Thursday, May 1, 2014

Little Lines of Sportive Wood Run Wild

Get ready for some poetry, my friends.  I have another England trip report post today!

In our last installment, we explored the beautiful ruins of Tintern Abbey in Wales and stopped for a delicious tea at the White Monk Tea Rooms.

What brought me to Tintern was my love of Wordsworth's poem, Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798.  It's not a very elegant title, is it?  But the poem itself is gorgeous...and perhaps Wordsworth wanted to ensure that we had our geography right when we read it, so there could be no mistake what surroundings  inspired the stanzas.

With that in mind, I couldn't just stay at Tintern Abbey or in the town.  I had to get a few miles above it and visit (or revisit, if the poem itself counts as a first visit) the banks of the Wye where Wordsworth must have walked as he composed those lines.  And instead of interspersing my photos with my words in this post, I thought I'd caption them with Wordsworth's words!

(I should offer an apology first - I typed the poem in sentences and not in its original structure with proper lines and capitalization and punctuation.  I didn't want any of you poetry buffs out there to be shocked.  ;) )

Five years have past; five summers, with the length of five long winters!

And again I hear these waters, rolling from their mountain-springs with a soft inland murmur.

Once again do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, that on a wild secluded scene impress thoughts of more deep seclusion...

...and connect the landscape with the quiet of the sky.

The day is come when I again repose here, under this dark sycamore, and view these plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts, which at this season, with their unripe fruits, are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves mid groves and copses.

Once again I see these hedgerows - hardly hedgerows - little lines of sportive wood run wild...

...pastoral farms, green to the very door, and wreaths of smoke, sent up in silence, from among the trees!

With some uncertain notice, as might seem of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, or of some Hermit's cave where by his fire the Hermit sits alone.

These beauteous forms, through a long absence, have not been to me as is a landscape to a blind man's eye.  But oft in distant rooms and 'mid the din of towns and cities, I have owed to them, in hours of weariness, sensations sweet...

....felt in the blood and felt along the heart and passing even into my purer mind, with tranquil restoration -- feelings too of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps, as have no slight or trivial influence on that best portion of a good man's life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

Nor less, I trust, to them I may have owed another gift, of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, in which the burthen of the mystery, in which the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world, is lightened...

While with an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.

That's not the entire poem, but if you would like "the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world" to be lightened, then do go and read the rest. :)

It was lovely wandering in the woods - I was hoping to find an overlook of the Abbey called Devil's Pulpit, but I got very turned around and never found it. :( I should've printed out a better map beforehand - I only had a tiny thing in a little book the hotel loaned me.  After about an hour, I decided it'd be best to turn back;  it was very quiet up in the trails, and it would be getting dark soon.  Wild and secluded was right!

But it was still a very fun hike!

Crossing the river again back by the Abbey...

My poetic thoughts soon turned to more practical ones...I was hungry and cold after all that walking!


I headed to the Wye Valley Hotel and Restaurant, which had a cozy dining room (with fireplaces on either end!) that was open late and was right next to my hotel.  I kinda wish I had stayed here - my hotel had an awful smell that I was glad to escape!

A roast beef sandwich and some 'chips.' YUM.

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