Surprised by Joy: by William Wordsworth - Summary

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Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee? Through what power
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to blind
To my most grievous loss?—That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore


      Wordsworth’s second daughter who was born in September, 1808 expired in very tender age in June 1812 so the death of this child caused a great grief to the poet. The poet was in a mood of joy and he wanted to share his feelings with his little daughter. He immediately realized that she was in the silent tomb.

      Thus the sonnet Surprised by Joy, expresses a personal and domestic grief. We are immensely touched by the poet’s sorrow at the death of his daughter. The death of a little child is much more moving. It is a universal idea which is expressed by the poet very pathetically. His pathetic tone at the expiry of his daughter is highly genuine. So the poem puts us into a pensive mood and we feel that we are not governed by the principle of justice.

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