William Wordsworth’s substantial poetic legacy is upheld in hismany notable poems, differing in length and weight. But certain themes that runthrough Wordsworth’s poetry, and the language and imagery he employs to expressthose themes, remain remarkably steady throughout Wordsworth’s material. Wordsworthargued that poetry should be written in the natural language of common speech,rather than in the grand and extravagant choice of words that were, at thetime, the only ones considered “poetic.” He argued that poetry should offeraccess to the emotions contained in memory. And he contended that the foremost valueof poetry is to provide pleasure through a rhythmic and striking expression offeeling—for all sympathy, he claims, is based on an intrinsic human desire forthe expression of “the naked and native dignity of man.”Wordsworth believed that poetry should include presentationsof the ordinary in unusual ways. Lord Byron exemplified this idea in his poem”She walks in beauty” when he describes a beautiful woman wearing ablack dress.
He describes her by writing, “all that’s best of dark andbright / Meet in her aspect and her eyes.” By saying that the best ofnighttime is represented in the woman’s appearance, Byron is using an uncommon visualaid to define her attractiveness. Wordsworth’s poems initiated the Romantic era by highlightingfeeling, instinct, and pleasure above conventionalism and reserve.
Wordsworth’simages and metaphors combine natural scenery, religious symbolism (as in thesonnet “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,” in which the evening isdescribed as “quiet as a nun”), and the symbols of his ruralchildhood—cottages, orchards, and other places where people intersect kindly withnature.The Romantic Age in English literature was heavily shaped byWordsworth’s creations. For Wordsworth, poetry, which should be written in “thereal language of men,” is nonetheless “the spontaneous overflow of feelings: ittakes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.
” He made it his missionto write in the simple language of common people, expressing real accounts oftheir lives.