• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the following two poems: Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Frost at Midnight' and Joanna Baillie's 'A Mother to her Waking Infant.'

Extracts from this document...


Write an essay of 1500 words, in which you compare and contrast the following two poems: Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Frost at Midnight' and Joanna Baillie's 'A Mother to her Waking Infant.' In comparing and contrasting the two poems, it is logical to firstly acknowledge the titles, and to think about how they shape the way we read, and how they set the readers expectations. Baillie's title of 'A Mother to her Waking Infant' is very clear and factual, and fully describes the stanzas that follow. The term of 'A Mother' is quite impersonal, and alludes to the lack of emotion conveyed in the first four stanzas. It also leaves the reader with the impression that the poet isn't necessarily speaking about her own child. In direct contrast Coleridge's title of 'Frost at Midnight' does not hint at all that it is a poem about childhood, or that Coleridge is speaking about his own child. It does however, depict a romantic winter scene, and you feel that there will be a release of strong feelings to follow. The form and structure of the poems are very different. 'Frost at Midnight' is written in four stanzas without rhyming, and 'A Mother to her Waking Infant' is written in eight stanzas with regular rhyming. This gives the poems a very different meaning and effect. ...read more.


Her language becomes softer with the use of 'warm, grace and kindness'. The infant described by colours ' rosy cheek', 'pinky hand', and 'gold tipped ends' brings the poem alive and the reader is at last presented with some powerful, vibrant images. The additional two lines indicate the turning point in the poem too. Baillie uses enjambment to steer the reader to certain points that she is making, and to emphasise their meaning. An example of this is in the fifth stanza. 'With gold-tipped ends, where circles deep around thy neck in harmless grace so soft and sleekly hold their place.' The words paint a vivid picture of the child's ringlets and 'so soft' creates a pause, and allows the reader to think about the imagery. Coleridge uses the recurring theme of imprisonment throughout the poem to indicate that he is unsettled and trapped by his thoughts. He uses 'inmates, bars' and 'pent' to convey this imagery. The stillness of the flame 'quivers not' and the film fluttering being 'the sole unquiet thing' also adds to his feeling of unrest. The rich imagery is very apparent in the third stanza where he describes the 'sky and stars,' and lakes, mountains and clouds. This language must come from the influence of Coleridge's early friendship with Wordsworth, especially with the quote 'shalt wander like a breeze,' which could quite easily be taken from Wordsworth's 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'. ...read more.


These techniques associate the poem with the time in which it was written. The final three stanzas of 'A Mother to her waking infant' take on a melancholic feel when Baillie employs words like 'gloomy, surly, wilt, weary, weak, pity and frail'. The clever repetition of 'wilt' in the seventh stanza although meaning will, comes across as also meaning to droop or fade because of the words which surround it, which is very much in context of the pessimistic language. Although the two poems are predominantly about the same subject matter of childhood, the reader experience is poles apart due to the difference in form, structure, language and imagery. Both poems look to the future, but Coleridge ends with hope and is upbeat, whereas Baillie ends with a sense of sadness. Coleridge draws the reader in with his conversational style and the insight into his thoughts and feelings, and in contrast Baillie could be describing any baby in her balladic form. 'Frost at Midnight' thoroughly engages the reader with its rich visual imagery and intimate language, which make the poem a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The contrasting regular form of 'A Mother to her Waking Infant' does not really give you an insight into Baillie as a poet. As a reader of 'Frost at Midnight' we truly gain an understanding of Coleridge as a parent concerned for his sons future, and the night scene is successful in conjuring up memorable images. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Carol Ann Duffy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Carol Ann Duffy essays

  1. Critical Evaluation The Ballad of Billy Rose

    This meant that he was just standing there with his head looking upwards, while thousands of people moved around him. There was something about this man that made the poet feel as if he knew him, "despite his pathetic clothes," which gives us the impression that he might not have a lot of money to spend on clothes.

  2. Discuss the development of the twins in The God of Small Things by Arundhati ...

    love laws' and the non-sexual relationship that as brother and sister they should automatically possess, and it also shows how desperate they are to regain the intimacy that they once shared. Another reason that I believe Roy was correct in her writing of the incest scene is the comparison that it has to a previous scene, before Velutha's death.

  1. Compare the ways Maya Angelou and William Cowper present the issue of slavery in ...

    Her use of personification is, "ocean, leaping," the ocean has been given a human characteristic. Cowper doesn't use comparative language like Angelou, so no metaphors or similes are present. Cowper does however, use personification, he says, "raging billows," this creates a very vivid image in your mind of the ferocious waves.

  2. Write about three poems on freedom: On Liberty and Slavery (George Moses Horton), Sympathy ...

    sympathy, as the author clearly feels a kinship with the caged bird. The language used in the first stanza contrasts with the second stanza, effectively portraying the difference between freedom and captivity. Words such as 'the sun is bright', 'the wind stirs soft', 'the river flows' in the first stanza

  1. Comparing and discussing two poems written by two different people in two different times ...

    This suggests that he has moved on from things that pleased him as a child. He talks about what he believed in and the joy of a child's imagination and possibilities for their life. The poet also reflects on his own state of mind on lines 23,24 and conveys feelings of hope.

  2. Compare and contrast the poems 'I remember, I remember' and 'to the virgins to ...

    To convey this he uses childish imagery like the sun 'peeping in at morn'. These descriptions show us how "sunny" Hoods memories were. Thomas's father died when he was young had to leave school and work. Perhaps this harsh plunge adult world and the loss of childhood innocence inspired him to write this poem.

  1. Comparing Ogun to Charlotte O'Neil's Song.

    The decisive, long-suffering tone of the poem creates its power. The poem Ogun tells the reader several things about other people's cultures. For example it tells the reader about the problems facing people living in third world countries, ie the poverty and unemployment that they are facing due to mechanisation

  2. What are our first impressions of the Davidsons from the opening pages of Rain ...

    We get an impression that he cannot express himself. I think that as a couple, the Davidsons, do not have a healthy marriage, but both of these characters are too head strong to admit this, to themselves or each other, or so we can guess this by the vibe that

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work