Note how fully Coleridge unfolds in these essays the principles of romantic criticism, which have not been superseded.
Byron.—Read The Prisoner of Chillon (Selections from Byron, Eclectic English Classics), Childe Harold, Canto III., stanzas xxi-xxv. and cxiii., Canto IV., stanzas lxxviii., and lxxix. “Oh, Snatch’d away in Beauty’s Bloom,” “There’s not a joy the world can give like that it takes away,” and from Don Juan, Canto III., the song inserted between stanzas lxxxvi. and lxxxvii. All these poems will be found in the two volumes of Byron’s works in the Canterbury Poets’ series.
Selections are given in Bronson, IV., 125-174; Ward, IV., 244-303; Page, 170-272; Oxford, 688-694; Century, 586-613; Manly, I., 378-393.
From the stanzas indicated in Childe Harold, select, first, the passages which best illustrate the spirit of revolt, and, second, the passages of most poetic beauty. What natural phenomena appeal most to Byron? What qualities make The Prisoner of Chillon a favorite? Why is his poetry often called rhetorical?
Shelley.—Read Adonais, To a Skylark, Ode to the West Wind, To Night, The Cloud, The Sensitive Plant, and selections from Alastor and Prometheus Unbound. Shelley’s Poetical Works, edited by Edward Dowden (Globe Poets), contains all of Shelley’s extant poetry. Less expensive editions are in Canterbury Poets, Temple Classics, and Everyman’s Library. Selections are given in Bronson, IV., 182-227; Ward, IV., 348-416; Page, 275-369; Oxford, 697-717; Century, 614-638; Manly, I., 394-411.
Under what different aspects do Adonais and Lycidas view the life after death? Has Shelley modified Wordsworth’s view of the spiritual force in nature? Does Shelley use either the cloud or the skylark for the direct purpose of expressing his own feelings? Why is he sometimes called a metaphysical poet? What is the most striking quality of Shelley’s poetic gift?
Keats.—Read The Eve of St. Agnes, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, Hyperion (first 134 lines), La Belle Dame sans Merci, Isabella, and the sonnets: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, On the Grasshopper and Cricket, When I have Fears that I May Cease to Be, Bright Star! Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art. The best edition of the works of Keats is that by Buxton Forman. The Canterbury Poets and Everyman’s Library have less expensive editions. All the poems indicated above may be found in Page’s British Poets of the Nineteenth Century. For selections, see Bronson, IV., 230-265; Ward, IV., 427-464; Oxford, 721-744; Century, 639-655; Manly, I., 413-425.
By direct reference to the above poems, justify calling Keats “the apostle of the beautiful,” in both thought and language. Give examples of his felicitous use of words and phrases. Show by illustrations his mastery in the use of the concrete. To what special senses do his images appeal? Was he at all affected by the new human movement? Why does Arnold say, “Keats is with Shakespeare”? In what respects is he like the Elizabethans?