William Wordsworth is one of the emblematic figures of early English romanticism.
The role of the poet:
Although to him the poet is not a superior person but a man talking to another, a poet is also like a teacher that pass his knowledge using a simple language. He stands apart from other men because his higher degree of sensibility and imaginative capacity that let him reach the very essence of things and communicate in a simple and unelaborate language. The poet has a mission. He is like a priest or a prophet that has to open men’s souls to the inner reality of Nature and to the joy she can offer.
The role of imagination:
Imagination is the capacity that permit the poet to see behind the observed object. A special insight, intuition that the eyes of the soul can see because farther and deeper than the eyes of the mind.
The role of memory:
when we say that Wordsworth describe natural and simple objects we need to bear in mind that he does not look at them with cold realism and objective observation but through the eyes of memory, which recollects lost emotions. To him poetry is the “spontaneous overflow of power feelings”. These feelings though are not immediate but originated from “emotion recollected in tranquility”. A reorganized thought.
The best example if the poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud”. He remember the sight of a field of daffodils. The feelings during the sight of this field when he was walking are loneliness and passivity while the memory of the sight delight him and turns feelings into happiness. This also because memory blow up the images. (Imagination and memory are strictly connected).
The role of nature:
He draws his inspiration from every-day life and above all natural environments. The subjects he write about are mostly simple people living in the countryside (and not in town), close to nature (an important theme in Wordsworth poetry). To Wordsworth man and nature were different but inseparable parts of a whole universe created by God. Nature as a living presence speaking to those who were able to enter into intimate relationship with her and understand her language. Nature is like a teacher through whom men can gain virtue and wisdom. That is why he sees a strong difference between childhood and adulthood.
Childhood indeed, is pureness and innocence, Children have no prejudices differently from adults which are corrupts by the material world. The farther you are from nature the farther you are from God and better values.
The only time Wordsworth describe a city as London in a positive way is in the poem “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802”.Here the city is seen through a different light, in the morning.
“All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.”. Since it is not the every-day London, its vision is different. He admires the beauty of the city from a distance assimilating its natural setting. The use of personification transforms the city into a living being.