Samuel Taylor Coleridge

poetry Coleridge was a friend of William Wordsworth’s for many years until a serious disagreement ruined their relationship. His most famous poem is probably “The Ancient Mariner” but we suggest you look at “Frost at Midnight”. This is a poem he wrote fairly early in his life, when his son Hartley was still a “cradled infant”.

The links below will give you access to this poem.

 

TASK

  1. Read the poem quietly to yourself.
  2. Read the poem aloud.
  3. What do you notice about the poem’s structure – the way it is organised?
  4. The speaker in this poem is clearly Coleridge writing of himself. He tells us that he is fascinated by the dying fire in the grate, and he remembers looking at similar dying fires at school (look at the first four lines of the second stanza – the “bars” here are the bars in the grate). What does he remember after mentioning his own schooldays?
  5. How does he describe his child in the third stanza?
  6. Look carefully at the third stanza. What central Romantic message can you read here?
  7. Many artists portray the changing seasons, in music, photography and literature. Read again the last stanza here. What do they tell you of Coleridge’s capacity as a poet?
  8. Some artists in our day have sung the praises of sex and drugs and rock’n’roll. Find out what you can about Coleridge – what part did these things play in his life?