I must confess that I am fond of much of the poetry of the English romantics, especially when they shun the political, and try to reintroduce us to the marvelous creation that is all around us. In the finest and wisest of the Romantics, in William Wordsworth for example, this engagement with sky and sea, with hill and valley, is not sentimental. He really does feel, in the silences and the sounds, the presence of the divine, and that sense does bring him closer to his fellow man, especially the poor, and the unpretentious people of the countryside who work with their hands and their shoulders and their backs.
Think of the following sonnet as a challenge to mankind standing on the verge of the industrial revolution, or rather crossing a continental divide, on one side of which you have people who can feel the wind as they work, and hear the trilling of the birds or the rush of the sea-waves in the distance, and who feel it not as a pretty thing, not as an opportunity for a n…
Listen to this episode with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Word & Song by Anthony Esolen to listen to this episode and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.