Comparing Wordsworth's Ode to Duty and Elegiac Stanzas

1638 WordsJul 13, 20187 Pages
Comparing Wordsworth's Ode to Duty and Elegiac Stanzas A past attitude is reverted to and revised in Wordsworth's "Ode to Duty" and "Elegiac Stanzas." Employing geographic metaphors, both celestial and earth-bound, the poems climb over rocky Wordsworthian terrain that details his reconciliation between past and present and implications of the future. Though vastly different stylistically‹"Ode to Duty" utilizes an antiquated verse form and language, while "Elegiac Stanzas" is written in Wordsworth's beloved "language of men"‹and in the internal willfulness on the poet's part to change versus reaction to external stimuli, the poems parallel in their desires for resolution of a disarrayed soul via the calming sublime power of either an…show more content…
His desire to mend his ways was brought about "Through no disturbance of my soul,/ Or strong compunction in me wroughtŠ/ But in the quietness of thought" (33-4, 36). The poem's devotion to an abstract concept exemplifies the willful internality of the poet's decision. This internality leads the poet to "supplicate for thy control," an act that shifts the poem into the religious territory of reverence. Indeed, Wordsworth subtly raises his travel conceit from the earth to the heavens. "In the quietness of thought," a time that is often reserved for prayer, he decides that "Me this unchartered freedom tires;/ I feel the weight of chance-desires" (37-8). The unmapped liberalism of random urges weighs him down and bounds him to the earth; the austere and personified guardian of duty, on the other hand, steps lightly between the earth and the sky: "Nor know we anything so fair/ As is the smile upon thy face;/ Flowers laugh before thee on their beds/ And fragrance in thy footing treads;/ Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;/ And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, are fresh and strong" (43-8). The craving "for a repose that ever is the same," a constancy that may, in the future, hold for him "a blissful course," is made salient in the comparison to stars, long regarded as shapers of destiny (40, 21). The "repose" here means "sleep," whereas in the fourth stanza "reposed my trust" means

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