Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and “Tintern Abbey”

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Wordsworth’s poems initiated the Romantic era by emphasizing feeling, instinct, and pleasure above the formality and mannerism of the preceding neo-classical style. The themes that run through Wordsworth’s poetry and the language and imagery he uses to embody those themes remain consistent throughout most of his works. One of the loveliest and most famous in the Wordsworth canon “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” which addresses the familiar subjects of nature and memory with a particularly simple musical eloquence. Other of his works express these themes in a more complex manner, such as “Tintern Abbey” a monologue which references a specific landscape that the speaker gains access to through the recollection his past experiences with the scene. Although different in structure, both poems embody strong romantic ideals through the use of clever poetry techniques and conventions, with a repeated emphasis on the importance of nature to an individual’s intellectual and spiritual development.

As Romantic poet, Wordsworth had a strong affinity towards the rebellion against the industrial revolution and strove to revert back to the “bliss” of nature. His fascination with the natural world was not so much to do with nature itself, but rather the “divine” power it encompasses and its relationship with the human consciousness. "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" follows the speaker's journey of spiritual and emotional maturity as he learns to appreciate this ‘presence’ that exists only within the natural world. The description of this process is represented by a natural scene where the speaker, plants and the surroundings become united. Before the speaker establishes this connection with nature, he describes a state of solitude, which he likens to wandering “lonely as a cloud”. As he draws upon memories of his childhood experiences with the natural world, the choice of imagery and symbolism in the poem become brighter and more energetic as a reflection of the speaker’s mental...
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