“And again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a sweet inland murmur. —Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
Which on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.”1
Although many people use the title “Lines” to identify William Wordsworth’s nostalgic poem about the magnificence of nature and the glory of childhood, the poem has a much lengthier title: “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798.” With this poem, Wordsworth, along with other writers of his time such as Samuel Coleridge, helped found the Romantic movement in literature. Romanticism placed a major emphasis on the importance of nature and scenery in human life and also focused on using diction that the common man could understand, making poetry and literature accessible to all. In “Lines,” Wordsworth returns to the Tintern Abbey, a beautiful landscape he often visited in his youth. As he reminisces about the innocence of his childhood, he also looks forward to the future in the hopes that his young sister will also create playful memories at this location.
The Tintern Abbey was initially founded by Walter de Clare in 1131, although what remains of the structure today is actually work from a 400 year span ranging from 1136 to 1536. In the 13th Century, much of the Abbey was rebuilt. Tintern Abbey lies on the Welsh bank of the Wye River, as mentioned in Wordsworth’s poem, and sits in the village of Tintern in Monmouthshire. It served as the first Cistercian establishment in Wales and only the second in Britain. The Abbey has appeared in many literary works since influencing William Wordsworth in “Lines.”
1Wordsworth, William.”Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798.” The Complete Poetical Works. London: Macmillan and Co., 1888; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/145/. Web.
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