Compare and Contrast the Works of William Wordsworth and Richard Stuart Thomas On the Themes of People and the Landscape

The two poets I have chosen for this assignment are William Wordsworth and Richard Stuart Thomas. These are a few of the poets who liked to talk about landscapes and people in their poems. I am going to see what the differences between these great poets are and also the similarities.

William Wordsworth was born in 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, in the Lake District. His father was John Wordsworth who was an attorney. When he was seventeen he went to Cambridge University.

Then after a few years he went to St John’s College, Cambridge. This was all the studying he did; he then went on to write his poems. He wrote a few poems in different countries like France, Germany, Switzerland and in Wales. Wordsworth died in Rydal Mount, Ambleside on April 23, 1850. Wordsworth was described as a romantic poet.

R. S. Thomas was a leading welsh poet Born in Cardiff (Wales) in 1913. He was educated at the College of North Wales University, Bangor.

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He then trained theology at St Michael’s College, Llandaf in Cardiff. He was then Ordained (he was a vicar) in 1936. He was also the rector of Manafon in 1942. He then went on to become a vicar as well as a poet. He then retired in 1967 at the Age of 55. Then he wrote many of his memorable poems, and then died on the 25th September 2000.

R. S. Thomas and William Wordsworth were two very different but then again very similar Poets. R. S. Thomas was more of a negative poet, as he wrote things like,

” Pause a minute,

Let the mind take its photograph

Of the bright scene, something to wear

Against the heart in the long cold.

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Where as Wordsworth writes,

“Never did the sun more beautifully steep.”

So as R. S. Thomas is saying nothing last forever, the beautiful scenery that he is seeing in front of him will not all ways be a picturesque sight. So he is saying let the mind remember the spectacular autumn scenery because it will not come around for another year. The winter brings cold weather and would be heart warming to remember such a charming sight.

But William Wordsworth is saying the sun never looked as beautiful as it does now. This is not true because the sun always looks the same in our sky as breathtaking as ever. But there is nothing special about today. So as you can see so far Wordsworth is quite a positive poet where as Thomas is more of a negative poet.

One of William Wordsworth’s poems was Westminster Bridge. This poem is about a man standing on Westminster Bridge in London. He is describing everything he sees around him, all the ships, towers, domes and theatres. He is saying there is nothing better in this world at this moment than looking at this exquisite site. The site he is describing is, the smokeless air and the open field, he is also trying to tell us that this is wonderful fresh air. Nowhere else in this world would you get this, but of course this is not true. But Wordsworth is a more positive poet, of course you get fresh air in many other places and you get smokeless air open field, and many attractive buildings, in many other cities in the world.

A piece by R. S. Thomas is the Tramp. This poem is saying the tramp at the door has nowhere to go and nothing to look forward to or nothing coming for him in the future. That’s why he looks down at his feet, he is embarrassed, and he is also a peasant. Where as the rich man looks up as if he is superior to the tramp. In the next stanza the poet compares the lifestyle of the rich man and the tramp. The rich mans dreams are haunted because he has everything, and he also thinks the tramp might gain at his expense. The tramps dreams are rich because he has nothing and he wishes he were in someone else’s shoes; he also has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

This is another of William Wordsworth’s poems the solitary reaper. In the field there is a lady (the solitary reaper) singing artistically. A cuckoo bird breaks the silence in the Scottish highlands. She is cutting the binding grass with her sickle (tool with curved blade and short handle used for cutting corn). No one can sing better than this lady, not even the nightingale. She sings even more welcomingly when the bands of tired travellers come by from the Arabian sands. She is probably singing old, unhappy battle songs, or more modern songs which she would have sung in her day, as he mounted up the hill this wonderful song was still in his heart. As you can see this poem has got some similarities to the other poem Westminster Bridge, such as Wordsworth is being positive in both poems. In the solitary reaper he says:

No nightingale did ever chaunt

More welcome notes to weary bands

Of travellers in some shady haunt,

That is saying that no one can sing better than the solitary reaper.

In Westminster Bridge he says:

Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:

He is saying never have I felt so calm, and the river is looking as magnificent as ever.

Another of Thomas’s poems is, A day in autumn; it is saying that the poem is showing the autumn beauty.

“The air windless, a few last

Leaves adding their decoration,”

The poet is affirmative that these are sights of such breathe taking beauties, will not last forever in will last maybe a few more weeks. He then writes that let the mind take its picture and remember this sight of such beauty and wear it against the hard cold. He means by this that when the weather is not so good maybe raining or snowing, that the mind can picture back to the lovely autumn day, and also to remember the fact that will come again next year.

So as are able to see William Wordsworth was more of a positive poet where as R. S. Thomas was a negative poet. Another difference is Wordsworth wrote in the 19th and 20th century, where as Thomas wrote in the 21st century. Another difference is Thomas’s work reflects on his childhood, where as Wordsworth’s does not. The similarities between these two great poets were they both wrote on landscapes, people and nature. They also wrote fabulous poetry.

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Compare and Contrast the Works of William Wordsworth and Richard Stuart Thomas On the Themes of People and the Landscape. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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