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‘Frost at Midnight’ Paper

‘Frost at Midnight’ written by Coleridge is a poem which main romantic characteristics is about the importance of childhood. He reflects on his childhood whist looking after his son. In the first stanza Coleridge is looking into his fireplace and notices something blows out of the fireplace and ‘which fluttered on the grate.’This instincts an unhappy memory for him, it is a childhood memory because it is at school and this is a characteristic of romanticism. In school the ‘fluttering stranger’ from the fire would fascinate him because it is a piece of nature, which he finds beautiful and thrilling. The second stanza is typical of romanticism because of the images described in the poem.’With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt of my sweet birth-place, and the old church tower.’ ‘On the hot Fair-day.’ This line builds an image of his christening at a large church on a light day in summer. This would be when the church is surrounded by nature and he is dreaming about how perfect his birth was. Because he was christened in the summer when there is a lot of nature about this has given a link between nature and God because in an idyllic image there would be nature.Seeing a fluttering piece of soot in your fire meant that a stranger or visitor was approaching and Coleridge believed that when he saw a fluttering piece of soot at school v then someone would visit him to relieve his boredom at school. In order to see a fluttering piece of soot he would have to be looking towards the fire, he is looking at the fire because he is fascinated by the nature of the fire and still, years later whilst looking after his son he still looks into the fire because he finds it so beautiful.Whilst thinking about when he went to school in the city he is thinking about his son and hopes that he ‘Shalt thou see and hear the lovely shapes and sound intelligible of that eternal language, which thy God utters.’ Coleridge wishes that his son may witness and love nature as much as he does. By calling nature the eternal language that God utters he is bringing another link with nature and God. ‘Eternal language’ means that nature will be always be something, which will always be spoken about and understood. ‘Eternal language, which thy God utters’ is emphasising that nature is a major part of God and that in order to be as powerful as God you need to give out orders by talking, and by talking he is allowing nature to grow. This is a very strong relation between nature and God.In the last stanza Coleridge explains that all year round nature is a magical existence and gives details of what is so special at each season in the year. Coleridge believes that nature is something that carries on throughout the year and has explained how nature is such an outstanding characteristic of the world and not just in spring, by showing that nature is not just a feature of spring he has given examples of the wonders nature shows in autumn, winter and summer. In summer nature ‘clothe the general earth with greenness.’ ‘The redbreast sit and sing betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch of mossy apple-tree’ in the winter. In the autumn there is ‘the secret ministry of frost shall hang them up in silent icicles’.–Questions to contemplate: (optional reading journal entries:)How does Coleridge envision that life for his young son will be different from the childhood he describes here?–Does this vision parallel his perspective of nature in “France: an Ode?”In “Frost at Midnight” Coleridge takes the reader on a journey. He passes through reality as an anxious parent, back to his lonely schooldays and forward to his sense of hopefulness about the world that his child will experience. Again, the beauty of nature follows the Romantic theme. Coleridge initially describes his own childhood in the city, where the old church tower and the music from the bells “haunted him with a wild pleasure”. However, he tells his “Babe” that he hopes he will grow up to experience “the lovely shapes and sounds of nature”. Again in Romantic style, Coleridge emphasizes a religious link between the beauty of nature and “the Great Universal Teacher”, He concludes, by describing all the seasons in the future and finally returns to his present situation and “the shining to the quiet moon”.

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