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William Wordsworth, influential romantic poet

The human mind is capable of excitement without the application of gross and violent stimulants; and he must have a very faint perception of its beauty and dignity who does not know this
- William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was one of the most influential romantic poets in the Western literature was deeply influenced by his love for nature that was inspired him since his childhood.

Wordsworth presented a magnificent picture of the relationship between human beings and the natural world. For him nothing was wonderful or mysterious other than nature. He introduced himself as a Nature's child. Wordsworth made an explicit connection between the poetic diction and appropriate relationship to nature and society.

His poetry often rejoices the beauty and spiritual values of the natural world. Wordsworth's poems add sunshine to the human heart.

William Wordsworth saw man as a part of the natural world but felt disturbed when the Industrialization broke the innate bond and created more artificial world away from his dreams. With a melancholic feeling he accepted the consequences of the Industrial Revolution that changed the air and terrain. Wordsworth was not against the achievements of science and technology but obviously felt gloomy when nature was replaced by man made artificial cities. Then he wrote

The world is too much with us,
late and soon
Getting and spending
we lay waste our powers
Little we see in Nature that is ours
We have given our hearts away,
a sordid boon
This sea that bares her bosom
to the moon
The winds that will be howling
at all hours
And are up gathered not like
sleeping flowers

Wordsworth was a factual Romantic thinker. He revolutionized poetry by writing in simple, straightforward language. His verse represents the ideas he carried from the eighteenth century to the Victorian age. His entire life was an explosion of creative talent. His poetry recounts the philosophy of life. Wordsworth defined poetry as the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings," intense "emotion recollected in tranquillity." He often said "Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all Science." As a poet he blends his metaphysics with pictures of life and scenery. He used external symbols to speak to the human heart.

Wordsworth continued to write poetry with energy and passion. Some of his poetry had radical origins. Wordsworth's interest in both poetry and politics were exceptional. He believed in rationalistic model of human behaviour and formulated his own theory of human nature. Wordsworth grasped Rousseau's expression: "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains and his illustrious slogan "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity."

Wordsworth came into contact with the French Revolution while living in France and fascinated by the revolutionary activates. Revolutionary Paris boosted his young spirit.

He had hailed the French Revolution with feelings of enthusiastic admiration. There was a rebel inside him. He composed many ideas on justice and morality. William was better at writing philosophical ideas in verse.

Wordsworth adopted radical intellectual and political stances.

He used his inner thoughts to process the ideas of freedom and independence admiring nature and pronouncing man's innate connection with it. He saw nothing loftier than human hopes, nothing deeper than the human heart nothing valuable than nature and nothing negotiable than human freedom. Even though the French Revolution gave him glimpse of hopes at the early stages soon he realized human freedom was not at a reachable point.

The Reign of Terror connected with the French Revolution made him discontent.

The key representative of the English Romanticism was against the revolutionary republicanism which promoted violence. Although he embraced the radical faith when he witnessed terror Wordsworth became a conservative public man. He was disappointed when the blossom of human freedom faded.

Wordsworth lost his trust in immediate social reform. Then he devoted himself to study in seclusion. But influence of the French revolution on this part of his life cannot be undervalued.


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