William Wordsworth’s celebrated poem, “Tintern Abbey” contains some graphic descriptions of the natural scenery of the surrounding place of the river Wye. The place, visited by the poet some five years back has a haunting memory for him, and as he views again familiar sights and forms and hears familiar sounds, his memory begins to recall what he saw and enjoyed during his first visit.
Between his first visit and second, Wordsworth was far away from the lovely natural spot near Tintern Abbey. The place, with its impressive sights and sounds, was physically removed from him. Nevertheless, it was not completely cut off from him as ‘a landscape is shut out to a blind man’s eye.’ Though absent from the place, he remained present there through the perception of his romantic vision.
As a matter of fact, the memory of the place haunted his mind constantly during the intervening period (of five years) between the first visit (1793) and the second (1798). He was indebted to the place in more than one way for the gifts that it conferred on him.
In the first place, the memory of the beautiful natural scenery had a calming and restorative effect on him, whenever the poet was alone, with his vacant hours, much disturbed, amid the din and bustle of cities and towns. That memory served to chase away then the heaviness of his heart and filled him with pleasurable sensations. That feeling stirred his mind and heart profoundly and restored him to mental peace and quietude.
In the second place, the memory of the place had also aroused, almost unnoticed, in him such feelings of inexplicable delight which might have been stirred by the feeling of kindness and of love. The poet felt that the rare beauty of Nature reminded him of his great experience and he came to have a share in the feeling which a man might experience, after remembering unconsciously a long-forgotten work of nobleness and love performed previously by him.
In the third place, this scenic charm of the place also served to create in him a mood of mind in which all earthly limitations and depressions were transcended. The poet ceased to be a material, physical being and became almost a living soul, with a clear sense of what was inexplicable and mysterious in the world. In such a mood, he perceives an all-pervasive harmony and penetrated into the great joy which pervaded all over the universe and the individual mind. That was the supreme transcendental moment of revelation in which his earthly, existence was almost suspended and he seemed to have become a ‘living soul.’