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The poetry of Wordsworth is constrained by form. This statement is believed to be true be true by the members of the opposition. Before we go into the reasons as to why we agree with this statement a clear definition of the key terms must be given. These are poetry, constrained by and form. Poetry according to the oxford pocket school dictionary is defined as "writing arranged in short lines, usually with a particular rhythm and usually with rhymes." Poetry is read daily by people who have an appreciation for writing, the techniques employed, the cunningness of the writer and how this is expressed as well as the emotions they arose in them. This same form of writing done by Wordsworth who was a poet in the 1800's, the period of the romanticism is constrained by form. Constrained means a compulsion do something or a restriction of something. Constrained writing does not allow the author to be creative with his own style of writing, to add his own uniqueness to the form of the poem. In the case of the romantic period of which Wordsworth was a part the petrarchan sonnet was one such style of writing of which Wordsworth used alot. Constrained writing also lacks spontaneity offers no deviation and limits the expression of the word. It also requires one to consciously think before they write their thoughts instead of allowing the words to flow as they come or you feel them, thus limiting your natural self expression. The form to which we are describing refers to according to "A world of poetry "the appearance of poetry on page or a way of referring to the structure of the poem". The structure ofa poem would refer to how the poem is set up like for example is it written in stanzas or not, the rhyme scheme etc.
When one looks at Wordsworth poems, the constraint to which we speak is apparent in his style of writing. A petrarchan sonnet appears on paper with an octave and a sestet. The octave would be the first eight lines and the sestet would be the following six. They are different in that the mood is generally different in each. The Petrarchan sonnet also follows the rhyme scheme abbaabba, in the octave and allows a bit of variation in the sestet. Why are we listing the features of a petrarchan sonnet? It is being done to show that upon examination of a few of Wordsworth poems the obvious constraint to which the poems are written in. For example 'It is a beauteous Evening calm and free', 'London 1802' and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge are written in the form of the Petrarchan sonnet. They all follow the rhyme scheme abbaabba of the petrarchan sonnet and does not deviate from form except for the sestet, which according to the features of the Petrarchan sonnet offers some variation such as cdcd in 'Composed up on Westminster Bridge' or cddece in 'London 1802' among others. Characteristically of a petrarchan sonnet the octave presents the problem and the sestet presents the solution or the octet presents the speaker in awe of its subject and the sestet giving the reasons as to why this is so. For example in 'London 1802' Wordsworth is seeing lamenting over the dire state of England; the selfishness of men, their obsession with money and materialistic things which has caused them to "forfeit their ancient English doer/Of inward happiness". He describes England as "...a fen/Of stagnant waters: altar, sword and pen," showing how muddied the morals of England has become and how dirty and corrupt the people of England are especially the leaders of society. However typically of a Petrarchan sonnet Wordsworth gives the solution to this problem in the sestet which he sees in Milton, a dead poet who he emulated and thought was the embodiment of what his beloved England should be like. In 'It is a beauteous Evening , calm and free he describes nature in its awesomeness and all its power, the beauty that one might see if they only took the time to look and appreciate it. He describes how nature leaves one "breathless with adoration" and then in the sestet the reader is allowed to understand Wordsworth obvious joy of nature which his enjoyment stems from being reunited with his estranged daughter, a child of which there is innocence which allows an automatic connection to God and an even greater one with nature. Although this differs from the subject matter of 'London 1802',"Composed up on Westminster Bridge' or any of the other poems he wrote it is still in keeping with the feature of a petrarchan sonnet and how the writer develops his subject matter, thus he does not deviate from form making his constraint evident.
We had established before where constrained writing does not allow spontaneity and requires the writer to consciously think before writing the poem. This is also apparent in Wordsworth's poems, in fact he told us himself that it is when he is in solitude or in a "vacant or pensive mood" he is inspired to sit and write. Now the part which speaks to consciously think would be the word pensive which suggest he is thinking deeply or in deep thought. "The bliss of solitude" would also allow him the time to think properly so as to conform his thinking to paper and to fit his images in a poetic form. It is only logical that in order for the poet to fit his poem to such a form, it would limit the extent to which he expresses himself, because if certain words in the poem does not fit with the structure or characteristic of that particular form, then he would have to change the original wording of the poem to force it to fit with a particular rhyme scheme or development of subject matter. In this way the form of the poem compels him to change or get rid of information are to consciously think about the rhyme scheme and how best to mould the poem to fit a particular form. Also when one examines the word spontaneity one realises that spontaneity is done naturally, it is not force and would defy all writing convention, but as was shown in Wordsworth poems, this is simply not the case.