Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The Prelude of 1805 in Thirteen Books seems like a coming of age poem. In the poem, the speaker says that he is coming home from the city wall’s bondage, “A captive greets thee coming from a house| Of bondage, from you city’s walls set free”(Line 5). The main idea of this poem is that the speaker is finally out of bondage, whether that be physical or emotional hard times in the city life, and is about to experience the world beyond the city. The speaker’s child-like descriptions give this poem both an abstract and concrete quality.

In the first set of lines, the speaker is admiring the physical features of nature. The “gentle breeze that | blows from the green fields… seems half conscious of the joy it gives” (Lines 1-4) for instance, is a significant description because it shows the speaker’s observance and admiration of one of the simplest occurrences in nature, a breeze blowing. In addition, the speaker also notes that although this simple happening in nature can be admired, the act itself is one that brings him joy and happiness simply because it happens. This clear-cut description and admiration of nature is the first indicator of abstract qualities in this poem. Instead of just saying that the breeze is nice or feels good, the speaker takes four lines to admire it and ultimately personifies it to convey his shear observance and appreciation.

The speaker then goes on to note all of the options that are available to him and the decisions he now has to make since he is “free from bondage”. “Now I am free, enfranchised and at large” (Line 9) begins the transition of being thankful about nature’s simple pleasures to realizing all that he can do and appreciate now that he is free from the toils of harsh city life. Afterward, the speaker lists all of the questions that he is going over in his mind such as where to live and sleep (Lines 10-13) Asking these questions give the poem concrete qualities because he is actually considering this things realistically.

In line 14, the speaker again begins to personify earth; however, this time he is making a comparison to his personal situation, “The earth is all before me – with a heart joyous, nor scared at its own liberty”. This comparison illustrates that the speaker is trying to convince himself that the earth is not afraid of freedom so he should not be either. This is one of the most important parts of the poem because it emphasizes the wonders of nature both physically and emotionally and the freedom that it has to do what it wants when it wants. In realizing all of this, the speaker is beginning to understand the transformation that he will have to undergo as he sets out on a new life beyond the bondage of the city.

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