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Nature and Meditation in Romantic Poetry - Essay Example

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Poetry came much before prose in human history. The Ramayana in Sanskrit, by the great Indian sage poet Valmiki , the Iliad and the Odyssey, by the Greek poet Homer are some of the earliest pieces of poetry still read and enjoyed. It was easier for the ancient people to remember something in verse form , with rhythm and rhyme than to remember something prosaic .Man has expressed his deepest thoughts and longings through poetry…
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Nature and Meditation in Romantic Poetry
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Download file to see previous pages Thus poetry is the vehicle for the spiritual elevation of humankind.
In the Western world, the Romantic Poets express their spiritual feelings through descriptions of nature .Although deeply religious, they see God through nature , unlike their predecessors for whom religion was a stern affair. English Romanticism ,in particular, presented a break with the tradition by its individualism and encouragement of the imagination .The Romantic poets experienced the most sublime through nature.
Romanticism emerged in the late eighteenth century as an inevitable reaction against the empirical thinking and stern reasoning that was in vogue earlier. Philosophers like Rousseau(1712-1778)urged that only in nature that mankind could find freedom of spirit. The American Revolution and the French Revolution acted as catalysts for the Romantic Movement .William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and John Keats(1795-1821)were two of the greatest English Romantic poets who found inspiration in nature . In their poetry they use descriptions of nature to raise the mind to mystic heights.
William Wordsworth, one of the foremost Romantic poets, brings out the feeling of "passionate meditation" in his famous poem, Tintern Abbey. The poem conveys a feeling of deep silence and meditation attained through connecting with nature.
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky. (6,7,8) (Wordsworth 1798)
According to Geoffrey Hartman, for Wordsworth nature is "not something to be worshipped and consumed, but always a guide, leading beyond itself."(Hartman,290)We see this even when he is at his most exuberant, describing daffodils in "I wandered lonely as a cloud"
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. (1-6)(Wordsworth 1803)
The poet's heart sings at the eternal spectacle of nature "Lonely as a cloud" suggests the solitude needed for meditation, while,in contrast, "crowd, a host " expresses the feeling of multitudes. .He experiences a feeling akin to meditation which recurs whenever he is "in a pensive mood" , when the multitude of daffodils "flash upon the inward eye" with the ensuing "Bliss of solitude".
"Tintern Abbey" is the outstanding work of Wordsworth published in 1798,and it shows how he developed a vivid and personal approach which connects meditation to sensation in a unique way. In this poem, the brilliant lyric is transcendental; the theme is exalted by the underlying love for his sister. The emotions compliment the visual scene, the memories enrich the moral ideas. Here he feels the presence which encourages him to meditate on the oneness of all things in nature. He rhapsodizes,

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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