Most Sweet It Is With Unuplifted Eyes
William Wordsworth, 1770 – 1850
Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path be there or none,
While a fair region round the traveller lies
Which he forbears again to look upon;
Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone.
If Thought and Love desert us from that day,
Let us break off all commerce with the Muse:
With Thought and Love companions of our way,
Whate’er the senses take or may refuse,
The Mind’s internal heaven shall shed her dews
Of inspiration on the humblest lay.
It has fourteen lines! It has a rhyme scheme! There’s a volta! Guess what that means?!? It’s a sonnet. Good one, William Wordsworth. Your poem is beyond (words)worthy (heh) of our time. The volta appears after the second quatrain, with the first part of the poem speaking generally about an enamored person, and the second part discussing a relationship personally. The rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD, EFG HIJ is cyclic and creates a upbeat rhythm in the first half of the poem and the effect of the passage of time in the second half.
The mixture of natural and religious imagery is notable in both paragraphs, as the lovers face their natural inclination toward each other (attraction) and the internal heaven and Muse having influence on their feelings. The Mind’s internal heaven is a symbol for positive thoughts. In essence, the poet is trying to say that the forces of nature, whatever they may to do this pair of wandering lovers, shall not break their imagination that binds them together.
Because the poem has such a nice flow, there are instances of euphony. Most notably, the last two lines of the poem ,”dews/ of inspiration on the humblest lay” creates a smooth effect and reinforces the serene context of the poem.
Overall, I chose this poem because I wanted another stab at sonnets before we move on to other styles. The variety in theme with this style of poem makes it so diverse and accessible to everyone. Although I’m not usually a fan of older sonnets, this one has a sweet matter-of-factness that is appealing.