The early romantic poetry

This new trend is characterized primarily from the interest for the simple and rural life, in fact the protagonists are the rural forefathers of the hamlet. There is then a balanced presentation of various emotional states as a vehicle for reflections on universal themes, the description of wild, gloomy nature, often connected with darkness, the choice of cemeteries and ruins as a suitable setting for reflection and the respect of classical proportion and poetic form. There is link between the early romantic poetry and the gothic novel: the reference to the simple life remembers us the primitive and instinctual man as the monster of the Gothic novel. The most important work of this school was Thomas Grey’s Elegy written in a Country Churchyard, where the tomb became a symbol evoking the contemplation of death and immorality.

Elegy written in a country churchyard

The poem opens with the contemplation of a country churchyard at twilight. The scene, described through the poet’s eyes, is vividly conveyed thanks to the interplay of assonance, alliteration and onomatopoeia. The feeling of melancholy created by the atmosphere leads the poet to a meditation on the “rude forefathers”, the village dead. Finally the poet meditates on the value of the tomb as a link between the living and the dead. The Elegy remains one of the most important poems in English literature. On the one hand it marks the beginning of a new sensibility and introduces a new figure of the poet, who is the speaking voice in the poem. The poem inspire maybe Ugo Foscolo’s “I Sepolcri”.

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