At first glance, "Tintern Abbey" and "Mont Blanc" are written in very similar styles. Despite the loosely rhyming scheme of "Mont Blanc," the varied stanza lengths and general lack of rigidity within the poem cause it to be quite similar to the blank verse of "Tintern Abbey." The word choice of these two poems, however, gives them each a distinctly different flavor. Wordsworth personifies the natural objects he views as "the lonely stream" or "the living air." Such phrases make the reader feel sympathetic and friendly to nature. On the other hand, Shelley paints a picture of the frightening, awe inspiring, and often illogical power of nature. "A city of death, distinct with many a tower and wall impregnable of beaming ice." (l. 105) Through the use of paradoxes in his word choice, such as "earthly rainbows" (l. 25) and the "ethereal waterfall," (l. 26) Shelley further creates a vision of a non-logical, yet all too powerful nature. In sum, despite their similarities of technique, these two poets present two very different views of nature through careful word choice.
Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000