Week Two Summer/ Autumn: Tintern Abbey


Wordsworth in his poem “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” (Norton 288) offers a powerful insight into the state of mind that meditating on and in nature produced in him. Clearly what he describes in the following lines is the substance of what he tries to tell his friend in the poem “Expostulation and Reply” and “The Tables Turned”:

These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me

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

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.

These are the words of someone who has deeply experienced the impact, the grace of  what he calls “… Powers/ Which of themselves our minds impress… /In a wise passiveness.” They are the words of someone who knows the deeply satisfying benefits of “a heart/ That watches and receives”.

Wordsworth was not merely a “Romantic poet”, he was someone who, through his own direct experience, was showing his generation a way of living more profoundly in harmony with the natural world around them, but more importantly with themselves and, through that, with everyone and everything.

As mentioned in my last blog this is a quality of being, of seeing, of thinking that is approached in many forms of meditation practice. And we have one such approach available on campus: Christian Meditation (open to all faiths and non-faiths!). It runs from 1-1.30 in the Barron Memorial Chapel on Wednesdays. Try it and see for yourself.

See you next week


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