‘Ode on Intimations of Immortality‘ is a sort of spiritual autobiography of William Wordsworth. Its main theme is the glorification of childhood. The poet pays here an eloquent tribute to childhood and elevates this with a spiritual insight.
In childhood, Nature seems to wear ‘the glory and freshness’ of a dream, and every natural object appears ‘apparelled in celestial light’. But, as childhood gradually passes into manhood, this vision fades away into the light of common day’ and ‘the glory and the dream’ do no longer remain.
The poem shows, that in his childhood, rather in his infancy, man is very fresh from heaven on this earth. He still retains naturally, at least partly, in him his heavenly association. But as he grows old, he gets knowledge and experience of the human world and loses his intuitional delight in Nature, brought by his spiritual retrospection. The recollections of his heavenly glory also remain partly present in him. The poet finds in childhood the richness of spontaneous delight, simple faith, and fresh hopes. He also feels that the endless questions of the child are the marks of his spiritual existence, free from all earthly fetters.
To Wordsworth, in fact, childhood seems glorious for its kinship with heaven. He looks upon the child as the ‘mighty Prophet’, the ‘seer blest’. The child is the best philosopher, who keeps his heavenly heritage in his earthly stay. Childhood is the most treasured memory of human life. Over the child ‘immortality broods like a day’, and thereby bespeaks his high instincts. The child, before ‘our mortal nature did tremble like a guilty thing surprised’, has the ‘truths that wake to perish never’. Even in his age, man’s best wisdom and noblest aspirations are shaped by the mere recollections of what he felt and dreamt as a child, and nothing ‘can utterly abolish or destroy this. So the poet perceives, even in maturity, the fresh, lively, and intuitive childhood vision-
Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea.
Which brought us hither…..