There is a Smile of Love
And there is a Smile of Deceit
And there is a Smile of Smiles
In which these two Smiles meet
– An Extract of the Poem The Smile, By William Blake
These were the lines in the first page of the book that attracted my attention. I was surfing my book shelf when I found this beautiful book that I even forgot that I had. I suddenly remembered that my brother brought it in one of his vacations and I used a poem from the collection to impress a lady at that time. Other than that I did not remember anything else about it. I decided to give a look at this book.Romantic Poetry was a kind of statement at one time, rejecting the formality of style and subject of Augustan Poets, the Romantics gave voice to sentiments, desires and unconscious feelings. Poets like Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley were trying to create a new style of poetry and were very active in the Romantic revolution.
I always hated literature as a subject when I was student and mostly bunked the classes, so it was a new experience for me reading these poems. And I would say that I definitely liked it. A must have in one’s collection if you are a poetry lover. A good companion in solitude… There are about 110 poems in the compilation. The poets who feature in it are William Blake, Robert Burns, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, JL Hunt, William Wordsworth, Robert Southney, Lord Byron, PB Shelley, Anon, John Keats, Walter Savage Landor, John Clare, and George Darley. The collection has wide variety of themes like human spirit, time, love, art and beauty. My personal favorites are To a Butterfly By Wordsworth, To a Skylark by Shelley and Infant Sorrow by William Blake. If you however ask who my favorite poet is, I would say John Clare. So, I would end with one of his verse.
I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes –
They rise and vanish in oblivion’s host,
Like shadows in love-frenzied stifled throes;
And yet I am, and live – like vapours tost.
– An Extract of “I am” by John Clare
Compiled by Paul Driver
Publish date: 1995
Publisher: Penguine books
Paperback, 112 pages
ISBN 0140622020 (ISBN: 13: 9780140622027)
Book review written by Pramathesh Borkotoky