Constancy to an Ideal Object

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

Since all that beat about in Nature's range,
Or veer or vanish; why should'st thou remain
The only constant in a world of change,
O yearning Thought! that liv'st but in the brain?
Call to the Hours, that in the distance play,
The faery people of the future day—
Fond Thought! not one of all that shining swarm
Will breathe on thee with life-enkindling breath,
Till when, like strangers shelt'ring from a storm,
Hope and Despair meet in the porch of Death!
Yet still thou haunt'st me; and though well I see,
She is not thou, and only thou are she,
Still, still as though some dear embodied Good,
Some living Love before my eyes there stood
With answering look a ready ear to lend,
I mourn to thee and say—'Ah! loveliest friend!
That this the meed of all my toils might be,
To have a home, an English home, and thee!'
Vain repetition! Home and Thou are one.
The peacefull'st cot, the moon shall shine upon,
Lulled by the thrush and wakened by the lark,
Without thee were but a becalméd bark,
Whose Helmsman on an ocean waste and wide
Sits mute and pale his mouldering helm beside.

And art thou nothing? Such thou art, as when
The woodman winding westward up the glen
At wintry dawn, where o'er the sheep-track's maze
The viewless snow-mist weaves a glist'ning haze,
Sees full before him, gliding without tread,
An image with a glory round its head;
The enamoured rustic worships its fair hues,
Nor knows he makes the shadow, he pursues!

 

Poems by This Author

Answer to a Child's Question by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Do you ask what the birds say? The Sparrow, the Dove
Christabel [excerpt] by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Beneath the lamp the lady bowed
Fragment 3: Come, come thou bleak December wind by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Come, come thou bleak December wind
Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The frost performs its secret ministry
Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
Love by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
All thoughts, all passions, all delights
Ne Plus Ultra by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Sole Positive of Night!
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
It is an ancient mariner
This Lime Tree Bower My Prison by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Well, they are gone, and here must I remain
What Is an Epigram? by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole
Work Without Hope by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair


Further Reading

Related Poems
Tender Buttons [Objects]
by Gertrude Stein
Ideal
by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
The Plain Sense of Things
by Wallace Stevens