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Wordsworth, William - Intimations of Immortality - Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

William Wordsworth – from Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home;
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison house begin to close
Upon the growing boy
But he beholds the Light, and whence it flows
He sees it in his joy;
The youth, who daily farther from the East
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day

The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster child, her inmate, man,
Forget the glories he hath known
And that imperial palace whence he came

It is not now as it has been of yore
Turn wheresoe'er I may
By night or day
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The source of the experience

Wordsworth, William

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Loneliness and isolation


Being a child