Tintern Abbey and the Picturesque

Wordsworth’s poem Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey demonstrates all of the romantic aesthetic ideas but it especially the picturesque. Beginning with the title which I found to be very interesting because the Tintern Abbey is not the subject of the poem. Wordsworth includes the name because he may want to infer the importance of the poem through the mentioning of Tintern Abbey. Today, one might call this “name dropping.” Additionally, because of the historical context introduced with the mention of Tintern Abbey, Wordsworth could want the name mentioning to represent time or time passing. 

The first few lines are vital to bringing out the picturesque ideal in the poem. “Five years have passed; five summers, with the length of five long winter,” gives the essence that the poet is returning to something or someone in their past that they were particularly fond of. Towards the end of the poem, the idea of temporality is displayed when Wordsworth writes, ” Nor wilt thou then forget / That after many wanderings, many years/ Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, (…) were to me / More dear.” His mentioning of nature is extremely indicative especially when it is combined with the theme of temporality.

4 thoughts on “Tintern Abbey and the Picturesque

  1. I believe that Wordsworth used Tintern Abbey as a representation of the love he has always held for nature, and was a sacred place to him. In the poem he talks about thinking upon the place in dark times leading me to believe it actually carried a special place inside of him. He uses it as a vehicle to talk about himself as the first time he visited to the changes he as undergone since that time. Ultimately the poem is about his growth as a person, and his wish that his sister is able to find that same peace that he has found. Tintern Abbey is a place he has visited a few times over the course of his life making it a place that he can use to talk about his changes from visit to visit while still holding personal significance.

  2. This is a good start, Lauren, but you need to press your observations to their conclusions. Your statement that “[h]is mentioning of nature is extremely indicative” is too vague. Indicative of what? Keep going!

  3. I really think that he includes Tintern Abbey in the poem as a way to convey a personal connection to, not the place itself, but a time period associated with the place. You mention how he might include the name as a way to represent time or time passing, and I agree with you. I think that the passing of time, though, is used as a vessel through which Wordsworth conveys his wrestling with personal idea. In other words, the passing of time itself is not what he wants to call attention to, but it is the way that he has changed as a human being over the course of this time.

  4. Pingback: Soundtrack for Passengers #1 | Samuel Snodgrass's Sentimental Sentiments

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