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Expostulation and Reply Summary & Analysis
by William Wordsworth

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"Expostulation and Reply," William Wordsworth's reflection on nature's inherent wisdom, was first printed in Lyrical Ballads, his 1798 collaboration with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In this poem, the speaker's friend bursts in on the speaker as he quietly sits on a stone and asks him why on earth he's not inside with his books, storing up wisdom. The speaker replies that there's a certain kind of wisdom that one can only passively absorb: sitting receptively in nature can teach one deep, subtle lessons that don't fit into any book. Along with its sister poem "The Tables Turned," this poem makes a profoundly Romantic declaration of faith in the power of "wise passiveness."

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