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Kubla Khan

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Alice ko

on 21 March 2014

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Transcript of Kubla Khan

Kubla Khan
Meaning and Purpose of Poem
How Kubla Khan was made by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The legendary story behind the poem is that Coleridge wrote the poem about Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and emperor of China, Kubla Khan, following an opium influenced dream.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
English poet, literary poet, and philosopher
One of the leading poets during the British Romantic movement
Coleridge's most well known poems include The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan
Emerson and American transcendentalism influenced his work
Throughout his life, Coleridge suffered from bipolar disorder and depression which lead to an addiction to opium
The speaker's admiration of the wonderful nature is present in Kubla Khan, but what's striking and somewhat different about the portrayal of nature in this poem is the depiction of the dangerous and threatening aspects of nature.
The meaning and purpose of this poem is to expand the the readers mind to create its own picture as the speaker goes on about describing an enchanted landscape of his dream.
Coleridge seems to explore the depths of dreams and creates scenes that could not exist in reality.
The "sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice" exemplifies the extreme fantasy of the world in which Kubla Khan lives.
Alliteration is repetition of the same consonant sounds at the very beginning of words. Alliteration is shown in many line to be rhythmic.
han" (line 1)
easureless to
en" (line 4)
ea" (line 5)
pots" (line 10)
Lines 21-24
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently sacred river
Coleridge keeps this intensity up line after line, plunging us into the river again and again, after a while turning into a snowstorm.
The river bouncing off the rocks reminds the speaker of the clatter of hail, or grain raining down out of the air as it is being separated from the chaff.
As these wild impulses, once emerged, take on form, direction and structure; they become as a river.
Note: what the speaker is really after here is the feeling.
Line 17-20
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
We have a spring "exploding" from the ground, rising with unexpected force like a bursting dam (or like a water tap that has been held shut as pressure builds)
The speaker wants us to focus on the wild, rushing, violent excitement of the water
.The suggestion is that the creative moment involves the emergence of something powerful from beneath the conscious realm; something which the artist or the dreamer may have been unaware of or may have worked to hold inside, but which is too strong to be held and must burst forth, for good or ill.
Lines 25-28
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean

The speaker now is circling back to the quiet, spooky images that started the poem.
The river has appeared; it will run its course within the walled garden, controlled, curling gently through the some little piece of the world.
It's taking its own route, but meandering, moving easily and gently, rather than roaring or thundering.
Lines 29-32
Lines 33-36
In/ Xa/na/du/ did/ Ku/bla/ Khan
A state/ly plea/sure/ dome de/cree:
Where Alph, the/ sa/cred/ ri/ver, ran
Through ca/verns mea/sure/less to man
Down to a sun/less sea. So twice five mi/les of fer/tile ground
With walls and tow/ers/ were gir/dled/ round:
And there were gar/dens bright with sin/uous/ rills
Where blos/somed/ many an in/cense/-bear/ing tree;
And here were for/ests/ an/cient/ as the hills,
En/fold/ing/ sun/ny/ spots of gree/ner/y.

But oh! that deep ro/man/tic/ cha/sm/ which/ slan/ted
Down the green hill ath/wart a ce/darn/ cover!
A sa/vage/ place/! as ho/ly and en/chan/ted
As e'er be/neath a wa/ning moon was haun/ted
By wo/man/ wail/ing/ for her de/mon lov/er!
And from this cha/sm, with cease/less turm/oil see/thing,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were/breath/ing,
A mi/ghty foun/tain mo/men/tly was for/ced:
A/mid whose swift half/-inter/mit/ted burst
Huge frag/ments vaul/ted like re/bound/ing hail,
Or chaf/fy grain be/neath the thresh/er's flail:
And 'mid these dan/cing rocks at once and ever
It flung up mo/ment/ly the sa/cred river.
Five miles mean/der/ing with a ma/zy mo/tion
Through wood and dale the sa/cred ri/ver ran,
Then rea/ched the ca/verns mea/sure/less to man,
And sank in tu/mult to a life/less o/cean:
And 'mid this tu/mult Ku/bla heard from far
An/cest/ral voi/ces pro/phe/sying war!

Five mi/les mean der/ing with/ a ma/zy mo/tion
Through wood and dale the sac/red ri/ver ran,
Then reached the ca/verns mea/sure/ less to man,
And sank in tu/mult to a life/less o/cean:
And 'mid this tu/mult Ku/bla heard from far
An/ces/tral voi/ces pro/phe/sying war!
The shad/ow of the dome of pleas/ure
Floa/ted mid/way on the waves;
Where was heard the min/gled mea/sure
From the foun/tain and the caves.
It was a mir/acle of rare de/vice,
A sun/ny plea/sure-dome with caves of ice!

A dam/sel with a dul/ci/mer
In a vi/sion once I saw; It was an Abys/sin/ian maid,
And on her dul/ci/mer she played,
Sing/ing of Mount A/bora.
Could I re/vive with/in me
Her sym/phony and song,
To such a deep de/light 'twould win me,
That with mus/ic loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sun/ny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Be/ware! Be/ware!
His flash/ing eyes, his float/ing hair!
Weave a cir/cle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with ho/ly dread,
For he on hon/ey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Para/dise
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves:

Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves
It was a miracle of rare device
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
Kubla Khan apparently hears voices on the waters.
It connects the ancestral voices to the unconscious.
This is Genghis Khan's grandson, that spent a lot of time thinking about war, even when he wasn't listening to rushing rivers.
Iambic : Unstressed, stressed

The "pleasure-dome" is referred to the palace of Xanadu
The dome creates a contrast between the creations of mankind set against the natural world
Although Xanadu may be a large extravagant palace, it cannot be compared to the greatness of nature
Coleridge envisions the pleasure-dome floating above the waters
The "mingled measures" or natural sounds from the fountain and caves can be heard
Samuel Coleridge states that the caves of ice that formed through the chaos are "a miracle of rare device"
Lines 1-4
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Lines 37-41
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.

Coleridge then proceeds to describe his other vision in his dream
He describes an Abyssinian maid ( Ethiopian woman) playing a dulcimer
A dulcimer is an instrument with strings stretched over a trapezoidal board played by striking the strings with a mallet
The woman could also be referred to the Greek personification of memory, Mnemosyne, which connects to Coleridge's claimed struggle to recall his dream
The Ethiopian woman is "Singing of Mount Abora" on her dulcimer
Mount Abora is referred to a location mentioned in John Milton's
Paradise Lost

"stately pleasure dome decree" means that he had a beautiful palace built
begins by introducing River Alph
In Greek "Alpha" means the symbol of beginnings
"caverns measureless to man" tells us that its grand and unknown
Lines 5-9
Down to a sunless sea
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
Poem is about journey of mind and imagination
"Down to a sunless sea" means never bright and cheerful
Starts to talk about the gardens and starts changing the mood to more cheerful mood
Author gives the reader a sense of comfort by words like "fertile", "bright" and by describing sense of protection by describing "walls" and "towers" all around
Lines 10-12
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon lover!

Lines 13-16
Lines 10-11, shows that the forest wraps around the sunny spots and keeps them safe
This stanza of the poem tells the reader that the natural wild is wild and strange but inside the palace is safe.
Xanadu is a river surrounded by hills and cuts through a hill creating a canyon or "deep romantic chasm".
Lines 42-47
In line 13, "athwart a cedarn cover" which means the entire hillside is covered in cedar trees
Author uses exclamation points to emphasize the imagery used in the poem
Explains how romantic and spooky the chasm is by using descriptions like "demon lover".
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
Coleridge looks back at powerful music heard in his vision
He wishes to experience the intense and influential feeling just as he did when listening to the song
The author wishes to recreate "music loud and long" and revive Xanadu or "build that dome in air"
The symphony and song inspire him to create amazing things himself and wants to bring his dream back to life
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
"By woman wailing for her demon lover" (line 16)
This line gives the reader an image of a woman wailing for not just an "ordinary" man but her "demon lover". This creates a strange yet exciting mood for the poem.
"And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean" (line 28)
This line shows us the absence of life by using words like "lifeless".

Definition: visually descriptive or figurative language
Definition: the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.
The author is now portrayed as a great superstitious figure or Kubla Khan
His vision is so vivid that anyone who sees "His flashing eyes, his floating hair!" will shout out "Beware! Beware!" in fear
Those who see the figure are astounded by sheer wonder and terror that they "Weave a circle round him thrice" to ward off evil
His song and vision became so powerful that he became a god-like figure being able to build the pleasure-dome "in the air" and drink "the milk of Paradise"
" That sunny dome! Those caves of ice!" (Line 47)
The sunny dome is being compared to the caves of ice. In this case, the caves of ice represents the force of nature that lie under and surround the works of man. The big contrast of the sunny dome and the caves of ice is the main focus of the vision.
Soon after waking from his dream, he proceeded to write out his vision
He was interrupted by a visitor and was not able to recall his dream or finish the poem
Kubla Khan
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Sharon Baek + Czarina Santiago + Alice Ko
Lines 48-54
The End
Full transcript