Study Guide

Metrical Feet Family

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Coleridge wrote "Metrical Feet" for his son – the "boy" mentioned in the title. The speaker actually talks about family, and fatherhood more specifically, in the second stanza. He suggests that poetry is one way to win love from both your father, and God. In a way, he's making a connection between success in art and success in your family. After all, what father wouldn't want his son to follow in his footsteps?

Questions About Family

  1. What kind of relationship do the father and son share in this poem? Can you tell anything about their relationship from the lines themselves?
  2. What kind of father do you think Coleridge was, based on this poem? Demanding? Understanding? Loving?
  3. What do you imagine Derwent's reaction to this poem was? What would your reaction be if you were in his shoes?
  4. What is the connection between art or poetry and family in this poem?

Chew on This

For a brief moment, the speaker implies that his son must "win" his love, as if it weren't merely a given.

The rhyme on "ridge" and "Coleridge," a rhyme on Derwent's father and a natural feature, suggests that delighting in nature might be the same as delighting in one's parent.

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