Green Romanticism Mid-Term Poems

Home Alone – Dorothy Wordsworth
Author laments WW’s departure on a trip, resolves to keep a journal while he’s gone. Goes into nature to calm herself.

A Leech Gatherer – Dorothy Wordsworth
Author and WW meet a leech gatherer & speculate on his ethnicity. He explains the current difficulties of his trade.

A Woman Beggar – Dorothy Wordsworth
Depiction of a female beggar and her husband. Woman told her about tragic past & 1st and 2nd husbands.

A Field of Daffodils – Dorothy Wordsworth
• Depiction of the scene that inspired WW’s “I wandered lonely as a cloud.
• Detailed; speculated that seeds had been washed ashore. Found the scene “beautiful”
• Personified daffodils: “some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed & reeled & danced & seems as if they verily laughed”

I wandered lonely as a cloud – William Wordsworth
• Iambic tetrameter, ABABCC rhyme scheme
• Focus on endlessness (comparison to stars), boundlessness of daffodils
• Flowers personified extensively, especially as “dancing”
• Ends with author indoors, thinking back to the scene (“flash upon that inward eye”). Brings him the “bliss of solitude;” idea that in nature, one can be alone but not lonely.

The Prelude, Book I: “Introduction, Childhood, and School time” – William Wordsworth
• WW looks back on his childhood and examines the origins of his imagination.
• Remembers boyhood activities such as swimming “as a naked savage,” “night-wanderings,” stealing a boat and feeling remorse upon the presence of a cliff, playing in the winter
• Appreciates the major role that nature played in his “education”
• Explains that, through the rest of The Prelude, he will detail his life as a poet through a lens of nature

The Prelude, Book VI: “Traveling in the Alps, Simplon Pass” – William Wordsworth
• WW expresses his fascination with geometric patterns in nature
• Fantasy-like descriptions of rural/natural France
• Monastery: survived natural storm, but could it survive a political one?
• Crossing Alps with friend: finding out that they had, in fact, crossed, was anticlimactic; philosophizes on imagination, effort, anticipation.
• WW observes the unity of all things

The Prelude, Book XI: “The Imagination Restored by Nature, and Spots of Time” – William Wordsworth
• Predominantly iambic pentameter; no rhyme
• WW addresses brooks, groves; laments that he lacks “a music and a voice as harmonious as your own.” Although he is human, with particular skill for using language, he still believes that he is not capable of thanking nature.
• Story #1: was horseback riding, got separated, came to site of a murder.
• Language is limited in what it can express, bring to life.
• Story #2: WW returned home from school for Christmas, very excited. Father died 10 days later. Nature restored.

The Prelude, Book VII: “Residence in London” – William Wordsworth
• Expresses amazement with the realization that everyone who passes by on the streets of London has an identity, a story.
• Encounters blind beggar; somehow represented all of man’s knowledge
• Describes Bartholomew Fair; like “infernal” circus sideshow ? humans are made trivial, undistinguishable en masse
• Nature gives a sense of majesty, grandeur that cannot be found through everyday human life; changing scenes in nature provoke thought. Spirit of Nature = Soul of Beauty.

Elegiac Stanzas suggested by a picture of Peele Castle – William Wordsworth
• Iambic pentameter; ABAB rhyme scheme
• WW looking at a painting of Peele Castle, a castle near which he lived for many summers. Always saw it in a pleasant light.
• Describes how he would have painted the picture (pleasantly, blissful summer)
• Undertones of death present (unnatural silence, Elysian quiet)
• Doesn’t see the castle in the same way anymore
• This distress “humanized” him.
• Sight of the castle reminds him of his brother, lost at sea
• Reconciles grief, finds closure; mourning is full of hope, connects him to other human beings. He will not become like the castle.

London, 1802 – William Wordsworth
• Sonnet! Mostly iambic pentameter; heroic couplets.
• Addresses Milton (Paradise Lost). Tells him that England needs him.
• Lists vices of London: Altar (religion), sword (the military), pen (literature), and fireside (the home) have lost the capability for “inward happiness.” They need manners, virtue, freedom, power from the pure Milton.

The world is too much with us – William Wordsworth
• Sonnet
• “Getting and spending,” humans waste their abilities.
• We are out of tune with nature; “It moves us not”
• Speaker “would rather be a pagan” and experience old, nature-based religion.

Composed on Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 – William Wordsworth
• Sonnet
• WW marvels at the beauty, majesty of a morning in London.
• Brings him a deep sense of calm.
• Unique personification of the sun, river as male (“his”)

On reading Wordsworth’s Lines on Peele Castle – Mary Shelley
• Iambic tetrameter, ABAB rhyme scheme
• Speaker responds to WW’s poem; also cannot look at the sea in the same way after losing her husband, Percy Shelley.
• The sea bids her toward death. Calm sea ? sees images of him.
• Does not find closure; weeps in solitude, fears the coming years.

And Did those feet in ancient times (Jerusalem) – William Blake
• Iambic tetrameter; ABCB rhyme scheme
• Speaker questions, in elevated sermon tone, there was ever heaven in England (if God is present, if London is divine); this heavenly picture contrasts with the “dark Satanic Mills” of the Industrial Revolution.
• “Bring me my bow of burning gold!” Figurative call to arms to improve England, to bring it back to its potentially once heavenly state through an unrelenting “mental fight.”

Introduction to Songs of Innocence – William Blake
• Trochees, plus an extra stressed syllable at the end of each line; ABAB rhyme scheme.
• Speaker expresses that he was told by a child on a cloud to write these happy poems that children would enjoy.
• Emphasis on “piping,” pen is “hollow reed;” implies sing-song nature of these poems.

The Ecchoing Green – William Blake
• Mostly five syllables per line; couplets.
• A day on the “green” recorded; from dusk till dawn.
• Nature makes everything happy; children playing, old folks reminiscing. Night comes: people gather “like birds in their nest.”

The Lamb – William Blake
• Question and answer format; like Catechism
• In a circular manner, equates lambs, children, and God/Jesus.

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence) – William Blake
• Dactyl (each line beginning with an extra unstressed syllable); couplets in quatrains.
• Little boy chimney sweeper briefly tells how he came to his current state, then tells about his friend Tom.
• After crying about his head being shaved, Tom had a dream that an Angel came and unlocked the coffins of three other young sweepers, who emerged “naked and white;” Tom awoke happy after the angel told him that if he were good, he would “have God as his father and never want joy.”

Holy Thursday – William Blake
• Iambic heptameter; couplets. Structure of a childrens’ story.
• Tells of masses of children (orphans) following beadles to service at St. Paul’s.
• “Multitudes of lambs;” though when they sing it is a “mighty wind.”
• The children are like angels admonishing adults to “cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door”
• Refers to the caretakers of London not doing their jobs well.

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Experience) – William Blake
• Approx. 8 syllables per line; couplets.
• Little boy weeping in the snow; states that because he appears happy, his parents believe that they have done him no wrong by making him a chimney sweep.
• Message is against the false comfort brought by religion.

London – William Blake
• Iambic tetrameter; ABAB rhyme scheme.
• Extremely negative picture of London.
• All people woeful; the human mind shackles itself.
• Refers to children/workers (chimney sweepers), the Church of England’s moral evil, the military, and
• Young prostitutes, babies blinded by STDs, death caused by marriage.

A Mother to her Waking Infant – Joanna Baillie
• Iambic tetrameter; AABBCC rhyme scheme.
• Mother addresses baby; philosophizes upon why she loves the baby so much, because she recognizes so many reasons why she should not love the baby.
• Baby is helpless, rattles her with its plaints, not bothered by others’ distress.
• Presents unconventional perspective for a woman of her day; speaker does not care for her child without question.

London – Joanna Baillie
• Iambic pentameter; frequent but disorganized rhymes.
• No specific speaker; passive voice used.
• Begins with very positive image of London.
• Attitude completely changes in the presence of smog; cathedral is seen as sublime, disconnected.
• Tells of a traveller who comes upon a hill and view London: sees “the flood of human life in motion” and is simultaneously sad but pleased. An eternity of “restless man” evokes “Thoughts mingled, melancholy, undefined.”

Bright Star – John Keats
• Sonnet (Iambic pentameter, ABAB)
• Addressing steadfast star, who watches a very personified Earth
• Includes many religious references (water is priestlike, performing ablutions)
• Switches focus to lover’s breath

“To Fanny Brawne” – John Keats
• Love letter: “You take possession of me”
• Two luxuries to think about during walks: “your loveliness and the hour of my death.” Wants both at the same time.
• Addresses her as fair star (‘imagine you Venus and pray to your star like a heathen’)

“To George and Georgiana Keats” – John Keats
• Black eye playing cricket
• On laziness
• All creatures are the similar in that they have intentions and they go about activities; different from WW’s idea of humans as one in their specialness.
• “Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced”
• Man cannot escape the forces of nature any more than flowers or animals can
• System of salvation: intelligence, the human heart, and the world/elemental space ? through which is identity made?

Ode to a Nightingale – John Keats
• Shakespearean quatrain + Petrarchan sestet
• In drunken/drugged stupor
• Not jealous of the bird’s happiness, just of how much it shows off how happy it is.
• Speaker wants to forget the woes of the human world, which the nightingale has never had to deal with
• He will join the nightingale in its happiness through poetry
• Recognizes that the bird’s song is more natural than his own. It is immortal and has transcended the ages, even different worlds.

When I have fears – John Keats
• Sonnet
• Speaker discusses his thoughts upon having fears that he will die before he has penned famous works
• Will stand alone in the world until he has achieved written goals and seen his love again.

On the Grasshopper and the Cricket – John Keats
• Sonnet
• “The poetry of Earth is never dead”
• Grasshopper enjoys life in the summer
• We still hear the cricket in the winter and it reminds us of summer.

The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem – Samuel Coleridge
• Blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter)
• “In nature there is nothing melancholy.” Speaker states that people only think some sounds/sights in nature are sad because they associate them with sad, human-caused things in their own lives.
• The poet tries to be one with nature in his poetry so that he can share nature’s immortality through fame.
• Tells about a multitude of nightingales by a castle; personifies them.
• Tells story of taking his crying baby son outside to listen to the nightingale. Wants son to associate the nighttime with joy due to these memories/sounds.

On being cautioned against walking on a headland overlooking the sea, because it was frequented by a lunatic – Charlotte Smith
• Sonnet
• Describes a man who spends time on a cliff by the sea, muttering to himself and looking down at the surf
• Speaker is jealous of him because he does not know “the depth or duration of his woe.”

The Mores – John Clare
• Iambic pentameter; couplets
• Very little punctuation; most lines are enjambed
• Describes the vast, free mores of his boyhood.
• Now, the enclosure movement has taken over this space.
• “Little tyrants” took over the mores, putting signs up so that even the birds are restricted in where they can go.
• “Birds and trees and flowers with out a name”. . . “Have found too truly that they were but dreams.

To A Fallen Elm – John Clare
• Iambic pentameter, disorganized rhymes (some couplets, some ABAB, some standalone)
• Speaker describes the elm tree that was steadfast throughout his boyhood.
• Uses lots of imagery surrounding sound, language. “Such was thy ruin, music-making elm.”
• “Friend not inanimate”
• “Thou owned a language by which hearts are stirred / Deeper than a feeling clothed in word.” The emotions evoked by the tree are deeper than those evoked by poetry.
• People insisting on enclosure “bawl,” oppressing in the name of freedom.

London’s Summer Morning – Mary Robinson
• Blank verse
• Positive view of London
• Everyone has their own role; focus on the individuals’ stories
• Poet wakes up to record them all (write this poem)

Wordsworth characteristics
-(often) Iambic pentameter
-Lofty tones, poetic persona (knows, understands nature)
-Focus on memories of nature as calming; memories give internal peace upon looking back.
-characterizes nature
-tries to explain nature, even though he recognizes that it cannot fully be expressed within the limits of human language.
-often speaks for all (in a good class position to do so)
-Always relates his stories and descriptions of nature back to himself.
-profoundly optimistic
-clearly categorizes things; not a chameleon poet!
-frequent capitalization

Clare characteristics
-lack of punctuation
-“roughness” of language
-regular rhythm
-nature as a friend; intimacy, interaction with nature
-landmarks

Keats characteristics
-focus on sleepiness, drunkenness
-lots of sensory imagery; in some cased completely removes sense of sight.
-often evokes ideas you’ve never thought of before.
-empowers the world by personifying it.
-recognizes that nature is transcendent and beyond human understanding
-utilizes negative capability, becomes a chameleon poet; rarely relates back to himself as an individual, and his presence as the poet is often invisible in the poem

Negative capability
putting the poetic self aside/making the poet disappear in order for the poem to fully become one with nature.

egotistical sublime
the poet has no identity, always taking on something/someone else’s form

The Sublime
A sense of awareness brought about by the spiritual wonderment experienced by an individual after he or she is emotionally affected by an awe-inspiring situation related to natural grandeur, vastness, overwhelming power, the supernatural, or the unknown. It is the strongest emotion that the mind is capable of feeling, of the same magnitude as terror, and it can present itself in the form of intense fear, dread, suspense, or horror, but also includes a tinge of pleasure from awe.