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Thread: Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey

  1. #1
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    Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey

    "Once again/ Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs/... The day is come when I again repose/ Here, under this dark sycamore" (890).

    In Tintern Abbey, Wordsworth revisits the bucolic setting of his childhood, and in doing so mirrors the passing of his childhood into manhood with the changing of his dwelling from country to city. While he once loved the freedom of living in the country, in the city he must grapple with the "heavy and the weary weight/ Of all this unintelligible world" (891). But the one reassuring thing about this poem is that Wordsworth doesn't leave the country behind. Indeed, while he is living in the city and trying to succeed in man's own making, society, he says that he "...oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din/ Of towns and cities, I have owed to them (the forms and aspects of his nature setting)/ In hours of weariness, sensations sweet" (891).

    Wordsworth returns to Tintern Abey older and with "life and food/ For future years." He is an established and accomplished member of society, who in being so has succeeded in maneuvering his way through social obstacles to secure some measure of wealth and fame, who is returning to his roots and remembering a time when he was free as a roe "bounding o'er the mountains, by the sides/ Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams" (892). Wordsworth, in his youth, was free to roam, explore, and be creative among the wild, untamed country. While he thinks back on how he used to be he realizes that "that time is past/ And all its aching joys are now no more" (892). He accepts his present situation as an older, less free man, but he doesn't mourn the passing of his childhood.

    Wordsworth doesn't mourn the loss of nature, or his childhood, because he realizes that the beauty of nature is present in everything around him. He realizes there is a spirit "[w]hose dwelling is the light of setting/ And the round ocean and the living air/ And the blue sky, and in the mind of man...Therefore am I still/ A lover of the meadows and the woods/ And mountains..." (892). Because he sees in the mind of man, which relates to the city, the greatness that forms valleys and mountains and oceans, he is able to keep within him an aspect of his childhood innocence, relating to the country, while he is progressing further and further into manhood. He says that the innocence from his childhood inspires him to realize that "all which we behold/ Is full of blessings" (893).

    While Wordsworth is very aware of the fact that he is no longer the roe that once went bounding over the country landscape he is also not lamenting the loss of his childhood. He comments on this by saying "Not for this/ Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur" (892). The beautiful thing about this poem is that Wordsworth was wise enough to be able to take his reverence of nature into society and even to apply it to the mind of man. By doing so, he is able to return to the setting of his childhood and not feel the stinging pang of loss, simply because he didn't so much loose his childhood as he moved on into manhood where aspects of his childhood still exist.
    Last edited by Mike West; 03-23-2009 at 06:58 PM.

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    Thank you for posting this. This is why I joined this forum. I love poetry, along with novels, short stories, and plays, and this is gorgeous. Walt Whitman is my favorite, but I love Wordsworth as well. This is beautiful.

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    thank you. this was the first time ive read wordsworth. also, oddly enough, i once was very fond of a woman i nicknamed miss scarlett and i know someone from dearborn. but im glad you liked the post. have you ever read any petrarch?

  4. #4
    thank you so much
    it's useful information for me cuz i study this poem now

    thanks again

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