Friday, March 04, 2005

Isfahan and Samual Taylor Coleridge

"The effect on my feelings, on the other hand, I cannot better represent, than by supposing myself to have known only our light and airy modern chapels of ease, and then for the first time to have been placed, and left alone, in one of our largest Gothic cathedrals in a gusty moonlight night of autumn. "Now in glimmer, and now in gloom;" often in palpable darkness not without a chilly sensation of terror; then suddenly emerging into broad yet visionary lights with coloured shadows, of fantastic shapes yet all decked out with holy insignia and mystic symbols; and ever and anon coming out full upon pictures and stone-work images of great men, with whose names I was familiar, but which looked upon me with countenances and an expression, the most dissimilar to all I had been in the habit of connecting with those names. Those whom I had been taught to venerate as almost super-human in magnitude of intellect I found perched in little fret-work niches, as grotesque dwarfs; while the grotesques, in my hitherto belief, stood gurading the high alter with all the cvharacters of Apotheosis. In short, what I had supposed substances were thinned away to shadows, while every where shadows were deepened into substances.."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Biographia Literaria (1815)

Thanks to Linda for Isfahan link and STC for The Rime.

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