• G. Kim Blank
Part of the Macmillan Studies in Romanticism book series (SR)


Wordsworth and Shelley have often been compared in passing. Recall, for example, Francis Thompson’s comments in Shelley (1909). Thompson claimed that Shelley and Wordsworth are, respectively, analogous to the Nightingale and Stock-dove in Wordsworth’s poem of that name of 1807:

O Nightingale! thou surely art

A creature of a ‘fiery heart’:—

These notes of thine — they pierce and pierce;

Tumultuous harmony and fierce!

Thou sing’st as if the God of wine

Had helped thee to a Valentine;

A song in mockery and despite

Of shades, and dews, and silent night;

And steady bliss, and all the loves

Now sleeping in these peaceful groves.

I heard a Stock-dove sing or say

His homely tale, this very day;

His voice was buried among trees,

Yet to be come-at by the breeze:

He did not cease; but cooed — and cooed;

And somewhat pensively he wooed:

He sang of love, with quiet blending,

Slow to begin, and never ending;

Of serious faith, and inward glee;

That was the song — the song for me!


Stake Metaphor 


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  1. 1.
    F. R. Leavis, Revaluation (1936; Harmondsworth, Mddx: Penguin, 1978) pp. 194, 199.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    These works are summarised by Newman I. White, ‘The Beautiful Angel and his Biographers’, South Atlantic Quarterly, xxiv (1925).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth: The Middle Years, vol. i, ed. Ernest de Selincourt (Oxford University Press, 1937), p. 195.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© G. Kim Blank 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Kim Blank
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VictoriaCanada

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