I started reading The Prelude again and was hit immediately with what had irritated me so the first time around: he sounds like such a bossy know-it-all. A book I have about Wordsworth takes great pains to assure me that this is not the case and that all his revisions actually indicate the opposite, a lack of confidence, and maybe that's true but that is not how it reads.
Book Fifth is about books, but it's also about how books can never be as instructive as nature and how lots of free time in childhood spent roaming in the great outdoors is far superior to reading. I don't know what that means for a girl who spent her formative years in a Section 8 apartment complex in the city but be that as it may there were a couple things I liked.
Dumb yearnings, hidden appetites, are ours,
And they must have their food.
He means books but has maybe just explained the existence pop music?
About growing up:
... that dubious hour,
That twilight when we first begin to see
This dawning earth, to recognize, expect,
And in the long probation that ensues
(The time of trial, ere we learn to live
In reconcilement with our stinted powers),
To endure this state of meagre vassalage...
That certainly struck a chord and then this I found so heartbreaking. I'd read in another article about him that one of the great sorrows of his later years was feeling like he'd lost the sense of inspiration and enchantment of his youth.
... I am sad
At the thought of raptures forever flown;
Even unto tears I sometimes could be sad
To think of, to read over, many a page -
Poems withal of name - which at the time
Did never fail to entrance me, and are now
Dead in my eyes as a theatre
Fresh emptied of spectators.
I wasn't going to put any music with this but those words made me think, take an inventory I guess, and I was kind of pleased to realize that I don't feel this way. I can go back and read certain things I liked and even more intensely listen to things I liked and can often feel the way they made me feel back then- like life is full of endless possibilities just waiting out there- even if the feeling is fleeting. This still makes me feel that way:
The Style Council - My Ever Changing Moods (12")
I've written about this one before, how I can remember very clearly being in my bedroom and hearing it for the first time, how it probably changed my life because it changed everything I listened to. I went from Stevie Nicks to this. Intellectually I know there had to have been other things in between, otherwise how was I even listening to a radio station that would play this, but emotionally there wasn't- this was like suddenly, unexpectedly finding a big missing part of my own self and I've been skulking around the import aisles ever since.
Wordsworth writes about his own youth and remembers strolling through the lanes chanting favorite verses aloud with a friend:
And though full oft the objects of our love
Were false, and in their splendor overwrought,
Yet surely at such time no vulgar power
Was working in us - nothing less in truth
Than that most noble attribute of man
(Though yet untutored and inordinate),
That wish for something loftier, more adorned,
Than is the common aspect, daily garb,
Of human life.
I mean, he really could be talking about music.