I am excited by the news that someone has discovered 120 poems written by Sara Coleridge, the daughter of Samuel Coleridge.
Who would have thought it? Probably not Coleridge himself. He wrote his poem ‘Metrical Feet – Lesson for a boy’, to teach his sons all about the different metrical feet used in English poetry. In the first draft of the poem, it was addressed to his first son, Hartley. He later revised it to refer instead to his other son, Derwent.
The poem has a touching second stanza devoted to Derwent, expressing Coleridge’s hopes that he grow up to be a good man, and a fine poet. I quote a part:
If Derwent be innocent, steady, and wise,
And delight in the things of earth, water, and skies;
Tender warmth at his heart, with these meters to show it,
With sound sense in his brains, may make Derwent a poet —
So Hartley first, and then, Derwent. Not a word about Sara. Perhaps Coleridge didn’t think she would make a good poet. Small wonder no-one thought to check before now whether she had actually written any poetry.
I look forward to reading her poems.