Introduction and the Predecessors
What is Romanticism?
Romanticism (also known as the Romantic Era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak from approximately 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, libertarian-conservatism, and nationalism. The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of the sublime and the beauty of nature. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, but also spontaneity as a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu). In contrast to the Rationalism and Classicism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, early urban sprawl, and industrialism. Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement (Storm and Stress), which preferred intuition and emotion to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the events and ideologies of the French Revolution were also proximate factors. Romanticism assigned a high value to the achievements of "heroic" individualists and artists, whose examples, it maintained, would raise the quality of society. It also promoted the individual imagination as a critical authority allowed of freedom from classical notions of form in art. There was a strong recourse to historical and natural inevitability, a Zeitgeist (spirit of the time/era), in the representation of its ideas. © Wikipedia
The Restoration refers to the restoration of the monarchy when Charles II was restored to the throne of England following an eleven-year Commonwealth period during which the country was governed by Parliament under the direction of the Puritan General Oliver Cromwell. This political event coincides with (and to some extent is responsible for) changes in the literary, scientific, and cultural life of Britain. During this time, a premium was placed on the importance of human reason and on an empirical philosophy that held that knowledge about the world was through the senses and by applying reason to what we take in through our senses. Reason was an unchanging, uniquely human characteristic that served as a guide for man. Thus this time is often also called the Age of Reason or Enlightenment. Characteristics of this period included observing human nature and nature itself which were considered unchanging and constant. The age is also known as the Neoclassical Period. Writers of the time placed great emphasis on the original writings produced by classical Greek and Roman literature. The literature of this period imitated that of the age of Caesar Augustus, writers such as Horace and Virgil, with classical influences appearing prevalent in poetry with the use of rhyming, and in prose with its satirical form. The Augustans deemed classical literature as natural, that these works were the idealized models for writing. The Neoclassical “ideals of order, logic, restraint, accuracy, ‘correctness,’ decorum. . . would enable the practitioners of various arts to imitate or reproduce the structures or themes of Greek or Roman originals” (Victorian Web). Alexander Pope furthers this idea as he says, “Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem; To copy Nature is to copy them” (Essay on Criticism). The way to study nature is to study the ancients and the styles and rules of classical literature. Closely allied with the emphasis placed on the classics and the unchanging rules of nature was the belief that reason was an unchanging and unique human quality that served as a guide for man. Literature during this period was often considered a tool for the advancement of knowledge. Writers were often found observing nature in their attempts to express their beliefs. Human nature was considered a constant that observation and reason could be applied to for the advancement of knowledge. Within these circumstances, the Age of Satire was born. Satire was the most popular literary tool that was utilized by writers of the time. With the help of satire, writers were better able to educate the public through literature. Its function was to acknowledge a problem in society and attempt to reform the problem in a comical manner while still educating the public. Its effectiveness can be seen in literary pieces by Jonathan Swift such as A Modest Proposal where he addresses and criticizes the problem of a growing famine in Ireland. Playwrights of the time were also known to incorporate satire in their plays. Using satire, they were able to expose and critique social injustices. “Over the thirty years of its triumphs, Restoration comedy, in an astounding fugue of excesses and depravities, laid bare the turbulence and toxins of this culture” (Longman). Satire was a highly successful literary tool that worked to promote social awareness through literature, the theater and periodicals of the time. © Lumen Learning
Focus on the writer or narrator’s emotions and inner world; celebration of nature, beauty, and imagination; rejection of industrialization, organized religion, rationalism, and social convention; idealization of women, children, and rural life; inclusion of supernatural or mythological elements; interest in the past; frequent use of personification; experimental use of language and verse forms, including blank verse; and emphasis on individual experience of the "sublime." © e-notes
1. Individuality/Democracy/Personal Freedom2. Spiritual/Supernatural Elements3. Nature as a Teacher4. Interest in Past History especial Medieval Period or mythological Greece and Rome5. Celebration of the Simple Life6. Interest in the Rustic/Pastoral Life7. Interest in Folk Traditions8. Use of Common, Everyday Language9. Use of Common Subjects, Personal Subjects
The Age of Sensibility (1750-1798)
The second half of the 18th century saw the emergence of three major Irish authors: Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774), Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816) and Laurence Sterne (1713–1768). Goldsmith is the author of The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), a pastoral poem "The Deserted Village" (1770) and two plays, The Good-Natur'd Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer (1773). Sheridan's first play, The Rivals (1775), was performed at Covent Garden and was an instant success. He went on to become the most significant London playwright of the late 18th century with plays like The School for Scandal. Both Goldsmith and Sheridan reacted against the sentimental comedy of the 18th-century theatre, writing plays closer to the style of Restoration comedy.
Sterne published his famous novel Tristram Shandy in parts between 1759 and 1767. In 1778, Frances Burney (1752–1840) wrote Evelina, one of the first novels of manners.
Meanwhile, The Romantic Movement in English literature of the early 19th century has its roots in 18th-century poetry, the Gothic novel, and the novel of sensibility. This includes the graveyard poets, from the 1740s and later, whose works are characterized by gloomy meditations on mortality. To this was added, by later practitioners, a feeling for the 'sublime' and uncanny, and an interest in ancient English poetic forms and folk poetry. The poets include Thomas Gray (1716–1771), who wrote “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” (1751) and Edward Young (1683–1765), who composed “The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death and Immortality” (1742–45). Other precursors are James Thomson (1700–1748) and James Macpherson (1736–1796). James Macpherson was the first Scottish poet to gain an international reputation, with his claim to have found poetry written by the ancient bard Ossian.
The sentimental novel or "novel of sensibility" is a genre which developed during the second half of the 18th century. It celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility. Sentimentalism, which is to be distinguished from sensibility, was a fashion in both poetry and prose fiction which began in the 18th century in reaction to the rationalism of the Augustan Age (early 18th century). Among the most famous sentimental novels in English are Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740), Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield (1766), Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759–67), and Henry Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling (1771).
Significant foreign influences were the Germans Goethe, Schiller and August Wilhelm Schlegel and French philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) is another important influence. The changing landscape, brought about by the industrial and agricultural revolutions, was another influence on the growth of the Romantic movement in Britain.
In the late 18th century, Horace Walpole's 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto created the Gothic fiction genre, that combines elements of horror and romance. Ann Radcliffe introduced the brooding figure of the gothic villain which developed into the Byronic hero. Her The Mysteries of Udolpho (1795) is frequently cited as the archetypal Gothic novel.
- For Romantics, the Sublime is a meeting of the subjective-internal (emotional) and the objective-external (natural world): we allow our emotions to overwhelm our rationality as we experience the wonder of creation.
Pre-Romantic Web Resorces
THE AGE OF JOHNSON (SENSIBILITY): https://neoenglish.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/the-age-of-johnson-1744-1784/
2. WILLIAM COLLINS: BIOGRAPHY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Collins_(poet)BIOGRAPHY: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/william-collinsODE TO EVENING: https://www.bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanpoetry/ode-to-evening-summary-analysis.html#.XkGldTJKjX4
3. CHRISTOPHER SMART:BIOGRAPHY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_SmartBIOGRAPHY: https://poets.org/poet/christopher-smartJUBILATE AGNO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilate_Agno
4. OLIVER GOLDSMITH:BIOGRAPHY: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/oliver-goldsmithBIOGRAPHY: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Oliver-Goldsmith-Anglo-Irish-authorTHE DESERTED VILLAGE: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44292/the-deserted-villageTHE DESERTED VILLAGE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Deserted_Village
5. WILLIAM COWPER:BIOGRAPHY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_CowperBIOGRAPHY: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/william-cowperTHE TASK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Task_(poem)
6. THOMAS GRAY:BIOGRAPHY: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/thomas-grayBIOGRAPHY: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Thomas-Gray-English-poetTHOMAS GRAY ARCHIVE: https://www.thomasgray.org/ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elegy_Written_in_a_Country_Churchyard
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds,Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r The moping owl does to the moon complainOf such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn, The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her evening care:No children run to lisp their sire's return, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;How jocund did they drive their team afield! How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r, And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,Awaits alike th' inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated bust Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust, Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd, Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage, And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene, The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast The little tyrant of his fields withstood;Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of list'ning senates to command, The threats of pain and ruin to despise,To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib'd alone Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect, Some frail memorial still erected nigh,With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd muse, The place of fame and elegy supply:And many a holy text around she strews, That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey, This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies, Some pious drops the closing eye requires;Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries, Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;If chance, by lonely contemplation led, Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, "Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawnBrushing with hasty steps the dews away To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
"There at the foot of yonder nodding beech That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,His listless length at noontide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove,Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn, Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
"One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill, Along the heath and near his fav'rite tree;Another came; nor yet beside the rill, Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
"The next with dirges due in sad array Slow thro' the church-way path we saw him borne.Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay, Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
THE EPITAPHHere rests his head upon the lap of Earth A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth, And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere, Heav'n did a recompense as largely send:He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear, He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose, Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,(There they alike in trembling hope repose) The bosom of his Father and his God.
The Seasons was the first sustained nature poem in English and concludes with a “Hymn to Nature.” The work was a revolutionary departure; its novelty lay not only in subject matter but in structure. What was most striking to Thomson’s earliest readers was his audacity in unifying his poem without a “plot” or other narrative device, thereby defying the Aristotelian criteria revered by the Neoclassicist critics. © https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Thomson-Scottish-poet-1700-1748
(Hymn to Nature)
These, as they change, Almighty Father, theseAre but the varied God. The rolling yearIs full of thee. Forth in the pleasing SpringThy beauty walks, Thy tenderness and love.Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm;Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles,And every sense, and every heart is joy.Then comes Thy glory in the summer months,With light and heart refulgent. Then Thy sunShoots full perfection thro' the swelling year;And of Thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks-And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,By brooks and groves, in hollow-whisp'ring gales.Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfin'd,And spreads a common feast for all that lives.In Winter, awful Thou! with clouds and stormsAround Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest roll'd,Majestic darkness! on the whirlwind's wing,Riding sublime, Thou bidst the world adore;And humblest Nature with Thy northern blast.Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train,Yet so delightful mix'd, with such kind art,Such beauty and beneficence combin'd;Shade, unperceiv'd, so soft'ning into shade,And all so forming an harmonious whole,That they still succeed, they ravish still.But wand'ring oft, with brute unconscious gaze,Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty hand,That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres;Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thenceThe fair profusion that o'erspreads the spring;Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth;And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,With transport touches all the springs of life.Nature, attend! join every living soul,Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,In adoration join! and, ardent, raiseOne general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes:Oh talk of Him in solitary glooms!Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely waving pineFills the brown shade with a religious awe.And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,Who shake the astonished world, lift high to heavenThe impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills;And let me catch it as I muse along.Ye headlong torrents, rapid, and profound;Ye softer floods, that lead the humid mazeAlong the vale; and thou, majestic main,A secret world of wonders in thyself,Sound His stupendous praise - whose greater voiceOr bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall.Soft-roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers,In mingled clouds to Him - whose sun exalts,Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints.Ye forests bend, ye harvests wave, to Him;Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleepUnconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,Ye constellations, while your angels strike,Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.Great source of day! best image here belowOf thy Creator, ever pouring wide,From world to world, the vital ocean round,On Nature write with every beam His praise.The thunder rolls: be hushed the prostrate world;While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.Bleat out afresh, ye hills; ye mossy rocks,Retain the sound: the broad responsive low,Ye valleys, raise; for the Great Shepherd reigns;And His unsuffering kingdom yet will come.Ye woodlands all, awake: a boundless songBurst from the groves; and when the restless day,Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charmThe listening shades, and teach the night His praise.Ye, chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,Crown the great hymn! in swarming cities vast,Assembled men, to the deep organ joinThe long-resounding voice, oft-breaking clear,At solemn pauses, through the swelling base;And, as each mingling flame increases each,In one united ardour rise to heaven.Or if you rather choose the rural shade,And find a fane in every sacred grove;There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,Still sing the God of Seasons, as they roll.For me, when I forget the darling theme,Whether the blossom blows, the Summer-rayRussets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams,Or Winter rises in the blackening east,Be my tongue mute - my fancy paint no more,And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat!Should fate command me to the farthest vergeOf the green earth, to distant barb'rous climes,Rivers unknown to song - where first the sunGilds Indian mountains, or his setting beamFalmes on th' Atlantic isles - 'tis nought to me:Since God is ever present, ever felt,In the void waste as in the city full;And where He vital breathes there must be joy.When ev'n at last the solemn hour shall come,And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,I cheerful will obey; there, with new pow'rs,Will rising wonders sing: I cannot goWhere Universal Love not smiles around,Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns;From seeming evil still educing good,And better thence again, and better still,In infinite progression.- But I loseMyself in Him, in light ineffable!Come then, expressive silence, muse His praise.
Ode to Evening is one of the finest poems of Collins in his collection 'Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegorical Subjects'. It is composed in a single stanza of fifty two lines with unrhyming pattern. This beautiful poem is addressed to the evening who is regarded as the goddess, nymph or maid. The personified evening is chaste, reserved and meek opposite to the characteristics of the bright sun. © https://www.bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanpoetry/ode-to-evening-summary-analysis.html#.XkGldTJKjX4
Now air is hushed, save where the weak-ey'd batWith short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,Or where the beetle windsHis small but sullen hornAs oft he rises 'midst the twilight pathAgainst the pilgrim, borne in heedless hum:Now teach me, maid composed,To breathe some softened strain,Whose numbers stealing through thy dark'ning valeMay not unseemly with its stillness suit,As musing slow, I hailThy genial loved return.For when thy folding star arising showsHis paly circlet, at his warning lampThe fragrant Hours, and elvesWho slept in flowers the day,And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with sedgeAnd sheds the fresh'ning dew, and lovelier still,The pensive pleasures sweetPrepare thy shad'wy car.Then lead, calm votress, where some sheety lakeCheers the lone heath, or some time-hallowed pileOr upland fallows greyReflect its last cool gleam.But when chill blust'ring winds, or driving rain,Forbid my willing feet, be mine the hutThat from the mountain's sideViews wilds, and swelling floods,And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er allThy dewy fingers drawThe gradual dusky veil.
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve;While Summer loves to sportBeneath thy ling'ring light;While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves;Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,Affrights thy shrinking trainAnd rudely rends thy robes;So long, sure-found beneath the sylvan shed,Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, rose-lipp'd Health,Thy gentlest influence own,And hymn thy fav'rite name!
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.For he rolls upon prank to work it in.For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.For this he performs in ten degrees.For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.For fifthly he washes himself.For sixthly he rolls upon wash.For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.For tenthly he goes in quest of food.For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.For he is of the tribe of Tiger.For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he's a good Cat.For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.For every family had one cat at least in the bag.For the English Cats are the best in Europe.For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.For he is tenacious of his point.For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.For he knows that God is his Saviour.For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.For he is of the Lord's poor and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually—Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.For he is docile and can learn certain things.For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.For he can catch the cork and toss it again.For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.For the former is afraid of detection.For the latter refuses the charge.For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.For his ears are so acute that they sting again.For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.For he can swim for life.For he can creep.
Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,Where health and plenty cheared the labouring swain,Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed,Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,How often have I loitered o'er thy green,Where humble happiness endeared each scene!How often have I paused on every charm,The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,The never-failing brook, the busy mill,The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill,The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,For talking age and whispering lovers made!How often have I blest the coming day,When toil remitting lent its turn to play,And all the village train, from labour free,Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree,While many a pastime circled in the shade,The young contending as the old surveyed;And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,And slights of art and feats of strength went round;And still as each repeated pleasure tired,Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired;The dancing pair that simply sought renownBy holding out to tire each other down;The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,While secret laughter tittered round the place;The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love,The matron's glance that would those looks reprove!These were thy charms, sweet village; sports like these,With sweet succession, taught even toil to please;These round thy bowers their chearful influence shed,These were thy charms—But all these charms are fled.Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,And desolation saddens all thy green:One only master grasps the whole domain,And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain;No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,But, choaked with sedges, works its weedy way;Along thy glades, a solitary guest,The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.Sunk are thy bowers, in shapeless ruin all,And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,Far, far away, thy children leave the land.Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;A breath can make them, as a breath has made;But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,When once destroyed, can never be supplied.A time there was, ere England's griefs began,When every rood of ground maintained its man;For him light labour spread her wholesome store,Just gave what life required, but gave no more:His best companions, innocence and health;And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.But times are altered; trade's unfeeling trainUsurp the land and dispossess the swain;Along the lawn, where scattered hamlets rose,Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose;And every want to oppulence allied,And every pang that folly pays to pride.Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,Those calm desires that asked but little room,Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene,Lived in each look, and brightened all the green;These, far departing seek a kinder shore,And rural mirth and manners are no more.Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.Here as I take my solitary rounds,Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruined grounds,And, many a year elapsed, return to viewWhere once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.In all my wanderings round this world of care,In all my griefs—and God has given my share—I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;To husband out life's taper at the close,And keep the flame from wasting by repose.I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,Amidst the swains to shew my book-learned skill,Around my fire an evening groupe to draw,And tell of all I felt, and all I saw;And, as an hare whom hounds and horns pursue,Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,I still had hopes, my long vexations past,Here to return—and die at home at last.
’Tis morning; and the sun with ruddy orbAscending, fires the horizon: while the cloudsThat crowd away before the driving wind,More ardent as the disk emerges more,Resemble most some city in a blaze,Seen through the leafless wood. His slanting raySlides ineffectual down the snowy vale,And tinging all with his own rosy hue,From ev’ry herb and ev’ry spiry bladeStretches a length of shadow o’er the field.Mine, spindling into longitude immense,In spite of gravity, and sage remarkThat I myself am but a fleeting shade,Provokes me to a smile. With eye askanceI view the muscular proportion’d limbTransform’d to a lean shank. The shapeless pair,As they design’d to mock me, at my sideTake step for step; and as I near approachThe cottage, walk along the plaster’d wall,Prepost’rous sight! the legs without the man.The verdure of the plain lies buried deepBeneath the dazzling deluge; and the bents,And coarser grass upspearing o’er the rest,Of late unsightly and unseen, now shineConspicuous, and in bright apparel clad,And fledg’d with icy feathers, nod superb.The cattle mourn in corners where the fenceScreens them, and seem half petrified to sleepIn unrecumbent sadness. There they waitTheir wonted fodder; not like hung’ring manFretful if unsupply’d, but silent, meek,And patient of the slow-pac’d swain’s delay.He from the stack carves out th’ accustom’d load,Deep-plunging, and again deep plunging oftHis broad keen knife into the solid mass;Smooth as a wall the upright remnant stands,With such undeviating and even forceHe severs it away: no needless careLest storms should overset the leaning pileDeciduous, or its own unbalanc’d weight.
. . .
’Tis liberty alone that gives the flow’rOf fleeting life its lustre and perfume,And we are weeds without it. All constraint,Except what wisdom lays on evil men,Is evil; hurts the faculties, impedesTheir progress in the road of science; blindsThe eyesight of discov’ry, and begets,In those that suffer it, a sordid mindBestial, a meagre intellect, unfitTo be the tenant of man’s noble form.Thee therefore still, blame-worthy as thou art,With all thy loss of empire, and though squeez’dBy public exigence till annual foodFails for the craving hunger of the state,Thee I account still happy, and the chiefAmong the nations, seeing thou art free!My native nook of earth!
. . .
But there is yet a liberty unsungBy poets, and by senators unprais’d,Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the powersOf earth and hell confed’rate take away.A liberty, which persecution, fraud,Oppression, prisons, have no pow’r to bind,Which whoso tastes can be enslav’d no more.’Tis liberty of heart, deriv’d from heav’n,Bought with HIS blood who gave it to mankind,And seal’d with the same token. It is heldBy charter, and that charter sanction’d sureBy th’ unimpeachable and awful oathAnd promise of a God. His other giftsAll bear the royal stamp that speaks them his,And are august, but this transcends them all.
Although Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, he came to be highly regarded by later critics and readers for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as part of the Romantic movement and as "Pre-Romantic.” In fact, he has been said to be "a key early proponent of both Romanticism and Nationalism.” A committed Christian who was hostile to the Church of England (indeed, to almost all forms of organized religion), Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions. Though later he rejected many of these political beliefs, he maintained an amiable relationship with the political activist Thomas Paine; he was also influenced by thinkers such as Emanuel Swedenborg. Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake's work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th-century scholar William Michael Rossetti characterized him as a "glorious luminary,” and "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors.”
Blake Web Resources
- BIOGRAPHY: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/william-blake
- OVERVIEW VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpva5G7A6x4
- BLAKE’S RADICALISM (British Library Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl0yBrI24XM
- BRITISH LIBRARY OVERVIEW OF BLAKE’S IMPORTANCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVtLe1H6Jqs
- BLAKE’S PRINTING PROCESS (British Library Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96LUAaaPqRc
- MET ART MUSEUM OVERVIEW OF BLAKE’S ART: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pSBIydZULc