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The Prelude

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by

Emma Mayer

on 19 December 2013

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Transcript of The Prelude

The Prelude
lines 1-31
Lines 31 - 58
Dear Liberty! Yet what would it avail
But for a gift that consecrates the joy?
For I, methought, while the sweet breath of heaven
Was blowing on my body, felt within
A correspondent breeze, that gently moved
With quickening virtue, but is now become
A tempest, a redundant energy,
Vexing its own creation. Thanks to both,
And their congenial powers, that, while they join
In breaking up a long-continued frost, 40
Bring with them vernal promises, the hope
Of active days urged on by flying hours,--
Days of sweet leisure, taxed with patient thought
Abstruse, nor wanting punctual service high,
Matins and vespers of harmonious verse!

Thus far, O Friend! did I, not used to make
A present joy the matter of a song,
Pour forth that day my soul in measured strains
That would not be forgotten, and are here
Recorded: to the open fields I told 50
A prophecy: poetic numbers came
Spontaneously to clothe in priestly robe
A renovated spirit singled out,
Such hope was mine, for holy services.
My own voice cheered me, and, far more, the mind's
Internal echo of the imperfect sound;
To both I listened, drawing from them both
A cheerful confidence in things to come.
lines 59-80
Lines 80-106

section of the poem
Content, and not unwilling now to give
A respite to this passion, I paced on
With brisk and eager steps; and came at length
To a green shady place where down I sate
Beneath a tree, slackening my thoughts by choice,
And settling into gentler happiness.
'Twas Autumn, and a clear and placid day,
With warmth, as much as needed, from a sun
Two hours declined towards the west, a day
With silver clouds, and sunshine on the grass,
And, in the sheltered and the sheltering grove,
A perfect stillness. Many were the thoughts
Encouraged and dismissed, till choice was made
Of a known Vale whither my feet should turn,
Nor rest till they had reached the very door
Of the one Cottage which methought I saw.
No picture of mere memory ever looked
So fair; and while upon the fancied scene
I gazed with growing love, a higher power
Than Fancy gave assurance of some work
Of glory, there forthwith to be begun,
Perhaps too there performed.
central message
authorial intent
section of the poem
strategies used
Oh there is blesing in this gentle breeze,
A vistant that, while he fans my cheek,
Doth seem half-conscious of the joy he brings
From the green fields, and from yon azure sky.
Whate'er his mission, the soft breeze can come
To none more grateful than to me; escaped
From the vast City, where I long have pined
A discontented Sojourner--Now free,
Free as a bird to settle where I will.
What dwelling shall receive me? in what vale
Shall be my harbour? underneath what grove
Shalle with its murmur lull me into rest?
The earth is all before me: with a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about; and should the chosen guide
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way. I breathe again;
Trances of thought and mountings of the heart
Come fast upon me: it is shaken off,
That burthen of my own unnatural self,
The heavy weight of many a weary day
Not mine, and such as were not made for me.
Long months of peace (if such bold word accord
With any promises of human life),
Long months of ease and undisturbed delight
Are mine in prospect: whither shall I turn,
By road or pathway, or through trackless field,
Up hill or down, or shall some floating thing
Upon the River point me out my course?
the speaker finds himself incredibly happy in nature, and eager to explore it (lines 59-61)
he sits down and begins to settle into a comfortable place, and since we know he enjoys nature this makes sense (lines 62-64)
the autumn weather was perfect, and he goes on to describe it (65-71)
he goes into a valley and finds a cottage, although we later learn it is not real but it looked real to him (72-76)
he suggests that some "higher power" made him see it (77-80)
overall, the central message of the section is to show the reader the refuge that the speaker finds in this green place as well as the happiness he feels there
knowing that this is part of Wordsworth's autobiography, we can see he is trying to show us how he values nature and generally how he began to value Romanticism
he aims to show us the happiness and passion to be gained when surrounded by nature
the value of memory and illusion is shown through the Cottage in the Vale and how the "higher power," which is probably nature, and the pleasure it can give someone even without existence
similarly, Wordsworth shows the fact that nature can be enjoyed even in Autumn, in fact it might even be better then
the value of solitude in nature is shown at the beginning , reflecting more ideas of Romanticism
overall, the poem displays many elements of Romanticism in Wordsworth's time, and the authorial intent is to reflect t them in the poem
positive diction to give reader the idea that nature is good:
"content (line 59)"
"eager (line 61)"
"gentler happiness (line 64)"
"warmth (line 65)"
free verse structure as a ballad to represent the fluidity of life
simple sentence structure allows the common person to understand the poem - an element of Romanticism
"slackening" gives image of relaxation for the reader
symbolism in the description of Autumn with the sun setting gives foreshadowing for the possible darker times ahead, but represents the beauty of the current state of the nature where he is
repetition of "s" sound in description of his location soothes the reader to make them feel the same relaxation the speaker is
repetition of the phrase "shelter" in line 69 to emphasize that the solitary state of the speaker is not dangerous, rather something he takes comfort in and feels safe with
having the thoughts "encouraged and dismissed" shows free will of author
the illusion of the cottage in the vale (valley) represents the passage of time and the changing state of memory of the environment
alliteration with "mere memory" emphasizes the small
size and how fleeting the memory is
Analysis/Central Message
Authorial Intent
Strategies Used
The central message of this poem is..
"Liberty" (line 31) is capitalized
He felt the "breath of heaven..." this could perhaps be the rays of sunlight
He says how the wind is annoyed (vexing) with its own creation. (Line 38)
The emotion of redundance linked to the wind is opposite to the emotion linked to the breath of heaven
The two elements of nature combine to raise something in him. He and nature as a whole has been frosted over, frozen in time, in a cold place. (Line 40)
this could signify a change in seasons and change in thought
Winter changing to spring maybe?
With the warmth brought from the wind and breath of heaven, longer and more fun days will be coming in the future (Line 44)
He capitalizes "Friend", he could be directly addressing the reader to connect with them so they understand the message he is conveying
The speaker, Wordsworth, discusses how his love for life and nature would not be expressed with song, but with poetry (Line 46)
Nature brought out his best poetic ability. It helped him realize his talent and love for writing, it was able to motivate him to do what he wanted to do. (Line 55)
This helped him realize his true passion and foreshadowed his success to come. (Line 58)
Overall, the central message is how a person can find his or her drive and passion through their surroundings
section of the poem
Perhaps too there performed. Thus long I mused,
Nor e'er lost sight of what I mused upon,
Save where, amid the stately grove of Oaks,
Now here- now there- an acorn, from its cup
Dislodged, through sere leaves rustled, or at once
To the bare earth dropped with a startling sound.
From that soft couch I rose no, till the sun
Had alsmost touched the horizon; casting then
A backward glance upon the curling cloud
Of city smoke, by distance ruralized,
Keen as a Truant or a Fugitive,
But as a Pilgrim resolute, I took,
Even with the chance equipment of that hour,
The road that pointed tow'rd the chosen Vale.
It was splendid evening: and my Soul
Once more made trial of her strength, nor lacked
Eolian visitations; but the harp
Was soon defrauded, and the banded host
Of harmony dispersed in straggling sounds;
And lastly utter silence! "Be it so;
Why think of any thing but present good?"
So, like a Home-bound Labourer, I pursued
My way, beneath the melloweing sun, that shed
Mild influence; nor left in me one wish
Again to bend the sabbath of that time
To a servile yoke. What need of many words?
central message
strategies used
authorial intent
in this section, the author starts by talking about how he is in deep thought (lines 80-81)
Wordsworth experiments with his soul throughout the poem. Another example is when he tests his soul on a splendid evening (94-96)
Wordsworth describes his walks to Vale as heavenly and pleasant (lines 91-93)
Wordsworth discusses humanity includes religion (lines 90-93)
The author uses personification to describe the earth and its startling sound (line 85)
The author uses imagery to reflect upon the natural environment (lines 86-87)
Wordsworth uses diction to present nature as a heavenly and beautiful place
soft couch (line 86)
touched the horizon (line 87)
curling cloud (line 87)
splendid evening (line 94)
harmony dispersed (line 98)
free verse in the poem
short, choppy sentences and long vast sentences
themes in the poem include: nature and its positive impact, humankind, the innocence of childhood
the Prelude is a narrative, specifically an autobiography, so Wordsworth uses the first person to explain his feels and his relationship to nature
Wordsworth tells the audience that he was in deep thought and he was rarely disturbed
Wordsworth mentions and explains his ingredients for creativity: a soul; knowledge; and a host.
throughout the Prelude, Wordsworth explains the beauty of nature and the innocence of childhood
he hints at religion throughout (ex. sabbath, pilgrim)
Diction
"Vexing" (Line 38)
Annoyed with one's own self or creation
"Congenial" (Line 39)
Pleasant, good personality
"Matins and vespers of harmounious verse!" (Line 45)
Churches
Personification
"Sweet breath of heaven" (Line 33)
"...flying hours." (Line 42)
"...to the open fields I told a prophecy..." (Lines 50-51)
authorial intent
central message
strategies used
Wordsworth connects religion to nature "blessing" (1)
he portrays a beautiful country setting with "green fields" and "azure sky" (4)
"whate'er his mission, the soft breeze can come" (5)-he fully trusts nature and feels comfortable in its care
"To none is more grateful than to me" (6) -he suggests that he cares more about nature than anyone else
he talks about the vast "City", referring to London, being a temporary home that kept him is spiritual bondage that he has finally escaped
he expresses that he feels free being away from the city and surrounded by nature
he feels immediate relief and spiritual freedom when released into nature
he seems unsure of his future, but doesn't seem at all concerned
he looks to nature as a guide to lead him in the right direction or down the right path "should the chosen guide / Be nothing better than a wandering cloud" (16-17)
he struggles with his own thoughts suggesting that the antagonist is himself, or rather his mind-characteristic of Romanticism
he associates nature with peace and "undisturbed delight" (26)
he lets his thoughts overtake the tranquility of nature and starts to question himself about his future in a more concerned way
Wordsworth aims to show the spiritual side of nature and create the idea that nature is for the divine-not just anyone gets to experience being fully immersed in the beauty of nature
he portrays nature as either unintentionally beautiful and unaware of the pleasure it brings him or just modest about it, being more of a silent beauty rather than a flamboyant one
he presents nature as a place to escape physically (with him leaving London) and mentally (he doesn't have to worry about where he is going) which helps the audience make a connection nature and the idea of a safe house
his almost uncaring attitude and suggestion that he will rely on nature to be his guide shows the extent of the dependence of the Romantics on the elements of nature
he battles with his internal thoughts and rationality
it almost seems like his rational brain brings him back to reality when he realizes the impracticality of living completely within nature-this suggests that it is the impracticality of it that makes it so great
imagery helps the reader to develop and understanding of exactly what it was that the speaker thought of as beautiful
"gentle breeze" (1)
"green fields" (4)
"azure sky" (4)
personifies nature when saying "his mission" (5) to make it appear to be of a higher power and greater significance
"escaped / From the vast City" (6-7)-the word "escaped" gives a negative connotation to living in London which further enforces his passion for nature
oxymoron "I
long
have pined / A discontented
Sojourner
(a temporary resident)" (7-8) expresses speaker's discontent in living in the city
"Now free, / Free as a bird to settle where I will." (8-9)-repetition of "free" and simile used to emphasis his emotions towards getting out of the urban setting and back to the rural setting
the lines become free and loose when he starts asking questions to show that he is of care free spirits at that moment
questions show that he is unsure of himself or his decisions
The authorial intent was to show how true passion can be discovered in the smallest experiences, like even a change of seasons
His passion for poetry arose in a field, he made a promise to follow his dreams based on the strong feelings he was overcome with
He was able to explain how little things in life helped him appreciate the large overall encompassing element of life itself, nature
He was also able to communicate to the reader through his diction and personification how strongly he felt about his passion for poetry and how he knew his drive for poetry would not die, a career in poetry would be his future.
In a sense, he is telling the readers to pay attention to little things because a true love can be found and guide you to a route where you will be happy and surrounded with your own passion
by: William Wordsworth
Full transcript