William Wordsworth (1770-1850): The World Is Too Much With Us – Lipogram

Translated by Timothy Adès

Not from Intimations of Immortality
Let’s see whether he needed the letter E…

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; —
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
This world is too much with us: fairly soon
working and shopping drain our capital,
and show us almost nothing natural;
our soul is thrown away, a sordid boon.
That flood which flaunts its bosom, moon to moon,
that wind which howls and howls, continual:
all’s a sad bloom, shut down and dropsical
for our disastrous choirs that flatly croon,
lacking all passion. Think of this, good Lord:
brought up a pagan in a faith outworn,
what might I look at, on this dainty sward!
Such sights and sounds, I couldn’t stay forlorn:
a zoomorph, that zooms Apollo–ward,
a Triton, tooting on his wrack–fraught horn.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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