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Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and Select Poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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245--*or ever*. "Or" here is not the adversative conjunction but an
entirely different word, an archaic variant of "ere," meaning "before."

250--*For the sky and the sea*, etc. Another instance of the sound
fitting the sense. The rocking rhythm of the line is the rhythm of his
fevered pulse. The poem is full of this quality.

13, 297--*silly*. This word meant in Old English timely (from _soel_,
time, occasion) hence fortunate, blessed. From this was developed, under
the influence of medieval religious teaching, the meaning innocent,
harmless, simple; and from this again our modern meaning, foolish,
simple in a derogatory sense. Chaucer has the word in all these
meanings, and also in another, a modification of the second--wretched,
pitiable. Another shade of the same meaning appears in Spenser's "silly
bark," i.e. _frail_ ship, and in Burns's "To a Mouse":

"Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin'!"

"The epithet may be due either to the gush of love that has filled the
Mariner's heart, or to his noticing the buckets, long useless, frail,
now filled with water" (Sykes); very likely to both together.

14, 314--*fire-flags*. The notion of the "fire-flags" "hurried about"
was probably suggested to Coleridge by the description of the Northern
Lights (_aurora borealis_) in Hearne's "Journey ... to the Northern
Ocean," a book printed in 1795 and known to both Wordsworth and
Coleridge before 1798. Hearne says: "I can positively affirm that in
still nights I have frequently heard them make a rustling and crackling
noise, like the waving of a large flag in a fresh gale of wind." See
also Wordsworth's "Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman" (Cooper).

15, 358--*Sometimes a-dropping*, etc. The Mariner's sin was that in
wanton cruelty he took the life of a friendly fellow-creature; his
punishment is to live with dead men round him and the dead bird on his
breast, in such solitude that "God himself scarce seemed there to be,"
until he learns to feel the _sacredness of life_ even in the
water-snakes, the "slimy things" that coil in the rotting sea; and the
stages of his penance are marked by suggestions of his return to the
privilege of human fellowship. The angels' music is like the song of the
skylark, the sails ripple like a leaf-hidden brook--recollections of his
happy boyhood in. England; and finally comes the actual land breeze, and
he is in his "own countree." Observe the marginal gloss to line 442.

17, 407--*honey-dew*. See note on "Kubla Khan," line 53.

416--*His great bright eye*, etc. Dorothy Wordsworth in her Journal,
February 27, 1798, describes the look of the sea by moonlight, "big and
white, swelled to the very shores, but round and high in the middle."

20, 512--*shrieve*. To hear confession and pronounce absolution, one
of the duties of the priesthood in the Catholic church. The word is more
often spelled _shrive. Shrift_ is the abstract noun derived from it.

21, 523--*skiff-boat*. A pleonastic compound; a skiff is a boat.
Coleridge is fond of such formations. See for example II. 41, 77, 472 of
this poem and II. 46, 649 of "Christabel" (Cooper).

535--*ivy-tod*. A clump or bush of ivy. Cf. Spenser's "Shepheards
Calender," March, II. 67 ff.:

"At length within an Yvie todde
(There shrouded was the little God)
I heard a busie bustling."

23, 607--*While each to his great Father bends*, etc. Cf. the 148th
Psalm (Prayer-Book Version) v. 12: "Young men and maidens, old men and
children, praise the name of the Lord: for his name only is excellent,
and his praise above heaven and earth."


25,6-7--This couplet ran as follows in the first edition:

"Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,
Hath a toothless mastiff bitch."

In the editions of 1828 and 1829 Coleridge changed it to the form
printed in the text; "but _bitch_ has been restored in all subsequent
editions except Mr. Campbell's" (Garnett).

16--*thin gray cloud*, etc. The "thin gray cloud," as also the
dancing leaf of ll. 49-52, was observed at Stowey. They are noted in
Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal, January 31 and March 7, 1798.

26, 54--*Jesu*. This form of the word is nearer to the Hebrew
original than the more familiar _Jesus_. It is often (though not
exclusively) used in ejaculation and prayer, as here, and was perhaps
supposed to be the vocative form.

27, 92--*I wis.* This is a misinterpretation of Middle English
_iwis_, from Old English _gewis_, "certainly."

29, 129--*The lady sank,* etc. The threshold of a house is, in
folk-lore, a sacred place, and evil things cannot cross but have to be
carried over it.

142--*I cannot speak,* etc. Geraldine blesses "her gracious stars"
(l. 114), but cannot join in praise to the Holy Virgin.

30, 167--*And jealous of the listening air*. This line was not in the
first edition, but was added in the edition of 1828.

32, 252--*Behold! her bosom and half her side*, etc. There exist at
least three versions of this passage. The text is that of the 1828
edition. The edition of 1816 lacked ll. 255-61, having only these lines
between 253 and 262:

"And she is to sleep by Christabel.
She took two paces, and a stride," etc.

The third form is that of a MS. copy of the poem once the property of
Wordsworth's sister-in-law, Sarah Hutchinson, and recently published in
facsimile by Mr. E.H. Coleridge, which gives this reading for ll. 253-4:

"Are lean and old and foul of hue,
And she is to sleep by Christabel."

Coleridge seems to have tried both ways, that of revealing Geraldine's
loathsome secret and that of leaving it an unknown and nameless horror,
and finally to have chosen the latter, just as he rejected in later
editions the charnel-house particulars in the description of Death in
"The Ancient Mariner." Unquestionably he was right. The horror that is
merely suggested and left shrouded in mystery for the imagination to
work on is more powerful than that which is known. The suppressed line,
however, helps us in an age less familiar with notions of the
supernatural to understand what Geraldine is. The character is conceived
upon the general lines of Duessa in the first book of "The Faerie
Queene;" a being of great external loveliness, but within "full of all
uncleanness." Observe also that the thought, shrouded here, is half
revealed later (l. 457).

35, 344--*Bratha Head, Wyndermere, Langdale Pike*, etc. For the
relation of the Second Part of the poem to the Lake country see
Introduction. All of the places named in these lines are near the
border-line between Cumberland and Westmoreland and within a dozen miles
of the Wordsworths' home at Grasmere. Keswick, which was the home of
Coleridge from 1800 to 1804, and of his wife and children for many years
thereafter, is on Derwent Water, in Cumberland, some ten miles north of
Grasmere. The little river Bratha runs into the upper or northern end of
Windermere, a larger lake lying about three miles below Grasmere and
connected with it by another stream. Langdale Pike (or Pikes, for there
are more than one) is the name of the steep hills at the head of
Langdale, on the Cumberland border. Dungeon-Ghyll is a ravine in
Langdale (see Wordsworth's "The Idle Shepherd Boys; or, Dungeon-Ghyll
Force"). Borrowdale lies over the border in Cumberland and slopes the
other way, toward Derwent Water.

37, 407--*Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine*. Sir Leoline lives at
"Langdale Hall," a supposed castle in the immediate vicinity of the
poets' homes; the friend of his youth, whose daughter Geraldine claims
to be, is given the name of a real family and an historical estate in
eastern Cumberland, Tryermaine in Gilsland, on the River Irthing, which
forms part of the boundary between Cumberland and Northumberland. Scott
in his notes to "The Bridal of Triermain" quotes as follows from Burns's
"Antiquities of Westmoreland and Cumberland": "After the death of
Gilmore, Lord of Tryermaine and Torcrossock, Hubert Vaux gave Tryermaine
and Torcrossock to his second son, Ranulph Vaux.... Ranulph, being Lord
of all Gilsland, gave Gilmore's land to his younger son, named
Roland.... And they were named Rolands successively, that were lords
thereof, until the reign of Edward the Fourth."

44--*The Conclusion to Part the Second*. Campbell thought it "highly
improbable" that these lines were originally composed as a part of
"Christabel." In a letter to Southey, May 6, 1801, Coleridge speaks of
his eldest boy, Hartley, then in his fifth year: "Dear Hartley! we are
at times alarmed by the state of his health, but at present he is well.
If I were to lose him, I am afraid it would exceedingly deaden my
affection for any other children I may have." Then he writes the lines
that we now have as the Conclusion to Part the Second; and adds: "A very
metaphysical account of fathers calling their children rogues, rascals,
and little varlets, etc."


Kubla Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, was a Mongolian conqueror who
stretched his empire from European Russia to the eastern shores of China
in the thirteenth century. His exploits, like those of his grandfather
and those of the Mohammedan Timur in the next century, made a deep
impression on the imagination of Western Europe. Compilers of
travellers's tales, like Hakluyt and Purchas, caught up eagerly whatever
they could find, history or legend, concerning the extent of his domain,
the methods of his government, or the splendors of his court. The
passage in "Purchas his Pilgrimage" to which Coleridge refers is as

"In Xamdu did Cublai Can build a stately Palace, encompassing sixteene
miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile Meddowes,
pleasant Springs, delightfull Streames, and all sorts of beasts of
chase and game, and in the middest thereof a sumptuous house of
pleasure" (quoted in the Notes of the Globe edition).

Coleridge's poem, however, contains suggestions and reminiscences from
another part of Purchas's book, and probably from other books as well.
"It reads like an arras of reminiscences from several accounts of
natural or enchanted parks, and from various descriptions of that
elusive and danger-fraught garden which mystic geographers have studied
to locate from Florida to Cathay" (Cooper).

The earthly paradise, which was closed to man indeed, but not destroyed,
when Adam and Eve were driven from its gates, has exercised the
imagination of the Christian world from the early Middle Ages.
Lactantius described it in the fourth century; the author of the
"Phoenix," probably in the eighth century, translated Lactantius' Latin
into Anglo-Saxon verse; Sir John Mandeville, in the fourteenth century,
though he did not reach it himself because he "was not worthy," gives an
account of it from what he has "heard say of wise Men beyond;" Milton
described it enchantingly in "Paradise Lost;" Dr. Johnson used a
modification of it in "Rasselas;" and William Morris in our own time
made it the framework for a delightful series of world-old tales. The
idea, indeed, is not peculiar to Christianity, but is probably to be
found in every civilization. Christian Europe has naturally located it
in the East; and since the Crusades, which brought Western Europe more
in contact with the East, various eastern legends have been attached to
or confounded with the original notion. One of these is the Abyssinian
legend of the hill Amara (cf. l. 41, where Coleridge's "Mount Abora"
seems to stand for Purchas's Amara). Amara in Purchas's account is a
hill in a great plain in Ethiopia, used as a prison for the sons of
Abyssinian kings. Its level top, twenty leagues in circuit and
surrounded by a high wall, is a garden of delight. "Heauen and Earth,
Nature and Industrie, have all been corriuals to it, all presenting
their best presents, to make it of this so louely presence, some taking
this for the place of our Forefathers Paradise." The sides of the hill
are of overhanging rock, "bearing out like mushromes, so that it is
impossible to ascend it" except by a passageway "cut out within the
Rocke, not with staires, but ascending little by little," and closed
above and below with gates guarded by soldiers. "Toward the South" of
the level top "is a rising hill ... yeelding ... a pleasant spring which
passeth through all that Plaine ... and making a Lake, whence issueth a
River, which having from these tops espied Nilus, never leaves seeking
to find him, whom he cannot leave both to seeke and to finde.... There
are no Cities on the top, but palaces, standing by themselves ...
spacious, sumptuous, and beautifull, where the Princes of the Royall
blood have their abode with their families."

This legend looks backward to Mandeville, with whose account of the
Terrestrial Paradise it has much in common, and forward to Milton, who
used some of its elements in his description of Paradise in the fourth
book of "Paradise Lost." (See Professor Cooper's article in "Modern
Philology," III., 327 ff., from which this is condensed.)

Mr. E.H. Coleridge (the poet's grandson) has recently shown that in the
winter of 1797-8 Coleridge read and made notes from a book, "Travels
through ... the Cherokee Country," by the American botanist William
Bartram. Chapter VII. of Bartram's book contains an account of some
natural wonders in the Cherokee country that almost certainly afforded
part of the imagery of "Kubla Khan." Bartram, says Mr. Coleridge,
"speaks of waters which 'descend by slow degrees through rocky caverns
into the bowels of the earth, whence they are carried by subterraneous
channels into other receptacles and basons.' He travels for several
miles over 'fertile eminences and delightful shady forests.' He is
enchanted by a 'view of a dark sublime grove;' of the grand fountain he
says that the 'ebullition is astonishing and continual, though its
greatest force of fury intermits' (note the word 'intermits') 'regularly
for the space of thirty seconds of time: the ebullition is perpendicular
upward, from a vast rugged orifice through a bed of rock throwing up
small particles of white shells.' He is informed by 'a trader' that when
the Great Sink was forming there was heard 'an inexpressible rushing
noise like a mighty hurricane or thunderstorm,' that 'the earth was
overflowed by torrents of water which came wave after wave rushing down,
attended with a terrific noise and tremor of the earth,' that the
fountain ceased to flow and 'sank into a huge bason of water;' but, as
he saw with his own eyes, 'vast heaps of fragments of rock' (Coleridge
writes 'huge fragments'), 'white chalk, stones, and pebbles had been
thrown up by the original outbursts and forced aside into the lateral

From these and from other like sources Coleridge's mind was no doubt
stored with suggestions of tropical wonder and loveliness, which fell
together--if his own account of the making of the poem is to be relied
on--into the kaleidoscopic beauty of "Kubla Khan." It is not unlikely,
too (cf. ll. 12-13), that the ash-tree dell at Stowey, which he had
already used for a scene of supernatural terror in "Osorio," bears some
part in his avowed dream of Xanadu.

45, 3--*Alph, the sacred river.* This name seems to be of Coleridge's
own invention; at least it has not been pointed out where he found it.

16--*demon-lover.* The demon-lover (or more often, with sexes
reversed, the fairy mistress) is a favorite theme of romance, taken from
folk-lore, where it appears in many forms. Cf. the ballads of "Thomas
Rymer," "Tam Lin," and "The Demon Lover," in Child's "English and
Scottish Popular Ballads," and Scott's "William and Helen" (a
translation of Burger's "Lenore").

46, 39, 41--*Abyssinian maid, Mount Abora.* See introductory note

53--*honey-dew.* A sweet sticky substance found on plants, deposited
there by the aphis or plant-louse. It was supposed to be the food of
fairies. Not improbably Coleridge was thinking of manna, a saccharine
exudation found upon certain plants in the East. Mandeville describes it
as found in "the Land of Job:" "This Manna is clept Bread of Angels. And
it is a white Thing that is full sweet and right delicious, and more
sweet than Honey or Sugar. And it Cometh of the Dew of Heaven that
falleth upon the Herbs in that Country. And it congealeth and becometh
all white and sweet. And Men put it in Medicines."

53-4--*For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.*
Professor Cooper, in the article cited in the introductory note above,
points out that this part of the poem contains perhaps reminiscences of
the stories told of the Old Man of the Mountain. This was the title
popularly given to the head of a fanatical sect of Mohammedans in Syria
in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, whose method of getting rid of
their enemies has given us the word _assassin_. To quote from
Mandeville's "Travels," which has the essentials of the story, though
the chief is here called Gatholonabes, and his domain is not in Syria
but in the island Mistorak, "in the Lordship of Prester John:"

"He had a full fair Castle and a strong in a Mountain, so strong and so
noble, that no Man could devise a fairer or a stronger. And he had made
wall all the Mountain about with a strong Wall and a fair. And within
those Walls he had the fairest Garden that any Man might behold....

"And he had also in that Place, the fairest Damsels that might be found,
under the Age of fifteen Years, and the fairest young Striplings that
Men might get, of that same Age. And they were all clothed in Cloths of
Gold, full richly. And he said that those were Angels.

"And he had also made 3 Wells, fair and noble, and all environed with
Stone of Jasper, and of Crystal, diapered with Gold, and set with
precious Stones and great orient Pearls. And he had made a Conduit under
the Earth, so that the 3 Wells, at his List, should run, one Milk,
another Wine, and another Honey. And that Place he clept Paradise.

"And when that any good Knight, that was hardy and noble, came to see
this Royalty, he would lead him into his Paradise, and show him these
wonderful Things for his Sport, and the marvellous and delicious Song of
divers Birds, and the fair Damsels, and the fair Wells of Milk, Wine and
Honey, plenteously running. And he would make divers Instruments of
Music to sound in an high Tower, so merrily, that it was Joy to hear;
and no Man should see the Craft thereof. And those, he said, were Angels
of God, and that Place was Paradise, that God had promised to his
Friends, saying, '_Dabo vobis Terram fluentem Lacte et Melle_' ('I shall
give thee a Land flowing with Milk and Honey'). And then would he make
them to drink of certain Drink [hashish, a narcotic drug, whence their
name of Assassins], whereof anon they should be drunk. And then would
they think it greater Delight than they had before. And then would he
say to them, that if they would die for him and for his Love, that after
their Death they should come to his Paradise; and they should be of the
Age of the Damsels, and they should play with them, and yet be Maidens.
And after that should he put them in a yet fairer Paradise, where that
they should see the God of Nature visibly, in His Majesty and in His
Bliss. And then would he show them his Intent, and say to them, that if
they would go slay such a Lord, or such a Man that was his Enemy or
contrarious to his List, that they should not therefore dread to do it
and to be slain themselves. For after their Death, he would put them in
another Paradise, that was an 100-fold fairer than any of the tother;
and there should they dwell with the most fairest Damsels that might be,
and play with them ever-more.

"And thus went many divers lusty Pachelors to slay great Lords in divers
Countries, that were his Enemies, and made themselves to be slain, in
Hope to have that Paradise."


When Coleridge republished this poem in the _Post_ in 1802 he prefixed
to it the following


_First Stanza_. An invocation to those objects in Nature the
contemplation of which had inspired the Poet with a devotional love of
Liberty. _Second Stanza_. The exultation of the Poet at the commencement
of the French Revolution, and his unqualified abhorrence of the Alliance
against the Republic. _Third Stanza_. The blasphemies and horrors during
the domination of the Terrorists regarded by the Poet as a transient
storm, and as the natural consequence of the former despotism and of the
foul superstition of Popery. Reason, indeed, began to suggest many
apprehensions; yet still the Poet struggled to retain the hope that
France would make conquests by no other means than by presenting to the
observation of Europe a people more happy and better instructed than
under other forms of Government. _Fourth Stanza_. Switzerland, and the
Poet's recantation. _Fifth Stanza_. An address to Liberty, in which the
Poet expresses his conviction that those feelings and that grand _ideal_
of Freedom which the mind attains by its contemplation of its individual
nature, and of the sublime surrounding objects (see stanza the first) do
not belong to men as a society, nor can possibly be either gratified or
realized under any form, of human government; but belong to the
individual man, so far as he is pure, and inflamed with the love and
adoration of God in Nature.

51, 22--*When France in wrath*, etc. The storming of the Bastile took
place July 14, 1789. On the 4th of August feudal and manorial privileges
were swept away by the National Assembly; and on the 18th of August the
Assembly formally adopted a declaration of "the rights of man." In
September 1792 the National Convention abolished royalty and declared
France a republic.

52, 26-7--*With what a joy my lofty gratulation Unawed I* sang.
Coleridge wrote a poem on the "Destruction of the Bastile," probably in
1789 or soon after (first printed in 1834); and in September, 1792, some
lines "To a Young Lady, with a Poem on the French Revolution" (first
printed in _The Watchman_ in 1796), in which he tells his emotions--

"When slumbering Freedom roused with high disdain
With giant fury burst her triple chain!"

28--*the disenchanted nation*. "Disenchanted" because they found that
freedom, peace, and virtue were not to be secured by mere proclamation;
and that all Europe was not ready at the call of the revolutionists to
abolish prescriptive rights and establish republican forms of society.
In January 1793 Louis XVI was beheaded. The act was followed pretty
promptly by a coalition of England, Holland, Spain, Naples, and the
German states against the Republic.

36--*Yet still my voice*. In "Religious Musings," 1794-6, and more
ardently in the parts that he contributed to Southey's "Joan of Arc,"

42--*Britain's name*. England was from the beginning the centre of
resistance to the violence and ambition of revolutionary France; and
Pitt, who controlled English policy in these years, was looked upon as a
cold-blooded agent of tyranny by the French republicans and their
English sympathizers.

44--*sweet music of deliverance*. The French were so convinced that
their Revolution marked the beginning of a new era in human affairs that
they determined to have a new chronology. Accordingly a commission of
scientists was appointed to formulate a system, which was adopted in
October 1793. The "Era of the Republic" was to be counted from the
autumnal equinox, 1792. The year was divided into twelve months, as
before, but they were renamed (_Thermidor_ hot month, _Fructidor_ fruit
month, _Nivose_ snow month, &c.), and ran in periods of thirty days each
from the 22d of September. This left five days undistributed, which were
set apart as feast-days in celebration of five virtues or ideals. Each
month consisted of three decades, and each tenth day, or _decadis_, was
a holiday. The purpose of this was to eradicate the observance of the
Christian Sunday. This chronology was in actual use in France until
Napoleon put an end to it in 1806.

The municipality of Paris in 1793 decreed that on the 10th of November
the worship of Reason should be inaugurated at Notre Dame. "On that day
the venerable cathedral was profaned by a series of sacrilegious
outrages unparalleled in the history of Christendom. A temple dedicated
to 'Philosophy' was erected on a platform in the middle of the choir ...
the Goddess of Reason, impersonated by Mademoiselle Maillard, a well
known figurante of the opera, took her seat upon a grassy throne in
front of the temple; ... and the multitude bowed the knee before her in
profound admiration.... At the close of this grotesque ceremony the
whole cortege proceeded to the hall of the Convention, carrying with
them their 'goddess,' who was borne aloft in a chair of state on the
shoulders of four men. Having deposited her in front of the president,"
Chaumette, the spokesman of the procession, "harangued the Assembly....
He proceeded to demand that the ci-devant metropolitan church should
henceforth be the temple of Reason and Liberty; which proposition was
immediately adopted. The 'goddess' was then conducted to the president,
and he and other officers of the House saluted her with the 'fraternal
kiss,' amid thunders of applause. After this, upon the motion of
Thuriot, the Convention in a body joined the mass of the people, and
marched in their company to the temple of Reason, to witness a
repetition of the impieties above described.... At St. Gervais a ball
was given in the chapel of the Virgin. In other churches theatrical
spectacles took place.... On Sunday, the 17th of November, all the
parish churches of Paris were closed by authority, with three
exceptions.... Religion was proscribed, churches closed, Christian
ordinances interdicted; the dreary gloom of atheistical despotism
overspread the land."--Jervis, "The Gallican Church and the Revolution,"
quoted in Larned's "History for Ready Reference," p. 1300. The next
year, however, Robespierre had a decree passed of which the first
article was: "The French people acknowledge the existence of the Supreme
Being and the immortality of the soul;" and thereupon the inscriptions
_To Reason_ that had been placed upon the French churches were replaced
by others reading _To the Supreme Being_.

50--*calm and bright*. After the downfall of Robespierre in 1794
France gradually worked back to a less hysterical mood. In October 1795
a new form of government known as the Directory was established, under
which the people enjoyed comparative safety at home and developed a
remarkable military efficiency against their foreign enemies.
Bonaparte's military genius brought him rapidly to the front in the wars
of the Directory. It was he that created the Cisalpine and Ligurine
"republics," and his policy directed the invasions of Rome and of

53, 66--*Helvetia*. In March, 1798, after having fostered or
compelled the formation of republics under French protection in Holland,
northern Italy, and Rome, the Directory, under pretence of defending the
republican rights of the Vaudois, made a concerted attack upon
Switzerland. Berne, the centre of resistance, was taken, despite the
heroic defence of the mountaineers who for five centuries had maintained
in "bleak Helvetia's icy caverns" a "shrine of liberty" for all Europe.


55, 1 of motto--*yestreen*. Abbreviation of "yester-even," yesterday

58, 82--*But now afflictions*, etc. In March 1801 Coleridge wrote to
Godwin: "In my long illness I had compelled into hours of delight many a
sleepless, painful hour of darkness by chasing down metaphysical game,
and since then I have continued the hunt, until I found myself unaware
at the root of pure mathematics.... The poet is dead in me." And years
afterward in a letter to an artist friend, W. Collins (December, 1818):
"Poetry is out of the question. The attempt would only hurry me into
that sphere of acute feelings from which abstruse research, the mother
of self-oblivion, presents an asylum."

95--*Reality's dark dream*! In the earlier forms of the poem the
lines corresponding to 94-5 stood thus:

"Nay, wherefore did I let it haunt my mind,
This dark, distressful dream?"

He seems to mean, "This loss of joy, of poetic power, is, must be, only
an evil dream, and I will shake it from my mind;" but he knows that it
is a reality, and so turns to forget it in the sensuous intoxication of
the wind's music. Or perhaps--for Coleridge is already a
metaphysician--reality is used here in opposition to ideality or
imagination; the truth of philosophy (cf. ll. 89-90) and the metaphysic
habit of mind that the study of it induces--what we call reality--is a
dream that has come between him and the world of the ideal in which he
had and used his "shaping spirit of imagination." The passage is

100--*Bare crag*, etc. The scenery here is that of the Lake country
where Coleridge and Wordsworth were then living--the former at Keswick
in Cumberland, the latter at Grasmere, Westmoreland.

59, 120--*Otway*. Coleridge wrote originally, "As thou thyself [i.e.
Wordsworth--see next note] had'st fram'd the tender lay." This he
changed to "Edmund's self" when he first printed the poem in 1802; and
finally to "Otway's self." Thomas Otway was a dramatist of the time of
Charles II (born 1651, died 1685). He wrote, among other plays, two
tragedies of wonderful pathetic power, "The Orphan" and "Venice
Preserved." The theme and style of the former of these, especially, no
doubt suggested his name to Coleridge here. Otway's own career was
pathetic; he died young, neglected, and according to one story, starved.
To this story Coleridge alludes in one of his early poems, the "Monody
on the Death of Chatterton:"

"While, 'mid the pelting of that merciless storm,
Sunk to the cold earth Otway's famished form!"

121--*'T is of a little child*, etc. Alluding to Wordsworth's "Lucy
Gray," which had been published in the second edition of "Lyrical
Ballads," 1800.


60, 12--*trim skiffs*, etc. Fulton had invented the steamboat in
1807. The first regular steamboat in British waters was built in 1812.

61, 34--*altered size*. Coleridge became very stout in his later


62, 5--*the sole unbusy thing*. Cf. George Herbert's "Employment:"

"All things are busie; onely I
Neither bring hony with the bees,
Nor flowers to make that, nor the husbandrie
To water these."

"I find more substantial comfort now," wrote Coleridge to his friend
Collins in 1818, "in pious George Herbert's 'Temple,' which I used to
read to amuse myself with his quaintness, in short, only to laugh at,
than in all the poetry since Milton."

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