Romantic Era The romantic is given the date of 1798 as its official beginning. The romantic era was known for its connection to nature in the author’s writing. They always bring up emotion of some kind. They are sometimes also epic type that depict a hero and a struggle of some kind. They are usually somewhat lengthy and have a beginning, middle and an end.
There has been evidence that some writers could be called romantics even before the period is said to have begun. Two writers that fit this mold are William Collins and Thomas Gray, who wrote just before the romantic era started. Thomas Gray was said to have written to the common people in his works. He didn’t use the english language of that time, but instead used an archaic and distorted type of meaning. Thomas Gray wrote a piece called “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” and this does have some romantic writer characteristics. This starts off very dark and is talking about death.
In line 15 he says “Each in his narrow cell forever laid” which refers to the coffin and being buried in a grave. Death is a part of nature and romantics would try to make a connection to humanity. Death also brings up sadness over the person who has died, which is another romantic characteristic. Stanzas 10-15 go on to talk about those who have died, but received no notice in their life or death. The speaker says that many people go on unnoticed in life like a desert flower that has “waste its sweetness on the desert air” This is connecting to nature once again.
These type of stanzas are also trying to make the reader feel sorry for the speaker. He goes on to further describe the situation for the dead and still takes pity on them and wants the reader to do the same. At the end he ends the poem with what can be seen as the end of someone’s time on earth, the epitaph of a gravestone. William Collins wrote a lot of odes in his time. They were said to personify his emotions such as pity, fear, etc.
His odes reflect nature in the title sometimes, like Ode to an Evening. Collins is referring to a farmer or a sheepherder that has finished the day and is now ready to rest before the next day. He is also making some kind of a plea to nature. He is saying that he wants to learn from nature “Now teach me, maid composed, to breate some softened strain,” this draws more of connection to nature and humanity. The speaker sounds like he is asking nature to teach him.
He says he loves when the morning star comes around again to start the work day over again “Thy genial loved return! For when thy folding-star arising shows his paly circlet, at his warning lamp.” This line shows that he relies on nature to tell him when to herd the sheep before it gets to late in the day. He seems to like the early morning before the sun really gets up there because he says that he wants the star to wake him early so he can see “the freshening dew” and the pensive Pleasures sweet.” He is making his connection to nature here because he is saying that without nature he would not get up on time to tend to the sheep. He would also miss the scents and sights of early morning in nature before the sun gets hot. He make another plea that when he can’t work “be mine the hut that from the mountain’s side views wild, and swelling floods, and hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires” because he still wants to experience nature at all times. Even if he can’t be outside in it he wants to at least be able to witness it. He is begging here for nature to allow him to see it everyday.
He asks that throughout all the seasons he will be able to survive “shall fancy, friendship, science, rose-lopped health, they gentlest influence own, and hymn favorite name! English Essays.