In English literature, as to the motif of Imagination and nature, Wordsworth is the primary poet we must consider in the first place. He is the most famous Romantic poet and belongs to the first Romantic generation with Coleridge, a predecessor of the following second Romantic generation, as it were, Byron, Shelley and Keats. Here, it is beneficial to grab the gist of Wordsworth’s Imagination and nature through his noticeable poem “Ode” (I call here as an abbreviation), consulting a book of Maurice Bowra, The Romantic Imagination.
For Wordsworth, the theme of childhood is also one of his major concerns. In this poem, childhood is regarded as the celestial age with visionary gleam and memory of heaven because he thinks we used to live in the heaven. His visionary gleam gradually wanes through his life, so Wordsworth begins the poem with mourning for his lost vision.
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore; —
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
As Bowra says, Wordsworth grew up in his youth on a visionary power which worked through nature. He regards nature very benevolent and kind enough to embrace him. So he lays himself in the midst of nature when falling into despair as “Tintern Abbey”, his other famous poems. Poems about nature deal with the unity of his mind and nature in which the imagination brings the celestial vision to him. Such understanding has been taken as a common basis of Romantic poets.
Bowra also says Wordsworth is not like Coleridge because Coleridge recognises the nature and his mind is oneness, Wordsworth remarked that nature is a invariable landscape whether his feeling is good or bad. For him, nature is not transfigured by the condition of his mind so that it always provokes the imagination when he approaches to it.