Analysis of Poetry of the Romantic Genre

Analysis of Poetry of the Romantic Genre

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Analysis of Poetry of the Romantic Genre

Romanticism was a movement led by a group of 'rebels' in the
eighteenth century who reacted against industrialisation. The main
characteristics of the romantic era were pantheism, the expression of
the beauty of nature, the purity of the people living in the country
living amongst nature, interest in remote lands and the strong feeling
that industrialisation is corrupting nature.

The first poem I shall discuss is 'London' By William Blake. This poem
has a very pessimistic tone about London as he talks about pollution,
how the church is to blame for the injustice to poor people and babies
being born to young prostitutes, 'The youthful harlot's curse blasts
the new-born infants tear'. Blake uses a lot of repetition to create
emphasis and the feeling that there is no escape from the negativity
of London, 'In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice in every ban'. He also uses an oxymoron
'marriage-hearse' to create the image that to every good thing in
London, there is an equally bad, if not worse side to it.

Blake uses imagery of blood of a soldier on the walls of the palace to
create the picture that the palace and government are to blame for the
death of the soldier by sending him to war, 'And the hapless soldier's
sigh Runs in blood down palace walls'. The message in this poem is
very negative and pessimistic and that industrialisation has corrupted
everyone and there is no escape from it. He does this by repeating the
words 'every' and 'cry'.

The rhyming pattern is ABAB and the rhythm is irregular with 8887
syllables in the first verse, 8888 in the second, 7777 in the third
and 8778 in the last verse. This poem is similar to the romantic genre
because it criticises people living in the city and shows strong
feelings against industrialisation, however, there is no nature
mentioned in this poem which differs from the usual trend of the
romantic era.

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A contrasting poem is 'Upon Westminster Bridge by
William Wordsworth.

The second poem I shall discuss is 'Upon Westminster Bridge' by
William Wordsworth. In contrast to 'London', this poem has a very
optimistic tone as he talks about there being nothing better in the
world than the view of London from Westminster Bridge, 'Earth has not
anything to show more fair'. He also says that one must be stupid not
to be impressed by it, 'Dull would he be of soul who could pass by'.
Wordsworth does not use much repetition, only when he says that he had
never seen so much beauty, 'Never did the sun more beautifully steep,
Ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep!'. He uses personification to
exaggerate how quiet the town is at that moment, 'The very houses seem
asleep'.

The message of this poem is quite positive compared to 'London'. Here,
Wordsworth talks about how the countryside looks lovely in the fresh,
clean air and how London and the countryside roll into one, 'Open unto
the fields, and the sky, All bright and glittering in the smokeless
air'. This poem has a very optimistic tone that shows how even the
busiest of towns can be calm and clean. This is typical of the
romantic era because Wordsworth talks about the nature he sees but
also differs because he talks about how nature and industrialisation
can still live together.

The next poem I shall discuss is 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' also
by William Wordsworth. The tone of this poem is again very optimistic
all the way through apart from the first two lines where he talks
about how lonely he is, 'I wandered lonely as a cloud, That floats on
high o'er vales and hills'. The poem has a very relaxed, flowing
feeling, even when he talks about solitude, he still relates this
feeling to pleasant things, such as clouds.

Wordsworth uses quite a lot of personification of the daffodils,
'Tossing their heads in a sprightly dance'. He also uses
personification of his heart, in the last lines, to show what kind of
feeling he experiences when thinking of these daffodils, 'And then my
heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils'. He also
alliteration in these lines to create emphasis and make it stick in
the readers mind. It also sums the poem up. Wordsworth also uses
repetition to make the poem flow and add emphasis to the lines and how
he feels, 'I gazed and gazed - but little thought'.

The rhyming scheme is ABABCC in all four stanzas and also has a
constant rhythm of 8 syllables in every line of the poem. This poem is
typical of the romantic era because the poet talks about nature and
relates to the pantheism expressed in this time as Wordsworth talks
about being close to the clouds which is thought of as being where
heaven is 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'.
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