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Short poem

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Fragment 10: The Three Sorts of Friends

              1Though friendships differ endless in degree ,
              2The sorts , methinks, may be reduced to three.
              3Ac quaintance many, and Con quaintance few;
              4But for In quaintance I know only two--
              5The friend I've mourned with, and the maid I woo!


1] Written late in life, with the following note to his Highgate host and medical adviser: "My dear Gillman--The ground and matériel of this division of one's friends into ac, con and inquaintance, was given by Hartley Coleridge when he was scarcely five years old [1801]. On someone asking him if Anny Sealy (a little girl he went to school with) was an acquaintance of his, he replied, very fervently pressing his right hand to his heart, 'No, she is an inquaintance!' 'Well! 'tis a father's tale'; and the recollection soothes your old friend and inquaintance, S. T. Coleridge."

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The poetical works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. James Dykes Campbell (London: Macmillan, 1893). VICT Rare Books No. 151. The complete poetical works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: including poems and versions of poems now published for the first time, ed. Ernest Hartley Coleridge (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1912). PR 4470 F12 VICT Rare Books.
Publication date note: 1893, 1912
RPO poem editor: Kathleen Coburn, R. S. Woof
RP edition: 3RP 2.476.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/20

Composition date: 1806 - 1828
Rhyme: aabbb

Other poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge