Show how Tintern Abbey traces Wordsworth spiritual growth as a poet.

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Woodsworth's "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey," mimics and reflects his famous definition of poetry:  emotion recollected in tranquility.  He shows the process of writing poetry, at least his process. 

The poem is more about his memories of the area from when he visited five summers ago, than it is about the area in the present of the poem.  His recollections are what moves or enables him to achieve the sublime (lines 36-49). 

Notice "again I hear," "Once again," "I again repose," and "Once again," again.  Recollection.  Woodsworth is revealing how he writes.  He's giving the reader an example of how he creates.

One's reaction to nature may be more ecstatic when it's first seen, as this area was for Woodsworth when he was younger, he writes, but it is in recollection and contemplation that "We see into the life of things."  That's when Woodsworth wrote his poetry.

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the poem 'Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey' by William Wordsworth, we see a poet whose whole life has been imbued with the natural world and landscape. Born on the murmuring banks of one of the most beautiful rivers in the Lake District England, the poet is still close to his theme of the glory of Nature, as he now sits above Tintern Abbey. Yet he has grown as a poet and developed his style and love of Nature more deeply. Now nearer the end of his life, he still writes about it, but connects it to deeper themes of duty, memory,prayer and the comforting power of the landscape. Yet now he can contemplate the existence of Nature going on long after he does - and still giving comfort to the people he loves.

epollock | Student

This poem is a kind of mediation poem that outlines what nature means to the speaker. The poem is divided into sections, generally 4-5 depending on the edition, and the fist two sections deal with the speaker's description of the physical beauty of a valley that he is seeing after an absence of some time, and he says that the memory of the landscape has given him solace, lifting his spirits and inspiring him to acts of kindness and love. The next sections explain how the passionate relationship he had with nature in his youth had given way to a deeper, more spiritual appreciation of all things. In the last section, the speaker addresses his sister. he tells her that seeing the landscape through her eyes makes it even more precious to him. He hopes she will take comfort from his memory when he is dead and recall the pleasure he had in seeing the valley with her. The poem traces his moral and spiritual growth from beginning to end.

The most interesting facet of reading any Wordsworth poem, is that if you look closely, almost all of his poems have the same general theme: That the simple act of memory is more powerful than a live event. He constantly writes about memory, but uses the vehicle of nature. And in most instances, readers focus on nature and miss his real message.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question