Lyrical Ballads: quotes and themes

quotes from The Lyrical ballads seperated into themes, with a little context info.

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  • Created by: Ruby
  • Created on: 25-05-09 13:20

Nature

Context

The Romantics were very concerned with nature, believed it be of extreme importance to spiritual health and morality.

Contrasted with the previous Augustan age, who were more concerned with 'lofty' matters of public importance.

Natural imagery is used through most of the lyrical ballads, even when nature is not the prevalent theme.

Nature as a bringer of peace and happiness

  • Tintern Abbey: brings back fond memories, nostalgic, ballad form
  • 'a sense sublime'
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Nature continued

  • ' five years have passed: five summers with the length/ of five long winters; and again I hear these waters, rolling from their mountain springs'
  • Lines written at a small distance: quatrains, bouncy rhythm
  • 'bring no book, for this once day/we'll give to idleness'
  • The Mad Mother: 'then thou shalt sing/ as merry as the birds in spring'

Nature as a healer

  • Lines written in Early Spring: ' to her fair works did nature link/ the human soul that through me ran'
  • Tintern Abbey: 'felt in the blood and along the heart.'
  • The Dungeon: 'Oh Nature! healest thy wandering and distempered child.'
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Nature Continued

Nature as a protector

  • The Mad Mother: ' we'll find thy father in the wood'
  • 'underneath the spreading tree, we two shall live in honesty.'

Nature as a Teacher/Moral Guide

  • Tintern Abbey: 'the anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, the guide, the guardian of my heart and soul of my moral being.'
  • The Tables Turned: 'let nature be your teacher'
  • 'one impulse foma vernal wood/may teach you more of a man/ of moral evil and all of good, than all the sages can.'
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Supernatural/Religon/Spiritual

Context

contrasted with the logic of augustan poetry

These poems, especially inthe case of the ancient mariner, were very popular beacuse of the increase of public interest in the gothic genre.

Romantics put a great emphasis on feelings and emotions, which is why mundane things or instances (especially from nature)can lift the narrator to a higher mental state.

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Supernatural continued

Higher Mental State

  • Tintern Abbey: ' that blessed mood, in which the burthen of the mystery/in which the heavy and the weary weight / of all this unintelligible world is lightened.'
  • Expostulation and Reply: 'nor less I deem that there are powers/ which of themselves our minds impress.'

Child Healers

  • The Thorn: 'old father simpson did maintain/ that in her womb the infant wrought/ about it's mother's heart and brought/ her senses back again.'
  • The Mad Mother: 'Suck little babe, oh **** again! it cools my blood, it cools my brain'
  • 'Oh! press me with thy little hand, it loosens something at my chest.'
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Supernatural continued

(Divine?)Justice/Punishment

  • Goody Blake and Harry Gill: ' she prayed her withered hand uprearing'
  • 'his teeth they chatter,chatter still'
  • The Ancient Mariner: ' and with heavy thump, a lifeless lump, they dropp'd down one by one.'
  • 'beneath the lightning and the moon, the dead men gave a groan.'

Gothic

  • The Ancient Mariner: ' 'a ghastly crew'
  • 'his bones were black with many a crack'
  • 'slimy things did crawl with legs, upon the slimy sea.'
  • The Dungeon: 'The clanking hour'
  • sights of ever more deformity'
  • 'like a loathsome plague spot'
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Outcasts

Context

The Romantics wanted to bring their poetry to the normal people.

Outcasts are often seen as being in touch with nature in the lyrical ballads.

Sympathy for the outcast is a common feathure of the lyrical ballads.

The Complaint of the forsaken Indian Woman:

  • 'I'll look upon your tents again'
  • 'Oh let my body die away!'
  • 'I feel my body die away.'
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Outcasts continued

  • The Ancient Mariner:
    • 'with heavy thump, a lifeless lump, they dropp'd down one by one.'
    • 'alone,alone, all all alone, alone on the wide wide sea.'
  • The Female Vagrant:
    • 'The empty room,cold hearth and silent wheel.'
    • 'husband and children! one by one, by sword and ravenous plague, all perished.'
    • 'hope died and fear itself in agony was lost.'
  • Simon Lee:
    • 'men, dogs and horses,all are dead, he is the sole survivor.'
  • The Dungeon
    • 'Friendless solitude, groaning and tears'
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Children

Context

the romantics believed that children were pure and uncorrupted

In the lyrical ballads they were often associated with nature

Close to Nature

  • Anecdote for fathers: 'rustic dress'
  • We are Seven: 'she was wildly clad'
  • 'rustic woodland air.'
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Children Continued

Innocent and Uncorrupted

  • Anecdote for Fathers: ' in careless mood he looked at me'
  • We are Seven: ' there upon the ground I sit, I sit and sing to them.'
  • 'Their graves are green, they may be seen.'

Healers

  • The Thorn: 'old father simpson did maintain/ that in her womb the infant wrought/ about it's mother's heart and brought/ her senses back again.'
  • The Mad Mother: 'Suck little babe, oh **** again! it cools my blood, it cools my brain'
10 of 11

Children continued

Mother-Child Bond

  • The Complaint of the Forsaken Indian Woman: 'they gave thee to another, a woman who was not thy mother.'
  • The Mad Mother: 'thou art thy mother's only joy'
  • 'he saves for me my precious soul.'
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