal mastery of Latin and English. With Dora Wordsworth and her cousin, Edith Southey, she is the subject of Wordsworth’s beautiful poem, “The Triad.” Shortly after its composition she married her cousin, Henry Nelson Coleridge, who became her father’s literary executor, a duty soon devolved upon her by his premature death. Her entire devotion to it is probably the chief cause of her having missed the supreme literary distinction which her correspondence shows to have been entirely within her reach. She died in 1850.  1
  After George Eliot’s, we should pronounce Sara Coleridge’s the most powerful female mind which has as yet addressed itself to English literature. While deficient in no feminine grace, she is intellectually distinguished by a quality for which we can find no better name than manliness. She displays the strongest, massiest common sense, goes direct to the root of a matter, sweeps antagonism from her path in a twinkling, and exhibits a refreshing liberality, despite a burden of hereditary and conventional prejudice. Circumstances forced her learning and her reasoning faculty into prominence, her pious labours as her father’s editor and annotator leaving her but little opportunity for the exercise of the imaginative gift which she had equally inherited from him. “Phantasmion,” though too unsubstantial a work to create a permanent impression, shows that she possessed this endowment in rich measure, and the little lyrics scattered through its pages confer upon her a secure though a modest place among English poetesses.  2
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