Nutting by Willam Wordsworth

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  • Topic: Poetry, Virginity, Lyrical Ballads
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  • Published : September 11, 2009
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NUTTING by Willam Wordsworth

In many ways the presentation of nature in the poem Nutting seems very different to the way Wordsworth portrays. it in his other poems.It is of course a so called 'Poem of Becoming' focusing primarily on the poet himself, looking at how Wordsworth's experiences of nature and the external world help him to explore his own mind, physically looking outwards but by doing so being introspective in learning about himself.

A key element to the poems of becoming is present in Nutting. This is the idea of reflection and contemplation on past Experience, and especially experiences with nature. Wordsworth writes of the 'eagerness of boyish hope' relating to the importance of the child, and the mind of the child, to all the Romantic poets. Again this is present in Tintern Abbey where the poet is reflecting on how he has changed since his days of 'dizzy raptures' and 'aching joys'. The theme forms the basis of poems such as Anecdote for Fathers and There was a Boy where Wordsworth tries to teach the reader that children have a connection with nature which is lost somewhat in adulthood, the idea that the 'The Child is Father of the man'. Although I think in Nutting this theme is somewhat reversed as Wordsworth describes how his recklessness and perhaps overzealousness of his youth is the reason that he finally destroys the 'virgin scene' and now he feels regret for that action: 'I now Confound my present feelings with the past'. However the point is that the act of devastating a scene from nature is lesson to Wordsworth: 'I felt a sense of pain as I beheld The silent trees', and in this way I think it is not dissimilar to the way the poet portrays childhood in Tintern Abbey, where upon reflection of his childhood he says 'I have learned To look on nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth' as if although he has lost the 'aching joys' he has gained an understanding of nature through quiet reflection, the vivid sensations of childhood have been replaced by maturity and wisdom derived from experience.

The actual depiction of nature in Nutting is very interesting when compared to Wordsworth's other poetry. The description of nature firstly as the young man wanders through the woods is somewhat harsh, it describes the 'thorns and brakes and brambles' the 'matted fern, and tangled thickets', almost as if it is protecting something which is not for man to see thereby giving the reader some sense of anticipation. Then as the poet comes across this untouched scene the description is very different. The scene's beauty and its virginity has the effect on the man to create 'sudden happiness beyond all hope'. The description of nature as tranquil peaceful and beautiful is of course common in Wordsworth's poems but what is different is the implied fragility and vulnerability of the scene which has come from it being untouched and unaffected by human life, it is a 'virgin scene', 'Unvisited', 'unseen by any human eye', 'fearless of a rival'. And at first the poet basks in the splendour of the place, the imagery is as if the poet is almost drinking in the scene, feeding off 'The banquet' of nature. This is language of the senses both visual and as well audial with the repetition of the words 'murmur' and 'murmuring' imitating the sounds of the gentle stream. Suddenly, however, the poet is overtaken by anger as he feels nature is 'Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones And on the vacant air' and not on himself and tears down the scene with 'merciless ravage'. The portrayal of nature's reaction to this destruction is not of revenge in any way or even to defending itself, 'Deformed and sullied it patiently gave up Their quiet being'. It is as though Wordsworth is showing that by nature being forgiving and benevolent he has learnt the lesson from the experience and discovered that 'there is a spirit in the woods'.

The idea of forgiveness no matter what the crime seems almost godlike relating to the idea...
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