profile of person's head with eyes closed and headspace is filled with trees, mountains, and a river

Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

by William Wordsworth

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From what perspective does the speaker view Tintern Abbey?

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In geographical terms, as the title of the poem suggests, the speaker views Tintern Abbey from several miles above. The spatial distance between the speaker and the abbey reflects his emotional distance from the past, on which he ruminates as he approaches these ancient ruins.

The last time the speaker passed through this part of the world, five years ago, he was a very different man. Then, his perspective on the environment was somewhat naive and picturesque; he derived "coarse pleasures" from his engagement with the natural world. Nature was delightfully pretty, but nothing more. But now that he's older, wiser, and more mature, he's come to develop a more detached, philosophical perspective.

Now he sees himself as part of an organic whole in which he is linked with everyone and everything else in the universe, mind and nature fused together in a sublime unity. This elevated insight, this recognition of the deeper life beneath the surface of things, is the product of many years of disinterested reflection. Intellectually, the speaker had to separate himself from the world of his past to derive such insights, just as he now physically separates himself from the present, a few miles above Tintern Abbey.

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