Coleridge as a Romantic Poet

An analysis of the extent to which Samuel Taylor Coleridge fits the mantle of “Romantic poet.”

This paper outlines the qualities and criteria of romantic poetry and attempts to show how it is possible to compare and contrast the poetic style and subject matter of Coleridge’s poems,to these criteria in order to determine the extent to which he fits the description Romantic poet. The poems analyzed are Eolian Harp, This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison and Kubla Khan. The paper then highlights Coleridge’s Gothic credentials, focusing in particular on “Christabel.”
“An excellent example of innovation in the way that a poem is divided, and indeed of many other Romantic attributes, is This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison; it contains three sections of twenty, twenty-four and thirty four lines respectively, an irregular structure. The first section conveys a sense of lost opportunity; resigned to missing out on a walk with his friends, Coleridge, due to his heightened insecurities, initially wallows in self pity, an almost obligatory action in many of his autobiographical poems, “Well, they are gone, and here I must remain / This lime-tree bower my prison!” This focus on, or reference to, the poet himself is an important feature of Romantic poetry and can also be seen in Lines, The Eolian Harp, and Reflections On Having Left a Place of Retirement. However, the second part of the first section and the entire second section show a complete change in spirits on the part of Coleridge, who begins to derive pleasure from imagining the natural beauty surrounding, and the enjoyment of, his friends as they walk. ”