The Impact Of William Wordsworth

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The Impact of William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, the age's great Bard, had a significant impact on his contemporaries. Best known for his beautiful poems on nature, Wordsworth was a poet of reflection on things past. He realized however, that the memory of one's earlier emotional experiences is not an infinite source of poetic material. As Wordsworth grew older, there was an overall decline in his prowess as a poet. Life's inevitable change, with one's changes in monetary and social status, affected Wordsworth as well as his philosophies and political stances, sometimes to the chagrin of his contemporaries.

Wordsworth, once a poet of social radicalism, became conservative in his views later in life, which grieved many of his contemporaries. Such poets as Percy Shelley wrote critiques of Wordsworth and his change in allegiances, while others such as Felicia Hemans chose to write tributes of the man's past glory, and his impact on their lives.

In Percy Shelley's poem, "To Wordsworth", Shelley addresses Wordsworth's diminishing connection with his past. As age progresses, memories grow dim along with their ability to inspire new poetry. Shelley does not fault Wordsworth for that. Shelley writes, "Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know /That things depart which never may return… /These common woes I feel."(701 lines 1-5) Shelley is sympathetic to Wordsworth in regards to his declining ability to be inspired by past experience. It is a common experience shared by other poets, as Wordsworth asked himself in "Ode: Imitations of Immortality", "Whither is fled the visionary gleam? / Where is it now, the glory and the dream?"(288 lines 56-57)Wordsworth feels something is missing, as Shelley notes, something has "fled like swee...

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...This is the point in their life Keats believes Reynolds and himself are finding themselves. Wordsworth has been through this point, and has explored the darker regions of the house. Wordsworth has made discoveries in these darkened rooms and has shed light on them. His discoveries however, are from "the general and gregarious advance of intellect," rather than "individual greatness of Mind."(893) Keats is saying Wordsworth has built upon Milton, and now they must build upon Wordsworth. There are still discoveries to be made, and Wordsworth should give them hope.

Wordsworth, a man of deep insight and incredible genius, impacts anyone who seriously reflects upon his work. It is no wonder that he should cause other great minds to pause and reflect. Whether to praise the man or critique him, one can not deny Wordsworth's life and work has had an impact on them.
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