Ode to Intimations of Immortality
Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (also known as Ode, Immortality Ode or Great Ode) The poem is an irregular Pindaric ode in 11 stanzas that combines aspects of Coleridge's Conversation poems, the religious sentiments of the Bible and the works of Saint Augustine, and aspects of the elegiac and apocalyptic traditions. It is split into three movements: the first of 4 stanzas discusses concerns about lost vision, the second of 4 stanzas describes how age causes man to lose sight of the divine, and the third of 3 stanzas is hopeful in that the memory of the divine allows us to sympathize with our fellow man. The poem relies on the concept of pre-existence, the idea that the soul existed before the body, to connect children with the ability to witness the divine within nature. As children mature, they become more worldly and lose this divine vision, and the ode reveals Wordsworth's understanding of psychological development that is also found in his poems The Prelude and Tintern Abbey. Wordsworth's praise of children as the "best philosopher" was criticized by Coleridge and became the source of later critical discussion.