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My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold

My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold

by William Wordsworth

Happiness Theme

Happy, happy! Joy, joy! From the start, we learn that the speaker's heart leaps up when he sees a rainbow. This enthusiasm, we find out, runs throughout his entire life and is largely created by his relationship with nature and with childhood. Think about the things that make your heart leap with happiness when you consider the theme of happiness in "My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold."

Questions About Happiness

  1. Describe the feeling of a heart leaping up, as you imagine it happening in this poem, and how it happens for you. 
  2. Think about something that makes you so happy that you would want to die if it no longer made you happy. How is your source of happiness like or unlike the speaker's?
  3. Does the idea of "natural piety" sound happy to you? Why or why not? 
  4. Do you feel happy at the end of this poem? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker in this poem can only draw happiness from the beauty of nature. Like Sinéad O'Connor sang, nothing compares to nature for our speaker.

The speaker of this poem feels that, if one of the main sources of happiness in his life no longer pleased him, it would not be worth living. Bummer.

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