Making it difficult…

My latest academic assignment is to write a close reading on a short poem from my “Romantic and Victorian Poetry” module – and I decided to write on Coleridge’s This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison, against my better judgement as I actually prefer Shelley and Keats. But I am saving them for a special occasion, for another essay. Another case of making life difficult for myself.

Text extracted from This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison (lines 43-76), Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Period (8th Edition, Volume D, 2006), pages 429-30.

… A delight

Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad

As I myself were there! Nor in this bower,

This little lime-tree bower, have I not marked

Much that has soothed me. Pale beneath the blaze

Hung the transparent foliage; and I watched

Some broad and sunny leaf, and loved to see

The shadow of the leaf and stem above

Dappling its sunshine! And that walnut-tree

Was richly tinged, and a deep radiance lay

Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps

Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass

Makes their dark branched gleam a lighter hue

Through the late twilight: and though now the bat

Wheels silent by, and not a swallow twitters,

Yet still the solitary humble bee

Sings in the bean-flower! Henceforth I shall know

That Nature ne’er deserts the wise and pure;

No ploy so narrow, be but Nature there,

No waste so vacant, but may well employ

Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart

Awake to Love and Beauty! and sometimes

‘Tis well to be bereft of promised good,

That we may lift the Soul, and contemplate

With lively joys the joys we cannot share.

My gentle-hearted Charles! when the last rook

Beat its straight path along the dusky air

Homewards, I blessed it! deeming its black wing

(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light)

Had crossed the mighty orb’s dilated glory,

While thou stood’st gazing; or when all was still,

Flew creeking o’er thy head, and had a charm

For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom

No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.

– 1797-1800


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