“Lines Written in Early Spring,” by William Wordsworth, sets the tone within the title. The thought of early spring brings new life and harmony to the mind of the reader. A vision of Wordsworth sitting in a open field, observing the flowers budding and bunnies hopping around comes to the reader’s mind. He “heard a thousand blended notes” of birds singing and the world blooming around him, thoughts of Bambi are brought to mind. Spring, for me, creates a feeling of joy, and I think it is the best of the four seasons. A new start for all life to live as one and get along.
The next two lines could be quite confusing after the first reading. A “sweet mood” causes his “pleasant thoughts/ [to] bring sad thoughts to mind.” At first, I wondered how a sweet mood and pleasant thoughts could possibly bring sad thoughts, but when I thought about it, I realized that sometimes when you’re at your happiest moment, sad memories and ponderings come to mind. Wordsworth continues explaining that his soul was linked to Nature and her works through the wonder of spring. The image of the human soul running through him brings an apparent depth to the poem, turning the theme from spring to a more intimate perspective of man. “And much it grieved my heart to think/ what man has made of man.” The lines question a topic that most people will never fathom in their lifetimes. He describes his grieving over the topic of man’s world.
To grieve, as defined by Dictionary.com, means “to be in pain of mind on account of an evil.” This definition describes exactly how Wordsworth feels about the evil that mankind has made of his world.
Lines 9 and 10 continue to depict the setting that the poet is contemplating. As the spring setting returns to mind, Wordsworth reflects on how the flower appreciates the air it breaths and the birds hop and play with pleasure. The pictures show the simplicity of Nature and her animals, but also the joy they display. He spoke of a “thrill of pleasure,” which not only uses the flow of the word “pleasure” to illustrate the purity and joy of nature, but the “thrill of” affects the reader to think not of simple joy, but of the rush and the unadulterated enjoyment of this pleasure. His longing for this type of passion and thrill connects himself to nature by paradoxically displaying the difference between man and nature.
The detail with which Wordsworth writes about “budding twigs” spreading out to “catch the air” creates an aura of lust for the appreciation of the simple things in life. Leonard Skynard wrote a song called “Simple Man” which asks for a man to keep his life simple and realize that he is merely an object of God and he must remember to appreciate everything. The song and the poem are close in connection, with the same major theme of appreciation of the simple things. Wordsworth believes that this pleasure is sent from heaven and is part of Nature’s holy plan. He realizes that God is behind all things, large and small and man so often forgets to recognize the value of the air he breathes in and then flowers he picks. Speaking of “Nature’s holy plan,” I think he trust that Nature and God are one and their plans for man are the same, but they will only work if man realizes the right path to follow.
The last two lines leave us with the question “Have I not reason to lament/ what man has made of man?” Wordsworth wants his reader to realize that we should all grieve for the sorrow that we cause ourselves. Man has made himself what he is today, a busy, selfish, evil person, an outcome for which we should grieve. The question leaves the reader to ponder the meaning of life and all the deep questions that are buried deep within the human soul, the questions unanswerable by words, yet only through actions.
Courtney from Study Moose
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