In this paper, I’m going to compare the two great poets there is in each period that we have study: William Wordsworth as a Romantic poet and Lord Tennyson as a Victorian one. I’m going to compare their life, works and the political and social context in which they were involved because I want to demonstrate why they were the most important poets in their respective time.
William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth in Cumberland, it’s part of the scenic region in north-west England called “The Lake District”. (Victorian web) It is important because as a Romantic poet, the nature that was around him was the inspiration for lots of his poems, in other words, “the magnificent landscape deeply affected Wordsworth’s imagination and gave him a love of nature” (Online-literature) One of his most important poems that show us the importance of nature in his own works is “Lines Composed a few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”(representative poetry online ) In the first twenty four lines we can appreciate the natural beauty and the description of the place. I would say this poem is one of the best that shows the nature as an important element, like a way of run away of the reality, one of the best poems that represents the naturalistic soul and the spirit of romanticism. But we see it deeply later.
But not only the landscape surrounded Wordsworth had an influence in his works. A very important person in his life was his sister. They were separated until their father’s death but in this moment they became totally inseparable. “Dorothy, his sister, became his companion, close friend, moral support, and housekeeper until her physical and mental decline in 1830’s” (Victorian web) We can see her influence in Wordsworth poem “The Sparrow’s Nest”(Wordsworth.org) In the second stanza, at the end when he says:
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
And humble care, and delicate fears;
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
And love and thought and joy.
We can understand there that her sister was who made him love the nature, because she gave him most of the important senses as the eyes and ears. It was like say that she taught him how to see and how to hear the nature. It is like she introduced him to the early ideas of Romanticism.
Apart from nature and family, there were other events that affect Wordsworth’s life and poetry. One example was the French revolution that took place during the Romantic period. He was an enthusiast of the French Revolution because his ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. He described in his masterpiece “The Prelude” what a revolution is:
“[…] twas in truth an honour
Of universal ferment; mildest men
Were agitated; and commotions, strife
Of passion and opinion, filled the walls
Of peaceful horses with unique sounds.
The soil of Common life, was, at that time
Too hot to tread upon” (The Prelude, IX, 163-169) (Marxist.com)
In one of his travels to France he met Annette Vallon and he had an illegitimate daughter Anne Caroline. This affair was basis of the poem “Vandracour and Julia” (bartleby literature) Later, when he saw how many people died in the French Revolution, he became more conservative.
One of his best known works was “Lyricall Ballads” written with Coleridge, another romantic poet who had a big influence on Wordsworth. This work is very important because the poems are some of the most influential in Western literature but what was really important was the preface to the second edition because it is one of the most important testaments to a poets’ view on both his craft and his place in the world. (poets.org) “This work use the language of ordinary people in poetry. It includes his poem “Tintern Abbey”. The work introduced romanticism into England and became a manifesto of romantic...