Tintern Abbey, By William Wordsworth Essay

Tintern Abbey, By William Wordsworth Essay

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In William Wordsworth’s Poem Tintern Abbey, the narrator returns to a beautiful place that he visited five years prior. Having been away for such a long time, as he looks down the “steep and lofty cliffs” (288) he contemplates the changes that have occurred in both himself and the landscape itself. This text can be used as an example to identify different uses of the poetic form. In the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth addresses three main points regarding poetic principles, including: language and the subject of poetry, a poet’s role as one who challenges social norms, a poet’s relation to nature, and the reflective quality of poetic writings. Each of these principles are exemplified in his poem, Tintern Abbey, composed in 1798.
First, Wordsworth demonstrates the use of both easy language and common subject matter. When writing about the language of poetry, Wordsworth writes that “language, arising out of repeated experience and regular feelings, is a more permanent, and far more philosophical language, than that which is frequently substituted for it by poets” (295). At his time, poetry was seen as the most highly elevated form of writing and poets were a sort of erudite scholar. Going against the expectations of his time, Wordsworth writes that poetry should be written in the language of the people so as to reach the greatest audience. Poets often used elevated or sophisticated ways of speech that sometimes had trouble reaching all audiences. Wordsworth argued against this did not believe reach the audience in the same way as a normal vocabulary would. This is seen in Tintern Abbey in the writing style that he uses. Phrases like “the picture of the mind revives again” (61) or “whose dwelling is in the light of setting ...


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...o look on nature, not as in the hour / Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes / The still, sad music of humanity” (88-91). He is no longer able to ignore his knowledge from his time away from this beautiful place.
Wordsworth wrote Tintern Abbey in a way that embodies many aspects that he writes about in the preface to Lyrical Ballads. His use of plain, attainable language about a tangible real-life subject makes his message easier for the readers to understand. He utilizes a poet’s relation to nature in his description of the different ways that nature transcends and simultaneously forms a poet. Finally, he uses an emphasis on the reflective quality of poetic writings in the way that he explains how a memory can change over time while causing both pain and pleasure to the person remembering. This poem greatly captures a wide range of aspects from the preface.

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