English romanticism is conventionally divided into three generations. The first phase of English Romanticism (90-s of 18th century) is fully represented by so-called Lake School. The term appeared in 1800 when in one of the British literary magazines Wordsworth was declared the head of Lake School, and in 1802 Coleridge was named its member also. The life and work of these poets associated with the lake edge, the northern counties of England, where there are many lakes. Poets-Lakists beautifully described this province in their poems. In the works of Wordsworth, who was born in the Lake District, forever imprinted some scenic views Cumberland – Derwent River, Red Lake Helveline, yellow daffodils on the shores of Lake Alsuoter, winter evening on the lake Estueyt.Ā So representatives of the older generation are Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge and others. Let us briefly describe the work of each of these outstanding writers.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is an English Romantic poet, critic and philosopher, an outstanding representative of the “Lake School”¯.
During Coleridge’s life his importance as a philosopher and teacher overshadowed all other features of his talent, but posterity sees him primarily as a poet and writer. His “Lyrical ballads”¯, containing all his best poems were conceived with Coleridge Wordsworth during their youthful wanderings in the mountains, they dreamed together about the revival of English poetry.
Wordsworth chose for himself a simple area, he described everyday lives, the most ordinary events of the rural and urban life, but Coleridge, by contrast, chose the area of events and characters of fiction, or at least the romantic genre, telling about human interest and semblance of reality, which won an instinctive distrust and captivates readers.
This gradual transition from reality to pure fantasy is a basic method of Coleridge, magically acting Ā«Ancient MarinerĀ», where the ordinary incidents of sea journey are gradually transformed into a wonderful area, where the natural and the supernatural merge are transformed into an indivisible whole.
All of Coleridge’s ballads have the same nature of fantasy, formed of national traditions, and all his poetry is imbued with characteristic melancholy and thoughtful attitude to nature and childhood.
With Wordsworth he differed in many points, was an opponent of his theory about the identity of the language of poetry and prose, but a deep understanding of his poetry and in his article made a very interesting and original idea of the true meaning of poetry and the origin of the measured, poetic speech.
In Coleridge’s philosophy of transcendentalism was a preacher, who came as a reaction against materialism. He always sought the knowledge of the basic principles of “the search for absolute”¯. His philosophical views are set out mainly in the “Aids to Reflection”¯, “The friend”¯, “The Biographia Literaria”¯ and accounted for the content of his talks in “Highgate”¯, reproduced in part Ā«Table TalkĀ».
Also popular of his works: “Aids to Reflection”¯, “The Statesman’s Manual”¯, “Zapolya”¯, “Sibylline Leaves”¯, “Remorse”¯, “Cristobel”¯, Ā “The Watchman”¯, Ā “Poems on Various Subjects Ā», Ā “Frost at midnight”¯ other.
If to talk about William Wordsworth we should say that he is a famous English Romantic poet. Names of Wordsworth and Coleridge often are mentioned together, because they are representatives of the so-called “Lake School”¯.
Wordsworth is in England one of the most significant, or may be even the most important poet. He is the singer of the English landscape, quiet and cozy. In 1798, Wordsworth, together with Coleridge’s wrote “Lyrical Ballads”¯. Collection starts with a poem of Coleridge “Said about the old sailor,” a mysterious tale about the revenge of nature to those who do not respect it.
The most famous works of William Wordsworth are “Excursion Book”¯, “A Noble Peasant”¯, “We are Seven”¯, “The idiot Boy”¯, “Social order”¯, “Guilt and Sorrow”¯, “Alice FellĀ»,
“Descriptive Sketches”¯, “Christabel”¯, “Kubla-Khan”¯, “Prelude”¯, “The Fall of Robespierre”¯, “Osorio”¯, “Remorse”¯ and others.
William Wordsworth is the poet of Nature and Man. He believed that his poetic purpose was to show the nature of man not as a refuge from suffering and commitment, but as a source of “pure passion and joy, everlasting inspiration and support, the Presentation, unless the person is able to see and hear, the eternal and universal value of the soul and the heart – love, joy, strength and compassion. This belief is rooted in childhood and youth experiences of Wordsworth.
Wordsworth opened the nature of the British, and he is rightly considered the best master of landscape. All that Wordsworth depicted, given on the background of nature: a beggar sitting on a distant cliff, a cat plays a withered leaves, a deaf farmer lies under a pine tree, etc. The time it measures the blossoming spring, abundant fruits in autumn, cold, long winters. Finer nuances of the psyche, he translates the language of nature. This lack of a human body, like deafness, Wordsworth describes as follows: for the deaf “deep mountain valley with tinkling streams – is dead, he does not hear her music; summer morning he was not awakened by the solemn chorus of birds, he was not happy hollow”¯ ku-ku “in noisy forest, not for his singing and buzzing in the flowers by bees. When strong winds shake broad chest of the lake and it sings, plays and roars with thousands of raging waves, the wind bends the tops of the trees to the ground and the noise in the reeds – he does not hear the music the storm – he sees only a dumb picture. He does not hear the rattle of the plow which turns the heavy clods of earth, he does not hear the ringing of the spit and the crunch of grass, can not hear the rustling of the ears, when his sickle cuts the stalks, not to hear a merry noise work in busy season”¯(Excursion Book ).
Really big was the love of William Wordsworth to the people, to children and heirs of nature. In his childhood and his youth he admired rural types, especially the shepherds and “peddlers”¯, which is a peddler. Their images appear in his poetry. Wordsworth never tried dim, and his poetry is warmed with tolerance for human frailties and shortcomings. Wordsworth loved the humble and meek heart. In his poetry we can often see images of children, sometimes to manifest, in contrast to the nearby adults, vision of the heart and imagination, as in the ballad “We are Seven”¯.
In the ballad “We are Seven”¯ Wordsworth describes a meeting with a little girl who confidently tells of how her brother and sister were dieing. “We are Seven”¯, – she answers to the question of the poet and how many children remained alive. No matter how he tried to persuade her to subtract from the number of dead, she insists: we are seven. Contrary to reality, they are alive for her, and Wordsworth can not admire such “wisdom”¯ of the child, allegedly instinctively grasps the secret of “immortality”¯ of the soul, inaccessible to reason.
In the best poetic works of Wordsworth clear thinking is combined with expressive accurate description glimpsed the power of feeling, but in the depiction of characters as the appearance, and the human soul is transmitted with perfect certainty.
In the work of Wordsworth we can see the proportion of mysticism and the deification of nature, there is little moralizing and piety, but it all gets lost in his deeply lyrical and simple poetry. In the works of Wordsworth we can find different characters, like peasant, returned from service, soldiers, the peddler and the peasant’s children.
Wordsworth was against urban culture, so was not very deep into science. He learned about the world of direct communication with nature. “A child shell to his ear, hears the roar of the ocean”¯. “Nature knows not the mind and heart of a sensitive and receptive. Nature – the greatest teacher. Science seeks the truth far, and the poet sings the songs of today, it echoes today’s humanity, in the face of truth today”¯.
So, lets talk about William Blake. He was an English poet and artist, mystic and visionary. He wrote many works. His most famous works are “All Religions Are One There Is No Natural Religion”¯, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”¯, “Visions of the Daughters of Albion”¯, “Poetical Sketches”¯, “An Island in the Moon”¯, “The Rossetti Manuscript”¯, “The Pickering Manuscript”¯, “The Book of Thel”¯, “The French Revolution”¯, “America”¯, “Europe”¯, and of course “Songs of Innocence and Experience”¯.
Blake is considered to be romantic because of the fact that he constantly felt the resistance of time. Engraver and poet, has created his own world. His works recall waking dreams, and Blake sincerely believed all his life that he sees the golden birds on trees, leads the conversation with Socrates, Dante and Christ. Deeply religious Blake is constantly trying to bring heaven to the earth, to see heaven in everyday life.
William Blake invented a new way to print his poems and illustrations to them with one engraved plate. Blake believed that this method of printing was to “float”¯ word and image in a single image. In addition, to solve this problem, he would have gained independence from publishers and would be able to print his own works.
His new technique was called “illuminated printing.”¯ With the exception of three small experimental booklets, the first book published using this technique was a collection of poems “Songs of Innocence”¯ and “Songs of Experience”¯. Later, Blake had never published them separately, but only under one cover to the first container and the common name ”“ “Songs of Innocence and Experience Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul”¯. These two books – probably the most beautiful and significant of all, he wrote William Blake.
Analyzing his work “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”¯ we understand that William Blake from the very beginning takes the reader into the world of ideas and images “Songs of Innocence”¯. We see the appearing of Child and Lamb, symbolizing Christ, “Biblical pastoral”¯ – the idyllic landscape, suggestive of eternity, and the poet, whom the Lord, appears as a baby blessing to work. Blake is also formulates his concept of a poem: music – the word – the written text. Note that there is a child who is laughing and crying, so Blake from the beginning introduces two themes “Songs of Innocence”¯: bliss in eternity and suffering on earth.
In many of his poems the main characters are children. For example the poem “The Lamb”¯ is constructed as a dialogue (in which, of course, the child speaks for itself and for the lamb), affects the clarity and expressiveness of composition: line, repeating a refrain at the beginning and end, show how the idea of the child moves from perception of reality to the understanding of the Earth God. Again, as elsewhere in “Songs of Innocence”¯, emphasizes the close relationship of earthly and the divine.
In the poem “Holy Image”¯ central to “Songs of Innocence”¯, in the most distinct form presents the basic idea of the cycle: human nature is divine. Man and God are together. God loves man, and we love God. Here he mentioned fundamental virtues of peace “Songs of Innocence”¯ such as tolerance, peace, love, equally important for life on earth and heaven. The true Christian – one who professes tolerance, peace, love, and in this sense there is no distinction between nations and religions.
The poem “Lump of clay and stone”¯ is constructed in compliance with strict symmetry of a dialogue between two “states of the human soul: a lump of clay represents the selfless, passive, submissive love inherent Innocence – ideal for him is Paradise, won by sacrifice. Stone, symbolizing the state of Experience, praises imperious, selfish, active love, running out of Hell, Blake does not give priority to either of the other point of view, as if claiming that both the beginning is essential for life, for together constitute the natural order of things. Soft, pliable lump of clay associated with the feminine, solid stone – with a male: and she, and others; love is impossible without each other, because each requires the opposite: passive – in forcing, active – in the authority. In this short poem laid the whole dialectic of “Tracks”¯; Innocence and Experience, as opposites can not – however, exist without each other, as Good without evil, light without darkness, joy without suffering, etc.
The idea of the identity of man and God, so important for “Songs of Innocence”¯, sounds in the poem “Lullaby”¯: A mother sings over a baby sleeping in a cradle, equating the child with the Christ, and Christ, and God protects their child from the misfortunes. God protects the child, and this is identified with the mother, but at the same time he signed in the form of a baby – so full circle images of this poem. Here, as in the most of the poems “Songs of Innocence,”¯ Christ is presented not in the form of human suffering, but in the form of serenely sleeping child. Joy in “Lullaby”¯ is combined with grief, “smile”¯ – with “sigh”¯, but its overall tone is light rather than tragic.
After analyzing some works of William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, we can conclude that they frequently use childhood to express their ideas, and in many of their works children are main heroes.