Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Grave Spirit

While the broad relationship of Wordsworth's "The Two April Mornings" to the natural world is in itself an interesting compendium of imagery surrounding the pastoral and its role in the poem, Wordsworth's invocation of the interplay between the sky and the ground specifically speaks to the condition of death within the reality of the poem. By beginning with the confluence of "morning sun" and "the will of God," Wordsworth connects the celestial air and God, bringing up associations of the afterlife and eternal bliss that are continued in "the self-same crimson hue/Fell from the sky that April morn,/The same which now I view!" This meditation on the sky and its similarities in different situations is formally stopped by the imposition of the ground, in all of its solid reality as "coming to the church, stopp'd short/Beside my Daughter's grave." I feel in this transition as though I am physically moving towards the ground as I progress deeper into the poem, an impression that is further strengthened by the idea of a grounded nightingale. This sense of descent into the earth continues even in the face of a girl who seems a parallel to the lost daughter and the light and air that she could bring. The narrator turns to language of "pain" and "confine" in the face of "no fountain from its rocky cave/E'er tripp'd with foot so free,/She seem'd as happy as a wave/That dances on the sea," eventually taking a final resting place in the ground beside his daughter, a change wrought permanent in Matthew's own descent into the grave. The sky and the sense of the eternal and the afterlife that it seems to promise is thus placed as antithetical as compared to the real eternal, the earthly grave.


  1. Do you really think the ground represents something unfortunate with bad connotation, or is it more representing a "grounding" of human thought, that we aren't as close to heaven as we'd like to think?

  2. I did not notice the sense of descending until you mentioned it, but I think that is really interesting. My question regarding this poem is his relationship to the "blooming Girl" in the churchyard. When he looks up from his daughter's grave and instantly sees the young girl, it seems almost as if she could be a vision or a memory. I then became confused when he says, "I look'd at her and look'd again; / -- And did not wish her mine" (54-55). Does he really wish that she was his daughter? I am confused about their relationship and his feelings towards her...