Wordsworth tells us:
Though absent long,These forms of beauty have not been to meAs is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the dinOf towns and cities, I have owed to them,In hours of weariness, sensations sweet”Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, ll 24 – 28
He sings the virtues of memory, but of a special kind. Not a photographic one, such as those held in the pages of an album, but rather a multi-dimensional one. To this recollection the mind may return and explore depths of field. This act of remembering allows for an active displacement in time, a true revisiting of past events. In this way, Wordsworth can return to Tintern Abbey and enjoy a vivid experience of the past. In the same way, two years after coming across a parterre of daffodils (as told us by Dorothy Wordsworth in her Grasmere Journals), he can float above the scene, enjoying a new, free-flying point of view.
Could this be part of the essence of Romanticism? The power of the mind to remember but also reinvest past scenes with a present sense of adventure.
Then let winged Fancy wanderThrough the thought still spread beyond her:Open wide the mind’s cage-door,She’ll dart forth, and cloudward soar.To Fancy, ll 5-8
Who is Fancy- if not the embodiment of creative remembering? Do we not read, enjoy, weep at words on the page precisely because we are encountering the past revived, shown us from ” a few miles above”…?
So while the rain has returned to the shores of the Léman, dashing all our hopes of spring.
[Fancy] will bring, in spite of frost,Beauties that the earth hath lost;She will bring thee, all together,All delights of summer weather;All the buds and bells of MayTo Fancy, ll 29-33