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HomePoems > Kubla Khan > Sources > James Bruce > 7. Astaboras River                           

 

 

1. Approaching the source of the Nile

2. Source of the Nile

3. Another discovery of the source of the Nile

4. Nile twisting and turning

5. Abyssinia

6. Abola

7. Astaboras River

8. Floating hair

9. Prophecies of war

 

James Bruce

7. Astaboras River

Here's another river with a name that perhaps echoes Abora in Kubla Khan. The Astaboras tears up rocks, forces fragments forward in the stream, terrifying people, sounding like thunder bouncing off a hundred hills. Scary stuff.

Lowes suggests that Coleridge's Mount Abora is a conflation of Astaboras and Abola, two rivers associated with the Nile. Astaboras, then, is a name "which, with little doubt, blended in Coleridge's memory with Abola, to ring about the metamorphosis." On the next page, Lowes is convinced.

Between Abola and Astaboras, accordingly, Coleridge's Abora seems to have slipped into the dream. L 374

But even Lowes wonders "Why should hints from the names of two rivers have contributed a mountain to the dream?"

His suggestion: Coleridge was also recalling Mount Amara, as described by Milton, who calls it the citadel of Abyssinian kings, supposed by some to be the True Paradise, at the source of the Nile.

But before you contemplate Milton's text, look at the raging Astarobas, and see if it suggests the sacred river in Xanadu, and, perhaps Mount Abora.

Text

This prodigious body of water…tearing up rocks and large trees in its course, and forcing down their broken fragments scattered on its stream, with a noise like thunder echoed from a hundred hills….is very rightly called the "terrible." Bruce III 158

That island…having a twilight of short duration, was placed between the Nile and Astaboras. Bruce III 605

Other sources

William Bartram
William Beckford
F. Bernier
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
Abora

41

Singing of Mount Abora

 Bruce 6
 Bruce 7
 Kircher 4
 Milton 6

 Purchas 5

 

Forced

19

A mighty fountain momently was forced

 Bartram 7
 Bernier 2
 Bruce 3
 Bruce 7
 Kircher 1
 Strabo 2

Fragments

21

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail

 Bartram 5
 Bartram 8
 Bruce 7

Hill

13

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover

 Beckford
 Bernier 1
 Bruce 1
 Bruce 2
 Bruce 7

 Bruce 9

 Milton 3
 Milton 4

 Purchas 5

Hills

10

And here were forests ancient as the hills

 Bernier 1
 Bruce 1
 Bruce 2
 Bruce 7

 Bruce 9

 Milton 3
 Milton 4

 Purchas 5

Rocks

23

And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

 Bartram 5
 Bartram 6
 Bartram 7
 Bartram 8
 Bruce 2
 Bruce 7
 Collins
 Milton 6
 Wollstonecraft
 

 

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