William Wordsworth reflects on his return to the River Wye in his poem “Lines: Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour”. Having visited Wye five years prior, he is familiar with how enchanting the place is. He describes the natural wonders of the Wye, which travels past Tintern Abbey, a medieval abbey in the village of Tintern, which is in Monmouthshire, Wales. This Cistercian Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, on May 9, 1131. The abbey thrived, with many buildings being added, until it was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1536.
Wordsworth describes his journey through the abbey saying, “…Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect / The landscape with the quiet of the sky” (Wordsworth 7-8). This connection between peaceful solitude and nature is the fore-conceit which he reiterates through the poem, naming the feeling “sublime” (Wordsworth 37). The abbey and Wye are “The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul / Of all my moral being” (Wordsworth 110-111).
For Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey and Wye are more a blissful paradise than simply a location. This place he is writing about gives him a sense of freedom and self-awareness, which he illuminates by writing “Lines” in free verse form. In his book on his analysis of Wordsworth’s work The Landscape of Memory, Christopher Salvesen says, “The calm, the seclusion, is the important feature; … [the] memory of such a spot will at least be a reassurance in human time” (Salvesen 157). Clearly Wordsworth finds comfort in revisiting Tintern, but he does not describe why he enjoys this seclusion from in “Lines”.
Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1970, as the second son of h...
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Salvesen, Christopher. The Landscape of Memory: A Study of Wordsworth's Poetry. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1965. 157. Print.
Thomas, Jeffrey L. "Tintern Abbey." Tintern Abbey. 2009. Web. Accessed May 2012.
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Wordsworth, William. Lines: Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey on Revisiting the Banks of Wye during a Tour. 13 July 1798.
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