Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

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Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

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,
Which 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,
Among the woods and copses lose themselves,
Nor, with their green and simple hue, disturb
The wild green landscape. 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 wreathes 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.

Though absent long,
These forms of beauty 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 may have had no 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 burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world
Is lighten’d—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 day-light; 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 through the wood
How often has my spirit turned to thee!

And now, with gleams of half-extinguished though[t,]
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, or 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 recompence. 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,
Not harsh or 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 recognize
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 chearful 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. Now 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.

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, Which on a wild secluded scene impress Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
Tintern Abbey

Critical Analysis

      The poem Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey is perhaps one of the greatest and most thoughtful of poems ever written by the Wordsworth. The main significance of the poem lies in the fact, as Myors hes said, that "It is a consecrated formulary of the Wordsworthian creed". In other words, the poem sums up almost all the main articles of poet's fait in Nature. Nature according to the Wordsworth, is not merely an arrangement of forms, colours, sound's etc appealing to the series. There is an indwelling spirit in nature and contemplation of this, spirit, a holy Communion with it is a source of consolation, joy and thought.

      This philosophical thought has been given expression in a "grand style" in the Lines. Again, the poem is a kind of autobiography of thie mind of the poet. It traces, for us the gradual development of the poet's love for nature through distinct four stages. In thes stages the poet's reveals himself as a mature-mystic. We are thus brought into touch with a great personality as we go through the poem.

      But mere philosophy or thought, however great, cannot make a poem truly great, unless it has some genuinely poetical elements. Judging by this standard, the poem is not found wanting. In the poem a profound philosophical truth has been embodied in poetry of the purest kind. "Even those who do not accept the nature-creed of the poet cannot but be moved by the intensity and eamestrness of emotion or feeling with which the thought has been rendered. There is such a thing as 'intellectual emotion' in poetry and it is no less appealing than the emotion of passion of which lyrics are proper expressions. It is this emotion, intensely felt and poetically expressed that makes the poem truly great as a work of art.

      The nature descriptions in the first stanza are in Wordsworth's perfect manner. The rushing ease of the verses carries away the reader in their flow. The tender emotion, expressed in the words addressed to tie sister in the concluding stanza, reaches a lyrical height. Thus in grandeur and originality of thought, depth of feeling and faith, vividness of imagination, rush and sweep of language and melody of versification, the poem is almost unique in English poetry.

      The style of the poem is in perfect keeping with the grandeur or gravity of thought. It is a 'grand style' expressing a grand thought and emotion. It is an inspired style, in which even ordinary words are charged with a deep meaning and beauty. The lines in the second stanza where the poet expresses his nature mysticism - "That serene and blessed mood... life of things have never been bettered in literature for their concentrated and beautiful expression of a very complex psychological mood (trance or samadhi in Sanskrit). They are always quoted by philosophers wherever they discuss the subject. We may fittingly conclude our estimate of the poem with the words of a critic, who speaks admiringly of the poem "that the essential spirit of Lines Above Tintern Abbey was for practical purposes as new to mankind as the essential spirit of the Sermon of the mount".

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