What does Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight" say about childhood?

Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight" indicates that childhood is best experienced in conjunction with nature. The speaker feels that his own childhood was filled with loneliness and despair, due in great part to growing up in the city and having few opportunities to engage with nature.

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The speaker of "Frost at Midnight " looks back upon his own childhood with a sense of disappointment. He was raised in a "great city" and was surrounded with the hustle of urban life; as a child, he wanted to connect with nature but found that the "sky and...

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The speaker of "Frost at Midnight" looks back upon his own childhood with a sense of disappointment. He was raised in a "great city" and was surrounded with the hustle of urban life; as a child, he wanted to connect with nature but found that the "sky and stars" were the closest he could come.

The speaker believes that children learn best when they are free to "wander like a breeze / By lakes and sandy shores." Experiencing the tangible beauty of nature's diversity also brings children closer to God. Through the wonders of nature, the speaker believes that children learn to hear the voice of God himself. This sense of natural wonder provides an opportunity for God to "mould" the spirit of children and fosters a greater curiosity about their world. Being immersed in nature also helps children appreciate the great diversity of seasonal changes. By being so close to nature at all times, children learn to see the beauties of a changing landscape—and, therefore, the beauty of diversity itself.

The speaker feels that being forced to grow up in the city was a source of personal despair. Because of those childhood feelings of isolation and longing, he has chosen to live where his own child can experience the childhood he always longed for, one lived in close harmony with nature.

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