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In your opinion, how successfully does Lyrical Ballads capture the hour of feeling?

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Introduction

Tutor Marked Assignment R Love, now an universal birth From heart to heart is stealing, From earth to man, from man to earth, It is the hour of feeling In your opinion, how successfully does Lyrical Ballads capture "the hour of feeling"? Lyrical Ballads has been called a poetic revolution, the true beginning, (In British poetry) of the literary, philosophical and artistic movement known as "Romanticism". The Romantics were concerned with feeling. In his preface of the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth wrote that "all good poetry is a spontaneous overflow of feelings" The above passage is from Lines written at a small distance form my house whereby the poem very much centres on "it is the hour of feeling". In this poem Wordsworth wants his sister to experience the blessed pervasiveness of this "one moment" which fifty years of reason cannot substitute for, in which he finds himself connected to the earth and mankind through love. I shall use the underlined statement as the definition for "the hour of feeling" and imminently discuss the success of the poets in accomplishing this in the Lyrical Ballads. The Romantic Movement was a reaction to the classical literature of the Augustan age, which was classic, impersonal and formal, championing rationality as opposed to feelings and used a large number of literary clich�s and overblown phrases. The readers of poetry in the eighteenth century were largely educated men with a classical upbringing who had been conditioned to reflect in verse. ...read more.

Middle

Subsequently the reader is transported into the lives of the characters, where we are exposed to issues we rarely give attention to, like capital punishment, whereby in The Convict, Wordsworth focuses on the fact that no proper restitution can be made by a convict subjected to this harsh punishment. ("the fetters that link him to death") He makes the readers realise that prison is an awful place not because it twists a man's soul, but because it is hard to repent in the "comfortless vault of disease" Cleverly Wordsworth does not have the prisoner speak, allowing him only a questioning look. Were he to speak, it would raise the question whether his crime actually deserved capital punishment or not; instead the poem challenges the whole notion of capital punishment because the convict is kept a mute object for our consideration. The voice crying out for change, the poem suggests, must be the reader's, rather than the convict's or the poet's. Wordsworth believed that transportation should replace capital punishment ("would plant thee where yet though might'st blossom again") and that the only emotion we should feel for the transported convict is compassion. The 'Last of the Flock' too, has a humanitarian purpose. Based on a real incident reported to him by a friend, he uses the tale of a poor shepherd losing his flock to attack the stupidity of the system of poor relief which insisted that a man had to sell all of his property before any financial support could be given to him. ...read more.

Conclusion

He finds 'The Idiot Boy' merely distressing, 'The Thorn' dark, and 'Tintern Abbey' although "the reflections of no common mind: poetical, beautiful and philosophical", is nevertheless "gloomy". On the whole, he concludes, it would have been better had the poets chosen "more elevated subjects and in a more cheerful disposition". It is precisely to the likes of Dr. Burney, that the Romantics were revolting against. The objective of the Lyrical Ballads was precisely to speak about the less "elevated" and "cheerful" subjects which are also known as Reality. Doubtless there will be many readers like Dr. Burney who do not feel anything towards the issues raised by the romantics, who would prefer to be fed with cheerful, superficial and restrained classical subjects whereby "unnecessary" feelings and thoughts will not be provoked. However this should not be mistaken as the general reception. Lyrical Ballads raised issues that was not explicitly discussed especially in the literary sense; because of its "aukwardness and strangeness", the immediate reception in the times of the poets was Rejection, understandably so; however this positive change in Literature, thanks to the Romantics, will forever change the course of posterity, who will be free to express their thoughts and ideas against the modes of convention. When reading this collection, the reader is transported to that "one moment" where he will be connected to earth and mankind through the united feeling of love. However I believe that the Lyrical Ballads will only appeal to those who have a heart that cries out for change. Overall, I believe the poets achieved their objective in capturing "the hour of feeling", and sometimes even "feelings of strangeness and aukwardness" for the likes of Dr. Burney. ...read more.

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