A Common-Place Jotting: Tintern Abbey

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Turner_Tintern1
Tintern Abbey in 1794, a watercolour by J. M. W. Turner

From William Wordsworth’s  Lines Written (or Composeda Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798: this benediction of nature’s guardian light on his sister, with whom he went on a walking tour, inspiring this homage to nature:

.  .  . and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations!

 

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