William Wordsworth Lyrical Ballads

Wordsworth, in his advertisement, said that the material of poetry "are to be found in every subject which can interest the human heart" and that most of the poems in the volume "were to be considered as experiments... to ascertain how for the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure."

The principle object proposed in these poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life in a selection of language really used by men and to throw over them a certain colouring of imagination where by ordinary things should be presented in the mind in an unusual order, and above all to make these incidents and situations interesting by tracing in them, truly though no ostentatiously, the primary laws of our nature chiefly as far as regards the manner in which we associate ideas in a state of excitement. "Humble and rustic life" was generally chosen, because, in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity, and because in that condition the passions of men are in corporate with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature. 

Each of Wordsworth's poems has a worthy purpose. Not that he always began to write with a distant purpose formally conceived, but habits of meditations have so prompted and regulated his feelings that his descriptions of such objects as strongly excite those feelings, will be found to carry along with them a purpose. A circumstance that distinguishes these poems from popular poetry of the day is that the feeling there in developed gives importance to this action and situation, and not the action and situation to the feeling.

The concept of poetry:
The reputation of Wordsworth as a poet has always been touched by ambiguity. Wordsworth's aim was, as a poet, to seek for beauty in meadow, wood land, and mountain-top, and to interpret this beauty in spiritual terms. He was for ever spiritualising the mads of Nature and winning from them moral consolation. Wordsworth's poetry is the outcome of the exchange between the mind of the poet and nature. 

In defining poetry, Wordsworth says:"Poetry is the spontaneous over flow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." In this quotation, Wordsworth is not in need of external motives to teach the audience. Although poetry is spontaneous, this does not mean that Wordsworth does not think of it at all. Explaining what Wordsworth said, the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears and an emotion similar to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. Wordsworth says: "Poetry is spontaneous but only at the moment of composition." However, the poetic experience on which he gives the theory must have existed in the mind of the poet long before the moment of composition. Thus, the poet could not suspend the moment of composition; just like a woman delivering a baby, the poet could not suspend delivering a poem. Wordsworth meant by spontaneous that it is not predetermined or preconceived. He says that as if writing poetry is a habit in him. What is meant  by spontaneous is not without intellectual activity, but is that he doesn't need external stimulus to be excited emotionally. He either justifies himself or corrects himself. If the poet does not find the stimulus, he must create it himself. Wordsworth says that poetry cannot be written without the use of intellect, so poetry is spontaneous only at the moment of composition. Wordsworth located the source of a poem not in the outer world but in the individual poet. Many writers identified poetry as the "expressions" or "exhibitions" of emotions. Wordsworth defined poetry not only as spontaneous, but also as "spontaneous overflow." 

There is no poetry spontaneous, writing long sentences in the poem means an overflow of feelings, and this reveals a handicap or disadvantage to the poem because there is no control of the poetic experience, then overflowing is a problem. Those who judged Wordsworth misunderstood him. He tried to defend and justify his definition. When he said that poetry is spontaneous, he meant that it is not in need of external stimulus to be excited. According to some critics, the poem must have existed in the poet a long time ago; therefore, it has some sort of fermentation inside him, "recollected in tranquility." Poetry is not spontaneous; otherwise, where would be the poetic diction. A poet is never in need of external stimuli, poetry should be the product of fermentation, it must come out of language. To Wordsworth, poetry has to express the poet's feelings and emotions, between the poet and the lines, there is no distance directly. It is not the expression of a remote experience, but an experience dealt with from a far observer.

The aim of poetry:
"There is scarcely one of my poems which doesn't aim to direct the attention to some moral sentiments or some general principle, or law of thought, or of our intellectual constitution." Each of them, Wordsworth wrote in Lyrical Ballads, of his poems has a purpose.

In his definition, Wordsworth rules out the elements of consciousness. There is no will in the poem process. Then it could be added that since poetry is an overflow, there could be no intention inside the poet before writing the poem. Wordsworth rules out the aim of poetry. It should come from the inner part of the poet. Why poetry is written doesn't exist, because poetry is spontaneous: the process is a spontaneous one. The poet can't decide when or why he writes poetry. When he speaks of when and why poetry should be written, he says that the purpose of writing poetry is a preconceived purpose. If there is a purpose, it comes along the process of writing. Although Wordsworth speaks of pleasing the audience and instructing them, he didn't make a secret of his desire to instruct. "Every great poet is a teacher: I wish either to be considered as a teacher or as nothing." It is obvious that it is not his aim to instruct or please the audience. The words that follow this assertion in "Lyrical Ballads" though indicates that he has his own conception of how the purpose should be communicated: "Not that I always begin to write with a distinct purpose formally conceived: out habits and meditations have, I trust, so prompted and regulated my feelings, that my description of such objects as strongly excite those feelings will be found to carry along with them a purpose."

A circumstance that distinguishes Wordsworth's poems from the popular poetry of the day is that the feeling therein developed gives importance to the situation, and not the action and situation to the feeling.

What kind of purpose do Wordsworth poems have?
1) The static aim of poetry is supposed to arouse feeling in us, and in this way, the poem would be considered a failure if couldn't achieve this task.

The aim should be unconscious and this shouldn't mean by any way that there can be an aim, if there is, the poet must not be aware of it and if he is, he would suppress this aim.

2) If the purpose is ethical, the poet also shouldn't be aware of it, if it is religious, the poem should not serve it, it should be a target.

As a conclusion, the basic aim should be emotional and the second is an ethical aim.

So the purpose is not, it appears, something to be stated in general terms; it is to be carried along by descriptions of objects which strongly excite the poet's feelings.

To Wordsworth, the poet is born a poet. The question of what he writes for is concealed, because he is born to write poems.

The language and poetic diction:
Wordsworth's poetic language in "Lyrical Ballads" has a transparent value and meaning. Most poets have been called to their vocation by poets of the past. But Wordsworth was made a poet by the direct appeal of earth and man. His language therefore was not caught from the echoes of ethic poetry, but from the lips of men themselves. The poetic diction current in his days seemed to him artificial and half-dead. He needed language that was before everything. And he created it by following the spoken idiom of unlettered people and using the mold of the simplest ballad meters.

Wordsworth states that the aim of "Lyrical Ballads" was "to choose incidents and situations from common life" and to use a "selection of language really spoken by men" for which the source and model is "humble and rustic life." He declared,"as much pain has been taken to avoid poetic diction as is usual taken to produce it." This is a confession of self-consciousness fatal to artistic perfection.
Wordsworth considered that in poetic diction he would be far from ordinary language, ordinary man. According to him, there are terms which are introduced to poetry before him and and accomplished during certain moments of history, such as political or economical. Wordsworth believes that those occasions and incidents are finished but some poets thought that they are famous and those terms are poetic and they should go on although the situations are finished, but Wordsworth considers that they should end with the end of those occasions. Wordsworth is against using personification in his poetry unless he used abstract ideas. In "Lyrical Ballads" he says:"In these poems personification of abstract ideas is rarely adopted by me." He doesn't want to make out of his poetry concrete images, he believes in abstract poetry, and applies it in his poems. Images are not important by themselves; but in poetry they become important. The internal is becoming external i.e whatever feelings found inside, they are projected to outside. In many of Wordsworth's poems, language is less conversational but still has refreshing directness and simplicity when set against the elaborate diction of conventional 18th century verse. But Wordsworth abandoned the use of colloquial language for in "Lyrical Ballads", it results too often in a dissipation of poetic intensity.

Like all romantic poets (except Blake), Wordsworth celebrated for his love of nature. He described it with inexhaustible enthusiasm seeing:

In nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the ruse,
the guide, the guardian of my heart and soul
or all my moral being
-Tintern Abbey-

In his preface to "Lyrical Ballads", Wordsworth wrote that "I have at all times endeavored to look steadily at my subject." A glance at the table of contents of any collection of romantic poems will show the degree to which the natural scene has become a primary poetic subject, while Wordsworth and Coleridge described natural phenomena with an accuracy of observation which had no earlier match in its ability to capture the sensuousness. Wordsworth insisted that the ability to observe and describe objects accurately is not at all "sufficient" condition for poetry.

Wordsworth is always known as the poet of nature. When he is considered alongside the other romantic poets. What is so extraordinary about Wordsworth is not the evocation of nature but his insight into the nature of man, both individually and in society. When he writes about nature, he is doing so in the context of his own beliefs and experience, and of his consciousness of the prophetic role. His writings about nature must not be understood superficially. He used language for a process which he wrote as prophet to declare to the world: that in contrast to the mechanical, diseased waste of life that is encouraged by modern urban society, there are ways of living that allow the fuller development of the mind and heart. The doctrine of nature in Wordsworth's poetry is an unremitting campaign against the destruction of the individual by material and social pressures. To this end, he describes the poet as "the rock of defense for human nature, an upholder and prisoner carrying everywhere with him relationship and love." He saw himself and Coleridge as prophets of nature, not so much to propagate a gospel as to demonstrate the power and beauty of the mind of man when influenced by nature.

Wordsworth's poetry demonstrates his two great preoccupation: the predicaments of human life and the beauty of the natural world. When a natural object is described, it is usually apparent to us that the main focus of interest is the response of a human being (almost Wordsworth himself) to that object. Indeed one of the most consistent concepts of Wordsworth is the idea that man and nature are inseparable; man exists not outside the natural world but as an active participant in it, so that "Nature" to Wordsworth means some thing that includes both innate and human nature each is a part of the same whole (Nothing should stand as a barrier between the poet and the nature that surrounds him). 

The moments of vision that are the source of some of Wordsworth's best poetry occurs when he has a heightened sense of this unity. At such moments, he responds not to the forms, shapes, colors of natural objects, but to an inner force which penetrates the natural world and which is felt within himself also. Wordsworth was very interested in the growth of his relationship with nature-the ways in which it influenced him at different points in his life and the ways in which his awareness of it change. One means of gaining fuller sense of what nature meant to him and the role it played in his poetry is to attempt to trace his growth concentrating in our search upon the verse itself.

In "Tintern Abbey", Wordsworth exhibits toward the landscape altitudes and sentiments which human beings had earlier felt not only for God, but also for a father, a mother, or a beloved. Wordsworth also revives the enchant theological concept that Gods creation constitutes a symbol system.

-The use of 1st person pronoun (as they could ask me) enables the Duke to glory in an author which the Duclen' spontaneity never allowed him to possess while she was alive.

-The Dukes makes a tyranny, not only within his own domestic life, but also within his theatrical domain of art.

-The Dukes resembles Browning in his relation to the reader.

-Freud describes the Duke:"originally always a person of a very energetic disposition, often highly opinionated, and as a rule intellectually gifted beyond the average."

The Duke's genius in controlling the response of the envoy and his skillful use of rhetoric are evidence of his superior intellect.