Analysis Pages

Metaphor in Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

Metaphors and Similes: In order to demonstrate how his relationship with nature changes as he grows older, Wordsworth employs various metaphors and similes. As a child, he bounded through nature with youthful vitality, like a small deer. Now, five years later, he is much less energetic and youthful. Instead, nature is like an anchor, a nurse, and a guardian. It possesses a spirit that moves through the world and through his consciousness. Although his connection with nature is less visceral than it was in his youth, it is nevertheless much more profound and spiritual.

Metaphor Examples in Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey:

Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798

3

"Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,..."   (Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798)

In his prayer, Wordsworth further connects nature to memory. He hopes that Dorothy’s mind might be a “mansion” to hold all her memories of nature so that she might be able to remember its beauty for consolation during difficult times. Similarly to how he recalls nature while in the city, Wordsworth imagines Dorothy’s memory as a “dwelling-place” where all the beautiful forms and colors of nature might reside and resurface when called on.

"The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul Of all my moral being...."   (Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798)

While nature provided the speaker’s younger self an outlet for his animalistic energies, nature now serves a different, more profound purpose. Through metaphor, the speaker likens nature to a variety of roles, including anchor, nurse, guide, and guardian. As these lines indicate, the speaker imagines a kindred, overarching spirit that moves like a guiding force through nature and into the human consciousness.

"Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, Or of some hermit's cave, where by his fire The hermit sits alone...."   (Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798)

From Wordsworth’s perch, he sees a rising “wreath of smoke” within the green landscape and fantasizes about where it might originate. He imagines, through two metaphors, that the smokes rises from the fire of “vagrant dwellers” and the fire of a “hermit’s cave.” According to Romantic beliefs, hermits, who lived secluded in nature, were viewed as emblems of piety, virtue, and special wisdom. By envisioning the hermit’s cave, Wordsworth asserts that even the smoke rises from a sacred, natural source.

Analysis Pages