The Power of Old Fable, Circa 1800

For fable is Love’s world, his home, his birth-place:
Delightedly dwells he ‘mong fays and talismans,
And spirits; and delightedly believes
Divinities, being himself divine.
The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
The fair humanities of old religion,
The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty,
That had their haunts in dale, or piny mountain,
Or forest by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
Or chasms and wat’ry depths; all these have
vanish’d.
They live no longer in the faith of reason!
But still the heart doth need a language, still
Doth the old instinct bring back the old names.
And to yon starry world they are now gone,
Spirits or gods, that us’d to share this earth
With man as with their friend; and to the lover
Yonder they move, from yonder visible sky
Shoot influence down: and even at this day
‘Tis Jupiter who brings every thing that’s great
And Venus who brings every thing that’s fair!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Piccolomini, 1800

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