Dejection an ode Summary (Stanza)
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Stanza I. Coleridge, on seeing the old moon in the arms of the new, fears that it portends stormy weather. As he is contemplating on the superstition associated with the phenomenon the storm begins to blow. Coleridge feels that the sounds of the wind and storm which used to inspire him in the past, might give their usual impetus to his soul on that night, and might stir up his sense of frustration and even intensify it.
Stanza II. Coleridge gives expression to the grief from which he is suffering. It is such a dark and dismal sorrow that it finds no expression in words, tears or sighs. He feels that nature cannot cure him of his pessimism and melancholy as he is no longer stirred to his depths by nature.
Stanza III. Coleridge believes that the sources of poetic inspiration lie within the human mind or the human soul. Thus when the mind is paralysed nature cannot inspire the poet.
Stanza IV. Coleridge challenges the popular notion of Wordsworthian Philosophy. He says that it is we ourselves who invest nature with life, soul, beauty or gloomy. It is we who attribute feelings and emotions to inanimate nature. Nature is lifeless—it has neither intellect nor soul. Further, he believes that the poetic inspiration is an echo of the poet’s soul.
Stanza V. He defines poetic inspiration as a ‘light, a glory, a fair luminous mist’ which is not only beautiful in itself but which enables the poets to create beauty. It is joy—exultation. From it flows all fine arts like music, poetry and painting which captivate the ear or the eye.
Stanza VI. Referring to his past, Coleridge says that he used to feel inspired and hopeful then, in spite of difficulties and hardships. Now, however, misfortunes overpower him. He however does not lament so much the loss of mirth arid joy as the loss of his Poetic faculty. He feels that he is drifting more and more towards the study of ‘Metaphysics’ and fears that by and by this new interest would ‘kill’ the poet in him, though, by nature he is a poet rather than a Philosopher.
Stanza VII. He finds escape from torturing and tormenting thoughts of despair by turning to the wind that is raving outside. The wind, so it appears to him, is imitating tragic human sounds. At times it seems to imitate the Sound of a defeated army, retreating in a disorderly manner. Like an actor the wind imitates perfectly the Sounds of trampled wounded and shivering soldiers of the defeated army. After a pause, the wind seems to be imitating the cries of a small child who has lost her way in a lonely forest, situated near her home.
Stanza VIII. Though it is midnight, Coleridge has little inclination to go to bed. He, however, prays that his beloved may never have to keep awake at night. Likewise he prays that she may enjoy eternal happiness and that thoughts of sorrow or dejection may never invade her heart.
The poet describes the outburst of a storm after a calm evening and laments his own torpor and inability to be moved by the awful grandeur of the night. His own mood is wan and heartless. The fountains of life fail within him; he lacks that emanation from soul necessary for the appreciation of Nature.
He looks back upon the imaginative days of his youth, when joy and hope had arisen naturally in his heart. But pain and grief have taken all these away; abstruse research has superseded the imaginative faculty. The wind’s expression of human cries only re-echoes his afflictions. His one comfort is to pray that those whom he loves may not share such unrest.
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