Lunchtime Autumnal Poem--Wordsworth--Ode Intimations


There is something about this poem that always struck me as very autumnal. Though the imagery is not, they seem to be autumn thoughts--a gentle sort of melancholy and then recovery. The entire poem is over two-hundred lines long so I could not post the whole thing, so it came down to selection. Here is what I offer from one of those glorious, beautiful, and sometime overwritten Romantic era poems:

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
William Wordsworth

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
  The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
                Hath had elsewhere its setting,
                  And cometh from afar:
              Not in entire forgetfulness,
              And not in utter nakedness,
  But trailing clouds of glory do we come
              From God, who is our home:
  Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
  Shades of the prison-house begin to close
              Upon the growing Boy,
  But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
              He sees it in his joy;
  The Youth, who daily farther from the east
              Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
              And by the vision splendid
              Is on his way attended;
  At length the Man perceives it die away,
  And fade into the light of common day.

The theme of the entire poem is that while young we seem to have more direct access to the beauties and virtues of heaven. But as we age those things that once stirred us to great heights of emotion--love, devotion, delight, no longer seem to hold the same power over us. Read the entire poem for the resolution--it is truly one of the delights of 19th Century Poetry, and one of the poems that shaped much of the poetic landscape after it. Delight in Wordsworth at his very best.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 3, 2002 1:34 PM.

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