In "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey," what is the significance of an important passage from the poem?  

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wordsworth's poem offers numerous passages that express important ideas and personal observations by the poet. Much of the poem deals with his dynamic relationship with nature, drawing contrasts between what that relationship once was and what it is presently as he surveys the beautiful valley of the River Wye below him. The contrasts are rooted in the poet's recognition that his youth has passed; he is no longer "what I was when first I came among these hills." Then after remembering himself somewhat wistfully as a young man, full of life and passion, he writes these lines:

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.

The passage makes a significant statement of personal growth and wisdom; the poet does not lose heart or grieve for his lost youth because he recognizes that with age comes "other gifts" that make up for its loss. Following this passage, Wordsworth writes of what he finds now in nature: not the "coarser pleasures of my boyish days," but "the joy of elevated thoughts" and "a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused." The "aching joys" and "dizzy raptures" of youth are no more, but in their place he has come to know the joy and "sublime" sense of the spiritual.

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