The World Is Too Much with Us

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The World Is Too Much with Us

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.

"The World Is Too Much with Us" is a sonnet by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. In it, Wordsworth criticises the world of the First Industrial Revolution for being absorbed in materialism and distancing itself from nature. Composed circa 1802, the poem was first published in Poems, in Two Volumes (1807). Like most Italian sonnets, its 14 lines are written in iambic pentameter.


In the early 19th century, Wordsworth wrote several sonnets blasting what he perceived as "the decadent material cynicism of the time."[1] "The World Is Too Much with Us" is one of those works. It reflects his view that humanity must get in touch with people to progress spiritually.[1] The rhyme scheme of this poem is a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a, c-d-c-d, c-d. This Italian or Petrarchan sonnet uses the last six lines (sestet) to answer the first eight lines (octave). The first eight lines (octave) are the problems and the next six (sestet) are the solution.

The poem expresses a revolt against the industrial revolution and criticizes the materialistic approach of man. It also criticizes ignoring nature 'little we see in nature that is ours'.

There is escapism in the sestet of the sonnet and poet wishes to be a pagan than a modern man.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Phillips Brian (17 August 2007). "SparkNotes on Wordsworth's Poetry "The world is too much with us". SparkNotes.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kroeber, Karl (1963). "A New Reading of 'The World Is Too Much with Us'". Studies in Romanticism. 2 (3): 183–188. doi:10.2307/25599587.
  • Ma, Tianyu (2017). "Boons, authority, and imagination: A reading of 'The World Is Too Much with Us'". ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews. doi:10.1080/0895769X.2017.1385377.