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"Minds That Have Nothing To Confer Find Little To Perceive"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Throughout his life, Wordsworth, as an exponent of romantic poetry, proclaimed the power and value of the imaginative faculty. There is no finer expression of his belief in the creative power of the imagination than this lyric in which he describes the attractiveness of a maiden as the result of both natural beauty and the impetus to "feed my heart's devotion." A similar concept is noted in "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey," in which the poet proclaims himself a lover of nature, the meadows, mountains, woods, "of all the mighty world/ Of eye, and ear,–both what they half create,/ And what perceive." In the present poem the function of the imagination is the same, but the object of contemplation is the beauty of woman. He writes:

Yes! thou art fair, yet be not moved
To scorn the declaration,
That sometimes I in thee have loved
My fancy's own creation.
Imagination needs must stir;
Dear Maid, this truth I believe,
Minds that have nothing to confer
Find little to perceive.