Tintern Abbey A Poem By William Wordsworth

1256 words - 5 pages

William Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey describes a return to a location the speaker has not been to for 5 years. The focus of Wordsworth’s poem is to show memory, more specifically memory of a unity with nature. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Locksley Hall similarly describes a return to a location. This location provides particular sentimental value to the speaker as he spent his childhood there and, importantly to this poem, the place where he fell in love. Analysis of the two poems provides insight into the two different eras they represent, as they are written on a similar subject matter with a varying message. Wordsworth uses this meditation on a formerly significant place to discuss romantic ideals of proximity to nature and how childhood allows for a closer connection to nature. Tennyson on the other hand uses his feelings on Locksley Hall to draw light on failures in society. The focus of this essay is to show how memories of the past show romantic ideals of connection to nature through Wordsworth’s poem and the Victorian aim of critiquing materialism through Tennyson’s poem. In William Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey and Alfred Tennyson’s Locksley Hall childhood memory is used to reflect changing mindsets of poets that represent different generations.
The forms of these two poems reflect trends seen at the time of their publishing. Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey is written in unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter, otherwise known as blank verse. Blank verse can be read easily as it bears resemblance to prose. In addition to this, iambic pentameter is commonly used to mimic natural speech patterns making it simple to read, an ideal of the romantic period. Locksley Hall is a dramatic monologue with 97 rhyming couplets. The dramatic monologue was typical of the Victorian era and like Tintern Abbey, it was used to show natural speech. These two poems are clearly alike in their style and form despite the difference in time between them. Yet while form is used to discuss similar ideas, slightly different messages reflect their time periods.
The full title of Wordsworth’s poem is Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, showing an intention to write at Tintern Abbey therefore allowing the feelings this location elicits to be written about. The speaker recalls the feelings he used to have when at Tintern Abbey by saying “The sounding cataract/ Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock/ The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood/ Their colours and their forms, were then to me/ An appetite: a feeling and a love….-that time is past,” (Wordsworth, line 76-84). The purpose of this is to show how his connection with nature has changed since he was last here, as there is an emphasis on past tense. The speaker in Locksley Hall, on the other hand, is inspired by this return to think about a lost time of innocence and optimism in his life. This innocence is shown when the speaker says “In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove/In the Spring a young...

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