Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

English Poet, Romantic, Literary Critic and Philosopher, a Founder of the Romantic Movement in England

"Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess which will itself need reforming."

"All the great – the permanently great – things that have been achieved in the world have been so achieved by individuals, working from the instinct of genius or goodness."

"Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom."

"If people could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us!"

"He prayeth best, who loveth best all things both great and small."

"In religious matters it is holiness which gives authority."

"In wonder all philosophy began; in wonder it ends; and admiration fills up the interspace. But the first wonder is the offspring of ignorance: the last is the parent of adoration."

"It is not impossible that to some infinitely superior being the whole universe may be as one plain, the distance between planet and planet being only as the pores in a grain of sand, and the spaces between system and system no greater than the intervals between one grain and the grain adjacent."

"Love is a desire of the whole being to be united to some thing, or some being, felt necessary to its completeness, by the most perfect means that nature permits, and reason dictates."

"Life is the one universal soul, which by virtue of the enlivening Breath, and the informing Word, all organized bodies have in common, each after its kind."

"Miracles are not proofs, but the necessary results, of revelation."

"Nature is the term in which we comprehend all things that are representable in the forms of Time and Space."

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

"No man in a thousand has the strength of mind or goodness of heart to be an atheist."

"Never be afraid to doubt, if only you have the disposition to believe, and doubt in order than you may end in believing the truth."

"The history of all the world tells us that immoral means will ever intercept good ends."

"No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher."

"Truth needs not the service of passion; yea, nothing so deserves it, as passion when set to serve it. The Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Meekness."

"The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on."

"Truth needs not the service of passion; yea, nothing so dis-serves it, as passion when set to serve it. The Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Meekness."

"And now this spell was snapt: once more I viewed the ocean green, And look'd far forth, yet little saw Of what had else been seen - Like one that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turn'd round, walks on And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. "

"A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear, A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief, Which finds no natural outlet, no relief, In word, or sigh, or tear — O Lady! in this wan and heartless mood, To other thoughts by yonder throstle woo'd, All this long eve, so balmy and serene, Have I been gazing on the western sky, And its peculiar tint of yellow green: And still I gaze — and with how blank an eye! And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars, That give away their motion to the stars; Those stars, that glide behind them or between, Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen: Yon crescent Moon as fixed as if it grew In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue; I see them all so excellently fair, I see, not feel how beautiful they are! My genial spirits fail; And what can these avail To lift the smothering weight from off my breast? It were a vain endeavour, Though I should gaze for ever On that green light that lingers in the west: I may not hope from outward forms to win The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.” "

"The intelligible forms of ancient poets, The fair humanities of old religion, The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty That had their haunts in dale or piny mountain, Or forest, by slow stream, or pebbly spring, Or chasms and watery depths; all these have vanished; They live no longer in the faith of reason; But still the heart doth need a language; still Doth the old instinct bring back the old names; Spirits or gods that used to share this earth With man as with their friend; and at this day 'Tis Jupiter who brings whate'er is great, And Venus who brings every thing that's fair. "

"God grant me grace my prayers to say: O God! preserve my mother dear, In strength and health for many a year; And O! preserve my father too, And may I pay him reverence due; And may I my best thoughts employ To be my parents' hope and joy; And O! preserve my brothers both From evil doings, and from sloth, And may we always love each other, Our friends, our father, and our mother, And still, O Lord, to me impart An innocent and grateful heart, That after my last sleep I may Awake to thy eternal day! Amen."

"Five miles meandering with mazy motion, Through dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank the tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war! "

"For I was reared in the great city, pent with cloisters dim, and saw naught lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! Shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Of ancient mountains, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores And mountain crags: so shall thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters, who from eternity doth teach Himself in all, and al things in himself Great universal teacher! He shall mold Thy spirit and by giving , make it ask."

"In Koln, a town of monks and bones, And pavement fang'd with murderous stones, And rags and hags, and hideous wenches, I counted two-and-seventy stenches, All well defined, and several stinks! Ye nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks, The River Rhine, it is well known, Doth wash your city of Cologne; But tell me, nymphs! what power divine Shall henceforth whash the river Rhine. "

"Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether the summer clothe the general earth With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sunthaw; whether the eve-drops fall, Heard only in the trances of the blast, Of if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet moon. "

"For why drives on that ship so fast, Without or wave or wind? The air is cut away before, And closes from behind... And now there came both mist and snow, And it grew wondrous cold: And ice, mast-high, came floating by, As green as emerald... And a good south wind sprung up behind, The Albatross did follow, And every day, for food or play, Came to the mariner's hollo! "God save thee, ancient Mariner! From the fiends that plague thus thee!-- Why look'st thou so?"--"With my cross-bow I shot the Albatross.""

"Remorse is as the heart in which it grows; If that be gentle, it drops balmy dews Of true repentance; but if proud and gloomy, It is the poison tree, that pierced to the inmost, Weeps only tears of poison... The Past lives o'er again, In its effects, and to the guilty spirit The ever-frowning Present is its image."

"Treading beneath their feet all visible things, As steps that upwards to their Father's throne Lead gradual... Lovely was the death Of Him whose life was Love! Holy with power, He on the thought-benighted Skeptic beamed Manifest Godhead."

"All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love, And feed his sacred flame."

"The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she... A spring of love gushed from my heart, And I bless'd them unaware... alone, all, all alone, Alone on a wide, wide sea... The moving moon went up to the sky, And nowhere did abide; Softly she was going up, And a star or two beside... O sleep! it is a gentle thing, Beloved from pole to pole! To Mary Queen the praise be given! She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven That slid into my soul... A noise like of a hidden brook In the leafy month of June, That to the sleeping woods all night Singeth a quiet tune... Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread... He prayeth best who loveth best All things, both great and small... He prayeth well who loveth well Both man and bird and beast... lonely 'twas that God himself Scarce seemed there to be... A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn... He went like one that hath been stunn'd, And is of sense forlorn: A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn."

"Ah! replied my gentle fair, Beloved, what are names but air? Choose thou, whatever suits the line: Call me Sappho, call me Chloris, Call me Lalage, or Doris, Only, only, call me thine."

"And what if all of animated nature Be but organic harps diversely framed, That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps, Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze, At once the soul of each, and God of all?"

"Never, believe me, Appear the Immortals, Never alone."

"Most musical, most melancholy bird! A melancholy bird! Oh! idle thought! In nature there is nothing melancholy... While many a glowworm in the shade Lights up her love torch... 'Tis the merry nightingale That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates With fast thick warble his delicious notes, As he were fearful that an April night Would be too short for him to utter forth His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul Of all its music!"

"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."

"Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, And hope without an object cannot live."

"Friendship is a sheltering tree."

"Dew-drops are the gems of morning, But the tears of mournful eve!"

"Life is but thought."

"A bitter and perplexed what shall I do? Is worse to man than worse necessity."

"A charm for thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom no sound is dissonant which tells of life."

"A damsel with a dulcimer in a vision once I saw: it was an Abyssinian maid, and on her dulcimer she played, singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me her symphony and song, to such a deep delight 'twould win me, that with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, that sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, and all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, and close your eyes with holy dread, for he on honey-dew hath fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise."

"A dwarf sees father than a giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on."

"A falsehood is, in one sense, a dead thing; but too often it moves about, galvanized by self-will, and pushes the living out of their seats."

"A great mind must be androgynous."

"A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud enveloping the earth."

"A lady richly clad as she, beautiful exceedingly."