ANSWER TO THE QUESTION
Alexander Pope and William Wordsworth
Both Alexander Pope and William Wordsworth had profound effects on poetry in their time, they postulated novel ideas on how to create poetry which were regarded as radical during their era. Pope was a Neoclassicist while Wordsworth was a Romantic who lived after Pope, and he set out to refine the notions of the former poet. While Alexander Pope adhered to and sought to popularize a set of antique rules to govern literature and morality, William Wordsworth observed a flawless delivery of intimate feelings. Wordsworth held that poets should express their innate feelings, which was a breath of fresh air from the old-fashioned poetry. The poetic neoclassicism exhibited by Pope strove to elicit intellectual conversation whereas the romanticism of William Wordsworth was intended to stir up the readers emotions.
The main purview of neoclassicist poets like Pope was to build up the knowledge of the reader and grow them intellectually. The era of neoclassicism was rife with new inventions and new ideas being postulated. In his poem, “An Essay on Man,” Pope explores the man’s relationship with the universe. He points out man’s tendency to regard things solely in their own point of view without taking the relationship among things into consideration. He writes, “What can we reason, but from what we know?” and the line highlights human being’s tendency to make assumptions based on knowledge and past experience (91). Wordsworth utilizes invocations of nature that may initially seem innocuous; however, these mentions showed his relationship with the natural world. In his work, Lines Composed a few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, Wordsworth uses the word “Nature” to inspire his audience to release their feelings.
Nature takes a centerstage in William Wordsworth’s poems. He viewed and used nature from different positions, outwardly, he appreciated its beauty. He regarded nature as an excellent motivator and source of comfort, Wordsworth writes, “And passing even into my purer mind, With tranquil restoration: -feelings too” (593). The poet views nature as a tool that can help him develop an imagination which culminates into a vision. The ubiquity of nature has a significant effect on Wordsworth because he spiritually connects with it, he states, “Until, the breath of this corporeal frame, And even the motion of our human blood, Almost suspended, we are laid asleep, In body, and become a living soul” (593). William Wordsworth does not simply describe the landscapes he mentions in the poem, they serve as his motivation. The poet vouches for a coexistence between human beings and nature. He explores the effects of nature on his inward well-being. Wordsworth uses nature to capture the imagination of the readers and offer hope to the disillusioned, and these attributes make him a romanticist which discerns him from Alexander Pope.
Alexander Pope was from the enlightenment era, and like Wordsworth, he used the term “Nature” in his work. However, for Pope, it referred to a pervasive law that transcended human comprehension. He writes, “For me kind Nature wakes up her genial Power, Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev’ry flower” (93). The poet appreciates nature’s ability to use its warmth to impart life and make flowers blossom. The literary process is influenced by Nature, which determines the context of the words used.
While Pope admits the presence of a supernatural force that he refers to as Nature, Wordsworth uses the same term to imply his surroundings which influence his thought process. For Pope, Nature is a supreme, unassailable authority while for Wordsworth, Nature is a means to the end. It is an influence that facilitates the thought process. Both artists agree on the inspirational properties of nature and the scope of its influence on their work. Nature inspires intellectual discourse in Pope while it precipitates deeper meditation for Wordsworth.
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