“The child is the Father of The Man,
And I could wish my days to be,
Bound each to each by natural piety.”
The above are the introductory lines from William Wordsworth’s Ode: “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.” The reminiscence of heaven in this ode, is derived from the “Platonic Theory” that man tends to forget his divine origin, and become blinded by worldly experience.
One wonders that the child as the principal subject should have been given a poor show in the long pageant of English literature. In former ages, people had to make themselves look more dignified and greater than really were. Now it is vice versa, hence the importance of children-the buds that open and smile as flowers.
Now it is appreciated: “A proper study of mankind is children.” With this loud proclamation, the grand old man began the triumph. The delightful, thing is that they follow behind a serious eyed un-humorous old man old man with side-wiser and a black cravat, once from William Wordsworth, who must surely in his life time have been a little terrifying to children, yet he now leads them towards their rightful place in literature, bearing before them a banner on which is embroidered:
Shout around me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy shepherd boy!
Here we hear the magnificent “Shout” of the old sire: that the “Heaven lies about them in their infancy.” Here-here, we can peer for the profounded truths, sees the lineaments of God, probe the ultimate wisdom; find most nostalgic beauty in the world and can rejoice in quintessential honour. Here is the core of the topic: ‘A proper study of mankind is children.’ With this loud proclamation, the grand older man begins to triumph. And, as he were the Pied Piper himself, the children rushed after him into literature: Principals, here they come Jane Eyric, David Copperfield, Paul Dumbly, Henry Edmond, Maggie Tiller, Alice, Harry Richmond, Oliver Twist, Tom Sawyer. Hackle Bury Finn, Pet Marjorine, “Cheenoo” and “Charbat” of Amar Jaleel the children of “The Golden Age” and hundreds of other.
“The Child is the father of the Man is an epigram. They complete the whole cycle of life. Wordsworth dwells on the whole philosophy of life from the cradle to the grave. He takes us from the divine light that a child possesses, through care-free boyhood, capricious youth, to mature manhood when the doors of humanity close on man.
No doubt children are the greatest blessings of God. They are the climax of married life. Nobody could have conceived a nobler and divine role for the child than William Wordsworth. A man takes his stream of life from God as a small stream that ultimately swells into a mighty current-turbulent and full of great roar. In the early days, everything seems: “Appareled in celestial light.” Childhood is the loveliest care-free happiest and the best period of life, for the child is nearer to God and heaven. It is all full of innocent joy. The heart beats with the divine spark (piety). As the holy Quran says:
“Thus it is, and whose honours the symbols of Allah, then indeed is from the piety of the heart.” (22:32)(22:32)
Where is now, the glory and the dream?”
But what is this Vision so prated of what is this value in children? Lately discovered as a vehicle of illumination, what is the tremendous import in the ODE) that makes the children subjects worth writing about? Four elements can be sorted out after reading the poem. The children bring with them though it is fading and unconscious quality, a pearl of wisdom that savours of the eternal. It is seen to be the wisdom that to which all saints and sages come; for the spiritual odyssey of the saints and sages has always been a circular journey, away from the trust, the forgiveness, the acceptance and the serenity of childhood, through doubts, disillusion, and a dark night of the soul, back to the acceptance and serenity of childhood again. (Childhood to manhood).
Secondly, they bring to the world of their visitation an artists’ eye and a poet’s fancy. Then they, more than any other healing instrument, touch the worst of us back to nobility again; and quicken the wilting sanctity that is immortal in us all. And lastly, they are unconscious vessels brim-charged with that humour, which is the noblest we can enjoy, the humour that is lambent with beauty, stirring laughter poignant with tears.
The children bring with them wisdom that savours of the eternal though it a fading and of unconscious quality. It is the wisdom to which all the saints and sages come. Their circular journey is through doubt, disillusion and a dark night of the soul, back to the trust; the forgiveness, the acceptance and the serenity of childhood again. It proves the truth that the child is the father of the man. The following are some of the shaft lights of the poets on the matter.
“A child is a man in small letters yet the best copy of Adam before he tasted of Eve or the Apple. He is purely happy because he knows no evil, nor hath made mean by sine to be acquitted with misery. The elder he grows, he is satyr lower from God and like his first father, much worse in his breaches.”
Now coming to the ‘Temporal vision’, it is clear from the seek of wonder that the children display. Wordsworth was responsible for the very superior observation that to most dull eye a yellow primrose by the river’s brim. “A yellow primrose was, and, nothing more.” We can call this temporal vision. ‘Artist’s eye, or ‘Poet’s fanny.’
The touch of our children on us is a sanctifying touch. In contact with children, the good people are outstanding, and the bad people are better for one, they teach us selflessness, pity, patience and forgiveness. They scatter beauty wherever they go and take away the pall of life.
The life of a child is full of sunshine and joy- innocent and straightforward. They live in a world of make–beliefs and accept everything right, which we won’t. Their laughter and pity mingle to make everything beautiful, in life. We hear the sad music of humanity as we grow. Thus childhood and manhood cannot be separated.
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About the writer:
Miss Anum Saba is one of the bonafide students of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. She has completed her 4.5 month-course on Online Creative English Writing and Advanced Grammar under his patronage. Having done graduation in computer science and courses in creative English writing, she loves writing blogs and articles on various topics: current affairs, everyday science, technology, beauty, cooking, and entertainment.
Name of the Student: Miss Anam Saba
Total Articles/Blogs: 10
English Coach: Sir Syed Kazim Ali
Course Taken: Creative English Writing & Article Writing
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