Joy in William Wordsworth Poetry

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      Wordsworth is the acknowledged poet of Nature. In Nature as well as in man, Wordsworth saw “the hiding places of infinite power.” Nature to him was veritably alive, speaking in a many-voiced language.

      In his earlier poems, Wordsworth is struck with the love of Nature. Just as a boy he enjoyed sheer animal pleasure, in some of his poetry he takes pure delight in natural scenes—he is happy wandering as lonely as a cloud seeing a field of yellow daffodils. He finds joy in the skylark, the cuckoo, the sweet celandine. He finds joy in the solemn mountains, the lakes and the forests. All these natural objects have the power to refresh and elevate the soul of man it is not a simple joy which Wordsworth celebrates. It is a feeling which grows in the mind of man as he is in close communion with nature—be it the icy cages of the Alps or the smooth waters of Lake Windermere. It is a joy which grows out of the awareness of “A presence” in all created beings. As he says in Tintern Abbey.

A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thought....

      Wordsworth also found joy in the child who lived in close communion with Nature. The child’s life is the hiding place of man’s future power. The child comes to the earth trailing clouds of glory and immortality. He is instinctively aware of divinity running through all created things, and we should therefore partake of childhood’s simple joys and delights. Wordsworth certainly sings of the joy in Nature, but there is gradual development in the apprehension of this feeling of joy. It grows from a simple feeling undiluted by sadness to a feeling powerful to take into consideration “the still sad music of humanity” and to transcend the miseries of this life.

University Questions

“Wordsworth’s poetry is great because of the extraordinary power with which he feels the joy offered to us in Nature.” Elucidate.
“Wordsworth is a poet of joy.” Comment.

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