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My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold - Summary | The Magic of Words

A rainbow above the forest and river
English | Summary
Unit Two : Men, Women and Children
My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold
William Wordsworth
The Magic of Words

"My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold" is a poem written by a famous nature poet William Wordsworth. In this poem, the poet recollects/remembers an experience of his childhood days and gives his emotion and feelings a meaning. The poet also expresses his love towards nature. He feels great joy when he sees a rainbow in the sky. He used to enjoy a lot when he saw the rainbow in the sky in his childhood. He hopes he will still get pleasure at seeing the rainbow when he becomes old and if such feeling stops in the future he wishes to die.

According to the poet, child is the father of man because childhood is the beginning of the manhood. In other words, the qualities of the grown up men are all derived from childhood. At last, the poet wishes that his remaining days would be bound by his love to nature.

A paradox is a statement containing opposite ideas that make it unlikely although it may be true. The above statement is paradoxical in the sense that it contains opposite ideas for normal people. The child cannot be the father; he is the man who can be the father. But, the poet through his statement "The Child is the Father of the Man", wants to say that childhood is the beginning of manhood. The thing we do and feel as children affect the way we feel when we are adults. The poet also wants to say that the present is the result of past.

Important Questions 

1. Explain the paradox `The Child is the father of Man.' 
Ans: In this poem the poet William Wordsworth says," The child is the father of man". He wants to say that present is the outcome of past. According to him, the child grows up and becomes father. Manhood is outcome of the childhood. So, the poet says this statement. This paradox might have different meaning. The poet might have said that the child is innocent. We can learn many things from the child who never lies. In reality, we try to learn from father. We can also say that a man can be younger by age but may be more matured by mind that is what the poet wants to express through this paradox. 

2. Why does the heart of the poet leap up when he sees a rainbow in the sky? 
Ans: The poet William Wordsworth is identified as a nature loving poet. He enjoys on nature and natural things. The poet was the worshipper of the nature. He enjoys the scenic beauty of nature. He saw the same rainbow when he was a child. It is the same as in the past. It will remain the same but the poet will die soon. Here, the rainbow symbolizes the continuation in his life but it is not possible. So, his heart leaps up. 

Questions for Practice 
  1. Explain what William Wordsworth means by "Natural piety" that binds every day. 
  2. Write a critical appreciation of the poem "My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold". 
  3. Give a summary of "My Heart Leaps Up" and add your impressions about the poem. 
  4. Give a summary of "My Hearts Leaps UP Again." Explain what it means when poet says that child is man's father. 
  5. Summarize the poem "My heart Leaps up When I behold" in a paragraph. 
  6. Give the main idea of Wordsworth's poem "My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold" 
  7. Why does William Wordsworth wants his heart to leap up when he sees a rainbow as an old man? 
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