Now I don’t know a great deal about poetry much less Coleridge’s Kubla Khan….but trying to find something to write about beginning with X was very um…trying. So, I thought ‘Ah, Xanadu!’ And looked it up and Bingo! I found where it was from and the poem where it is mentioned.
The poem was written (or at least started) in 1797 after an opium influenced dream Coleridge apparently had after he’d read a book describing Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China KublaKhan. When he woke up, he began to write the lines of poetry that came from the dream. He was interrupted in the middle of his writing by a visitor, consequently he did not complete his work because the interruption caused Coleridge to forget the lines. One wonders if he was, in fact suffering from an opium induced hangover as the effects of the drug wore off.
However, Coleridge did publish his epic poem in 1816 on the advice of his old pal George Gordon Byron…but unfortunately some of Coleridge’s contemporaries denounced the poem and questioned his story about its origin ( they obviously didn’t partake of the poppy then) But years later Kubla Khan is now hailed by critics as one of Coleridge’s greatest works along with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel
I’ll have to take their word for it I’m afraid.
Here then…for your delight is the first verse….with the word Xanadu in the first line 😄
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.