Classic Poetry Aloud

Classic Poetry Aloud

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Classic Poetry Aloud gives voice to poetry through podcast recordings of the great poems of the past. Our library of poems is intended as a resource for anyone interested in reading and listening to poetry. For us, it's all about the listening, and how hearing a poem can make it more accessible, as well as heightening its emotional impact. See more at: www.classicpoetryaloud.com


Fears in Solitude by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

November 5th, 2007

Episode 68 of 608 episodes

Coleridge read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Fears in Solitude by Samuel Taylor Coleridge Thankless too for peace, (Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas) Secure from actual warfare, we have loved To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! Alas! for ages ignorant of all Its ghastlier workings, (famine or blue plague, Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,) We, this whole people, have been clamorous For war and bloodshed; animating sports, The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, Spectators and not combatants! No guess Anticipative of a wrong unfelt, No speculation on contingency, However dim and vague, too vague and dim To yield a justifying cause; and forth, (Stuffed out with big preamble, holy names, And adjurations of the God in Heaven,) We send our mandates for the certain death Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls, And women, that would groan to see a child Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war, The best amusement for our morning meal! The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers From curses, who knows scarcely words enough To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father, Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute And technical in victories and defeats, And all our dainty terms for fratricide; Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our tongues Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to which We join no feeling and attach no form! As if the soldier died without a wound; As if the fibres of this godlike frame Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch, Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds, Passed off to Heaven, translated and not killed; As though he had no wife to pine for him, No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days Are coming on us, O my countrymen! And what if all-avenging Providence, Strong and retributive, should make us know The meaning of our words, force us to feel The desolation and the agony Of our fierce doings?

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