The World is too Much With Us

Chapter Summary

The poem ‘The World is too Much with Us’ by William Wordsworth highlights a part of the materialistic world where a city and its citizens remain busy with jobs, cultures, religions, and ‘innumerable financial obligations’. All these elements generally control the lives of people to an unhealthy degree. Wordsworth in his poem speaks about destroying the boundaries of religions and inequality among peoples. He wished he had bought up a culture that worships every god and reside together united.

The poem depicts that a vital portion of humanity is being destroyed as people are busy rushing from one thing to the other and are always in a hurry to achieve something good.

Poet worries about humanity when he finds that humans are losing their ability to find tranquillity, and connect with nature. The world is forgetting that natural features still exist where moonlight still reflects on the ocean surface, ‘momentarily windless night’ is still peaceful, and petals of flowers still fold up in the cold. Poet states that these “rhythms of the natural world” have no emotional impact on humans.

Wordsworth's love and emotional relation with nature are proved in this poem when he said that standing on a patch of green grass and the view of a huge ocean in moonlight calms his heart and values his soul. He also wants to see Proteus, the Greek god taking his shape before him and wants to hear Triton, the Greek God blowing his spiral and legendary grooved conch shell.

Poet prefer to be a primitive Pagan rather than a member of a civilized society

William Wordsworth is very disturbed by the materialism and consumerism that has bought by humans in this modernized and advanced era. The poet thinks the humanity if spending all their time in earring money for their materialistic needs and had forget to connect with nature. Humans do not have time to love and appreciate the beauty of nature. Mankind in this modern era is referred to as sordid boon that generally means an oxymoron. However, poet wishes to become a pagan as he has love for all gods. He wished if he would have bought up in a culture that is the worshippers of monotheistic gods.

Wordsworth’s admiration to traditions and love for nature is highlighted in this poem. Poet also wants a glimpse of rural and rustic life that can also be determined as Pagan life. Wordsworth wants to see the Greek gods like Proteus taking his shape before him and wants to hear Triton blowing his spiral and legendary grooved conch shell.

Are human beings out of tune?

Wordsworth always wanted to stay close to nature and his love and appreciation for beauty of nature are highly depicted in his poem. Poet is very disturbed when he found that human in this century do not have that much time to spend a quality time with nature and have do not thinks that nature as the parts of human life. Humans in this modern era believe that spending time in nature is just a waste of their time and they can spend that time earning money to fulfil their materialistic needs.

Wordsworth’s appreciation of beauty of nature highlights the moonlight reflecting on the ocean surface, gathering of the wild wind at night, and hovering of sleeping flowers. The poet suffers when he sees that mechanical advancement of this world has made the humanity out of tune and this the major reason why he wanted to become pagan and remain in glimpse of nature.

Comparison of the organisation of this sonnet with that of the sonnet by William Shakespeare

Comparison generally highlights that the sonnet of both the poets Wordsworth and Shakespeare have a common structure and origin. The forms of the poem can only determine how meaning will be shaped. The idea of this organisation of different contexts can be stated through the rhyming scheme.

The sonnet The World Is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth is the Petrarchan sonnet. This sonnet’s organization is different from Shakespearean sonnet as it has a different lyrical approach. Shakespearean sonnets are usually divided into 3 quatrains and 1 couplet and are written in Iambic pentameter whereas Wordsworthian or Petrarchan sonnets are divided into Octave (8 lines) and Sestet (6 lines).

Wordsworth and Shakespeare's poems are generally nature-centric. Shakespeare usually used nature to express his ideas and thoughts in a very artistic manner. He also tries to explore the connection between nature and humans. Wordsworth also utilised the nature description to his best as he emphasised more on love for nature and had always tried to form an entire poem focusing on the beauty of nature.


Q1. What does the term sordid in the poem mean? What does Wordsworth mean by the phrase a sordid boon?

Ans. The term sordid in the poem The World is too Much with Us by William Wordsworth generally means shameful. Wordsworth uses the phrase a sordid boon to mean that the loss of harmony with nature has increased with the increase of humans' materialistic demands.

Q2. Why the poet does believe that humans see little in nature?

Ans. Wordsworth in his poem The World is too Much with Us believes that humans have no time to appreciate the beauty of nature and spend quality time in nature. Mans in this century thinks spending time in nature is just a waste of their time and they can spend that time earning money to fulfil their materialistic needs.

Updated on: 05-Jan-2023

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