Kubla Khan poem summary

About the poem

Kubla Khan poem was composed by one of the most fragmentary writer of Romantic Period of English literature Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published in 1816.

Theme of the Poem

The poem Kubla Khan is a visionary poem by Coleridge which majorly based on scenery where a beautiful palace built along with the creativity of nature in Xanadu.


Kubla Khan is a visionary poem based on illusion called pleasure- dome. It narrates about the Kubla Khan palace, the poem begins with the description of XANADU and the sacred river Alph. Actually, poem Kubla Khan is a journey of a mind of imaginations. Being an opium addiction Coleridge wrote this poem in a state of semi- conscious trance, he was reading a travel book called purchased by his pilgrimage and his eyes closed upon a line the book was about Kubla Khan, a powerful ruler of Mongolian Dynasty.

Coleridge describes that Kubla Khan asks his soldiers to built a pleasure- dome in XANADU, where sacred river ran through caves and falls into a sunless sea. Walls and towers were raised around twice five miles of fertile ground, filled with beautiful gardens and forests. A deep romantic chasm slanted down a green hill, so great that it flung boulders up with it like rebounding hail. Also, in between Kubla Khan hears an ancestral voices bringing prophesies of war.

The pleasure- dome shadow floated on the waves, where the mingled sound of the fountain and the caves could be heard. According to the poet, it was a miracle of rare device and a sunny pleasure- dome with caves of ice. The poet also describes a damsel (woman) singing melancholy and playing dulcimer (music instrument). He says that if he would rebuild the pleasure- dome out of music and all who heard him cry `BEWARE` of her flashing eyes and floating hairs.

Form of the poem

The chant like; musical incantations of Kubla Khan result as Coleridge`s masterful use of iambic pentameter and alternating rhyme schemes. The first stanza of poem is written in tetrameter with rhyme scheme of ABAABCCDEDE, alternating between staggered rhymes and couplets. The second stanza expands into tetrameter and follows roughly the same rhyming pattern as first. The third stanza tightens into tetrameter and rhymes ABABCC. The fourth stanza continue with the same following stanza first and second.

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