In his poem This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison, Samuel Taylor Coleridge explicates how humans can always find beauty near themselves, even in the least futile of places. Coleridge, a man of twenty five years at the time he wrote this poem, added This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison to his collection of The Conversation Poems (Hill). In the summer of 1797, when he wrote this, he addressed the poem to a friend of his, Charles Lamb, the essayist, and while they departed, Coleridge wrote him this poem in the garden, for he had been hindered from walking by a misfortunate accident earlier in the day. This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison contains three stanzas which hold seventy eight lines.
Coleridge uses a simple conversation to start his poem, one without defamiliarization, “Well, they are all gone, and here must I remain, This lime-tree bower my prison!” (Coleridge). The simple introduction to the first stanza produces a perturbed tone towards his poem. He seems frustrated at the fact that he is unable to travel with his cohorts, as if he is literally locked in a prison. His short stab at the setting tells us of the bower, “a shelter (as in garden) made with tree boughs or vines twined together” (Merriam-Webster 3), consisting of lime trees. He reverses the meaning of bower as being easeful to a confinement, using “prison” (Coleridge) as his metaphor to his feeling of restraint. The hyperbole of a beautiful garden becoming a prison, the speaker wants for his audience to have pity towards him. He is feeling sorry for himself, becoming submissive to his feelings throughout the rest of the poem.
In the following lines, Coleridge sees himself as becoming blind as he gets older. He feels that because he did not go on the walk with his friends, he will not have the calming effects of this memory.
I have lost
Beauties and feelings, such as would have been
Most sweet to my remembrance even when age
Had dimm’d mine eyes to blindness!
He wants to use his memories and put them in a filing cabinet, per say, in his mind, where in times of depression or unhappiness he can just pull one out and reminisce on the uplifting remembrance. His loss of the beautiful sights that he would have seen and the feelings he would have felt with his friends set the melancholy and pessimistic tone towards his occasion for writing this poem; his friends went on a walk at dusk time without him and due to his complications from the morning’s incident, he must stay situated at his cottage.
Along with the tone, the meter of the poem compliments it to produce the importance of the overall disposition than the rhythm. The iambic pentameter is irregular throughout the poem; there are spots in the poem where there are more than nine or eleven syllables in a line. According to Bill Benzon, it is without rhyme and lacks a musical sense to it (7). Benzon also points out that thirteen out of the fifteen section breaks occurs mid-line, which puts the effect of Coleridge expressing his...