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Short poem

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Work without Hope
Lines Composed 21st February 1825

              1All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair--
              2The bees are stirring--birds are on the wing--
              3And Winter slumbering in the open air,
              4Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
              5And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
              6Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

              7      Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
              8Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
              9Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
            10For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
            11With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
            12And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
            13Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
            14And Hope without an object cannot live.


1] Written, ironically, in the same year in which was published the prose work from which stemmed Coleridge's reputation and influence in the United States as a philosopher, i.e., Aids to Reflection.

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: including the dramas of Wallenstein, Remorse, and Zapolya (London : W. Pickering, 1828). PR 4470 E28 VICT Rare Books.
First publication date: 1828
RPO poem editor: Kathleen Coburn, R. S. Woof
RP edition: 3RP 2.472.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/20

Composition date: 21 February 1825
Form: Sonnet
Rhyme: ababbbccddeeff

Other poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge