Splendor in the Grass Poem
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Splendor in the Grass Poem (by William Wordsworth)

William Wordsworth’s ‘Splendor in the Grass Poem’ explains aging and where one should seek strength and pleasure once their youth has passed.

Splendor in the Grass Poem

Splendor in the Grass Poem

“Splendor in the Grass Poem” touches on many different facets of the human psyche. The speaker’s desire to recapture his youthful days gets stronger as he grows older.

However, because this is impossible, he attempts to focus on positive ideas that will help him see life from a different viewpoint.

His contrast to nature’s most common element, “grass,” demonstrates how mundane our lives are, but if we shift our perspective, we may find grandeur in the grass and gorgeous flowers.

Splendor in the Grass

By: William Wordsworth

What though the radiance which was once so bright

Be now forever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower?

I We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind

In the primal sympathy

Which, having been, must ever be.

In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering,

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.

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Summary of Splendor in the Grass Poem

The poetry “Splendor in the Grass Poem” is about a time when the speaker was youthful, vibrant, and full of life, motivated to make a difference in the world. The winged days flew away, leaving him melancholy and dewy-eyed.

He compares life to grass and flowers, which have a limited and uncertain lifespan. Wordsworth, a nature poet, sees majesty and magnificence in the most basic grass and flowers. In addition, he compares his youth to the beams of the morning sun, when nothing else is visible owing to its bright radiance.

Wordsworth recalls his youth as robust and determined. But as he becomes older, he prepares himself to embrace the “reality.” The poet develops an optimistic attitude at the conclusion of this work and finds power in the vestiges of time.

Themes

William Wordsworth addresses the issue of aging in ‘Splendor in the Grass.’ It is by far the most essential topic of this sample from the lengthier poem ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Childhood Recollections.’

In the first lines, the speaker, who is often assumed to be the poet, reflects on his life and the dazzling times of his youth. He compares these moments to the bright, dazzling sun. But that moment is passed.

He’s getting older, and he’s having to reconcile the visions of life he had in his youth with the reality he’s now experiencing. Although these ideas might be depressing, Wordsworth suggests that it is necessary to retain an optimistic view and recall all the sources of strength.

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Line-by-Line Analysis 

Lines 1-2

What though the radiance which was once so bright

Be now for ever taken from my sight,

In his poem “Splendor in the Grass,” William Wordsworth recalls his good old days when he was full of vigor and unwavering optimism. He was inspired to write this poem after revisiting his boyhood haunts and speaking with his sister Dorothy Wordsworth.

His demeanor is filled with nostalgia in these lines, and he wishes to recreate his childhood days. He compares his former days to the dazzling light of the rising sun, which was so bright during his boyhood, but when the sun sets (a metaphor for age), its brightness diminishes on the horizon.

He laments that the wonderful past has been “forever snatched from my eyes,” implying that he has lost the capacity and will never be able to view it again.

Lines 3-4

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

As he describes his nostalgic feelings, the speaker acknowledges that “nothing can bring back the hour”; he cannot go back in time and experience the event save in his mind.

He compares the young flame to the magnificence of grass tips and the splendor of flower petals unfolding. As in the Bible, Jesus compares human life to that of grass to demonstrate how vulnerable humans are.

Wordsworth sees parallels between grass and human existence. Humans develop quickly and brightly, but then wither and perish. The “splendor” and “glory” exist for a limited period and cannot last forever.

Splendor in the Grass Poem

Lines 5-8

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind;

In the primal sympathy

Which having been must ever be;

Wordsworth attempts to inject positivity into his nostalgic emotions in these lines, saying, “Let us not be melancholy over what we cannot alter.”

Instead, finding reasons to be happy and content with what we have should be significant. He discusses finding the strength to live the remainder of his life contentedly.

As a result, he requests that the “primal compassion” be transformed into a power that propels mankind forward. In this sense, the speaker empathizes with his “humanity.”

Lines 9-12

In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering;

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.

Wordsworth begins his case with sarcasm in the final words of “Splendor in the Grass.” During pain, no one has a pleasant or tranquil idea. With time and experience, they learn to put logic ahead of emotions.

Wordsworth concludes the poem with a hopeful notion, urging readers to keep the “faith” that can face death front on.

Besides, all those golden years aided him in developing a “philosophic mentality.” He can deal with such depressing ideas sensibly since he has developed a philosophical, mental framework.

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Analysis of Literary Devices in “Splendor in the Grass Poem”

Throughout this poem, the poet makes use of several literary devices. These include but are not limited to:

1. Personification

This happens when a poet imbues a non-human aspect of their work with human traits. As an example,

Of splendor in the grass,

of glory in the flower.

2. Irony

It occurs when the outcome differs from what was intended. For example,

 In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering.

The poet illustrates how suffering may lead to serenity and contentment, relieving the victim from their former agony.

3. Caesura

It is seen when the poet places a stop in the middle of a line of the poem. For example,

We will grieve not, rather find.

It can arise as a result of a poet’s use of punctuation or a natural halt in the meter.

4. Imagery

It is visible when the poet employs exceptionally fascinating descriptions. These should arouse the reader’s senses and assist them in visualizing what is stated. For example,

What though the radiance

which was once so bright.

5. Consonance

The use of the same consonant sound at the beginning or inside words. An example

In the nothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering

is an example of both consonance and alliteration.

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