Coleridge's "Hymn": New Perspectives on Book Six of The Prelude
During the first weeks of August 1902, Samuel Taylor Coleridge toured the hills of England near Scafell on foot. Ironically, the lines that "involuntarily poured forth" into a "Hymn" did not end up describing Coleridge's ascent of Scafell, but rather a hypothetical scene in the Vale of Chamouni. The work, entitled "Hymn Before Sun-Rise, In the Vale of Chamouni," appeared in The Morning Post in September of the same year. In "Hymn," the poet confronts Mont Blanc during a dark day and becomes overcome with Nature's "secret joy," asking his natural surroundings to join him in celestial song to praise God (20). Wordsworth decried the poem: Keith Thomas, a critic of the romantics, indicates that "Wordsworth emphatically disliked the poem," going so far as to label "Hymn" an exercise in the "Mock Sublime" (Thomas, 100). Thomas contends that "Hymn" embittered Wordsworth to the point that he "might have feared that Coleridge had published a poem that treated a topic he knew intimately far better than he had treated it so far" (Thomas, 102). Not only did Coleridge's work appear analogous to a sublime work like...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 727 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4230 literature essays, 1407 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in