The text of the poem is at http://www.online-literature.com/wordsworth/518/. The following link contains general instructions.
Wordsworth's credo is that poetry "takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." The poet's two experiences at Tintern Abbey in southern Wales (in 1793, and in 1798) and Wordsworth's meditation on the significance of their relationship require thought.
1. The poet discusses the personal importance of memory. Give an example of how a principle learned in the past could be "life and food" for an individual in the future. How is the idea of past connected to present established in the opening lines of the poem?2. Quote from the poem to explain the attitude of the speaker toward the physical setting. 3. In what ways has nature been a source of comfort to the speaker (1ines 23-57)? How do these lines reflect Wordsworth's credo (see above)?
4. Explain what you feel Wordsworth means by "that best portion of a good man's life" (line 33).
5. Briefly, what are the joys of nature that the speaker describes as having experienced in his youth (1ines 65-83)? How do these images reveal his feelings about Nature at this time of his life (age 28) as opposed those of his youth (i.e., at age 23)?
6. In lines 84-111, the speaker describes two stages in his life, as a youth (line 91) and as mature person (line 95). Why does the speaker think the third stage (lines 93-4) is the best? What is the "presence" which disturbs him (line 94)?
7. Briefly explain how Wordsworth depicts Nature as a moral teacher in this poem.
8. In 1ine 116, the speaker addresses his sister. Why is it important that she be there with him? What message does he give her in lines 122- 151?
9. This poem is one of the great examples of contemplative poetry, both in content and in form. Identify the predominant meter of the poem, scanning several lines. Propose reasons why this verse form is appropriate to this kind of poem.
10. For general discussion: What evidence does the poem present that William Wordsworth was a "pantheist"?
Last modified: 24 June 2003