London 1802 -William Wordsworth begins one of his most famous sonnets, with the Opening lines of Poem “Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour”. With some note towards an analysis of the poem ‘London, 1802’.
London 1802: Year Published in – 1802
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life’s common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.
“London, 1802” Summary
The Poet addresses the soul of the dead poet ‘John Milton’, saying that he should be alive at this moment in the history, for England needs him. England, the speaker says, is selfish and stagnant, and Milton could raise her up again.
The Poet says that Milton could give England “manners, power, freedom, virtue,” for his soul was like a star, his voice had a sound as pure as the sea, and he moved throughout the world with “cheerful godliness,” and laying upon himself the “lowest duties.”
He served many of his works as the leader of the romanticism movement. Although the poetry is strictly subjective, Wordsworth is considered as one of the best poets of all times.