Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A STRANGER MINSTREL; TO MRS. ROBINSON BEFORE HER DEATH, by SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE



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A STRANGER MINSTREL; TO MRS. ROBINSON BEFORE HER DEATH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As late on skiddaw's mount I lay supine
Last Line: I would, I would that she were here!'
Subject(s): Mountains; Robinson, Mary (1758-1800); Skiddaw (Mountain), England; Hills; Downs (Great Britain)


As late on Skiddaw's mount I lay supine,
Midway th' ascent, in that repose divine
When the soul centered in the heart's recess
Hath quaff'd its fill of Nature's loveliness,
Yet still beside the fountain's marge will stay
And fain would thirst again, again to quaff;
Then when the tear, slow travelling on its way,
Fills up the wrinkles of a silent laugh --
In that sweet mood of sad and humorous thought
A form within me rose, within me wrought
With such strong magic, that I cried aloud,
'Thou ancient Skiddaw by thy helm of cloud,
And by the many-colour'd chasms deep,
And by their shadows that for ever sleep,
By yon small flaky mists that love to creep
Along the edges of those spots of light,
Those sunny islands of thy smooth green height,
And by yon shepherds with their sheep,
And dogs and boys, a gladsome crowd,
That rush e'en now with clamour loud
Sudden from forth thy topmost cloud,
And by this laugh, and by this tear,
I would, old Skiddaw, she were here!
A lady of sweet song is she,
Her soft blue eye was made for thee!
O ancient Skiddaw, by this tear,
I would, I would that she were here!'

Then ancient Skiddaw, stern and proud,
In Sullen majesty replying,
Thus spake from out his helm of cloud
(His voice was like an echo dying!): --
'She dwells belike in scenes more fair,
And scorns a mount so bleak and bare.'
I only sighed when this I heard;
Such mournful thoughts within me stirr'd
That all my heart was faint and weak,
So sorely was I troubled!
No laughter wrinkled on my cheek,
But O the tears were doubled!
But ancient Skiddaw green and high
Heard and understood my sigh;
And now, in tones less stern and rude,
As if he wish'd to end the feud,
Spake he, the proud response renewing
(His voice was like a monarch wooing): --
'Nay, but thou dost not know her might,
The pinions of her soul how strong!
But many a stranger in my height
Hath sung to me her magic song,
Sending forth his ecstasy
In her divinest melody,
And hence I know her soul is free,
She is where'er she wills to be,
Unfetter'd by mortality!
Now to the "haunted beach" can fly,
Beside the threshold scourged with waves,
Now where the maniac wildly raves,
"Pale moon, thou spectre of the sky!"
No wind that hurries o'er my height
Can travel with so swift a flight.
I too, methinks, might merit
The presence of her spirit!
To me too might belong
The honour of her song and witching melody,
Which most resembles me,
Soft, various, and sublime,
Exempt from the wrongs of Time!'

Thus spake the mighty Mount, and I
Made answer, with a deep-drawn sigh: --
'Thou ancient Skiddaw, by this tear,
I would, I would that she were here!'





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