Tho’ hid in spiral myrtle Wreath
Tho’hid in spiral myrtle Wreath,
Love is a sword that cuts its Sheath:
And thro’ the Slits, itself has made,
We spy the Glitter of the Blade.
But thro’ the Slits, itself had made,
We spy no less too, that the Blade
Is eat away or snap atwain,
And nought but Hilt and Stump remain.
Samuel Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
This poem on love from Coleridge equates love as a sword and love hiding in a wreath … showing the duality of love … the glitter of the blade only to be followed by a self-destructive nature … a sword that cuts its sheath … and all that is left is the hilt and the stump … the remnants … hopefully to be viewed in a positive light. Just an aspect of humanity … pain and joy … that’s the story of life … but special pain and special joy!
Another understanding of this poem may come from the first line. The ‘Tho’ could be an actual person who is to blame for the broken relationship – a person hiding ‘in spiral myrtle wreath’ … which doesn’t sound very nice and a little sinister. Perhaps Coleridge is being nice by saying the ubiquitous ‘love’ is to blame rather than the nature of any individual lover.
I do not know the context and the date of writing which could provide more insight.
Myrtle – evergreen bush with blue-black fruit
Wreath – a memorial on a grave
Sheath – a case for the blade of a knife
Hilt – the handle of a sword
Coleridge on Wikipedia … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Taylor_Coleridge