Testing the Pulse
“Dejection” brought about a sea-change in the kind of poetry Coleridge wrote during the second half of his life. The present chapter analyses the components of this new style, the range of its subject matter, and how it developed alongside his philosophical and theological thinking. Large claims are made for its technical originality, emotional range, and indeed (as in “Alice du Clós”) its power, which matches anything he had written before. The chapter ranges across a wide selection of unpublished and published poems, also touching on the plays and the new influence of seventeenth-century Metaphysical Poets that tightened up his style. “Dejection” was not the end of the poet: it marked a different beginning.