Resolution and Independence: First Impressions

The poem Resolution and Independence by William Wordsworth is written from the perspective of the poet. Wordsworth tells how he is wandering in the moors during sunrise, enjoying the beauty of nature. One might describe his attitude in these first three stanzas as carefree. Then, he is saddened by thoughts of his future (Line 35 – “solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty”), which he later ascribes to the fate of poets in general (Line 48). In the next stanza, Wordsworth tells of his chance encounter with an old man who is gathering leeches. The old man acts as an inspiration for Wordsworth because he “persevere[s], and find[s] them [leeches] where [he] may” (Line 126). The poem ends with Wordsworth resolving to “stay secure” and presumably, to remain a poet, even though he faces difficulties in the future.

Resolution and Independence deals with both of the topics mentioned in the title, but starts with independence. The first thing I noticed about this part of the poem was the rhyme scheme, which begins with a typical ABAB pattern, but instead of having four lines per stanza, the poem has seven. The rhyme scheme is ABABBCC, which creates a sing-song type rhyme at the end when reading the poem aloud. The rhyme scheme continues throughout the poem, but the effects on the poem’s sound are especially noticeable when Wordsworth describes the natural beauty of the moor at sunrise.

Also noticeable is the poem’s focus on imagery that uses figures of speech to accomplish vivid mental images in the mind of the reader. A good example of this can be found on lines 11 through 14. “The hare is running races in her mirth; / And with her feet she from the plashy earth / Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun, / Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run”. Wordsworth uses onomatopoeia in “plashy” and even “glittering”. The reader knows from line 11 that the hare is running races in joy. In line 12, Wordsworth provides the reader the sensory image of sound (or feeling, depending upon the listener). Plashy sounds much like splashy or marshy, which can both be considered synonyms, but Wordsworth uses plashy because it imitates the sound that the hare’s feet make as she runs through the wet grass. The next line, line 13, is visual. The listener can almost see the droplets of water sparkling as they are exposed to the rising sun. Line 14 provides the listener with the broader picture (almost like a movie’s wide shot) of the hare’s misty trail following her around the moors. 

The imagery in this poem is very visual, but it relies on quite a few sound devices as well. Alliteration (“choice or chance”, “moor to moor”), rhyme (as discussed earlier), and onomatopoeia (“roar”, “raced”, “warbling”). Thus, the impression that I am left with after reading this poem just a few times is that Wordsworth’s Resolution and Independence is one best read aloud. This type of reading provides the listener with more appreciation for Wordsworth’s sensory details and vivid imagery.