Friday, 25 February 2011

"Lines Written in Early Spring" by William Wordsworth

On a mild spring day in England, crocuses shine back at the sun and violas show shy faces to the wet, green garden. Songbirds are pairing and singing in the hedgerow trees.

Across a continent, there is revolution stirring. The people of the Middle East are waking from years in the thrall of autocratic leaders. Despots have been shaken from power, although some cling on in violent desperation. Tonight there is bloodshed in Libya. There are reports of anti tank weapons being fired at pro democracy demonstrators. "Economical" weapons that can kill three men with one shell. Hundreds are dead. There may be worse to come.

Over two hundred years ago, William Wordsworth was a young man caught up in the idealism and the excitement of the early days of the French Revolution. Later, by the spring of 1798, he had witnessed and fled the bloodshed of The Terror. He had learned that idealism can come with a terrible cost. His poem, written that spring, could have been written today.

Lines Written in Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreathes;
And `tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breaths.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature`s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

William Wordsworth (1798)


WOL said...

Seems like too many of the world's leaders are motivated by greed, or are certifiably mad, or both. I've given up watching the news. My life is depressing enough without outside help.

However, your photographs of flowers are gorgeous. Pansies always seem so happy to me.

Rowan said...

The events in the Middle East are very sad and are a scenario repeated generation after generation in one part of the world or another. Wordsworth poem is beautiful and his words so very true.

Bovey Belle said...

What beautiful plantings you have in your garden. You have both worked so hard on it over the years.

I didn't know that Wordsworth poem, but as you said, very apt at the moment . . .

Jane said...

'Many and sharp the num'rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And Man, whose heav'n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, -
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

I have always loved this poem by Robert Burns and often sigh when I painfully consider man's inhumanity to man. When will we evolve!

Your flowers are gorgeous.

Crafty Green Poet said...

beautiful flowers and a very timely posting of that wonderful poem by Wordsworth

Gerry Snape said...

Just visited and love the post. I wrote the line.."out of the old season comes new life" because my prayer for those arabian and eastern countries is that out of this death will come a new life. Freedom with resposibility and respect for all in each nation.thankyou for a great post.

ChrisJ said...

My favorite poet and one of my favorite poems. Love all the photos of the ponies in your next blog.