Treasure Island

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834 / Devon / England)

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The Good, Great Man


'How seldom, friend! a good great man inherits
Honour or wealth with all his worth and pains!
It sounds like stories from the land of spirits
If any man obtain that which he merits
Or any merit that which he obtains.'

Reply to the Above

For shame, dear friend, renounce this canting strain!
What would'st thou have a good great man obtain?
Place? titles? salary? a gilded chain?
Or throne of corses which his sword had slain?
Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends!
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? three treasures, LOVE, and LIGHT,
And CALM THOUGHTS, regular as infant's breath:
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night,
HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the ANGEL DEATH!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Thursday, November 03, 2011

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  • Kevin Straw (9/29/2012 10:24:00 AM)

    There is a fourth friend - the one who pretends friendship because the man is great. There are not many great men, even the good ones, that have love and calm thoughts - not even the likes of Mandela and Gandhi, though they are by definition filled with light - if that means great intelligence and wisdom. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (9/29/2012 9:27:00 AM)

    Great good men's treasures are indeed LOVE, and LIGHT, And CALM THOUGHTS and their friends are HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the ANGEL DEATH! They are not the means but the end sure as Coleridge says! (Report) Reply

  • Christian Eliab Ratnam (10/1/2005 1:50:00 AM)

    Beatiful poem! Mr Coleridge puts the rewards of a good man and the blessings he will have, in a poem. Bibilical philosophy of a good man! (Report) Reply

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