romanticism the second generation poets byron shelley keats l.
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ROMANTICISM The Second Generation Poets: Byron Shelley Keats. Wordsworth and Coleridge blazed the way for the “second generation” Romantic poets: Lord Byron Percy Bysshe Shelley John Keats.

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ROMANTICISM The Second Generation Poets: Byron Shelley Keats

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Wordsworth and Coleridge blazed the way for the “second generation” Romantic poets:

Lord Byron

Percy Bysshe Shelley

John Keats

Coming of age during the Napoleonic Era, these younger poets rebelled even more strongly against British conservatism.
All three died abroad after tragically short lives, and their viewpoints were those of disillusioned outsiders.
george gordon lord byron 1788 1824
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Member of the House of Lords, Byron was handsome, egotistical, and aloof, the darling of elegant society.

mad bad and dangerous to know lady caroline lamb
“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”—Lady Caroline Lamb

Shocked by his radical politics and scandalous love affairs, Byron was shunned by London society and, so he left Britain in 1816, never to return.

“A man proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection.”

—Thomas Macaulay

percy bysshe shelley 1792 1822
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
  • Byron’s friend, also an aristocrat and political radical, more radical than Byron
  • Shelley urged England’s lower classes to rebel.
percy bysshe shelley 1792 182212
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Shunned for his radical ideas, Shelley left England for good in 1818.


Shelley died in a boating accident just after his 30th birthday. Foul play has always been suspected.

john keats 1795 1821
John Keats (1795-1821)
  • A master of lyrical poetry
  • Born outside of upper-class society
  • Contracted tuberculosis and, hoping to recuperate in a warmer climate, moved to Italy where he died shortly after.
she walks in beauty by lord byron
“She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron

This sonnet vividly describes a woman’s beauty, capturing its essential power and linking it to universal images.

ozymandias by percy bysshe shelley
“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

This poem provides an ironic comment on human pride and ambition. A traveler describes the ruins of an ancient statue of a ruler. On its base is an arrogant inscription; however, what is left of the statue stands in an empty desert, for the works of Ozymandias have crumbled under the onslaught of time and nature.

political commentary
Political Commentary

Offers opinions on political issues, building arguments on evidence and assumptions

the reaction to society s ills byron and shelley
The Reaction to Society’s Ills (Byron and Shelley)
  • Lord Byron’s speech to the House of Lords (1817) was in defense of workers who had sabotaged factory equipment that had put them out of work.
  • Shelley’s “A Song: ‘Men of England’” (1820) is an angry response to news of the growing economic suffering and political oppression of the working classes in England.
beauty is truth truth beauty john keats
“’Beauty is truth, truth beauty’”John Keats
  • Keats found in beauty the highest value our imperfect world could offer, and he put its pursuit at the center of his poetry.
  • He explored the beauty he found in the most ordinary circumstances.

A lyric poem characterized by heightened emotion, that pays respect to a person or thing, usually directly addressed by the speaker

keats s use of the ode
Keats’s Use of the Ode

Keats created his own form of the ode, using 10-line stanzas of iambic pentameter, beginning with a heroic quatrain (4 lines rhymed abab) followed by a sestet.

when i have fears that i may cease to be by john keats
“When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats

The speaker expresses fears that he will not live to fulfill his potential. Keats died less than three years after he wrote it.

ode on a grecian urn by john keats
“Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats

Keats comes to an understanding about the nature of truth and beauty as he gazes at an ancient Greek urn. The scenes, frozen in time, eternally beautiful and unchanging, symbolize that the urn’s beauty embodies the eternity of truth.


“Thou still unravished bride of quietness

Thou foster child of silence and slow time...”

ode to a nightingale by john keats
“Ode to a Nightingale”by John Keats

Keats’s poem is not about or on the nightingale, but to the bird. The speaker passes beyond the limit of ordinary experience and becomes too happy in the experience conveyed in the bird’s song.

The poem consists of a series of propositions, each containing its own rejection as to how the speaker might imitate the “ease” of the song. Each time, the speaker is drawn back to his “sole self,” to a preference for poetry as a celebration of human life as a process of soul making.
Reread stanza.
  • Paraphrase it.
  • Describe the speaker’s mood.
  • Read paraphrases.
la belle dame sans merci by john keats
“La Belle Dame Sans Merci”by John Keats

An unidentified passerby asks the knight what is wrong. The knight answers that he has been in love with and abandoned by a beautiful lady. But what does it mean? What is the meaning of the knight’s experience? Was the knight deluded by his beloved, or did he delude himself?

What is the most important word in the descriptions of the woman, and why?
  • Who are the two speakers?
  • How do the poem’s images help you visualize the knight and the time of year?
  • Interpret the dream in stanza 10.
  • What does the knight realize has happened when he awakes?