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ENG 272

ESSAY ASSIGNMENT-Part I

1. Essay Topic

· Review the following Characteristics of Romanticism from Lecture 4 AND choose 3 characteristics as the basis of your essay:

· predominance of the imagination – over reason and formal rules 
· love of nature – the most important being that nature is the living garment of God
· interest in the past – especially the Medieval period

· individualism – a reaction against whatever characterized Neo-Classicism

· individualism – encouragement of revolutionary political ideas

· interest in the common man and human rights

· sympathy with animal life and children

· interest in the idea of democracy

· preference for the simplicity of natural scenery to modern industrialized life
· Identify an assigned poem that illustrates each of the 3 characteristics you choose.
· Use only these sources: Lectures 4-7: assigned poets and poems.
· Message me any questions you have about your proposed topic at least 3 days before the essay is due.

2. Organization and Development of 5-Paragraph Essay:

· Paragraph #1 – Introductory Paragraph

· Introduce your topic with no more than 2 sentences.

· Specify in sentence 2 (thesis statement) the three characteristics (main points) which you will address in your essay. This 3-point thesis names the 3 characteristics of Romanticism that you will discuss through selections of assigned poetry.

· Paragraph #2 – Main Point 1 (Body 1) Paragraph

· Begin this paragraph with a topic sentence about the first characteristic (main point) named in the thesis. Sentence 1 is a topic sentence that names the first characteristic of Romanticism named in the thesis AND the poem you will discuss in main point 1 (body 1) paragraph.

· Develop this topic sentence with 3-5 sentences of support.

· Paragraph #3 – Main Point 2 (Body 2) Paragraph

· Begin this paragraph with a topic sentence about the second characteristic (main point) named in the thesis. Sentence 1 is a topic sentence that names the second characteristic of Romanticism named in the thesis AND the poem you will discuss in main point 2 (body 2) paragraph.

· Develop this topic sentence with 3-5 sentences of support.
· Paragraph #4 – Main Point 3 (Body 3) Paragraph

· Begin this paragraph with a topic sentence about the third characteristic (main point) named in the thesis. Sentence 1 is a topic sentence that names the third characteristic of Romanticism named in the thesis AND the poem you will discuss in main point 3 (body 3) paragraph.

· Develop this topic sentence with 3-5 sentences of support.
· Paragraph #5 – Concluding Paragraph

· The first sentence of this paragraph is the summary statement. It must rename the three characteristics of Romanticism, in the order presented, and refer to the poets and/or poetry discussed.
· The last sentence should be a related closing thought; do no mention any new information.
· Limit this paragraph to more than two sentences.

3. Format:

· Microsoft Word only

· Double spacing throughout

· Indentation of each paragraph

· 12 pt. Times New Roman

4. Writing Guidelines and Length:

· Use standard English and spelling

· Use present tense only.

· Use third person only.

· Do not use contractions.

· Do not include end notes or works cited, as this not a research assignment
· Include no less than a total of 300 words and no more than a total of 500 words.

· Place the word count after paragraph 5 as shown in the sample.
5. Identification Heading to be typed in the upper left area of page 1:

· Your name/WCCS Student ID#

· ENG 272

· Date submitted
6. Title:

· Center a brief title which capsules the subject of the paper.
7. Submission:

· Submit your essay to the Canvas assignment. There are no exceptions.

· Submit your essay by the required due date/time. An essay submitted after the due date/time will be penalized 10 points up until 48 hours of the due date/time. An essay submitted after 48 hours will be assigned a grade of 0%.

8. Grading Concerns:
· Plagiarism of any kind will earn a grade of 0%.
· An essay that does not address the topic will earn a grade of 0%.
· An essay that uses research of any kind will earn a grade of 0%

· An essay that is not in correct format will earn a grade of 0%.
· A late essay is penalized as stated in the preceding section.
· Content development, organization, and writing will be evaluated.
9. A sample essay follows – do not copy any portion!

Jessica Baker/0000000

ENG 271/00000

Submission Date

Romantic Focus on Nature and Humankind

The Romantic Movement is characterized just as much by what it utilizes as by what it rejects. Romanticism, a reaction against the strict rules and order of the Neo-Classical Ages, often focuses on the simplicity and beauty of nature, an interest in the common man, and revolutionary political ideas.
Wordworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” focuses on the simplicity and beauty of nature. In this poem, the poet speaks of glorious nature as pure and heavenly in his youth. He argues that children can see the Earth suffused with the magic of nature, but as they grow older, the magic dies. As the poem progresses, the speaker comes to the realization that just because a child’s imagination dies does not mean his appreciation for nature dies. Instead, each element of nature can stir him to “thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”

Blake’s “The Little Black Boy” focuses on interest in the equality of common man. In the poem, Blake reminds his readers that the cloud of racism confuses people: “I am black, but oh my soul is white.” Blake explains that God does not distinguish people by the color of their skin. In fact, he proposes that, in the end, both the little black boy and the little white boy will stand before God, alike, and love each other. Blake’s message clearly depicts Romanticism’s concern for the equality of common man as well as his own reaction to the anti-slavery movement of the time.
Blake’s poem “The Chimney Sweeper” focuses on a revolutionary political idea concerning the need for child labor laws. In the poem, Blake describes the enslaved, overlooked children who clean soot out of chimneys, and, as a result, frequently die untimely deaths. The poet urges society to help “free” the thousands of children that are “lock’d up in coffins of black” through passing new legislation to protect child workers. In this poem, Blake, as many romantic poets, shines a light on an injustice of society and of sympathy for children.
Focus on the simplicity and beauty of nature, interest in equality for the common man, and revolutionary political ideas are characteristics of Romanticism clearly portrayed in these poems by Wordsworth and Blake. Through individual thought and expression, the age of Romanticism highlights the importance of nature and all its inhabitants.
Word Count: 392

Note: In this sample essay, the writer develops 3 characteristics of Romanticism by illustrating each with an assigned poem by 2 different poets. Other possible options are these:

· 3 characteristics illustrated in 3 different assigned poems by 3 different poets

· 3 characteristics illustrated in 3 different assigned poems by the same poet

· 1 characteristic illustrated in 3 different assigned poems by 3 different poets

· 1 characteristic illustrated in 3 different assigned poems by the same poet

Continue your reading in Part II of the Essay Assignment, which emphasizes essay organization via through key statements.

5

TOPIC SELECTION

As the part one of this assignment explains, your essay topic focuses on characteristics of Romanticism as they relate to assigned poetry. Please use the following information as you plan and develop your essay.

First, you should review the Characteristics of Romanticism (excerpt Lecture 4):
· predominance of the imagination – over reason and formal rules 
· love of nature – the most important being that nature is the living garment of God
· interest in the past – especially the Medieval period
· individualism – a reaction against whatever characterized Neo-Classicism
· individualism – encouragement of revolutionary political ideas
· interest in the common man and human rights
· sympathy with animal life and children
· interest in the idea of democracy
· preference for the simplicity of natural scenery to modern industrialized life

Second, you should identify (1) the characteristic(s) of Romanticism you plan to develop in the essay AND (2) the specific poem(s) you will use as illustration(s).

Third, you should identify which one of these options you will use to organize your essay:
· 3 characteristics of Romanticism found in 3 different poems by 3 different poets
· 3 characteristics of Romanticism found in 3 different poems by the same poet
· 1 characteristic of Romanticism found in 3 different poems by 3 different poets
· 1 characteristic of Romanticism found in 3 different poem by the same poet

Fourth, you should review carefully the following information about key statements. Key statements are an extremely important part of clear essay organization.

KEY STATEMENTS

5 Key Statements Defined

1. One Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the last sentence in the introductory paragraph.

It is one sentence that must name the characteristic(s) of Romanticism you will discuss AND may name the poem title(s) or name(s) of poet(s). See the following sample thesis statement, with the 3 characteristics of Romanticism to be discussed highlighted.

Sample Thesis: Romanticism, a reaction against the strict rules and order of the Neo-Classical Ages, often focuses on the simplicity and beauty of nature, an interest in the common man, and revolutionary political ideas.

2. Three Main Point Statements (Topic Sentences)
Each main point statement is the first sentence of each body paragraph.

A main point statement must name (1) an assigned poem and (2) the characteristic of Romanticism to be developed.

Sample Main Point Statements (Topic Sentences):
· Main Point 1 Statement: Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” focuses on the simplicity and beauty of nature.

· Main Point 2: Blake’s “The Little Black Boy” focuses on interest in the equality of the common man.

· Main Point 3: Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” focuses on a revolutionary political idea concerning the need for child labor laws.

3. One Summary Statement

A summary statement is the first sentence in the conclusion paragraph. It must recap (rename) the characteristic(s) of Romanticism discussed and may include the poem titles and/or poets discussed.

Sample Summary Statement: Focus on the simplicity and beauty of nature, interest in equality for the common man, and revolutionary political ideas are characteristics of Romanticism clearly portrayed in these poems by Wordsworth and Blake.

To make sure that you are on the right track, I will be glad to evaluate your 5 key statements before you write the full essay if I receive them in time.

Lecture Notes 4

Romanticism Defined

Romanticism was a movement of the 18th and 19th centuries that marked the reaction in literature, philosophy, art, religion, and politics from the neoclassicism and formality of the 17th century. It may be defined as “liberalism in literature”, meaning especially the freeing of the artist and writer from restraints and rules and suggesting that phase of individualism marked by the encouragement of revolutionary political ideas. Romanticism is the predominance of the imagination over reason and formal rules.
Among the aspects of the romantic movement in English literature, we will focus on the following:

predominance of the imagination over reason and formal rules

love of nature – the most important being that nature is the living garment of God

preference for the simplicity of natural scenery to modern industrialized life

interest in the past, especially the Medieval period

individualism, a reaction against whatever characterized Neo-Classicism

encouragement of revolutionary political ideas

interest in the common man and human rights

sympathy with animal life and children

interest in the idea of democracy

The Romantic movement in English poetry is said to have begun in 1798 with the publication of The Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge. In this course we will examine the poetry of 5 major English romantic poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats.

William Blake’s Poetry

In 1789 William Blake published his Songs of Innocence. These were poetic songs, printed in colored letters accompanied by decorative pictures intermingling with the text and hand painted by Blake himself. The environment of the Songs of Innocence is one of harmony, and Nature is undisturbed in her feminine role of tending to the needs of children. The world of childhood is an imaginative existence that is sympathetic and reassuring.

The Songs of Innocence
– 4 Poems –

Poem 1: “Introduction to Songs of Innocence”

The “Introduction” to the Songs of Innocence is perhaps the single most perfect lyric ever written by Blake. It anticipates the poet’s intent to write songs that “Every child may joy to hear.” His very inspiration has come from a child situated upon a cloud who has at first requested, “Pipe a song about a Lamb,” then repeated, “Piper, sit thee down and write in a book that all may read.” The poet at the child’s wish has devoted himself to writing for “every child” in a book that all may read.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43667/introduction-to-the-songs-of-innocence (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:
https://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-introduction-songs-of-innocence (Links to an external site.)

Poem 2: “The Lamb”

An important poem in the group, “The Lamb” deals with the figure of Jesus and is typical of Blake’s enthusiastic acceptance of New Testament doctrine. The first verse begins with a question: “Little Lamb, who made thee?” The second verse refers to the divine answer: “Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee…He is called by thy name…He became a little child…I a child, and thou a lamb, We are called by his name.” The unstated answer is, of course, the infant Jesus, the child and lamb in all of us, also the spirit of innocence. The lamb is Blake’s symbol of innocence. Note the poem’s simplicity of language and its easy flow.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43670/the-lamb-56d222765a3e1 (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:
https://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-the-lamb (Links to an external site.)

Poem 3: “The Little Black Boy”
One of the most famous poems in the Songs of Innocence is “The Little Black Boy.” It is said to have been inspired by the antislavery movement of Blake’s time and certainly seems a timely work for consideration in the light of the Civil Rights Movement of the present day. The essence of the poem is, of course, that in the light of God’s love the souls of black or white bodies are not different, and man must also bear an equal love similar to that of God. The cloud is a metaphor for the confusion of racial prejudice. Blake is saying that each race has its functional weaknesses and strengths—especially the white, who cannot bear the intense heat of the tropical sun. But with the help of the black boy, the white boy shall be able to grow accustomed to his surroundings and the two shall stand together in the love of God, each alike, and love each other.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43671/the-little-black-boy (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:
https://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-the-little-black-boy (Links to an external site.)

Poem 4: “The Chimney Sweeper”

This poem is said to be a poem inspired by agitation in Blake’s time for legislation against the use of children as chimney sweeps (young boys were made to climb down chimneys to clean out the soot). The lines of protest found in the metaphor of little Tom’s dream, “that thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black” are symbolic of the enslaved, over-worked children. The correction for this injustice occurs in the next stanza: “And by came and angel who had a bright key and he open’d the coffins set them all free,” which presumes that legislation (the key) will be passed to prevent child labor. The word “weep” in the poem is the young child’s mispronunciation of the word “sweep” as he walks down the streets to advertise his services.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43654/the-chimney-sweeper-when-my-mother-died-i-was-very-young (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem: (Links to an external site.)
https://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-the-chimney-sweeper-songs-of-innocence (Links to an external site.

Conclusion: The Songs of Innocence – Blake’s Vision of Innocence

Blake’s vision of innocence is the original state of happiness and spontaneous joy of childhood in which the imagination is totally free. It is not a world for children only, however. It is a mystical condition which even adults can attain if they will seek the visionary way through their imagination. In order to achieve this goal, they must cast aside all deceits and follies of the hostile world governed by other than Divine law. Innocence is an environment protected and ordered by God. The qualities of God such as mercy, pity, love, and peace reside in man himself. If man does not believe in God, he cannot see God’s qualities in the human form of his fellow creatures; therefore, if man does not surrender himself to an unqualified belief in God, neither can he believe in man

The Songs of Experience

– 3 Poems

In these Blake poems, man is no longer an innocent child and cannot respond to the imagination. The world of experience is a dark world of corruption and loss of innocence. The voice of the poet is no longer that of a child charged with heavenly joy but that of a stern, impatient man.

Poem 1: “The Tyger”

This poem is the best-known of all Blake’s poems and is the antithesis (opposite) of “The Lamb” from the Songs of Innocence. Notice the harsh tones of the words in the poem, a tone of horror and fear. The origin of the anger and fearsomeness of the beast are implicit in the unanswered questions of the poet, “Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the lamb make thee?” Did God create as well as the lamb of innocence the tyger of experience? If so, why? Perhaps to frighten man back into his condition of innocence from which he as strayed. Is the tyger then a symbol of god’s anger? The poet does not give us an answer here. The tyger is for Blake a symbol of power and dread, of wrath and terror—it is the symbol of experience, the opposite of innocence.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43687/the-tyger (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:
https://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-the-tyger (Links to an external site.)

Poem 2: “The Sick Rose”

It is quite obvious that the rose is not just a rose and the worm is not just a worm. Note the worm comes in the night (evil) and destroys the life of the rose. Metaphorically, the rose represents innocence, perhaps the innocence of a beautiful virgin. On the other hand, the worm represents corruption. Corruption has thus destroyed innocence just as a rapist destroys a maiden’s virginity.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43682/the-sick-rose (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:

https://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-the-sick-rose (Links to an external site

Poem 3: “London”

Here Blake pictures the modern city as having gone materialistic and inhuman where man is alienated from his fellows and his own state of innocence. The key word in the poem is “charter’d” which means “bound.” The river Thames is bound by its shores, the streets are bound to the city, and both support the image of man himself being bound and held back from vision and release into imagination. The social evils which the poet beholds while wandering through the city are created by men and permitted to continue in existence. The sorrow of man is his weakness, and he suffers in his own sterility. The total picture is black. London is infected, from the disease of the prostitute passed to the newborn child, extending the plague to the marriage itself which bears the blight to the grave rather than toward fruition of life.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43673/london-56d222777e969 (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:
https://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-london (Links to an external site.)

Conclusion: The Songs of Experience – Blake’s Purpose

The purpose of Blake’s Songs of Experience is to show that through loss of imagination man has lost the heaven of innocence and gained the hell of experience. Blake was attempting to exhort man to throw off his chains and regain his vision. The social evils and human misery which Blake observed aroused such indignation in the poet that he condemned man for allowing and encouraging them to exist. Blake felt that men were enslaved by social and religious institutions which deprived human beings of natural joy by promoting hypocrisy, cruelty, and despair. He felt that men should dwell in the innocence of their imagination rather than in the experience of others’ reason. Blake’s idealistic purpose was to show the contrary states of innocence and experience, and thus show man the way of vision and self-fulfillment in the freedom of his own spirit.

Lecture Notes 5

– 4 Poems by Wordsworth –

Poem 1: “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”

Notes:

Although the Romantic poets hated city life, this description of t he city of London is a positive one. Notice the simile: “The city now doth, like a garment, wear the beauty of the morning.” The poet is describing the beauty of London on an early morning as he looks across the skyline. The buildings seem majestic, the air is smokeless, and the whole scene is one of splendor to the poet. The river (Thames River runs through the center of London) glides at its own will because the daily routine of business has not begun yet; barges and ships have not started their daily pollution of the river. This entire experience is an up-lifting one to the poet, again because it’s early morning and the hustle and bustle of big city life have not started. Note that this poem is in the sonnet format.
Poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45514/composed-upon-westminster-bridge-september-3-1802 (Links to an external site.)
Link to poem analysis:
https://www.gradesaver.com/wordsworths-poetical-works/study-guide/summary-composed-upon-westminster-bridge (Links to an external site.)

Poem 2: “The World is Too Much With Us”

Lecture Notes:

This Wordsworth poem is also in the sonnet format and takes on a more pessimistic view as compared to the previous poem. The poet sees man as having misplaced values. Man is too concerned about things that don’t really matter and has neglected the beauties that nature has to offer. Man seems to be more concerned with “getting and spending”. The Romantics felt that the past was superior to the present because man was closer to nature in the past. The poet refers to Proteus (an old man of the sea who could change shapes) and Triton (a sea god who blew a conch shell). These references to the mythological past indicate that the poet wishes for a time better than the present, a time like the past when man regarded nature as the ideal.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45564/the-world-is-too-much-with-us (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:
https://www.gradesaver.com/wordsworths-poetical-works/study-guide/summary-the-world-is-too-much-with-us (Links to an external site.)

Poem 3: “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”

Link to poem:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45527/lines-composed-a-few-miles-above-tintern-abbey-on-revisiting-the-banks-of-the-wye-during-a-tour-july-13-1798 (Links to an external site.)
Link to analysis of poem:
http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/wordsworth/section1.html (Links to an external site.)

Poem 4: “Ode on Intimations of Immortality”

Lecture notes:

In the first stanza, the speaker says that there was a time when all of nature seemed dreamlike to him, “appareled in celestial light,” and that that time is past; “the things I have seen I can see no more.”
In the second stanza, he says that he still sees the rainbow, and that the rose is still lovely; the moon looks around the sky with delight, and starlight and sunshine are each beautiful. Nonetheless the speaker feels that a glory has passed away from the earth.
In the 3rd stanza, the speaker says that, while listening to the birds sing in springtime and watching the young lambs leap and play, he was stricken with a thought of grief; but the sounds of nearby waterfalls, the echoes of the mountains, and the gusting of the winds restored him to strength. He declares that his grief will no longer wrong the joy of the season, and that all the earth is happy. He exhorts a shepherd boy to shout and play around him.
In the 4th stanza, he addresses nature’s creatures, and says that his heart participates in their joyful festival. He says that it would be wrong to feel sad on such a beautiful May morning, while children play and laugh among the flowers. Nevertheless, a tree and a field that he looks upon make him think of something that is gone, and a pansy at his feet does the same. He asks what has happened to “the visionary gleam”: “Where is it now, the glory and the dream?”
In the 5th stanza, he proclaims that human life is merely “a sleep and a forgetting”—that human beings dwell in a purer, more glorious realm before they enter the earth. “Heaven,” he says, “lies about us in our infancy!” As children, we still retain some memory of that place, which causes our experience of the earth to be suffused with its magic—but as the baby passes through boyhood and young adulthood and into manhood, he sees that magic die.
In the 6th stanza, the speaker says that the pleasures unique to earth conspire to help the man forget the “glories” whence he came.
In the 7th stanza, the speaker beholds a six year old boy and imagines his life and the love his mother and father feel for him. He sees the boy playing with some imitated fragment of adult life, “some little plan or chart,” imitating a “wedding or a festival” or “a mourning or a funeral.” The speaker imagines that all human life is a similar imitation.
In the 8th stanza, the speaker addresses the child as though he were a mighty prophet of a lost truth, and asks him why, when he has access to the glories of his origins, and to the pure experience of nature, he still hurries toward an adult life of custom and “earthly freight.”
In the 9th stanza, the speaker experiences a surge of joy at the thought that his memories of childhood will always grant him a kind of access to that lost world of instinct, innocence, and exploration. In the 10th stanza, bolstered by this joy, he urges the birds to sing, and urges all creatures to participate in the “gladness of the May.” He says that though he has lost some part of the glory of nature and of experience, he will take comfort in “primal sympathy,” in memory, and in the fact that the years bring a mature consciousness—a “philosophic mind.”
In the final stanza, the speaker says that this mind—which stems from a consciousness of mortality, as opposed to the child’s feeling of immortality—enables him to love nature and natural beauty all the more, for each of nature’s objects can stir him to thought, and even the simplest flower flowing in the wind can raise in him “thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”
If “Tintern Abbey” is Wordsworth’s first great statement about the action of childhood memories of nature upon the adult mind, the “Intimations of Immortality” ode is his mature masterpiece on the subject. The poem makes explicit the poet’s belief that life on earth is a dim shadow of an earlier, purer existence, dimly recalled in childhood and then forgotten in the process of growing up.
Link to poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45536/ode-intimations-of-immortality-from-recollections-of-early-childhood (Links to an external site.)
Additional notes and analysis of poem:
https://cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides5/Intimations.html (Links to an external site.)

Lecture Notes 6

“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Coleridge was an opium addict, and one night while reading about travels in foreign lands in a book by Samuel Purchas entitled The Pilgrimage, the poet fell asleep and had a vivid dream about the place he was reading about in the book. Upon awakening, he composed this poem which is based on his dream. He was interrupted, however, by a visitor, and when the visitor left, Coleridge could not remember the rest of his dream. Although this poem is fragmentary, it is considered one of the outstanding examples of romantic poetry. Be sure to visit each of the three links listed in the assignment. The first link includes the poem and the second two links include the lecture notes on this poem.

“Kubla Khan” online study guides:
http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/coleridge/section5.rhtml (Links to an external site.)
http://www.gradesaver.com/coleridges-poems/study-guide/summary-kubla-khan-1798 (Links to an external site.)

“Kubla Khan” poem:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173247 (Links to an external site.)

Lecture Notes 7

THE POEM:

Ode to the West Wind

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

I

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 wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!

II

Thou on whose stream, ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!

III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,
Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,
All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!

IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be
The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne’er have striven
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

V

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

THE LECTURE NOTES:
https://www.gradesaver.com/percy-shelley-poems/study-guide/summary-ode-to-the-west-wind (Links to an external site.)

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