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Distich from the Greek
[The first division of this section includes three poems--Fears
in Solitude, France, an Ode, and Frost at Midnight, published by Coleridge in a separate quarto pamphlet in the year 1798. The second division contains The Nightingale and the most famous of all Coleridge's poems, The Ancient Mariner, both contributed to Lyrical Ballads in the same year.]
FRANCE. AN ODE.*
First Stanza. An invocation to those objects in Nature the contemplation of which had inspired the Poet with a devotional love of Liberty. Second Stanza. The exultation of the Poet at the commencement of the French Revolution, and his unqualified abhorrence of the Alliance against the Republic. Third Stanza. The blasphemies and horrors during the domination of the Terrorists regarded by the Poet as a transient storm, and as the natural consequence of the former despotism and of the foul superstition of Popery. Reason, indeed, began to suggest many apprehensions; yet still the Poet struggled to retain the hope that France would make conquests by no other means than by presenting to the observation of Europe a people more happy and better instructed than under other forms of Government. Fourth Stanza, Switzerland, and the Poet's recantation. Fifth Stanza. An address to Liberty, in which the Poet expresses his conviction that those feelings and that grand ideal of Freedom which the mind attains by its contemplation of its individual nature, and of the sublime surrounding objects (see stanza the first) do not belong to men as a society, nor can possibly be either gratified or realized under any form of human government; but belong to the individual man, so far as he is pure, and inflamed with the love and adoration of God in Nature.
* First printed in The Morning Post of April 16, 1798, under the title of The Recantation : an Ode, and afterwards, with its