Lines left upon a seat in a Yew-tree

Wordsworth contrasts the Enlightenment sensibility in this poem by focusing heavily on inward speculation. He states that “true dignity abides with him alone / who, in the silent hour of inward thought, / can still suspect, and still revere himself, / in lowliness of heart.” By concluding the poem with this statement, Wordsworth leaves the reader with a positive opinion of inward thought. In the Enlightenment period, outward observation was much more prominent, and inward speculation was thought to be worthless. Wordsworth puts an emphasis on the importance of inward thought in regards to the dignity of a person.

The poem also seems to view nature positively, unlike many pieces from the Enlightenment period. Wordsworth describes how “if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves, / That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind.” Nature is made out to be a calming and helpful entity. This contrasts with the Enlightenment, where nature was made out to be an annoyance or something that had to be dealt with.

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One thought on “Lines left upon a seat in a Yew-tree

  1. The ideas you discuss in your second paragraph fit perfectly with our discussion of Robinson Crusoe as he certainly saw nature as an obstacle rather than a helpful entity.

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