[Text of poem]

1. Coleridge admits that the poem is a fragment. Does he bring it to any sort of conclusion?

2. Is this poem a narrative? just the beginning of a narrative? If so, can you imagine what the next chapter might be? Or is it more of a lyric?

3. Although the meter is iambic throughout, the line length varies from three to five feet. How do the changes in line length and rhyme patterns enhance the shifts from subject to subject?

4. In his introduction to the poem, Coleridge mentions an "anodyne" which he took before he conceived it. The drug was laudanum — opium dissolved in alcohol — and the vision was an opium dream. Is this information totally irrelevant to the poem, or does knowing it change your appraisal of the poem in some way? How, and why?

Student Commentary on the Poem

Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000