How does nature shape Lucy's character and personality in Wordsworth's poem "The Education of Nature"?  

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William Wordsworth's "Lucy" poems focus on a romantic image of a girl named "Lucy" who died when she was three years old. These poems, published in Lyrical Ballads, were not actually conceived of as a group by Wordsworth, but are often treated together by modern critics. The group includes:  "Strange fits of passion have I known", "She dwelt among the untrodden ways", "I travelled among unknown men", "Three years she grew in sun and shower" (also titled "The Education of Nature"), and "A slumber did my spirit seal". All of these poems associate infancy with nature and the countryside and show both in a positive light, associated with purity, innocence, happiness, spontaneity, and connection with immanent divinity, in opposition to adulthood and urban life, which are associated with melancholy, constraint, and corruption of the soul.

Nature instills in Lucy a sense of joy, as seen in the lines:

She shall be sportive as the fawn

That wild with glee across the lawn

Nature makes Lucy spontaneous and free, albeit with a sense of connection to a greater law than mere mortal conventions, making her naturally morally good. Nature teaches her an appreciation of beauty and love for fellow creatures. Nature shapes her sentiments and creates in her sympathy for the natural world and its denizens. Most importantly, Nature imbues Lucy with joy and delight. 

 

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