Wednesday 21 February 2018

The Tales Behind Some of the Best Poems in English Literature

-Anindya Bikas Dutta.

Here are seven famous poems of English literature and the story behind the penning of each of them
1. To Autumn (John Keats)

Considered one of the most beautiful poems of English literature, this poem was inspired by a walk near Winchester along the River Itchen back in the year 1819. The poem reflects the despair looming over Keats' life- financial upheavals, declining health, personal responsibilities and above all- his inability to continue any longer with poems, especially Hyperion and start working on lucrative topics.
Read the full poem at

2. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Robert Lee Frost)

An all-time favorite and equally baffling poem, the poem was written by Frost in June of 1922 in his house in Shaftsbury, Vermont. A famous poet by then, Frost was working on his well-known work 'New Hampshire'. When he went to see the sunrise after a night long struggle, the poet had an instant inspiration about 'the snowy evening and the little horse'.
Read the full poem at

3. I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud. (Daffodils) (William Wordsworth)

A poem that is a delight to read everytime, it had its origins in a walk around Ullswater, Lake District, along with his sister, Dorothy in 1804. A poet already awaited eagerly, Wordsworth was then living with his sister and his wife, Mary Hutchinson at Town End, Lake District. Said to have contributions from all of the household, the poem first appeared in 'Poems in Two Volumes' (1808) and again revised in 'Collected Poems' (1815).
Read the full poem at

4. The Rime of The Ancient Mariner (Samuel T Coleridge)

Much cited poem of all ages, it is supposedly to arise from a walking tour in Somerset with Wordsworth and his sister whereby the thoughtless act of killing a black albatross in a book by Captain Shelvocke was being discussed. Characters inspiring the poem include James Cook, Thomas James, John Newton, Wandering Jew and the harbor at Watchet deserves special mention.
Read the full poem at

5. The Lady of Shallot (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

One of the most acclaimed poems of Tennyson, it is based on the legend of Elaine of Astolate. Dying of unrequited love for Sir Lancelot, the dead Elaine is set on a boat with a lily and a letter in her hands, whereby she is discovered by King Arthur's Court at Camelot. The Lady's isolation and her decision to participate in the outside world are two themes unique to the poem.
Read the full poem at

6. A Poison Tree (William Blake)

A beautiful depiction of the 'man of double deed', this poem appeared in the collection- Songs of Experience. The poem mirrors Blake's ideal that anger is an emotion that is best vented out, which is connected to the British view of anger held following the start of the French Revolution. The concept of poisoning in his poems is different- the death of the poisoned can be interpreted as a replacement of the poisoned's individuality.
Read the full poem at

7. In Time of 'Breaking Of Nations' (Thomas Hardy)

A beloved classical, this poem was Hardy's reply for something to help 'keep the torch alight in the black' of World War I by the editor of the Saturday Review. While penning this, the poet remembered his days in North Cornwall courting his to-be-wife when the battle of Gravelotte-St-Privat was being fought. Struck by the image of a horse-drawn plough breaking the clods, Hardy related it to a chapter in the Book of Jeremiah referring to 'my battle axe and weapons of war' with which 'I will break in pieces the nations'.
Read the full poem at

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