The Aeolian Harp Themes

The Aeolian Harp Themes


This poem is written for Coleridge's fiancee before their marriage, though completed after they had in fact been married. Predominantly concerned with desire for their life together, Coleridge alludes a great deal to sex. He compares the breeze which brushes the harp to a maiden teasing her lover. Any references to love-making or desire are painted in a pure and benevolent light. This marriage is taking place in a healthy relationship of which sex is the natural consummation.

Thought taking the form of matter

Both the harp and the lute are symbolic throughout this text. They represent thought and the poetry itself. As Coleridge is musing, he illustrates each muse with the musical instruments. Through this vehicle, the thoughts themselves take on a physical form. They are no longer strictly mental but now imbued with an existence all their own.

Unity of life

Heretical for the time, Coleridge toys with the idea of pantheism. After musing about nature and its beauty, he wonders what the force of life is. He theorizes that all living matter is composed of the same force, which is divine. Thus all of us are composed of the same substance, which makes our existence divine. He calls this concept the "one life."


God is credited throughout the poem. He is the one who created all of the beautiful nature which Coleridge praises. Additionally, Coleridge redirects all of his ponderings about nature, existence, and love to worship his Creator. He is the thread which ties all things together.

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