Coleridge tells of how an epic poem was revealed to him in a dream, and on waking he hastened to write it down; but a person from Porlock visited, and detained him in business for a considerable time, and when at last he was able to return to the poem, it had entirely evaporated, and only the fragment we know as “Kubla Khan” remained.
How the person from Porlock was delayed
“Such a dreadful business! I was on my way from Porlock to pay a visit on my dear friend Mr. Coleridge, when the coach broke a spring, and not another inch might it go without a blacksmith be fetched to mend it, and the thing could not be done in under three hours, and when at last I arrived, I found him dead! dead! of a surfeit of poetical ecstasy, and reams of paper covered as though the Devil himself drove his pen to write thoughts vaster than any mortal might bear! Of course I had the housekeeper burn every page.”