excerpt from the Apologetic Preface to "Fire, Famine, and Slaughter"
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
This version of the Apologetic Preface is taken from The Poetical Works of S. T. Coleridge (London, William Pickering, volume 1, page 280).
... But if it be asked why I re-published it ["Fire, Famine, and Slaughter"] at all, I answer, that the poem had been attributed at different times to different other persons; and I had dared beget, I thought it neither manly nor honourable not to dare father. From the same motives I should have published perfect copies of two poems, the one entitled The Devil's Thoughts, and the other, The Two round Spaces on the Tomb-Stone,* but that the first three stanzas of the former, which were worth all the rest of the poem, and the best stanza of the remainder, were written by a friend of deserved celebrity; and because there are passages in both, which might have given offence to the religious feelings of certain readers.