INTRODUCTION (By Annalisa Garofalo) BLAKE(By M. Elena Mármol Rodríguez ) WORDSWORTH AND HIS VISION OF NATURE (BY ARANTXA) First of all I would like to say that “Nature” has taken an important role inpoetry of different periods of literature and countries. Nature is present not onlyin English literature but also in French and Spanish poets such as Garcilaso dela Vega and Émile Zola. But I would like to focus my attention in Wordsworthtreatment of this topic and the romantic vision of nature. Secondly, I am going to enumerate some characteristics that havesomething to do with the romantic‟s vision of nature and Wordsworth ownperception. Romanticism is a general, collective term to describe much of the art andliterature produced during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Romanticism can be seen as a revolution in the arts, alongside thepolitical, social and industrial revolutions of the age: all spheres of humanactivity were undergoing great change. Wordsworth and Coleridge were amongthe first British poets to explore the new theories and ideas that were sweeping
through Europe. Their poems display many characteristics of Romanticism, including: 1-An emphasis on the emotions (a fashionable word at the beginning of the period was „sensibility‟. This meant having, or cultivating, a sensitive, emotional and intuitive way of understanding the world) 2-Exploring the relationship between nature and human life 3-A stress on the importance of personal experiences and a desire to understand what influences the human mind 4-A belief in the power of the imagination 5-An interest in mythological, fantastical, gothic and supernatural themes 6-An emphasis on the sublime (this word was used to describe a spiritual awareness, which could be stimulated by a grand and awesome landscape) 7-Social and political idealism. (c.f.http://www.wordsworth.org.uk/Default.asp?Page=119) We can say that “nature” is always present (sometimes meaning something different depending on the poem) in Wordsworth poetry and it is the main theme in most of his poems. Furthermore, I would like to say what this poet thought about this topic. William Wordsworth is the Romantic poet most often described as a "nature" writer; what the word "nature" meant to Wordsworth is, however, a
complex issue. On the one hand, Wordsworth was the quintessential poet asnaturalist, always paying close attention to details of the physical environmentaround him (plants, animals, geography, weather). At the same time,Wordsworth was a self-consciously literary artist who described "the mind ofman" as the "main haunt and region of [his] song." This tension betweenobjective describer of the natural scene and subjective shaper of sensoryexperience is partly the result of Wordsworths view of the mind as "creator andreceiver both." Such an alliance of the inner life with the outer world is at theheart of Wordsworths descriptions of nature.(c.f. http://users.dickinson.edu/~nicholsa/Romnat/wordsworth.htm ) With regard to his poems, we can say that all of them deal, insome way, with nature. And this is what we are going to see now. For example: The presence of water in those poems where the sea appears, such as “Lines written near Richmond upon the Thames, at evening” when Wordsworthsays: Oh glide, fair stream! for ever so; Thy quiet soul on all bestowing, Till all our minds for ever flow, As thy deep waters now are flowing.
In this poem, appears a very huge ocean, and that ocean‟s majesty andgreatness still controls the individual and the species. Another example would be “Lines written a few miles above TinternAbbey”: How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee o Sylvan Wye! Thou wanderer through the woods, How often has my spirit turned to thee! Here, that deep blue sea or that river, show us that water which isapparently calm, can change into huge strength waves and that would producesome inspiration in the poet that would change his feelings. We can also find “nature” in his poem named “The Excursion” where hedefends the nature‟s contemplation to achieve the moral knowledge. (c.f. Corugedo y chamosa, 11, 12 and 13) I have written all these examples because I think that it is interesting tosee how Wordsworth saw nature in some of his poems as we can say thatnature is his main topic and this theme takes a very important role in all hisworks. However, I would like to focus my attention on the poem called “Lineswritten in early spring”, also written by Wordsworth, where we can find a lot ofexamples of nature. It mainly talks about this topic. Lines Written In Early Spring I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughtsBring sad thoughts to the mind.To her fair works did Nature linkThe human soul that through me ran;And much it grieved my heart to thinkWhat man has made of man.Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;And tis my faith that every flowerEnjoys the air it breathes.The birds around me hopped and played,Their thoughts I cannot measure: --But the least motion which they made,It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan, To catch the breezy air; And I must think, do all I can, That there was pleasure there. If this belief from heaven be sent, If such be Natures holy plan, Have I not reason to lament What man has made of man? (c.f.http://quotations.about.com/od/poemlyrics/a/wordsworth17.htm ) "Lines Written In Early Spring" is a classic Wordsworth poem. Basically, itexpresses his love of simplicity, tenderness and love of nature. In this poem, Wordsworth contrasts the perceived happiness andpleasure of the natural world with the grim state of mankind. He introduces thistheme with the last two lines of the first stanza: "In that sweet mood whenpleasant thoughts bring sad thoughts to the mind." Wordsworth then suggests that the happiness of nature should beparalelled by a hapiness of mankind: "To her fair works did nature link the
human soul that through me ran; And much it greaves my heart to think what man has made of man." (c.f.http://www.englishforums.com/English/WrittenEarlySpringWilliam/xm n/Post.htm ) This poem is mainly talking about nature in a very positive way. It really recreates a spring atmosphere because he says “and „tis my faith that every flower”(line 11) or “the birds around me hopp‟d and play‟d”(line 13). What he is describing in this examples is very much related with that season( the spring). It makes you feel very calm and relaxed because he describes that season with harmonious adjectives and tenderness. We can also see that calm in lines 17, 18, 19 and 20) where he says “the budding twigs spread out their fan, to catch the breezy air, and I must think, do all I can, that there was pleasure there”. Here he also recreates that feeling of breathing pure air, because it has always been said that when you are close to nature, the air is not polluted so it is more pure and there are not difficulties for breathing. So, here he is saying that he was lying in a tree seeing the lovely nature and breathing that pure air that nature brings him.I think that in this poem, nature has a very important role and, although for Wordsworth,nature had different meanings depending on the poem he is talking about, in this onewe can easily see that nature is here described as that sensation of calm, of being inharmony and seeing birds playing or leaves flourishing and breathing. So, we must saythat this poem is a very good example of Wordsworth view of nature.