According to "The Tables Turned," why it is important to have "a heart / That watches and receives"?

Wordsworth suggests in "The Tables Turned" that it is important to have "a heart / That watches and receives" because only with such a heart can we appreciate and benefit from the beauty of the natural world.

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In his poem "The Tables Turned," Wordsworth encourages the readers to leave their desks and their books behind and to instead go outside and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

In the fifth stanza of the poem, Wordsworth says that nature has "a world of ready wealth" to offer us and with which to enrich "our minds and hearts." Wordsworth here personifies nature as a maternal figure, to emphasize the point that nature is caring and soothing, while also having much to teach her children.

Throughout the poem, Wordsworth contrasts the education that we might receive by simply enjoying the natural world with the education that people seek in their books. The latter is represented as dusty and limited, whereas the former is represented as bright and cheerful. Indeed, Wordsworth says that the natural world offers to us a "truth breathed by cheerfulness."

In the final stanza of the poem, Wordsworth once more invites the reader to leave their desk and venture outside. The last two lines of the poem read,

Come forth, and bring with you a heart

That watches and receives.

This reference to the heart emphasizes the point that while books may help us to educate our minds, only the natural world can help us to educate our hearts. The fact that our hearts only need to be open, so as to watch and receive, also suggests that it is easy for us to learn from nature. It requires no effort or struggle on our part, beyond the effort to have an open heart. Learning from books, by contrast, often does require effort and struggle.

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