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Thread: Ode: Intimations of Immortality

  1. #1

    Ode: Intimations of Immortality

    In “The Gospel According To Thomas,” Jesus is asked where the kingdom of Heaven is and he replies that the kingdom of Heaven is here on earth but man does not see it. In reading “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” I was reminded of this in particular with stanza five: “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The soul that rises with us, our life’s star, hath elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar: not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!” We are born complete and whole; our knowledge of this fact becomes a fading memory as we age. Woodsworth can remember having the experience, but not the experience itself. If “Heaven lies about us in our infancy” and later in life, as Woodsworth says in the last half of stanza one: “Turn whereoe’er I may, by night or day, the things I have seen I now can see no more”, what happened? Should we be so presumptuous to assume that it is Heaven that changes and becomes invisible to our senses? Or could it be that it is man’s perception of immortality dims, leaving a vague unease in its place? I believe this was Woodsworth’s lament, like lying awake with an answer to a question tickling the edges of consciousness, so close to grasping yet forever out of reach.

  2. #2
    It is Wordsworth nor Woodsworth, besides the idea on Wordsworthian God is more likely to be an idea than a real God, and it is definitely not a Christian God.

  3. #3
    Hello all,

    I have a literature class that is reading Wordsworth right now. We had to chose a section of a poem and analyze that section.

    I chose Section 9 of Ode:Intimations of Immortality

    O joy! That in our embers
    Is something that doth live,
    That nature yet remembers
    What was so fugitive.

    Wordsworth is describing the ties children have with nature and how it is lost when we grow older. As children we spend most of our time outside, exploring, imagining and discovering. However as time passes and children grow up they seem to forget the beauty of Mother Nature and how it is tied to our souls. Nature nurtures the soul, but humans forget that, their lives become to busy, but nature does not forgot, if you look into the embers of the fire, the memories are there waiting to be awaken.

    The thought of our past years in me doth breed
    Perpetual benediction; not indeed
    For that which is most worthy to be blest;
    Delight and liberty, the simple creed
    Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
    With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:
    Not for these I raise
    The song of thanks and praise;
    But for those obstinate questionings
    Of sense and outward things,
    Fallings from us, vanishing;

    The importance of nature is vanishing and falling from our minds because those memories are being replaced with ones that bring young adults joy and delight. The imagination and exploration we once did during adolescent ends because we have engaged our minds in new endeavors that take us away from nature. If only we could remember those childhood days when we had the freedom to roam, maybe we could also remember the emotions that were tied to being one with nature.

    Blank misgivings of a Creature
    Moving about in worlds not realized,
    High instincts before with our mortal Nature
    Did tremble like a guilty Thing surprised.
    But for those affections,
    Those shadowy recollections,
    Which, be they what they may,
    Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
    Are yet a master light of all our seeing;

    This stanza I believe is about a child’s imagination. Children don’t have the burdens of the outside world to interfere with their day, however parents ( the creature) can influence (blank misgivings) a child to explore worlds they are not ready for, taking away the purity of a child’s imagination.

    Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
    Our noisy years seem moments in the being
    Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
    To perish never; neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
    Nor Man nor Boy,
    Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
    Can utterly abolish or destroy!

    Wordsworth is asking Nature to help man remember, to clear away the cobwebs in our minds and help us to remember the times we spent as children in nature connecting with the earth, help man to reconnect and feed his soul again. Wordsworth also says even in our busiest days the connection we have and the beauty we see in nature can never be destroyed because it remains forever in our memory.

    Hence in a season of calm weather
    Though inland far we be,
    Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
    Which brought us hither,
    Can in a moment travel thither
    And see the Children sport upon the shore,
    And hear the mighty wasters rolling evermore.

    But in a moment’s notice, no matter how far away it seems, we can be reunited with our connection to nature.

  4. #4
    Pro Libertate L.M. The Third's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I Love Tennyson View Post
    It is Wordsworth nor Woodsworth, besides the idea on Wordsworthian God is more likely to be an idea than a real God, and it is definitely not a Christian God.
    I've got to disagree with this. Although Wordsworth has been interpreted as a Pantheist, there is certainly evidence that he believed in God as a Real Being.

    Wordsworth, although the great nature poet, was also very interested in the mind of man. It is not my view that in "Intimations of Immortality" he was implying that we are born entirely "whole", but rather that we have those things of heaven and immortality placed within us (eternity set in our hearts), and that we lose them, not only through the ravages of time, but also through the mind-set of our society. (As seen in, "The World is Too Much with Us".)

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    Ode: Intimations of Immortality

    I am in an english class and we are currently reading Wordsworth and Coleridge.
    The Rainbow comes and goes,
    And lovely is the Rose;
    The Moon doth with delight
    Look round her when the heavens are bare;
    Waters on a starry night
    Are beautiful and fair;
    The sunshine is a glorious birth;
    But yet I know, where'er I go;
    That there hath past away a glory from the earth.
    I believe that most of Wordsworths life was spent in this sort of limbo. He could see and feel all of the universes most beautiful things yet could never achieve himself, the "comings and goings" like a rainbow. He understood the mind and its power but also understood the world and its power. His consciousness about the world around him is so apparent in his poetry. It invokes a sort of sadness as well as beauty.

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