Analysis of 'A Complaint' by William Wordsworth.

Authors Avatar by sabehalansari7gmailcom (student)


The poem 'A Complaint' is written by William Wordsworth. He was a  Romantic poet who helped to launch the Romantic Age. The poem is in a collection of poem named Lyrical Ballads. The poem speaks about a grave change that the poet has undergone in his life when someone in his life has gone away from him. Historians generally agree that the friend that Wordsworth was writing about was Coleridge who became addicted to drugs.

A Complaint begins unnervingly with the persona's exclamation of 'There is a change — and I am poor'. He has become a stranger to himself shown by the noun 'change'. It also must be noted that the persona does not mean 'poor' in the monetary sense but rather he uses the term to suggest the loss of something that has been once very important to him. It is also this line, which sets the tone of helplessness and resignation that is quite resonant in the poem. Especially because the persona exclaims on the onset that something has changed, but by immediately following it with 'and I am poor' he communicates that nothing more can be done about the situation and that, what is lost, is simply lost for good. It opens up the idea of this loss as being something personally shaking.

In the second line, we get an idea of what has been lost — some person's love, which 'hath been, nor long ago.' This tells us that, whatever has happened between the two of them, is a shock to the poet, and that it probably has happened quite recently 'nor long ago.' Whatever it is, the poet takes it quite strongly to the heart. This metaphorical image of fountain captures the original intensity of the friend's love because fountains project water with some force.

Join now!

Wordsworth is using the idea of a fountain to show the strength of his love — 'a fountain at my fond heart's door / Whose only business was to flow'; he considers his love for his friend as 'flowing' and constant and, more than that, it is natural — a fountain's nature is to flow, after all. The gush of water from the fountain beautifies and enlivens the atmosphere; likewise, the fountain of love in his heart beautifies and cheers up his entire personality, hence an example of juxtaposition.

It is important to note that fountains initially have had ...

This is a preview of the whole essay