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Additional resources for A Coleridge Companion: An Introduction to the Major Poems and the Biographia Literaria
Never saw I his likeness, nor probably the world can see again. I seem to love the house he died in more passionately than when he lived . . What was his mansion is consecrated to me a chapel. '20 2 The Conversation Poems 'The Nightingale', which appeared in Lyrical Ballads (1798) with the subtitle' a Conversational Poem', is the only one of his poems to which Coleridge himself ever applied this particular epithet. However, following a suggestion made in 1925 by G. M. Harper, 1 twentieth-century readers have generally grouped together six poems composed between 1795 and 1798 as Coleridge's Conversation Poems: 'The Eolian Harp', 'Reflections on Having Left a Place of Retirement', 'This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison', 'Frost at Midnight', 'Fears in Solitude' and 'The Nightingale'.
Sara Coleridge, whose family and friends 14 A Coleridge Companion were all in the South, was not happy at Keswick; and marital tensions, a serious factor since Coleridge's return from Germany, grew more pronounced and moved inexorably toward open hostility and a separation. Blame may be assessed on both sides. Mrs Coleridge, ill at ease with the Wordsworths and their circle, complained with justice that her husband spent more time at Grasmere than at Greta Hall and that he neglected his domestic responsibilities in order to cultivate his friendships.
Surprisingly, despite its air of mystery and the supernatural, the poem was not published in Lyrical Ballads, nor is there any evidence that it was ever considered for inclusion in that volume. In mid September 1798, shortly before he left for Germany, Coleridge was in London and arranged that it should be published in a quarto pamphlet along with two other of his poems; the pamphlet, under the imprint of the London bookseller Joseph Johnson, appeared later that year with the title Fears in SoHtude, Wnitten in 1798, during the A tarum of an Invasion.