4, March, 2013
Nature: Our Second Mother
The poetry of the English Romantic period often contained many descriptions and ideas of nature, not found in most writing. The Romantic poets shared several characteristics in common, certainly one of the most significant of these is their respective views on nature, which seems to range from a more spiritual, if not pantheistic view, as seen in the works of William Wordsworth as well as Emily Dickinson. The two have quite similar approaches to the theme of nature in their poetry. Both Dickinson and Wordsworth view nature as an extremely positive force. This force, they believe, is imperative to one’s growth and development of mind, body, and soul. William Wordsworth is known as one of the most prominent poets of the nineteenth century. Wordsworth was born in England on April seventh, 1770. At the mere age of eight years old, Wordsworth faced severe adversity when his mother passed away. Only a few years later, Wordsworth’s father also passed. At this point, him and his four other siblings were left as orphans. These struggles early on in his lifetime are huge factors that contributed to his poetic works. As he spent much time alone throughout his childhood, Wordsworth turned to nature for support. He saw nature as somewhat of a safe haven to him. He believed that nature was, in a sense his guardian. This is why we see nature as the main theme of his works. He almost couldn't help but write about Nature - it was in his very being right from the start. Speaking on Wordsworth, poet Matthew Arnold stated, “Nature not only gave him the matter, but wrote his poems for him.” (Arnold 237) Wordsworth was in a true sense was the most romantic and the purest soul of nature, for it provided him true inspiration. Wordsworth’s view on nature is an extremely spiritual one. He is considered as being a worshipper of nature, some even referred to him as “The High Priest of Nature.” His love of nature is clearer and more pure than any other English poet at the time, and even to date. One of Wordsworth’s goals was to elaborate on the presence of God throughout all of nature. We see this in an excerpt from his poem “The Excursion: Book Nine,” in which Wordsworth states:
In all things, in all natures; in the stars
Of azure heaven, the unenduring clouds,
In flower and tree, in every pebbly stone
That paves the brooks, the stationary rocks,
The moving waters, and the invisible air.
Whate'er exists hath properties that spread
Beyond itself, communicating good
A simple blessing, or with evil mixed;
Spirit that knows no insulated spot,
No chasm, no solitude; from link to link
It circulates, the Soul of all the worlds. (Wordsworth lines 5-15)
Through these words, Wordsworth tells us of the divinity of nature. God’s presence within it is much do to with his creating it. Everything we see around us is only here because of the creator, which is why Wordsworth finds God in all aspects of nature. It is only when in nature that Wordsworth can find peace with God. He believes that one’s relationship with nature is parallel to his or her relationship with God. Therefore, the closer one is to nature, the closer one is to God. Throughout Wordsworth’s work, nature provides the ultimate good influence on an individual’s mind. Wordsworth repeatedly emphasizes the importance of nature to an individual’s moral development. He maintains that, “One impulse from a vernal wood/ May teach you more of man/ Of moral evil and of good/ Than all the sages can.” (Wordsworth 21-24) Wordsworth explains that there are many things that cannot be found in books. For one to learn about the world, one must delve into it without hesitation, for sages learn nothing of the...