During the Period of Romanticism, a lot of literary pieces were written. There were resounding themes among these poems and pieces. Many authors, no matter how different their timelines were, had similar themes when it came to their pieces. You can see that their beliefs were intertwined. Whether they came from different continents or not, the same mood and depiction are present within the writings. A strong sense of Christianity is seen in a number of poems. God was always mentioned, whether it was to praise Him or question the maker.
A theme present in a handful of the literature can be seen as Biblical. In Hopkins’s “God’s Grandeur”, he shows his religious devotion through things from the natural world. He sees God as a manifestation in a number of living things. This is similar to William Blake’s “The Lamb”. This was a poem about Christianity, where the lamb was Jesus Christ, being represented by nature, in the form of an animal. Coleridge also had the same beliefs. His poems were seen to have an understanding of Neoplatonism. His work had Christian elements which were also seen in nature as the presence of God. The theme of theology is also seen in Dickens’ book “Hard Times”. Each chapter of the book can be derived from the Bible books of “Galatians”. The theme was about sowing and reaping. During this time, it could be said that Christianity was a big part of their lives, that the belief in God, heaven and in the Bible were resounding themes throughout the time.
Robert Browning’s poem entitled “My Last Dutchess” was quite an interesting piece. He speaks of his late wife. Sarcasm can be seen in the tone of the poem and in the words the poet chose to use. This can be related to Milton’s “The Satanic and Byronic Hero”. They both have a sense of cynicism, where they speak of pain. Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Decorum Est” has the same, sad tone. His poem was more also on pain and suffering. William Wordsworth describes the theme of fear and clouded mentality with his poem “The World is Too Much With Us”. The same type of cynicism is seen during this time. He speaks of how people use their powers in a misguided way. This can be said also for Owen’s poem, as he spoke of war and the after effects of it on a person. This is very much a contrast to the themes seen above –
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;” (qtd. Wordsworth 319). They have probably seen the cruelty of the world and have overlooked the beauty of nature and other things. The harsh reality, maybe of things like the Civil War and WWI, have shocked them greatly.
A theme of playing God and the two sides of creation are a present theme during the time of Romanticism. This is seen in Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein”. The monster was created by the doctor, who after then feared his creation. This was present in Blake’s “The Tyger” and is seen in the lines –
“And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?” (qtd. Blake 92).
The creator is the blacksmith. Once the heart starts beating, he second-guesses himself, yet goes on with the job. Both pieces had a theme of society and acceptance. Wordworth’s “I wandered as a lonely cloud” had the same melancholy mood, where he seemed solitary and lonely. Anger and frustration are seen in the same mood, much like “The Darkling Thrush”. All literary pieces had dark tones. They had a sense of isolation and solitude. It was much like the authors craved for belonging in society.
“The Cry of The Children” is a very strong poem. It speaks of how children were being mistreated and how they were unhappy and unloved.
“"True," say the young children, "it may happen
That we die before our time.” (qtd. Browning). They did not have very long lives as they lived in harsh environments and were forced to work. This can be seen in both of Blake’s poems “The Chimney Sweep” and “The Little Black Boy. There was no sense of equality when it came to the lower class children. This was written during the time of slavery and child labor was considered socially acceptable. Wordsworth’s poem “We Are Seven” also speaks of children. This poem questioned whether the speaker should include her dead siblings in her count. Sadly, premature death with children and young adults was very common during this time. This theme is also present in “Poem in October” written by Dylan Thomas “Joy of the long dead child sang burning In the sun.”. Even though it was common for these children to be mistreated, it was still a concern for the poets, who knew that it was not right for little children to go through things like that.
A lot of the poems written reflected the beliefs of the authors. They had hidden meanings, mostly influenced by their surroundings. Many of the poems were used to channel grief and disappointment. These were written during the time where there was inequality, wars were rampant and a lot of children were being mistreated. The poems show the direct emotions of the poets. This was a way for them to channel out their anger towards the world and maybe society.