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Paraphrase Wordsworth's poem "My heart leaps up when I behold..."

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memi | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 3, 2009 at 8:23 PM via web

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Paraphrase Wordsworth's poem "My heart leaps up when I behold..."

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 3, 2009 at 8:33 PM (Answer #1)

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MY heart leaps up when I behold  
  A rainbow in the sky:  
So was it when my life began,  
  So is it now I am a man,  
So be it when I shall grow old         
    Or let me die!  
The child is father of the man:  
And I could wish my days to be  
Bound each to each by natural piety

The speaker says that their heart "leaps up" for joy, when he sees (beholds) a rainbow in the sky. Rainbows were in the sky when he was born, now that he is a man, and he hopes - if not, he'd rather die! - that they'll be there as he grows old.

The child is like the man's father, he says, because - if you look at it chronologically - the child grows into the father, and so is in a strange way "older", belonging to the past. And, as a child is "bound" (tied) to the man he becomes, Wordsworth's speaker hopes that each day of his life will be bound to the next with "natural piety" (piousness - respectfulness - for nature [or just, "that comes naturally"]).

Hope this helps!

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xoaubrayyxo | Student , Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2009 at 5:32 AM (Answer #2)

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The poem actually means that when he sees nature, he gets excited and happy.

He hopes when he is an old man he will still enjoy the nature of life.

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