Monday, June 06, 2011

‘On Such a Day’; A Poet has her Secrets; Mary Coleridge & Halsdon

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On Such a Day
Some hang above the tombs,
Some weep in empty rooms,
I, when the iris blooms,
     Remember.

I, when the cyclamen 
Open her buds again,
Rejoice a moment, then
    Remember.

      ‘On Such a Day’, by Mary Coleridge, written probably circa 1901, apparently alludes to a special moment spent in a garden. Not that a garden setting is specified within the poem, but the blooming of the two respective flowers, ‘iris’ and ‘cyclamen’ – which incidentally are the only identified entities in a poem otherwise characterised by its abstractionism – implies that location, because irises (and perhaps cyclamens) are more usually considered to be flowers that grow outside in the garden, rather than indoors in a pot. The season is unspecified, but as irises tend to flower in the Spring and cyclamen in the Autumn, there is implicitly a suggestion that the experience at the absent heart of the poem could have occurred in the space between those times of year.
      The poem, just like many other lyrics written by Mary Coleridge, is typified by its deceptive guilelessness, both in its formal patterning and its prosody. As one writer says of Coleridge, ‘Restraint and discretion were her heritage’1  Another critic concludes that Coleridge's poetry ‘may seem retiring because of its lyricism; entranced by its beauty, we do not at first recognize its power. But it is as powerful as Frankenstein's female monster, come to speaking life’.2 Those who are familiar with Coleridge’s work will be aware that beneath the conventional surface a world of evocative secrecy beckons; there are hints of sinister happenings; traces of the Gothic, the supernatural, the ‘Other’. The more you read Coleridge’s work – which is characterised by the poet’s adoption of a range of disguising (and disquieting) persona-masks - the more you can become enticed by a single hidden-persona lurking behind the words; the voice beguiles as it tempts you to look behind the smooth mirror surface, uncover clues and attempt to solve lost riddles of a rich interior life. I know that the contemporary accepted view of poetic assessment presupposes that a critical reading of a poem should not give precedence to analysis of the self-autobiographical features of the text. But … trouble is, this poet’s self-effacement is tantalising; so much so that one is drawn to discover the secrets, unravel the enigmas, wheedle a with-held life-story from the sub-texts of the layered skein of words.
      On Such a Day gains its potency through the device of oscillation between, or juxtaposition of, two opposing states of mind, whose unsettling effects rebound on the reader’s own sensibilities The duality is set off with the title itself. Although it highlights the importance of a special, or remarkable day, or at the very least, a day which stands out in some way, the mood of that ‘Such a Day’ is unspecified. Does it, for instance, allude to  a day which is remarkable for its joyful delights – an anniversary, a birth, or, a wedding perhaps? Or, does it instead point to a terrible day of loss, a day of reckoning, when the ‘world fell apart’? We, the readers, are not told and the ambivalence continues into the first stanza, whose four-line simplicity belies the cleverly structured movement; this balances the contrasting affects of darkness and light/grief and joy. Lines one and two imply that the ‘day’ of the title is one of those when a torrent of overwhelming grief  occasions unspecified ‘some’ to mourn: they ‘hang’ over tombs, or ‘weep’ in their ‘empty rooms’. Then, in lines 3 and 4, the poem’s movement turns, transforms, as the persona ‘I’ enters, ‘when the iris blooms’; the ‘blooming’ imagery suggests renewal and reinvigoration. The reader’s response is adroitly manipulated and one is unsettled; maybe these are the flowers of grief; maybe the ‘I’, recalling a loved one whose life was associated with the iris, is ‘on such a day’ reminded of and once again, overcome by that loss. And yet … and yet, perhaps not. Somehow the tone and rhythm – 3 lines of rhyming iambic/dactylic tri-metre, followed by ‘Remember’, an amphibrach (short/long/short)  - suggest an opening out into ecstatic memory.
        Then, in the second stanza, the exact same doubling of affects is mirrored in reverse; the blossoming imagery (‘cyclamen’ Opens her buds) held over the end of the first stanza is continued; then after ‘Rejoice a moment’ there is a pause, and after the twist of associative meaning on ‘then’, the final line of  the poem falls back into a presumed remembering of loss and we are taken back to the desolate mood of the poem’s start. But we, just like the ‘some’ who ‘hang’ above the tombs of the first line, are left ‘hanging’ over the meaning of poem. At its centre there is a black-hole of silence. The poet alludes to a special moment, an intense experience, but the details of what happened during that experience are unspecified. We readers know nothing. And the more you try to understand it, that hollow at the heart of the poem expands. The oscillating movement between the contrasting affects puzzles. The remembered moment could refer to horror; or to bliss. Or, possibly it could signify both: perhaps the poet is remembering a moment of paradoxical intensity, when an experience of ecstasy became one of the abyss; or vice-versa? We don’t and will never, know for certain. And so the poet, and her poem hooks us. And we would not want to alter the poem and insert what is omitted of a narrative, for it would then lose its elusive potency. But we can not help but keep an eye out for clues, so as to fathom out what is missing. We live in the middle of a culture where everything, every precious detail of a life is revealed; the confessional is all; nothing is private and much fiction and poetry thrives with the telling of innermost revelations about its author’s life. 
In some ways Coleridge’s story echoes the enigmatic and similarly partially erased life-stories of other poets such as Christina Rossetti, Charlotte Mew and  Emily Dickinson and many have indeed compared her work to that of Rossetti, but Coleridge’s penchant for the unworldly and the uncanny is unsurprising given that her great aunt was Sara Coleridge (1802-1852), author of Phantasmion (1837) who herself visited the Coleridge home at Ottery in Devon. After one such visit Sara  spent a mysterious period at a hotel in Ilchester, Somerset, where she is supposed to have drafted Phastasmion. That text is a fantasy of the weird, described by once critic as ‘the first fairy-tale novel written in English’. and by another, as ‘a remarkable pioneering fantasy’. Mary Coleridge must surely have been familiar with her great aunt’s work; one interesting link is that Sara’s text was said to have influenced the work of George MacDonald, the hero of whose Phantases, named Anodos, was chosen by the poet as her pseudonym. Sara’s daughter Edith later lived in Torbay, and in 1873, the year when Mary Coleridge first went down to Halsdon, her memoir of her mother had come out in its 2nd edition.
         A Selected Poems of Coleridge, edited by Simon Avery, has recently been published by Shearsman, but the poet’s links with Devon are not mentioned. Many of Mary’s Coleridge relations and ancestors were deeply rooted in the county and it would be surprising if she was not at least interested in Devon and the complex background of her familial-roots there. Christabel Coleridge,  yet another of the women in the extended Coleridge family, also lived in Torquay (See my previous blog on Christina Rossetti, which considers her links with that area and with the Coleridge women based there) and Mary’s beloved cousin Mildred Coleridge’s ’s family were living in Ottery St Mary. (See this link for an account of a tea-party at the Coleridge house when Mildred was entertaining). The Victorian Web provides an account of the fate of the cousins’ friendship:

Mary's cousin, Mildred Coleridge, becomes engaged to the freelance writer Charles Warren Adams. Her family do not approve and when Mildred's brother expresses his dislike of Warren in a letter, Mildred urges her fiancé to sue for libel. Mildred's father is Lord John Duke Coleridge, the presiding Lord Chancellor and the case attracts a great deal of attention, much to the mortification of the Coleridge family. Warren Adams wins the case and extracts a public apology from Mildred's brother. Mary, who was very close to her cousin, is forbidden to have any contact with her. Mildred and Warren Adams marry soon after the court case and Mildred remains permanently estranged from the Coleridge's’
        Mary Coleridge visited Devon several, perhaps many times, between the ages of 13 to 17, for her father, Arthur Duke Coleridge, (who was the great nephew of Samuel Taylor Coleridge) first took her to Halsdon house near Dolton in Devon in 1873, (from the C17, the home of the Furze family) to meet the man who was to become the most significant of her male mentors. William Johnson Cory had resigned his post Eton at the age of 50, the year before, and had gone into into hiding at his estate at Halsdon, where he stayed for five years, away from the scandal that had besmirched his previously unsullied reputation.
Halsdon is just west of Dolton Devon
       If you visit the Halsdon estate now you will be more aware of the splendid horses strutting their stuff round the fields of its perimeter, than the special gardens for which Halsdon was apparently once renowned. Halsdon is now an Arabian horse breeding centre, owned by Charlie Watts and his wife and there is a nature reserve open to the public, which is well worth a day-trip. Halsdon must have been some place in the C19. Set in the heart of the scenic territory of the river Torridge towards the north of the county, the estate is just west of Dolton village.This part of Devon is just to the north of the now famous Totleigh Barton centre for writers, which also is sited near the river Torridge.
        There have been complex webs of artists and writers whose lives converged  at or near Halsdon. Several of them belonged or married into the Furse family (William Cory was from the family), who owned the estate for centuries. For instance Theresa Whistler (born Furse) became fascinated with the work of Coleridge and edited a collection of Mary Coleridge’s poems, whilst Katherine Furse wrote an autobiography titled Hearts and Pomegranates.
         On the day I visited Halsdon there was summer in springtime; hot sun, woods oscillating light and shade; bluebells; wood-anemones: Devon’s rural Heaven. No garden to see as this is a private site, but the delights of the nature reserve made up for what was missing. For me the place’s importance is emphasised because the territory neighbours lands where many lines of my own paternal ancestors are rooted, some ten miles or so to the south-east of Dolton, at Broadwoodkelly. My grandfather Samuel was born at the farm of Walson some five years before Mary Coleridge first visited the area; his father John died during the 1870’s; his grandfather had inherited Merrifield in the same parish and others in the ancestral line built up their holdings during the early C19 as they moved around and bought up a cluster of other farms in the village and outlying lands. The Broadwoodkelly Sampsons had been in the village for at least four centuries, possibly much longer. Though not of the same status as the wealthy landed gentry  who owned such estates as Halsdon, their lives provide a territorial context for me in these musings about poetic foremothers. I like to picture my ancestors going about the routines of their rural lives amidst the glorious scenery of that countryside, with its wide vistas of Dartmoor’s amethyst-spread undulating to the south before them. And local gossip would sweep and swirl round the village communities, so that most of them would have known about the people up at Halsdon – the villagers may even have had opportunity to be acquainted with the place.
         Todd Gray includes Halsdon in his Garden History of Devon; the estate was known as ‘one of the most prominent  mansions in the country’. In 1788 it was described as ‘affording some of the boldest and most beautiful outstanding inland scenes imaginable’ and even in 1903 (four years before Mary Coleridge’s own death) when the place went up for sale, there were ‘woodland walks through the  “beautiful hanging woods” along the Torridge valley.

There were ‘pleasure grounds and gardens and timbered park-like lands surrounding the house … old turf lawns, tennis-courts, shrubberies and walks with rose-arches and parterres … grand specimen conifers, fine growths of rhododendrons and flowering shrubs …’ 3
Lawrence Whistler, whose marriage  to Jill Furse brought him to the district, provides a vivid description of the surrounding scenery:
Behind … towered up the Eastern Wood with its great variety of forest trees planted by William Cory, deciduous and conifer, and among them certain slender cherries, stippled over with blossom … 4
        The teenage Mary’s first meeting with Cory in 1873  seems to have had a powerful effect on her, and if one later commentator is correct, the experience was one impressed on her mind in doubled terms; that of the Halsdon garden setting and that of the emotional impact of the man who was to become her mentor. And I believe, more:
‘She had loved William Cory ever since that early morning at Halsdon when they stood in the garden together’.5      
        I’m not sure where Crump (and other writers on Coleridge) found this narrative-snippet about the poet’s life, for many of her letters and journals were destroyed by the family. But the fragment survives from somewhere (perhaps in Gathered Leaves). It is valid to make an interpretative leap and infer a link between it and the poem On Such a Day because another snippet of information about the poet says that the poet’s favourite flowers for life were the iris and the cyclamen, which grew at Halsdon; that she loved them because they were also his [Cory’s] favourites and that because of the link, ‘On Such a Day’ ‘plainly alluded to him’.6
          Put together, the fragment and the poem as they conflate the conjunction of the two episodes (the experience of the first meeting and the creation of the memory of its impact in the poem) are suggestive of a life-changing moment, when an unidentified, un-named 'Other' enters a life and reshapes it. It is a Woolfian transcendent ‘moment of being’, or a  sensory equivalent of Eliot’s ‘when we came back late from the hyacinth garden’. The poem and narrative snippet seem to encode the true origins of a moment whose encoded mysteries can never be revealed, but whose written telling leaves ghosts - traces of the original impact that can bewitch those in the future looking back over a shoulder of a book to see what the enticement was, which they had missed. What was ‘the garden’ at Halsdon like? What in it had impressed the young (impressionable) poet (child-genius) so? Was it the  famous view? Were the flowers especially beautiful? (Iris? Cyclamen?) What had the older man (great teacher) said to her that had affected her so? Was she bowled over by his charisma; or was there more to her (their) fascination – their (mutual?) attraction? Was she old enough to be aware of the scandal that surrounded him?
       For William Johnson Cory was in disgrace, having effectively been sacked from his salubrious post at Eton. He was nursing his wounds back at his brother’s country estate in Devon. During his teaching career Cory had become renowned not only for being ‘the most brilliant tutor of his day’, but also for the brilliance of his Latin writing. He had been forced to resign his post after being suspected of improper relations with one of his male pupils. Known for his insistence on the importance of the personal and individual one-to-one relationship between pupil and teacher, Cory later wrote an epistle ‘defending [pederasty] and laying down the principle that affection between people of the same sex is no less natural and rational than the ordinary passionate relations’. Cory was known as the ‘coach of Victorian pederasty’; Ionica, his two volumes of poetry, of which the 2nd volume was published in 1877, four years after his meeting with Mary Coleridge, was soon promoted as a text that inspired and influenced Uranian poetry.
       Reading between the lines of Cory’s prose texts and poetry, and scrutinising secondary texts about him, leaves the impression that the man may not have been a suitable person with whom to leave an unattended and impressionable young teenage girl. Possibly during the years of high Victorianism hypocrisy, when life’s seedy undercurrents lay beneath many household carpets, it may have been more acceptable to entrust a young girl in the company of an older man known for his homoerotic tendencies towards young boys. It would be different now, early C21, when the slightest whiff of paedophilia is capable of bringing out the mob in any street.
        Reports on their relationship note that the rapport between teacher and pupil was immediate and mutual. It is said that both Cory and Coleridge loved flowers. He is said to have praised Mary and described her as one of, if not the most favoured, of all his pupils. His tutelage of her began after ‘Cory easily detected the rare gifts in his friend's little daughter, and as easily knew how to draw them out … her shyness melted before him’.7 All cloying and innocent. Too much so. Perhaps. Scattered amongst the various texts which adumbrate the lives of people in the wide circles of Coleridge and Cory are several which provide vignettes of the young woman writer’s visits to Halsdon. They leave distinct traces which seem to fill in some of the lost narrative of Mary’s visit. Edith Sichel says that ‘there were morning assignations in the garden, before breakfast, while the birds and flowers were their sole company’.8 Whistler repeats this information with a few more details:

‘He took pains to gain the confidence of the little girl and made happy assignations with her in the early morning garden at Halsdon, which is ringed with bird-song from the steep woods’.9
       Cory himself wrote that one evening at 6pm
just after a thunderstorm which came from an orange sky … Mary Coleridge is reading Waverley, to her mother, a good woman, who is sitting by the fire on my lady’s chair’ 10
        According to one commentator, Mary’s mother (born Mary Anne Jameson), was ‘conservative’ and ‘ghost-like’. She ‘did not excite or encourage Mary’s imagination as her father did. On the contrary, she tried to make her daughter […] more conventional’.11 Mary may have been reading avidly whilst she was at Halsdon and it was during this period that she composed her first poem, ‘Ballade of Autumn’. It is thought by some that the poem may have been written during a visit - perhaps that first one - to Halsdon.
Gathered leaves from the prose of Mary E. Coleridge         William Cory remained a vital influence in Coleridge’s life, for when she was 25 he became her tutor. During her twenties Coleridge wrote Notes of the Table-Talk of William Cory, an extended reportage of conversations (some repeated verbatim) which she and her friends (the so-called ‘Grecian Ladies’) had with Cory at the classes they attended at his house. This is included in the text Gathered Leaves which Coleridge’s friend Edith Sitchel published after the poet’s death. The memoir is mostly remarked on  for the closely observed details it presents about Cory’s academic rigour and skill.12  It is written as a form of homage to a mentor, loved friend and confidante. Critics agree that Cory’s ‘lessons were crucial to the development of that fierce independence of thought which resonates throughout her [Coleridge’s] poetry’.13 However, the poet’s account of these sessions suggests that their relationship went beyond that of teacher and pupil; She describes visiting him in his house in Hampstead, where they would sit either side of the fireside and read and discuss classics; he would forget to pour her tea:

Mr. Cory made me sit in an arm-chair on one side of the fire he sat in an arm-chair on the other and we read The Cyclops in Love. The lilies and poppies were all the lovelier for the snow on the ground. We talked about Evelina.14
Is the reference to ‘Cyclops in Love’ telling? In an idyll of Theocritus Cyclops appears in love with a coquette, who finds him too brutish.
      Coleridge and Cory would disagree and argue about the value of various texts; there seems always to be a hidden undercurrent, an intensity of affect in their interactions and  buried in the layers of biographical and memorial textual commentaries about her and Cory, there are hints of something darker. In particular, Theresa Whistler’s introduction to The Collected Poems describes how the poet had reacted after the poet Robert Bridges, who had himself taken an interest in Coleridge’s work, invited her to his home at Yattendon, in 1894 (two years after Cory’s death), so that he could help her to edit her work: ‘Mary shows how intense had been her feelings for Cory’, Whistler comments, adding that the invitation was an ‘ordeal’ to the poet; Coleridge wrote to a friend:

It was a strange feeling. I don’t know whether I can explain it to you. When Mr Cory died there came along with the sense that ‘there had passed away a glory from the earth’, another sense that I was free – that I should never fear anyone again in just that way. And it is true. Heaven is gone, but Hell is gone too. There are some Heavens that are not, excepting as transformations of Hell, some of the most glorious. But this was Hell coming back – and no faint hope of any change to make it endurable. I don’t know whether you will understand, I have never tried to express it before; and perhaps it sounds unreal – but most realities are a shadow to me beside it, and it was agony to feel it coming back.15

       This suggests that Coleridge’s initial wary reaction to Bridge’s invitation was because of her awareness of echoes from her past (at Halsdon), when another famous male poet/writer had offered to be her mentor. The sense of reminiscence, of being unable to escape a traumatised past, is echoed in the poem Coleridge wrote about her visit to Bridge’s home, At Yattendon: My Room:

… ‘Tis a room that the sun makes fair/All day long till the day be done./Many and many a friend lives there,/Yet am I ever alone with one.//Many and many a song I hear/ That listening love shall hear no more/Distance and the past are near/When I go in and shut the door.16
         And that’s where my reading of the poem ‘On such a Day’ comes in. For with this poem, (as already noted), just as with many other Coleridge’s poems, such as The Deserted House and The Witch, there is, as Simon Avery puts it, a

‘defiant refusal on the poet’s part to provide an explanation for what has occurred’ … this refusal is a common strategy in Coleridge’s poems as the reader’s entry into meaning and interpretation is repeatedly and purposely blocked’ .17
         Other critics writing of Coleridge’s work analyse the paradoxical nature of her habitual poetic trope - whose focus on the vacuous essence of an experience omits any self-revelation - in terms of ‘self-ghosting’ within the then commonly used literary inscriptions of lesbian desire. These modes

‘work[s] rhetorically to make lesbian desire liminal, an uncanny double of acknowledgement and denial … she often turns any aestheticism moment in her poems inside out, capturing the erasure of specificity and the turn to contextlessless that denies her own historical present …… Coleridge's poetic self-dislocation and willed possession by an other can be understood … as the ghosting of an illicit desire and a tentative space for female aestheticism … Her poetry's contextlessness, the erasure of specificity and referentiality, is the condition of the haunting of illicit desire … As her poems stage the process of their own erasure and the flight from history, however, their pure lyricism undermines not only authorial origin and authenticity. Despite both desiring and fearing Anodos to be 'a wild thing apart, without a home', (60) to be so wayward as to evade classification, these poetic characteristics carve out a provisional and tentative space for female aestheticism, but an aestheticism that also implies the illicit’ .18
        It seems to me that interpretation of Coleridge’s context less poems in terms of  Victorian repressive attitudes to homosexual eroticism may well be valid; but at the same time, this inference may be reductive in its consequent assumed identification of the poet’s sexuality. Certainly, some of the poet’s poems ‘with lesbian subtexts, are permeated by intense hidden passion, sexual power and dangerous secret knowledge’19 but this may be only a partial reading of the enigmatic eroticism at the heart of her work. As I read more of Coleridge’s poems, in parallel with the various (but not many) commentators on her life, I began to wonder if the poem may encode a memory of a dark and shadowy secret at the heart of the Coleridge-Cory relationship.

       There are several inter-texts which a reader can consider alongside ‘On Such a Day’ ; its title is a line in Barrett Browning’s famous sonnet ‘If thou must Love me’. a love poem whose subject concerns the enduring power of authentic, as opposed to superficial, types of love. Elizabeth’s husband Robert Browning was a close friend of the Coleridge family and in one of her essays Mary noted her awe at her first meeting with that older male poet:

'I should like to think of another girl — as gay, as full of bold ambition and not so shy [ . . . ] I hope she will see the greatest man in the world come in, as I saw Robert Browning come through the door one evening, his hat under his arm' .
        It is not inconceivable to read Coleridge’s poem as an addendum to Barrett Browning’s; or perhaps Coleridge’s title should be understood as a coded sigil, which links her poem with the love poem of Browning, so allowing that sonnet to function as its interpretative guide. With such directive guidance the poem becomes more real, grounded and believable as love lyric; its repeated enjoinder to its  persona to  ‘Remember’ an earlier significant but undefined ‘moment’, takes on extra layers of meaning. At their heart these refer to an intense passion felt by a woman who loves her idol deeply but is unsure of the true reciprocation of his love. Barrett Browning’s sonnets to her husband had been written in secret, but unlike Coleridge's poems, their underlying meaning is more easily connected to her lived life.

       Cory’s own writing provides further fascinating and feasible inter-textual contextualisation. Many critics have noted his own love of flowers, in particular of the iris and cyclamen – the flowers of Mary Coleridge’s poem – but some of the lyrics and fragments from letters and journals which he  wrote around the time he was living at Halsdon (and in which the flowers are named) seem suggestive and replete with double entendre. Here is one such comment, from Cory’s journal: ‘though a little girl in the village let me look at her krino, a beloved white iris’  and in Ionica the ‘iris’ appears, both as floral feature of the landscape setting and as coded sigil:

With half a moon, and cloudlets pink,
And water-lilies just in bud,
With iris on the river brink,
And white weed garlands on the mud ('A Merry Parting')

…  This day this way an Iris came,
      And brought a scroll, and showed a name. ('Sick French Poet’s English Friends')

And scattered through the Cory oeuvre are other lines, poems and fragments of narrative in journals which, taken into consideration along with Coleridge’s work, become immediately ominously suggestive. One of these is ‘A Garden Girl’. Perhaps most telling is the appearance of Cory’s last poem in his anthology: ‘Remember’ takes us back to Mary Coleridge’s poem, full-circle, as it ringingly chimes  with On Such a Day.
       The line ‘On Such a Day’ also features in a text by Hamilton Wright Mabie written in 1893, some eight or so years before Coleridge’s lyric:
On such a day nature herself becomes voiceless ; she seems to retreat into those deep and silent chambers where the sources of her life are hidden alike from the heat and cold, from darkness and light. A strange and foreboding stillness20
         Could this text provide us with a clue as to the presiding affect behind Coleridge’s On Such a Day? If so, it is very allusive. How much more there may be to tease out in the cryptic lines of the poem and infer of Mary Coleridge’s lost and multi-layered life-narrative, the crux of which, I believe, may have begun in a life-defining erotic experience she encountered in Devon …

       …  When we visited Halsdon reserve below the estate-site of the C19 garden, the network of paths in the oak woodlands tempted us downwards, away from sun into the shaded leafy glades. No kingfisher to be seen; nor, otter. Indeed the river was still way below us, although anyone could be forgiven for an illusory vision of bluebells as.water-pools. Another path is swerving upwards.

Notes

I have not acknowledged all my references, but here are a few:

1. Introduction to Gathered Leaves.

2. Goss, Voices from Fairyland, 38.

3. Gray, 118.

4. Laurence Whistler, Initials in the Heart, 68.

5. Stanford, Crump, A Critical Study, 73).


7. Introduction to Gathered Leaves.

8. Ibid.

9. Introduction to Collected Poems.

10. William Cory, Ionicus.

11.Whistler, Introduction to Collected Poems. One might assume that Mary’s choice of reading in Devon was restricted by the mother’s own assessment of what would be considered appropriate reading material for her precocious daughter. Or, possibly, she was just placed in the role of passive listener, the texts having been selected for his daughter’s education by Mary’s father.

12. It reminds me of more recent but comparable texts as that of H.D.’s Tribute to Freud, in which that poet sets in writing her fond gratitude to him, the ‘Master’ – her transference, her love, her recognition that he has released her from the bonds of the past.

13. Simon Avery, Collected Poems of Mary Coleridge, 11.

14. Gathered Leaves.

15. Introduction to Collected Poems, 64.

16. Whistler, Collected Poems of Mary Coleridge, 186

17. Avery, Collected Poems of Mary Coleridge, 17.

18. Alison Chapman, Flight to Lyric,

19. Angela Leighton, See in A Companion to Victorian Poetry, 339.

20. Hamilton Wright Mabie, Under the Trees and Elsewhere.

Copyright Julie Sampson