The natural world and mankind have an elusive as well as unique bond. Nature allows us to connect to our intrapersonal selves. This connection, to an extent, cannot be understood on a conscious level. William Wordsworth’s poetry describes the relationship between nature and the spirit of human beings.
His work pays special attention to the tangible and intangible aspects of the world around us. Within his poem, “Lines Written in Early Spring,” he describes the connection between the natural spirit and its association to man. The speaker’s words allow readers to comprehend natural forces as a healing entity with a spiritual personality. The poem provides imagery and structural components that allow readers to ponder why nature is so vital to the soul, as well as emphasizes the importance of its spirit to our beings. Wordsworth’s poem dissects the pure serenity of nature while comparing it to the misery of mankind.
Wordsworth begins his poem with an explanation of how nature brings calmness to the soul. The speaker discusses their experience in a peaceful grove, provoking intriguing thoughts:
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sat reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind (Wordsworth 1-4).
Using the phrase “a thousand blended notes” alludes to the voice and personality of nature. The spirit of mother earth inspires and has a song-like quality; one that gives birth to profound thoughts. The serenity of the environment brings individuals closer to God and the heavens. Yet, it also allows one to grasp an understanding of the chaos of everyday life. Wordsworth uses diction such as “sweet” and “sad” which reveals the dual function of nature. It serves as a divine entity. It also allows for human beings to gain awareness of the darkness that permeates the world around us.
The second to last stanza reveals the mesmerizing spirit of the natural world. The speaker is observing birds hopping around them, free and full of life. The speaker states, “Their thoughts I cannot measure, / But the least motion which they made, / It seem’d a thrill of pleasure” (Wordsworth 14-16). The rhyming of the words “measure” and “pleasure” add emphasis to the mesmerizing components of nature. Although the speaker cannot measure these thoughts, they can understand the pleasure behind them. Readers can indulge the ideas of the natural world by just being present and mindful within their surroundings. The ability of nature to consume our very thoughts and feelings allows individuals to connect back to aspects of the spiritual world. Mother nature heals the soul. Though, she also reveals how trapped humanity has become within their own beings.
Within the second stanza of the poem, the speaker discusses the link between nature and the human soul. Nature can be viewed as a powerful force; it also serves a purpose to bring humans closer to its energy. This is a double-edged sword as nature also reveals the misery that humanity holds. The speaker states:
To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it griev’d my heart to think
What man has made of man (Wordsworth 5-8).
The speaker references “the human soul,” and its subsequent link to nature. Humans were born from nature. However, they have lost touch with their spiritual connection to the surrounding world. The word “griev’d” used allows for further inspection of the somber tone of this stanza. Man has created its own suffering and has lost touch with the holiness of nature. Humanity has forgotten the importance and vitality that connecting to natural forces provides. Humankind has created their own depravity and problems. Nonetheless, the intoxicating essence of nature still prevails.
Within the last stanza, the speaker begs the same question regarding the unhappiness of man. Humans tend to disregard their surroundings and lose touch with their spiritual reality. The speaker explains,
“If such be of my creed the plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?” (Wordsworth 22-24).
Nature is again compared to being a holy essence; nature’s beauty and wonder can heal all.
However, the tone of this stanza becomes solemn, as the speaker explains their sorrow. The question again is asked, “What man has made of man?” Human beings have lost touch with the intrapersonal aspects of their spirit. Which has trapped them in their mortality and left them vulnerable to corruption. The only way for mankind to continue to progress is by becoming closer to the natural world once again. Inspiration and introspection can be found in the darkest of places if one can allow themselves to listen to the song of nature.
Wordsworth’s poem examines the connection between the human soul and the natural soul. Although similar, man has created a world of wickedness and misery by growing distant from their natural roots. Nature is one of the universe’s greatest inspirations unless an understanding of it is not cultivated. Its spirit is needed by mankind. The gloomy tone the poem ends with allows readers to comprehend why connecting with nature is so important to an individual’s soul. Moving back to mother earth and her healing abilities allows for transcendence of an individual’s ideas and character. Without nature, her power, and her purity, we as human beings are nothing.