"I'd rather be a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn" What does this line mean and what is it exactly the speaker does not want to be?

1 Answer | Add Yours

noahvox2's profile pic

noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Written in 1806 by William Wordsworth, in "The World Is Too Much With Us" the poet laments the imbalance that he perceives between his generation's present materialism and the natural world. The technological advances of his age have rendered the wind and waves impotent. Thus, at lines 9 and 10, the poet exclaims:

Great God! I'd rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

Given the lines that follow, with their references to Proteus (13) and Triton (14), it seems clear that Wordsworth is longing for a simpler time, a time in which the technology and advances of his age an age in which people prayed to divinities that ruled over nature. Thus, he uses references to these ancient Greek gods as an example of a pagan belief system. He calls such beliefs an outworn creed, because, in his society, no one believes in such gods anymore.

In sum, Wordsworth seems to be longing for a simpler time when the world had a more pastoral quality. Surely he doesn't really want to be a pagan, but he does appear to be yearning for a simpler time when people were not so materialistic and the joys of the countryside did not seem so far removed.



We’ve answered 319,202 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question