Last Updated on October 11, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 333
The speaker has a strong connection with both nature and God. Because of this, he also sees the destructive effects that humankind has on the grandeur God has created. He feels that, though humans have been charged with the responsibility of caring for the earth, in many ways they are continually destroying it. The speaker notes that "all is seared with trade" in a materialistic quest to own, conquer, and explore earth.
There is sorrow in the speaker's tone when he examines how mankind's efforts have "smeared" and "bleared" nature (and, in doing so, themselves). Generations of people have used the earth's resources to their advantage, and the author feels that this exploitation of God's creation may eventually push him to anger.
The speaker's tone shifts to hope in the second stanza, however. For all the devastation that humans bring to the earth, God has provided a world that can always renew itself. Just under the surface of the soil,
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things . . .
The speaker is in wonder of the provisions that God allows through the renewing capacities of the earth:
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Here, it is put forth that every darkness eventually resolves into light due to the care that the speaker's God takes: he who "broods" over all of his creation and shelters it.
God is a guiding force behind the speaker's thoughts. In this poem, God always provides further goodness for humankind. He proves himself powerful in the the ability to create new, beautiful things out of the wreckage that humans leave behind in their conquests over the earth. Although the speaker fears that the way humans destroy the earth over and over again will bring God to anger, in the end, he proves warm and protective, bending over all of creation—even the humans who so often destroy his creations—with love and brightness. This is a trustworthy God and a faithful protector of all he has created.