Three Poems by William Wordsworth

Three Poems by William Wordsworth

Length: 1884 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Three Poems by William Wordsworth

Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, England, to John, a prominent aristocrat, and Anne Wordsworth. With his mother's death in 1778, William and his family began to drift apart. William was sent to boarding school in Hawkeshead, and his sister, Dorothy, was sent to live with cousins in Halifax. It was in the rural surroundings of Hawkeshead that William learned his appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Unfortunately, the peacefulness of his life was disturbed by his father's death in 1783. William was sent from relative to relative, all of whom thought of him only as a burden. It has been pointed out by biographers that Wordsworth's unhappy early life contrasts with the idealized portrait of childhood that he presents in his writings (DISCovering).
Wordsworth went to college at St. John's College in Cambridge and later wrote that the highlight of those years was his walking tour of France and Switzerland taken with his friend, Robert Jones (Grolier). He graduated in 1791 when the French revolution was in its third year, but although he had showed no prior interest, he quickly supported the Revolution's goals. After Wordsworth was forced to flee France he became involved with the studies of philosopher William Godwin; Godwin became one of the most inveterate influences on Wordsworth's thought (Compton's). In 1793, Wordsworth published his first two volumes of poetry, Descriptive Sketches and An Evening Walk. Written in the traditional manner, the books were not accepted well publicly, but, after the death of a relative Wordsworth became the benefactor of a small inheritance which enabled him to concentrate on writing (Compton's). Feeling that he needed a change of scenery to devote more time to his poetry, William moved in with his sister in Racetown. Dorothy's devotion to her brother was a tremendous contribution to his success; she encouraged his writing and looked after their daily life (Wordsworth, William DISCovering). The single most influential person in William's apprenticeship, though, was Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Critics view their friendship as one of the most remarkable in English literature (Matlak 86). It was when Wordsworth moved to Nether Stowey to be near Coleridge that he began a period of remarkable creativity. Together they published Lyrical Ballads, an anonymously published collection of poems written, for the most part, by Wordsworth, including the illustrious preface.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Three Poems by William Wordsworth." 123HelpMe.com. 08 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=123751>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Romanticism By William Wordsworth And Coleridge Essay example

- Romanticism could arguably be the most definitive artistic movement of the late 1700’s. The influence of this period was felt across continents and through every artistic influence in the mid- nineteenth century, and as a result, many of its morals and beliefs can be seen in contemporary poetry. It is thought that the romantic era began towards the end of the 18th century, at which point the French Revolution was taking place, and became less popular towards the 1850’s. Romanticism was characterised by its emphasis on emotion and individualism, as well as having a huge focus on nature from the likes of William Wordsworth and Coleridge....   [tags: Romanticism, William Wordsworth]

Research Papers
1476 words (4.2 pages)

Analysis Of Tintern Abbey By William Wordsworth Essay examples

- Your Life is In Your Hands (Three Messages from the Poem Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth) Exploration of the philosophical part of life has been a very common thing for poets in the past. They love to play mind tricks through their poems that have a deeper meaning of life. They always try to play it off in some simple word play, but there is actually an insanely deeper meaning to the poem. Nine times out of ten it deals with life in some way. It usually will try to teach a lesson of some sort, or maybe even give some insight to how you should treat life....   [tags: Meaning of life, Mind, William Wordsworth]

Research Papers
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on William Wordsworth : An Influential Poet Of His Era

- William Wordsworth is considered one of the most influential poets of his era. He helped lay the foundation of the Romantic Age in English Literature. Focusing his talent in poetry, he became one of the most known English Romantic poets. William was a well-educated and travel man who brought his life experiences, joys and tragedies into his work. Born to John and Ann Wordsworth, William was born on April 7, 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England. He was the second born of five children, three brothers and one sister....   [tags: William Wordsworth, Romanticism]

Research Papers
1116 words (3.2 pages)

Analysis Of ' The Quintessence Of Romanticism ' By William Wordsworth And Samuel Coleridge

- Era of Imagination My initial perception of Romanticism was a period of love for another individual. During my research, I learned that it was not love for an individual, but the love of nature, freedom, and imagination. “The quintessence of Romanticism is perhaps best revealed by setting forth its concepts of the Imagination-what it is, what it is not, how it functions, and why it is of greatest importance in human life” (Bernbaum 323). Romanticism is a style of art and literature during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries....   [tags: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth]

Research Papers
1399 words (4 pages)

Sonnets and Poems of Wordsworth and Milton Essay

- Sonnets and Poems of Wordsworth and Milton Sonnets are poems that have fourteen lines that usually have a recognized rhyming scheme. A sonnet generally has two sections; with the first section normally having eight lines and the second section having six. The rhythm in each line of the sonnet can also apply with sonnet traditions and the syllables (which is counted in feet) can define which tradition it is - French, Italian or English. Sonnets were commonly written in the sixteenth to eighteenth century and often written to express emotions of happiness, sadness, and love or written for someone in particular by request....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1178 words (3.4 pages)

Wordsworth 's Tintern Abbey During The Romantic Era Essay

- Morrison 1Kristen MorrisonDean FeldmanIntroduction to Humanities23 April 2016William Wordsworth’s Tintern AbbeyWilliam Wordsworth wrote Tintern Abbey during the romantic era. This era seemed tobe all about nature, with an interest of gothic. Many of the authors of this time frame wrotelyrical poems, talking about deep emotions and interest of the past. The term romanticism alsoincluded the power of imagination and the love of nature. In this poem, William Wordsworth istalking about it as if it were in the past and he was looking back on a memory....   [tags: William Wordsworth, Romanticism]

Research Papers
715 words (2 pages)

William Wordsworth Reflecting On Past Essay

- William Wordsworth Reflecting On Past Envision five years from now. Driving through the streets, where you drove your old friends to places you remember listening to the radio, looking at the stores that once were your favorite hangouts, cruising through your common shortcuts. Clearly you will have remembered great memories and sad ones, and when you come back, both memories will come again at the places where they had happened....   [tags: Wordsworth Poem Poetry]

Free Essays
1785 words (5.1 pages)

A Lacanian Study of Motherhood in the Poems of William Wordsworth Essay

- William Wordsworth was a prolific poet of the Romantic movement, perhaps best known for publishing Lyrical Ballads with friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1798. These poems were written in what Wordsworth described as a ‘common tongue’ with a focus on themes often found in Romantic poetry, such as the pastoral, the mythical, fragmentation, heroism and satire. In Lyrical Ballads one recurring subject almost unique to Wordsworth in its passion and persistence is that of motherhood....   [tags: Poetry Analysis]

Research Papers
1983 words (5.7 pages)

Critical Analysis of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge Essay

- Critical Analysis of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge spearheaded a philosophical writing movement in England in the late 18th and early 19th century. Although Wordsworth and S.T. Coleridge are often considered the fathers of the English Romantic movement, their collective theologies and philosophies were often criticized but rarely taken serious by the pair of writers due to their illustrious prestige as poets. The combined effort in the Lyrical Ballads catapulted their names into the mainstream of writers in 1798 and with this work; they solidified their place in English literature....   [tags: essays research wordsworth coleridge papers]

Research Papers
2505 words (7.2 pages)

Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth and London by William Blake

- Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth and London by William Blake Upon Westminster Bridge was written by William Wordsworth on September 3rd 1802. William Blake wrote London between 1757 and 1827. Both poems are about London, but they have very different views of the city. Wordsworth sees the good about the city and doesn't pick up any negatives. Blake however expresses a negative feeling and shows how it is felt by all. Wordsworth was the son of a lawyer called John Wordsworth. His father was the personal attorney of the Earl of Lonsdale, the most powerful and hated man in the area....   [tags: Westminster Wordsworth London Blake Essays]

Research Papers
1813 words (5.2 pages)

Using the principles that he set in the Preface, Wordsworth focused his poetry on subjects of "humble and rustic life" (Compton's).
In 1802, Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson and Sir George Beaumont. Beaumont expedited the publication of The Poems in 1807. In this book of poems, Wordsworth demonstrated his fantastic ability to create natural or pastoral settings and to add mysticism to ordinary events. Familiar with human psychology, he pointed out the influence of the childhood memories on adult outlooks, this is seen best in the famous quote, "The child is father of the man (McCracken 167)."
Wordsworth continued to write during his later years, but his career is generally viewed as a decline after 1810 (Matlak 63). In 1814 he wrote The Excursion and The Poems, in 1815, came the three narrative poems: "The White Doe of Rylstone," "Peter Bell," and "The Waggoner." Yarrow Revisited and Other Poems, written in 1835, and The Sonnets of William Wordsworth, written in 1838, were both accepted well publicly and Wordsworth's sonnets were compared with those of Shakespeare and Milton (DISCovering). He was given honorary degrees from the University of Durham and Oxford University, and in 1843, he became poet laureate. He retired to Rydal in 1848 and died in 1850.
William Wordsworth is widely considered one of the most influential English romantic poets. In the preface of his book, Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798, Wordsworth declared that poetry should contain language really used by men. This idea, and many of his others, challenged the old eighteenth-century idea of formal poetry and, therefore, he changed the course of modern poetry (DISCovering).
William Wordsworth was simple, true to nature, and descriptive. He is often referred to as the "poet of nature" (Compton's). There are two central themes in the majority of Wordsworth's poems: childhood and its influence on man, and an attitude of "back to nature." These themes are seen in the poems "My Heart Leaps Up," "Anecdote for Fathers," and "Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey."
Both themes are seen clearly in "My Heart Leaps Up." This poem truly expresses the themes of William Wordsworth's poetry. The speaker is a man stating of his desire to be close to nature everyday of his life. The speaker is saying he will not live a life that is not close to nature, and he wishes everyday of his life to be "bound by natural piety." This means that he wishes everyday to be filled with the piety of nature.
"My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
The simplicity of Wordsworth's writings enables the reader to see clearly his thoughts on children and nature. The paradox seen in, "The Child is father of the Man," tells the reader that a child's view of nature is different from that of an adult's. A child's innocence enables it to see nature in all of its beauty and splendor, while an adult views the wonders of nature as commonplace. The pastoral setting and "back to nature" theme are clear and distinct in the poem. The first two lines, "My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky," personify Wordsworth's feelings on nature. His heart "leaps," which means that he feels a certain joy when he beholds the beauty of nature, and the rainbow symbolizes that beauty. Nature has been a constant throughout the speakers life, as it has been through William's. The speaker knows that nature will always be there, and should he somehow lose it, he will die. The last line two lines of the poem say all of Wordsworth's thoughts on nature, The speaker is found wishing that his "days [be] bound each to each by natural piety." If it were for him to decide, everyday would revert to the day when man lived in harmony with nature. Although, nature is not the only theme seen in this poem, the line most often quoted in Wordsworth's poetry is, "The Child is father of the Man." Familiar with human psychology, Wordsworth articulates that a child is able to see nature and all its glory with a newer and brighter perspective, while an adult sees nature only as the environment around him. Wordsworth's own life exemplifies what is seen in his poetic themes.
Wordsworth's themes are seen, as well in "Anecdote for Fathers." The poem, "Anecdote for Fathers," appeared in Wordsworth's famous collection of poems, Lyrical Ballads and is an archetypal Wordsworth poem (McCracken 114).
I have a boy of five years old;
His face is fair and fresh to see;
His limbs are cast in beauty's mould
And dearly he loves me

One mourn we strolled on our dry walk,
Our quiet home all full in view,
And held such intermitted talk,
As we are wont to do.

My thoughts on former pleasures ran;
I thought of Kilve's delightful shore,
Our pleasant home when spring began,
A long, long year before.

A day it was when I could bear
Some fond regrets to entertain;
With so much happiness to spare,
I could not feel a pain.

The green earth echoed to the feet
Of lambs that bounded through the glade
From shade to sunshine, and as fleet
From sunshine back to shade.

Birds warbled round me-and each trace
Of inward sadness had its charm;
Kilve, I thought, is a favoured place,
And so is Liswyn farm.

My boy beside me tripped, so slim
And graceful in his rustic dress!
And, as we talked, I questioned him
In very idleness.

"Now tell me, had you rather be,"
I said, and took him by the arm,
"On Kilve's smooth shore, by the green sea,
Or here at Liswyn farm?"

In careless mood he looked at me,
While still I held him by the arm,
And said, "At Kilve I'd rather be
Than here at Liswyn farm."

"Now, little Edward, say why so:
My little Edward tell me why."-
"I cannot tell I do not know."-
"Why this is strange," said I.

"For here are woods, hills smooth and warm:
There surely must some reason be
Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm
For Kilve by the green sea."

At this, my boy hung down his head,
He blushed with shame nor made reply;
And three times to the child I said,
"Why, Edward, tell me why?"

His head he raised-there was in sight,
It caught his eye, he saw it plain-
Upon the house-top, glittering bright,
A broad and gilded vane.

Then did the boy his tongue unlock,
And eased his mind with this reply:
"At Kilve there was no weathercock;
And that's the reason why."

O dearest, dearest boy! my heart
For better lore would seldom yearn,
Could I but teach the hundredth part
Of what from thee I learn.

The poem contains both of his central themes of "The Child is father of the Man," as well as the "back to nature" outlook on life. When one reads the poem one can see clearly the bucolic setting and lifestyle as well as the influence the child had on the father, who is the speaker in this poem? The simple vocabulary that Wordsworth uses in this poem paints a vivid picture of Liswyn farm and Kilve. The fifth stanza of this poem presents a pictorial description of the setting: "The green earth echoed to the feet of lambs that bounded through the glade, from shade to sunshine, and as fleet from sunshine back to shade." The words "rustic" and "dry" are also used to engrave a beautiful country setting in the reader's mind. The modesty of the poem, though, is soon destroyed by the ambiguous ending. Wordsworth uses imagery to make the reader feel the beauty of both homes. It seems the boy wishes to stay in Kilve because, there, he feels closer to nature and did not need a weathercock to connect him to it. Whereas at Liswyn farm, although it too is close to nature, the boy felt that his only connection was through the vane. One can also see the simple adjectives used to describe Kilve's "pleasant" and "delightful" shore, and "favoured" Liswyn Farm. The last stanza of the poem connects to "My Heart Leaps Up" and the concept that "the Child is father of the Man," The father says, "O dearest, dearest boy! My heart for better lore would seldom years, could I but teach the hundredth part of what from thee I learn." The father feels like he has been born again through his son and he has learned how his view of nature has been tarnished with years of life. Once again, Wordsworth wrote a poem that effectively expressed his view on nature and the influence of the child. He has simply described the beauty of nature, and he has proven that the Child innocence is truly sometimes father of the Man.
Wordsworth's "return to nature" theme is seen strongly in the poem "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" (DISCovering). "Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" contributed the most to Lyrical Ballads, and was arguably the greatest work that Wordsworth had ever published (Compton's). One of his strongest poems, it explores the relationship between nature and eternity. Tintern Abbey is found in Monmouthshire, England, and was founded in 1131 by the Cistercian monks of France. The speaker is a man who has returned to Tintern Abbey and is exploring the relationship between nature and immortality. Wordsworth uses many literary devices to describe the setting of Tintern Abbey and the feelings of the speaker. In lines two through four, he uses aural imagery to describe the sound of water, "of five long winters! And again I hear these waters, rolling from their mountain springs with a soft inland murmur." Words like rolling, soft, and murmur all describe the sounds of water and provide a soothing feeling for the reader. Then, in lines ten through eighteen he uses visual imagery to paint the beautiful picture of a rural scene:
"Here under this dark sycamore, and view these plots
of cottage-ground, these orchard tufts, with their
unripe fruits, are clad in one green hue, and lose
themselves 'mid groves and copses. Once again I see these
hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines of sportive
wood run will: these pastoral farms, green to the very
door; and wreaths of smoke sent up in silence, from among
the trees!"
Wordsworth uses a simile to present his thoughts on the setting, "these beauteous forms, through a long absence, have not been to me as is a landscape to a blind man's eye." The blind man is a contrast to the speaker who has seen the beauty of the land and can re-create it in his memory. Lines thirty-six to forty-nine describe the transcendental feeling Wordsworth finds in nature, "of kindness and of love...We see into the life of things." This poem varies from the first two because it connects nature to the spirit of Man. Wordsworth once said that he hoped the poem's "transitions" and its "impassioned music of the versification" would make it sound like an ode (McCracken 89). In the poem the speaker, who is Wordsworth himself, is returning to Tintern Abbey after five years, "five summers with five long winters, and he is remembering the beautiful scene. He thinks of how the landscape played an important role in his life for the preceding five years. Then he describes how he spent time playing in nature without really thinking about it. This, of course, is one of Wordsworth's major themes. Finally, he addresses the poem to his sister Dorothy so he could share the grand sense of nature to which his meditation is an attestation. This poem best expresses Wordsworth's themes because he is the speaker in the poem and we can directly connect the ideas conveyed in it to him. The country setting so well described in the poem is enough to make anyone crave a life closer to nature. Wordsworth also tells us how he played and lived in this beautiful scene as a child without really knowing what he was experiencing; as a child, he simply enjoyed the nature around him.
The three poems discussed above, as well as a majority of Wordsworth's others, all had certain themes in common: the idea of "back to nature," and the influence childhood and the child have on the adult. He utilizes his simple diction and splendid use of literary devices to paint pictures of rural scenes; he writes for the unpretentious man. These and his fresh ideas on poetry are what make him the single most influential poet of the English Romantic era and an unforgettable legend.
Return to 123HelpMe.com