Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
II. “With Fielding’s Amelia”
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
 
VIRTUES 1 and woes alike too great for man
  In the soft tale oft claim the useless sigh:
For vain the attempt to realize the plan;
  On folly’s wings must imitation fly.
With other aim has Fielding here displayed        5
  Each social duty and each social care;
With just yet vivid coloring portrayed
  What every wife should be, what many are.
And sure the parent of a race so sweet
  With double pleasure on the page shall dwell;        10
Each scene with sympathizing breast shall meet,
  While reason still with smiles delights to tell
Maternal Hope, that the loved progeny
  In all but sorrows shall Amelias be.
 
Note 1. The heading given to this sonnet by the author has no other words than those which are here given. The sonnet, however, is evidently addressed to some mother. Its extremely conventional style announces nothing of the future author of “Christabel” and the “Ancient Mariner”; yet we extract it in honor both of the poet and of Fielding; of the poet because Fielding was a favorite with him to the last; and of Fielding because it is one of his glories to have made an impression on a poet so fine. The “virtues and woes” alluded to in the first line are those of Richardson; the human nature of whose novels, compared with that of Fielding, appeared to Coleridge to be forced, like flowers in a hothouse. He said that reading Fielding after Richardson was like going out of a close, stifling room into the open air. [back]
 
 
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