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Published: 01-12-2019

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“This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” and the Essence of Romanticism

The zeitgeist of Romanticism, even though notoriously broad in its philosophy, had definite universal views upon the concepts of the individual, nature and imagination which constitutes the basis of what today are identified as the major aspects of the movement. Such elements, addressed in Samuel Coleridge’s “The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison”, include the concentrate upon the organic planet, which is connected with both its capability to transform the person as effectively as its connection to religion, the potential of imagination and the position of the person within his sphere of becoming. These troubles are reflected in “The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” in its therapy of topic matter as properly as its structure.

Coleridge’s “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” reflects the Romantic notion of the energy of the imagination and its role in the transformation of the person. As Milton asserts in Paradise Lost, ‘the mind is its personal spot, and it itself can make a heaven of hell and hell of heaven,’ the Romantics believed that the imagination had the extraordinary power to initiate the transformation of the state of the person, specifically when utilized in response to the natural globe. In “This Lime-Tree Prison My Bower”, an examination of such concept can be seen in Coleridge’s reversal of attitude. Initially, Coleridge exhibits an attitude of resentment as he sits in ‘this lime-tree bower my individual.’ He laments, ‘here must I remain…. meanwhile friends… wonder in gladness,’ with a sense of melodramatic hyperbole expressing his petulant mood. Imagination, nonetheless, makes it possible for Coleridge to overcome his state of self-pity, as he becomes transfixed upon a fictionalized nature. His imagination journey through the ‘roaring dell’ to the ‘western ridge’ instils a feeling of awe, evinced through the richness of colour with which he describes the ‘glorious Sun… purple heath flowers… blue Ocean,’ and ‘yellow light.’ Certainly imagination permits Coleridge to attain a heightened appreciation for his surroundings, noticing ‘much that has sooth’d him’, alluding to the uplifting light imagery of ‘the transparent foliage, some broad and sunny leaf… dappling its sunshine.’ His renewed attitude is apparent in his new perception of the bower, for it is no longer a resented ‘prison’, but an affectionate ‘little lime-tree bower.’ Certainly, he is ‘glad as if/as if I myself have been [with my buddies]’, emphasising the energy of the imagination to transform the attitudes of the individual. Therefore “The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison”, through the depiction of the poet’s imaginative journey through nature, portrays the Romantic notion of the imagination’s possible to transform the attitude of the individual.

The poem “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” also explores the Romantic role of the individual inside the universe. The concentrate on the isolation of the individual as nicely as his spot inside his sphere of existence is a key aspect of Romanticism. The structure of the poem itself, in conversational very first person style from the author’s perspective, enables for a much more introspective, subjective approach to the subject matter and invites the reader to participate in Coleridge’s stream of consciousness. A focus on the isolation of the person is clearly established in the first line ‘well, they are gone, and here need to I remain’ with the juxtaposition of personal pronouns emphasising his isolation. Coleridge also echoes one more aspect of Romanticism with the exploration of the position of the individual within his sphere of getting, by examining the connection amongst the person and the organic planet. In “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison”, the poet’s train of believed is overcome by the Sublime – the vastness and infinity of all-natural phenomena- expressed by the vibrant imagery Coleridge applies to nature in the second stanza: ‘shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb… richlier burn, ye clouds… reside in the yellow light.. and kindle, thou blue Ocean!’ Coleridge, through his knowledge of the sublime, is capable to come to terms with his spot in the universe, reaching an epiphany in the third stanza. He contends therefore that nature satisfies the senses, and is all that is needed by the person, and that it can ‘keep the heart/Awake to Adore and Beauty.’ Consequently, “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” reflects a important aspect of Romanticism in its exploration of the isolation and role of the individual in his sphere of existence.

Lastly, Coleridge’s “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” reflects the power and connection with the divine that the Romantics attributed to the all-natural planet. With a pantheistic viewpoint, the Romantics believed that one could transcend physical barriers and achieve a higher state of consciousness by way of one’s immersion in nature. As Coleridge sits in the lime-tree bower, his awareness of the power of nature manifests in the second stanza he imagines the ‘wide wide Heaven… the a lot of steepled tract magnificent,’ conferring through religious imagery a sense of divinity upon the ‘hilly fields and meadows.’ The power of nature further manifests in the poem as Coleridge achieves a sense of religious fervour upon the pondering of nature. He invokes ‘slowly sink/Behind the western ridge, thou glorious Sun!’ The use of the crucial lends a majestic and serene tone, emphasising the divine, godlike nature of what he later refers to as the ‘mighty Orb’s dilated glory.’ The Sun begins to take on a religious, spiritual dimension its ‘yellow light’ enables elements of nature to ‘live.’ Finally, Coleridge is ‘struck with deep joy’ at the energy of the all-natural globe, alluding to ‘the wide landscape… of such hues/A veil the Almighty Spirit, when but he tends to make Spirits perceive his presence.’ Coleridge’s allusion to the ‘Almighty’ further reinforces his awareness of the Divine in nature and that a spiritual connection could be achieved via communion with the all-natural globe, subsequently reaching a state of transcending reality. For that reason, “The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” is reflective of an aspect of Romanticism in its treatment of nature as possessing a spiritual dimension transcending earthly realities.
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