I had an epiphany of what rhymes with dulcimer...multimer! OK, so the rhyming dictionary says that there are no perfect rhymes for the word, but multimer sounds close, as do its derivatives: homomultimer and heteromultimer. So what is a multimer, you ask? It is a protein with more than one peptide chain. A homomultimer has multiples of the same kind of chain, while a heteromultimer has different kind of chains - Hemoglobin is made of 2 alpha helices and 2 beta sheets, thus it is a heteromultimer. My fall break Tuesday was spent making up a biochemistry exam over this material because I missed it due to my interview, which went extremely well, and I thank you for your constant support in my medical school journey.
Could Coleridge have used the word multimer to rhyme with dulcimer? The answer is a resounding no. Alpha helices and beta sheets were not discovered until the 1950s by the great Linus Pauling, therefore combinations of them to create secondary protein structures would not have been known nor named in 1798. But the description of the intricacies of Kubla Khan's infrastructure does sound awfully close to the intricacies of protein structure, however unintentional that may be. The Alph river sounds like an alpha helix to me, and alpha helices often shoot up in the middle of a large protein for the purpose of protein signalling. Maybe C.P. Snow would appreciate my analysis, but perhaps I should not mix disciplines so. Just thought I would share my thoughts.