A Comparison of Blake, Wordsworth and Keats

Topics: Romanticism, Poetry, Romantic poetry Pages: 6 (2564 words) Published: April 19, 2006
A Comparison of Blake, Wordsworth and Keats

William Blake, John Keats and William Wordsworth all believe in the "depth" of the world and the possibilities of the human heart. However, each poet looks towards different periods in time to capture meaning in life. Blake looks towards the future for his inspiration, Keats towards the present and Wordsworth towards the past. Regardless of where each poet looks for their inspiration they are all looking for the same thing; timeless innocence. Each poet sought to transcend time by creating works that dealt with life, death, hope and imagination and to discover some kind of deep truth or meaning in existence. Life and death is an issue that we will all have to deal with at some point in our life and like all Romantics they sought to give it meaning. To say that Blake looked towards the future in his poetry would be correct but would not be entirely accurate. Yes, Blake did look towards the future but more specifically he looked at the change of a person's soul from innocence to experience. Blake was most interested in the maturing process that one's goes through in life as they grow older. The growth from the naïve and innocent lamb to the sophisticated and experienced tiger is what we will eventually have to happen if we hope to survive in the world of experience. Blake sees the move from innocence to experience similarly to the encroachment of the city into nature. Whereas nature would seem to be its own all encompassing world he understands that the city is not and eventually it will intrude on the country life regardless of whether it is ready for it or not. Blake uses this encroachment as metaphor for how the world of experience moves in on the child during adolescents. Though experience is often harsh, cold and violent it is a nessesary evil and it is a necessary balance to innocence. Blake was not born wealthy and thus has a very realist outlook on life and understands that it is a sink or swim kind of world. The past can never be changed, and for those on the bottom level of the social ladder the present can be quite harsh. Looking toward the future is a natural way for Blake to approach poetry because looking ahead is what he has always done. He knows that eventually we will all move to the world of experience if we want to survive and that is why he looks towards the future. Unlike Blake, William Wordsworth was born into an affluent family and was formally educated from the age of eight when he was sent to Hawkshead after his mother's death. Wordsworth finds himself looking toward the past to escape the troubled present and to gain back some of the happiness that he used to have when he was a child. His concern is that of the loss of one's inner child and the lack of purity of happiness that a child has. Wordsworth's accepts the fact that he is experienced now and that he can never fully return to the "lamb" but he believes that by reconnecting with his memories and nature he could comfort himself. Nature was the most influential form of creative inspiration for Wordsworth, as he would venture out on walks for days or weeks since the time he was a teenager. He believed that there was more wisdom contained in the music of a woodland linnet than there was in any book. The wisdom that Wordsworth found so appealing in nature was the same wisdom that he found in a youthful child that was not yet turned into a tiger. Wordsworth believed that nature reflected the innocent ignorance of a child that knew nothing of hate and fear but knew only of peace and love and was one with its surroundings. Wordsworth did not believe that Science could teach a person as much as nature because "our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things… [and] we murder to dissect". The notion of killing something that one wanted to learn more about troubled Wordsworth and left him, at best skeptical about the Sciences. He believed that watching life spontaneously occur in the woods...
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