Wednesday 18 March 2020

William Wordsworth Views on Metre , Poetry , function of metre notes English literature


william wordsworth metre ,poetry ,function of metre

william wordsworth views on metre

William Wordsworth was the major poet of Romanticism, He is known and loved all over the world for his poems, He is one of the greatest literary figures in the history of the English literature. William Wordsworth with Samuel Taylor Coleridge helped to launch Romantic age in English Literature with their joint publication of Lyrical Ballads (1798). William Wordsworth crafted many evergreen poems like Lucy Poems, including "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal" which became masterpieces of English literature.

Here in this post, we are discussing the following Topic

1) William Wordsworth Defence of Metre in Poetry.
2) William Wordsworth Views on the function of Metre.

Before Discussing the above Topic Let us understand What is a Metre in Poetry?

In Poetry, Metre is the poetic device, it is a basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse.

 Wordsworth Defence of a metre in Poetry

Wordsworth's defense of metre comes as a surprise among all the revolutionary talk of discarding artificial devices of the 18th-century poetic practice. Poetic diction is rejected on the score that it is artificial capricious and arbitrary. He advocates the return to the ordinary language of a humble man. However, he is ready to allow metre as a part of Poetry. What is strange is that he justifies the use of metre on the basis of tradition and authority. The preface of Lyrical Ballads, as H.W. Garrod points out, is quite as much a defense of the employment of metre in Poetry as a protest against the use of poetic diction. Wordsworth gives further reason for the defense of metre . It is those principals that are the basis of most activities of the human mind. It is the basis of our pleasure in sex and other passions connected with it. It is behind our pleasure in metaphor and Simile. The use of metre provides pleasure through the same kind of contrast.

Metre provides the necessary grain of difference. Individual sentences speak of metre as these small differences, as an element lending charm, and as an added ornament. Wordsworth justifies metre in the context of the creative process. Poetry is the  "Spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" and it's taking its "origin in emotion recollected in tranquility"

Functions Of Metre

The creative process encompasses four stages - observation, recollection, contemplation, and imaginative excitement'.  

Observation of some phenomenon or situation excites in the poet - certain emotions. These emotions are not given immediate expression by the poet. He stores them in his heart. At some later date, he collects these emotions in moments of tranquility. He contemplates them. The original emotional excitement is revived in his heart as a result of this contemplation. "He passions a new ". But the revival of the emotional excitement involves the removal of all accidental, temporary and superfluous material. The particular emotions are made universal the poet ultimately gives expression to the emotional excitement. The creative process involving all there stages. It is her that meter helps the poet - in the communication of his joy to the readers. The pathetic and painful features are moderated by the use of a metre . Also, the lighter emotions are given added ease and Grace with the help of metre . The readers get a sense of the poet's skill in having overcome artistic difficulties. This, too gives pleasure metre gives an unusual quality to the ordinary language of common people. The contrast so produced is conducive to delight.

Colleridge was the first to attack Wordsworth's view on metre , he exposed the inherent weakness of the defense. Colleridge contends that metre is essential to poetry because it is the main difference between prose and poetry. There are certain phrases that are beautiful in Poetry. But quite unsuitable for prose. Similarly, some phrases may be more appropriate for poetry. The arrangement of words poetry differs in prose and unfortunately for Wordsworth, having declared that there is no essential difference between prose and poetry .he could not declare metre to be so essential a difference. He is forced to make vague and rather weak excuses for having used metre . Colleridge, however, agrees with much of what Wordsworth says about the powers of metre . He is regretful that Wordsworth did not deal with it in detail.

Colleridge with his series of arguments on metre , arrives at the very opposite conclusion to that of Wordsworth. He asserts, "there may be, is and ought to be an essential difference between the language of prose and material composition". Wordsworth could not reconcile his ideas on the real language of men with the use of metre . They appeased to be rather conflicting, the use of metre cannot be justified by Wordsworth on the ground that it is integral to the production of poetry.  If it were, it would spread live a virus through the language of men, inflecting natural speech with other artificial distinction of style.

Wordsworth Defence of metre , this is one of the weakest portions of the preface to Lyrical Ballads. One of the glaring shortcomings of the defense is that he involves tradition and authority for its defense, while he rejects this very tradition while condemning poetic diction. If poetic diction is artificial and is to be rejected, on that account,metre is equally artificial. One cannot reasonably accept one artificial device and reject the other, Wordsworth doesn't offer a cogent defense for the use of metre in Poetry.

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