Write a critical appreciation of Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight”.

The Divinity of Nature: The speaker of “Frost at Midnight” believes that people can become closer to God through nature. Since God created the natural world, the poem implies, it follows that lakes and forests and mountains are like God’s language; communing with nature, then, is a way of communing with God. The divinity of nature ultimately teaches people how to find spiritual fulfillment, whether in the depths of winter or the heights of summer.

 

This idea that nature is the language of God becomes clearest at the end of the poem, when the speaker says that “lakes and shores / And mountain crags” are the “lovely shapes and sounds” in God’s “eternal language.” In other words, God communicates through the sights and sounds of nature, using the natural world to speak to human beings. More specifically, God “doth teach / Himself in all, and all things in himself.” In other words, through things like clouds and mountains and lakes, God teaches people about himself, and about how everything ultimately comes from God. According to the speaker, people who study the natural world find that God is the source of all things.

 

The speaker seems to suggest that nature in fact teaches people the most important things about existence itself. And when people learn from God through nature, they find peace and fulfillment. The speaker believes that God can “mould” the “spirit” of those who spend time in nature. That is, in immersing themselves in the world that God created, people can fill their very souls with the language of God, which will “mould”—or shape—them positively. As a result, people can develop spiritually when they spend time in nature. For such people, “all seasons shall be sweet.” Whether it is summer or winter, they have a sense of spiritual well-being because they are close to God.

 

Ultimately, the speaker concludes that time spent in nature is the best thing for a person’s soul. God created the natural world, and it’s through this world that God speaks to people—teaching them how he created everything and is the source of all peace and fulfillment.

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