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    Coleridge, however, puts the bird as a male, who ‘precipitates/ With fast thick warble his delicious notes. ’24 This is in direct contrast to his reference to Philomela, who, in legend, was turned to either a swallow, a songless bird, since her tongue had been cut out, but later poets give her the form of a nightingale to mourn for her lost son. 25 Coleridge seems to also echo this in his references to his own son, although he harks back to the greatness of nature over humanity in quieting his son in order to appreciate nature: ‘And he beheld the moon, and, hushed at once,/ Suspends his sobs and laughs most silently.

    ’26 Silence is suggested in other parts of the piece: they ‘hear no murmuring’27 from the river. All but the nightingale must be silent to allow Coleridge to build his fantastical world around him, the world of castles and maidens and love and ‘so many nightingales. ’28 Both of these pieces carry the same title, but yet very different messages about the natural world. Coleridge regards it as the pinnacle of all things, the true greatness, whereas Smith regards it as beautiful, certainly, but innocent, its value being that it cannot comprehend suffering as a human.

    Coleridge places it far above humanity, a constant aspiration, whereas Smith values human culture above nature, treats it as, perhaps, a child. Her view of childhood in this sense seems to be naivety, rather than Coleridge’s view of the beauty and purity of childhood as closer to the wonder of nature, and, as such, greater than the adult man.

    Bibliography Smith, Charlotte, ‘Sonnet III, To a Nightingale’ in Romanticism: an Anthology, 3rd edition, ed. Duncan Wu (2006:Blackwell Publishing, Oxford) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, ‘The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem written April 1797’, in Romanticism: an Anthology, 3rd edition, ed.

    Duncan Wu (2006:Blackwell Publishing, Oxford) Chilvers, Ian and Howatson, M. C. (ed. ), The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Oxford University Press, 1996. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press Word Count: 1439 1 Charlotte Smith, ‘Sonnet III, To a Nightingale’ in Romanticism: an Anthology, 3rd edition, ed. Duncan Wu (2006:Blackwell Publishing, Oxford)p. 85, l. 1. 2 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem written April 1797’, in Romanticism: an Anthology, 3rd edition, ed. Duncan Wu (2006:Blackwell Publishing, Oxford) p. 353, l. 24. 3 S. T. Coleridge, ‘The Nightingale’ l.

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