Uses of Nature
Compass Points: e.g., Space and place - various uses of landscape (we prefer some to others?)
Loco-descriptive -- from political valuation to particularized nature. Passages examined:
- Denham, "Cooper's Hill": Thames as order, bounty, restraint - like royal regime (+ Pope)
- Dyer, "Grongar Hill": pleasures of landscape divert, drive away care (Thomson also)
- Crowe, "Lewesdon Hill": short life of stream like that of Francesca, soon "swallowed up in death"
- Wordsworth, "Descriptive Sketches": direct treatment of nature for its own sake (?)
Representing landscape in poetry: why? What changes in Romantic period. Coleridge's argument:
Coleridge, Letter to William Sotheby. Sept 10 1802
Bowles's Stanzas on Navigation are among the best in that second Volume / but the whole volume is woefully inferior to it's Predecessor. There reigns thro' all the blank verse poems such a perpetual trick of moralizing every thing--which is very well, occasionally--but never to see or describe any interesting appearance in nature, without connecting it by dim analogies with the moral world, proves faintness of Impression. Nature has her proper interest; & he will know what it is, who believes & feels, that every Thing has a Life of it's own, & that we are all one Life. A Poet's Heart & Intellect should be combined, intimately combined & unified, with the great appearances in Nature--& not merely held in solution & loose mixture with them, in the shape of formal Similies. I do not mean to exclude these formal Similies--there are moods of mind, in which they are natural--pleasing moods of mind, & such as a Poet will often have, & sometimes express; but they are not his highest, & most appropriate moods. They are "Sermoni propiora" [more suited for conversation] which I once translated--"Properer for a Sermon." The truth is--Bowles has indeed the sensibility of a poet; but he has not the Passion of a great Poet. His latter Writings all want native Passion--Milton here & there supplies him with an appearance of it--but he has no native Passion, because he is not a Thinker--& has probably weakened his Intellect by the haunting Fear of becoming extravagant.
How would you make use of this idea? (e.g., Coleridge's own contrast of Milton vs. Shakespeare; Keats's egotistical sublime vs. negative capability)