Lines left upon a seat in a yew-tree

While the Enlightenment presses the idea of reason and logic, Wadsworth offers a moral to his tale that strikes a balance between nature and humanity. The subject of this tale is an innocent youth who spurned his corrupted society to spend time in the lofty yew-tree. Nature in this work is a powerful force that is capable of inducing an “altered state” of mind. This is reflected in lines 5-7, “Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves, / That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind / By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.” The man who has turned his back on society is consumed by Nature, a force that should be feared. Wadsworth wrote that “Nature had subdued him to herself,” in line 47. He was insignificant in the grand scheme of the world. He lacked human connection and would never feel what others felt. The Enlightenment focus on the logical and rational misses this idea of inward reflection and human connection. Emotions are to be controlled according to the Enlightenment idealists, but Lines left upon a seat in a yew-tree places an important role on emotions and interaction with other humans or the lack thereof.

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

  1. Wordsworth, not Wadsworth, and try to back up any claims like “[the poem] places an important role on emotions and interaction with other humans….” Well — *what* role? And what specifically does the poem say about social interaction? Showing that would help you to articulate *why* the poem is saying these things.

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