The World Is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth

“The World Is Too Much with Us” is an 1802 sonnet by English Romantic poet William Wordsworth.

The World Is Too Much With Us

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 everything, 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 rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

A Reading of “The World Is Too Much With Us”

Who is Proteus?

In Greek mythology, Proteus can both shape-shift and foretell the future.In Greek mythology, Proteus is an early prophetic sea-god or god of rivers and oceanic bodies of water, one of several deities whom Homer calls the “Old Man of the Sea.” Proteus has been described as the god of “elusive sea change,” and can both shape-shift and foretell the future. Because of these special characteristics, the name Proteus has given us the adjective protean, meaning versatile, changeable, or capable of assuming various forms. Read more . . .

Who is Triton?

Triton, the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, is a Greek god of the sea. In Greek mythology, Triton lived with his parents in a golden palace at the bottom of the sea. He is often depicted as a merman (lower half is a fish, while the top half is human), and is shown with a conch shell that he would blow like a trumpet. According to Ovid, Triton is “sea-hued” with “shoulders barnacled with sea-shells.” The word “Triton” was eventually adopted as a generic term for “mermen.” Read more . . .

You might also be interested in another illustrated reading of “The World is Too Much With Us.” The video creator used photos, art, and music for a dramatic interpretative reading of the poem for an AP English class.

Other William Wordsworth poems 

You will encounter William Wordsworth in Module 4.6 in Excellence in Literature English 4 — British Literature.