Romantic Poets Essay, Research Paper
Romantic Poets and the Nature Around Them
Nature plays a significant role in many of the Romantic poets works of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries. Two great poets who used nature in many of their writings are William Blake and William Wordsworth. We can link their romanticism to the love and appreciation they had for nature in many of their poems. Blake and Wordsworth must have found it easy to associate nature and poetry together because during the romantic period, the surrounding landscape was rich in beautiful gardens. Romantics like these two poets wanted to awaken our consciousness of the beauty in nature around us. They use nature as their hope and vision, as well as their escape from the hardship and gloom around them.
William Blake uses nature in many of his poems to introduce us to human history, life experiences and suffering. He describes his work as “visionary and imaginative” (1). We can read in his poetry the idea that what begins as innocence, with time and experience becomes much different. The themes in the naturalistic poems such as “Song” and “My Pretty Rose Tree” prove what begins as one emotion, ends as another.
In the poem “Song” we have someone who is sweetly roaming over fields and fields. These fields give us the vision of freedom. The character is tasting summer’s pride, which could mean he is appreciating all the fruits he wants (many lovers). The man meets a lover, who gives him lilies for his hair and roses for his brow, representing gifts of love, maybe to seduce him. He is
led through this cupid’s gardens, where all his golden pleasures grow. The person he falls in love with adorns him with many things at the beginning of their relationship. As the relationship grows, the lover traps the poet and becomes very possessive. The lover eventually locks him away and lets him out to play occasionally.
The poem “My Pretty Rose Tree” also shows the changes of love with time and experience. Here Blake uses the word flower to describe a young maiden. This young maiden is offering herself to the poet and he refuses by saying he has his own Pretty-Rose tree at home (pg. 1297). Ironically, when he goes home to tend to his pretty rose tree (faithfulness), she turns him away with jealousy. He receives only the pleasure of her thorns.
William Wordsworth uses nature in his poems as more of a self discovery. His imagination is fed from events and lessons learned in the world around him. He finds both the beauty and terror in nature, as well as its destructiveness and creativeness. Wordsworths poetry is produced by the intimacy he feels in nature and the explosive feelings that nature creates for him (2). Nature to him is part of a stronger force among us and the human mind creates a unity through nature, man and God.
Wordsworth conceives nature as a hopeful outlook on the world and a way to escape. One of his great poems that shows us his escape through nature is “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” In this poem he takes us to his own little world of sanity. This is his very own hideaway, a place he likes to imagine when life gets too tough. He begins the story as a drifting cloud; he lets his mind relax, wander and escape. Wordsworth is daydreaming and comes upon a crowd of daffodil’s covering the entire landscape. They are dancing in the wind, beside the lake and
beneath the trees. His description is so strong that you can feel yourself among these miles and miles of yellow daffodils. The daffodils go on forever, like the stars in the sky.
Much of Wordsworth work is from what is called “spots in time.” These are actual events that took place from childhood to adulthood and the influences they held on him. We feel this in the reading of “The Prelude.” He speaks of his thoughts of nature as a Youth and what affect they had on him. On page 1464, Book Twelve, he is almost worshipping nature and the pleasures and pains it gave him throughout his life. Even in a simple poem, such as “My heart leaps up,” we see a man who truly appreciates the beauty of nature around him. There are things in nature that do not change, like the rainbow. You see the beauty of a rainbow the same way as a child, as you do when you are an adult. Wordsworth was by far the most naturalistic poet of his time. No other poet could bring one as close to nature as he does.
When studying the poetry of Blake and Wordsworth, we feel the beauty of nature surrounding them in their country was definitely appreciated by both. It is amazing how the beauty of nature can be overlooked. If you indulge in poems by the poets of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth century, you realize just how romantic nature is with its beauty and serenity.