My heart leaps up when I behold
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
Wordsworth wrote “my heart leaps up” on the night of March 26, 1802 while he was in Dove Cottage Gransmere. After he wrote thought about altering it, but decided to leave it as it was originally written. It was published 5 years later as part of Poems, in two volumes in 1807.
This is another famous poem by Wordsworth which is deeply connected with “I wandered lonely as a cloud” at least for the fact that the both don't have a title therefore the first line is used as a title “my heart leaps up when I behold”, there are few words that reminds us of “I wondered lonely as a cloud”: the poem begins with the word “My” that is connected with the first person pronoun in the beginning of the other composition and describes a subjective experience.
The word “heart” again can be considered such as a connection with “I wondered lonely as a cloud” in fact it can be related with the “inward eye” that we found in the other poem.
The heart “leaps up” joyful, usually we associate a connotation of joy, excitement, energy with leaping up
“When I behold” means to see and again the stress is on visual images, this concept is a constant in Wordsworth poetry because in his poems there's altar a divine conception of nature.
“Rainbow in the sky” denotes a beautiful images which is visually highlighted because it's shorter in the test as well as “or let me die”. Rainbow is again sudden that comes after a storm that doesn't really last long (an epiphany again) and it's colorful, even nowadays is associated with peace, so it's an absolutely positive images.
Rainbow in our religion is anyway is associated with our religion, at the end of the storm Noah see a rainbow in the sky.
In the following lines we have an anaphora of “so” + the verb “to be” in different tense: past, present, future; the anaphora highlights the importance of the concepts, and the idea that this concept is so important that it has always been important in the life of poet: during his childhood, his adult life and he hopes that it'll be the same when he'll grow old “Or let me die”: nature is really important in the poets life and it has always been part of it and that rather than lose this strong bond with the natural world the poem would prefer to die.
“The Child is father of the Man” is a line that has became so famous because it's a paradox meant to express that when you're a child your closer to emotions, feeling, the divine and therefore the natural world because in Wordsworth’s conception natural world is the expression of the greatness of beauty of God’s mind.
There's one last religious reference in the last word “piety” that actually is a religious word.
Of course it's paradoxical because a child cannot be the father of the man, but from a romantic prospective the child who possesses greater imagines power and possesses the ability to understand the beauty of the world is indeed the man, because he knows more than the man but also because in one way is the ex-child that originates the kind of man you're going to be.
Again “bound” between man and the natural world is something sacred which acquires a religious undertone.