Is "The World Is Too Much With Us" a Miltonic sonnet?

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shxpersdarklady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I'm not sure what you mean by a "Miltonic" sonnet, but this sonnet connects with Milton's sonnets in that it is an Italian sonnet in form: it consists of two sections, an Octave with rhyme scheme abbaabba, followed by a Sestet with various rhyme schemes (here cdcdcd).  Another term often used to identify the form of this kind of sonnet is "Petrarchan sonnet," and both Petrarch and Milton tended to use the Octave to set forth a problem or proposition, then to answer it in the Sestet, as Wordsworth does here.  Wordsworth's "London, 1802" actually speaks of wanting to bring John Milton into the speaker's time period, in order to help him save them from the decadence and impersonalization of the industrialization of England, so perhaps you could call this poem "Miltonic" in the sense that its complaint is similar to the one offered in this sonnet, which so laments the industrialized "progress" of London that the speaker wishes he were a pagan nature-worshipper who could retreat into the countryside and become lost, I suppose, in nature.  Granted, Milton often used the names of classical gods to make religious connections in his poetry, but that device -- especially in Renaissance poetry like Milton's-- is very different from Wordsworth's use of paganism in his poetry.  My answer is that it would be more accurate to call "The World Is Too Much With Us" an Italian or Petrarchan sonnet than a Miltonic sonnet, but to the extent that Milton did write Italian/Petrarchan sonnets, I suppose some might call it "Miltonic."

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