How did Wordsworth evolve?
This is a general question, but Wordsworth is most notable for his evolving politics and it is generally held that his earlier poems, infused with his passionate convictions, are stronger than his most of his later work. This longest-lived of the major English Romantic poets was a young man when the French Revolution broke out and travelled to France during that period, where he was impressed by the ideals of universal brotherhood endorsed by the Revolution and by the idea of republicanism. Republicanism does not seem radical to us in the United States, as we have been a republic, democratically ruled, since our beginning, but in England, which had been a monarchy almost all of its history, Republicanism was a radical idea. Yet Wordsworth hoped the republican ideals of the revolution would come to England and then to the whole world
Wordsworth gradually became more conservative. As France turned to tyranny and monarchy, Wordsworth became disillusioned with revolution, and as he aged and became successful, more comfortable with the way the government in England ran.
This is important because Lyrical Ballads, the groundbreaking book of poems he published with Coleridge, contained passionate, radical ideas in its celebration of the common man and its conviction that, through nature, people could commune directly with the divine. His earlier poetry also attacked materialistic norms, saying, for instance, that "getting and spending, we lay waste out powers." Because this earlier poetry is filled with passion and life, Wordworth's reputation rests on it (as well as on other poetry he largely wrote early in life, even if it was published later). His later poetry, often longer than these earlier poems, is not held to have the same verve and spirit of his youthful work and has not been held in the same critical esteem.