The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement

Original Text: 
S. T. Coleridge, The Friend: a literary, moral, and political weekly paper (Oct. 26, 1809). PR 4480 F7 1809 Victoria College Library (Toronto).
2For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
3Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
4Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
5But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,
6In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
7Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
8The attraction of a country in romance!
9When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
10When most intent on making of herself
11A prime Enchantress--to assist the work
12Which then was going forward in her name!
13Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
14The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
15(As at some moment might not be unfelt
16Among the bowers of paradise itself )
17The budding rose above the rose full blown.
18What temper at the prospect did not wake
19To happiness unthought of? The inert
20Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
21They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
22The playfellows of fancy, who had made
23All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
24Their ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirred
25Among the grandest objects of the sense,
26And dealt with whatsoever they found there
27As if they had within some lurking right
28To wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,
29Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
30Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more wild,
31And in the region of their peaceful selves;--
32Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
33Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
34And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
35Wcre called upon to exercise their skill,
36Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
38But in the very world, which is the world
39Of all of us,--the place where in the end
40We find our happiness, or not at all!


1] Composed as part of The Prelude in 1804; eventually in The Prelude, XI, 105-44. Back to Line
37] E.g., Bacon's New Atlantis. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.385.