Verse > Anthologies > Henry Charles Beeching, ed. > Lyra Sacra
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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919).  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse.  1903.
 
Joy
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
 
    MY genial spirits fail;
    And what can these avail
To lift the smothering weight from off my breast?
    It were a vain endeavour,
    Though I should gaze for ever        5
On that green light that lingers in the west:
I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
 
O Lady! we receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does Nature live:        10
Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud!
  And would we ought behold, of higher worth,
Than that inanimate cold world allowed
To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd,
  Ah, from the soul itself must issue forth        15
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
    Enveloping the earth—
And from the soul itself must there be sent
  A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
Of all sweet sounds the life and element!        20
 
O pure of heart! thou need’st not ask of me
What this strong music in the soul may be!
What, and wherein it doth exist
This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
This beautiful and beauty-making power.        25
  Joy, virtuous Lady! joy that ne’er was given
Save to the pure, and in their purest hour,
Life, and life’s effluence, cloud at once and shower;
Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power,
Which wedding Nature to us gives in dower,        30
    A new Earth and new Heaven,
Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud—
Joy is the sweet voice, joy the luminous cloud—
    We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,        35
    All melodies the echoes of that voice,
All colours a suffusion from that light.
 
 
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