Sunday, April 17, 2011

The two-part prelude of 1799

Lines 391-411 of the second part of The Two-Part Prelude of 1799 give us a greater understanding of the larger context of Wordsworth’s prelude of 1799. Throughout this version of the Prelude there is an emphasis on discovering the importance of Wordsworth’s childhood on the shaping of his poetic thought and mind. We get to see the impact of Wordsworth’s experience on his writing of this poem. Wordsworth on more than one occasion refers to his experiences as leaving his mind with thoughts and feelings in this section. He implores us to see the power of these experiences and the impact they leave.

Wordsworth makes reference to the way in which moments permanently penetrated his mind as a growing being and what that means for his adulthood. In lines 395-396 Wordsworth states, “How shall I trace the history, where seek the origin of what I have felt?” Wordsworth discusses that he experiences emotions that he’s knows left an impact based off of what he has felt but he’s knows not the specific details or origin. An experience's impression upon his mind, at the time of the experience itself may not still be with him but he seeks to trace the history of his present way of thinking and feeling, to know what sparks the creative powers he presently works with. In terms of impacting his adulthood he goes on to say in line 398-401, “The agency of sight, and it was what I saw Appeared like something in myself, a dream, a prospect in my mind.” Wordsworth implies that his experiences are leaving a lasting impact. The footnotes help us to better understand the context in which Wordsworth uses the word prosepect. We are provided with a definition of prospect that denotes formation or creation. The agency of sight or a past experience inspires a dream or creation to appear in his mind shaping his creative thought in adulthood.

Later in this section of the second part of the prelude Wordsworth emphasizes the way in which his childhood experiences are the underpinnings of his present thought. He does so in a way that places nature at the forefront. He describes how his dreams, experiences, and thoughts spur on his desire to walk with Nature. Lines 405-409 he states, “And what my walking thoughts, supplied to nurse That spirit of religious love in which I walked with nature.” He is speaking in the past tense and helps us to further see that his past experiences are present in his thoughts. He is strongly impacted by experiences of childhood and his experiences in Nature both of which have helped him to retain his “first creative sensibility.”

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