lake poets in english literature

lake poets in english literature

The Influence of the Lake Poets in English Literature

1. Introduction to the Lake Poets

Wordsworth was the first of the Lake poets to become widely known. He came to the Lake Country in 1797 and spent most of the rest of his life there in the company of his sister Dorothy. In 1798, Coleridge followed him, living first at Keswick, then at Keswick, with Robert Southey and his relatives, or Wordsworth at Grasmere and nearby at Greta Hall. In 1801, Southey married a sister of Mrs. Coleridge, and after living for a time at Keswick, he settled at Grasmere and later at Elter-water. Meanwhile, Thomas De Quincey became a frequent visitor. The Pantisocracy of Southey and Coleridge may be mentioned as another bond uniting these poets at first in hopes and perhaps producing results in some of their verse and other writings. Without attempting to decide on a definition of the term Lake Poets, we propose to show how this distinguished group of poets lived and worked and to treat some of them in succession as representative figures.

The name “Lake Poets” is usually given to both William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, or it is sometimes extended so as to include the next generation of writers Alexander Pope, Dorothy Wordsworth, Charles Lloyd, Thomas De Quincey, and Robert Southey. All these poets lived in the Lake District of England at the beginning of the nineteenth century. They probably owed their close association and the unity of their work to their common connection with Wordsworth and to some extent to the inspiration taken by all of them from their surroundings.

2. Key Figures and Works of the Lake Poets

Wordsworth, commonly known as the sweet singer of the countryside, failed in his early efforts to describe heroic and devotional figures. His poetry is generally characteristic of moods of nature and of the simple observation of ordinary things. He is best known for the following poems – Lyrical Ballads, written by William Westall, The Prelude, and The Excursion. Although Wordsworth’s first collections were published in the 19th century, the cloud of his fame did not achieve the full height it deserved until after the middle of the 20th century. It was not until the introduction of the Romantic Revival that Wordsworth’s country experiences or his poetic ancestry attracted fully the lovers of poetry. The shy, rural poet seems to have been thrown into the background of the main Romantic group not because his merits as a poet did not deserve high praise, but because the magnitude of his poetic services made them generally appreciated. The clouds were too much a matter of course to create a general rate of interest. It was only amidst the enthusiastic cult of the simple and the natural or the primal and simple beliefs, which the revolution, pointing the way to natural freedom, begot, that his works of genius received the encouragement they deserved.

The Lake School of Poetry comprised three great English poets – Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge. All of them were friends, and poetic inspiration from nature bound them into one poetic kinship. Wordsworth is the name which comes first to the mind when one speaks of the group. He was the high priest of nature, of simplicity and feeling, but he was also an experienced man of the world. Wordsworth was the son of John Wordsworth, a solicitor. He lost his mother when he was an infant and his father when he was thirteen. So he grew up in the care of his relatives. He was educated at the Grammar School of Hawkshead and at Cambridge. He was deeply attracted towards the beautiful scenery of Westmoreland and Cumberland, which influenced nearly all of his life and work. Wordsworth was appointed Commissioner of Stamp-Duties in 1813 and poet laureate in 1843.

3. Themes and Style of Lake Poetry

In Lake poetry, the qualities of unaffected beauty and simplicity were of special importance. These poets, as they saw it, broke away from the artificial norms of eighteenth-century poetry to discover deeper and less obvious rules. Minor poets in the Lake School were often poetasters, and very redeeming features are present in their single attempts. They were often uncomfortable aliens in the literary circle, secret seekers after publicity and fame. Two very ordinary aspirations commented on their verses: the glory of meeting the Southey model and being famous, and the traditional theme of true love and romantic problems. The rectangular and introspective form poetry took amid these two waters does not fail to impress the keen observer of the shortsighted little ape-like troglodyte, but seemed linguistic chaos and decay to the more didactic followers of Pope such as Johnson, who generally referred to the Lake poets as “altogether an affectation school of poetry.”

While Lake poetry displays much variety in style and theme, it is possible to generalize about its characteristic style and its often repeated but significant themes. In the earlier work of Coleridge, there are echoes of “poetic diction”: phrases like “these mortal state,” “awful,” “pleasures cold,” and “Angels silver.” Wordsworth’s early poetry also uses diction as a substitute for thought, uses the metaphor as ornament, writes in blank verse as a norm, and models it on Milton. Both poets’ early work was semi-philosophical, concerned with man and his place in nature and society. But these in both of these early poets belong to the end of the neo-classical and beginning of romantic epochs: it would be absurd to allocate a specific style or approach for a whole generation, whether fifteen or twenty. Odes and sonnets were the staple forms for minor pieces. The longer poem was written in the Miltonic blank verse. There were various varieties of Lyrical Ballad, poems telling which have already been spoken about.

4. Legacy and Impact of the Lake Poets in English Literature

So they could be ready to embark on an immense enterprise based on a new way of seeing and receiving and populate and to have known wild sites and natural areas. Mend society with nature, and each individual with himself and his essence. The literature of Lake Poets, especially some of their works, became an obligatory reference in the cause and environmental movement. In the work of the poet philosophers, Wordsworth and Coleridge, man is the microcosm of the macrocosm, an inseparable part of creation. Each being has an intrinsic value, consisting of its mere existence and consists of the supreme goal of life on the planet.

Impacts on nature conservation: Their poetic advocacy (of ‘wild nature’) was instrumental in receiving nature protection in the form of nature reserves and national parks, legislative recognition through the creation of laws or regulations. Temples of the Muses: Wild nature as a place of inspiration and creation of poetry and art. The literature of Lake Poets had an indispensable role in the European movement of re-evaluation and sympathetic attention and feeling towards the world of nature, whose birth has contributed to a large extent. The reflections of social and political writers thought that modern civilization generates all kinds of environmental problems that have very serious consequences for our existence.

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