Loss And Gain

When I compare
What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Comments (25)

William Wordsworth is a romantic mystic poet per-excellence. To him mystic experience is a kind of spiritual illumination. He is endowed with the capacity to feel the presence of the divine spirit in all things and of unity in diversity, of the infinite in the finite. Walter Raleigh said, it is the mark of the mystic that he never despises sense, never uses it as a means to an end, stepping stone to be spurned when he has raised himself higher............ here or nowhere, now or never, the soul of thing is to be found. Wordsworth has a transcendental outlook on nature and human nature. In Tintern Abbey, the poet speaks of the sublime blessing that is received from his deep contemplation of the beauteous aspects of nature. The psychological aspects of a human being are suspended for the time being in nature. The body becomes inactive and the soul becomes active. Then only the worshipper of nature can realise the hidden truth of nature. Tintern Abbey, a miniature of his greater epic, The Prelude, is a spiritual autobiography of Wordsworth. Five years ago in 1793, he visited a ruined cloister, Tintern Abbey by the side of Wye. Again in 1798 he revisited the same place with Dorothy his friend, philosopher and guide. But during the second visit Wordsworth was completely changed from within and without. The Wye flows through Wales and England, and joins the severn flowing into Bristol channel. Tintern Abbey is situated some ten miles above the point where the Wye joins the severn. There is one of the most famous and ancient ecclesiastical ruins in England. It is situated on the right side of the river. Wordsworth, it is known, was deeply influenced by the spiritual impact of nature. In The Prelude in his autobiographical epic, he narrates the growth and development of himself as a romantic poet. In Tintern Abbey also he classifies and describes the three corresponding stages of his life. This division is almost similar to Shakespeare's passage on The Seven Ages of Man and Keats' The Human Season. He divides his life in nature into three major stages - boyhood, youth and maturity. In his boyhood, the poet felt coarse boyish pleasure in the direct presence of nature. At this stage he had a purely animal delight in every natural beauty. He was haunted by nature and went wherever nature led. He bounded over mountains, by the sides of the deep rivers and streams like a 'roe'. He was again armed by the sounding cataract, the tall rock, the mountain, deep and and gloomy wood, their colours and forms. Such beauties increased his 'appetite'. Indeed it is a period of 'aching joys' and 'dizzy raptures '. Nature was then all in all to him. Such aesthetic joy is no more and he becomes more calm and quiet. In the second stage the poet was enchanted by the loveliness of nature and he can now listen to 'the still sad music of humanity'. His reflective communion with nature has enabled him to see into the deeper mysteries of the universe. Contemplation over human sufferings has chastened and humanized his soul. In the last stage of maturity, Wordsworth is eager to make quest for the address of God or the omnipotent force that runs through all things. This is the stage of his spiritual realisation. The unintelligible mystery of the world has now been unveiled by nature to Wordsworth. The last stage of maturity is definitely a stage of mystical realisation and reflective communion. Pantheism (Pan - all, theos - believe) is the very foundation of Wordsworth philosophy of nature. It is a direct corollary from a feeling of mysticism. It means that the divine spirit, if it is God, is omnipotent and omniscient. The poet believes, according to his pantheistic creed, the nature is the visible garment of God. Such a sublime philosophical thought is well recored in a majestic poetical structure, decorated with mighty, grand and Miltonic blank verse.
there are much more than this that Wordsworth has given us. This form of poetry can be written by very few now.
..........a beautifully penned, and very poetic piece of art... .the poet has painted nature more beautifully than a painting ★
William Wordsworth made the Lake District his own, added to it a deeper dimension. He left his mark on Tintern Abbey, too, with his great poem, one of the finest ever written, I think. I have been to the Lake District many times and each visit was enriched by William Wordsworth and his poetry. One summer I went to Tintern Abbey in the Wye Valley, and that visit was enriched by my memory of the lines William Wordsworth was inspired to write by the ruins near the river Wye.
5 years have passed, not past. Nice conveyance but it is quite long. Could cut it down to maybe half it's length and still carry the same impact.
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