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"How often has my spirit turned to thee"-How does this line express Wordsworth's idea...

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brishti08 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted April 26, 2011 at 1:55 PM via web

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"How often has my spirit turned to thee"-How does this line express Wordsworth's idea of spiritual rejuvenation in "Tintern Abbey?"

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 2, 2011 at 12:49 PM (Answer #1)

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In "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth, the author begins by saying "how long it has been." However, he has finally returned to be united with this piece of "heaven on earth." The the speaker goes on to describe situations before his return when he was desperately in need of the "rejuvenation" which comes from this lovely natural retreat that could fill his soul and make him feel complete.

When was he in need? In lonely rooms or in the middle of a noisy town or city. In this case, he remembered the area near the abbey and the blood started to move along his heart and into his mind, giving him a sense of "tranquil restoration." His memories of this place lightened the load of cares he carried with him throughout a world that made no sense to him. At such times he was so comforted by his thoughts of this place that it was as if his life was suspended (even the motion of his blood)—all that existed was his "living soul"—when the unimportant had been brushed aside, the world was there as humans are meant to feel it: with harmony and "the deep power of joy..."

The speaker looked to nature when surrounded by both by darkness and "joyless daylight;" and when he had been "fretful" (or worried) and the "fever of the world" had hampered "the beatings of my heart," again he turned to the peace at Tintern Abbey.

He writes twice in the same stanza, lines that are very similar:

How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee...

How often has my spirit turned to thee!

The fact that Wordsworth repeats the sentiment may simply reinforce the never-ending way that nature repeatedly heals him. The images he recalls calm and restore. And what is most important is that he need not be there in body—but simply in spirit—and he will be rejuvenated. In other words, when he is away and misses this place of solace, the memories are so strong, that across the miles and the years, he can experience "spiritual rejuvenation" whenever he has need of it—if only he will shut out the rest of the world and return to Tintern Abbey in some way.

So Wordsworth share his secret with the world—if the individual will put aside the raging world and turn to a similar place of peace, whether in spirit or body, the same will come to him (or her).

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