Tuesday, September 20, 2022

William Wordsworth: Selected Poems

Selected Poems
William Wordsworth

For the sake of time, I only read Susan Wise Bauer's suggested reading selections from William Wordsworth's poetry. According to Bauer, Wordsworth's poetry [partially marks] the beginning of the Romantic period, which explains why I am so fond of many that I have read. Wordsworth was "suspicious of reality," and he believed that "a divine force (the Sublime) exists in humans....as a gentle enlightening presence that infuses both man and nature." 

I do not believe in any of that, but I find his poetry very inviting and pleasant and alluring. Maybe it is also because his poems demonstrate a love of the natural world and individuals, but a discomfort with society as a whole. Like one of my favorite authors, Thomas Hardy, Wordsworth also presented the tragic side of nature. 

A couple of my favorite poems from the selections were "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," because my kids and I had read Wordsworth many years ago, and this one was sweet and true; and also "Ode: Intimations of Immortality." As I read the lines:

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...,

I knew it instantly! Splendor in the Grass (1961) is a film starring Natalie Wood and a very young Warren Beatty, and the title was taken from the line in "Intimations of Immortality." 


It's always fun to make connections to literature.

Having read about Wordsworth's philosophy about man and God, I find it difficult to accept wrong ideas that man is a god, man is equal to God, or man has to find himself, and that all life's answers are within himself. These ideas have led us to the messy world we find ourselves today, and they also contradict with what I know to be truth. 

Having said that, I would return to Wordsworth's works because I found a kin in his style and I would like to read more. I have to find a way to appreciate poetry for its literary beauty that I may philosophically and occasionally disagree with, if that makes sense. I have to accept that what I read may have been written by a poetic genius who was also human with a wrong understanding of Truth. Somewhat how I feel about Thomas Hardy. 

Following are the poems I read, and I am also getting ready to read a close friend of Wordsworth - the next poet on TWEM list. 

Selections Read:

"Composed upon Westminster Bridge"
"The Idiot Boy"
"It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free"
"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"
"Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey"
"Lines Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree"
"Lines Written in Early Spring"
"London, 1802"
"Lucy Gray"
"Ode: Intimations of Immortality"
"She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways"
"Simon Lee"
"The World Is Too Much With Us"

The next poet on TWEM poetry list:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge


  1. I think that Wordsworth was being rebellious and he was attracted to these wrong ideas (which are very much back in fashion, unfortunately) because of the lead up to the French Revolution. I think that he was horrified by all the bloodshed later, but I could be thinking of someone else. He was also attracted to Napoleon’s ideas, if I recall correctly.

    1. Hi, Viola. Thank you for your insight. I think rebelliousness is probably true. It would be a helpful idea to read a biography about his life and times, I think, when I decide to return to his poetry.


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