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Poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
William, my teacher, my friend! dear William and dear Dorothea! Smooth out the folds of my letter, and place it on desk or on table; Place it on table or desk; and your right hands loosely half-closing, Gently sustain them in air, and extending the digit didactic, Rest it a moment on each of the forks of the five-forkéd left hand, Twice on the breadth of the thumb, and once on the tip of each finger; Read with a nod of the head in a humouring recitativo; And, as I live, you will see my hexameters hopping before you. This is a galloping measure; a hop, and a trot, and a gallop! All my hexameters fly, like stags pursued by the staghounds, Breathless and panting, and ready to drop, yet flying still onwards, I would full fain pull in my hard-mouthed runaway hunter; But our English Spondeans are clumsy yet impotent curb-reins; And so to make him go slowly, no way left have I but to lame him. William, my head and my heart ! dear Poet that feelest and thinkest! Dorothy, eager of soul, my most affectionate sister! Many a mile, O! many a wearisome mile are ye distant, Long, long, comfortless roads, with no one eye that doth know us. O! it is all too far to send to you mockeries idle: Yea, and I feel it not right ! But O! my friends, my belovéd! Feverish and wakeful I lie,--I am weary of feeling and thinking. Every thought is worn down,--I am weary, yet cannot be vacant. Five long hours have I tossed, rheumatic heats, dry and flushing, Gnawing behind in my head, and wandering and throbbing about me, Busy and tiresome, my friends, as the beat of the boding night-spider. I forget the beginning of the line: ... my eyes are a burthen, Now unwillingly closed, now open and aching with darkness. O! what a life is the eye ! what a strange and inscrutable essence! Him that is utterly blind, nor glimpses the fire that warms him; Him that never beheld the swelling breast of his mother; Him that smiled in his gladness as a babe that smiles in its slumber; Even for him it exists, it moves and stirs in its prison; Lives with a separate life, and `Is it a Spirit ?' he murmurs: `Sure, it has thoughts of its own, and to see is only a language.' There was a great deal more, which I have forgotten. ... The last line which I wrote, I remember, and write it for the truth of the sentiment, scarcely less true in company than in pain and solitude :-- William, my head and my heart ! dear William and dear Dorothea! You have all in each other ; but I am lonely, and want you!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's other poems:
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