Life Poems: Human Life - Poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Human Life - Poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

If dead, we cease to be ; if total gloom
Swallow up life's brief flash for aye, we fare
As summer-gusts, of sudden birth and doom,
Whose sound and motion not alone declare,
But are their whole of being ! If the breath
Be Life itself, and not its task and tent,
If even a soul like Milton's can know death ;
O Man ! thou vessel purposeless, unmeant,
Yet drone-hive strange of phantom purposes !
Surplus of Nature's dread activity,
Which, as she gazed on some nigh-finished vase,
Retreating slow, with meditative pause,
She formed with restless hands unconsciously.
Blank accident ! nothing's anomaly !
If rootless thus, thus substanceless thy state,
Go, weigh thy dreams, and be thy hopes, thy fears,
The counter-weights !--Thy laughter and thy tears
Mean but themselves, each fittest to create
And to repay the other ! Why rejoices
Thy heart with hollow joy for hollow good ?
Why cowl thy face beneath the mourner's hood ?
Why waste thy sighs, and thy lamenting voices,
Image of Image, Ghost of Ghostly Elf,
That such a thing as thou feel'st warm or cold ?
Yet what and whence thy gain, if thou withhold
These costless shadows of thy shadowy self ?
Be sad ! be glad ! be neither ! seek, or shun !
Thou hast no reason why ! Thou canst have none ;
Thy being's being is contradiction.


Comments about Human Life by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Rookie - 391 Points Dr Lakshmi S Bose (10/15/2019 11:50:00 PM)

    nice one, beautifully written (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie Ty kun (8/5/2019 1:31:00 PM)

    This is a reductio ad absurdum against those who deny the immortality of the soul. There is nothing bleak or nihilistic about this poem. This is the perfect marriage of verse and logos. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Rookie KEERTHY (7/2/2018 9:11:00 AM)

    VERY GOOD POE.MY APPLASEAND LOVE TO YOU (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 0 Points Kate Coates Coates (4/16/2019 1:03:00 PM)

    Earn money online by doing home jobs on net
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    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie Chalo John (6/30/2016 1:51:00 PM)

    It is true that life is meaningless even though we forget that. (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 0 Points Peter Cheyne (3/2/2016 1:57:00 AM)

    Instead of reading this poem as kind advice to a likeminded other, try reading it as Coleridge––who did not believe that once 'dead, we cease to be'––attempting to persuade an atheist that human life is indeed meaningful, and that our life is not 'Blank accident! nothing's anomaly! ' Those who believe, however, that human life is merely 'Blank accident', have no reason by their own premises, Coleridge is arguing, to be sad––or glad. (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 264 Points Richy Alzy (2/25/2016 9:13:00 PM)

    ..Thy being's being is contradiction. Often times we seem to wonder the true purpose of our existence. If death could but have no effect on us, would life still be of value? This I keep pondering every now and then. Great work Sire! (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Veteran Poet - 1,351 Points John Ugolo Umah (2/25/2016 4:33:00 PM)

    Indeed we are seized by death. Very nice ink. (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 222,556 Points Susan Williams (2/25/2016 1:38:00 PM)

    I could not enjoy life as something meaningless- - -
    - - - -Be sad! be glad! be neither! seek, or shun!
    Thou hast no reason why! Thou canst have none;
    Thy being's being is contradiction.
    (Report) Reply

    19 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 5,338 Points Uzefa Rashida M.a (2/25/2016 8:36:00 AM)

    Life and death both are contradictory and exist only in the absence of the other. (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 123,762 Points Ramesh T A (2/25/2016 8:22:00 AM)

    Human life is indeed a big contradiction according to S T Coleridge! Rejoicing or loathing in life cannot change death if our life is brief or big in this world that even Milton knew pretty well! Ah! What a bold exposition about human life in this ephemeral world! (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 12 comments »
Life Poems
  1. 1. A Psalm Of Life
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  2. 2. Life
    Charlotte Brontë
  3. 3. Life In A Love
    Robert Browning
  4. 4. O Me! O Life!
    Walt Whitman
  5. 5. Love In A Life
    Robert Browning
  6. 6. The Buried Life
    Matthew Arnold
  7. 7. Life In A Bottle
    Robert Browning
  8. 8. Full Of Life, Now
    Walt Whitman
  9. 9. Human Life
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  10. 10. Too Much Of A Good Thing (Life Life Li..
    Udiah (witness to Yah)
  11. 11. Life
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  12. 12. How Life Is For Life (Tanka)
    Muzahidul Reza
  13. 13. River Of Life, The
    Thomas Campbell
  14. 14. Life Is What Life Is
    Edward Veilleux
  15. 15. An Image From A Past Life
    William Butler Yeats
  16. 16. What Is Life?
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  17. 17. Life (The Real Meaning Of Life)
    C.N.Premkumar (love poems, V ..
  18. 18. Each Life Converges To Some Centre
    Emily Dickinson
  19. 19. Xxxvi Life-In-Love
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  20. 20. Life Is Love, And Love Is Life
    Anna Jonson
  21. 21. A Life Went Wrong.......The Denial Of Life
    saadat tahir
  22. 22. Life Goes On
    Elizabeth Quinn
  23. 23. Love Love - Life Life
    Mohammed Asim Nehal
  24. 24. A Life Of Death, Or The Death Of Life
    Andre Veilleux
  25. 25. Views Of Life
    Anne Brontë
  26. 26. Life Beyond, The
    Rupert Brooke
  27. 27. Ploughman's Life, The
    Robert Burns
  28. 28. Leaflets From My Life - My Father's Firs..
    Dr. Geeta Radhakrishna Menon
  29. 29. The Country Life:
    Robert Herrick
  30. 30. (c) 1 (Life/Philosophy) Life Is....
    Renu Rakheja a.k.a Tranquil ..
  31. 31. Choice? (Life Life Life Life Life)
    Udiah (witness to Yah)
  32. 32. Weave In, Weave In, My Hardy Life
    Walt Whitman
  33. 33. Life Is The Body's Light
    Robert Herrick
  34. 34. End To Life And Life To Come
    Cassandra Reiman
  35. 35. Life Is Just Like Life
    Rahman Henry
  36. 36. One Life To Live One Life To Love
    pinky porwal
  37. 37. Life Is Life
    Samir E...
  38. 38. Long Life (Life Is Too Short, But Just ..
    Tricia Mae Chua
  39. 39. Tie The Strings To My Life, My Lord,
    Emily Dickinson
  40. 40. The Plaudite, Or End Of Life
    Robert Herrick
  41. 41. Imagine Life Rights Click Here To Liste..
    Bernadette Gannon
  42. 42. My Life, My Worthless Life
    Gary Witt
  43. 43. Life...After Life
    (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  44. 44. Life Raft Of Life
    (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  45. 45. Life, Purpose, My Life... My Life...
    Yiannis Baki
  46. 46. Shopping For Yourself (Life Life Life ..
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  47. 47. The Life Of A Pumpkin Begins At Its Poll..
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  48. 48. Life Of My Life, You Seem To Me
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  50. 50. A Life Without A Life...
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Life Poems

  1. Life

    LIFE, believe, is not a dream So dark as sages say; Oft a little morning rain Foretells a pleasant day. Sometimes there are clouds of gloom, But these are transient all; If the shower will make the roses bloom, O why lament its fall ? Rapidly, merrily, Life's sunny hours flit by, Gratefully, cheerily, Enjoy them as they fly ! What though Death at times steps in And calls our Best away ? What though sorrow seems to win, O'er hope, a heavy sway ? Yet hope again elastic springs, Unconquered, though she fell; Still buoyant are her golden wings, Still strong to bear us well. Manfully, fearlessly, The day of trial bear, For gloriously, victoriously, Can courage quell despair !

  2. Life In A Love

    Escape me? Never--- Beloved! While I am I, and you are you, So long as the world contains us both, Me the loving and you the loth While the one eludes, must the other pursue. My life is a fault at last, I fear: It seems too much like a fate, indeed! Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed. But what if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep the nerves at strain, To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall, And, baffled, get up and begin again,--- So the chace takes up one's life ' that's all. While, look but once from your farthest bound At me so deep in the dust and dark, No sooner the old hope goes to ground Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark, I shape me--- Ever Removed!

  3. Love In A Life

    I. Room after room, I hunt the house through We inhabit together. Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her--- Next time, herself!---not the trouble behind her Left in the curtain, the couch's perfume! As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew: Yon looking-glass gleaned at the wave of her feather. II. Yet the day wears, And door succeeds door; I try the fresh fortune--- Range the wide house from the wing to the centre. Still the same chance! She goes out as I enter. Spend my whole day in the quest,---who cares? But 'tis twilight, you see,---with such suites to explore, Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!

  4. O Me! O Life!

    O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the struggle ever renew'd; Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here--that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

  5. A Psalm Of Life

    Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,— act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.

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