on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a tour. July 13, 1798.


 Five years have past; five summers, with the length 
 Of five long winters! and again I hear
 These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
 With a soft inland murmur.--Once again
 Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
 That on a wild secluded scene impress
 Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
 The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
 The day is come when I again repose
 Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
 These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
 Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
 Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
 'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
 These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
 Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
 Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
 Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
 With some uncertain notice, as might seem
 Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
 Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
 The Hermit sits alone. 

        These beauteous forms,
 Through a long absence, have not been to me
 As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
 But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
 Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
 In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
 Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
 And passing even into my purer mind
 With tranquil restoration:--feelings too
 Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
 As have no slight or trivial influence
 On that best portion of a good man's life,
 His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
 Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
 To them I may have owed another gift,
 Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
 In which the burden of the mystery,
 In which the heavy and the weary weight
 Of all this unintelligible world,
 Is lightened:--that serene and blessed mood,
 In which the affections gently lead us on,--
 Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
 And even the motion of our human blood
 Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
 In body, and become a living soul:
 While with an eye made quiet by the power
 Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
 We see into the life of things. 

           If this
 Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft--
 In darkness and amid the many shapes
 Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
 Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
 Have hung upon the beatings of my heart--
 How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
 O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods,
   How often has my spirit turned to thee! 

  And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
 With many recognitions dim and faint,
 And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
 The picture of the mind revives again:
 While here I stand, not only with the sense
 Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
 That in this moment there is life and food
 For future years. And so I dare to hope,
 Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
 I came among these hills; when like a roe
 I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
 Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
 Wherever nature led: more like a man
 Flying from something that he dreads, than one
 Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
 (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
 And their glad animal movements all gone by)
 To me was all in all.--I cannot paint
 What then I was. The sounding cataract
 Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
 The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
 Their colours and their forms, were then to me
 An appetite; a feeling and a love,
 That had no need of a remoter charm,
 By thought supplied, not any interest
 Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is past,
 And all its aching joys are now no more,
 And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
 Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
 Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
 Abundant recompense. For I have learned
 To look on nature, not as in the hour
 Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
 The still sad music of humanity,
 Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
 To chasten and subdue.--And I have felt
 A presence that disturbs me with the joy
 Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
 Of something far more deeply interfused,
 Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
 And the round ocean and the living air, 
 And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
 A motion and a spirit, that impels 
 All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
 And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
 A lover of the meadows and the woods
 And mountains; and of all that we behold
 From this green earth; of all the mighty world
 Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create,
 And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
 In nature and the language of the sense
 The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, 
 The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
 Of all my moral being. 

           Nor perchance,
 If I were not thus taught, should I the more
 Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
 For thou art with me here upon the banks
 Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
 My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
 The language of my former heart, and read
 My former pleasures in the shooting lights
 Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
 May I behold in thee what I was once,
 My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
 Knowing that Nature never did betray
 The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
 Through all the years of this our life, to lead
 From joy to joy: for she can so inform
 The mind that is within us, so impress
 With quietness and beauty, and so feed
 With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
 Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
 Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
 The dreary intercourse of daily life,
 Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
 Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
 Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
 Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
 And let the misty mountain-winds be free
 To blow against thee: and, in after years,
 When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
 Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
 Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
 Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
 For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
 If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
 Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
 Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
 And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance--
 If I should be where I no more can hear
 Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
 Of past existence--wilt thou then forget
 That on the banks of this delightful stream
 We stood together; and that I, so long
 A worshipper of Nature, hither came
 Unwearied in that service: rather say
 With warmer love--oh! with far deeper zeal
 Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
 That after many wanderings, many years
 Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
 And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
 More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake! 

- William Wordsworth

Yet another AP English Essay. This one relates this poem to Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads. Once again, please do not steal this as I would most certainly not want to be involved in academic collusion.

Lines” in Relation to “Preface to Lyrical Ballads
In his “Preface to Lyrical BalladsWordsworth attempts to rationalize the methods and beliefs behind his, at the time, unconventional poetry. Specifically, he attempts to thwart his rivals’ attacks against the low objects of his poetry and its lack of “poetic diction.” In his poem “Lines” we are able to see Wordsworth’s unconventional ideals and methods in action and judge them for ourselves. While we may not necessarily agree with the end result or the methods behind this poem, “Lines” unquestionable fulfills the requirements outlined in the “Preface.”
In the “Preface,” Wordsworth writes, “that each of has a worthy purpose.” In the first stanza of “Lines”, Wordsworth beautifully describes the scene before him. He could have ended the poem there and left deriving the purpose of the poem as an exercise for the reader. Instead, he goes on—in the second, third and fourth stanzas—to, as the “Preface” declares, “illustrate the manner in which our feelings and ideas are associated in a state of excitement” The first stanza excites the feelings described in the second stanza that lead Wordsworth to conclude, in the final stanza, that “Nature never did betray/The heart that loved her.” Thus, it can be seen that the first stanza is supposed to excite the same feelings that Wordsworth was experiencing while the final two stanzas go on to associate these feelings with Wordsworth’s ideas and beliefs.
Wordsworth also writes in the “Preface” that “The principal object...in these poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life...and...make these incidents and situations interesting by tracing in them...the primary laws of our nature.” He does precisely this in the fourth stanza of “Lines” writing that the scene had made him feel “A Presence that disturbs me with joy/Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime/Of something far more deeply interfused,/Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,/And the round ocean and the living air,/And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:/A motion and a spirit, that impels/All thinking things, all objects of all thought,/And rolls through all things.” and that he is, “...well pleased to recognise/In nature and the language of the sense,/The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,/The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul/Of all my moral being.” In these lines, Wordsworth takes the simple scene of “pastoral farms” and through it traces the “anchor” of his “soul” and “moral being,” unquestionably fulfilling the requirement set forth in the “Preface.”
From the start of the “Preface,” Wordsworth declares that a primary goal of this poetry was to use “the real language of men” declaring this to be a “plainer, more emphatic language.” Wordsworth does, however, purify this language “from what appear to be its real defects, from all lasting and rational causes of dislike or disgust.” This defining influence can be seen throughout “Lines.” The poem is written in iambic blank verse—the closest meter to standard prose—and is completely devoid of harsh words. However, one aspect of the common speech that Wordsworth fails to fulfill is conveying his “ideas and notions in simple and unelaborated expressions.” Indeed, as a result of the of the spontaneity inherent in the work, “Lines” contains a number of passages that elaborate for several lines. Wordsworth also writes in the “Preface” that “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings...produced by a man who, being possessed of more than usual organic sensibility, had also thought long and deeply.” This belief can be seen throughout the final stanza of “Lines” as Wordsworth speaks of his “dear, dear Sister.” Even though he is endowed with “organic sensibility” and has, most probably, “thought long and deeply” on the subject, he still writes spontaneously. He writes in exclamation marks, he writes in a string of ‘nor’s, he writes with little plan, he writes quite simply of his love and hopes for his beloved sister, thanking her for reminding him of what “ once was.”
Aside from its concern with “low” objects, Wordsworth’s critics’ primary problem with his poetry was its lack of what he calls “poetic diction.” In his attempt “to bring language near to the language of men” and because he felt that “the pleasure which proposed...to impart is of a kind very different from that which is supposed by many persons to be the proper object of poetry” Wordsworth completely shunned this “poetic diction.” This important stylistic decision can be seen throughout “Lines,” but it is especially apparent in the first stanza. If the line endings are removed, this stanza can be read as a metrically composed piece of prose. A similar experiment can be attempted on all the stanzas and, in the end, each one appears to be a generally sensible piece of prose. This fulfills Wordsworth’s assertion in the “Preface” that “there neither is, nor can be, any essential difference between the language of prose and metrical composition.” The other major difference between Wordsworth and his contemporaries was that he “utterly rejected as an ordinary device to elevate style, and raise it above prose.” He did this in his continuing attempt “to adopt the very language of men” feeling that personification was only “a figure of speech occasionally prompted by passion”. Wordsworth’s sole use of personification in “Lines” hardly qualifies as such, from his perspective at least. In the final stanza he personifies nature by writing “for she can so inform/The mind that is within us, so impress/With quietness and beauty, and so feed/With lofty thoughts”. However, this does not even qualify as personification because, in Wordsworth’s mind, nature is literally providing all of these qualities; for Wordsworth, nature is not an inanimate object but a living organism. Wordsworth also claims, in the “Preface,” that throughout his compositions he “at all times endeavoured to look steadily at my subject” hopefully resulting in “little falsehood of description.” He fulfills this requirement in “Lines” by noting that “These beautous forms/...have not been to me/As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye”. Indeed, Wordsworth was literally walking a few miles from Tintern Abbey when he composed this poem. He had also been there five years ago and so has a factual basis for his comparative observations.
While perhaps not a perfect example of the beliefs Wordsworth asserts in the “Preface,” “Lines” does fulfill all of the primary assertions and many of the secondary ones. It is written entirely in the “language of ordinary men” and is structured so that the first part “excites” feelings similar to what Wordsworth was experiencing while the remaining stanzas “associate” this excited state with Wordsworth’s various ideas. Personally, I can not help but wholeheartedly agree with Wordsworth’s analysis on the nature of poetry. By writing about common things, Wordsworth is able to delve into the true nature of nature itself. By writing in the language of the common man, Wordsworth is able to weave a beautiful, melodious tapestry, sans the encumbrances of “poetic diction.” As elucidated in the “Preface” and demonstrated in “Lines,” Wordsworth’s new poetry is unquestionably worthy of its present position in the annals of literature: pure genius.

We'll see what I get on this one...
"All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." - Wordsworth

In Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, Wordsworth makes Nature and the landscape a starting point of a mental process which leads to mental speculation. The landscape and the objects in it arouse a sense of beauty but the emotion of the mind beholding them is stronger.

The poem begins with a concrete observation of nature and moves from there to an internal discussion of philosophizing of a broader psychology and then moves again to return to the landscape. This movement is typical of the great Romantic odes in general and can be seen again and again in Wordsworth's poetry and in his contemporaries.

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey is a classic example of the great Romantic lyric. The poet is transformed by his observations of nature and his memory and reflection on nature when he is not directly faced with it continue to transform him throughout his life.

The poem can be divided into a number of sections all centered around a particular landscape. In the first section the poet is observing a revisited landscape which prompts him to reflect on his own inner development. He then recalls how his memory of this same landscape has made him a better person and has affected every aspect of his life. He then returns to his observations of the landscape but now recalls his earlier and younger experience with it. - "the glad animal movements" of his younger self and body. Moving through the poem he then sees the landscape through his sister's eyes and recounts how her experience of the landscape echoes his own earlier experience. He then outlines his hopes that she too will be so affected by this place, this nature that it will make her a better person as well.
(This is a simplistic reduction of the poem)

William Wordsworth’s exemplary romantic poem “Tintern Abbey” incorporates an incredibly large and varied number of words suggesting remembrance. Since the poem often focuses on memories of the past, the word “remember” could have proved repetitious and monotonous. Yet the actual word remember appears only once in the poem, and Wordsworth demonstrates his eloquent tactics of variation without overusing this particular word.

At the start, the narrator of “Tintern Abbey” immediately informs the reader that five years have passed since he was here before.

Five years have passed;
five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! And again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a sweet inland murmur.- Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs...

The use of the word “again” here implies that the narrator has returned to a beautiful scene he’d once enjoyed years before. The reader immediately understands that the memory of the place remains strong in the narrator’s mind. The word “again” appears twice more in the first verse paragraph. Combined with the lines recounting the scene’s splendor and its peaceful pastoral ambiance, “again” implies that the individual experiences a long-missed place and remembers how similar the scene appeared five years ago.

In the following paragraph Wordsworth uses a wonderful word not immediately considered close to “remember,” but adds to the verse wonderfully to suggest the speaker’s reflective mindset. He uses the word “felt.”

But oft, in lonely rooms, and mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration:- feeling too
Of unremembered pleasure...

“Felt” here brilliantly indicates that the speaker remembered the scene at times when he was not there. In rooms sitting alone he could remember the landscape and could feel it flowing through his blood and through his heart as though it had become a part of him, which would return him to a more serene state of being. His memory of the banks helps to soothe his disturbing thoughts of loneliness and unrest. Also, when he speaks about returning to the thoughts of “unremembered pleasure,” the narrator actually says that he does remember the pleasure. In this case, Wordsworth uses the negative of remember in order to convey remembrance.

Wordsworth continues to review the scenery surrounding him, and recalls his younger days and how the exquisite place felt different to him then.

—I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite...

Here the speaker remembers his youth and how he saw the scene differently at that time. The use of the word “haunted” here superbly implies a memory; he remembered the sounds of the rushing cataract amd he was haunted by it. The memory followed him like a specter, fantastic and frightening, a romantic implication of the sublime with the image of the waterfall.

In a following section of the poem, the words “former” and “read” show up to indicate a moment of remembrance.

My dear, dear Friend, and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes...

The speaker explains that through his companion’s voice and through her eyes, he can remember the “pleasures” of his past. The word read here eloquently replaces remember, and Wordsworth describes a romantic recollection in an inventive manner. Through the companion’s eyes. At the end of “Tintern Abbey,” in a section where the speaker talks to the person with him on the banks, Wordsworth suggests remembrance with an antonym of the word: “forget.” “Forget” shows up twice in the verse, along with the phrase “gleams of past existence,” which also indicates a memory.

If I should be, where I can no more hear
Thy voice, not catch from thy wild eyes the gleams
Of past existence, wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came,
Unwearied in that service...

The speaker of the poem converses with his sister, Dorothy, at his side, hoping that she will take in the beauty of the banks and remember the scene that they are standing in. He does not want her to “forget” the romantic setting in years to come. Also, when he looks into her eyes he remembers his youthful days, he refers to it as “gleams of past existence,” creatively using “gleams” as a word for remembering. Her eyes contain gleams of his happy past and he does not want her to forget that moment of her youth. He wants her to remember joyfully as he remembered.

Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey,” a graceful and powerful romantic poem, covers both the sublime and the beautiful with the subject of thought and remembrance. The idea of remembrance arises numerous times and conveyed with an assortment of other words besides remember. Wordsworth wonderfully brings the idea of memory to life with his creative variations of words suggesting memory. With this poem, the renowned writer definitely proves that he deserves the name “Wordsworth,” creating a poetic ideal that defines the term romantic.

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