How do William Wordsworth's and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's descriptions of nature in their poems compare and contrast? What can we learn by viewing nature in the light of either Wordsworth or...

How do William Wordsworth's and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's descriptions of nature in their poems compare and contrast? What can we learn by viewing nature in the light of either Wordsworth or Coleridge?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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William Wordsworth's long poem Written in Early Spring is often compared to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's long poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  While both poets use personification to describe nature, Wordsworth's descriptions of nature are intentionally much simpler than Coleridge's.

As author of the article titled "Samuel Taylor Coledridge in Contrast to William Wordsworth" phrases it while citing Wordsworth, Wordsworth intentionally avoided imagery "he would consider 'too laboriously accumulated'"; hence, his nature descriptions were very simple and only served the purpose of describing nature itself rather than any greater purpose. In Written in Early Spring, one example can be seen in the fact that in describing the leaves of the trees catching the breeze, he personifies the "budding twigs" as having "spread out their fan, / To catch the breezy air."

In contrast, scholar Tom Dearden argues that Coleridge's central themes in Ancient Mariner were religion and spirituality, and these themes are even reflected in his descriptions of nature, which intentionally personify nature to portray nature as "powerful and even divine" ("Rime of the Ancient Mariner"). One example can be seen early on in the poem when he likens the sun to a divine, celestial being through his personification:

The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

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