William Wordsworth Essay, Research Paper
gThe greatest and in the end the most influential of the English Romantics h
( Britannica 675 ). That is William Wordsworth. Wordsworth changed the style of
English poetry. His poems are very well written and very beautiful. Many events that @took place in his life shaped Wordsworth fs poetic style. The most important of these @events was not one specific event at all, it was one that encompassed all of Wordsworth fs @life. The one aspect of his life that most shaped the poetry of William Wordsworth was @his love of nature.
Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland. As a @child, his father required him to study the works of Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton.
His mother died in 1778, and his father in 1783. After his father fs death, he was sent to @live with his family in Penrith. Wordsworth entered the University of Cambridge in @1787. He studied the subjects that he would be expected to study, but he was more @interested in the nature that surrounded the university. gBut more important than the @schooling was the Vale of Esthwaite and the surrounding fells, where nature herself now @began to take the leading part in his education h ( Britannica 675 ). He took a walking @tour of France in 1790, and after his graduation in 1791, he returned to France, becoming @a very enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution. In 1792, Wordsworth had a @daughter with his lover Annette Vallon. Shortly after, he returned to England. @Wordsworth was disheartened by the outbreak of hostilities between the French and @British, but he saw past his loyalty to his country and remained in favor of the French @cause.
The first of Wordsworth fs poems to be published were An Evening Walk and @Descriptive Sketches. These were both published in 1793, and Wordsworth made little @money from them ( Encarta ).
Although Wordsworth made little money from his writings, his financial @problems were taken care of in 1795, when he received 900 pounds from the will of a @close friend. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy then went to live in Racetown, @Dorsetshire. Wordsworth was always very close to his sister, and she helped to @encourage him when his writings were not doing very well. Wordsworth would be @deeply saddened by her mental breakdown in later years. Wordsworth met fellow poet @Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and he and his sister moved to Alfoxden, Somersetshire, near @Coleridge fs home in Nether Stowey. The poets became close friends, and collaborated @on a book of poems entitled Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth wrote almost all of the poems @in the book.
Lyrical Ballads is considered to mark the start of the romantic movement in @English poetry. Lyrical Ballads represented a revolt against the classicism of @contemporary English poetry, and was therefore greeted with hostility by most of the @critics of that time ( Encarta ).
In 1798 and 1799, Wordsworth and his sister accompanied Coleridge to Germany. It was here that wrote some of his finest lyrical verses, and began The Prelude. The @Prelude, an account of Wordsworth fs own development, was completed in 1805, and @published after his death in 1850.
Wordsworth and his sister returned to England in 1799, and made their home at @Dove Cottage in Grasmere, the most beautiful spot in the English Lake District . Another @poet, Robert Southey, and Coleridge lived nearby. The three men became known as the @Lake Poets.
For the second edition of Ballads, which was published in 1801, Wordsworth @wrote a gPreface h to defend his theory of poetry. He said that poetry originates from @emotion, and that form and intellectual approach only served to drain poetry of that @emotion. This idea only served to increase hostility toward Wordsworth. However, he @was not discouraged, and continued to write poetry in his emotional style. @ In 1802, Wordsworth married childhood friend Mary Hutchinson. In 1813 he @moved his family, along with his sister, to Rydal Mount, a few miles from Dove Cottage. @It was here that Wordsworth obtained the position of distributor of stamps for @Westmorland at a salary of 400 pounds a year. Except for a few vacations, Wordsworth @would spend the rest of his life here. Wordsworth was appointed poet laureate of England @in 1843. He died in 1850, and was buried in the Grasmere churchyard. @
gBut it was Wordsworth who brought into English literature that deep, poetic @appreciation of nature, amounting almost to extravagance, that has since become @characteristic of much of it. Love of nature was not merely a decorative part of his verse; @it was its chief impulse and subject h ( The Book of Knowledge 2489 ).
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud is a perfect example of Wordsworth fs deep @appreciation for nature. The title has to do with nature, and suggests that the poem will @be about nature. The title also makes it very clear that the speaker, almost certainly @Wordsworth, is lonely. @
The repetition of the title as the first line of the poem serves to emphasize the fact @that the speaker is lonely. When the speaker says that he gfloats on high, h it shows that @he is not only lonely, he feels separated from the rest of the world. While the speaker is @wondering around, he comes to a field full of daffodils. These daffodils are very happy. @They are dancing in the breeze and having a great time. By saying that the daffodils are @dancing, Wordsworth personifies them. This makes it seem that the speaker is not alone @in a field of daffodils; he is in a field surrounded by little, happy people.
There are not just a lot of daffodils with the speaker, the daffodils stretch out as @far as outer space, never ending. The speaker can see ten thousand by just glancing. @Every single one of the daffodils is dancing. Wordsworth says that the daffodils are @dancing gsprightly. h Sprightly means that the daffodils are dancing like fairies. In @folklore, fairies were generally considered beneficial to humans, and Wordsworth is @describing the daffodils as fairies to show that good things are about to happen to the @speaker.
The daffodils are next to a lake, and the waves on the lake are also dancing.
However, the waves are not dancing nearly as happily as the daffodils are. This @emphasizes the fact that the daffodils are extremely happy, and that they have the power @to lift the spirits of the speaker.
The line, gA poet could not but be gay, h does many things. It proves that @Wordsworth is indeed the speaker in more ways than one. The word gpoet, h shows that @the speaker is indeed a poet, and that poet is probably Wordsworth, because he wrote the
poem. By also saying that the poet could not help but be happy in these surroundings, @Wordsworth is shortening the list of candidates that this poet could be, because at the @time this poem was published, 1807, critics were still against him, and there were few @other poets who shared his views on nature and poetry. In the context of the poem, this @line again emphasizes the fact that the daffodils bring happiness to the speaker, and that @when he is around the daffodils, he can only be happy. Even if he was in a mood where @he was trying to be sad or lonely, he couldn ft, the daffodils would lift his spirits and keep @him company.
Lines 17 and 18, gI gazed–and gazed–but little thought What wealth the show to
me had brought, h are also very significant. They emphasize how special the daffodils @really were. Even though the poet had his spirits lifted while he was with the daffodils, @he had no idea that the daffodils would prove to be a very special gift that would keep on @keeping him happy even though he was not with them. Their power extended much @farther than the poet thought that it would.
Even when the poet was at home, just lying on his couch, he would become @lonely and sad. Then something truly amazing would happen. The daffodils would @ gflash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude. h He would see the daffodils in @his imagination. He didn ft even have to be with the daffodils for them to have a @profound effect on him. He could lie on his couch, and the daffodils would help him. @Even though he couldn ft be with the daffodils, he could dance with them in his heart, and @that was all it took for his mood to be lifted.
William Wordsworth was a very talented and very influential poet. His poetry @was not immediately accepted, but he was recognized as a significant poet before his life @was over. Many things influenced Wordsworth fs poetic style, the greatest and most @important of these things being his love of nature. Wordsworth fs poems are beautiful @and meaningful. He is certainly one of the greatest poets of all times.
The Book of Knowledge
(Carnegie Mellon Press, 1988)