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In Willam Blake's poem, what makes it a romantic poem?

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:

How the chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down palace-walls.

But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.

Can romantic poems have rhymes?

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I think it's General Reference that William Blake is one of the archetypal Romantic Poets. That Wikipedia article puts Blake first in a list of the six most well-known Romantic Poets, ahead of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. –  FumbleFingers Nov 4 '12 at 14:24
    
This is a perfectly good question...for the now defunct Literature.SE. –  Mitch Nov 5 '12 at 14:34
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closed as general reference by StoneyB, FumbleFingers, Zairja, RegDwigнt Nov 4 '12 at 17:14

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4 Answers

I agree with @Andrew Leach's answer: "Romantic" has nothing to do with romantic love. For example, consider Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which is a product of the Romantic era. Someone even once wrote, "Frankenstein is the quintessence of romanticism." (Ref.)

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Romantic is a period in the history of literature beginning in the latter eighteenth century, and to which Blake belongs. There's a list in the related Wikipedia article.

The poem is romantic precisely because it is a product of this period. The name has nothing to do with romantic love (although there is romantic-period poetry which is romantic in that sense); and the rhyming-scheme is the author's choice.

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This would probably be better asked in Writers SE.

It is Romantic because it is about 'real-life' and written in allegedly 'natural' language. This style was pioneered by Wordsworth in 'Lyrical Ballads' and explained in the preface to that volume, where he said he would "adopt the natural language of men" and "chuse incidents and situations from common life". His poem "Michael" in the same volume (1800 edition) illustrates the style well.

This is a contrast to earlier styles when poetry was written in very flowery language, and the subject was often mythical situations. Milton's "At a Solemn Music" for example.

There is no reason why Romantic poetry should not rhyme. That is a choice made by the poet.

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Much romantic poetry rhymes, although Blake is perhaps not best thought of as a Romantic poet. That description is ususally applied to the likes of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Shelley.

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