William Wordsworth was a real game changer. Before the Englishman came around, poetry was an art form which required only the most elevated of language. After Wordsworth, it became clear that everyone could write poetry. What's more, it became clear that everyone could write poetry using everyday language.
Are you a person who likes to knock off some poems in your spare time? Chances are, you can thank Wordsworth for it.
Yet there's something to be said for Coleridge, Wordsworth's friend and collaborator. For Coleridge believed that everyday language changes over time, that something which sounds like everyday speech today will sound archaic and foreign in the future.
Coleridge had a point. As brilliant as such Wordsworth poems as I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud are, it's clear they weren't written by someone alive today. This doesn't mean the poems have lost their power (they're still brilliant and easy to understand), it simply means that all manners of communication become archaic at some point.
This is something we should keep in mind today. Language, particularly the written word, is changing right before our very eyes. Texting has created a whole new written language for us in the early 21st century, just as Wordsworth's poems created a whole new written language for those in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The truth is our glistening, new, abbreviated language will surely end up someday seeming as dated as Wordsworth's poems. Count on it. What's ultimately important, then, is not such much how we communicate as what we communicate.
Wordsworth's works live on because they convey the human experience in a way that touches people well over a hundred and fifty years after the poet's death. Can texts do that? Who knows? All we need is someone to add art and depth to the brevity. That someone better come along soon, though.
Time has a knack for moving on.