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Is this poem ("Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey") about nature, about...

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laneymills | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted May 2, 2013 at 3:11 AM via web

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Is this poem ("Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey") about nature, about human nature, or both? Explain, citing things from the poem to support your ideas.

Here is the poem http://www.nexuslearning.net/books/Elements_of_Lit_Course6/The_%20Romantic_Period/collection%208/Lines%20Composed%20a%20Few%20Miles%20Above%20Tintern%20Abbey.htm 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 3, 2013 at 11:00 PM (Answer #1)

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"Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" is about nature. It is more precisely about the individual's (or the poet's) potential (could call it the potential in human nature) to have a transcendent experience with nature (to "see into the life of things") and then to recall that experience in memory. Through the experience and/or the memory of the experience, the individual can put himself in a more peaceful or joyful state of mind. 

While here I stand, not only with the sense

Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts

That in this moment there is life and food

For future years. (62-65)

The speaker enjoys the present experience and foresees a time later in life when he will be nostalgic for this moment, will remember, and the memory will provide a similar feeling. However, the speaker knows he will change over that time, so he wonders how those changes will affect his perceptions. 

He indicates that, as a younger man, his experiences with nature were visceral, relating more to feeling and empirical experiences involving the senses. "Their colours and their forms, were then to me / An Appetite; a feeling and a love," and these "had no need of a remoter charm." 

The speaker notes that this way of experiencing nature has passed. Rather than mourn the loss of this way of experiencing nature, the speaker is glad that, as an older man, he is more thoughtful. He becomes more profound and in contemplating the metaphors of peace and tranquility in nature and the human mind, the speaker is more aware of how "deeply interfused" these notions of nature and imagination are. 

Wordsworth (the speaker) concludes the poem with the hopes that his sister will come to have the same ability to recall experiences with nature. Especially in troubling times, he hopes that these recollections will be like a transition to a peaceful, meditative state: 

                             and, in after years,

When these wild ecstasies shall be matured

Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind

Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,

Thy memory be as a dwelling-place

For all sweet sounds and harmonies; 

 

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