The sonnet ?London, 1802? written by William Wordsworth, and ?The Lamb? written by William Blake both contain elements of Romanticism. Both of the poems clearly follow a structure similar to Abrams? Romantic formula, which is composed of a realistic setting, visionary experience, and return to a setting with insight.
WILLIAM WORDWORTH-WILLIAM BLAKE SONNETS Essay, Research Paper
The sonnet ?London, 1802? written by William Wordsworth, and ?The Lamb? written by William Blake both contain elements of Romanticism. Both of the poems clearly follow a structure similar to Abrams? Romantic formula, which is composed of a realistic setting, visionary experience, and return to a setting with insight. Both ?London, 1802? and ?The Lamb? are composed of the above elements yet they differ in their approach to each element. Each poem has its unique atmosphere or tone. This leads one to be able to identify the contrasts between the meaning and images within the poems.
The Romantic elements of ?London, 1802? are those defined by Wordsworth himself. This poem?s origin is spontaneous in nature. The basic images and metaphors of the sonnet make extensive use of nature, realistic setting. The idea for the poem sprung from Wordsworth?s initial reaction to the state of London upon his return from France:
…(this was) written immediately after my return from France to London,
when I could not but be struck…with the vanity and parade of our own
From this account it can be deduced that the poem was spontaneous in nature and originated from an internal response. The poem?s use of a realistic setting occurs in line 2 with the reference of England as a ?fen.? This particular adjective e describes England as a ?land wholly or partially covered by water, mud, clay, or dirt.?(Oxford English Dictionary). From this line a realistic setting is produced. The narrator further conveys a visionary experience through the extensive uses of nature via similes and metaphors within the poem. On lines 2, 9, 10, 11 it states,
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Thy soul was like a Star
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea
Pure as the naked heavens…
This frequent use of nature clearly illustrates the narrator?s intent to express a visionary experience. This in turn adheres to Abram?s Romantic Formula.
The return to setting with insight is used when the narrator speaks of the conflicts within England. He states on line 7, ?Oh! raise us up, return to us again;? This passage is literally a return to the setting. The insight acquired can be viewed when the narrator states, ?Thy soul was like a Star? (line 9). A star can be portrayed as a possessor of life. Our sun is a star, and without it, we would die. MIlton?s return to England can be seen as a revelation to the problems within England. References are made about his voice as being ?Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free.?(Line 11) The narrator views Milton in the highest acclaim. His role in society is defined by his actions. However, Milton physically is not present. What the author uses here is known as an apostrophe, ?the rhetorical addressing of an absent person as present…?(Webster?s Dictionary) All of these uses of setting and insight are encompassed within Abram?s Romantic Formula.
In the poem ?The Lamb?, William Blake?s uses of Abram?s Romantic Formula are apparent. However, the way by which the elements are portrayed seem to be different. This is because Blake?s style of writing is much different than Wordworth?s. It seems to be much lighter, and more inquisitive.
?The Lamb? can be identified as a repetitive poem. The narrator extensively uses the words ?thee?, ?Little Lamb?, and ?God? throughout poem. The narrator establishes a realistic setting when he states, ?By the stream & o?er the mead?(Line 4), This creates a realistic setting. This is quite different form ?London 1802?. The tone of England was described as ?fen?, which is portrayed as a muddy, dirty, and unpure setting. ?The Lamb?, however, portrays a tone of serenity, purity, and tranquillity.
The narrator conveys a visionary experience when he describes the Lamb as being ?softest clothing wooly bright?(Line 5). This is quite symbolic for the tones expressed here are of tenderness and happiness. This description is opposite from ?London 1802? usage of visionary experience. Instead of literally using articles of nature, ?The Lamb? allows the reader to identify the tone and ambiance of the setting through the beauty of the visionary image. These images are achieved while still following the structure of Abram?s Romantic Formula.
?The Lamb? is a poem of great depth. The usage of the Lamb is quite parallel to the child mentioned throughout this poem. The narrator?s uses of images are apparent. An example of an auditory image can be viewed in line 7 of the poem, ?Gave thee such a tender voice.? This reference to the Lamb creates a tone of love and kindness. This leads us into the final element used by the narrator. The return to the setting with insight. This element is not quite as apparent as it was in ?London 1802.? However, the biblical references within this section cannot be ignored. The Little Lamb can be viewed as Jesus Christ who in turn is the child. In line 17 the narrator states, ?He became a little child?. What we have here is the innocence of a child viewing a Lamb and linking its presence with Jesus Christ. The uses of these images are examples of visionary revelations.
Jesus in known as the ?Lamb of God?. He is also known as the ?Good Shepard?. All of these references help to confirm the narrator?s return to setting with insight. In the beginning of the poem the narrator states, ?Little Lamb, who made thee??(Line 1) In the conclusion of the poem the narrator states, ?Little Lamb I?ll tell thee?(Line 11). This clearly demonstrates the narrator?s enlightenment of insight and knowledge at the conclusion of the poem. The narrator has had a revelation. This finally concludes elements needed for Abram?s Romantic Formula.
Within the poem ?London 1802?, by William Wordsworth, and ?The Lamb?, by William Blake Abrams? Romantic Formula is quite apparent. Though the elements within the poems different, the poem?s overall effects are equal. In ?London 1802?, the narrator identifies with Milton who is of the past. In ?The Lamb?, the child identifies with Jesus Christ who is in the past, present, and future. The characters within each of these poems at first have a problem. Yet they search for a ?hero?. These ?heroes?, though not literally present, are able to be the solutions.
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