Study Guide

Dejection: An Ode Love

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Here's a list of things that the speaker seems to love in "Dejection: an Ode": howling wind, a "Lady," and… well, that's about it. The dude is pretty down in the mouth, after all. At the same time, we can cheat a little bit here by poking around in Coleridge's biography.

We know, for example, that he originally intended this poem for one Sara Hutchinson. She was William Wordsworth's sister-in-law, which made things kind of awkward. More importantly, she was also not his wife—which made things really awkward. The speaker's dejection, then, seems to have its roots in poor Samuel's tragic love life, and we get signs of his feelings for Sara throughout the poem.

Questions About Love

  1. Why does the speaker think that love is so important? What parts of the poem support your ideas?
  2. Is heartbreak the only reason for the speaker's sadness? How can you tell?
  3. How does knowing about Coleridge's sad love life change the way you read the poem?
  4. What does this poem's last stanza say about the speaker's love for the "Lady"?

Chew on This

This poem shows us that the most profound sadness is the one that comes from unrequited love.

This poem is one long attempt to try to make the "Lady" feel sorry for the speaker and get her to love him.

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