How does Wordsworth idealize childhood in Immortality Ode ?


How does Wordsworth idealize childhood in “ Immortality Ode” ?

Ode on Intimations of Immortality is the high-water mark of poetry in 19th century. The theme of the poem is the immortality of human soul. Wordsworth idealize childhood in Immortality Ode. The poem contains a metaphysical doctrine of our childhood that informs us about a life before birth and therefore the immortality of soul.

In the poem, the poem has glorified childhood. In his childhood, the most commonplace object of Nature such as meadow, grove and stream, seemed to him to be invested with a heavenly light. All these objects appeared to him to be unreal and unsubstantial, having a visionary other-worldly gleam upon them.

The poet glorifies childhood and the child because he believes that Heaven lies about us in our infancy. He believes that human soul lives in heaven before it comes to earth. Child bring along with it heavenly glory when it is born into this world. This heavenly glory gradually becomes fainter and fainter as the child grown into the boy, the boy into the youth and the youth into man. The poet says:
At length the man perceives it (heavenly glory) die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
Wordsworth draws the picture of the child playing with his toys which
Represented the plan of his things. His activities are nothing but the endless imitations of the manners and whims of men. But his business with the worldly affairs gradually turns him from the heavenly bliss and makes him forget his original home from where he comes.

The poet places the child in a very high position, saying that he is the best philosopher. The child is closer to God, who holds the divine heritage and is able to understand those spiritual truths which the grown up man cannot understand. To him, the child is greater than man the child is a blessed seer, mighty prophet etc. That is why he calls the child:
Eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, readst the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,
Mighty prophet! Seer blest!

Thus child and childhood had always played a vital role in the poets being. In childhood he discovers a divine radiance and own innocence which any quested of truth must retain and uphold. Like Plato and his English disciples Coleridge and Henry Vaughan, Wordsworth also believed in the theory of recollection. He is in fact indebted to Coleridge for the idea of prenatal existence, which Vaughan had made him aware of the slow decline in celestial power.

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