Continued--Dejection I was so fond



I was so fond of the sound of the poem yesterday, that I thought I would "serilaize" in order to make it more palatable to modern audiences. Sometimes long poems are daunting. But they should not be. One need read only what one can at a sitting and one may return to it. Dejection is not so long that the whole of it cannot be read in say ten minutes or so. But our schools have so firmly entrenched in our society a fear of poetry such that if a poem should run longer than a sonnet most people run screaming. So, now on to our feature.

from Dejection:An Ode
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

        O Lady! we receive but what we give,
          And in our life alone does Nature live:
            Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud!
                  And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
            Than that inanimate cold world allowed
            To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd,
                  Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth
            A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
                       Enveloping the Earth--
            And from the soul itself must there be sent
                  A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
            Of all sweet sounds the life and element!

            O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of me
            What this strong music in the soul may be!
            What, and wherein it doth exist,
            This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
            This beautiful and beauty-making power.
                  Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given,
            Save to the pure, and in their purest hour,
            Life, and Life's effluence, cloud at once and shower,
            Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power,
            Which wedding Nature to us gives in dower
                  A new Earth and new Heaven,
            Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud--
            Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud--
                       We in ourselves rejoice!
            And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
                  All melodies the echoes of that voice,
            All colours a suffusion from that light.
            There was a time when, though my path was rough,
                  This joy within me dallied with distress,
            And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
                  Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness:
            For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,
            And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine.
            But now afflictions bow me down to earth:
            Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth;
                       But oh! each visitation
            Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
                  My shaping spirit of Imagination.
            For not to think of what I needs must feel,
                  But to be still and patient, all I can;
            And haply by abstruse research to steal
                  From my own nature all the natural man--
                  This was my sole resource, my only plan:
            Till that which suits a part infects the whole,
            And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 6, 2003 7:58 AM.

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