Tintern Abbey shows the three stages of development in Wordsworth’s attitude to Nature. Discuss.

The first stage in the development of Wordsworth’s attitude to-Nature was marked by a simple delight, in freedom and the open air, at the first stage, Wordsworth found pleasure in roaming about in the midst of Nature. Like a deer, he leaped about over the mountains, by the side of the deep rivers, and along the lonely streams. He wandered about wherever Nature led him. He felt more like one who flees from something that he dreads than like one who seeks the thing he loves. His wanderings in the midst of Nature are described by him as “glad animal movements1’ and the pleasure he enjoyed in the midst of Nature is called a coarse pleasure.

At the second stage, Wordsworth’s love for Nature was purely physical. Nature now appealed chiefly to his senses. He felt pleasure in seeing the colours of Nature in smelling the fragrance of Nature, in touching the objects of Nature and in hearing the sweet sounds of Nature. The colours and shapes of mountains and wood to him were an appetite. The noisy waterfall haunted him like a passion. Thus he loved Nature with an unreflecting, or thoughtless passion. He experienced aching joys and dizzy raptures in his contact with Nature.’ It was the external, outward sensuous beauty of Nature that delighted and gladdened him.
Ultimately, at the third stage, Wordsworth’s love for Nature became spiritual and intellectual. He had now seen the sufferings of mankind and heard “the still, sad music of humanity.” He now became thoughtful. Therefore, when he looked at Nature, he was filled with deep thoughts. He now found an inner meaning and a hidden significance in Nature. The external beauty of Nature he still appreciated; but it was the inner or hidden significance of Nature which chiefly attracted him and quickened him into thought. He now found a living presence, or a divine spirit, in all the objects of Nature. He found that living presence in the light of the setting sun, in the round ocean, in the blue sky, and in all things. At this stage, he also realised the educative influence of Nature, and the power of Nature to mould the human personality and human charac­ter. He looked upon Nature as the nurse, the guide, the guardian of his heart, and the soul of his moral being. Thus, at the third stage, Wordsworth was a “pantheist” and a believer in a spiritual communication between man and Nature.

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