lyrical poetry


There is a blur differentiating line between reflective and lyrical poetry. It is quite amusing in fact to make a contemplative study of such types of poetry. The whole efforts of this article are geared towards focusing on this very aspect of peeping in to poetry.

The type of poetry that we call lyrics, are basically short and simple. They are direct expressions of the poet’s sentiments, thoughts and feelings. Going back to the ancient Greece, the lyrics were sung to the tune of a musical instrument known as “lyre”. Recently, lyrics are sung with the guitar.

However, there are lyrics you may find inappropriate for singing. Poems such as Pope’s Essay on Man and Wordsworth’s Prelude, are such a long in length that you can not call them lyrics. They are too thoughtful. So, a lyric consists of feeling rather than thought!

Wordsworth’s the Rainbow depicts the beautiful reflection on nature:

“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So it is now I am a man:
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!”

It is lyrical in real sense of the word which expresses the emotions of joy. If the poet had thought of describing the effects of nature on human beings, it would have been reflective poetry and not lyrical.

Thus, you can lightly make a distinction between the two. Lyric is a sort poem expressing feelings and emotions; on the contrary reflective poem is long and quite thoughtful. Even if the subject matter of lyrical poem is love, there are also the sad topics like fear, hatred and death which are dealt with.

The lyrical temper is almost famous in recent times. For instance, Japanese verse known as “haiku” is also a lyric.  Noteworthy lyrics have been  composed by the poets like Robert Frost, Eliot, W. B. Yeats, e. e. cummings and Dylan Thomas.

Oliver Goldsmith’s The Deserted Village (1770) glorifies the superiority of agriculture to trade in the national economy. It is a pastoral lyric which glorifies the ecstasy of beholding the joy of peasantry.

The poet revisits Auburn, a village hallowed by the early associations. What he sees is its depopulation and the monopolizing riches, which have driven the peasants to emigration. He laments over the state of society where “wealth accumulates and men decay”. This is a sad impact of urbanization.

The poem The Deserted Village contains charming descriptions of village-life. The poem uses simple diction and melodious versifications. In the poem, sometimes we see proverbial or epigrammatic touch as in the following line:

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay

Some of the inset pictures of the village characters are sketched with affection for instance the account of the village school masters. There are serious portraits such as the accounts of the dispossessed emigrant poor and the “poor houseless shivering female” betrayed by a rich man which is quite sentimental.

The poem contains a note of pathos and the agony of eighteen years is well expressed. The poet hopes that at some time, he might return in his village to die amid the scenes of his childhood and he admits, “I still had hopes.” It is Goldsmith’s happy and satisfied rural community that inspired a protest in Crabbe’s The Village.