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Tintern Abby

             The period between 1798 and 1837 is known as the Romantic Age in British literature. In both ideals and structure the writings of the Romantic Age are in sharp contrast to those of the Neoclassical styles that had dominated 18th century literature. Romantic poems emphasize human adventure, passion, delight, love of splendor, of extravagance, and of the supernatural. William Wordsworth, who is considered by many the first true Romantic, expresses in his poem "Tintern Abbey" many Romantic ideals. In his poem Wordsworth shows a strong appreciation for the beauty of nature, contemplation on the mysterious and supernatural, and a stress on writing for the individual. By emphasizing these three characteristics in his poem, Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" is truly a poem of the Romantic Movement. .
             Tintern Abbey is a monologue and mainly focuses on the speaker and his thoughts. The speaker however does make references to specific objects in nature as well as to others - the spirit of nature and his sister. Wordsworth seems to have no concern for the pretension of his poem but is rather more concerned with speaking from his heart. Wordsworth's plainspoken language, seen through his simplistic and forthright diction, is in great contrast to the extravagant verses of the flamboyant 18th century poets.
             Wordsworth's strong love and admiration for the beauty of nature can be seen throughout "Tintern Abbey". The speaker states that the "beauteous forms" found in the lovely landscape had worked upon his memory while he was alone in city. The memories provided him with "sensations sweet, /Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart." The memory of the wood and the cottages offered "tranquil restoration" to his mind and affected him even when he was not aware. For example he was affected when he provided "little, nameless, unremembered acts/ of kindness and love." He also shows his appreciation for nature when he credits these memories with offering him access to that mental and spiritual state in which the burden of the world is lightened, in which he becomes a "living soul" with a view into "the life of things.

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