Frost at Midnight

In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Frost At Midnight” the speaker starts off the poem in the present time pondering over the “secret ministry” of the frost. He is noticing how quiet and peaceful it is as he sits with his infant son. However, it is only calm on the surface since amidst the speakers “solitude” there are all of the “numberless goings-on of life” like the cry of the owl, the “populous village” and the “Sea, hill and wood.” But like all of the “goings-on of life” the speaker is not calm like his immediate surroundings. Actually, for him, the tranquility “disturbs and vexes meditation.” It is so still out, that it sets the speaker’s mind off to thinking back on his life. He cannot relate to all of the commotion that is occurring somewhere, someplace, since it is as “Inaudible of dreams”. But then he notices his fire and the film that, like the speaker, is restless in all of the quietness that surrounds him. He finds the film to be a “companionable form” in the quiet that has encompassed him. The fluttering film “makes a toy of Thought” which takes the speaker back into his past. In the second stanza, the speaker recollects his past when he was younger and away in school. Similar to him watching the fluttering film in the first stanza, the speaker remembers as a schoolboy, how he “gazed upon the bars, / To watch the fluttering stranger.” He describes both the film and the stranger as “fluttering.” Then the speaker moves even further in his past to recall how while at school, he dreamt of his birthplace many times. The speaker regresses from the past when he was at school, to even further in the past to his birthplace. He remembers the sound of the bells, “the poor man’s only music.” The bells “haunted” the speaker and but they also reminded him of the things that would happen in his life in the future. He would fall asleep thinking of all of the great events that would happen in his life. But then he jumps …

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