Comparison of Daffodils and the Prelude by Wordsworth

Topics: William Wordsworth, Poetry, Romanticism Pages: 6 (1902 words) Published: October 27, 2008
Comparison of Daffodils and The Prelude by Wordsworth
To Ode to the West Wind by Shelly.

'Romanticism as a literary movement lasted from about 1789 to 1832 and marked a time when rigid ideas about the structure and purpose of society and the universe were breaking down. During this period, emphasis shifted to the importance of the individual's experience in the world and his interpretation of that experience, rather than interpretations handed down by the church or tradition.

Romantic literature is characterized by several features. It emphasized the dream, or inner, world of the individual. The use of imagery was prevalent. There was a growing suspicion of the established church, and a turn toward pantheism Romantic literature emphasized the individual self and the value of the individual's experience. The concept of "the sublime” was introduced. Feeling and emotion were viewed as superior to logic and analysis. All the Romantics were idealist and had yearning for liberty .For the romantics; poetry was believed to be the highest form of literature. This period saw the flowering of some of the greatest poets in English Language, including William Blake, Samuel Taylor, Coleridge, Percy Byssi Shelly and William Wordsworth. William Wordsworth and Shelly are most often described as a "nature" writer. What the word "nature" meant to Wordsworth is, however, a complex issue. On the one hand, Wordsworth was the quintessential poet as naturalist, always paying close attention to details of the physical environment around him (plants, animals, geography, and weather). At the same time, Wordsworth was a self-consciously literary artist. This tension between objective describer of the natural scene and subjective shaper of sensory experience is partly the result of Wordsworth's view of the mind as "creator and receiver both." Wordsworth consistently describes his own mind as the recipient of external sensations which are then rendered into its own mental creations. Such an alliance of the inner life with the outer world is at the heart of Wordsworth's descriptions of nature. Wordsworth's ideas about memory as in Daffodils For oft, when on my couch I lie,

In vacant or in passive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
This is the bliss of solitude:
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.
Wordsworth poems often present an instant when nature speaks to him and he responds by speaking for nature. He has given the most emotional and most impressive account of man’s relation to nature. Thomas Quincey an English essayist and critic rightly say “his passion for nature is fixed in his blood”. If nature is both ‘law and impulse’ for Shelly, it is ‘impulse’ alone for Wordsworth. He conceived, as poet, that nature is alive. It had, he imagined, one living soul which, entering into flower, stream, or mountain, give them a soul of their own as in Daffodils. Wordsworth found in the clouds, hills lakes, and meadows the spiritual stimulus that sough in purely imagery visions. The central theme of opening lines of ‘The Prelude’ is record of that inner life out of which Wordsworth poetry grew. It is a long poem conveying high imagination on the basis of personal experience. The greatest contribution of Wordsworth to the poetry of nature is his unqualified Mysticism. Pantheism, which is the belief that there is no difference between the creator and creation, holds that God is not separate from the world, but manifested in it. This idea was popular among romantics. For example, Wordsworth writes in his poem "The Prelude” Oh there is blessing in this gentle breeze,

A Visitant that while it fans my cheek.
In these lines soft and mild breeze is a divine gift to make Wordsworth happy. It is a holy visitor that caresses his cheeks. In Daffodils for example, "a host" of daffodils, suggests perhaps a congregation of angels. Such description creates a feeling of nature as a Utopia. All...
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