Eros and Nature: The Later Poetry
Coleridge’s progressive withdrawal from the natural world and his corresponding attachment to love objects appear most clearly in his later poetry, a record showing that the tendencies heretofore noted have a much more encompassing reach than the specific instance of Coleridge’s theory of symbolism. One of the noticeable changes that occurs in Coleridge’s later poetry is the gradual disappearance of the journey motif, and its accompanying engagement with nature. One might describe Coleridge’s journey poetry (exhibited in Coleridge’s conversation poems and, with grimmer overtones, in ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Christabel’) as a poetry of encounter or confrontation: between man and nature; the private and the public world; the imaginative artist and conventionally-minded auditors; the limited though safe life in a familiar, home environment (the cot, the harbour, the castle) and the vastly larger experience, of either joyous or devastating possibilities, gained through contact with the external world. Along withthe disappearance of the journey pattern in Coleridge’s later poetry, we also notice the change to a poetry of private meditation, which avoids dramatic confrontations.104
KeywordsVortex Smoke Metaphor Ecstasy Undercut
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