Frosty, the Poem

Week 4

What did I do?

Read and discussed Frost at Midnight (1798) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

This poem focused on the ‘goings on’ of the night; the occurrences of the natural world as humans slept. It was an address to his son, Hartely, in that he compared his own life and childhood to the future of his son, who will grow up amongst nature and embrace his imagination. Here there is clear comparison between the ‘great city’ and nature.

The poem preforms in a round-about fashion, the end is designed to connect to beginning in the reference to the ‘secret ministry’ of frost. Similarly, there is frequent repetition of themes such as his son, childhood, the city, the occurrences of the night and of landscapes. This is a reference to his reoccurring theme, frost and its secret nature.

Contextually, the poem was written by Coleridge while he was unable to sleep. He stared at the fire and contemplating the world around him, which was still in motion even as the inhabitants lay asleep, ‘silent’. The poem is written as though it were a one sided conversation, with an evident persona, Coleridge himself. This is shown through the frequent shifts in perspective, from ‘the stranger’ (piece of ash) in the fire place, to his contemplating childhood, to his sleeping son, to his thoughts about his son’s future, and so on.


  • Up to p. 157 of Wuthering Heights by Emile Bronte.
  • [Watched] Les Miserables (1998) directed by Bille August

Note: the title ‘Frosty, the Poem’ is a poor reference to the song ‘Frosty the Snowman’.

Image: Kveldulf.



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