One of the most popular themes for Romantic poetry in England was nature and an appreciation for natural beauty. The English Romantic poets were generally concerned with the human imagination as a counter to the rise of science. The growing intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries placed scientific thought in the forefront of all knowledge, basing reality in material objects. The Romantics found this form of world view to be restrictive. They felt that imagination was crucial to individual happiness. The imagination also provides a common human bond; a means of sympathy, of identification. However, the absence of imagination, the Romantics felt, would lead people to indifference and a false sense of being. The English Romantics accepted the reality of the link between man and nature in the form of the human imagination as the basis of human understanding, rejecting the scientific world view of materialism. The Romantics attempted to discover the hidden union between man and nature. Imagination is a force, or energy, that allows such a bond to be made.
William Blake saw the human imagination as essential to human understanding of the world; he saw reality as a "mental construction." According to Blake, once the energy of imagination is used effectively to realize the connection between man and nature, the person gains freedom from the restraining bonds of uninspired thought.
Humans bring meaning to nature in the form of imaginative thought. Self-imposed social and intellectual restrictions deprive humans of experiencing nature and the true human spirit.
In Blake's Songs of innocence and Experience we have several poems which focus on nature. T...
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...ded him comfort and enjoyment during the years of his absence, when he was stuck in the "din of towns and cities." For the rest of the poem, he ponders on the relationship he has had with this area, thinking about how his feelings about nature have changed since he was a child and how he can pass on his appreciation of the valley to his "dearest Friend", with whom he is exploring the river valley around the abbey. The specifics of the scene are important to Wordsworth, but their importance is primarily as an inspiration for the more philosophical ideas he presents throughout the poem.
What Wordsworth names and represents as nature is the ruling power working tacitly and harmoniously, reconciling discordant elements, building up the mind and perhaps the cosmos itself.
Wordsworth Lyrical ballads
Blake - Songs of Innocence and Experience
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