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Coleridge, Samuel Taylor

· Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Rime of the Ancient Mariner · Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Love · Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Youth And Age a poem · Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Xanadu – Kubla Khan · Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: The Presence of Love · Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Frost at Midnight poem · Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Desire · Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Frost at Midnight (vertaling Cornelis W. Schoneveld) · Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Mad Mother · Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Nightingale · Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Tale of The Dark Ladie · Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 4 poems

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Part I

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
Mayst hear the merry din.’

He holds him with his skinny hand,
“There was a ship,” quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropped he.

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

“The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—”
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

“And now the storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And foward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.

It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner’s hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine.”

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus!—
Why look’st thou so?’—”With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross.”

Part II

“The sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners’ hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.”

Part III

“There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye—
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all a-flame,
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the sun.

And straight the sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven’s Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
Like restless gossameres?

Are those her ribs through which the sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Is Death that Woman’s mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
‘The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!’
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper o’er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly,—
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my crossbow!”

Part IV

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.

I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand, so brown.’— Poem:
“Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!
This body dropped not down.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie;
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came and made
My heart as dry as dust.

I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the balls like pulses beat;
Forthe sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky,
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me
Had never passed away.

An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man’s eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

The moving moon went up the sky,
And no where did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside—

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship’s huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.”

Part V

“Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven,
That slid into my soul.

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light—almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
And the rain poured down from one black cloud;
The moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother’s son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.”

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!’
“Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
‘Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:

For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now ’twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel’s song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe;
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she ‘gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

‘Is it he?’ quoth one, ‘Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.’

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, ‘The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.’

Part VI

First Voice
But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?

Second Voice
Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the moon is cast—

If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.

First Voice
But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?

Second Voice
The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.

Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner’s trance is abated.

“I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
‘Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the moon did glitter.

The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapped: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen—

Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.

Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The lighthouse top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own country?

We drifted o’er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray—
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.

The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck—
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart—
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the Pilot’s cheer;
My head was turned perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.

The Pilot and the Pilot’s boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

I saw a third—I heard his voice:
It is the Hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He’ll shrieve my soul, he’ll wash away
The Albatross’s blood.”

Part VII

“This Hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with marineers
That come from a far country.

He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve—
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.

The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,
‘Why, this is strange, I trow!
Where are those lights so many and fair,
That signal made but now?’

‘Strange, by my faith!’ the Hermit said—
‘And they answered not our cheer!
The planks looked warped! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were

Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest-brook along;
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf’s young.’

‘Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look—
(The Pilot made reply)
I am afeared’—’Push on, push on!’
Said the Hermit cheerily.

The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred;
The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.

Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread:
It reached the ship, it split the bay;
The ship went down like lead.

Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot’s boat.

Upon the whirl where sank the ship
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips—the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the oars: the Pilot’s boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
‘Ha! ha!’ quoth he, ‘full plain I see,
The Devil knows how to row.’

And now, all in my own country,
I stood on the firm land!
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.

O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!
The Hermit crossed his brow.
‘Say quick,’ quoth he ‘I bid thee say—
What manner of man art thou?’

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns;
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

What loud uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding-guests are there:
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bride-maids singing are;
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer!

O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:
So lonely ’twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
‘Tis sweeter far to me,
To walk together to the kirk
With a goodly company!—

To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,
While each to his great Father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
And youths and maidens gay!

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.”

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom’s door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Poem: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive C-D, Coleridge, Coleridge, Samuel Taylor


Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Love

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Love

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.

Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o’er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
Beside the ruined tower.

The moonshine, stealing o’er the scene
Had blended with the lights of eve:
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve!.

She leant against the arméd man,
The statue of the arméd knight:
She stood and listened to my lay,
Amid the lingering light.

Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope ! my joy ! my Genevieve !
She loves me best, whene’er I sing
The songs that make her grieve.

I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story-
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace:
For well she know, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand:
And that for ten long years he wooed
The Lady of the Land.

I told her how he pined : and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another’s love,
Interpreted my own.

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace:
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face!.

But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he crossed the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night:

That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade,-

There came and looked him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright:
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight!.

And that unknowing what he did,
He leaped amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land!.

And how she wept, and clasped his knees:
And how she tended him in vain-
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain ;-

And that she nursed him in a cave:
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves
A dying man he lay ;-

His dying words -but when I reached
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faultering voice and pausing harp
Disturbed her soul with pity!.

All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve:
The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve:

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherished long!.

She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love, and virgin-shame:
And like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.

Her bosom heaved -she stepped aside,
As conscious of my look she stepped-
The suddenly, with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.

She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace:
And bending back her head, looked up,
And gazed upon my face.

‘Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly ’twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,
The swelling of her heart.

I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride:
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Love
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Youth And Age a poem

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Youth And Age a poem

Verse, a breeze ‘mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young? Ah, woeful When!
Ah! for the change ‘twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands
How lightly then it flashed along,
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I lived in’t together.

Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O the joys! that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old!
Ere I was old? Ah woeful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth’s no longer here!
O Youth! for years so many and sweet
‘Tis known that Thou and I were one,
I’ll think it but a fond conceit
It cannot be that Thou art gone!
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolled
And thou wert aye a masker bold!
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe that thou art gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But Springtide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes:
Life is but Thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are housemates still.

Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life’s a warning
That only serves to make us grieve
When we are old:
That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest
That may not rudely be dismist;
Yet hath out-stayed his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Poem: Youth And Age
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Xanadu – Kubla Khan

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Xanadu – Kubla Khan

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Xanadu – Kubla Khan
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: The Presence of Love

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Presence of Love

And in Life’s noisiest hour,
There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee,
The heart’s Self-solace and soliloquy.

You mould my Hopes, you fashion me within;
And to the leading Love-throb in the Heart
Thro’ all my Being, thro’ my pulse’s beat;
You lie in all my many Thoughts, like Light,
Like the fair light of Dawn, or summer Eve
On rippling Stream, or cloud-reflecting Lake.

And looking to the Heaven, that bends above you,
How oft! I bless the Lot that made me love you.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Poem: The Presence of Love
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Frost at Midnight poem

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Frost at Midnight

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet’s cry
Came loud, -and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
‘Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, every where
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.

But O! how oft,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birthplace, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man’s only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor’s face, mine eye
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger’s face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My playmate when we both were clothed alike!

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
Fill up the interspersed vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought!
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Frost at Midnight
fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive C-D, Coleridge, Coleridge, Samuel Taylor


Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE: Desire

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Desire

Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
And but translates the language of the heart.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Desire
fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive C-D, Coleridge, Coleridge, Samuel Taylor


Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Frost at Midnight (vertaling Cornelis W. Schoneveld)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834)

 

Frost at Midnight

The Frost performs its secret ministry,

Unhelped by any wind. The owlet’s cry

Came loud – and hark, again! loud as before.

The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,

Have left me to that solitude, which suits

Abstruser musings: save that at my side

My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.

‘Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs

And vexes meditation with its strange

And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,

This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,

With all the numberless goings-on of life,

Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame

Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;

Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.

Methinks its motion in this hush of nature

Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,

Making it a companionable form,

Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit

By its own moods interprets, everywhere

Echo or mirror seeking of itself,

And makes a toy of Thought.

 

                                                 But O! how oft,

How oft at school, with most believing mind,

Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,

To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft

With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt

Of my sweet birthplace, and the old church tower,

Whose bells, the poor man’s only music, rang

From morn to evening, all the hot fair-day,

So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me

With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear

Most like articulate sounds of things to come!

So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,

Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!

And so I brooded all the following morn,

Awed by the stern preceptor’s face, mine eye

Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:

Save if the door half opened, and I snatched

A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,

For still I hoped to see the stranger’s face,

Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,

My playmate when we both were clothed alike!

 

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,

Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,

Fill up the interspersèd vacancies

And momentary pauses of the thought!

My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart

With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,

And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,

And in far other scenes! For I was reared

In the great city, pent ‘mid cloisters dim,

And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.

But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze

By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags

Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,

Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores

And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear

The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible

Of that eternal language, which thy God

Utters, who from eternity doth teach

Himself in all, and all things in himself.

Great universal Teacher! he shall mold

Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

 

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,

Whether the summer clothe the general earth

With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing

Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch

Of mossy apple tree, while the nigh thatch

Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall

Heard only in the trances of the blast,

Or if the secret ministry of frost

Shall hang them up in silent icicles,

Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

1798

 

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Vorst te middernacht

De vorst werkt stil aan zijn geheime taak,

Geen wind die daarbij helpt. Het uiltje gaf

Zijn luide roep – en hoor, weer! even luid.

Alle bewoners van mijn stulpje slapen nu,

En bieden mij afzondering, die past

Bij diepergaand gepeins: behalve dan

Dat naast mij kalm mijn wiegekindje rust.

Hoe vredig! Zo zeer, dat ‘t bezinning stoort

En tegenwerkt door buitensporige

En vreemde stilligheid. Zee, heuvel, bos,

Dit volk-rijk dorp! Zee, heuvel, bos,

Met al die grote drukte van ‘t bestaan,

Onhoorbaar als een droom! De dunne vlam

Dekt blauw mijn smeulend vuur, en wappert niet;

Maar ‘n film, die trillend op het rooster lag,

Trilt nu nog steeds, en stoort de rust alleen.

Medunkt die onrust in de stilte der natuur

Geeft het wat meegevoel met mij die leeft,

Waardoor zich ‘n deelgenootschap vormt,

En, sluimerend, de geest ‘t zwak fladderen

Door de eigen stemmingen verklaart, op zoek

Naar echo’s of een spiegel van zichzelf,

En spel maakt van gepeins.

 

                                    Maar O! hoe vaak,

Hoe vaak op school, in goedgelovigheid,

Staard’ ik met voorgevoel de spijlen aan,

En zag die fladderende vreemde! * Vaak

Ook had ik, d’ ogen open, zoet gedroomd

Van waar mijn wieg stond, van de kerkklok,

De enige muziek der arme man, die klonk

Van vroeg tot laat, de ganse, warme dag,

Zo lieflijk, dat het mij ontroerde en greep

Met wild plezier, en in mijn oren zonk

Als ‘t klinkklaar luiden van wat komen zou!

Zo staarde ik, tot ik kalmerend door die droom,

In slaap viel, en die droom weer langer werd!

Zo mijmerde ik de dag daarop nog door.

Mijn oog, bevreesd voor meester’s strenge blik,

Kleefde al spijbelend aan mijn drijvend boek:

Behalve als bij open deur, ik snel

Een blik wierp, en mijn hart weer opsprong,

Want steeds nog keek ik naar de vreemde uit,

Stedeling, tante, zuster meer geliefd,

Mijn makker, nog gelijk gekleed als ik!

 

Lief kindje, naast mij slapend in je wieg,

Wiens zachte adem, hoorbaar in de rust,

De leemtes en de korte pauzes soms

Verspreid in de gedachtenstromen vult!

Mijn kind, zo schoon! Het schenkt mijn hart

Een tere vreugd, als ik zo naar je kijk,

En weet dat jij veel, anders leren zult,

En in heel ander landschap ook! Want ik

Groeide gekloosterd als een stadskind op,

En zag aan schoons slechts sterren en de lucht.

Maar jij, mijn kind, zult zwerven als een bries

Aan meer en oever, onder aan de kloof

Van ‘n oude berg, en onder ‘t wolkendek,

Dat in zijn opbouw oever, meer, en kloof

Verbeeldt: zo zul je zien en horen ook

De liefelijke vormen en bevattelijke klank

Van die onsterfelijke taal, door God

Gesproken, die zich eeuwig onderwijst

In ‘t al, en alle dingen in Zichzelf.

De grote algehele Leraar! Hij boetseert

Je geest, and zorgt door geven dat die vraagt.

 

Daarom zal elk seizoen je dierbaar zijn,

Of nu de zomer heel de aarde kleedt

In ‘t groen, of ‘t roodborstje zit en zingt

Tussen de plekjes sneeuw op ‘n kale tak

Van een bemoste appelboom, terwijl

Het rietdak dampt in zonnedooi; of nu

Dakdruppels spetteren bij geluwde wind,

Of dat, door de geheime taak der vorst,

Ze onhoorbaar neerhangen als ijspegels,

In stilte schijnend naar de stille maan.

 

* Vreemde: de roetfilm die boven het rooster zweeft wordt “overal in het land vreemde genoemd en kondigt de komst van een afwezige bekende aan” (aantekening van Coleridge)

 

Vertaling Cornelis W. Schoneveld

Uit: Bestorm mijn hart, de beste Engelse gedichten uit de 16e-19e eeuw gekozen en vertaald door Cornelis W. Schoneveld, tweetalige editie. Rainbow Essentials no. 55, Uitgeverij Maarten Muntinga, Amsterdam, 2008, 296 pp, € 9,95 ISBN: 9789041740588

Kempis.nl poetry magazine

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Mad Mother

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834)

 

The Mad Mother

 

Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,

The sun has burnt her coal-black hair,

Her eye-brows have a rusty stain,

And she came far from over the main.

She has a baby on her arm,

Or else she were alone;

And underneath the hay-stack warm,

And on the green-wood stone,

She talked and sung the woods among;

And it was in the English tongue.

 

"Sweet babe! they say that I am mad,

But nay, my heart is far too glad;

And I am happy when I sing

Full many a sad and doleful thing:

Then, lovely baby, do not fear!

I pray thee have no fear of me,

But, safe as in a cradle, here

My lovely baby! thou shalt be,

To thee I know too much I owe;

I cannot work thee any woe.

 

A fire was once within my brain;

And in my head a dull, dull pain;

And fiendish faces one, two, three,

Hung at my breasts, and pulled at me.

But then there came a sight of joy;

It came at once to do me good;

I waked, and saw my little boy,

My little boy of flesh and blood;

Oh joy for me that sight to see!

For he was here, and only he.

 

Suck, little babe, oh suck again!

It cools my blood; it cools my brain;

Thy lips I feel them, baby! they

Draw from my heart the pain away.

Oh! press me with thy little hand;

It loosens something at my chest;

About that tight and deadly band

I feel thy little fingers press’d.

The breeze I see is in the tree;

It comes to cool my babe and me.

 

Oh! love me, love me, little boy!

Thou art thy mother’s only joy;

And do not dread the waves below,

When o’er the sea-rock’s edge we go;

The high crag cannot work me harm,

Nor leaping torrents when they howl;

The babe I carry on my arm,

He saves for me my precious soul;

Then happy lie, for blest am I;

Without me my sweet babe would die.

 

Then do not fear, my boy! for thee

Bold as a lion I will be;

And I will always be thy guide,

Through hollow snows and rivers wide.

I’ll build an Indian bower; I know

The leaves that make the softest bed:

And if from me thou wilt not go,

But still be true ’till I am dead,

My pretty thing! then thou shalt sing,

As merry as the birds in spring.

 

Thy father cares not for my breast,

‘Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest:

‘Tis all thine own! and if its hue

Be changed, that was so fair to view,

‘Tis fair enough for thee, my dove!

My beauty, little child, is flown;

But thou wilt live with me in love,

And what if my poor cheek be brown?

‘Tis well for me; thou canst not see

How pale and wan it else would be.

 

Dread not their taunts, my little life!

I am thy father’s wedded wife;

And underneath the spreading tree

We two will live in honesty.

If his sweet boy he could forsake,

With me he never would have stay’d:

From him no harm my babe can take,

But he, poor man! is wretched made,

And every day we two will pray

For him that’s gone and far away.

 

I’ll teach my boy the sweetest things;

I’ll teach him how the owlet sings.

My little babe! thy lips are still,

And thou hast almost suck’d thy fill.

–Where art thou gone my own dear child?

What wicked looks are those I see?

Alas! alas! that look so wild,

It never, never came from me:

If thou art mad, my pretty lad,

Then I must be for ever sad.

 

Oh! smile on me, my little lamb!

For I thy own dear mother am.

My love for thee has well been tried:

I’ve sought thy father far and wide.

I know the poisons of the shade,

I know the earth-nuts fit for food;

Then, pretty dear, be not afraid;

We’ll find thy father in the wood.

Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away!

And there, my babe; we’ll live for aye.


S.T. Coleridge: The Mad Mother

kempis poetry magazine

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Nightingale

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834)

The Nightingale


A Conversational Poem

Written in April 1798


No cloud, no relique of the sunken day

Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip

Of sullen Light, no obscure trembling hues.

Come, we will rest on this old mossy Bridge!

You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,

But hear no murmuring: it flows silently

O’er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,

A balmy night! and tho’ the stars be dim,

Yet let us think upon the vernal showers

That gladden the green earth, and we shall find

A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.

And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,

"Most musical, most melancholy"[1] Bird!

A melancholy Bird? O idle thought!

In nature there is nothing melancholy.

–But some night-wandering Man, whose heart was pierc’d

With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,

Or slow distemper or neglected love,

(And so, poor Wretch! fill’d all things with himself

And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale

Of his own sorrows) he and such as he

First nam’d these notes a melancholy strain;

And many a poet echoes the conceit,

Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme

When he had better far have stretch’d his limbs

Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell

By sun or moonlight, to the influxes

Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements

Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song

And of his fame forgetful! so his fame

Should share in nature’s immortality,

A venerable thing! and so his song

Should make all nature lovelier, and itself

Be lov’d, like nature!–But ’twill not be so;

And youths and maidens most poetical

Who lose the deep’ning twilights of the spring

In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still

Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs

O’er Philomela’s pity-pleading strains.

My Friend, and my Friend’s Sister! we have learnt

A different lore: we may not thus profane

Nature’s sweet voices always full of love

And joyance! ‘Tis the merry Nightingale

That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates

With fast thick warble his delicious notes,

As he were fearful, that an April night

Would be too short for him to utter forth

His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul

Of all its music! And I know a grove

Of large extent, hard by a castle huge

Which the great lord inhabits not: and so

This grove is wild with tangling underwood,

And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,

Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.

But never elsewhere in one place I knew

So many Nightingales: and far and near

In wood and thicket over the wide grove

They answer and provoke each other’s songs–

With skirmish and capricious passagings,

And murmurs musical and swift jug jug

And one low piping sound more sweet than all–

Stirring the air with such an harmony,

That should you close your eyes, you might almost

Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes,

Whose dewy leafits are but half disclos’d,

You may perchance behold them on the twigs,

Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,

Glistning, while many a glow-worm in the shade

Lights up her love-torch.

 

A most gentle maid

Who dwelleth in her hospitable home

Hard by the Castle, and at latest eve,

(Even like a Lady vow’d and dedicate

To something more than nature in the grove)

Glides thro’ the pathways; she knows all their notes,

That gentle Maid! and oft, a moment’s space,

What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,

Hath heard a pause of silence: till the Moon

Emerging, hath awaken’d earth and sky

With one sensation, and those wakeful Birds

Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,

As if one quick and sudden Gale had swept

An hundred airy harps! And she hath watch’d

Many a Nightingale perch giddily

On blosmy twig still swinging from the breeze,

And to that motion tune his wanton song,

Like tipsy Joy that reels with tossing head.

 

Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve,

And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!

We have been loitering long and pleasantly,

And now for our dear homes.–That strain again!

Full fain it would delay me!–My dear Babe,

Who, capable of no articulate sound,

Mars all things with his imitative lisp,

How he would place his hand beside his ear,

His little hand, the small forefinger up,

And bid us listen! And I deem it wise

To make him Nature’s playmate. He knows well

The evening star: and once when he awoke

In most distressful mood (some inward pain

Had made up that strange thing, an infant’s dream)

I hurried with him to our orchard plot,

And he beholds the moon, and hush’d at once

Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,

While his fair eyes that swam with undropt tears

Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well–

It is a father’s tale. But if that Heaven

Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up

Familiar with these songs, that with the night

He may associate Joy! Once more farewell,

Sweet Nightingale! once more, my friends! farewell.

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Nightingale

kempis poetry magazine

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Tale of The Dark Ladie

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834)

 

Introduction to the Tale of the Dark Ladie


The following poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old ballad word ‘Ladie’ for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is professedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity, as Camden says, will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a force and propriety in it. A heavier objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties explode around us in all directions, he should presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love: and five years ago, I own I should have allowed and felt the force of this objection. But alas! explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly, that novelty itself ceases to appear new; and it is possible that now, even a simple story, wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the hubbub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinctly audible (1799).

 

O leave the lily on its stem;

O leave the rose upon the spray;

O leave the elder-bloom, fair maids!

And listen to my lay.

 

A cypress and a myrtle-bough

This morn around my harp you twin’d,

Because it fashion’d mournfully

Its murmurs in the wind.

 

And now a tale of love and woe,

A woful tale of love I sing;

Hark, gentle maidens, hark! it sighs

And trembles on the string.

 

But most, my own dear Genevieve,

It sighs and trembles most for thee!

O come and hear the cruel wrongs

Befell the Dark Ladie!

 

And now once more a tale of woe,

A woful tale of love I sing;

For thee, my Genevieve! it sighs,

And trembles on the string.

 

When last I sang the cruel scorn

That craz’d this bold and lovely knight,

And how he roam’d the mountain-woods,

Nor rested day or night;

 

I promised thee a sister tale

Of man’s perfidious cruelty;

Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong

Befell the Dark Ladie.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

The Tale of The Dark Ladie

kempis poetry magazine

More in: Coleridge, Samuel Taylor


Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 4 poems

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834)

 

TO THE NIGHTINGALE

 

Sister of lovelorn poets, Philomel!

How many bards in city garret spent,

While at their window they with downward eye

Mark the faint lamp-beam on the kennell’d mud,

And listen to the drowsy cry of watchmen,

(Those hoarse, unfeather’d nightingales of time!)

How many wretched bards address thy name,

And hers, the full-orb’d queen, that shines above.

But I do hear thee, and the high bough mark,

Within whose mild moou-mellow’d foliage hid,

Thou warblest sad thy pity-pleading strains.

O I have listen’d, till my working soul,

Waked by those strains to thousand phantasies,

Absorb’d, hath ceas’d to listen! Therefore oft

I hymn thy name; and with a proud delight

Oft will I tell thee, minstrel of the moon,

Most musical, most melancholy bird!

That all thy soft diversities of tone,

Though sweeter far than the delicious airs

That vibrate from a white-arm’d lady’s harp,

What time the languishment of lonely love

Melts in her eye, and heaves her breast of snow,

Are not so sweet, as is the voice of her,

My Sara–best beloved of human kind!

When breathing the pure soul of tenderness,

She thrills me with the husband’s promised name!

 

 

SENTIMENTAL

 

The rose that blushes like the morn

Bedecks the valleys low;

And so dost thou, sweet infant corn,

My Angelina’s toe.

 

But on the rose there grows a thorn

That breeds disastrous woe;

And so dost thou, remorseless corn,

On Angelina’s toe.

 

 

THE EXCHANGE

 

We pledged our hearts, my love and I,–

I in my arms the maiden clasping;

I could not tell the reason why,

But, oh! I trembled like an aspen.

 

Her father’s love she bade me gain;

I went, and shook like any reed!

I strove to act the man–in vain!

We had exchanged our hearts indeed.

 

 

AN ODE TO THE RAIN

 

Composed Before Day-Light on the Morning Appointed for the Departure of a Very Worthy, But Not Very Pleasant Visitor, Whom It Was Feared The Rain Might Detain.

 

I know it is dark; and though I have lain

Awake, as I guess, an hour or twain,

I have not once open’d the lids of my eyes,

But I lie in the dark, as a blind man lies.

O Rain! that I lie listening to,

You’re but a doleful sound at best:

I owe you little thanks, ’tis true,

For breaking thus my needful rest!

Yet if, as soon as it is light,

O Rain! you will but take your flight,

I’ll neither rail, nor malice keep,

Though sick and sore for want of sleep.

 

But only now, for this one day,

Do go, dear Rain! do go away!

O Rain! with your dull two-fold sound,

The clash hard by, and the murmur all round!

You know, if you know aught, that we,

Both night and day, but ill agree:

For days, and months, and almost years,

Have limped on through this vale of tears,

Since body of mine, and rainy weather,

Have lived on easy terms together.

Yet if, as soon as it is light,

O Rain! you will but take your flight,

Though you should come again to-morrow,

And bring with you both pain and sorrow;

Though stomach should sicken, and knees should swell–

I’ll nothing speak of you but well.

But only now for this one day,

Do go, dear Rain! do go away!

 

Dear Rain! I ne’er refused to say

You’re a good creature in your way.

Nay, I could write a book myself,

Would fit a parson’s lower shelf,

Showing, how very good you are.–

What then? sometimes it must be fair!

And if sometimes, why not to-day?

Do go, dear Rain! do go away!

 

Dear Rain! if I’ve been cold and shy,

Take no offence! I’ll tell you why.

A dear old Friend e’en now is here,

And with him came my sister dear;

After long absence now first met,

Long months by pain and grief beset–

With three dear friends! in truth, we groan

Impatiently to be alone.

We three, you mark! and not one more!

The strong wish makes my spirit sore.

We have so much to talk about,

So many sad things to let out;

So many tears in our eye-corners,

Sitting like little Jacky Horners–

In short, as soon as it is day,

Do go, dear Rain! do go away.

 

And this I’ll swear to you, dear Rain!

Whenever you shall come again,

Be you as dull as e’er you could;

(And by the bye ’tis understood,

You’re not so pleasant, as you’re good;)

Yet, knowing well your worth and place,

I’ll welcome you with cheerful face;

And though you stay’d a week or more,

Were ten times duller than before;

Yet with kind heart, and right good will,

I’ll sit and listen to you still;

Nor should you go away, dear Rain!

Uninvited to remain.

But only now, for this one day,

Do go, dear Rain! do go away.

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 4 Poems

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More in: Coleridge, Samuel Taylor


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