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Lyrical Ballads - Nature essay

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Introduction

What part does nature play in 'Lyrical Ballads'? Nature and the Romantics have a close, intertwining relationship. In the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth writes, "the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature", that "the mind of man [acts as] the mirror of the fairest and most interesting qualities of nature" and this reflects his feelings on the subject; nature and men are tied together with a force that cannot be broken. Wordsworth argues, "Poetry is the image of man and nature", this suggests that in his eyes a close relationship with nature is essential to writing poetry. Also Lyrical Ballads was written at a time of great Industrial change, when England was at war with France, nature was at risk at the hands of agricultural and industrial revolution. As the Romantics stressed upon the importance of nature, it is no surprise that Coleridge and Wordsworth drew greatly upon nature within Lyrical Ballads, as nature is used to reflect upon more philosophical ideas, such as the very existence of life. ...read more.

Middle

Wordsworth also capitalises the "N" on "Nature" which gives it a power similar to that of God. Furthermore, in Tables Turned, he states that "one impulse from a vernal wood" would "teach" more about "man", "moral evil and good" than "all the sages can" - which echoes a belief found in Lines Written A Short Distance From My House where he says "one moment now may give us more than fifty years of reason". Wordsworth's strong belief about the teaching power of nature is apparent throughout 'Lyrical Ballads'. In many of his poems, Wordsworth refers to 'Nature' in a way that equates it with a kind of god, and so could be viewed as 'sacred'. In 'Tables Turned', Wordsworth claims that nature is 'no mean preacher' and advises his reader to 'Come forth into the light of things'. The word 'mean' contrasts the holiness and goodness of nature to the restrictive, dominating force of organised religion, as Wordsworth sees it. 'Light' is a traditional symbol of God's grace, and Wordsworth invites his reader to let nature be their 'preacher' rather than God. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, there is also a cautionary element about nature in Lyrical Ballads where excessive amounts of Nature and solitude can result in harming oneself. This is clearly illustrated in Lines left upon a yew tree in which a man within the depths of nature, is described to enjoy a 'morbid pleasure' he seems to enjoy focusing on his own death and sighs in thinking that 'others felt what he must never feel' the sense of losing a part of life is created; even though society is shown corrupt it is also shown to be essential in life. Coleridge clearly advocates a modest state of mind, the reader is encouraged not to be contemptuous or egotistic to others. Recognising the importance of both nature itself and the idea of man's closeness with nature are essential to understanding the intentions of the Romantics and Lyrical Ballads. Romanticism and Nature are as overtly linked, as the poets believe Man and Nature should be, and perhaps this is where lays the real success of the poems. This obsession with nature stems from a number of places: pantheism, political idealism and a reaction to the ever-expansive Industrial Revolution, and both Wordsworth and Coleridge are certainly devout 'worshippers of Nature'. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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