The Aeolian Harp

The Aeolian Harp Analysis

As a way to describe his pre-wedding jitters, Coleridge wrote "The Aeolian Harp." It is dedicated and addressed to his wife-to-be, Sara. Coleridge details his desire for her and for their future life together. Through descriptions of nature, he relates his happiness and longing to the forces which govern all of creation. It's as if all of nature is celebrating with him.

An idea that dominates the poem is that of the nature of thought. Coleridge represents his train of thought as musical instruments - a lute and a harp. These concepts are given physical forms with which to manifest. In a sense, Coleridge is considering the very nature of thought. He seems to be trying to analyze his thoughts as if they were entities in and of themselves. Following this line of reasoning, he muses that all of life is composed of one substance manifested throughout nature, which is thought made corporeal. The thought of God, the Creator, gave birth to one universal spirit which is found in all living matter. All life is unified and of one divine substance.

A religious man, Coleridge ties all of his musing back to God. He credits God with all of life and all of nature. Without God's generosity, man would not be able to enjoy the luxuries with which Coleridge has been blessed. Coleridge remains grateful throughout the poem, worshipping God for his good fortune. This poem was actually completed after the wedding, but surely its composition helped Coleridge work through his stress and anxiety related to the event and even the unknown texture of the marriage to follow.

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