The Comparison of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells” with Wordsworth’s “Preface to Lyrical Ballads”

In the "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads", William Wordsworth has revolts against the poetic principles of the eighteenth century suggesting that life of a poor person acts as a material fit for the poetry. This is a poem that Wordsworth dedicates to a poor man by representing "incidents and situations from common life". He uses layman's language to convey his message (Hunter 2009).

Wordsworth has a theory of poetry that guides him in writing most of his poems. He says, "poetry is finer spirit the breath and of all knowledge". He explains the process of composing poems. His theory is comprehensive in the sense that it tells the audience his qualification. He suggests the function of poetry and recommends the language of poetry. His theory is suitable since he goes ahead to practice a theory that he establishes himself (Stephen 1989).

When it comes to analyzing the process and nature of poetry, he says that "poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings". It takes its origin from emotion recollected tranquility, and the emotion contemplates the tranquility disappears by a species of reactions.

Wordsworth describes the process which leads to the production of poetry. He says that first, there is the emotion set up by an experience. There is an interval of time during which the non-essential elements in the experience purge off (Stephen 1989). During the second stage, memory plays an important role. It retains and controls the vital information. In the third stage, recollection of ideas takes place. At the fourth stage, the emotion sets up in the mind again (Mary 1957).

The last stage in this theory is composition. He puts forward the fundamental condition of poetry. He argues that deep emotion is the fundamental condition of poetry. Wordsworth discards a doctrine which argues that the plot is the first and most significant thing. He says that according to his experience, the best thing is the feeling (Sova 2001). His theory holds that the importance of poetry is to offer delight. He considers a poet a seer, because he is a man talking to men. Wordsworth has revolutionary and romantic views concerning poetry. He disregards the artificial language of the 18th century. He further recommends the use of ordinary language just like in the ordinary conversation for poetry (Hunter 2009).

According to Wordsworth, a poet should aim at communicating emotions he has directly experienced. He says that poetry is a matter of idle pleasure and mere amusement. He says that poetry should facilitate higher pleasure and be more noble. He says that poetry is philosophical; it is the image of nature and man (Mary 1957).

This review intends to analyze the relation between Wordsworth's theory and "Preface to lyrical ballads". "Preface to lyrical ballads" is a poem that chooses "incidents and situations from real common life" and applies them in a selection of language common to men. The poem has a coloring imagination, whereby ordinary things are clear to mind in an unusual manner. He chooses his subject properly, which makes the poet feel whose appropriate expression has dignity, metaphorical vitality, and beauty (Stephen 1989).

He writes this poem as an immediate reaction to some experience. He expresses this through powerful feelings. This poem is not spontaneous like the case of those that come easily from the pen of the poet without further pre-medication. This poem is a product of a man who has been thinking for a long period. He succeeds to contemplate his emotions till tranquility disappears to give room to the production of viable ideas in mind (Hunter 2009).

The poem follows all the four stages: recollection, contemplation, recrudescence, and composition. It follows the immediate objective of giving pleasure. The poet receives sense of difficulty from the works of similar perception and construction of the language (Mary 1957).

The poem follows his view on poetic style; he uses language of a common man to communicate his ideas. He chooses incidents and situations from rustic and humble life. This poem setting is in a rural dwelling. This is to convey the feelings in a simple manner since these persons do not oblige to the influences of urban dwellers (Hunter 2009).

This poem reflects Wordsworth's view of revolting against the eighteenth century poetic style and poetic theory, which was prevalent at that time. It captures his views on the nature of poetry, choice of subject matter, and the role of poetry. The poem shows his revolutionary ideas in the literary field (Stephen 1989).

"The Bells" is a work of Edgar Allan Poe; it is heavily onomatopoeic. Its publication took place after his death in 1898. The poem uses the word "bells" in a continuous manner. The poem has four parts; these parts become darker as the poem progresses from "the jingling and tinkling" of the bells in part 1 to the "moaning the groaning" of the bells in part 4. This is a poem whose writing began in May 1848. It is an appreciation to Marie Louise, a woman who cared for Poe's wife Virginia as she lay dying. She inspires Poe after visiting him at his cottage in New York after hearing the ringing bells from a far and playfully suggests starting from there. She helps by writing the first line of each stanza (Meyers 1992).

"The Bells" and "Preface to lyrical ballads" are works of different poets; nevertheless, they have much in similar. "The Bells" is a poem set in a humble background. The author watches his wife dying and cannot do much to save her life. It reflects the events relating to the life events of the poor. Both novels undergo through the four stages of Wordsworth (Sova 2001).

They both result from a certain experience in which the poet is a villain. The ideas in the poems result from emotions of the respective poets because they address their past feelings. Both poems adopt the language of a common man; they make use of situations and incidents from rustic and humble life (Hunter 2009).

The two poems initiate the romantic era by emphasizing instinctive feelings and pleasure above mannerism and formality. They emphasize on the spontaneous overflow of strong feelings recollected in tranquility. In the two poems, feelings are more valuable than situations and actions. The poems follow the four stages which include observation, recollection, contemplation, and imaginative excitement of earlier emotions. The poems entail the spirit of a man speaking to other men. They contain greater knowledge of human nature and a more comprehensive soul, greater powers of communication, and greater zest for life (Meyers 1992).

The two poems contain the elements of truth, which is general and operative. They reflect the man's interaction with his environment. They reveal the complexities of pain and pleasures that arise from their personal experiences. They also reveal deep sympathies by which they interrelate (Stephen 1989).

The paper explores the works of two poets, William Wordsworth and Edgar Allan Poe the setting of whose poems is in the eighteenth century. Wordsworth has a theory of poetry, which he argues on how the poets have to organize their work. His theory has four stages, which a poet has to follow. The theory and "Preface to lyrical ballads" have many similarities since the poem strictly follows the principles of the theory. "Preface to lyrical ballads" and "The Balls" are compatible in the sense that they all deviate from the traditional forms of poetry. They share many common features according to Wordsworth's theory (Mary 1957).