The Evolution Of British Poetry Essay

910 words - 4 pages


The Evolution of British Poetry

     Throughout the literary history of the Renaissance, a gradual but dramatic change in the poetic style of the time becomes apparent. From one contribution to another, the rebellion between the poetic styles is evident. Early Elizabethan and Jacobean poetry demonstrates the love that mankind shares and the universal truths that the people of that time held so dear. On through the neoclassical and romantic eras, the style becomes centered on personal delight and warmth. This paper intends to follow and describe this evolution of British poetry.
     To introduce a change, one must institute a type of first standard. The Elizabethan literary type did just that. Elizabethan poetry centered on love and personal relationships between people, 'come live with me, and be my love and we will all the pleasures prove.'; (The passionate Shepherd to His Love, L. 1-2) They were, as well, deeply rooted in universal truth. These poems were often about the quest for love and its brutal 'slap in the face'; attitude. With the Elizabethan style of poetry, we see a serious side to British poetry.
     The serious side to the Elizabethan era gave birth to an entirely new way of writing poetry. The Neoclassical era was a time of reason and though. It was more formal than the love induced poetry of the Elizabethan era. Neoclassical poets loved the classic form of literature with its strict regimen and form. The change between these two forms could be defined as a rebellion of sorts.

Neoclassical poets rebelled against the writing of traditional things such as love and relation ships and instead wrote about untraditional things like self-enlightenment and the idea of proverbs. Neoclassic poetry suspects that the reader is more in tune with his or her brain rather than his heart. The poems were intended to reach a more educated population, 'with to much knowledge for the skeptic side.'; (An Essay on Man, L. 5)
     With yet another change, the Romantic era brought back some of the early forms of poetry as experienced in the Elizabethan era. Romantic poets used emotion and spontaneity to draw people in. The poems gave a sense of warmth and safety to their readers. However, at the same time, they introduced wild and exciting topics. The poems demonstrate not a love for people, but rather a love for ones country and nature, 'we see little in nature that is ours.'; (The World is too Much with Us, L. 3) Romantics delighted in the supernatural and mysteries. Using ones imagination to invoke a sense of excitement, 'The sea blooms and the oozy woods…'; (Ode to the West Wind, L. 39)
     The romantic era was a result of many factors. The main...

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