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Word Count: 1,277
The Pains of Sleep is written in the first person present tense from the point of view of an un-named narrator which may or may not be the author However the nightmares and sleep disruption described in the poem are symptomatic of withdrawal from opiate addiction an affliction from which Coleridge was known to suffer and it is prudent to assume that it is the poet who speaks in this poem The use of a first person present narrative gives this poem an intimate almost conversational tone and allows the reader to feel as though they are taking part in a dialogue with the poet The version of the poem studied see p 227-8 Owens and Johnson contains no verses however there are clear turns of thought after lines 13 and 36 and--for the purpose of this essay--I will use these turns as convenient stanza breaks The poem is written predominantly in iambic tetrameter of two stresses per foot and four feet per line This tends to echo natural speech and strengthens the impression of conversation between intimates The first stanza comprises three rhyming couplets a tercet and two further rhyming couplets These follow the rhyme scheme aabbccdedeeff Lines 7 and 9 break the rhythm as they contain nine stresses and thus have hypermetrical feminine endings which allow the poets thoughts to flow smoothly These lines also contain the alliterative phrases reverential resignation and sense of supplication which draws attention to the poets quasi-religious experience with sleep prior to the onslaught of his drug induced nightmares The poet draws us in to the poem slowly and respectfully pointing out that up until the previous night It hath not been my use to pray He confesses that despite his perceived weaknesses he feels not unblest and this together with the personification of the virtues of Love Strength and Wisdom would seem to indicate that he felt the presence of something great and
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