Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.
a damsel with a dulcimer
In 1797 Coleridge woke up from an opium fuelled dream with his head buzzing with a poem which needed to be written down, pronto. Then, the clang of the bell of doom smashed onto his front door; he rushed to see who it was. Upon returning to the task of writing down his dream, all memory had dissipated and flown away like an ethereal flock of doves into the clouds. whether this is true or not, it is a fittingly poetic explanation as to why Coleridge never finished his magnum opus.
The work does read like a drug induced acid trip, with words falling over each other in a relentless cascade of descriptive colour that wafts this way and that, like the canvas of a desert bedouin tent billowing outwards by a passing sirocco. Coleridge saw his poems as a solid image dancing before him, but they were transient images which needed to be recorded before they dissolved. Who knows what wonders he would have continued to write had he not been a gentleman and answered a knock at the door?