Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets.
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Famous Samuel Taylor Coleridge Poems
Monody On The Death Of Chatterton
When faint and sad o’er sorrow’s desert wild
Slow journeys onward poor misfortune’s child;
When fades each lovely form by fancy drest,
And inly pines the self-consuming breast;
(No scourge of scorpions in thy right arm dread.
No helmed terrors nodding o’er thy head);
Assume, O death! the cherub wings of peace,
And bid the heart-sick wanderer’s anguish cease!
Thee, Chatterton! yon unblest stones protect
From want, and the bleak freezings of neglect!
Escaped the sore wounds of affliction’s rod,
Meek at the throne of mercy, and of God,
Perchance, thou raisest high th’ enraptured hymn
Amid the blaze of seraphin!
Yet oft (’tis nature’s call)
I weep, that heaven-born genius so should fall;
And oft, in fancy’s saddest hour, my soul
Averted shudders at the poisoned bowl.
Now groans my sickening heart, as still I view
Thy corse of livid hue;
And now a flash of indignation high
Darts thro’ the tear, that glistens in mine eye!
Is this the land of song-ennobled line?
Is this the land, where genius ne’er in vain
Pour’d forth his lofty strain?
Ah me! yet Spenser, gentlest bard divine,
Beneath chill disappointment’s shade,
His weary limbs in lonely anguish laid,
And o’er her darling dead
Pity hopeless hung her head,
While ‘mid the pelting of that merciless storm,
Sunk to the cold earth Otway’s famished form?
Sublime of thought, and confident of fame
From vales where Avon winds the minstrel came
Lighted-hearted youth! he hastes along
And meditates the future song.
How dauntless AElla fray’d the Dacian foes:
See, as floating high in air
Glitter teh sunny visions fair,
His eyes dance rapture, and his bosom glows?
Ah! where are fled the charms of vernal grace,
And joy’s wild gleams, light-flashing o’er thy face?
Youth of tumultuous soul, and haggard eye!
Thy wasted form, thy hurried steps I view,
On thy cold forehead starts the anguished dew:
And dreadful was that bosom-rending sigh!
Such were the struggles of that gloomy hour,
When care, of withered brow,
Prepared the poison’s power:
Already to thy lips was raised the bowl.
When near thee stood affection meek
(Her bosom bare, and wildly pale her cheek)
Thy sullen gaze she bade thee roll
On scenes that well might melt thy soul;
Thy native cot she flashed upon thy view,
Thy native cot, where still, at close of day,
Peace smiling sate, and listened to thy lay;
Thy sister’s shrieks she bade thee hear,
And mark thy mother’s tear;
See, see her breast’s convulsive throe,
Her silent agony of woe!
Ah! dash the poisoned chalice from thy hand!
And thou hadst dashed it, at her soft command,
But that despair and indignation rose,
And told again the story of thy woes;
Told the keen insult of th’ unfeeling heart;
The dread dependence on the low-born mind;
Told ev’ry pang, with which thy soul must smart,
Neglect, and grinning scorn, and want combined!
Recoiling quick, thou bad’st the friend of pain
Roll the black tide of death thro’ every freezing vein!
Ye woods! that wave o’er Avon’s rocky steep,
To fancy’s ear sweet is your murm’ring deep!
For here she loves the cypress wreath to weave;
Watching, with wistful eye, the sadd’ning tints of eve.
Here, far from men, amid this pathless grove,
In solemn thought the minstrel wont to rove,
Like star-beam on the slow sequestered tide
Lone-glittering, thro’ the high tree branching wide.
And here, in inspiration’s eager hour,
When most the big soul feels the madd’ning power,
These wilds, these caverns roaming o’er,
Round which the screaming sea-gulls soar,
With wild unequal steps he passed along,
Oft pouring on the winds a broken song:
Anon, upon some rough rock’s fearful brow
Would pause abrupt — and gaze upon the waves below.
Poor Chatterton! he sorrows for thy fate
Who would have praised and loved thee, ere too late.
Poor Chatterton! farewell! of darkest hues
This chaplet cast I on thy shapeless tomb;
But dare no longer on the sad theme muse,
Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom!
Hence, gloomy thoughts! no more my soul shall dwell
On joys that were! No more endure to weigh
The shame and anguish of the evil day,
Wisely forgetful! O’er the ocean swell
Sublime of hope I seek the cottaged dell
Where virtue calm with careless step may stray;
And, dancing to the moonlight roundelay,
The wizard passions weave an holy spell!
O Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive!
Sure thou would’st spread the canvas to the gale,
And love, with us, the tinkling team to drive
O’er peaceful freedom’s undivided dale;
And we, at sober eve, would round thee throng,
Hanging, enraptured, on thy stately song!
And greet with smiles the young-eyed poesy
All deftly mask’d, as hoar antiquity.
Alas, vain phantasies! the fleeting brood
Of woe self-solaced in her dreamy mood!
Yet will I love to follow the sweet dream,
Where Susquehannah pours his untamed stream;
And on some hill, whose forest-frowning side
Waves o’er the murmurs of his calmer tide,
Will raise a solemn cenotaph to thee,
Sweet harper of time-shrouded minstrelsy!
And there, soothed sadly by the dirgeful wind,
Muse on the sore ills I had left behind.
In The Manner Of Spenser
O peace, that on a lilied bank dost love
To rest thine head beneath an olive tree,
I would that from the pinions of thy dove
One quill withouten pain yplucked might be!
For oh! I wish my Sara’s frowns to flee,
And faint to her some soothing song would write,
Lest she resent my rude discourtesy,
Who vowed to meet her ere the morning light,
But broke my plighted word — ah! false and recreant wight.
Last night as I my weary head did pillow
With thoughts of my dissevered fair engrossed,
Chill fancy drooped, wreathing herself with willow,
As tho’ my breast entombed a pining ghost.
‘From some blest couch, young rapture’s bridal boast,
Rejected slumber! hither wing thy way;
But leave me with the matin hour, at most!’
As night-closed floweret to the orient ray,
My sad heart will expand, when I the maid survey.
But Love, who ‘heard the silence of my thought,’
Contrived a too successful wile, I ween:
And whispered to himself, with malice fraught–
‘Too long our slave the damsel’s smiles hath seen:
To-morrow shall he ken her altered mien!’
He spake, and ambushed lay, till on my bed
The morning shot her dewy glances keen,
When as I ‘gan uplift my drowsy head–
‘Now, bard! I’ll work thee woe!’ the laughing elfin said.
Sleep, softly-breathing god! his downy wing
Was fluttering now, as quickly to depart;
When twanged an arrow from Love’s mystic string,
With pathless wound it pierced him to the heart.
Was there some magic in the elfin’s dart?
Or did he strike my couch with wizard lance?
For straight so fair a form did upwards start
(No fairer deck’d the bowers of old romance)
That sleep enamoured grew, nor moved from his sweet trance!
My Sara came, with gentlest look divine;
Bright shone her eye, yet tender was its beam
I felt the pressure of her lip to mine!
Whisp’ring we went, and love was all our theme–
Love pure and spotless, as at first, I deem,
He sprang from heaven! Such joys with sleep did ‘bide
That I the living image of my dream
Fondly forgot. Too late I woke, and sighed —
‘O! how shall I behold my love at even-tide!’
To A Lady, With Falconer’s ‘shipwreck’
Oh! not by Cam or Isis, famous streams
In arched groves, the youthful poet’s choice;
Nor while half-listening, mid delicious dreams,
To harp and song from lady’s hand and voice;
Nor yet while gazing in sublimer mood
On cliff, or cataract, in Alpine dell;
Nor in dim cave with bladdery sea-weed strewed,
Framing wild fancies to the ocean’s swell;
Our sea-bard sang this song! which still he sings,
And sings for thee, sweet friend! Hark, Pity, hark
Now mounts, now totters on the tempest’s wings,
Now groans, and shivers, the replunging bark!
‘Cling to the shrouds!’ In vain! The breakers roar–
Death shrieks! With two alone of all his clan
Forlorn the poet paced the Grecian shore,
No classic roamer, but a ship-wrecked man!
Say then, what muse inspired these genial strains
And lit his spirit to so bright a flame?
The elevating thought of suffered pains,
Which gentle hearts shall mourn; but chief, the name
Of gratitude! remembrance of friend,
Or absent or no more! shades of the Past,
Which Loves make substance! Hence to thee I send,
O dear as long as life and memory last!
I send with deep regards of heart and head,
Sweet maid, for friendship formed! this work to thee
And thou, the while thou canst not choose but shed
A tear for Falconer, wilt remember me.
Sonnet Xvi. To Earl Stanhope
Not, Stanhope! with the Patriot’s doubtful name
I mock thy worth — Friend of the human race
Since scorning Faction’s low and partial aim,
Aloof thou wendest in thy stately pace,
Thyself redeeming from that leprous stain,
Nobility: and aye unterrified,
Pourest thine Abdiel warnings on the train
That sit complotting with rebellious pride
‘Gaint her, who from the Almighty’s bosom leapt
With whirlwind arm, fierce Minister of Love!
Wherefore, ere Virtue o’er thy tomb hath wept,
Angels shall lead thee to the Throne above:
And thou from forth its clouds shall hear the voice,
Champion of Freedom and her God! rejoice!
Sea-Ward, White Gleaming Thro’ The Busy Scud (Fragment)
Sea-ward, white gleaming thro’ the busy scud
With arching Wings, the sea-mew o’er my head
Posts on, as bent on speed, now passaging
Edges the stiffer Breeze, now, yielding, drifts,
Now floats upon the air, and sends from far
A wildly-wailing Note.
Sonnet Xix. To A Friend, Who Asked How I Felt When The Nurse First Presented My Infant To Me
Charles! my slow heart was only sad, when first
I scanned that face of feeble infancy;
For dimly on my thoughtful spirit burst
All I had been, and all my babe might be!
But when I saw it on its Mother’s arm,
And hanging at her bosom (she the while
Bent o’er its features with a tearful smile),
Then I was thrilled and melted, and most warm
Impressed a Father’s kiss: and all beguiled
Of dark remembrance, and presageful fear,
I seemed to see an Angel’s form appear–
‘Twas even thine, beloved Woman mild!
So for the Mother’s sake the Child was dear,
And dearer was the Mother for the Child.
Thou gentle Look, that didst my soul beguile,
Why hast thou left me? Still in some fond dream
Revisit my sad heart, auspicious Smile!
As falls on closing flowers the lunar beam:
What time, in sickly mood, at parting day
I lay me down and think of happier years;
Of joys, that glimmered in Hope’s twilight ray,
Then left me darkling in a vale of tears.
O pleasant days of Hope — forever flown!
Could I recall you!– But that thought is vain.
Availeth not Persuasion’s sweetest tone
To lure the fleet-winged travellers back again:
Yet fair, tho’ faint, their images shall gleam
Like the bright Rainbow on an evening stream.
Sonnet Xxii. To Simplicity
O! I do love thee, meek Simplicity!
For of thy lays the lulling simpleness
Goes to my heart, and soothes each small distress–
Distress tho’ small, yet haply great to me!
‘Tis true, on Lady Fortune’s gentlest pad
I amble on; yet tho’ I know not why,
So sad I am! but should a friend and I
Grow cool and miff, O! I am very sad!
And then with sonnets and with sympathy
My dreamy bosom’s mystic woes I pall;
Now of my false friend plaining plaintively,
Now raving at mankind in general:
But whether sad or fierce, ’tis simple all,
All very simple, meek Simplicity.
To A Lady, Offended By A Sportive Observation That Women Have No Souls
Nay, dearest Anna! why so grave?
I said, you had no soul, ’tis true!
For what you are, you cannot have:
‘Tis I, that have one since I first had you!
I have heard of reasons manifold
Why Love must needs be blind,
But this the best of all I hold–
His eyes are in his mind.
What outward form and feature are
He guesseth but in part;
But what within is good and fair
He seeth with the heart.
Religious Musings : A Desultory Poem Written On The Christmas Eve Of 1794
What tho’ first,
In years unseason’d, I attuned the lay
To idle passion and unreal woe?
Yet serious truth her empire o’er my song
Hath now asserted : falsehood’s evil brood
Vice and deceitful pleasure, she at once
Excluded, and my fancy’s careless toil
Drew to the better cause! ~Akenside
Introduction. Person of Christ. His prayer on the cross. The process of his doctrines on the mind of the individual. Character of the elect. Superstition. Digression to the present war. Origin and uses of government and property. The present state of society. French revolution. Millennium. Universal redemption. Conclusion.
This is the time, when most divine to hear
The voice of Adoration rouses me,
As with a Cherub’s trump: and high upborne,
Yea, mingling with the Choir, I seem to view
The vision of the heavenly multitude,
Who hymned the song of Peace o’er Bethlehem’s fields!
Yet thou more bright than all the Angel-blaze,
That harbingered thy birth, Thou Man of Woes!
Despiséd Galilaean ! For the Great
Invisible (by symbols only seen)
With a peculiar and surpassing light
Shines from the visage of the oppressed good man,
When heedless of himself the scourgéd saint
Mourns for the oppressor. Fair the vernal mead,
Fair the high grove, the sea, the sun, the stars ;
True impress each of their creating Sire !
Yet nor high grove, nor many-colour’d mead,
Nor the green ocean with his thousand isles,
Nor the starred azure, nor the sovran sun,
E’er with such majesty of portraiture
Imaged the supreme beauty uncreate,
As thou, meek Saviour ! at the fearful hour
When thy insulted anguish winged the prayer
Harped by Archangels, when they sing of mercy !
Which when the Almighty heard from forth his throne
Diviner light filled Heaven with ecstasy !
Heaven’s hymnings paused : and Hell her yawning mouth
Closed a brief moment.
Lovely was the death
Of Him whose life was Love ! Holy with power
He on the thought-benighted Sceptic beamed
Manifest Godhead, melting into day
What floating mists of dark idolatry
Broke and misshaped the omnipresent Sire :
And first by Fear uncharmed the drowséd Soul
Till of its nobler nature it ‘gan feel
Dim recollections; and thence soared to Hope.
Strong to believe whate’er of mystic good
The Eternal dooms for His immortal sons.
From Hope and firmer Faith to perfect Love
Attracted and absorbed : and centered there
God only to behold, and know, and feel,
Till by exclusive consciousness of God
All self-annihilated it shall make
God its Identity : God all in all !
We and our Father one !
And blest are they,
Who in this fleshly World, the elect of Heaven,
Their strong eye darting through the deeds of me
Adore with steadfast unpresuming gaze
Him Nature’s essence, mind, and energy !
And gazing, trembling, patiently ascend
Treading beneath their feet all visible things
As steps, that upward to their Father’s throne
Lead gradual–else nor glorified nor loved.
They nor contempt embosom nor revenge :
For they dare know of what may seem deform
The Supreme Fair sole operant : in whose sight
All things are pure, his strong controlling love
Alike from all educing perfect good.
Their’s too celestial courage, inly armed–
Dwarfing Earth’s giant brood, what time they muse
On their great Father, great beyond compare !
And marching onwards view high o’er their heads
His waving banners of Omnipotence.
Who the Creator love, created Might
Dread not : within their tents no Terrors walk.
For they are holy things before the Lord
Aye unprofaned, though Earth should league with Hell;
God’s altar grasping with an eager hand
Fear, the wild-visag’d, pale, eye-starting wretch,
Sure-refug’d hears his hot pursuing fiends
Yell at vain distance. Soon refresh’d from Heaven
He calms the throb and tempest of his heart
His countenance settles; a soft solemn bliss
Swims in his eye–his swimming eye uprais’d
And Faith’s whole armour glitters on his limbs !
And thus transfigured with a dreadless awe,
A solemn hush of soul, meek he beholds
All things of terrible seeming : yea, unmoved
Views e’en the immitigable ministers
That shower down vengeance on these latter days.
For kindling with intenser Deity
From the celestial Mercy-seat they come,
And at the renovating wells of Love
Have fill’d their vials with salutary wrath,
To sickly Nature more medicinal
Than what soft balm the weeping good man pours
Into the lone despoiléd traveller’s wounds !
Thus from the Elect, regenerate through faith
Pass the dark Passions and what thirsty cares
Drink up the spirit, and the dim regards
Self-centre. Lo they vanish ! or acquire
New names, new features–by supernal grace
Enrobed with Light, and naturalised in Heaven.
As when a shepherd on a vernal morn
Through some thick fog creeps timorous with slow foot
Darkling he fixes on the immediate road
His downward eye : all else of fairest kind
Hid or deformed. But lo ! the bursting Sun !
Touched by the enchantment of that sudden beam
Straight the black vapour melteth, and in globes
Of dewy glitter gems each plant and tree;
On every leaf, on every blade it hangs !
Dance glad the new-born intermingling rays,
And wide around the landscape streams with glory !
There is one Mind, one omnipresent Mind,
Omnific. His most holy name is LOVE.
Truth of subliming import ! with the which
Who feeds and saturates his constant soul,
He from his small particular orbit flies
With blest outstarting ! From himself he flies,
Stands in the sun, and with no partial gaze
Views all creation; and he loves it all,
And blesses it, and calls it very good !
This is indeed to dwell with the Most High !
Cherubs and rapture-trembling Seraphim
Can press no nearer to the Almighty’s throne.
But that we roam unconscious, or with hearts
Unfeeling of our universal Sire,
And that in His vast family no Cain
Injures uninjured (in her best-aimed blow
Victorious Murder a blind Suicide)
Haply for this some younger Angel now
Looks down on Human Nature : and, behold !
A sea of blood bestrewed with wrecks, where mad
Embattling Interests on each other rush
With unhelmed rage !
Tis the sublime of man,
Our noontide Majesty, to know ourselves
Parts and proportions of one wondrous whole !
This fraternises man, this constitutes
Our charities and bearings. But ’tis God
Diffused through all, that cloth make all one whole;
This the worst superstition, him except
Aught to desire, Supreme Reality !
The plenitude and permanence of bliss !
O Fiends of Superstition ! not that oft
The erring Priest hath stained with brother’s blood
Your grisly idols, not for this may wrath
Thunder against you from the Holy One !
But o’er some plain that steameth to the sun,
Peopled with Death; or where more hideous Trade
Loud-laughing packs his bales of human anguish ;
I will raise up a mourning, O ye Fiends !
And curse your spells, that film the eye of Faith,
Hiding the present God; whose presence lost,
The moral world’s cohesion, we become
An Anarchy of Spirits ! Toy-bewitched,
Made blind by lusts, disherited of soul,
No common centre Man, no common sire
Knoweth ! A sordid solitary thing,
Mid countless brethren with a lonely heart
Through courts and cities the smooth savage roams
Feeling himself, his own low self the whole;
When he by sacred sympathy might make
The whole one Self ! Self, that no alien knows !
Self, far diffused as Fancy’s wing can travel !
Self, spreading still ! Oblivious of its own,
Yet all of all possessing ! This is Faith !
This the Messiah’s destined victory !
But first offences needs must come ! Even now
(Black Hell laughs horrible–to hear the scoff !)
Thee to defend, meek Galilaean ! Thee
And thy mild laws of Love unutterable,
Mistrust and Enmity have burst the bands
Of social peace : and listening Treachery lurks
With pious fraud to snare a brother’s life;
And childless widows o’er the groaning land
Wail numberless ; and orphans weep for bread !
Thee to defend, dear Saviour of Mankind !
Thee, Lamb of God ! Thee, blameless Prince of Peace !
From all sides rush the thirsty brood of War !–
Austria, and that foul Woman of the North,
The lustful murderess of her wedded lord !
And he, connatural Mind ! whom (in their songs
So bards of elder time had haply feigned)
Some Fury fondled in her hate to man,
Bidding her serpent hair in mazy surge
Lick his young face, and at his mouth imbreathe
Horrible sympathy ! And leagued with these
Each petty German princeling, nursed in gore
Soul-hardened barterers of human blood !
Death’s prime slave-merchants ! Scorpion- whips of Fate !
Nor least in savagery of holy zeal,
Apt for the yoke, the race degenerate,
Whom Britain erst had blushed to call her sons !
Thee to defend the Moloch Priest prefers
The prayer of hate, and bellows to the herd,
That Deity, Accomplice Deity
In the fierce jealousy of wakened wrath
Will go forth with our armies and our fleets
To scatter the red ruin on their foes !
O blasphemy ! to mingle fiendish deeds
With blessedness !
Lord of unsleeping Love,
From everlasting Thou ! We shall not die.
These, even these, in mercy didst thou form,
Teachers of Good through Evil, by brief wrong
Making Truth lovely, and her future might
Magnetic o’er the fixed untrembling heart.
In the primeval age a dateless while
The vacant Shepherd wander’d with his flock,
Pitching his tent where’er the green grass waved.
But soon Imagination conjured up
An host of new desires : with busy aim,
Each for himself, Earth’s eager children toiled.
So Property began, twy-streaming fount,
Whence Vice and Virtue flow, honey and gall.
Hence the soft couch, and many-coloured robe,
The timbrel, and arched dome and costly feast,
With all the inventive arts, that nursed the soul
To forms of beauty, and by sensual wants
Unsensualised the mind, which in the means
Learnt to forget the grossness of the end,
Best pleasured with its own activity.
And hence Disease that withers manhood’s arm,
The daggered Envy, spirit-quenching Want,
Warriors, and Lords, and Priests–all the sore ills
That vex and desolate our mortal life.
Wide-wasting ills ! yet each the immediate source
Of mightier good. Their keen necessities
To ceaseless action goading human thought
Have made Earth’s reasoning animal her Lord;
And the pale-featured Sage’s trembling hand
Strong as an host of arméd Deities,
Such as the blind Ionian fabled erst.
From Avarice thus, from Luxury and War
Sprang heavenly Science; and from Science Freedom.
O’er waken’d realms Philosophers and Bards
Spread in concentric circles : they whose souls,
Conscious of their high dignities from God,
Brook not Wealth’s rivalry ! and they, who long
Enamoured with the charms of order, hate
The unseemly disproportion : and whoe’er
Turn with mild sorrow from the Victor’s car
And the low puppetry of thrones, to muse
On that blest triumph, when the Patriot Sage
Called the red lightnings from the o’er-rushing cloud
And dashed the beauteous terrors on the earth
Smiling majestic. Such a phalanx ne’er
Measured firm paces to the calming sound
Of Spartan flute ! These on the fated day,
When, stung to rage by Pity, eloquent men
Have roused with pealing voice the unnumbered tribes
That toil and groan and bleed, hungry and blind–
These, hush’d awhile with patient eye serene,
Shall watch the mad careering of the storm ;
Then o’er the wild and wavy chaos rush
And tame the outrageous mass, with plastic might
Moulding Confusion to such perfect forms,
As erst were wont,–bright visions of the day !–
To float before them, when, the summer noon,
Beneath some arched romantic rock reclined
They felt the sea-breeze lift their youthful locks ;
Or in the month of blossoms, at mild eve,
Wandering with desultory feet inhaled
The wafted perfumes, and the flocks and woods
And many-tinted streams and setting sun
With all his gorgeous company of clouds
Ecstatic gazed ! then homeward as they strayed
Cast the sad eye to earth, and inly mused
Why there was misery in a world so fair.
Ah ! far removed from all that glads the sense,
From all that softens or ennobles Man
The wretched Many ! Bent beneath their loads
They gape at pageant Power, nor recognise
Their cots’ transmuted plunder ! From the tree
Of Knowledge, ere the vernal sap had risen
Rudely disbranched ! Blessed Society !
Fitliest depictured by some sun-scorched waste,
Where oft majestic through the tainted noon
The Simoom sails, before whose purple pomp
Who falls not prostrate dies ! And where by night,
Fast by each precious fountain on green herbs
The lion couches : or hyaena dips
Deep in the lucid stream his bloody jaws;
Or serpent plants his vast moon-glittering bulk,
Caught in whose monstrous twine Behemoth yells,
His bones loud-crashing !
O ye numberless,
Whom foul Oppression’s ruffian gluttony
Drives from Life’s plenteous feast ! O thou poor Wretch
Who nursed in darkness and made wild by want,
Roamest for prey, yea thy unnatural hand
Dost lift to deeds of blood ! O pale-eyed form,
The victim of seduction, doomed to know
Polluted nights and days of blasphemy;
Who in loathed orgies with lewd wassailers
Must gaily laugh, while thy remembered Home
Gnaws like a viper at thy secret heart !
O agéd Women ! ye who weekly catch
The morsel tossed by law-forced charity,
And die so slowly, that none call it murder !
O loathly suppliants !ye, that unreceived
Totter heart-broken from the closing gates
Of the full Lazar-house; or, gazing, stand,
Sick with despair ! O ye to Glory’s field
Forced or ensnared, who, as ye gasp in death,
Bleed with new wounds beneath the vulture’s beak !
O thou poor widow, who in dreams dost view
Thy husband’s mangled corse, and from short doze
Start’st with a shriek; or in thy half-thatched cot
Waked by the wintry night-storm, wet and cold
Cow’rst o’er thy screaming baby ! Rest awhile
Children of Wretchedness ! More groans must rise,
More blood must stream, or ere your wrongs be full.
Yet is the day of Retribution nigh :
The Lamb of God hath opened the fifth seal :
And upward rush on swiftest wing of fire
The innumerable multitude of wrongs
By man on man inflicted ! Rest awhile,
Children of Wretchedness ! The hour is nigh
And lo ! the Great, the Rich, the Mighty Men,
The Kings and the Chief Captains of the World,
With all that fixed on high like stars of Heaven
Shot baleful influence, shall be cast to earth,
Vile and down-trodden, as the untimely fruit
Shook from the fig-tree by a sudden storm.
Even now the storm begins : each gentle name.
Faith and meek Piety, with fearful joy
Tremble far-off–for lo ! the Giant Frenzy
Uprooting empires with his whirlwind arm
Mocketh high Heaven; burst hideous from the cell
Where the old Hag, unconquerable, huge,
Creation’s eyeless drudge, black Ruin, sits
Nursing the impatient earthquake.
O return !
Pure Faith ! meek Piety ! The abhorréd Form
Whose scarlet robe was stiff with earthly pomp,
Who drank iniquity in cups of gold,
Whose names were many and all blasphemous,
Hath met the horrible judgment ! Whence that cry ?
The mighty army of foul Spirits shrieked
Disherited of earth ! For she hath fallen
On whose black front was written Mystery;
She that reeled heavily, whose wine was blood;
She that worked whoredom with the Daemon Power,
And from the dark embrace all evil things
Brought forth and nurtured : mitred Atheism !
And patient Folly who on bended knee
Gives back the steel that stabbed him; and pale Fear
Haunted by ghastlier shapings than surround
Moon-blasted Madness when he yells at midnight !
Return pure Faith ! return meek Piety !
The kingdoms the world are your’s : each heart
Self-governed, the vast family of Love
Raised from the common earth by common toil
Enjoy the equal produce. Such delights
As float to earth, permitted visitants !
When in some hour of solemn jubilee
The massy gates of Paradise are thrown
Wide open, and forth come in fragments wild
Sweet echoes of unearthly melodies,
And odours snatched from beds of Amaranth,
And they, that from the crystal river of life
Spring up on freshened wing, ambrosial gales !
The favoured good man in his lonely walk
Perceives them, and his silent spirit drinks
Strange bliss which he shall recognise in heaven.
And such delights, such strange beatitudes
Seize on my young anticipating heart
When that blest future rushes on my view !
For in his own and in his Father’s might
The Saviour comes ! While as the Thousand Years
Lead up their mystic dance, the Desert shouts !
Old Ocean claps his hands ! The mighty Dead
Rise to new life, whoe’er from earliest time
With conscious zeal had urged Love’s wondrous plan
Coadjutors of God. To Milton’s trump
The high groves of the renovated Earth
Unbosom their glad echoes : inly hushed,
Adoring Newton his serener eye
Raises to heaven : and he of mortal kind
Wisest, he first who marked the ideal tribes
Up the fine fibres through the sentient brain.
Lo ! Priestley there, patriot, and saint, and sage,
Him, full of years, from his loved native land
Statesmen blood-stained and priests idolatrous
By dark lies maddening the blind multitude
Drove with vain hate. Calm, pitying he retired,
And mused expectant on these promised years.
O Years ! the blest pre-eminence of Saints !
Ye sweep athwart my gaze, so heavenly bright,
The wings that veil the adoring Seraphs’ eyes,
What time they bend before the Jasper Throne
Reflect no lovelier hues ! Yet ye depart,
And all beyond is darkness ! Heights most strange,
Whence Fancy falls, fluttering her idle wing.
For who of woman born may paint the hour,
When seized in his mid course, the Sun shall wane
Making noon ghastly ! Who of woman born
May image in the workings of his thought,
How the black-visaged, red-eyed Fiend outstretched
Beneath the unsteady feet of Nature groans,
In feverous slumbers–destined then to wake,
When fiery whirlwinds thunder his dread name
And Angels shout, Destruction ! How his arm
The last great Spirit lifting high in air
Shall swear by Him, the ever-living One,
Time is no more !
Believe thou, O my soul,
Life is a vision shadowy of Truth ;
And vice, and anguish, and the wormy grave
Shapes of a dream ! The veiling clouds retire
And lo ! the Throne of the redeeming God
Forth flashing unimaginable day
Wraps in one blaze earth, heaven, and deepest hell.
Contemplant Spirits ! ye that hover o’er
With untired gaze the immeasurable fount
Ebullient with creative Deity !
And ye of plastic power, that interfused
Roll through the grosser and material mass
In organizing surge ! Holies of God !
(And what if Monads of the infinite mind?)
I haply journeying my immortal course
Shall sometime join your mystic choir ! Till then
I discipline my young and novice thought
In ministeries of heart-stirring song,
And aye on Meditation’s heaven-ward wing
Soaring aloft I breathe the empyreal air
Of Love, omnific, omnipresent Love,
Whose day-spring rises glorious in my soul
As the great Sun, when he his influence
Sheds on the frost-bound waters–The glad stream
Flows to the ray and warbles as it flows.
Pensive, at eve, on the hard world I mused,
And my poor heart was sad: so at the Moon
I gazed–and sighed, and sighed–for, ah! how soon
Eve saddens into night! Mine eyes perused,
With tearful vacancy, the dampy grass,
That wept and glitter’d in the paly ray,
And I did pause me on my lonely way,
And mused me on the wretched ones, who pass
O’er the black heath of Sorrow. But, alas!
Most of myself I thought: when it befell,
That the sooth Spirit of the breezy wood
Breath’d in mine ear–‘All this is very well;
But much of one thing is for no thing good.’
Ah! my poor heart’s inexplicable swell!
The Alienated Mistress; A Madrigal. (From An Unfinished Melodrama)
If Love be dead (and you aver it!)
Tell me, Bard! where Love lies buried.
Love lies buried where ’twas born,
Ah, faithless nymph! think it no scorn
If in my fancy I presume
To name thy bosom poor Love’s Tomb,
And on that Tomb to read the line,
Here lies a Love that once was mine,
But took a chill, as I divine,
And died at length of a decline.
Sonnet Xiii. To La Fayette
As when far off the warbled strains are heard
That soar on Morning’s wing the vales among,
Within his cage th’ imprisoned matin bird
Swells the full chorus with a generous song:
He bathes no pinion in the dewy light,
No Father’s joy, no Lover’s bliss he shares,
Yet still the rising radiance cheers his sight–
His Fellows’ freedom soothes the Captive’s cares!
Thou, Fayette! who didst wake with startling voice
Life’s better Sun from that long wintry night,
Thus in thy Country’s triumphs shalt rejoice
And mock with raptures high the dungeon’s might:
For lo! the morning struggles into day,
And Slavery’s spectres shriek and vanish from the ray!
Sonnet Xi. To Sheridan
It was some spirit, Sheridan! that breath’d
O’er thy young mind such wildly-various power!
My soul hath marked thee in her shaping hour,
Thy temples with Hymettian flowrets wreath’d:
And sweet thy voice, as when o’er Laura’s bier
Sad music trembled thro’ Vauclusa’s glade;
Sweet, as at dawn the love-lorn Serenade
That wafts soft dreams to Slumber’s list’ning ear.
Now patriot Rage and Indignation high
Swell the full tones! And now thine eye-beams dance
Meanings of Scorn and Wit’s quaint revelry!
Writhes inly from the bosom-probing glance
Th’ Apostate by the brainless rout adores,
As erst that elder Fiend beneath great Michael’s sword.
Tell’s Birth-Place. Imitated From Stolberg
Mark this holy chapel well!
The birth-place, this, of William Tell.
Here, where stands God’s altar dread,
Stood his parent’s marriage-bed.
Here, first, an infant to her breast,
Him his loving mother prest;
And kissed the babe, and blessed the day,
And prayed as mothers used to pray.
‘Vouchsafe him health, O God! and give
The child thy servant still to live!’
But God had destined to do more
Through him than through an armed power.
God gave him reverence of laws,
Yet stirring blood in Freedom’s cause–
A spirit to his rocks akin,
The eye of the hawk and the fire therein!
To Nature and to Holy Writ
Alone did God the boy commit:
Where flashed and roared the torrent, oft
His soul found wings, and soared aloft!
The straining oar and chamois chase
Had formed his limbs to strength and grace:
On wave and wind the boy would toss,
Was great, nor knew how great he was!
He knew not that his chosen hand,
Made strong by God, his native land
Would rescue from the shameful yoke
Of Slavery — the which he broke!
On A Connubial Rupture In High Life
I sigh, fair injured stranger! for thy fate;
But what shall sighs avail thee? Thy poor heart,
‘Mid all the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of state,
Shivers in nakedness. Unbidden, start
Sad recollections of Hope’s garish dream,
That shaped a seraph form, and named it Love,
Its hues gay-varying, as the orient beam
Varies the neck of Cytherea’s dove.
To one soft accent of domestic joy,
Poor are the shouts that shake the high-arched dome:
Those plaudits, that thy public path annoy,
Alas! they tell thee–Thou’rt a wretch at home!
O then retire and weep! Their very woes
Solace the guiltless. Drop the pearly flood
On thy sweet infant, as the full-blown rose,
Surcharged with dew, bends o’er its neighb’ring bud.
And oh that Truth some holy spell might lend
To lure thy wanderer from the syren’s power,
Then bid your souls inseparably blend
Like two bright dewdrops meeting in a flower.
Lines To W. L. While He Sang A Song To Purcell’s Music
While my young cheek retains its healthful hues,
And I have many friends who hold me dear;
L—-! methinks, I would not often hear
Such melodies as thine, lest I should lose
All memory of the wrongs and sore distress,
For which my miserable brethren weep!
But should uncomforted misfortunes steep
My daily bread in tears and bitterness;
And if at death’s dread moment I should lie,
With no beloved face at my bed-side,
To fix the last glance of my closing-eye,
Methinks, such strains, breathed by my angel-guide,
Would make me pass the cup of anguish by,
Mix with the blest, nor know that I had died!
Myrtle leaf, that ill besped
Pinest in the gladsome ray,
Soiled beneath the common tread
Far from thy protecting spray!
When the partridge o’er the sheaf
Whirred along the yellow vale,
Sad, I saw thee, heedless leaf!
Love the dalliance of the gale.
Lightly didst thou, foolish thing!
Heave and flutter to his sighs,
While the flatt’rer on his wing
Wooed and whispered thee to rise.
Gayly from thy mother stalk
Wert thou danced and wafted high;
Soon on this unsheltered walk
Flung to fade, to rot, and die!
Ode To Sara, In Answer To A Letter From Bristol
Nor travels my meand’ring eye
The starry wilderness on high;
Nor now with curious sight
I mark the glow-worm as I pass,
Move with ‘green radiance’ thro’ the grass,
An emerald of light.
O ever-present to my view!
My wafted spirit is with you,
And soothes your boding fears;
I see you all opprest with gloom
Sit lonely in that cheerless room–
Ah me! you are in tears!
Belovèd woman! did you fly
Chilled friendship’s dark disliking eye
Or mirth’s untimely din?
With cruel weight these trifles press
A temper sore with tenderness,
When aches the void within.
But why with sable wand unblest
Should fancy rouse within my breast
Dim-visaged shapes of dread?
Untenanting its beauteous clay,
My Sara’s soul has winged its way,
And hovers round my head!
I felt it prompt the tender dream,
When, slowly sunk the day’s last gleam,
You roused each gentler sense;
As sighing o’er the blossom’s bloom
Meek evening wakes its soft perfume
With viewless influence.
And hark, my love! The sea-breeze moans
Thro’ yon reft house! O’er rolling stones,
With broad impetuous sweep,
The fast encroaching tides supply
The silence of the cloudless sky
With mimic thunders deep.
Dark-redd’ning from the channel’d isle
(Where stands one solitary pile
Unslated by the blast)
The watchfire, like a sullen star,
Twinkles to many a dozing star,
Rude-cradled on the mast.
Ev’n there — beneath that light-house tower–
In the tumultuous evil hour
Ere peace with Sara came,
Time was, I should have thought it sweet
To count the echoings of my feet,
And watch the troubled flame.
And there in black soul-jaundiced fit
A sad gloom-pampered man to sit,
And listen to the roar,
When mountain surges, bellowing deep,
With an uncouth monster leap
Plunged foaming on the shore.
Then by the lightning’s blaze to mark,
Some toiling tempest-shattered bark,
Her vain distress-guns hear:
And when a second-sheet of light
Flashed o’er the blackness of the night —
To see no vessel there!
But fancy now more gayly sings;
Or if awhile she droop her wings,
As skylark’s ‘mid the corn,
On summer fields she grounds her breast:
Th’ oblivious poppy o’er her nest,
Nods, till returning morn.
O mark those smiling tears, that swell
The opened rose! From heaven they fell,
And with the sunbeam blend;
Blessed visitations from above:
Such are the tender woes of love
Fost’ring the heart they bend!
When stormy midnight howling round
Beats on our roof with clatt’ring sound,
To me your arms you’ll stretch:
Great God! you’ll say — To us so kind,
O shelter from this loud bleak wind
The houseless, friendless wretch!
The tears that tremble down your cheek,
Shall bathe my kisses chaste and meek
In pity’s dew divine;
And from your heart the sighs that steal
Shall make your rising bosom feel
The answ’ring swell of mine!
How oft, my love! with shapings sweet
I paint the monument we shall meet!
With eager speed I dart–
I seize you in the vacant air,
And fancy, with a husband’s care,
I press you to my heart!
Sonnet Xiv. Composed While Climbing The Left Ascent Of Brockley Coomb, In The County Of Somerset
With many a pause and oft reverted eye
I climb the Coomb’s ascent: sweet songsters near
Warble in shade their wild-wood melody:
Far off the unvarying Cuckoo soothes my ear.
Up scour the startling stragglers of the flock
That on green plots o’er precipices browze:
From the deep fissures of the naked rock
The Yew-tree bursts! Beneath its dark green boughs
(Mid which the May-thorn blends its blossoms white)
Where broad smooth stones jut out in mossy seats,
I rest: – and now have gain’d the topmost site.
Ah! what a luxury of landscape meets
My gaze! Proud towers, and Cots more dear to me,
Elm-shadow’d Fields, and prospect-bounding Sea!
Deep sighs my lonely heart: I drop the tear:
Enchanting spot! O were my Sara here!
A Broken Friendship
Alas! they had been friends in youth;
But whispering tongues can poison truth;
And constancy lives in realms above;
And life is thorny; and youth is vain;
And to be wroth with one we love,
Doth work like madness in the brain.
And thus is chanced, as I divine,
With Roland and Sir Leoline.
Each spake words of high disdain
And insult to his heart’s best brother:
They parted – ne’er to meet again!
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from painting –
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary see now flows between; –
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been
What Is An Epigram?
What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.