The Glory of the Apocalypse

In Book VI of The Prelude, Wordsworth allows the poem “to lead [him] with an easier mind” on this journey of understanding the so-called ‘apocalypse’ of his time and nature as we all know it. This book journeys through memories and recalls Wordsworth’s times of travel and observance, but it goes beyond this basic description of places and weather and imagery. He blossoms this book into a sublime realization that nature and all that exists is ever changing and never reaching a final destination. It is the journey and the exposition of an eternal apocalypse that Wordsworth discovers and beautifully observes and translates. He states:

“…when the light of sense

Goes out in flashes that have shewn to us

The invisible world, doth greatness make abode,

There harbours whether we be young or old.

Our destiny, our nature, and our home,

Is with infinitude–and only there;

With hope it is, hope that can never die,

Effort, and expectation, and desire,

And something evermore about to be.”–Lines 600-608

The text of Book VI is more spiritually sound and aware, and in this passage, the reader gets to experience a more delicate and sacred Wordsworth. He even states “to my soul I say/’I recognise they glory'” (lines 597-598) and indicates to the reader that he has spiritually and mentally accepted an idea he has combatted and wrestled with through out the entire Prelude. It seems as though it is not the awaiting of an apocalypse but rather the ability to see the apocalypse occurring in everything–nature, life, perception, and belief. The Alpha and Omega, everything at once and yet, nothing at all. The darkness and the light with the chaos and the solitude. It is the fact that the apocalypse is up to the observer, and instead of attempting to capture every detail of this awakening vision, Wordsworth humbly excuses himself from dictating these moments in words. He resigns by saying:

“But here I must break off, and quit at once,

Though loth, the record of these wanderings,

A theme which may seduce me else beyond

All reasonable bounds.”–Lines 727-730

This massive circuit of change, existence, life, and the sublime can only truly be experienced rather than recorded. For after all, as Wordsworth would have us believe, everything is always changing and undergoing the glorious apocalypse. It–life, nature, the sublime–is what it is, and yet, never what it seems.

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~ by katiearata on September 13, 2012.

One Response to “The Glory of the Apocalypse”

  1. I consider this to be a beauty-centered reading, but its not altogether empty of perplexity. For Wordsworth, “the journey,” as you noted, has a lot to do with ignoring the obvious world and seeking out things a person considers appealing to their solitary nature.

    In my view, you depict well the realization of independence and reoccurring prophetic circumstances of doom that is evident in Book IV.

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