Critically examine the function of the wind in the development of thought in Dejection —- An Ode.
Dejection is an ode, which was written by S.T. Coleridge in year 1808. Mood of the poet in this poem is pessimistic and full of disillusionment. After, S. T. Coleridge, John Keats also wrote ode on dejection, in which he laments because of the loss of poetic faculty. The poem was written when there was a clash between the poet and William Wordsworth. In fact, in the original poem, Wordsworth was directly addressed but subsequently, the references were removed by the poet. We know that a good influence of Wordsworth can be found in the poetry of S. T. Coleridge. Dejection—an ode reveals the fading poetic power of the S. T. Coleridge. He feels that he cannot write as perfectly as he has written his previous poems. He mourns on the loss of his God gifted quality, which has provided him power and fame in the world of English Literature. He cannot feel and write perfectly. His sense of imagination does not give him an accurate sense to write perfectly. He may have lost his poetic excellence to the extent of imagination but this poem is evident that his power of expression is still alive. He feels that he is no more a good poet even then this poem is surprisingly reveals the poetic genius of S. T. Coleridge. However, it is the chief grief, on which every poet cries. Imagination is the key factor of poetry and if it fades or a poet loses it, he cannot have good influence on his readers.
As far as the function of wind in this poem is concerned, it is a force, which has the power to change the atmosphere. Wind, in this poem, is responsible for changing the weather. With the change in wind, a calm evening turns into an outburst storm. In very start of the poem, the poet paints a beautiful night but soon after, the moonlight despairs and due to clouds, awful grandeur of night turns into a stormy night. The whole procedure of changing a beautiful weather to a stormy night is based on the directions of wind. This process, which has changed the atmosphere actually symbolizes for the end of poetic genius of S. T. Coleridge. The beautiful night along with moon forces the poet to remember the days of his youth when his imaginative power was on the peak and he can write as much as he wanted. It was the time when he can feel the nature from his heart and then can imitate those feelings on a white paper with the power of imagination. The beautiful night symbolizes for the clear poetic genius of the poet but the stormy weather, which has definitely been changed because of wind, indicates that poet has no more control on his imagination. Stormy weather also reflects/symbolizes the pains and grieves, suffered by the poet in his life. The wind may symbolize the change in poetic excellence of the poet but it is true that the worries, grieves and pains of life are responsible for the loss of his imaginative control. The wind’s expression of human cries only reechoes his afflictions. His thoughts are clear and as his imagination has been ended, therefore, he now faces the harsh realities of life. He cannot now spend too much time in his imagination and have to face the pain. Wind in this regard, is rearranging the clouds to form a storm, which can then attack on the poetic genius of the poet. In first stanza, the word “wind” is directly mentioned, which drifts the weather and so as the mood of poet. Similarly, in seventh stanza the same word is mentioned but with totally opposite expressions. In first Stanza the poet writes:-
“Unroused by winds, that ply a busier trade
Than those which mould yon cloud in lazy flakes,
Or the dull sobbing draft, that moans and rakes
Upon the strings of this Æolian lute”
If wind reveals the stormy weather, which is in the mind of the poet then in contrast to the same it also servers another purpose. The moaning of the wind, rendered in various ways in this poem, is wonderful. It also reveals the genius of S. T. Coleridge as poet. Despite feeling that he has lost his power of imagination and poetic faculty, the illustration of nature, by the poet, is remarkable. Every view of night as well as stormy weather challenges the artistic qualities of Wordsworth. Natural art, presented in this poem, does not reveal any decay in poetic faculty of S. T. Coleridge. He has colored the nature with his pen. Presentation of night, the moon, the weather, the atmosphere and blowing of wind, all are praise worthy. In fact, every scene, painted in this poem is amazing and compels the reader to praise artistic qualities of S. T. Coleridge. With the help of wind, the poet tries to change the atmosphere and creates such like imagery which he has created in his earlier poems. On one hand, wind stands for hopelessness for S. T. Coleridge but on the other hand, it reveals the powers of an artist. In seventh stanza of the poem the poet writes:-
“Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind,
Reality’s dark dream!
I turn from you, and listen to the wind,
Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream
Of agony by torture lengthened out
That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that rav’st without”
In these lines, the poet says that he turns his thinking and now feels the natural peace, which lies in the wind. He forgets his unpleasant reality with regard to his failure as a poet and then feels the beauty of wind, which has been blowing for a long time. He further says that blowing of wind is creating noise but it is not annoying at all; instead the wind is creating a sweet sound of flute.
Wind, in this poem, serves many purposes for the poet. It symbolizes for sweetness and as a natural element gives peace to him but at the same time, it changes the atmosphere and forces the poet to think and mourn on the loss of his artistic qualities. Nevertheless, the poet has lost his poetic-control or not it is another matter but it is sure that wind is the main source to change the mood as well as thinking of the poet.