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Poetry Analysis: Wordsworth's "The World is Too Much with Us"

Updated on February 11, 2015

Wordsworth adjudges that it is nature that is a panacea for all the trials and tribulations of life. It is instrumental in spiritually enlightening ourselves. The words "late and soon" bridge the gap between the past and present. Our energies are expended in "getting and spending". Life has evolved into a business proposition where it is appraised in terms of profit and loss." Little do we comprehend that Nature is ours": Here the poet may refer to 'Nature' as both external and inner nature. In the rat race for commercialization, Human Nature is commodified and marginalized. The line: 'This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon" bears testimony to this fact; that in the process of commodification we have ruled ourselves out and have sold our hearts and principles away.It is a dishonourable gift that we have to offer.

The wind is an emblem of revitalization and rejuvenation.However,here the howling wind is up-gathered like sleeping flowers. Human civilization is stagnant, characterized by dormancy and morbidity everywhere. Note that the poet does say that the flowers are sleeping, and not dead .Therefore, there is room for hope. The poet further,declares that 'we are out of tune'. The harmony of life is nowhere to be found .Rather than live in a manipulative, competitive and calculating era it ,the poet aspires to transcend into primitivism where instinct reigns supreme over reason. He envisages himself on a green meadow "less forlorn" and he apprehends how the heathens imparted more significance to nature and kinship. "Forelorn" has been commented by critics as a remarkable word in terms of its etymology. It is the past participle of the word 'forleosan=to lose completely". The literal meaning of 'forelorn' therefore amounts to the state of being completely lost. The poet refers to the modern condition of human beings that find themselves in a state of existential amnesia.

Towards the end, the poet captures images of the sea-Gods. Wordsworth begins with wind, then earth (lea) and then progresses to the sea. In the process, he traverses the three basic elements of nature. He longs to regress into paganism to "see" Proteus and "hear" Triton. That is,he wishes to utilize all his channels of sensory perception to revert to irrationalism and hold spiritual union with nature.

Proteus was a sea God, who according to Greek legends, was the son of Poseidon (the god of the sea) whose flocks he tended. He had prophetic powers and the ability to change shapes. The poet wants to revisit this vision, so that it can come across as a prophetic revelation before the people. Triton, a powerful sea-god was the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite .Triton was half-man and half-dolphin. This brings to us the picture of a mermaid. In the first symbolism of Proteus, he wants to be entirely pagan adapting himself to the surrounding. In the second, he aspires for the intellect of a man in the form of a mermaid,but yet be restricted to nature in the form of water. Being a perfect product of post-enlightment Christianity, Wordsworth's pagan views are therefore more emblematic and universal, than spiritually and personally inclined.

These lines been explained by Mr.Webb as follows:"To us, spoiled by civilization, nature is dead: in her presence we find ourselves solitary, unfriended. The heathens were better off: for them every tree had its wood nymph, every stream Naiad; every form of Nature might give chances"glimpse"of some indwelling spirit."

Proteus was a sea God, who according to Greek legends, was the son of Poseidon (the god of the sea) whose flocks he tended. He had prophetic powers and the ability to change shapes. The poet wants to revisit this vision, so that it can come across as a prophetic revelation before the people. Triton, a powerful sea-god was the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite .Triton was half-man and half-dolphin. This brings to us the picture of a mermaid. In the first symbolism of Proteus, he wants to be entirely pagan adapting himself to the surrounding. In the second, he aspires for the intellect of a man in the form of a mermaid,but yet be restricted to nature in the form of water. Being a perfect product of post-enlightment Christianity, Wordsworth's pagan views are therefore more emblematic and universal, than spiritually and personally inclined.

These lines been explained by Mr.Webb as follows:"To us, spoiled by civilization, nature is dead: in her presence we find ourselves solitary, unfriended. The heathens were better off: for them every tree had its wood nymph, every stream Naiad; every form of Nature might give chances"glimpse"of some indwelling spirit."

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