William Wordsworth

THE MANIFESTO OF ENGLISH ROMANTICISM -> in the Preface of the second edition of Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth stated what the subject matter and the language of poetry should be. Poetry should deal with everyday situations or incidents and with ordinary people, especially humble, rural people. The language should be simple, the objects mentioned homely and called by their ordinary names.
In low and rustic life man is more direct, nearer to his own purer passions; therefore the poet is not a man in an ivory tower but a man among men, writing about what interests mankind.
MAN AND THE NATURAL WORLD -> Wordsworth was interested in the relationship between natural world and the human consciousness. In his poetry he tells about the relationship between man and nature, the influences insights emotions and sensations which arise from this contact. One of the most considered concepts in Wordsworth is the idea that man and nature are inseparable: man exists not outside the natural world but as an active participant in it. Nature to Wordsworth means something that includes both inanimate and human nature, each is a part of the same whole.
Nature comfort man in sorrow, it is a source of pleasure and joy, it teaches man to love and to act in a moral way, it is the seat of the spirit of the universe. God is in everything.

THE IMPORTANCE IF THE SENSES -> Nature means also the world of sense perceptions. Wordsworth exploited above all the sensibility of the eye and ear through. He was influenced by David Hartley. Sensations lead to simple thoughts, which later combine into complex and organised ideas. Moreover, these stages of the development of the mind correspond to the three ages of man: childhood, youth and adulthood.

CHILDHOOD AND MEMORY -> Wordsworth regarded childhood as the most important stage in man’s life; THE CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN. What the child sees is both more imaginative and more vivid than the perceptions of the adult, child’s experiences, retained in memory, provide food for future years of thought. MEMORY IS THE MAJOR FORCE IN THE PROCESS OF GROWTH OF THE POET’S MIND AND MORAL CHARACTER.

RECOLLECTION IN TRANQUILLITY -> “All genuine poetry takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity”. There is a vital relationship of present to past experience; the emotion is reproduced and purified in poetic form so that a second emotion is generated.


THE POET’S TASK AND HIS STYLE -> The poet, thought a common man, has greater sensibility and the ability to penetrate to the heart of things. The power of imagination enables him to communicate his knowledge, so that he becomes a teacher who shows men how to understand their feelings and improve their moral being. His task consists in drawing attention to ordinary things of life, humblest people.
Wordsworth abandoned the heroic couplet; he almost used blank verse, he proved skilful at several verse forms such as sonnets, odes, ballads and lyrics (short lines and simple rhymes).


The subject of the poem is a girl who sang during the reaper. The poet not distinguish the words that the young singing but appreciate the tone, capturing the beauty, which he will bring with him into the heart. Great importance has the theme of solitude: the girl is linked with nature. Imaginary interlocutor that listen without disturbing. The poet recreates the beauty of the girl singing comparing it to the nightingale. At the end the poet moves away from the hill amazed by the song of the girl.


Stanza 1 Setting and “shock” at the scene
Stanza 2 Description of the flowers
Stanza 3 Relationship between the flowers and the poet, the emotions of the poet (in the moment of the vision)
Stanza 4 Emotion recollected in tranquillity, consequences of the experience


COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE is a sonnet by William Wordsworth describing London and the River Thames, viewed from Westminster Bridge in the early morning.