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by William Wordsworth

Mutability Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. If you had to guess, do you think the speaker is a religious person, or not?
  2. What is the most sudden and drastic change that you have ever witnessed, or that has happened to you? (For those of us who remember 9/11, for example, the poem’s image of a "tower sublime" that suddenly falls is particularly unsettling.)
  3. Not a question, but a dare: find some way to work the words "mutability," "dissolution," and "rime" into your next conversation with a friend. As in, "The mutability of today’s weather will be my dissolution! Look at all this rime!"
  4. Can you hear the "musical but melancholy chime" that Wordsworth describes? In other words, can you make any sense of the processes of death and change, or do they seem more like random chaos?
  5. Speaking of music, what song would you choose to accompany this poem? There are tons of songs about time and change out there; we’re sure you can find a good one: our nomination is "Here Today" (Gone Tomorrow) by the Beach Boys.
  6. If you've read Shakespeare's King Lear, how are the play's themes similar to those found in "Mutability"?

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