Romantic Poet (1794-1878) William Cullen Bryant
Romanticism • One can learn lessons from the past • The imagination and intuition should be trusted and honed • Natural world and inner emotions are connected • Nature is revered and respected as a reflection of inner-thoughts • Romantics focused on independence/the individual – they would not appreciate a strong government
William Cullen Bryant • Believed in the ‘common man’ and Romantic possibilities of American Life
Has been called “The Father of American Poetry” • Most of his poems were written before he was thirty years old • Bryant was an observer of nature, and believed in the Romantic notion that nature had a spiritual and moral meaning
Bryant’s Poetry • “To a Waterfowl” examines the connection between the natural world and the spiritual world of the imagination • Lessons the speaker learns in “To A Waterfowl”: 1) Never give up until your goal is reached 2) have faith that you will be guided 3) Even though at times we appear lost, everything works out in the end • * Note the rhyme scheme!!!!! • Theme: “All who wander are not lost”
Thanatopsis • “Thanatopsis”, one of Bryant’s most well-known works, was written when he was only seventeen. • “Thanatopsis” means ‘a meditation on death’ • Throughout the poem, Bryant conveys many comforting thoughts about death: • 1) Everyone goes back to the earth 2) When we die, we become part of the cycle of life 3) Earth is a wonderful tomb • Theme> If one lives life to the fullest, one will be comforted even at the hour of their death
Questions on both these poems will appear on the Midterm examination • As we read the poems, circle words you may not understand, and paraphrase sections as we discuss them.