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Last Week I learnt that …

August 20, 2012

There is Samuel Taylor Coleridge and there is Samuel Coleridge Taylor

Last week I made a ridiculous mistake.  That might have been pretty embarrassing had I not noticed in time.
Whilst watching the tweets on Wednesday; I noticed the celebration of Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s birthday.  I am always on the lookout for a theme; grabbed the opportunity to perhaps celebrate also.

I found some nice images of the Kubla Khan as seen by Peter Hay and The Ancient Mariner by Gustave Dore. Then I began to gather the vital information; if only to look as if I knew who I was talking about. Only to find that the man I was researching was not Samuel Coleridge Taylor but Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  The name difference is  subtle.  But the rest is as I said embarrassingly so!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement.

On the other hand Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was an English composer who achieved such success that he was once called the ‘African Mahler. He was born to Alice Hare Martin, an English woman and Dr Daniel Peter Hughes Taylor; a Creole from Sierra Leone; they were not married. The child took his father’s name and was named Coleridge after the poet.  He adopted the name Samuel later.   Coleridge Taylor was bought up in Croydon and studied the violin at the Royal College of Music.  By 1896, Coleridge-Taylor was a respected composer; his greatest success was his cantata Hiawatha’s wedding feast.  It was widely performed by choral groups in England during Coleridge-Taylor’s lifetime and in the decades after his untimely death at 37 in 1912. He did also set music to the poem; Kubla Khan by his near-namesake Samuel Taylor Coleridge

He was rated highly amongst the great English musicians of his time against all odds; he also became a cultural hero for the African-Americans.

To celebrate his recent birthday I add this poem written by his close friend and poet Alfred Noyes.

Too young to die
his great simplicity
his happy courage
in an alien world
his gentleness
made all that knew him
love him

I return Samuel Taylor Coleridge and celebrate him with these images

By Peter Hay of Three Rivers Press

From the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the illustrations of Gustave Dore.

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