la storia di un amicizia – la storia del Romanticismo

The Lake District, by John Constable 

The story of English Romanticism is firmly linked (= legata) with the story of a friendship between William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They first met in Bristol in 1795, and started corresponding for two years. They were already quite famous authors,  and their friendship and strict collaboration brought them to plan the most influential work for English Romanticism and the trends that followed it, The Lyrical Ballads (1798). It is a collection of poems which  opened with a Preface written by Wordsworth and the ballad The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge.

In the Preface to the 1800 edition, Wordsworth establishes a series of poetic principles which constitute a primary document of the Romantic era. The main ideas are centred  on the poet and on the role of poetry in the world. Wordsworth supports (= sostiene) democratic themes, the lives of ordinary men and women, farmers (= contadini), and the rural poor. He emphasizes (= enfatizza) his design (= disegno) to write in the ordinary language of people and to depict realistic characters in realistic situations. The poet, is “a man speaking to men,” and his poetry is the result of “the spontaneous overflow (= flusso) of powerful feelings (= sentimenti profondi),” recollected (= ripensati)  in tranquillity, not the sum total of rhetorical art.

Afterwards, in 1808, Coleridge and his wife, Wordsworth with his sister Dorothy and his wife  and the Poet Laureate Robert Southey went to live in the Lake District –  a mountainous region in North West England, already mentioned (= citata) by Thomas Gray in his  journal of his Grand Tour in 1769. They were then joined by Thomas De Quincy, author of the autobiographic novel Confessions of an English opium-eater .

Unfortunately, despite the quietness and the beauty of the place,  Coleridge  started suffering for his marital problems (he had married Sara Fricker and Robert Southey her sister Edith) and from his addiction to opium, a drug he used to soothe (= alleviare) his rheumatism. He fell in love with Wordsworth’s wife’s sister, a love never reciprocate (= non reciproco)…. In 1810 Coleridge left Wordsworth to go to London where he retired in a clinic for mental disease. He recovered and  died famous and wealthy in 1834. Also Wordsworth’s fame increased: he became poet laureate after Southey. But his private life was marked by great familiar tragedies and his liberal political ideas changed as he became disappointed by Napoleon’s ascent (= ascesa di Napoleone) to power. He died in 1850.