William Wordsworth's Expostulation and Reply and Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known

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William Wordsworth's Expostulation and Reply and Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known

William Wordsworth is well known for his great works of poetry,

spawned from his unique idea of how good poetry should be written.

Wordsworth was a firm believer in using simple language, and more

importantly emphasized the need to have a reflective component to his

poetry. As a result of his writing poetry in the Romantic era,

elements such as nature and spirituality have a more profound effect

on the poem. In two of his own poems, “Expostulation and Reply” and

“Strange fits of passion have I known,” Wordsworth demonstrates the

use of nature and spirituality combined with his more reflective style

to create stunning poetry. Although no two poem can entirely capture

his writing style, these two are as representative as possible,

they’re alike in that they both use elements of nature and

spirituality, but dissimilar because they create different


Nature is a theme prevalent in many varieties of poetry. Many

Romantic poets, including Coleridge and Keats used nature, but in a

drastically different fashion than Wordsworth. When Coleridge and

Keats used nature in their poetry, it was often portrayed as this

destructive horrible force that should be avoided. They would both

often juxtapose a harsh natural environment such as a stormy winter as

in Keats’ “The Eve of St. Agnes” with a warm, safe, and inviting

interior. Wordsworth shows nature in a much more positive light, and

uses it to enhance the mood of his poetry. From the fourth stanza of

“Expostulation and Reply” we see “One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,

/When life was sw...

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...ocked that he’s feeling these strange emotions and he’s trying

to determine from where they originate. I’d say the perhaps too

obvious answer of love. But the speaker’s genuine confusion of his

own emotions suggests the possibility that it’s more than that. Is it

paranoia, madness even? While we may never know the answer, that

personal journey is most certainly one that sticks with the reader in

their own spiritual world.

Romantic poets are grouped together by a fairly similar style of

poetry and by the time in which they lived. William Wordsworth stuck

out even then with his distinctive style using self reflection and his

portrayal of nature. While “Expostulation and Reply” and “Strange

fits of passion have I known” both possess these aspects, they are set

apart from one another in their emotional experiences.
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