Supplementary questions on each Romantic poem
Here are a few questions on each of the Romantic poems in Access to English: Literature.
"London" and "The Echoing Green"
- Point to similarities and differences between the two poems. Compare, for example, subject-matter (e.g. the human activities described), theme, setting, imagery, form.
- Seen together, what point do these poems make?
"Composed upon Wwestminster Bridge, September 3, 1802"
- "Earth has not anything to show more fair." What is Wordsworth talking about here?
- Why is this perhaps a somewhat surprising claim from a Romantic poet?
- Is nature and the city in conflict in this poem? Give examples to support your opinion.
- How is personification used in the poem?
"John Anderson My Jo"
- Discuss how Burns uses imagery to portray the passing of time.
- What is “the hill” in the second stanza, do you think?
- Who is the speaker in this poem?
- Comment on the language and form.
- Read the introduction to Burns on p. 155. Would you say this poem is written in a “private style”? Explain your answer.
"La Belle Dame Sans Merci"
- How does Keats achieve the extraordinary mood of this poem?
- The knight-at-arms has, for a while, escaped from the real world. How? Why? With what result?
- The knight seems to be in need of some sort of help. Can the narrator (who speaks in the three first stanzas) help him? How?
- This poem is, many would say, erotic. Where is its eroticism? Is it explicit eroticism, or implicit?
"Song to the Men of England"
- The title sounds patriotic, but is this a patriotic poem?
- If someone said, “There is some difficult language in the poem,” would you agree? Justify your view.
- What is the political message of the poem?
- Could this poem be used as a historical source? Why, or why not?
- Is the imagery in this poem used literally, or figuratively, or both? Give examples.
"Stanzas for Music"
- Comment on the form of this poem.
- Do you see the form as being in harmony with the content? Please explain.
- What is the poem’s theme?
"Thoughts on Freedom"
- Comment on the structure of the poem, and how its structure reinforces its theme.
- Which two or three lines do you see as the most important?
- “Most of the poem is a long metaphor.” Do you agree? Please comment.
- Compare the form of this poem with that of “Stanzas for Beauty”.
- The title of this poem might suggest kinship with Shelley’s “Song to the Men of England”. Are there similarities between the two poems? If not, where do they differ?