Before I explain the effect of music in Kubla Khan, I’ll speak of the themes, the style and poetic devices in a very brief way.
Theme are (1) the beauty of imaginations and (2) the effect of feminine music on masculine. Coleridge saw so much beauty in hills, caves, domes, fountain, etc in his imaginative dream. He painted sweet pictures of each object and made use of words like romantic, pleasure, incense-bearing, etc. The beauty and musical skill of the Abyssinian maid over stretched his thoughts, made him believe that the loud and long music could help him build objects floating in air:
“Her symphony and song
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air
That sunny dome! Those caves of ice!”
Style:- Kubla Khan was a rhyme poem narrating how the poet visioned a place he called Xanadu where a sacred river (Alph) ran through caves “down to a sunless sea”; he further told of lady playing dulcimer.
Poetic Devices:- the poem is device full but few common ones will be mentioned and they are imageries “meandering with mazy motions”, “lifeless ocean” alliterations “symphony and song” “mighty fountain momently was forced” simile “vaulted like rebounding hail” “as holy and enchanted/ As e’er beneath a waning moon” personification “these dancing rocks” hyperbole “I would build that dome in air” etc.
The Effect Of Music In Kubla Khan
Samuel Coleridge created a musical effect in the poem with characters like river, fountain, rocks, dulcimer, Abyssinian maid etc; he used words like song, singing, dance, enchanted, voices, played, loud. He even demonstrated music with the inanimates: “A mighty fountain momently was forced/ Amid whose swift hair-intermitted burst/ Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail/ Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail/ And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever/ It flung up momently the scared river”. The musical effect as said earlier also aided the poet’s imagination where he wished he had remembered the lady’s song to help him build the caves in the air.
Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings soaring)