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This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison

This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison


by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Prison Life / Escape from the Bower!

Symbol Analysis

For a poem with the word "prison" in the title, this one is kind of a tease. There are no riots, no ropes made from bed-sheets, no ripped men weightlifting in the prison yard… Instead, the speaker pouts that his country garden is really like a Maximum Security facility designed to keep him from his friends. Then he goes on a mental trip and decides he can escape the bower using his imagination, and then he decides he doesn't want to escape the bower after all, because the place has its own charms.

  • Line 2: The metaphor of the title appears in this line, comparing the lime (linden) trees that surround the speaker in the garden to the bars or walls of a prison that traps him.
  • Line 6: Really? You think you might "never" again meet your friends who took a stroll for a few hours at dusk? That's what you call some serious hyperbole, or exaggeration. It's like a teenager who insists they'll just "die" if they can't go to the concert with such-and-such cute boy/girl!
  • Line 23: Sneaky, sneaky. He compares the hills using metaphor to the tall "steeples" of churches. This image certainly makes churches seem confining.
  • Lines 29-31: Charles's desire for Nature is compared using metaphor to a "hunger." Like the lime-tree bower, the city is like a prison that separates people from nature; it "pens" them in.
  • Lines 62-63: Even in a so-called prison, which appears "narrow" and "vacant" of life, you can find small wonders of nature. These two lines are constructed using parallelism.

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