Discuss Wordsworth's attitude towards nature in The Prelude.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear from the opening section of this long poem that nature is of the utmost importance to Wordsworth, and that in some ways it shapes his own feelings and emotions completely. This poem traces the changes in the relationship that Wordsworth has with nature as he moves from childhood, through to his adult life, and then finally enters old age. Yet one of the key aspects that remain constant is the massive influence that nature has on his life. Note how this is explored in the opening section:

For I, methought, while the sweet breath of heaven

Was blowing on my body, felt, within,

A correspondent breeze, that gently moved

With quickening virtue, but is now become

A tempest, a redundant energy,

Vexing its own creation.

Wordsworth gives thanks to both of these different emotions that he experiences as he contemplates nature, seeing in them both "vernal promises" and the hope of both activity and quiet meditation. Wordsworth's attitude to nature, although it changes as he grows up and ages, is clearly one that is based on a very intimate connection between himself and nature. To a certain extent, Wordsworth's emotions are tuned in to what is happening in nature, and clearly nature plays a big role in governing his feelings and emotions.

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