What does rare device refer to in the line 'It was a miracle of rare device' of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, Kubla Khan?
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The full lines are:
The phrase rare device means that it (in this case, the "pleasure-dome") was uniquely devised. In other words, it is an incredible, "miraculous" creation.
Another example in literature includes:
'Device' comes from the verb 'to devise' (create, invent). Device here relates to the act of devising, or the intangible idea of something having been created, not the thing itself. To our modern, machinery-focused mind, it seems that 'device' necessarily means a widget, but that is not so.
I'd suggest that whilst it is the pleasure dome that is being described, it is actually the miracle that is of rare device. The meaning being that it was not just any miracle but a rare and mystical one at that.
I believe in this case, device is being used much like we'd today use the word artifice. In other words, a complex manufactured or engineered object.
So basically what he meant by "rare device" is that this was a really impressive piece of complex engineering and craftmanship, not just your basic everyday building.
protected by tchrist Apr 9 at 21:13
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