Romantic spirit


How Romantic does it feel to you? Why?


by W. Wordsworth, 1802.

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!

The 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;                         10

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 wreathed horn.

Prinatble Activities: TheRomanticSpirit

Choose one question and post your answer as a reply on

  • Elfried Mélina – Do some research about W. Wordsworth. What makes his life interesting? What is his nationality? How is the writing context different or similar to American romanticism context?


  • Angèle – Which kind of poem is The world is too much with us ?  

(Hint: count the number of lines, and look at the rhyme scheme)


  • Laetitia & Sabine –  Find examples of the following essentially romantic characteristics in Wordsworth’s poem:
  • Nature as an emblem of God or the divine
  • Celebration of the beauty and spiritual values of the natural world.


  • Manon & Camille  – Wordsworth defined poetry as the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” intense “emotion recollected in tranquillity.”  Find textual examples from The World is too much with us that apply to this definition.


  • Léia – The poem is to a high extent structured in contrasts. How ?
  • Arquette  – How do these contrast create the central theme and message of the poem ?


  • Tyler Claudia – What is the central theme and message of the poem ?


  •  Lili & Joy  – In your opinion, does the poem – its theme and message –  have any relevance today ?


  • Alycia & Priscilla – How does W. Wordsworth romanticism compares with American romantic poetry? Some critics have said that British Romantics were ‘darker’ than American romantics. Explain in what way.






3 thoughts on “Romantic spirit

  1. 1-I think this poem is quite romantic because of its theme and because of its title too. Here,William Wordsworth tells us that the human race is superfluous to the world. He accuses the society of his time to have lost its connection to Nature and to everything meaningful : Little we see in Nature that is ours ;, we’re taking Nature for granted, we think ourselves superior to Nature,we are ungrateful. Even if the sea would burst in wrath and the wind howls, humanity is still out of tune, humanity can’t understand Nature’s language. He also wishes to become a pagan raised according to a different vision of the world,so that,standing on this pleasant lea,he might see images of ancient gods rising from the waves (like Poseidon,but here it’s more like Proteus), a sight that would cheer him greatly. He imagines two divinity raising fom the sea : Proteus rising from the sea , and Triton blowing his wreathed horn. But of coure that is show only he could see because humanity isn’t sensitive enough to witness a miracle like this. I think that it’s romantic because of the fact that he’s the only one sensitive enough in a doomed society to be witnessing such scenes.
    9- The differences between the English romanticism and the American Romanticism are due to the national context in wich these works were written. England was an ancient and well-educated country. The negative social effects of the scientific and industrial revolutions made a change inn their artistic focus. Because of those phenomens, William Wordsworth and some others like William Blake or Samuel Coleridge got tired of the rationalistic and scientifically motivated writing of the Enlightement and decided that they wanted to probe the emotional lives of common people as well as marvel at the multiple mysteries of nature in terms of beauty and perfection. However,in America the country was new and only settled two centuries before Europe’ romantic Era began but as a new country it had not established a cultural history to shape its litterature so they just went with the French model. But America was a large country of 16 states with less than six million people who were free, America was ,and still he is, the counntry of freedom. The territory was so large that the frontier seemed to extend indefinitely. And as a result of this great fontier and of it’s freedom, America followed a different literary path. Writers like James Fenimore Cooper wrote about explorations and of the beauty of the continent while Genry David Thoreau helped begin an intellectual movement called Transcendentalism where every man was imprinted with the keys to the universe in his own being,life was explained in your very own soul. This just reflected the American mentality of freedom and feeling to be their own people.

    But still, British Romantism was still darker because of it’s gloomy and kind of horrific theme, like The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe or the novels like The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde or even Frankenstein where the scientist had good intentions while creating the monster while Poe’s characters,by reflecting the darker side of personal freedom, got themselves into trouble in less altruistic ways.

    So, to conclude, the British Romanticism’s development was strongly influenced by its nationa history,its industrial,cultural and military might while the American Romanticism was shaped by the frontier and personal freedom of its people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This poem is Romantic because there is the notion of nature : “The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon” and we see with : “Little the Nature that is ours” that the nature belongs to the author. He feels good as at home. Moreover we can see the feelings about the author : “Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn”. We can see the bad feels the which of the author. So thought the nature, the author express his feelings and his which.


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