The Importance Of Memory In Tintern Abbey

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For Romantic poets, there is no greater force upon humans than one of the many forms of the imagination. For William Wordsworth, this force is exemplified in memory. The greatest example of his exploration of memory comes from "Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798." In it he displays his opinion of memory as a powerful source of enlightenment and pleasure through his interaction with the natural world. It becomes something he recalls time and time again to ease the ills of everyday life, giving him solace that he hopes can also affect the companion of the poem, his sister, Dorothy. Through his experience within "Tintern Abbey," Wordsworth presents his view that memory is a powerful balm that can allow its bearer some degree of relief from the adverse situations that a person may face throughout life. …show more content…

Even within "Tintern Abbey," Wordsworth shows an unpleasant time through his lamentation of the loss of youth. In some ways the poem refers to a crisis of passing time, maturation, and the effects of memory on "that best portion of a good man's life" (34). By claiming "all its aching joys are now no more," (85) he laments the passage of time. Memory helps to highlight the good in these times long passed. This crisis of age is eased through his utilization of the memories he has created at places like Tintern Abbey. He states their benefits, claiming "I have owed to them, / In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, / Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart" (27-29). He has called upon these memories to bring "tranquil restoration" (31) which helps him through life, becoming a means of rejuvenation. Wordsworth calls upon these memories again and again as he shows his habitual use of memory: "How often has my spirit turned to thee!"

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