16 April 2013
The Dominating Themes of Nature and Nostalgia
The Romantic Period began in the late 18th century and emphasized everything that the previous age had not. Romantic ideals that focused on the heart over the head and the natural man over the civilized man influenced the literary works of the Romantic Era. Themes of nostalgia and nature dominated the works of William Wordsworth, William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley. These two themes go hand in hand when interpreting romantic poetry, with the development of the hectic industrial cities many poets longed for the simplicity that nature had to offer. Poems such as Wordsworth’s “Resolution and Independence”, Coleridge’s “The Dungeon” and Shelley’s “To Night” embody the themes of nature and reminiscence.
William Wordsworth is said to be one of the most influential poets of the Romantic Era. Wordsworth’s religion of nature was influenced by his childhood, growing up in the Lake District of northwestern England and through his travels to foreign countries. “Resolution and Independence” was written in 1802, roughly four years into the Romantic Period. The poem is about a man walking through the countryside after a night of rain, he reflects on the livelihood of the creatures that surround him and initially share their joy until his mind wanders to the dejection he feels for what man has become. He comes across an old man, who he envies because his job is to collect leeches for medical purposes. The traveller envies the old man because he gets to work in nature. The theme of nature is prevails in this poem as well as the theme of nostalgia. Wordsworth writes “The birds are singing in the distant woods; over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods; the Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; and all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.” Wordsworth describes the sounds of nature that the traveler hears, clearly showing his appreciation of nature...