“The Tables Turned” and “Tintern Abbey” essay

William Wordsworth created many poetic works focused on different aspects of human life. In some of his works he critically evaluates the achievements of civilization and regrets about the link between humans and nature that has been lost. In this respect, it is possible to refer to two of his poems The Tables Turned and Tintern Abbey focused on the relationship between human mind and nature. The poet underlines that nature provides people with wisdom they attempt to find in their education and, at the same time, it inspires human soul.

The poet starts his Tables Turned with skepticism concerning the modern education and civilization at large, which wisdom is presumably hidden in books. Basically, according to the author, people have lost the more obvious wisdom that lies on the surface in nature. He argues that people are too focused on academic knowledge which they look for in books. For instance, in The Tables Turned he appeals:

Up! Up! My Friend, and quit your books

The next line sounds quite ironically:

Or surely you’ll grow double

The Tables Turned

In such a way the author hints at the knowledge which is presumably hidden in books and which readers look for to broaden their knowledge, while, in actuality, this will lead not only to the broaden of their knowledge and mind, but increases their weight since they are always sitting and reading those books.

Moreover, the poet does not really believe that people can find true knowledge or wisdom in books. He realizes the vanity of all these intellectual work and he insists:

Up! Up! My Friend, and clear your looks;

Why all this toil and trouble?

The Tables Turned

The poet argues that reading books looking for wisdom is useless activity. The search of some knowledge or ideas in books may take the entire life:

Books! tis a dull and endless strife

The Tables Turned

In contrast, nature seems to be much wiser and the real wisdom may be found not in the products of human civilization but in the surrounding nature:

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

The Tables Turned

In such a way, the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom may be a natural and easy process when people reject the artificially created civilization and returns to nature.

At the same time, the poet underlines that nature is not only a source of eternal wisdom and knowledge, but it is also a source of great inspiration since nature evokes in human mind

A motion and a spirit that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things

Tintern Abbey

The nature is present everywhere but often remains unnoticed to a busy human mind. However, nature may provide human mind with new, pure morality, improving this imperfect creature:

well pleased to recognize

In nature and the language of the sense

The anchor of my purest thought, the nurse,

The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul

Of all my moral being

Tintern Abbey

No wonder, the poet concludes his poem with the appeal to reject civilization and books and look for wisdom and inspiration in nature:

Enough of Science and of Art;

Close up those barren leaves;

Come forth, and bring with you a heart

That watches and receives

The Tables Turned

Thus, William Wordsworth underlines the vanity of the enriching human mind from books and civilization and underlines that nature is the best teacher.

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