William Wordsworth recognizes that he has lost the intense imagination of his childhood and replaced it with philosophical wisdom in his poem "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey" (1798). The poem parallels Coleridge's ode in many ways. The first-person narrator is the poet, and the subject of the poem is the poet in both works. Wordsworth's poem comprises a series of autobiographical reminiscences, similiar to the autobiographical recollection in stanza 6 of "Dejection: An Ode".
Wordsworth, like Coleridge, writes about his fortunate fall. Having lost the imaginative joy of nature he possessed in his childhood, Wordsworth finds that it was worth sacrificing it for the wisdom that comes with age. This is true although wisdom allows him to see the "still, sad music of humanity" because this acceptance of sadness outside himself allows him to acheive a more meaningful and realistic understanding of nature. Coleridge's fortunate fall occurs when, depressed by egotism, he turns to someone else. Similiarly, Wordsworth escapes the egotistical depression that weighs on him the first time he visits Tintern Abbey by turning to others, to "humanity."
Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000