Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The world is too much with us; late and soon

by William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The Winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for every thing, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

* * *

Another sonnet. Pay attention to the form. Metrically speaking, it's an Italian sonnet, rhyming abba abba cdcdcd. (Italian sonnets can have a number of different rhyme schemes for the sestet.) But structurally, notice that the volta does not take place at the end of the eighth line, as usual, but halfway throught the ninth line (where the dash is). That may seem a small thing, but for a sonnet, that's a huge innovation. After all, there's not much room for variation in a sonnet. More on that point later. First, we'll do an English sonnet for next week. Stay tuned.

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