'Dejection' (excerpt) - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
For all those still suffering from Saturday's result, or from projects cast asunder by economic disarray, there are lines from Coleridge that give comfort. Consider this:
Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live.
Too true. (Read all that one here.)
And then there's the lines he offers from 'Dejection':
Read on here for the full poem...
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear, A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
Which finds no natural outlet, no relief,
In word, or sigh, or tear--
O Lady ! in this wan and heartless mood,
To other thoughts by yonder throstle woo'd,
All this long eve, so balmy and serene, Have I been gazing on the western sky, And its peculiar tint of yellow green : And still I gaze--and with how blank an eye !
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars,
That give away their motion to the stars ;
Those stars, that glide behind them or between,
Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen :
Yon crescent Moon, as fixed as if it grew
In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue ;
I see them all so excellently fair,
I see, not feel, how beautiful they are !
My genial spirits fail ;
And what can these avail
To lift the smothering weight from off my breast ? It were a vain endeavour,
Though I should gaze for ever
On that green light that lingers in the west :
I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
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 !
VO 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.
VIThere 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...