Romantic Poetry

Representation of nature in the Romantic poetry

A reader who studies literature but has not read Romantic poetry yet is like a person who drinks coffee without sugar.

It’s a futile attempt to define Romanticism. But their devotion to nature was obvious. Although, the object of poetry (nature) for them was almost the same their treatment was peculiar. For example, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, and Wordsworth revolutionized, romanticized, supernaturalized, and spiritualized nature, respectively.

The Prince of Romantics

The Prince of Romantics, Shelley, Revolutionised nature. For him, nature was a forceful entity, because it can bring revolution as it has the capability of changing the dead leaves into a fresh tree. He states in “Ode to the West Wind”;

“Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!”

He seeks the help of nature because he is helpless, he casts around for change in life. In other words, he needs revolution for the dead world as he says;

“Oh lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life I bleed!”

Similarly, John Keats, the most popular of the Romantics, romanticizes nature. Poetry was a medium of his escapism, and it was nature that gave him inspiration, its beauty was the source of joy and the only truth for him. As he Quotes in “Ode on a Grecian Urn”;

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know,”

Moreover, we have another master of Romantics, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the supernaturalized nature. His supernatural imagery delicates the cup of coffee (literature) for us with adequate sugar. As he uses enchanting imagery in his poem “Kubla Khan”;

“A savage place! As holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By women wailing for her demon-lover!”

Finally, The pioneer of Romanticism, William Wordsworth, spiritualized nature. He does not call nature a god as pantheists believe but it was a spiritual master for him.
In a nutshell, nature is a recurring idea in romantic literature but the masters had a different attitude toward it.


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