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Hexameters Analysis

Author: Poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge Type: Poetry Views: 281

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William, my teacher, my friend ! dear William and dear Dorothea !

Smooth out the folds of my letter, and place it on desk or on table ;

Place it on table or desk ; and your right hands loosely half-closing,

Gently sustain them in air, and extending the digit didactic,

Rest it a moment on each of the forks of the five-forkéd left hand,

Twice on the breadth of the thumb, and once on the tip of each finger ;

Read with a nod of the head in a humouring recitativo ;

And, as I live, you will see my hexameters hopping before you.

This is a galloping measure ; a hop, and a trot, and a gallop !

All my hexameters fly, like stags pursued by the staghounds,

Breathless and panting, and ready to drop, yet flying still onwards,

I would full fain pull in my hard-mouthed runaway hunter ;

But our English Spondeans are clumsy yet impotent curb-reins ;

And so to make him go slowly, no way left have I but to lame him.

William, my head and my heart ! dear Poet that feelest and thinkest !

Dorothy, eager of soul, my most affectionate sister !

Many a mile, O ! many a wearisome mile are ye distant,

Long, long, comfortless roads, with no one eye that doth know us.

O ! it is all too far to send to you mockeries idle :

Yea, and I feel it not right ! But O ! my friends, my belovéd !

Feverish and wakeful I lie,--I am weary of feeling and thinking.

Every thought is worn down,--I am weary, yet cannot be vacant.

Five long hours have I tossed, rheumatic heats, dry and flushing,

Gnawing behind in my head, and wandering and throbbing about me,

Busy and tiresome, my friends, as the beat of the boding night-spider.

I forget the beginning of the line :

[Image][Image][Image][Image][Image] ... my eyes are a burthen,

Now unwillingly closed, now open and aching with darkness.

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.'

There was a great deal more, which I have forgotten. ... The last line

which I wrote, I remember, and write it for the truth of the sentiment,

scarcely less true in company than in pain and solitude :--

William, my head and my heart ! dear William and dear Dorothea !

You have all in each other ; but I am lonely, and want you !


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