The Friends


Influential Friends and Family Members


Samuel Taylor Coleridge and The Sarahs

Coleridge married Robert Southey’s fiancée’s sister, Sarah Fricker, in 1795. His marriage, however, didn’t last. He only married Sarah, who he grew to despise, because of social constraints and the couple eventually divorced. He and his wife were seperated when his infatuation with Sarah Hutchinson, the sister of Wordsworth’s wife, Mary, came over him. Sarah Hutchinson lived with the Wordsworths at Allan Bank, where Coleridge did a lot of his work, and it has been said that Coleridge was very attracted to her but she did not feel the same. Chances are an affair never occurred because Hutchinson did not feel the same way but it is evident that Coleridge continued to have feelings for her long after her departure from Allan Bank.

There was also another Sara in Coleridge’s life. His daughter, Sara, who was born December 23, 1802. Sara was the fourth child and only daughter of Coleridge and his wife. Wordsworth wrote a descriptions of the his own daughter, Dora, Southey’s daughter, Edith, and Sara in his poem, The Triad. She was obviously a very important person in both Coleridge’s and Wordsworth’s lives. She ended up following in her father’s footsteps and became an English translator and author.


Dorothy Wordsworth, the sister of William Wordsworth


Dorothy Wordsworth 1771-1855
Dorothy Wordsworth 1771-1855

Dorothy was the poet and diarist sister of William Wordsworth who was born on December 25, 1771. Dorothy and William were seperated after the death of their mother for nine years but after they were reunited they lived together for most of their lives. Unlike her brother, Dorothy had no desire to become a famous author and never had any of her works published until after her death (Recollections of a Tour in Scotland was published in 1874). Dorothy was never married and since she lived with William she had close contact with Coleridge and Southey. One of William’s most famous poems, Tintern Abbey, was written about the experience he had in sharing his love for Tintern Abbey with his sister. Dorothy was clearly a great inspiration for her brother.


Robert Southey

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Robert Southey was a Romantic poet, like his friends William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The trio became known as the “Lake Poets” and although Wordsworth and Coleridge achieved greater fame than Southey, his works, such as the Story of the Three Bears and Goldilocks, are more widely known. Southey’s friendship with Coleridge was the first to develop and he later met Wordsworth through Coleridge. Southey and Coleridge met in 1794, when Coleridge was visiting Cambridge and the two became immediate friends. The pair ended up marrying sisters. Southey married Edith Fricker, in 1795, around the same time that Coleridge married Sarah. Southey married Edith for love and did not care that she was of a lower class than himself, unlike Coleridge who did not like the social constraints that existed between himself and Sarah. Although Southey and Coleridge did not talk for about a year, they reconciled upon the birth of their first children and eventually moved in to Greta Hall, in the Lake District, together with their wives and their other sister and her husband, Lowell. Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, lived close by and since Coleridge and Southey were over their house quite often composing new pieces that is how the trio became known as the “Lake Poets.”


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