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Critical Analysis of William Wordsworth's "Lines Written in Early Spring"

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Urooj is an art and nature lover. She loves to read William Wordsworth, who is known as the poet of nature.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth as a Poet of Nature

As a poet of nature, Wordsworth stands supreme. He was a worshipper of nature—nature’s devotee or high-priest. His love of Nature was probably more tender than that of any other English poet before or since. He conceived of nature as a living personality. He believed that there is a divine spirit that pervades all objects of nature.

Wordsworth believed that the company of nature gives joy to the human heart and he looked upon nature as exercising a healing influence on the sorrow-stricken. Above all, Wordsworth emphasized the moral influence of nature. He spiritualized her and regarded her as a great moral teacher, as the best mother, guardian, and nurse of man, and as an elevating influence.

He believed that between humankind and nature there is mutual consciousness, spiritual communion, or "mystic intercourse." He initiates his readers into the secret of the soul’s communion with nature. According to him, human beings who grow up in the lap of nature are perfect in every respect.

"Lines Written in Early Spring" by WIlliam Wordsworth

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man?

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Critical Analysis

The poem "Lines Written in Early Spring" is written by William Wordsworth. This composition is in the form of a ballad that consists of six quatrains. It is written in iambic feet, which follow the rhyme scheme ABAB.

This poem is part of the Collection of Lyrical Ballads published in 1798 and is considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic Movement. The poem is set in a landscape of beauty, a small woodland grove. Wordsworth was inspired to write this poem while he was walking near Alford, so the setting of the poem can be associated with the beautiful scenery of Alford.

"Lines Written in Early Spring" represents the ecological philosophy of appreciating the beauty of spring and forming a harmonious relationship with nature. It is based on the comparison of the state of nature to the state of humankind. At the same time, he laments on "What man has made of man."

The poem begins with a lovely description—an attractive and striking grove that describes nature's characteristics, which the poet enjoys. His jovial mood, however, turns into "sad thoughts." The opening lines have a beautiful depiction of early spring.

Wordsworth draws us in the beauty and comfort of nature through his pleasant thoughts and jovial structure. On the other hand, he deconstructs this perfect image that he has created of nature with his sad thoughts. For example:

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Being sad thoughts to the mind.

He juxtaposes his outer experience with the consequences of enjoying nature. He is worried about nature because it indirectly relates to human actions. Thus, the disharmony of human society disturbs the mind of the poet and causes hi, to grieve in the glorious natural world. He reveals the cause of his sadness in these lines:

And much it grieved my heart think,
What man has made of man?

He thinks that humanity is causing the destruction of nature. For example:

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

He describes the beauty of nature and gets amazed by seeing how beautiful things unfold his nature's lap. He beautifully describes the soothing nature of spring that he is enjoying while sitting near a grove. However, the amalgamation of bittersweet moments causes him to neglect the beauty of nature. He is trying to reconnect humankind with nature throughout the poem, but his melancholy mood and his repeated lament break the harmonious relationship with nature. Through this repeated line, he emphasizes his lament:

"What man has made of man?"

Wordsworth has painted the canvas of his nature poetry with every possible color and shade. He thinks that nature is so much alive that he finds natural objects in possession of human senses. For example:

And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

In my opinion, the poet tries to create pleasure and connectedness with nature, but at certain points, he changes his route and distracts the leader from the beautiful picture of nature that he has drawn. This shifting of mood and thoughts sometimes might affect the beauty of his poetry and the ideas that he emphasizes.

Through this poem, he tries to show the connection between nature and humans. He thinks that humans can only get pleasure or enjoy in their lives if they get close to nature. Wordsworth has declared that "Every poet is a teacher; I wish either to be constructed as a teacher, or as nothing . . . He illustrates that poetry should endeavor to make men better, wiser and happier." But in this poem, he opposes his idea to make men better, wiser, and happier. Moreover, he fails to strengthen the bond between nature and humans.

Nature seems to be a center of life. According to Wordsworth, every poet is a teacher, but here in this poem, Wordsworth fails to teach his lesson. His mood of melancholy becomes a great obstacle in creating a connection with nature. This leads the reader into dark thoughts.


Wordsworth also describes in his preface to Lyrical Ballads that the function of poetry is to produce aesthetic pleasure. However, this poem lacks such an aesthetic pleasure. Wordsworth aimes "to console the afflicted, to add sunshine to daylight by making the happy happier, to teach the young and the gracious of every age to see, to think and to feel, and therefore become more actively and securely virtuous."

The poet realizes that everything close to nature is full of joy and pleasure, and only natural creatures are truly living their lives. This poem fails to inspires mankind to reconnect with nature because throughout the poem he feels sad and laments on human destruction. For example:

Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

These lines have been repeated deliberately to emphasize humans' destruction. Instead of inspiring the reader to connect closely with nature, the poet ends up lamenting and feeling pessimistic.

Comments

Urooj Khan (author) from Karachi, Pakistan on August 16, 2020:

Thanks, Devika for your wonderful comment.

Urooj Khan (author) from Karachi, Pakistan on August 16, 2020:

Thank you Dr Em Hoccane.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 13, 2020:

You have a well written hub on William Wordsworth. I know more from this hub.

Dr Em Hoccane from London on August 12, 2020:

Great article

Urooj Khan (author) from Karachi, Pakistan on August 12, 2020:

Thanks Arthur. I appreciate your comment.

Arthur Russ from England on August 12, 2020:

Thanks, yes he was truly a nature lover. And so was Beatrix Potter, who also lived in the Lake District; not far from Wordsworth's home.

Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm, in the Lake District: https://youtu.be/KToF5YMhmEc

Urooj Khan (author) from Karachi, Pakistan on August 12, 2020:

The video is wonderful thanks for sharing. I m feeling amazed to see Wordsworth's garden. He was truly a nature lover.

Arthur Russ from England on August 12, 2020:

Thanks, perhaps one day you'll get an opportunity to tour England, and spend some time in the Lake District; a most beautiful place.

An old video I made years ago, showcasing part of our visit to the Lake District, which starts with video footage of William Wordsworth garden at the back of his house: https://youtu.be/maB-ZlLnJDE

Urooj Khan (author) from Karachi, Pakistan on August 12, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your visit to Wordsworth's home with us, Arthur. For me, it will be a dream come true moment if I ever been to that place.

Arthur Russ from England on August 11, 2020:

While on holiday in the Lake District a few years ago we made a visit to Wordsworth’s home, where he did all his writing; seeing (in person) where he lived certainly adds meaning (depth) to his works.