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How is Wordsworth's poem an autobiographical one in the light of these lines from...

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shewa55 | Valedictorian

Posted January 30, 2013 at 2:38 PM via web

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How is Wordsworth's poem an autobiographical one in the light of these lines from "Lines Composed a Few Miles from Tintern Abbey":

"I have felt/A presence that..../Of elevated thoughts....sublime

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 30, 2013 at 6:26 PM (Answer #1)

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Of his return to Tintern Abbey with his sister Dorothy and the poem it inspired in him, William Wordsworth wrote,

No poem of mine was composed under circumstances more pleasant for one to remember than this.

Thus, a deeply personal poem, Wordsworth writes that his return to the lovely landscape as one of "tranquil restoration" to his spirit that places him in a "blessed mood." Truly, Nature is a source of spiritual solace where there is "life and food/For future years."  When the world becomes, as he has written in another his poems, "too much for us," and he hears "the sad music of humanity," the poet finds in his return to the spot no longer the "dizzy raptures" of Nature as in his youthful visit, but


A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

Clearly, Wordsworth has a deeply personal experience that opens him to the inner spiritual life of "All thinking things." His is a transcendental experience, one in which he finds Nature a doorway to the mystical world of higher truths. That is, it is a sublime experience, an elevated one through his journey of memory with his awe-inspiring contemplation of nature that elevates his mind to a state beyond rational thought in an experience of the spirit. 

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