Tintern Abbey – On the Banks of the River Wye

Tintern Abbey

It was as I had imagined is would be – a pastoral setting, with a herd of cows in the forefront of the ruins of Tintern Abbey.  Founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow in May 1131, Tintern  (Welsh – Abaty Tyndyrn) is on the Welsh bank of the River Wye.  The Cistercians, known as the White Monks, who lived in the Abbey were adherents to the Rule of St. Benedict, the principles of which were obedience, poverty, chastity, silence, prayer and work.

King Henry VIII’s reign brought about the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  On September 3, 1536, Abbot Wyche surrendered Tintern Abbey and all of its estates to the King.  And so ended a way of life that had lasted for over 400 years. Nevertheless, Tintern remains a gracious testament to survival.  It has outlasted the vagaries of human intervention. Perhaps it is the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary that stands as a vigilant protector.

Over the centuries, Tintern has become a place of inspiration.    This visit was no different.  For in the center of the chapel was a young woman reciting the words of William Wordsworth to the solid walls and open skies.  I stood there, a silent listener…

This is an excerpt from William Wordsworth’s eloquent and heartfelt tribute to his memories of the Wye River.

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798

If I should be where I no more can hear

Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams

Of past existence—wilt thou then forget

That on the banks of this delightful stream

We stood together; and that I, so long

A worshipper of Nature, hither came

Unwearied in that service: rather say

With warmer love—oh! with far deeper zeal

Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,

That after many wanderings, many years

Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,

And this green pastoral landscape, were to me

More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

 

31 thoughts on “Tintern Abbey – On the Banks of the River Wye

  1. Ah… the ultimate beauty of William Wordsworth romantic poems. I love it! Awe inspiring and breathtaking. You are a romantic one Rebecca, and truly know the just right poetic buttons to push. I can but envy such poetic talent. Thank you this dear lady… Maybe some day some of this beauty will rub-off on me. Jean-Jacques

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    • Ah, JJ – you have the heart of a poet! I am so enjoying visiting your blog. A few years ago, I was looking into the poems by Robert Frost and was surprised (although I shouldn’t have been) by these words…

      “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”
      Robert Frost

      Your visits and comments are very much appreciated!

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      • Thank you for your generous words Rebecca… As the old cliche goes, truer words were never spoken, at least as it relates to a struggling scribbler of the poetic medium. And in support of master Wordsworth, I humbly offer a piece from one of my books that tells a like tale, you may find appropriate.

        “ Agonies ”
        ~ of an aspiring poet ~

        Words swirl round
        A restive head,
        Like leaves so scatter
        In autumn winds,
        As I reach in vain
        To save thin words
        From the ensuing rain,
        As I awake to tears
        Lo threatening blur
        My words proposed,
        Thought cogent prose…

        Hence agonize
        To give words life,
        Probing to shape
        Morphologically,
        As in a duel of fate
        Each dubious choice,
        Be cause poem unfolds…

        Whilst I persist
        To disgorge such,
        The like express
        A noble feeling,
        Words oft trap
        Rather than flow,
        Or eke in anguish
        As desperate whispers
        Of an aspiring poet!
        written in Vence, Fr.
        © Jean-Jacques Fournier

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      • Thank you, JJ – “Hence agonize to give words life….”

        By the way, I looked up Vence, “The City of Art”, France. What a lovely place. Thank you for sharing your insightful poem.🙂

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  2. How lovely to know that you were there, Rebecca….Chepstow was my home from eighteen to twenty two, and there is so much history there… Offa’s dyke ended in our garden….the inn opposite Tintern Abbey where I went to my first hunt ball… the whole place throbs with memories and history, and I love to think that you felt some of it….

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    • Thank you – I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. I am not an easy traveller – flying has never been a passion for me. Yet, I know that when I land in another place, I will be glad that I boarded the plane. To me, traveling is about seeing things in a fresh way….

      “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

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    • Thank you!!!! This was an amazing adventure. We took public transit all of way! And when we didn’t take it, we walked and walked and walked! A great way to see the countryside.

      “My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.” John Keats

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    • The best view was when we came over the hill and saw the cows munching peacefully in front of the monastery. There was a slight mist over the countryside, just before the sun came out from behind the clouds. Ah, you must visit.🙂

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    • Sounds wonderful! It seems that there will always be somewhere to travel – which gives me great joy. Even if we don’t get to all of them, someone has and I can live vicariously through their experiences. 🙂

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