Kubla Khan, the emperor
Legend, Literature, Love, Nature, poetry

Kubla Khan

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.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a leader of the British Romantic movement, was born on October 21, 1772, in Devonshire, England.)
Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is my all time favorite poem. Published in 1816 it remains Coleridge’s one of the most admired poems. The poem is masterpiece as far as the language and imagery goes. Coleridge wrote it after having an opiate induced dream about the great Mongol ruler Kubla Khan and his famous palace in Xanadu. To me this poem remains a literary magic, for I’ve never enjoyed a poem as this. Whenever I read it I am transported back in the history to the magnificent and mythical palace of Kubla Khan. I hope you all enjoy this as much I)

20 thoughts on “Kubla Khan”

  1. Love this guy…a brilliant fuck-up! He and WW, what a comical pair. There should be feature length comedies about their adventures 💖💖

      1. 😊 better than Bill and Ted…Bill and Sam’s excellent adventures on the Continent (with their trusted sidekick Dorothy)

      2. STC is more interesting to read about, for sure…I’m more familiar with WW, though I liked STC more when I was young…then I read about how much he had plagarized and that put me off him for a while

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