Updated: Jul 21
The world is too much with us is a sonnet (Italian Sonnets style) written by William Wordsworth in order to criticize the Industrial Revolution. The poem was composed five years earlier to its publication in a collection of poetry, Poems, In Two Volumes (1807). In this poem, he speaks on how human beings have parted themselves away from nature due to their new busy lifestyle. He has used many figures of speech to express his ideas accurately.
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 wreathèd horn.
POEM SUMMARY: The World is too much with us poem summary
The world is always too much to mankind, in the past, present, and in the future. We get our lives in the world and spend most of our powers wasted and see little in Nature which is ours to enjoy. Our lifestyles have pushed our hearts apart from the bond we had with Nature. This is a “sordid boon” he says. ‘Sordid’ means involving immoral or dishonourable actions, with this he denotes our lifestyle and he says it’s a ‘boon’ too (but not to our psyche). He speaks on the beauty of the sea; how it bares its bosom (mountains) for the moon to appear in between and the ever-howling winds and how all these have now gathered up like sleeping flowers waiting for the sight of humans. For all these he says, humankind has gone out of tune to admire such beauty.
He imposes the idea, of how people can miss to witness such wonders in nature. To this fact, he says he would rather be an irreligious person who is fed by the faith of obsolete (being archaic). So that when he stands in between grassland and look into the nuances of nature he would not feel more dejected from it rather he gets the ability to look at Proteus (an early prophetic sea god) rising from the sea or hear the blow made of the God Triton (Greek god of the sea, the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, god and goddess of the sea) with his twisted horn (he could view all these by regaining his aesthetic perspective).
~ Literpretation Team for Education