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The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 12 years, 6 months ago


  Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
  Or surely you'll grow double:
  Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
  Why all this toil and trouble?

  The sun above the mountain's head,
  A freshening lustre mellow
  Through all the long green fields has spread,
  His first sweet evening yellow.

  Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
  Come, hear the woodland linnet,
  How sweet his music! on my life,
  There's more of wisdom in it.

  And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
  He, too, is no mean preacher:
  Come forth into the light of things,
  Let Nature be your teacher.

  She has a world of ready wealth,
  Our minds and hearts to bless--
  Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
  Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

  One impulse from a vernal wood
  May teach you more of man,
  Of moral evil and of good,
  Than all the sages can.

  Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
  Our meddling intellect
  Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
  We murder to dissect.

  Enough of Science and of Art;
  Close up those barren leaves;
  Come forth, and bring with you a heart
  That watches and receives.




1. How would you characterize the speaker of this poem?

2. What does the poem suggest about the source of knowledge about humanity and the world?  How does it characterize the human intellect?

3. What is the effect of such diction as "mean," "vernal," "Meddling," and "beauteous?" Do you think the effect is the same now as it was in the William Wordsworth's time?

4. What does Wordsworth mean by the statement, "We murder to dissect"?

5. How might Joyce Carol Oats of "Against Nature" respond to this poem (explain)?


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