The Romantic Sublime: What Wordsworth Said

Good Read on Romanticism.

Literary Yard

By: Sai Diwan

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.’

William Wordsworth (Lyrical Ballads)

While it is these words that have made it into anthologies of Romantic poetry, it is the words that follow that string together the meaning in its entirety. Wordsworth goes on to state that mulling over the emotion causes the state of tranquillity to fade out and be replaced by the emotion itself such that it establishes its hold over the poet’s mind. It is in this state that the poet begins his composition, and in wording his passions finds his mind traverse happiness. The poet experiences, and is able to convince the reader of a pleasure in pain emotion that leads up to the ‘complex feeling of delight.’ This conclusion regarding ‘good poetry’ doubles as an unintended postulation about the Romantic Sublime.

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