Summary of Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The sheer genius of a poetic mind is reflected most blissfully in Summary of Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge where he banks upon wings of poesy to linger on the restatement of themes abiding; a trend that highlights English Romanticism to its zenith.

The poem begins with the depiction of a frost filled midnight that “performs its secret ministry” where an owlet’s shrill cry upsets the tranquil setting. Its night time and the inmates of the poet’s cottage fast asleep while he himself is awake and sits all alone beside his “cradled infant” The calmness of the night is adorable  and silence is delightfully distracting , something that makes you enjoy your solitary existence. The fireplace with the flaps and the iron bars keeps shaking with small blue flames which lick the grate softly and slowly. The moving flames turn out to be the most alive thing that Coleridge could imagine on that night. Coleridge is reminded of his childhood when he often watched nothing but “that fluttering stranger” through his school window when he used to daydream about the church towers where the bells rang making sweet sounds on Fair day.A host of several different beautiful things had lured him to sleep when he was a child and pretended to just look at books without actually reading them. He waited eagerly back in those days to get a glimpse of “Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, / My playmate when we both were clothed alike!”

As his “Dear Babe, that sleep[s] cradled”, it fills his heart with immense delight and a sense of thrill which makes for the idea of Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The poet is happy to think how is beautiful child is going to grow up in the city where he had lived and spend some glorious years of his life; that he will roam and wander among hills and mountains and will discover all that is there to mystify and amaze his little curious mind, like it was in his case. The theme of Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is where the speaker makes a very strong assertion how his child’s spirit shall be ruled by God and will find his own way of freedom without any shades of remorse or regret. The poet is sure that all seasons will be sweet and kind to his child like they had been to him.

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The idea of Frost at Midnight depicts a fathers intense set of emotions as he thinks about his new born child and how he is going to turn out as he grows up in the years to come.  The artistic bent of mind that the poet always had comes a full circle in this poem all across the summary of Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The poem had its root way back in the year of 1796, when Coleridge sat down to pen down the words for Frost at Midnight It was like his own childhood had come back to him as she sat there all alone one night thinking about his child and his growing years. He wanted his child to grow up in the city and still be a free bird and not a caged prisoner. Like his own self, he wanted his child to feel and explore the nature in the very same manner like him and go beyond the accepted realms of human beings and their attitude towards nature. He wanted nature to be the guiding star for his son and his teacher and philosopher as well. The poet is so engrossed in his thoughts that he can’t even feel how silent and calm the night has become unless the owl shrieks and breaks in. This is an willful depiction of how a man, a father can get involved in the thoughts of his offspring and can forget about the whole world in a flash. The child’s innocence became his new found source of joy; a similar kind that he used to feel when he has a child himself. The subtle manifestation of a child and his soul guarded and molded by God. These are experiences that the poet has himself been through; something that has helped him to become a better man and have contributed immensely in shaping up is personality and putting up his beliefs in his life. He wants his son to imbibe upon the same qualities that shaped him right from his childhood and have helped him to fight the ills and odds of life. The fervent hope of the poet is what makes Frost at Midnight every father’s poem and perhaps one of the very best creations ever witnessed in the world of English literature.

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It’s good to know:

  • Coleridge idealized his father as pious and innocent, while his relationship with his mother was more problematic
  • In 1798, Coleridge and Wordsworth published a joint volume of poetry, Lyrical Ballads, which proved to be the starting point for the English romantic age