William Wordsworth and the Romantics Question One:- Analyse the two poems, taking into account language use, structure tone, and any other aspects worth commenting on. The Solitary Reaper and Daffodils are both poems by the Englishman William Wordsworth. William Wordsworth was one of the first writers of the era known as the Romantics. The Romantics reshaped writing, poetry and literature in general. The Romantics placed an emphasis on passion, emotion and freedom of the individual. Wordsworth was a typical romantics writer. Both of these poems are about nature, freedom and emotion. The Solitary Reaper is a poem about a man who is wandering through the Highlands of Scotland, and he comes across a Highland girl working and singing in the field. The Poem is told from first person point of view and the poet talks about the beauty of the Highland lassís voice. Daffodils Is also told from first person point of view. The poet talks about a recollection of seeing vast area of daffodils. He says how important this recollection is. Both poems are carefully constructed and have a rhyme and metre. The Solitary Reaper contains four octets, that is, it has four stanzas with eight lines each. It has a rhyme scheme as well. The rhyme scheme for the first and the last stanza is abcbddee. There metre of The Solitary Reaper is four stresses per line, except for the fourth line of every stanza, which has three stresses. It is interesting to note how there is no relation between the number of stressed syllables and the number of non-stressed syllables. Daffodils contains four sextets, meaning it has four stanzas or verses, with six lines in each. This poem has a simple rhyme scheme. It is constant throughout the entire poem and is ababcc. The metre is similar to The Solitary Reaper, but the relationship between the four stresses syllable per line and the non stressed syllables is even less obvious than it is in The Solitary Reaper. It is interesting to note the language used in both of these poems. The Romantic writers were different
from their predecessors in that the Romantics used common English, whereas the Age of Reason writers tended to use Latin or Old English. It is thought that the romantics were attempting to widen their appeal to a wider audience by using simpler English. The last few lines of the second stanza of The Solitary Reaper are worthy of note. A Voice so thrilling neíer was heard In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides Here, Wordsworth is able to effectively convey his feelings regarding the Highland lassís voice, whilst using simple English. This is also helps the poem flow better and make it easier to read because there are not long words to stumble over. The tone of both of these poems is very important. Daffodils seems to have a rather relaxing tone to it. This seems apparent in the final stanza For oft, when on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood They flash upon my inward eye which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And
dances with the daffodils. It is possible that Wordsworth is talking about his form of meditation, closing his eyes and imagining the daffodils. The music in my heart I bore, long after it was heard no more. These are the last two lines of The Solitary Reaper. Here, these last lines add a very sentimental touch to the poem. It shows that such a simple experience as watching a girl in a field can be of great inner value. Question Two:- The two poems indicate a new wave of poetry from that of the 18th century comment on these changes. During the late 1700's to the mid 1800's there arose in Europe a new poetical movement known as Romanticism, that was to redefine and reshape the previous Age of Reason style of art and literature. William Wordsworth was to play an enormous role in bringing and creating the ideals of Romanticism which are still read and used today. Wordsworth, in his work, like many other "Romantics" emphasised such things as passion, imagination, and emotion over reason and