Work without Hope

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772–1834

Lines Composed 21st February 1825

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

         Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.

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Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772–1834

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Animals, Jobs & Working, Trees & Flowers, Sorrow & Grieving, Winter, Faith & Doubt, Nature, Activities, Landscapes & Pastorals, Disappointment & Failure, Living, Religion, The Mind

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Imagery, Pastoral

 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 Animals, Jobs & Working, Trees & Flowers, Sorrow & Grieving, Winter, Faith & Doubt, Nature, Activities, Landscapes & Pastorals, Disappointment & Failure, Living, Religion, The Mind

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Imagery, Pastoral

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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