Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wordsworth's words

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.

This is a poem by William Wordsworth, of course. The title is generally taken to be "The World Is Too Much With Us."

It could be argued that "the world" as he implies it to be here - artificial, external - is even more with us now than when William W. wrote this. But how many now even are conscious that a "too much" is even possible?


susan said...

My interpretation too is that he was already concerned about materialism rearing its ugly head and longed for simpler times. I have a feeling that you're right in your assessment. We really enjoyed reading this piece by Nicholas Carr earlier today (yesterday now).

Ben said...

The spread of materialism, in all senses, does sound like something Wordsworth would be concerned with.

I enjoyed the Nicholas Carr piece a great deal. He's very insightful about the homogenizing effect technology can have. He also quotes one of my favorite poets, taking a line from Hopkins' "Pied Beauty."