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With feelings all too delicate for use ?
Sweet is the tear that from some Howard's eye
Drops on the cheek of one he lifts from earth :
And he that works me good with unmoved face,
Does it but half: he chills me while he aids,
My benefactor, not my brother man!
Yet even this, this cold beneficence
Praise, praise it, O my soul! oft as thou scann'st
The sluggard Pity's vision-weaving tribe!
Who sigh for wretchedness, yet shun the wretched,
Nursing in some delicious solitude
Their slothful loves and dainty sympathies !
I therefore go, and join head, heart, and hand,
Active and firm, to fight the bloodless fight
Of science, freedom, and the truth in Christ.
Yet oft when after honourable toil Rests the tired mind, and waking loves to dream, My spirit shall revisit thee, dear Cot! Thy jasmin and thy window-peeping rose, And myrtles fearless of the mild sea-air. And I shall sigh fond wishes—sweet abode ! Ah !had none greater! And that all had such! It might be so—but the time is not yet. Speed it, O Father! Let thy kingdom come!
ON OBSERVING A BLOSSOM ON THE FIRST
OF FEBRUARY, 1796.
SWEET Flower! that peeping from thy russet stem
Unfoldest timidly, (for in strange sort
This dark, frieze-coated, hoarse, teeth-chattering Month
Hath borrowed Zephyr's voice, and gazed upon thee
With blue voluptuous eye) alas, poor Flower!
These are but flatteries of the faithless
Perchance, escaped its unknown polar cave,
E'en now the keen North-East is on its way.
Flower that must perish! shall I liken thee
To some sweet girl of too too rapid growth
Nipped by consumption 'mid untimely charms?
Or to Bristowa's bard,* the wondrous boy !
An amaranth, which Earth scarce seemed to own,
Till disappointment came, and pelting wrong
Beat it to Earth ? or with indignant grief
Shall I compare thee to poor Poland's hope, ,
Bright flower of Hope killed in the opening bud ?
Farewell, sweet blossom ! better fate be thine
And mock my boding ! Dim similitudes
Weaving in moral strains, I've stolen one hour
From anxious self, Life's cruel task-master!
And the warm wooings of this sunny day
Tremble along my frame, and harmonise
The attempered organ, that even saddest thoughts
Mix with some sweet sensations, like harsh tunes
Played deftly on a soft-toned instrument.
COMPOSED AT CLEVEDON, SOMERSETSHIRE.
My pensive Sara! thy soft cheek reclined
Thus on mine arm, most soothing sweet it is
To sit beside our cot, our cot o'ergrown
With white-flowered jasmin, and the broad-leaved
(Meet emblems they of Innocence and Love !)
And watch the clouds, that late were rich with light,
Slow saddening round, and mark the star of eve
Serenely brilliant (such should wisdom be)
Shine opposite ! How exquisite the scents
Snatched from yon bean-field! and the world so hushed!
The stilly murmur of the distant sea
Tells us of silence.
And that simplest lute,
Placed length-ways in the clasping casement, hark!
How by the desultory breeze caressed,
Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover,
pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
sink and rise,
Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Fairy-Land,
Where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers,
Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,
Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untamed wing!
O the one life within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound like power in light
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where-
Methinks, it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so filled;
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument.
And thus, my love! as on the midway slope Of yonder hill I stretch my Whilst through my half-closed eye-lids I behold The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main, And tranquil muse upon tranquillity; Full many a thought uncalled and undetained, And many idle flitting phantasies, Traverse my indolent and passive brain, As wild and various as the random gales That swell and flutter on this subject lute !
And what if all of animated nature Be but organic harps diversely framed, That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze, At once the Soul of each, and God of All ?
But thy more serious eye a mild reproof
Darts, O beloved woman! nor such thoughts
Dim and unhallowed dost thou not reject,
And biddest me walk humbly with my God.
Meek daughter in the family of Christ!
Well hast thou said and holily dispraised
These shapings of the unregenerate mind;
Bubbles that glitter as they rise and break
On vain Philosophy's aye-babbling spring.
For never guiltless may I speak of Him,
The Incomprehensible! save when with awe
I praise him, and with Faith that inly feels;
Who with his saving mercies healed me,
A sinful and most miserable man,
Wildered and dark, and gave me to possess
Peace, and this cot, and thee, heart-honoured Maid!
TO THE REV. GEORGE COLERIDGE
OF OTTERY ST. MARY, DEVON.
Notus in fratres animi paterni.
HOR. Carm. lib. 1. 2.
A BLESSED lot hath he, who having passed
His youth and early manhood in the stir
And turmoil of the world, retreats at length,
With cares that move, not agitate the heart,
To the same dwelling where his father dwelt ;
And haply views his tottering little ones
Embrace those aged knees and climb that lap,
On which first kneeling his own infancy
Lisped its brief prayer. Such, O my earliest Friend.
Thy lot, and such thy brothers too enjoy.
At distance did ye climb life's upland road,
Yet cheered and cheering: now fraternal love
Hath drawn you to one centre. Be your days
Holy, and blest and blessing may ye