Compare and contrast the ways in which Wordsworth and RS Thomas respond to nature in their poetry

William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770 at Cockermouth at the river Derwent, in the heart of the Lake District that will come to be immortalised in his poetry. Wordsworth was a defining member of the English Romantic movement; like other romantics, Wordsworth’s personality and poetry were deeply influenced by his love of nature, especially by the sights and scenes of the lake country, in which he spent most of his mature life; most of his poems were written during the period of industrialisation.

A profoundly Ernest and sincere thinker, he displayed a high seriousness tempered with tenderness and love of simplicity.

The twentieth century poet R.S Thomas, was born in 1913 in Cardiff Wales, and was ordained as a priest in 1936. R.S Thomas was a very pre-eminent poet writing in the English language and his poems show some religious quality, being a priest. He died at the age of eighty- seven, on the on the 25 of September 2000.

The poem “Lines written in early spring” is a quatrain with six stanzas.

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“I heard a thousand blended notes,

While in a groove I sat reclined”

In this poem Wordsworth writes in first person, in a way personalising the poem. This creates an effect in the sense that, it shows how involved he is in the poem and how he is affected it; this explains and shows us what he was experiencing at the present time. For example the mood he was in, where he wrote etc. The title coveys hoe the rest of the poem the poem will be like; this is because ‘early spring’ is the time for new birth; when nature becomes beautiful.

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Tress start to grow their leaves back, begin to bear beautifully coloured fruits, flowers start to flourish and the weather gets milder contrasting the harsh winter breeze. In the second stanza Wordswoth personified nature as a woman figure and an artist.

“To her fair works did nature Link

The human soul that through me ran”

This gives a feeling of nature being gentle and kind because women are generally seen as caring and gentle figures in the society.

“And much it grieved my heart to think

What man has made of man”

He describes his emotions and thoughts of human nature; he shows how deeply touched he is by the way people treat each other. The use of plosive sounds brings our attention to the beginning of the third stanza which sharpens our image of the beautiful Pale yellow flowers ‘primrose’; The effect of this is to show his appreciation of nature.

‘Tis my faith that every flower.

Enjoys the air it breathes’

From this quotation in the third stanza; Wordsworth describes nature as contempt. The word faith has a religious feeling which again portrays nature as a thing sublime and divine.

At the end of the poem in the last stanza, Wordsworth makes it obvious that nature is holy and God sent and he also tries to convince us to come closer to nature.

A few lines above Tintern abbey is also another poem written by William

Wordsworth. The poem does not have any particular structure, it is written in blank verse; he redefined poetry as he was the first to use this particular style. From the beginning of the poem he shows his naivety about nature, he had little about nature but was attracted to it ‘haunted me like a passion’.

“their colours and their forms, were then to me

An appetite; a feeling of love.”

This illustrates that he cannot do without nature. He found joy in nature but didn’t understand it; he developed the sense of joy by describing the setting sun and living air. As he grew up he began to find other interests in nature and became interfused with it, he described nature as something transcendent and above ordinary.

In both “Lines written in early spring” and “A few miles above Tintern Abbey”. Wordswoth talks about nature and its divine quality; he shows his attraction and involvement in nature by the use of quotations, metaphors, alliteration, assonance and repetition to emphasise on thoughts; for example:

“What man has made of man!”

He uses this quote twice in his poem to focus our thoughts to the way people treat each other and he also illustrates that man is part of nature’s divine plan.

There aren’t many visual images, but feelings and the use of enjambment creates a sense of fluidity in his poems which makes it interesting to read.

“Cynddylan on a tractor” is a poem written by R.S Thomas. In this poem, the poet creates a voice, like he is speaking to you; the word tractor on the first line is shows how practical the poet is, it gives a sense of power because riding on tractor elevates you; in this context its shows Cynddylan is not weighed down anymore. The arrival of his new tractor shows he is modern.

“The clutch curses, but the gears obey”

The quotation demonstrates that Cynddylan is still dominant, “clutch curses” which is an alliteration sounds obstinate and harsh, but the “gears obey” softens the voice of the alliteration. In this poem Cynddylan is portrayed as a proud and powerful character “Riding to work as a great man should”; the machine is now made him from a servant to a knight “he is no more yoked to the soil. The poem begins and ends with Cyndyllan which also raises him up.

“Soil” is another poem written by R.S Thomas. It focuses on a man who is extremely concerned about his work on the field, he is attached to it. At The beginning the scene is established on field which makes it very significant in this poem.

“This is his world, the hedge defines

The mind’s limits;”

The soil is his world and he relies on it. He is limited but is contempt with it, this shows he is a modest and hardworking character who is focused.

“Then out of the wound the blood seeps home

To the warm soil from which it came.”

This illustrates that he is born from Mother Nature and he is part of it.

The to poems talk about farmers who are dedicated to their jobs and are not concerned about anything else, they feel the soil means everything to then, in cyndyllan case, the tractor as well. R.S Thomas uses religious imagery in his poems.

The sun comes over the tall trees

“Kindling all the hedges”

This gives a religious image of candles being lit; the sun is the light on the candle and the tree is the candle.

The two poets William Wordswoth and R.S Thomas have conflicting ideas. Wordswoth shows his love of nature in his poems, relates to senses sight and sound and how we experience the world through the senses. Moreover he shows that nature runs through us, and sometimes we are not aware of it, especially when we are younger. Cyndyllan is not interested in nature but his job, and his relationship to his tractor; this is an idea you wouldn’t get in Wordswoth. To Cyndyllan nature is about soil and his work. “And all the birds are singing, bills wide in vain”. The similarity between the two poets is they both talk about nature in their poems but from different perspectives. Cynddylan on a tractor appeals to me the most because it’s more original, relating to the modern world we live in, where machines do most of the jobs.

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Compare and contrast the ways in which Wordsworth and RS Thomas respond to nature in their poetry. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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