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Short poem

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Love's Apparition and Evanishment: An Allegoric Romance

              1Like a lone Arab, old and blind,
              2Some caravan had left behind,
              3Who sits beside a ruin'd well,
              4Where the shy sand-asps bask and swell;
              5And now he hangs his ag{'e}d head aslant,
              6And listens for a human sound--in vain!
              7And now the aid, which Heaven alone can grant,
              8Upturns his eyeless face from Heaven to gain;--
              9Even thus, in vacant mood, one sultry hour,
            10Resting my eye upon a drooping plant,
            11With brow low-bent, within my garden-bower,
            12I sate upon the couch of camomile;
            13And--whether 'twas a transient sleep, perchance,
            14Flitted across the idle brain, the while
            15I watch'd the sickly calm with aimless scope,
            16In my own heart; or that, indeed a trance,
            17Turn'd my eye inward--thee, O genial Hope,
            18Love's elder sister! thee did I behold
            19Drest as a bridesmaid, but all pale and cold,
            20With roseless cheek, all pale and cold and dim,
            21      Lie lifeless at my feet!
            22And then came Love, a sylph in bridal trim,
            23      And stood beside my seat;
            24She bent, and kiss'd her sister's lips,
            25      As she was wont to do;--
            26Alas! 'twas but a chilling breath
            27Woke just enough of life in death
            28      To make Hope die anew.


1] First published in Friendship's Offering for 1834, signed "S. T. Coleridge, August 1833."

12] couch of camomile: a seat of sods and camomile with its starry flowers, built by Coleridge in 1801, a personal reference, linked also by a stanza in the first version of Dejection, to Sara Hutchinson.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The poetical works of S.T. Coleridge, ed. Henry Nelson Coleridge (London : W. Pickering, 1834). PR 4470 E34 VICT Rare Books.
First publication date: 1834
RPO poem editor: Kathleen Coburn, R. S. Woof
RP edition: 3RP 2.473.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/20

Composition date: 1833
Form note: irregular (couplets and quatrains)

Other poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge