"Sonnett: To Pitt" - Literary Contexts

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The Fall of Robespierre, Edited by Daniel E. White

Coleridge, "Sonnet: To Pitt" (CC 16.1.1.160-1)

This sonnet was published in MC 23 December 1794, in The Morning Chronicle sequence of Coleridge's "Sonnets on Eminent Characters." The sonnet was reprinted, with minor revisions, in The Watchman 5 (2 April 1796) and in Poems (1796, 1803). The following version is from Poems (1796).

Not always should the tear's ambrosial dew
Roll its soft anguish down thy furrow'd cheek!
Not always heaven-breath'd tones of suppliance meek
Beseem thee, Mercy! Yon dark Scowler view,
Who with proud words of dear-lov'd Freedom came —
More blasting, than the mildew from the South!
And kiss'd his country with Iscariot mouth
(Ah! foul apostate from his Father's fame!)
Then fix'd her on the cross of deep distress,
And at safe distance marks the thirsty lance
Pierce her big side! But ô! if some strange trance
The eye-lids of thy stern-brow'd Sister press,
Seize, Mercy! thou more terrible the brand,
And hurl her thunderbolts with fiercer hand!

 
 
 
 
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10

Variants

8. In the Morning Chronicle version, this line reads, "(Staining most foul a godlike Father's name)!"

13. In the Morning Chronicle version, this line reads, "Seize thou, more terrible, th'avenging brand —"

Published @ RC

March 2008