The most obvious similarity between these two famous poems is that both focus principally on Nature as the poet's inspiration and as the one element in his life that has the power to keep him going and, to put it simply, to counteract his depression. We do not often think of Wordsworth as a man who suffered with severe emotional difficulties throughout his life, but there is evidence of this in much of his verse and in biographical accounts. He is forever looking back, trying to recapture the
Splendour in the grass, and glory in the flower
that he experienced in his childhood but are gone now. This specific sense of loss forms the core of the "Intimations of Immortality" Ode. In addition, Wordsworth connects his communion with nature to a mystical belief in pre-existence:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.
Wordsworth links the themes of a prior life and immortality with his sense of being a part of nature. In his boyhood, the communion with the outer, vegetable/mineral world is complete; in adult life, he has lost this connection but reconciled himself to recovering part of it through his recollections of youth, saying,
We will grieve not; rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be.
"Tintern Abbey" expresses a similar enchantment (though the word is perhaps an understatement) with the natural world, but it is less specific in the philosophical conclusions the poet draws. Wordsworth is honest about his battles with depression and his sense that the only remedy for it is the contemplation of the outer world and his remembrance of things past:
. . . when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart—
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye!
The Wye River and its surroundings are a therapeutic counterweight to Wordsworth's depression and a vehicle for the continuance of his love for his sister, with whom Wordsworth was extremely close and who was perhaps the most important person for him throughout his life.
A last point about these two poems is that both are written in the unaffected style Wordsworth described in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads as his ideal. Wordsworth writes in a manner that—with the exception of meter, rhyme, and the poetic forms of pronouns—is genuinely like the way people talk in real life. Though others of the Romantic movement, including his friend Coleridge, differed with Wordsworth on the question of "poetic diction," Wordsworth was extraordinarily successful in conveying his deepest thoughts and feelings in the plainest and most natural English.