When it was first published, Lyrical Ballads enraged the critics of the day: Wordsworth and Coleridge had given poetry a voice, one decidedly different to what had been voiced before. Compare this work to something written by Shakespeare, Pope or Milton and you will clearly see the difference in complexity. The truth of this assertion might be demonstrated by innumerable passages from almost all the poetical writings, even of Milton himself. In both these stanzas the words, and the order of the words, in no respect differ from the most unimpassioned conversation. However, the poet differs from regular people because of his higher sensitivity to the happenings around him and a deeper connection with his own feelings, moods and emotions as they arise in response to these outer happenings. The neo-classically oriented writers of the so-called Augustan Age 1701 to about 1750 , Swift, Gay, Addison and Steele, Pope, and to a lesser extent Richardson and Fielding, chose Latin authors of the time of the Pax Romana hence the name Augustan as their models.
What has been thus far said applies to Poetry in general; but especially to those parts of composition where the Poet speaks through the mouths of his characters; and upon this point it appears to authorize the conclusion that there are few persons of good sense, who would not allow that the dramatic parts of composition are defective, in proportion as they deviate from the real language of nature, and are coloured by a diction of the Poets own, either peculiar to him as an individual Poet or belonging simply to Poets in general; to a body of men who, from the circumstance of their compositions being in metre, it is expected will employ a particular language. Wordsworth is criticised for being Very enjoyable, once I got into it. For our continued influxes of feeling are modified and directed by our thoughts, which are indeed the representatives of all our past feelings; and, as by contemplating the relation of these general representatives to each other, we discover what is really important to men, so, by the repetition and continuance of this act, our feelings will be connected with important subjects, till at length, if we be originally possessed of much sensibility, such habits of mind will be produced, that, by obeying blindly and mechanically the impulses of those habits, we shall describe objects, and utter sentiments, of such a nature, and in such connexion with each other, that the understanding of the Reader must necessarily be in some degree enlightened, and his affections strengthened and purified. I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. New forces were at work in England; change and vitality were coming to the front. This acclaimed Routledge Classics edition offers the reader the opportunity to study the poems in their original contexts as they appeared to Coleridge's and Wordsworth's contemporaries, and includes some of their most famous poems, including Coleridge's Rime of the Ancyent Marinere. Poetry is the image of man and nature.
He sees his poetry, in its concerns with the lives of men such as Michael, as an antidote to the artificial portraits of Man presented in eighteenth-century poetry. How common is it to hear a person say, I myself do not object to this style of composition, or this or that expression, but, to such and such classes of people it will appear mean or ludicrous! As a frequent allergy sufferer, I find the whole worship of nature thing to be quite absurd, nature is to be shunned. And I really liked The Thorn because of the poignant and beautiful way it was written in. Then it was, That's a pretty good one, Yeah, that's more typical of how I think of Wordsworth going. Others who pursue a different track will interest him likewise; I do not interfere with their claim, but wish to prefer a claim of my own. I hope therefore the reader will not censure me for attempting to state what I have proposed to myself to perform; and also as far as the limits of a preface will permit to explain some of the chief reasons which have determined me in the choice of my purpose: that at least he may be spared any unpleasant feeling of disappointment, and that I myself may be protected from one of the most dishonourable accusations which can be brought against an Author, namely, that of an indolence which prevents him from endeavouring to ascertain what is his duty, or, when his duty is ascertained, prevents him from performing it. By so doing, they hoped to invigorate the pastoral, dignify the gothic, and create something new as well.
. This effect is always produced in pathetic and impassioned poetry; while, in lighter compositions, the ease and gracefulness with which the Poet manages his numbers are themselves confessedly a principal source of the gratification of the Reader. Among the qualities there enumerated as principally conducing to form a Poet, is implied nothing differing in kind from other men, but only in degree. ! Johnsons stanza is a fair specimen: I put my hat upon my head And walked into the Strand, And there I met another man Whose hat was in his hand. I could fell the sarcasm and annoyance oozing out of his words, but also a sense of literary superiority. Their writing existed in the intellectual aftermath of the French revolution; thus, they tried to radicalise it and revolutionise it.
For another edition, published in 1802, Wordsworth added an appendix titled Poetic Diction in which he expanded the ideas set forth in the preface. On the whole, I preferred Wordsworth's poems over Colderidge's, mainly because the latter used a more advanced and superior language which in my case distanced the reader from both the writer and what he was trying to say. He will depend upon this for removing what would otherwise be painful or disgusting in the passion; he will feel that there is no necessity to trick out or to elevate nature: and, the more industriously he applies this principle, the deeper will be his faith that no words, which his fancy or imagination can suggest, will be to be compared with those which are the emanations of reality and truth. He roams through the landscape seemingly unaffected by the troubles of the world and mortality. The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments.
Another circumstance must be mentioned which distinguishes these Poems from the popular Poetry of the day; it is this, that the feeling therein developed gives importance to the action and situation, and not the action and situation to the feeling. Wordsworth was England's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850. But, as the pleasure which I hope to give by the Poems now presented to the Reader must depend entirely on just notions upon this subject, and, as it is in itself of high importance to our taste and moral feelings, I cannot content myself with these detached remarks. When it was first published, Lyrical Ballads The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. In the 'Advertisement' included in the 1798 edition, Wordsworth explained his poetical concept: The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. However, Wordsworth refined this common language to a purer form without losing the essence of its simplicity.
It will easily be perceived, that the only part of this Sonnet which is of any value is the lines printed in Italics; it is equally obvious, that, except in the rhyme, and in the use of the single word fruitless for fruitlessly, which is so far a defect, the language of these lines does in no respect differ from that of prose. This mode of criticism, so destructive of all sound unadulterated judgement, is almost universal: let the Reader then abide, independently, by his own feelings, and, if he finds himself affected, let him not suffer such conjectures to interfere with his pleasure. This is an admirable principle, but hard to put into practice. Not that I always began to write with a distinct purpose formerly conceived; but habits of meditation have, I trust, so prompted and regulated my feelings, that my descriptions of such objects as strongly excite those feelings, will be found to carry along with them a purpose. Nor let this necessity of producing immediate pleasure be considered as a degradation of the Poets art. Wordsworth reminded me of that.
One of Wordsworth's most famous statements, in the 1802 preface, is his definition of the role of the poet. In late 1797, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and his sister Dorothy planned a trip from Alfoxden, where they lived, to the Valley of Stones, near Lynmouth, in Devon. Yet, he felt that there was much that was inadequate in the document. Language so selected and purified will no longer be rustic language. Inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution — to shake up the foundations of old hierarchical structures — and distressed by the rise of the choking city life, the Romantic Wordsworth set out to challenge old notions regarding poetry.
I'm giving it four stars because it disturbed me, which may seem odd, but if one of literature's goals is to comfort the distressed and distress the comfortable and I think it is , then the poems in this book have succeeded. He forced me to examine my underlying beliefs, which everyone ought to do now and again. This language also helps assert the universality of human emotions. I don't particularly like poetry, but I have developed a certain appreciation for this collection. There are two poems in this collection that I have read before — The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere and Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey. Wordsworth defends the unusual style and subjects of the poems some of them may have been actually composed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as experiments to see how far and accurately popular poetry could be used to convey profound feeling. For Wordsworth and Coleridge this choice of subject matter necessarily involves a rethinking of the Language of poetry.