You are on page 1of 42

1

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

Wordsworth is a prolific writer. His poetic career covers a period of more than sixty years; and so far as the bulk of his poetry is concerned, few poets can challenge comparison with him. Wordsworth‟s poetic career may be divided into four periods; the early period, the period of gloom, the glorious decade, and the period of decline. Wordsworth achieves greatness because his private struggle towards psychic integration has a representative quality. The poems generalize themselves as they are read into the reactions of the human individual fighting for its spiritual survival in a society that seems to have no place for it. Words worth‟s poems have the characteristics of a medicine for all the readers. They seem to be guest of. In them we seem to draw a source of inward joy, of sympathetic and imaginative pleasure which could be shared in by all human beings; which had no connection with struggle of imperfection, but would be made richer by every improvement in the physical or social condition of man kind, from them we learn what would be the perennial sources of happiness, when all the greater evils of life shall have been removed. Wordsworth is a didactic poet. He had a tendency to generalize his

experiences and to draw moral lessons from them so as to ensure that the reader did not miss the point. He once wrote to his friend Sir George Beaumont, “Every great

2

poet is a teacher: I wish either to be considered as a teacher or as nothing”. In one of his letters to Lady Beaumont the poet observed: “There is scarcely one of my poems which does not aim to direct the attention to some moral sentiment or to some general principle or law of thought, or of our intellectual constitution. He pointed out that his aim in writing poetry was „to console the afflicted, to add sunshine to day light by making the happy happier, to teach the young and the gracious of every age to see, to think and feel and, therefore, to become more actively and securely virtuous‟. A careful study of Wordsworth‟s poems shows that he seeks to impart to his reader a set of moral lessons. The first teaching of Wordsworth is that man should approach Nature in the right mood, which is defined as a mood of „wise passiveness‟ with a „heart that watches and receives‟. Wisdom, truth, joy and peace are qualities that exist outside of man and may pass into his life from nature, if he approaches it in a mood of „wise passiveness‟ with a „heart that watches and receives‟. Wisdom, truth, joy and peace are qualities that exist outside of man and may pass into his life from Nature, if he approaches it in mood of „wise passiveness‟s. Wordsworth is a philosophical poet, and not a poetical philosopher. This implies that the poet‟s faith was based on intuitions rather than on processes of reasoning. His friend Coleridge may have defined for him the philosophical problem; but the solution comes in such flashes as that which fell upon his vision when he reached the crust of show down, and saw that „universal spectacle; „shaped‟ for his „admiration and delight: He was not last in cloudy abstractions.

3

He had his feet firmly on the ground, and it was his preference for human contacts, for‟ men as they are men within themselves, which caused him to reject philosophies which are „bottomed on false thought‟. Wordsworth is a great love-poet. His love poetry readily appeals to our hearts. As a critic puts it: “Spenser made a wonderful fusion between concrete and abstract love poems; but none of them has reached so near to the chambers of our heart as the homeliness of words worth‟s love poetry. “As a poet of love

Wordsworth‟s does not confine himself to the treatment of passions or love between two young lovers. Most of his love poems are curiously sexless. As Grierson and Smith put it: Wordsworth is not a love poet in the usual sense. He was not incapable of passion. The love which moved Wordsworth to poetry was not sexual passion, but love of country, family, and friends. passion, even a tragic passion. In words worth family affection was a

The central theme of Wordsworth‟s poem of

incidents in human life is love, the working of love, its power to inflict the deepest wounds and to heal the most irreparable. “Wordsworth we think of principally as a poet of Nature, but that is an incomplete view. He is at the centre, one of the great poets of love. The philosophical content of The Prelude is made up largely of Wordsworth doctrine of Nature, which is outlined and repeated in other poems also especially in the „Tintern Abbey‟ and Lucy‟s education of nature. It has been rightly pointed out the Wordsworthian philosophy of Nature, with its emphasis upon the divinity of Nature, Nature‟s holy plan, the one life in the universe and in man, the joy in the

4

widest commonalty spread and Nature as a source of wisdom and moral health etc. was derived from the current speculations of the day, to which poets, philosophers and scientists had contributed alike. Wordsworth took these tenets from the deep – rooted convictions of the day and gave them the authenticity of personal experience and the vitality of poetic expression. The basic principle of this doctrine is the unity of man and Nature as partakers in the one and the same life, which meant a preordained harmony between the two. Nature was animated by a soul which was the „Eternity of thought‟, wisdom, love, joy and „the central peace subsisting at the heart of endless agitation.‟ Every object in Nature was alive and full of joy and energy, subsisting in perfect love and concord and waging no strife with other objects as is unfortunately the case with the human individual and multitudes. Wordsworth‟s attitude to Nature can be clearly differentiated from that of the great poets of Nature. Wordsworth is to be distinguished from the other poets by the stress he places upon the moral influence of Nature and the need of man‟s spiritual intercourse which her. Wordsworth emphasized the moral influence of Nature. He spiritualized Nature and regarded her as a great moral teacher, as the best mother, guardian and nurse of man, as an elevating influence. He believed that between Man and Nature

there is a spiritual intercourse. Nature is a teacher whose wisdom we can learn if we will, and without which any human life is vain and incomplete‟. He believed in the education of man by Nature. In this he was somewhat influenced by Rousseau.

Wordsworth sincerely believed that in town life and its distractions men had forgotten nature and that they had been punished for it. Unlike Pope.5 Nature was „both law and impulse‟ with powers to kindle and restrain so that her beauty and fear were equally necessary for the growth of the poet‟s mind. Wordsworth stands supreme. Wordsworth pursues Nature in a way different from that of Pope. heart or imagination and spirit. Pope looks at Nature as objectively as possible. He is “a worshipper of Nature”: Nature‟s devotee or high priest. The first is the stage of childhood when he either „bounded as a fawn‟ unmindful of Nature or received suggestions through fear inspired by her. „Tintern Abbey‟ is a poem with Nature as its theme. As a poet of Nature. naturally his view is hardly coloured by his „hyper-individualism‟. senses. The four stages distinctly marked in Tintern Abbey are present in „The Prelude‟ also and have been described by Prof. Interestingly enough. Wordsworth‟s explorations . Wordsworth brings a new and in tenser interest in Nature. Constant social intercourse had dissipated their energy and talents and impaired the susceptibility of their hearts to simple and pure impression. It has been stated that the antithesis to Pope‟s idea of Nature is hyper – individualism. The Prelude in its early part is mostly occupied with the growth of the moral sense affected by Nature‟s ministration of fear in the young poet. Nature occupies in his poems a separate or independent status and is not treated in a casual or passing manner. But as the story precedes the picture of the changing pattern of relationship between the poet‟s mind and Nature is clearly unrolled. Dowden as those of blood.

The love of nature led him to the love of man. “It is by his close and loving penetration in to the realities and simplicities of human life that he himself makes his claim on our reverence as a poet. unsophisticated soul of man. He was a realist and dealt boldly with substantial things. Four stages of Wordsworth‟s Love of Nature. he experiences a mystic mood. a transcendental feeling. He glorified village life because the villager lived so close to Nature and communed with her daily. “Return to Nature” was Wordsworth‟s motto. and to describe how in the midst of their sorrows and wants. Thus. Wordsworth liked to represent simple village folk in the Natural setting.6 of what Nature had to say to him spring from his „hyper – individualism‟. and the uncorrupted. Nature. . as existing in the heart of man. passing beyond sensuous presentation and description to vision and interpretation. was an object of his close attention. they would be consoled by Nature. with Wordsworth the poetry of Nature took on a new range. and since he saw little distinction between the soul of Nature. It was exactly the reverse order to that of the previous poets. Under the influence of Nature.

like that of a mulberry leaf to the silk-worm. which began in the modern world at the Renaissance and proceeded during the eighteenth century. The divinization of Nature. As De Quincy puts it: “Wordsworth had his passion for Nature fixed in his blood. Wordsworth‟s first love of Nature was a healthy boy‟s delight in outdoor life. and the mountain top. but he is concerned far less with the sensuous manifestations that delight most of the poets of Nature. In „The Prelude’ he says that this early stage Nature was . It was a necessity of his being. and to interpret this beauty in spiritual terms. and through his commerce with Nature did he lie and breathe. Wordsworth‟s Childhood days were spent in the midst of beautiful sights and sounds of Nature. than with the spiritual that he finds underlying these manifestations. woodland. fishing and walking. riding. The child Wordsworth looked upon Nature as a source of and scene for animal pleasure like skating.” Wordsworth loves all objects of Nature. “It was Wordsworth‟s aim as a poet to seek beauty in meadow.7 CHAPTER – 2 WORDSWORTH’S POETRY OF NATURE Wordsworth‟s passion for Nature is well known. culminates for English literature in Wordsworth.” In poems like „ Tintern Abbey’ and „ The Prelude’ Wordsworth has shown how his love of Nature was developed and the various stages through which it passed. In „Tintern Abbey’ he refers to the „glad animal movements‟ of his childhood days.

Wordsworth developed a passion for the sensuous beauty of Nature. were then to me An appetite. That had no need of a remoter charm. The props of my affections were removed. and hence to finer influxes The mind lay open to a more exact And close communion. Referring to the boyish pleasures of the period when he viewed Nature with a purely physical passion. and the deep and gloomy wood. In „ Tintern Abbey’ he describes how during this period Nature became the object of a passion for the picturesque: I cannot paint What then I was. Their colours and their forms. . As he grew up. his „coarser pleasures‟ lost their charm for him. In the second stage. a feeling and a love. as if sustained By its own spirit! All that I behold Was dear. and all Their trivial pleasures. and Nature was loved with an unreflecting passion altogether untouched by intellectual interests or associations.8 But secondary to my own pursuits And animal activities. And yet the building stood. he writes in ‘The Prelude’. The mountain. The sounding cataract Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock.

nor any interest Unborrowed from the eye. Referring to this stage of human-heartedness. though of ample power To chasten and subdue. The still. Nor harsh nor grating. The Clouds that gather round the setting sun Do take a sober colouring from an eye That hath kept watch o‟er man‟s mortality. The innocent brightness of a new-born Day Is lovely yet. During this period his love of Nature became linked with the love of man. Now he could hear in Nature. I love the Brooks which down their channels fret Even more than when I tripped lightly as they. the poet writes in Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood. sad music of humanity. The French Revolution opened his eyes and made him realize the dignity of the common man. and other palms are won. All these aching joys and dizzy raptures came to an end with his experiences of human suffering in France. Another race hath been.9 By thought supplied. .

And the round ocean and the living air. As Warwick James puts it: “At this stage the foundation of Wordsworth‟s entire existence was his mode of seeing God in Nature and Nature in God”. This faith of the poet that the Eternal Spirit pervades all the objects of Nature is forcefully expressed in Tintern Abbey where he says: And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts. that impels All thinking things. And rolls through all things. In the poem Nutting Wordsworth describes the circumstances under which a great change came in his approach to Nature. a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused. all objects of all thought. and he felt that „there is a spirit in the woods‟. After his „merciless ravage‟. From now onwards he realized a divine principle reigning in the heart of Nature. Nature-descriptions . and in the mind of man: A motion and a spirit. something mysterious touched him. Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns.10 But this stage was soon followed by the final stage of the spiritual interpretation of Nature. This is known as the stage of Pantheism. And the blue sky.

and yet the voice Of waters which the river had supplied Was softened down into a vernal tone. The spirit of enjoyment and desire. These passages contain marvelous descriptions of different aspects of Nature. fresh and clear. and the sky. He can feel the elemental joy of spring: It was an April morning. from all living things Went circling. Ran with a young man‟s speed. In most of his poems Wordsworth has given delicate and subtle expression to the sheer sensuous delight of the world of Nature. The rivulet. He can take a pleasure fully as keen in the placid lake: The claim And dead still water lay upon my mind Even with a weight of pleasure.11 Innumerable passages of Nature-description are scattered in Wordsworth‟s poems. In ‘The Prelude’ he compares himself to an Aeolian harp which answers with harmony to every touch of the wind. delighting in its strength. The figure is very accurate because there is hardly a sight or a sound from a violet to a mountain and from a bird-note to the thunder of the cataract that is not reflected in some beautiful way in Wordsworth‟s poetry. . like a multitude of sounds. And hopes and wishes.

sank down Into my heart. and held me like a dream. A careful study of Wordsworth‟s Nature-descriptions shows that his eye and ear were very sensitive. and in richness of effect and subtlety of appeal must yield the palm to a crowd of singers less great than himself. showed far off A surface dappled o‟er with shadows fleecy From brooding clouds.12 Never before so beautiful. And can throw the very spirit of June into a couplet: Flaunting Summer when he throws His soul into the briar rose. No other poet could have written: . In this connection Arthur Compton-Rickett observes: “As the poet of the eye he has many peers. He can vividly describe all the little graces and charms of a summer day: The northern downs In clearest air ascending. Wordsworth is supreme”. but when it comes to the symbolism of sound.

Or in a very different mood have given us this: Better than such discourse doth silence long. His world is austere and bleak. „Smooth‟. hope. The indwelling spirit in Nature imparts its own consciousness to all objects of Nature: . barren silence. Long. taste and smell were equally acute.13 A voice so thrilling ne‟er was heard In springtime from the cuckoo-bird. And listen to the flapping of the flame. or aim. What distinguishes Wordsworth from other poets of Nature is that for him Nature is a living entity. In the loved presence of my cottage fire. „warm‟. Or kettle whispering its faint undersong. „luscious‟. Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides. square with my desire To sit without emotion. it should be noted that there are very few passages in Wordsworth‟s poetry which would justify us in claiming that his senses of touch. „fragrant‟-these are no epithets for Wordsworth‟s poetry. However.

And growing still in stature the grim shape Towered up between me and the stars.14 To every natural form. steps Almost as silent as the turf they trod. In The Prelude we find many passages in which Wordsworth strongly expresses his belief in the inner life of Nature. and still. Similarly. he heard among the solitary hills- Low breathings coming after me. he felt as if a huge peak upreared its head. His faith that every object of Nature is a sentient being is firmly expressed in Lines Written in Early Spring: And „tis my faith that every flower Enjoys the air it breathes. and sounds Of distinguishable motion. For so it seemed. Even the loose stones that cover the highway I gave a moral life: I saw them feel. fruit and flower. rock. with purpose of its own . Once when he had stolen a bird from the trap of some other boy. when he had stolen a boat to explore the silent lake in the evening.

As Stopford Brooke puts it: “He (Wordswworth) conceived. Strode after me. one living soul which. whate‟er enjoyments dwell In the impenetrable cell Of the silent heart which Nature Furnishes to every creature. In all these poems he may be only figurative in expression.15 And measured motion like a living thing. To reveal the invisible impulses at work behind the outward beauty of Nature was the mission of Wordsworth‟s life. we find that one of its characteristics is its joy.” If we explore the inner life of Nature as Wordsworth conceives it. as poet. . It had. entering into flower. that Nature was alive. he imagined. gave them each a soul of their own. Whatsoe‟er we feel and know Too sedate for outward show. To the Daisy speaks of the „cheerful flower’ as alert and gay. In „Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower‟ the poet represents Nature as imparting to Lucy its own „vital feelings of delight‟. stream. or mountain. „I wandered Lonely as a Cloud‟depicts the jocund daffodils that outdo the sparkling waves in glee. But we cannot regard the following assertion as other then literal: Yet.

do all I can. and to ignore everything that seems to contradict this providential interpretation. “The clearest statement to be found in Wordsworth of his belief in Nature‟s joyous life occurs in ‘ Lines Written in Early Spring’. it was inevitable that Wordsworth should find that Nature is „kind‟ and „kindly‟.16 Such a light of gladness breaks. That there was pleasure there. with a religious determination to find design. and harmony everywhere in the universe. „holy Nature‟. In ‘To My Sister’ the poet recognizes ‘a sense of joy’ in nature and a ‘blessed power’ that rolls through all things about is.” Like other poets and philosophers. Pretty Kitten! From thy freaks. that it is „fostering Nature‟. These poems deserve a more absolute acceptance as a record of Wordsworth‟s thought that some critics have been inclined to give to them. Herein he states his faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes‟. In Wordsworth the conviction of the universal presence of love in Nature is equally characteristic of his writing in phases as distinct from one another as those of ‘The Excursion’ . and that it teaches a „lesson deep of love‟. In the birds and the budding twigs there is also enjoyment: And I must think. order.

they will drink in the love which is abroad in the air. . As the poet declares in ‘ The Excursion’. From heart to heart is stealing. now a universal birth. and so prepare their spirits for the whole year that is to come. that “forms created the most vile and brute” should not “exist divorced from good. Value is not confined. communicating good. From earth to man. It is “Nature‟s law”. Love.17 and „ Lyrical Ballads „. On the first mild day of March the poet asks his sister to put on her woodland dress and come out with him for a walk. We find his classic treatment of this theme in the poem ‘ To My Sister’.” The life of the whole imparts a pulse of good each fragment. from man to earth: -It is the hour of feeling. it spreads outward until it affects the entire circumambient region. Wordsworth says. Whate‟er exists hath properties that spread Beyond itself. One moment now may give us more Than years of toiling reason: Our minds shall drink at every pore The spirit of the season.

Since every object of Nature impresses itself on others and each reflects its neighbours. „mid all this mighty sum Or things for every speaking. Spirit that knows no insulated spot. and ‘ Lines Written in Early Spring’. the vice of ever „dividing‟ falsifies reality. A suggestion of life and interplay distinguishes many scattered lines: The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep. No chasm.’ Hart-Leap Well’. The spiritual unity of Nature enters into the design of I wandered Lonely as a cloud. For all things in this little world of ours Are in one bosom of close neighbourhood. And all the earth is gay. or with evil mixed. . Loud is the Vale! The Voice is up With which she speaks when storms are gone. ‘ Nutting’. no solitude.18 A simple blessing. Wordsworth‟s disposition to regard nature‟s objects as neighbourly appears in poem after poem.

but passing through it to the spiritual interpretation. bound Together by a link. and with a soul Which makes all one. As his friend Aubrey De Vere puts it: “Wordsworth looked at nature as the mystics of old perused the pages of the Holy Writ. Of unknown modes of being which on earth. In his copy of Wordsworth‟s Poems Blake wrote the comment: “Natural objects always did and now do weaken. making little of the letter. One! These passages bring out the mysterious bonds of unity behind the apparent disconnection of things. Or in the heavens. Wordsworth wanted to go beyond but not away from Nature. Wordsworth has a kind of primitive sense or intuition. Wordsworth‟s approach to Nature is that of a mystic. . There is a spirit or a pervasive atmosphere that draws things together into a natural community. Wordsworth must know that what he Writes Valuable is Not to be found in Nature.” Wordsworth found in the meadows and the woods and mountains the spiritual stimulus that Blake sought in purely imaginary visions.” As the more comprehensive poet.19 A mighty unison of streams! Of all her Voices. deaden and obliterate Imagination in Me. or in the heavens and earth Exist by might combinations.

20 Wordsworth remained a poet of „the mighty world of eye and ear‟ till the end of his life. In which the burthen of the mystery In which the heavy and the weary weight Of all this intelligible world In The Prelude Book VI the poet speaks of the moments When the light of sense Goes out in flashes that have shown to us The invisible world. So his mysticism is grounded and rooted. Of aspect more sublime. blossoms upon one tree Characters of the great Apocalypse. . To them I may have owned another gift. I trust. the features Of the same face. that blessed mood. actually. In such moments all visible Nature appears as the manifestation of the one indwelling spirit: Were all like workings of one mind. in the senses. His Nature mysticism is clearly evident in ‘Tintern Abbey’: Nor less.

. He knew it and felt it. ‘The Leech-gatherer’. ‘The Solitary Reaper’. In Three Years she grew in sun and shower Lucy is taken up into the life of Nature and incorporated with it. but the life in Nature. and ‘Louisa in the Shade’. It was not the beauty of Nature which brought him joy and peace. and without end.21 The types. and symbols of Eternity Of first and last. air. earth. He himself had caught a vision of that life. ‘The Highland Girl’. he was also a seer and mystic and a practical psychologist with an amazingly subtle mind and an unusual capacity for feeling. and skies. Spurgeon has rightly observed: “Wordsworth was not only a poet. Even the rebellious Toussaint L‟Ouverture is a power among other powers in Nature: Thou hast left behind Powers that will work for thee.” In his poetry Wordsworth shows how human beings fit into the midst of the interplaying forces of Nature. They seem made all of a piece with the world around them. The same is true of ‘Michael’. and it transformed the whole of existence for him. and midst. so that they almost have their being in the elemental forms that pervade their natural domain. ‘The Danish Boy’. He believed that every man could attain this vision which he so fully possessed and his whole life‟s work took a form of minute and careful analysis of the process of feeling in his own nature.

When wedded to this goodly universe In love and holy passion. are geared together and in unison complete the motive principle of the universe. “Man and Nature. in lonely peace. as he declared in the fragment of the Recluse. and Fortunate Fields) A simple produce of the common day. -I. and groves Elysian. They act and react upon each other. the spousal verse Of this great consummation…. The exquisite functioning of this interlocked universe of Mind and Nature is for Wordsworth the highest theme of poetry. long before the blissful hour arrives. The mind with him is always the creative masculine principle.” . in poetry the process actually receives its final consummation. „so as to produce an infinite complexity of pain and pleasure‟. shall find these (Paradise. Would chant. Mind and the external world. Thus he writes in the Recluse. For the discerning intellect of Man. Nature is always the feminine principle. is exquisitely fitted to the external world and no less exquisitely and external world is fitted to the mind. The individual mind. Wordsworth believes that there is a pre-existing harmony between the mind of man and Nature.22 There‟s not a breathing of the common wind That will forget thee. thou hast great allies.

who are separated from all that in everyday humanity is disturbing or distressing. communion between the two is possible. seen against a mountain background. Michael owes much of his impressiveness to the statement that When others heeded not.23 Since the individual mind and the external world are exquisitely fitted to each other. he heard the South Make subterraneous music. The Shepherd in Book VIII of The Prelude. take on something of The silence and the calm Of mute insensate things. is Man Ennobled outwardly before my sight. But this communion is possible only when the soul of man is in harmony with the soul of Nature. In his poetry Wordsworth shows how human beings. And the poet thanks the God of Nature and of Man that . In ‘The Thorn’ the finest passage is that in which the tragic figure comes nearest to union with the elements And she is known to every star And every wind that blows.

he never felt The witchery of the soft blue sky! In any attempt to understand what Nature meant to Wordsworth. and the fever of the world‟ had long „hung upon the beatings of my heart‟ that he turned to Nature. He received from the „calm oblivious tendencies of Nature‟ both stimulus and anodyne: I well remember that those very plumes. when by the forest‟s edge He lay beneath the branches high. Removed. due weight should be given to the healing power of the impersonal over a sick mind. The soft blue sky did never melt Into his heart. and made him (in his unregenerate days) a Moral monster.24 Men before my inexperienced eyes Did first present themselves thus purified. Those weeds and the high spear-grass on that wall. was that At noon. It was when the „fretful stir Unprofitable. and found „for this uneasy heart of ours a never-failing principle of joy‟. What was amiss with Peter Bell. and to a distance that was fit. .

and all the grief That passing shows of Being leave behind. which glows through „ Tintern Abbey’ and much of his best poetry. He has given many examples of Nature‟s ministeries‟ and „interventions‟ whereby it reproved his childish delinquencies: . and looked so beautiful Amid the uneasy thoughts which filled my mind.” A careful reading of The Prelude clearly shows that Wordsworth received the best part of his education from Nature. The poet gives „thanks to means which Nature deigned to employ‟-the discipline of fear and joy through which its benign Hartleian curriculum has been fulfilled. can be caught by any reader.25 By mist and silent rain-drops silvered o‟er. As once I passed. into my heart conveyed So still image of tranquility. So calm and still. was for him a fact of experience. That what we feel of sorrow and despair From ruin and from change. and the rapture of that experience. “Thus Nature‟s healing power. without reference to the ethical and philosophical theories which Wordsworth evolved from it. Appeared an idle dream. which for some may be merely an outworn doctrine. In the first two books of this autobiographical poem we find that Nature has been acting as a sort of glorified parent or schoolmistress.

Our bodies feel. steps Almost as silent as the turf they trod. This stage is emphasized in two poems of 1798-Expostulation and Reply and Tables Turned. In Expostulation and Reply Wordsworth‟s friend Mathew-a person whom the poet describes in a note as „somewhat unreasonably attached to modern books of moral philosophy‟-reproaches the poet with his neglect of bookish knowledge. and sounds Of undistinguishable motion. . the beginning of each man‟s education. And it is thus Wordsworth defends himself: They eye-it cannot choose but see: We cannot bid the ear be still. That we can feed this mind of ours In a wise passiveness. Nor less we deem that there are Powers Which of themselves our minds impress. The first stage in experience.26 I heard among the solitary hills Low breathings coming after me. Against or with our will. where‟er they be. is the reception of impressions through the avenues of the senses.

Our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things: We murder to dissect. One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man. we find the lines that follow more easily acceptable. . since he can learn more about man and about moral good and evil from the spring woods than from all the sages. However. We might object that an impulse from a vernal wood cannot in fact teach us anything at all about good and evil. but is simply urging a restoration of the balance between book-learning and the direct inspirations of Nature.27 In „ The Tables Turned‟ Wordsworth asks his friend to leave his books and come out into the open. Of moral evil and of good Than all the sages can. Here Wordsworth is not recommending-any more than Rousseau-an abandonment of books and learning. Sweet is the lore which Nature brings.

” In “Lines Written in Early Spring” Wordsworth uses the word „Nature‟ as signifying the normal course of things. Science impartially notes that Nature is full of pleasure and pain. and exhorts him to cultivate to the utmost the capacities with which Nature has endowed him. He does not even . melancholy and cynicism. Those who are worried by Wordsworth‟s habit of finding sermons in stones are free to give up that side of his work.28 “Beneath a half-playful and even superficial opposition to science and philosophizing. Wordsworth reminds man that he is capable of pleasure in a high degree. there is the wholly serious demand. Seizing on this hopeful aspect of things. but they would also be wise to remember the remark of a later poet. for a total response by man‟s nature to the non-human nature around him. but the means by which „fostering‟ Nature leads birds to function as birds he finds to be pleasure. Yeats. The Solitary in this poem is a typical victim of romantic egoism. extremely unlike Wordsworth. to which it is wise for man to submit as a matter of hygiene. the gratification of their instincts. and is sinking deeper and deeper into the bog of his own dark thoughts. central to Wordsworth‟s faith. In “The Excursion” we find passages in which Wordsworth lays emphasis on Nature‟s plan for man. He has retired to a life of solitude. Nature then is taken as a norm of conduct for man. that in the poet‟s church there is an altar but no pulpit. and that morals drawn from the lesser celandine are not the core of Wordsworth‟s belief.

In the story of poor Magdalene he uses the word Nature to signify the psychological conditions which. . and withdraw yourself from ways That run not parallel to nature‟s course. may result in bodily harm. The poet asks the Solitary not to study so late but to get up early in the morning and climb the hill daily. Take courage. being violated. since it is not peculiar to Wordsworth or to other poets of Nature. For holy Nature might not thus be crossed. and join too in the hunt of the „red deer‟.. There would be little point in multiplying examples of such use of the word „Nature‟. he says. Thus wronged in woman‟s breast: in vain I pleadedBut the green stalk of Ellen‟s life was snapped.29 take advantage of the „natural‟ means of maintaining his physical and mental health. Here Wordsworth has used the word „Nature‟ as signifying the laws of health and the close relation between physical and mental well-being. I failed not to remind them that they erred. Referring to the cruelty of her employers who do not allow her to visit the graveyard to indulge her feeling of penitence and grief over the loss of her child. And the flower drooped.

In his callow Jacobinical days Wordsworth had written: cataracts and mountains are good occasional society. however. a certain pathos in the circumstance that his most splendidly sustained utterance should have been a farewell to his own visionary power. It should be noted that.” References to Nature continues to be frequent throughout the later poems of Wordsworth.30 In many passages of the later books of The Prelude Wordsworth expresses some views which strongly resemble Spinoza‟s. As Basil Willey puts it: “There is. whose influence is evident in Ode to Duty and The Excursion. “The Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” registers an almost complete abandonment of his earlier doctrine of Nature. though he would never have admitted it. „the Spinozian morality ceased to give him entire satisfaction‟. whether Wordsworth‟s later ethics was Kantian or Spinozistic. his way of regarding Nature came to be markedly at odds with his earlier Hartleian views. His faith in Nature seems to maintain itself mechanically on the momentum gained in his youth. a „worshipper of Nature‟. indeed. and that this conception „ answers the problems which Wordsworth‟s encounter with Godwinism had summoned to his mind‟. but they will not do for constant companions. Stallknecht holds. as in ‘Tintern Abbey’. As Wordsworth grew older. He then turned to Kant. or neither of the two. Stallknecht finds that Wordsworth‟s later conception of the imagination owes much to Spinoza‟s „intuition‟. but. as has been universally recognized. It .” His later life seems to prove the truths of this statement. the heart has gone out of his poetry of Nature. “Wordsworth no longer calls himself.

Empson can dismiss Wordsworth with the remark that Wordsworth frankly had no inspiration .That Man by Nature lies Bedded for good and evil in a gulf Fearfully low… He seems to have quite forgotten the Hartleian psychology which makes so much. From another angle Mr. „naturalism‟ has quite faded out of his concept of nature‟. that communion with mountains does not generate any „pure principle of love‟. which tends to drain it of its strength. And Mr. but it is only a form of self-glorification. The Wordsworth‟s view of Nature has been severely criticized by some well known critics.31 yields more and more to a theological faith. “It is sometimes argued that Wordsworth‟s belief in the moral value of the love of the fine scenery is a fallacy. Hazlitt remarked with bitterness that Wordsworth himself could sympathize only with objects that could enter into no sort of competition with him. of „the language of the sense‟. and reminds us that Nature in the Tropics is apt to produce worship of the devil rather than of God. he reminds us- …. In „The Excursion‟. More than once he indulges in reservations and abatements. leading to an anti-social habit of mind and producing the „egotistical sublime‟. referring again to the rites of baptism. in the building up of the human spirit. Aldous Huxley attacks Wordsworth‟s Nature-religion as the product of „the cosy sublimities of Westmorland‟.

. The Nature he communed with was the Nature of the English Lakes.32 other than his own use. seated amid the same beautiful surroundings: For nature is one with rapine. Hence arises the tone of He sits amidst the budding loveliness of spring. The Mayfly is torn by the Swallow.” All these opinions are not acceptable to us. And the whole little wood where I sit is a world of plunder And prey. not for Wordsworth. The burning sirocco. that Nature „red in tooth and claw with ravine shrieks against his creed‟ that love is the ruling power in the universe. the tiger‟s cruel beauty. the overwhelming avalanche. but we must not overlook the obvious limitations in Wordsworth‟s attitude towards Nature. and the only thought that damps his joy is the remembrance of „What man has made of man‟. the dreary skeleton-strewn Sahara. How different are the reflections of the hero of Tennyson‟s Maud. a harm no preacher can heal. he ignores. It is for Tennyson. the sparrow spear‟d by The shrike. and the death-rattle of the snake-all these sinister aspects of Nature and such as these. of the mountains as a totem or father substitute. complacent optimism that pervades his poetry. when a boy. the frozen solitudes of the Pole.

is the nurse. it is by his . But it would not do ignore his concern with mankind Wordsworth held Nature to be a guide and teacher. The chief of Wordsworth. We think of Wordsworth first as a poet of Nature. Nature and man seem to be one. the guide. namely. Nature‟s moral influence is to be seen exemplified in these simple humble folk. Nature.pervading spirit which harmonises the manifold discord of the elements. His decision to choose humble classes for the subject matter of his poetry was based on his belief that these people show the elemental passions and emotions. of course. if he allows himself to live close to nature. the guardian of her heart. a poet of Nature. because they live close to Nature. his pantheism. as the poet perceives the leech-gatherer standing beside a pond. and rightly. Nature can induce a mystic mood in man.33 Wordsworth is. Nature‟s visible beauty is a symbol of a divine and all. He is compared to a stone and a sea-beast and later to the motionless cloud-all conveying a sense of impervious determination and freedom of will and courage. Man. can experience the spiritual truth. Wordsworth feels. Nature can induce in man an awareness which pierces through the mystery of the universe and reveals spiritual truth. The restorative and healing power of Nature was experienced most intensely by Wordsworth in his personal life. and soul of all his moral being. It is thus that Nature and human life are interrelated in Wordsworth‟s poetry. is lyrically expressed in this poem. for though the concordance shows that Nature was less often his theme than man. Nature never betrays the heart that loves her-this was Wordsworth‟s firm belief.

he is concerned less to depict than to explain. he is a prophet of Nature. stop ford Brooke rightly observes: “He (Wordsworth) conceived. one living soul which. he imagined. even the loose stones that cover the highway I gave a moral like: I saw them feel. less to marvel at Nature‟s beauty than to exult at its inner significance. that Nature was alive.‟ „Fragrant‟ – these are no epithets for Wordsworth‟s poetry. It was words worth‟s aim as a poet to reveal the invisible impulses at work behind the outward beauty of nature. rock.34 poetry of Nature that he is unique. He had a keen ear too for all natural sounds. taste and smell were equally actual. gave them each a soul of their own”. the calls of beasts and birds. „Smooth‟. To every natural form. His world is austere and bleak. However. and he composed thousands of lines wandering by the side of a stream. Wordsworth‟s unique apprehension of Nature was determined by his peculiar sense-endowment. or mountain. The indwelling spirit in Nature imparts its own consciousness to all objects of Nature. and the sounds of winds and waters. entering into flower. It has. “To him nature appears as a formative . as poet. „luscious‟. the „soughing‟ of boughs in a high wind set his mind working. Wordsworth is not merely a poet of Nature. He is forever spiritualising the moods of Nature and winning from them moral consolation. He is a poet of the mighty world of eye and ear. it should be noted that there are very few passages in Wordsworth‟s poetry which would justify us in claiming that his sense of touch. stream. „Warm. fruit and flower.

Nature never engrossed all thoughts of Wordsworth. In his youth his love of Nature was characterised by “dizzy raptures” and aching joys which replaced the earlier “coarser pleasures”. Thus Nature exalts his mind. . He now “sees into the very life of things” and feels the sublime presence in all things.in nature as well as in man‟s mind. The leech-gatherer‟s account of his way of life forcefully strikes the poet. He has developed a philosophic mind which reads significance in to the beauties of Nature. sad music of humanity”. The love for Nature at his stage is purely sensuous though deep and absorbing. Many were given to man. He has now become aware of the spiritual meaning of Nature. the sower in our hearts of the deep-laid seeds of our feelings and beliefs. He has been led to experience that serene and blessed mood when he has overcome the flesh to become a „living soul‟. His words were dignified and elegant.35 influence superior to any other. the educator of senses and mind alike. He aspired to become a philosophical poet. whose ultimate theme was not Nature but the heart of man. In his maturity Nature invoked in him the consciousness of the “Still. who was in a depressed state of mind when he met the old man.

Wordsworth had a full-fledged philosophy.) Wordsworth believed that the company of Nature gives joy to the human . of course. he is in a degree. before or since. a new and original view of Nature. He is the greatest Nature poet of England because he is the poet of more than external Nature. moving in their established order. human or inanimate. Nature comes to occupy in his poem a separate or independent status and is not treated in a casual or passing manner as by poets before him. What gives him his uniqueness is the fact that he is. and more tender. the poet of man. His love of Nature was probably truer. filling their appointed place. Wordsworth stands supreme. He is a worshipper of Nature. He thinks of all created things. the one who has given the most impressive and the most emotionally satisfying account of man‟s relation to Nature. as parts of one great whole. than that of any other English poet. But it is not the mere fail of his being a poet of Nature that makes him unique. of all English poets. Nature's devotee or high-priest. Three points in his creed of Nature may be noted: He conceived of Nature as a living Personality. As a poet of Nature. This belief in a divine spirit pervading all the objects of Nature may be termed as mystical Pantheism and is fully expressed in Tintern Abbey and in several passages in Book II of The Prelude. to be sought in his poetry of Nature.36 CONCLUSION Wordsworth‟s chief originality is. He believed that there is a divine spirit pervading all the objects of Nature.

as the best mother. According to him." He believed in the education of man by Nature. "Nature is a teacher whose wisdom we can learn. spiritual communion or 'mystic intercourse'. the glow of which illuminates all his work and dies of his life. and stirs the young poet to an ecstasy. It speaks to the child in the fleeting emotions of early years. she had planted seeds of sympathy and under-standing in that growing mind. This inter-relation of Nature and man is very important in considering Wordsworth's view of both. and without which any human life is vain and incomplete. He initiates his readers into the secret of the soul's communion with Nature. In his eyes. Natural scenes like the grassy Derwent river bank or the monster shape of the night-shrouded mountain played a "needful part" in the development of his . He believed that between man and Nature there is mutual consciousness. guardian and nurse of man. Nature appears as a formative influence superior to any other. He spiritualised Nature and regarded her as a great moral teacher. and as an elevating influence. Above all. human beings who grow up in the lap of Nature are perfect in every respect.". Wordsworth's childhood had been spent in Nature's lap. In this he was somewhat influenced by Rousseau. Wordsworth believed that we can learn more of man and of moral evil and good from Nature than from all the philosophies. the sower in our hearts of the deep-laden seeds of our feelings and beliefs.37 Heart and he looked upon Nature as exercising a healing influence on sorrowstricken hearts. Cazamian says that "To Wordsworth. Wordsworth emphasized the moral influence of Nature. A nurse both stern and kindly. the educator of senses and mind alike.

neither was he intellectually aware of her presence. even when he was indoors. and he realized Nature's role as a teacher and educator. Wordsworth traces the development of his love for Nature. In Tintern Abbey. and in earth and heaven. not for themselves but for what his mind could learn through. She riveted his attention by stirring up sensations of fear or joy which were "organic". affecting him bodily as well as emotionally. . Nature intruded upon his escapades and pastimes. In a variety of exciting ways. He had not sought her. In the Immortality Ode he tells us that as a boy his love for Nature was a thoughtless passion but that when he grew up. In his boyhood Nature was simply a playground for him. With time the sensations were fixed indelibly in his memory. in glade and bower. Finally his love for Nature acquired a spiritual and intellectual character. the emotions and psychological disturbances affect external scenes in such a way that Nature seems to nurture "by beauty and by fear".38 mind. speaking "memorable things". the objects of Nature took a sober colouring from his eyes and gave rise to profound thoughts in his mind because he had witnessed the sufferings of humanity: To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. Wordsworth was conscious of a spirit which kindled and restrained. In The Prelude. he records dozens of these natural scenes. At the second stage he began to love and seek Nature but he was attracted purely by its sensuous or aesthetic appeal. which he did not understand. All the instances in Book I of The Prelude show a kind of primitive animism at work". Nature was "both law and impulse".

bound unknown to me Was given.39 Compton Rickett rightly observes that Wordsworth is far less concerned with the sensuous manifestations than with the spiritual significance that he finds underlying these manifestations. delighting in its strength. and yet the voice Of waters which the river had supplied Was softened down into a vernal tone. He can give delicate and subtle expression to the sheer sensuous delight of the world of Nature. I made no vows. A sunrise for him is not a pageant of colour. grand rhapsodies such as Tintern Abbey. but vows Were then made for me. To combine his spiritual ecstasy with a poetic presentment of Nature is the constant aim of Wordsworth. it is a moment of spiritual consecration: "v My heart was full. He can feel the elemental joy of Spring: It was an April morning. fresh and clear The rivulet. Wordsworth is sensitive to every subtle change in the world about him. else sinning greatly. that I should be. Ran with a young man's speed. He can take an equally keen pleasure in the tranquil lake: The calm And dead still water lay upon my mind Even with a weight of pleasure . It is the source of some of his greatest pieces. A dedicated Spirit. To him the primrose and the daffodil are symbols to him of Nature's message to man.

He had a keen ear too for all natural sounds. No other poet could have written: A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard In springtime from the cuckoo-bird. Wordsworth records his own feelings with reference to the objects which stimulate him and call forth the description. He pored over objects till he fastened their images on his brain and brooded on these in memory till they acquired the liveliness of dreams. He looked through the visible scene to what he calls its "ideal truth". His unique apprehension of Nature was determined by his peculiar sense-endowment. But he is not interested in mere Nature description. Unlike most descriptive poets who are satisfied if they achieve a static pictorial effect. silence. Wordsworth can direct his eye and ear and touch to conveying a sense of the energy and movement behind the workings of the natural world. Wordsworth's attitude to Nature can be clearly differentiated from that of the other great poets of Nature. "Goings on" was a favourite word he applied to Nature. His eye was at once far-reaching and penetrating. But he was not richly endowed in the less intellectual senses of touch. taste and temperature. and the sounds of winds and waters. and he composed thousands of lines wandering by the side of a stream.40 A brief study of his pictures of Nature reveals his peculiar power in actualising sound and its converse. He did not prefer the wild and stormy aspects of . Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides. Being the poet of the ear and of the eye. he is exquisitely felicitious. the calls of beasts and birds.

not with the strange and remote aspects of the earth. familiar. Wordsworth stressed upon the moral influence of Nature and the need of man's spiritual discourse with her . everyday moods. or the purely sensuous in Nature like Keats. but Nature in her ordinary.41 Nature like Byron. and sky. It was his special characteristic to concern himself. He did not recognize the ugly side of Nature 'red in tooth and claw' as Tennyson did. or the shifting and changeful aspects of Nature and the scenery of the sea and sky like Shelley.

K. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.1969 Chopra.S. William Wordsworth Selected Poems. William Wordsworth Selected Poems. William Wordsworth. Geoffrey. New Delhi: Rama Brothers India Pvt. 2006 . P. New Delhi: uniqe Publishers.Ltd. S.2007 Mukherjee.42 WORKS CITED Durant.