Compare how the two poets handle their subject matter in the poems To Daffodils by Robert Herrick and The Daffodils by William Wordsworth.

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Compare how the two poets handle their subject matter in the poems To Daffodils by Robert Herrick and The Daffodils by William Wordsworth.

In this essay I am going to look at two poems written by Robert Herrick and William Wordsworth called “To Daffodils” and “Daffodils”. At first it is useful to look at the biographical details of the poets studied. The two poems are very similar in topic they choose to write about but they handle their material differently. The content of Robert Herrick’s poem is about the short life span of daffodils and relating it by saying that the human race life is also short. The poem is quite depressing as it is mainly about the passing away of the daffodils/humans. The poem also describes how time passes away quickly (the word ‘haste’ appears a few times) and eventually we all get old and die. I think that the daffodils in his poem relate to people-perhaps he got some inspiration as such from the civil war when he could of possibly lost friend(s) and/or family, making him realise that life is too short and he expresses his emotions using the daffodils instead of people as daffodils live for little time (approx. 1 season). The content of William Wordsworth poem is relating to a wide range of thoughts. Wordworth’s poems are not depressing like Herrick’s but have a light, optimistic sense to them.

Robert Herrick was born in London in 1591 and apprenticed his uncle. Herrick abandoned this career in 1613 and then went on to take on a master’s degree in 1620. He was ordained a priest in 1623 and became army chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham. In 1625 he was awarded for the military service by being appointed Parish Priest to Dean Prior village. During the civil war and the commonwealth period he backed the wrong side and stayed loyal to the crown. The majority of his poems appeared in Hesperides in 1648 but by this time his poems were out of fashion and the book sold very slowly. I think that his life and experience of uprising and conflict gave him an increased awareness about the preciousness of his life that is shown in one of his best poems-To Daffodils’

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William Wordsworth was born in Cumbria in 1770 and attended Hawkshead Grammar School. In 1787 he went to Cambridge. Wordsworth had an affair with a French woman and had a child but they didn’t marry. He was always tormented with guilt particularly during the war between England and France. I think that these feelings had an influence in his poetry. Wordsworth had a very close sister-Dorothy whose diary used to give him inspiration. Wordsworth got married and in 1813 he was appointed Stamp Distributor that meant that whilst he wrote his poems he had a guaranteed income. In 1843 he ...

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