Study Guide

The Nightingale Youth and Childhood

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Youth and Childhood

Youth plays a key part in unlocking the true poetry of nature, argues Coleridge.

Throughout the poem, poets and young people are often described as one in the same. In the first stanza, "youths and maidens most poetical" receive a hefty dose of advice from the speaker, and their dancing- and entertainment-loving ways are the source of some sadness.

Later, the speaker's own child enters the poem. In line 99, he awakes from a nightmare and cries. When the speaker takes him to see the moon, the child is comforted so much that he stops crying and even laughs a little.

With this final image, the speaker reiterates his hopes for his child and for the youthful poets: that they might learn to associate joy with nature. Or rather, he hopes that they won't unlearn this joy as they age.

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