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Quotes

Quote #1

Now my friends emerge
Beneath the wide wide Heaven—and view again
The many-steepled tract magnificent(21-23)

The word "Heaven" does not have a specifically religious meaning here – it just means "sky." But the phrase "many-steepled track magnificent" compares the hills that poke out of the landscape to the steeples of country churches that are visible when you approach a village. Rather than being confined to one church, as most villages were, the landscape has many of these metaphorical places of worship. In other words, nature beats man.

Quote #2

gaze till all doth seem
Less gross than bodily; and of such hues
As veil the Almighty Spirit, when he makes
Spirits perceive his presence. (41-44)

These lines are the most difficult in the poem. The speaker says that the landscape is not just blind matter, not "gross" like a lifeless rock or stump. Instead, nature is like a body that houses that "soul" of the Almighty Spirit of God. A philosopher might find this imagery to be evidence of "Transcendentalism" or "Idealism." The basic idea is that the "real world" – the true nature of things – lies "behind" or "inside" the visible world.

Quote #3

Henceforth I shall know
That nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure;
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there
No waste so vacant, but may well employ
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart
Awake to Love and Beauty! (61-66)

Try taking out the word "nature" in these lines and replacing it with the word "God." Do you see a substantial difference?

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