Romanticism in Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard and Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

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Both “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard” by Thomas Gray "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” by William Wordsworth have characteristics of romanticism.

Both “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard” by Thomas Gray and "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” by William Wordsworth have characteristics of romanticism.

Several elements of the poem “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard characterizes it under romanticism, first of which is its country background with its country churchyard setting. Aside from that, the poem has five other romanticism characteristics shown in different stanzas.

It starts with the first stanza that indicates the time of day is twilight. Second, its emphasis on emotions is shown by its theme, which is death. This is stated in the lines “…Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death” in stanza 11 and “For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonour’d dead” in stanza 24. Third, interest in poor humble people and sympathy for them in the poem is a trait of romanticism. Since the setting is a country churchyard, the ones buried were not the upper class but the ordinary people. Stanza 8 mentions the short and simple annals of the poor people as well as their homely joys and obscure destiny. On the contrary, stanza 10 mentions the ostentatious way proud people value joy from praises and trophies.

One of the main characteristics of romanticism is the love for nature shown, which is evidently seen in Gray’s poem. Some animals and trees were mentioned in the poem, such as beetle is stanza 2, owl in stanza 3, and swallow and cock in stanza 4. Stanza 4 also speaks of a tree called elm. Also emphasized by the poem is the relationship between natural scenes and reflections. This is seen in stanza 23, which says that even the voice of nature cries from the tomb. Apparently, the message it is trying to convey is that the nature should not be abused because it will be hurt.

On the other hand, William Wordsworth has used several romanticism characteristics in his poem "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”. These characteristics include the stress on emotions, the connection between reality and nature, the link between beauty and originality, the quality of common people being better than that of the greater ones, and the influence of sublime things and how they overpower the senses and emotions.

It can be quite astonishing that the poem does not begin speaking about the nature. Instead, it starts talking about the city and its exquisite entities made by man, such as ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples. Lines 2 and 3 show emphasis on emotions by saying that dull souls are touched by the city’s majestic sights. Furthermore, lines 10 and 11 say that a deep calmness can be achieved from the splendor of valleys, rocks, and hills. Not only that; the same lines show how the influence of sublime things overpower the senses and emotions. To portray the general feeling of the city, the poem uses personification, such as the beautiful sun in line 9.

In order to show the relationship between reality and nature, the poems described the influence of nature starting in line 7. It describes the city being open to the fields and to the sky. While the city is not a part of nature, it is definitely not in disagreement with nature. This is implied by the smokeless air in line 8. Analyzing the entirety of the poem, the comparison of the city and the countryside has other implications, which are the link between beauty and originality and the quality of common people being better than that of the greater ones.

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