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Kubla Khan Analysis



Author: Poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge Type: Poetry Views: 14338





In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree :

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

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 ;

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 !

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

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 the sacred river.

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 :

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 !



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.

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 !

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.








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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

Firstly, someone said its not about sex or anything disgusting like that...How repressed. It was common in Khan\'s time to have a harem aka brothel or pleasure dome. Since Coleridge\'s Khan was able to create with a simple decree, why not make his personal bordello something more significant; a stately pleasure dome. As a matter of interest, during the romantic period, dome also meant breast.

| Posted on 2012-01-31 | by a guest


.: :.

Hello! gkaeacc interesting gkaeacc site! I\'m really like it! Very, very gkaeacc good!

| Posted on 2011-12-31 | by a guest


.: :.

in this poem kubla khan is sleeping and in his dream he is thinking about a dome with pleasure and he is describing the whole scene around that dome the river cves and ect

| Posted on 2011-11-22 | by a guest


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Maud Bodkin says that the dome represents the womb of a lady where poetry is being formed and nurtured with the faculty of imagination.
The overflowing emotons fail to capture the dream of extra-terrestrial-ness within the lines of poetry.Kubla Khan wanted to create this extra-terrestrial atmosphere on earth by means of art and music.
Though the dose of opium is said to have had an effect onthe dream of the extra-terrestrial abode on earth,the richness of the poetry and picturesque sketchof the \"sunny dome\" and \"caves of ice\" is the sole product of Coleridge\'s genius and elasticity of his imagination.

| Posted on 2011-05-17 | by a guest


.: :.

i think i have been able to put forward a proper explanation for coleridge\'s \"kubla khan\".

| Posted on 2011-05-08 | by a guest


.: :.

The speaker describes the “stately pleasure-dome” built in Xanadu according to the decree of Kubla Khan, in the place where Alph, the sacred river, ran “through caverns measureless to man / Down to a sunless sea.” Walls and towers were raised around “twice five miles of fertile ground,” filled with beautiful gardens and forests. A “deep romantic chasm” slanted down a green hill, occasionally spewing forth a violent and powerful burst of water, so great that it flung boulders up with it “like rebounding hail.” The river ran five miles through the woods, finally sinking “in tumult to a lifeless ocean.” Amid that tumult, in the place “as holy and enchanted / As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted / By woman wailing to her demon-lover,” Kubla heard “ancestral voices” bringing prophesies of war. The pleasure-dome’s shadow floated on the waves, where the mingled sounds of the fountain and the caves could be heard. “It was a miracle of rare device,” the speaker says, “A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!”
The speaker says that he once saw a “damsel with a dulcimer,” an Abyssinian maid who played her dulcimer and sang “of Mount Abora.” He says that if he could revive “her symphony and song” within him, he would rebuild the pleasure-dome out of music, and all who heard him would cry “Beware!” of “His flashing eyes, his floating hair!” The hearers would circle him thrice and close their eyes with “holy dread,” knowing that he had tasted honeydew, “and drunk the milk of Paradise.”
The chant-like, musical incantations of “Kubla Khan” result from Coleridge’s masterful use of iambic tetrameter and alternating rhyme schemes. The first stanza is written in tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of ABAABCCDEDE, alternating between staggered rhymes and couplets. The second stanza expands into tetrameter and follows roughly the same rhyming pattern, also expanded— ABAABCCDDFFGGHIIHJJ. The third stanza tightens into tetrameter and rhymes ABABCC. The fourth stanza continues the tetrameter of the third and rhymes ABCCBDEDEFGFFFGHHG.
Along with “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan” is one of Coleridge’s most famous and enduring poems. The story of its composition is also one of the most famous in the history of English poetry. As the poet explains in the short preface to this poem, he had fallen asleep after taking “an anodyne” prescribed “in consequence of a slight disposition” (this is a euphemism for opium, to which Coleridge was known to be addicted). Before falling asleep, he had been reading a story in which Kubla Khan commanded the building of a new palace; Coleridge claims that while he slept, he had a fantastic vision and composed simultaneously—while sleeping—some two or three hundred lines of poetry, “if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or conscious effort.”
Waking after about three hours, the poet seized a pen and began writing furiously; however, after copying down the first three stanzas of his dreamt poem—the first three stanzas of the current poem as we know it—he was interrupted by a “person on business from Porlock,” who detained him for an hour. After this interruption, he was unable to recall the rest of the vision or the poetry he had composed in his opium dream. It is thought that the final stanza of the poem, thematizing the idea of the lost vision through the figure of the “damsel with a dulcimer” and the milk of Paradise, was written post-interruption. The mysterious person from Porlock is one of the most notorious and enigmatic figures in Coleridge’s biography; no one knows who he was or why he disturbed the poet or what he wanted or, indeed, whether any of Coleridge’s story is actually true. But the person from Porlock has become a metaphor for the malicious interruptions the world throws in the way of inspiration and genius, and “Kubla Khan,” strange and ambiguous as it is, has become what is perhaps the definitive statement on the obstruction and thwarting of the visionary genius.
Regrettably, the story of the poem’s composition, while thematically rich in and of itself, often overshadows the poem proper, which is one of Coleridge’s most haunting and beautiful. The first three stanzas are products of pure imagination: The pleasure-dome of Kubla Khan is not a useful metaphor for anything in particular (though in the context of the poem’s history, it becomes a metaphor for the unbuilt monument of imagination); however, it is a fantastically prodigious descriptive act. The poem becomes especially evocative when, after the second stanza, the meter suddenly tightens; the resulting lines are terse and solid, almost beating out the sound of the war drums (“The shadow of the dome of pleasure / Floated midway on the waves...”).
The fourth stanza states the theme of the poem as a whole (though “Kubla Khan” is almost impossible to consider as a unified whole, as its parts are so sharply divided). The speaker says that he once had a vision of the damsel singing of Mount Abora; this vision becomes a metaphor for Coleridge’s vision of the 300-hundred-line masterpiece he never completed. The speaker insists that if he could only “revive” within him “her symphony and song,” he would recreate the pleasure-dome out of music and words, and take on the persona of the magician or visionary. His hearers would recognize the dangerous power of the vision, which would manifest itself in his “flashing eyes” and “floating hair.” But, awestruck, they would nonetheless dutifully take part in the ritual, recognizing that “he on honey-dew hath fed, / And drunk the milk of Paradise.”

| Posted on 2011-05-08 | by a guest


.: :.

The speaker describes the “stately pleasure-dome” built in Xanadu according to the decree of Kubla Khan, in the place where Alph, the sacred river, ran “through caverns measureless to man / Down to a sunless sea.” Walls and towers were raised around “twice five miles of fertile ground,” filled with beautiful gardens and forests. A “deep romantic chasm” slanted down a green hill, occasionally spewing forth a violent and powerful burst of water, so great that it flung boulders up with it “like rebounding hail.” The river ran five miles through the woods, finally sinking “in tumult to a lifeless ocean.” Amid that tumult, in the place “as holy and enchanted / As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted / By woman wailing to her demon-lover,” Kubla heard “ancestral voices” bringing prophesies of war. The pleasure-dome’s shadow floated on the waves, where the mingled sounds of the fountain and the caves could be heard. “It was a miracle of rare device,” the speaker says, “A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!”
The speaker says that he once saw a “damsel with a dulcimer,” an Abyssinian maid who played her dulcimer and sang “of Mount Abora.” He says that if he could revive “her symphony and song” within him, he would rebuild the pleasure-dome out of music, and all who heard him would cry “Beware!” of “His flashing eyes, his floating hair!” The hearers would circle him thrice and close their eyes with “holy dread,” knowing that he had tasted honeydew, “and drunk the milk of Paradise.”
The chant-like, musical incantations of “Kubla Khan” result from Coleridge’s masterful use of iambic tetrameter and alternating rhyme schemes. The first stanza is written in tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of ABAABCCDEDE, alternating between staggered rhymes and couplets. The second stanza expands into tetrameter and follows roughly the same rhyming pattern, also expanded— ABAABCCDDFFGGHIIHJJ. The third stanza tightens into tetrameter and rhymes ABABCC. The fourth stanza continues the tetrameter of the third and rhymes ABCCBDEDEFGFFFGHHG.
Along with “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan” is one of Coleridge’s most famous and enduring poems. The story of its composition is also one of the most famous in the history of English poetry. As the poet explains in the short preface to this poem, he had fallen asleep after taking “an anodyne” prescribed “in consequence of a slight disposition” (this is a euphemism for opium, to which Coleridge was known to be addicted). Before falling asleep, he had been reading a story in which Kubla Khan commanded the building of a new palace; Coleridge claims that while he slept, he had a fantastic vision and composed simultaneously—while sleeping—some two or three hundred lines of poetry, “if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or conscious effort.”
Waking after about three hours, the poet seized a pen and began writing furiously; however, after copying down the first three stanzas of his dreamt poem—the first three stanzas of the current poem as we know it—he was interrupted by a “person on business from Porlock,” who detained him for an hour. After this interruption, he was unable to recall the rest of the vision or the poetry he had composed in his opium dream. It is thought that the final stanza of the poem, thematizing the idea of the lost vision through the figure of the “damsel with a dulcimer” and the milk of Paradise, was written post-interruption. The mysterious person from Porlock is one of the most notorious and enigmatic figures in Coleridge’s biography; no one knows who he was or why he disturbed the poet or what he wanted or, indeed, whether any of Coleridge’s story is actually true. But the person from Porlock has become a metaphor for the malicious interruptions the world throws in the way of inspiration and genius, and “Kubla Khan,” strange and ambiguous as it is, has become what is perhaps the definitive statement on the obstruction and thwarting of the visionary genius.
Regrettably, the story of the poem’s composition, while thematically rich in and of itself, often overshadows the poem proper, which is one of Coleridge’s most haunting and beautiful. The first three stanzas are products of pure imagination: The pleasure-dome of Kubla Khan is not a useful metaphor for anything in particular (though in the context of the poem’s history, it becomes a metaphor for the unbuilt monument of imagination); however, it is a fantastically prodigious descriptive act. The poem becomes especially evocative when, after the second stanza, the meter suddenly tightens; the resulting lines are terse and solid, almost beating out the sound of the war drums (“The shadow of the dome of pleasure / Floated midway on the waves...”).
The fourth stanza states the theme of the poem as a whole (though “Kubla Khan” is almost impossible to consider as a unified whole, as its parts are so sharply divided). The speaker says that he once had a vision of the damsel singing of Mount Abora; this vision becomes a metaphor for Coleridge’s vision of the 300-hundred-line masterpiece he never completed. The speaker insists that if he could only “revive” within him “her symphony and song,” he would recreate the pleasure-dome out of music and words, and take on the persona of the magician or visionary. His hearers would recognize the dangerous power of the vision, which would manifest itself in his “flashing eyes” and “floating hair.” But, awestruck, they would nonetheless dutifully take part in the ritual, recognizing that “he on honey-dew hath fed, / And drunk the milk of Paradise.”

| Posted on 2011-05-08 | by a guest


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I personally think that this is looking at man\'s achievements and saying that there is good and bad qualities everywhere. Coleridge wished he could have remembered the dream he had when he dreamt this up, but must\'ve remembered a bad quality about it and wrote about that quality. A good example of this is nuclear energy.Good energy source, but if it leaks or is used for weaponry, it is bad. that is my two cents

| Posted on 2011-04-05 | by a guest


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I think it\'s about dreaming up never ending creations. New ideas, endless visions. He never wants to lose his inspiration.. he fears it. It\'s about going into the depths of his mind, creating something new constantly.

| Posted on 2011-03-07 | by a guest


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The Poem is surely a poem of the destruction brought by the fantasy and desire that pure love may bring to man - but in reality this pure love brings torment, destruction, jealousy and pain.
1. For he on honey-dew hath fed - One had fed on the seed of love.
And drunk the milk of Paradise - and one had tasted the substance and drug of love.

| Posted on 2011-02-18 | by a guest


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There is no good analisis oif this poem on her and its rather confusing to use. i have to finish an onl;ine english and this doesnt help at all, just telling the poepl who run this site, so fix it. you have people who would really like to study or learn off of some good information.

| Posted on 2010-12-20 | by a guest


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its moslty about the sublime features of nature, being scarily beautiful. alot of alliteration

| Posted on 2010-12-16 | by a guest


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You are all crazy. First of all, yes, Coleridge was an Opium addict. However, there is strong evidence that says Opium does not cause dreams (it instead diminishes them) or hallucinations. This is about the conqueror and savage named Kubla Khan. He was a real leader and warrior (so much for history right?) and this poem\'s primary meaning is that Kubla Khan attempted to claim ten miles of a land called Xanadu where even the nature began rebelling against him. You all need to have a history lesson.

| Posted on 2010-12-07 | by a guest


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Hi all! Ebony again :)
I have found another explination for this poem! I did before say it was a man ripping and tearing another man to shreds, but now I have another thought! :D
What if it were about a man on drugs having a \"high\" and illusioning he is king then slowly coming off his drug and facing the cruel fact that he is a drug addict.
I like drugs, this is why I thought of this :)
m drug drug drug MUNCH MUNCH MUNCH >:D !!!
the dark lord has returned...

| Posted on 2010-11-03 | by a guest


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OmG wat a l33t p03m I L0v£d c0s i is h@x03r omfg lulz pwning n00bs whith m@ sw0rd 0f @ th0us@nd thrVths

| Posted on 2010-09-30 | by a guest


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Maybe if I could have been bothered with this poem, I could write something intelligent about it here.. but no :)

| Posted on 2010-09-20 | by a guest


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Coleridge was a self confessed opium addict. There are many different explainations for this poem. These are because of the context each person views it in. Each person brings their own personal baggage to this poem. There is no right or wrong way to view this poem.
For me this poem is a work of art, I can easily imagine Xanadu, and the amazing scenery.

| Posted on 2010-09-03 | by a guest


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Corrections:
As it has been stated many times, Coleridge was addicted to opium. With this fact, I feel that this poem is about a dream or illusion caused by the opium he recalled while.
The last stanza, Coleridge shows his confusion and longing to remember the rest of his dream or illusion after he apparently abandoned the opium.
It could be of childbirth or sexual intercourse, but in my opinion as it seems to be Coleridge\'s dream, we never really know if that is correct or not.

| Posted on 2010-09-03 | by a guest


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As is has been stated many times, Coleridge was addicted to opium. With this fact, I feel that this poem is about a dream or illusion caused by the opium he recalled while on opium.
The last stanza, Coleridge shows his confusion and loning to remember the rest of his dream or illusion after he apparently abandoned the opium.
It could be of childbirth or sexual intercourse, but in my opinion as it seems to be Coleridges dream, we never really know if that is correct or not.

| Posted on 2010-09-02 | by a guest


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i strogly disagree with the one they cll Ebony.
i think it is more about a man who becomes a werewolf in the night and he falls into the darkness whcih is his heart.

| Posted on 2010-09-02 | by fatdaddy


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Hi All! The name be Ebony.
This poem is my favourite poem.
I believe this poem interprets a man ripping a human to shreds eating and playing with the insides. It also sounds like he is thoroughly enjoying it!
Sometimes I like to pretend I am the man ripping the human, it makes me feel apart of the poem and gives me a good understanding.
Bye All :)

| Posted on 2010-09-02 | by a guest


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lollipop lollipop ohhh lolli lolli lolli lollipop POP buhdumdumdum

| Posted on 2010-09-02 | by a guest


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In my onionpin, this is poem aoot the Kubla Khan man doing some kind of hallucinogen. Possibly the opium... and he be inlove with a kind lass and dreams about his lady in his drug trips.

| Posted on 2010-09-02 | by fatdaddy


.: :.

this poem is all about a fag who takes drugs and hallucinates then writes all of it down and tries to make it into a poem that makes no sense at all. FAG IMO.

| Posted on 2010-09-02 | by a guest


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this poem is confusing and i dont understand it all everyone is talking about is sexx and birth.... i think this poem is just confusing anda waist of my time and im going to stab myself with a pen!!!

| Posted on 2010-09-02 | by a guest


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It's common knowledge that Coleridge was addicted to opium. So he woke of from an opium induced dream and wrote some things. He probably woke up from many opium induced stupors and wrote or re-wrote the poem. This poem is just a collection of opium clouded memories, that is why it can be interpreted as so many things.

| Posted on 2010-03-26 | by a guest


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to start off im goign to say that this is a romantic poem because of all of the imagery, themes and all of the other stuff that you find in romantic poems. second of all i think this is a very in depth poem which i would ahve to gve credit to colerige for, even if he was induced by opium.
what this poem is about?.hard to actuly pinpoint it but it would have to be a large number of things such as the romantic whole period was about the super natural and the imagery of nature, the rejection of urbanisation, temptation/ biblical refrence and the journey to inner enlightenment.
i see everyone elses points on the sexual imagery, birth, masturbation ect i think these are all possible and great interpretations but i would just have to say that thinking its about china is just obsurd for the fact that its too shallow.

| Posted on 2010-02-16 | by a guest


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Coleridge is descibring his romance with Opium, the highs and magnificent world he now experiences while on it, and then the lows and darkness he is now familiar with by not having it. One cannot experience negativity or darkness without beauty and light, and like Eve when she bit into the fruit of knowledge, Coleridge then became aware of what he was missing when he wasn't on Opium. The poem definitely has a dreamy approach to it, and allusions to ancient fantasy. Even the way he uses alliteration at the end of many lines, "dome decree, river ran, measureless to man, sunless sea..." adds to the drug-induced effect and sound of the poem by creating a more...slurred and sedated sort of speach.

| Posted on 2010-01-14 | by a guest


.: :.

Coleridge is descibring his romance with Opium, the highs and magnificent world he now experiences while on it, and then the lows and darkness he is now familiar with by not having it. One cannot experience negativity or darkness without beauty and light, and like Eve when she bit into the fruit of knowledge, Coleridge then became aware of what he was missing when he wasn't on Opium. The poem definitely has a dreamy approach to it, and allusions to ancient fantasy. Even the way he uses alliteration at the end of many lines, "dome decree, river ran, measureless to man, sunless sea..." adds to the drug-induced effect and sound of the poem by creating a more...slurred and sedated sort of speach.

| Posted on 2010-01-14 | by a guest


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This is a wonderful poem. Noone should find a sexual or ugly meaning out of it. x

| Posted on 2009-12-22 | by a guest


.: :.

mogChs!
cDO!!
its an opium induced poem to me. But i really hate this class now and am going to shoot myself in the foot. this class is so retarded.

| Posted on 2009-11-05 | by a guest


.: :.

As far as I know... and I am pretty sure about this, he had been reading 'In Purchas His Pilgrimage' about Kublai Khan and his living area, Xanadu in China, within the Forbidden City...
After which he had two opium kernels as feel into the drug induced stupor soon enough.. and like all dreams, there is hardly any sense to the imagez when strung together.. but perhaps if they are viewed separately? With only the rivcer connecting them? And look up gigantic books on dream interpretation

| Posted on 2009-09-14 | by a guest


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Endless cavern can be related withe mothers womb! cavern is dark thats also dark, and the sexual process can alos be related to the birth process!!

| Posted on 2009-06-16 | by a guest


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wow explain the poem instead of writing a whole bunch of bullshit

| Posted on 2009-05-18 | by a guest


.: :.

Robert Price
ENG 102-003
Prof. Bullington
April 26, 2009
Milk of Paradise: Elixir of Life or an Immortal Curse
Xanadu ---- Held within The Pleasure Dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste my bitter triumph
As a mad immortal man
Nevermore shall I return
Escape these caves of ice
For I have dined on honey dew
And drunk the milk of Paradise
Many poems are valued because they are artifacts of an era, expressing the beliefs of the author, and the beliefs of the time period when it was written. Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one such poem. Interpretation of the poem has been a topic for debate since publication. Even musicians have been inspired by Coleridges fragmented vision, and have written songs to offer their own interpretations. Lyrics can be interpreted in the same manner as a poem. By all right many songs could in fact be considered a poem set to music. The progressive-rock band Rush is known for this. Their song Xanadu was inspired by Coleridges poem. The song creates the sound of the poem: a mystical journey through an unknown land. A land created to fulfill every worldly desire a man could have.
First let us look at Kubla Khan, written in 1798, Coleridge wrote the poem to describe a vision or dream he had. Coleridge claimed that the poem was written in an opium-induced haze, which is something that can be implied by the poem's subtitle, A Vision in a Dream. While many interpret this to be a love poem, it is essentially about nothing; yet there are many different ways it can be readseveral opinions of the poems deeper meanings can be found. It is a lyrical poem in four stanzas; the overall form is rather chaoticwhich emphasizes what we already know about the authors mental state (blasted on opium) and the source of inspiration (the dream)the bulk is told in iambic pentameter, then switching to tetrameter, and back again. To explain the purpose behind this use of form is another matter, though mentioning it prepares us making the meaning (at least a little) easier to interpret. The poem is full of imagery, from the sacred river Alphpossibly inspired by Greek mythological river god Alpheusto the Abyssinian maidAbyssinia the location of Eden (J.M. Schroeder). Rush does a fair job relating to this in their lyrics. The language used is expressive enough for one to envision the place Coleridge dreamed of. We can envision an Eden-like utopia residing within the towering man-made walls: twice five miles of fertile ground with walls and towers were girdled round: and here were gardens bright with sinuous rills(6 11). Beyond the meadows, and streams, and beneath the groves of trees lies a deep cavern. But oh! That deep romantic chasm A savage place! As holy and enchanted as eer beneath a waning moon (12-15). The depth of the cavern also symbolizes the depth in meaning for it is in this second stanza where interpretation begins to differ.
To some the entire poem is about sex, specifically considering these lines: a mighty fountain momently was forced, amid whose half-intermitted burst fragments vaulted like rebounding hail (19-21). Applying phallic reference to the fountain, then being forced, followed by the burst, one can see the reason behind these interpretations. Here is one comment made about the poem: if he was high on opium and woke up what is to say he didn't have sex while under the influence and wrote how he saw it (Kubla Khan Analysis). This does make an interesting argument, yet it is hard to prove without Coleridges testimony to support. Yes he was influenced by opiates (opiates increase ones sex drive by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain) at the time so that also supports the sex interpretation; however there is more to this work than sex. From the same lines a different interpretation can be seen: Whether this is a true supernatural or of humanistic nature is down to the reader to interpret, but what is clear in the next part of the poem is natures cry and display of power in what appears to be an unholy volcanic eruption. (John Gray) This would be nature revolting over the man-made utopia. While the Rush song Xanadu does somewhat support this view, still a very different interpretation can be seen.
Rushs interpretation of the poem is evident in the lyrics of their song Xanadu: a man on a quest for immortality, and what becomes of the man who finally gets what he wants. This in itself casts a different light on the poem entirely and begs the question: what is the milk of Paradise? To answer this question let us look at the lyrics like we did the poem. First, to understand the lyrics, one must understand the meaning that has been tied into the music itself. The song opens with a mystical beginning: long droning note, a tapping wood block adding suspense, the toll of a bell, chimes, and sweet hi-fi. Creating the sound of a dreamlike state. Both the wood block and the beat in which it is used is something frequently used in traditional Asian music. This gives us the feeling that we are somewhere in the orient. From the chimes (often used to represent wind and water) we can begin to envision the streams, a wind that rustles through the trees. The sound of birds singing, this plus the wind and water element adds to the idea that we are in a garden or the Eden-like utopia mentioned earlier. The wind begins to howl stronger and the sound resonates or echoes as the song progresses as if entering a cave. Slowly building depth in tone and increase in tempo. Slow guitar intro, then more sweet hi-fi into the crescendo an amazing duel by bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson followed by Lees capturing vocals.
To seek the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
To break my fast on honey dew
And drink the milk of Paradise....
I had heard the whispered tales
Of immortality
The deepest mystery
From an ancient book. I took a clue
I scaled the frozen mountain tops
Of eastern lands unknown
Time and Man alone
Searching for the lost ---- Xanadu
Xanadu ---- To stand within The Pleasure Dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste anew the fruits of life
The last immortal man
To find the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
Oh, I will dine on honey dew
And drink the milk of Paradise
A thousand years have come and gone
But time has passed me by
Stars stopped in the sky
Frozen in an everlasting view
Waiting for the world to end
Weary of the night
Praying for the light
Prison of the lost ---- Xanadu
Xanadu ---- Held within The Pleasure Dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste my bitter triumph
As a mad immortal man
Nevermore shall I return
Escape these caves of ice
For I have dined on honey dew
And drunk the milk of Paradise
Between verses there are changes in tempo and key, resembling that of a punk-rock song. Rush may have chosen to do this to symbolize the original poems chaotic form. The song closes in progressive down-tempo; a xylophone giving an almost cheerful tone to this somber tune, as if to give to hope; a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.
From the lyrics we get the impression that Xanadu is now a legend, or put another way a Paradise Lost. The first verse tells us what the speaker is looking for. Legend tells them that Xanadu lies deep within the mountains. The only access: a maze of frozen caverns cut through the mountain by the river Alph. By the second verse we can understand that this is a quest for immortality. The quest is ever elusive as is mans attempt to create heaven on earth, an Eden-like utopia. Throughout history and literature there are tales of men seeking this very thing. Likewise throughout history and literature there is record of man taking mind-altering drugs to achieve a higher state of consciousness. Since publication of this song many have questioned Rush if this is what t

| Posted on 2009-04-27 | by a guest


.: :.

Regarding the classical connection to Kubla Khan, go read Ovid because that is probably where Coleridge got it.

| Posted on 2009-04-23 | by a guest


.: :.

It took a while but I think I finally nailed this poem. I'm not going to give it away, but suffice to say that Coleridge borrowed much, some words literally, from a Greek/Roman myth, the details of which you will have to discover for yourself. "Alph" is one clue. It is a dark poem. If you know the classical story, then the poem is more accessible to understanding, although some further explication is required. One might also look at Coleridge's relationships with women. That may lead in the right direction toward understanding this poem, although I'm not familiar with the biographical details myself. Knowing more about his personal life may help decipher this poem, but it is not necessary. One final comment. Coleridge took a classical myth and dressed it up in romantic garb, which will become obvious if you are able to uncover the mythical connection. Good luck.

| Posted on 2009-04-23 | by a guest


.: :.

I too took this as just being an enchanting place in the forest by a curving stream with cedar trees and all that good stuff but after reading what everyone else was writing I reread the second stanza and I am a woman and could see exactly what everyone has said about the sex, if he was high on opium and woke up what is to say he didn't have sex while under the influence and wrote how he saw it. He is talking about sex I get that part. Ya have to see it open your minds

| Posted on 2009-04-15 | by a guest


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its all about opium indiced dreams its also about a man finding nature

| Posted on 2009-03-27 | by a guest


.: :.

I'm taking an advanced level senior english class at my school, and you can interpret it as man intruding himself unto nature, or as an interpretation of an extremely provacative and sexual experience between a man and woman, but while explaining it through terms of nature. Like how the entire 2nd stanza depicts a woman and man in intercourse.
I hate to admit it, but I can actually see this side of the interpretation. :P

| Posted on 2009-02-19 | by a guest




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