I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

For many, William Wordsworth probably represents a flashback to a boring few weeks in high school English Lit. class. I know I studied every word of these well-known lines for memorization and maybe even a pop quiz. Reading Wordsworth’s work today may seem a bit old-fashioned, but immersing yourself in the language and in the context of the time period is an instant one-on-one with one of the godfathers of . Wordsworth, along with his pals and are not only poetic legends of history, but were icons in their own time as well. Together they were known as the “Lake Poets”, and I kind of like to think of them as a sort of G-Unit of their day — with Wordsworth being the 18th/19th century precursor to 50 Cent. The gang, the shoutouts, the period-specific vernacular … and let’s not forget about the complex line structure just to get that rhyme. Star-Gazers to Many Men (Wish Death) … too much of a stretch? Maybe so … but I think delving into poetry over a hundred years old may just end up illustrating that things aren’t all that much different after all, and that the human experience, for whatever it’s worth, is often best chronicled in verse.

5 Responses

  1. Romantic ThugsThe Romantic
    Romantic Thugs

    The Romantic poets took up subject matter from everyday life and celebrated the common man in complex verse. The subject matter may line up with the rapper comparison but the verse goes beyond gansta angst in its structure and theme.

  2. I definitely agree — I
    I definitely agree — I originally intended to add something about the sheer prolific quality of the work — in that Wordsworth could write an ode to anything that caught his eye … and 50 seems to pretty much stick to wanksters, getting shot and booty. I don’t think the Lake Poets wrote so much about booty and rims, but I could be wrong. I haven’t read every poem. I may have to expand a bit on my thesis here at some point, but it was late and I didn’t want to miss WW’s birthday.

  3. I think if we compare 50 cent
    I think if we compare 50 cent to a Romantic writer would have to chose John Clare – a rustic writer who celebrated his harsh rustic surroundings. Still 50 would need help from the asylum to pen words such as “I am the self consumer of my woes.” These lines lift Clare’s later poetry out of the sentimental popularity of his earlier work. 50 is less of a poet than rustics like Robert Burns – comparable maybe to such lines as “We will drain our dearest veins / But they shall be free” yet a far cry from “The best-laid Shemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley,” Without the latter lesser the poet he. Still, I haven’t seen 50’s movie Get Rich or Die Trying, but I doubt it can touch the Ettick Shepherd’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

  4. Hmmm, well I guess that
    Hmmm, well I guess that really depends on whether you like watching scenes of guys getting shanked in prison.

  5. Guys getting shanked in
    Guys getting shanked in prison — this is really a poetry all its own.

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