Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Ode on Intimations of Immortality, Part IV" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month

For the Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for June 23, 2014 (with apologies for the tardy posting), we continue with our study of "Ode on Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month.  Today we will examine Part IV.

Ode on Intimations of Immortality, Part IV
William Wordsworth

Ye bless├ęd Creatures, I have heard the call
     Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
     My heart is at your festival,
       My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel--I feel it all.
         O evil day! if I were sullen
         While Earth herself is adorning
              This sweet May-morning;
         And the children are culling
              On every side
         In a thousand valleys far and wide
         Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:--
         I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
         --But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look’d upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
              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?

This piece consists of a single stanza of twenty-two lines with a complex rhyme scheme:  abbaaacddceeffghhhiijj.  The apostrophe-filled fifteenth line stands alone in that it rhymes with no other.  This was probably done in order to emphasize or set apart the apostrophe.

Once again, the speaker, presumably Wordsworth, revels in the wonders of nature, in this case the sounds of animals and the sight of children picking fresh May flowers.  Then, as we have seen before, melancholy thoughts intrude upon his reverie.  A certain tree, a certain field triggers memories of loss.  His reverie is shattered, and his revelry comes to an abrupt end.

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