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Coleridge, Samuel Taylor - The Picture



Type of Spiritual Experience


The symbolism here is difficult.  It is not about nymphs, it is about the mirror world – the spiritual world and one’s ability to see one’s Higher spirit or parts of our own person – soul or Subconscious in that world beyond.  Coleridge was also probably talking about his own experiences of visions and their fleeting and somewhat difficult to maintain nature

A description of the experience

Samuel Taylor Coleridge – The Complete Poems

From The Picture

 Then all the charm
Is broken – all that phantom world so fair
Vanishes and a thousand circlets spread
And each mis-shape the other.  Stay awhile
Poor youth, who scarcely dar'st lift up thine eyes.
The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon
The visions will return! And lo!  He stays
And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms
Come trembling back, unite, and now once more
The pool becomes a mirror; and behold
Each wild flower on the marge inverted there
And there the half uprooted tree – but where
O where the virgin's snowy arm, that leaned
On its bare branch?  He turns and she is gone!
Homeward she steals through many a woodland maze
Which he shall seek in vain.  Ill fated youth!
Go, day by day, and waste thy manly prime
In mad love yearning by the vacant brook
Till sickly thoughts bewitch thine eyes, and thou
Behold'st her shadow still abiding there
The Naiad of the mirror

The source of the experience

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor

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