Wordsworth and Coleridge

Length: 8 Pages 2050 Words

Wordsworth and Coleridge explore a number of common themes, one of the most important of which is the importance of individual experience. How does Wordsworth in ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge’ and Coleridge in ‘The Eolian Harp’, deal with this theme? William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge can be seen as two of the great poets and important figures of the romantic period. The genre of poetry reveals and interprets our hidden emotions and can also be seen to call attention to many aspects of life that may be overlooked. This is definitely the case for romantic poetry, with writers such as Wordsworth and Coleridge using intense and imaginative language to explore human emotion through rejecting the realities of the late 18th century and focusing on the natural world. Throughout this essay I will provide a close analysis of Wordsworth’s ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge’ and Coleridge’s ‘The Eolian Harp’, showing how both writers express the ideas of the Romantic period through recognizing and expressing the importance of individual experience. One of the dominant characteristics of Romantic poetry is the strong interest in the natural landscape. Driver comments that ‘the romantics actively interact w Continue...

In the following sestet he begins to associate the 'ships, towers, domes and theatres' to the 'sun, valley, rock, and river'. David Ferry commented that 'The city is a collection of men and all their ordinary experiences, their common loves and attachments'. The imagery in the octave introduces the city and, the imagery in the sestet reconciles it with nature. David Ferry stated, 'Wordsworth is a man who likes the calm and quiet of the country and dislikes the bustle of the city'(essay). Although these ideas of pantheism are displayed throughout most of the poem, the final few lines present a sudden change in thought. Meter is also used to direct the readers attention to particular words to emphasize meaning. Through imaginative thought you are able to engage in and respond to the visionary experiences that nature provides. 'The happiest years of his life had been spent near the mountains and heaths. This poem is a 'conversation poem', a style that was becoming quite prominent for romantic poets, especially Coleridge. Although, like most romantic poets, he does include aspects of the nature in his writings, his poetry is not heavily based around the natural world as Wordsworth's is. Coleridge does this in 'The Eolian Harp by turning away from industrialization and modern society, and expressing the experience of his wife, Sara, and himself sitting in an isolated natural environment, their garden. When reading this poem I asked myself the question as to why the 'nature poet' of the romantic period has written such a spectacular poem on the man made creation of the city After closer analysis, I reached the conclusion that Wordsworth has used his experiences and love of nature to reconcile the man made city with the natural environment - creating his individual experience of London's city in the morning, and sharing it with us. Composed Upon Westminster Bridge is an Italian sonnet, a single stanza poem containing 14 lines with the set rhyme scheme of abba abba, cdc dcd. From this I would conclude that this poem is an example of Coleridge's conflicting individual experiences with religious belief.