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TO THE REVEREND GEORGE COLERIDGE, OF
OTTERY ST. MARY, DEVON.
Notus in fratres animi paterni.
Hor. Carm. Lib. II. 2.
A blessed lot hath he, who having past
To me th' Eternal Wisdom hath dispens'd
A different fortune and more different mind-
Yet at times My soul is sad, that I have roam'd through life Still most a stranger, most with naked heart At mine own home and birth-place: chiefly then, When I remember thee, my earliest friend ! Thee, who didst watch my boy-hood and my youth ;
Didst trace my wanderings with a father's eye; And boding evil, yet still hoping good, Rebuk'd each fault and wept o'er all my woes. Who counts the beatings of the lonely heart, That Being knows how I have lov'd thee ever, Lor'd as a brother, as a son rever'd thee! O'tis to me an ever-new delight, My earger eye glist’ning with mem'ry's tear, To talk of thee and thine; or when the blast Of the shrill winter, rattling our rude sash, Endears the cleanly hearth and social bowl; Or when, as now, on some delicious eve, We in our sweet sequester'd orchard-plot Sit on the tree crook'd earth-ward ; whose old boughs, That hang above us in an arborous roof, Stirr'd by the faint gale of departing May Send their loose blossoms slanting o'er our heads !
Nor dost not thou sometimes recall those hours,
These various songs, Which I have fram'd in many a various mood, Accept my brother! and (for some perchance
Will strike discordant on thy milder mind)
S. T. COLERIDGE.
May 26th, 1797.' Nether-Stowey, Somerset.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
COMPOSITIONS resembling those of the present volume are not unfrequently condemned for their querulous egotism. But egotism is to be condemned then only when it offends against time and place, as in a history 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 mind demands amusement, and can find 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 0! how grateful to a wounded heart
The tale of misery to impart
Shaw. The communicativeness of our nature leads us to describe our own sorrows; in the endeavour to describe them, intellectual activity is exerted; and from intellectual activity there results a pleasure, which is gradually associated,