1835 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

John Abraham Heraud, "Ode on the Death of Coleridge" Fraser's Magazine 11 (January 1835) 58.



Fair as the Sabbath morn,
In the seventh heaven's beatitude,
The Eternal Throne before,
A Seraph-Angel stood—
The Angel of a Child new-born,
To whom 'tis given, for evermore,
To see the Father's face;
Then, bowing to adore,
Prayed for his Charge a grace.

"From the highest heaven,
Throughout the seven,
Descend; and, in mysterious wise,
Prepare him through the seven to rise.
Give him will and give him wing,
Give him withal a voice to sing,
And him through each and all up-bring,
Into my presence, triumphing."

Glad heard the Seraph in that realm of Being,
Where every being seeth the All-seeing,
The Sabbath of the Worlds; then down descending,
Made for the sphere of Consciousness his way,
And gave his plumes free motion and full play.
Three heavens are passed — remain but four—
God speed thee, Seraph, evermore!

And now he meets, in happy season
Meeting him, the seraph Reason;
And soon his cherub-twin embraces,
And both dominions eager traces—
And now upon the world of Knowledge lands,
And his dropt wings hides with his arms and hands.
Six heavens are passed — remains but one—
God speed thee, Seraph, thy flight is done.

And now thy toilsome task commences—
To walk, not fly, befits the Senses;
And there, in swaddling bands embraced,
The Infant in his cradle lies:
Small the room where he is placed,
Small circle for his energies.
But the Seraph-Angel on his eyes
Sheds euphrasy and rue;
Sets wide the portals of his ears;
And makes him feel in every nerve,
Of touch and taste too exquisite;
And from all odours win delight.
But each predestined to subserve
What the poetic mind reveres,
The holy Muses' due.

The Seraph now, one gorgeous eve,
The boy-bard teaches to perceive,
How differed from all other plants
One sacred, though not such to see,
Divine and sovereign for all wants,
And bade him name it Hoemony.
Thus taught to judge, full soon he might
Essay to speculate aright,
And thence, in Contemplation's ear,
Seek worlds beyond the furthest star;
Self-conscious still, however far
He soared, and feeling in his heart
No impulse but of his own will;
Yet framing all his travels' chart
By heavenly observations still.
For there was heaven, and there he well
Aye listened to heaven's oracle;
And therefrom he responses gave,
Of power to slay and power to save.
Thus he, while dwelt his body here,
Was versant with another sphere.
What, though the world might do him wrong?
He turned him to the angels' song.
What though the earth consumed in strife?
He lived and loved — all love, all life;
A seraph, like his seraph guard,
Earth might not merit nor reward.

The Seraph stood again before
The Throne, and bowed him to adore.
"My task is done; both will and wing
I gave him, and a voice to sing:
And hither, Father, him I bring
Into thy presence, triumphing."
And thereupon, a chorus blended
Of sacred harps, a Sabbath hymn,
To hail the Poet-Sage attended,
Borne on the plumes of cherubim.