William Wordsworth (1770-1850) Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) Lyrical Ballads
Things to Consider:
French Revolution and English counterrevolutionary
Industrial Revolution and its Consequences
Use of Language
Choice of Subject
Homework Questions (See Part Two Q's ): Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1802):
What is a lyrical ballad ?
What isWordsworth's purpose in writing this
What does Wordsworth mean by "the language really used by
Why has he selected scenes from "low and rustic life" as
Explain: "All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow
of powerful feelings" (306).
What is a man "possessed of more than usual organic
Explain: "Our thoughts . . . are indeed the
representations of our past feelings" (306).
Explain: "The feeling therein developed gives
importance to the action and situation and not the action and
situation to the feeling" (307).
What, according to Wordsworth, is a Poet?
What exactly is "emotion recollected in tranquility" (314)?
Other Discussion Questions: 305:
Explain: "In that condition the passions of men are
incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature"
Explain: "From their rank in society and the sameness
and narrow circle of their intercourse, being less under the
influence of social vanity they convey their feelings and
notions in simple and unelaborated expressions" (306).
How is their language "more permanent" and "far more
philosophical" than that conventionally used by poets?
Why, according to Wordsworth, has he sought to avoid the
personification of abstract ideas
falsehood of description
What are "prosaisms"?
Explain: "There neither is, nor can be, any
essential difference between the language of prose and
metrical composition" (309-10).
If the language of real men is the absolute standard, why
would a Poet need to modify it, as Wordsworth suggests?
What one restriction, according to Wordsworth, does the
Explain: "We have no sympathy but what is
propagated by pleasure" (311).
Explain: "Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of
all knowledge" (312).
Explain: "The Poet binds together by passion and
knowledge the vast empire of human society, as it is spread
over the whole earth, and over all time" (312).
Explain what Wordsworth says about differences in "kind"
and in "degree" (313).
Why, according to Wordsworth should the Poet write in
Why will "painful feeling . . . always be found
intermingled with powerful descriptions of the deeper
Explain: "We not only wish to be pleased, but to be
pleased in that particular way in which we have been
accustomed to be pleased" (315).
Part Two: Homework Questions: "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" 299:
What is the origin of the "wreaths of smoke" Wordsworth
Explain: "More like a man / Flying from something he
dreads, than one / Who sought the thing he loved" (70-72).
Explain lines 79-84.
Why are all the "aching joys" (84) of the past all gone?
Explain lines 89-93.
Explain lines 93-102.
What is "the mighty world / Of eye and ear, both what they
half-create, / And what perceive" (105-7)?
Explain: "In thy voice I catch / The language of my
former heart" (116-17).
Explain: "Nature never did betray / The heart that
loved her" (122-23).
What future does Wordsworth foresee for his sister and her
appreciation of nature? How does this relate back to him?
Other Discussion Questions: "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" 300:
Explain lines 23-30.
What does it mean to become a
"living soul" (46)?
What does it mean to "see into the life of things" (49)?
Explain: "In this moment there is life and food / For
future years" (64-65).
Explain: "The sounding cataract / Haunted me like a
Other Poems to Consider:: "Simon Lee"
To what degree does this poem satisfy the poetical
requirements Wordsworth sets forth in his Preface? Explain.
What is a "common" (32)?
What are "husbandry" and "tillage" (38)?
What are "Such stores as silent thought can bring" (66)?
Explain the final four lines (93-96).
What, if any, is the final moral to this poem?
"Lines Written in Early Spring" 289-90:
What exactly is Wordsworth describing?
Why do "pleasant thoughts / Bring sad thoughts to the mind"
What has man "made of man" (8)?
Explain: "'Tis my faith that every flower / Enjoys
the air it breathes" (11-12).
Explain: "I must think, do all I can / That there was
pleasure there" (19-20).