Poetics and Poetry Discussion
Peter A. Crowther
(5/5/2005 5:04:00 AM)
I'm no expert but here's a quick take on the poem which might help: -
James Thomson (1700-1748) was a Scottish-born poet who published several books of poetry as well as writing plays. His collection of poems, “The Seasons” (1730) was instrumental in challenging the artificiality of contemporary English poetry and introduced a new attitude of sentimentality in regard to nature. To that extent, he can be said to be one of the early founders of Romanticism in English literature.
His poem, “Hymn on Solitude” epitomizes this sentimental view of nature so characteristic of the later Romantics. It consists of six eight -line stanzas of iambic tetrameter set out in rhyming couplets, AA, BB, etc. The poem is an extended metaphor in which the poet addresses the concept of solitude as a personalized figure and considers the various guises that she assumes. In the final stanza he chooses the solitude of natural woodland in preference to the noise and dirt of the city (London) . The choice is in part at least a moral one wherein the city’s “crimes, its cares, its pain” are all rejected in favour of innocent nature - a theme which was to be enthusiastically embraced by the later Romantics.