Samuel Taylor Coleridge

1772 - 1834


Catullian Hendecasyllables

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Hear, my beloved, an old Milesian story! --
High, and embosom'd in congregated laurels,
Glimmer'd a temple upon a breezy headland;
In the dim distance amid the skiey billows
Rose a fair island; the god of flocks had blest it.
From the far shores of the bleat-resounding island
Oft by the moonlight a little boat came floating,
Came to the sea-cave beneath the breezy headland,
Where amid myrtles a pathway stole in mazes
Up to the groves of the high embosom'd temple.
There in a thicket of dedicated roses,
Oft did a priestess, as lovely as a vision,
Pouring her soul to the son of Cytherea,
Pray him to hover around the slight canoe-boat,
And with invisible pilotage to guide it
Over the dusk wave, until the nightly sailor
Shivering with ecstasy sank upon her bosom.

? 1799


The Golden Book Of Coleridge
Copyright 1914
London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.