Sara Coleridge

Peter Swaab (ed.), Sara Coleridge: Collected Poems

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pg 178Editor’s NoteFeydeleen to Zelneth

  • Fair maid, yield not thy soul to gloom,
  • Nor that soft cheek to Sorrow's pow'r;
  • If he looks coldly on thy bloom
  • Must thou become a withered flow'r?
  • He cannot love: – yet thou art fair;
  • The fault is wholly his, not thine;
  • How great his folly all shall swear,
  • That see thy charms serenely shine.
  • When beaming beauty beams in vain,
  • And fails to melt the frozen heart,
  • The wound is sharp, yet heals amain;
  • Love leaves her still his better part.
  • But hers is no such passing pain,
  • Who loves when lovely youth is fled:
  • And feels that not e'en love to gain
  • Could raise her beauty from the dead:
  • Who hears the wind that courts the trees
  • Thus whisp'ring mock her hopeless grief;
  • 'When e'er did Love's soft summer breeze
  • Caress the sere and yellow leaf?'

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Editor’s Note
Page 178. 'Feydeleen to Zelneth' (RB, 1845?). 'For Phantasmion' (SC). The fairy Feydeleen, the 'Spirit of the Flowers', consoles Zelneth about her unrequited love for Phantasmion. The reflections on age might be thought to reflect less on Zelneth, who is a young woman, than on SC herself at the likely time of writing. SC used the phrase 'the sere and yellow leaf' (alluding to Macbeth, V.iii.25) to refer to her own state in the opening lines of 'On reading my Father's "Youth and Age"', above, p. 167: 'I behold the sere and yellow leaf / I'm fallen into' (lines 2–3).
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