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A poem by S. T. Coleridge, published 1816.

The poem, which is unfinished, is written in what is sometimes referred to as ‘Christabel metre’, that is, in four‐foot couplets, mostly iambic and anapaestic, used with immense variety, so that the line length varies from seven syllables to ten or eleven.

Christabel, praying at night in a wood for her betrothed lover, discovers the fair Geraldine in distress and takes her to the castle of her father, Sir Leoline. Geraldine claims to be the daughter of Sir Leoline's estranged friend Sir Roland of Vaux. She shares Christabel's chamber for the night, and bewitches her as they lie in one another's arms. In the morning she meets Sir Leoline, who vows reconciliation with her father and vengeance on the ‘reptile souls’ of her abductors. Christabel, who has seen Geraldine's true malignant serpent nature, is at first silenced by the spell placed upon her, but manages to implore her father to send Geraldine away. Sir Leoline, offended by his daughter's insult to a guest, turns from her to Geraldine, and so the poem ends.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772—1834) poet, critic, and philosopher

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