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Coleridge’s Poetry

“The Nightingale”

Summary “The Nightingale”

Nature is essentially joyous and should inspire joy; it must not be made to serve simply as a screen upon which all of human feelings are indiscriminately projected. It is this lesson that Coleridge hopes to instill in his child; those poets who describe the nightingale as melancholy have yet to learn it. (The phrase quoted by Coleridge’s poem as representative of these unenlightened poets—”most musical, most melancholy”—comes from Milton’s Il Penseroso, though Coleridge later emphasized that he never intended to impugn Milton’s poetry.)

Coleridge’s Poetry: Popular pages