Love: by S. T. Coleridge Line by Line Summary & Analysis

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      L. 1-4. Love turns to his own purpose all thoughts and impulses that touch the human heart. And they serve but to keep the holy fire of love burning in the human heart.

      L. 5-8. Often in my reveries, I recall before my mind's eye the happy time when half way up the mountain I lay beside the ruins of the tower.

      L. 9-12. It is when the moonlight mingles with twilight. My love Genevieve is then with me.

      L. 13-16. She rested herself against the statue of an armed knight, in the soft twilight which still lingers in the moonlight as she listens to my song.

      L. 17-20. My darling is pure and guileless. She loves me best when I sang songs of distress which makes her sad in sympathy.

      L. 21-24. I play a tender and sad note and sang an old, touching ballad that is in harmony with the atmosphere of the ruined tower, grey with time.

      L. 25-28. Her colour comes and goes when she listens to my song with her eyes down cast and with graceful modesty. For she know I cannot help gazing at her with yearning. 

      L. 29-32. I have sung of the knight whose sign of heraldry is a flaming torch carved on his shield (symbolical of his consuming love) and who courts the lady of the land on which he lives for a long time.

      L. 33-36. I sing how he languishes for his lady's love. The appealing tone m which I sing of the knight's love, sometimes in deep and sometimes in sad voice. Thus, I tell her of my own love for her.

      L. 37-40. Her colour changes as she listens to me with graceful modesty and with her eyes cast down. She is not crossed with me when I look at her with longing.

      L. 41-44. I have related the scornful rejection of the knight's suit by the cruel lady. It makes the brave and fair knight mad and he wanders day and night through the forest without stopping.

      L. 45-52. Sometimes when he is in the den of wild beasts, or in dark cover of the wood or in the clear bright and green spaces in the wood a beautiful spirit come and tempts him. But the unfortunate knight, though he is crazy, has sense enough to understand that it is the devil in the angel's disguise.

      L. 53-56. Then not knowing what he is doing he suddenly intervenes with a band of desperate robbers and saves the lady from a dishonour to which death is preferable.

      L. 57-60. Then the lady weeps with repentance and embraces his knees. She nurses him and tries to atone for her cruelty which drives him mad. But all is in vain (for the knight was to die soon.)

      L. 61-64. She nurses him in a cave. He regains his sanity just before the death when he lays on the dry leaves of the tree.

      L. 65-68. When I come to his last words - and that is the most touching part of the song - my voice trembles and the music of the harp falters as I shook with emotion. This strongly moves her.

      L. 69-72. The faltering music, the beautiful fragrant evening, the sad mournful song rouses her emotions and overwhelmed her.

      L. 73-76. There are such a mixture of feelings in her heart that one cannot be distinguished from another. There are hopes in her mind. There are also fears, and out of fears again rose hopes. (In the tumult of her feelings, the succession of hopes to fears is quick and constant that the one may be described as caused by the other). And there are soft feelings of love for the poet hidden in her heart. The feelings are long concealed by her but they are always present.

      L. 77-80. She weeps with pity for the dead knight and with delight at having her lover by her side. She blushes in her maiden modesty at the thought of her love which is like the faint murmuring sound which is heard in a dream.

      L. 81-85. Her bosom swells with strong emotions. She turned aside to hide her blush, conscious of my gaze. Then with fear in her eyes, she run into my arms impulsively and wept in joy and fear.

      L. 86-88. In her modesty she huges me gently and bending her head a little she looks at my face. (In her modesty, she did not abandon herself passionately).

      L. 89-92. Her action is the result of a strange mood where love and fear mingles together. Also, there is perhaps a modest woman's artifice that I shall rather feel than see her bosom swelling with emotions.

      L. 93-96. I calm her fears by comforting her. With maiden dignity, she relates her love. Thus I have my beautiful and cheerful bride-my Genevieve.


      L. 1-4. All thoughts....sacred flame. These lines rosin the open stanza of Coleridge's Love. The central idea of the poem is summed up in these lines. The poet regards love as the supreme fundamental human sentiment. In his opinion, all other thoughts, feelings, passions or delights are subordinate to it. He compares Love to a deity and says that all other sentiments are the priests or worshippers who keep the sacred fire burning in its temple i.e., human heart. All feelings sad or happy lead to and strengthen love. The poem is an illustration of this truth. The lover is able to kindle the flame of love in the heart of his shy beloved by arousing her pity for the plight of the ancient knight. Thus, the feeling of pity intensifies the sentiment of love which is present in the heart of Genevieve.

      L. 17-20. Few sorrows.....her grieve. These lines occur in Coleridge's poem Love. The poem describes how a young man wins the love of his sweet heart by relating to her the story of the disappointed love of a knight.

      This is a pathetic story, but the young man says that his beloved loved such stories. She is quite happily placed and had never known any sorrow of her own. But she is fond of hearing sad stories which bring tears to her eyes and melts her heart with pity. That is why the young man selects this pathetic tale to relate to her.

      This poem is based on practical psychology. Here the poet is making reference to a well-known psychological fact: that though we hate tears in actual life, we love them on the stage and in literature. The girl is a soft hearted, gentle and tender maiden, and she finds delight in the feeling of pity which such stories arouse in her.

      L. 25-28. She her face. These lines occur in Coleridge's poem Love. This poem is the story of how a young man wins his beloved by relating the story of a knight's disappointed love. The story moves the girl deeply, and she cannot help expressing her own love. The present lines describe the effect of the story on the girl and also describe her attitude as she listens. She is a soft-hearted, modest young girl. As she listens to her lover, there is a little redness on her cheeks. This is the blush aroused in her by the story of love. She is so modest that she cannot look her lover in the face. Her eyes are cast down. She looks more beautiful because of her shyness and bashfulness. She does not look up because she knows that her lover is all the time staring at her lovely face with eyes full of tenderness and love.

      This stanza paints a beautiful picture of the maiden and arouses tender feeling for her in us. It brings out the grace and the gentleness of her character.

      L. 29-36. I told her.....Interpreted my own. These lines have been taken from Love written by S.T. Coleridge. The theme of the poem is that all human feelings and passions kindle and feed the flame of love. This truth is illustrated by the manner in which a man wins the heart of his beloved by arousing her pity for the poor lover who has gone mad on account of unsuccessful love.

      In these lines, the lover tells us that he tells his beloved how a knight suffered deep anguish and languished because his proud beloved did not respond to his love. The story of the lover is so much like that of the knight's own that it may be said to interpret his experiences to his beloved, Genevieve. In other words the lover actually narrates his own woes when he describes the sufferings of the unhappy knight. Through this story the young man is suggesting to his beloved, the consequences if she treats him as the Lady of the Land treats the knight.

      L. 45-52. That sometimes from.....This miserable Knight. These lines occur in Coleridge's poem, Love. The poem is the story of how a young man wins his lady love by relating the story of a knight's love to her. The present lines form a part of this story of the knight.

      The knight is scorned by his lady love and went crazy. He wanders in the forests. He is haunted by many apparitions. Again and again, he see a beautiful and bright angel. He see this angel in all sorts of places in-dens, shady groves and bright glades. This delusion pestered him at all places and at all times. The knight know that the angel is in reality a demon. The knight is miserable because of this haunting vision.

      Coleridge's imagination reveals in the supernatural. The present poem is a realistic poem, and yet he introduces a touch of the supernatural even here.

      L. 65-68. His dying words.....her souls with pity. These lines occur in Coleridge's poem Love. The poem is the story of how a young man wins his lady love by-relating the story of a knight's love to her. This is a pathetic story, and his beloved is deeply moved by it. Her heart melts.

      The present lines occur towards the end of this story within the story related by the lover. They describe the tone and voice in which the lover narrates the story, and the effect of this narration.

      The lover says that he reaches the end of the story and is just about to narrate the dying words of the miserable knight. This is the most pathetic part of the song. His voice begin to tremble with emotion as he related the story. He pauses, in his play upon the heart. This make the story even more moving than it would have been otherwise. Her very soul is disturbed with a feeling of pity for the poor knight who has died so miserably.

      L. 69-76. All impulses of soul.....and cherished long. These lines occur ill Coleridge's poem, Love. The poem narrates how a young lover melts the heart of his sweet-heart by relating the story of a knight's disappoints love. The poem describes the effect of this story on the girl.

      The present lines bring out the reasons why the girl is so deeply moved as to forget herself and rush into his arms. The lover explains that the story has aroused the deepest feelings in his beloved, Genevieve. She is an innocent and unsophisticated girl, and therefore her very soul is stirred by the story. Again the setting is also helpful in melting her to pity. The evening is beautiful and soothing. The story is sorrowful and melting. It is told in the form of a song, and this also adds to its power.

      Again, the girl identifies herself completely with the lady in the story. Their love seem to be like her own love, and their story. Her heart is filled with the hopes of a bright future with her lover, but this hope give rise to the fear that this future may become as dark as that of the lady in the story. Therefore, the story arise a crowd of hopes and fears in her heart. All these are so mixed together that they could not be distinguishes from each other.

      The result is that the desires and the feelings of love which she has subdued for a long time out of modesty now break forth. These feelings she has felt and at the same time suppresses. But these are now released so that she can no longer restrain herself.

      L. 81-84. Her bosom heaved.....fled to me and wept. These lines occur in Coleridge's poem Love. The poem shows how the tragic story of a knight's love affects a simple girl when it is told to her by her lover. The story melts her heart. So powerful is her feeling of pity and so great are her fears about her own future that her shyness and sense of modesty can no longer keep her back from rushing into the arms of her lover.

      The present stanza describes how this happens. As the story reaches its most pathetic moment, she begin to breathe hard. Her breast rose and fell with emotion. She know that her lover's eyes are upon her. She wants to hide her emotion from him and so she steps to one side. Suddenly, however, she run to him and starts crying. In her eyes there is a sense of fear. Her self-restraint breaks down and she seeks protection in the arms of her lover.

      L. 85-88. She half enclosed.....and gazed upon my face. These lines occur in Coleridge's poem, Love. The poem narrates how a lover relates the story of the tragic love of a knight to his beloved, and how this moves her, so that she comes running to his arms. So powerful is the effect of the story on her that her self-restraint breaks down.

      The present stanza describes the girl's coyness even when she is arise. Even at this moment of deep feeling, she is hesitant out of her modesty. She rushes to her lover, but only half-embraced him. She presses him to her breast, but gently. She bends her head backward and looks up into his face.

      The stanza presents a lovely picture of the girl and brings out her shyness and sweetness. This is the first time that she has looked her lover in the face. We have been told twice earlier that her eyes were down-cast because she will not meet the gaze of her lover. Now, however, she abandons her modesty and looks up.

      L. 89-92. 'Twas partly love.....the swelling of her heart. These lines occur in Coleridge's poem Love. The poem narrates how a young lover wins his lady-love by singing to her the story of the tragic love of a knight. The story moves his beloved so much that she rushes into his arms.

      The present stanza points out why the girl rushes to her lover. The lover explains that to some extent this is the result of her love for him. It was also the result, however, of the fear which the story has aroused in her. She is afraid that their love may meet the fate of the knight's love. Finally, this is the result of a combination of her shyness and a little lover s trick. She does not want that her lover shall see her in this emotional state when she is so deeply moved. She does not want him to see her heaving breast. She draws near him so that he shall not be able to watch her. Perhaps she also has a conscious desire of using this opportunity of showing her love.

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