Analysis of William Wordsworth's Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

Analysis of William Wordsworth's Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

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Analysis of William Wordsworth's Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey


William Wordsworth poem 'Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey'; was included as the last item in his Lyrical Ballads. The general meaning of the poem relates to his having lost the inspiration nature provided him in childhood. Nature seems to have made Wordsworth human.The significance of the abbey is Wordsworth's love of nature. Tintern Abbey representes a safe haven for Wordsworth that perhaps symbolizes a everlasting connection that man will share with it's surroundings. Wordsworth would also remember it for bringing out the part of him that makes him a 'A worshipper of Nature'; (Line 153).
Five different situations are suggested in "Lines" each divided into separate sections. The first section details the landscape around the abbey, as Wordsworth remembers it from five years ago. The second section describes the five-year lapse between visits to the abbey, during which he has thought often of his experience there. The third section specifies Wordsworth's attempt to use nature to see inside his inner self. The fourth section shows Wordsworth exerting his efforts from the preceding stanza to the landscape, discovering and remembering the refined state of mind the abbey provided him with. In the final section, Wordsworth searches for a means by which he can carry the experiences with him and maintain himself and his love for nature. .

In the first stanza, Wordsworth lets you know he is seeing the abbey for a second time by using phrases such as "again I hear," "again do I behold," and "again I see. He describes the natural landscape as unchanged and he describes it in descending order of importance beginning with with the 'lofty cliffs'; (Line 5) dominantly overlooking the abbey. After the cliffs comes the river, , then the forests, and hedgerows of the cottages that once surrounded the abbey but have since been abandoned. After the cottages, is the vagrant hermit who sits alone in his cave, perhaps symbolizing the effects being away from the abbey has had on Wordsworth. Wordsworth professes to "sensations sweet / Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart" (lines 28-29) which the memories of nature can inspire when he is lonely, just as the hermit is lonely.
Wordsworth desires nature only because of his separateness, and the more isolated he feels the mor...


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...ame more involved with human concerns. He has become more thoughtful and sees nature in the light of those thoughts. He has traded the boundless energy for maturity and the "still, sad music of humanity" (line 92).

Wordsworth ends the poem with the fifth stanza, a farewell to the abbey and the inspiration it has given him. He realizes that there may come a time when he may no longer be able to inspire himself with life-changing situations, and that he will not be able to run back to Tintern Abbey to find himself again. He does what he can, though. He will also be able to rely on his sister, who shared these experiences with him and in whose voice "I catch the language of my former heart, and read my former pleasures in the shooting lights of thy wild eyes" (lines 117-120). Eventually even these may fail him, and in the closing lines of the poem he consoles himself that he and his sister will be able to look back fondly and at least remember their shared time together.

Works Cited:

Wordsworth, William. Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. Vol. 2. M. H. Abrams Gen. ed. New York, London: Norton. 2 vols. 1993.

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