Heal your soul with William Wordsworth’s poem inspired by the wonderment of nature as we take you through a Lines Written in Early Spring analysis.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bowerWilliam Wordsworth
Lines Written in Early Spring – Analysis
William Wordsworth wrote the poem on a walk through a small wood near the village of Alford. He was a keen walker and often wrote about the scenes of nature he observed while out and about.
In this poem, he reclines in a lovely grove on a spring morning and observes how beautiful and harmonious nature is.
He acknowledges how such wonderful images of nature lift his soul yet, in doing so, sorrowfully contemplates what has become of the human spirit. Wordsworth wonders how the natural world is able to live so seemingly joyfully when the world of humans is filled with cruelty and selfishness.
To the poet, man’s apparent determination to fill his life with stress feels like a wilful rejection of the power of nature to heal the soul.
Lines Written in Early Spring Context
When Wordsworth wrote his poem, the French Revolution was still raging. It was a constant reminder of what atrocities mankind was capable of. In addition, the Industrial Revolution of Great Britain was in its prime, with all the apparent ‘progress’ that was happening at the expense of basic human decency when it came to pay and working conditions.
The Enlightenment Period had dominated thought throughout Europe and America for over a hundred years. Wordsworth feared that an obsession with rationalism had caused people to reject the wonders of nature and the validity of one’s emotions.
Through his poetry, Wordsworth promoted his Romantic values. He urged his readers to reconnect with the natural world and appreciate the perfection of God’s creation and its power to create a simple happiness that mankind, by comparison, was spectacularly failing at.
‘Lines’ is deceptively vague. It suggests that the poet’s observations are very casual and almost not worth noting. However, Wordsworth’s observations sum up the message of Romanticism.
‘Early Spring’ has connotations of new life and a new start, which is exactly what the Romantics hoped for with a rejection of Enlightenment doctrine..
Lines Written in Early Spring is made up of six stanzas, each made up of four lines (quatrains). In itself, this could suggest the ceaseless regeneration of the natural world, along with its enduring ability to produce and give out positivity.
However, this idea is challenged when the regular rhythm of the iambic tetrameter is interrupted on the final line of each quatrain. Each final trimeter quite literally disturbs the harmony created in the previous three lines.
Viewing this metaphorically, we could interpret Wordsworth’s message to be that there is a threat to nature’s peace, that being mankind’s selfishness.
The healing power of nature: Wordsworth is the quintessential Romantic poet, breaking away from the hustle and bustle of the urban, industrial world and finding room to think in the tranquillity of the natural environment.
Religion and spirituality: The sacred connotations of ‘soul’, ‘belief’, ‘heaven’ and ‘holy’ indicate the spiritual connection that the poem’s speaker has to the natural environment. This corresponds with the Romantics’ rejection of science and technology as the dominant forces in modern life.
Harmony: The search for peace and harmony is reflected in the poem’s structure and rhythms. The concluding line suggests that man is the obstacle to finding it, though the line itself is balanced, perhaps indicating that even mankind can’t throw nature out of sync.
Linking to other Poems
- In a London Drawing Room – George Eliot
- Like an Heiress – Grace Nichols
- Shall earth no more inspire thee – Emily Brontë
- With Birds You’re Never Lonely – Raymond Antrobus
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