What is the subject of the poem "My Heart Leaps Up" by William Wordsworth?  

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At its core, the poem "My Heart Leaps Up" by William Wordsworth is about the speaker admiring a rainbow. It is a very simple and short poem wherein the speaker describes his happiness of seeing a rainbow and recalls that he has felt a great joy from seeing them since his "life began." He ends the poem by saying that child "is the father of the man," meaning that the things that one experiences in childhood shape them as adults. Wordsworth clearly had a great love of nature that persisted throughout his life.

Some scholars have taken special interest in the use of the phrase "natural piety" at the end of the poem. Since Wordsworth was very interested in geometry, some believe that it is a pun, relating "pi" to the circle of a rainbow.

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The poem “My Heart Leaps Up” is about a rainbow, but it is also about childhood, reminding us to enjoy simple pleasures.  We all remember the joy we had seeing rainbows when we were young.  As we grow older, we need to find ways to recapture that magic.

The speaker still enjoys rainbows, and they make his heart leap.

So be it when I shall grow old,

   Or let me die! (lines 5-6)

He doesn’t want to every forget to enjoy things as he did when he was a child.  You have to stop and take in life’s simple pleasures.

The Child is father of the Man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety. (lines 7-9)

The speaker wants to remind us that we are still the children we were when we are adults, and we are still bound to each other and to our childhood selves.


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