The two generations of Romantic poets
Critics normally divide the Romantic poets into two generations; the first in the generation of Wordsworth and Coleridge, while the second includes Byron, Shelley and Keats. Blake holds a place apart.
Wordsworth and Coleridge are also called "lake Poets" because both lived for a long time in the Lake District, a picturesque region in Cumberland. In 1798 they published the collection of poems known as the Lyrical Ballads: nineteen of the poems were by Wordsworth and four by Coleridge.
In his poems Wordsworth made poetry out of the incidents of simple rustic life, in a language that was similar to ordinary speech. Coleridge, instead, employed poetry to give credibility to the fantastic and supernatural.
The poets of the second generation all left England, visited Italy, and died prematurely. While Byron and Shelley distinguished themselves for their rebellious spirit and passionate defence of freedom, Keats was mainly concerned with pursuit of beauty, and there are many who consider him a forerunner of the Aesthetic Movement, which was to characterise the last decades of the 19th century.
From the literary point of view, there are many features in common between the first and the second generation: the concept of the role of the poet, the emphasis on the cognitive power of the imagination, individualism, the aspiration to the Infinite or the Absolute.
But with the second generation there was a return to more complex forms of versification, the language became richer, and many poems showed a new interest in the world of ancient Greece.