The Good, Great Man

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772–1834
      "How seldom, friend! a good great man inherits
      Honour or wealth with all his worth and pains!
It sounds like stories from the land of spirits
If any man obtain that which he merits
      Or any merit that which he obtains."

REPLY TO THE ABOVE
   For shame, dear friend, renounce this canting strain!
What would'st thou have a good great man obtain?
Place? titles? salary? a gilded chain?
Or throne of corses which his sword had slain?
Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends!
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? three treasures, LOVE, and LIGHT,
      And CALM THOUGHTS, regular as infant's breath:
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night,
      HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the ANGEL DEATH!

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Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772–1834

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Christianity, Money & Economics, Social Commentaries, Disappointment & Failure, God & the Divine, Death, Relationships, Living, Religion, Friends & Enemies

Poetic Terms Imagery, Rhymed Stanza, Couplet, Mixed

 Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Biography

Samuel Taylor Coleridge is the premier poet-critic of modern English tradition, distinguished for the scope and influence of his thinking about literature as much as for his innovative verse. Active in the wake of the French Revolution as a dissenting pamphleteer and lay preacher, he inspired a brilliant generation of writers and attracted the patronage of progressive men of the rising middle class. As William Wordsworth’s . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Christianity, Money & Economics, Social Commentaries, Disappointment & Failure, God & the Divine, Death, Relationships, Living, Religion, Friends & Enemies

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Imagery, Rhymed Stanza, Couplet, Mixed

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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