The theme of "The World Is Too Much with Us" is that humankind has forsaken the soul and individuality for money and material gain. By rejecting a connection to nature, which enriches the soul, people have lost sight of the true meaning and purpose of human existence.
A great lover of nature, William Wordsworth often wrote his poetry while out on walks in the countryside, where it was peaceful and he could enjoy the loveliness of the world. He chose the sonnet form for this poem because of its order and discipline and rhetorical force, feeling that this form was appropriate to express his strong "moral sentiment":
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours:
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
In these lines Wordsworth denounces the materialism that he has observed in people after the Industrial Revolution: "For this, for everything, we are out of tune." This belief in materialism, Wordsworth feels, prevents people from realizing the true meaning and purpose of life.
The speaker of this poem declares that he would rather be a pagan who worships nature in "a creed outworn" than be someone who embraces a spiritually empty materialism. At least as a pagan, there is joy and spiritual enrichment in the communion with the beauty and life of the world:
Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn:
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn
Like so many of his poems, "The World Is Too Much with Us" directs his readers to what Wordsworth called "a moral sentiment," as he perceives his time as a decadent era.