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Percy Bysshe Shelly sample essay

William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley are two of the best known poets in the world of literature. And with that being said, it would be very interesting to set their greatest works side by side. But it would be important to keep in mind that one should approach these great works with great respect to unearth hints to what make them great poems. If the works of these two great poets are set aside together, one would immediately notice that nature is much used as an image by both poets. Many of their poems are citing elements of nature, like trees, birds, the ocean, the sky, etc. , and even Nature herself.

Both of these poets had expressed their fascination at nature and had incorporated that fascination through their poetry. According to Warren, both of the two poet’s fascination about nature has much to do with the context of the composition of their poems. Both nature poems of Shelley and Wordsworth are deeply affected by the actual time and location of their writings. In Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey”, he was writing a poem on a summer day while just sitting on an English countryside. On the other hand, while writing one of his most famous works, “Mont Blanc”, Shelley was writing his poem while travelling along the Alps.

(Warren) Wordsworth’s poem entitled “The World is too much with us”, is a piece that exudes the poet’s use of nature as an image. The title alone suggests a conflict between the world [nature] and us [humanity]. Two lines are almost explicitly telling to the readers that this poem is about nature “getting and spending we lay waste our powers / little we see in Nature that is ours” (Wordsworth 94-95) It is very noticeable that the word first letter of the word “Nature” is capitalized. Wordsworth’s most likely reason for capitalizing the first letter is to give emphasis on the word, make it stand out in the poem.

A common interpretation of the poem would be about the lost connection between man and nature that once was strong. On the other hand, the poem “Mont Blanc: Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni” by Shelley does not aim to describe a conflict. The poem is more likely to be leaning towards a statement that man and nature are intrinsically related. The poem is quite long, but after reading it a reader is likely to have a conclusion that the poem is a mere description, just in poetic language. Shelley’s fascination with nature is very evident in this particular poem.

As if functioning like a thesis statement, the first four lines suggest to the reader that the poet want to express his immense awe of nature “the everlasting universe of things / flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves / now dark—now gliterring-no, reflecting gloom / now lending splendor, where from secret springs” (Shelley 125) By looking at this poem of Shelley, we could see that he is talking about how the beauty of nature had astounded him. The tone of his poems also suggests that the poetry of Shelley is fueled by the inspiration that nature generously grants to him.

Other works like “Ode to the West Wind”, “To a Skylark”, “The Sensitive Plant”, “The Cloud” and the best known in the list “Prometheus Unbound. ” It is even stated in his biography that Shelley had already exuded a fascination with nature since his early childhood. According to his biography, he had grown up listening to nature stories like that was about the ponds and the woods in the place where he grew up. (Shelley 22-25) Going back to Wordsworth, he had seemingly taken the theme of nature to a higher level.

In the poem “The Tables Turned”, he argues that nature could provide us better education than what we are receiving from schools. He started the poem with what seems to be an invitation “Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books / or surely you’ll grow double” (Wordsworth 41) Then he would describe the alluring beauty of nature in the second stanza. Then Wordsworth would throw in the third stanza the line “books! Tis a dull and endless strife” explicitly reiterating and reinforcing his argument that nature is the better educator our system of education.

He proposes nature as the alternative educator in the same stanza “some, hear the woodland linnet / how sweet his music! on my life. ” He would end the third stanza with a bold claim that “there is more wisdom in it [nature]. ” The fourth stanza would end in two arguably preachy lines “Come forth into the light of things / let Nature be your teacher. ” In the next stanza Wordsworth had addressed nature as a “she”: “she has a world of ready wealth. ” It is typical of nature poets to portray nature with a feminine tone. That is because both nature and women are regarded as the giver and nurturer of life.

(Wordsworth 41) The poem “The Tables Turned” had undeniably established Wordsworth as a nature poet. The way he had presented his argument about nature is really exceptional. He had presented nature as a generous educator in this poem. In the fifth stanza there is the line “truth breathed by cheerfulness. ” What Wordsworth may have been trying to say is that unlike most schools, nature is willing to give the education for free through her “…world of ready wealth. ” And this kind of education that nature offers surpasses the kind of education that schools can provide.

Wordsworth is claiming that nature “…has our minds and hearts to bless. ” He presented to us the possibility that nature “may teach you [us] more of man. ” Wordsworth is suggesting that nature could teach us lessons beyond what we could learn in classrooms and books, like about “…moral evil and of good. ” The phrase “the light of things” could be roughly interpreted as the “truth” that all of us should be aware of. As we go further with the poem, we could observe that Wordsworth had stood his ground in this particular poem.

There are no hesitations, diversionary design; he did not even leave a space for rebuttals. He had shown his strength as an author by being loyal to his argument and presenting it in a very convincing manner. We could just imagine the influence of this poem to other poets, considering the status of Wordsworth as one of the greatest writers that had ever lived. In many sense, the poem “The Tables Turned” had become a mouth piece for Wordsworth’s fascination of nature. He had wittingly and ended the piece with the last stanza starting with the lines “enough of science and of art / close up those barren leaves.

” In the case of Shelley, his poems oftentimes describe instances when nature is communicating with him. As a response, he uses nature as the main image for his poems. He had expressed this special kind of communication with nature through his poem “The Sensitive Plant. ” The design of the poem is seemingly a mere poetic description of the mimosa, or more commonly addressed as the “sensitive plant” “a sensitive plant in the garden grew, and the young winds fed it with silver dew” (Shelley) But a thorough reading of the poem would lead the readers to Shelley’s likely-intended profound realization.

A common interpretation of Shelley’s poem is that it claims that elements of nature, just like human imagination, could provide us with a more agreeable version of the concept of life. Shelley had expressed this through the stanza “it is a modest creed, and yet / pleasant if one considers it / to own that death itself must be / like all the rest, a mockery” (Shelley) Conclusion As nature poets, Wordsworth and Shelley would definitely share lots of striking similarities in terms of writing style.

Both of them would sprinkle their poems with objects associated with nature like trees, ocean, animals, etc. Both of them would also include the word “Nature” with the first letter capitalized to give emphasis. It would also be typical of their poems to address nature as a “she” in line with the common notion that nature is a representation of womanhood. But of course, there would be a significant difference between the two poets’ use of nature as an image.

Aside from the fact that Shelley had focused on the relationship of man and nature, he had also used the image of nature to paint a beautiful image of nature using his poems a canvass. On the other hand, Wordsworth had used the image of nature to allude to some concerns of the society, like education. It is not that one poet is superior to the other, after all, they are not competing as to whom can provide a more beautiful rendition of nature.

As nature poets, they are already aware of the fact that nature would always be beautiful as it is. Their poems would just be a reminder of the undeniable beauty of nature.

Works Cited

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. The Selected Poetry and Prose of Shelley: With an Introduction and Bibliography. UK: Wordsworth Editions. 1994 Wordsworth, William. Selected Poems of William Wordsworth. UK: Heinemann. 1958 Warren, Amelia. Nature, Shelley, and Wordsworth. Retrieved 1 June 2008

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