Analyse the poem 'The Eolian Harp' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and comment on the poetic form and language used and the way they contribute to the meaning and effects of the poem.

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The Eolian Harp by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, can be described as the musings of a man thinking about his love for his wife Sara, the beauty of nature and about the wonder of God in providing him with both nature and Sara. The voice of the poem is Coleridge himself as it refers to Sara, his wife at the time of writing. It is a Romantic poem as it deals with a mixture of traditional Romantic themes: those of strong feelings, the importance of the imagination and the idea of the sublime, and the natural world.

The Eolian Harp is written in blank verse and has an irregular split into two verse paragraphs, one long, one short. The form is lyrical as it deals with a mans thoughts and emotions but it is often written in a conversational style, particularly in the first verse paragraph giving it an informal, simple feel:to sit beside our cot, our cot overgrown (l.3)andI stretch my limbs at noon,Whilst thro my half-closd eyelids I beholdThe sunbeams dance. (l.35-37)The choice to write in a conversational tone while using blank verse is an important one. As Sue Asbee states choosing to write in blank versewill elevate the subject (Approaching Poetry, p14). Blank verse is traditionally reserved for kings, nobles, heroes, and heroines, but by mixing blank verse with a conversational tone, Coleridge appeals to all and in doing so elevates the subject matter.

However, there is one point that a singular rhyme does appear:On vain Philosophys aye-babbling spring.

For never guiltless may I speak of Him,Th INCOMPREHENSIBLE! (l.57-59)It could be argued that this rhyme happened naturally without any significant meaning, but that is unlikely. Poets are very particular about their words and it is more than coincidence that, at the moment Coleridge praises his god, he introduces a rhyme on the word Him. That this is followed by a capitalised INCOMPRENSIBLE adds to the argument that he is important and the effect is that it does stand out from all that comes before it as, although



Bibliography: sbee, S. (2006) Approaching Poetry, Milton Keynes, The Open UniversityReid, N. (2006) Coleridge, Form and Symbol, Or the Ascertaining Vision, Aldershot, Ashgate PublishingWellek, R. (1963) The Concept of Romanticism in literary historyin Bygrave, S (2006) Romantic Writings London, The Open UniversityZuk, E. Coleridges Blank Verse [online], http://www.expansivepoetryonline.com/journal/cult072004.html (Accessed 28th April 2008)

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