Poetry and Reform: Periodical Verse from the English Democratic Press, 1792-1824
Michael Henry Scrivener
Wayne State University Press, 1992 - English poetry - 297 pages
Although the English reform movement was divided ideologically and socially, it was united in its opposition to the aristocratic elite that ruled Britain through a parliament that excluded both the middle and laboring classes. The movement was not just political but cultural as well; its activities included challenging established opinion in every sphere-economics, religion, philosophy, and literature.
Poetry and Reform is the only anthology of its kind on poetry from the English reform movement. The volume features 162 poems from twenty-three different periodicals. The poems reflect the cultural vitality of the movement in their intellectual sophistication and defiant rebelliousness. The periodicals and their poets range from moderate liberal to radical socialist, from bourgeois to plebeian.
The poems reflect the generic diversity of the period; except for epic, almost every poetic genre is represented here. These poems provide an illuminating context for understanding the major Romantic poets, most of whom wrote for the reform press at some point in their career. The bold Romantic experiments in poetry, which set the agenda for English poetry for decades to come, are unthinkable outside the context of this remarkable democratic insurgence, which increased overall literacy and established an innovative literary spirit.
The anthology also makes available to readers a body of poetry" outside the canon" that is valuable in its own terms and that helps us comprehend with greater precision Romantic literary conventions and their origins. Important plebeian poets are introduced, including Allen Davenport, Edward J. Blandford, Robert C. Fair, and Robert Wedderburn.
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43 ) : “ Resty ” means restive . ( l . 75 ) : “ Cropping " here means cutting . ( N . A . )
10 HYMN TO LIBERTY Hail ! heaven born fair , Who easest life from misery And
makes it worth our care ; My constant vows are all addresst to thee , Thou ...
But not so with their fields of blood , Do they their av ' rice bound , As much as
they can get ' s the rule , By which they let the ground ; Like tygers lurking for their
prey , So on the watch they keep , Lest working men , by any means , 80 Their ...
Disgraceful to themselves , in mean submission They wear the galling yoke of
imposition ; The pride of insolence they could suppress , Yet take no measures to
enforce redress ! While I beheld this shameful degradation , My quicken ' d pulse
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