Wordsworth (1770-1850) was part of the Romantic Period (1784-1837)
"We Are Seven" 1331
death should be kept from children since they are furthest from it; yet,
this little girl knows well about it because two of her brothers and sisters
have died. The others have gone away. Until recently, a newborn child
had only about a 50% of surviving until adulthood. She has no one to play
with. Hangs around graveyard because they are the only ones around. Unity
between life and death.
"The Tables Turned" 1335
For the culture of the Wife of Bath's era, a person was supposed to follow
authority over ones own experience.
From the Enlightenment forward, true knowledge comes from experience. The
scientist was to gather knowledge from nature, not from books. The Romantics
kept this trait and applied it to their personal lives.
Urges his friend to quit studying and come play.
"Let Nature be your Teacher" (16)
You’ll learn more from it than from other men. Romantic view of nature
centered around its power.
Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of
the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798 (1336)
Beauty of Tintern Abbey has sustained him through the years
Woods, mountains, rocks ~ wilderness of nature
During Enlightenment, poets used reason, precision, & rationality to
(80) - Romantics seek other things. He responds to what he saw with "An
appetite; a reeling and a love."
Has reflective attitude about nature. Feels it’s part of him, that humans
are in harmony with it and do not need to progress to another spiritual
level to have communion with God.
(27) "sublime" - Unity with Divine can be found in nature.
(106) "half create, / And what perceive." He perceives what is in nature,
but he also projects his own feelings onto nature. This is an example of
"The World Is Too Much With Us" 1394
By "world," Wordsworth means the human world of society and economics,
not the natural world.
We waste too much time making/spending money.
We are cut off from nature and therefore have lost touch with ourselves.
We are controlled by commerce.
The impersonality of Enlightenment diesm makes him lonely. God has set
things up & does not intefere with our lives. The universe does not
care what happens to us.
He would rather be a Pagan with an "outworn creed" (a view that has been
disproven), – He could then worship the gods of Nature. He’d rather be
a pagan so he wouldn’t feel that nature doesn’t care about us.
If he were pagan, he could visualize gods controlling nature and wouldn’t
feel so lonely.
Proteus, God of Sea, has ability to change his shape so any animal that
arises from sea could be Proteus.
Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood"
Based on Platonic doctrine. Learning is recollection; you know everything
before you are born & forget it when you’re born.
"The Child is Father of the Man" - The adult you become is the offspring
of the child you were.
Everything seemed glorious when he was a child. He's lost the wonder
he felt when the world was new to him.
Cost of enlightenment shatters dreams because you must have a reason now
for believing in something.
Getting in touch with child within him
Platonic doctrine. You’re born with knowledge but cannot access it. During
infancy/youth, you walk in light and recollect best. As you grow older,
enter common light.
Earth is mother. Father is sky. He is more spiritual than the mother.
This is an ancient doctrine.
Stanza 7, child is closer to Divine. Begins to play part/absorb role of
others around his as he ages.
"Thou, over whom thy Immortality / Broods like the Day" - Genesis 1 says
the spirit of God was brooding over the face of the deep. Likewise
our own spirit ("Immortality") broods over us to give us life.
Recapture youth by frolicking outside. Find the "splendour in the
grass, of glory in the flower"