Analysis And Comparison Of The Poems ‘the World Is Too Much With Us’ And ‘the Brook’

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William Wordsworth, one of the originators of English Romanticism and one its most central figures and important intellects, was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, found within the Lake District of England as the son of John and Ann Cookson Wordsworth. He is recalled as a writer of spiritual and epistemological hypothesis, a poet concerned with the human relationship to nature, and a furious advocate of utilizing the vocabulary and speech patterns of common individuals in verse. He associated with Samuel Tylor Coleridge to write LYRICAL BALLADS in 1798. His work TINTERN ABBEY was his masterpiece which introduced Romanticism to English Poetry. His majority of works showed affinity towards nature. He held the position of England’s poet laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.


THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US is a sonnet written by William Wordsworth, in which he criticizes the world of the First Industrial Revolution for being consumed is materialism and becoming disconnected from nature. It is one of his works among the theme of “the decadent material cynicism of the time”.

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In “The World Is Too Much With Us,” the speaker portrays humankind’s relationship with the natural world in terms of loss. That relationship once thrived, but presently, due to the impacts of industrialization on the way of life mankind has misplaced the capacity to appreciate, celebrate, and be relieved by nature. We are continuously rushing from one thing to another; we gain money one day fair to spend it the next. The result of this is often that we have devastated a crucial portion of our humanity: we have misplaced the capacity to associate with and discover tranquility in nature. In exchange for material pick-up, we have given away our feelings and enthusiasm. This sea reflects the moonlight on its surface, and the peaceful, quickly windless night, which is like blossoms whose petals are collapsed up within the cold—these natural features still exist, but we just can’t appreciate them. Our lives have nothing to do with the rhythms of the common world. As a result, those rhythms have no emotional effect on us.

He then wishes that he was born and raised in a culture that worshipped by many gods, even though now that is outdated. Then he will be able to stand on the grass and could be calmed by the sight of the ocean. He also envisions Greek Gods like Proteus and Triton.

This central loss, the sonnet depicts it from three points: economic, spiritual, and social. Strikingly, the poem does not propose a way to recapture what is misplaced. Or maybe, its tone is desperate, contending that humankind’s unique relationship with nature can never be restored. The sonnet to begin with presents loss within the financial sense, certainly faulting urban life for the change in people’s relationship with nature. Since the urban world has “too much” control over our lives, we are continuous “late and soon” or “Getting and spending.” Modern people are continuously losing time or money. As working individuals in a progressively urban range, their lives are organized by a never-ending series of arrangements and exchanges. By portraying nature as something that can be possessed, modern people have lost the power to think of relationships and feelings in anything but Economic terms.

Then comes spiritual loss. People in order to gain material wealth and progress they give away their hearts as price, which is the symbol of emotion and life. In return they gain a boon, actually a sordid boon, that is dirty and immoral. People have reduced themselves to a less than the human state. This made us out of tune and people gave away their ability to gain deep access to nature and now they are numb to its beauty.

The cultural loss is something permanent. The speaker invokes Greek paganism, presenting a version of society in which nature played a bigger part in human life. But the pagan convention is “a creed outworn”—it’s an antique, and no longer valuable. Once the speaker recognizes the uselessness of past conventions, his or her wishes come over as more whimsical than serious. “I’d rather be a Pagan” and “So might I” don’t represent what the speaker believes is conceivable, but or maybe what he or she wishes were still possible. (lines are taken from the poem)- (1)

 As a part of present-day society, the speaker cannot get to nature in a way to create him- or herself “less forlorn.” This doesn’t mean that nature has been devastated; the “pleasant lea” still exists, it just doesn’t relieve the speaker. At this minute of emotional despair, the finest he or she can do is envision a past that, in its fullest frame, is lost and blocked off.



The poem follows the rhyme scheme of a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a, c-d-c-d, c-d. This is a Petrarchan sonnet that has an octave and sestet. The octave is the problem part and sestet are the answer.


It is a meter consisting of five iambs.

“A Pagan suckled in a creed out.”


“We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon” (taken from the poem)- (2) acting both as a metaphor and oxymoron.

Sordid implies – worst aspects of human nature such as immorality, selfishness and greed.

Boon implies – blessing or benefit.


Wordsworth utilizes an entirely organized frame, the Italian sonnet, which adjusts to a set of strict traditions. As in numerous sonnets by the Romantic writers, he makes pressure between the emotional, characteristic, and fluid subjects explored within the sonnet and the organized shape of the sonnet. This pressure reflects what was happening amid the Romantic Period, in which artists and poets were revolting within the organized world of the neoclassical period.


It is a thought in a poem that does not come to an end at a line break.

“Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn.” (taken from the poem)- (3)


It is to attribute human qualities to inanimate objects. In this, it has used in several places.

“sea that bears her bosom to the moon”, “The winds that will be howling at all hours” and “sleeping flowers” (taken from the poem)- (4)


This is a direct or indirect reference to a person, place, thing, idea, or any historical, political, cultural, or literary significance. This sonnet uses allusion to Greek mythology.

“Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.” (taken from the poem)- (5)


Here the poet has used images appealing to the sense of hearing, touching and sight such as;

“winds that will be howling”

“sleeping flowers”

“Proteus rise from the sea”


There is only one simile in this poem and that is

“And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers”.



The ocean symbolizes the helplessness of nature when confronted with the greed and danger of present-day materialism. Whereas the speaker presents the concept of nature in a common-sense early on within the sonnet, it isn’t until the fifth line, wherein they specify the ocean, that nature takes any sort of physical frame.


Paganism within the sonnet symbolizes a strong association between humankind and the natural world.


Alfred Tennyson,1st Baron Tennyson, who was a poet was born on 6th August 1809 in Lincolnshire, England. During the reign of Queen Victoria, he held the position of Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland. He is one of the well-known poets, who was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal at Cambridge for one of his works, “Timbuktu”. More than any other Victorian-era author, Tennyson has appeared the exemplification of his age, both to his contemporaries and to present-day readers. Tennyson too excelled at penning brief verses, such as ‘Break, Break, Break’, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade, ‘Tears, Sit out of gear Tears’, and ‘Crossing the Bar’. Much of his verse was based on classical mythological topics, such as ‘Ulysses’, although ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’ was composed to commemorate his companion Arthur Hallam, a fellow writer and understudy at Trinity College, Cambridge after he passed on of a stroke at the age of 22. Tennyson moreover composed a few outstanding blank verses including Idylls of the King, ‘Ulysses’, and ‘Tithonus’. 


The poem is a ballad in which the speaker—the brook, or stream, itself—undertakes a long and winding journey over the countryside to connect up with a large river. Tucked inside this apparently sweet lyric approximately a small stream are darker, more piercing topics of death, human impermanence, and nature’s indifference to mankind, in spite of the fact that the lyric to emphasizes nature’s sheer beauty. The poem’s most eminent characteristic is its refrain, “For men may come and men may go, / But I go on forever,” which shows up four times all through the poem and captures both the fleetingness of human life and the steadiness of nature.

In Tennyson’s “The Brook,” the poem’s refrain, “For men may come and men may go, / But I go on forever” is rehashed four times, as the speaker of the poem—the brook—emphasizes the central topic of the poem: that human life is short-lived, whereas the brook, as a portion of the larger tapestry of nature, will persevere forever.

 The refrain treats mankind as impermanent—as people who “come” and “go”—and nature as eternal. In reality, the only two verbs related to people within the poem are “come” and “go,” recommending that human life is breezy and short-lived, which people don’t endure the way that nature does. The brook, in contrast, solidly states that “I go on forever.” This claim of permanence is reinforced by the way that the brook shows up to be always renewing itself and changing all through the poem, adjusting easily to the surrounding scene.



a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-h-g-h…. Written in Iambic tetrameter.


The metaphor used here is an extended metaphor. The line “to join the brimming river” stands for the course of human life, that is from birth to death.


Brook is personified in this poem.


“I babble on the pebbles”


It is the repetition of a word or a phrase. “For men may come and men may go”.


It is the figure of speech that represents the sound associated with an object.



The brook represents the life of a person. It denotes the different phases of life that a man should go through.


Both the poems reflect the beauty and power of nature. As mentioned in the first poem by Wordsworth that the modern generation is lacking love and respect towards nature so that they can’t enjoy its beauty. That this poem also took birth from this thought by Tennyson. During the Industrial revolution, England started losing much of its natural beauty and sources. So, in order to make people realize nature’s importance (which had been threatened by the rise of the newly mechanized world), they wrote about humankind and nature.

Both poems illustrate how nature, though attractive in its beauty, is at the same time powerful and beautiful. Another connection can be pointed as, in our second poem the brook can be related to human life. We can take many lessons from it, like keep moving in life even if there have some hardships and obstacles and the natural aging process that all humans experience. Our journey should be cherished and one day we will reach our destination. So, from this, we can conclude one thing that nature acts as a guide for us. From nature itself, we can gain much wiser knowledge which will act as life boosters. Both nature and men are interconnected. But unfortunately, men barely have time to notice it and enjoy it. They are going behind materialistic wealth ignoring nature.

Nature is permanent or eternal but not humankind. The thought of humans that are superior to all is just nonsense. In the brook, nature’s indifference to humankind is clear. “For men may come and men may go, / But I go on forever” perfectly encapsulates this thought, portray human life as entirely insignificant. Tennyson focuses his poem on nature and indicates Man’s inferior position compared to nature or brook. In fact, the brook indicates how important its role is in ensuring that nature continues unheeded and everything that needs to will ‘join the brimming river.’ It is likely that people barely recognize its presence or its importance unless attention is drawn to it. Despite everything, the brook endures, even though its journey is not always easy. It has to ‘bicker,’ ‘fret’ and ‘steal’ to reach its destination, but it is worth it. This is exactly what Wordsworth also trying to convey. So we can understand that these two poems are similar in many ways which hold a main central theme, nature.


So as to conclude we can say that, both these poems are a masterpiece of the respective writers. Through these, they could successfully convey the different dimensions of nature and describe its beauty and power it. They are expressing the importance of nature and the need of present-day to love and respect it more. We should take the essence from it and follow our path accordingly…


  1. Taken from the poem
  2. Taken from the poem
  3. Taken from the poem
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  5. Taken from the poem


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