Monday, November 07, 2005

Classical Musings 8

Ah, Kubla Khan. My FAVOURITE Coleridge poem of all time. THIS is the good stuff. I have to say that Coleridge is one of my favourite Romantic poets.

What I find really interesting is that the impetus for the poem came from a dream he had. Well either that or when he was high on opium. I guess it may well have been hard to tell the difference. Either way its interesting to see poetry used as a sort of dream journal.

Kubla Khan just really gets me. Its beautiful. What I really remember, though, is the last few lines.

“And all should cry, Beware! Beware
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a ring around him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.”

It’s a really powerful verse, but its weird and kind of incongruous with the rest of the poem. It almost suggests that Kubla Khan within Xanadu is some sort of demon that needs to be contained, or perhaps that the poet is the power behind Xanadu, the creative force of Kulba Khan, and so references “the milk of Paradise” and suggests that the poet is almost a Bacchic cultist, which I find really neat. Probably because I’m also a Classicl Civ major, and I love seeing the two meet.