William Wordsworth is one of the Romantic poets, and as such, his work exhibits many of the characteristics of Romantic poetry, including a disdain for the ugliness of modernity, a spiritual reverence for nature, an appreciation for childhood, a focus on the individual and the human mind, and the use...
William Wordsworth is one of the Romantic poets, and as such, his work exhibits many of the characteristics of Romantic poetry, including a disdain for the ugliness of modernity, a spiritual reverence for nature, an appreciation for childhood, a focus on the individual and the human mind, and the use of simple, everyday language. Let's look at some examples to illustrate these characteristics.
In “Lines Written in Early Spring,” the speaker sits in a grove and listens to the “thousand blended notes” of the natural world around him, receiving a “thrill of pleasure” from the hopping birds, the “budding twigs,” and the “primrose tufts.” He uses spiritual language to capture his experience; he says that it is “my faith” that each flower “Enjoys the air it breathes,” and he speaks of “Nature's holy plan” and the link between nature and his human soul. Indeed, the natural world provides the speaker with an almost religious experience.
In “The World Is Too Much with Us,” Wordsworth laments the “Getting and spending” of the modern world as well as people's ignorance of the natural world. Modern people are so focused on commerce that they have given their hearts to it and no longer feel beauty. Rather, they waste their powers on the world that is “too much with us.”
“The Solitary Reaper” illustrates Wordsworth's strong focus on the individual and the human mind. The poem centers around a young woman in a field who is “Reaping and singing by herself.” She is not aware of the speaker's observation but rather goes about her work, allowing the music of her mind and soul to flow freely, and that music flows in to the mind and soul of the speaker. He carries it away with him as he walks on, appreciating the meeting of hearts that has just happened between himself and this unknown woman.
“Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” expounds on the innocence and wonders of childhood, when a person's soul is naturally close to nature. What he once experienced in himself, the speaker now sees in his sister as she walks in the arms of nature with “shooting lights” in her eyes, a “cheerful faith,” and a simple joy that has not yet experienced the cruelty of humans. “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” suggests similar ideas, namely that the child's soul remembers its origins and therefore sees them more easily in the world.
In all of these poems, and many others, Wordsworth uses simple, everyday language. He wants to capture the ideas of the common person, and to do that, he must incorporate their speech along with his depth of imagery, symbolism, and emotion. “My Heart Leaps Up” provides a prime example. The poem is both deep in meaning and simple and accessible in language.