Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834 / Devon / England)

The Suicide's Argument - Poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ere the birth of my life, if I wished it or no
No question was asked me--it could not be so !
If the life was the question, a thing sent to try
And to live on be YES; what can NO be ? to die.


Is't returned, as 'twas sent ? Is't no worse for the wear ?
Think first, what you ARE ! Call to mind what you WERE !
I gave you innocence, I gave you hope,
Gave health, and genius, and an ample scope,
Return you me guilt, lethargy, despair ?
Make out the invent'ry ; inspect, compare !
Then die--if die you dare !

Comments about The Suicide's Argument by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Kyle Fazo (10/27/2015 11:13:00 AM)

    this is a great poem (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Lakshmi S Bose Lakshmi S Bose (3/26/2015 4:39:00 AM)

    i love this poem, wonderful (Report) Reply

  • Oduro Bright Amoh (9/29/2014 5:07:00 PM)

    I love this poem. Profound and touching (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (6/23/2014 4:18:00 AM)

    Highly recommendable poem for avoiding such destruction oneself his own life called suicide. (Report) Reply

  • Akhtar Jawad Akhtar Jawad (6/23/2014 12:16:00 AM)

    You were great Coleridge. I love you, I love your poems. (Report) Reply

  • Alice Bently (6/23/2013 8:04:00 AM)

    I am not gone either.. (Report) Reply

  • Alice Bently (6/23/2013 8:00:00 AM)

    i am not angry.. I am always here.. Thank you god. No guilt. I am sorry.. I love you. I am here.. You gave me so much.. I thank you with my heart. (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed Aftab Alam Khursheed (6/23/2013 12:32:00 AM)

    Human being is so treacherous what we get tries to return making it useless, At a stretch one who adopt the suicide they think useless the gift of life and think it is forcefully given and hence they want a wishful return making it useless (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty Pranab K Chakraborty (6/23/2012 10:48:00 PM)

    Two lines I think emerge violently from the whole writing for the SUICIDER which I consider as the manifesto to take the decision of committing OR not-committing suicide:

    1] Think first, what you ARE! Call to mind what you WERE!

    2] Then die-if die you dare!

    After all suicide is the last weapon to confront the intense adversity for a non-compromising personality. The Poem is a brave work to give suicide an institutional recognition. Nice put from the old master.

    Pranab k chakraborty (Report) Reply

  • Merry Virgo (6/23/2010 10:00:00 PM)

    wow....Im glad i saw you here my dearest are my favorite poet you know that?
    hehe....I am so blessed I found you here...
    now I can read all your poems...
    nice one...
    god bless....
    yours, merrypens (Report) Reply

  • Joey Valenzuela (6/23/2010 9:57:00 PM)

    Coleridge pointed out: DO NOT COMMIT SUICIDE
    in the line:
    Then die-if die you dare

    and the argument of the creator there interfered.....
    as it says: Think first

    I gave you innocence, I gave you hope,
    Gave health, and genius, and an ample scope,

    Return you me guilt, lethargy, despair? +++++(think twice if you really wanna hurt me, says nature [or maybe nature represents GOD]) (Report) Reply

  • Undead Perez (6/23/2010 7:52:00 PM)

    Everyone needs to stop over-analyzing the poem. I mean if theres anything to discuss, then do indeed discuss the utterly amazing feeling it leaves behind after reading it. No one will ever know what Samuel Taylor Coleridge meant or was feeling when he wrote this. Maybe, thats a good thing because perhaps its purpose is to help you all find the meaning for yourself on your own accounts not with what you think he was trying to portray. Just relish in the beauty of this awesome poem and be content with that :) (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (6/23/2010 3:30:00 PM)

    For the multitudes of humanity who believe in a personal creator, the concept of God having written himself into his creation NATURE, is common throughout many religions. The concept of nature communicating to humanity in nature’s language, is also common in all hunter gatherer and nomadic societies. The Great Spirit communicating to Native American First Nation cultures, through nature as a real-life physical interdependence in relationship, in the web of Creation is one such example. The wilderness instills insists upon a voice in great literature like The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London, where nature definitely imposes survival rules, ignored at our peril.
    Harmon correctly defines Ruskin's 'pathetic fallacy' as descriptions of inanimate objects with human capabilities, sensations or emotions. Coleridge’s lines in “Christabel” ‘The one red leaf, the last of its clan, /That dances as often as dance it can’ is good 'pathetic fallacy'. This personification which the Greeks called prosopopeia, is inanimate objects endowed with life or human feelings and attributes, and this concept imbues Greek philosophy, in a world where pagan gods and such forces were as real as television and radio waves are for us today.

    Ruskin claimed such lines even if incredibly beautiful were false and morbid, therefore Shakespeare, the romantics and almost all poets by Ruskin’s definition would be morbid. Ruskin believed the use of 'pathetic fallacy' was valid only for the greatest poets, upon rare occasions when it would be, to quote M. H. Abrams, ‘inhuman to resist the pressure of powerful feelings to humanize perceived fact’. Ruskin recognized an extraordinary emotive influence of nature.

    A possible rational explanation for suicide, especially youth suicide, is examined in my poem ‘State Of 20th Century Man’, which when written in January 1982; was considered not publishable, due to the consideration it might upset some readers. A violation of sense and sensibility at that time. (Report) Reply

  • Ethan Clarke (6/23/2010 2:32:00 PM)

    I I I Cant Say Anything That Was So Good.......................... (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (6/23/2010 2:10:00 PM)

    I have to agree with Coleridge. Heck, I reconstructed this argument myself before I ever read this poem.
    What makes you deserve to die? It's fun, if anything.
    Not the point, Mr. Straw... I think you misinterpret Coleridge's idea of 'nature's argument'.
    It's more of an 'everything else' idea rather than a 'mother nature's rules' idea.
    More like half of 'God's' manifestation in Brave New World. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw Kevin Straw (6/23/2010 5:34:00 AM)

    The state of mind in which one actually kills oneself does not admit of reason. I saw a young girl commit suicide - rather I saw the flight of her body from a seventh floor window. I read in the local paper later that she had broken up with her boyfriend the day before she killed herself. I rather think Nature's admonition in Coleridge's poem would have been the last thing on her mind as she jumped.

    If someone commits suicide “rationally”, then it is because there are considerations such as honour which outweigh any other. Shakespeare’s Antony committed suicide because the life he considered worth living was ended and only humiliation and disgrace awaited him. Nature, in Coleridge’s terms would have nothing to say to him.

    There is a huge gulf between contemplating and committing suicide. (Report) Reply

  • Chamelle Humphries (6/23/2010 4:21:00 AM)

    this realy tugs at the (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (6/23/2010 4:08:00 AM)

    Suicide is an escape mechanism from situations. People who attempt suicide, are escaping. Such as being in a burning building on a high floor. Panic invokes and escape predominates the situation. Really rational thoughts are overpowered by panic and fear. His manifest of questions are rational and thus out of context of suicides motives. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A Ramesh T A (6/23/2010 2:33:00 AM)

    Wise questions provoking philosophical ideas Coleridge has written typical poetry of his calibre maintaining his great status among romantic poets forever here! (Report) Reply

  • Michael Harmon (6/23/2009 9:45:00 PM)

    I. Argumentum ad Hominem (abusive and circumstantial) : the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument. Often the argument is characterized simply as a personal attack.
    A. The personal attack is also often termed an 'ad personem argument': the statement or argument at issue is dropped from consideration or is ignored, and the locutor's character or circumstances are used to influence opinion.
    B. The fallacy draws its appeal from the technique of 'getting personal.' The assumption is that what the locutor is saying is entirely or partially dictated by his character or special circumstances and so should be disregarded.
    http: // (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: innocence, despair, birth, nature, hope, suicide, life

Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2001

Poem Edited: Monday, May 14, 2001

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