Playful and Clever
Coleridge was a pretty smart guy, and he knew just about everything there was to know about poetry. He likes to prove just how much he knows by doing neat things with his meter, and "Metrical Feet" is a perfect example of this.
If you've read our "Summary" and "Form and Meter" sections you know that Coleridge uses at least six different types of "poetic feet" (iamb, spondee, trochee, anapest, amphimacer, amphibrach) in this poem. What's more, he likes to use each type of foot at the same time as he is describing that type of foot in the poem. That's pretty clever isn't it? What about how he inserts his name into the poem at the end and rhymes it with "ridge." That's clever, too, right?
Coleridge plays on his name elsewhere in his poetry, and he's certainly played his fair share of metrical games. Indeed, Coleridge actually wrote a few other poems meant to illustrate a certain meter, including "The Homeric Hexameter Described and Exemplified" and "The Ovidian Elegiac Metre Described and Exemplified." Yikes. Now those are some titles.
That's what makes this poem classic Coleridge: it's playful, clever, and oh-so-smart.