English XI (Old Course)

My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold – Summary | The Magic of Words

William Wordsworth, an English poet, worshiper of nature. “My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold” is a poem which is related to the natural beauty (rainbow), time and nature.

            Wordsworth says his heart leaps up with joy when he sees a beautiful rainbow in the sky. The joy was similar in his childhood (past), is alike in degree now (present), and will be the same when he becomes old (future). Otherwise, he will prefer dearth to life because life away from nature will be listless for him. The experiences of the childhood are delightful; they shape our mind, which in turns shapes the course of future life. Thus the Child is father of the Man. Since nature is God for the poet, he wishes to pass life (his days) respecting and worshiping nature until he dies.

 “The Child is the father of the Man”

            A paradox is a word or sentence which is self-contradictory, i.e. it has got two opposite meanings. However, both meanings can be true in the context they are set. The Child is father of the Man is paradoxical. A person cannot be both a child and a father at the same time. In accordance with the principles of biology/medical science, a child cannot be a father of man because it cannot reproduce. A father can only reproduce the same being as his own. Yet in the philosophical sense, a child can be father of man; father can mean ‘senior, capable to instruct others having courage to face the difficulties’ etc. In the light of these connotations, human life begins with childhood. When a child grows big, he becomes a father, so father is an outcome of child, as present is the outcome of the past and future the outcome of the present. In this sense, child is senior to father. For Wordsworth a child is the incarnation of the God as it is always innocent and cheerful. A child is courageous too. From a child, we can thus learn how to remain cheerful in life and how to face challenges that come on our way.

            The above poem is homage to the nature by the poet, because he believed in pantheism. According to it nature is the image of God. God is in every leaf, every bird and animal and in many more aspects. Without the lap of nature, he says, he chooses death. Therefore, he wishes to be a devotee of nature until he dies. Lastly, the poem is the concentration of his sublime emotion and feeling felt at the splendid sight of the rainbow in the sky.

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