This poem, a sonnet by William Wordsworth, fits into the Romantic tradition and utilizes numerous tenets common to Romantic literature: classical allusions, a personification of the natural elements ("this Sea that bares her bosom to the moon") and a preoccupation with Nature in general ("little we see in Nature that is ours," underlying the fact that man cannot hope to own the land he inhabits). The tone of the poem is melancholy and anxious; indeed, "out of tune." Many others of Wordsworth's poems are concerned with emotion derived from nature, and of being moved by nature, so his frustration here at being unmoved by his surroundings—"it moves us not"—can be viewed in the light of the rest of his body of work. The speaker is feeling frustrated, despite the beauty of the world around him.
What makes him feel "less forlorn" in this state, then, is a hearkening back to the past; the poet states that he would rather be "a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn," such that he might glimpse the great gods of the past, "Proteus rising from the sea," or "Triton blow[ing] his wreathed horn."