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Unit III – Romantic Age (1798 – 1832)

S. No Title P. No
01 1.1 Wordsworth 03
1.2 Immortality Ode 07
1.3 Tintern Abbey 20
1.4 Prelude, Book-I 29
02 2.1 Coleridge 69
2.2 Ode to Dejection 73
2.3 Kubla Khan 84
03 3.1 Keats 88
3.2 Ode on a Grecian Urn 92
3.3 Ode to Autumn 96
04 4.1 Shelley 99
4.2 Ode to the West Wind 104
4.3 Adonais 109
05 5.1 Charles Lamb 138
5.2 Christ’s Hospital 142
5.3 The South Sea House 156
5.4 Dream children 166
5.5 New Year’s Eve 172
06 Hazlitt’s My First Acquaintance with Poets 182
07 Shelley’s A Defence of Poetry 205
08 Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads 239
09 Jane Austen’s Emma 276
10 Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights 298


1.1 William Wordsworth


  • William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England.
  • He attended Hawks head Grammar School, where his love of poetry was firmly established.
  • He studied at John‘s College in Cambridge and before his final semester, he set out on a walking tour of Europe, an experience that influenced both his poetry and his political sensibilities.
  • He married a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson in 1802.
  • In 1795, Wordsworth received an inheritance that allowed him to live with his younger sister, Dorothy.
  • He died on April 23, 1850 at Westmorland in England.
  • He was buried in St Oswald‘s church


  • William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).
  • He was the head of Romantic poets.
  • He was called as a Nature Poet, Pantheist and Aesthetic Poet.
  • Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey are called as Lake Poets.
  • Wordsworth succeeded Robert Southey as England’s poet laureate in 1843; he was Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1843 to 1850.
  • He was an ardent supporter of the conservative Tories.
  • While touring Europe, he was influenced by French Revolution; this experience brought about Wordsworth‘s interest and sympathy for the life, troubles, and speech of the ―common man.
  • In 1813, he received an appointment as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland.



  • An Evening Walk (1793)
  • Descriptive Sketches (1793)
  • Borders (1795)
  • “Simon Lee”
  • “We are Seven”
  • “Lines Written in Early Spring”
  • “Expostulation and Reply”
  • “The Tables Turned”
  • “The Thorn”
  • “Lines Composed A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”
  • Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798)
  • It opened with Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and ended with Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey”.
  • It consists of 23 poems; 19 poems were contributed by Wordsworth and 4 poems by Coleridge.
  • These poems were composed at Alfoxden, Quantock Hills.
  • Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800)
  • Preface to the Lyrical Ballads
  • “Strange fits of passion have I known”
  • “She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways”
  • “Three years she grew”
  • “I travelled among unknown men”
  • “Lucy Gray”
  • “The Two April Mornings”
  • “Solitary Reaper”
  • “The Ruined Cottage”
  • “Michael”
  • Poems, in Two Volumes (1807)
  • “Resolution and Independence”
  • “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” also known as “Daffodils”
  • “My Heart Leaps Up”
  • “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”
  • “Ode to Duty”
  • “The Solitary Reaper”
  • “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802”
  • “London, 1802”
  • “The World Is Too Much with Us”
  • Guide to the Lakes (1810)
  • To the Cuckoo
  • The Excursion (1814)
  • Peter Bell (1819)
  • The Prelude Or Growth of a Poet’s Mind (1850)
  • It is Wordsworth’s magnum opus which is autobiographical poem.
  • It was posthumously titled as „The Prelude‟ and published by Mary, before which it was generally known as “the poem to Coleridge”.
  • Wordsworth coined the term “Spots of time” in it.
  • It is a spiritual autobiography based on Wordsworth‘s travels through Europe and his observations of life; it was dedicated to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.


  • Wordsworth recognized as poet after publishing a sonnet in “The European Magazine” in 1787.
  • His earliest poetry was published in 1793 in the collections An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches.
  • Wordsworth showed his affinity for nature with the famous poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”
  • His poetry also takes inspiration from the beauty of nature, especially his native Lake District.
  • The magnificent landscape deeply affected Wordsworth’s imagination and gave him a love of nature.


  • In the “Preface to Lyrical Ballads”, Wordsworth writes of poetry: “The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”
  • “She gave eyes, she gave me ears; And humble cares and delicate fears”Wordsworth
  • “Wordsworth is the high priest of nature” –
  • “Wordsworth uttered nothing base”– Tennyson.
  • “Wordsworth is called as a moral eunuch” – Shelley.
  • “Mr. Wordsworth ceases to please, … clothing in language not simple, but puerile”– Byron.



1.3 Tintern Abbey


  • Five years have past; five summers, with the length

Of five long winters! and again I hear

These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

With a soft inland murmur.—Once again

Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,

That on a wild secluded scene impress

Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect

The landscape with the quiet of the sky.

The day is come when I again repose

Here, under this dark sycamore, and view

These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,

Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,

Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves

‘Mid groves and copses. Once again I see

These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines

Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,

Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke

Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!

With some uncertain notice, as might seem

Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,

Or of some Hermit’s cave, where by his fire

The Hermit sits alone.


  • These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me

As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:

But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;

And passing even into my purer mind,

With tranquil restoration:—feelings too

Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,

As have no slight or trivial influence

On that best portion of a good man’s life,

His little, nameless, unremembered, acts

Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,

To them I may have owed another gift,

Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,

In which the affections gently lead us on,—

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

And even the motion of our human blood

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, and become a living soul:

While with an eye made quiet by the power

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

We see into the life of things.


  • If this

Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft—

In darkness and amid the many shapes

Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir

Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,

Have hung upon the beatings of my heart—

How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,

O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro’ the woods,

How often has my spirit turned to thee!

  • And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,

With many recognitions dim and faint,

And somewhat of a sad perplexity,

The picture of the mind revives again:

While here I stand, not only with the sense

Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts

That in this moment there is life and food

For future years. And so I dare to hope,

Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first

I came among these hills; when like a roe

I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides

Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,

Wherever nature led: more like a man

Flying from something that he dreads, than one

Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then

(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,

And their glad animal movements all gone by)

To me was all in all.—I cannot paint

What then I was. The sounding cataract

Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,

The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,

Their colours and their forms, were then to me

An appetite; a feeling and a love,

That had no need of a remoter charm,

By thought supplied, nor any interest

Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past,

And all its aching joys are now no more,

And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this

Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts

Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,

Abundant recompence. For I have learned

To look on nature, not as in the hour

Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes

The still, sad music of humanity,

Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power

To chasten and subdue. And I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still

A lover of the meadows and the woods,

And mountains; and of all that we behold

From this green earth; of all the mighty world

Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create,

And what perceive; well pleased to recognise

In nature and the language of the sense,

The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,

The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul

Of all my moral being.


  • Nor perchance,

If I were not thus taught, should I the more

Suffer my genial spirits to decay:

For thou art with me here upon the banks

Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,

My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch

The language of my former heart, and read

My former pleasures in the shooting lights

Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while

May I behold in thee what I was once,

My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,

Knowing that Nature never did betray

The heart that loved her; ‘tis her privilege,

Through all the years of this our life, to lead

From joy to joy: for she can so inform

The mind that is within us, so impress

With quietness and beauty, and so feed

With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,

Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,

Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all

The dreary intercourse of daily life,

Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb

Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold

Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon

Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;

And let the misty mountain-winds be free

To blow against thee: and, in after years,

When these wild ecstasies shall be matured

Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind

Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,

Thy memory be as a dwelling-place

For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,

If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,

Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts

Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,

And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance—

If I should be where I no more can hear

Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams

Of past existence—wilt thou then forget

That on the banks of this delightful stream

We stood together; and that I, so long

A worshipper of Nature, hither came

Unwearied in that service: rather say

With warmer love—oh! with far deeper zeal

Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,

That after many wanderings, many years

Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,

And this green pastoral landscape, were to me

More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!


Stanza 1:

  • Wordsworth visits Tintern Abbey after a period of five years.
  • The river Wye is flowing softly from the mountain; he again sees the steep and high cliffs.
  • The place is fully secluded from the outer world; thus the silent landscape is linked with silent sky.
  • The poet has come here to take rest; he sits under the sycamore tree and looks at the plots of cottage ground.
  • At the season, the fruits are ripe and green in colour at the orchard; they are not seen clearly among the groves and trees.
  • He again sees the hedgerows; everywhere the pastoral farms are green in colour.
  • He sees the “wreaths of smoke” rising up from cottage chimneys between the trees, and imagines that they might rise from “vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,” or from the cave of a hermit in the deep forest.
  • These images evoke not only a pure nature as one might expect, they evoke a life of the common people in harmony with the nature.


Stanza 2:

  • The speaker then describes how his memory of these “beauteous forms” has worked upon him in his absence from them.
  • Though he has come here after five years, he doesn’t behave like a blind man.
  • When he was alone, or in crowded towns and cities, they provided him with sweet sensations in his blood and heart; he got feelings of happiness in his mid.
  • This physical sensation has got a significant influence in a man’s life; this leads him to get feelings of kindness and love.
  • The memory of the woods and cottages offered “tranquil restoration” to his mind.
  • He further credits the memory of the scene with offering him access to that mental and spiritual state in which the burden of the world is lightened.
  • Sometimes he feels that his blood circulation has stopped; he is laid asleep in body and he becomes a living soul.

            “Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

            In body, and become a living soul”

  • He is able to get deep power of joy; he would see into life of things.

Stanza 3:

  • Sometimes the poet had to spend so many joyless days and nights.
  • The fret and fever of the world would shake him like anything.
  • During that hour, he called the memory of the river Wye which wanders through the woods.
  • He has got much happiness because of his recollections of the natural scenes of the river Wye.


Stanza 4:

  • The poet came to these hills five years before; he has got many changes in his self in these five years.
  • Now he not only gets present happiness but also inspiration for future years.

1) First Stage:

  • Five years before, he treated Nature as something as pleasure for the physical senses.
  • He jumped over the mountains like a roe; he ran to the side of the deep rivers; he looked at the lonely streams.
  • He moved from place to place more like a man who was afraid of things than one who loved them deeply.
  • His boyhood coarse pleasures and glad animal movements have gone now.

      “The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,

            And their glad animal movements all gone by”

  • Now he is not able to express what kind of person he was in the boyhood stage.

2) Second Stage:

  • The sound of the sound of the waterfalls haunted him like a passion.
  • The tall rock, mountains, gloomy woods and their colours seemed to him an appetite; they gave him feeling of love.
  • Since nature gave him charm and interest, he had no need for the intellectual thoughts.
  • The aching joys and dizzy raptures are not present now.

            “And all its aching joys are now no more,

            And all its dizzy raptures”

3) Third Stage:

  • Though he has got lost some of his qualities, he has got other gifts now; it is a sort of compensation for the loss.
  • Now he is not a thoughtless youth; his attitude to Nature has completely changed.
  • Now he hears the silent sad music of the humanity and he gets high thoughts.

“Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes

The still, sad music of humanity”

  • He senses some universal connection between nature and humanity; he felt a divine presence which gives him elevated thoughts.
  • He feels a sense of sublime and the working of a supreme power in the light of the setting sun, in round oceans, in the blue sky, in the air itself, and even in the mind of man.
  • He is of opinion that a motion and a spirit impel all thinking things; he has become a thoughtful lover of the meadows, the woods and the mountains.
  • Nature is a nurse, a guide and the guardian of his heart and soul.

Stanza 5:

  • Suppose the poet did not know the divine presence in nature, he would have made his gentle spirit to decay.
  • Now, his dearest friend, his sister Dorothy is sitting with him on the bank of the river Wye.
  • In her voice, the poet catches the languages of his former heart; he gets that kind of happiness which he had possessed in his youth; her wild eyes remind him of his former pleasures.
  • He tells her sister that ……….
  • Nature never betrays anyone who loved her.
  • Nature can take us from joy to joy.
  • Nature can impress us with her quietness and beauty.
  • Nature can feed with high thoughts.
  • When Nature is within us, we will not get evil thoughts, rash judgements, selfish attitude, unkindness and the rough attitude of our daily life; we will be blessed in all respects.
  • The poet tells his sister to walk along in the moonshine; she can go to the mountain area to breath misty winds; this happiness will become mature thoughts in future.
  • Her mind will become a palace for all the beautiful forms; in her memory, she will have sweet sounds and harmonies.
  • The poet says to her that in later years, when she is sad or fearful, the memory of this experience will help to heal her.
  • If he himself is dead, she can remember the love with which he worshipped nature.
  • He asks her not to forget having stood together on the banks of the river Wye.
  • He says that she won’t forget his wanderings, steep woods, lofty clips, green pastoral landscape which became dearer to him.
  • The poet has expressed his honest and natural feelings to Nature’s Superiority.

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