What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole, Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
It may indeed be fantasy when I
Essay to draw from all created things
Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings;
And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie
Lessons of love and earnest piety.
So let it be; and if the wide world rings
In mock of this belief, it brings
Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity.
So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee,
Thee only God! and thou shalt not despise
Even me, the priest of this poor sacrifice.
What Is An Epigram?
What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
* * *
Not always should the tear's ambrosial dew
Roll its soft anguish down thy furrowed cheek!
Not always heaven-breathed tones of suppliance meek
Beseem thee, Mercy! Yon dark Scowler view,
Who with proud words of dear-loved Freedom came--
More blasting than the mildew from the south!
And kissed his country with Iscariot mouth;
(Ah! foul apostate from his Father's fame!)
Then fixed her on the cross of deep distress,
And at safe distance marks the thirsty lance
Pierce her big side! But oh! if some strange trance
The eye-lids of thy stern-browed Sister press,
Seize, Mercy! thou more terrible the brand,
And hurl her thunderbolts with fiercer hand!
Stretched on a mouldered Abbey's broadest wall,
Where ruining ivies propped the ruins steep--
Her folded arms wrapping her tattered pall,
Had Melancholy mused herself to sleep.
The fern was pressed beneath her hair,
The dark green adder's tongue was there;
And still as past the flagging sea-gale weak,
The long lank leaf bowed fluttering o'er her cheek.
That pallid cheek was flushed: her eager look
Beamed eloquent in slumber! Inly wrought,
Imperfect sounds her moving lips forsook,
And her bent forehead worked with troubled thought.
Strange was the dream-----
To The River Otter
Dear native brook! wild streamlet of the West!
How many various-fated years have passed,
What happy and what mournful hours, since last
I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! Yet so deep impressed
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes,
Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child!