In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Frost At Midnight" the speaker starts off the poem in the present time pondering over the "secret ministry" of the frost. He is noticing how quiet and peaceful it is as he sits with his infant son. However, it is only calm on the surface since amidst the speakers "solitude" there are all of the "numberless goings-on of life" like the cry of the owl, the "populous village" and the "Sea, hill and wood." But like all of the "goings-on of life" the speaker is not calm like his immediate surroundings. Actually, for him, the tranquility "disturbs and vexes meditation." It is so still out, that it sets the speaker's mind off to thinking back on his life. He cannot relate to all of the commotion that is occurring somewhere, someplace, since it is as "Inaudible of dreams". But then he notices his fire and the film that, like the speaker, is restless in all of the quietness that surrounds him. He finds the film to be a "companionable form" in the quiet that has encompassed him. The fluttering film "makes a toy of Thought" which takes the speaker back into his past.
In the second stanza, the speaker recollects his past when he was younger and away in school. Similar to him watching the flutterin
" Then the speaker moves even further in his past to recall how while at school, he dreamt of his birthplace many times. " He describes both the film and the stranger as "fluttering. He thinks into the future on how his son will grow up, and all that his son will have the opportunity to see and experience. " Bars and "stern preceptors" hindered the speaker but he wants his son to be able to "wander like a breeze. The speaker was brought up "In the great city" where there was not many "lovely" things to see, except for the "sky and stars. "The belief that the speaker can give his son a better life than he had allows him to be at peace with his past. g film in the first stanza, the speaker remembers as a schoolboy, how he "gazed upon the bars, To watch the fluttering stranger. " The bells "haunted" the speaker and but they also reminded him of the things that would happen in his life in the future. However, unlike the speaker in the first stanza, who was perplexed by the silence and tranquility, his son will be able to enjoy the solitude and the "secret ministry of frost. In speculating his son's growing older, he bounces back to the past for a moment to compare how his son will live as opposed to how he was brought up. Like in the beginning of the poem, he returns back to the "secret ministry of frost" and to the beauties of all the seasons that his son will enjoy. The last stanza is one of relief. His son will "see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible," which will be far better than the bells that the speaker remembers from his youth. But then he jumps back to the his schooldays when he would hope to see a familiar face, a "Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved.