The Pains of Sleep – Coleridge – Prayer

From – The Pains of Sleep

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble trust mine eye-lids close,
With reverential resignation
No wish conceived, no thought exprest,
Only a sense of supplication;
A sense o’er all my soul imprest
That I am weak, yet not unblest,
Since in me, round me, every where
Eternal strength and Wisdom are.

This is the first stanza of a poem written by Coleridge. And this is a little different to have as a Christmas piece. The full poem was written by Coleridge when under the influence of opium and wishing to have a restful night.

Coleridge is lying on his bed he decides to pray not in the conventional way; there are no bended knees and no words uttered. It is a prayer from the mind as he composes thoughts to ‘Love’. In this respect he has a reverential resignation and a sense of supplication. A humble and sincere appeal in his weakness. Note that Love is capitalised.

But the great thing is he recognises that he is not unblest since Eternal strength and Wisdom abound and are everywhere including within his frail weak body. This is such a marvellous statement that honours the creator of life; that honours God.

Today the Christian religion recognises the son of man and the son of God in the birth of Jesus. The wonderful thing about this is the personal human connectivity that this provides.

Truly this is a day for celebration.

Tho’ hid in spiral myrtle Wreath – Coleridge

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 …