Critical Analysis of The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth

Critical Analysis of The Tables Turned

William Wordsworth is an English romantic poet who has started successful literature career with the Lyrical Ballads. He is one of the best romantic poets I the history of romantic poetry. His poems have a heavy influence of nature, and are only about describing the aspects of nature.

In this poem, the poet is dedicating it to his dear friend, where he asks him to leave all his books aside and come out in the nature and enjoy it with him. He says that books are barren and they do not hold as much as knowledge as the nature could provide. The nature has a wealth of knowledge which would provide peace and serenity to his friend, and he would learn much more about life than the books have to offer. The poet says that bookish knowledge do not do any good, but let a person dissect something which is beautiful, and should be enjoyed, instead of trying to understand the meaning and purpose of the subject that is present in and around us.

Wordsworth asks his friend to leave science and arts behind, and put an effort to come outside and enjoy the nature. The poet is asking his friend to observe nature and absorb everything that nature has to offer him, and leave the life of books behind.

Poetic Devices


“Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,”: The poet is trying to say that the nature is spontaneously full of nature and it is much healthier than the books that his friend reads being inside his room.

“Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;

Our meddling intellect

Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—

We murder to dissect.”

In this stanza, the poet has used allusion throughout to explain that the teachings that the nature brings are much more sweeter knowledge than the books that are present around him, which he read all the time. The books spoils him and lets him break down everything for finding the purpose of its existence, which he needs to just enjoy by looking and feeling.


“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.”

The poet establishes a contrast here by saying that books are something which are dull and are like a prolonged duty to keep reading them and try and understand what is written in it. But the nature teaches lessons with passion and with much more love, and gives more knowledge than the books could provide.

“One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

Than all the sages can.”

The poet is trying to establish a contrast between the knowledge that his friend could gather from his books and the knowledge that he could gather from the sages altogether. He says that the impulse of the woods would teach him much more than what the sages would teach him in his life.

Personification: The poet has personified nature as a person who is full of knowledge, and could be the best teacher when it comes to teaching lessons of life. The nature knows much more and better than the sages, and it would teach us in such a way that we absorb everything and feel light and serene at heart.

Rhyme and Rhyming Scheme: The rhyming scheme of the poem is abab, and is maintained throughout the poem. For example:

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;-a

Our meddling intellect-b

Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—-a

We murder to dissect.-b

The poet has used some archaic English words in the poem to bring about a biblical touch in the poem. Otherwise, the poem is written in very simple words. For example:

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.

Central Idea and Theme of the Poem

Central Idea of the Poem: The central idea of poem by the poet is to encourage his friend to leave his books aside and submit himself to nature, who is the best teacher in the world when it comes to teachings of life and experience. The poet says the nature contains much more knowledge than the books, and teaches us how to appreciate things around in our life than to dissect them.

Theme of the Poem: The theme of the poem is to show that the nature knows much more than the human beings, and the books that the humans keep reading all the time. But the books do not contain as much as knowledge as the nature does, and submission to nature would teach us much more in life.

Tone of the Poem and Conclusion

Tone of the Poem: The poet has used a tone of contrast and comparison, where he compares the knowledge of books with the knowledge that is provided through nature. The poet has used phrases where he wanted to show that the books are boring and does not contain enough knowledge, and praises the nature.

Conclusion: The conclusion to the poem is that nature is the best teacher in the world, and it teaches us much more than what we could learn from the books. Science and arts deeciesve us from the beauty around us, and encourage us to analyse and dissect everything around us, but the nature teaches us how to appreciate thins around us.