Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey
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Tintern Abbey and Preface to Lyrical Ballads
“Tintern Abbey” is an account of Wordsworth’s return to the Wye Valley, the emotions that it stirs, and the feelings that it instills. The poem is highly lyrical and very descriptive. It progresses through a number of stages that represent the flow of emotion and thought that Wordsworth experienced upon returning to the secluded Abbey. At first, Wordsworth recalled the invigoration, excitement, and energy that characterized his first visit to the Abbey. Wordsworth creates a feeling of familiarity as he describes the scene unchanged. As Wordsworth’s mind wanderers on, he begins to tell of the effects that his experiences with the Abbey have had on his life. Wordsworth says, “These forms of beauty have not been to me, as is a landscape to a blind man’s eye: but oft… I have owed to them sensations sweet.” Wordsworth describes “hours of weariness” in which the recollections of the Abbey have ignited a “deep power of joy” that allows him to “see into the life of things”. (Longman 329)
Next, Wordsworth begins to relate how the power of Tintern Abbey has had a significant impact on his values and beliefs. Wordsworth describes “an appetite: a feeling and a love” that drove him to “bound o’er the mountains… wherever nature led.” He goes on to highlight the frailty of the human condition and how that relates to Abbey’s effect over him at the present. He speaks of a connection to an “interfused… heart and soul”, an almighty power. Wordsworth tells of his confidence in a day when “we are laid to sleep in body, and become a living soul… when these wild ecstacies shall be matured into a sober pleasure.” (Longman 330-331) The way Wordsworth uses imagery to enliven this figure of an interfused life force adds greatly to the picture that the reader is able to paint on the canvas of imagination. I found myself relating directly with Wordsworth. I could ...
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