Sonnet to the River Otter

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Dear native brook! wild streamlet of the West!



How many various-fated years have passed,



What happy and what mournful hours, since last



I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,



Numbering its light leaps! Yet so deep impressed



Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes



I never shut amid the sunny ray,



But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,



Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,



And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes,



Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,



Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled



Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:



Ah! that once more I were a careless child!

Analysis of the Poem

In "Sonnet to the River Otter," the narrator addresses a brook that he spent his childhood days by. While reminiscing about days that have past, the speaker uses the river as a connection to youth and a care-free life. He looks back to distant memories of skimming a stone across the waters, and at the end of the poem regrets that he has grown and wishes that he could be that care-free child once again. Throughout the poem the brook he is standing by serves as a symbol of his childhood memories, and helps him relive and reconnect to them.

What is the Theme?

The theme can be described as the longing for childhood days, as evident by these quotes:


"Ah! that once more I were a careless child!"


"Yet so deep impressed, Sink the sweet scenes of childhood,"

Poetic Techniques Used...

Imagery:


"I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast, Numbering its light leaps!"


"Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey, And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes, Gleamed through thy bright transparence!"


Rhyme Scheme:


"Dear native brook! wild streamlet of the West! (A)

How many various-fated years have passed, (B)

What happy and what mournful hours, since last (B)

I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast, (A)"


etc...