Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834 / Devon / England)

Lines Composed In A Concert-Room


Nor cold nor stern my soul! Yet I detest
These scented rooms, where to a gaudy throug,
Heaves the proud harlot her distended breast
In intricacies of laborious song.

These feel not musics genuine power nor deign
To melt at Natures passion-warbled plaint;
But when the long-breathed singers up-trilled strain
Bursts in a squall, they gape for wonderment.

Hark! the deep buzz of vanity and hate!
Scornful, yet envious, with self-torturing sneer
My lady eyes some maid of humbler state,
While the pert captain, or the primmer priest,
Prattles accordant scandal in her ear.

0 give me, from this heartless scene released,
To hear our old musician, blind and gray,
(Whom, stretching from my nurses arms I kissed,)
His Scottish tunes and warlike marches play,
By moonshine, on the balmy summer-night,
The while I dance amid the tedded hay
With merry maids, whose ringlets toss in light.

Or lies the purple evening on the bay
Of the calm glossy lake, O let me hid
Unheard, unseen, behind the alder-trees,
For round their roots the fisher's boat is tied,
On whose trim seat doth Edmund stretch at ease,
And while the lazy boat sways to and fro,
Breathes in his flute sad airs, so wild and slow,
That his own cheek is wet with quiet tears.

But O, dear Anne! when midnight wind careers,
And the gust pelting on the out-house shed
Makes the cock shrilly on the rain-storm crow,
To hear thee sing some ballad full of woe,
Ballad of ship-wrecked sailor floating dead,
Whom his own true-love buried in the sands!
Thee, gentle woman, for thy voice re-measures
Whatever tones and melancholy pleasures
The things of Nature utter; birds or trees
Or moan of ocean-gale in weedy caves,
Or where the stiff grass mid the heath-plant waves,
Murmur and music thin of sudden breeze.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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