Celebrate Spring with Romantic Poetry

Chicagoans had good reason to doubt it this year, but in the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley,

"If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"

These famous lines from "Ode to the West Wind" illustrate the Romantic poets' passionate love of nature. And what season stirs the soul more than spring?

Shelley and his peers Lord Byron, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Keats all celebrated this time of year in their work. In "Work Without Hope" Coleridge declared,

"And Winter slumbering in the open air,

Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!"

In "Lines Written in Early Spring," Wordsworth expresses this very Romantic sentiment.

"And ’tis my faith that every flower,

Enjoys the air it breathes."

Keats summed up my ideal life and the joys of spring in one sentence.

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.”

Keats tragically died at age 25, after traveling to Rome in search of warmer weather to improve his failing health. But his inspiring romance with muse Fanny Brawne was immortalized in Jane Campion's film Bright Star.

For a great introduction to this group, try The Romantic Poets. The Poetry Foundation has also compiled a wonderful list of spring poems.

If you want to delve deeper, here are The Complete Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Selected Poetry of Lord Byron, Selected Poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth and The Complete Poems of John Keats.

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