In his poem "Frost at Midnight," describe what Coleridge wants for his son, and whether there is a connection with his own life's past experiences.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, "Frost at Midnight," the author believes that his son will have experiences very much different than his own: he will hear different stories (lore) and travel to places where the author has not been. thrills my heart

With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,

And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,

And in far other scenes!

This father recalls that the only glimpse of beauty he saw growing up in a town was what he spied between buildings: sky and stars.

For I was reared

In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,

And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.

(It is important to remember that Coleridge was a "first-generation" Romantic poet. Something that the Romantics wrote of often was their delight with nature: this can be seen not only in Coleridge's work—in particular (for example) The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but also in Wordsworth's work, and then in the works of the second-generation Romantic poets: Byron, Shelley and Keats.)

Coleridge imagines the "glimpses" of nature his son will have (and we can infer that Coleridge will be at hand to guarantee these these "interactions" that he did not have as a child). His son will know the uncontrollable breezes that go where they wish—"By lakes and sandy shores," and around the crags of mountains, and "beneath the clouds." In essence, Coleridge believes his child will learn early to speak the...

...eternal language, which thy God

Utters, who from eternity doth teach

Himself in all, and all things in himself.

God will instruct the boy and help to shape the man he will become. In this experience, the seasons will be a delight to the boy: the grass, the birds, the snow, and the "sun-thaw" of dawn. This is what the author dreams for his son.

It is easy to appreciate Coleridge's concern that his son's experience be different; if you recall, he notes that he only ever saw what little of nature came to him while he looked to the sky between tall buildings. His observations of nature came to him much later, and Coleridge wishes that an appreciation of these things will grow within his son, as the child himself grows.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial