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Romantic and Victorian Lit
Terms in this set (37)
Introduction to Songs of Innocence by William Blake
A man walks along a valley playing a pipe, when a child on a cloud laughs at tells him to play a song about a Lamb. The piper does so and the child cries out of happiness, and then tells the piper to sing happy songs. He then tells the piper to sit down and write his songs in a book that all can read. The piper does so, making a pen out of a hollow reed and writing down his songs so every child can experience the joy of hearing them.
Introduction to Songs of Experience by William Blake
Listen to the voice of the "Bard!" This Bard knows everything that ever has and ever will happen and has heard the Word of God. The Bard tries to call a lapsed Soul and cries when it doesn't work, and so the fallen light is renewed. The speaker calls for Earth to return out of the dewy grass as the morning replaces the worn-out night. Do not turn away anymore; why would you turn away when you have the stars and the sea until the day begins?
Ode: On Intimations of Immorality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth
The speaker used to see, in his youth, the beauty of nature as if it were something divine. Nature is still beautiful, but he knows that he can never regain that appreciation of the world he had as a child. While listening to nature he is struck with grief, but then is strong as he overcomes it and appreciates the world after seeing it through the eyes of a shepherd-boy. When seeing the joy of the earth, the speaker can feel that joy once again.The boy unfortunately starts to lose sight of the light of nature, but he still recognizes it, and while man himself is doomed to forget it, the boy becomes "Nature's Priest." Nature as a mother. Age as a an abusive nurse toward man. Appreciation of the birth of a child and a lamentation of how he'll lose his wisdom. Appeal to some Philosopher or Prophet that turns out to be the child, asking the child why they let those years be taken from them. Hope that man can rejoin the children in their wisdom someday, resolving not to grieve over what they've lost, but to find strength in it.
I wandered lonely as a cloud by William Wordsworth
Wandering through a field, the speaker comes across some daffodils. Thousands of them, that seem to be dancing with the waves, and he is very happy at the sight. He sometimes thinks back to that image when he is alone.
Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The character Kubla Khan is on a journey and hears a fountain and builds a "stately pleasure-dome" in Xanadu. There's a river somewhere that ends in a tumult in a lifeless ocean, and during the tumult Kubla Khan hears in a holy place the voice of a woman crying out for her demon-lover, causing Kubla Khan to hear "ancestral prophecies" in the process." Somehow a "sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice" becomes a thing. The speaker then falks about an Abyssinian maid who played her dulcimer and sang of Mount Abora. The speaker says if he could revive the song, he'd rebuild the pleasure-dome out of husic and would be worshipped, having drank the milk of Paradise.
Darkness by Lord Byron
Apocalypse! The sun and stars go out, so all man has for light is manmade fire. Everyone starts burning everything including buildings to get some light. Man forgets his passions in the midst of the dread. In the cold, all hearts were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light. Those living b y volcanoes are relieved they have something of a natural light source. Eventually, though, everything that can be burned is burned. Despair event horizon for basically everyone. The peace brought on by the pursuit of life goes away once the light itself is gone, and man starts killing all the animals and weeding itself out. "No love was left." Famine. NOT THE DOOOOOG! Then two guys are left, but they hate each other. When they get a bit of light they see each other's faces and die from ugliness. Then everything else dies, and the world stops.
Ode to a Skylark by Percy Shelley
Greeting a blithe Spirit. Percy's real jealous of this guy's freedom. Associating him with colors and the sky. What ARE you, bird? Then a lot of comparisons to things. Lamentation of the birds don't have to deal with all these negative emotions, but then realizing that we wouldn't know what happiness is if we didn't know pain as well. Conclusion with asking the bird to tell him "half the gladness" it knows so that he could spill "harmonious madness" to the world, which would then listen to him as he is listening to the bird.
Ode to the West Wind by Percy Shelley
The West Wind is like a plague of death that takes the lives of those it passes. Then a storm's coming. The West Wind is like a Maenid's hair. The west wind is like a dirge, marking the death of the old year. Then the Mediterranean Sea is personified. The wind disturbs the water, suggesting the ocean is subservient to the West Wind. The sea plants hear the West Wind above and fear it. The speaker asks the West Wind to hear him. The Speaker wishes he could have been a dead leaf or a swift cloud or a wave so that the West Wind would share its strength with him by blowing him along. The responsibilities and burdens of life have chained the speaker, a "swift, tameless" man like the West Wind. The speaker asks the West Wind to play him like a lyre and asks the West Wind to be his spirit: "Be thou me, impetuous one!" After the speaker dies, he wants the Wind to spread his "dead thoughts over the universe like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth," and calls this verse an "incantation," asking for his words to be scattered like ashes among mankind when he says it. "Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth the trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be by John Keats
About the fear of death and what he might not be able to accomplish before his death. Before he can write all he wants, before he can publish all he wants in his books, before he can see romance in the night's starred face. When he feels that he won't be able to look upon the "fair creature of an hour" anymore, he won't be able to relish the unreflecting love. Then, on the shore he'll stand alone, and think until love and fame become nothingness.
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer by John Keats
Speaker's been to a lot of places, and seen some cool things and heard some cool poems. He was never able to appreciate Homer though until he read/heard Chapman's translation, and felt like an astronomer discovering a new planet or like Cortez discovered land.
Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats
The nightingale's song made him so happy that he's gotten sick. Wishes he could escape the world and join the nightingale, and "fade away into the forest dim." Laments how man's beauty is not eternal. He'll join the bird, not through the power of Bacchus, but "on the viewless wings of Poesy," escaping the dull world he knows. Then there's a Queen on the Moon with Fays. There's not light on earth except what's blown down from the Heavens. He is blind, as eh has no light, and can't see what flowers are at his feet nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs. But, he can guess what they are based on the season and sweetness. He's been half in love with Death for a long time, thinking that he'd love to escape the life he lives, and now more than ever dying sounds good.The bird's not meant for death though, having its song be heard by all types throughout the centuries. Then he leaves, wondering if this was all a dream.
Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
The vase is like a virgin bride who has never spoken about the tales it portrays. It's a "sylvan historian" who can tell a tale better than man's rhyme. Speaker asks what tale the urn is telling. Praise of mystery, saying "heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." The pictures on the urn will never change, and so those in the pictures will never accomplish what they are trying to do. Lucky trees, never having to shed their leaves. Lucky musician, always piping along. Lots of love. Wait, what's this sacrifice about? Leading a cow to a sacrifice for an empty town that can never be filled because it is a picture. When this generation is old, the urn is still gonna be pretty and will remain a friend to the next generation, going through new woes. It will tell man: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
Ode on Melancholy by John Keats
Don't deal with sadness by suppressing your memories via the Lethe, and don't kill yourself with wolf's-bane or Proserpine. Don't let animals like the beetle, the death moth, or the downy owl be "a partner in your sorrow's mysteries" either.Doing any of this will just drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. But when the "melancholy fit" hits you from Heaven like a weeping cloud, THEN indulge ourself in your sorrow on "a morning rose, Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave, Or on the wealth of globed peonies; Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows, Emprison her soft hands, and let her rave." Then look into her eyes. Sorrow dwells with Beauty, Beauty that must die, and Joy, who is always ready to say goodbye, and aching pleasure nigh. In the very temple of Delight "Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine," though no one has seen it except for he who can "burst Joy's grape against his palate fine." The man's soul "shalt taste the sadness of her might, And be among her cloudy trophies hung."
Emmonsail's Heath in Winter by John Clare
Loves to see the old heath's "withered brake Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling," while an old heron from a "lonely lake" starts slowly flapping its "melancholy wing." It is an "oddling crow" swinging idly on the tree's topmost twig. Beside the trunk a gypsy makes his bed. "Up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread;" "The fieldfares chatter in the whistling thorn And for the haw round fields and closen rove, And coy bumarrels, twenty in a drove, Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain And hang on little twigs and start again."
The Yellowhammer's Nest by John Clare
Cowboy comes across a yellowhammer bird's nest. Finds her eggs that look "pen-scribbled o'er with ink their shells Resembling writing scrawls which fancy reads As nature's poesy and pastoral spells." The Yellowhammer is like a poet and dwells where brooks and flowery weeds are found. Her partner sits on a Molehill as if it were some sort of Mount Parnassus, sitting and reaming about her joys of song. Even in these sweet scenarios, though, there's something bad coming; like some sort of noisome weed that burthens every soil, snakes come and eat the eggs, leaving the warblers to sing of woe instead.
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