Reflections On Having Left A Place Of Retirement by Samuel Coleridge
Low was our pretty Cot : our tallest Rose Peep'd at the chamber-window. We could hear At silent noon, and eve, and early morn, The Sea's faint murmur. In the open air Our Myrtles blossom'd; and across the porch Thick Jasmins twined : the little landscape round Was green and woody, and refresh'd the eye. It was a spot which you might aptly call The Valley of Seclusion ! Once I saw (Hallowing his Sabbath-day by quiteness) A wealthy son of Commerce saunter by, Bristowa's citizen : methought, it calm'd His thirst of idle gold, and made him muse With wiser feelings : for he paus'd, and look'd With a pleas'd sadness, and gaz'd all around, Then eyed our Cottage, and gaz'd round again, And sigh'd, and said, it was a Blessйd Place. And we were bless'd. Oft with patient ear Long-listening to the viewless sky-lark's note (Viewless, or haply for a moment seen Gleaming on sunny wings) in whisper'd tones I said to my Belovйd, `Such, sweet Girl ! The inobtrusive song of Happiness, Unearthly minstrelsy ! then only heard When the Soul seeks to hear ; when all is hush'd, And the Heart listens !'
[Image][Image][Image]But the time, when first From that low Dell, steep up the stony Mount I climb'd with perilous toil and reach'd the top, Oh ! what a goodly scene ! Here the bleak mount, The bare bleak mountain speckled thin with sheep ; Grey clouds, that shadowing spot the sunny fields ; And river, now with bushy rocks o'er-brow'd, Now winding bright and full, with naked banks ; And seats, and lawns, the Abbey and the wood, And cots, and hamlets, and faint city-spire ; The Channel there, the Islands and white sails, Dim coasts, and cloud-like hills, and shoreless Ocean-- It seem'd like Omnipresence ! God, methought, Had build him there a Temple : the whole World Seem'd imag'd in its vast circumference : No wish profan'd my overwhelmйd heart. Blest hour ! It was a luxury,--to be !
Ah ! quiet Dell ! dear Cot, and Mount sublime ! I was constrain'd to quit you. Was it right, While my unnumber'd brethren toil'd and bled, That I should dream away the entrusted hours On rose-leaf beds, pampering the coward heart With feelings all too delicate for use ? Sweet is the tear that from some Howard's eye Drops on the cheek of one he lifts from earth : And he that works me good with unmov'd face, Does it but half : he chills me while he aids, My benefactor, not my brother man ! Yet even this, this cold beneficience Praise, praise it, O my Soul ! oft as thou scann'st The sluggard Pity's vision-weaving tribe ! Who sigh for Wretchedness, yet shun the Wretched, Nursing in some delicious solitude Their slothful loves and dainty sympathies ! I therefore go, and join head, heart, and hand, Active and firm, to fight the bloodless fight Of Science, Freedom, and the Truth in Christ.
Yet oft when after honourable toil Rests the tir'd mind, and waking loves to dream, My spirit shall revisit thee, dear Cot ! Thy Jasmin and thy window-peeping Rose, And Myrtles fearless of the mild sea-air. And I shall sigh fond wishes--sweet Abode ! Ah !--had none greater ! And that all had such ! It might be so--but the time is not yet. Speed it, O Father ! Let thy Kingdom come !