“Mr. Coleridge’s Poem is at present the standing enigma which puzzles the curiosity of literary circles. What is it all about? What is the idea? Is Lady Geraldine a sorceress? or a vampire? or a man? or what is she, or he, or it? These are questions which we have alternately heard and put; but to which not even those who have thought the subject worth more pains than ourselves, have been so fortunate as to hit upon a satisfactory answer. One friend suggests that the whole is a mere hoax — a silly problem without a solution, — and reminds us that ‘true no-meaning puzzles more than wit.’ Another thinks it is the result of a wager on the digestive capabilities of the public taste: — and a third declares, that the poem has just the same effect on his temper as if a man were to salute him in the street with a box on the ear, and walk away. Certain it is, that the verses are wrought up in a maze of impenetrable mystery, which to some persons appears the legitimate and successful means of giving it a sort of preternatural horror, — but which is decried by others as nothing more or less than the evasive and unsatisfactory resource of conceited negligence and perverseness”
— The Champion, reviews Coleridge’s Christabel, May 26 1816.