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"The appeal of the poem lies more in its poetic quality than in its philosophical...

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rk19 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 23, 2013 at 3:37 AM via web

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"The appeal of the poem lies more in its poetic quality than in its philosophical content." Discuss this statement with reference to 'Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey'.  

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 23, 2013 at 5:54 AM (Answer #1)

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William Wordsworth is well- known for his affinity with nature and his ability to recognize the soothing effects of self-reflection. This would infer a philosophical edge to Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey as Wordsworth, the narrator is able to recognize the "bigger picture" and his own part in it. Man's ability to "see into the life of things" is contemplative but Wordsworth is encouraging the reader to, in fact, distinguish between remembering and the value of experience whilst at the same time enjoying the knowledge of "life and food For future years" without over- analyzing the situation allowing him, and the reader, to retain a "serene and blessed mood." 

The undeniably wistful sensation created by the tone of the poem with feelings of "sensations sweet, Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart," allow Wordsworth to dwell in a state of blissful unawareness without any need to worry about things of "no trivial influence" which obviously would otherwise weigh heavily on him. Any thoughts of becoming too involved in the past are removed as the poem transports him to a place where he can dwell in "the light of setting suns, And the round ocean, and the living air, And the blue sky, and..." There is no need to deliberate and cause "my genial spirits to decay." 

Just by her presence, Dorothy, Wordsworth's sister, is able to ensure that he is not affected by "the dreary intercourse of daily life," which allows him to concentrate on "sweet sounds and harmonies" preventing "the sneers of selfish men" from "disturb(ing) Our cheerful faith that all which we behold Is full of blessings." Again, the tendency may be to analyze his words but it is unnecessary as Nature ensures that he is "Unwearied in that service," enjoying the memories for what they are, an opportunity to think fondly of the past rather than worrying about any missed opportunities; thereby allowing him to enjoy the moments, "both for themselves, and for thy sake," rather than for any other purpose, removing the temptation to look for more and being content to enjoy the moment. 

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