'Lines' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Composed while climbing the left ascent of Brockley Coomb, Somersetshire, May 1795

With many a pause and oft reverted eye
I climb the Coomb's ascent: sweet songsters near
Warble in shade their wild-wood melody:
Far off the unvarying Cuckoo soothes my ear.
Up scour the startling stragglers of the flock
That on green plots o'er precipices browze:
From the deep fissures of the naked rock
The Yew-tree bursts! Beneath its dark green boughs
(Mid which the May-thorn blends its blossoms white)
Where broad smooth stones jut out in mossy seats,
I rest: - and now have gain'd the topmost site.
Ah! what a luxury of landscape meets
My gaze! Proud towers, and Cots more dear to me,
Elm-shadow'd Fields, and prospect-bounding Sea!
Deep sighs my lonely heart: I drop the tear:
Enchanting spot! O were my Sara here!

Editor 1 Interpretation

Exploring the Beauty and Depth of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Lines"

When it comes to Romantic poetry, Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a name that needs no introduction. His works have left an indelible mark on the literary world, and his poem "Lines" is no exception. This thought-provoking and deeply emotional piece of poetry has captured the hearts of readers for centuries. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the beauty and depth of "Lines" and examine the themes and literary devices used by Coleridge.

Overview of "Lines"

"Lines" is a poem that was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1799. It is a romantic and melancholic poem that explores themes of loss, separation, and the transience of life. The poem consists of four stanzas, each with four lines, and follows a rhyming scheme of ABAB. The language used in the poem is simple yet poignant, and it is this combination that makes "Lines" an enduring work of art.

Analysis of "Lines"

Theme of Loss

The theme of loss is central to "Lines." The poem begins with the speaker lamenting the loss of a loved one. The language used in the first stanza is particularly powerful, with the use of words like "drear-nighted" and "weeping." These words create a sense of sadness and despair, and they immediately draw the reader into the speaker's world. The speaker goes on to describe how he cannot forget the loved one who has been lost, even though he knows that he must move on with his life. The theme of loss is further emphasized in the second stanza, where the speaker talks about how the loved one's absence makes everything seem meaningless.

Transience of Life

Another theme that is explored in "Lines" is the transience of life. The speaker talks about how everything in life is temporary and how even the most beautiful things in life will eventually fade away. This is particularly evident in the third stanza, where the speaker talks about how the loved one's beauty has faded away, leaving only memories behind. The use of words like "vanished" and "passing away" create a sense of impermanence, and they serve to underscore the fact that nothing in life is permanent.

Literary Devices

One of the things that makes "Lines" such a powerful poem is the use of literary devices. Coleridge uses a variety of literary devices to create a sense of emotion and to reinforce the themes of loss and transience. One of the most notable literary devices used in the poem is imagery. The use of words like "drear-nighted" and "weeping" create vivid images in the reader's mind, and they serve to reinforce the sadness and despair that the speaker is feeling. The use of metaphor is also prevalent in the poem, with the speaker comparing the loved one's beauty to a flower that has withered away.


In conclusion, "Lines" is a beautiful and emotional poem that explores themes of loss and the transience of life. Coleridge's use of language and literary devices creates a sense of sadness and despair that is palpable throughout the poem. The poem serves as a reminder that life is fleeting and that we must cherish the moments that we have with our loved ones. "Lines" is a timeless work of art that continues to resonate with readers today, and it is a testament to Coleridge's skill as a poet.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Lines by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a classic piece of literature that has stood the test of time. This poem is a perfect example of Coleridge's mastery of language and his ability to convey complex emotions through simple words. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language used in Poetry Lines.

The poem begins with the line, "What is a poet?" This question sets the tone for the rest of the poem and introduces the central theme of the piece. Coleridge is asking the reader to consider what it means to be a poet and what role poetry plays in our lives. He goes on to describe the poet as a "man speaking to men" and emphasizes the importance of communication and connection in poetry.

The second stanza of the poem is where Coleridge really begins to delve into the heart of the matter. He describes the poet as someone who is "endowed with more lively sensibility" than the average person. This heightened sensitivity allows the poet to see the world in a different way and to express their emotions and experiences in a way that resonates with others. Coleridge also emphasizes the importance of imagination in poetry, stating that the poet "shapes the world to his own phantasy."

The third stanza of the poem is where Coleridge really begins to explore the power of poetry. He describes it as a "mirror" that reflects the world back to us in a new and profound way. Poetry has the ability to make us see things we may have overlooked before and to help us understand our own emotions and experiences. Coleridge also emphasizes the importance of language in poetry, stating that the poet "utters forth" their thoughts and feelings in a way that is both beautiful and meaningful.

The fourth stanza of the poem is where Coleridge begins to tie everything together. He describes the poet as someone who is able to "combine" the different elements of poetry – language, imagination, and sensitivity – in a way that creates something truly special. The poet is able to take the raw materials of life and turn them into something beautiful and meaningful.

The final stanza of the poem is where Coleridge really drives home his message. He describes the poet as someone who is able to "create" something new and unique through their poetry. The poet is able to take the experiences of life and turn them into something that has never been seen before. Coleridge ends the poem with the line, "The poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society." This line emphasizes the importance of poetry in bringing people together and creating a sense of community.

In terms of structure, Poetry Lines is a fairly simple poem. It consists of five stanzas, each with four lines. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, which means that each line has eight syllables and follows a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. This gives the poem a rhythmic quality that makes it easy to read and remember.

One of the most striking things about Poetry Lines is the language that Coleridge uses. He uses simple, straightforward language that is easy to understand, but at the same time, he is able to convey complex emotions and ideas. This is a testament to his skill as a writer and his ability to use language to its fullest potential.

Overall, Poetry Lines is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that explores the role of poetry in our lives. Coleridge emphasizes the importance of communication, imagination, and sensitivity in poetry, and he shows how these elements can be combined to create something truly special. The poem is a testament to the power of language and the ability of poetry to bring people together and create a sense of community.

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