Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798
by William Wordsworth
Where It All Goes Down
The setting is so important to this poem that Wordsworth gives us exact directions and even the precise date in the title. The poem takes place on the banks of the Wye River, which is in southeast Wales north of the big city of Cardiff (see the "Best of the Web" section for a link to a map). We also know exactly when the poem takes place: July 13, 1798. The speaker sits underneath a "dark sycamore" tree (10) and thinks about his previous visit, which took place five years earlier. By sifting through his memories, the speaker moves back and forth in time and imaginatively goes back to "towns and cities" (26). So even though the poem takes place entirely on the banks of the Wye on July 13, 1798, his earlier visit (probably in 1793, five years earlier) and his memories of living in "towns and cities" are also important to the setting.