Wednesday 16 December 2020

The Tables Turned


The Tables Turned


[In this poem the poet wants us to turn away from the world that we have created around us. He exhorts us to enjoy the world that is God’s creation. He says that nature is the true teacher and human knowledge and wisdom acquired through intellectual or bookish sources is useless. Nature alone can help us see and understand the inherent beauty of things around us. Our intellect deprives us of the aesthetic enjoyment of nature and takes us away from her.]           5

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books; Or surely you’ll grow double: Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks; Why all this toil and trouble? The sun, above the mountain’s head,                                                   

A freshening lustre mellow Through all the long green fields has spread, His first sweet evening yellow. Books! ’t is a dull and endless strife; Come, hear the woodland linnet,                         10                                           

How sweet his music! On my life, There’s more of wisdom in it. And hark! how blithe the throstle sings! He, too, is no mean preacher: Come forth into the light of things,                                                                  15

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.                            20                                       One impulse from vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can. Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;                                                                                                               Our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things: We murder to dissect. Enough of science and of art; Close up those barren leaves;                                                     25                          

Come forth, and bring with you a heart That watches and receives.                                         30

                                                        -WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

[William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumbria, England, and educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge University. He developed a keen love for nature as a youth, and during school holidays he frequently visited places noted for their scenic beauty. This love for nature is strongly reflected in his poetry and for this reason he is called a nature poet. He was one of the most accomplished and influential of England’s Romantic poets. His theories and style created a new tradition in poetry.]



quit – leave lustre – shine

mellow – soft throstle –a bird with

spots on chest

linnet – a singing bird hark – listen

blithe – happy vernal – spring time

lore – knowledge

meddling intellect – sense of dry reason

barren – dead, sterile


Enjoying the poem


1.     Give the central idea of the poem.

Ans.  The central idea of this poem is that nature is the better teacher of human beings than books. The poet, therefore, advises us to keep ourselves away from an artificial life and live in the company of nature to enjoy real happiness.


2.     Write a brief summary of the poem in your own words.

Ans. .  The central idea of this poem is that nature is the better teacher of human beings than books. The poet, therefore, advises us to keep ourselves away from an artificial life and live in the company of nature to enjoy real happiness.


3.     How is nature a better teacher than books?

Ans.  In nature, there are many beautiful and useful things like mountains, forests, lakes, etc. These things give us true wisdom to enjoy happiness and peace in life. We cannot get this true wisdom from books. Thus, nature is a better teacher than books.



4.     What gives a better aesthetic pleasure–man made world or the world of nature? How?

Ans. The world of nature gives us a better aesthetic pleasure than man-made world. The beauty of nature is pure and fresh. So it gives joy and peace to our mind and heart. Such beauty is lacking in man-made world because it is artificial and we cannot get purity and freshness from artificiality.


5.     Why are books a ‘dull and, endless strife’?

Ans.   Books are after all man-made, and we have to make great efforts to get knowledge from them. Even then we cannot get real joy and peace from them. So the poet calls books a ‘dull and endless strife’.


6.     What is the ‘toil and trouble’ referred to in line 4?

Ans.   It is the toil and trouble of reading books. Such reading is dull. It is not a ture pleasure-giving exercise. We get better joy and more useful lessons from beautiful objects of nature.So here the poet says that reading books is a useless toil and trouble.


7.     ‘Antonyms’ are words opposite in meaning.

Give autonyms of the following words:


double Single                                     dull –Interesting


bless    curse                                     wisdom –Folly


evil  good                                        barren –Fertile


8. Have you noticed the rhyme–scheme of the first four stanzas (each a quatrain – a stanza of 4 lines) shown as

ab ab, ed cd, ef ef, gh gh?

Write down the rhyme scheme of the remaining stanzas.


9. Read some other nature poems by the same author, e.g. Three Years She Grew, My Heart Leaps, Nutting, Daffodils. How do you like these poems?