The main idea in verses 4 to 7 of “Intimations of Immortality” is that the communication between kids and nature that was brought to light verse 1 with “ye birds” is growing tighter and more intense.
Verse 4 talks about the unity of a group composed of human kids and lambs, who represent nature. For example, “we”, “join” and “throng” refer to this strongly united group who seems to be together in real life. Communication grows into communion. However, this verse also contains the words “in thought” that change the meaning of the sentence. Indeed, this group is not united in a physical way, but in a psychological way, that means the members think about the rest of the group without being with it. It’s only a virtual communication in the head of the kids, the objective of which is to reassure, comfort and confide in them as if they were all together with no separation. The mind has the power to bridge all distances.
Nature is also showed as a human being with a “heart” able to communicate with humans, feel, have energy and so live : in a way, there is some humanity in nature. This can be the justification of this intense communication between the two biological groups and makes emotion very strong. Indeed, the “heart” is showed as a sixth sense that can transcend, surpass or even replace the five others which thereby become unnecessary as it allows one to feel everything. This is a totally romantic interpretation, in the sense that the romantic poet generally views nature as his purely spiritual equal.
Finally, this passage has an interesting musicality and rhythm that make it sounds like a song; for example, we can notice an alternation of the stressed and unstressed syllables (“WE in THOUGHT will JOIN your THRONG”). It creates a perfect harmony showing the poet’s impressive and balanced relation with nature. The happiness of life is showed by repetitions, short words and stresses at the end of the verses which all create an upbeat rhythm and allow the reader to imagine a scene in which lambs are jumping and people dancing. These writing methods make us think about energy and movement, which together mean life.
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Recap of how we analyzed verses 1-3 of the extract of the poem "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”, by W. Wordsworth.
(Teacher’s corrections & additions in bold type)
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Among these three verses we have found a common general idea: it all evokes childhood, its purity and its innocence.
In verses 1 and 2, the triple occurrence of «sing» combined with «joyous song» introduces the poem as happy and carefree. It also gives the poem a lyrical tone. Naturally, this music suggests a celebration is under way. The words "lambs" and "birds" can evoke childhood, innocence, and purity, as well as the rebirth of life and of nature. Such might be the things celebrated by the poet.
"Ye birds" shows a tight connection between the poet and the birds, but also between him and nature as a whole as well. The birds could be friends of the poet, it is a possible personification. The expression "young lambs" is a redundancy: it alludes to the fact the lambs are even younger and echoes the “early childhood” mentioned in the title. The poet wishes to go as far back in time as possible, arguably because the younger we are, the more innocent we are.
"Let the young lamb" evokes freedom, as if barriers and obstacles were destroyed. In parallel, "bound" suggests energy and movement: it alludes to life. No life is really possible without freedom of movement
Verse 3, "As to the tabor's sound" evokes music and celebration. However, the word “as” indicates there is no tabor actually being played: there is no need of music so to a certain degree they are the music or the music is so "intense" that it becomes a feeling. For the poet and for many people, nature is a music that gives them a path to follow. (Camille)
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Presentation of what will be done this year.
Group work method(s) briefly explained. Presentation of this blog and of how it will be used.
Text one handed out, as an introduction to what is required to comment upon a work of literary quality.
Random ideas and interpretations suggested by the class, recap to come shortly.