Frost at Midnight
Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He wrote this poem to celebrate the birth of his son, Hartley in 1798.
There are two predominant notes in the poem- one of nostalgia and the other, parental solicitude.
He evokes two worlds of midnight experience and of his childhood memories which further leads him towards dreams for his son. The poet is in a contemplative mood. He states that the frost is performing it secret duty unassisted by the wind. The night is very silent and he can hear the owlet’s cry. All inmates of his cottage are asleep and even his child sleeps peacefully in the cradle. But the poet is awake and the solitude gives way to ‘abstruser musings’. He becomes philosophical. Then he feels that the calmness of the night during the frost is so calm that it disturbs and vexes meditation. There is a sea outside and hill and forests and also the populous village with all its numberless goings -on of life. But everything is silent and is as inaudible as dreams themselves.
But there is one unquiet thing with which he can associate himself and that is the soot which flutters on the grate. The poet feels that he has a companion with him. The movement of the soot portends to him the arrival of an absent friend, someone close to his heart.
The film brings into his mind, the memories of the past- particularly his school days when he would gaze upon the bars to watch that ‘fluttering stranger’. In all his excitement, he would dream of his sweet birth place and the old church tower whose bell rang from morning till evening. As a student, he would fall asleep watching the moving soot and in his sleep, he dreamt of the same things and the same thoughts lingered in his mind even the next morning at school. Even in his wakeful state, despite the preceptor’s strict vigil, his mind would wander away while his eyes were fixed on the swimming book in mock study. He would yearn for a hasty