English Literature » Notes » How does Wordsworth appear as a poet of common man in his ‘Preface to Lyrical Ballads’?
William Wordsworth

How does Wordsworth appear as a poet of common man in his ‘Preface to Lyrical Ballads’?

William Wordsworth, the pioneer of Romanticism was born in 1770 at Cockermouth. He was one of the most prominent romantic poets. In 1798, he along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge jointly published Lyrical Ballads which brought a huge change in English literature. A new era was started by this publication, known as Romantic Age. At first people were unaware about this kind of poetry so Wordsworth published a preface to introduce the function of romantic poetry and its language. This kind of poetry was quite opposite to the existing poetry of the eighteenth century.

The entire poetry of Wordsworth was directed to the exposition of the simple and unaffected elements of the rustic life. This type of poetry was unexpected to the contemporary readers. So, in his preface, he explained why he had chosen the comparative grace and beauty of common man’s life in his poetry.

Wordsworth chooses low and rustic life because in that condition, the essential passions of the human heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity.

This rustic life is less under restraint and speaks a plainer and more empathetic language because in that condition of life, our elementary feelings co-exist in a state of greater simplicity and consequently may be more accurately contemplated and more forcibly communicated; because the manners of rural life germinate from those elementary feelings and lastly because in that condition the passions of men are incorporated with beautiful and permanent forms of nature.

As the subject-matter of Wordsworth`s poetry was about the life of the common man, naturally he preferred the language of them as the medium of expression. But he speaks of selecting this language. Because their language is best fitted to express the intense passion and emotion they have.

My purpose is to imitate, and as far as possible to adopt the very language of men and assuredly and such personification do not make any natural or regular part of that language.

Wordsworth says that it is the function of a poet to write about the common men and about their interests, not the so-called bourgeois of the society.

Thus, by throwing the colour of imagination Wordsworth exults the life of common men and their language. He shows that low and rustic life is the best subject of poetry.

0 (0 ratings)