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It has been said that Wordsworth's Lucy poems have more differences than similarities.

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Introduction

It has been said that Wordsworth's Lucy poems have more differences than similarities. "They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure." (William Wordsworth, Preface to The Lyrical Ballads). Unlike poets before him, who wrote poetry solely based upon classical subjects, Wordsworth wanted his poetry to imitate the actions and thoughts of people like himself. He also wrote poems containing personal subject matter, such as the group of poems known as the 'Lucy poems,' written in conjunction with Samual Coleridge. This made his work strangely revolutionary at the time. This and the simple language of these poems (The Lyrical Ballads, 1798) show Wordsworth being extremely daring with his wish to get them published. The Lyrical Ballads were simply nothing like anyone had ever read before. The poems were intended as a revolution, as explained by Wordsworth in the 'Preface to the Lyrical Ballads.' These poems are grouped together in 'The Lyrical Ballads,' for many different reasons. The form the poems have is very similar. Four of the poems are made up of a number of quatrains with a rhyming pattern of A-B-A-B. The fifth poem, Three years she grew, is less direct. ...read more.

Middle

"No motion has she now." When we do find out that Lucy is dead, Wordsworth doesn't dwell on the death. He uses effective euphemisms such as "When Lucy ceased to be." I think these are effective because they emphasise Wordsworth's sense of loss by making it clear that he doesn't really think of Lucy as gone forever and that he doesn't want to believe that she's dead. This is an effective way of also showing us that part of Lucy still exists, if only in his mind. Wordsworth also makes clear his feelings for Lucy. In Strange fits of passion, Wordsworth says, "and I will dare to tell, but in the lover's ear alone." This means that only people of similar experience with love will understand. It is a way of imitating the actions of people, an aim which Wordsworth wanted his poetry to achieve. The tone that Wordsworth uses in the poems is also similar. The tone is very regretful and shows Wordsworth worrying about Lucy. "She seemed a thing that could not feel..." in A slumber did... and in Strange fits... "If Lucy should be dead!" This tone accompanies the subject of the poems and in doing so, creates an important similarity. Another important similarity is the way Lucy is described and in which parts of the poems this occurs. ...read more.

Conclusion

She does this in her own house, "Lucy's cottage," which is perhaps in solitude away from any of her family and friends: "she lived unknown," and "very few to love." We also find out that Wordsworth was having a relationship with her: "The joy of my desire." If Wordsworth was writing about a real-life love, she could have been perhaps Annette Vallon, the women he had a relationship with while in France. However evidence in I travelled among unknown men (in France) points to Lucy being in England: "Thy mornings showed thy nights concealed, the bowers where Lucy played." It might also have been Mary Hutchinson, his future wife. Some people also say that Lucy is really Dorothy, his sister. It is also thought that Wordsworth was, consciously or not, having some feelings for her. His extreme guilt at such feelings explains why Lucy is killed off in the poems! However, I prefer to think of Lucy as, above all, one or more imaginary creations of Wordsworth's own fertile psyche. It is obvious to me that there are many similarities and also many differences between these poems. I believe that these differences were inevitable in order to make the poems as varied as possible but at the same time intending them to be taken as a group. This groups intention was to describe figments of Wordsworth's imagination known only to us as 'Lucy'. Andy Collins, 11:4 Page 1 of 4 26/04/2007 ...read more.

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