The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Union of Opposing Elements: Poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge

The Romantic Era was a time when people embraced imagination, emotion, and freedom - quite a contrast to the preceding Neoclassic Era, which emphasized the values of reason, judgment, and authority. The values of the so-called Romantics are embodied in the poetry which developed during the period. Romantic poets, such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, composed poetry filled with passion and intense emotion. Both poets also incorporated into their works two elements which came to exemplify Romantic poetry: an intense love of nature, in which man interacts and becomes unified with nature, and, as Coleridge stated, "the balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant elements or qualities." This balance of opposing elements, or contradictions, is a main theme in two famous Romantic works: "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways," one of Wordsworth's renowned "Lucy Poems", and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," a literary ballad by Coleridge.

The first contradiction in Wordsworth's poem is present both in the title and in the very first line, which read similarly "She [Lucy] dwelt among the untrodden ways." Observe the words "dwelt" and...

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