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"What are men to rocks and mountains?"

In Volume II, chapter 4 (or, if you prefer, Chapter 27) of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen writes "What are men to rocks and mountains?" As noted in a previous post about the chapter, Elizabeth Bennet (and perhaps Austen herself) is expressing an affinity with the Romantic movement of the time, which asserted the importance of Nature.

Instead of an associated poem today, here's an excerpt of William Wordsworth's "Introduction" to Lyrical Poems, a collection of poems by Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge:

Humble and rustic life was generally chosen, because, in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity, are less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic language; because in that condition of life our elementary feelings coexist in a state of greater simplicity, and, consequently, may be more accurately contemplated, and more forcibly communicated; because the manners of rural life germinate from those elementary feelings, and, from the necessary character of rural occupations, are more easily comprehended, and are more durable; and, lastly, because in that condition the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature.


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