"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Kubla Khan" is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1816. The poem is known for its vivid and dreamlike imagery, and it explores themes of creativity, nature, and the power of the imagination.

The poem begins with a description of the magnificent and mythical palace of Kubla Khan, a Mongol emperor. The palace is situated in a beautiful and enchanted landscape, surrounded by gardens, forests, and rivers. Coleridge vividly portrays the sensory details of the scene, evoking a sense of awe and wonder.

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge-In the second part of the poem, Coleridge shifts to a more personal and introspective tone. He describes himself in a state of reverie or daydreaming, where he envisions the construction of a great poem. He imagines a river flowing through the underground caves and a powerful fountain, both representing the source of his creativity.

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge-However, before Coleridge can fully capture and articulate his vision, he is interrupted by an unknown force or distraction. The poem ends abruptly, leaving the reader with a sense of longing and an awareness of the limitations of human imagination.

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"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge-"Kubla Khan" is often celebrated for its musical and lyrical qualities, as well as its exploration of the supernatural and the sublime. It is considered one of Coleridge's most famous and influential works, showcasing his Romantic sensibilities and his belief in the transformative power of the imagination.

“Kubla Khan” Poem

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.


"Kubla Khan" is a mesmerizing poem that transports readers to an enchanting world of imagination and beauty. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's vivid descriptions of Kubla Khan's palace and the surrounding landscape create a sense of wonder and awe. The poem delves into the themes of creativity, nature, and the limitations of human imagination.

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge-However, "Kubla Khan" remains an incomplete work, as Coleridge was interrupted and unable to fully realize his poetic vision. This abrupt ending leaves the reader with a feeling of longing and emphasizes the fleeting and elusive nature of inspiration.

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge-Despite its unfinished nature, "Kubla Khan" continues to captivate readers with its evocative imagery, musical language, and exploration of the power of the imagination. It remains an important piece in Coleridge's body of work and a testament to the Romantic era's fascination with the sublime and the supernatural.


Q: Who is the author of "Kubla Khan"?

A: The author of "Kubla Khan" is Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Q: When was "Kubla Khan" published?

A: "Kubla Khan" was first published in 1816.

Q: What are the main themes of "Kubla Khan"?

A: The main themes of "Kubla Khan" include creativity, nature, the power of the imagination, and the limitations of human imagination.

Q: Why is "Kubla Khan" considered an important work?

A: "Kubla Khan" is considered an important work because it showcases Coleridge's Romantic sensibilities and his belief in the transformative power of the imagination. It is also celebrated for its vivid imagery, musical language, and exploration of the supernatural and the sublime.

Q: Why is the ending of "Kubla Khan" abrupt?

A: The ending of "Kubla Khan" is abrupt because Coleridge was interrupted while writing the poem and was unable to complete it. The abrupt ending adds to the sense of longing and highlights the transient nature of inspiration.

Q: What is the significance of the palace of Kubla Khan in the poem?

A: The palace of Kubla Khan represents a magnificent and mythical setting where the imagination can roam freely. It serves as a symbol of creativity and the power of the mind to construct fantastical worlds.


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