The Idiot Boy by William Wordsworth

On this special episode I will read The Idiot Boy by William Wordsworth. This poem was published in the 1798 Lyrical Ballads and it was very controversial. Yet, it is a beautifully written poem. 

I spend the majority of the time simply reading the poem. I hope you enjoy the reading! At the end I give a small critique of Wordsworth's philosophy, but mostly I defend him and Romanticism from the cliche attacks toward Romanticism.

What magic is in the woods? What can nature and reality do for our souls? Romanticism is often defined as a reaction against reason. This poem is a perfect example proving the case against romanticism, while simultaneously DISproving the case.

Check out my argument for the common misunderstandings in romantic literature, after my reading.



By William Wordsworth

‘Tis eight o’clock, – a clear March night,

The moon is up– the sky is blue,

The owlet in the moonlight air,

He shouts from nobody knows where ;

He lengthens out his lonely shout,

Halloo ! halloo ! a long halloo !

–Why bustle thus about your door,

What means this bustle, Betty Foy?

Why are you in this mighty fret?

And why on horseback have you set

Him whom you love, your idiot boy?

Beneath the moon that shines so bright,

Till she is tired, let Betty Foy

With girt and stirrup fiddle-fiddle;

But wherefore set upon a saddle

Him whom she loves, her idiot boy?

There’s scarce a soul that’s out of bed;

Good Betty! put him down again;

His lips with joy they burr at you,

But, Betty! what has he to do

With stirrup, saddle, or with rein?

The world will say ’tis very idle,

Bethink you of the time of night;