Romantic Themes Used By William Wordsworth Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 July 2016

Romantic Themes Used By William Wordsworth

Romantic literature, like other genres, shares similar literary elements that unify a certain style of poetry. William Wordsworth, a Romantic poet, used images of nature along with themes of idealism expressed with emotion in his poetry. These elements that Wordsworth used were very typical of other Romantic work’s themes and images. Without Wordsworth’s use of them, his poetry would have a completely different effect.

One element in Romantic literature that is very prevalent is images of nature and the speaker embracing it. William Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” is a poem about a man who comes back to natural setting and realizes its profound beauty and him praising its great effect on him. This is one poem that contains enormous amounts of images of nature. Throughout every stanza the speaker describes the woods, hill, meadows and streams. In the poem the speaker also speaks of his love for nature in lines 103-105 stating, “Therefore am I still/A lover of the meadows and the woods/And Mountains.”

Wordsworth further embraces nature near the conclusion of the poem where he in line 153 calls himself, “A worshipper of Nature.” The poem closes with the speaker reflecting and acknowledging the greatness of nature’s effect on him using both natural images while embracing it, “Nor wilt thou then forget/That after many wanderings, many years/Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, /And this green pastoral landscape, were to me/More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!”

In Romantic literature a major theme that is used by many of the authors is idealism, or living a life better than the one that people are living now. William Wordsworth uses this theme of idealism in his poems to show how much more fulfilling life would be if we were more appreciative of nature and the magnitude of importance it has in our lives. Wordsworth’s poem “The World is Too Much With Us” exemplifies the theme best. He begins in line 1 telling the reader that, “The world is too much with us” saying that we cannot ignore something that is a huge part of our lives. He continues telling the reader that humanity is giving away our hearts for trivial material possessions and says, “For this, for everything, we are out of tune.” To end the poem Wordsworth seems to be yearning for the reader to understand how great of a factor nature is in our lives by stating, “Great God! I’d rather be/A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; /So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, / Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn.” This demonstrates how he feels that people should dismiss the material aspects of life and become more connected to the world and its natural pleasures.

Romantic poetry strays most from the traditional poetry of that time by the speaker expressing their thoughts with emotion. Instead of being a formal work that was meant for other people to read, it was a personal account that was only meant to capture the sentiment that the speaker was experiencing. In William Wordsworth’s poem “A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal” there is a small bit of emotion that can be seen in lines 1 and 2. “A slumber did my spirit seal,” the speaker says,”I had no human fears.” In another one of his poems, “Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known”, the emotion is a little more overwhelming. “What fond and wayward thoughts will slide/Into a Lover’s head! /’O mercy!’ to myself I cried, /’If Lucy should be dead!'” is the final stanza of the poem. The emotion that the speaker is experiencing is what noticeably stands out.

William Wordsworth’s poems all contain unifying themes and images that make his works fall into the Romantic genre. He shows many images of nature in the poem “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.” In “The World is Too Much With Us” he uses the poem to tell the readers that there is a better or ideal way to live life, a major theme in Romantic literature. Lastly in Wordsworth poems “A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal” and “Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known” they are written with emotion and feeling rather than in a more reserved and formal fashion.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 24 July 2016

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