“The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison”

I really enjoyed “The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison”. This poem fluctuated from really genuine and insightful moments to lines that seemed like Coleridge complaining about not being able to accompany his friends.

Some lines that stood out to me from the first passage were when Coleridge says, “I have lost / Beauties and feelings, such as would have been / Most sweet to my remembrance even when age / Had dimmed mine eyes to blindness!” (2-5) He also refers to his friends as people “whom I never more may meet again” (6). These sentiments (the fear of missing out on a really memorable experience and fearing that you might never see certain people again) completely encapsulate the modern concept of FOMO (fear of missing out). 

The footnote that noted how the friend, Charles, who Coleridge goes on and on about in the poem, was not an especially big fan of nature (and actually preferred the city) made me laugh. I think that this represents how people get really caught up in their own heads when they feel left out; Coleridge loves nature and wants to be out there, therefore, so does Charles.

But in the end, Coleridge is actually quite insightful, saying, “A delight / Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad / As I myself were out there!” This poem is a good representation of the human thought process: Coleridge goes from dramatic and worried about missing out on time with his friends to realizing that even as he sits alone, he can take happiness from his surroundings and from his memories of past experiences.

I also thought a great deal about what the last line of the poem means. Coleridge writes, “No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.” He is saying to Charles (and perhaps even more to himself) that everything that happens to us has the ability to serve some purpose. Now that he has missed out on spending time with his friends, Coleridge will be more grateful when he is next able to do so.

One thought on ““The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison””

  1. I wonder if the line “whom I never more may meet again” (6) could be interpreted as never getting the chance to meet someone for the first time again. Maybe this reading of that line could make the poem more introspective and contemplative (since he has the time to sit with his thoughts while his friends are away) than dramatic and about FOMO. I still think it’s supposed to be very dramatic, I just thought it would be interesting to add a different reading!

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