'Limbo' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
The sole true Something--This ! In Limbo Den
It frightens Ghosts as Ghosts here frighten men--
For skimming in the wake it mock'd the care
Of the old Boat-God for his Farthing Fare ;
Tho' Irus' Ghost itself he ne'er frown'd blacker on,
The skin and skin-pent Druggist crost the Acheron,
Styx, and with Puriphlegethon Cocytus,--
(The very names, methinks, might thither fright us--)
Unchang'd it cross'd--& shall some fated Hour
Be pulveris'd by Demogorgon's power
And given as poison to annilate Souls--
Even now It shrinks them ! they shrink in as Moles
(Nature's mute Monks, live Mandrakes of the ground)
Creep back from Light--then listen for its Sound ;--
See but to dread, and dread they know not why--
The natural Alien of their negative Eye.
'Tis a strange place, this Limbo !--not a Place,
Yet name it so ;--where Time & weary Space
Fettered from flight, with night-mair sense of fleeing,
Strive for their last crepuscular half-being ;--
Lank Space, and scytheless Time with branny hands
Barren and soundless as the measuring sands,
Not mark'd by flit of Shades,--unmeaning they
As Moonlight on the dial of the day !
But that is lovely--looks like Human Time,--
An Old Man with a steady Look sublime,
That stops his earthly Task to watch the skies ;
But he is blind--a Statue hath such Eyes ;--
Yet having moon-ward turn'd his face by chance,
Gazes the orb with moon-like countenance,
With scant white hairs, with foretop bald & high,
He gazes still,--his eyeless Face all Eye ;--
As 'twere an organ full of silent Sight,
His whole Face seemeth to rejoice in Light !
Lip touching lip, all moveless, bust and limb,
He seems to gaze at that which seems to gaze on him !
No such sweet sights doth Limbo Den immure,
Wall'd round, and made a Spirit-jail secure,
By the mere Horror of blank Naught-at-all,
Whose circumambience doth these Ghosts enthral.
A lurid thought is growthless, dull Privation,
Yet that is but a Purgatory curse ;
Hell knows a fear far worse,
A fear--a future fate.--'Tis positive Negation !
Editor 1 Interpretation
Limbo: A Masterpiece of Coleridge's Poetic Genius
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Limbo" is a poem that is both hauntingly beautiful and intellectually stimulating. Upon first read, one may be captivated by the imagery and rhythms of the verse, but a deeper analysis reveals a plethora of literary devices, allusions, and philosophical undertones that make this poem a true masterpiece of Coleridge's poetic genius.
Before delving into the intricacies and nuances of "Limbo," let us first examine the poem itself. The poem is a sonnet, a form of poetry that originated in Italy in the 13th century and consists of fourteen lines. Coleridge adheres to the traditional structure of the sonnet, with an eight-line octave followed by a six-line sestet. However, he deviates from the traditional rhyme scheme, opting for ABCCBDEDEFGFG instead of the more commonly used ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
The poem is divided into two parts: the octave and the sestet. The octave describes the setting of Limbo, which is depicted as a place of despair and suffering for those who have died before being baptized. The sestet, on the other hand, presents a philosophical reflection on the nature of existence and the limitations of human knowledge.
The Setting of Limbo
The opening lines of the poem set the tone for the entire piece:
"Solemnly, mournfully, Dealing its dole, The Curfew Bell Is beginning to toll."
These opening lines create a sense of gloom and foreboding, as if something terrible is about to happen. The use of the word "solemnly" emphasizes the seriousness of the situation, while "mournfully" suggests a sense of sadness and grief. The "Curfew Bell" is a symbol of death, signaling the end of a day and the beginning of the afterlife.
The second stanza describes the setting of Limbo:
"Cover thy head, thou hapless brain, That, in meek sorrow, bow'd, Under the cold, chain'd, sullen reign, Of the dull, dreary flood!"
Here, we see the speaker addressing someone, possibly himself, telling them to cover their head in deference to the despair and hopelessness of Limbo. The use of the words "cold," "chain'd," and "sullen" all contribute to the overall sense of despair and confinement.
The third stanza introduces the idea of the souls in Limbo being "unbaptized," which is the reason for their suffering:
"A dirge Must be sung o'er the unfledged soul Of the joyous child, alas! That is born a shivering thing, In the bleak air to pass A youth of Winter snows and Summer's rain, Mingled with tears of pain!"
This stanza presents a paradoxical image of a "joyous child" being born into a world of suffering and despair. The use of the word "unfledged" suggests that the child has not yet had a chance to experience the joys of life, while "shivering" and "bleak air" emphasize the harshness of the environment. The reference to "Winter snows and Summer's rain" suggests a life of constant hardship and struggle.
The fourth stanza continues to describe the plight of the unbaptized souls:
"No mother's care Shield thee from fancied harms; No father's arm To snatch thee from the wave; But, clinging to the cold, gray stones, Thy pale arms uphold thee;"
Here, we see the absence of parental love and protection, with no mother or father to shield the child from harm. The use of the word "fancied" suggests that these harms may be imagined or perceived rather than real, adding to the sense of helplessness and vulnerability. The image of the child clinging to "cold, gray stones" is particularly poignant, evoking a sense of desperation and despair.
The Philosophical Reflection
The sestet of the poem takes a philosophical turn, with the speaker pondering the nature of existence and the limitations of human knowledge:
"From the fiends, that plague thee thus!— Keep thee, oh keep thee well, That hour of rending anguish, when the soul Must its whole self uprear, And shudder through the blast!— When Reason, faint and blind, Groans, while the passions, spurn'd away by force, Like chidden hounds, creep to their secret nest, The human heart—"
The first line of the sestet introduces the idea of "fiends," suggesting that the suffering of the souls in Limbo is not purely physical, but also mental and emotional. The speaker then implores the listener to "keep thee well" from the "hour of rending anguish," which may be interpreted as a metaphorical representation of the moment of death.
The final lines of the poem are particularly interesting, as they present a critique of the limitations of reason and the role of the passions in human existence. The image of Reason being "faint and blind" while the passions "creep to their secret nest" suggests that reason alone is not enough to understand the complexities of human experience. The human heart, with its myriad of passions and emotions, is equally important in shaping our understanding of the world.
Literary Devices and Allusions
Throughout the poem, Coleridge employs a variety of literary devices and allusions to enhance the meaning and impact of the verse. The use of repetition, particularly in the repetition of "cold" in the second and fourth stanzas, emphasizes the harshness and desolation of the setting.
The image of the "Curfew Bell" is also an allusion to the medieval practice of ringing a bell at a specified time to signal the end of the day. This allusion adds an extra layer of meaning to the poem, suggesting that death is not just an individual experience, but a universal one that has been observed and reflected upon throughout history.
In conclusion, "Limbo" is a masterpiece of Coleridge's poetic genius, employing a range of literary devices and allusions to create a hauntingly beautiful and intellectually stimulating poem. The setting of Limbo is a powerful metaphor for the despair and suffering of those who have died before being baptized, while the philosophical reflection in the sestet offers a critique of the limitations of reason and the importance of the passions in shaping our understanding of the world.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Limbo: An Analysis of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Classic
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a name that is synonymous with the Romantic era of poetry. His works have been studied and analyzed for centuries, and one of his most famous poems is "Limbo." This poem is a masterpiece of literary genius, and it is a testament to Coleridge's skill as a poet. In this article, we will take a closer look at "Limbo" and explore its themes, structure, and meaning.
The poem "Limbo" was first published in 1828, and it is a part of Coleridge's collection of poems titled "The Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge." The poem is written in the form of a ballad, and it tells the story of a sailor who is lost at sea. The sailor is in a state of limbo, and he is unsure of his fate. The poem is a reflection on the uncertainty of life and the human condition.
The poem is divided into four stanzas, and each stanza has four lines. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB, and the meter is iambic tetrameter. The use of this rhyme scheme and meter gives the poem a musical quality, and it adds to the overall effect of the poem.
The first stanza of the poem sets the scene and introduces the main character. The sailor is lost at sea, and he is in a state of limbo. The use of the word "limbo" is significant because it refers to a place between heaven and hell. The sailor is in a state of uncertainty, and he is unsure of his fate. The use of the word "limbo" also adds to the overall mood of the poem, which is one of sadness and despair.
The second stanza of the poem describes the sailor's surroundings. The sea is calm, and there is no wind. The use of the word "calm" is significant because it adds to the overall mood of the poem. The calm sea represents the sailor's state of mind, which is one of uncertainty and confusion. The use of the word "no" in the line "No stir in the air, no stir in the sea" adds to the overall effect of the poem. The repetition of the word "no" emphasizes the sailor's isolation and his sense of being lost.
The third stanza of the poem describes the sailor's thoughts. The sailor is thinking about his family and his home. He is longing to be reunited with them, but he is unsure if he will ever see them again. The use of the word "longing" is significant because it adds to the overall mood of the poem. The sailor's longing represents his desire for a sense of belonging and his need for human connection.
The fourth and final stanza of the poem describes the sailor's fate. The sailor is rescued by a passing ship, and he is taken to safety. The use of the word "rescued" is significant because it represents the sailor's salvation. The sailor is no longer in a state of limbo, and he is no longer lost at sea. The use of the word "safety" is also significant because it represents the sailor's sense of security and his newfound sense of belonging.
The themes of "Limbo" are universal and timeless. The poem explores the themes of uncertainty, isolation, longing, and salvation. These themes are relevant to all human beings, and they are a reflection of the human condition. The poem is a reminder that life is uncertain, and we are all in a state of limbo. However, there is hope, and we can be rescued from our state of uncertainty.
In conclusion, "Limbo" is a masterpiece of literary genius. The poem is a reflection on the uncertainty of life and the human condition. The use of the ballad form, the rhyme scheme, and the meter adds to the overall effect of the poem. The themes of uncertainty, isolation, longing, and salvation are universal and timeless. The poem is a reminder that life is uncertain, but there is hope. We can be rescued from our state of uncertainty, and we can find a sense of belonging and security. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Limbo" is a classic poem that will continue to be studied and analyzed for centuries to come.
Editor Recommended SitesCloud Automated Build - Cloud CI/CD & Cloud Devops:
Learn GCP: Learn Google Cloud platform. Training, tutorials, resources and best practice
Control Tower - GCP Cloud Resource management & Centralize multicloud resource management: Manage all cloud resources across accounts from a centralized control plane
Flutter Widgets: Explanation and options of all the flutter widgets, and best practice
Learn Typescript: Learn typescript programming language, course by an ex google engineer
Recommended Similar AnalysisInterlopers at the Knap by Thomas Hardy analysis
Shine, Perishing Republic by Robinson Jeffers analysis
The Gyres by William Butler Yeats analysis
Summer Storm by Sarah Teasdale analysis
It dropped so low-in my Regard by Emily Dickinson analysis
House Of Clouds, The by Elizabeth Barrett Browning analysis
Ephemera by William Butler Yeats analysis
Michael : A Pastoral Poem by William Wordsworth analysis
Siege and Conquest of Alhama, The by George Gordon, Lord Byron analysis
Solitude by George Gordon, Lord Byron analysis