What is the tone and the mood of "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798"? 

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The tone and mood of William Wordsworth’s poem “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798” are interrelated. The writer sets the tone with his use of words, descriptions of his surroundings, and the structure he uses in his writing. The mood is the feeling that poem evokes in the reader.

Wordsworth writes his poem in free verse with flowing descriptions of what he sees and feels as he returns to a spot above the Wye River he visited when he was five years younger. Through his word choice and descriptions, he creates a tone of soulful reminiscence. He is attuned to the nature of the area and it allows him to revisit a more innocent time in his life.

Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,

That on a wild secluded scene impress

Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect

The landscape with the quiet of the sky.

The reader feels his serenity in nature, which creates the mood that the reader gets from the poem. When life events become difficult for the narrator, he often returns to his memory of the woodland area. A feeling of peace surrounds the reader. 

These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me

As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:

But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

As the poem progresses, the tone changes from reminiscent to hopeful. The narrator speaks not only of how his memories of the area above the Wye comforted him, but how, upon his return, he is filled with hope for the future. The reader feels this shift when the poet writes,

The picture of the mind revives again:

While here I stand, not only with the sense

Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts

That in this moment there is life and food

For future years.

Wordsworth’s words flow like the river taking the reader from the past, to the present, and on to the future. The tone of the poem moves along on the journey, while the reader can sense the change in the poem’s mood.