Qualifications of a Poet:
(a) The Gift of Communication
Wordsworth’s view of the nature and function of a poet is an exalted one. He brings out the individualism of the poet, but at the same time, at every step, he takes care to stress his essential humanity. In the very beginning, he
lays emphasis on his social function, i.e., that of communication.
First, a poet, for him, is essentially a man speaking to men. He is a person who writes not for his own pleasure, but primarily to communicate his own thoughts and emotions to his readers. He has thus a social function to perform. As poets do not write for Poets alone, but for men, they must use the language of real men and not talk in, “tricks, quaintnesses, hieroglyphics, and enigmas.” He must come down from his supposed heights.
(b) Heightened Sensibility
Secondly, he is a man who has more lively sensibility, that is to say, he reacts more strongly to external impressions, and so his emotions and passions are more powerful. He has an uncommon sensibility, and this again distinguishes him from the common run of mankind. He observes more than there is to observe, hears more than there is to hear, and feels more than there is to feel. Not only has he a more lively sensibility, but he has also a more, “affectioned sensibility”, and it is in this affectioned sensibility that poetry begins. His sensibility is effectual, i.e., it is bound up with our moral nature. It is because of this ‘affectual’ element in the poet’s sensibility that the sense impressions he receives and the passions they excite are gradually purified by the imagination, and poetry performs its true function.
(c) Power of Imagination
Thirdly, he has greater imagination and so can feel or react emotionally to events and incidents which he has not directly experienced. He is, “affected by absent things as if they were present.”
Fourthly, he has greater knowledge of human nature and so understands the nature of the passions which he has not experienced directly. He understands accurately the nature of human passions and emotions, even of those which he has not personally experienced.
(e) Zest for Life
Fifthly, he has a more comprehensive soul. A more, “comprehensive soul”, implies that the poet shares the emotional experience of others can identify himself emotionally with others, and can express the feelings and emotions of others. Sixthly, he has a greater zest for life than an ordinary individual. He has greater enthusiasm. He rejoices in the working of life in others, and in Nature at large, and takes pleasure in communicating his own joy in life to others.