In Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth explores the moral development of man and the irreconcilable conflicts between innocence and experience, and youthfulness and maturity that develop. As the youth matures he moves farther away from the divinity of God and begins to be corruption by mankind. What Wordsworth wishes for is a return to his childhood innocence but with his new maturity and insight. This would allow him to experience divinity in its fullest sense: he would re-experience the celestial radiance of childhood as well as the reality of his present existence. Wordsworth wants to have the better of the two conflicting worlds: childhood and maturity, divinity and knowledge; but these two existences are antitheses and the source of the irony behind Wordsworth's utopian dream.
In stanza one and two the speaker is recalling his childhood perception of nature. The speaker perceived nature idealistically as a child and still as an adult recalls the perception and briefly experiences his childlikeness through the memories.
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
In stanza two "Wordsworth not only confirms his senses but he also confirms his ability to perceive beauty"(Davis 145). He explains his reactions to loveliness of the rose and the moon. Stanza three the speaker expresses his grief: "to me alone there came a thought of grief (1481)."
In stanzas three and four, the speaker is attempting to relive his childhood splendor, but it is a useless effort; and the reader senses that it is forc...
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... simplest flower blowing in the wind can raise in him "thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."
The paradox of man's existence is that he appreciates this childhood perception only when this time in his life has passed. What the speaker wants is to live in a state of innocence and to be experienced so that he can appreciate his virtue and celestial-like existence: he would be aware of his divinity. The speaker believes that neither childhood nor adulthood is superior to the other. The child is ignorant to many facets of their existence but the adult has forever lost the characteristics of their youth. The perception of nature, although virtuous and innocent during childhood, is most greatly appreciated in adulthood. Ideally, nature will be experienced with the idealism of a child through the adult's memory as the adult connects with their youthful divinity.
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