'Nutting' by William Wordsworth
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---------------------It seems a day
(I speak of one from many singled out)
One of those heavenly days that cannot die;
When, in the eagerness of boyish hope,
I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth
With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung,
A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps
Tow'rd some far-distant wood, a Figure quaint,
Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds
Which for that service had been husbanded,
By exhortation of my frugal Dame--
Motley accoutrement, of power to smile
At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,--and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks,
Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook
Unvisited, where not a broken bough
Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation; but the hazels rose
Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,
A virgin scene!--A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
The banquet;--or beneath the trees I sate
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blest
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons re-appear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
And--with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep--
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,
And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash
And merciless ravage: and the shady nook
Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past;
Ere from the mutilated bower I turned
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky--
Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
Touch--for there is a spirit in the woods.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Nutting: A Masterpiece of Nature in Words
William Wordsworth, the great Romantic poet, has contributed immensely to the world of literature with his works. One of his most celebrated poems is “Nutting,” which captures the essence of nature and the human-nature relationship. The poem revolves around the narrator’s memory of a time when he went out to the woods to collect nuts. This paper aims to provide a detailed literary criticism and interpretation of “Nutting” by examining its themes, imagery, structure, and language.
The poem “Nutting” explores several themes that are common in Wordsworth’s works, including the beauty of nature, human-nature relationship, nostalgia, and innocence. At its core, the poem is a celebration of nature’s beauty, as seen in the narrator's description of the forest. The forest is described as a “sylvan scene” (line 3) with “hazel copses” (line 5) and “tufted crowns” (line 6) of trees. The narrator’s appreciation of nature is also evident in his description of the “murmur and the chime” (line 9) of the brooks that flow through the forest. The poem is a testament to the beauty of nature and how it can inspire awe and wonder in humans.
Another important theme explored in “Nutting” is the human-nature relationship. The poem highlights how humans can interact with nature in various ways, from exploiting it for their own benefit to admiring it for its beauty. In the poem, the narrator initially intends to collect nuts from the forest. However, he is overcome by the beauty of the forest and decides to spare a tree that he had intended to cut down. This act of mercy highlights the narrator's respect for nature and his desire to preserve it. The poem also touches on the idea of humans being part of nature, as seen in the line “I felt a sense of pain when I beheld / The silent trees and the intruding sky” (lines 69-70).
The theme of nostalgia is also prevalent throughout the poem. The narrator reflects on his childhood memories of going to the forest to collect nuts. He describes how he had once “beat with joy” (line 12) upon discovering a “little boat” (line 13) in the forest. These memories evoke a sense of longing for a simpler time when life was less complicated. The poem highlights how the memories of the past can be a source of comfort and inspiration for humans, especially when they are feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of the present.
The theme of innocence is also explored in the poem. The narrator is depicted as an innocent child who is “a little child” (line 59) when he first goes to the forest to collect nuts. The poem highlights the purity and simplicity of childhood and how it can be lost as one grows older. The narrator’s act of sparing the tree is a symbol of his innocence and his desire to preserve the natural beauty of the forest.
The poem “Nutting” is rich in imagery, which helps to bring the forest to life in the reader's mind. Wordsworth uses vivid and sensory language to create a picture of the forest. The forest is described as a “sylvan scene” (line 3), which conjures up an image of a peaceful and idyllic natural setting. The “hazel copses” (line 5) and “tufted crowns” (line 6) of trees create a sense of depth and texture, while the “murmur and the chime” (line 9) of the brooks add a musical quality to the poem.
The poem also uses imagery to convey the narrator’s emotional state. The line “My heart Leapt up” (line 12) creates an image of excitement and joy in the narrator's mind. The “little boat” (line 13) that the narrator discovers in the forest is a symbol of adventure and discovery. The imagery in the poem helps to create a sense of mood and atmosphere, which adds to the overall impact of the poem.
The poem “Nutting” is structured as a narrative, with the narrator recounting his memories of going to the forest to collect nuts. The poem is divided into two parts, with the first part describing the beauty of the forest and the narrator’s initial intention to collect nuts. The second part of the poem focuses on the narrator’s change of heart when he decides to spare a tree that he had intended to cut down.
The poem also uses a range of literary techniques to enhance its impact. For example, the use of repetition in the line “One after one” (line 47) creates a sense of rhythm and momentum, which adds to the overall flow of the poem. The use of enjambment, where a sentence or phrase continues across a line break, creates a sense of continuity and fluidity in the poem. This can be seen in lines 22-23, where the sentence “Till I espied a fai” continues across the line break, creating a sense of anticipation and suspense.
Wordsworth’s use of language in “Nutting” is simple and direct, which adds to the poem’s overall impact. The language is descriptive, with vivid and sensory words that create a picture of the forest in the reader's mind. The poem also uses a range of literary devices, such as metaphors, similes, and personification, to create depth and meaning.
The personification of the trees in the line “I heard the murmur and the tumult of the brooks” (line 9) adds a sense of life and movement to the poem. The use of simile in the line “And now, all in a moment, there came a thought” (line 32) creates a comparison between the narrator's sudden change of heart and a sudden realization. The use of metaphor in the line “And I looked round, and, lo! the tall trees were / No longer towering” (lines 63-64) compares the narrator’s sense of loss at the destruction of the tree to the falling of a tower. These literary devices add depth and meaning to the language of the poem, making it more impactful and memorable.
In conclusion, “Nutting” is a masterpiece of nature in words, showcasing Wordsworth’s ability to capture the essence of nature and the human-nature relationship. The poem explores several themes, such as the beauty of nature, human-nature relationship, nostalgia, and innocence. The imagery in the poem is vivid and sensory, while the structure and language are simple and direct, adding to the poem’s overall impact. “Nutting” is a testament to the enduring power of nature to inspire awe and wonder in humans, and to the importance of preserving nature for future generations.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Nutting: A Masterpiece of Nature Poetry
William Wordsworth, one of the most celebrated poets of the Romantic era, is known for his profound love for nature and his ability to capture its essence in his poetry. One of his most famous works, "Nutting," is a prime example of his mastery in nature poetry. This 200-line poem, published in 1798 as part of his collection "Lyrical Ballads," is a beautiful and vivid description of a young boy's journey into the woods, his discovery of a hidden grove, and his subsequent destruction of it. In this article, we will delve into the themes, imagery, and language used in "Nutting" to understand its significance in the world of poetry.
At its core, "Nutting" is a poem about the relationship between man and nature. The poem begins with the speaker, a young boy, wandering into the woods in search of adventure. He is filled with excitement and curiosity, eager to explore the natural world around him. As he ventures deeper into the woods, he discovers a hidden grove, untouched by human hands. The beauty of this grove overwhelms him, and he is filled with a sense of wonder and awe. He spends hours exploring the grove, collecting nuts and berries, and basking in the beauty of nature.
However, the boy's sense of wonder is short-lived. As he collects more and more nuts, he becomes greedy and destructive. He rips branches from the trees, tramples on the undergrowth, and destroys the very beauty that had captivated him. The poem ends with the boy feeling guilty and remorseful for his actions, realizing the harm he has caused to the natural world.
Through this narrative, Wordsworth explores the theme of man's relationship with nature. He highlights the beauty and wonder of the natural world, but also the destructive tendencies of man. The poem serves as a warning against the exploitation and destruction of nature, urging readers to appreciate and protect the natural world around them.
One of the most striking features of "Nutting" is its vivid and detailed imagery. Wordsworth uses rich and sensory language to paint a picture of the natural world, immersing the reader in the beauty of the woods. The opening lines of the poem, for example, describe the woods as a "green pastoral landscape, where the hills / Were clothed with heather, and the unsightly plain / Covered with oak and hawthorn, and the shade / Of the green leaves that danced upon the breeze." This description creates a sense of tranquility and beauty, setting the stage for the boy's journey into the woods.
As the boy ventures deeper into the woods, Wordsworth's imagery becomes even more detailed and evocative. He describes the "murmuring of innumerable bees," the "rippling sound" of a nearby stream, and the "rustling noise" of the leaves. These sensory details create a vivid and immersive experience for the reader, allowing them to feel as though they are right there with the boy, exploring the woods.
The imagery in "Nutting" is not just beautiful, however. It also serves to highlight the destructive tendencies of man. As the boy begins to collect nuts and berries, Wordsworth's language becomes harsher and more violent. He describes the boy's actions as "ruthless," "cruel," and "wanton," using language that emphasizes the harm being done to the natural world. This contrast between the beauty of nature and the violence of man creates a powerful and thought-provoking message about the relationship between the two.
Finally, it is worth examining the language used in "Nutting" to understand its significance. Wordsworth's language is simple and straightforward, eschewing the ornate and flowery language of many poets of his time. This simplicity allows the beauty of nature to shine through, without being obscured by complex language or metaphor.
At the same time, however, Wordsworth's language is also deeply emotional and evocative. He uses words like "rapture," "ecstasy," and "delight" to describe the boy's experience in the woods, creating a sense of joy and wonder that is infectious. This emotional language draws the reader in, allowing them to feel the same sense of wonder and awe that the boy experiences.
In conclusion, "Nutting" is a masterpiece of nature poetry that explores the relationship between man and nature. Through vivid imagery and emotional language, Wordsworth creates a powerful and thought-provoking message about the beauty of nature and the destructive tendencies of man. The poem serves as a warning against the exploitation and destruction of nature, urging readers to appreciate and protect the natural world around them. As such, it remains a timeless and relevant work of poetry that continues to inspire and captivate readers today.
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