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Lyrical Ballads, William Wordsworth, 1798.

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Nature-inspired poetry

The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth

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! ‘tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
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,
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.

One impulse from a 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;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

William Wordsworth, The Tables Turned, Lyrical Ballads, 1798.
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a) Identify the structure of the poem (stanzas, rhymes…).

b) Read the poem and pick out the words related to nature and science.

c) What forms of education does the poet contrast in the first two stanzas of his poem?

d) What does the poet mean by “Let Nature be your Teacher”?

e) What poetic device does the poet use in this stanza? Can you see any others in the poem?

f) What does the poet reproach the humans for in stanzas 6 and 7?

g) Do you agree with the poet that Nature teaches you more than Science and Art? Why or why not? Why is there a form of irony in the poet’s message?

h) Can you guess what the idiom “Turn the tables” means?

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William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).
The Industrial Revolution, like the French Revolution, brought about lots of changes at the time when the Romantic poets began writing. More and more people were moving to the cities to work in factories, new manufacturing processes were being put in place, and people were moving further and further away from nature. The Romantics weren’t very enthusiastic about these changes — they were especially concerned about people moving away from nature. And so the Romantic movement was a movement against industrialization and mechanization.

William Wordsworth

Your time to shine!

Green Car, by Studio Bijari, exposed in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Pulsar Imagens, 2011.

Participate in a poetry competition to celebrate biomimicry. Write your own ballad about change (110-140 words).
It should be composed of four-line stanzas and rhymes. List ideas and vocabulary you could use before you start writing.

Méthode je m'exprime à l'écrit p. 241
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Use an online rhyme dictionary: for example, to help you with your rhymes.

Make sure your vocabulary is rich and idiomatic

Précis de communication p. 252
Méthode j’enrichis mon expression (numérique)
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