The Eolian Harp – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1796)

The Eolian Harp: Samuel Taylor Coleridge is essentially contrasting and comparing Love and Desire. The Eolian Harp is most Romantic and important Poems.

Eolian Harp Poem Text

My pensive Sara! thy soft cheek reclined

Thus on mine arm, most soothing sweet it is

To sit beside our Cot, our Cot o’ergrown

With white-flowered Jasmin, and the broad-leaved Myrtle,

(Meet emblems they of Innocence and Love!)

And watch the clouds, that late were rich with light,

Slow saddening round, and mark the star of eve

Serenely brilliant (such would Wisdom be)

Shine opposite! How exquisite the scents

Snatched from yon bean-field! and the world so hushed!

The stilly murmur of the distant Sea

Tells us of silence.

The Eolian Harp - Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1796)

And that simplest Lute,

Placed length-ways in the clasping casement, hark!

How by the desultory breeze caressed,

Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover,

It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs

Tempt to repeat the wrong! And now, its strings

Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes

Over delicious surges sink and rise,

Such a soft floating witchery of sound

As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve

Voyage on gentle gales from Fairy-Land,

Where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers,

Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,

Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untamed wing!

O! the one Life within us and abroad,

Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,

A light in sound, a sound-like power in a light,

Rhythm in all thought, and joyance everywhere—

Methinks, it should have been impossible

Not to love all things in a world so filled;

Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air

Is Music slumbering on her instrument.

 

And thus, my Love! as on the midway slope

Of yonder hill I stretch my limbs at noon,

Whilst through my half-closed eyelids I behold

The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main,

And tranquil muse upon tranquility:

Full many a thought uncalled and undetained,

And many idle flitting phantasies,

Traverse my indolent and passive brain,

As wild and various as the random gales

That swell and flutter on this subject Lute!

 

And what if all of animated nature

Be but organic Harps diversely framed,

That tremble into thought, as o’er them sweeps

Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,

At once the Soul of each, and God of all?

 

But thy more serious eye a mild reproof

Darts, O beloved Woman! nor such thoughts

Dim and unhallowed dost thou not reject,

And biddest me walk humbly with my God.

Meek Daughter in the family of Christ!

Well hast thou said and holily dispraised

These shapings of the unregenerate mind;

Bubbles that glitter as they rise and break

On vain Philosophy’s aye-babbling spring.

For never guiltless may I speak of him,

The Incomprehensible! save when with awe

I praise him, and with Faith that inly feels;

Who with his saving mercies healèd me,

A sinful and most miserable man,

Wildered and dark, and gave me to possess

Peace, and this Cot, and thee, heart-honored Maid!

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