|dc.description.abstract||"A Hymn" (1814) illustrates Coleridge's conviction that
Christianity serves as the only vehicle through which absolute
truth can become actualized in the life of man. The title of
the preceding poem epitomizes the life of Coleridge: a self-appointed
quest to capture the true meaning and value in life
and to relay this essential knowledge to the reader. Coleridge
begins the poem by establishing God as the Creator of not only
man, but everything external to man (i.e., Nature). All of
creation directly corresponds to Divine intervention.
My Maker! of thy power the trace
In every creature's form and face
The wond'ring and soul surveys:
Thy wisdom infinite above
Seraphic thought, a Father's love
As infinite displays!
Coleridge also acknowledges the existence of the soul: an
essential belief in the Christian doctrine of free-will and
eternal life. Creation, through its magnificence and splendor,
reveals through the soul the infinite love God has for man.
Thus, Coleridge indirectly establishes that the acceptance of
Christian doctrine precludes the internalization of God's
infinite power and wisdom. He continues:
From all that meets the eye or ear,
There falls a genial holy fear
Which, like the heavy dew of morn,
Refreshes while it bows the heart forlorn.
The "holy fear" of the preceding stanza symbolizes Coleridge's
anxiety to communicate the powers of Christianity to his
audience. Coleridge visualizes man separated from the lasting
happiness inherent in a loving relationship with God and His
creative work of Nature. He yearns to convert man from his
sinful, ignorant state of disassociation with God to the
glorious, enlightened realm of unity with all creation.
Great God! thy works how wondrous
Yet sinful man didst thou declare
The whole Earth's voice and mind!
Lord, ev'n as Thou ever-present art,
Oh may we still with heedful heart
Thy presence know and find!
Then, come, what will, of weal or woe,
Joy's bosom-spring shall steady flow;
For though 'tis Heaven Thyself to see,
Where but thy Shadow falls, Grief cannot
be-- ! ( 1 )
Coleridge's reference to "sinful man" inhabiting the earth refers
to the fall of man into original sin. Man's only hope to regain
the paradise of the past centers on the discovery of an
"ever-present" God, for God tangibly exists in Nature. The
consequence of this reunification between man and God, regardless
of life's trying Circumstances, is a deep-rooted, pervasive joy.||en_US