In his Preface, William Wordsworth talks about what a poem should be like and what a poet should do with his poetry. What is particularly relative to Wordsworth’s poem “Ode [Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood]” is what he says a poet should do:

“. . . he will apply the principle on which I have so much insisted, namely, that of selection; on this he will depend on removing what would otherwise be painful or disgusting in the passion; he will feel that there is no necessity to trick out or elevate nature: and, the more industriously he applies this principle, the deeper will be his faith that no words which his fancy or imagination can suggest will be to be compared with those which are the emanations of reality and truth” (339).

What I take him to mean is that the poet will write nature as it really is and not try to make nature as what is not is: superior and/or better than it really is. The poet should be writing a kind of truth. I think that Wordsworth does accomplish his own rule in “Ode [Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood].”

In this poem Wordsworth describes nature and parts of it quite a bit, but he does not go overboard or try to oversell nature. For instance, when he does refer to nature having been “apparelled in celestial light,” the description is prefaced with the line “to me did seem” which reads to me as a way to clarify that nature was perhaps so unnaturally beautiful in only his perspective; that is, his perspective clouded the true appearance of nature and therefore his vision was his truth, not applicable to everyone (ll. 3-4). In Wordsworth’s own way, he is simply describing how nature appeared to him when he was young and is not trying to say that nature was actually supernaturally beautiful. That is his truth.

This applies to every time he describes a part of nature. When he says “the sunshine is a glorious birth,” I cannot disagree with him because a sunrise is often referred to a kind of birth and/or beginning (ll. 16). I can see the truth that he is working with and writing in his poem. Wordsworth did not go on and on about that specific sunshine, but instead he gave us a single, simple line to describe it. This simplicity can be seen throughout the poem: “The Rainbow comes and goes/And lovely is the Rose” (ll. 10-11). These are truthful yet simple statements just like how Wordsworth said a poet should write about nature.

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