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William Wordsworth

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 3 months ago

     William Wordsworth (1770-1850)


           William Wordsworth was a major English romantic poet.  He teamed up with Samuel Taylor Coleridge to write a joint publication entitled Lyrical Ballads.  This piece helped jump start the Romantic Age in English Liturature.  Most of his early writings derived from the deaths of his immediate family members, and the separation from his wife and daughter.  These dark feelings were said to have been resolved through his writings.  Throughout his life, Wordsworth continually worked on his Prelude (an autobiographical poem), though he was never able to publish it.  His writing came to an abrupt end after the death of his daughter in 1847.  Wordsworth passed away three years later.  The Prelude was finally published with the help of his widow in 1850.  Although this piece was quite insignificant at the time, It is now looked upon as a masterpiece. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth,  Kennedy, 449).









   The World Is Too Much With Us;  Late And Soon 


 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 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 wreathed horn.




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               The main idea of this poem, is how humans take the earth for granted.  The first three lines of this poem explain how people are blinded by their own possessions.  The more money someone has, the more powerful they feel.  Wordsworth emphasises if one looks around them, little will they see that is theirs.  One cannot own the moon, wind, nor sea.  The worlds' power outweighs our own.  Wordsworth also wrote this poem to show how people are very unimpressed with the world.  Many people do not question how or why the earth was created.  Life without mystery is not a life Wordsworth wanted to live.   In the ninth line, he states, "It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be a pagan...".  This line shows Wordsworths attitude toward the idea of feeling mystery and amazement.  With the use of an exlamation,  His feelings are very straight forward and hard to miss.  He would rather be a country dweller with no religion than  take the world for granted.









Lucy Gray


Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:

And, when I crossed the wild,

I chanced to see at break of day

The solitary child.


No mate, no comrade Lucy knew:

She dwelt on a wide moor,

--The sweetest thing that ever grew

Beside a human door!


You yet may spy the fawn at play,

The hare upon the green;

But the sweet face of Lucy Gray

Will never more be seen.


"To-night will be a stormy night--

You to the town must go;

And take a lantern, Child, to light

Your mother through the snow."


"That, Father! will I gladly do:

'Tis scarcely afternoon--

The minster-clock has juast struck two,

And yonder is the moon!"


At this the father raised his hook,

And snapped a faggot-band;

He plied his work;--and Lucy took

The lantern in her hand.


Not blither is the moutain roe:

With many a wanton stroke

Her feet disperse the powdery snow,

That rises up like smoke.


The storm came on before its time:

She wandered up and down;

And many a hill did Lucy climb:

But never reached the town.


The wretched parents all that night

Went shouting far and wide;

But there was neither sound nor sight

To serve them for a guide.


At day-break on a hill they stood

That overlooked the moor;

And thence they saw the bridge of wood,

A furlong from their door.


They wept--and, turing homeward, cried,

"In heaven we all shall meet,"

--When in the snow the mother spied

The prind of Lucy's feet.


Then downwards from the steep hill's edge

They tracked the footmarks small;

And through the broken hawthorn hedge,

And by the long stone-wall;


And then an open field they crossed:

The marks were still the same;

They tracked them on, nor ever lost;

And to the bridge they came.


They followed form the snowy bank

Those footmarks, one by one,

Into the middle of the plank;

And further there were none!


--Yet some maintain that to this day

She is a living child;

That you may see sweet Lucy Gray

Upon the lonesome wild.


O'er rough and smooth she trips along,

And never looks behind:

And sings a solitary song

That whistles in the wind.











With the use of an a b a b rhyme scheme, Wordsworth was able to create a melodic flow throughout this particularly lengthy poem.  The setting in this poem is mainly outside of Lucy's home, where she had left one day to light her mothers way into town.  Lucy suspiciously vanished and was nowhere to be seen.  The parents searched for her until Lucys foot prints were found in the snow.  The prints were followed until they too, had vanished.  The meat of this poem has a forlorn taste, until the last two stanzas.  The last eight lines contradict the initial thought of Lucy being dead.  Wordsworth creates a confusing ending, but also allows the reader to envision his/her own ending to the story.

















"The Spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranguility."



-William Wordsworths definition of poetry-
















Works cited







Kennedy, J. X.  Literature, And Introduction To Fiction, Poetry, Drama, And writing.  Fifth Compact Edition. New york, 2007.




































Comments (7)

Anonymous said

at 9:09 am on May 10, 2007

Very nice web page! You've found some really great information on your poet. Also your interpretation of the poems were in depth and gave the poem a better understanding! Especially the interpretation of the Lucy Gray poem. - Malea Proeschel

Anonymous said

at 9:14 am on May 10, 2007

I really enjoyed the poem "The World Is Too Much With Us; Late And Soon". You did a very good job of explaining it and I think that that poem hits a chord to this day. People seem to still be blinded by their possesions (even more today?), and are taking the Earth for granted---to the point of destroying it. -Krystlynn Cumiskey

Anonymous said

at 9:18 am on May 10, 2007

great page! i like how you explained each poem in depth and with thought. just by your explaination i now understand the poems a little bit better!

Anonymous said

at 9:43 am on May 10, 2007

Nice explanation of poems, I especially liked the first poem and the layout of the page as well

Anonymous said

at 9:45 am on May 10, 2007

I like the first poem and the explination of it because it confused me upon reding it. I also think that the quote at the end was a nice touch.

Anonymous said

at 9:46 am on May 10, 2007

We agree that humans take the earth for granted. People do get greedy with their money. But money does give a person power in many ways though. Great job with your page.
From: Jake Erickson and Savannah Bastian

Anonymous said

at 10:08 am on May 10, 2007

Way to go, Kelly! The last poem was very meaty and a bit tricky to understand, but you did a great job of grasping the meaning and it helped me alot. Woot.

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