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What is the summary of "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William...

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mithimukherjee | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 15, 2011 at 1:40 AM via web

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What is the summary of "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 16, 2011 at 9:00 PM (Answer #1)

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The poem begins with Wordsworth pointing out that it has been five years since he lst visited this beautiful natural location. He gives us a description of the awesome view that he can see from his vantage point, giving us details of the "wild, secluded scene" that lies before him. He tells us how this panorama has sustained him during moments of despair in the midst of the "din / Of towns and cities." It has given rise to feelings that have prompted him to engage in acts "Of kindness and of love." Above all, the memory of this beautiful landscape has given him transcendental experiences where Wordsworth has experienced a state that is beyond the everyday state of existence, refered to as being "of aspect more sublime."

Such transcendental moments are a true blessing that are able to unburden life of its worries and cares. Such deep rest is enjoyed as a result that a kind of union with nature is achieved as "we become a living soul." In this state, focus is directed inward as the inner life of the soul is explored.

From line 66 onwards, the poem moves to a comparison between Wordsworth's appreciation of the landscape five years ago, which was more passionate and instinctive, to his more philosophical appreciation now, which enables him to hear the "still, sad music of humanity." The older, maturer Wordsworth can perceive a kind of spiritual presence in nature and in his own mind. This perception results in an even greater love of nature, which Wordsworth sees as augmenting his finest qualities as a human.

The last section of this poem focuses on Wordsworth's sister, Dorothy, who is with him. Through her "wild eyes" he is able to regain the passion of his youth. He prays for his sister, having unshakeable confidence in Nature and how Nature is true to those who love her. The speaker then goes on to ask that Dorothy's mind would be an abode for transcendental sights and sounds, just as he himself has found healing through this landscape. Healing can likewise come to Dorothy through this panorama as she remembers their time together and how the view was more important to Wordsworth, both because of his maturity and because of her presence with him.

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