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Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834 / Devon / England)

To A Friend Who Had Declared His Intention Of Writing No More Poetry


Dear Charles! whilst yet thou wert a babe, I ween
That Genius plunged thee in that wizard fount
High Castalie: and (sureties of thy faith)
That Pity and Simplicity stood by.
And promised for thee that thou shouldst renounce
The world's low cares and lying vanities,
Steadfast and rooted in the heavenly Muse,
And washed and sanctified to Poesy.
Yes -- thou wert plunged but with forgetful hand
Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior son:
And with those recreant unbaptized heels
Thou'rt flying from thy bounden minist'ries--
So sore it seems and burthensome a task
To weave unwithering flowers! But take thou heed:
For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed boy,
And I have arrows mystically dipt,
Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead?
And shall he die unwept, and sink to earth
'Without the meed of one melodious tear?'
Thy Burns, and Nature's own beloved bard,
Who to the 'Illustrious of his native Land,
So properly did look for patronage.'
Ghost of Maecenas! hide thy blushing face!
They snatched him from the sickle and the plough--
To gauge ale-firkins.
Oh! for shame return!
On a bleak rock, midway the Aonian mount,
There stands a lone and melancholy tree,
Whose aged branches to the midnight blast
Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough,
Ere yet the unwholesome night-dew be exhaled,
And weeping wreath it round thy Poet's tomb.
Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow,
Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers
Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit,
These with stopped nostril and glove-guarded hand
Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine,
The illustrious brow of Scotch Nobility.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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