We wished we were Romantics

It is hard not to be a romantic, at least not a little. I can’t quite figure if I like romanticism or not. Actually this is not entirely true: I do like romantic poetry and literature. Its style, its prose, its metre, they are all very appealing and aesthetically pleasing. Hardly anyone could argue that Wordsworth and Coleridge express a beauty so simple it can only be matched by the actual thing they are writing about.

However, the impossibility of the ideals is what truly concerns me. As for romantics I think there is only one type: the hopeless romantics. Not all those who are hopeless are romantics but all romantics are hopeless. Everyone, who has had a passion in life or a goal they desire above all,  has at one point been flooded by romantic impulses and idealisms. After actually pursuing this passion or goal, we often realize that it is not as beautiful and perfect as we imagined and can never be.

This is part of my problem with romanticism but it is also what I find appealing. Its impossibility is at the same time off putting and alluring because of the idealism that everyone has embedded somewhere in their soul. Everyone will eventually have their ideals blown up by reality but there is still in us a longing for that perfection we once thought to exist. The most realistic person might have abandoned any thought for perfection and ideals but, if they are still passionate about whatever inspired them, they will not lose hope for the ideal to come true in some magical way. In a way realized romantics are Knights of Resignation. The tricky thing is that there is no such thing as a realized romantic because once one realizes the true and ugly nature of things one ceases to be a romantic.

All romantics are hopeless but not in their own eyes. A true romantic will always have hope, a strong a realistic hope, of achieving idealism. We see romantics as we see children in their innocence: how cute they are, playing and avoiding the rules of the world, how ignorant and clean they. This being said, I doubt there is anyone in the world who, even for a moment, hasn’t wished to return to childhood. How many of us would like to have the resolve of a romantic because there is one thing romantics will never lack: purpose.


1 Thought.

  1. Nice reflections on what it’s like to be an idealist, and why it’s appealing. I can certainly see this in some of Wordsworth’s work, including the Preface especially–the thought that the poet can call up thoughts and feelings in him/herself, translate them to words, and thereby transfer them to the readers, seems somewhat romantic in the sense you describe. And that poetry can serve as “bibliotherapy.” In the poems, too, one can sometimes feel like there are idealistic references to the healing powers of nature. But one thing I particularly like about these poems is that they also do address the ugly, the cruel, the awful–there are clear depictions of the flaws of the world here. Do the poems also suggest that these problems can be fixed and the world made perfect? Just curious, because I’m not sure!

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