The World Is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth

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What is the meaning of the beginning phrase "The world is too much with us" in the poem "The World is Too Much with Us" by William Wordsworth?  

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The opening line of the poem states that "the world is too much with us." It is followed by the line "getting and spending we lay waste our powers." The second line helps illuminate the first. By "world," Wordsworth means not the entire world, but what the French call "le monde": society, the social world, and the hectic world of business and commerce. That world, the opening line is saying, consumes too much of our time and energy.

Because of our focus on the fast-paced, materialistic world, we lose touch with nature, the poem says. We have "given our hearts" away to commerce. This tendency to live in the world's whirl also impacts our imagination. Not...

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