Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Kubla Khan
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
    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.        5
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With wall 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,        10
  Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
  Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover:
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted        15
  By woman wailing for her demon lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
  A mighty fountain momently was forced;
  Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst        20
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail;
And ’mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion        25
  Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
  Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!        30
  The shadow of the dome of pleasure
    Floated midway on the waves;
  Where was heard the mingled measure
    From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,        35
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
      A damsel with a dulcimer
      In a vision once I saw;
      It was an Abyssinian maid,
      And on her dulcimer she played,        40
      Singing of Mount Abora.
    Could I revive within me
      Her symphony and song
  To such a deep delight ’twould win me
    That with music loud and long,        45
    I would build that dome in air—
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
  And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! beware
  His flashing eyes, his floating hair!        50
Weave a circle round him thrice,
    And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

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