Wordsworth's Concept of Childhood
Sabah Karim Abid Ali†Ã
The present paper tries to shed light on one of the most important poets of his time, William Wordsworth, and his concept of childhood. It gives a holistic picture of the poet's own childhood, rearing and education which can enlighten the reasons behind his ideas and beliefs about children's rearing and education. It also deals with the poems which show his own pure delight and interest in children and childhood since he considers them as innocent creatures, and obviously he believes that childhood is a critical stage in any human being's life and children are very sensitive creatures who need to be taken care of in order to raise normal personalities ready to embrace life and make the difference. Moreover, this paper traces back and highlights the effect of some philosophers in forming and shaping his concept. This paper triggers more research work on this delicate poet who refused to abide by the formality , complexity, and hypocrisy of the eighteenth-century and rebelled against all the stiff rules that governed it.
Childhood is the age of innocence, purity, and fearlessness; it is also the age of broad imagination, laughter, and sweet dreams. The child is innocent by nature and whatever he/she does, he/she does it with pure and free heart away from any mischief or evil. Thus, this beautiful creature should be dealt with in the right way in order to build up a strong, free, and independent person who will carry on the responsibility of building his/ her society in the future. With the mounting interest in children and childhood all over the world, this research paper will be of greater importance. It aims at studying Wordsworth's concept of the child. Therefore, this paper will approach Wordsworth's poetry from this angle. In spite of the fact that Wordsworth writes about the countryside, the simple people, he mainly writes about children. He considers childhood as the golden age, the age in which the child is close to the source of divinity and to †Ã Misurata University ¡V Faculty of Arts ¡V Misurata ¡V Libya. Wordsworth's Concept of Childhood 118
nature. Consequently, the child is completely natural. Wordsworth thinks that children are far removed from the complexity, turmoil and various requirements of common life. They are withdrawn in a world of their own. To Wordsworth: " Children are blest, and powerful; their world lies
more justly balanced; partly at their feet.
And part far from them" (Darbishire,1964,p.28).
This research paper introduces Wordsworth's childhood based on his autobiographical poem, 'The Prelude', and his contemporary view towards childhood. In addition, poems dealing with children and childhood will be examined individually, as the 'Immortality' Ode, the 'Lucy Poems', 'We Are Seven', and 'My Heart Leaps Up', through which the glorification and innocence of children appear more clearly.
As the poet's childhood has had a great influence on his future life and poetry, in particular, and his view of the child, this paper begins with a sketch of his early bringing up which will acquaint the reader with the growth of his mind.
William Wordsworth ( 1770 ¡V 1850 ) , was born at Cockemouth, in Cumberland, the second of five children to a modest law-agent. He spent his childhood there and in Penrith with his mother's parents. Below the terrace, behind the house where William and his family lived ran the Dervent. There was a field on the other side which belonged to William's father, and a road which ascended through it which William imagined as a 'guide into eternity' since it seemed to reach the sky on the peak of a 'bare steep' and this sight became one of his poetic characteristics. He used to hear the sound of the river which delighted him, and its recurrent music which he used to hear day and night contributed in composing his thoughts as nature did throughout his...