Response to “Tintern Abbey”

As William Wordsworth reminisces about the time he spent as a boy by the Wye River, he comes to better understand the influence nature has had on his life.  The first section illustrates how people living along the river in “pastoral farms” (17) live in harmony with nature.  The farms are “green to the very door” which suggests that they are covered in nature or embedded and deeply rooted in their surroundings (18).  Furthermore, Wordsworth comments that “wreaths of smoke” are “sent up, in silence, from among the trees” (18-19).  This demonstrates how the aesthetic of the natural surroundings are not disrupted by society. They live in harmony together. 

This harmony as well as the tranquility that becomes of it seems to stick with the narrator throughout his life more than the actual appearance of the scenery.  He mentions that he has felt in his heart and blood the tranquil feelings of his memory and “sensations sweet” when he has been “in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din of towns and cities” (27, 28).   The “unremembered pleasure” that has given his life restoration goes deeper than just a fond memory of landscapes (31).  He frequently calls it a “blessed mood”.   From childhood this idea of harmony between humanity and nature has been ingrained in his heart and soul.

 Through this development of his regard for nature, Wordsworth makes a clear distinction between what is felt by the corporeal senses and what is felt by the soul.  He expresses how the memory of forms fade but the emotions of the land have lasted.  As he has matured, these feelings have taught him to appreciate nature, not as he did “in the hour of thoughtless youth”, but as a “motion and a spirit” (90, 100).  This sublime mood has given him a strong moral foundation. Wordsworth’s distinction conveys an overarching idea of the mortality of the body and its senses and conversely the immortality of the soul.

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