The Romantic Period in England produced some of the most prolific writers in history including William Wordsworth, William Blake, Samuel T. Coleridge and many others. Fueled by new scientific discoveries, revolutions, and an impending Industrial Age these writers happened to share similar themes. One common theme Romantic writers shared was nature or ecology, specifically in the early years of the Romantic Movement. This romantic motif which celebrates nature appears to be an attack on the negative effects caused by the Industrial age. As the Industrial age progressed scientific developments also rendered certain ways of life obsolete. Railroads and factories made rural life less important and cities began to see an influx of people searching for work. In contrast to previous lifestyles where one could live and work off the land many of these Romantic writers saw this change in lifestyle a threat to nature and by extension their writings became a protest to the growing and impending Industrial Age. The Romantic writers Coleridge and Wordsworth provide examples in their works that defend nature and a more simplistic lifestyle in which it provides against the Industrial age.
Through his letters, essays and poetry William Wordsworth is perhaps the most ardent Romantic poet whose work speaks out against the destruction of nature in the name of industrialism. Concerning specifically his poetry readers can find multiple examples of his favor for nature over industry in his poem, “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”. “With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,/ Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,/….. Therefore let the moon. Shine on thee…” (Wordsworth 331). Here Wordsworth is lashing out at those w...
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...to that silent Sea” of the Pacific (lines 105-106)” (694). Coleridge’s mariner becomes a symbol of the negative consequences caused imperialism to feed the industrial era in which Coleridge lives. The mariner represents nothingness as his crew and purpose leads to the destruction of nature. Without nature the world is nothing.
The scientific discoveries in the Industrial age brought about many changes to the world. It is apparent that Wordsworth and Coleridge acknowledge that these changes were not always positive through their literature. Both “Tintern Abbey” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’s” romantic themes display these negative consequences. While these works of literature did little to halt the industrial age they clearly provide a sense of protest against the destruction of nature and the lifestyle or rural living that the Industrial age destroyed.
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