The Characteristics of the Romanticism in Wordsworth?
The Romanticism was a literary movement that developed mainly throughout the influences of the philosophy of Locke and the causes and consequences of revolutionary spirit of the French revolution. Wordsworth was brought up reading the Augustan? s metric poetry and the neoclassicist’s descriptive complex language which fully expressed the ideas of reasoning over sentiments.
Influenced and inspired by the changing ideological atmosphere of the late XVIII and the first third of the XIX century, Wordsworth found his own poetic voice distancing from artificiality of the authors from the past, and writing with sentiment when describing the emotions awakened by the images of nature. He considered Nature as an intelligent, meaningful power of the external world who teaches moral truth and influences the human being’s character.
Thus, his poems reflected this twirling relationship between nature and men. Nature’s dominant forces are depicted throughout vivid images expressed in an unsophisticated language; simple words that are timely related to provoke mental association processes that could stimulate moral and spiritual growth. Therefore, the cyclical link that connects Nature,” considered as a being with a soul and its purposes, with the human soul and its purposes” (from notes on Wordsworth’s poetic theory) was fully expressed on his work.
And as a masterpiece, the publication of the “Lyrical Ballads”(written by Wordsworth and Coleridge) were a clear exponent of romantic ideology of that time, so far to become “ one of the most transcendental and revolutionary books in the history of the English literature, and the symbol of the beginning of the Romanticism in England” (Baladas Liricas de Corugedo y Chamosa) Lyrical Ballads includes many poems of both authors, Wordsworth and Coleridge. “Intimations Of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood” is the one I’ve chosen to trace the elements of XIX Romanticism in its lines. Intimations Of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood” There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream.
The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of yore;– Turn wheresoe’er I may, By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can see no more. In this first stanza, there are plenty of images evoking nature because of it was the topic that Romantics of this period wrote as a hint of their philosophy that enlightened the wisdom of living and being close to nature.
It is a call to go back to nature, to the simplicity of life due to the industrialization period that had already begun in the England of the last decade of the XVIII century. In the last line, the writer expressed freely his sentiment of despair for the capacities that he used to have and had lost when growing up The Rainbow comes and goes, And lovely is the Rose, The Moon doth with delight Look round her when the heavens are bare, Waters on a starry night Are beautiful and fair; The sunshine is a glorious birth; But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth. In this second stanza, he recurs developing the feeling of sadness felt because of the loss for the close contact with nature, through the images of simple elements of nature, such as the rainbow, the moon, the rose, the sunshine. Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song, And while the young lambs bound As to the tabor’s sound, To me alone there came a thought of grief: A timely utterance gave that thought relief, And I again am strong: The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep; No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng, The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep, And all the earth is gay; Land and sea Give themselves up to jollity, And with the heart of May Doth every Beast keep holiday;– Thou Child of Joy, Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy! The water is a very important element for the Romantics of this first period. “It represents the untamed force of nature that would never be controlled by men, and that it would always dominate him and the species” (Corugedo y Chamosa).
In this stanza, he named “the cataracts” and the winds: two natural forces that bring freshness, renewal. Two simple but potent words that express the revolting of emotions restrained by the poet that are about to burst out and change his mood. Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call Ye to each other make; I see The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; My heart is at your festival, My head hath its coronal, The fulness of your bliss, I feel–I feel it all. Oh evil day! if I were sullen While Earth herself is adorning, This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are culling On every side, In a thousand valleys far and wide, Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, And the Babe leaps up on his Mother’s arm:– I hear, I hear, with joy I hear! –But there’s a Tree, of many, one, A single Field which I have looked upon, Both of them speak of something that is gone: The Pansy at my feet Doth the same tale repeat: Whither is fled the visionary gleam? Where is it now, the glory and the dream? Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy! Shades of the prison-house begin to close Upon the growing Boy, But He beholds the light, and whence it flows, He sees it in his joy; The Youth, who daily farther from the east Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest, And by the vision splendid Is on his way attended; At length the Man perceives it die away, And fade into the light of common day.
In the first line of the fifth stanza, it can be traced the influence of Plato on explaining the nature of human being’s soul. Our soul as a spiritual being, a power of creation that it is also in nature, and that we both share. Here, the poet began expressing his idea on childhood. A unique time in life, when our imagination and capacities to know truly, are still incorrupt by formal education and trivialities of the urban and adult life. Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, And, even with something of a Mother’s mind,
And no unworthy aim, The homely Nurse doth all she can To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man, Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he came. In this stanza, the poet enhanced the idea of Nature as a teacher that never ceases lecturing his child – men, for him to go back to her and benefit from her profits. Behold the Child among his new-born blisses, A six years’ Darling of a pigmy size! See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies, Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses, With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart, Some fragment from his dream of human life, Shaped by himself with newly-learned art; A wedding or a festival, A mourning or a funeral; And this hath now his heart, And unto this he frames his song: Then will he fit his tongue To dialogues of business, love, or strife; But it will not be long Ere this be thrown aside, And with new joy and pride The little Actor cons another part; Filling from time to time his “humorous stage” With all the Persons, down to palsied Age, That Life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation Were endless imitation. In these stanzas, the poet regrets the imitative behavior copied by child from adults. He refuses the modeling of human being? s attitude when educated enclosed in society. The progressive child’s loss when a loving mother (nature) offers him the cares and the joy, and the father’s eye( the true knowledge embedded in nature) is also offered to him, and because of his detachment from them (nature and the knowledge provides for her) and his imitative behavior of adults, he no longer listens to his inner thoughts and feelings.
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie Thy Soul’s immensity; Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind, That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep, Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,– Mighty Prophet! Seer blest! On whom those truths do rest, Which we are toiling all our lives to find, In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave; Thou, over whom thy Immortality Broods like the Day, a Master o’er a Slave, A Presence which is not to be put by; Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke The years to bring the inevitable yoke, Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife? Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight, And custom lie upon thee with a weight Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life! In this stanza, the poet uses images related to farmers and agriculture, as a resource to illustrate men seeking true knowledge. Even though, this search is fruitless when men are enchained to the old controlling philosophies, which unable them to develop his emotions and imagination.
O joy! hat in our embers Is something that doth live, That nature yet remembers What was so fugitive! The thought of our past years in me doth breed Perpetual benediction: not indeed For that which is most worthy to be blest– Delight and liberty, the simple creed Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest, With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:– Not for these I raise The song of thanks and praise; But for those obstinate questionings Of sense and outward things, Fallings from us, vanishings; Blank misgivings of a Creature Moving about in worlds not realised,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature Did tremble like a guilty Thing surprised: But for those first affections, Those shadowy recollections, Which, be they what they may, Are yet the fountain light of all our day, Are yet a master light of all our seeing; Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, To perish never; Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour, Nor Man nor Boy, Nor all that is at enmity with joy, Can utterly abolish or destroy! Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be, Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea Which brought us hither, Can in a moment travel thither, And see the Children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore. In this stanza, the poet mentions “high instincts” to refer to intuition (the knowledge gained when perceiving through senses, and understanding: a concept taken from Kant’s philosophy. ) The reference to “noisy” years as a binary opposition to tranquility: an ideal state of the mind and the soul, to illustrate the bad awful moments in life.
The eternal Silence” also as a binary opposition to noise-noisy. It makes reference, altogether with, “perish never” to the idea of transcending life. The belief in the cycle of life, promoted by the oriental philosophies, and evolution. “Season of calm weather”. The poet uses this analogy to refer to maturity in life. When human’s passion is at rest and men are no longer in anger or rebellious. Again, the use of elements of nature, specifically water to express a switch on the emotions of the poet. In this case, a more optimistic attitude. Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young Lambs bound As to the tabor’s sound! We in thought will join your throng, Ye that pipe and ye that play, Ye that through your hearts to-day Feel the gladness of the May! What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind; In the primal sympathy Which having been must ever be; In the soothing thoughts that spring Out of human suffering; In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind. Birds represent the joy, the sing of them: happiness. The ever growing green and fresh grass and colourful flowers represent the newly born generations that would be ever born. In their birth, as the grass and flowers, there are hope and certainty that nature would never perish. “Spring” the beginning of a season when the weather becomes warmer, leaves and plants start to grow again and flowers appear (Cambridge dictionary). It illustrates human being’s life, and hopes, therefore consolation for the despair and hopeless feelings felt before.
And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves, Forebode not any severing of our loves! Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might; I only have relinquished one delight To live beneath your more habitual sway. I love the Brooks which down their channels fret, Even more than when I tripped lightly as they; The innocent brightness of a new-born Day Is lovely yet; The Clouds that gather round the setting sun Do take a sober colouring from an eye That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality; Another race hath been, and other palms are won. Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. In this last stanza, the elements of nature are present. Fountains: fresh crystal clear running water that depictures new life, joy, content. Hills, meadows, groves: green nature growing. A symbol of life and renewal. The poet is united with nature again. He’s one with her, even though she is eternal and he is mortal. Sway: movement. Personification of nature: It is a being that breaths, lives, changes, dies and is born every Spring.