What would be considered Themes of Romanticism?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Surprising, Romanticism did not concern itself with themes so much as relationships.  By that is meant that "themes" implies a mental, intellectual agenda, while Romanticism was concerned with “the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion,” quite a different thing.  But setting aside this subtlety, the “recurring image clusters” of Romantics are:  first, aligning our present, temporal life with its cosmic, timeless origins (“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting”);  second, recognizing the power of Nature in our understanding of Beauty (My heart leaps up when I behold/A rainbow in the sky”), and, third, the relationship between the rhythms and seasons of Nature and human cycles of pain and happiness, life and death, fear and faith. Here is a poem by a little-known Romantic poet, William Savage Landor (1775-1864),that sums up much of what might be considered the themes of Romanticism:

"Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher"

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife:

Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:

I warmed both before the fire of Life;

It sinks; and I am ready to depart.



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scottangus | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

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In rough: Love of nature and dislike of urban life, mystical, basic form, ordinary language of people, subjects of Romantic poetry often ordinary people, imagination.