In what ways has William Wordsworth lament for mankind  be seen in the 21st Century?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Wordsworth concludes his poem, "Lines Written in Early Spring" with his lament it is reflective of a world in which the spirit and independence of humanity has resulted in the creation of a world that is completely opposite of the promises and possibilities intrinsic to human freedom.  This is seen in the conclusion of the second stanza of the poem:

And much it grieved my heart to think/ What man has made of man.

I think that the sentiment included in these lines reflects how Wordsworth believes that what human freedom has included is reflective of the very worst in humanity.  Certainly, there is something to be said of this in the 21st Century.  Global warming and environmental destruction is reflective of the grieving that is such a part of Wordsworth's lament.  At the same time, the over-commercialization and saturating of wealth in the modern setting has left little room for natural beauty and the "primrose tufts" that Wordsworth believes enables that "every flower enjoys the air it breathes."  Adding to this would be a human element that creates more grounds for Wordsworth's lament.  While this might be one of the more peaceful times in human existence in terms of the absence of large scale wars, the human atrocities committed all over the world by so many people to so many others is cause for Wordsworth's lament, one in which the wanton destruction of nature has been enhanced by a destruction of human beings, as well.  In this, the 21st Century has demonstrated itself to be a prime breeding ground for Wordsworth's lament for humanity.