Posted in Life lessons, Nature, Poem Analysis, Poetry, reality, William Worsworth

The WORLD is too much with us

One look at yourself and your surroundings will suffice in agreeing to me in saying, that today, many of us, almost all, have forgotten our beginnings , where all this, the entire humanity gave rise to. We have forgotten simplicity, authenticity and we seem to have not enough time to even admire the sun rise from the east, a butterfly’s wings or the sweet scent of a blooming flower. Instead, man is overwhelmed with work, endless loads of work to an extent where we’ve already forgotten how much of the nature are we destroying along the way,

It is therefore, at such a time, when Wordsworth might actually come in handy, for his words celebrates nature as an integral part of our lives and as a fascinating means of escape from the horror of our everyday cities. His words drowns us in the desire for the ecstasy of nature. This is a poem that draws our attention to the influence that we are all unknowingly inflicting upon the nature, and the poem reminds us that,

“Nature never did betray

The heart that loved her.”

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.

The poem provides a fatalist description of mankind and its detachment with the nature. The words, “late and soon” suggests the perpetuate behaviour and attitude towards nature from the world both in the past and the future. In simple words, the poem serves the purpose of characterizing the modern and the earlier man throughout, such that humans evolve round the constant circle of “getting and spending” without any involvement of giving or saving. In addition, the speaker seems to comprehend and know the potential of mankind’s “powers” and yet he believes that the human seemingly wastes it in materialistic yearning.

The speaker further proceeds on to the materialistic progress of mankind where we “have given our hearts away” to  money and worldly desires. The poet uses an oxymoron; “sordid boon” to further define the irony in the materialistic desire and accomplishments of the contemporary man. Sordid suggests the worst aspects of human nature including immorality, selfishness and greed while boon implies a blessing or a benefit. Thus the speaker reveals that materialism is a destructive and a corruptive blessing that is overwhelming the man. Although in the exterior, money and material goods bring pleasure and satisfaction, the poet brings forth the sordid truth behind theses pleasures and how human is consequently destroyed.  This is further illustrated in personifying the sea and thereby creating an image of the sea clenching her arms to her bosom and relentlessly pleading the skies to the misery of mankind and similarly the speaker draws on the image of wind repeatedly howling; all of which metaphorically indicate the unfortunate and sorrowful circumstances that have consequently drifted the man away from nature leaving it unchecked. The speaker hence complains that the man has clouded himself with time and money that he see no significance in appreciating nature.

Contrary to what the society considers, the poet does not seem to see nature as a commodity, in fact, he says, ” Little we see in Nature that is ours ” illustrating that coexistence is the relationship envisioned. Mankind, as he implies, must be able to appreciate the beauty of nature, the moon’s reflection on the sea and the gust of strong winds, whereas this relationship seems to be at the mercy of mankind depicted with the way in which these images are portrayed in the poem. “sleeping flowers” is yet another instance in the poem where nature is being overrun and ignored.

The verse “I, standing on this pleasant lea, have glimpses that would make me less forlorn”, reveals Wordsworth’s perception of himself in society: a visionary romantic more in touch with nature than his contemporaries. The speaker would rather be a pagan who worships an outdated religion so that when he gazes out on the ocean (as he’s doing now), he might feel less sad. If he were a pagan, he would have glimpses of the great green meadows that would make him less dejected. He’d see wild mythological gods like Proteus, who can take many shapes, and Triton, who can soothe the howling sea waves.