Lines Written in Early Spring

by William Wordsworth

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What does "a thousand blended notes" mean in the poem "Lines Written in Early Spring"?

Quick answer:

The expression “a thousand blended notes” at the beginning of “Lines Written in Early Spring” refers to both the symphony of nature and the mixed thoughts the speaker experiences as he compares nature to the way people mistreat each other.

Expert Answers

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As William Wordsworth's “Lines Written in Early Spring” opens, the speaker is reclining in a grove, enjoying the beauty of nature. He proclaims that he hears “a thousand blended notes.” Let's reflect on what this expression means.

First, the speaker is referring to the “thousand blended notes” of the natural world around him. He observes the “primrose tufts” and the periwinkle, the birds as they hop and play, and the “budding twigs” that span out in the “breezy air.” These and the other sights and sounds of nature form a symphony around the speaker, blending their notes into one glorious song that easily fills him with delight.

Yet the poet may also have another meaning with regard to these “thousand blended notes,” for the speaker also refers to his own thoughts. He mentions that in his “sweet mood,” he has “pleasant thoughts,” yet paradoxically these “bring sad thoughts to the mind.” Nature is so beautiful and so well-ordered that it reminds him of how those characteristics don't always apply to the way human beings treat each other. His heart grieves as he reflects on “what man has made of man.”

Therefore, the speaker's thoughts are blended. Notes of joy mix with notes of sorrow as he delights in nature yet thinks about how much people's behavior differs from the loveliness and peace of the natural world.

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