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Symbol Analysis

This cat "Dissolution" must have been the Ray Charles of the Romantic age – his hands are moving all over the keyboard. It’s all a metaphor, of course, and a murky one at that. Wordsworth imagines that the constant changes in nature – big and small alike – form a song. This song pervades every corner of nature, as if it covered the whole spectrum of a musical scale. There is no escape from mutability. The idea of music takes up most of the first half of the poem.

  • Line 1: The words "doth dissolution" begin with the same sound. This is alliteration, and it contributes to the sensation of music by the reader.
  • Lines 1 and 2: The words "climb" and "sink" suggest the motion of the sun, a symbol of passing time. More explicitly, Wordsworth uses the range of a musical scale as metaphor for the limitless range of dissolution.
  • Lines 3: The speaker projects his own feelings onto the musical notes of dissolution by calling them "awful."
  • Line 4: "Musical but melancholy" is another example of alliteration.
  • Line 6: This whole line is a rich example of assonance, or the repeated use of the same vowel sounds, in this case an o and a sound.

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