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The World is Too Much With Us -- William Wordsworth

Guest poem sent in by Mallika Chellappa
(Poem #1338) The World is Too Much With Us
 The World is too much with us; late and soon,
 Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
 Little we see in Nature that is ours;
 We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
 This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
 The winds that will be howling at all hours
 And are up-gather'd now like sleeping flowers,
 For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
 It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be
 A pagan suckled in a creed outworn,-
 So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
 Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
 Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
 Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.
-- William Wordsworth
I was reading Edna St Vincent Millay's Sonnets
on Minstrels (lovely) and remembered this famous one.

Wordsworth laboured his poems, but just one phrase
makes this one worthwhile for me - a  picture
of the quiet winds over the ocean on a moonlit night.

I studied in a Convent, and some of us giggled when the line
"this Sea that bares her bosom to the moon" was read
in class. Our English teacher - a nun - admonished us
"You silly girls, don't you know a woman's bosom is one of the
most beautiful of God's creations!"

Beauty is Truth, and Truth is Beauty! I'm forever indebted
to Sister Catherine.

Mallika Chellappa

[Martin adds]

Like Mallika, I find this poem a trifle laboured, but the first line has an
indefinable *something* to it. It stuck in my memory long after the rest
of the poem had faded. The transition from the octet to the sestet is very well
handled, too - not always the case in a sonnet, but noticeable when it does
happen.

martin

46 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Davis Gloff said...

*It does seem a bit laboured when you're not actually in the siituation, but
as I was writing an email to a friend, I used the phrase "The world is too
much with me" without even thinking of the poem. That phrase is so
engrained in us. The phrase encouraged me to look up the poem. and reading
it rang incrediby true. I don't think the the poem laboured at all. I
think Wordsworth was describing that feeling well..*

*--
============================
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow.
-- Swedish proverb*

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