How is nature perceived in Romantic poetry?


I can only intuit that nature was the fountainhead of poetry and a sense of keen delight and enjoyment. Mostly, as it is mood affiliated. We have in William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, many poems about his obvious love of Nature. He wrote these poems, Spring, Night, My Pretty Rose Tree, Ah Sunflower, The Lily, and The Garden of Love.  The most to me elegant poem of his is the Lily, A simple almost Ditty to the virtue of the Lily.

 The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:While the Lily white shall in love delight,Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.

 The beauty of a White Lily,  simple stark and glistening, its scent so uplifting and its true, the rose has many thorns, he was rhyming and since its nature , The humble sheep a threat’ning horn, one assumes that the verse is to tie in the 4 th. Verse, Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.  

Wild roses are used for hedges and on English estates sheep do roam, but the Liles grow in secluded spots away from any threat of a sheep horn.

Never the less, I love lilies has they are so elegant a bloom. In contrast to Percy Bysshe Shelly, the Ode to the West Wind is the brewing of the storm. It’s a mood piece, you can feel the angst and darkness, I will excerpt just 3 verses,

O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being  
  Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead  
Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,  
   
  Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,  
Pestilence-stricken multitudes! O thou  
  Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed  
   
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,  
  Each like a corpse within its grave, until  
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow  

So dark and bleak, the language is haunting and bitter

  Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

 

Dead leaves, fleeing Ghosts are all melancholic. Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, these are the colors of the leaves, which he describes as Pestilence-stricken multitudes! Quote Horrid, leaves as fleas, ticks and mice, what a description of gloom and malice.

 

He refers to seeds, lie cold and low, each like a corpse within its grave. So brutal, a pining for death or its lifeless nature.

The sense of reverence from Blakes’ The lily  is pristine in its allure and here you feel a sense of Torture of despair and sadness. All this is about Nature, the seasons, the beauty and perhaps to some a forlorn beauty is more romantic than the strikingly beautiful. Some long to ache for love.

By – Cristoph De Caermichael 

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