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Critical Appreciation of Ode on Intimations of Immortality

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Critical Appreciation of Ode on Intimations of Immortality

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The Romantic Poet William Wordsworth wrote "Ode on Intimations of Immortality" in the midst of the Romantic Period during the early 19th century. This was a time of new scientific thought, observing nature, and social reform. Critical Appreciation

This great poem gives expression to the human instinct for a belief in immortality. The poem is built around what may be called the doctrine of reminiscence. The child remembers the life he led in heaven before his birth in this world. The child is, therefore, sur¬rounded by a heavenly glory. His memories of a pre-natal existence invest all Nature with a divine light. In other words, when the child looks at Nature, he finds all objects of Nature wrapped up in a dream-like splendour. But, as the child grows, he falls more and more under the influence of this world and, therefore, his memories of heaven become dimmer and dimmer till they fade out of his mind. The child remembers that he lived in heaven before his birth, while the grown-up man has no such recollection. Therefore the child is greater than the man. The child may be called a great prophet, a great seer, a great philosopher. But there are occasions in the life of a grown-up man when his memories of childhood bring him certain vague intimations of immortality. In other words, while the child’s feeling of immortality is based upon his memories of a heavenly life, the grown-up man’s feeling of immortality is based on his recollections of childhood. In maturity one misses the heavenly light which one saw as a child in the objects of Nature. But maturity has its own compen¬sations. With maturity comes the faith in a life after death. Maturity, too, brings reflection (or “the philosophic mind”); while the sight of human suffering gives rise to “soothing thoughts”. In this temper, even the meanest flower can arouse in a man thoughts which are so deep that they cannot be expressed even through tears. As an ode, Intimations of Immortality has an irregular form....