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English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

418. Love

ALL thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,

All are but ministers of Love,

And feed his sacred flame.

Oft in my waking dreams do I

Live o’er again that happy hour,

When midway on the mount I lay,

Beside the ruin’d tower.

The moonshine stealing o’er the scene

Had blended with the lights of eve;

And she was there, my hope, my joy,

My own dear Genevieve!

She lean’d against the arméd man,

The statue of the arméd knight;

She stood and listen’d to my lay,

Amid the lingering light.

Few sorrows hath she of her own,

My hope! my joy! my Genevieve!

She loves me best, whene’er I sing

The songs that make her grieve.

I play’d a soft and doleful air,

I sang an old and moving story—

An old rude song, that suited well

That ruin wild and hoary.

She listen’d with a flitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest grace;

For well she knew, I could not choose

But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the Knight that wore

Upon his shield a burning brand;

And that for ten long years he woo’d

The Lady of the Land.

I told her how he pined: and ah!

The deep, the low, the pleading tone

With which I sang another’s love

Interpreted my own.

She listen’d with a flitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest grace;

And she forgave me, that I gazed

Too fondly on her face!

But when I told the cruel scorn

That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,

And that he cross’d the mountain-woods,

Nor rested day nor night;

That sometimes from the savage den,

And sometimes from the darksome shade

And sometimes starting up at once

In green and sunny glade

There came and look’d him in the face

An angel beautiful and bright;

And that he knew it was a Fiend,

This miserable Knight!

And that unknowing what he did,

He leap’d amid a murderous band,

And saved from outrage worse than death

The Lady of the Land;

And how she wept, and clasp’d his knees;

And how she tended him in vain;

And ever strove to expiate

The scorn that crazed his brain;

And that she nursed him in a cave,

And how his madness went away,

When on the yellow forest-leaves

A dying man he lay;

—His dying words—but when I reach’d

That tenderest strain of all the ditty,

My faltering voice and pausing harp

Disturb’d her soul with pity!

All impulses of soul and sense

Had thrill’d my guileless Genevieve;

The music and the doleful tale,

The rich and balmy eve;

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,

An undistinguishable throng,

And gentle wishes long subdued,

Subdued and cherish’d long!

She wept with pity and delight,

She blush’d with love, and virgin shame;

And like the murmur of a dream,

I heard her breathe my name.

Her bosom heaved—she stepp’d aside,

As conscious of my look she stept—

Then suddenly, with timorous eye

She fled to me and wept.

She half enclosed me with her arms,

She press’d me with a meek embrace;

And bending back her head, look’d up,

And gazed upon my face.

’Twas partly love, and partly fear,

And partly ’twas a bashful art

That I might rather feel, than see,

The swelling of her heart.

I calm’d her fears, and she was calm,

And told her love with virgin pride;

And so I won my Genevieve,

My bright and beauteous Bride.