Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Toast To Winter, Part III: Coleridge

According to the vague information imparted by the high school English Literature course that I have mentioned many times before, and by scraps of independent reading since, Samuel Taylor Coleridge stood with William Wordsworth like the twin pillars of Gibraltar at the brink not of the Atlantic Ocean, but of the Romantic Movement. Returning their attention to the working man and his plight, their poems were expressed in simple language. They must have been unbearably shocking after the lofty vocabulary, the yoked heroic couplets, and the encyclopaedias' worth of classical allusions that peppered poems before this time.


Frost at Midnight
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

[. . .]
On the St. Ann's River Below Quebec
Cornelius Krieghoff (1815-1872)
via Wikimedia Commons

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw ; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.


Source: Frost at Midnight (Wikipedia)
Poem written February 1798.
Frost at Midnight (Wikisource)

No comments: