Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 611
"Resolution and Independence" by William Wordsworth is a lyrical poem by an unnamed man, most likely the poet, wandering thoughtfully through the moors. He states that weather during the night had been horrible, but now
Though he begins his walk buoyed by the happy go lucky hares and the chattering magpies and jays, he soon starts to feel dejected. As he states, we can only go so high before we have to come down again.The sky rejoices in the morning's birth;The grass is bright with rain-drops;—on the moorsThe hare is running races in her mirth;
He somehow feels that despite his happinessOf joys in minds that can no further go,As high as we have mounted in delightIn our dejection do we sink as low;To me that morning did it happen so;And fears and fancies thick upon me came;Dim sadness—and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name.
The main object of his melancholy is that he knows that while "We Poets in our youth begin in gladness," they are often prone to depression and madness. He uses the 18th century poet Thomas Chatterton as an example. Chatterton killed himself at the age of 17.there may come another day to me—Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.
The speaker is brought out of his melancholy by a man sitting by a pool of water who he describes as the "The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs." Yet despite his age and the hardships brought on by his age, the man still has the dignity and presence of mind to say "this morning gives us the promise of a glorious day."I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;Of Him who walked in glory and in joyFollowing his plough, along the mountain-side:By our own spirits are we deified:We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.
The old Man still stood talking by my side;But now his voice to me was like a streamScarce heard; nor word from word could I divide;And the whole body of the Man did seemLike one whom I had met with in a dream;Or like a man from some far region sent,To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.
My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills;And hope that is unwilling to be fed;Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him paceAbout the weary moors continually,Wandering about alone and silently.While I these thoughts within myself pursued,He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.
God, said I, be my help and stay secure;I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!
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