In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s, “Frost of Midnight”, he breaksaway from his typical sullen and some what depressing tone,but keeps in line with the themes of the Romantic period. In“Frost of Midnight” Coleridge presents imagery and focuseson nature, but the most obvious theme is his focus onhimself and his feelings towards his son.Coleridge writes his poem as if he is telling a story.He goes into a dream like state. In the first paragraph hepresents the setting of the poem. The reader finds out thatthe title of the poem represents Coleridge’s cottage atNether Stowey.
In line 4 he says,” The inmates of mycottage, all at rest”, through this line one assumes thatthey are trapped in the cottage because he describes hisfamily as inmates. Through that one thinks of a prisonsetting and in prison there is so no escaping. Further downin line 7 he addresses his infant son, and how he is lyingnext to him, he says” My cradled infant slumberspeacefully.” Later on in the poem he focuses more of hisattention on his son, but it is after this point that hispoem starts to take a dream like form.
His use of imagery is heightened in lines 12-22, whenhe is describing the fire that is burning in his fire place.Through his description of the fire one knows that it is atthe point of burning out, he says,” Inaudible dreams! thethin blue flame, Lies on my low burnt fire, and quiversnot”(line 12-13). He then goes on to describe how gazinginto the flames lures him into a dream like state, hedescribes it has “ Making a toy of thought”(line 22).His dream takes him back to his childhood, which takesthe reader out the present tense, and into the past tense.In is dream he also is gazing into the fire, and thinksabout his boyhood and his school days.
He then goes intothinking about a strangers face, which appears in the fire.Thorough lines 41-43 the reader later comes to theconclusion that he is thinking about his sister because hesays,” For still I hoped to see the stranger’s face,Townsman, aunt, or sister more beloved. My playmate when weIn the next paragraph he brings his attention back ontohis infant son, and also takes the reader to the futuretense. He begins to think of his son’s future and how heshall grow to learn more then he has.
For example he says,”My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart With tendergladness, thus to look at the, And think that thou shaltlearn far other lore”(lines 48-50). He also brings hisattention onto God, and his influence that his teachingswill have on his son. He speaks, in lines 51-53, how he isunable to see the how lovely nature is, he says ” And farother scenes! For I was reared In great city, pent’midcloisters dim, And saw nought, lovely but sky and stars.
” Hegoes onto to saw how that will be different for his son, heBut thou, my babe! shalt not wander like breezeBy lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags, ofancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, Whichimage in their bulk both lakes and shores, and mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible.(lines 54-59)He lets the reader know that he will be able to do thisFinally, in his last paragraph he simply his starting hiscycle over, and he takes the reader back to were he starts thepoem. For example the opening line in the poem is “The frostperforms its secret ministry”, and the third to the last linestates the same thing. Through the use of the word ministry thereader may conclude that he is basically talking about aspiritual teaching and growth with in himself.Bibliography: