The representation of sublimity in William Wordsworth’s “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” Percy Shelley’s “To a Sky-Lark,” and Gerald Hopkins “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” is characterized by the beauty and forms of nature, the power of nature, and the use of metaphors in descriptive passages. They use the sublime to express the grandeur of nature and to describe specific objects of nature. The writers also employ the sublime as a way to communicate their imagination and interpretations of nature to the readers.
Wordsworth, Shelley, and Hopkins use the sublime in their literary works to interpret and express the aesthetics of nature. Wordsworth expresses the sublime beauty and forms of nature in “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by illustrating the nature scene using daffodils, clouds, stars, and waves. His personification of the daffodils, “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance,” (Wordsworth 12) distinguishes them from being just a simple organic plant to a vivid being that possesses an inner life. His personification of the daffodils creates a vibrant and beautiful illustration.
Shelley uses a sky-lark in his poem“To a Sky-Lark” to express the sublime beauty and forms of nature. The beauty of nature is developed from Shelley’s sublime imagination of the sky-lark’s song. He notes the beauty of the sky-lark’s song by implying that even rainbow clouds are not as beautiful as the melodies of the sky-lark’s song, “From rainbow clouds there flow not” (Shelley 33). Shelley relates the bird’s emotional state to the beauty of nature by regarding the happiness of the bird when the bird soars through the sky. He implies that the beauty and forms of nature contributes to the bird’s happiness, “What objects are the fountains /Of thy happy strain?” (Shelley 71-72). Shelley observes that because the bird does not have the same desires and concerns that hinder human contentment, it is these things that help us welcome the pure beauty of the bird’s song. .The song of the sky-lark is a form of beauty because it is pure and natural, unlike artificial sounds. Shelley illustrates this subject matter when he writes the skylark “Pourest thy full heart /In profuse strains of unpremeditated art” (Shelley 4-5).
Hopkins expresses the sublime of the beauty and forms of nature in “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” by envisioning kingfishers. His comparison of the kingfishers as pebbles tumbling down a well, “As tumbled over rim in roundy wells,” (Hopkins 2) notes the sublime of its beauty. This line restructures beautifully the impact of stones tossing down a well. The poem’s illustration of Hopkins’s idea of inscape depicts the kind of beauty that the poem can achieve about the sublime. Hopkins interprets the beauty of nature by implying that the kingfishers imitate everything that nature does, “Each mortal thing does one thing and the same” (Hopkins 5).
Wordsworth, Shelley, and Hopkins focus on the power of nature to symbolize the sublime. While wandering through the...