Supplementary questions on each Romantic poem

question mark Here are a few questions on each of the Romantic poems in Access to English: Literature.

"London" and "The Echoing Green"

  1. Point to similarities and differences between the two poems. Compare, for example, subject-matter (e.g. the human activities described), theme, setting, imagery, form. 
  2. Seen together, what point do these poems make?


"Composed upon Wwestminster Bridge, September 3, 1802"

  1. "Earth has not anything to show more fair." What is Wordsworth talking about here?
  2. Why is this perhaps a somewhat surprising claim from a Romantic poet?
  3. Is nature and the city in conflict in this poem? Give examples to support your opinion.
  4. How is personification used in the poem?


"John Anderson My Jo"

  1. Discuss how Burns uses imagery to portray the passing of time.
  2. What is “the hill” in the second stanza, do you think?
  3. Who is the speaker in this poem?
  4. Comment on the language and form.
  5. 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"

  1. How does Keats achieve the extraordinary mood of this poem?
  2. The knight-at-arms has, for a while, escaped from the real world. How? Why? With what result?
  3. 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?
  4. This poem is, many would say, erotic. Where is its eroticism? Is it explicit eroticism, or implicit?


"Song to the Men of England"

  1. The title sounds patriotic, but is this a patriotic poem?
  2. If someone said, “There is some difficult language in the poem,” would you agree? Justify your view.
  3. What is the political message of the poem?
  4. Could this poem be used as a historical source? Why, or why not?
  5. Is the imagery in this poem used literally, or figuratively, or both? Give examples.


"Stanzas for Music"

  1. Comment on the form of this poem.
  2. Do you see the form as being in harmony with the content? Please explain.
  3. What is the poem’s theme?


"Thoughts on Freedom"

  1. Comment on the structure of the poem, and how its structure reinforces its theme.
  2. Which two or three lines do you see as the most important?
  3. “Most of the poem is a long metaphor.” Do you agree? Please comment.
  4. Compare the form of this poem with that of “Stanzas for Beauty”.
  5. 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?