CHRIST’S HOSPITAL FIVE-AND-THIRTY YEARS AGO
Come back into memory, like as thou wert in the dayspring of thy fancies, with hope like a ﬁery column before thee—the dark pillar not yet turned—Samuel Taylor Coleridge—Logician, Metaphysician, Bard—How have I seen the casual passer through the cloisters stand still, intranced with admiration (while he the young Mirandula), to hear thee unfold, in thy deep and sweet intonations, the mysteries of Jamblichus, or Plotinus (for even in those years thou waxedst not pale at such philosophic draughts), or reciting Homer in his Greek, or Pindar—while the walls of the old Grey Friars re-echoed to the accents of the inspired charity-boy!
As the struggling vine often produces the sweetest fruit, so likewise does hardship spur creativity in heart of genius.
When Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s father died, he was placed in a charity home with all of its Dickensian attributes. Lesser souls might have withered in the harsh, radical change from pastoral to austere environments, but Coleridge thrived.
Malcolm Guite wrote:
But if the physical life at school was dark and shadowed, the great lighthouse of intellectual and imaginative life burnt all the more brightly, and Coleridge ﬁrst showed here those extraordinary powers of resilience and recovery that were to serve him well through the coming traumas of his life. For what the school did provide him with was access to books, and the learning and skill with which to enjoy them: “My whole Being was, with eyes closed to every object of present sense, to crumple myself up in a sunny Corner, and read, read, read.”
Have you ever thrived in the face of difficult circumstances?
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In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
Mariner Reading Schedule
The dates below are Mondays and we will read and discuss one chapter per week, Monday thru Friday.
Prelude: The Growth of a Poet’s Mind
04 The Kirk, the Hill, the Lighthouse Top
11 Jesus and the Dragoons
18 To Nether Stowey via Utopia
25 A Network of Friendships
02 A Visionary Landscape
Part II: The Mariner’s Tale
09 The Ship Was Cheered
16 Instead of the Cross, the Albatross
23 The Night-mare Life-in-Death
30 The Moving Moon
06 Nine Fathom Deep
13 The Two Voices
20 He Prayeth Best Who Loveth Best
27 Epilogue: The Morrow Morn
Malcolm Guite is poet-priest and Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge, but he often travels round Great Britain, and to North America, to give lectures, concerts and poetry readings. For more details of these and other engagements go to his Events Page. You can read more about him on this Interviews Page
He is the author of numerous books including
Parable and Paradox: Sonnets on the Sayings of Jesus and Other PoemsCanterbury Press 2016