My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
Although at first glance “My Heart Leaps Up” by William Wordsworth may appear to be a simple little rhyme, after more profound inspection we shall see that it is actually the result of great toil and the product of remarkable skill. Some think that long, wordy works are more difficult to write than short ones. To the contrary, presenting a complex idea is not such an ominous task when one is allowed as many pages as one wishes in which to do so. It is when that same complex thought is to be distilled until only its potent essence remains that true genius is required. And that is exactly what Wordsworth’s “My Heart Leaps Up” displays. In a few simple lines it encompasses almost all of the themes central to the British Romantic movement. As a matter of fact, “My Heart Leaps Up” is a Romantic poem in both form and structure, as well. Excellent intro. “My Heart Leaps Up” embodies the following Romantic themes: that of the importance of the emotions; the idea of the importance of nature; the idea of the transience of Joy, whence springs creative power; the concern for the loss of creative power; the theme of the sanctity of childhood; and, lastly, the theme of the exalted position of rustic man. The idea of the importance of the emotions is represented in the title/first line of the poem. This idea is the foundation of the Romantic movement, which was a reaction to the inordinate emphasis being put on reason, empirical knowledge and book learning by philosophers of the Enlightenment, to the downplay of the emotions, intuitive knowledge and “natural learning,” so to speak. The importance of nature, another Romantic theme, is touched on in the first and second lines: “My...
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