Lifeblood

June 18, 2019 by Essay Writer

With “The Visionary Hope,” Samuel Taylor Coleridge romanticizes the overpowering state of yearning without excluding the turmoil it causes in human life. Coleridge develops for the reader an almost picturesque cluster of emotional impulses and handicaps far from abstract, and obscure only in the question of their true source. The reader of “The Visionary Hope” must decide if the individual significance of that vision roots itself in the naive hope of an end, or if, in actuality, the fantasy remains for fantasy’s sake. While presenting two sides of an argument concerning the validity of human aspiration, the author finds hope itself to be the one and only necessary lifeblood for the spiritually thirsty soul. At the same time, however, Coleridge’s fantastic surrender to the power of a single hope at the close of the poem provides a subtle solicitation of self-examination; the reader must ask discover whether the value of an ungraspable prospect lies in the glimmering possibility of it being met, or merely in its capacity to foster a cleansing outpouring of lustrous emotion and feeling.At the onset, Coleridge makes clear what will be the outcome of his poetic debate between reason and emotion. Opening with “Sad lot, to have no hope!” (Line 1), the author proclaims the reigning source of living valor to be hope, however “visionary” it may actually prove to be. To Coleridge, he who “fain would frame a prayer within his breast” (2) lives a brave existence in submission to blind faith. While acknowledging the sheer lowliness of his “kneeling” (1) to an unrealistic desire, the speaker, fighting for relief, simultaneously understands his own ignorance while experiencing surreal solidarity with his spiritual psyche: “Would fain entreat for some sweet breath of healing, /That his sick body might have ease and rest; / He strove in vain!” (3-5) Supporting Coleridge’s stark contrast between emotional magnificence and its subsequent all-consuming strife, his character acts in “fain” entreaty to the powers that be. In full realization of his powerlessness to the hope that limits, and yet, propels him through life, he continuously puts conscious effort into developing that unfulfilled desire which now has become more real than concrete reality. Ironically, what is to the rational person a meaningless pursuit driven by fleeting emotions is for the speaker no less than the veritable meaning of his life.Despite that the object of the speaker’s desire provides his life’s guiding force, the poem’s character does submit to pain’s disarmament, in all human actuality: “The dull sighs from his chest /Against his will the stifling load revealing”(5-6). While the speaker’s indulgence in his imaginative project fills his heart with purpose, Coleridge suggests the existing counterbalance of a deliberate cry for relief from worry. Here the author fully examines the weight of reason in a life of distortion; although the power of the hope itself undermines the speaker’s rational ability to see completely through it, his earthly will nonetheless desires escape from pain as much as the achievement of his vision. However, where Coleridge equalizes the status of reality and fantasy, he distinctly places them in separate psychological poles. The speaker’s cries reveal the “stifling load” of his unattainable prospect, “though Nature forced” (7), and no escape is possible. Coleridge’s capitalization of “Nature” along with more abstract concepts of “Hope” (17, 20, 27) and “Love” (20) in later lines set the stage for both nature’s physical power and its connection to the psychological nature of the soul. Not only does this hope represent a larger entity of intangible human affections, but its power, indeed, surpasses a human’s effort to be realistic: “Some royal prisoner at his conqueror’s feast, / An alien’s restless mood but half concealing” (8-9). The speaker, in this instance, does not yet choose to live by the hope, but falls at its foot, powerless; alien to his own strife, his attempts to stamp out an unreasonable aspiration fall captive to the vision’s tyrannical existence.”The Visionary Hope” unveils, by and large, Coleridge’s laser-beam sense of clarity regarding reason’s distortion in the midst of an all-powerful pining. The speaker’s expected grief as he withers away in the impossibility of meeting his hope moves him to take one last grasp at base reality, “The sternness on his gentle brow confessed” (10). Fairly quickly, Coleridge’s poem, and thus, the convoluted rationality of the speaker, take a sharp turn away from reality and into feelings whose roots are now indefinable. Sickness and misery, tangible evidence of his fantasy’s harm on him, become no more than “obscure pangs” (12) that “made curses of his dreams” (12). Significantly, the world of dreams suggests sleep, submission, and surrender. Although Coleridge’s speaker mindfully dreads that world of sleep, he fails to deny it: “each night repelled in vain, / Each night was scattered by its own loud screams” (13-14). Sucked in by the muscle of his longing, not even his earnest desire to turn from it can falter the journey into obscurity.Thus, Coleridge envelops the reader into the command of the speaker’s heart. No more is the speaker tormented by “obscure pangs” (12), but acknowledges his foregoing strife to be only the equally magnificent remnant of hope: “For Love’s despair is but Hope’s pining ghost!” (20). In deliberation, Coleridge cancels out the speaker’s miniscule sense of rationality and creates a world where all is vision, all is wonderfully intangible, and the fantasy itself provides relief from complex reality. When, one might say, the tables are turned on reality, this capitalized condition of “Hope” (17) serves as the speaker’s source of pride, “his inward bliss and boast” (17). Coleridge’s speaker makes a conscious choice to live by his dreams. Furthermore, he needs nothing more than a simple goal in and of itself to live, day in and day out: “For this one hope he makes his hourly moan, / He wishes and can wish for this alone!” (21-22) While physical human needs remain, Coleridge’s primary concern are those hungers and thirsts of the soul.”The Visionary Hope” romanticizes dreamlike pining as it is a means for expressing splendorous sensitivity to emotion. Contrasting elements of pleasure and pain represent Coleridge’s ever-existing question of a dream’s realistic validity beyond forming an ideal prospect: “Pierced, as with light from Heaven, before its gleams/ (So the love-stricken visionary deems)” (23-24). While the visionary will inherently fall captive to an ignorant hope of attaining the unattainable, he lives in a tranquil sense of certainty, an understanding of his own simple ignorance and blind faith, in the half-reality of imagining what meeting his goal would mean. In a word, Coleridge’s character lives the dream most fully in the awareness that it is not, and may never be, fulfilled. Concluding verses proclaim the thinker’s adamant decision: “Or let it stay! yet this one Hope should give / Such strength that he would bless his pains and live.” (27-28) In Coleridge’s eyes, faith in what is purely imaginative brings the human closer to his own divinity. Through romanticizing blind faith, he eloquently reveals an individual’s spiritual elevation in understanding what he cannot grasp.Coleridge’s poem speaks to the emotional heart; no source other than a heartfelt sense of the intangible dream can sustain a life of individual awareness. For the author, rationality of the mind cannot substitute the sensations of the soul, for to live motivated by something ever-nearing but never arriving is to condition the strength of human passion. Coleridge’s poem calls hope salvation from an otherwise bleak existence. The dreamlike aspiration constantly nourishes and draws one forward, allowing one to “bless” and cherish all aspects of happiness and pain involved in living a human life. One can hope and “wish for this alone” (22), for the act of envisioning grants greater human consciousness.

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