The sunshine is a glorious birth
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth. (L 16-18)
These lines are extracted from William Wordsworth’s poem Ode on Intimations of Immortality. Wordsworth here regrets the loss of the celestial vision of his childhood in his manhood. Despite all natural charms around him, he fails to enjoy them, as he used to do in his childhood. He cannot but experience only the sad loss of the radiance on common natural objects that he could perceive as a child. It is in this context, that the poet makes this observation.
There was a time when the poet found in different natural objects ‘the glory and the freshness of the dream’. But he ceases to have that glorious gleams on the same in his manhood. Of course, he finds the elements of Nature as bright and lovely as before. The sun rises in the dawn with as much splendour as before to indicate the grand coming of another day. Similarly, other natural objects remain as fair and glorious as he found them in his childhood. Yet, he is unable to deny that something has gone away from him. The glorious vision of his childhood days has vanished altogether. That is a sad truth which haunts him constantly.
The expression bears out the poet’s sense of the loss of his spiritual vision of childhood in his manhood. A feeling of personal loss is, no doubt, expressed here. But this echoes a universal note of sorrow at the realization of what is missed in the manhood-the innocent joy of childhood. The lines attain here a lyrical depth.