Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834 / Devon / England)
To A Friend, With An Unfinished Poem
Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
Elaborate and swelling; yet the heart
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse
Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought
Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wand'ring far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-loved sister's bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look,
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I, too, a sister had, an only sister --
She loved me dearly, and I doted on her;
To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows;
(As a sick patient in a nurse's arms,)
And of the heart those hidden maladies
That e'en from friendship's eye will shrink ashamed.
O! I have waked at midnight, and have wept
Because she was not! Cheerily, dear Charles!
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year;
Such warm presages feel I of high hope!
For not uninterested the dear maid
I've view'd her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories
That play around a sainted infant's head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind!)
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,
Prepared, when He his healing ray vouchsafes,
Thanksgiving to pour forth with lifted heart,
And praise him gracious with a brother's joy!
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