In this installment, Don Paterson reads “To Shakespeare” by Hartley Coleridge. Paterson is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including Nil Nil (1993), which was awarded the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, God’s Gift to Women (1997), which won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and Landing Light (2003), which won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award. He has also been awarded an Eric Gregory Award, a Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award, and his poem ‘A Private Bottling’ won the Arvon Foundation International Poetry Competition in 1993. Other published volumes include adaptations of poems by Machado and Rilke, contemporary plays, and several collected anthologies. He is poetry editor for Picador (London). His recitation of Hartley Coleridge’s poem was recorded live at the International Coleridge Conference in Cannington, UK.
Hartley Coleridge, “To Shakespeare”
THE SOUL of man is larger than the sky,
Deeper than ocean or the abysmal dark
Of the unfathom’d centre. Like that Ark
Which in its sacred hold uplifted high,
O’er the drown’d hills, the human family,
And stock reserv’d of every living kind,
So, in the compass of the single mind,
The seeds and pregnant forms in essence lie,
That make all worlds. Great Poet, ’t was thy art
To know thyself, and in thyself to be
Whate’er love, hate, ambition, destiny,
Or the firm, fatal purpose of the heart,
Can make of Man. Yet thou wert still the same,
Serene of thought, unhurt by thy own flame.