Wednesday, April 15, 2015

NPM: The World Is Too Much with Us

Shotei Watanabe,
Seagulls over the Waves
Woke up in a Wordsworth kind of mood today. I considered posting "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" with a spiel about how it paints the complexion of the adult's nostalgia for childhood during an era before cartoons and video games, but really: no matter how snappy a foreword I supply, nobody's going to spend twenty minutes during their lunch break reading a 200-line poem. Instead, here's the much more succinct "The World Is Too Much with Us"—a poem to which the desultory undergraduate might presume to attribute an environmentalist message, though it's really about humanity's perception of the natural world rather than its footprint upon it. (See also: A.N. Whitehead's "The Romantic Reaction," which will probably take two or three times more time to read than "Ode" would have. Oh well.)

The World Is Too Much with Us
William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

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-gathered 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.


  1. Hi, I've had this idea of a novel in my head for a while and I was wondering if you'd like to shoot the breeze with me about it. Not that I'm going to start writing it anytime soon, but it'd be nice to have a chat. Facebook chat perhaps?

    1. Gchat might work better for me, but in either case, I'm down.

    2. I don't have Gchat, so I sent you a Facebook friend request. Hope that's okay.