Ode Intimations of Immortality by William Wordsworth
In Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth explores the moral development of man and the irreconcilable conflicts between innocence and experience, and youthfulness and maturity that develop. As the youth matures he moves farther away from the divinity of God and begins to be corruption by mankind. What Wordsworth wishes for is a return to his childhood innocence but with his new maturity and insight. This would allow him to experience divinity in its fullest sense: he would re-experience the celestial radiance of childhood as well as the reality of his present existence. Wordsworth wants to have the better of the two conflicting worlds: childhood and maturity, divinity and knowledge; but these two existences are antitheses and the source of the irony behind Wordsworth's utopian dream.
In stanza one and two the speaker is recalling his childhood perception of nature. The speaker perceived nature idealistically as a child and still as an adult recalls the perception and briefly experiences his childlikeness through the memories.
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
In stanza two "Wordsworth not only confirms his senses but he also confirms his ability to perceive beauty"(Davis 145). He explains his reactions to loveliness of the rose and the moon. Stanza three the speaker expresses his grief: "to me alone there came a thought of grief (1481)."
In stanzas three and four, the speaker is attempting to relive his childhood splendor, but it is a useless effort; and the reader senses that it is forced, evident in the speaker's reoccurring depressions and questions. The irony between the two conditions of the speaker is that when he was a child he did not realize the grace of his divinity. Not until he becomes a man does he realized this and by this time it is too late, for he has already lost most of his childhood spirit and gleam. The child is divine because he remembers the glory of Heaven, and as the child grows into a man he "fades into the light of common day"(1482). The child's virtue that he used to have has slowly dissipated with age and experience. The adult looking back at his childhood can no longer see nature and his surroundings as he did when he was a child; his perception has evolved with his maturation. The speaker rationalizes his development but does not understand it fully, he recognizes his loss of sight but is unable to do anything about it. His blindness is inevitable. The fourth stanza concludes with the climax of the Ode.
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
The first four stanzas express the joy of childhood and reveal the sense loss he feels when he can no longer experience the celestial light, while the remaining seven stanzas attempt to...