What is the meaning of the quoted lines in "Kubla Khan"?

Quick answer:

In "Kubla Khan," the "huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail" refer to the rocks that the fountain at the source of the River Alph throws into the air. The intermittent bursts of water are so powerful that they carry rocks with them, and the speaker uses a storm of hail and chaff from a thresher as metaphors to describe them.

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The poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge was inspired by a dream that the author had after taking opium. When he was writing it down after he awoke, he was interrupted. As a result, he never finished it. That's why the subtitle of the poem is "Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment." In the poem, the speaker describes Xanadu, a pleasure palace that Kubla Khan, the Mongol emperor, built along a river called Alph.

The river initiates as a powerful fountain, flows for five miles past Kubla Khan's palace and gardens, and then disappears into underground caverns, where it finally enters into an underground sea. The lines in question, "Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, / Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail," are part of the description of the chasm from which the river springs forth. A "mighty fountain" intermittently bursts out of the ground. Its force is so strong that it carries with it "huge fragments" of "dancing rocks." The speaker compares these rocks that flow out along with the powerful fountain with hailstones that fall in a storm or pieces of grain that fly into the air and then descend when they are being reaped.

We see, then, that in these lines in question, the speaker is using metaphors of hailstones and reaped grain to help readers picture the fountain that creates the River Alph, which is so powerful that it causes rocks to fly up into the air with its bursts of water.

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