Write a close analysis of ‘Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands near the lake of Esthwaite’ from William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, discussing whatever features of language or themes seem important to you. Your essay should discuss at least one other poem from Lyrical Ballads, AND/OR look at a version of this poem in the 1800 edition of the text, AND/OR draw on Wordsworth’s theories of language and poetry as laid out in the prefaces to Lyrical Ballads.
Wordsworth’s Lyrical ballads is a seminal piece of work in literature as it initiated the Romantic era of poetry by emphasizing felling, instinct and pleasure above formality and mannerism in verse. His poetic work revelled in its plain spoken and easy to understand language in his attempts to imitate the “language really used by men” so that anyone was capable of extracting meaning from his work. Common too many of his poems and to the Romantic Era is the concept of lost innocence that centres on the perversion and failure of an industrialised society. It is in this respect, that Wordsworth believed imagination and escape were essential to operate in an industrialised world but, as argued in the following poems, to what degree is it safe to retreat into one’s own psyche or rely on the social justice of industrial society.
The poem The Dungeon is an extract from a play by Coleridge. It is part of a soliloquy from Osorio spoken by the hero after being imprisoned. The poem focuses on the social injustices made by mankind; specifically that prison is no place for a man to be or to reflect on his guilt. Therefore, the poem argues that one crime cannot not be ‘cured’ by another crime (imprisonment) this is described as unjust and immoral but Coleridge suggests that ‘nature’ is the ‘true cure’ of this indignation “O nature/ Healest thy wandering and distempered child:”. It is within this theme that the concept of lost innocence emerges.