William Wordsworth was born April 7, 1770, at Cockermouth in Cumberland, England. His poetry, and especially his poems on solitude, must have been heavily influenced by the death of his mother and the splitting up of his family when he was only eight (Kilvert 1). At that time, fate sent him to live in Hawkshead, England, where his teacher started him writing poetry. Wordsworth got his higher education at Cambridge, his memories of which play a part in his later poetry (Noyes 201). Fate again stepped in when, as a young man, he received an inheritance, which gave him the freedom to study literature. One might guess that this is when he first became part of the Romantic movement, (Pinion, 21).
The poetry of William Wordsworth beautifully displays the characteristic themes of English Romanticism. Wordsworth's poems express basic feelings and soaring emotions, idealize the simplicity of rural life, portray the glories of nature, and give flight to the imagination, with bold symbols, colorful imagery and high ideals. It is perhaps, the simple expression of feelings which most clearly underlies Romanticism (Pinion 22). Nowhere is raw, uncomplicated feeling better put in words than in Wordsworth's poems. There developed what has been called his "visionary imagination." His collections of poetry include "Lyrical Ballads," "The Prelude," and "The Excursion." The beautiful poetry of Wordsworth is a good example of English Romanticism. Four characteristics of romantic poetry are: putting strong feelings into words (Abrams,145); using the power of imagination (Pinion, 142ff); showing the joy of solitude (Abrams, 74); and giving a sense of the supernatural or the strange (Bush, 44). I have chosen to discuss a poem ...
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...ur past happiness, rather than feeling sad. Happy memories make being alone a joy. We have only to close our eyes and think of the most beautiful sights we have ever seen. It is noteworthy that the golden daffodils are seen as gleeful and are "jocund company." They bring joy and happiness to the lonely poet, and it is the happiness that he remembers. With the gift of memory, his heart may even "dance" with the flowers. Now, his solitude is not just bearable, but full of pleasure.
Thus, Wordsworth's poems show characteristics of romantic poetry, in general. Two of the themes almost come together into one-- the joy of solitude and the power of imagination. The third theme of the super natural gives a strange quality to some of the poems. However, the fourth theme, the strong expression of feeling, is most important and, in a way, includes all of the other themes.
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