Kubla Khan or, a vision in a dream. A fragment
In Biographia Literaria (1817) Samuel Taylor Coleridge explained hot the plan of Lyrical Ballads originated in his and in William Wordsworth's mind. They pointed out that a series of poems "the incidents and agents were to be , in
part at least, supernatural; and the excellence aimed at was to consist in the interesting of the affections by the dramatic truth of such emotions as would naturally accompany such situations , supposing them real" .
He added that "It was agreed that my endeavors should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic". In the summer of 1797, while he was working on his contribution to Lyrical Ballads, he also wrote the poem himself explained its genesis. He said that he had had a long dream while under the effect of a powerful drug he had taken as a remedy to a slight indisposition.
As soon as he woke up, he started to write a down what he had seen but was interrupted by a visitor and most of the images he still had in his mind vanished. What remained therefore is a fragment of the original complex vision, which
resulted in the poem composition.
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.