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HomePoems > Kubla Khan > Sources > F. Bernier > 5. Source of the Nile                           

 

 

1. Shalimar in Kashmir

2. House of Pleasure of the Kings of Kashmir

3. Hermitage floating on the water

4. Impetuous fountain

5. Source of the Nile

F. Bernier

5. Source of the Nile

Lowes argues that descriptions of the source of the Nile (one or two fountains spawning a river that descends in twisting ways to the plains below) combine with similar images from Bartram's tour of America, and Bernier's narrative of his trip to the Kashmir.

In Bernier's Ninth Letter, he responds to a friend who wonders about "the old controversy touching the causes of the increase of the Nile."

Bernier recalls that In Delhi, he met two ambassadors from Ethiopia, who told him that the Nile "issueth out of the earth at two big bubbling springs," and, as "a pretty river…it runs bending."

The source of the Nile, then, is the water pouring up in fountains.

And, for Lowes, the source of Kubla Khan's mystery is the conflation of travel imagery, derived from three continents, and described in at least a dozen books.

Thus, the flowing together of the images in Coleridge's mind is the magical source of the poem; looking at Lowes, we may be forgiven thinking that he is projecting his own bibliographic ecstasy onto the poet.

What were the sources of a magical river to the travel writers, and perhaps to Coleridge, are to Lowes the literary sources of the poem, and the inspiration for his own book.

All this rant, of course, springs from a very few words in Bernier.

Other sources

William Bartram
William Beckford
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

 

 

Text

(The Nile) issueth out of the earth at two big bubbling springs…a pretty river…it runs bending  VIII, 243.

Word Line # Line Sources for word
Earth

18

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing

 Bartram 2
 Bartram 6
 Bartram 8
 Bernier 2
 Bernier 5
 Bruce 1
 Burnet 2
 Kircher 1

 Kircher 3

 Maurice 1

 Milton 2

 Milton 4
 Pausanias
 Seneca 1
 Seneca 2
 Wollstonecraft

Meandering

25

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

 Bartram 1
 Bartram 5
 Bartram 8
 Bernier 5
 Bruce 4
 Kircher 3
 Kircher 4
 Milton 4

Ran 3 Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Bernier 5
Bruce 2
Purchas 4
Ran 26 Through wood and dale the sacred river ran Bernier 5
Bruce 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

 

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