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POETICAL WORKS

PREFACE.

SAMUEL T. COLERIDGE.

THE

Juvenile Poems.

COMPOSITIONS resembling those here collected are not unfrequently condemned for their querulous Erotism. But Egotism is to be condemned then only when it offends against time and place, as in a Hislory or an Epic Poem. To censure it in a Monody or Sonnet is almost as absurd as to dislike a circle for being round. Why then write Sonnets or Monodies? Because they give me pleasure when perhaps nothing else could. After the more violent emotions of Sorrow, the inind demands amusement, and can End it in employment alone: but, full of its late sufferings, it can endure no employment not in some measure connected with them. Forcibly to turn away our attention to general subjects is a painful and most often an unavailing effort.

But 01 how grateful to a wounded heart
The tale of Misery to impart-

From others' eyes bid artless sorrows flow,
And raise esteem upon the base of Woe!

OF

Holy be the lay

Which mourning soothes the mourner on his way.

• Ossian.

Pleasures of Imagination. disgusting; not that which leads us to communicate There is one species of Egotism which is truly our feelings to others but that which would reduce the feelings of others to an identity with our own The Atheist, who exclaims glances his eye on the praises of Deity, is an Egotist: pshaw!" when he an old man, when he speaks contemptuously of Loveverses, is an Egotist: and the sleek Favorites of Fortune are Egotists, when they condemn all " melancholy, discontented" verses. Surely, it would be candid not merely to ask whether the poem pleases ourselves, but to consider whether or no there may not be others, to whom it is well calculated to give an innocent pleasure.

Shaw.

The communicativeness of our Nature leads us to describe our own sorrows; in the endeavor to describe them, intellectual activity is exerted; and for intellectual activity there results a pleasure, jects, which he reads at one time and under the inwhich is gradually associated, and mingles as a cor- fluence of one set of feelings, were written at differ

I shall only add, that each of my readers will, I hope, remember, that these Poems on various sub

tive, with the painful subject of the description. ent times and prompted by very different feelings; "True!" (it may be answered) "but how are the and therefore that the supposed inferiority of one PUBLIC interested in your sorrows or your Descrip- Poem to another may sometimes be owing to the tion?" We are for ever attributing personal Unities temper of mind in which he happens to peruse it. maginary Aggregates. What is the PUBLIC, but a em for a number of scattered individuals? of whom as many will be interested in these sorrows, as have experienced the same or similar.

If I could judge of others by myself, I should not besitate to affirm, that the most interesting passages are those in which the Author develops his own feelings? The sweet voice of Cona* never sounds sweetly, as when it speaks of itself; and I should almost suspect that man of an unkindly heart, who uld read the opening of the third book of the Paradise Lost without peculiar emotion. By a Law of our Nature, he, who labors under a strong feeling, is

impelled to seck for sympathy; but a Poet's feelings are all strong. Quicquid amet valde amat. Akenside therefore speaks with philosophical accuracy when he classes Love and Poetry, as producing the same effects:

Love and the wish of Poets when their tongue
Would teach to others' bosoms, what so charms
Their own.

My poems have been rightly charged with a pro fusion of double-epithets, and a general turgidness I have pruned the double-epithets with no sparing hand; and used my best efforts to tame the swell and glitter both of thought and diction.* This latter

Without any feeling of anger, I may yet be allowed to express some degree of surprise, that after having run the critical gauntlet for a certain class of faults, which I had, viz. a too ornate and elaborately poetic diction, and nothing having come before the judgment-seat of the Reviewers during the long interval, I should for at least seventeen years, quarter after quarter, have been placed by them in the foremost rank ridicule for faults directly opposite, viz. bald and prosaic lanof the proscribed, and made to abide the brunt of abuse and guage, and an affected simplicity both of matter and manner -faults which assuredly did not enter into the character of my compositions.-Literary Life, i 51. Published 1817

fault however had insinuated itself into my Religious
Musings with such intricacy of union, that some-
times I have omitted to disentangle the weed from
the fear of snapping the flower. A third and heavier
accusation has been brought against me, that of ob-
scurity; but not, I think, with equal justice. An
Author is obscure, when his conceptions are dim.
and imperfect, and his language incorrect, or unap-
propriate, or involved. A poem that abounds in
allusions, like the Bard of Gray, or one that imper-
sonates high and abstract truths, like Collins's Ode
on the poetical character, claims not to be popular-
but should be acquitted of obscurity. The deficiency
is in the Reader. But this is a charge which every
poet, whose imagination is warm and rapid, must
expect from his contemporaries. Milton did not
escape it; and it was adduced with virulence against
Gray and Collins. We now hear no more of it:
not that their poems are better understood at present,
than they were at their first publication; but their
fame is established; and a critic would accuse him-
self of frigidity or inattention, who should profess
not to understand them. But a living writer is yet
sub judice; and if we cannot follow his conceptions
or enter into his feelings, it is more consoling to our
pride to consider him as lost beneath, than as soaring
above us. If any man expect from my poems the O'er rough and smooth with even step he pass'd,
same easiness of style which he admires in a drink- And knows not whether he be first or last.
ing-song, for him I have not written. Intelligibilia,
non intellectum adfero.

This far outstript the other;
Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
And looks and listens for the boy behind:
For he, alas! is blind!

I expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings; and I consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own "exceeding great reward:" it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude: and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and the Beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me. S. T. C.

JUVENILE POEMS.

GENEVIEVE.

MAID of my Love, sweet Genevieve!
In beauty's light you glide along :
Your eye is like the star of eve,
And sweet your voice, as seraph's song.
Yet not your heavenly beauty gives
This heart with passion soft to glow:
Within your soul a voice there lives!
It bids you hear the tale of woe.
When sinking low the sufferer wan
Beholds no hand outstretch'd to save,
Fair, as he bosom of the swan
That rises graceful o'er the wave,
I've seen your breast with pity heave,
And therefore love I you, sweet Genevieve!

SONNET.

TO THE AUTUMNAL MOON.

MILD Splendor of the various-vested Night!
Mother of wildly-working visions! hail!
I watch thy gliding, while with watery light
Thy weak eye glimmers through a fleecy veil;

And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gather'd blackness lost on high;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o'er the awaken'd sky
Ah such is Hope' as changeful and as fair!
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the dragon-wing'd Despair ·
But soon emerging in her radiant might,
She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.

TIME, REAL AND IMAGINARY.

AN ALLEGORY.

On the wide level of a mountain's head
(I knew not where, but 't was some faery place
Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread,
Two lovely children run an endless race,
A sister and a brother!

MONODY ON THE DEATH OF
CHATTERTON.

O WHAT a wonder seems the fear of death,
Seeing how gladly we all sink to sleep,
Babes, Children, Youths and Men,
Night following night for threescore years and ter
But doubly strange, where life is but a breath
To sigh and pant with, up Want's rugged steep.

Away, Grim Phantom! Scorpion King, away
Reserve thy terrors and thy stings display
For coward Wealth and Guilt in robes of state
Lo! by the grave I stand of one, for whom
A prodigal Nature and a niggard Doom
(That all bestowing, this withholding all)
Made each chance knell from distant spire or done
Sound like a seeking Mother's anxious call,
Return, poor Child! Home, weary Truant, home!

Thee, Chatterton! these unblest stones protect
From want, and the bleak freezings of neglect.
Too long before the vexing Storm-blast driven,
Here hast thou found repose! beneath this sod!
Thou! O vain word! thou dwell'st not with the clod
Amid the shining Host of the Forgiven
Thou at the throne of Mercy and thy God
The triumph of redeeming Love dost hymn
(Believe it, O my soul!) to harps of Seraphim.

Yet oft, perforce ('t is suffering Nature's call,)
weep, that heaven-born Genius sc shall fall;
And oft, in Fancy's saddest hour, my soul
Averted shudders at the poison'd bowl.
Now groans my sickening heart, as still I view
Thy corse of livid hue;

Now indignation checks the feeble sigh,

Or flashes through 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,"
unk to the cold earth Otway's famish'd form!

Sublime of thought, and confident of fame,
From vales where Avon winds, the Minstrel* came.
Light-hearted youth! aye, as he hastes along,
He meditates the future song,

How dauntless Ælla fray'd the Dacian foe;
And while the numbers flowing strong
In eddies whirl, in surges throng,
Exulting in the spirits' genial throe,
In tides of power his life-blood seems to flow.

And now his cheeks with deeper ardors flame,
His eyes have glorious meanings, that declare
More than the light of outward day shines there,
A holier triumph and a sterner aim!
Wings grow within him; and he soars above
Or Bard's, or Minstrel's lay of war or love.
Friend to the friendless, to the Sufferer health,
He bars the widow's prayer, the good man's praise;
To scenes of bliss transmutes his fancied wealth,
And young and old shall now see happy days.
On many a waste he bids trim gardens rise,
Gives the blue sky to many a prisoner's eyes;
And now in wrath he grasps the patriot steel,
And her own iron rod he makes Oppression feel.

Ah' where are fled the charms of vernal Grace,
And Joy's wild gleams that lighten'd o'er thy face?
Youth of tumultuous soul, and haggard eye!
Tay wasted form, thy hurried steps, I view,
On thy wan forehead starts the lethal dew,
And oh! the anguish of that shuddering sigh!

Such were the struggles of the gloomy hour,
When Care, of wither'd brow,
Prepar'd the poison's death-cold 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; my native cot she flash d upon thy view,

native cot, where still, at close of day, cace smiling sate, and listen'd to thy lay; Thy Sister's shrieks she bade thee hear, And mark thy Mother's thrilling tear;

See, see her breast's convulsive throe,
Her silent agony of woe!

Ah! dash the poison'd chalice from thy hand!
And thou hadst dash'd it, at her soft command,

Avan, a river near Bristol; the birth-place of Chatterton.

But that Despair and Indignation rose,
And told again the story of thy woes;
Told the keen insult of the unfeeling heart;
The dread dependence on the low-born mind;
Told every 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 through every freezing
vein!

late.
Poor Chatterton! farewell! of darkest hues
This chaplet cast I on thy unshaped tomb;
But dare no longer on the sad theme muse,
Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom:
For oh! big gall-drops, shook from Folly's wing,
Have blacken'd the fur promise of my spring;

Sweet Flower of Hope! free Nature's genial child! And the stern Fate transpierced with viewless dart
That didst so fair disclose thy early bloom,
The last pale Hope that shiver'd at my heart!
Filling the wide air with a rich perfume!
For thee in vain all heavenly aspects smiled;
From the hard world brief respite could they win-
The frost nipp'd sharp without, the canker prey'd

within!

Ye woods! that wave o'er Avon's rocky steep,
To Fancy's ear sweet is your murmuring deep!
For here she loves the cypress wreath to weave,
Watching, with wistful eye, the saddening 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 sequester'd tide
Lone-glittering, through the high tree branching wide
And here, in Inspiration's eager hour,
When most the big soul feels the mastering power,
These wilds, these caverns roaming o'er,
Round which the screaming sea-gul's soar,
With wild unequal steps he pass'd 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.

Who would have praised and loved thee, ere to
Poor Chatterton! he sorrows for thy fate

Hence, gloomy thoughts! no more my soul shai dwell

On joys that were! No more endure to weigh
The shame and anguish of the evil day,
Sublime of Hope I seek the cottaged dell,
Wisely forgetful! O'er the ocean swell
Where Virtue calm with careless step may stray
And, dancing to the moon-light roundelay.
The wizard Passions weave a holy spell!

O Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive!
Sure thou wouldst 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 strean
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 wi
Muse on the sore ills I had left behind.

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