Wordsworth - Intimations of Immortality

Prowling the physics blogs, I came across a bit of bibliophilic detective work capped with a quote from a Wordsworth poem. It inspired me to look a bit farther, and I found the whole poem here.

The first stanza says

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream
It is not now as it hath been of yore-
Turn whereso'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

Like my friend Ken Steacy, I like to say "I'm twelve years old from the neck up." Wordsworth suggests what that could mean if I were to really realize it. He goes on to mourn that he knows a glory has passed from the Earth; with maturity and the burdens of responsibility comes a loss of the naivety that gave us such easy pleasure when we were young.

The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare,
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.


The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

With later years and comprehension comes the realization that what was lost is still there -

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young Lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts today
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.


Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

And he leaves us with the thought that our innocent state of mind can be reclaimed.


Content by Nick Porcino (c) 1990-2011