Puslapio vaizdai

He received a pension from the Crown in 1842; and in the following year, on the death of his friend Southey, he was appointed PoetLaureate. He died full of years and honour on the 23d April 1850. His chief poems are-Lyrical Ballads (1798), Tintern Abbey (1798), The Excursion (1814), The White Doe of Rylstone (1815), Sonnets (1820), and The Prelude (published in 1850).

The principal object which Wordsworth proposed to himself in his early poems, was to choose incidents and situations from ordinary life, and to relate or describe them in the language commonly used by men; at the same time investing them with a certain colouring of the imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual way; and it was his aim further, and above all, to make these incidents and situations interesting, by tracing in them the primary laws of our nature. His Excursion, which is only part of a larger and unpublished work, entitled The Recluse, is one of the noblest philosophical poems in our language; containing views at once comprehensive and simple, of man, nature, and society, and combining the finest sensibilities with the richest fancy. Nor can any poems more deeply touching be found than The Fountain, Ruth, We are Seven, The Complaint of the Indian, and others of his minor pieces. He indeed possessed, in an eminent degree, the grand qualification of a poet, as described by himself: 'a promptness greater than what is possessed by ordinary men, to think and feel without immediate excitement, and a greater power of expressing such thoughts and feeling as are produced in him in that manner.'




JULY 13, 1798.

[Tintern Abbey is a famous ecclesiastical ruin on the right bank of the Wye, in Monmouthshire, a few miles south-east of the town of Monmouth. It owes most of its celebrity to this poem.

The Wye takes its origin from two copious springs which issue from the side of Plinlimmon, and joins the Severn two and a half miles below Chepstow. The part of the river chiefly visited for its grand and picturesque scenery is that between Monmouth and Chepstow. ]

FIVE years have passed; five summers, with the length

Of five long winters! and again I hear

These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

With a soft inland murmur.-Once again

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,


= literally;

ABBREVIATIONS.-A.S. = Anglo-Saxon; Cf. = compare (Latin, confer); Fr. French; Gr. Greek; Icel. Icelandic; Lat. = Latin; lit. = Middle English (from 13th to 15th century).



4. Soft inland murmur, in contrast with the rush and roar of the river, as it dashes over its rocky channel near its junction with the Severn.

5. Cliffs, steep rocks. A.S. clif, a rock; lit. a climbing-place,' from clifian, to adhere, to cleave to.

6-8. The scene is wild-it owes nothing to art: it is secluded, being far from the haunts of man; and the bold

cliffs towering, as it were, to the silent heavens above, impart to it a character which deepens still more the visitor's sense of isolation.

8. Landscape, the aspect of the country. The word was first used by the Dutch painters. Dutch, landschap, the form or fashion of the land. The suffix -schap corresponds to the A.S. -scipe, and the Modern English -ship in 'friendship.'

The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.

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,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;

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10. Dark, with thick foliage.- closure. Cog. haw (the berry), haw Sycamore, Gr. sykomoros, the 'fig-haw (a sunk fence), hawthorn. mulberry'-sykon, a fig, and moron, a mulberry. The sycamore of Britain is a kind of maple, called in Scotland the plane-tree.

11. Orchard, lit. 'herb-garden.' A.S. wyrt, a plant; geard, an inclosure. Tuft, knot, cluster. Fr. touffe, a tuft: the final t is excrescent. -Orchard-tufts, clusters of fruit


13. These have all the same green hue, and cannot be distinguished in colour from the groves and copses in their vicinity.

14. Grove, a collection of trees. A.S. gráf, a grove or glade, from grafan, to cut.Copse, a plantation; lit. underwood frequently cut. O. Fr. copeiz; Fr. couper, to cut.

15. Hedgerows [which are] hardly hedgerows [but rather] lines. Hedge, a fence. A.S. haga, an in

16. Sportive, straggling, untrimmed. Cf. 'Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way.'-Deserted Village.

19. The curling smoke rising silently among the trees, vaguely indicates the presence of man.

20. Vagrant dwellers, wanderers, as gipsies, who have selected this spot as a temporary resting-place.

21. Hermit, a solitary. M.E. heremite, through the Fr. and Lat. from Gr. eremos, deserted, desolate.

23. During the five years of his absence from the 'silvan Wye,' the poet has ever cherished the memory of its beautiful scenery.

24. A landscape is a mere blank to a blind man's eye.

25-30. During seasons of weariness and depression, both in the silent retirement of his home, and amid the noise and bustle of the streets, the

And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration :-feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened:-that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

recollection of these 'beauteous forms'
has cheered and refreshed him in body
('blood'), in soul (heart'), and in
spirit ('purer mind').

30. With tranquil restoration, with soothing and reviving power. Cf. 'healing thoughts,' line 144.

Compare what Wordsworth says of his remembrance of the 'dancing daffodils :'

'Oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.'


-Before 'feelings too' supply 'I have owed to them.'

31-35. A loving communion with Nature, especially in her gentler and more winning aspects, tends to chasten and humanise the soul: it moderates the passions, widens the sympathies, and fosters a spirit of tenderness and charity which recognises the universal brotherhood of man. To his former intercourse with these 'beauteous





forms,' the poet attributes an effect of this kind-a benign, though perhaps unconscious, influence over many acts of daily life.

32. Slight,unimportant; lit. smooth, flat. Old Dutch, slicht, even, plain.

-Trivial, common. Lat. trivialis (tres, three, via, a way), belonging to three cross-roads, that which may be picked up anywhere, common.

34. Acts, in apposition to 'that best portion.'

37. Of aspect more sublime, of a higher kind.Mood, state of mind. A.S. mód, mind, feeling. 'Mood,' meaning 'manner,' is from Lat. módus, a measure, a way.

38. Mystery, hidden meaning. Gr. mysterion, a secret rite: mueo, to initiate. In this high poetic mood, the veil is withdrawn from the 'unintelligible world,' and the inner nature and meaning of things are revealed.

42. Affections, the higher emotional


43. Corporeal frame, the body.

43-45. The breath. . . . suspended, an absolute construction. 'Freed from the bonds of sense, the soul rises to communion with the spirit that works

In body, and become a living soul:

While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

We see into the life of things.

If this

Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft-
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; 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 silvan Wye! thou wanderer through the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee !

And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,

And somewhat of a sad perplexity,

The picture of the mind revives again :

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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. And so I dare to hope,

Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first


harmoniously in nature, and with clear vision and intense joy beholds the inner life of things.'

50-57. The poet may be wrong, though he believes himself to be right, in attributing this lofty mood to the influence of these 'beauteous forms' treasured within his memory; he is certain, at anyrate, of this, that amid the dreariness of life and the profitless excitement of worldly pursuits, his spirit has been often cheered and tranquillised by recalling the quiet beauty of the scene before him.

52. Joyless daylight, day that brings no joy.-Fretful stir, restless and wearing agitation. Fret, lit. gnaw: from A.S. fretan, contracted from for-etan, to eat away; hence,

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presence of these beauteous forms, the poet recalls the ideal picture of them which he has cherished for so many years. He finds that many of the thoughts and feelings awakened by them on his former visit have almost faded from recollection, and now come back to him with dim, blurred outline and painful uncertainty. Still, as before, his sensations are of a pleasurable character, and from the memory of these too, in future years, he ventures to hope that he will reap much spiritual benefit.

60. Of a sad perplexity, sadly perplexing, painfully confused: an adjective phrase, co-ordinate with 'dim and faint,' qualifying 'recognitions,' and modified by 'somewhat.'

65. So'that in this moment there is life,' &c.

66. Though [I am] changed.. His mental and emotional nature had

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