Kubla Kahn's Grandson
Today is the birthday of the grandson of Genghis Khan, Kubla Khan, who was born on this day in 1215.
Kubla Khan's Summer Garden at Xanadu is the subject of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1797 poem Kubla Khan.
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.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls 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,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Coleridge's Kubla Kahnis regarded as one of his most famous works. Coleridge said that he composed the entire poem while in a dreamlike state, drowsy from opium he had as medication. When he woke up, he remembered poem as the whole and immediately set about writing it down. But then, he was interrupted by a knock at his door, and he received a visitor. Sadly, when the visitor left, his perfect recollection of the poem failed him, and he was only able to finish the poem in fragments.
The poem begins by describing Kahn's palace and the garden contrasted with the setting of the ancient Mongolian forest.
Although Coleridge wrote this poem in 1797, he didn't share it with the world until urged to do so by his friend Lord Byron.
Together, Coleridge's poem and the adventurer, Marco Polo, brought world-wide attention to Kubla Kahn and his achievements.