To A Nightingale A Conversational Poem Summary

Better Essays
In this essay, I will explore Charlotte Smith’s ‘To a Nightingale’ and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘The Nightingale; A Conversational Poem Written in April, 1798’. These two poems are in many ways very similar to each other as they both cover the subject of the nightingale’s song and the connotations of night. However, there are significant differences. Smith maintains the ‘melancholy strain’[C:21] of ‘many a poet’[C:22] in depicting the nightingale’s song. Yet, though Coleridge acknowledges this conceit, he also aims to subvert it claiming that ‘in nature there is nothing melancholy’[C:12]. This highlights the poets’ differences in tone. For Smith, the bird is an image of ‘sweet sorrow’[S:3] whilst Coleridge hears a celebration of life in the …show more content…
Even though Coleridge maintains the iambic pentameter of its lines, ‘The Nightingale’ emulates natural speech linking it to the subtitle ‘A Conversational Poem’. The poem also has named auditors, ‘my Friend, and my Friend’s Sister’[C:39], which are recognised as William and Mary Wordsworth, to whom he addresses directly. By ‘Farewell, O Warbler’[C:69] he converts to addressing the nightingale which further adds to the many conversations within the poem. These fluid dialogues highlight the continuous flow of thought mirroring the nightingale’s constant song throughout the …show more content…
Coleridge’s use of reported speech allows him to challenge Milton’s ‘most musical, most melancholy’[C:12] construction of the nightingale as he expresses this interpretation as something unoriginal. He ‘seeks to convince us that within its melodies, as within all aspects of nature […] there may be found not sorrow but joy’ as the poet’s song ‘should make all nature lovelier, and itself |be lov’d like nature’[C:32-3]. The bird’s song is not mourning the lost day but cherishing the night. To Coleridge, the nightingale’s song speaks of ‘love |and joyance’[C:41-2] which invites us to think of the night as pleasurable – ‘we shall find | a pleasure in the dimness of the stars’[C:9-10]. But, Coleridge’s poem is also celebrating the nightingale’s ability to bring the night and day together. Whilst its song is confined to the night, the meaning that song creates for the individual can be carried into the day. When he describes the uninhabited castle, he says that he ‘never elsewhere in one place I knew | so many nightingales’[C:54-5]. The song of these nightingales stirs the ‘air with such an harmony |that should you close your eyes, you might almost |forget it was not day’[C:61-3] showing that their song is not lamenting the day but bringing it into the

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    “He assumes a confident, if lugubrious, voice as he takes on subjects that are both external (the song of the nightingale) and internal (his perception of a transient world). The poet seeks to leave behind “the weariness, the fever, and the fret” of a world of mortals…” (Park 140). As he begins to address the nightingale, Keats witnesses the happiness and immortality that the creature admits and begins to desire the emotions the nightingale holds. He suffers because he has witnessed what the creature’s immortality represents and begins to long for death and release into happiness that comes with. He continues to reference this feeling of longing throughout the poem; therefore, creating the theme of longing for…

    • 1028 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Poem Analysis: Wanderlust

    • 1235 Words
    • 5 Pages

    It follows the rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg and is written in iambic pentameter. The sonnet also uses the “turn” or volta found in many sonnets that in some way changes the main idea of the poem. In this sonnet, the couplet switches the focus from the beautiful scenes of nature to how nature is indifferent to humans, which allows the narrator to come to the conclusion that he can forget his troubles, because nature does not care either way. The poem uses a variety of imagery, stimulating the sense of touch, hearing, taste, and…

    • 1235 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Wordsworth and Coleridge: Stylistic Distinctions with Spiritual Resemblance In Lyrical Ballads 1798, it is easy to distinguish the poems composed by William Wordsworth from the ones composed by Samuel Coleridge. This is not out of their divergent views, but rather, a result of their characteristic poetic styles and distinctive writing subjects. Coleridge himself gives an account of this: These are the poetry of nature… composed of two sorts… It was agreed that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic… Mr. Wordsworth, on the other hand, was to propose to himself, as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day. (Coleridge 174) Their division of labor, thus, expands the…

    • 1950 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Linus Matthiessen Krausenecker 11C Poetry Analysis In William Wordsworth poem The “Tables Turned“ a complete disregard for formal structured studies in comparison to an enriching nature is presented. It is a short lyric poem of thirty-two lines arranged in eight stanzas. The love and admiration towards magical and magnificent nature is starkly thematized in addition to vivid tone, while referring to the wisdom obtained by mother earth. It is evident that the values of the Romantic Era engage the reader to experience with heart rather than with mind. The poet attempts to educate a close friend that nature unlike dull formal study contributes towards his acquisition of values.…

    • 726 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Raven Essay

    • 2096 Words
    • 9 Pages

    And the following words: “…of the saintly days of yore” (“The Raven” 38), could just be referring to that they were popular in the older times, but we can possibly stretch it to say that he refers to the days of yore fondly, again because of Lenore. At the end of the stanza, the narrator also states another major piece of symbolism in the poem: the bust of Pallas. Pallas, being the Greek goddess of wisdom(), implies again that there is more to the raven that is presented at this time in the poem. The man disregards the raven’s words, just phrases learned by a master, but with this we know that its words are calculated and meaningful. The man is beguiled to smile at the raven meaning he was deceived into a smile, by the grave and stern look it wore.…

    • 2096 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The narrator is pulled in conflicting directions: now towards death, now towards the sensuous pleasures of this world, now towards transcendence of the everyday. Keats feels weighed down by melancholy, as is presented in the first stanza of the poem, ‘My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains…’ This open admittance of unashamed sadness is accompanied with the speaker’s admiration for the magnificent nightingale. The speaker enjoys the sounds of summer that the nightingale is responsible for, and Keats enjoys it. However it is not enough to move away his melancholic sadness, and the speaker wishes to use alcohol as a use of escapism. Keats uses this as a mode to move away from using…

    • 1025 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    “A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company”. Wordsworth is saying one cannot be unhappy when in the company of nature and it’s beauty. In the last stanza the poem briefly shifts back to a sorrowful tone, “In vacant or in pensive mood”. He then goes on to reminiscing the daffodils, instantly this changes the tone of the poem back to one of bliss and joy. The poet goes into intricate details, using strong emotive words so that the reader feels every emotion that Wordsworth felt when observing the daffodils; “Which is the bliss of solitude”.…

    • 1267 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The descriptions of the ‘steadfast’ and ‘patient’ nature of the ‘Bright star’ are included in order to juxtapose Keats’ perception of himself and the subject of the poem. This can be seen to obviously parallel Wordsworth’s ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality…’ insofar as the natural world functions purely to facilitate Keats’ expression of his own feelings towards the lover the ‘Bright star’ [1] metaphorically represents. This poem may be indicative of Keats ‘los[ing] the ability to forget himself’; however, I feel that the inclusion of the self may not be indicative of Keats’ egotism breaking through, or due to the influence of Wordsworth. ‘Bright Star’ is notable in its structure insofar as it is an adaptation of the popular Renaissance form, the English sonnet. Sonnets of this period were renowned, not only for their use of metaphorical conceit when referring to the lover, but also the egotistical presentation of the poet himself.…

    • 1882 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In “Pied Beauty” by Gerald Manley Hopkins and “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” by William Wordsworth, both poets express their feelings upon the beauty of nature but on different ways. Hopkins fascinates for the variety of nature that God has created for the reason that it makes the nature to be unique in their own way. On the other hand, Wordsworth wonders at the silence and tranquility in nature that breaks through the morning in London. In title of the poem, “Pied Beauty,” we can make an assumption about the theme. “Pied” means something that has more than one color.…

    • 984 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This poem reflects natural beauty showed in line 4­5 "Pourest thy full heart / In profuse strains of unpremeditated art." when the skylark sings its pure and natural songs, and also freedom that showed in line 14­15 "Thou dost float and run, / Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun", which reflects back to when he struggled with authority. The poem shows that the speaker is jealous of the skylark, which is a bird, because it has more freedom than himself. It also contains metaphors comparing living objects in nature for example worms and roses, representing love, pain and sorrow. Another metaphor was contained in line 30 “The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflow 'd” comparing the moonlight to the rain.…

    • 1182 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays

Related Topics