I have recently annotated this poem and when looking online, I have found that my interpretation of the poem in some aspects is a bit different to most others. I just want to make sure that my interpretation of this poem is also valid.

Basically, up till line 25, the tone is quite serene (which i agree with) but in addition, I also feel there is a bit of sense of foreboding involved because of a few things. The moon is out, so the events are occurring in the midst of night, which connotes evil. Also, the mountains are described as "hoary" - which means greyish-white - and the colour grey has connotations of a lack of emotion, so therefore this portrays the mountains as ruthless and evil. The "mountain echoes" are also following the poet, therefore hinting at the possibility that something might happen.

What do you guys think of this interpretation? Would you say its valid?

I would really appreciate any answers.

In order to access the poem I am talking about, go to this website: https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/171147-poetry-anthology-towards-a-world-unknown.pdf and scroll to page 20.

  • 2
    I think 'hoary' in this instance is more likely to carry the meaning ' Ancient; venerable from age, time-honoured.'. Why do you say that night connotes evil?
    – Spagirl
    Jan 13 '20 at 10:34

After line 25, the poem turns dark and troubled, as

                                            the huge cliff
Rose up between me and the stars, and still,
With measured motion, like a living thing
Strode after me.

Before that, you notice the careful way the writer creates a sense of unease within a moment that should be pure pleasure. But instead, as the poet notes (ll. 10–11),

                                     It was an act of stealth
And troubled pleasure.

So you are right to identify the other elements that create this note of "trouble" within this scene of "pleasure." Within the larger context of the Prelude (in all versions), this incident is one in which the young Wordsworth has not wholly learned the lessons from nature, and his sense of guilt at taking the boat manifests itself in his fear of the ominous cliff chasing after him.

Your analysis is spot on. So, my question is: why did you doubt yourself?

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