Romantic Poetry Essay

3549 words - 14 pages

'The simple life that Nature yields' (Crabbe). Write an essay on the importance of nature in any
part of the Restoration to Romantic period.
It can be said that Romanticism and nature are synonymous. The Romantic poets of the
18th and 19th century posses the ability to transcend everyday life through their passionate
relationship with nature. The characteristics of the picturesque satisfied the emotional and
intellectual demands of the time , it can be said that it is neo­classical, and that it looks back onto 1
a simpler time of traditional idealistic landscape. The Romantic movement recognised the power
of nature in its mountains, waterfalls and caves. The poets of this period were devoted and
connected to the picturesque in a multitude of ways.
Joseph Warren Beach argues that if we are to consider the way in which Romantic poets
express their absolute devotion to nature we must first take into account the complexity of
meanings attached to the term, and how for the poet the various meanings support and reinforce
one and other . Beach is suggesting a deeper understanding must be established in order to to 2
assess the use of nature as a poetic tool, the romantic poets explored their relationship with
nature through their writing, creating a plethora of natural description, thus each poem
possessed deeper connotations all different to its author. Wordsworth for instance recognises a
spirit in the natural world and explores his vision through his idealised descriptions of
landscapes, while Shelley explores: the imaginative, the effect nature has on feeling, and the
ability to feel emotions through the earth itself. The sublime and pastoral imagery explored by
poets of this period are not only a kind of escapism but a spiritual essence or divinity that allows
them to overcome their quotidian lives. Nature in its most common sense refers to the beauty of
1 Watson, J. R, Picturesque Landscape and English Romantic Poetry, Hutchinson Educational, 1970, p.21 2 Beach, Joseph Warren, The Concept of Nature in 19th Century English Poetry, New York / Russell & Russell, 1966

the external world, the simplicity of "Natures art" , everything that is visually pleasing, it is "both 3
lakes and shores/ And mountain crags" . This kind of gentle and beautiful nature is represented 4
in the works of John Keats;
on every morrow, we are wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth 5
In these opening lines of the Endymion, Keats expresses true bliss at the beauty of nature and
its mass of "lives and wonders" . Keats depicts a very simple confirmation of nature in the sense 6
of flowers, birds, trees and summer walks. When looking at Wordsworth however, there is more
of an appreciation for nature in solitude and isolation;
In vacant or in pensive mood,/
They flash upon that inward eye/
Which is the bliss of solitude 7
Wordsworth's pastoral ideal centers around seclusion, however,...

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