In 1798, a poet named Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the poem called “Kubla
Khan”. In his preface, he stated that he had dreamt the poem, and wrote it
down just as it was “preserved”.
The speaker also stated that the poem is
merely a fragment, it is not complete. “With the exception of about eight or
ten scattered lines and images” that had been lost in the transition between
sleep and being awake. In the first stanza, it seemed that the speaker was
talking of a far away land, Xanadu. Kubla Khan was the leader of this land.
land had a sacred river running through it. It had many spots of greenery around
it with forests that were almost “ancient”. In lines one and two it says,
“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure dome decree”. What could that
mean? It could perhaps imply that Kubla Khan is a leader of some type, and he
lives in a “stately” palace.
The speaker used the word dome instead of
palace. Perhaps in his dream he saw a dome as big or a stately as a palace, and
that is where Kubla Khan lived. In the second stanza, the speaker goes on to
describe the land of Xanadu. He says that there is a cedar forest that is
haunted by a “woman wailing for her demon-lover.
” “A mighty fountain
momently was forced… .
..Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail..
flung up momently the sacred river… .
..And ?mid this tumult Kubla heard from
far Ancestral voices prophesying war!” It seems, in lines 17-31, that there
could possibly be a war started. It is never said why the war was started or if
there in fact is really a war, but after that sequence of lines the speaker goes
into another rant.
He said that there was a “sunny pleasure-dome with caves of
ice.” It is not understood what the voice is trying to get across to the
reader in this line. It is known that ice does not exist in the sun, at least
not for long, so does this mean that there is not really a dome at all? After
talking about the dome, the mask speaks of a damsel in the pleasure dome. The
damsel was playing the dulcimer.
The persona also says how the damsel could win
his heart by playing the instrument. After those few off-set lines, the speaker
goes on to say that he would build the dome in the sky, and that all that heard
about it would see it there and yell “beware, beware!” To whom they would
yell this is unclear. The last couple of lines seem to be talking about Kubla
..”His flashing eyes, his floating hair..
.” He must have been a sight
to see. The voice also says that he “drank the milk of paradise.” That could
potentially mean that he lived a life of luxury and was a very mighty leader.
research done with help of the World Wide Web, it was found that Samuel
Coleridge was addicted to a drug much like today’s Acid. Could that signify
that Mr. Coleridge might have been on a “trip” when he wrote this poem, and
that is why it remained unfinished and a fragment? Or quite possibly, it could
be that Mr. Coleridge was just dreaming of the wonderful world of Kubla Khan.