In Preface to Lyrical Ballads, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) as a precursor of the Romantic Movement, professed a new definition of poetry, which became the first propaganda of Romanticism. As he believed “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility”, he emphasizes on the emotions or feelings of a poet in writing poetry.
Wordsworth claims that his contemporaries have occasionally depended on their metrical composition. But his poems have a worthy purpose. He does not depend on metrical composition, but he waits for spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings and meditation before writing a poem. The combination of these two makes a good poem. He asserts,
“For all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings“
The poet expresses the inner feelings of man, which they are fully unable to utter. He does not write, because somebody compels him. He writes of his own volition, when the mood or inspiration is upon him. He does not need any other justifications for his work except his own feelings. These feelings are his stay and support. He does not require the support of anyone’s will power. Deep emotion is the basic condition of poetry. Wordsworth also emphasizes the need of thought. So, he sketches four stages on the way of poetic creation. These are observation, recollection, contemplation or meditation and composition.
No doubt, this definition, based on personal emotion, is the fundamental principle of English Romanticism. But individual emotion was always neglected by neo-classics.
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