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Free «Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour.July 13, 1789» Essay Sample

Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour.July 13, 1789 is one of the most popular poems among the works of “Lyrical Ballads and Other Poems” by Wordsworth.

What does the author depicts in his poem?

In his poem, William Wordsworth depicts the progression of human consciousness as a set of changes in his personality. The writer developed literal devices which he later used in his work under the name Prelude. Each change corresponds to a specific understanding of the world and a certain kind of landscape.  Despite the fact that collection of poems was dedicated to lyrical ballads, we can hardly refer Tintern Abbey to the genre of ballad. It is written as a blank verse and resembles the odes by Horatio. Every line is opposed to the following one, which has contrast meaning. Wordsworth himself did not want to call this poem an ode, but had an intention to place some features of this genre into his poetry for readers to get this slight allusion.



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The author concentrates the poem on the beauty of the landscapes near the Tintern Abbey and the Wye river. He depicts it precisely, giving specific details and paying a lot of attention to sounds and images. The reader can feel that the author has strong affection towards the place, nature and picturesque landscapes. Moreover, we can observe tender reminiscences over the past five years depicted in the lines of the poem. The poet compares his thoughts and impressions now and his anticipations in the past, he also ponders over the future. He enjoys nature and its beauty. William Wordsworth does not concentrate his attention on the history of Tintern Abbey even though he was acknowledged with it. He does not depict particular events or legends as other writers did, he distracts the attention of the reader from stones, ruins, trees and ivy and concentrates it on the philosophical thoughts.

What does the title of the poem signify?

The name of the poem also has something hidden beneath the surface. “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”, the author says directly that he is nor near the Abbey nor inside it, but above. Such interpretation has two senses. First is physical. He describes everything from above, may be from the top of the hill or standing on a high place. The second meaning in figurative, he raised upon the empiric mind, moves away from reality and all routine by mentally going to something higher.

Where we can observe the contrast between inner and outer issues in the poem?

In the first few lines, there is a progression from the outer environment to the inner. William Wordsworth proceeds from the description of nature, orchards, farms, steep cliffs, sycamores and other details of nature to the formulating of thoughts about his past reminiscences. His reflections lead him to a conclusion that not everything around us can be noticed from the first sight. For example at first he sees hedge-rows but then the view disappears and only little lines become visible. This episode serves as a change of outer environment such as description of landscapes to the inner meditations.

Among the most vivid examples of inner anxiety of the author we can see flashes of the past that still worry him. He recalls back to those times and tries to revive emotions and feelings that he experienced. William Wordsworth compares two lifestyles: rural and hectic. He remembers himself living in the towns and cities and thinking about his visits to the Tintern Abbey. Those thoughts had  a dual effect. On the one hand, while thinking about the past he could escape from daily routine, but at the same time he noticed that he becomes more sensitive to the city life.

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The author used to see Tintern Abbey in his dreams, but when visiting it again he experienced a strange feeling of unreality, like the picture of mind revives again. Here appears the effect of combination of two realities: present and past. There is a feeling that existing picture has shades of foregone images. The poet connects past, present and future trying to perceive the completeness of time. He recognizes in his sister the same feelings, and this makes him think about people’s consciousness.

What are the stages of individual development in the poem?

William Wordsworth distinguishes three stages of individual development in his poem. The first one is youth. When people are young they are frank and sincere, they experience “glad animal movements” when they discover the beauty of nature. In the second stage, this affection grows into deep love and they become tightly connected with all phenomena of nature. All colors, odors, forms seem to young people as a reflection of their own” passions and appetites”. But the hero of the Tintern Abbey had already left those stages. He regrets losing that youth’s sincerity which can feel the nature. But this lost is compensated by another gift – ability to love people and listen to “the still, sad music of humanity”.  In the mind of the poet, there is a reappraisal of values. He supposes that everything we see is only half created by nature, and half is created by the viewer.

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It should be mentioned that in the poem, there is no division between the poet, protagonist and lyrical hero; all three characters are mixed in one. That is why   it is so easy for the author to depict one landscape from different sides.  

What stylistic devises did William Wordsworth use in his poem?

Every poem is a collection of various devices which make poetry more expressive and bright. Among figures of combination we can find many examples of similes. These figures of identity include: like a roe, like a man, like a passion. Among figures of quality we can find examples of metaphors: the landscape with the quiet of the sky, little lines of sportive wood run wild, the fever of the world, have hung upon the beatings of my heart, the picture of the mind revives again, I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides of the deep rivers, the mind that is within us, thy mind shall be a mansion for all lovely forms and plenty of others. In addition to these devices the author uses epithets, for example misty mountain-winds, cheerful faith, wild eyes, former pleasures, former heart and others. The role of all these devices is to create an atmosphere, to underline the importance of certain words and word combinations and to make the whole writing more interesting and sophisticated.

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William Wordsworth depicted a lot of notions in his poem. The beauty of the world around him is discussed from many sides. Through the description of landscapes and nature of Tintern Abbey, the author shows his deep thoughts about life and time. Memories and reminiscences of the past serve as proof of strong affection to the place and become a subject of comparison with his sister. In such way, we can observe differentiation of two landscapes: outer and inner. The heading of the poem has symbolical meaning that shows empiric reflections of the protagonist. The author gives us an allusion on three stages of individual development: naïve perception of the world, strong feelings and maturity of mind. The poet also uses a lot of devices to support, develop his ideas and to give expressiveness to the writing. 


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