Coleridge was born at Greta Hall, Keswick. Here, after 1803, the Coleridges, Robert Southey and his wife (Mrs. Coleridge's sister), and Mrs. Lovell (another sister), widow of Robert Lovell, the Quaker poet, all lived together; but Coleridge was often away from home; and Uncle Southey was a paterfamilias. The Wordsworths at Grasmere were their neighbours.
Wordsworth, in his poem, the Triad, has left us a description, or poetical glorification, as Sara Coleridge calls it, of the three girls: his own daughter Dora, Edith Southey and Sara Coleridge, the last of the three, though eldest born. Greta Hall was Sara Coleridge's home until her marriage; and the little Lake colony seems to have been her only school. Guided by Southey, and with his ample library at her command, she read by herself the chief Greek and Latin classics, and before she was twenty-five had learnt in addition French, German, Italian and Spanish.
In 1822, Sara Coleridge published Account of the Abipones, a translation in three large volumes of Martin Dobrizhoffer, undertaken in connection with Southey's Tale of Paraguay, which had been suggested to him by Dobrizhoffer's volumes; and Southey alludes to his niece, the translator (canto, iii, stanza 16), where he speaks of the pleasure the old missionary would have felt if
…he could in Merlin's glass have seen
By whom his tomes to speak our tongue were taught.
In less grandiloquent terms, Charles Lamb, writing about the Tale of Paraguay to Southey in 1825, says, "How she Dobrizhoffered it all out, puzzles my slender Latinity to conjecture." In 1825, her second work appeared, a translation from the medieval French of the Loyal Serviteur, The Right Joyous and Pleasant History of the Feats, Jests, and Prowesses of the Chevalier Bayard, the Good Knight without Fear and without Reproach: By the Loyal Servant.