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About this Poem 

“Written During a Temporary Blindness in the Year 1799” was published in Poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (C.S. Francis, 1848).

Written During a Temporary Blindness in the Year 1799

O what a life is the eye! what a strange and inscrutable essence!
Him, that is utterly blind, nor glimpses the fire that warms him;
Him that never beheld the swelling breast of his mother;
Him that smiled in his gladness as a babe that smiles in its slumber;
Even for him it exists! It moves and stirs in its prison!
Lives with a separate life: and—“Is it a spirit!” he murmurs:
“Sure, it has thoughts of its own, and to see is only a language!”

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 21, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 21, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a leader of the British Romantic movement, was born on October 21, 1772, in Devonshire, England.

by this poet

poem
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—	 
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—	 
And Winter, slumbering in the open air,	 
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!	 
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,	         
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.	 
 
Yet well I ken the
poem
Do you ask what the birds say? The Sparrow, the Dove,
The Linnet and Thrush say, "I love and I love!"
In the winter they're silent—the wind is so strong;
What it says, I don't know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving—all come back together.
poem
Beneath the lamp the lady bowed,
And slowly rolled her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,
Like one that shuddered, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast:
Her silken robe, and inner vest,
Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Behold! her bosom, and half her side—
A sight to dream of, not to