Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 35: Blank Verse: This Lime-tree Bower my Prison (Excerpt)

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

lesson image

Well, they are gone, and here must I remain,

This lime-tree bower my prison! I have lost

Beauties and feelings, such as would have been

Most sweet to my remembrance even when age

Had dimm'd mine eyes to blindness! They, meanwhile,

Friends, whom I never more may meet again,

On springy heath, along the hill-top edge,

Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,

To that still roaring dell, of which I told;

The roaring dell, o'erwooded, narrow, deep,

And only speckled by the mid-day sun;

Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock

Flings arching like a bridge;—that branchless ash,

Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves

Ne'er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,

Fann'd by the water-fall! and there my friends

Behold the dark green file of long lank weeds,

That all at once (a most fantastic sight!)

Still nod and drip beneath the dripping edge

Of the blue clay-stone.

    Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 35: Blank Verse: This Lime-tree Bower my Prison (Excerpt)

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the poem each day.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poetic form.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


True to form, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's blank verse poem, "This Lime-tree Bower my Prison," follows iambic pentameter, but not a rhyming scheme. In the poem, the narrator feels trapped by life circumstances while in a garden, envying the freedom of his wandering friends. Eventually, he concedes his bower is a pleasant place and decides to accept his fate.


Poems often adhere to specific poetic forms, defined as 'poems following distinct sets of rules.'

The nine poetic forms we'll study include the:

  1. Sijo: A lyrical Korean poetic form of three long lines.
  2. Haiku: A Japanese poem of three lines and a total of seventeen syllables.
  3. Limerick: A humorous poem of five lines and the rhyming scheme AABBA, typically having syllables of 9–9–6–6–9.
  4. Sonnet: A poetic form of fourteen lines that follow one of a few common rhyming schemes.
  5. Epitaph: A poem honoring the deceased, engraved on a burial marker or tomb.
  6. Acrostic: A poem where particular letter spell out a secret message, often the first letter of each line.
  7. Visual: A poem written in such a way that the lines form a pattern, usually related to the subject-matter of the poem.
  8. Ode: A poem honoring and/or celebrating something or someone.
  9. Blank Verse: A poetic form with regular meter, particularly iambic pentameter, but no fixed rhyme scheme.

Blank verse poems generally follow these rules:

  1. Have a regular meter or rhythm, such as iambic pentameter.
  2. Do not follow a rhyming scheme (e.g. no AABBCC)

Blank verse typically follows iambic pentameter, but other rhythms are possible.

  1. Iambic Pentameter: da-DUM
  2. Trochee (pronounced 'TRO-key'): DUM-da
  3. Anapaest: da-da-DUM
  4. Dactyl: DUM-da-da


Activity 1: Recite the Poem Title, Poet Name, and Poem

  • Each day this week, recite aloud the title of the poem, the name of the poet, and the poem.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem.

Activity 3: Narrate the Poem

  • After reading the poem, narrate the poem concepts aloud using your own words.

Activity 4: Feel the Rhythm

  • Practice reciting the following blank verse rhythms aloud.
  • da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM (Iambic Pentameter)
  • DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM-da (Trochee)
  • da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM (Anapest)
  • DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da (Dactyl)

Activity 5: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 38 of 'Elementary Poetry 6: Poetic Forms.'


  1. 'Iambic Pentameter.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  2. 'Trochee.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  3. 'Anapaest.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  4. 'Dactyl (poetry).' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.