All of the glory that had broken on me
Surrounded me and saw me through and through
Although I had no idea how to name
A power that engulfed me totally
And turned my soul onto another road.
--Book XVI, lines 700–704
Preludes is a soul's journey from infancy to adulthood--from the Ohio Valley to south Florida, from grade school to college in New England and travel abroad, and ultimately to a knowledge of its maker. The author is unabashedly and sometimes almost naively Romantic, and the poem shows both adoration of nature and the ultimate failure of such an obsession. The poem's many passages are windows onto past landscapes, and through them comes an affirmation of life and the goodness of life. Ultimately, the author encounters and is transformed by a power beyond himself.