Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Read Coleridge's comments on the sonnet in the introductory essay to Sheet of Sonnets (1796).
Work without Hope
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair--
The bees are stirring--birds are on the wing--
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet, well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live.
On a Discovery Made Too Late
Thou bleedest, my poor Heart! and thy distress
Reasoning I ponder with a scornful smile
And probe thy sore wound sternly, though the while
Swoln be mine eye and dim with heaviness.
Why didst thou listen to Hope's whisper bland?
Or, listening, why forget the healing tale,
When Jealousy with feverous fancies pale
Jarr'd thy fine fibres with a maniac's hand?
Faint was that Hope, and rayless!--Yet 'twas fair
And sooth'd with many a dream the hour of rest:
Thou should'st have lov'd it most, when most opprest,
And nurs'd it with an agony of care,
Even as a mother her sweet infant heir
That wan and sickly droops upon her breast!