Emotions and feelings penned down
Do you ever wonder how a poem is written? Does it come across as a simple outpouring of emotions or is it contrived and guided by certain principles or feelings? Charles Brown, a friend with whom Keats was living when he composed the poem an Ode to a Nightingale, related an incident that led to the composition of this beautiful and immortal poem devoted to a nightingale. According to Charles, a nightingale had built her nest near his house. Keats felt a tranquil and continual joy in her song; and one morning he took his chair from the breakfast table to the grass-plot under a plum-tree, where he sat for some hours. Charles states that the poet fell into a reverie while listening to an actual nightingale sing. He felt joy and pain, an ambivalent response. When he returned, he had some scraps of paper in his hand, and these contained his poetic feeling on the song of this nightingale; words that conveyed his pleasure and pain. Pleasure is seen as something so intense that, ironically, it either numbs us or causes pain… “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains…” Starting with a perfectly mortal bird, Keats goes on to immortalise the bird by making it a symbol of pure or unmixed joy.
Shelley was influenced a great deal by the happenings of the time. His poem Ozymandias is a comment on the era. It is a statement on the unalterable and total decline of all leaders, and of the empires they built, however mighty in their own time. "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" The Mask of Anarchy is a political poem written by Shelley following the Peterloo Massacre; "Stand ye calm and resolute, Like a forest close and mute, With folded arms and looks which are, Weapons of unvanquished war…”
Shelley’s call for freedom through his poetry can be termed as the first modern statement of the principle of nonviolent resistance. Shelley's unconventional life and uncompromising idealism, along with his strong and disapproving voice, made him an authoritative and much-maligned figure. He became a hero of the next three or even four generations of poets. He was appreciated by Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and William Butler Yeats.
Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is about the experiences of a mariner who has returned from a long sea voyage. The mariner stops a man who is on the way to attend a wedding and begins to tell him a story. The wedding guest's reaction turns from amusement to annoyance and dread to amazement as the mariner's story progresses. Coleridge uses numerous narrative techniques like personification and repetition to develop a sense of danger, either of the supernatural or serenity, depending on the mood of each of the different parts of the poem. The guest’s reaction is thus captured by the writing style.
“I cannot paint/What then I was,” wrote Wordsworth, reflecting and almost puzzling over his “boyish days” when the natural world of Tintern Abbey was to him a “passion” and a “feeling” that had no need of “any interest/ Unborrowed from the eye.” This poem is inspired by history. Wordsworth revisited the abbey with his sister, Dorothy, after half a decade's absence. The poem explores the impact of omission to a large extent. This theme is emphasised from the beginning in the line, “Five years have passed.” It also harks back in fantasy to a time when the abbey was not in ruins, and moves between the present and the future as well. The speaker acknowledges having mused over the place many times in the past five years.