Creating Our Own Definition of Romanticism

n.1. often Romanticism An artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions.2. Romantic quality or spirit in thought, expression, or action.----
Taken from

Silva Wandering in the Swiss Alps


a. William Wordsworth


1. Wikipedia (Art/Music)(website)

2. Romanticism Video

(to watch the video, log in as "silvacarrie" and use the password "lorca"

3. Romanticism in Art (website)

Video on Frankenstein

4. Romanticism in Art (powerpoint)

1. WSU Definition of Romanticism (web page)

Adding to our Definition of Romanticism: Using the above resources, please add to our definition and understanding of Romanticism. Feel free to add text, pictures, video, music or personal ideas​ to the definition. Additionally, please help others by editing posted work.


If you post clips or ideas from other sources, please be sure to provide the correct citation information.
See my above definition for a sample.

Influences on Romanticism: (Eugene, Ladora, Javier, Maddy, Danny)

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Many intellectual historians have seen Romanticism as a key movement in the Counter-Enlightenment, a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment. Whereas the thinkers of the Enlightenment emphasized the primacy of deductive reason, Romanticism emphasized intuition, imagination, and feeling, to a point that has led to some Romantic thinkers being accused of irrationalism. (taken from

Sturm und Drang (German pronunciation: [ʃtʊʁm ʊnt dʁaŋ]) (the conventional translation is "Storm and Stress"; a more literal translation, however, might be storm and urge, storm and longing, storm and drive or storm and impulse) is the name of a movement in German literature and music taking place from the late 1760s through the early 1780s in which individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in response to the confines of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment and associated aesthetic movements.
The philosopher Johann Georg Hamann is considered to be the ideologue of Sturm und Drang, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a notable proponent of the movement, though he and Friedrich Schiller ended their period of association with it, initiating what would become Weimar Classicism. (

Religious Influences: During this Romantic period, The Church of England was the official religious body. However, the church was losing its connection with the people, as less people were attending the services. Many people who were part of the Romantic period thought that the church did not do anything to help its cause. They were okay with everything and did not strive to make things better. This is why romantics found other ways to express their spiritual lives. Methodists were also a big influence because they believed people were sinners and they seeked redemption and salvation. Methodists believed in the idea of emotional expression, which is what Romantics heavily favored. The Romantics concept of art all were influenced through emotional expression, similar to the Methodists. They also favored a more personal relationship with God and was more of a anti-religion movement.
external image American_Revolution.jpg
American Revolution: Occured during the 1770's when the American colonies rebelled against British rule, won their independence and created a government based on freedom and equality. It split British opinion and some saw a need for reform. This was one of the revolutions that was a threat to British stability and its political systems.

French Revolution: Began on July 14, 1789 with the storming of the Bastille, a prison in Paris. Later the power of the monarchy was limited in a document called the Declaration of the Rights of Man and France became a constitutional monarchy. The revolution had a major impact on the liberals and conservatives from the rest of Europe. The opinion of the revolution in France had many opposing views. The ruiling class felt threatened and the intellectuals, including Romantic writers, supported the revolution and what it stood for. Poet William Wodsworth also spoke out and supported the revolution. external image prise_de_la_bastille.jpg&usg=AFQjCNGh3jf481EJ8wz3Q3UDts7L4rSoCgWilliam Godwin wrote An Enquiry Converning Political Justice (1793) in which he felt that British society would evolve into a society based on freedom and equality.Edmund Burke opposed the revolution and in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1770), he stated that the French were going against their roots and basis of their society.
The Reign of Terror: The French Revolution became a maelstrom during the Reign of Terror in which the Jacobins gained control of the French legislature and abolished the monarchy. The Reign of Terror was led by Maximilien Robespierre who established the Committee of Public Safety. By this system, he imprisoned thousands of royalists, radicals, and moderates and sent them to the guillotine. The key events of this period were the executions of king Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette. By 1799, France was a military dictatorship. The actions of revolutionaries inspired intellectuals all over Europe. Wordsworth, Blake, Coleridge, and others wrote in support of the revolution, while Bysshe Shelley and Byron followed the radical ideals. Through the actions during the French Revolution, Romantics praised the many attributes of the individual. At the same time, the rise of strong nationalistic groups inspired many authors to write about new themes that the monarchy forbid, such as justice and revolt. Nationalism greatly changed with the rise of Napoleon.
Napoleon Bonaparte

The Time of Napoleon (Napoleonic Wars): Right after the Reign of Terror ceased, one of the strongest leaders in world history emerged to bring stability in France, Napoleon Bonaparte. France was weakened due to the internal conflicts occurred, as a result, the nation became a target for other nations. A series of wars sparked against the French, they revolutionized European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to the application of modern mass conscription. Under Napoleon's lead, French power rose quickly, conquering most of Europe, but collapsed rapidly after France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon's empire ultimately suffered complete military defeat resulting in the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France. The wars resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. However, Napoleon did not only influenced the growth of European military. The dramatic way in which he rose to the head of France in the chaotic wake of its bloody revolution, led his army to a series of triumphs in Europe to build a brief but influential Empire, and created new styles, tastes, and even laws with disregard for public opinion fascinated the people of the time. He was both loved and hated; and even fifty years after his death he was still stimulating authors like Dostoyevsky, who saw in him the ultimate corrosive force which celebrated individual striving and freedom at the expense of responsibility and tradition.

Industrial Revolution: The social and economic movement during the mid 1700s that was characterized by the invention of goods by machine rather than by hand, was know as the Industrial Revolution. Having its roots in 18th century England, the Industrial Revolution allowed goods to be produced cheaply and with less labor. Moreover, rapid population growth and declining mortality rates helped promote the revolution by supplying a workforce for factories and consumers for the goods.

The spinning jenny is a multi-spool spinning wheel. It was invented c. 1764 by James Hargreaves in England. The device dramatically reduced the amount of work needed to produce yarn, with a single worker able to work eight or more spools at once. (taken from wikipedia)
Men, women and children worked long hours in the dangerous conditions of the factories. The factories polluted the air and water supply thus providing unsafe and unsanitary conditions for workers to live near. Because of this, people viewed working in the factories as dehumanizing.
Aware of the changes, romantic writers noticed the disparity between the dark life of the city and the purity and pristine view of nature. Romantics believed nature was a place of renewal and spiritual truth.
In the late 18th Century and early 19th Century the wave of industrialization that swept across Eu
woman working in factory
rope helped fuel Romanticism. Romantics viewed industrialization as an attack on humankind as well as Mother Nature. They believed (perhaps rightly so) that the industrial revolution was changing the natural order of man, who belonged in the country. This idea caught on and it became very fashionable for those living in the cities to take second homes in the country or visit the country on holiday, during the summer. The Lakes district of northern England became a haven for Romantics, while those who could afford it went off to more exotic places, such as Northern Africa. (taken from

William Wordsworth's The Excursion
Jean Jacques Rousseau

Human influences: Jean-Jacques Rousseau layed the ground for the Romantic movement. He felt that society is an evil institution that deprives pepple of their liberites: "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains." He realized that humans should resort back to nature and intuition. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe turned to the German literature of the Middle Ages that were about myths and superstition. The interest in the medieval times became a characteristic of the romantic movement due to interest in romances. William Shakespeare also had a great deal of influence on the romantic era. Romantics loved the way Shakespeare did not follow the classical rules of writing. He would mix certain elements that were not supposed to be mixed, like comedy and tragedy. Romantics loved the idea of creativity, and in their eyes, Shakespeare personified creativity. He influenced many artists, writers, musicians, etc.

​Essential Ideals, Qualities, and Values of Romanticism: (Livia, Kesiah, Mitchell, Soe, Varun)

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Website on Romanticism:

Click me to learn more about the Enlightenment

A revolt against the Age of Enlightenment! But what do you remember about the Enlightenment?

Click on me to read about Kant's Essay: What is Enlightenment? ( Kant answers the question quite succinctly in the first sentence of the essay: “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.” He argues that the immaturity is self-inflicted not from a lack of understanding, but from the lack of courage to use one’s reason, intellect, and wisdom without the guidance of another. Our fear of thinking for ourselves. He exclaims that the motto of enlightenment is “Sapere aude”! – Dare to be wise!

Need a review of your major Enlightenment thinkers? Click on the powerpoint below:
Enlightenment Thinkers at a Glance

During the Romantic period, poetry was believed to be the highest form of literature, whereas novels were considered as a lower form of writing, and often seen as "trash". To many, novels were considered as a threat to serious, intellectual culture because women mainly wrote them.

Dreams and visions
Romantic poets began to proclaim that they were able to compose poetry while they are asleep.
Coleridge proclaims that he wrote the poem, Kubla Khan, while he was dreaming.

"Kubla Khan"
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice ! A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

The belief that there is no difference between the creator and creation. God and the universe are viewed as being equivalent. "‘Pantheism’ … signifies the belief that every existing entity is, only one Being; and that all other forms of reality are either modes (or appearances) of it or identical with it." Taken from The romantics viewed nature as a place of spiritual purity and peace wherein individuals may be liberated through contact with the divine force within the natural world.

Naturalistic Pantheism
A form of pantheism that holds that the Universe, although unconscious and non-sentient as a whole, behaves as a single, interrelated, and solely natural substance. Naturalistic pantheism is attributed to the teachings of Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin,revealing considerable scientific aptitude.(Taken from

The Self
Before the Romantic period, writers often focused on politics, business, trade, and the lives of famous people. However, during the Romantic era, people started to realize that individuals had rights and worth as leaders. This conception inspired writers to consider the worth of the individual in their work and focus more on the lives and experiences of ordinary people. During this time period people became aware of the parts each individual personality. Romantics had a growing fascination with self-exploration and with the individual's experiences in the world. They believed that there was little separating an ordinary individual from a leader; both were entitled to the same rights and worth.
People began to realize that artists were the true philosophers.
The romantic movement responded to the emotions instead of the reasoning; Mystery became more appealing instead of clarity. People began to hone into what each individual desired instead what society desires. The materialistic aspects of life became frivolous and people turned towards a spiritual quest. The belief was that people should fulfill their individual worth. ( taken from

Emotion and Feeling
On top of emphasis on the individual, the romantics valued emotion, intuition, and felling over logical abstraction. They often focused on the "sublime", which is a state of being in which a person was simultaneously awed, frightened, and filled with a sense of majesty and wonder. Feeling and emotion were often viewed as more significant than logic and analysis. Instead of the physical facts to interpret the world, Romantics relied on their intuitive sense of things. The emphasis on emotions was also spread to music created in the Romantic period, and was seen in the compositions made by great musicians like Weber, Beethoven, Schumann, etc. (take from

The Beautiful: peace, tranquility, and reflection in nature
The Sublime: vast, immense, overpowering nature

Qualities of Romanticism

The music of the Classical period reflected the artistic and intellectual ideals of its time. Form was important, providing order and boundaries. Music was seen as an an abstract art, universal in its beauty and appeal, above the pettinesses and imperfections of everyday life. It reflected, in many ways, the attitudes of the educated and the aristocratic of the "Enlightenment" era. Classical music may sound happy or sad, but even the emotions stay within acceptable boundaries. (taken from

By the early twentieth century, the sense that there had been a decisive break with the musical past led to the establishment of the nineteenth century as "The Romantic Era," and it is referred to as such in the standard encyclopedias of music.
The traditional modern discussion of the music of Romanticism includes elements, such as the growing use of folk music, which are also directly related to the broader current of Romantic nationalism in the arts as well as aspects already present in eighteenth-century music, such as the cantabile accompanied melody to which Romantic composers beginning with Franz Schubert applied restless key modulations. (taken from Wikipedia).

The composers of the Romantic era did not reject Classical music. In fact, they were consciously emulating the composers they considered to be the great classicists: Haydn, Mozart, and particularly Beethoven. They continued to write symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and operas, forms that were all popular with classical composers. They also kept the basic rules for these forms, as well as keeping the rules of rhythm, melody, harmony, harmonic progression, tuning, and performance practice that were established in (or before) the Classical period.

Beethoven's 5th

Nature was presented during the time period in which people were destroying nature. Although, nature is often presented itself in many different forms of art. Taken from
Solitary Tree by Casper David Friedrich (1823)

Nature became a way for people to represent the creative part of the romantics. During the romantic period, individuals had an understanding that nature offered transformative and spiritual experiences.

Many different writers of the Romantic era allude to nature:
Washington Irving
James Fenimore Cooper
James Thomson
William Collins
Thomas Gray
George Crabbe

Many writers allude to travelling in their works.

For example, this poem includes qualities involving the individual, nature, and travelling

William Wordsworth
Animal Tranquility and Decay

A Sketch
The little hedgerow birds,
That peck along the road, regard him not.
He travels on, and in his face, his step,
His gait, is one expression; every limb,
His look and bending figure, all bespeak
A man who does not move with pain, but moves
With thought. -He is insensibly subdued
To settled quiet: he is one by whom
All effort seems forgotten; one to whom
Long patience hath such mild composure given
That patience now doth seem a thing of which
He hath no need. He is by nature led
To peace so perfect, that the young behold
With envy what the Old Man hardly feels

Dark Romanticism: a movement in literature, music, movies, comics etc. towards the unfettered expression of the decadent natural world and the obscure supernatural world. (Source)

The main theory of Dark romanticism is that the self is the only thing that can be known or verified. There are certain characteristics of Dark romanticism.
  1. There is the focus on the tragic.
  2. The belief in sin and evil.
  3. An attention paid to the mysteries of life.
  4. Does not emphasize the cynical.
  5. A reverence for human nature, and all its struggles.

Dark romanticism seems to have sprung up as a reaction to industrial society and Transcendentalists. The prominent figures in the Transcendentalists movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. The basic beliefs of the transcendentalists are:
  1. They idolized the individual over the society.
  2. They valued intuition and emotion over reason.
  3. They put emphasis on looking inward for the truth.
  4. That God’s spirit is within you already and in everything else.
  5. God is the universe.
  6. One turns inward to look for God, religion is considered personal.
  7. Self-reliance is stressed.
  8. The world within itself contains the laws and meaning of our existence.
  9. Man is damaged goods.
(taken from Article World)

Although works in the dark romantic spirit were influenced by Transcendentalism, they did not entirely embrace the ideas of Transcendentalism. Such works are notably less optimistic than Transcendental texts about mankind, nature, and divinity.

Notable Dark Romantics are Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.

The Raven by Poe: an example of dark romanticism art
The Raven by Poe: an example of dark romanticism art

- telling us about the dark romantic age in general, with a lot of images of dark romantic art, and brief introductions of famous dark romantics.

Key Figures in Romanticism: (Jacey, Derrick, Sarah, Seth, Sheena)

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Romantic Poets:

William Wordsworth [Bio,Poetry]

Lord Byron [Bio,Poetry]
Percy Shelley [Bio,Poetry]

John Keats [Bio, Poetry]

William Blake [Bio]

William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
Willima Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England. Wordsworth attended Hawkshead Grammar School, where his love of poetry was firmly established and, it is believed, he made his first attempts at verse. After Hawkshead, Wordsworth studied at St. John's College in Cambridge and before his final semester, he set out on a walking tour of Europe, an experience that influenced both his poetry and his political sensibilities. While touring Europe, Wordsworth came into contact with the French Revolution. This experience as well as a subsequent period living in France, brought about Wordsworth's interest and sympathy for the life, troubles and speech of the "common man". These issues proved to be of the utmost importance to Wordsworth's work. (Taken from The beautiful landscape of the Lake District inspired him: nature is a common theme that can be found in many of his poems.

Wordsworth defined poetry as the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings," and “intense "emotion recollected in tranquillity." (

Below, the poem describes an experience Wordsworth had with his sister Dorothy while living at Grasmere. Here, Wordsworth describes the memory of an encounter with nature. Below the poem, the link provides access to read Dorothy's journal entry on the event.

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils
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Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal Entry on Daffodils

How does Wordsworth’s poem depict some of the Romantic themes and ideals (love of nature, concern with industrialization, pantheism, emotion, etc.) found on this wiki? How might it still be relevant today?

“The World is Too Much With Us”

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, (2)
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus (3) rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton (4) blow his wreathed horn.

Lord Byron
Last year, Kevin dressed as his hero, Lord Byron.

Lord Byron lived a very interesting life. While he grew up living a poor lifestyle, and went to Dulwich, Harrow, and Cambridge, where his debt grew and was accused of having bisexual love affairs. He was also suspected of having an incestuous relationship with his half-sister. After word spread about his debt and his incestuous relationship with his wife, he fleed from England.
Lorde Byron was an English poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. Amongst Byron's best-known works are the brief poems She Walks in Beauty, When We Two Parted, and So, we'll go no more a roving, in addition to the narrative poems Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential, both in the English-speaking world and beyond (taken from He was born January 22, 1788, and died April 19, 1824.
More About Lord Byron:
Lord Byron was born to a rapidly declining aristrocrat family. He was also born with a birth defect that left him walking on the balls and toes of his feet during the entirity of his life. After his father died, he was left with unbalanced mother and scorn from his aristrocrat relatives. His experiences growing up with these set backs took a toll on his pride and sensitivy. Eventually, this led to his need of self-assertion and he achieved this by poetry, love, and action.
Although Byron was considered a genius by his teachers and peers, he did not take his schoolwork seriously. He was an avid reader and had an affinity for information.
Byron recieved his title and estate after his granduncle died. He then went to Trinity College and learned a new appreciation for Romanticism. After the publication of his Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, he recieved instant glory. Byron fame continued as he started to stun London socitey. He had incestous relationships and wrote about them in his epic poems like The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos and The Corsair. According to him, incestours love was irresistable yet dangerous and was a metaphor for the tragic condtion of mankind who is cursed by God and hated by society. This therefore is a mirror of how Byron himself felt- alienated by society. Byron created his own cult of personality known as the Byronic hero about a defiant melancholy man with an unforgivable past. Lord Byron felt very strongly about the Greek independence wars and willingly joined the Greek freedom fighters. He died of a fever.

Quotes by Lord Byron (taken from

"A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know."

"As long as I retain my feeling and my passion for Nature, I can partly soften or subdue my other passions and resist or endure those of others."

"I love not man the less, but Nature more."

"In solitude, where we are least alone."

"Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll. Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain. Man marks the earth with ruin, but his control stops with the shore."

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She Walks in Beauty
by Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
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Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Shelly
Percy Shelly

Was born August 4, 1792 And is a major English Romantic poet. Shelley was born at Field Place in Horsham, England in 1792. He left to Italy to marry Harriet. Mary's half-sister and Claire's stepsister, traveled from Godwin's household in London to kill herself in Wales in early October. On 30 December 1816, a few weeks after Harriet's body was recovered, Shelley and Mary Godwin were married. In December 1816 Shelley's unconventional life and uncompromising idealism, combined with his strong disapproving voice, made him an authoritative and much-denigrated figure during his life and afterward. He became an idol several generations of poets, such as the important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, as well as Lord Byron, Henry David Thoreau, William Butler Yeats, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and poets in other languages such as Jan Kasprowicz, Jibanananda Das and Subramanya Bharathy. (

Shelley started writing several works of poetry while he was a student in Eton College (1804); however, his first publication came only six years later which was a gothic novel, Zastrozzi, through this novel he expressed his heretical and atheistic opinions. At the age of 21, Shelley published his first serious work, Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem, which expressed William Godwin's freethinking socialistic philosophy. He spent an immense amount of time sailing at lake Geneva with Lord Byron; during the time they spent at the lake, they discussed about ghosts and spirits. This soon led to the creation of Frankenstein by Mary and the verse allegory, Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude, by Shelley.
At the age of 29, Shelley drowned in the Gulf of Spezia.

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said -- "two vast and stunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedstal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The long and level sands stretch far away." --

A Summer Evening Churchyard
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sunset's ray,
And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of Day:
Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men,
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.

They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea;
Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery.
The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass
Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.

Thou too, aerial pile, whose pinnacles
Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire,
Obey'st I in silence their sweet solemn spells,
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
Around whose lessening and invisible height
Gather among the stars the clouds of night.

The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres:
And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound,
Half sense half thought, among the darkness stirs,
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around,
And, mingling with the still night and mute sky,
Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.

Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild
And terrorless as this serenest night.
Here could I hope, like some enquiring child
Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight
Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep
That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.
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John Keats
John Keats was Born October 31, 1795 in central England; although the exact location is unknown. His first surviving poem was done when he was 19; An Imitation of Spenser. He devoted a lot of his time to the study of literature, although he was not a professional writer. He worked as a surgeon for a Guy's hospital, but at t he beginning of 1819, he left the hospital and therefore his income. Also in 1819, he composed 6 odes in a brief amount of time which have become some of his most favorite poems. Also, the odes form a sequence within their structures. The poem To Autum marked the final moments of his career as a poet. John Keats died on February 23, 1821. He was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. As a last request, he was buried under a tombstone without his name, bearing only "Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water."

John Keats wrote some of his best poetry between the years 1818 and 1819. His completed works of literature from this time period all seem to be extremely emotional, and this may be because of the fact that he was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the time, which his mother and brother had both died from. As a result of his diagnosis, many of his works of literature are extremely depressing; such as When I Have Fears that I may Cease to Be. This sonnet was written to a great friends of his, John Hamilton Reynolds.

To Autum
by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
John Keats

Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
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"Bright Star"

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art— Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors— No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

Bright Star Movie Preview about Keats love affair with Fanny

William Blake
Blake was a poet, painter, and printmaker. Although he was unknown during his lifetime, he is n ow seen as an integral figure of the Romantic Age. Focused mostly on imagination, believing that it was the "body of God." He never traveled outside of London, yet his work was known for its diversity and creativity. He was never respected by his contemporaries and was often considered crazy. Ironically, the unique style of Blake's work that made him an outcast before, is actually what he is most famous for now.

Introduction to Songs of Innocence
by William Blake

William Blake
William Blake

Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:
"Pipe a song about a Lamb!"
So I piped with merry cheer.
"Piper, pipe that song again;"
So I piped: he wept to hear.
"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer:"
So I sung the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.
"Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book, that all may read."
So he vanish'd from my sight,
And I pluck'd a hollow reed,
And I made a rural pen,
And I stain'd the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.

The Lover's Whirlwind by William Blake


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Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) coleridge.jpg

Born the youngest child of a clergyman, Samuel Taylor Coleridge would grow into adulthood to be known as Romanticism's greatest poet of the imagination. Educated early in life with a wide array of Classical and political works, Coleridge had an early interest in Unitarianism and revolutionary politics. With his friend Robert Southey, Coleridge later planned to create a utopian Unitarian society in the United States, an endeavor that failed. However, Coleridge's interest in politics and utopian ideals would later surface in his poetry. In 1797, he began a friendship with William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy that yielded perhaps his most well-known works in the form of Lyrical Ballads, which included Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and ended with Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey." While Wordsworth's poems concentrated on fresh ways of examining common life and nature, Coleridge's works examined intense topics of the imagination and the supernatural. Other poems, including "Frost at Midnight" (Ms. Silva's favorite) and "Kubla Khan" examines these notions using his own poetical style. In the years to come, Coleridge and Wordsworth's personal and poetical relationship would suffer from irreparable strains, and Coleridge's own life would be hampered by illness and addiction to opium. As a result, Coleridge would retire to Highgate and rarely appear, although he enjoyed an immense popularity with the younger generation of Romantics (Keats, Byron, and Shelley). He died in seclusion on July 25, 1834.

NOTE: There is no citation on this entry because I wrote it using multiple sources.

"Frost at Midnight"

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud, -and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, every where
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.

But O! how oft,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birthplace, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My playmate when we both were clothed alike!

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
Fill up the interspersed vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought!
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.