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Selected Poems by William Wordsworth
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Selected Poems

by William Wordsworth

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I read a selection of the poems found in this book. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I bought this Kindle version, but I wish I could have bought the book. Maybe I'll sneak out to Barnes and Noble sometime and try to find it.

You know, I appreciate William Wordsworth much more now than I did in college. I never thought of Wordsworth as one of my favorite poets—I like Emily Dickinson and Frost plus others. But, I think he might move up a bit on my list of favorites. I like the rapturous emotion in his poems, and I love his descriptive scenes of nature. I found lots of great quotes.

His theme of the carefree nature of children and their enjoyment in nature was great. It was joyful to read, and that theme seemed to carry through many of his poems. His descriptions of the restrictive and dry nature of education was sad.

Wordsworth said, “I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility."

This quote reminds me of Lines Written in Early Spring “I hear a thousand blended notes,/While in a grove I sate reclined,/In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts/Bring sad thoughts to the mind.” He goes on to reflect “Have I not reason to lament/What man has made of man?” That seems like his most moody poem or most melancholy.

And what about The Prelude when he came home for summer break after being away at Cambridge,

“Those walks in all their freshness now came back
Like a returning Spring. When first I made
Once more the circuit of our little lake,
If ever happiness hath lodged with man,
That day consummate happiness was mine,
Wide-spreading, steady, calm, contemplative. . .
Gently did my soul
Put off her veil, and, self-transmuted, stood
Naked, as in the presence of her God.”

I kept trying to figure out if Nature was his god or if he did bring God into it. He capitalized Nature as a Being almost. And sometimes I was sure he worshiped Nature and other times I thought he was just revitalized by it all. He does use the words Worship and Nature together.

He says in Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey: “We stood together; and that I, so long/A worshipper of Nature, hither came/ Unwearied in that service.”

Then he says in The Prelude—“I am content/With my own modest pleasures, and have lived/With God and Nature communing.”

And after reading a bit on the internet, I don't think experts agree. So, I surely don't know, but it seemed to me at first glance that he treated God and Nature equally. One thing for sure, he's definitely a Romantic Poet. ( )
  heidip | Mar 22, 2015 |
I can't help it if my heart doesn't leap with joy with Wordsworth's respectful and magisterial poems. I feel some kind of guilty distance with his realistic and moderated exultation of Nature, his aspirations towards perfection and his Odes full of bucolic and idealized countryside.

There are some brilliant stanzas though which show the almost anecdotal wonders of an apparently monotonous life, but still I find them lacking in originality and too self-centered in the soul of the poet, framed in nature, basking in the mutual reflection between the soul and the world; the landscape becoming the revealing image of moral life and religious transcendence. And this recurring need to isolate his artistic self in order to write straight from the soul is not convincing, at least for me.
Maybe because he is trying too hard, but he doesn't reach to me the way that other poets do, for example, Robert Frost, who also speaks of the rural life but with an underlying need to return to the origins, which is absent in Wordsworth's poems.

"Humility and modest awe, themselves
Betray me, serving often for a cloak
To a more subtle selfishness; that now
Locks every function up in blank reserve,
Now dupes me, trusting to an anxious eye"

His poems leak with more consciousness than inspiration, his verses being usually nostalgic recollections of a better times, usually during childhood, when the soul is in harmony with the world and experiences are lived intensely and purely.

"There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;-
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen now I can see no more."

But somehow, his willingness to elevate his writing to the intellectual knowledge and to democratize the lyrical language creates an artificial rhetoric which diminishes the impact of his words, at least for me.

"Ye winds and sounding cataracts! 'tis yours,
Ye mountains! thine, O Nature! Thou hast fed
My lofty speculations; and in thee,
For this uneasy heart of ours, I find
A never-failing principle of joy
And purest passion."

Nevertheless, I have to give him credit for being one of the first English Romantic Poets who will lay the foundations for Byron, Shelley and Keats, and for trying to elevate his meditations towards great poetry.
Although not one of my favorites, (I'm aware I'll make a bunch of detractors here), he surely earned the right to be read and re-read again and again. ( )
  Luli81 | Apr 16, 2013 |
Great collection. Notes very insightful. ( )
1 vote | LydieR | May 3, 2007 |
I am a huge fan. ( )
  eslee | Aug 12, 2006 |
Folio Society
  rogerlinton | Dec 31, 1969 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Wordsworthprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
(Editor), Walford Daviessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, Damian WalfordEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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One of the major poets of Romanticism, Wordsworth epitomized the spirit of his age with his celebration of the natural world and the spontaneous expression of feeling. This volume contains a rich selection from the most creative phase of his life.

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