How Is “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” Reflective of Romantic Ideologies?

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “This Lime-tree bower my prison” is one of the most quoted examples of romanticism. Throughout the three stanzas, many romantic ideologies can be identified including aspects such as the romantic’s view towards nature, the power of the imagination and the emphasis on the individual.

Romanticism emerged against a time of increased urbanisation and industrialisation, where people sought instead an immersion in nature instead. Coleridge’s poem exemplifies many of the feelings which the contemporaries of the time had towards nature, including impressions of its richness, its superiority to the city and the power of the divine reflected in nature. The countryside (nature) is portrayed as more valuable than the city, with Coleridge claiming that Charles “hunger’d after Nature, many a year, in the great City pent”, comparing the city to a prison, whilst nature is something to be desired. Using colourful descriptions such as “and that walnut-tree was richly ting’d” and “ye purple heath flowers”, Coleridge stimulates the richness and beauty of nature in the reader’s mind. Nature is given a sense of grandeur, vibrancy and vitality, reflecting the elevation of nature common to the time, with even the simple rook becoming a thing of momentary glory as it “cross’d the mighty Orb’s dilated glory”. Unlike in the Augustan age, where nature existed as something to be tamed by mankind, here nature exists in its own right. In fact, it is even seen to be raised up to a religious level, with Coleridge using the vocative terms “thou” and “ye” in reference to the Sun and clouds, essentially lifting them to the level of a deity. Hence they are able to partake in the majesty of God.

The Romantics also believed that as nature reflected the divine, they were able to gain a better understanding of God and themselves from it in the form of epiphanies. As Constable says, the sky was “the organ of the sentiment”. Coleridge reflects this ideology in his...
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