Discuss Kubla Khan as a Romantic Poem
Discuss Kubla Khan as a Romantic Poem : Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of the greatest romantic poets and his Kubla Khan is one of those three poems which have kept his name in the front of the greatest English poets. The poem is the shortest but in some ways the most remarkable of the three.
Kubla Khan as a Romantic Poem
Kubla Khan is a romantic poem. It is a concentration of romantic features. The romantic qualities of the poem are as follow:
Romantic Elements in the Poem Kubla Khan:
Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, a celebratory poem is romantic in its tone. Supernaturalism is a romantic quality and Kubla Khan is a triumph of supernaturalism. It is a supernatural poem based upon an opium-induced dream. It transports us out of the world of everyday life into a world of enchantment. ‘The woman wailing for her demon lover’ and ‘the ancestral voices prophesying war are obviously supernatural occurrences. The tumultuous rise of the river Alph from a deep romantic chasm is also given an unmistakable supernatural touch. The caverns measureless to man, the intermittent bust of water from the fountain, the sunless sea— these are all supernatural touches which create an atmosphere of mystery and fear.
But what is remarkable about Kubla Khan is the convincing presentation of the supernatural elements. Reference to distant lands and far off places emphasise the romantic character of the poem. The very first line transports us to the distant city of Xanadu, the summer capital of the great oriental King Kubla Khan, the son of the great Genghiz Khan. These names unfamiliar and brought with the spirit of mystery, lend to the poem an enchantment of their own. The same purpose is served by the allusion to the Abyssinian girl singing of Mount Abora in the second part of the poem.
Kubla Khan abounds in suggestive phrases and lines capable of evoking mystery. The description of the romantic chasm, the source of the river Alph is romantic in spirit. Perhaps the most suggestive lines in the poem refer to the woman waiting for her demon lover.
“A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon lover.”
Equally suggestive are these lines
“And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war.”
Romantic poetry is also characterized by sensuousness. There are sensuous phrases and pictures in Kubla Khan. The bright gardens, the incense bearing trees with sweet blossoms, the sunny spots of greenery, the rock vaulting like rebounding hall, the sunless caverns—all these vivid pictures give the poem a sensuous touch so characteristic of romantic poetry. We find another sensuousness in the vision of the Abyssinian maid playing on a dulcimer and singing a sweet song.
The picture of the divinely inspired poet in the closing lines of the poem is typically romantic. No writer imbued with the classical spirit could have written these lines where the poet is presented as a divinely inspired creator. The poet achieves an awesome personality of whom the ordinary person must beware. The poet says:
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
For he on honey-dew bath fed,
And drunk the milk of paradise,”
Above all, the dream-like atmosphere of Kubla Khan makes it an exquisite romantic poem. It was not only composed in a dream but even exhibits a dream-like movement. The poem is work of pure fancy, the result of sheer imagination. In this respect it is a romantic poem.
To sum up, we may say that Kubla Khan fulfills the characteristics of a romantic poem. We find the romantic qualities in the poem such as supernaturalism, references to remote places, suggestiveness, sensuousness, poetic creation, and dream like quality and so on. These romantic elements make Kubla Khan a romantic poem.
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