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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE FOUNTAIN; A CONVERSATION, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the Romantic literary movement in Britain with the publication of their joint work "Lyrical Ballads" in 1798. Wordsworth was Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850. "The Fountain; A Conversation" was first published in 1800.


"The Fountain; A Conversation" was written during the Romantic era, a time of significant literary and cultural change in Europe. The Romantic poets rejected the formalism and intellectualism of the Enlightenment, instead emphasizing the importance of emotion, nature, and individual experience. Wordsworth's poetry is known for its focus on the natural world and its ability to evoke powerful emotions in readers.


"The Fountain; A Conversation" tells the story of a man and a woman who are discussing the beauty of a nearby fountain. The man suggests that the fountain is merely a physical object, while the woman argues that it is a spiritual force that embodies the beauty of nature. The conversation continues, with the woman growing more passionate and the man becoming increasingly frustrated. Ultimately, the woman triumphs, convincing the man of the spiritual significance of the fountain.


"The Fountain; A Conversation" is a dialogue between two speakers, a man and a woman, with alternating lines. The poem is written in rhymed couplets and is composed of 50 lines.

Poetic Elements:

Wordsworth uses a variety of poetic techniques and devices in "The Fountain; A Conversation." The poem contains vivid imagery, such as the description of the "high bare woods" and the "fretted cliffs" surrounding the fountain. Wordsworth also uses personification, giving human qualities to the natural elements of the scene, such as the "waters" that "babble on with change of sound and motion." The poem also employs a metaphor, comparing the fountain to "the spirit of Nature."


"The Fountain; A Conversation" is a well-crafted poem that exemplifies Wordsworth's Romantic style. The poem's vivid imagery and use of personification and metaphor create a vivid and emotionally resonant scene. The content of the poem, a dialogue between two individuals with different perspectives on nature, highlights the importance of individual experience and emotion in the Romantic movement. The poem's message, that nature is more than just a physical object and embodies spiritual significance, is a powerful and enduring theme in Wordsworth's poetry.


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