The poet bemoans the fact that the modern industrial age has divorced us from nature. We lay
waste our powers, he says, in the busy but futile effort of making money. He, on the other
hand, would rather resort to ancient religious cults if they would re-unite him with the god of
NOTE ON THE POET
William Wordsworth was born in 1770 at Cockermouth in the heart of the Lake District. His
early childhood was therefore spent in one of England's great wild places, playing in the hills
around the lakes. This memory would be immortalised within his many poems.
His mother died when he was eight, and his father when he was 13. Although he was left
almost destitute, his uncles helped the family through the crisis.
Wordsworth himself would be sent to school at Hawkshead, a small market town where the
young boy would further his love of the countryside. What's more, the little country school
which he attended encouraged him to develop his poetic talent.
Upon leaving school, Wordsworth attended Cambridge University to study law but, although he
obtained his degree, the poet had little interest in legal matters. His heart was in the wild places
which became the centre for his poetry.
He was eventually able to settle in the country where he became close friends with the great
poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The two would collaborate for many years.
Wordsworth himself became a prolific writer of nature poems. Indeed, so great did his
reputation become that he was made Poet Laureate in 1843.
Wordsworth eventually died in 1850 at the age of 80.
Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?
Read the left column and then answer
the following questions:
Wordsworth has often been described as a Pantheist.
- Are Wordsworth's pantheistic tendencies revealed in this poem? (10)
"The World is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers."
- Do you agree with the poet when he says, "The World is too much with us"? Give
reasons for your answer. (10)
- What powers is the poet referring to when he says, "We lay waste our
"We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!"
- What does the poet mean when he says, "We have given our hearts
- Why does he say that this is a "sordid boon"? (4)
"It moves us not."
- These words clearly mark the end of the Octave. Why then does the poet place these
words within the first line of the Sestet? (6)