Wordsworth and Coleridge through their experience with nature become almost painfully human; they realize that no matter how strong the poet's connection with nature, he is still separate from it. In the poem "Lines," up until line 88, Wordsworth has responded to nature physically as a child and passionately as an adolescent. In lines 88 to 91, he brings thought into his experience which results in his hearing "The still, sad music of humanity," (l. 91). Nature has made Wordsworth human. Similarly, Coleridge in his dejection, feels his separation as a human from nature:
I see, not feel, how beautiful [the stars] are!
My genial spirits fail;
And what can these avail
To lift the smothering weight from off my breast? (ll. 38-41)
The two men revere nature and know they are essential to its beauty, because they must appreciate it for the beauty to exist. However, they are still separate from it; they are human.
These two poets use a technique that departs completely from the Neoclassical tradition where the emphasis was placed on order and balance and reasoned thoughts, even in form. Coleridge and Wordsworth take the liberty to write in blank verse, often without punctuation between lines, underlining the Romantic ideal of emotion. Expression of emotion does not necessarily end at the last syllable of a heroic couplet, but Reason invariably did.
- Nature, Shelley, and Wordsworth
- Nature in Shelley and Wordsworth
- Nature in Wordsworth and Tennyson
- Wordsworth and Coleridge on Nature
- Wordsworth and Coleridge as Romantic Nature Poets
Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000