Introduction

William Wordsworth’s “My Heart Leaps Up” is a short lyric poem. It was composed on March 26, 1802 (when Wordsworth was staying at Dove Cottage in the picturesque Lake District of northern England, according to his sister Dorothy’s daily diary), and later released in 1807 as part of Wordsworth’s Poems, in Two Volumes. “My Heart Leaps Up,” along with many of his works from this time period, was inspired by nature, as the speaker expresses his ecstasy at seeing a simple rainbow. 

About The Poet

William Wordsworth was an English poet who was a prominent face in Romanticism and wrote the most classic poem about daffodils ever written. William Wordsworth was also known as a “poet of nature.”

Theme Of The Poem

The poem “My Heart Leaps Up” emphasizes the need of maintaining a childlike sense of wonder and excitement throughout one’s life, a topic that Wordsworth returns to throughout his writing.

The poem argues that the enlightenment of childhood is not one that can be taught with years of experience, but rather the innocence to perceive and be moved by the natural world. “My Heart Leaps Up” expresses the speaker’s sheer joy upon seeing a rainbow. This happiness causes the speaker to ponder the flow of time and the importance of childhood. 

Poem 

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.

In the beginning of the poem, the poet states that when he sees a rainbow, his heart “leaps up.” This is not, however, a surprising or undiscovered reaction to the sight of a rainbow. Rather, the speaker has always had the same reaction to witnessing a rainbow. The speaker’s excitement is the same joy he felt as a child, as the poem portrays with the words “So was it when my life began”. When he notices his reactions towards the beauty of nature, the speaker finds solace in the fact that he hasn’t lost his childish sense of sheer, unfiltered awe.

As a result, the rainbow connects the speaker not only to nature, but also to his childhood. The speaker gains hope for a good old age as a result of this sense of connection from infancy to maturity. He believes that he will continue to feel the same excitement in his old age too, as shown by line 5 “So be it when I shall grow old.”

Furthermore, the speaker says that it was through his early experiences that he learnt to feel the happiness he feels when he is in nature. The speaker says that childhood teaches individuals how to enjoy the simple glories of the natural world, then laying the concept of parenting. While adults have more understanding, experience, and capabilities than children, but kids are more in touch with nature and have less control over their reactions to it. The speaker refers to “natural piety” as a child’s pure and religious joy for nature.