Wordsworth, more than any other great English poet, is a poet for mature and thoughtful appreciation; except for a very small part of his work, many readers must gradually acquire the taste for him. But of his position among the half dozen English poets who have made the largest contribution to thought and life there can be no question about him.
William Wordsworth was a British Poet (1770-1850). He spent his life in the Lake District Northern England. Wordsworth was one of the leading figures of the Romanticism movement, he started this movement with Samuel Taylor Coleridge with their collection LYRICAL BALLADS in 1798. When many poets still wrote about ancient heroes in grandiloquent style, Wordsworth focused on the nature, children, the poor, common people he used ordinary words to express his personal feelings. In his thinking, the definition of poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings arising from “emotion recollected in tranquility” was shared by a number of his followers.
He spent many hours of his youth outdoors, admiring the beautiful countryside. It is, hence, a matter of very little doubt that his work always sings the beauty of nature and the serene and enchanted atmospheric places on earth. The magnificent landscape deeply affected Wordsworth’s imagination and gave him a love of nature.
“Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all Science.” (From Lyrical Ballads, 2nd ed, 1800). . Wordsworth lost his mother when he was eight and five years later his father. The domestic problems separated him from his beloved and neurotic sister Dorothy, who was a very important person in Wordsworth’s life. Dorothy had especially fresh contact to nature from a very early age. Her thoughts and impression were a valuable source of inspiration for him, who also introduced himself as Nature’s child. Wordsworth remembered, the first time she saw the sea: she burst into tears, “indicating the sensibility for which she was so remarkable”.
With the help of his two uncles, Wordsworth entered a local school and continued his studies at Cambridge University. Wordsworth as a writer, made his debut in 1787, when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. In that same year, he entered St. John’s College, Cambridge, from where he took his B.A. in 1791. Wordsworth went on a walking tour through revolutionary France, during a summer vacation in 1790.
Wordsworth’s contribution to Lyrical Ballads deals with natural subjects, while Coleridge’s contribution dealt with the psychological impact of the supernatural. Many critics have observed that Wordsworth wrote the poems that appear in Lyrical Ballads to appeal to wide audience. Literary critics believe that certain rules must be followed to develop a good work of art, but critics who insist that rules be followed strictly misunderstand the nature of a literary genius. Many literary geniuses and other extra ordinary writers follow standard composition rules, but the best literary geniuses know when to break the rules to develop better works of art. Wordsworth was by no means the first writer to break established rules for good composition, nor will he be the last. Shakespeare ignored many rules for producing many excellent plays and Mark Twain ignored the advice of critics when he wrote Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Some of Wordsworth quotes contain a good amount of humor. “Golf is a day spent in strenuous idleness,” he once observed. Many modern readers still fail to understand what the appeal of hitting a ball with a metal club can relate to. More worthwhile, Wordsworth’s defines humankind’s relationship to nature and to himself. Statements such as “Nature never did betray the man that loved her,” and “The mind that is wise mourns less for what age takes away; than what it leaves behind,” these quotes show not only a man who had respect for the world around him but also the wisdom that comes from observation of himself and others. For him Nature is a direct manifestation of the Divine Power, which seems to him to be everywhere immanent in her; and communion with her, the communion into which he enters as he walks and meditates among the moors and mountains, is to him communion with God. In 1798, he started to write a large and philosophical autobiographical poem, completed in 1805, and published posthumously in 1850 under the title THE PRELUDE. The long work described the poet’s love of nature and Wordsworth’s own place in the world order. His second collection, POEMS, IN TWO VOLUMES, appeared in 1807. Wordsworth’s path-breaking works were produced between 1797 and 1808.
Although he became a poet laureate of England in 1843 and held several minor government posts such as being responsible for distributing stamps in his later years, the height of his critical acclaim started with Lyrical Ballads and ended in 1807. Wordsworth continued to write throughout his life. Winston Churchill described his life later with the words, “If you’re not liberal when you’re old, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative when you’re old, you have no head.” The passionate writings of Wordsworth were replaced with more measured conservative and patriotic pieces of poetry. Wordsworth’s poetic inspiration, less fickle than that of Coleridge. Wordsworth is the profoundest interpreter of Nature in all poetry. His feeling for Nature has two aspects. He is keenly sensitive, and in a more delicately discriminating way than any of his predecessors, to all the outer beauty and glory of Nature, especially inanimate Nature–of woods, mountains and fields, streams and flowers, in all their infinitely varied aspects. A wonderfully joyous and intimate sympathy with them is one of his controls. His poetry declared the purpose is to present the essential emotions of men; persons in humble and rustic life are generally the fittest subjects for treatment in it, because their natures and manners are simple and more genuine than those of other men, and are kept so by constant contact with the beauty and serenity of Nature. And the artificial poetic diction (like that of the 18th century) be rejected, but the language of poetry should be a selection from that of ordinary people in real life, only purified of its vulgarities and heightened so as to appeal to the imagination. He would have discovered if his meditative nature had, allowed him to get into really direct and personal contact with the peasants about him. After Milton, Wordsworth was the first English poet who used the sonnet powerfully and he proves himself a worthy successor of Milton.
In short, William Wordsworth was a great poet and a writer. To Wordsworth Nature is man’s one great and sufficient teacher. He was a poet of nature. He was a poet “with a deep faith in the mind’s power and a developing awareness of the encounter of mind and a larger reality.” Wordsworth’s poetry as unfolding, with the vigor of youth shaded by sadness and the wisdom of age touched by hope. So to that extent, his was truly a poetic life.”