William Wordsworth

The poem recited

On this date Wordsworth wrote the sonnet “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802“:

Earth hath not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Frye in Words with Power:

But what does Wordsworth’s gentle goddess who never betrayed the heart that loved her have to do with Tennyson’s “Nature, red in tooth and claw,” with its ferocious and predatory struggle for survival?  Even more, what she have to do with the narrators in the Marquis de Sade, who, after some particularly nauseating orgy of cruelty and violence, appeal with equal confidence to nature to justify their pleasure in such things?  Are there two natures, and if so are they separable?  It is obvious that Wordsworth’s teacher-nature is an intensely humanized nature, even the Lake country and the Alps being dominated by human artifice.  And yet one feels that it would be oversimplifying to call Wordsworth’s nature a mere projection of human emotions on nature, even though there often seems to be more evidence for de Sade’s view of nature than his.  (CW 26,213)

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