Coleridge's Poems

How does Samuel Taylor Colridge differentiate Youth and Old Age?

Youth and Age

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In a nutshell, Coleridge differentiates youth from old age as being carefree, strong, independent, self-sufficient and optimistic. He ascribes to youth a slew of powerful qualities, including the belief in hope, an adventurous spirit that was not daunted by "wind or weather," and great happiness. When young, the body was not an impediment but merely the vessel for his unceasing adventure. In old age, on the other hand, the body has become a trap that does him "grievous wrong," defined by its "drooping gait." What's worse, old age no longer affords the hope and optimism of youth. In the end, youth sees no end, where old age is all too well aware of the end brought on by the passage of time.


"Youth and Age," Coleridge