Writing “Tintern Abbey” five years later, he comments on how the valley now offers a comforting and sobering welcome that allows him to meditate on “the still, sad, music of humanity” (Tintern Abbey 89-91).
Even when Wordsworth is not physically present in the valley landscape, the memories of the geography and topography, as well as the feelings of comfort elicited by them are present in his mind.
BIOGRAPHY A major English Romantic poet, William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770 in the small town of Cockermouth on the northern border of the English Lake District, a quiet, natural refuge that would later inspire his poetry.
His only sister, Dorothy Wordsworth, was born in 1771.
The emergence of travel literature also played a significant role in late 18 century British travel.
This thriving tourism culture inspired Wordsworth’s visit to Tintern Abbey.After completing his undergraduate education at Cambridge (1791), he became a fervent supporter of French Revolution in France, fell in love with Annette Vallon, and fathered an illegitimate child in 1792.After he was forced out of France by the war, Wordsworth visited Tintern Abbey for the first time in 1793.Many suggest that Wordsworth is alluding to this social and political chaos when he recalls, “flying from something that he dreads” in line 71 of “Tintern Abbey” (Bromwich 4-7).Industrialization Though the Wye Valley is a rural and secluded area of Eastern Wales, the effects of the Industrial Revolution were felt even here.Her special place in the poet’s life is solidified through her role as a silent listener and observer.Wordsworth points out in his poem, “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,” that Dorothy’s voice, her eyes, and her existence enables him to access his “former pleasures” (“Tintern Abbey” 117).When seeking comfort from the “darkness,” “many shapes of joyless daylight,” and fever of the world” (“Tintern Abbey” 50-56), Wordsworth turns to his memories of the Wye landscape and the comfort it provided him while there: “How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, / O Sylvan Wye! The landscape reignites his “unremembered pleasure”—the comfort he found in it (“Tintern Abbey” 31).The comfort and memories are “Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart; / And [pass] even into my purer mind, / With tranquil restoration” (“Tintern Abbey” 28-30).Since the poem’s publication, several scholars have traveled to the Wye valley and have confirmed that “the region showed prominent signs of industrial and commercial activity” (Levinson 29-30).In “Tintern Abbey,” Wordsworth also questions the presence of vagrants in the hills (“Tintern Abbey 21-23), which Levinson later confirms were “casualties of England’s tottering economy and of wartime displacement” (Levinson 29-30).