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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Complaint - William Wordsworth

There is a change - and I am poor;
Your love hath been, nor long ago,
A fountain at my fond heart's door,
Whose only business was to flow;
And flow it did; not taking heed
Of its own bounty, or my need.

What happy moments did I count!
Blest was I then all bliss above!
Now, for that consecrated fount
Of murmuring, sparkling, living love,
What have I? shall I dare to tell?
A comfortless and hidden well.

A well of love - it may be deep -
I trust it is, - and never dry:
What matter? if the waters sleep
In silence and obscurity.
- Such change, and at the very door
Of my fond heart, hath made me poor.










The moment when someone no longer loves you is confusing and disorienting, and that's at the heart of the Wordsworth poem.  While it may be easy to read this poem as whiny, given its title, I think it's best to consider it from the angle of a hurt lover, who now finds no love where once a flood of it flowed.  Only in absence does Wordsworth realize the love he once had.

I do have a gripe with this poem though, and that is that it's inconsiderate of the feelings of the one whose love has stopped flowing.  While that certainly doesn't negate the pain Wordsworth's narrator feels, I can't help but feel it's somehow unfair to complain in such a self-focused manner.  In matters of the heart, fairness seldom applies, however.  Whether there is a good reason for the cessation of that flow of love or not hardly seems to help ease the pain.  Even when your mind can rationalize, the heart often cannot cope.

6 comments:

  1. Isn't your gripe that this poem isn't an entirely different poem? And it does take some character to feel,'You've stopped loving me and I'm really sympathetic with how you're feeling just now'!

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    1. Yes, I suppose I was uncharitable towards Wordsworth. I think that I reacted in such a way is testament to the effectiveness of that one-sided emotion. Being cut off from love certainly does make one (as I feel he is being) unfair, and I understand that. To write such a poem, I feel that Wordsworth must have understood that emotions are inherently exclusive, unfair things. You're right that it does take character to sympathize with that.

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    2. this is stupid I don't understand the poem

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  2. can anyone give me an analysis of this poem

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    1. we're studying this in English and I cant find an analysis of this anywhere so I wrote one :)
      I tried to write it in this comments section but it was to long so I put it on my wattpad- https://www.wattpad.com/393826841-analysis-of-a-complaint-by-william-wordsworth-a

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