Lyrical Ballads–Wordworth and Coleridge

One thing that particularly struck me about the preface was Wordsworth’s discussion on metre and the overall format of poetry. He states that “in one case the reader is utterly at the mercy of the poet,” whereas in the other (when the metre obeys certain laws) both the reader and the poet “willingly submit because they are certain” (Wordworth 170). Maybe it’s just me, but out of (what little) poetry I’ve read I have never notice much of an emotional response to the format of the poems, and I’ve yet to feel distracted by the unruly “passion” that is demonstrated in a poem that does not follow a proper structure (Wordsworth 170).  So, I disagree with Wordworth when he says that a small part of the “pleasure given by poetry depends upon the metre,” but I wonder if anyone does agree with him.

Also, on a side note, why does he capitalize Reader, Poet and Poetry??

One Comment

  1. I have to admit that I don’t find myself carried away by unruly passion in poetry without a regular metre either. But I kind of like the concept as a concept, that metre could bring something ordered, regular, familiar, calming–even if I don’t feel that myself. Still, when I think about the actual topic of poems like “The Thorn,” I do wonder how it is that I don’t get too overemotional, because such topics are really disturbing. Who knows…maybe it’s something about the form? Or maybe some other aspect of the language or the story being told? I don’t know, frankly.

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