• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare Charlotte Smith: "To a Nightingale" and Coleridge: "The Nightingale, A Conversation Poem"

Extracts from this document...


Compare Charlotte Smith: "To a Nightingale" and Coleridge: "The Nightingale, A Conversation Poem" Both Charlotte Smith's 'To a Nightingale' and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem' are both written in iambic pentameter, using a set strict rhythm in order to convey their message. However, in their view of the nightingale itself, they differ. Smith presents it as a 'poor melancholy bird'1, whereas Coleridge claims that it is poets who 'echo this conceit,'2 and that 'in nature there is nothing melancholy'3 but man, who makes his own misery, and imagines that everything else echoes it. He 'filled all things with himself/ And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale/ Of his own sorrow.'4 Coleridge actually seems to reject the whole purpose of Smith's poem. Coleridge contrasts nature and society, pointing out the stark difference between the 'ball rooms and hot theatres'5 and the beauty and purity of nature. Charlotte Smith, on the other hand, stays largely with the natural world. Her only concession to the more cultural is the reference to the figure of poet, who she allows to give meaning to 'the little sounds that swell thy little breast.'6 She attributes to ...read more.


Iambic pentameter is believed to be a close representation of the natural rhythm of human speech. In addition to this, he draws the reader into his world to make it a conversational poem: it is addressed to the reader. It is to us, the readers, that he speaks, not some third person within the poem: 'You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,'13 and even makes the reader a friend and companion: 'Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge.'14 This is in contrast to Smith, who speaks only to herself, or at the end of the poem, to the nightingale, although this is in more of a rhetorical manner, she views the nightingale as nothing but an animal, who cannot know the emotion of a human. The relationship of mankind to nature is explored in both pieces, and both deem nature to be the better of the two. Smith places her own position in life as far below what she deems a 'poor melancholy bird'15 in terms of happiness and fulfilment, since she cannot escape to 'woodlands wild'16, nor has the nightingale 'felt from friends some cruel wrong'17 or been made 'martyr of disastrous ...read more.


in his references to his own son, although he harks back to the greatness of nature over humanity in quieting his son in order to appreciate nature: 'And he beheld the moon, and, hushed at once,/ Suspends his sobs and laughs most silently.'26 Silence is suggested in other parts of the piece: they 'hear no murmuring'27 from the river. All but the nightingale must be silent to allow Coleridge to build his fantastical world around him, the world of castles and maidens and love and 'so many nightingales.'28 Both of these pieces carry the same title, but yet very different messages about the natural world. Coleridge regards it as the pinnacle of all things, the true greatness, whereas Smith regards it as beautiful, certainly, but innocent, its value being that it cannot comprehend suffering as a human. Coleridge places it far above humanity, a constant aspiration, whereas Smith values human culture above nature, treats it as, perhaps, a child. Her view of childhood in this sense seems to be naivety, rather than Coleridge's view of the beauty and purity of childhood as closer to the wonder of nature, and, as such, greater than the adult man. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Other Poets section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Other Poets essays

  1. The theme of Love in John Donne's poems

    Some may argue that it seems like the author is trying to lead the path towards love. People have managed to reach their goal so why cant they? He is trying to say that perhaps if you put your mind towards something then you can accomplish it, referring to love.

  2. Christina Rosetti's 'The Triad' - A Woman's Role

    Her life is "blue" with cold and emptiness. This woman does not sing of love, she complains bitterly about the "burden" of living a loveless existence. Therefore, these lines also convey the central notion in the sonnet: that all three of these women, who "All sing together," are not singing of loved gained, rather, they are singing of a love lost, denied or never achieved.

  1. Close Reading of Thomas Grey, "Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard"

    The hour in which the church bells ring out their mournful tune. "The paths of glory..." (Line 36) not only mean those affluent people who have gained it, either through inheritance, status or rank. But to those anonymous people who no - one knew or remembers, they too were glorious, but in different ways.

  2. The English Romantics and the Theme of Nature. C.M. Bowra applies the ...

    Bowra, The Romantic Imagination, 1969, p.272) . The English Romantic Movement is made up of two generation of writers: 1. The first generation, known under the name of Passive Romantics, was contemporary with the French Revolution. It included William Blake and the Lake poets: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge , and Robert Southey; 2.

  1. Elizabeth Barrett Browning Aurora Leigh An exploration of the alterity of the ...

    This reveals not only Romney's patronizing symbolic judgement of the 'woman artist' being incapable of experiencing any emotion with regard to the greater, and in his

  2. Discuss the relationship between the city and the country as presented in Swift's `Description ...

    and water' are united in striving towards some greater object of unity. As Pope qualifies - `Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised/ But as the world, harmoniously confused.' (Lines 13-14, p21). These lines present an effective contrast to Swift's description of the effects of rain in the city - where

  1. Describe three poems by John Donne the theme of love

    It may come across to the reader that in this final paragraph the author is explaining how perfect their love could be. The theme of love in this seems to build up by each paragraph. At first the author seems to reflect to the past perhaps on a previous love one.

  2. Consider the uses - symbolic or otherwise - of natural imagery in the poetry ...

    implying that despite how paradisial Khan tries to make his pleasure dome he cannot control the forces of nature described in the 2nd stanza. The 1st stanza describes recognized conventional beauty whereas the 2nd stanza refers to the romantic idea of the sublime; 'mountainous and discordant paraphernalia' (Seamus Perry, 1998).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work