Coleridge Way

Ash Farm

Ash Farm

Ash Farm is reputed to be where Coleridge was staying in 1797 when the flow of his composition of 'Kubla Khan' was famously interrupted by 'The Person from Porlock'. It has been suggested that the visitor was his physician, bringing the opium that led biographer Richard Holmes to refer to Coleridge as a 'lyrical smackhead'.

Coleridge had expected Kubla Khan to be 200-300 lines long, but when his muse fled he ended up with just 54 lines. In his preface to the 1816 publication he explained it:

'In the summer of ... 1797, the Author, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely house between Porlock and Linton ... In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed ... he continued for about 3 hours in a profound sleep ... all the images rose up before him as things … On awaking … he eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock and detained by him above an hour ... with the exception of some 8 or 10 scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone has been cast.'


 

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