Term Paper: Romantic Poets Nature and Romantic Poetry

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¶ … Romantic Poets

Nature and Romantic Poetry

There were three British Romantic Poets born during the last part of the 18th century: William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) and John Keats (1795-1821). These three were considered "nature" poets, who shared the viewpoint of the great landscape painters, musicians and other writers of the day. Though Wordsworth lived to a ripe old age, tragedy and the short life of the romantic hero were the fate of Shelley and Keats, who died while still young, yet who wrote prolifically about the beauties of life and love (Fiero 3).

Shelley championed human liberty and lived a life of taking liberties and defiance of convention, marrying and fathering the children of one woman, yet running off with another (Mary Godwin). His criticism of the British monarchs and the monarchial system earned him permanent exile in 1818 and he died in Italy four years later in a tragic boating accident. He, like the other two poets, felt and wrote about how he felt as one with nature in his poem "Ode to the West Wind" (1819). In it he personifies the West Wind as a "destroyer and preserver" that not only brings winter's storms, but spreads the seeds of new life that will arise. He speaks of his desire to be like the wind, impetuous and fierce of spirit, and writes the final line that describes all this, that is so often quoted: "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"

Keats, sensing that he would die young, as others in his family had died before him of tuberculosis, writes elegies and of his love of beauty, which seems heightened by his knowledge of how short life is. His most famous poem, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1818) was inspired by the ancient Greek artifacts that were brought back to London by Lord Elgin in 1816 and put on display in the British Museum. He contemplates the Greek vase and the delicate figures immortalizing life's fleeting pleasures. He describes the trees with leaves that will never fall, the youths that will never grow old, the village by the river that will never change, the music that will never cease to play… [END OF PREVIEW]

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