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The Lesson Is Too Much with Us: Recognizing Teaching Moments

In William Wordsworth’s well-known sonnet “The World Is Too Much with Us; Late and Soon,” the titular line’s meaning hinges on two words, the latter of which may initially seem insignificant: “world” and “with.” “World” refers to human affairs; and, of all the definitions for “with,” Wordsworth uses it in the sense of “accompany” or “attend”: human affairs too much attend us. We are so concerned with the minutiae of daily life, with “getting and spending,” as Wordsworth says, that we miss what is truly important.

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