Read the following poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and write an essay about the poem in which you address the following:
How does the poem work? How would you explicate its meaning? What does the poem accomplish aesthetically, intellectually, and/or philosophically?
Work Without Hope
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair-
The bees are stirring-birds are on the wing-
And Winter slumbering in the open air
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, 0 ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge uses personification and other figuires of speech to set the tone of this poem. He establishes a relationship between nature and man to present his message which appears to be melancholy. While nature is busy about its work, man is idle and frustrated with his situation in life. He also seems unable to get himself out of this sad state that he finds himself stuck in. This person has somehow lost the meaning of life and is constantly feeling sorry for himself. This situation may have come about through the loss of a loved one through death or an unsuccessful love relationship. He feels hopeless and helpless in his current state of being.
The poem manages through its tone and theme to have a person examine his or her inner self. It also directs a person to find a higher meaning in our daily living. Life without a purpose or special reationship can be shallow and meaningless. By opening up our mind and our soul, life can become more satisfying and interesting. A person cannot sit back idilly and expect everything to come his way; he must reach out to life to obtain any kind of fulfillment. This fulfillment can take many forms depending upon the person. Each and every day should be treated as a special gift that should utilized to the fullest. The simple pleasure of smelling a flower or watching a sunset can bring much joy and satisfation to one’s life.
In conclusion, this poem makes one reach out for a greater meaning in life which will ultimately lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness. This is certainly a noble objective to which we should all aspire.