Coleridge's Writings: On the Sublime (Coleridge's Writings) by David Vallins

By David Vallins

This new quantity demonstrates the level and variety of Coleridge's writings at the chic. It highlights the improvement of his aesthetic of transcendence from an preliminary emphasis at the endless progressiveness of humanity, via a fascination with panorama as half-revealing the limitless forces underlying it, and with literature as generating an analogous feeling of the inexpressible, to an expanding emphasis on considering the ineffable nature of God, in addition to the transcendent strength of cause or religious perception.

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Therefore thy name Her sons shall venerate, and cheer thy breast With blessings heaven-ward breath’d. And when the doom Of Nature bids thee die, beyond the tomb Thy light shall shine: as sunk beneath the West Though the great Summer Sun eludes our gaze, Still burns wide Heaven with his distended blaze. (CPW, 1: 79–80) 18 Enlightenment and Sublimity in the Early Writings ‘La Fayette’ 13 As when far off the warbled strains are heard That soar on Morning’s wing the vales among; Within his cage the imprison’d Matin Bird Swells the full chorus with a generous song: He bathes no pinion in the dewy light, No Father’s joy, no Lover’s bliss he shares.

Lovely was the death Of Him whose life was Love! Holy with power He on the thought-benighted Sceptic beamed Manifest Godhead, melting into day What floating mists of dark idolatry Broke and misshaped the omnipresent Sire: And first by Fear uncharmed the drowséd Soul. Till of its nobler nature it ’gan feel Dim recollections; and thence soared to Hope, Strong to believe whate’er of mystic good The Eternal dooms for His immortal sons. From Hope and firmer Faith to perfect Love Attracted and absorbed: and centered there God only to behold, and know, and feel, Till by exclusive consciousness of God All self-annihilated it shall make God its Identity: God all in all!

6 Not only the sense of an infinite underlying power, indeed, but also that of our own ultimate participation in or Coleridge and the Sublimity of Landscape 37 unity with the essence which these splendid vistas half-conceal and half-reveal, is often implied in Coleridge’s fascinated investigation of the emotional and intuitive significance of his aesthetic experiences of landscape. And in continually reaching through landscape or the physical world to that which seems to lie beyond it he seems also to imply that though the fascination of landscape has its rightful—and magnificent—place in his development, it will also come to have its limitations for him, and ultimately be replaced by an exploration of the psychological and metaphysical truths underlying these experiences.

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