Starting line 8, the lexical field of ''light'' is massively used by the poet with “radiance”, “bright”, “splendour” and “glory”; these expressions symbolize the perfect happiness of his childhood days. However, such expressions as ''once”, “for ever taken” or “nothing can bring back” make the reader nostalgic about the distant past , it implies that happiness , joy , hope is gone , clearly something wonderful has come to an end. As one goes through this cruel realization that happy days are gone by, one might feel totally depressed, desperate, heart-broken, distressed / disheartened.
Verse 8 is a turning point in so far as ‘‘what though'' and “though” make the reader feel like the poet doesn't care , as if it did not matter to him that everything was lost. The truth to the matter is that the poet isn't worried anymore which also brings us to verses 12-15 where we read ''we will grieve not” which not only means that the poet won't grieve but also that he refuses to feel sorry for himself. With the final position of the negation the poet's determination not to grieve is thrown / brought to light, it clearly emphasizes his determination to hold on to his happiness. The question is to know where he gets this will power, this energy after so many dark thoughts going through his mind. This “strength” comes from the good memories that “remain behind”, they are neither lost nor forgotten! Interestingly, the word ‘‘remain’’ suggests these moments are bound to be left behind and can't be retrieved but in the same time, one may understand that if they “remain” there, they haven’t disappeared and can thereby be retrieved if we try.
Earlier in the poem, the message was that the heart and mind can help people be reunited even when separated (“we in thought will join your throng”), now it seems that the mind has the power to bring memories back to life, to reunite the poet with his childhood days and to make him happy again.
The final verses convey the same message. “Sympathy” evokes feelings and emotions shared by a community of people and the adjective “primal” may be an allusion to the early feelings and emotions experienced when we are children and that never really disappear, as they are a light that never dims (Zlatan).
The conclusion could be that happy memories do not have to be a temporary feeling bound to fade away as we grow older with time. As long as our memories live, they will be part of us, they are not just the past, but also the present and the future. They will always exist and will always give us the energy we need to carry on. Of course, this idea is not very new in itself, but the way Wordsworth puts it in this passage is just pure brilliance.
Posted by Dorington, completed by me.
TEST FRIDAY 28 SEPT, on the analysis of a different poem but with the same theme(s)