William Wordsworth records that his earliest verses were written at school and that they were ” a tame imitation of Pope’s Versification”.  This is an interesting admission of the still surviving domination of the earlier poet. At the University, he composed some poetry, which appeared as An Evening Walk(1793) and Descriptive Sketches (1793). In style, these poems have little originality, but they already show the Wordsworthian eye for nature. The first fruits of his genius were seen in the Lyrical Ballads (1798), a joint production by Coleridge and himself, which was published at Bristol. Wordsworth had the larger share in the book. Some of his poems in it, such as The Thorn and The Idiot Boy, are condemned as being trivial and childish in style; a few, such as Simon Lee and Expostulation and Reply, are more adequate in their expression; and the concluding piece, Tintern Abbey, is one of the triumphs of his Genius.

The Prelude, which was completed in 1805 but not published until 1850, after Wordsworth’s death, is the record of his development as a poet. The Solitary Reaper, The Green Linnet, Ode on the Intimations of immortality, Resolution, and Independence, Ode to Duty; and the Sonnets dedicated to National independence and Liberty are of a quality that has led many critics to hail them as the finest sonnets in the language.


In the preface to the second edition of the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth set out his theory of poetry. It reveals a lofty conception of the dignity of that art which is ” the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge”, and which is the product of “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” taking its origin from ” emotion recollected in tranquility”. Wordsworthian dogma can be divided into two portions concerning ( a) subject and ( b) the style of poetry.

(a) Regarding subject, wordsworth declares his preference for ” incidents and situations from common life“: to obtain such situations, “humble and rustic life was generally chosen, because in that condition the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity.

(b) Wordsworth’s views on poetical Style are the most revolutionary of all the ideas in this preface. He insists that his poems contain little poetic diction, and are written in ” a selection of the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation.


Some of the main features of Wordsworth’s poetry are a spiritual veneration for nature, a dislike for modernity, an interest in the individual and the imagination, a fascination with childhood, and the employment of common language. In his treatment of nature, however, he is not content merely to rejoice: he tries to see more deeply and to find the secret Springs of this joy and thanksgiving He strives to capture and embody in words such deep-seated emotions, but almost of necessity from the very nature of the case, with little success.His work exhibits many of the characteristics of Romantic poetry, including a disdain for the ugliness of modernity, a spiritual reverence for nature, an appreciation for childhood, a focus on the individual and the human mind.

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Published by Ayisha Shabana….