This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison
This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


We’ve got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you’ll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(5) Tree Line

Believe it or not, in his day Coleridge's writing style was thought by some to be too casual and conversational. Poems like "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison" were thought to approximate everyday speech, something that had rarely been seen in poetry before the Romantic period. Nowadays, we look at all those exclamation marks, the frequent "thees" and "thous," and words like "Orb" and "richlier," and we're tempted to call Coleridge a fancy-pants. But, aside from some old-fashioned words and expressions, this poem shouldn't be a difficult hike – unless, of course, you've just spilled a skillet of hot milk on your foot! Most of the poem is dedicated to vivid and beautiful descriptions, and aside from a complex passage around line 40, the wordplay is simple and user-friendly (for example, lime-tree bower = prison).

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