The differences between eighteenth-century literature and romantic poems, with respect to history is constituted here.  This is seen through the influential works of John Keats and Alexander Pope. These works are acknowledged as, “The Rape of Lock” and “The Eve of St. Agnes.”  Alexander Pope takes his readers on a hatred filled epic. A robust piece of literature and love induced psychoses in, “The Rape of Lock.”  On the other hand, “The Eve of St. Agnes” told a tale of life, love, death, and eternal fate in heaven.  These two brilliant writers have given two magnificent poems.  Pope exhibits many characteristics of a narcissistic human being.  His independence in life shows through his writings in fiction.  Which inevitably portray his deeper feelings of life.  Popes’ efforts here are of outstanding quality.  However, his poem did fail to convince Arabella to résumé her engagement to Lord Petre.  Most of Pope’s efforts here were written with time.  Now, Keats has romantically serenaded his reader with descriptive lust and desire, which can be compared with popes’ efforts by the difference in eighteenth century literature and romantic poems, their descriptive natures and ideas they portray to the reader through their writing. Pope has written an eighteenth-century poem which he calls, “An Hero-Comical Poem.”

This poem has exalted an overall sense of worthlessness for common rules.  The mentioning of Achilles and the ever-popular Aeneas, are symbols of Pope’s Gothic style.  Pope speaks (almost) G-D like throughout, “The Rape of Lock.”  Contrary to Keats, who is more down-to-earth with his sense of realism in his writings. In the beginning of Keats romantic premise to life in St. Agnes, all is cold.  The opening sequence brings a sense of realism to this bitter cold scene.  Cold owls, rabbit’s, and numb fingers on a holy, “Beads man.”  The Beads man symbolizes the sense of age and spirit. Much of this poem is a test of Keats inner soul or spirit.  He has lead himself to St. Agnes for his own personal account of life in a time long gone.  Keats’ romantic style has brought visionary raw emotion to the aching hearts of all his readers.  Then, both poems go separate ways in their tales of body and spirit. Taking account of all differences in these two works, has brought out a sense of unknown ecstasy.  Pope displays morality with his own twists on fate and man kind’s inability to rationalize right decision making in life.  He complicates this with, “Moral superiority” and his visions of old styles blended with his attitude for recognition.  Pope has indulged the reader in consistent religious order, and awkward justice for mankind.  However, when viewing Keats poem stanza by stanza, much is revealed.  Keats’ tale starts as a direct eagerness for future considerations.  His image of love and old age creates a stifled knot in the stomach of the reader.  Enthusiastic resistance is overcome by Keats smooth flow, and harmonizing beauty in heaven.  Angels and death are brought together like osmosis.  His ability to start off in a cold bitter atmosphere of regret, and then sway the reader’s emotion to a peaceful loving atmosphere is in itself astonishing.  Desire brings Keats to the heightened point of emotional gratification within, “The Eve of St. Agnes.”  St. Agnes is such a peaceful age-old memory for Keats.  He presents strength when pain is being inflicted.  His early images of purgatory, show Keats in a bind of human emotion and regret for past sins.

However, Pope does this as well throughout, “The Rape of Lock.”  Although, Pope is less likely to find a happy medium in his tale of tolerance.  He does manage to relinquish all his desires for the sake of his own inner strength.  This strength is portrayed more intensely through his soul. Memories are key to the anguish of the poem.  In all of Keats mediocre issues come love and honor.  The entire tenth stanza is caused by the emotions involved with love.  However, this must leave some readers at a loss.  Keats doesn’t seem to really care whether anybody understands him.  Keats only concern is to repent and achieve harmony in life with his body and soul.  Each of these two poets has signified their lack of realism with a substantial concern for age-old myth, and undeniable love.  The portrayal of love in each poem has brought most of the emotional satisfaction from the reader.  Hence, having observed these two magnificent artists for their personal adherence to the reader, it is necessary to delve into the emotional collaboration of imagery and its effect on the mind, body, and soul of the two sides involved in each reading. Imagery can sustain many possible contradictions on the writer’s intentions.  For instance, Keats hides his characters(Porphro and Madeline) in order to present a more lustful in-depth love. Safety is a key to Keats’ prolific attitude on the secrecy of a woman’s virginity.  A wholesome outlook is always in the future, it would seem.  However, this outlook is never reached throughout the poem.  In comparison with Pope, Keats has distinguished himself in his writing.  Pope relies on old myths and obscure legends in order to achieve his outcome of clarity.  Each writer has their own hero of the day.  In each writer’s mind is the idea that one can be g-d through their own scripture.  Each must be excused for not always being able to know what is still real and what is fiction in life.  Their expensive minds have brought their own personal truth to light.  Can they hear the crying of their love sick pasts?  In classic style, Pope has brought dreams to reality.

While Keats has more realistically attended to his personal experiences.  In addition to women, love, g-d, sex, soul, mind, and body,  Keats and Pope have taken different outlooks on many similar issues.  Keats has given the reader a more intense feeling of desire and lust, then Pope.  However, when myth and love collide Alexander Pope has answered with his tale of g-d’s, angels and afterlife.  As an empirical narcissistic person, I have romanticized about the romances Keats has described.  His inner thoughts are more clear, then those of Pope.  Additionally, Pope is more morbid and in a way sour about his shortcomings in life.  Which are expressed significantly in many of Pope’s images.  For instance, “poetic eyes” is used by Pope on line 124.  This image can be expressed as a better way for the reader to see that life imitates art!  Now, viewing both works in detail has brought out an arousal of insecurity and misunderstood quality.  However, each has distinguished its own identity by its style. Referring back to the comparison of Pope and Keats styles can be quite an enhancement upon the cerebral context in each poem.  Pope has strictly concerned himself with literary merit, and ghostly apparitions of old tales that haunt all writers of the possibility for brilliance.  Keats however, has staked his claim as a romantic idealist of love and thought.  Mind, body and soul are key factors in both of these works.  Heaven is portrayed as a savior to man, and an unforsaken goal for others.  Spirituality reigns deep within the hearts of both Keats and Pope.  Consequence is not an issue, but the ability to repent through words of wisdom is. This is what keeps Keats and Pope sane(As well as many other writers, including myself). With wisdom comes age, and with desire comes lust.  Therefore, romantic poets need to be preserved for their tremendous ability to stretch the common ability to comprehend all of life’s trials and tribulations as seen here in all its glory!

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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