Samuel Taylor Coleridge

1772 - 1834


Phantom or Fact

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A Dialogue in Verse


A lovely form there sate beside my bed,
And such a feeding calm its presence shed,
A tender love so pure from earthly leaven,
That I unnethe the fancy might control,
'Twas my own spirit newly come from heaven,
Wooing its gentle way into my soul!
But ah! the change -- It had not stirr'd, and yet --
Alas! that change how fain would I forget!
That shrinking back, like one that had mistook!
That weary, wandering, disavowing look!
'Twas all another, feature, look, and frame,
And still, methought, I knew, it was the same!


This riddling tale, to what does it belong?
Is 't history? vision? or an idle song?
Or rather say at once, within what space
Of time this wild disastrous change took place?


Call it a moment's work (and such it seems)
This tale's a fragment from the life of dreams;
But say, that years matur'd the silent strife,
And 'tis a record from the dream of life.



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