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Page 217

CHAPTER XI
THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY

Robert Southey, 1774-1843. After their visit to Germany, both poets settled in the Lake Country. Near them was the home of the poet Southey, who had been one of Coleridge's converts to the Susquehanna scheme.
These were the three who were best known as poets when the nineteenth century began. Southey wrote weird, strange epics : The Curse of Kchama, a Hindu tale, and Thalaba, the story of a young Arabian who sets out to avenge his father. Southey was always attracted by the strange and distant ; and yet he took delight in the simplest things, and made the best of whatever came. In 1813 he was chosen Poet Laureate ; but only a few years later he discovered that the public did not care for more poetry from him, and he said with the utmost composure, " I have done enough to be remembered among poets, though my proper place will be among the historians, if I live to complete the works upon yonder shelves." For twenty years longer Southey worked industriously at prose. He wrote histories and biographies, an excellent life of Nelson among the latter. Here was his true field, for his prose is charmingly clear and sturdy ; and while making no apparent attempt at formal description, he nevertheless contrives to leave a strongly outlined picture in the mind of the reader.
Coleridge's best work. Coleridge's best poetry was written about the time of the publication of Lyrical Ballads. It was then that he com- posed the first part of Chra'stabel, the mystic tale of the innocent maiden who is enthralled by the power of magic. Then, too, he wrote the dazzling

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