Sound And Sense In "Kubla Kahn"

1032 words - 5 pages

In his attempt to explore the definition of the poem, Samuel Taylor Coleridge concludes that a poem is distinguished from the works of science by, "Proposing for its immediate object pleasure, not truth." The recent denotation of "pleasure" to solely sensual enjoyment makes his definition seem a subjective belief. However, by "pleasure", Coleridge means recognition of, "The beauty of the universe," to borrow Wordsworth's words, and gives it a metaphysical layer (Gilpin.) Coleridge's second clause distinguishes the form of poetry from all other forms of writing that share the interest in "pleasure;" the poem derives, "Such delight from the whole, as is compatible with a distinct gratification ...view middle of the document...

Despite this slowing down the sense of movement is conveyed due to the change in syllables and the large amount of verbs (fourteen.) The resulting contrast produces a dream like feeling and accentuates how otherworldly these images are, like the, "earth in fast thick pants were breathing ," and, "'mid these dancing rocks." Conversely, the return to shorter lines of six to ten syllables in stanzas four and five fits with the change of perspective the poem takes. This incredible castle is referred to as, "The shadow of the dome of pleasure," which alludes to its lack of tangible existence; it is only the imaginative fruit of the poet's mind, only a shadow of reality. Nevertheless, the measure of syllables per line still wavers, befitting the speaker's turmoil at this acknowledgment.
Coleridge's use of rhyme makes the poem's parts complement the whole. The rhyme scheme repeats itself three times with notable variations. The first rhyme scheme of ABAABCCDEDE accompanies the descriptions of Kubla Kahn's demand and amazing images of nature he would have liked to ornament it, with "Twice five miles of fertile ground / With walls and gardens girdled round."The second scheme, in lines twelve to thirty, begins almost identically to the former one, with ABAABCCDDEE. This repetition in scheme emphasizes the relationship between the two parts in the poem: Kubla Kahn's demand of, "Stately pleasure dome decree" is echoed in the next scheme, "but oh! That deep romantic chasm..." This romantic chasm, in light of the former rhyme scheme emphasizes who unrealistic it is, only a "romantic," unfounded wish; nature is indifferent to it, only grows darker and irrepressible as "A savage place!" "Holly and enchanted." The fact that the second scheme grows longer (lines 23-30) accentuates Kubla Khan's foolishness in his wish to use nature for his whims, since nature is literally "Measureless to men." The irregularity of the last scheme (lines 31-54), of ABABCDEDEFGEEEGHHG along the un-rhyming lines match with the speaker's wish to "To revive whiten me" the song in a vision he...

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