The Main Message of the World is Too Much with Us Poem
“The World Is Too Much With Us” is one of the well-known poems written by William Wordsworth. Wordsworth is one of the initiators of a poetic movement called Romanticism which introduced a new trend in poetry, spanning from 1790 to 1824. This poetic rebellion was due to the industrial revolution; which led to the expansion of cities and industries over rural areas. William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) lived most of his life around nature in northern England in a place called Lake District, a beautiful green land full of vales, hills and lakes. Thus, no doubt that he is against the destruction of nature through urbanization. This attitude is clear in the title of his poem “The World Is Too Much With Us” (1807). The fact that he is against city life is in accordance with his conception of poetry because according to him “common life” is rustic life, so the whole poem can be regarded as rustic life. Moreover, Wordsworth said that the language should be simple which applies in his quotation” selection of language really used by men” , and it should express powerful feelings as he said” the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. In the following lines, the essay will illustrate these three features that Wordsworth used in his poem to convey his message for us.
The first depiction of what Wordsworth names “common life” is well illustrated in “The World Is Too Much With Us” poem. On the whole, Romantics believe in the innate integrity of humans which is deterred by the urban life. Due to the negative results of the industrial revolution, people became more materialistic. The poem is a call for going back to common life which is “nature” life for him that’s why he says in the beginning of the poem “Getting and Spending, we lay waste our powers” (2), he denotes that people became so busy by money that they have no time to look for the beauty of nature; all of our energy assigns for materialistic needs. In the next line, he says “Little we see in Nature that is ours;” (3); here Wordsworth uses the word “little” to stress the idea of not taking care of nature and he capitalized the first letter of “Nature” to show its importance to the reader as it is a divine. Moreover, Wordsworth beautify nature in two opposed images when he says
“The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;” (6-7)
He describes the wind as a feral animal who is “howling” and as a beautiful thing like a “flower” which shows the assortment of nature life.
Simplicity of language is what Wordsworth affirms in this poem as it combines with his quotation when he said that poetry should be written in “selection of language really used by men”. Although “The World Is Too Much With Us” poem is a sonnet; and sonnets suppose to be formal yet he uses very simple short words like “late”, “Getting”…etc. Besides, he uses simple similes to be nearer to common people like “sleeping flowers”. Moreover, the rhyme scheme of this poem is ABBA ABBA CDCDCD; besides, the appearance of the punctuation at the end of the line grants these rhymes to be listened to producing a superior musicality for the reader.
The third aspect that it is stressed in Wordsworth’s definition of poetry is subjectivity and powerful feelings. Romantics believe that acquaintance is gained throughout feeling rather than logic. This is best summarized by Wordsworth who affirmed that “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” On the whole, the poem has a tone of anger as the poet enrages with people’s disaffection from nature “We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” (4); the fact that he uses a paradox in “sordid boon” reflects his unstable emotions. As he continues, the increase of his anger tone is showed in exclamation marks and his complaint to god by raising his voice while saying “Great God!”. Besides, he said “Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;” (12) the word “forlorn” connotes depression and sadness for the separation between mankind and nature.
All in all, the previous lines have illustrated William Wordworth’s poem “The World Is Too Much With Us” in three different features of Romanticism that also implies with Wordsworth famous quotation which says that the poetic material should come from “common life” and written in a “selection of language really used by men”; he defines poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings…”. Generally speaking, the poet is mourning the death of nature in people’s hearts after the rise of the urban life. In the first place, the nature life is the “common life” for Wordsworth, but people’s materialistic needs have overcome nature. On balance, Wordsworth has overflow of powerful anger feelings appeared in his choice for words and punctuation. Additionally, he uses a very simple language to convey his message to common people not to mention the interaction of the delightful music.
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