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!
The 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 wreathéd horn.
The sonnet, written in the Petrarchan form, speaks of the poet’s concern for humankind moving away from nature in the pursuit of material gains, the latter acquired at the expense of our innate powers to see ourselves in nature. Kinship being lost with nature is a familiar theme of Wordsworth’s poetry.
The first line “The world is too much with us, late and soon” is epigrammatic. “A sordid boon” is an image that recalls Faust’s boon of supernatural powers acquired by exchanging his soul with the devil. The one image that I personally like in the poem is the winds that are upgathered now like sleeping flowers”, an exquisite image indeed.
Wordsworth feels out of place in a world obsessed with the material prosperity and rather prefers to be a “pagan suckled in a creed outworn”-another interesting image, notable for its graphic quality. A pagan from aboriginal tribes is more in tune with nature, although “suckled in a creed outworn”.