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Limbo Analysis

Author: Poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge Type: Poetry Views: 628

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The sole true Something--This ! In Limbo Den

It frightens Ghosts as Ghosts here frighten men--

For skimming in the wake it mock'd the care

Of the old Boat-God for his Farthing Fare ;

Tho' Irus' Ghost itself he ne'er frown'd blacker on,

The skin and skin-pent Druggist crost the Acheron,

Styx, and with Puriphlegethon Cocytus,--

(The very names, methinks, might thither fright us--)

Unchang'd it cross'd--& shall some fated Hour

Be pulveris'd by Demogorgon's power

And given as poison to annilate Souls--

Even now It shrinks them ! they shrink in as Moles

(Nature's mute Monks, live Mandrakes of the ground)

Creep back from Light--then listen for its Sound ;--

See but to dread, and dread they know not why--

The natural Alien of their negative Eye.

'Tis a strange place, this Limbo !--not a Place,

Yet name it so ;--where Time & weary Space

Fettered from flight, with night-mair sense of fleeing,

Strive for their last crepuscular half-being ;--

Lank Space, and scytheless Time with branny hands

Barren and soundless as the measuring sands,

Not mark'd by flit of Shades,--unmeaning they

As Moonlight on the dial of the day !

But that is lovely--looks like Human Time,--

An Old Man with a steady Look sublime,

That stops his earthly Task to watch the skies ;

But he is blind--a Statue hath such Eyes ;--

Yet having moon-ward turn'd his face by chance,

Gazes the orb with moon-like countenance,

With scant white hairs, with foretop bald & high,

He gazes still,--his eyeless Face all Eye ;--

As 'twere an organ full of silent Sight,

His whole Face seemeth to rejoice in Light !

Lip touching lip, all moveless, bust and limb,

He seems to gaze at that which seems to gaze on him !

No such sweet sights doth Limbo Den immure,

Wall'd round, and made a Spirit-jail secure,

By the mere Horror of blank Naught-at-all,

Whose circumambience doth these Ghosts enthral.

A lurid thought is growthless, dull Privation,

Yet that is but a Purgatory curse ;

Hell knows a fear far worse,

A fear--a future fate.--'Tis positive Negation !


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