Tintern Abby: The Epitome of Picturesque

William Wordsworth’s mother and father both died when he was a young boy but Wordsworth found solace in nature. In Tintern Abbey, Wordsworth paints pictures of “Waters, rolling from their mountain-springs with a sweet inland murmur”(390) and “the living air, and the blue sky”(392). The imagery that Wordsworth uses was thought of an embarrassment to poetry because of how simplistic it was. But today, Wordsworth is known for iconic and natural imagery. In the beginning of Tintern Abbey, Wordsworth speaks about how he is returning to nature (390). Despite that Wordsworth has been close to nature since his parents died, I feel that he is trying to allude to the fact that we are all related to nature and even if a person feels like they are alone in the world, they truly will never be as long as nature continues to exist.

Tintern Abbey describes the picturesque nature as a place for Wordsworth to escape and build a new identity as alluded to in the following quotation, “I came among these hills; when like a roe/ I bounded o’er the mountains, by the slides of the deep rivers and lonely streams,/ wherever nature led.” In the poem, Wordsworth is using nature not only as an escape from his reality of financial troubles, rejection of his literature, and the death that follows him, but as a way for him to reinvent himself into someone more accepted by society. People can simply lose themselves in nature, gazing off into the pictorial horizon.

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3 thoughts on “Tintern Abby: The Epitome of Picturesque

  1. I like how you connected Wordsworth’s refuge in nature to his work. I’ve always found nature to be cathartic even in its disarray, as I think Wordsworth may have, too.

  2. A good start here, but going forward I’d like you to try taking your interpretations further. You set up Wordsworth’s taking refuge in nature very nicely by invoking his parents’ deaths when he was young. How *specifically* might the return to nature address that sense of loss or mourning in the poem?

    Also, I’m intrigued by your suggestion that his return to nature was meant as a kind of “recharging” trip to make himself more acceptable socially? This seems counterintuitive, given that he’s seeking isolation, so I’d love to hear your reasons. This is an interesting idea that needs more justifying to make clear. Let’s discuss in class.

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

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