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Kubla Khan

Kubla Khan

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Kubla Khan Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Iambic just means that the poem is made up of lots of two-syllable units, in which the stress is placed on the second syllable. The lines also rhyme, although maybe not in the ways you'd expect."Rh...


We think the speaker of this poem sounds like he's trying to impress a crowd. He would be right at home at a circus or a magic show. He could even be a con artist, performing card tricks on the str...


Coleridge has a lot to say about the setting of this poem. He devotes many lines to describing the landscape, the caverns, and the sea. That works for the first half of the poem, but then that Abys...

Sound Check

This poem sounds to us like a symphony orchestra. It has all kinds of different sounds, movements and tones. When the river is crashing through the caves, we imagine the pounding of kettledrums. Li...

What's Up With the Title?

The main title of this poem is just plain "Kubla Khan." It's a pretty great name, isn't it? Sounds tough, mysterious, and exotic. We're willing to bet that Coleridge wanted that name to echo in a b...

Calling Card

The speaker of this poem finds a lot of dramatic material in nature. He's totally captivated by the power he sees in the natural world. This is pretty typical for Coleridge. His poems tend to be in...


This poem falls right in the middle on the Tough-O-Meter. It's not going out of its way to make things hard for you, but there are a lot of tricky words and strange images to wade through before yo...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

There may not be any sex here, but there are plenty of disturbing images. What about all the intense imagery, and the "fast thick pants" and the Abyssinian maid, and the story about all the opium i...

Shout Outs

River Alph (line 3) Abyssinia (line 39)Xanadu (line 1)Kubla Khan (title, line 1, line 29)

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