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SAMUEL T. COLERIDGE.
impelled to seek for sympathy; but a Poet's feelings
are all strong. Quicquid amet valde amal. Akenside COMPOSITIONS resembling those here collected are
therefore speaks with philosophical accuracy when not unfrequently condemned for their querulous
he classes Love and Poetry, as producing the same
effects : Egotism. But Egotism is to be condemned then only when it offends against time and place, as in a His
Love and the wish of Poets when their tongue tory or an Epic Poem. To censure it in a Monody
Would teach to others' bosoms, what so charms or Sonnet is almost as absurd as to dislike a circle
Pleasures of Imagination. for being mund. Why then write Sonnets or Mono There is one species of Egotism which is truly dies ? Because they give me pleasure when perhaps disgusting; not that which leads us to communicate nothing else could. After the more violent emotions our feelings to others but that which would reduce of Sorrow, the mind demands amusement, and can the feelings of others to an identity with our own. end it in employment alone : but, full of its late suf The Atheist, who exclaims “pshaw!” when he ferings, it can endure no employment not in some glances his eye on the praises of Deity, is an Egotist : measure connected with them. Forcibly to turn an old man, when he speaks contemptuously of Love. away our attention to general subjects is a painful verses, is an Egotist: and the sleek Favorites of and most often an unavailing effort.
Fortune are Egotists, when they condemn all “ mel. Bat O! how grateful to a wounded heart
ancholy, discontented” verses. Surely, it would be The tale of Misery to impart
candid not merely to ask whether the poem pleases From others' eyes bid artless sorrows flow, And raise esteem upon the base of Woe!
ourselves, but to consider whether or no there may
not be others, to whom it is well calculated to give The communicativeness of our Nature leads us to an innocent pleasure. describe our own sorrows; in the endeavor to de
I shall only add, that each of my readers will, I scribe them, intellectual activity is exerted; and hope, remember, that these Poems on various subfrom intellectual activity there results a pleasure, jects, which he reads at one time and under the inwhich is gradually associated, and mingles as a cor- fluence of one set of feelings, were written at differrective, with the painful subject of the description. ent times and prompted by very different feelings ; * True!" (it may be answered)" but how are the and therefore that the supposed inferiority of one Public interested in your sorrows or your Descrip- Poem to another may sometimes be owing to tho tron ?" We are for ever attributing personal Unities temper of mind in which he happens to peruse it. to imaginary Aggregates. What is the Public, but a term for a number of scattered individuals ? of whom My poems have been rightly charged with a pru as many will be interested in these sorrows, as have fusion of double-epithets, and a general turgidness experienced the same or similar.
I have pruned the double-epithets with no sparing Holy be the lay
hand ; and used my best efforts to tame the swell Which mourning soothes the mourner on his way. and glitter both of thought and diction.* This latter If I could judge of others by myself, I should not hesitate to affirm, that the most interesting passages
* Without any feeling of anger, I may yet be allowed to are those in which the Author develops his own express some degree of surprise, that after having run the feelings! The sweet voice of Cona* never sounds critical gauntlet for a certain class of faults, which I had, viz.
a too ornate and elaborately poetic diction, and nothing havso sweetly, as when it speaks of itself; and I should ing come before the judgment-seat of the Reviewers during almost suspect that man of an unkindly heart, who the long interval. I should for at least seventeen years, quarter ould read the opening of the third book of the Para- after quarter, have been placed by them in the foremost rank dise Lost without peculiar emotion. By a Law of our ridicule for faults directly opposite, viz. bald and prosaic lan
of the proscribed, and made to abide the brunt of abuso and Nature, he, who labors under a strong feeling, is guage, and an affected simplicity both of matter and manner
-faults which assuredly did not enter into the character of • Ossian.
my compositions.---Literary Life, i. 51. Published 1817
fault however had insinuated itself into
Religious And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud Musings with such intricacy of union, that some Behind the gather'd blackness lost on high ; times I have omitted to disentangle the weed from And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud the fear of snapping the flower. A third and heavier Thy placid lightning o'er the awaken'd sky accusation has been brought against me, that of ob Ah such is Hope' as changeful and as fair! scurity ; but not, I think, with equal justice. An Now dimly peering on the wistful sight; Author is obscure, when his conceptions are dim Now hid behind the dragon-wing'd Despair and imperfect, and his language incorrect, or unap But soon emerging in her radiant might, propriate, or involved. A poem that abounds in She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care allusions, like the Bard of Gray, or one that imper Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight. sonates high and abstract truths, like Collins's Ode on the poetical character, claims not to be popularbut should be acquitted of obscurity. The deficiency is in the Reader. But this is a charge which every poet, whose imagination is warm and rapid, must
TIME, REAL AND IMAGINARY. expect from his contemporaries. Milton did not
AN ALLEGORY. escape it; and it was adduced with virulence against Gray and Collins. We now hear no more of it: On the wide level of a mountain's head not that their poems are better understood at present, (I knew not where, but 't was some faery place than they were at their first publication ; but their Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread, fame is established ; and a critic would accuse him Two lovely children run an endless race, self of frigidity or inattention, who should profess A sister and a brother ! not to understand them. But a living writer is yet This far outstript the other ; sub judice; and if we cannot follow his conceptions
Yet ever runs she with reverted face, or enter into his feelings, it is more consoling to our And looks and listens for the boy behind : pride to consider him as lost beneath, than as soaring For he, alas! is blind ! above us. If any man expect from my poems the O'er rough and smooth with even step he pass’d, same easiness of style which he admires in a drink. And knows not whether he be first or last. ing-song, for him I have not written. Intelligibilia, non intellectum adfero.
I expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings ; and I consider myself as having been
MONODY ON THE DEATH OF amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own “ exceeding great reward :" it has soothed
CHATTERTON. my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my en
joyments ; it has endeared solitude: and it has given O what a wonder seems the fear of death,
S. T. C. Night following night for threescore years and ten
But doubly strange, where life is but a breath
To sigh and pant with, up Want's rugged steep.
Away, Grim Phantom! Scorpion King, away
For coward Wealth and Guilt in robes of state
Lo! by the grave I stand of one, for whom
(That all bestowing, this withholding all) Your eye is like the star of eve,
Made each chance knell from distant spire or lonie And sweet your voice, as seraph's song. Sound like a seeking Mother's anxious call, Yet not your heavenly beauty gives
Return, poor Child! Home, weary Truant, home! This heart with passion soft to glow : Within your soul a voice there lives!
Thee, Chatterton! these unblest stones protect It bids you hear the tale of woe.
From want, and the bleak freezings of neglect. When sinking low the sufferer wan
Too long before the vexing Storm-blast driven, Beholds no hand outstretch'd to save,
Here hast thou found repose! beneath this sod! Fair, as the bosom of the swan
Thou! O vain word! thou dwell'st not with the clu That rises graceful o'er the wave,
Amid the shining Host of the Forgiven
(Believe it, O my soul!) to harps of Seraphim.
TO THE AUTUMNAL MOON.
Mild Splendor of the various-vested Night!
Yet oft, perforce ('t is suffering Nature's call.)
Thy corse of livid hue ;
Is this the land of song-ennobled line?
But that Despair and Indignation rose, Is this the land, where Genius ne'er in vain And told again the story of thy woes ; Pour'd forth his lofty strain ?
Told the keen insult of the unfeeling heart; Ah me! yei Spenser, gentlest bard divine, The dread dependence on the low-born mind; Beneath chill Disappointment's shade
Told every pang, with which thy soul must smart, Hs weary limbs in lonely anguish haid.
Neglect, and grinning Scorn, and Want combined ! And o'er her darling dead
Recoiling quick, thou bad'st the friend of pain Pity hopeless hurg her head,
Roll the black tide of Death through every freezing While “ 'mid the pelting of that merciless storm,"
vein! Sink to the cold earth Otway's famish'd form!
Ye woods! that wave o'er Avon's rocky steep, Sublime of thought, and confident of fame, To Fancy's ear sweet is your murmuring deep! From vales where Avon winds, the Minstrel* came. For here she loves the cypress wreath to weave,
Light-hearted youth! aye, as he basles along, Watching, with wistful eye, the saddening tints of eve
Here, far from men, amid this pathless grove, llow dauntless Ælla fray'd the Dacian foe;
In solemn thought the Minstrel wont to rove,
Like star-beam on the slow sequester'd tide
Lone-glittering, through the high tree branching wide Exulting in the spirits' genial throe,
And here, in Inspiration's eager hour, In tides of power his life-blood seems to flow.
When most the big soul feels the mastering power,
These wilds, these caverns roaming v'er,
Round which the screaming sea-gul's soar, And now his cheeks with deeper ardors flame,
With wild unequal steps he pass'd along, His eyes have glorious meanings, that declare
Oft pouring on the winds a broken song : More than the light of outward day shines there,
Anon, upon some rough rock's fearful brow A holier triumph and a sterner aim!
Would pause abrupland gaze upon the waves Wings grow within him; and he soars above
below. Or Bard's, or Minstrel's lay of war or love. Friend to the friendless, to the Sufferer health, He hears the widow's prayer, the good man's praise ; Who would have praised and loved thee, ere to
Poor Chatterton! he sorrows for thy fate To scenes of bliss transmutes his fancied wealth,
late. And young and old shall now see happy days.
Poor Chatterton! farewell! of darkest hues
This chaplet cast I on thy unshaped lomb;
But dare no longer on the sad theme muse, And her own iron rod he makes Oppression feel.
Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom:
For oh! big gall-drops, shook from Folly's wing,
Have blacken'd the fair promise of my spring; Sweet Flower of Hope! free Nature's genial child! And the stern Fate transpierced with viewless dart 'That didst so fair disclose thy early bloom, The last pale Hope that shiver'd at my heart! Filling the wide air with a rich perfume ! For thee in vain all heavenly aspects smiled ;
Hence, gloomy thoughts! no more my soul shah From the hard world brief respite could they win
The shame and anguish of the evil day,
Wisely forgetful! O'er the ocean swell
And, dancing to the moon-light roundelay.
The wizard Passions weave a holy spell! And oh! the anguish of that shuddering sigh!
O Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive! Such were the struggles of the gloomy hour,
Sure thou wouldst spread the canvas to the gale
And love with us the tinkling seam to drive
O'er peaceful Freedom's undivided dale;
And we, at sober eve, would round thee throng,
Hanging, enraptured, on thy stately song!
All defily mask'd, as hoar Antiquity.
Alas vain Phantasies! the fleeting brood - Eace smiling sate, and listen'd to thy lay ;
Of Woe self-solaced in her dreamy mood ! Thy Sister's shrieks she bade thee hear,
Yet will I love to follow the sweet dreari, And mark thy Mother's thrilling tear;
Where Susquehannah pours his untamed stream
And on some hill, whose forest-frowuing side
Waves o’er the murmurs of his calmer tido
Will raise a solemn Cenotaph to thee, And thou hadst dash'd it, at her soft command,
Sweet Harper of time-shrouded Minstrelsy!
And there, soothed sadly by the dirgeful wind, * Aros, a river near Bristol; the birth-place of Chatterton. Muse on the sore ills I had left behind
O'er his hush'd soul our soothing witcheries shed,
SONGS OF THE PIXIES.
v. The Pixies, in the superstition of Devonshire, are a race of
When Evening's dusky car, beings invisibly small, and harmless or friendly to man. Ata
Crown'd with her dewy star, wall distance from a village in that county, half-way up a wood-covered hill, is an excavation called the Pixies' Parlor. Steals o'er the fading sky in shadowy flight The roots of old ircos form its ceiling ; and on its sides are
On leaves of aspen trees innumerable ciphers, among which the author discovered his
We tremble to the breeze, own cipher and those of his brothers, cut by the hand of their Veild from the grosser ken of mortal sight childhood. At the foot of the hill flows the river Ouer. To this place the Author conducted a party of young Ladies,
Or, haply, at the visionary hour, during the Summer months of the year 1793 ; one of whom, Along our wildly-bower'd sequester'd walk, of stature elegantly small, and of complexion colorless yet We listen to the enamour'd rustic's talk; elear, was proclaimed the Faery Queen. On which occasion Heave with the heavings of the maiden's breast, the following irregular Ode was written.
Where young-eyed Loves have built their turilo
Or guide of soul-subduing power
The electric flash, that from the melting eye
Darts the fond question and the soft reply.
Or through the mystic ringlets of the vale
We flash our faery feet in gamesome prank, Here the blackbird strains his throat;
Or, silent-sandall’d, pay our desier court
Circling the Spirit of ihe Western Gale,
Where wearied with his flower-caressing sport II.
Supine he slumbers on a violet bank; When fades the moon all shadowy-pale,
Then with quaint music hymn the parting gleam
By lonely Outer's sleep-persuading stream; And scuds the cloud before the gale,
Or where his waves with loud unquiet sung Ere Morn with living gems bedight
Dash'd o'er the rocky channel froth along Purples the East with streaky light,
Or where, his silver waters smoothed to rest,
The tall tree's shadow sleeps upon his breast.
Hence, thou lingerer, Light! Bids the Dame a glad good-morrow,
Eve saddens into Night. Who jogs the accusion'd road along,
Mother of wildly-working dreams! we view. And paces cheery to her cheering song.
The sombre hours, that round thee stand
With downcast eyes (a duteous band!)
Their dark robes dripping with the heavy dew
Sorceress of the ebon throne!
Thy power the Pixies own,
When round thy raven brow
Heaven's lucent roses glow,
And clouds, in watery colors drest,
Float in light drapery o'er thy sable vest :
What time the pale moon sheds a softer day, With wildest texture, blacken'd o'er with age :
Mellowing the woods beneath its pensive beam: Round them their mantle green the ivies bind,
For 'mid the quivering light 't is ours to play,
Aye dancing to the cadence of the stream.
Welcome, Ladies! to the cell
Where the blameless Pixies dwell: Thither, while the murmuring throng But thou, sweet Nymph! proclaim'd our Faery of wild-bees hum their drowsy song,
With what obeisance meet
Thy presence shall we greet?
Graceful Ease in artless stole,
And white-robed Purity of soul,
With Honor's softer mien;
Mirth of the loosely-flowing hair,
And meek-eyed Pity eloquentiv fair,
As snow-drop wet with dew.
A FAREWELL ODE ON QUITTING SCHOOL FOR JESUS Yet ere again along the empurpling vale,
Cam rolls his reverend stream along,
I haste to urge the learned toil
That sternly chides my lovelorn song:
When Peace, and Cheerfulness, and Health
Enrich'd me with the best of wealth.
Ah fair delights! that o'er my soul
On Memory's wing, like shadows fly!
Ah Flowers! which Joy from Eden stole UNDERNEATH a huge oak tree
While Innocence stood smiling by There was, of swine, a huge company,
But cease, fond heart! this bootless moan : That grunted as they crunch'd the mast :
Those hours on rapid pinions flown
Shall yet return, by Absence crown'd
The Sun who ne'er remits his fires
The Moon, that oft from Heaven retires, Flew low in the rain, and his feathers not wet.
Endears her renovated ray. He pickd up the acorn and buried it straight
What though she leaves the sky unblest
To mourn awhile in murky vest?
When she relumes her lovely light,
We bless the wanderer of the night.
Many Autumns, many Springs
LINES ON AN AUTUMNAL EVENING.
O thou, wild Fancy, check thy wing! No more At length he came back, and with him a She, Those thin white Nakes, those purple clouds explore. And the acorn was grown to a tall oak tree. Nor there with happy spirits speed thy flight They built them a nest in the topmost bough, Bathed in rich amber-glowing floods of light; And young ones they had, and were happy enow. Nor in yon gleam, where slow descends the day, But soon came a woodman in leathern guise, With western peasants hail the morning ray! His brow, like a pent-house, hung over his eyes. Ah! rather bid the perish'd pleasures move, He'd an ar in his hand, not a word he spoke, A shadowy train, across the soul of Love! But with many a hem! and a sturdy stroke, O'er Disappointment's wintry desert fling At length he brought down the poor Raven's own Each flower that wreathed the dewy locks of Spring, oak.
When blushing, like a bride, from Hope's trim His young ones were kill'd; for they could not
She leap'd, awaken'd by the pattering shower. And their mother did die of a broken heart. Now sheds the sinking Sun a deeper gleam,
Aid, lovely Sorceress! aid ihy poet's dream! The boughs from the trunk the woodman did sever; With fairy wand O bid the Maid arise, And they floured it down on the course of the river. Chaste Joyance dancing in her bright-blue eyes; They saw'd it in planks, and its bark they did strip, As erst when from the Muses' calm abode And with this tree and others they made a good ship. I came, with Learning's meed not unbestow'd ; The ship it was launch'd; but in sight of the land When as she twined a laurel round my brow, Such a storm there did rise as no ship could with. And met my kiss, and half return'd my vow, stand.
O’er all my frame shot rapid my thrill'd heart, li bulged on a rock, and the waves rush'd in fast : And every nerve confess'd th' electric dart. The old Raven flew round and round, and caw'd to the blast.
O dear deceit! I see the Maiden rise,
Chaste Joyance dancing in her bright-blue eyes! He bear the last shriek of the perishing souls- When first the lark, lugh soaring, swells his throule See! see! v'er the topmast the mad water rolls ! Mocks the tired eye, and scatters the wild note,
Right glad was the Raven, and off he went fleet, I trace her footsteps on the acc ixom'd lawn, And Death riding home on a cloud he did meet, I mark her glancing 'mid the gleam of dawn. And he thank'd him again and again for this treat: When the bent flower beneath the night-dew weep They hasl taken his all, and Revenge was sweet! And on the lake the silver lustre sleeps,