The Topic of Nature in William Wordsworth's Poetry

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Words: 1001 |

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6 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2022

Words: 1001|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2022

No thematic discussion on the poetry of William Wordsworth would be complete without the topic of nature. The quote, “Happiness (if she had been to be found on earth) among the charms of Nature,” suggests that if happiness is actually existent and attainable by people on earth, then he believes it would be found directly among nature and the natural. To Wordsworth and the themes that his works revolve around, the most important connections consist of nature and its impacts on the human mind, humanity in the Romantic era, and the powers of memory.

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Consistent throughout the poetry of William Wordsworth nature stands with a strong and important purpose that can help people become more deep and intensive rather than shallow or surfaced. Observing the largest looming mountains to the smallest flower encourages the brain to contemplate bigger, deeper, and more passionately. In the poem “A Night Piece,” there is a man who seems to be living his routinely, unobservant life, when he finally takes a pause and gazes up to the sky, and that that time the wonders of nature are revealed to him. Wordsworth writes that the man “Is left to muse upon the solemn scene,” (Wordsworth 54) which evidently suggests that Wordsworth sees the origin of wonders and happiness, as nature (as if it were supernatural or spiritual). Nature is comparable, in this sense, to a religion in which Wordsworth has definite faith in it converting a person from a lower place in life, to an elevated place: “How blest, delicious scene! the eye that greets, / Thy open beauties, or thy lone retreats” (Wordsworth 16). If people have the opportunity to observe nature and connect with it, they should. Wordsworth sees nature as a connecting piece between the puzzle of life and the small piece that is the individual. This is basically because, even though he thoroughly enjoys his connection with nature, he actually worries about the rest of humanity, mostly consisting of those who live completely away from nature. These aspects of the importance of nature have become essential to Wordsworth’s time in the era of Romantics because of the apparent universal applications of it.

This gaping disconnect between humanity and nature is one of Wordsworth’s main concerns, as he sheds light upon and practically gives praises to the lack of boundaries of the human mind. “With a light heart our course we may renew, the first whose footsteps print the mountain dew” (Wordsworth 30). In other words, Wordsworth is saying here that humanity has a life changing option set before them by nature; by stepping into a life with appreciation towards nature, the individual can elevate, renew, and ultimately improve their lives.

Alongside these themes in Wordsworth’s works comes a parallel idea, retaining and recalling memories is the most important way to keep connections, approach disconnects, and overcome the harshness of humanity. Remembering their childhoods gives adults power to put themselves together with how simply they looked at nature, as children. These memories also help humanity to find happiness, simplicity, and encouragement from potential despair. In other words, these positive memories are like emotions remembered through peaceful intentions. Supporting his concepts, for example, Wordsworth presents memories as eternal; you can never lose memories, therefore you can never lose the good (as well as bad) memories you make throughout your life and experiences. This thematic element of “memories” that Wordsworth tends to emphasize the most is the remembrance of past memories rejuvenating him when at first he is depressed or even sad (especially sad at the beginning of poems, then elevating to happiness in the end). His poem “The Reverie of Poor Susan” depicts a woman, Poor Susan, stumbling upon a cottage that supposedly is the house of “The one only dwelling on earth that she loves” but the cottage fades, leaving her views of color, streams, and hills to fade along with it. Even though it faded away again, the simple memory of the cottage with her love brought back relief, color, and joy (even for just a brief time) into her colorless life.

William Wordsworth is a poet who writes with irrefutable support and passion to his beliefs. So, nature and memories, Wordsworth believes were a manifestation of simple emotion. Simplicity and basic emotions are some things that every person possesses, even though it may seem very complicated to have (maybe even unattainable). Instead, Wordsworth, the lover of Nature and her greatest creation, humans, describes these in his own words: poetry/nature/memory: “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.' The amount of times that Wordsworth reiterates these themes may be seen as superfluous, but more importantly, the repetitive tendencies should be seen as a sort of concretion of his painstaking analytics on these themes.

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William Wordsworth is a very esteemed, well read poet whose works are prominent in the literary world. Evaluating and dissecting the thematic elements of William Wordsworth’s poems is necessary to understanding his intentions as well as the driving and forceful emotion behind his works. Many people appreciate and evaluate his poems through adopting his thematic elaborations, even into their own works. These recurring themes such as humanity and the Romantic era, and the great powers of memory, are ones that Wordsworth devotes his fluency and passion towards. Consequently, his most common occuring adoptions elaborate on retaining a “oneness” with nature which carves a path leading to a safe place, of sorts, for the individual to think and connect to both the spiritual and the social worlds. For example, as Wordsworth explains in The Prelude, a love of nature can lead to an appreciation of (at least a large tolerance for) others/humanity as a whole. This is evident in poems like “The World Is Too Much with Us” and “London, 1802” where people become selfish and immoral only when they push themselves away from connecting with nature: “Humanity’s inescapable empathy and nobility of spirit becomes corrupted by artificial social conventions as well as by the squalor of city life.”

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The Topic Of Nature In William Wordsworth’s Poetry. (2022, April 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
“The Topic Of Nature In William Wordsworth’s Poetry.” GradesFixer, 11 Apr. 2022,
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