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Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

by William Wordsworth

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How does "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" reveal Wordsworth's evolving relationship with Nature since boyhood?

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This is a great question, because it gets to the heart of Wordsworth's "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbery." As an example of Wordsworth's changing relationship with the natural world, check out the following excerpt:

... I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite: a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, or any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur: other gifts
Have followed, for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense. (76-89)

In this section, Wordsworth describes the passionate, but also simple, way that he engaged with nature as a boy and a younger man. Here, we get the sense that though Wordsworth was passionate about nature as a boy, he also didn't critically think about this passion or think more deeply about the significance of the natural world around him. Now, as an adult, Wordsworth suggests that he is unable to engage with nature in the same way; overall, we get the sense of a man who has been changed by his more mature experiences of the wider world. However, though he cannot engage with nature as he used to, Wordsworth does not seem perturbed by this fact, as he believes that he has also developed a keener intellect capable of discerning the state of human beings and the way the natural world relates to this state. Thus, though Wordsworth's relationship with nature has changed, he seems to view this change as mostly positive, as it has resulted in a greater intellectual maturity. 

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