Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree

While reading this poem, I found that the most contrasting element in relation to Enlightenment sensibility would be the immersion the narrator has in nature (or the immersion man of which the narrator speaks has in nature). The lines left upon the seat impart that “Stranger! these gloomy boughs / Had charms for him; and here he loved to sit, / His only visitants a straggling sheep, / The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper” (lines 21-24). His commune with nature distances himself from the Enlightenment ideas of mastering nature, and gaining experience through critical reflection. Through nature, he is able to experience deeply personal emotions that affect his entire person: where “lifting up his head, he then would gaze / On the more distant scene; how lovely ’tis / Thou seest, and he would gaze till it became / Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain / The beauty still more beauteous” (lines 30-34). Although the tone of the poem changes toward the end, I think the influence nature has on the character best exemplifies a significant difference between Enlightened and Romantic thought.


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