Paganism and Mythology
The speaker complains that people are no longer moved by the sea and the winds, and he tells us that he'd rather be a pagan. At least that way he would be able to see something in nature less depressing than the gross consumerism that is at the root of humanity's alienation from nature. More importantly, he includes himself in the category of people who aren't moved by nature, and his preference for paganism also reflects a desire for a nature from which mythical creatures might spring.
- Line 10: The speaker expresses his desire to be a pagan "suckled in a creed outworn." Here, nursing (suckling on a breast) is a metaphor for one's relationship to religion.
- Line 13-14: The speaker says that if he were a pagan he might see Proteus coming out of the ocean or Triton blowing his shell.