Poesie: Wordsworth’s The World Is Too Much with Us

The form of this Wordsworthian sonnet refers back to 16th and 17th century sonnets, much like the reference to Proteus recalls Milton’s description of the Old Man of the Sea, and Triton Spenser’s figure of the sea-god.

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It is almost silly to introduce William Wordsworth, this 18th/19th century English poet who was so much in love with nature.  Here is what I learned from him:  He and his sister re-used their tea leaves three times before they passed them on to their poorer neighbors to use.  Surely I do not need to use fresh tea leaves every time I brew tea, do I now?

The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

~ William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

3 comments on “Poesie: Wordsworth’s The World Is Too Much with Us”

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