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In the poem "Tintern Abbey" by Wordsworth, how does the poet see nature as a...

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chinoma | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 19, 2008 at 8:44 PM via web

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In the poem "Tintern Abbey" by Wordsworth, how does the poet see nature as a teacher?

What does nature teach ? How can we illustrate it with the analysis of the poem ? Here is a part of the poem :

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 20, 2008 at 2:50 AM (Answer #1)

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Wordsworth is meditating on how his relationship with nature has changed. He has returned to the Wye River Valley and comments that the memory of this beautiful valley has often lifted his spirits and inspired him to be more loving and kind. He writes,
"But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and citiesI have owed to them,
.."unremembered pleasure"..."Of kindness and of love."

Then Wordsworth explains how his relationship with nature has changed as he has grown older. When young, he was very passionate about nature. Now that he is older and more mature, he has a more spiritual appreciation of nature and nature has become :
"The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being. "

In other words, now that he is more mature, he has a richer understanding of nature. He sees that nature connects all living things. He now sees nature in an almost religious sense, as a basis for living.

He then turns and addresses his sister, Dorothy.
"My dear, dear Sister! And this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her"

Wordsworth then suggests that when he is gone, and she faces problems, she should remember how they shared that place and how much more he loved the place because they shared it together.

"If I should be, where I no more can hear
Thy voice. . remember...this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves, and for thy sake."

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted December 20, 2008 at 6:38 AM (Answer #2)

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Part of the Romantic"Revolution" came from their perception that reason alone could not bring man to the knowledge of the truth that he sought.  Man could get to "truth" through science and study (tuition) or through immediate perception (intutition).  In America, Emerson said that words are symbols of natural realities, and natural realities are symbols of spiritual realities.

Thus, natural provides him with his moral compass, teaches him about a world full of spiritual realities that transcends the world of cities and towns and business that tends to kill man's spirit.  ("The world is too much with us late and soon/getting and spending we lay waste our powers.")

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