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HomePoems > Kubla Khan > Sources > William Bartram > 3. Gordonia Lasianthus                           

 

 

1. The Serpentine Rivulet

2. Isle of Palms

3. Gordonia Lasianthus

4. Swelling Green Knoll

5. Crystal Fountain

6. Subterranean River

7. Manatee Springs

8. Alligator Hole

William Bartram:

3. Gordonia Lasianthus

Bartram describes the Gordonia Lasianthus, a tree bursting with fragrant blossoms, which turn from green to yellow to scarlet to crimson, then a brownish purple, before falling to the ground.

The Gordonia Lasianthus grows at the edges of ponds and rivers, like the "incense-bearing" trees near the sacred river in Kubla Khan.

In his Note Book, Coleridge reminded himself to describe the always-blooming furze, then quoted the following passage from Bartram (pages 161-2, or Folio 33b-34b, Archiv 359-360.), and Lowes believes that the image of a fragrant tree blossoming by a river reappeared in Coleridge's internal vision, as he wrote Kubla Khan.

Text from Note Book

Describe-the never bloomless Furze-

And then transi to the Gordonia Lasianthus. Its thick foliage of a dark green colour is flowered over with large milk-white fragrant blossoms on long slender elastic peduncles at the extremities of the numerous branches--from the bosom of the leaves, and renewed every morning--and that in such incredible profusion that the Tree appears silvered over with them and the ground beneath covered with the fallen flowers.

It at the same time continually pushes forth new twigs, with young buds on them; and in the winter and spring the third year's leaves, now partly concealed by the new and perfect ones, are gradually changing colour from green to a golden yellow, from that to a scarlet; from scarlet to crimson; and lastly to a brownish purple, and then fall to the ground.

So that the Gordonia Lasianthus may be said to change and renew its garments every morning thro'out the year. And moreover after the general flowering is past, there is a thin succession of scattering blossoms to be seen, on some parts of the tree, almost every day thro'out the remaining months until the floral season returns again. --It grows by ponds and the edges of rivers.
--Bartram, pp. 161-162

Other sources

William Beckford
F. Bernier
James Bruce
Thomas Burnet
William Collins
Herodotus
Athanasius Kircher
Jerome Lobo
Thomas Maurice
John Milton
Pausanias
Samuel Purchas
Major James Rennell
Seneca
Strabo
Virgil

Mary Wollstonecraft

 

 
Word Line # Line Sources for word

Blossomed

9

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree

 Bartram 2
 Bartram 3
 Milton 2

Green

13

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover

 Bartram 1
 Bartram 3
 Bartram 4
 Bernier 1
 Bruce 2
 Milton 1

Greenery

11

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery

 Bartram 1
 Bartram 3
 Bartram 4
 Bernier 1
 Bruce 2
 Milton 1

Ground

6

So twice five miles of fertile ground

 Bartram 3
 Bruce 1

 Bruce 2
 Burnet 1

 Milton 4
 Purchas 1

Incense-bearing

9

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree

 Bartram 2
 Bartram 3
 Bartram 4
 Beckford
 Bernier 2
 Milton 2
 Milton 4

 

Long 45 That with music loud and long  Bartram 3
 Bernier 1
 Bruce 8
Milk

54

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

 Bartram 3
 Purchas 2

 Purchas 4

River

3

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

 Bartram 3
 Bartram 6
 Beckford
 Bernier 1
 Bernier 2
 Bernier 3
 Bernier 5
 
Bruce 2
 Bruce 4
 Bruce 6

 Burnet 1
 Kircher 1
 Kircher 3
Maurice 1
 Milton 4
 Pausanias
 Rennell
 Seneca 1
 Strabo 1
 Strabo 2

 Virgil

 

24

It flung up momently the sacred river

 Bartram 3
 Bartram 6
 Beckford
 Bernier 1
 Bernier 2
 Bernier 3
 Bernier 5
 
Bruce 2
 Bruce 4
 Bruce 6

 Burnet 1
 Kircher 1
 Kircher 3
 Maurice 1
 Milton 4
 Pausanias
 Rennell
 Seneca 1
 Strabo 1
 Strabo 2

 Virgil

 

26

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran

 Bartram 3
 Bartram 6
 Beckford
 Bernier 1
 Bernier 2
 Bernier 3
 Bernier 5
 
Bruce 2
 Bruce 4
 Bruce 6

 Burnet 1

 Kircher 1
 Kircher 3
 Maurice 1
 Milton 4
 Pausanias
 Rennell
 Seneca 1
 Strabo 1
 Strabo 2

 Virgil

Thick 18 As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing  Bartram 3
 Bruce 1
 Bruce 2
 Milton 3
Tree

9

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree

 Bartram 3
 Beckford
 Bernier 2
 Bruce 2
 Bruce 8
 Milton 2
 Milton 4
 Purchas 3

   

 

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