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Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 3rd, 2021

The poem “Lines Written in Early Spring”, written by William Wordsworth, appeared for the first time in ‘Lyrical Ballads’. This was a co-operative attempt by Wordsworth and Coleridge in 1798, which is the clear expression of Romanticism in English Literature. When one tries to understand this poem, it can be seen that this poem is a lamentation of a naturalist who is worried of lose natural beauty. The theme of this poem is so close to the Romantic way of longing after the wonderful nature. Shelach J. Squire points out that, when one tries to analyze Romanticism in English literature, especially in the poems of Wordsworth, it can be seen that the transformation of actual landscape to a literary landscape can change the attitude of human beings towards nature. “An analysis of English romanticism, Wordsworth’s poetry in particular, illustrates how the transformation of an actual landscape into a literary landscape helped change attitudes toward wilderness and natural beauty.” (Squire, p.237-247).

Annotated Bibliography

To the poet, nature is the best company and he loves to sit lonely in the lap of nature. When the poem begins, the poet is in a cheerful mood but when he thinks about the cruelty of human beings towards nature, his thoughts are followed by some sadness. Duncan Wu points out that Wordsworth was a poet who loved and admired nature. He used to accept inspiration from nature. For him, nature is the abode of love. The real story behind the composition of this poem is that this poem is composed while Wordsworth was sitting by the side of a brook. “composed while I was sitting by the side of the brook that runs down the coomb ( in which stands the village of Holford) through the grounds of Alfoxden.” (Wu, p.374). It was in the village of Alford and the poet considered this place as a natural resort for him. Here, the poet used to enjoy the beauty of nature and contemplate the future of humanity.

In the first stanza, one can see the vivid description of the experience of being in the company of nature. Poet says that, while he was sitting under a grove, he happened to hear a melody of music. He was in a cheerful mood and was so happy to hear the music because happy thoughts were coming to his mind. It was momentary and some sad thoughts came to his mind. Here, one can see the contrast between nature’s pleasure and today’s state of mankind. Chunping Dong Huaiyin Teachers College points out that the deep love of Wordsworth towards nature and human attitude towards nature can be identified from his short lyrics like Lines Written in Early Spring, The Daffodils, My Heart Leaps Up, etc. “Here we’d like to take a look at some of his poems on nature and the relationship between human beings and nature.” (Dong, p.10).

His themes ponder upon the themes like nature and the relationship between human beings and nature.

The next stanza describes Man as the part of nature not nature as the part of Man. From the part of Man, there must be self-realization to understand nature. Then the poet tries to describe different types of beautiful flowers growing at that place. There were bunches of primrose, blue creeper plants with flowers, and periwinkle. Here, every flower can enjoy the fragrance of the air. James C. Mc Kusick thinks that Romantic poems are to be read from an ecological point of view. He further added that when one tries to understand the poem “Lines Written in Early Spring” by Wordsworth, this approach must be in mind. “reading of Wordsworth’s the” Lines Written in Early Spring “best exemplifies what this approach can accomplish.” (McKusick, p.34).

Next, the poet says about birds that are plating around him. They are in a playful mood, and the poet is unable to judge their mood. But their movement portrayed their mood. Then the poet describes the trees that are ready to enjoy the beauty of nature. The trees spread their branches to enjoy the pleasant breeze. Here, the poet says that there was only joy and happiness which is originated from nature. J. Robert Barth and John L. Mahoney point out that modern readers may consider Wordsworth’s poem “Lines written in Early spring” as a scandal but these thoughts were of no use because these poems were able to withstand the common opinion. After all, the theme is ever fresh-the nature. “To modern readers Wordsworth’s” Lines Written in Early spring” have been a scandal, but they went beyond the common opinions of most advanced thinkers mainly with respect to plants.” (Barth and Mahoney, p.12). In the last stanza of the poem, the poet says that, if this is the idea of god, if this is nature’s holy plan, there are so many reasons for me to lament the cruel deeds of human beings on Mother Nature. This question is asked to humanity and is an inquiry of what has happened with human beings or what we had done to ourselves. We the human beings had changed and this leads to the exploitation of nature. The beauty and happiness present in nature are divine. God’s plan is the communion of man with nature. If these two facts are true, the poet has a definite reason to lament the fate of humanity.

Literary Analysis

The theme of “Lines Written in Early Spring,” is of universal appeal and it sticks on to the idea and theme of Romanticism. The composition of the poem is to be considered as an attempt at a vivid description of nature. This poem is written in a thoughtful mood about the future of humanity. While composing this poem the poet was sitting by the side of a stream. The poem is an attempt to contrast the happiness of natural objects with unhappiness experienced by man. Poet says that to ignore nature is to finish the scope of man’s happiness. The natural beauty of earth served as a bridge between the soul of man and god. The reason behind the suffering of Man is his drifting away from nature. Earlier the poet used to sit alone by the side of a stream. The place was gleaming with natural beauty. Birds were singing and playing. There were so many flowers that were dancing and trying to touch the sweet air. Some trees were trying to touch the sweet breeze with their branches. Here, the poet used to sit and contemplate.

After more than forty years, the poet happened to revisit the place once more. To his surprise, the natural beauty of that natural retreat was gone forever. When the poet asked the owner of that place about the reason for the depletion, he answered that he was no lover of nature. So he did not make any attempt to restore the beauty of that place. Then the poet asks himself and to the whole of humanity what happened to us and what we have done with ourselves. The poet aims to make an awareness about the side effects of the exploitation of nature. It is not easy to restore natural beauty because once it is destroyed, it will be forever. So human beings must consider that even the meager attempt to exploit nature will result in harmful side effects.

The theme is so close to the themes of the poets of Romantic revival in English literature. This revival was an attempt in the literature to choose the themes of nature and the effects of human exploitation of nature. It can be considered as a lamentation of the current state of nature. William Wordsworth was considered as one of the main exponents of Romanticism in Literature. The theme of the poet is longing after wonderful nature and to share with the divine joy of nature. God plans to make a communion of nature and Man. But Man is not ready to accept this divine gift from the god but is ready to exploit it. If we are ready to exploit nature, we must be ready to suffer the side effects of the same. In the poems on can see the poet’s love of simplicity, tenderness and love of nature.

The romantic poets attempted to teach the basic lessons on love towards nature. So it can be seen that the theme of “Lines Written in Early Spring,” by William Wordsworth is an attempt to describe nature and as an investigation of the reason behind the unhappiness on human life in earth. Moreover, the poet contrasts the happiness of natural world with the grim state of humanity.

Work Cited

Barth, J. Robert., and Mahoney, John L. The fountain light. 2002. Web.

Dong, Chunping. Songs of Harmony on Wordsworth’s Nature Poems. US China Foreign Language. 2005. Web.

McKusick, James. C. The return of the Nightingale. 2007. Web.

Squire, Shelach. J. Wordsworth and Lake District Tourism: Romantic Reshaping Of Landscape. Wiley Inter Science. Canadian Geographer. 32.3. 2008. Web.

Wu, Duncan. Notes. Romanticism. 2006. Web.

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"Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth." IvyPanda, 3 Oct. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/lines-written-in-early-spring-by-william-wordsworth/.

1. IvyPanda. "Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth." October 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/lines-written-in-early-spring-by-william-wordsworth/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth." October 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/lines-written-in-early-spring-by-william-wordsworth/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth'. 3 October.

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