Romantic poetry is characterized by a variety of features that differentiate it from other literary periods and styles. Since Romanticism is rich in a variety of literary devices, one might select several essential ingredients that would make a good Romantic poem. In particular, these ingredients include a form of elegy or sonnet, freedom of imagination, simile and metaphor, a connection of a lyrical hero with nature, and concentration on emotions, such as pleasure or pain.
Romantic features are easily detectable in Charlotte Smith’s sonnets, which illustrate how the listed ingredients combine in a perfect piece of poetry. Indeed, Charlotte Smith uses the form of elegiac sonnet when writing “To Night.” The detailed description of the night, nature, and the moonlight demonstrate the freedom of the author’s imagination and her ability to connect the lyrical hero and nature. The first-person narration only deepens the scope of the feelings experienced by the hero, which is reinforced by the characteristics of the night. The overall lyrical mood and the expression of a strong feeling of life toward the night are typical characteristics of Romantic poetry.
Thus, the depth of depiction of feelings using the form and literary devices, as exemplified by Charlotte Smith’s elegiac sonnet, make a Romantic poem a strong and balanced literary piece. The narrator and his/her feelings of love are at the center of readers’ attention. The lyricism is further deepened by the detailed depiction of nature that reflects the hero’s state and mood through the use of similes and metaphors.