’Twas throwing words away; for still The little Maid would have her will, And said, “Nay, we are seven!” --1798 * “dear brother Jim” removed in 1815
How does the poem represent the consciousness of the child? How does this differ from the adult speaker’s perspective in the poem? Which predominates in the end? When Wordsworth was walking near this castle in 1793, he met the little girl who inspired “We are Seven.” He wrote the poem five years later in 1798.
“Tintern Abbey” • paradigmatic Romantic dramatic lyric • Experimental form: blank verse, meditative • Accessible, even commonplace language, yet dignified, somber, and sublime • Subject: mind’s ability to transform images of nature into a kind of faith or religion • Pleasure in the regenerative power of poetry
Represents Wordsworth's foundational claim that in his poetry he will write "On man, on nature, and on human life." --Prospectus to The Recluse , 1799
Key passages • Stanza 1. Description of the River Wye in the present, laden with emotion • Stanza 2. Reflection on the 5 yrs between his visits to the area, reaching to the sublime, lines 35-49 • Stanza 3. Brief doubt and the comfort he derived from the memory • Stanza 4. Difference between nature of his youth and now; “abundant recompense” or recognition of the sublime beauty of the universe • Stanza 5. Turns to Dorothy and projects her experience to like his own
Key Themes • Observation of the natural world, especially the mental and spiritual processes involved in observation – Nature becomes “The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul Of all my moral being” (109-11). • Loss of poetic vision that comes with growth and maturity • Memory and Place work together to compensate for loss – Poet revisits a specific landscape, and the contrast between the present and the remembered landscape results in a “sad perplexity” (60), which his subsequent meditations attempt to remedy
Focal Points • Time and Consciousness • Worshipper of Nature • Landscape Transformed • Dorothy Wordsworth
The Chancel and Crossing of Tintern Abbey, Looking towards the East Window By JMW Turner, 1794
Tintern Abbey, interior, 2004
Key Themes • Observation • Nature • Loss • Memory • Autobiography Tintern Abbey viewed from the English bank of the River Wye (2004) Tintern Abbey (1993)
The River Wye
120. "wild eyes." While this description of Dorothy might be seen as condescending, it corresponds to contemporary reports. Coleridge, writing in July 1797 just after the Wordsworths moved to Alfoxden in Somerset, remarks how Dorothy’s “manners are simple, ardent, impressive-- . . . .
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