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Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834 / Devon / England)

Ode To Georgiana, Duchess Of Devonshire, On The Twenty-Fourth Stanza In Her 'Passage Over Mount Gothard.'


'And hail the chapel! hail the platform wild
Where Tell directed the avenging dart,
With well-strung arm, that first preserved his child,
Then aimed the arrow at the tyrant's heart.'


Splendor's fondly fostered child!
And did you hail the platform wild,
Where once the Austrian fell
Beneath the shaft of Tell!
O Lady, nursed in pomp and pleasure!
Whence learn'd you that heroic measure?

Light as a dream your days their circlets ran.
From all that teaches brotherhood to Man
Far, far removed! from want, from hope, from fear!
Enchanting music lulled your infant ear,
Obeisance, praises sotohed your infant heart:
Emblazonments and old ancestral crests,
With many a bright obtrusive form of art,
Detained your eye from nature: stately vests,
That veiling strove to deck your charms divine,
Rich viands and the pleasurable wine,
Were yours unearned by toil; nor could you see
The unenjoying toiler's misery.
And yet, free Nature's uncorrupted child,
You hailed the chapel and the platform wild,
Where once the Austrian fell
Beneath the shaft of Tell!
O Lady, nursed in pomp and pleasure!
Whence learn'd you that heroic measure?

There crowd your finely-fibred frame,
All living faculties of bliss;
And Genius to your cradle came,
His forehead wreathed with lambent flame,
And bending low, with godlike kiss
Breathed in a more celestial life;
But boasts not many a fair compeer,
A heart as sensitive to joy and fear
And some, perchance, might wage an equal strife.
Some few, to nobler being wrought,
Corrivals in the nobler gift of thought.
Yet these delight to celebrate
Laurelled war and plumy state;
Or in verse and music dress
Tales of rustic happiness --
Pernicious tales! insidious strains!
That steel the rich man's breast,
And mock the lot unblest,
The sordid vices and the abject pains,
Which evermore must be
The doom of ignorance and penury!
But you, free Nature's uncorrupted child,
You hailed the chapel and the platform wild,
Where once the Austrian fell
Beneath the shaft of Tell!
O Lady, nursed in pomp and pleasure!
Whence learn'd you that heroic measure?

You were a mother! That most holy name,
Which Heaven and Nature bless,
I may not vilely prostitute to those
Whose infants owe them less
Than the poor caterpiller owes
Its gaudy parent fly.
You were a mother! at your bosom fed
The babes that loved you. You, with laughing eye,
Each twilight-thought, each nascent feeling read,
Which you yourself created. Oh! delight!
A secondt ime to be a mother,
Without the mother's bitter groans:
Another thought, and yet another,
By touch, or taste, by looks or tones
O'er the growing sense to roll,
The mother of your infant's soul!
The Angel of the Earth, who, while he guides
His chariot-planet round the goal of day,
All trembling gazes on the eye of God,
A moment turned his awful face away;
And as he viewed you, from his aspect sweet
New influences in your being rose,
Blest intuitions and communions fleet
With living Nature, in her joys and woes
Thenceforth your soul rejoiced to see
The shrine of social Liberty!
O beautiful! O Nature's child!
'Twas thence you hailed the platform wild
Where once the Austrian fell
Beneath the shaft of Tell!
O Lady, nursed in pomp and pleasure!
Thence learn'd you that heroic measure.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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