Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bring out Wordsworth’s love of nature from any two poems included in your course. (P.U. 2002)

Wordsworth is, indisputably, the greatest poet of Nature. There is a systematic development in his attitude towards nature. At first he loves Nature for its external loveliness. He appreciates it through his senses and revels in the colour, the smell and the form of natural objects. He loves ‘sounding cataract’ for its sound, and the rose for its beauty. This is the stage of ‘thoughtless youth’. Later on he begins to worship Nature for its inner meaning. He now looks on Nature as ‘an embodiment of the Divine Spirit’. In other words he spiritualizes Nature. He thinks that Nature is not lifeless but possesses a life and spirit. He further believes that there is a spirit in nature as well as in the mind of man. It is possible for man to have communion with Nature. Anyone who communes with her would gain in power, beauty and holiness. He says in ode on the Intimations of Immortality:

To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
He regards Nature as the nurse of his moral being and worships it as a teacher, guide and friend. He describes Nature in such a way as to suggest that nature can mould and ennoble human life. He places nature on a high pedestal. Nature is like a goddess who compels admiration and worship.
Wordsworth’s philosophy of Nature, being systematic, is based on some well-defined, fundamental principles. Nature is instinct with life. In other words, there is an indwelling spirit behind every flower, tree and river, and indeed every commonplace object of Nature. According to Wordsworth, Nature exercises a two fold influence upon man. It is to man first impute and then law. As an impute, she inspires the human mind; as a law, she restrains and chastens man’s thoughts and emotions. There is a pre-determined harmony between the Spirit of Nature and the mind of man. The deep and essential harmony between Man and Nature works in two ways;
1.    It enables Nature to communicate its message to Man.
2.    It enables Man to repeat on the message.
As we have said earlier, Wordsworth realizes this deep spiritual significance of Nature through three successive stages;
(a) The sensuous   (b)        The intellectual
(c) The moral and spiritual.
Wordsworth’s love of Nature becomes at the last stage ‘holy’. He loves Nature as a devotee loves his God. No poet of Nature has been more truthful than Wordsworth in his representation of the various objects of Nature. He paints natural objects but never reads his emotions in them. He offers us the bird and the flower, the tree and the river, the wind and the rain just as they are. He sees nothing ugly or mean. He exalts and glorifies even the most ordinary things of life and Nature. He recognizes the sentient and personal life of Nature and not merely her physical growth or outward changes. In his childhood, the flowers, the streams, the hill and even the winds are regarded as his companions.
Let us now study the two important poems of Wordsworth, namely, ‘Tintern Abbey’ and ‘Immortality Ode’ to expound the observations made above. We see Wordsworth in Tintern Abbey as a worshipper of Nature. He shows his romantic passion for nature. He gives highly emotional descriptions of the effects of the outer world upon his inner life. The main theme of the poem is the poets’ relationship with Nature and his indebtedness to her. In fact, we know everything about Wordsworth as a poet of Nature from Tintern Abbey. He recounts how Nature influenced him, brought him peace and tranquillity of mind even when he was in the din and bustle of the city. We find him as the poet and mystic of Nature. He describes how the contemplation of Nature brought to him a blessed mood and miner vision that enabled him to see into the life of things. He gives the different stages of development of his love for Nature. He takes delight in Nature. He achieves a contact with the still sad music of humanity’. And finally he feels an all-pervading spirit in her. In this poem he clearly states his faith in Nature: Nature never did betray the heart that loved her’. This poem reveals his mysticism and pantheism. Nature becomes the passion for the picturesque:
I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.
In Immortality Ode the poet faces a crisis in his life. He has been a worshiper of nature. But with the advance in years, he seems to lose his close contact with nature. He remembers that there was a time when meadow, grove, stream, the earth and every common sight was a matter of glory and a fresh dream. He has now arrived at a stage of his life when he says:
‘The things which I have seen I now can see no more.’ He further acknowledges that the rainbow, the rose, the moon, the starry might, the sunshine are all the same but he feels that there has past away a glory from the earth.
He is visited by sad thoughts but he has given vent to his sorrow and feels relieved. He has recovered his former composure. ‘And I again am strong’. The winds, the earth, the sea all are filled with joy. The poet invites the shepherd-boy to share his delight. He feels the heavens laugh, the earth is adorning itself and the children are culling fresh flowers in a thousand valleys far and wide. But he asks: where is that loveliness, that beauty and delight which used to haunt everything in his childhood. Wordsworth, as the poem proceeds, gives an explanation as to why this loss of touch with Nature has happened. He has survived with this timely expression of his grief and takes courages in the thoughts that even though he has suffered a loss, other gifts of life have followed. Thus he has got a consolation.

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