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Role Of Nature In The Poetry Of Keats And Wordsworth

1190 words - 5 pages

Nature played an important role in all works of the Romantics but I believe it is John Keats and William Wordsworth who understood not nature in themselves but themselves in nature. As Wordsworth once said: "the feeling therein developed gives importance to the action and situation and not the action and situation to the feeling." 1 Both Keats and Wordsworth understood that the most complex feelings and emotions can be described and understood when related with a simple act of nature.

With a simple gust of wind we are given a glimpse into an author's soul as it is used to convey thoughts, feelings and moods of an author. In Keats' "The Eve of St. Agnes" the wind is used not only to set ...view middle of the document...

For Keats, nature was not only a source of inspiration but also what filled him with the looming possibility of an untimely death, the reason his life was so short. He had an urgency in his writing that lead him to push himself to write so much in his brief life time that it left us wanting more and feeling as though we had been cheated by nature. Keats' poem "From Sleep and Poetry" makes references to running out of time. "Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life,...for lo! I see afar,...- the charioteer / Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear"4 Or as in his brief poem "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles" Keats writes "Of Godlike hardship tells me I must die / Like a sick eagle looking at the sky."5 Nature for Keats is a way to express his thoughts and feelings to himself and thus the world. He sees the cycle of life in nature all around him and knows that he shall suffer the same fate eventually and so his time is precious to him an he makes the most of it.

Wordsworth on the other hand lived a long and prosperous life but as a result he suffered the heartache and loss of loosing many important people in his life. His longer life resulted in a greater ability to look back at himself and reflect on how things have changed. He had a greater sense of longing for how things were and also a better understanding that not all things are meant to be understood at the time they are first experienced. In the early lines of Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" he describes, "...The landscape with the quiet of the sky."6 and his surroundings are peaceful and his memories and thoughts are positive, "With tranquil restoration: - feelings too / Of unremembered pleasures...On that best portion of a good man's life..."7 Later on in the poem once his mood changes Wordsworth talks about letting "...the misty mountain-winds be free / To blow against thee."8 He seems to find himself enlightened by the idea that some things lived are not yet meant to be understood or learned from until the later mature years, "When these wild ecstatsies shall be matured / Into a sober pleasure..."9

Wordsworth is also able to...

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