Work without Hope

Lines Composed 21st February 1825

Original Text: 
The Poetical Works of S. T. Coleridge: including the dramas of Wallenstein, Remorse, and Zapolya (London : W. Pickering, 1828). PR 4470 E28 VICT Rare Books.
2The bees are stirring--birds are on the wing--
3And Winter slumbering in the open air,
4Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
5And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
6Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
7      Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
8Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
9Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
10For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
11With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
12And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
13Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
14And Hope without an object cannot live.


1] Written, ironically, in the same year in which was published the prose work from which stemmed Coleridge's reputation and influence in the United States as a philosopher, i.e., Aids to Reflection. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Kathleen Coburn; R. S. Woof
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.472.