Wordsworth and Keats

6 June 2016

____ Wordsworth and Keats both belongs to Romantic age and both are the shining stars on the horizons of poetry. Both mark their names in the history of English literature through their work. ___John Keats and William Wordsworth believe in the “depth” of the world and the possibilities of the human heart. Regardless of where each poet looks for their inspiration they both are looking for the same thing; timeless innocence. Both poets sought to transcend time by creating works that dealt with life, death, hope and imagination and to discover some kind of deep truth or meaning in existence. Life and death is an issue that we will all have to deal with at some point in our lives and like all Romantics they sought to give it meaning.

____Both writers, William Wordsworth and John Keats express a fascination and longing toward eternity and immortality. ____Two of these poets, John Keats and William Wordsworth, employ these themes in their most prominent poetic works; love, nature, poetry, oneness, beauty, lover, world, life and some others. ____ Keats and Wordsworth both focus quite intensely on the connection between memory and the natural world, and they utilize some of their most memorable lines to describe the remembrance of nature that is present in the scene they each create. ____ Both great poets seem to recognize the finite nature of beauty, but they approach this recognition from different angles: Wordsworth uses personal memory, while Keats employs an examination of mortality. ____ Keats and Wordsworth felt a strong connection between themselves and nature.

Because of the dissimilitude of the natural and industrialized world, they expressed a yearning to commune with and belong in a provincial setting. However, each held his own belief regarding the philosophy behind the idea. ____ Wordsworth and Keats believed that beauty was expressed through nature, they shared in the assumption that the imagination is a superior force. However, their views on the characteristics and definitions of creative perception differed greatly, but both consider it and search it. ____ Both the legends, hold certain similarities in their imaginative opinions, and also a likeness in their expressions of symbolism, imagery, and thematic elements.

For example, Balslev believes that in regard to Keats’s “Hyperion” and Wordsworth’s “The Excursion”, “we have in either passage a character apprehending the god of song” . Balslev also writes that, in the exclusion of Keats’s enhancement of beauty, “We have a situation, a vocabulary, and a tone that are greatly similar” ____When we compare their poetry through central symbols, there is little similarity between Keats and Wordsworth”. According to Balslev, nature is the one symbol synonymous with almost every poem Wordsworth composed. He writes as though both people and landscape are “blurred”, united as a whole and expressed through a muddled and sometimes indefinite meaning. Although Keats oftentimes relays strong symbolism in regards to nature, “the central symbol is sharply defined, often with statuesque effect, the supporting images are certainly given in terms of each other, but the object is to intensify while extending associations in all possible directions”

Now we will discuss the differences between the both Romantic poets: Wordsworth and Keats ____ Wordsworth’s style is apparently simple, and expressive of genuine and sincere feeling. He has used the language of humble and rustic life purified of coarseness and oddities. According to him the language of poetry should be the real language of men. It should not have any artificiality about it. By men, Wordsworth meant the rustic folk and humble people. He used a selection of language that common men understood. As compare to Keats who uses incredibly sensual language to illustrate how he is feeling and what he is imagining which gives the ode’s a sensual feeling of being alive. In Keats’ “Ode to Autumn” he is using a large amount of sensual language to try and take us to the place in his mind, his choice of words are hugely important for making Autumn a sensual Ode. Wordsworth’s vocabulary… is predominately abstract, in contradistinction to that of Keats, which is largely concrete. ____The alliteration, assonance, consonance, and rhyme in Wordsworth’s poems were not immediately noticeable, and thus were not important elements overall in their contribution to the speaker’s intended meaning. For example, these lines, “But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,” While Keats’ usage of sounds was more effective than Wordsworth, even with a limited number of alliterations and assonances. In this line, “And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes”

The reader can easily spot this repetition of the “ee” sound. ____ Beauty is central in Keats poetry. There are two different points of beauty according to Keats 1. Physical beauty that is temporary (beauty of woman, of a painting) 2. Spiritual beauty that is the beauty of love, art friendship and it is eternal. This kind of beauty represented for him a source of consolation (so it is something like a moral value). As he said that

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”

While Wordsworth feels beauty in everything within nature, He does not need a profound image to praise it but the nature itself as he believed to merge with nature and be united with it. As he said that “The human mind is capable of excitement without the application of gross and violent stimulants; and he must have a very faint perception of its beauty and dignity who does not know this” and “Be mild, and cleave to gentle things,

thy glory and thy happiness be there.”

____ Keats saw nature as a form of beauty as he said ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Wordsworth’s attitude to Nature can be clearly differentiated from that of the other great poets of Nature. He did not prefer the wild and stormy aspects of Nature like Byron, or the shifting and changeful aspects of Nature and the scenery of the sea and sky like Shelley. He did not recognize the ugly side of Nature ‘red in tooth and claw’ as Tennyson did. Wordsworth stressed upon the moral influence of Nature and the need of man’s spiritual discourse with her. “Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.” ____ According to Wordsworth the poet must greater sensibility and the ability to penetrate to the heart of things. As he said “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” while Keats believes that imagination should come before all and is superior to the tangible exterior of the physical world. As a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all considerations. ____ Keat’s wrote exquisite love letters, pouring out his heart in epistles as beautiful as his poetry. “I have had a thousand kisses,

for which with my whole soul I thank love,” he wrote in one, “but if you should deny me the thousand and first – ‘t would put me to the proof how great a misery I could live through.” Here we have not seen any specific kind of love letters to a female lover but Wordsworth loved to portrait villagers, simple girls as they are maiden and create an image that is loveable and pure. ____Wordsworth seen the things as a whole and tried to find out reasons to unite with the nature as compare to Keats was highly-subjective poet, his work depicts his inner personality. His pessimism is not destructive, although his melancholy lingers on throughout his poetry. The Public – a thing I cannot help looking upon as an enemy, and which I cannot address without feelings of hostility. ______ Keats was extremely pessimist in his spontaneous flow of thoughts. His Brother Tom’s death disturbed him a lot. He wrote in one of his letters: “I have never known any unalloyed happiness for many days together; the death or sickness of someone has always spoilt my hours.”

Wordsworth was not a pessimist but a philanthropist. _____Images in a poem serve to help the reader bring the words to reality, or recall memories based on the reader’s experiences. Again, in Wordsworth’s “Lines,” his images are subtle, yet it is indicative of the simple, unobtrusive ways of nature, and interestingly, he has images for each of the five senses. The sense in this line, “These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

With a soft inland murmur” Refers to the sense of audition, or hearing. On the other hand, Keats’ images were explicit but did not tune to our senses so much as Wordsworth’s technique. The images he used to depict nature did not have the peacefulness that Wordsworth intended; rather, they were used to inhibit humans from negative feelings. “Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine” and

“Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kissed”  are examples of his sensory images. _____ Wordsworth’s poems are use to an explicit metaphor. “Their colors and their forms, were then to me  An appetite; a feeling and a love”. Wordsworth compares the forms and colors of the mountains and the forests to an “appetite, a feeling, and a love.” Keats has an advantage over Wordsworth in this respect, because in addition to metaphors and personification, he includes allusions. Though both Wordsworth and Keats strongly influenced the archetypical composition of their age, they hailed from entirely different backgrounds and thus expressed their beliefs contrastingly. Each formed unique and yet occasionally similar viewpoints in regard to their opinions of nature, their expressions of the value of imagination, and their utilization of symbolism, metaphors, and themes.

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