William Wordsworth's Romantic And Lyrical Poetry

2012 Words9 Pages
William Wordsworth was one of the most recognised poets of his time and seen “as a national poet” (Greenblatt 272). The Bard of the Lake District is known for his Romantic and Lyrical poetry, in which he, as he explains in his preface to Lyrical Ballads, with Pastoral and Other Poems from 1802, tries to use the natural language of ordinary people to present “ordinary things […] to the mind in an unusual way” (Wordsworth 295) and “to make these incidents and situations interesting by tracing in them […] the primary laws of our nature” (Wordsworth 295). This means that he disposes of nearly all established rules and —often classical— traditions, making it appear to be close to spontaneous, natural language. However, this does not mean that the…show more content…
He continues to explain that in order to create this ‘spontaneous’ overflow of emotion, a poet has to recollect and contemplate emotion in tranquillity. A poet continues doing this until the feeling of tranquillity is disappearing and out of this a powerful emotion linked to the subject –be it a memory of the poet or anything else– will actually be produced in the mind of the poet and successful poetic composition may begin and carry on (Wordsworth 303-4). This resembles in a way the classical tradition of the invocation of a muse, a convention from Greek and Latin poetry which is especially used in epics, where the poet invokes a muse for aid and inspiration to write the poem (Baldrick). However, the force of inspiration to write good poetry is not invoked in Wordsworth’s case, but rather is evoked from the contemplations of the poet himself, inspired by memories, past events, nostalgia. This can be seen with Wordsworth’s poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, a poem inspired by an experience two years earlier than the poem was composed described in Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal (Greenblatt 334). The significant amount of time between the events that inspired the poem and the actual composition of it, indicates that it was not spontaneously written down by Wordsworth, but he probably had to put in the…show more content…
This makes poetry almost, if not actually, philosophical in nature. Sir Philip Sidney wrote that even the Greek philosophers “under the mask of poets […] did exercise their delightful vein in those points of highest knowledge which before them lay hidden to the world” (Sidney).
And the same case can be made for Wordsworth; When reading his poem “We Are Seven”, –which, again, mostly has an alternating rhyme scheme and is written in an iambic metre– it tells about a discussion between the speaker and a little girl, where said speaker does not seem to be able to convince the girl that that if two of her siblings are dead, there are not, including her, seven siblings anymore, but five. However, the girl appears to disagree, even in the last stanza:
“But they are dead; those two are
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