“Nutting” is a short autobiographical poem of fifty-six lines. It describes a youthful encounter with nature that helped to chasten William Wordsworth’s moral sense and heighten his poetic sensitivity to the life shared between himself and the outer world. In remarks dictated to Isabella Fenwick in 1843, Wordsworth said that the verses, written in Germany in 1798, started out as part of his great autobiographical poem on the growth of the poet’s mind, The Prelude (1850), but were “struck out as not being wanted there.These verses arose out of the remembrance of feelings I had often had when a boy, and particularly in the extensive woods that still stretch from the side of Esthwaite Lake towards Graythwaite.”
The geography of the poem is the magnificent English Lake District, through which Wordsworth’s life and art as a poet of nature have become famous. Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, West Cumberland. After his mother’s death, the eight-year-old Wordsworth went to Hawkshead Grammar School, near the scene of“Nutting,” in the remote rural region that he and collaborator Samuel Taylor Coleridge made the poetic center of a literary revolution in England. Wordsworth and his three brothers boarded in the cottage of Ann Tyson, “the frugal Dame” rearing the boy of “Nutting,” who gave to young Wordsworth simple comfort, ample affection, and freedom to roam the countryside on free days and some nights. These wanderings...
(The entire section is 580 words.)