How does Wordsworth appear as a poet of common man in his “Preface to Lyrical Ballads”?

Introduction: William Wordsworth (1770- 1850) is regarded as a poet of the common man. He has written a famous author which is name Lyrical Ballads (1798). In this author, the poet lays down the common man, common language, love for nature, etc. It is included the style of the common man of life. We will prove it that William Wordsworth as a poet of the common man.

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Subject matter: In the Preface, Wordsworth says about the public taste of his in the field of literature. The neoclassic poets had totally destroyed the literary taste of the readers, because their poetry was based on the artificial aspects of life. The subject matter of this kind of poetry was very trivial but the style was lofty. It was extremely limited in its themes, as it was related to the city life alone, and it ignored the beauties of Nature and the rustic characters, that live its simple life in the lap of Nature. Wordsworth reacted sharply against it and wanted to increase the range of English by taking his themes from “humble and rustic life” and “incidents and situations from common life”

Use of language: Wordsworth also appear as a poet of common man in his use of the language of poetry. According to Wordsworth, the language of poetry must not be separated from the language of men in real life. Figures, metaphors, smiles and other ornaments of language should not be used unnecessarily. The main recommendations of Wordsworth for language for the poetry are as follows:

  1. Specially selected words of conversation used by the common rustic people should be the language of poetry.
  2. A good poem should be purged of “adulterated phraseology”.
  3. So, the diction use in poetry must be chosen from the language of the commoners.
  4. Past experiences should be represented in poetry being amalgamated with imagination.
  5. There is no “essential difference” between the language of prose and of metrical composition.

Simplicity in style: Simplicity means here common people life. Neoclassical of poets have used highly language, upper class people, aristocratic life style.  They do not use common topics in the poem. He has used common man, humble and rustic life, love of nature etc. in the poem.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd.

From all above analysis, we can understand that Wordsworth has used simplicity in his poems.

Art of characterization: Wordsworth appears to be a poet of common man by taking the of shepherds, farmers, wood-cutter etc. the subject of his poetry.

  1. As the subject of his poems, Wordsworth has chosen incidents and situation from life.
  2. He has related them in a selection of language really used by men.
  3. He has thrown over them a colouring of imagination to take them to appear in an unusual light.

Desire from mental satisfaction: William Wordsworth has highlighted that the Common man of life has mental satisfaction. Common man gets mantel satisfaction from nature.  But Neoclassical poets did not publish the mental satisfaction in their poems. This element has been highlighted by Preface to Lyrical Ballads.

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Conclusion: From all the above discussion, we can understand that the main theme in his poems is ordinary people, love for nature.  In his poems, the lifestyle of common people has got predominance that is why William Wordsworth is called a poet of Common man.

Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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