[to] . . . close / Upon the growing Boy" (lines 67-68) is relieved by our recognition that the adult imaginative projection patterned throughout the volumes is in its very principle liberating. The spring jubilee Wordsworth celebrates at the inception of the poem is everywhere enacted along that orchard pathway he walked at the beginning of the first volume, and the freshness of response in the poems on natural creatures and phenomena testifies to the truth of his assertion, "My heart is at your festival" (line 39).
But the grave undertones of the "Intimations Ode" are also everywhere present in the earlier poems. Even in the simplest of these celebrations, in the retrospect of the "Ode," we glean a cautionary insight, as if the poems were evidence of a continual mental therapy designed to insure imaginative vitality, to forestall that moment when the poet must acknowledge that "The things which I have seen I now can see no more" (line 9). The earlier poems comprise by their self-conscious tribute to the momentary the very continuity of "obstinate questionings / Of sense and outward things, / Fallings from us, vanishings" (lines 144-46) that the "Ode" so powerfully confronts. Their dialectical rhythms are in the aggregate both broad and dynamic, exhilarating and dangerous, and Wordsworth refuses to narrow them or deny their full energy in encompassing them within his poem. The almost unendurable maturity of the "Intimations Ode," he implies, is already present in the most simple-minded moment of identification with a butterfly or a rainbow, for each such moment is a record of that "primal sympathy / Which having been must ever be" (lines 184-85). The Poems, in Two Volumes adheres with radical insistence to that perspective, documenting thus obliquely to The Prelude how such sympathy is responsible for, imperative to, "the Growth of a Poet's Mind." What is most to be prized in this collection, it might be said, is exactly what Jeffrey detested in it: no other poet has ever written the small so very large or been so true to the value of its inner, absolute life.