Monday, May 26, 2008

Reading (and remembering) Wordsworth

Reading Wordsworth's poetry is a pleasure. He seems to rhyme with casual linguistic ease, and he crafts lines that are both utterly simple and wholly unique. He has written so many lines of poetry that are for me so distinctly Wordsworth, so original and memorable, but when I consider why, I find myself looking at a rather simple phrase.


  1. Some favorites, please. I know what you mean by simple. The poems, the lines, are actually quite complex, but it's very hard to pin the complexity down. Maybe I don't know what you mean, or what I mean.

    Regardless, "Michael" is a perfect poem.

  2. Happily. Here are some of my favorite passages that are distinctly Wordsworthian, but seemingly pretty simple language:

    "There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream/ The earth, and every common sight,/ To me did seem/ Apparelled in celestial light,/ The glory and the freshness of a dream."

    "Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting"

    "Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea/ Which brought us hither"

    "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!"

    "Rolled round in earth's diurnal course"

    "A violet by a mossy stone"

    The vocabulary is pretty basic (with exceptions like "diurnal course," which I don't think I've seen outside of the poem). The syntax is usually very straightforward. These are just a few of Wordsworth's beautiful lines that stick out for me, but that are written with remarkable clarity and simplicity.

    Wordsworth has been one of my favorite poets since I encountered him in high school. This summer I plan to tackle "The Prelude."

  3. Thanks, very helpful. "The world is too much with us", etc - perfect.

  4. Thank you for this post. Wordsworth is amongst my favorites; "The Prelude" is quite lovely. 1805 or 1850?