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The World Is Too Much with Us

This study guide will help you analyse the poem “The World Is Too Much with Us” by William Wordsworth. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on composition, characters and narrator, language and style, rhythm and rhyme, literary devices, theme and message.

Presentation of the poem

Title: “The World Is Too Much with Us”

Author: William Wordsworth

Published in: Poems, in Two Volumes

Date of Publication: 1807

Genre: Poem/Sonnet

William Wordsworth is considered one of the first English Romantic poets. His poetry reflected his criticism of industrialism and consumerism and was focused on man’s connection with nature, a recurrent theme in Romantic Poetry. Originally written in 1802, “The World Is Too Much with Us” also deals with the topic of modernity versus the natural world.

Excerpt

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Modern Society

Modern society is designated in the poem using personal pronouns such as “us” (l. 1), “we” (l. 2) and “ours” (l. 3). The fact that the poet includes himself in this society shows that he is not entirely idealistic, and he also bears a part of the collective blame of abandoning nature.

This society is depicted as egotistical and materialistic. People are only concerned with “getting and spending” (l. 2) and waste their lives in the web of worldly desires - “waste our powers” (l. 2).

The industrial society has become indifferent to nature, which is taken for granted, but also to feelings, emotions and the spiritual side of life:

“Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”
(ll. 3-4)

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The World Is Too Much with Us

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