"The Natural World is often a source of joy and wonder for the child;
it can also cause fear and guilt"
William Wordsworth was born in Cumberland near the Lake District in
1770. He was educated at Hawkshead and later at St John's College
Cambridge. Wordsworth was one of the first "Romantic" poets in that he
portrayed a romantic view of nature. Wordsworth aimed to use "a
selection of the language really used by men" in his poems. He became
Poet Laureate in 1843 and then died in 1850.
Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland. He studied
at Queen's University and then went on to teach at St Joseph's College
Belfast. He was awarded the Noble prize for literature in 1995.
Both poets write about their childhood experiences. Although
Wordsworth wrote in the 18th century and Heaney over two hundred years
later both wrote many poems which are based on rural themes. Heaney,
like Wordsworth, uses detailed and precise descriptions of his
The two poems I have chosen to examine are "Death of a Naturalist" by
Heaney and "Nutting" by Wordsworth. Both show that nature has a dark,
frightening side and that it is not always pleasant and cheerful.
"Nutting" begins with Wordsworth going to collect nuts on " one of
those heavenly days that cannot die" but the poem ends with images of
gloom and despondency. "Death of a Naturalist" begins with Heaney
retelling his memories of collecting frogspawn; however, near the end
guilt and fear are experienced by the child.
The title "Death of a Naturalist" shows the poem is about the ugly
side of nature and suggests that Heaney was indeed a naturalist and
... middle of paper ...
...h's tremendous respect and honour for nature as it
suggests that he feels nothing should be done to harm nature. The word
"mutilated" shows how dreadful of a deed the boy feels he has done.
The boy returns home " rich beyond the wealth of kings" but yet he
feels a great sense of pain as the "silent trees" rebuked him for what
he had done. He felt so strongly about this that he warned others to
be respectful of nature as "there is a spirit in the woods".
Both poems reveal that nature provides great joy and pleasure as well
as guilt and fear. In both poems the fear and guilt are caused by the
mind of the young boys and not by nature. I preferred Heaney's poem,
as the experience described was something very real that I could
identify with. He uses simple and effective language that invokes many
of the reader's senses.
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