The Sparrow’s Nest by William Wordsworth

This poem seems to be a continuation of the previous poem, ‘To a Butterfly.’ It is also about Wordsworth and his sister Emmeline’s childhood and their examination of a sparrow’s nest. The nest, simple yet elegant, holds “five blue eggs.” It is touching that Wordsworth sees him and his sister’s viewing of the nest as visiting “the sparrow’s dwelling.” There is again a comparison between how Emmeline and he each respond to the nest. “Such heart was in her” that “she looked at it as if she feared it.” Wordsworth admits that he did not see her approach to the nest as a magnificent thing until his later years and that it took a lot of time for him to appreciate beauty and love in the way that Emmeline seemed to so naturally. As a result, he credits her for giving him his eyes, ears, humble cares, and delicate fears as well as “A heart, the fountain of sweet tears,/And love, and thought, and joy.” To me, it seems unlikely that Wordsworth did not have these things when he was young but simply came upon them later in life since the realization and the credit he gives Emmeline would not be possible otherwise.

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