The Great Conversation

ON SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
Dorothy Wordsworth

From A Letter

You had a great loss in not seeing Coleridge. He is a wonderful man. His conversation teems with soul, mind and spirit. Then he is so benevolent, so good tempered and cheerful, and, like William, interests himself so much about every little trifle.

At first I thought him very plain, that is, for about three minutes; he is pale and thin, has a wide mouth, thick lips, and not very good teeth, longish loose-growing half-curling rough black hair. But if you hear him speak for five minutes you think no more of them.

His eye is large and full, not dark but grey; such an eye as would receive from a heavy soul the dullest expression; but it speaks every emotion of his animated mind; it has more of the “poet’s eye in a fine frenzy rolling” than ever I witnessed. He has fine dark eye-brows and an overhanging forehead.


Rick Wilcox

When one embraces timeless topics of beauty and truth, they enter into a conversation already underway.  Literate society has examined and debated great thoughts for centuries, and collectively, the Great Conversation goes on.  When scholarly and spiritually awake minds meet divine revelation, light is cast, and humanity advances.

As Malcolm Guite wrote of Coleridge and Wordsworth:

During 1797 was the year in which the brief meeting between Wordsworth and Coleridge in Bristol was to blossom into friendship and a literary collaboration in which each poet discovered and drew out the best in the other, in which each recognized, and, in one sense, gave to the other, the gift of their true self and vocation. There would come a time when this friendship was shadowed, a time when either might paralyze rather than perfect the other’s gifts, and that shadowing and darkening of what had once been life-giving is itself one of the great themes of The Ancient Mariner. But for now, in this miraculous year, the friendship was for both poets, like the living albatross, a gift of wings and flight, lifting them to heights of which neither without the other would have been capable.

 How have you participated in the Great Conversation?

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John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.