The Sister Arts - British Gardening, Painting, & Poetry (1700-1832)
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Romantic > Poetry
1.William Blake (1757-1827) - from Songs of Innocence
2.William Blake (1757-1827) - from Songs of Experience
3.Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Frost at Midnight
4.Erasmus Darwin (1731- 1802) - from The Loves of the Plants
5.Erasmus Darwin (1731- 1802) - From The Botanic Garden
6.Erasmus Darwin (1731- 1802) - Visit of Hope to Sydney Cove, near Botany-Bay
7.Sneyd Davies (1731-1802) - from A Voyage to Tintern Abbey
8.Gray - Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
9.Felicia Dorothea Hemans - Night-Blowing Flowers
10.Sir William Jones - from The Yarjurveda
11.William Mason (1724-1797) - from The English Garden, Book III
12.Gilbert White (1720-1793) - The Naturalist's Summer-Evening Walk
13.William Wordsworth - Lines Written in Early Spring
14.Wiliam Wordsworth - Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey
15.Wiliam Wordsworth - Resolution and Independence

3. "Frost at Midnight"
February 1798

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

THE Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelp'd by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud---and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, 10
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! The thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not:
Only that film, which flutter'd on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing,
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me, who live,
Making it a companionable form,
With which I can hold commune. Idle thought! 20
But still the living spirit in our frame,
That loves not to behold a lifeless thing,
Transfuses into all its own delights
Its own volition, sometimes with deep faith,
And sometimes with fantastic playfulness.
Ah me! amus'd by no such curious toys
Of the self-watching subtilizing mind,
How often in my early school-boy days,
With most believing superstitious wish
Presageful have I gaz'd upon the bars, 30
To watch the stranger there! and oft belike,
With unclos'd lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birthplace, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirr'd and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gaz'd I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lull'd me to sleep, and sleep prolong'd my dreams! 40
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Aw'd by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye
Fix'd with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half-open'd, and I snatch'd
A hasty glance, and still my heart leapt up,
For still I hop'd to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more belov'd,
My play-mate when we both were cloth'd alike!

Dear babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this dead calm, 50
Fill up the interspersed vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought!
My babe so beautiful! it fills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think, that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was rear'd
In the great city, pent mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! Shalt wander, like a breeze,
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags 60
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, 70
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreasts sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while all the thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw: whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or whether the secret ministery of cold
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet moon,
Like those, my babe! which, ere to-morrow's warmth 80
Have capp'd their sharp keen points with pendulous drops,
Will catch thine eye, and with their novelty
Suspend thy little soul; then make thee shout,
And stretch and flutter from thy mother's arms
As thou would'st fly for very eagerness.