Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fly To Some Lone Lovely Dell

Having read a great deal of the poetry of Harley Coleridge and Sara Coleridge, I have been eager to read some of the poetry of Derwent Coleridge, the third of the three children of STC who lived. (There was another, a brother, who died very young.)

A friend is looking for his poems on my behalf, hopefully saved somewhere sometime. Some few were published in newspapers, but they do not seem ever to have been collected. Likely there are many more that were never published. And were those newspapers saved? I don't yet know.

Here is the first that I have found. It is a youthful venture, a pining for that one true love who would make his world complete. It comes from Derwent's scrapbook, called a commonplace book. Being there, in a commonplace book, there is little reason to think it original. He may have written it from his mother-wit. It seems more likely that it was his own translation of another poem. It could also be a poem one of his friends wrote, that struck a chord in Derwent, thus he wrote it down. His comment after the poem, leads me to think that it was not an original composition; if it had been his he would likely have incorporated the comment into the poem itself. I lean toward the likelihood that it is his own translation of an older poem. After all, he loved languages and translation; by the end of his life he had mastered 14 different languages.

Yet, whether his own original work or a translation, it has a ring to it remeniscent of his father's work. And in it we hear a voice that very likely is Derwent's own. To me (and perhaps only to me) it is exciting to hear that voice.

What is that darling wish, that fondest theme
My daily vision and my nightly dream?
A Maid who free from Interest’s sordid rules
(Pride’s selfish mandates, kept by gaping fools)
Would seek for naught in me but me myself
Careless of rank, or rank’s supporter pelf,
Guileless her soul, and beautiful her face
Her form all elegance, her motions grace,
Soothing her love, for sorrow’s wounds a cure,
Warm as mine own, as smiling infants pure.
With her to fly to some lone lovely dell
The world forsake and there forever dwell . . .

. . . I never saw a Mary (Oh! shall I ever see a Mary) who combining intellect, mildness and beauty, might be my companion, my soother and my love−No−In my imagination I have pictured such a being and in my imagination alone must she exist.


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