Thursday, December 12, 2019
William Wordsworth Essay Example For Students
William Wordsworth Essay This will be done by utilizing a wide selection of Wordsmiths poetry spanning the poets lifetime. His experiences are certainly mirrored in the subject matter of his creations and because of the inextricable link between Wordsmith the man and Wordsmith the poet, the poems discussed in this paper have been separated into three sections. The first section will deal with poems from the Lyrical Ballads. The second section explores Wordsmiths Sonnets. While the last section will deal with the Ecclesiastical Sketches, as they have been referred to by critics and poets the like. In his famous poem The Rainbow, Wordsmith grandly proclaims that, the Child is the Father of the Man (line 7). If we are to consider this claim on the basis not of its philosophical merit but rather of its personal relevance to the poet, this statement must be considered an absolute truth. For Wordsmith, through his poetry, explores himself: his thoughts, motives and feelings; in short Wordsmith poetry is in essence an exploration of the soul not of the mind and it is because of this that his poetry is so profound, so fluid and so Romantic in nature. Thus Wordsmiths poetry reflects him the man and hence the subject matter of his poems changes throughout the years as he goes through different experiences. In he poem Lines written a few miles above Tinder Abbey, Wordsmith discerns that there are three main stages of development: childhood, youth and manhood. Indeed these stages can be likened to Wordsmiths poetical development. The publication of Lyrical Ballads marked Wordsmiths birth and early childhood while the Sonnets of 1802 and beyond definitely reflect a wiser, worldlier Wordsmith. However it is in his Ecclesiastical Sketches that Wordsmith the poet reaches the pinnacle of his development: his manhood in the world of poetry. Hence the separation of this paper into the three stages of his development. This poetical development occurs because of Wordsmiths own personal growth through his life experiences, many of which are recounted in his poetry. There is, undoubtedly, a direct correlation between his life and his poetical works and a thorough knowledge of his background is necessary to understand his poetry and the stages that it undergoes. For example, the poetry of the Lyrical Ballads is light and carefree in tone and ambiance while that of the Sonnets is somber and reflective. This is because Wordsmith suffers a period of political disillusionment with the feat of the French Revolution which is heavily reflected in his poetry of the time. It follows naturally that if the subject matter and ambiance are affected by Wordsmiths life then so would the themes and images of the poems. For these reasons, the poems have been separated into three distinct groupings to be explored separately. However while these poems may differ in content, they reflect the same elements of Romanticism seen in Wordsmiths poetry. In fact, the differences in content only serve to highlight Romanticism as a poetic style applicable to all genres f verse. BACKGROUND AND ContraindicationWilliam wordsmith north of England. He symbolizes the yeoman of England with its sturdy constitution and independence of mind (11). So says R. S. Thomas in his introduction to A Choice of Wordsmiths Verse. His poetry is very reflective of his disposition and throughout his life the main constant in his poetry is its reverent response to and appreciation of nature. If we are to return to the line, The Child is the Father of the Man, then Wordsmiths poetry becomes as pure and as clear to us as the Cuckoos song was to him. For Wordsmiths childhood, described at length in his epic poem the Prelude, was idyllic. In the Prelude book I he describes life as a baby in his nurses arms, hearing and being drawn to the music of the river Deterrent. His childhood follows along a similar theme of communion with nature. Indeed natures influence on the spirit is the underlying theme of his poems in Lyrical Ballads. Then at the age of seventeen, after the deaths of his parents in 1778 and 1783, Wordsmith was separated from his five siblings and sent away to school at SST. Johns College in Cambridge. There his life was simple and unencumbered. Vacations were spent in walking tours around England and on the continent with friends. It was on these excursions that many of the ideas expressed in Wordsmiths poetry began to take shape. His deep appreciation of nature developed into a more sublime, spiritual communion. The Revolutionary Years 1791, Wordsmiths poetic life began in earnest. He revisited France where he came into brief contact with a Frenchman, Annette Balloon, by whom he had a child. His reunion with his daughter is beautifully depicted in his sonnet, It is a beauteous evening, calm and free. On this visit to France, Wordsmith became engrossed in the literary work and philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Because of this influence, he developed strong republican sympathies and became absorbed in the revolution out of genuine concern and sympathy for the French people. In 1793 he returned to England where the excitement of the revolution quickly descended into disillusionment with the beginning of the Reign of Terror in September 1793. Wordsmiths actions during the French Revolution have been alternatively praised and criticizes by critics. Those who praise his actions claim that Wordsmith showed myself to be a morally sound individual, who, sympathetic to the plight of a people, was moved into action. Others view Wordsmiths timely departure before the war as a form of escapism. Whatever the case, the French Revolution heavily impacted upon him and his poetry, and after the death of the revolution Wordsmith became depressed and angered with his fellow man. As Graham Hough, Professor of English at Cambridge University states,alt is customary to reproach Wordsmith for abandoning it (the revolution), which is absurd; even Romantic poets must be permitted to grow up. What we can agitatedly regret is that he abandoned so much with it, so many of the ideals that should have been immune to historical disappointment. (53)This abandonment of ideals is found in the Sonnets which tell of Wordsmiths worldly disillusionment and later embitterment. The abandonment becomes even more apparent in the later Ecclesiastical Sketches which showcase Wordsmiths seldom seen cynical side where biting remarks with a distinctly fatalistic tone reign. Then in the winter of 1794, he fled England to avoid military conscription and went with his sister, Dorothy, to Germany. That winter was indeed a revolutionary one for it was here that Wordsmiths and Samuel Taylor Coleridge friendship blossomed. The winter spent in each others company precipitated the publication of the Lyrical Ballads in 1798 and marked in earnest the popularization of Romanticism in Britain. The Reclusive Hearst years 1802 and 1803 were busy ones for Wordsmith. 1802 saw him married to a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson. Before the wedding, Wordsmith revisited France for a settling of affairs between him and Annette. While in France he spent some time with his illegitimate daughter, Caroline. However following this, Wordsmith and his wife installed themselves at their new home from which he seldom vacated. But more importantly, these years saw a revival in Wordsmiths political interests which are reflected in his sonnets, composed around this time. For in 1802 the Peace of Amines was concluded with France formalizing Britains recognition of the newly formed French Republic, a move which was welcomed by liberal sympathizers. This political revival elevated Wordsmiths verse to new heights and his sonnets are profound in their expressions of disappointment, tempered with newfound hope. The Declining again Wordsmiths political hopes came crashing to the ground when the unstable period of peace ended in the beginning of a personal despotism with the introduction of Napoleon Bonaparte; made consul for life in August 1802. This was all too much for Wordsmith to bear and his later work shows his defeatist attitude and the lack of hope with which he became imbibed. WORDSMITH THE Reinterpretations, as succinctly defined by wisped. Org, is a complex artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Western Europe. The Romantic Period ushered in a period of literary revolution where old fashion neoclassical ideals were permanently abolished. Before the advent of Romanticism, emphasis in poetry was placed on the order and balance of reasoned thoughts. Poets had to adhere to strict rules of form and diction and the higher the level of elevation of language, the greater the substance of the poetry created. Furthermore, the subject matter of the poem was also a matter of tacit understanding amongst most poets. For poems depicted Kings, Queens and Gods and described major historical, social and political events. Hence why Wordsmiths poetry has been hailed by many as revolutionary; for it was only with the birth of Romanticism that ideas such as nature, human imagination, childhood, and the ability to recall emotional memories of both happiness and sorrow were able to be discussed and dissected in poetry. The different views of love expressed by the poems 'The Sunne Rising' and 'Morning After' EssayTherefore the effect of nature on the poet is still seen as it is almost as if the Leech- Gatherer is sent by Nature herself to rouse Wordsmiths spirits, such is the link between the old man and the surroundings. Thus through these distinctly Wordsmiths concepts, the undercurrent of Romanticism is evidently seen. For while Wordsmith uses personal experience to fortify his stance on nature, the Romantic idea of appreciating natures beauty for not only its aesthetic greatness but also for the emotional healing it offers those willing to look. THE LANGUAGE OF COMMON Northwesters thoughts on language are best scribed in his own words. In the Preface of the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, Wordsmith expresses his view of poetry, the role of the Poet and his stance on language and poetic ornament. Wordsmiths expression of poetry as, the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility became a benchmark of Romanticism and with it came his views on language:The principal object, then, proposed in these Poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible in a selection of language really used by men, Ins less under the vanity, they convey their feelings and notions in simple and annual expressions. Accordingly, such a language, arising out of repeat regular feelings, is a more permanent, and a far more philosophy that which is frequently substituted for it by Poets. This quotation, while rather long, is extremely important for it ex Wordsmiths purpose as a writer and completely separates him poets. For here we have Word smith boldly proclaiming that his everyone! It is a reflection of ordinary life he says; poetic ornament cries and poets who pride their poetry on this are not poets. So why does Wordsmith embark on such a grand literary revolute forget where he came from. Wordsmith was a highlander; a yea reading poetry that was unrelated perhaps even at times income young man from a background such as his. Hence it was his rest whole new genre of poetry that could be read and enjoyed by the really what Romanticism was all about: changing the rules to Cree playing field where everyone had a voice. Throughout Wordsmiths literary career, he remains true to his t intimated in the preface. Poems such as Lucy Gray, The Rainbow Reaper published in 1799, 1802 and 1807 respectively are all test Wordsmiths view of language. In his preface however, Wordsmith states his opinions as fact w opinion seems to differ from his. For Wordsmiths feelings about more profound in its simplicity are more personal opinion than a Indeed the poems where he does not adhere strictly to his rule o some of his most profound. Tinder Abbey, Mutability and Intimate are some of his most widely praised poems and they all violate Hal This is not to undermine Wordsmiths edict but rather to show t absolute one for he was able to confer the same profundity into a matter the diction used. WORDSMITHS PHILOSOPHIEswordsworth has been known to philosopher however I am not of the opinion that he was ever t poems though, many aspects of other peoples philosophies are a Wordsmiths twist. While the discussion of philosophy featured prominently in monocle is different about Romantic poetry is that emphasis was placed o feelings over reasoned thought. In Wordsmiths poetry he was a these two elements of emotion and philosophy to create ideas the if not a tad inconsistent. Thoughts and Feelings expressed in the Lyrical Bailsman of Wordsmiths lyrics are deceptively simple poems, not only because of his diction but also because of his impel rhyme scheme. One such poem Lines written in Early Spring expresses two extremely essential ideas: Heartless philosophy of Associations and Darnings theory of the Sensibility of Plants. Associations is a complex psychological theory that gives insight into the human personality. Many critics of Hartley claim that his description of the emotional and moral process is coldly mechanical in that he saw human development as bound by environment and necessity. Hartley thought that the human mind linked similar situations together until we developed sensibilities from these associations. However Wordsmith was not concerned with the root of Associations but rather the grand idea of it all as expressed in the poem: To her fair works did Nature link/ The human soul that through me ran. Only Wordsmith the nature poet could take such a scientific theory and manage to convey a spiritual association between the divinity of nature and the human soul. But this was a central Wordsmiths belief as we have already seen and in the preface Wordsmith says that man and nature are essentially adapted to each other. Another great Wordsmiths concept was the belief in Darnings theory of the sensibility of plants, I. . That plants have the natural capacity for conscious thought. This belief is clearly seen the poem: The birds around me hopped and played The budding twigs spread out their fan/ To catch the breezy air/ And I must think do all I can/ That there was pleasure there (13, 17-20). While these thoughts or concepts are expressions of the poets moral wanderings, the soul of Wordsmiths poetry is in the emotion or feeling he conveys to the reader. In this poem, Wordsmiths feelings of lost revolutionary zeal are expressed. He grieves for what man has made of man (8) and plaintively appeals to mankind: have I not reason to lament what man has made of man? (23-4)Thoughts and feelings expressed in the Syntheses sentiments of lamentation are echoed in Wordsmiths sonnets. In his London 1802, he expresses his general dissatisfaction and disillusionment with England. The poem opens with an apostrophe (direct address) to the great British poet John Milton. With this cry of desperation, Wordsmith launches into a heated description of present England and why the country is in need of a savior:She is a fen/Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, [Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower/Have forfeited their ancient English dower/Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; / Oh! Raise us up, return to us again; [And give us manners, virtue, freedom and power. 2-8)Len this quote, Wordsmith denounces the church, state, literary world, the home and the throne. Here he is strong and direct in his placement of blame for he says we are selfish men. The whole country is to blame for the erosion of the moral values that once shaped the country and Wordsmith calls valiantly for their return. Thoughts and Feelings expressed in the Ecclesiastical Sketches poem Ode: Intimations on Immortality is almost a philosophical discourse. In this poem idea are all i nterconnected, so much so that readers are distantly reminded of Hartley theory. However this poem is a very important one historically as it is Wordsmith own explanation to the line the Child is the Father of the Man:Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: / The Soul that rises with us, our lifes Star/ Hath had elsewhere its setting, / And cometh from afar: / Not in entire forgetfulness, / And in utter nakedness/ But trailing clouds of glory do we come Heaven lies about u our infancy! / Shares of the prison-house begin to close/ Upon the growing Boy/ B He/ Beholds the light, and whence it flows The Youth who daily farther from the east/ Must travel, still is Natures Priest At length the Man perceives it away, / And fade into the light of common day. (59-64, 66-70, 71-2, 76-7)Worrywart explanation of his famous line in this metaphysical exultation is only one of the two ideas so beautifully expressed in the passage above. For Wordsmiths cynical vie the world is also seen. However to first discuss the metaphysical, Wordsmith believes that the Child is born trailing clouds of immortality in that the child is bob tit some knowledge of the divine home from which we were all brought. However as time passes and especially with adolescence, the child loses the ability to recall the divine until, in adulthood, the ability is completely lost. This idea in itself is not a new one; the idea of losing ones childhood innocence t the conventions and routines of daily adult life is an ancient one. However it is the sadness and anger with which Wordsmith expresses these sentiments that make them so profound. The first line of the passage sets the tone as a rather cynical proclamation of defeat. We are born to die, Wordsmith says as he goes on to elucidate his view.