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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry

1700s Poetic Movements

  • Graveyard Poets, also called Churchyard Poets, were 18th century poets who focused their work on human mortality. The poems often took place in a graveyard. Thomas Gray is probably the best known of these poets. Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

    Sonnet on the Death of Richard West by Thomas Gray


    In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,

    And red'ning Phobus lifts his golden fire;

    The birds in vain their amorous descant join;

    Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:

    These ears, alas! for other notes repine,

    A different object do these eyes require.

    My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;

    And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.


    Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,

    And new-born pleasure brings to happier men:

    The fields to all their wonted tribute bear:

    To warm their little loves the birds complain:

    I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,

    And weep the more because I weep in vain.

  • Romanticism was an 18th century movement in reaction the order and balance of the Augustan age. The romantics favored self expression, inspiration and unleashed imagination. It came at a time when the rights of the individual were being asserted. Poets had greater freedom to express themselves with the diminishing of patrons who sponsored the arts. There are many different views of exactly what Romanticism who the poets were but most agree that the names Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge , William Blake, Shelley, and Lord Byran should be included.

    Ode to the West Wind Part I by Percy Bysshe Shelley


    O wild West Wind, thou breath of

    Autumn's being,

    Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

    Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

    Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,

    Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,

    Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

    The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,

    Each like a corpse within its grave,until

    Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

    Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fil

    l(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)

    With living hues and odours plain and hill:

    Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;

    Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!

  • Scriblerus Club is really an association of poets rather than a movement or school. This club was a group of poets who regularly met during 1714 to satirise 'all the false tastes in learning'. Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot, Jonathan Swift and John Gay were among the group.

    Acis and Galatea by John Gay


    Love in her eyes sits playing,

    And sheds delicious death;

    Love on her lips is straying,

    And warbling in her breath;

    Love on her breast sits panting,

    And swells with soft desire;

    Nor grace nor charm is wanting

    To set the heart on fire.



    O ruddier than the cherry!

    O sweeter than the berry!

    O Nymph more bright

    Than moonshine night,

    Like kidlings blithe and merry!


    Ripe as the melting cluster!

    No lily has such lustre;

    Yet hard to tame

    As raging flame.

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