Wordsworth and Coleridge effectively recollect the atmosphere around a memory in their poems 'Lines Written A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey' and
'Frost at Midnight.' I plan to discuss the similar and divergent ways in which
both poets accomplish this, looking at form, content and context.
Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey has been described as a tourist poem in which the centre of attraction, the famous ruined abbey is out of sight a few miles downstream. A nature poem in which, after the first paragraph, there are almost no images of nature; a political poem in which most of the speaker's political, social and economic beliefs lie unexpressed between the lines; a religious poem in which what seems to be an unassisted contact with pantheism (for example, 'we are laid asleep/ In body, and become a living soul...[and] see into the life of things,' ll. 45-49) which is soberly, even logically, explained in terms of tourist postcard chit-chat ('How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, / O sylvan Wye' ll. 55-56).
Wordsworth brings about his memory of Tintern Abbey, by revisiting the place, and recollecting the sounds sights and senses of his first visit.
These waters, rolling from their mountain springs
With a sweet inland murmur. Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
Instead of focusing primarily on a description of the 'abbey,' Wordsworth focuses more on its surroundings and the atmosphere he is experiencing. He conveys this to the reader or listener with long sentences, which indicate the tranquillity of the river and the soft sounds of the rolling and murmuring water, is slightly onomatopoeic. Wordsworth emphasises this with the use of alliteration when describing the 'secluded scene.'(l.6)
The form Wordsworth uses perhaps ought to be an ode as it first seems to be, as it does not comply with the traditional oral storytelling form of some of the other Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth appears to be truth...