Universal Motion

‘The immoveableness of all things through which so many men were moving—a harsh contrast compared with the universal motion, the harmonious system of motions in the country, and everywhere in Nature. In the dim light London appeared to be a huge place of sepulchres through which hosts of spirits were gliding.’

from Coleridge’s ANIMA POETÆ, 1799

This would seem to be a direct echo of my favourite Coleridge lines from my favourite Coleridge poem The Eolian Harp,

‘O the one Life within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where—’

TEH was written in 1795, published the following year, and the pantheism expressed within this – beautifully so in the poise and balance of its language/rhythms, as well as nearly radical if it wasn’t for the orthodox reversion at the poem’s end – is presented more directly as a celebration of and yearning for the country/pastoral life in the quote from three years later when Coleridge was in London.

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