Tintern Abbey

Wordsworth considered the sublimity of nature in his poem Lines Composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, but on a present day visit to the ruined abbey, Dalrymple encounters modern intrusions into its serenity and finds that the world is too much with him:

I doubt that in 1798, the date of the poem, there would have been a notice informing him that ancient monuments can be dangerous, followed by an enumeration of the various hazards consequent upon visiting them, with little schematic pictures of these hazards to aid those lacking in reading comprehension. For example, there were “uneven, steep or narrow stairs” with a man falling backwards to the ground. Another man fell forwards down the “Unexpected drops,” and a second man backwards because of “Uneven and slippery surfaces.” Then there was a man who hit his head on the “Low headroom,” clutching it in pain afterwards, and another man clutching his head because he had failed to take account of advice to “Let your eyes adjust to the darkness.”

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