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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index C > Samuel Taylor Coleridge Quotes

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(21 Oct 1772 - 25 Jul 1834)

British poet and philosopher.

Science Quotes by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (22 quotes)

All Science is necessarily prophetic, so truly so, that the power of prophecy is the test, the infallible criterion, by which any presumed Science is ascertained to be actually & verily science. The Ptolemaic Astronomy was barely able to prognosticate a lunar eclipse; with Kepler and Newton came Science and Prophecy.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
On the Constitution of the Church and State (1830). In The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1976), John Cohner (ed.), Vol. 10, 118, footnote 1 on Coleridge's annotation.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Eclipse (16)  |  Johannes Kepler (72)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Science (1699)

Every subject in Davy's mind has the principle of Vitality. Living thoughts spring up like Turf under his feet.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Quoted in Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (1847), 329.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Humphry Davy (45)

From Avarice thus, from Luxury and War
Sprang heavenly Science;
and from Science Freedom.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Science quotes on:  |  Avarice (2)  |  Freedom (76)  |  Heavenly (5)  |  Luxury (12)  |  Science (1699)  |  Spring (47)  |  War (144)

Hast thou ever raised thy mind to the consideration of existence, in and by itself, as the mere act of existing?
Hast thou ever said to thyself thoughtfully it is! heedless, in that moment, whether it were a man before thee, or a flower, or a grain of sand;—without reference, in short, to this or that particular mode or form of existence? If thou hast, indeed, attained to this, thou wilt have felt the presence of a mystery, which must have fixed thy spirit in awe and wonder.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In 'Essay IX', The Friend: A Series of Essays (1818), Vol. 3, 250.
Science quotes on:  |  Awe (24)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Existence (254)  |  Fixed (11)  |  Flower (65)  |  Form (210)  |  Grain (24)  |  Mode (29)  |  Moment (61)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Particular (54)  |  Reference (17)  |  Sand (25)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Thoughtful (10)  |  Wonder (134)

I attended Davy's lectures to renew my stock of metaphors.
In 1802 Coleridge attended an entire course of Humphry Davy's lectures at the Royal Institution, and took over 60 pages of notes.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Quoted in Sir Harold Hartley, Humphry Davy (1971), 45.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Humphry Davy (45)

I must reject fluids and ethers of all kinds, magnetical, electrical, and universal, to whatever quintessential thinness they may be treble distilled, and (as it were) super-substantiated.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Hints Towards the Formation of a more Comprehensive Theory of Life (1848). In The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Shorter Works and Fragments (1995), H. J. Jackson and J. R. de J. Jackson (eds.), Vol 11, 1, 502.
Science quotes on:  |  Electricity (121)  |  Magnetism (26)

I shall attack Chemistry, like a Shark.
On his plans to set up a joint chemistry laboratory with Davy and Wordsworth in the Lake District.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Letter to Humphry Davy, 15 July 1800. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 1, 605.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Humphry Davy (45)

I should not think of devoting less than 20 years to an Epic Poem. Ten to collect materials and warm my mind with universal science. I would be a tolerable Mathematician, I would thoroughly know Mechanics, Hydrostatics, Optics, and Astronomy, Botany, Metallurgy, Fossilism, Chemistry, Geology, Anatomy, Medicine—then the mind of man—then the minds of men—in all Travels, Voyages and Histories. So I would spend ten years—the next five to the composition of the poem—and the five last to the correction of it. So I would write haply not unhearing of the divine and rightly-whispering Voice, which speaks to mighty minds of predestinated Garlands, starry and unwithering.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Letter to Joseph Cottle, early April 1797. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 1, 320-1.
Science quotes on:  |  Poetry (96)

I understood that you would take the Human Race in the concrete, have exploded the absurd notion of Pope's Essay on Man, [Erasmus] Darwin, and all the countless Believers—even (strange to say) among Xtians—of Man's having progressed from an Ouran Outang state—so contrary to all History, to all Religion, nay, to all Possibility—to have affirmed a Fall in some sense.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Letter to William Wordsworth, 30 May 1815. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 4, 574-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Erasmus Darwin (39)  |  Evolution (482)

Mr. Lyell's system of geology is just half the truth, and no more. He affirms a great deal that is true, and he denies a great deal which is equally true; which is the general characteristic of all systems not embracing the whole truth. 29 June 1833. Table Talk (1836).
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Table Talk (1990), Vol. 14, 2, Carl Woodring (ed.), 235.
Science quotes on:  |  Geology (187)  |  Sir Charles Lyell (41)  |  Truth (750)

My Opinion is this—that deep Thinking is attainable only by a man of deep Feeling, and that all Truth is a species of Revelation. The more I understand of Sir Isaac Newton's works, the more boldly I dare utter to my own mind ... that I believe the Souls of 500 Sir Isaac Newtons would go to the making up of a Shakspere [sic] or a Milton... Mind in his system is always passive—a lazy Looker-on on an external World. If the mind be not passive, if it be indeed made in God's Image, & that too in the sublimest sense—the image of the Creator—there is ground for suspicion, that any system built on the passiveness of the mind must be false, as a system.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Letter to Thomas Poole, 23 March 1801. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 2, 709.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  William Shakespeare (90)  |  Thinking (222)  |  Truth (750)

Shakespeare was pursuing two Methods at once; and besides the Psychological Method, he had also to attend to the Poetical. (Note) we beg pardon for the use of this insolent verbum: but it is one of which our Language stands in great need. We have no single term to express the Philosophy of the Human Mind.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Science quotes on:  |  Human Mind (51)  |  Language (155)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Psychology (125)  |  William Shakespeare (90)

Some persons have contended that mathematics ought to be taught by making the illustrations obvious to the senses. Nothing can be more absurd or injurious: it ought to be our never-ceasing effort to make people think, not feel.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Seven Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton (1856) 24.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurd (20)  |  Contend (4)  |  Effort (94)  |  Feel (93)  |  Illustration (24)  |  Injurious (2)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Obvious (54)  |  Person (114)  |  Sense (240)  |  Teach (102)  |  Thinking (222)

The first man of science was he who looked into a thing, not to learn whether it furnished him with food, or shelter, or weapons, or tools, armaments, or playwiths but who sought to know it for the gratification of knowing.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Science quotes on:  |  Armament (6)  |  Food (139)  |  Gratification (14)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Play (60)  |  Research (517)  |  Shelter (13)  |  Tool (70)  |  Weapon (57)

The stars hang bright above,
Silent, as if they watch’d the sleeping earth.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Science quotes on:  |  Bright (26)  |  Earth (487)  |  Poem (85)  |  Silent (18)  |  Sleeping (2)  |  Star (251)

The sublime discoveries of Newton, and, together with these, his not less fruitful than wonderful application, of the higher mathesis to the movement of the celestial bodies, and to the laws of light, gave almost religious sanction to the corpuscular system and mechanical theory. It became synonymous with philosophy itself. It was the sole portal at which truth was permitted to enter. The human body was treated an hydraulic machine... In short, from the time of Kepler to that of Newton, and from Newton to Hartley, not only all things in external nature, but the subtlest mysteries of life, organization, and even of the intellect and moral being, were conjured within the magic circle of mathematical formulae.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Hints Towards the Formation of a more Comprehensive Theory of Life (1848). In The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Shorter Works and Fragments (1995), H. J. Jackson and J. R. de J. Jackson (eds.), Vol. 11, 1, 498.
Science quotes on:  |  David Hartley (5)  |  Johannes Kepler (72)  |  Magic (67)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Philosophy (213)

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Science quotes on:  |  Crawl (5)  |  Creature (127)  |  Marine Biology (23)  |  Sea (143)

This is, in truth, the first charm of chemistry, and the secret of the almost universal interest excited by its discoveries. The serious complacency which is afforded by the sense of truth, utility, permanence, and progression, blends with and ennobles the exhilarating surprise and the pleasurable sting of curiosity, which accompany the propounding and the solving of an Enigma... If in SHAKPEARE [sic] we find Nature idealized into Poetry, through the creative power of a profound yet observant meditation, so through the meditative observation of a DAVY, a WOOLLASTON [sic], or a HATCHETT; we find poetry, as if were, substantiated and realized in nature.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Essays on the Principle of Method, Essay VI (1818). In The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Friend (1969), Vol. 4, 1, Barbara E. Rooke (ed.), 471.
Science quotes on:  |  Accompany (18)  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (45)  |  Poetry (96)  |  William Shakespeare (90)  |  William Hyde Wollaston (3)

What! Did Sir W[alter] R[aleigh] believe that a male and female ounce (and, if so, why not two tigers and lions, etc?) would have produced, in a course of generations, a cat, or a cat a lion? This is Darwinizing with a vengeance.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
'Notes on Stillingfleet by S. T. Coleridge', The Athenaeum, no. 2474, 27 March 1875, 423.
Science quotes on:  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Walter Alexander Raleigh (2)

[Coleridge] selected an instance of what was called the sublime, in DARWIN, who imagined the creation of the universe to have taken place in a moment, by the explosion of a mass of matter in the womb, or centre of space. In one and the same instant of time, suns and planets shot into systems in every direction, and filled and spangled the illimitable void! He asserted this to be an intolerable degradation -referring, as it were, all the beauty and harmony of nature to something like the bursting of a barrel of gunpowder! that spit its combustible materials into a pock-freckled creation!
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Report from Lectures (1812). In (1987), Vol. 5, 1, R. A. Foakes (ed.), 401.
Science quotes on:  |  Big Bang (38)  |  Creation (211)  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Universe (563)

[Davy's] March of Glory, which he has run for the last six weeks—within which time by the aid and application of his own great discovery, of the identity of electricity and chemical attractions, he has placed all the elements and all their inanimate combinations in the power of man; having decomposed both the Alkalies, and three of the Earths, discovered as the base of the Alkalies a new metal... Davy supposes there is only one power in the world of the senses; which in particles acts as chemical attractions, in specific masses as electricity, & on matter in general, as planetary Gravitation... when this has been proved, it will then only remain to resolve this into some Law of vital Intellect—and all human knowledge will be Science and Metaphysics the only Science.
In November 1807 Davy gave his famous Second Bakerian Lecture at the Royal Society, in which he used Voltaic batteries to “decompose, isolate and name” several new chemical elements, notably sodium and potassium.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Letter to Dorothy Wordsworth, 24 November 1807. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 3, 38.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Humphry Davy (45)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Potassium (11)  |  Sodium (9)

[Philosophy is] the science of sciences.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Science quotes on:  |  Science And Philosophy (4)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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