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Full text of "The poems of William Wordsworth"

THE POEMS OF 
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 




KHOM A CHALK 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH IN 1798 

)KA\VIN(, IIV KOHKKT HANCOCK IN THF NATIONAL PORTRAIT OAI.LKKV 



THE POEMS OF 

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 




NOWELL CHARLES SMITH, M.A. 

LATE FELLOW OF NEW COLLEGE, AND FORMERLY 
FELLOW OF MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD 



IN THREE VOLUMES 

VOL. I 
WITH A FRONTISPIECE 



METHUEN AND CO. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.C. 
LONDON 



First Published in this Edition 1908 



TO THE PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS 

OF MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD 

WHO BY ELECTING ME TO THEIR SOCIETY 

ENABLED ME TO UNDERTAKE THIS EDITION 

I DEDICATE THESE BELATED FRUITS OF 

MUCH PLEASANT LABOUR 



PREFACE 

THE activity of the modern book-market is so great that 
no apology seems to be necessary for adding one to the 
large number of editions of Wordsworth already in existence. 
A short explanation of the scope of the present edition is, 
however, desirable. It is, as far as I know, the first complete 
edition of the poetry which has attempted to supply, within 
moderate compass, answers to such questions as the text may 
naturally raise in the reader's mind. The other modern 
English editions, apart from mere reprints, are those of 
Professor William Knight, of Professor Dowden, and of 
Mr. Hutchinson. Students of Wordsworth must always 
acknowledge the abundance of material which Professor 
Knight collected for the elucidation of Wordsworth's life and 
thought, the history of his text, the topography of his poems 
and their allusions, and I for my part am cordially grateful to 
him for the kind words with which he gave me permission, so 
far as it rested with him, to make use of matter published for 
the first time by himself; and my notes will show how far I 
am indebted to his editorial labours, as well as to the Life 
which fills vols. ix., x., xi. of his Edinburgh edition. The 
distinctive feature of his edition, which should have made it 
final for textual purposes, was the exhibition, on the same 
page as the text, of all the various readings adopted by 
Wordsworth in the many editions of his own lifetime not to 
mention a large number, rescued from MS., which never saw 
the light. I am forced to say ' should have made it final,' for 
unfortunately there are so many errors of one kind and 
another even in the later of Professor Knight's two editions, 



viii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

that no student can venture to take anything in it on trust. 
A few of these errors I have mentioned in my notes, others I 
have corrected silently, either from my own observation or 
from the searching and severe criticisms of Mr. Hutchinson in 
the Academy (vol. 1., 1896), and other sources. To any one 
accustomed to the accuracy of modern standard editions of 
Latin and Greek classics, the inaccuracy and the diffuseness of 
too many editions of English classics is so irritating that one 
fears to become unjust, and to forget the enthusiasm and the 
desire to spread light and happiness which alone could enable 
a man to carry through so laborious, and, from the material 
point of view, so un remunerative a task as an annotated 
edition of a voluminous poet. But, apart from this question 
of accuracy, my edition does not aim at the exhaustiveness of 
Professor Knight's. I have not consciously left any difficulty 
without an attempt to remove it, or the confession that I 
cannot do so ; and I have given a considerable number of 
various readings, where they throw light upon Wordsworth's 
art or have some other special interest, as well as such illus- 
trative notes and quotations from other writers as I thought 
too valuable or too interesting to omit. But I have studied 
compression throughout, and have written more for the ordi- 
nary reader or the comparatively inexperienced student than 
for the expert in Wordsworthian or other English literature. 
Of the other two editors mentioned above, Professor Dowden 
gives a very copious selection of various readings and many 
valuable chronological notes, Mr. Hutchinson only a very few, 
though admirable, notes, together with the results of his 
unequalled knowledge of Wordsworthian chronology in the 
dates prefixed to the poems. Both are models of accuracy, 
but neither aims at giving the same sort of assistance which 
this edition attempts. 

I cannot speak too warmly of my gratitude to Mr. Hutchin- 
son for his sympathy and helpfulness. His published work 
on Wordsworth makes him facile princeps in Wordsworthian 
historical criticism, i.e. in knowledge of the text, of the 



PREFACE ix 

chronology, of the contemporary criticism of the poet, and of 
the poet's own methods and phases in his art. But besides 
making use of his published work, I have frequently beset 
Mr. Hutchinson with epistolary inquiries, and never without 
most generous and valuable results. My thanks are also due 
to Mr. R. A. Potts for kindly supplying me with the sources of 
some quotations ; to Mr. T. Norton Longman for his courtesy 
in allowing me to print, for the first time in a complete 
edition of Wordsworth's poetry, the doggerel but spirited 
verses called The Tinker, as well as some copyright matter 
which first appeared in Professor Knight's edition; to Mr. 
Gordon G. Wordsworth, the poet's grandson, for his kind 
consent with Professor Knight to my printing verses first 
published by the latter ; and to all friends who have answered 
or attempted to answer questions which I have put to them. 
Finally, to my wife I owe gratitude for much tedious clerical 
work, and to my sister, Miss Janet Horace Smith, for the 
task, perhaps even more trying, of reading the proofs of the 
whole text. As I have also, as well as the printer's reader, 
read all the proofs with care, I hope (especially in view of my 
previous strictures !) that I shall be found to have kept ' within 
the margin of inevitable error.' 

My text is that of the last edition of Wordsworth's lifetime, 
published by Moxon, 6 vols. 12mo, 1849-50, for all the poems 
which that edition contains. In the very rare cases where I 
have departed from that text, even in punctuation, except in 
the most trivial displacement of commas, I have called atten- 
tion to the fact in a note. The Prelude rests upon two 
editions, both posthumous, of 1850 and 1857; these are 
identical except for a few variations in punctuation and one 
curious variation of text (Book in. 11. 104 foil.). The original 
versions of An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches I have 
printed from Mr. Hutchinson's reprint in the Oxford Words- 
worth. The other poems not appearing in the edition of 
1849-50, except The Tinker, I have printed from Mr. Hutchin- 
son's and Professor Knight's texts, comparing, wherever it was 



x WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

possible, their texts with the sources from which they were 
derived. I have not been able to print The Recluse, the copy- 
right of which belongs to Messrs. Macmillan. 

I have adopted Wordsworth's own arrangement of his 
poems a course which is to my mind quite conclusively 
vindicated in Professor Dowden's preface to the Aldine 
edition. Wordsworth's classification is perhaps pedantic, 
certainly only half-scientific, often irritating and confusing to 
the memory. But it is, in the main, characteristic, a not 
unimportant element in the complex of his art and thought. 
The only other possible arrangement would be the chrono- 
logical. This is the right one for such an edition as Professor 
Knight's, which proposes primarily to give a full critical 
apparatus, but not for an edition which aims first of all at 
giving the reader Wordsworth's poems as he wished them to 
be read. Moreover, the chronological order is impossible to 
be given completely. Many of the poems are undated, and 
almost certain to remain so ; to many Wordsworth accidentally 
gave dates that are demonstrably wrong. In appending dates 
to the poems I have made the best use that I could of the 
materials gradually collected by Wordsworthian critics, par- 
ticularly the three editors already mentioned ; and I have 
added a Chronological Index for the convenience of students. 

The Introduction is the same as I published in a volume of 
Selections from Wordsworth (1901), with some additions and 
small alterations. I would gladly have made the additions 
more, but the book is bulky enough already ; Mr. D. W. 
Rannie's Wordsworth and his Circle, published within the last 
few months (Methuen, 1907), is itself a more detailed intro- 
duction to the poems, containing much thoughtful and sym- 
pathetic criticism ; and although I hope for other opportunities 
of helping to start others on the enjoyment of a poet who has 
been one of my chief sources of strength, delight, and con- 
solation, my main purpose here is to present an accurate text 
with such elucidations as are necessary. To have merely 
rewritten what I wrote in 1901 would have been insincere ; 



PREFACE xi 

and I had the less temptation to do so because it met with 
the approval of some very good judges. 

Finally I must apologise to some of those and to others 
who may be aware how long this edition has been announced. 
I have indeed made use of the delay, which, as far as I 
am concerned, was unavoidable, to add such information as 
I could from time to time ; and I hope I have kept abreast 
of Wordsworthian criticism. But I cannot help fearing that 
the period of incubation may suggest the mountain in 
labour, and may have aroused expectations of novelty or 
of quantity of illustrative matter which it was never part 
of my purpose to offer. My hope is that any one reading 
Wordsworth in this edition will find himself adequately 
equipped for the intelligent study of the poet. For more 
minute study, and for further assistance in questions of bio- 
graphy and in appreciation of Wordsworth's poetry, besides 
the editions already mentioned, the following books may be 
specially recommended : Mr. Hutchinson's edition of the 
Lyrical Ballads (Duckworth, 1898), and his edition of the 
Poems in Two Volumes (Nutt, 1897), La Jeunesse de W. 
Wordsworth, by Professor E. Legouis (Paris, Masson, 1896 ; 
translation by A. Matthews, Dent, 1897) ; F. W. H. Myers 1 
Wordsworth in the 'English Men of Letters' series (Mac- 
millan, 1880) ; Professor Walter Raleigh's Wordsworth (Arnold, 
1903) ; Leslie Stephen's article in the Dictionary of National 
Biography ; Matthew Arnold's Introduction to his Select 
Poems of Wordsworth (Macmillan, ' Golden Treasury ' series). 
The list might be almost indefinitely lengthened ; a full 
bibliography up to the dates of their respective publications 
will be found in Professor Knight's Eversley edition, and in a 
useful Wordsworth Primer by Mr. Laurie Magnus (Methuen, 
1897). 

N. C. S. 

WINCHESTER, January 1908 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION . xxi 

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE lv 

POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH 

I. Extract from the Conclusion of a Poem, composed in 

anticipation of leaving School ..... 1 

II. Written in very Early Youth 1 

III. An Evening Walk. Addressed to a Young Lady . . 2 

IV. Lines written while sailing in a Boat at Evening . . 11 
V. Remembrance of Collins, composed upon the Thames near 

Richmond ......... 12 

VI. Descriptive Sketches taken during a Pedestrian Tour 

among the Alps 12 

VII. Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near 
the lake of Esthwaite, on a desolate part of the shore, 

commanding a beautiful prospect 29 

VIII. Guilt and Sorrow ; or, Incidents upon Salisbury Plain . 31 

THE BORDERERS 51 

POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD 

I. My heart leaps up when I behold 115 

II. To a Butterfly . . 115 

III. The Sparrow's Nest 116 

IV. Foresight 116 

V. Characteristics of a Child three years old .... 117 

VI. Address to a Child during a boisterous Winter Evening . 118 

VII. The Mother's Return 119 

VIII. Alice Fell ; or, Poverty 120 

IX. Lucy Gray ; or, Solitude ....... 122 

X. We are Seven ......... 124 

XL The Idle Shepherd-Boys ; or Dungeon-Ghyll Force . . 126 

XII. Anecdote for Fathers 128 

XIII. Rural Architecture 130 

XIV. The Pet-Lamb . 131 



xiv WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

PAGE 

POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD 
continued 

XV. To H. C., six years old 133 

XVI. Influence of Natural Objects in calling forth and 

strengthening the Imagination in Boyhood and Early 

Youth 134 

XVII. The Longest Day 135 

XVIII. The Norman Boy 137 

XIX. The Poet's Dream 139 

XX. The Westmoreland Girl 142 

POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS 

I. The Brothers 145 

II. Artegal and Elidure 155 

III. To a Butterfly 161 

IV. A Farewell 162 

V. Stanzas written in my Pocket-Copy of Thomson's 

Castle of Indolence 163 

VI. Louisa, after accompanying her on a Mountain 

Excursion 165 

VII. Strange fits of passion have I known .... 166 

VIII. She dwelt among the untrodden ways .... 167 

IX. I travelled among unknown men .... 167 

X. Ere with cold beads of midnight dew .... 168 

XL To 168 

XII. The Forsaken 169 

XIII. 'Tis said that some have died for love .... 169 

XIV. A Complaint 171 

XV. To 171 

XVI. Yes ! thou art fair, yet be not moved .... 172 

XVII. How rich that forehead's calm expanse ! . . . 172 
XVIII. What heavenly smiles ! O Lady mine .... 172 

XIX. To . 173 

XX. Lament of Mary Queen of Scots, on the Eve of a New 

Year 173 

XXL The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman . . 176 

XXII. The Last of the Flock 178 

XXIII. Repentance 180 

XXIV. The Affliction of Margaret 181 

XXV. The Cottager to her Infant 184 

XXVI. Maternal Grief .... ... 184 

XXVII. The Sailor's Mother . ... 186 

XXVIII. The Childless Father . . ... 187 

XXIX. The Emigrant Mother 188 



CONTENTS xv 

PAGE 

POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS continued 

XXX. Vaudracour and Julia 190 

XXXI. The Idiot Boy .197 

XXXII. Michael .209 

XXXIII. The Widow on Windermere Side .... 219 

XXXIV. The Armenian Lady's Love 221 

XXXV. Loving and Liking 225 

XXXVI. Farewell Lines 227 

XXXVII. The Redbreast 228 

XXXVIII. Her Eyes are Wild 230 

POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 

I. It was an April morning : fresh and clear . . . 233 

II. To Joanna 234 

III. There is an Eminence, of these our hills . . 236 

IV. A narrow girdle of rough stones and crags . . . 237 
V. To M. H 238 

VI. When, to the attractions of the busy world . . . 239 

VII. Forth from a jutting ridge, around whose base. . . 242 

POEMS OF THE FANCY 

I. A Morning Exercise 243 

II. A Flower Garden, at Coleorton Hall, Leicestershire . 244 

III. A whirl-blast from behind the hill .... 246 

IV. The Waterfall and the Eglantine 246 

V. The Oak and the Broom . . . . . .248 

VI. To a Sexton 261 

VII. To the Daisy 252 

VIII. To the same Flower . . . . . . . 254 

IX. The Green Linnet 255 

X. To a Sky-lark 256 

XI. To the Small Celandine 257 

XII. To the same Flower 259 

XIII. The Seven Sisters ; or, the Solitude of Binnorie . . 260 

XIV. Who fancied what a pretty sight 262 

XV. The Redbreast chasing the Butterfly . . . .263 

XVI. Song for the Spinning Wheel 264 

XVII. Hint from the Mountains 264 

XVIII. On seeing a Needlecase in the Form of a Harp . . 266 

XIX. To a Lady 266 

XX. Glad Sight wherever new with old .... 267 

XXI. The Contrast 268 

XXII. The Danish Boy 269 

XXIII. Song 271 



xvi WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

PAGE 

POEMS OF THE FANCY continued 

XXIV. Stray Pleasures 271 

XXV. The Pilgrim's Dream ; or, the Star and the Glow-worm 272 
XXVI. The Poet and the Caged Turtledove . . . .274 

XXVII. A Wren's Nest 275 

XXVIII. Love lies Bleeding 277 

XXIX. Companion to the Foregoing . . . . . 278 

XXX. Rural Illusions 278 

XXXI. The Kitten and Falling Leaves 279 

XXXII. Address to my Infant Daughter, Dora . . . .282 
XXXIII. The Waggoner 284 

POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION 

I. There was a Boy ....... 

II. To the Cuckoo 

III. A Night-piece . 

IV. Airey-Force Valley ....... 

V. Yew-trees ......... 

VI. Nutting 

VII. The Simplon Pass 

VIII. She was a Phantom of delight 

IX. O Nightingale ! thou surely art ..... 
X. Three years she grew in sun and shower 
XI. A Slumber did my spirit seal ..... 
XII. I wandered lonely as a cloud 

XIII. The Reverie of Poor Susan 

XIV. Power of Music 

XV. Star-Gazers 

XVI. Written in March 

XVII. Lyre ! though such power do in thy magic live . 

XVIII. Beggars 

XIX. Sequel to the Foregoing . . . 

XX. Gipsies ...... ... 

XXI. Ruth 

XXII. Resolution and Independence 

XXIII. The Thorn 

XXIV. Hart-Leap Well 

XXV. Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle 

XXVI. Lines 

XXVII. It is no Spirit who from heaven hath flown 

XXVIII. French Revolution 

XXIX. Yes, it was the mountain Echo ..... 

XXX. To a Skylark 

XXXI. Laodamia ... 



CONTENTS xvii 

PAGE 

POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION continued 

XXXII. Dion 358 

XXXIII. The Pass of Kirkstone 361 

XXXIV. To Enterprise 363 

XXXV. To- .367 

XXXVI. To a Young Lady 368 

XXXVII. Water Fowl 369 

XXXVIII. View from the Top of Black Comb .... 370 

XXXIX. The Haunted Tree 371 

XL. The Triad 372 

XLI. The Wishing-Gate 377 

XLII. The Wishing-Gate Destroyed 379 

XLIII. The Primrose of the Rock 380 

XLIV. Presentiments . . 382 

XLV. Vernal Ode 384 

XLVI. Devotional Incitements 387 

XLVII. The Cuckoo-Clock 389 

XLVIII. To the Clouds 390 

XLIX. Suggested by a Picture of the Bird of Paradise . . 392 

L. A Jewish Family 393 

LI. On the Power of Sound 394 

PETER BELL 401 

MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS- 
PART I. 

I. Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room . . 431 

II. Admonition 432 

III. ' Beloved Vale ! ' I said, ' when I shall con . . . . 432 

IV. At Applethwaite, near Keswick ..... 433 
V. Pelion and Ossa nourish side by side . . . . 433 

VI. There is a little unpretending Rill .... 433 

VII. Her only pilot the soft breeze, the boat .... 434 

VIII. The fairest, brightest, hues of ether fade . . . 434 

IX. Upon the Sight of a Beautiful Picture .... 435 

X. Why, Minstrel, these untuneful murmurings . . 435 

XI. Aerial Rock whose solitary brow ..... 435 

XII. To Sleep 436 

XIII. To Sleep 436 

XIV. To Sleep 437 

XV. The Wild Duck's Nest 437 

XVI. Written upon a Blank Leaf in The Complete Angler . I .. 437 

XVII. To the Poet, John Dyer 438 

XVIII. On the Detraction which followed the Publication of a 

certain Poem 438 

\b 



xviii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

PAGE 

MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS continued 

XIX. Grief, thou hast lost an ever-ready friend . . . 439 

XX. To S. H 439 

XXI. Composed in one of the Valleys of Westmoreland, on 

Easter Sunday 440 

XXII. Decay of Piety 440 

XXIII. Composed on the Eve of the Marriage of a Friend in 

the Vale of Grasmere, 1812 440 

XXIV. From the Italian of Michael Angelo .... 441 
XXV. From the Same 441 

XXVI. From the Same. To the Supreme Being ... 442 

XXVII. Surprised by joy impatient as the Wind . . . 442 

XXVIII. Methought I saw the footsteps of a throne . . . 443 

XXIX. November, 1836 443 

XXX. It is a beauteous evening, calm and free . . . 443 

XXXI. Where lies the Land to which yon Ship must go ? . 444 

XXXII. With Ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh . . 444 

XXXIII. The world is too much with us ; late and soon . . 445 

XXXIV. A volant Tribe of Bards on earth are found . . 446 
XXXV. Weak is the will of Man, his judgment blind . . 445 

XXXVI. To the Memory of Raisley Calvert .... 446 

PART II. 

I. Scorn not the Sonnet ; Critic, you have frowned . . 446 

II. How sweet it is, when mother Fancy rocks . . . 447 

III. To B. R. Haydon 447 

IV. From the dark chambers of dejection freed . . . 447 
V. Fair Prime of Life ! were it enough to gild . . . 448 

VI. I watch, and long have watched, with calm regret . . 448 

VII. I heard (alas ! 'twas only in a dream) .... 448 

VIII. Retirement 449 

IX. Not Love, not War, nor the tumultuous swell . . 449 

X. Mark the concentred hazels that enclose .... 450 
XI. Composed after a Journey across the Hambleton Hills, 

Yorkshire > . . 450 

XII. Those words were uttered as in pensive mood . . . 450 

XIII. September, 1815 451 

XIV. November 1 .451 

XV. Composed during a Storm ...... 452 

XVI. To a Snowdrop 452 

XVII. To the Lady Mary Lowther ....".. 452 

XVIII. To Lady Beaumont 463 

XIX. There is a pleasure in poetic pains 453 

XX. The Shepherd, looking eastward, softly said . . . 454 



CONTENTS xix 

PAGE 

MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS continued 

XXI. When haughty expectations prostrate lie . . 454 

XXII. Hail, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour ! . . 454 

XXIII. < With how sad Steps, O Moon, Thou climb'st the sky 455 

XXIV. Even as a dragon's eye that feels the stress . . . 455 
XXV. The stars are mansions built by Nature's hand . . 455 

XXVI. Desponding Father ! mark this altered bough . . 456 

XXVII. Captivity Mary Queen of Scots 456 

XXVIII. St. Catherine of Ledbury 457 

XXIX. Though narrow be that old Man's cares, and near . 467 

XXX. Four fiery steeds impatient of the rein . . . 457 

XXXI. Brook ! whose society the Poet seeks .... 458 

XXXII. Composed on the Banks of a Rocky Stream . . 458 

XXXIII. Pure element of waters ! wheresoe'er .... 459 

XXXIV. Malham Cove 459 

XXXV. Gordale 459 

XXXVI. Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 

1802 460 

XXXVII. Conclusion. To 460 

PART III. 

I. Though the bold wings of Poesy affect .... 461 

II. Oxford, May 30, 1820 461 

III. Oxford, May 30, 1820 462 

IV. Recollection of the Portrait of King Henry the Eighth, 

Trinity Lodge, Cambridge ...... 462 

V. On the Death of His Majesty (George the Third) . . 462 

VI. June, 1820 463 

VII. A Parsonage in Oxfordshire " . 463 

VIII. Composed among the Ruins of a Castle in North Wales . 464 

IX. To the Lady E. B. and the Hon. Miss P. ... 464 

X. To the Torrent at the Devil's Bridge, North Wales, 1824 465 

XI. In the Woods of Rydal 465 

XII. When Philoctetes in the Lemnian Isle .... 465 

XIII. While Anna's peers and early playmates tread . . 466 

XIV. To the Cuckoo 466 

XV. To 467 

XVI. The Infant M M 467 

XVII. To , in her Seventieth Year 468 

XVIII. ToRothaQ 468 

XIX. A Gravestone upon the Floor in the Cloisters of Worcester 

Cathedral 468 

XX. Roman Antiquities discovered at Bishopstone, Hereford- 
shire 469 



xx WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

PAGE 

MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS continued 

XXI. 1830 469 

XXII. A Tradition of Oker Hill in Darley Dale, Derbyshire 470 

XXIII. Filial Piety 470 

XXIV. To the Author's Portrait 470 

XXV. Why art thou silent ! Is thy love a plant . . . 471 

XXVI. To B. R. Haydon, on seeing his Picture of Napoleon 

Buonaparte on the Island of St. Helena . . . 471 
XXVII. A Poet! He hath put his heart to school . . .472 

XXVIII. The most alluring clouds that mount the sky . . 472 
XXIX On a Portrait of the Duke of Wellington upon the 

Field of Waterloo, by Haydon .... 472 

XXX. Composed on a May Morning, 1838 .... 473 

XXXI. Lo ! where she stands fixed in a saint-like trance . 473 

XXXII. To a Painter 474 

XXXIII. On the same Subject 474 

XXXIV. Hark ! 'tis the Thrush, undaunted, undeprest . . 474 
XXXV. 'Tis He whose yester-evening's high disdain . . 475 

XXXVI. Oh what a Wreck ! how changed in mien and speech ! 476 

XXXVII. Intent on gathering wool from hedge and brake . 475 

XXXVIII. A Plea for Authors, May, 1838 476 

XXXIX. Valedictory Sonnet "476 

XL. To the Rev. Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., Master 

of Harrow School 477 

XLI. To the Planet Venus 477 

XLII. Wansfell ! this Household has a favoured lot . . 477 

XLI 1 1. While beams of orient light shoot wide and high . 478 

XLIV. In my mind's eye a Temple, like a cloud . . . 478 

XLV. On the projected Kendal and Windermere Railway . 479 

XLVI. Proud were ye, Mountains, when, in times of old . 479 

XLVII. At Furness Abbey 480 

XLVIII. At Furness Abbey 480 

NOTES 481 

NOTE 

THE Frontispiece to this Volume represents WORDSWORTH at the age of 
twenty-eight, from a drawing in black chalk by ROBERT HANCOCK in the 
National Portrait Gallery. It is reproduced from a photograph by 
Messrs. WALKER AND COCKERELL. 



INTRODUCTION 

\ T 7 ORDS WORTH'S life, even for that of a poet, was 
singularly devoid of romantic or uncommon in- 
cidents ; and yet no poet has been more constantly inspired 
by his immediate surroundings or even more minutely auto- 
biographical. The second of these two facts renders a long 
descriptive account of his life unnecessary ; the first would 
make it tedious unless treated with that fullness of detail 
and of first-hand evidence, which is beyond the scope of an 
Introduction, but which alone could make the familiar matter 
of a quiet life live again before the mind's eye. As the 
Solitary says 

What special record can, or need, be given 
To rules and habits, whereby much was done, 
But all within the sphere of little things ; 
Of humble, though, to us, important cares, 
And precious interests ? 1 

But, illuminated by the intense glow of the poet's imagina- 
tion, the very ordinariness of his lot is one of the surest 
charms to draw and hold his readers. Some poets move 
almost wholly among supersensible abstractions, whither 
they are not able to lift more earthly natures. Others are 
roused only by the strange, the violent, the terrible, the law- 
less, elements or possibilities of human life ; and their spell 
is like their inspiration, potent but not abiding. In others 
the senses are like the strings of an JEolian lute, trembling 
into melody at each touch of the wandering breezes, but 
uncontrolled by the will of a conscious minstrel : we listen 

1 Excursion, Book iii. 607. 

xxi 



xxii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

awhile to the witching sounds, but soon we tire of them 
or become enervated. Each of these three kinds of poet, 
and many another kind, appeals to certain desires or 
tendencies of human nature. But not many men are 
capable of maintaining a lively interest in abstractions or 
purely spiritual beings ; most men, sufficiently educated 
to care for poetry, become easily tired of the merely 
abnormal or unfamiliar, of witches, brigands, Peris, poison, 
scimitars, and Vengeance ; men whose blood is not as thin as 
water are often minded, like Ulysses, to stop their ears 
against mere Sirens' voices. That poet is surest of a place 
in ' the general heart of man, 1 whose imagination is the inter- 
preter, not of the remote, but of the near, of ' familiar matter 
of to-day ' and every day ; who, by his clearer vision and 
readier utterance, vivifies the emotions which the sights and 
sounds and manifold experience of life awaken in most of us 
in a vague unsettled way, and while he hears and repeats ' the 
still, sad music of humanity, 1 still joys himself, and strengthens 
us, in that 

sense sublime 

Of something far more deeply interfused, 
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, 
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man. 

It is to this class of poets that Wordsworth belongs. He is 
not the poet of the lover particularly, or of the poet, or of 
the student, or of the young, or the adventurous, or the 
hypochondriacal, or of any one type of man, particularly. 
He is the poet of the more widespread characteristics of 
humanity; of strong personal interests and affections; of 
sensibility, almost universal though commonly inarticulate, to 
the influences of natural objects, brooks and trees, mountain 
and field, earth and sky, air and light ; of an emotional rather 
than speculative desire to read the riddle of the universe, 
controlled by the dictates of the practical reason and an in- 



INTRODUCTION xxiii 

stinctive grasp of the reality of duty ; finally, of the not 
uncheerful seriousness which is the outcome of these qualities. 

Thus Wordsworth is one of the most universal of our 
poets ; not because he takes ' all knowledge for his province, 1 
for his range has not the variety of a student like Browning ; 
nor because of dramatic power, for few poets have had less of 
the dramatist; but just because of the sincerity and truth 
with which he declares to us that which he has seen and 
known, and because it is that in the main which we, without 
special experience of abstruse study, distant travel, strange 
adventures, eccentric imaginations, can 'to the measure of 
the light vouchsafed ' see and know for ourselves. 

Wordsworth^ poetic material, then, lay close at hand. His 
poems form his life, and from them we get a far more intimate 
picture of the man than a detailed narrative could give us. 
He has, moreover, fully and faithfully recorded his history 
during the first thirty-five years of his life (the most impor- 
tant years for a biography) in The Prelude; or, Growth of 
a Poefs Mind; a poem for unity of purpose, right perspec- 
tive, essential truthfulness, unique in the age of confidences 
which was ushered in by the Confessions of Rousseau. 1 

1 It may be added, in passing, that The Prelude rises from time to time to the 
very heights of inspired verse : cp. Book i. 11. 401 foil : ' Wisdom and Spirit of the 
Universe ! . . .' ii. 396 : 'Thus while the days flew by, and years passed on . . .' 
iv. 142: 'The sun was set, or setting, when I left . . .' Some people may be 
inclined to distrust a grown man's reminiscences of the minuticB of his early child- 
hood. Women will be less sceptical, perhaps, than men, as they usually retain 
more vivid and minute impressions of early days. But Wordsworth from his 
youth trained his memory, partly by close attention to his observations and 
emotions at the time when he experienced them, partly by constant brooding over 
the recollection of them. Professor Raleigh, in his recent study of Wordsworth 
(1903), pp. 25-28, has some excellent remarks on this subject : among others this : 
' He indulged his memory with long periods of reverie, set it to travel to and fro 
among the past experiences of his life, and loved solitude and indolence chiefly 
because during the lulls of social intercourse and intellectual labour lost impres- 
sions were recaptured.' Wordsworth's poems, and his notes, dictated late in life 
to Miss Fenwick, amply attest the power of his memory for anything that had 
affected his emotions : for mere dates, as his editors know to their cost, he had no 
memory ; he gave dates to his poems in the edition of 1815 and subsequently, but 
the dates are frequently proved to be wrong by unimpeachable evidence. 



xxiv WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Guided, therefore, by the poet himself, and adding the 
merest outline of dates and names, we may present such a 
short sketch of Wordsworth's life as will serve as an intro- 
duction to his poems for those who are unfamiliar with the 
subject. 

He was born on April 7, 1770, in the year of Chatterton's 
death and of the publication of Goldsmith's Deserted Village, 
the year before the death of Gray. Scott, Coleridge, Southey, 
Lamb, Landor, Campbell, Hazlitt, Moore, De Quincey, were 
all born in the next fifteen years ; Byron and Shelley, Keats 
and Carlyle, within another decade. 

Wordsworth's father, John Wordsworth, of Yorkshire de- 
scent, was an attorney at Cockermouth, and agent to Sir 
James Lowther, the first Lord Lonsdale; his mother was 
daughter of William Cookson, mercer, of Penrith, and of 
Dorothy Crackanthorp : from these two grandparents the 
two most gifted of John Wordsworth's children, the two 
to be inseparably linked in life and fame, were named ; 
William being the second child and Dorothy the third. 

The Derwent, which flowed, as Wordsworth tells us, 1 

Along the margin of our terrace walk, 

was one of the first and fairest of the influences that formed 
the poet's soul, with its 

ceaseless music that composed my thoughts 
To more than infant softness, giving me 
Amid the fretful dwellings of mankind 
A foretaste, a dim earnest, of the calm 
That Nature breathes among the hills and groves. 2 



Thus- 



Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up 
Fostered alike by beauty and by fear : 3 



and both in the passage from which these lines are taken, 

1 Prelude, i. 286. 2 Ibid. 277. 3 Ibid. 301. 



INTRODUCTION xxv 

by implication, and in the Fifth Book of the same poem, 
directly, Wordsworth pays tribute to the mother, her 

who was the heart 
And hinge of all our learnings and our loves, 1 

to whose wise simple-mindedness he owed the free range 
of his childish days among the sights and sounds, fancies 
and fairy tales, that nourished his imaginative sympathy 
with nature. 

His mother died in 1778, his father in 1783. The greater 
part of his boyhood was spent in the ' beloved Vale ' of 
Esthwaite, near Winder-mere, where he was a pupil at the 
old grammar-school of Hawkshead, 2 living the while in the 
cottage of Anne Tyson, ' my old Dame, so kind and motherly,' 
whose memory he affectionately celebrates in The Prelude? 

All this period Wordsworth has brought before us with 
a loving carefulness and a zest that give the first two books 
of The Prelude a charm and freshness beyond the rest. And 
these two books deserve to stand out most clearly; for not 
only was the most celebrated of Wordsworth's poems, along 
with many others in their varying degrees, inspired by 
' recollections of childhood ' ; not only was childhood always 
a subject of the deepest interest to him ; but in his case, if 
ever, it was true that ' the child is father of the man ' ; it 
was in these impressionable early years that his 'fostering' 
surroundings, and, above all, the mystery of mountains, en- 
dowed him with that strong hold on the actual, and that 
equally strong mysticism, which together make up the very 
fabric of his poetry. 

One passage, though of little effect compared with the 
whole of the two books, will illustrate this far better than 
pages of analysis and comment : 

1 Prelude, v. 257. 

8 See the 'Matthew' poems, vol ii. pp. 337 foil. 3 iv. 25 foil. 



xxvi WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

One summer evening (led by her l ) I found 
A little boat tied to a willow tree 
Within a rocky cave, its usual home. 
Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in 
Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth 
And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice 
Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on ; 
Leaving behind her still, on either side, 
Small circles glittering idly in the moon, 
Until they melted all into one track 
Of sparkling light. But now, like one who rows, 
Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen point 
With an unswerving line, I fixed my view 
Upon the summit of a craggy ridge, 
The horizon's utmost boundary ; far above 
Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky. 
She was an elfin pinnace ; lustily 
I dipped my oars into the silent lake, 
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat 
Went heaving through the water like a swan ; 
When, from behind that craggy steep till then 
The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge, 
As if with voluntary power instinct, 
Upreared its head. I struck and struck again, 
And growing still in stature the grim shape 
Towered up between me and the stars, and still, 
For so it seemed, with purpose of its own 
And measured motion like a living thing, 
Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned, 
And through the silent water stole my way 
Back to the covert of the willow tree ; 
There in her mooring-place I left my bark, 
And through the meadows homeward went, in grave 
And serious mood ; but after I had seen 
That spectacle, for many days, my brain 
Worked with a dim and undetermined sense 
Of unknown modes of being ; o'er my thoughts 
There hung a darkness, call it solitude 
Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes 
Remained, no pleasant images of trees, 
Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields ; 
But huge and mighty forms, that do not live 
Like living men, moved slowly through the mind 
By day, and were a trouble to my dreams. 

1 i.e. Nature : i. 357 foil. 



INTRODUCTION xxvii 

Wordsworth spoke more than once in later years of the 
vividness, the over-mastering power, of the spiritual ex- 
periences of his boyhood. ' I used to brood over the stories 
of Enoch and Elijah, and almost to persuade myself that, 
whatever might become of others, I should be translated, in 
something of the same way, to heaven. With a feeling 
congenial to this, I was often unable to think of external 
things as having external existence, and I communed with 
all that I saw as something not apart from, but inherent 
in, my own immaterial nature. Many times while going 
to school have I grasped at a wall or tree to recall myself 
from this abyss of idealism to the reality.' l 

But with all this he was neither an infant prodigy nor 
a morbid or solitary child. The simplicity of his social 
surroundings and his out-of-doors life co-operated with his 
strong limbs and vigorous nature to keep him unspoilt. 
He describes his delight in skating and adventurous climbing, 
his birds'-nesting and nutting expeditions, his riding and 
rowing. Just as in later life he was a man of strong common 
sense and shrewdness as well as a ' dedicated spirit,' so in his 
school-days he was a boy among his fellows as well as a 
dreamer of dreams. 

At the age of seventeen, he was sent by his two uncles 
and guardians, Richard Wordsworth and Christopher Crack- 
anthorp, to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he resided 
during the usual three years, taking his degree in January 
1791. His university career was in no way conspicuous. 
Duty to his benefactors, as well as his own common sense, 
prevented him from rebelling against a good deal that was 
uncongenial to him ; the plunge into a busier, gayer society 
if engaged mainly upon 'strenuous idleness' 2 afforded him 

1 Fen wick note to Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early 
Childhood. 

2 Prelude, iv. 378. The phrase is repeated in the poem, 'This Lawn, a carpet 
all alive,' composed 1829. See vol. ii. p. 363. 



rxviii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

much enjoyment and some youthful dissatisfaction. In after 
years, as his strong feeling for the past became developed, 
he felt a certain regret at the rather slight hold that an 
ancient university had taken of his imagination. Poets have 
rarely been quite at home at Oxford or Cambridge, where 
the standard of the mean asserts itself with tyrannous excess. 
Wordsworth, though his fancy could picture a place of learn- 
ing, such as, fortunately for his genius, did not exist, 

Whose studious aspect should have bent me down 
To instantaneous service, 1 

was free from the censorious self-complacency of more vulgar 
minds. ' Nor was this,' he says, namely, the lack of a * high 
emotion,' 

Nor was this the blame 
Of others but ray own ; I should, in truth, 
As far as doth concern my single self, 
Misdeem most widely, lodging it elsewhere : 
For I, bred up 'mid Nature's luxuries, 
Was a spoiled child, and, rambling like the wind, 
As I had done in daily intercourse 
With those crystalline rivers, solemn heights, 
And mountains, ranging like a fowl of the air, 
I was ill-tutored for captivity ; 
To quit my pleasure, and, from month to month, 
Take up a station calmly on the perch 
Of sedentary peace.* 

The most interesting point about Wordsworth's university 
life is, and was, one might almost say, to him, 3 the curious 
accident which brought Coleridge up to Cambridge just after 
he himself had gone down. Very different indeed might have 
been the college life of each of the two poets had they met as 
Freshmen, the one from his breeding * "mid Nature's luxuries,' 
the other * from the heart of London,' but in * all the strength 
and plumage of his youth,' and 



m. 373. Ibid. m. 347. 

See the fine poange in Prelude, vi. 237-318, nd contact it with the 
Iftttltm rtyle of moat of Book iiL 



INTRODUCTION xxix 

unrelentingly possessed by thirst 
Of greatness, love, and beauty. l 

As it happened, this most fruitful of all friendships between 
English men of letters could not begin until some years after 
Wordsworth had left Cambridge. 

In his summer vacations Wordsworth reverted to his 
beloved mountains, to those of his own home, to the York- 
shire dales, finally to the Alps of Switzerland. From these 
returns to his natural surroundings, 

a comfort seemed to touch 

A heart that had not been disconsolate : 

Strength came where weakness was not known to be, 

At least not felt ; and restoration came 

Like an intruder knocking at the door 

Of unacknowledged weariness. 8 

One of these vacations he spent partly at Penrith, where 
his sister Dorothy and Mary Hutchinson were the comrades 
of his rambles. The latter was connected by marriage with 
the Cooksons, and had been at the same infant school with 
Wordsworth at Penrith ; she was now 

By her exulting outside look of youth 

And placid under-countenance, first endeared 3 

to him, and was afterwards to become his wife. His sister 
Dorothy was from the first even more completely wrapped up 
in his spiritual life. There never can have been a more 
complete community of sentiment than between these two. 
Dorothy shared the poet's passion for open air life and wander- 
ing, his sensitiveness to the play of Nature's countenance and 
Nature"^ voice, his sense of language, his quick and strong 
emotions. In childhood she exercised such influence as a sister 
may upon her brother's coarser animal spirits : 

She gave me eyes, she gave me ears ; 
And humble cares, and delicate fears ; 
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears ; 
And love, and thought, and joy. 4 

* Prelude, vi. 304. Ibid. iv. 153. Ibid. vL 426. 

* The Sparrow's Nett, below, p. 116. 



xxx WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

To her was appropriately addressed Wordsworth's first pub- 
lished poem, An Evening Walk, which was partly composed 
during the vacation just mentioned. 

So completely did the brother and sister see with the same 
eyes that Wordsworth habitually made use of Dorothy's 
Journals as the groundwork of his poems, and that not only 
in his uninspired hours. In mental quality they were extra- 
ordinarily similar ; it was the greater force and grasp of the 
man's mind that enabled him to absorb, as it were, her gifts 
into his own creative power. 

The visit to Switzerland in his third Long Vacation was 
prompted in the first instance by the sovereignty of Nature in 
Wordsworth's mind ; x but the journey on foot through France 
promised something more than the anticipation of the first 
sight of the Alps. For 

Europe at that time was thrilled with joy, 
France standing on the top of golden hours, 
And human nature seeming born again. 2 

This joy the travellers (for Wordsworth was walking with a 
college friend) found at its height, still unshadowed by the 
Terror. Yet even then such an incident as a domiciliary visit 
of soldiers to the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, which 
they happened to witness, and mistook for the expulsion of 
the monks, jarred upon a contemplative and reverential 
nature. And, as was natural enough, the French Revolution 
was of much less intimate importance to the young poet than 
the glories of Chamouni and the Simplon, of 

Locarno ! spreading out in width like Heaven, 3 
and 

Como, bosomed deep in chestnut groves. 4 

In January 1791 Wordsworth took his degree and left 
Cambridge. He was uncertain what to do next, and doubt 

i Prelude, vi. 333. 3 Ibid. vi. 339. 

3 Ibid. vi. 657. * Descriptive Sketches, 78. 



INTRODUCTION xxxi 

drew him, like most Englishmen, to London. He never 
became a part of the life of the ' vast metropolis ' ; but the 
visit helped to widen his imaginative vision. It was no longer 
inanimate Nature but the life of man that was thrust perforce 
before his eyes 

And oft amid the ' busy hum ' I seemed 

To travel independent of her help, 

As if I had forgotten her ; but no, 

The world of human-kind outweighed not hers 

In my habitual thoughts ; the scale of love, 

Though filling daily, still was light, compared 

With that in which her mighty objects lay. 1 

If Wordsworth had been born at a different time, he might 
have returned at once to his ' native regions," and become the 
poet merely of mountains, streams, and trees. But he was to 
have his period of ' storm and stress, 1 and to come out of it the 
poet also of the human heart. In November 1791 he crossed 
over to France for a lengthened stay. During a few days 1 
sojourn in Paris he visited such places of interest as the ruins 
of the Bastille ; 

And from the rubbish gathered up a stone, 
And pocketed the relic, in the guise 
Of an enthusiast ; yet, in honest truth, 
I looked for something that I could not find, 
Affecting more emotion than I felt. 2 

It was only some time after he had been in the country, 
first at Orleans and afterwards at Blois, and after the mere 

novelties in speech, 
Domestic manners, customs, gestures, looks, 3 

had ceased to be novelties, that he gradually became engrossed 
in the Revolution. His companions at Blois were chiefly 
officers of the army, all of them, except one, only anxious for 
an opportunity to restore the past. Wordsworth felt no 
sympathy with their rage or their royalism. In his own 
boyhood he had scarcely set eyes on any one who claimed 
i Prelude, viii. 680. a Ibid, ix, 69. 3 /^. 32. 



xxxii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

respect on the score of either wealth or blood ; l the university 
as a Republic of ' scholars and gentlemen ' 2 was not a place to 
foster sentimental loyalty ; nor was Wordsworth at any time 
more inclined than the average dalesman to pay to the 
trappings of conventional power that homage of awe which 
was, as it were, claimed beforehand by the forces of Nature. 
He was thus drawn into intimacy with the one ' patriot ' 
amongst these officers, Michel Beaupuy, a disinterested lover 
of mankind and a gallant soldier, who was killed while com- 
manding a division at the battle of Emmendingen in 1796, 3 
Long discussions with Beaupuy and the influence of his pure 
enthusiasm gave reality to Wordsworth's political speculations, 
and fired him with a belief in the success of the Revolution. 
He came to Paris, therefore, on his way home, ' with ardour 
heretofore unfelt,'* almost sufficient to make him an actor in 
the drama. In spite of his faith in the cause of Liberty, such 
panicstricken blunders of its sons as the September massacres, 
which had taken place only a month earlier, and the growing 
violence of extreme leaders like Robespierre, showed him, 
what history was afterwards to show all of us, that one single 
brain and will was needed to recover the ship of the State 
from mere weltering in the trough of the waves. Since 
Napoleon had not yet appeared, a young poet may be par- 
doned for having suffered a dream 5 of being perchance the 
instrument of Heaven for rallying and revivifying the Gironde. 
But France was to wait for her Napoleon ; and England was 
not to lose her poet by the guillotine. 

Wordsworth returned to England, to be met with a blow 
that struck him in a more vital part than anything he had 
seen or heard of in France. His ' own beloved country ' 
joined the league of France's enemies, of the enemies of the 
cause of liberty. Wordsworth's excitability was controlled 

1 Prelude, ix. 215 foil. 2 Ibid. 229. 3 For Beaupuy see below, vol. iii. p. 577. 
* Prelude, x. 49. 5 Ibid. x. 120-236. 



INTRODUCTION xxxiii 

by strong common sense ; and he never possessed the strange 
power of horror-striking fascination which made Coleridge's 
Fire, Famine, and Slaughter the rarest of curiosities, a living 
political lampoon. One can scarcely imagine, then, the dis- 
turbance of his feelings that must have taken place when he 
actually felt a dreadful exultation in the defeat of English 
soldiers 

It was a grief, 

Grief call it not, 'twas anything but that, 
A conflict of sensations without name, 
Of which he only, who may love the sight 
Of a village steeple, as I do, can judge, 
When, in the congregation bending all 
To their great Father, prayers were offered up, 
Or praises for our country's victories ; 
And, 'mid the simple worshippers, perchance 
I only, like an uninvited guest 
Whom no one owned, sate silent, shall I add, 
Fed on the day of vengeance yet to come. 1 

It is difficult now not to feel even a certain abhorrence at 
this state of mind, but it is perhaps rather dullness of imagina- 
tion than any moral superiority that makes it impossible to 
sympathise with Charles James Fox and Wordsworth. 

For some time things went from bad to worse. The action 
of England only goaded France to madness : 2 and the madness 
of France destroyed the faith of lovers of liberty. 3 

Most melancholy at that time, O Friend ! 

Were my day-thoughts, my nights were miserable ; 

Through months, through years, long after the last beat 

Of those atrocities, the hour of sleep 

To me came rarely charged with natural gifts : 

Such ghastly visions had I of despair 

And tyranny, and implements of death ; 

And innocent victims sinking under fear, 

And momentary hope, and worn-out prayer, 

Each in his separate cell, or penned in crowds 



1 Prelude, i. 288. a Ibid. 331 foil. jnn. 374 foil. 

l o 



xxxiv WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

For sacrifice, and struggling with fond mirth 
And levity in dungeons, where the dust 
Was laid with tears. Then suddenly the scene 
Changed, and the unbroken dream entangled me 
In long orations, which I strove to plead 
Before unjust tribunals, with a voice 
Labouring, a brain confounded, and a sense, 
Death-like, of treacherous desertion, felt 
In the last place of refuge my own soul. 1 

The force of a pure heart and of a poet's faith 2 kept 
Wordsworth from falling into the ranks of the scoffers 3 and 
the timid ; and the fall of Robespierre came like a burst of 
sunshine through the clouds. Wordsworth was riding one 
day over the sands ' of Leven's ample estuary,' when he met 
a troop of tourists, the foremost of whom, instead of any 
other salutation, cried to him, ' Robespierre is dead ! ' 4 

But though 

From that time forth, Authority in France 
Put on a milder face ; Terror had ceased, 5 

yet the darkest hour of trial had not yet come. It was 
when, 

become oppressors in their turn, 
Frenchmen had changed a war of self-defence 
For one of conquest, 6 

that Wordsworth's mind, driven in upon itself for its only 
support, attempted to build out of abstract principles and 
the philosophy of Godwin a place to hide it in. 

So I fared, 

Dragging all precepts, judgments, maxims, creeds, 
Like culprits to the bar ; . . . 
. . . till, demanding formal proof, 
And seeking it in everything, I lost 
All feeling of conviction, and, in fine, 
Sick, wearied out with contrarieties, 
Yielded up moral questions in despair. 7 

* Prelude, x. 397. 2 Ibid. 437 folL Ibid. 470 foil. 

* Ibid. 573. B Ibid. xi. 1. Ibid. 206. ' Ibid. 293. 



INTRODUCTION xxxv 

The poets were no help. Their conceptions and ideals were 
exposed to the same withering criticism. The ' visible 
Universe,' instead of being watched and honoured and loved 
as of old, was scanned 'with microscopic view,' 1 and judged 
' by rules of mimic art.' 2 Even the mere excitement of the 
past months had temporarily impaired the poet's true sense 
of beauty. 3 

So at least it seemed to Wordsworth as he looked back ten 
years later. It is worth while to follow with some care these 

perturbations of a youthful mind 
Under a long-lived storm of great events, 4 

for the very reason that they left slight traces on the surface 
of his poetry, other than The Prelude. But in fact they 
were the pangs of travail to bring forth that poetry. They 
gave it humanity, depth, force. They peopled the beloved 
landscape of the poet neither with the nymphs and swains 
nor with the frigid abstractions of the mere sentimentalist, 
but with real men and women. 

Wordsworth has told us, in lines instinct with feeling, to 
whom before any other human being he owed his recovery 
from * that strong disease ' 5 which beset him 

Then it was 

Thanks to the bounteous Giver of all good ! 
That the beloved Sister in whose sight 
Those days were passed, now speaking in a voice 
Of sudden admonition like a brook 
That did but cross a lonely road, and now 
Is seen, heard, felt, and caught at every turn, 
Companion never lost through many a league 
Maintained for me a saving intercourse 
With my true self ; for, though bedimmed and changed 
Much, as it seemed, I was no further changed 
Than as a clouded and a waning moon : 
She whispered still that brightness would return ; 



i Prelude, xii. 91. 2 jbid. 111. Ibid. 198-201. 

< Ibid. xi. 372. * Ibid. 306. 



xxxvi WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

She, in the midst of all, preserved me still 

A Poet, made me seek beneath that name, 

And that alone, my office upon earth ; 

And lastly, as hereafter will be shown, 

If willing audience fail not, Nature's self, 

By all varieties of human love 

Assisted, led me back through opening day 

To those sweet counsels between head and heart 

Whence grew that genuine knowledge, fraught with peace, 

Which, through the later sinkings of this cause, 

Hath still upheld me, and upholds me now l . . . 

In the later lines of this passage one can scarcely fail to be 
reminded of Coleridge. If the influence of his sister Dorothy, 
and to some extent that of their friend from childhood who 
was afterwards, in 1802, to become his wife, 2 were the chief 
sanative 3 powers of Wordsworth's troubled days, it was 
Coleridge, before any one else, who opened the poetic sources 
of his mind, and bade the streams to flow. After his return 
from France, Wordsworth made London his home, or rather 
the starting-point from which he made many of those excur- 
sions, which always delighted him and gave the stimulus, as 
they often gave the titles, to his poems. His pleasure even 
in travelling, however, was at this period clouded over, not 
only by the spiritual crisis just described, but by financial 
straits and anxiety for the future. The choice of a career 
had always been a difficulty to him. The law, in which his 
uncle, Richard Cookson, could give him a start, repelled him. 
He had thought much of becoming a clergyman, but it had 
become increasingly plain that that was not his vocation. 
He was equally unfitted to become a soldier or a journalist, 
though both careers were considered. In spite of his period 
of scepticism and revolt, he never really lost hold of the 
purpose which he had early formed, of being a poet, a 
' dedicated spirit.' In the meantime, such a purpose, in a 

i Prelude, xi. 333. Ibid. xiv. 266 foil. 

8 The word is Wordsworth's : Prelude, xi. 396. 



INTRODUCTION xxxvii 

poor man, inevitably seems unreasonable to his older, if not 
to his younger, relatives ; and Wordsworth suffered some- 
thing from the displeasure of his uncles. In 1795, however, 
one of his friends, Raisley Calvert, died, leaving him a legacy 
of 900, with the express purpose of enabling him to adopt 
the life of a poet, freed for the present from the necessity of 
seeking a more remunerative employment. The gift, com- 
parable to that bestowed by the Wedgwoods upon Coleridge, 
is recorded in The Prelude. 1 During the same year, Words- 
worth, coming with his sister Dorothy to settle in the west 
country, first made the acquaintance of Coleridge, who had 
already conceived a great admiration for him from reading 
the Descriptive Sketches published two years before. The 
acquaintance fast ripened into close friendship and ardent 
partnership in poetry, a partnership in which Coleridge 
gave even more than he got, and perhaps the more so 
because neither of the friends would have dreamt that this 
was the case. Wordsworth was a couple of years the elder 
of the two, at a time of life when a small difference of age 
goes for a good deal. He had, besides, that independence or 
self-dependence of character which often accompanies other 
fine and enduring qualities, but which is apt to be blind to 
obligations under which it would chafe if they were recognised. 
Coleridge said of him in words that give one an impression of 
both their characters : ' Wordsworth is the only man to whom 
at all times and in all modes of excellence I feel myself inferior.' 2 
The quick impressionable mind and emotions of Coleridge 
did indeed promptly respond to the contact of Wordsworth's 
strong personality. Not content with insisting among his 
own admirers, like Charles Lamb, on the superiority of Words- 
worth's poetry to his own, he, consciously or unconsciously, 

* Prelude, xi. 348 foil. 

2 Letter to Southey, July 1797. Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, edited by 
Ernest Hartley Coleridge, vol. i. p. 224. 



xxxviii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

imitated it. 1 But no one can be familiar with the lives and 
works of the two men and not feel how deeply Wordsworth 
was penetrated with the fine and subtle quicksilver, as it 
were, of that extraordinary intellect. Wordsworth, though 
his retentive memory was familiar with English poetry, and 
he was well read in history, and some Italian poets, and 
acquainted with French and Spanish, was scarcely more than 
the average man compared with Coleridge's vast range of 
reading. In philosophy, especially, whether applied to the 
principles of poetry or to those of religion and metaphysics, 
Coleridge was the master, Wordsworth the disciple : a 
disciple, it is true, whose strong character exercised a 
natural selection in assimilating what he learnt, and who 
probably never sympathised with the more subtle processes 
of abstract thought ; but one who, nevertheless, owed to Cole- 
ridge much of the armour with which he fought his literary 
battle and the semi-philosophical mysticism in which his 
love of nature and faith in its blessed intercommunion with 
man and with God were expressed. But, above all, the 
ebullience and generosity of Coleridge's mind and heart, his 
swift apprehension and sympathy, his irrepressible affection 
and hopefulness and life, these things, together with the 
influences of Dorothy Wordsworth and Mary Hutchinson, 
were of immense, though quite incalculable, importance 
to Wordsworth's development. Nothing in Wordsworth's 
eloquent recognition of these three nourishers of his genius 
is more true or more eloquent than this apostrophe to 
Coleridge : 

1 This is well brought out by Professor Legouis, La Jcunesse de W. Words- 
worth, pp. 363 and 365, where he points out the indebtedness of Coleridge's The 
Destiny of Nations, 11. 172-245 to Wordsworth's Guilt and, Sorrow, stanzas LX. 
LXIII., and of Osorio to The Borderers. ' C'est alors que Coleridge entendit lire les 
Borderers et s'en engoua au point de les imiter dans la seconde partie d'une 
trage"die, Osorio, dont il avait ddja e"crit deux actes et demi. Frappe" par le 
caractere du traitre Oswald, il lui prit son orgueil et sa philosophic cynique pour 
le propre traitre de sa piece. Imitation flagrante et qui commence juste & 1'endroit 
de sa tragedie oil Coleridge s'etait arrete avant do connaitre les Borderers.' 



INTRODUCTION xxxix 

O capacious Soul ! 

Placed on this earth to love and understand, 
And from thy presence shed the light of love. 1 

Coleridge, all through his life, was not content with giving ; 
he must lavish himself, his love, his knowledge, and powers 
of all sorts on whomsoever happened to come in his way. 
That is why, notwithstanding his weakness, nobody can long 
avoid loving Coleridge; while of Wordsworth, even when 
we have come to love him as we could only love one of the 
chief brighteners, helpers, consolers of our life, we scarcely 
venture to speak of our love, lest it seem in some measure 
disrespectful. 

Wordsworth and his sister had been lent a farmhouse at 
Racedown, and took up their abode in October 1795. Cole- 
ridge settled in the now famous little cottage at Nether 
Stowey, on the Minehead and Bridgewater road, at the end 
of 1796. In July 1797, after an exchange of visits, 2 the 
Wordsworths moved to Alfoxden, about three miles from 
Nether Stowey, where they lived for very nearly a year. It 
was during this period 

That summer, under whose indulgent skies, 
Upon smooth Quantock's airy ridge we roved 
Unchecked, or loitered 'mid her sylvan combs, 3 

that the Lyrical Ballads were planned and in the main com- 
posed. A story is told by Coleridge, with his usual good- 
humoured diffuseness, 4 how a Government spy was sent down 
to Nether Stowey to watch the motions of Coleridge and 
Wordsworth, suspected of Jacobin principles and seditious 
purposes. The spy, 'a very honest fellow,' says Coleridge, 
could make out nothing from his eavesdropping but a great 

1 Prelude, xiv. 277. 

2 It was while visiting Coleridge (July 2nd to 16th) that Wordsworth first met 
Charles Lamb, who also stayed at Nether Stowey from July 9th to 16th. 

3 Prelude, xiv. 395. 

4 Biographia Literaria, c. x. ad med. 



xl WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

deal of talking and reading about poetry and philosophy. 
Little did he or the ingenious authors of the Anti-Jacobin 
understand that the two ' suspects ' were indeed revolution- 
aries to much greater effect than if their efforts had been 
directed towards the landing of a French fleet in Porlock 
Bay. 

The Lyrical Ballads appeared anonymously 'on or about' 1 
the 1st September 1798. Coleridge's share in the venture 
consisted of two passages taken from his tragedy Osorio 
(afterwards re-named Remorse), The Nightingale., and The 
Rime of the Ancyent Marinere. Wordsworth contributed 
nineteen poems, in styles as various as those of Expostulation 
and Reply, Goody Blake and Harry Gill, Lines written in Early 
Spring, and Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey. 
Volumes have been written about the poetical principles in 
illustration of which these experiments, as the majority of the 
poems were called in the Advertisement, were launched into 
the world. One short word must here suffice for the benefit 
of those who have not read those volumes. 

One chief aim, then, of the Lyrical Ballads, in so far as 
they were experiments, was to prove by example that there 
neither is nor should be any distinction between the words 
suitable for poetry and those suitable for prose. This is 
the aim set out in the Advertisement prefixed to the first 
edition. Ever since the Restoration, Society had bound 
itself more and more with the shackles of an artificial code 
of idle manners; and verse-writing, which was mainly no 
more than an amusement of society, had become more and 
more a matter of conventional phraseology and so-called 
' poetic diction.' 2 The most cherished ambition of an 

1 Lyrical Ballads, edited by Thomas Hutchinson (London: Duckworth and 
Co., 1898). Introd. p. ix. 

2 It is impossible in so short a summary of the poetical tendency of a century 
and a half not to seem to do injustice to the men of force and genius who wrote in 
that period : but perhaps I may avoid misconception by adding that I read much 



INTRODUCTION xli 

Erasmus Darwin, so far as style was concerned, was to call 
a spade by the periphrasis which would most remotely 
suggest so vulgar an object. The artificiality of the age had 
affected genuine poets like Gray and Collins; but to under- 
stand that Wordsworth and Coleridge had a battle to win, 
one must remember the hundred poetasters, male and female, 
whose very names have long been forgotten, because they 
had not even the vitality of a Darwin nor the laureateship 
of a Pye. Wordsworth's own earliest published poems, An 
Evening Walk, and Descriptive Sketches, though they con- 
tained many felicities of expression and abundant promise 
of genuine poetic insight and truth, are bespangled with 
gew-gaws of that 'gaudiness and inane phraseology' which 
he was afterwards to denounce so strongly ; indeed the length 
to which he went in the naked simplicity of some of his 
Lyrical Ballads is partly to be explained as the reaction of 
one who had not only observed, but in his own person 
experienced, the glamour of the false ideal of poetic 
diction. 

The other principal aim, stated in the Preface to the 
second, enlarged, edition, 'was to make the incidents of 
common life interesting by tracing in them, truly though 
not ostentatiously, the primary laws of our nature. 1 1 Here 
Wordsworth was combating quite a different, and a much 
more modern, evil than conventional poetic diction the 
' degrading thirst after outrageous stimulation,' which was 
catered for by ' frantic novels, sickly and stupid German 
tragedies, and deluges of idle and extravagant stories in 
verse.' 2 This extract from the Preface is enough to dispel 
the old illusion, if it anywhere survives, that Wordsworth 
was a pioneer of the Romantic movement. That movement 

of the work of the so-called Augustan age of English poetry with pleasure, and 
am, in particular, a hearty admirer of Pope. Still I do not think that I mis-state 
in the text the morbid symptoms of the poetry of that age. 
i P. x. of the original ed. (1800). 2 Ibid. p. xix. 



xlii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

had been afoot for at least half a century when the Lyrical 
Ballads were published. He himself in his half-fledged efforts, 
referred to above, had indulged in a romantic melancholy, 
adopted, no doubt unconsciously, as part of the conventional 
trappings of a poet, and sufficiently belied by his letters 
of the same period. But the mawkish sentimentality and 
disorderliness of the prevalent romantic style, he could 
not abide ; and its more legitimate appeal to the spirit of 
adventure, even when controlled by the manly sense of a 
Walter Scott, always seemed to him somewhat too trivial to 
be the function of so high a power as poetry. 1 One character- 
istic of his own poems which in his opinion distinguished 
them from 'the popular poetry of the day, 1 was 'that the 
feeling therein developed gives importance to the action and 
situation, and not the action and situation to the feeling." 1 2 

Out of the Lyrical Ballads and their short Advertisement, 
which was written by Wordsworth, grew the larger Preface 
and Essay, in which at a later date the poet maintained and 
developed his theory of poetry. That strain of obstinacy, 
which was a part of his self-dependence, made him undaunted 
but not always perfectly judicious in polemics. Coleridge, 
who was both the surer and the subtler critic, modified for 
himself, and attempted to explain away in some measure for 
his friend, so much as seemed exaggerated in the new doctrine, 
or gave any handle to such mockery as Byron's description of 
the poet 

Who both by precept and example shows 
That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose. 

The Lyrical Ballads obtained a somewhat mixed reception, 
in which disfavour predominated. Southey, who was ac- 
quainted with Wordsworth and brother-in-law to Coleridge, 
younger than both, and far more self-satisfied than either, 

1 Cp. his letter to Scott in Lockhart's Life of Scott, ch. ivi. 

2 Preface, p. xvii. 



INTRODUCTION xliii 

reviewed them with all the superiority of a clever but some- 
what commonplace young man. The Ancyent Marinere is 
called ' a Dutch attempt at German sublimity. 1 1 There 
seems little doubt but that there was a spice of malice in 
Southey's criticism ; and, estimable as was his character in 
many respects, he was both young and vain : but the limita- 
tions of the author of Madoc would perhaps scarcely have 
left room for appreciation of a work of genius, which even 
now that it has become ' familiar in our mouths as household 
words, 1 is perhaps the most startling poem in the English 
language. It should in fairness be added that Wordsworth 
himself was not very much less in -the dark than Southey and 
the rest of the critics, and spent some pains, in a note to the 
second edition of the Ballads, to point out the four ' great 
defects ' of the poem. 2 

But whatever may have been the importance of the Lyrical 
Ballads in the history of English literature, they are the first- 
fruits of Wordsworth's own true harvest. From this time 
onwards his life never suffers from unsteadiness of aim. 
Without neglecting everyday interests and duties, he lived the 
life of a poet as completely as any other who has borne the 
name. And, as was natural, he soon reverted to the original 
home and nursery of his genius. After a visit of some seven 
months to Germany, mainly remarkable for the excellence and 
the essentially English character of the poems 3 which he 
wrote during a cold and dull winter at Goslar, he returned 
with Dorothy to England, and at the end of the same year, 
1799, settled with her in that little cottage 4 in the vale of 

1 Quoted by Mr. Hutchinson : op. cit. p. xviii. 

2 Mr. Hutchinaon : op. cit. p. xxvi. note. 

3 E.g. Lucy Gray, the ' Lucy ' set of poems, Ruth. 

4 Dove Cottage, in Wordsworth's time known as Town-End, was originally a 
small public-house, with the sign of the Dove and Olive Bough, standing at the foot 
of the high road from Ambleside to Grasmere where it came close down to the lake. 
The more modern road, made in "Wordsworth's time, is lower down, between Dove 
Cottage and the lake. For the Dove and Olive Bough cp. The Waggoner, Canto i. 
11. 52-60, below, vol. i. p. 285. 



xliv WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Grasmere which has within the last few years been secured and 
restored as the Mecca of Wordsworthians. Here for the 
greater part of eight years he lived with the frugality of a 
peasant, but rich in thoughts and affections, free of Nature's 
most exquisite and noblest territories. Here in 1802 he 
brought Mary Hutchinson, his wife 

no more a phantom to adorn 
A moment, but an inmate of the heart. 
And yet a spirit, there for me enshrined 
To penetrate the lofty and the low ; 
Even as one essence of pervading light 
Shines, in the brightest of ten thousand stars, 
And the meek worm that feeds her lonely lamp 
Couched in the dewy grass. 1 

Here three of their children were born. Here he was visited 
by Walter Scott, after first visiting him on that tour in 
Scotland which produced among others the poems about 
Burns, The Solitary Reaper, and Yarrow Unvisited. Here the 
intimacy with Coleridge was continued, and Book I. of The 
Recluse, a large part of The Excursion, practically all The 
Prelude, and many of the best of the shorter poems, were 
written. Here, too, ' the discipline and consummation of a 
Poet's mind 1 were, so far as it is possible to mark off distinct 
stages in the life of the mind, completed by the first great 
personal grief which Wordsworth was called upon to suffer. 
In 1805 his brother John, nearest and dearest of his family 
after Dorothy, went down in the East Indiaman, Earl ofAber- 
gavenny, of which he was captain, off the Bill of Portland. 2 

The years at Dove Cottage will always be that part of 
Wordsworth's life upon which imagination most fondly lingers. 
That ' little Nook of mountain-ground,' so tiny that it is filled 
to overflowing with the memories that haunt it, seems to 
shine with the very radiance of love and joy. Nor is this 

1 Prelude, xiv. 268. Of. ' She was a Phantom of delight,' vol. i. p. 310. 

2 See vol. in. p. 13. 



INTRODUCTION xlv 

merely the work of fancy, the contrast of the peasant's cottage 
and the poet's life. Although the gift of the many years that 
followed 1 was rich in beauty and strength and consolation, 
there are both an exuberance and a reserve of power which 
mark, as is only natural, the poetry of the prime of the poet's 
manhood. The period between Wordsworth's beginning of 
friendship with Coleridge and his removal from Dove Cottage 
the second of which dates is of course merely convenient 
where accuracy is impossible has been truly enough called 
' the spring-time of his genius ' ; 2 and although each season 
has its proper honours, none can stir us with the joy of life 
and the mystery of promise, the ' part seen, imagined part,' so 
subtly as the spring. At the same time it is as true of 
Wordsworth as of Walter Scott, that, for a poet, ' his genius 
flowered late.' There is therefore a fullness of thought and a 
strength about the poems of this great decade which are 
sometimes wanting in poets whose genius is full-fledged before 
their manhood. 

Few words need be said of Wordsworth's later life in an 
essay which pretends only to serve as an introduction to his 
poetry. His growing family, of which his wife's sister, Sara 
Hutchinson, became an almost constant member in 1805, 
compelled him to find a larger home than Dove Cottage. 
Accordingly he moved in 1808 to Allan Bank, a new house, 
less than half a mile from Grasmere, on the way to Easedale ; 
and in 1811 to the Rectory, close by the church, where two of 
his children, Catherine and Thomas, died within six months, 
in 1812. 

This was a time of much care to Wordsworth. For some 
years past Coleridge's unhappy malady, his inability to settle 
down to steady work or to domestic contentment, had given 

1 E.g. Laodamia, Dion, the later Skylark, Yarrow Visited and Revisited, the 
Evening Voluntaries, and a great quantity of the sonnets. 

2 By Principal Shairp : quoted by Prof. Dowden in Aldine Edition of Words . 
worth, vol. i. p. Ixxii. 



xlvi WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

increasing anxiety to the Wordsworth circle. In the autumn 
of 1810 some well-meant remarks of Wordsworth to Basil 
Montagu, with whom Coleridge was intending to stay, were 
indiscreetly, and, beyond doubt, inaccurately, repeated to 
Coleridge. The result was a misunderstanding and a breach 
in the relations of the two friends for upwards of a year and 
a half. In May 1812, when Wordsworth was in London, 
they were reconciled through the good offices of Henry 
Crabb Robinson, an admirer of Wordsworth, and from about 
this time one of his most constant correspondents and visitors. 
But although the mutual affection of two such men was too 
deeply founded to be uprooted by any shock, their ideas and 
opinions, as well as their ways of life, had developed in direc- 
tions too widely apart, and their natural differences of character 
had become too stereotyped, for any complete recovery of the 
' glad, confident morning ' of their intimacy. Wordsworth, like 
Southey, continued to show unstinted kindness to Coleridge's 
family ; and Coleridge continued to feel and express his old ven- 
eration and love of Wordsworth. But with his perfect loyalty 
and his tenacity of character, Wordsworth had a certain lack 
of sympathy, a certain aloofness in his self-dependence, which 
in this middle period of his life was in danger of becoming a 
somewhat Puritanical self-esteem, owing, as his friends saw, to 
the remoteness of his daily life from the give-and-take of 
ordinary society, and, we may add, to his struggle with 
poverty and the slow progress of his poetry in the estimation 
of the public. 1 In his later years, while retaining the austerity 

1 Space forbids me to enter into details, but among the many indications upon 
which the above passage is founded I will refer the reader to the following passages 
quoted in Prof. Knight's Life of Wordsworth, vol. n. (x.) : p. 178 (from Crabb 
Robinson's Diary, May 9, 1812: 'A call on C. Lamb. . . . He is of opinion that 
any attempt to bring W. and C. together must prove ineffectual. Perhaps he 
thinks it mischievous. He thinks \V. cold. It may be so. Healthful coolness is 
preferable to the heat of disease.' Ibid. p. 186. Letter of Mrs. Clarkson, March 29, 
1813 : ' . . . Indeed, I see in the effects of these losses [of the two children] upon 
them [the "Wordsworths] the evil of living so entirely out of the world, especially in 
that country. . . . Those mountains give a character of permanency to everything 



INTRODUCTION xlvii 

of his inmost character, Wordsworth was sensibly mellowed 
by a peaceful and honoured life. 

His release from financial anxiety came in March 1813, 
when through the kindness of Lord Lonsdale he was appointed 
Distributor of Stamps for Westmoreland. He was never 
wealthy, or even what most people of his rank in society would 
consider 'comfortably oft' 1 ; but both he and his family were 
completely indifferent to luxury. His official work was light, 
though to the poet, when he undertook it, the responsibility 
seemed sufficiently serious ; l it was lightened too by the 
services of his devoted clerk, John Carter, who soon shared the 
labours of other members of the household as the poet's 
amanuensis, who read the proofs of his later publications, 
and finally became his literary executor and editor of the 
posthumous Prelude. About the time of his obtaining the 
Distributorship, Wordsworth settled at Rydal Mount, which 
was his home for the remaining thirty-seven years of his life. 

These years were marked by no striking events. The great 
poem, which The Recluse was to have been, was never com- 
pleted. As Wordsworth's reputation gradually established 
itself not only among a few enlightened men of letters, like 
Leigh Hunt, Hazlitt, and de Quincey, but among the in- 
telligent part of the younger generation at large, so his 

else. . . . Our friends have no acquaintances. They have neighbours, but in 
their present circumstances they need the sight of equals who are not intimate 
friends. ... In the end, no doubt, this acquisition to their income will be a great 
good it will enable them to obey the generous impulses of their nature. It will 
relieve the females from a great deal of hard work, which they have performed 
most cheerfully, but which has certainly at times been prejudicial to them. It will 
raise them in the opinion of the world, and increase their usefulness, and what is 
the greatest good of all, it will release Wordsworth's mind from all anxiety about 
money.' Ibid. 212, C. R.'s Diary, March 24, 1813: 'W. will now be independent 
of the world, and may devote himself to poetry without any of the cares and 
anxieties of penury, and I have no doubt his moral feelings will be improved by the 
improvement of his condition. He will now move with the world, and lose those 
peculiarities of feeling which solitude and discontent engender ; while all that is 
beautifully individual and original, in the frame of his mind and character, will 
display itself with ease and grace.' 
i Knight's Life, vol. n. (x.) pp. 210, 211. 



xlviii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

creative power gradually waned. With exceptions numerous 
and brilliant enough to furnish a second-rate poet with 
title-deeds to a holding on England's Parnassus, his poetry 
becomes more critical and didactic, less original, less powerful, 
less compelling. His interest in large political questions 
increased rather than abated, and he maintained throughout 
his absolute sincerity and high ideals. But when his early 
hopes, engendered by the French Revolution, had been killed 
by the Reign of Terror and the Napoleonic Military Empire, 
the reaction of his moral sense threw him into a strong 
distrust of reform. And he had as much as any poet an 
imaginative sympathy with the past, which strengthened 
this political timidity. Thus a large part of his later 
writings, both poems and letters, is devoted to solemn warn- 
ings, sometimes wise, always sensible, but often prejudiced, 
against such measures as the Reform Bill of 1832 or the 
proposed abolition of capital punishment, or to the support 
of historic institutions like the Church of England, the 
history of which he traced with loving ardour, but with 
seldom - inspired verse, in the long series of Ecclesiastical 
Sonnets. 

As the years went on, Wordsworth's acquaintances and 
admirers grew to a large number. He had never been a 
recluse, but he became more sociable. His nature was not 
one, however, to expand readily into new intimacies, or even 
to maintain a constant communication with the old. He 
hated the manual labour of writing. His letters are not 
numerous, nor, for the most part, intimate in tone. They 
are long and devoid of sparkle, but full of strong sense and 
nobility of thought, expressed in deliberate but unaffected 
language. His published prose works are marked by the 
same characteristics, heightened on occasion to impassioned 
eloquence. As a rule he preferred the society of women 
to that of men. This was partly due to habit, partly, no 



INTRODUCTION xlix 

doubt, to the greater readiness of women to appreciate with- 
out criticism, but chiefly, perhaps, to a certain austerity 
and unblemished simplicity of heart which are rarely at 
home in men's companies. His closest friends, outside his 
immediate family circle, were Sir George and Lady Beaumont. 
Sir George was a cultivated and amiable patron of the arts, 
himself considered one of the best amateur landscape painters 
of his day, who was first attracted to Wordsworth by his 
poetry, and played the Ma?cenas in a most practical way 
by giving Wordsworth a small property at the foot of 
Skiddaw, lending him a farmhouse on his property at 
Coleorton in Leicestershire, and finally at his death in 1827 
leaving him an annuity of WO : both he and his wife became 
much attached to the Wordsworths, who reciprocated their 
affectionate esteem. 1 Henry Crabb Robinson, mentioned 
above, and Miss Ida Fen wick, to whom the garrulous but 
invaluable Fenwick Notes were dictated, were most intimate 
with Wordsworth in later years. For Southey he felt an 
increasing regard as common anxieties and similar religious 
and political views drew them together; he never thought 
very highly of Southey's poetry. Scott's poetry was in much 
the same case, and the novels, though he acknowledged their 
fertility and ease, interested him little more than, in mature 
life, did other works of mere observation and romance : but 
Scott's manly and generous character charmed him and 
evoked two of the most beautiful of his later poems. 2 For 

1 To Lady Beaumont was addressed the long letter (Memoirs of William Words- 
worth, by Christopher Wordsworth, vol. i. p. 331) which gives the best account 
of "Wordsworth's lofty conception of his calling and his self-confidence in the 
face of detraction. Hearing of Sir George Beaumont's death, Scott wrote of 
him in his diary : ' By far the most sensible and pleasing man I ever knew kind, 
too, in his nature, and generous gentle in society, and of those mild manners 
which tend to soften the causticity of the general London tone of persiflage and 
personal satire. . . . He was the great friend of "Wordsworth, and understood his 
poetry, which is a rare thing, for it is more easy to see his peculiarities than to 
feel his great merit, or follow his abstract ideas.' Lockhart's Life of Scott, ch. Ixxiii. 

2 Yarrow Revisited and Sonnet on the Departure of Sir Walter Scott from 
Abbotsford, for Naples. See vol. n. pp. 166-169. 

ld 



1 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

his old friends of Quantock days, Tom Poole and Charles 
Lamb, he retained a constant regard ; and among younger 
men who enjoyed his intimacy may be mentioned John Wilson, 
who under his pseudonym of Christopher North was one of 
the first to praise him in the press as well as to imitate 
him in his own verses, Edward Quillinan, who married his 
daughter Dora in 1841, Thomas Arnold, the famous Head- 
master of Rugby, and Christopher Wordsworth, afterwards 
Bishop of Lincoln, his nephew and first biographer. 

In 1842 he resigned his post as Distributor of Stamps 
in favour of his son William, who had for eleven years acted 
as his deputy, and in the same year, on the recommendation 
of Sir Robert Peel, prompted by Gladstone, he was granted 
a pension of 300 a year on the Civil List. Three years 
before, he had received the degree of D.C.L. at the University 
of Oxford, amid the acclamations of the theatre ; and in 
1843, on the death of Southey, he accepted the Laureateship, 
on the understanding that he should not be called upon 
to harness himself to the work of writing Odes to order. 
The death of his daughter, Dora Quillinan, in 1847, was a 
blow from which he never recovered ; for though to the 
world in general he seemed, and was, somewhat self-centred 
and reserved, his affection for the inmates of his heart was 
deep and even passionate. 1 In March 1850, just before his 
eightieth birthday, he took a chill from sitting on a stone 
seat to watch the sun set ; on April 23rd he quietly passed 
away. He was buried in a corner the ' PoeVs Corner ' 
of Grasmere churchyard, close to the Rotha, which flows 
through his well-loved Grasmere and Rydal Water. 

1 Cp. a letter of Dorothy Wordsworth to Miss Pollard in 1793 (Knight's Life, 
vol. i. (ix.) p. 80. '[Christopher] is steady and sincere in his attachments. 
William has both these virtues in an eminent degree ; and a sort of violence of 
affection, if I may so term it, which demonstrates itself every moment of the day, 
when the objects of his affection are present with him, in a thousand almost 
imperceptible attentions to their wishes, in a sort of restless watchfulness which I 
know not how to describe, a tenderness that never sleeps, and at the same time 
such a delicacy of manners as I have observed in few men.' 



INTRODUCTION li 

The principal incidents of the poet's quiet life, besides 
those already mentioned, were his wanderings with his wife, 
his sister, and at times his daughter or a friend like Coleridge, 
in Scotland, England, Italy, or by the Rhine. His own 
passion for wandering is easily felt, not merely in the great 
quantity of f itinerary ' poems which he has left, but in the 
sympathetic and somewhat idealising way in which such 
characters as the 'Wanderer' of The Excursion and the 
'Old Cumberland Beggar 1 are drawn. 1 At the outset of this 
essay, attention was drawn to the combination of matter-of- 
factness^ and of imaginative insight, which seemed to con- 
stitute the greatest of all his powers to draw and to hold 
readers whom dullness or shallowness would weary, and a 
marked aloofness or eccentricity might very probably repel. 
Another combination of only second value, and perhaps even 
more easily appreciated, at least by those to whom Words- 
worth's mysticism is a drawback, is one which is peculiarly 
characteristic of the English temperament. Vagrancy and 
domesticity how few Englishmen with health and strength 
and opportunity do not show these two qualities at every 
turn ? Wordsworth possessed them both in the high degree 
of a poet, and gave them both a poet's clearest utterance. 
The essence of vagrancy appears to be a passion for free 
motion among the myriad seemingly untrammelled lives of 
bird and beast and stream and plant, under no narrower roof 
than the universal sky. It can be summed up as effectually 
as need be in the phrase that is always on our tongue * the 
open air. 1 And no poet more freely or vividly gives us 
the sensations of this ' open air ' than Wordsworth. At the 
same time, from no other poet do we get a stronger impression 
of tenacity in clinging to that little spot of earth which 



1 Cp. also The Prelude, xiii. 120-185. 

2 The expression is Hazlitt's ; but he is quoting or giving the meaning of 
words of Coleridge. 



lii WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

happens to be ' home,' and to the small circle of activities 
and affections which mark off by an indefinable but un- 
deniable boundary the ' own ' peculiar interest of each separate 
man or woman. This it is which more perhaps than any 
other quality gives Wordsworth's poetry its direct appeal 
to the ' general heart of man,' which is in nothing so universal 
as in the consciousness of personality. 

Much more might be said, and much has been well said by 
good critics, on various aspects of Wordsworth's poetry. In 
spite of the bitter antagonism which it provoked, especially 
in Jeffrey, the pungent but narrow Johnson of Edinburgh 
criticism, it was not exceptionally slow in winning its way 
into the front rank of public estimation : and ' Time, who 
brings all things to the proof,' shows no disposition, and is not 
likely, to destroy a reputation which never owed anything 
to sensational tricks or happy accidents. By this time, in 
fact, there is scarcely any one of catholic taste and competent 
knowledge who would not name Wordsworth among the six 
or seven greatest of English poets. Enough has, however, 
been said, if it has been rightly said, by way of an intro- 
duction to his poetry for those who are intending for the 
first time to give that poetry the keen and receptive attention 
which is the condition of obtaining a real and permanent 
enjoyment from all great literature. But as it is the privilege 
of poetry to say in a few words what prose often fails to 
express in many, may I end with two quotations ? The 
first, from Matthew Arnold's well-known Memorial Verses, 
records the debt of those for whom the most precious gift 
of the poet is to lighten ' the burthen of the mystery . . . 
of all this unintelligible world ' 

He laid us, as we lay at birth, 
On the cool, flowery lap of earth ; 
Smiles broke from us, and we had ease ; 
The hills were round us, and the breeze 



INTRODUCTION liii 

Went o'er the sun-lit fields again ; 
Our foreheads felt the wind and rain. 
Our youth return'd ; for there was shed 
On spirits that had long been dead, 
Spirits dried up and closely furl'd, 
The freshness of the early world. 

The second, the closing lines of The Prelude, shall give us 
the stronger and more buoyant spirit of Wordsworth himself. 
He is addressing Coleridge, the 'friend and brother of his 
soul, 1 and speaking of their joint labours for the happiness 
of their fellow-men 

Prophets of Nature, we to them will speak 

A lasting inspiration, sanctified 

By reason, blest by faith : what we have loved, 

Others will love, and we will teach them how ; 

Instruct them how the mind of man becomes 

A thousand times more beautiful than the earth 

On which he dwells, above this frame of things 

(Which, 'mid all revolution in the hopes 

And fears of men, doth still remain unchanged) 

In beauty exalted, as it is itself 

Of quality and fabric more divine. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



1784 

COMPOSED PUBLISHBD 

1784-85 1851 Written as a School Exercise at Hawkshead. 



1786 
(?) 1786 



1786 

1815 -f Extract from the Conclusion of a Poem composed in 

\ anticipation of leaving School. 
1802 Written in very Early Youth. 



1787 

1787 1787 Sonnet on seeing Miss H. M. Williams weep. 

1787-89 1793 An Evening Walk. 



1789 
1789 



1789 

1798 Lines written while sailing in a Boat at Evening. 
1798 Remembrance of Collins. 



1791 

1791-92 1793 Descriptive Sketches. 

( 1842^| 
1791-94 i Part in }- Guilt and Sorrow. 

I 1798J 



Before May 1792 



1792 

1883 Sonnet ( ' Sweet was the walk '). 



Begun before "\ 
Oct. 1787 I 
Finished not f 
before 1795 J 
(?) 1795 
1795-96 



1795 



1798 Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree. 

1795 The Birth of Love. 
1842 The Borderers. 



lv 



Ivi 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



1797 



PUBLISHED 

1800 The Reverie of Poor Susan. 



COMPOSED 

1797 

Probably 1797 1 14 D gg 7 JThe Convict. 

1797-98 1800 The Old Cumberland Beggar. 



25 Jan. 1798 
1798 
1798 

March 1798 
18 March 1798 
Begun 19 Mar.^J 

Begun 20 Apr I 

iiao ) 

1798 
1798 
1798 
1798 
1798 

1798 
1798 
1798 

13 July 1798 
1798 
1798 
1798 



1798 

1815 A Night Piece. 

1798 We are Seven. 

1798 Anecdote for Fathers. 

1798 To my Sister. 

1800 ' A whirl-blast from behind the hill.' 

im The Thom . 

Igl9 Peter Bell . A Tale . 

1798 Lines written in Early Spring. 

1798 Her Eyes are Wild. 

1798 Goody Blake and Harry Gill. 

1798 Simon Lee. 

1798 Expostulation and Reply. 

The Tables Turned. 

1798 The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian AVoman. 

1798 The Last of the Flock. 

1798 The Idiot Boy. 

1798 Lines composed a few miles above Tintera Abbey. 

1798 Animal Tranquillity and Decay. 

1800 There was a Boy. 

1842 Address to the Scholars of the Village School of - 



1799 

iTon iQAftf Written in Germany, on one of the coldest days of 

W \ the Century. 

1799 1800 ' Strange fits of passion have I known.' 

1799 1800 'She dwelt among the untrodden ways.' 

(?) 1799 1807 'I travelled among unknown men.' 

1799 1800 'Three years she grew in sun and shower.' 

1799 1800 'A slumber did my spirit seal.' 

1799 1800 A Poet's Epitaph. 

1799 1800 To a Sexton. 

1799 1800 The Danish Boy. A Fragment. 

1799 1800 Lucy Gray ; or, Solitude. 

1799 1800 Ruth. 

1799 1850 The Prelude (begun). 

1799 1800 Nutting. 

f Influence of Natural Objects in calling forth and 

1799 1809 < strengthening the Imagination in Boyhood and 

L Early Youth. 

1799 1800 Matthew. 

1799 1800 The Two April Mornings. 

1799 1800 The Fountain. A Conversation. 

Dec. 1799 1800 To M. H. 

(?) 1799 1845 The Simplon Pass. 

1799 or 1800 1800 Ellen Irwin ; or, the Braes of Kirtle. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



Ivii 



1800 



COMPOSED 

Probably in or \ 
before 1800 J 


PUBLISHED 

1807 The Affliction of Margaret . 


Probably in or \ 
before 1800 J 


1842 The Forsaken. 


J ,n. or Feb. 1800 


1800 Hart-Leap Well. 


About Feb. 1800 


1800 The Brothers. 


iflfln 


1 800 { ^^ e *^ e Shepherd-boys ; or, Dungeon-Ghyll Force. 


J.OUU 


\ A Pastoral. 


1800 | 


21 J 180o) The Farmer of Ti l8bur 7 Vale. 


1800 


1800 ' It was an April morning : fresh and clear.' 


Before 17 Aug. \ 
1800 / 


1807 The Seven Sisters. 


Aug. 1800 


1800 To Joanna. 


29, 30 Aug. 1800-1 
1802 J 


1815 ' When, to the attractions of the busy world.' 


1800 


1800 'There is an Eminence, of these our hills.' 


1800 


1800 The Waterfall and the Eglantine. 


1800 


1800 The Oak and the Broom. A Pastoral. 


1800 


1800 ' 'Tis said that some have died for love.' 


1800 


1800 The Childless Father. 


1800 


1800 The Pet Lamb. A Pastoral. 


1800 


1800 Song for the Wandering Jew. 


Probably 1800 


1800 Rural Architecture. 


Probably 1800 


1800 Andrew Jones. 


1800 


1800 The Two Thieves ; or, The Last Stage of Avarice. 


1800 


1800 A Character. 


1800 


18nn /Inscription for the spot where the Hermitage stood on 
\ St. Herbert's Island, Derwent-water. 


1800 


1800 / Written with a Pencil upon a Stone in the Wall of the 
\ House (an Out-house) on the Island of Grasmere. 




fWritten with a Slate Pencil upon a Stone, the 


1800 


1800 -! largest of a heap lying near a deserted Quarry upon 




t one of the Islands at Rydal. 


10 Oct. 1800 


1800 ' A narrow girdle of rough stones and crags.' 


Oct. -Dec. 1800 


1800 Michael. A Pastoral Poem. 


(?) 1800 


1888 The Recluse. Book I. 


"Dwy-vK Vv*\+iT/5*^v^ "\ 




J rOiJ. QcCWctJD. 1 

Dec. 1800 and \ 
Oct. 1801 J 


1807 Louisa. After accompanying her on a mountain 
Excursion. 


Prob. between"] 
Dec. 1800 and }- 
Oct. 1801 J 


1807 / T O a Young Lady, who had been reproached for 
\ taking Long Walks in the Country. 


Probably 1800 


1851 ' On nature's invitation do I come.' 


Probably 1800 


1851 'Bleak season was it, turbulent and bleak.' 




1801 


1801 


1807 The Sparrow's nest. 


1801 


1815 'Pelion and Ossa flourish side by side.' 


Finished 5 Dec. \ 
1801 J 


1820 The Prioress' Tale (from Chaucer). 


Dec 1801 


1841 The Cuckoo and the Nightingale (from Chaucer). 


1801 


1841 Troilus and Cresida (from Chaucer). 


22 Dec. 1801- 1 




9 March 1802 J 


1814 The Excursion. Part of Books I. and II. 


26 Dec. 1801 


1850 Part of The Prelude. 


1801 or 1806 


1820 ' There is a little unpretending Rill.' 



Iviii 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



1802 



COMPOSED 

11. 12 March 1802 

12. 13 March 1802 

13. 14 March 1802 
14 March 1802 

16, 17 March 1802 

23-26 March 1802 

26 March 1802 

12 April 1802 

16 April 1802 

18 April 1802 
20 April 1802 
27, 28 April 1802 
28 April 1802 
30 April 1802 
1 May 1802 
3 May-4 July \ 
1802 / 

9-11 May 1802 

21 May 1802 
Finished 29 May) 
1802 / 

8 June 1802 
31 July 1802 
August 1802 
August 1802 

7 August 1802 

15 August 1802 

August 1802 

Prob. Aug. 1802 

Prob. Aug. 1802 

Prob. Aug. 1802 

30 Aug. 1802 

September 1802 

September 1802 

September 1802 

1802 

Probably 1802 
Probably 1802 
Probably 1802 

4 Oct. 1802 

1802 
1802 
1802 
1802 
Perhaps 1802 



PUBLISHED 

1807 The Sailor's Mother. 



1807 
1807 
1807 
1807 
1807 
1807 
1807 



Alice Fell ; or, Poverty. 



To a Butterfly ( ' Stay near me '). 

The Emigrant Mother. 

To the Cuckoo ('O blithe new-comer'). 

' My heart leaps up when I behold.' 

' Among all lovely things my Love had been.' 



i an-7 / Written in March, while resting on the Bridge at the 
- 8U ' \ foot of Brother's Water. 
1807 The Redbreast chasing the Butterfly. 
1807 To a butterfly (' I 've watched you now '). 
1897 The Tinker. 
1807 Foresight. 

1807 To the Small Celandine ( ' Pansies, lilies '). 
1807 To the same Flower ('Pleasures newly found'). 

1807 Resolution and Independence. 

i ei K / Stanzas written in my Pocket-copy of Thomson's 

LD \ 'Castle of Indolence.' 
1807 'I grieved for Buonaparte, with a vain.' 

1815 A Farewell. 

1807 ' The Sun has long been set.' 

1807 Composed upon Westminster Bridge. 

1807 Composed by the Sea-side, near Calais. 

1807 Calais, August, 1802. 

i an7 / Composed near Calais, on the Road leading to Ardres, 
18U ' \ August 7, 1802. 

1803 Calais, August 15, 1802. 

1807 ' It is a beauteous evening, calm and free. ' 

1807 On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic. 

1807 The King of Sweden. 

1803 To Toussaint L'Ouverture. 

1807 Composed in the Valley near Dover. 

1803 September 1, 1802. 

1807 September, 1802, near Dover. 

1807 Written in London, September, 1802. 

1807 London, 1802. 

1807 ' Great men have been among us ; hands that penned. ' 

1803 ' It is not to be thought of that the Flood.' 

1803 ' When I have borne in memory.' 
i SAT / Composed after a Journey across the Hambleton Hills, 
- 8UY \ Yorkshire. 

1807 To H. C. Six years old. 

1807 To the Daisy ( ' In youth from rock to rock I went '). 

1807 To the same Flower ('With little here to do or see '). 

1807 To the Daisy ( ' Bright Flower ' ). 

1807 'With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the sky.' 



1803 

Jan. 1803 1850 Part of The Prelude. 

1803 1807 The Green Linnet. 

1803 1807 ' It is no Spirit who from heaven hath flown .' 

1803 1807 ' Who fancied what a pretty sight. ' 

1803 1815 Yew-trees. 

18 Sept. 1803 1807 Sonnet. Composed at Castle. 

25 Sept. 1803 1815 'Fly, some kind Harbinger, to Grasmere-dale.' 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



lix 



COMPOSED 

Oct. 1803 
Oct. 1803 

Oct. 1803 

Oct. 1803 
Oct. 1803 
Oct. 1803 



PUBLISHED 

IQAT /October, 1803 ('One might believe that natural 

lb " 7 \ miseries'). 

1807 /October, 1803 ('These times strike monied worldlings 

\ with dismay '). 

i arw / October, 1803 ( ' When looking on the present face of 
8U7 \ things'). 
1807 To the Men of Kent. 
1807 In the Pass of Killicranky. 
1803 Anticipation. October, 1803. 
10 Oct. ) Sonnet ('I find it written of Simonides'). Probably 



1842 
1807 
1807 



1803 
1803 

Nov. 1803 
Between Sept. "\ 
1803V 

and 11 Apr. 1805 J 

Between Sept. \ 

1803V 

and May 1805 J 

Between Sept. \ 

1803V 

and May 1805J 

Between 1803 \ 

and 1805 / 

Between 1803 \ 

and 1805 J 

(Partly 
1807 
Partly 



Lines on the expected Invasion. 
To a Highland Girl. 
Yarrow Unvisited. 



1807 Rob Roy's Grave. 



1807 Stepping Westward. 



1807 



1807 
1807 



I 

Begun probably \ 
1803 / 

Begun 1803^ 

Finished long V 

after J 

Probably 1803 

Probably 1803 
Before 1804 



1827 
1842 

1827 

1807 

1807 
1807 



The Matron of Jedborough and her Husband. 

Glen Almain. 

The Solitary Reaper. 

To the Sons of Burns, after visiting the Grave of their 
Father. 

At the Grave of Burns, 1803. 

Address to Kilchurn Castle. 

' ' England ! the time is come when thou shouldst 

wean.' 

'There is a bondage worse, far worse, to bear.' 
The Affliction of Margaret 



Feb. -April 1804 

16 Sept. 1804 

Oct. -Dec. 1804 

1804 

1804 J 



1804 
1804 
1804 
1804 

1804 



1804 

1850 The Prelude. Books m.-vii. 

1815 Address to my Infant Daughter, Dora. 

1850 The Prelude. Books viir.-xi. 

1842 At Applethwaite, near Keswick, 1804. 
26 Oct. \ French Revolution, as it appeared to Enthusiasts at 

1809 / its Commencement. 
1804 1887 Inscription for a Summer House. 

1807 ' I wandered lonely as a cloud.' 

1820 Repentance. A Pastoral Ballad. 

1807 ' She was a Phantom of delight. ' 

1807 The Kitten and the Falling Leaves. 

1Qft7 /The Small Celandine ('There is a flower, the lesser 

8U '\ Celandine'). 
1804 1820 Vaudracour and Julia. 



April-May 1805 
After July 20, \ 
in 1805 J 



1805 

1850 The Prelude. Books 
1807 Fidelity. 



lx 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



COMPOSED PUBLISHED 

i QAK i OAT / Elegiac Stanzas, suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle 
- 807 I in a Storm. 


1805 


1Q . /Elegiac Verses in memory of my Brother, John 
12 (. Wordsworth. 


1805 


1807 From the Italian of Michael Angelo i. 


Probably 1805 


1807 From the Italian of Michael Angelo n. 


1805 


1807 From the Italian of Michael Angelo in. 


1805 


1807 Incident characteristic of a Favourite Dog. 


1805 


1807 Tribute to the Memory of the same Dog. 


1805 


1807 Ode to Duty. 


1805 


1815 The Cottager to her Infant. By my Sister. 


1805 


1819 The "Waggoner. 


1805 


iQn-r /To a Skylark ('Up with me! up with me into the 
1807 \ clouds!'). 


1805 


i OIK, (To the Daisy ('Sweet Flower! belike one day to 
1815 H have'). 




1806 


Dec. 18051 
or Jan. 1806 / 


1807 Character of the Happy Warrior. 


July 1806 


1889 To the Evening Star. 


Sept. 1806 


1807 Lines composed at Grasmere ('Loud is the Vale ! '). 


Nov. 1806 


i onn ( November 1806 ('Another year! another deadly 
807 t blow!'). 


Nov. 1806 


1807 To the Spade of a Friend. 


IRftfi 


1815 /Address to a Child, during a boisterous winter 


-LOvU 


\ Evening. By my Sister. 


Before Dec. \ 
in 1806 / 


1807 A Complaint. 


Before Dec. \ 
in 1806 / 


1807 'O Nightingale ! thou surely art.' 


Before Dec. \ 
in 1806 / 


1807 Power of Music. 


Before Dec. \ 
in 1806 / 


1807 Star-Gazers. 


Before Dec. \ 
in 1806 J 


1807 Stray Pleasures. 


Before Dec. in \ 
1806 J 


1807 The Horn of Egremont Castle. 


Before Dec. in \ 
1806 / 


1807 ' Yes, it was the mountain Echo.' 


Dec. 1806 


1807 ' How sweet it is when mother Fancy rocks.' 


Prob. Dec. 1806 


1807 The Blind Highland Boy. 


Before Dec. 1806 


1807 Admonition. 


Before Dec. 1806 


1807 ' "Beloved Vale !" I said, "when I shall con." ' 


Before Dec. 1806 


1807 ' Methought I saw the footsteps of a throne.' 


Before Dec. 1806 


1807 ' Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room.' 


Before Dec. 1806 


i SAT X ' O Mountain Stream ! the Shepherd and his Cot ' 
iou ' / (Sonnet xiv. of the River Duddon). 


Before Dec. 1806 


1807 Personal Talk. 


Before Dec. 1806 


1807 ' The world is too much with us ; late and soon.' 


After 4 Oct. 1802 


1807 ' Those words were uttered as in pensive mood.' 


After 4 Oct. 1802 


1807 To Sleep. (Three Sonnets.) 


After 4 Oct. 1802 


1807 To the Memory of Raisley Calvert. 


After 4 Oct. 1802 
After 4 Oct. 1802 


1807 ' Where lies the Land to which yon Ship must go ? ' 
1807 ' With Ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh.' 


(?) 1806 


1815 ' Brook ! whose society the Poet seeks.' 




1807 


1806 or 1807 


1807 Thought of a Briton on the Subjugation of Switzerland. 


Jan. or Feb. 1807 


1807 To Lady Beaumont. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



Ixi 



COMPOSED 

Feb. 1807 

March 1807 

Apr. or May 1807 

After 7 Aug. 1807 

Sept. 1807 

1807 

1807 

1807 

1807-1810 



PUBLISHED 

1807 A Prophecy. February, 1807. 

1807 To Thomas Clarkson. 

1815 The Mother's Return. By my Sister. 

1819 Composed by the side of Grasmere Lake. 



1815 

1807 
1807 
1807 
1815 
1807 



{The Force of Prayer ; or, The Founding of Bolton 
Priory. 
Gipsies. 

Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle. 
'Though narrow be that old Man's cares, and near.' 
The White Doe of .Rylstone. 
Admonition. 



Apr. 1808 
Nov. or Dec. 1808 



1808 

1839 George and Sarah Green. 

f Composed while the Author was engaged in writing 
1815-J a Tract, occasioned by the Convention of Cintra. 

I (Two Sonnets.) 



After Feb. 


1809 


1815 


After Mar. 


1809 


1815 


After Mar. 


1809 


1815 


After May 


1809 


1815 




1809 


/26 Oct. \ 

\ 1809 J 




1809 


1809 




1809 


/ 16 Nov. \ 
\ 1809 / 




1809 


("21 Dec. ) 
\ 1809 / 




1809 


1809 




1809 


1809 




1809 


1809 




1809 


("28 Dec. \ 




1809 


1809} 




1809 


/4Jan. \ 
\ 1810 J 




1809 


1810 { 



1809 



22 Feb. 



1810 / 
1809 1810 { 

1809 1814 

Probably 1809 1815 

Probably 1809 1815 



1809 

'Hail, Zaragoza ! if with unwet eye.' 
' Call not the royal Swede unfortunate.' 
'Look now on that Adventurer who hath paid.' 
' Brave Schill ! by death delivered, take thy flight.' 

Hofer. 

'Advance come forth from thy Tyrolean ground.' 

' Alas ! what boots the long laborious quest ? ' 

Feelings of the Tyrolese. 

'And is it among rude untutored Dales.' 

' O'er the wide earth, on mountain and on plain.' 

On the final Submission of the Tyrolese. 

'There never breathed a man who, when his life.' 

(Epitaphs translated from Chiabrera, iv.) 
'Destined to war from very infancy.' (Ep. from 

Chiabrera, vi.) 
'Not without heavy grief of heart did He.' (Ep. 

from Chiabrera, vm. ) 
'Pause, courteous Spirit! Baldi supplicates.' (Ep. 

from Chiabrera, ix.) 
'Perhaps some needful service of the State.' (Ep. 

from Chiabrera, n.) 
'O Thou who movest onward with a mind.' (Ep. 

from Chiabrera, in.) 
Part of The Excursion. 

' Say, what is honour ? 'Tis the finest sense.' 
'Is there a power that can sustain and cheer.' 



1810 

1810 1815 ' Ah ! where is Palafox ? Nor tongue nor pen.' 

1810 1815 ' In due observance of an ancient rite.' 

1810 1815 Feelings of a noble Biscayan at one of those Funerals. 

1810 1815 Indignation of a high-minded Spaniard. 

1810 1815 ' O'erweening Statesmen have full long relied. ' 

1810 1815 The Oak of Guernica. 



Ixii 



COMPOSED 

1810 

Probably 1810 
About 1810 

1810 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

PUBLISHED 

1814 Part of The Excursion. 

1815 ' Avaunt all specious pliancy of mind.' 
1842 Maternal Grief. 

i QI K ( On a celebrated Event in Ancient History. 
1815 \ Sonnets.) 



(Two 



1810 or 1811 
1811 
1811 
1811 

Prob. Spring \ 
1811 J 
Aug. 1811 
Aug. 1811 
Aug. 1811) 
or earlier. / 
November 1811 \ 
or earlier / 

November 1811 

19 Nov. 1811 

1808-1811 

1811 

1811 



1811 

1815 The French and the Spanish Guerillas. 

1815 Spanish Guerillas. 

1815 ' The power of Armies is a visible thing.' 

1815 'Here pause : the Poet claims at least this praise.' 

1815 Characteristics of a Child three years old. 

1842 Epistle to Sir George Howland Beaumont, Bart. 
1827 Departure from the Vale of Grasmere, 1803. 
i si P; / Upon the sight of a beautiful Picture, painted by Sir 
10 \ G. H. Beaumont, Bart. 

1820 To the Poet, John Dyer. 

1815 /Written at the request of Sir George Beaumont, Bart., 

\ and in his Name, for an Urn. 
1815 For a Seat in the Groves at Coleorton. 
1815 In the Grounds of Coleorton. 
1815 In a Garden of the Same. 
1814 Part of The Excursion. 



1812 

o-i r\ L 1 01 a 1Q1K ( Composed on the Eve of the Marriage of a Friend in 

31 Oct. 1812 1815 | the Vale of Grasmere. 

1812 1814 Part of The Excursion. 

1812 1820 Song for the Spinning Wheel. 

(?) 1812 1819 ' Grief, thou hast lost an ever-ready friend.' 

(?)1812 1823 Water-Fowl. 

Probably 1812 1896 Through Cumbrian Wilds in many a mountain cave. 

Perhaps 1812 1896 My Son ! behold the Tide already spent. 

1813 

1813 1815 View from the top of Black Comb. 

i QI i i ei K / Written with a Slate Pencil on a Stone, on the side of 

10 \ the Mountain of Black Comb. 
November 1813 1815 November, 1813. 

1813 1814 Part of The Excursion. 



1814 
13 Nov. 1814 

1814 
1814 
1814 

Perhaps 1814 
Perhaps 1814 

Perhaps 1814 



1814 

1814 The Excursion (finished). 

ieiK/ Lines written on a Blank Leaf in a Copy of The 
10 \ Excursion. 

1815 Laodamia. 

1815 ' From the dark chambers of dejection freed.' 

1815 Yarrow Visited, September, 1814. 

1820 Composed at Cora Linn. 

1820 The Brownie's Cell. 

i s<?7 / Effusion in the Pleasure-ground on the banks of the 

iox ' t Bran, near Dunkeld. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



Ixiii 



1815 



COMPOSED PUBLISHED 

December 1815 1816 September, 1815. 


December 1815 


1816 November 1. 


December 1815 


i ai ft /To B. R. Hay don ('High is our calling, Friend! 
Lb \ Creative Art'). 


1815 


1820 Artegal and Elidure. 


After June 1812 


1815 ' Surprised by joy impatient as the Wind.' 


? 


1815 ' Even as a dragon's eye that feels the stress.' 


? 


1815 ' Hail, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour ! ' 


? 


1815 'Mark the concentred hazels that enclose.' 


? 


1815 ' The fairest, brightest, hues of either fade.' 


? 


1815 'The Shepherd, looking eastward, softly said.' 


? 


1815 'Weak is the will of Man, his judgment blind.' 




1816 


1815 or 1816 


1816 Ode. 1815. 


January 1816 


1 81 fi -f Ode. The Morning of the Day appointed for a 
LD \ General Thanksgiving, January 18, 1816. 


January 1816 


1816 Ode, 1814. 


Prob. Jan. 1816 


1816 Ode ( ' Who rises on the banks of Seine'). 


Jan. or Feb. 1816 


1816 Siege of Vienna raised by John Sobieski. 


February 1816 


1816 Invocation to the Earth, February, 1816. 


February 1816 


1816 The French Army in Russia, 1812-13. 


February 1816 


1816 On the same Occasion. 


February 1816 


1816 Occasioned by the Battle of Waterloo. (Two Sonnets.) 


Prob. Feb. 1816 


1827 ' Emperors and Kings, how oft have temples rung.' 


1816 


i 8<?ft / A Fact, and an Imagination ; or, Canute and Alfred 
* u \ on the Sea-shore. 


1816 


1820 ' A little onward lend thy guiding hand.' 


1816 


1820 Dion. 


1816 


IRifi /Feelings of a French Royalist on the Disinterment of 
\ the Remains of the Duke d'Enghien. 


1816 


i Qor . / To , on her First Ascent to the Summit of 


JLOJ.U 


W \ Helvellyn. 


In or about 1816 


1832 Translation of part of the First Book of the Mneid. 




1817 


1817 


1820 Vernal Ode. 


May 1817 


1820 Ode to Lycoris. May, 1817. 


Summer 1817 


1820 To the Same. 


June 1817 


1820 The Longest Day. Addressed to my Daughter. 


1817 


1820 -f Hint from the Mountains for certain Political Pre- 
\ tenders. 


1817 


1820 Lament of Mary Queen of Scots. 


1817 


1827 Sequel to 'Beggars.' 


1817 


1820 The Pass of Kirkstone. 


I ; 


1818 


1818 


1 an / Composed upon an Evening of extraordinary Splendour 
u I and Beauty. 


1818 


1 9n ( (Five) Inscriptions supposed to be found in and near a 




? \ Hermit's Cell. 


1818 


1820 -f ^ Qe Pilg r i m ' s Dream ; or, The Star and the Glow- 




\ worm. 



Ixiv 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



COMPOSED PUBLISHED 

1818 1819 'Pure element of waters.' 

1818 1819 MalhamCove. 

1818 1819 Gordale. 



Feb. 1819 

Summer 1819 

Sept. 1819 

Sept. 1819 



Not later 1 
than 1819 / 



1819 

1819 Composed during a Storm. 

1820 The Haunted Tree. 
1820 September, 1819. 

1820 Upon the same Occasion. 

1819 'Aerial Rock whose solitary brow.' 

1819 Captivity Mary Queen of Scots. 

101 a /Composed in one of the Valleys of Westmoreland, on 

1819 \ Easter Sunday. 

1 01 o / ' Fallen and diffused into a shapeless heap ' (Sonnet 

La \ xxvii. of The River Duddon). 
1819 'I heard (alas ! 'twas only in a dream).' 
1819 ' I watch, and long have watched, with calm regret.' 
1819 The Wild Duck's Nest. 
1819 To a Snowdrop. 
1819 To the River Derwent. 

1819 Written upon a Blank Leaf in ' The Complete Angler. 

1820 ' When haughty expectations prostrate lie.' 



At intervals dur- \ 
ing many years/ 
Probably \ 
Feb. 1820 / 
1820 
1820 
1820 

1820 

1820 

Probably 1 
Nov. -Dec. 1820 / 
1820-1822 



1820 

1820 Composed on the Banks of a Rocky Stream. 
1820 'The stars are mansions built by Nature's hand.' 
1820 To the Lady Mary Lowther. 

1820 The River Duddon. A Series of Sonnets. 



1820 

1820 
1820 
1822 

1 soft 
" 

1822 



1822 



On the death of His Majesty (George the Third). 

Oxford. May 30, 1820. (Two Sonnets. ) 

June, 1820. 

A Parsonage in Oxfordshire. 

/ ^ n *^ e Detraction which followed the Publication of 
\ a certain Poem. 

The Germans on the Heights of Hochheim. 
( Inside of King's College Chapel, Cambridge. (Three 
\ Sonnets.) 

To Enterprise. 



1820 and 
mostly 1821 

1820 or 1821 
1821 

(?) 1821 



fFeb. 
-^ Mai 



1821 



March > Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820, 
1822J 

1822 Sonnet. Author's Voyage down the Rhine. 
1822 Most of The Ecclesiastical Sonnets. 
1822 -f ^ e Monument commonly called Long Meg and her 
\ Daughters. 



Perhaps Nov. 1 
or Dec. 1822 / 



1822 
1827 'By Moscow self -devoted to a blaze.' 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



Ixv 



1823 

COMPOSED PUBLISHED 

1823 1827 Memory. 

fTo the Lady Fleming, on seeing the Foundation 
1823 1827 -I preparing for the Erection of Rydal Chapel, 

^ Westmoreland. 

1823 1827 On the same Occasion. 

? 1823 'A volant Tribe of Bards on Earth are found.' 

? 1823 ' Not Love, not War, nor the tumultuous swell.' 



Apr. or May 1824 
Summer 1824 

Between August) 
and Oct. 1824 / 

Between August \ 
and Oct. 1824 / 

Prob. Sept. 1824 

Prob. Dec. 1824 

1824 
1824 
1824 
1824 
1824 
1824 



1824 

1827 A Flower Garden at Coleorton Hall, Leicestershire. 
1827 To ( ' Look at the fate of summer flowers '). 

1827 To the Lady E. B. and the Hon. Miss P. 



1827 
1827 { 

1827 { 

1842 

1827 

1827 

1827 

1827 

1827 



To the Torrent at the Devil's Bridge. 

Composed among the Ruins of a Castle in North 

Wales. 
Elegiac Stanzas. Addressed to Sir G. H. B., upon 

the death of his Sister-in-law. 
Cenotaph. 
'How rich that forehead's calm expanse.' 

To ('Let other bards of angels sing'). 

To (' O dearer far than light and life are dear '). 

To , in her Seventieth Year. 

Written in a Blank Leaf of Macpherson's Ossian. 



1825 

1825 

1825 or 1826 



1825 

1827 The Contrast. The Parrot and the Wren. 

i QO-T / To a Sky-Lark ( ' Ethereal minstrel ! Pilgrim of the 

1827 \ sky!'). 

1827 The Pillar of Trajan. 




Some years \ 
after 1822 / 

9 

1 e 



1826 

1835 Ode Composed on May Morning. 

1835 To May. 

1827 ' Ere with cold beads of midnight dew.' 

1827 ' Once I could hail (howe'er serene the sky).' 

1835 'The massy Ways, carried across these heights.' 

1 889 / Composed when a probability existed of our being 

\ obliged to quit Rydal Mount. 

1827 Decay of Piety. 

1827 ' Fair Prime of life ! were it enough to gild. ' 

1827 ' Go back to antique ages, if thine eyes.' 

1827 ' Her only pilot the soft breeze, the boat.' 

1827 'In my mind's eye a Temple, like a cloud.' 

1827 In the Woods of Rydal. 

1827 Recollection of the Portrait of King Henry Eighth. 

1827 Retirement. 

1827 ' Scorn not the Sonnet ; Critic, you have frowned.' 

1827 The Infant M M . 

1827 ' There is a pleasure in poetic pains.' 

1827 To Rotha Q . 

1827 To S. H. 



Ixvi WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

COMPOSED PUBLISHED 

? 1827 To the Cuckoo. 

? 1827 ' When Philoctetes in the Lemnian isle.' 

? 1827 ' While Anna's peers and early playmates tread.' 

? 1827 'Why, Minstrel, these untuneful murmurings.' 

( Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Part n., Nos. xxx., xxxiii., 
After 1821 1827 -I xxxiv. ; Part in., Nos. vii., xi., xii., xx., xxiii., 

^ xxiv., xxv., xxxvi.). 



1827 
Probably 1827 

Probably 1827 
After 1813 



1827 

1827 On seeing a Needlecase in the Form of a Harp. 

io 2 7/ Dedication. To ('Happy the feeling from the 

\ bosom thrown '). 

1827 Conclusion. To . 

1827 ' If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven. 



1828 
1828 
1828 
1828 
1828 
1828-9 

Probably 1828 
Probably 1828 
Probably 1828 
Probably 1828 



1829 or earlier 
1829 
1829 
1829 
1829 
1829 



Nov. 1830 

Nov. 1830 

1830 

1830 

1830 

1830 

1830 

1830 or 1831 



1831 

11 June 1831 
1831 

1831 



1832 
1835 
1829 
1829 
1829 
1835 

1829 
1829 
1842 
1829 



1828 

A Morning Exercise. 

A Jewish Family. 

The Gleaner, suggested by a picture. 

The Triad. 

The Wishing-Gate. 

On the Power of Sound. 

A Gravestone upon the Floor in the Cloisters of 

Worcester Cathedral. 

A Tradition of Oker Hill in Darley Dale, Derbyshire. 
Farewell Lines ('High bliss is only for a higher 

state '). 
Filial Piety. 

1829 

1889 Written in the Strangers' Book at ' The Station.' 

1835 Gold and Silver Fishes in a Vase. 

1835 Liberty (Sequel to the preceding). 

1835 Humanity. 

1835 ' This Lawn, a carpet all alive.' 

1835 Thought on the Seasons. 

1830 

1835 Elegiac Musings in the grounds of Coleorton Hall. 

1835 ' Chats worth ! thy stately mansion, and the pride.' 

1835 Presentiments. 

1835 The Armenian Lady's Love. 

1835 / ^ e Egyptian Maid; or, The Romance of the Water 

\ Lily. 

1835 The Poet and the Caged Turtle-dove. 
1835 The Russian Fugitive. 
1835 ' In these fair vales hath many a Tree.' 

1831 

1835 The Primrose of the Rock. 

f To B. R. Hay don, on seeing his Picture of Napoleon 

\ Buonaparte. 
1835 Composed after reading a Newspaper of the Day. 

( Yarrow Revisited, and other Poems. Composed (two 
1835-j excepted) during a Tour in Scotland, and on the 

V. English Border, in the Autumn of 1831. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



Ixvii 



1832 



COMPOSED 

March 1832 
Probably after \ 

1832 
1832 
1832 
1832 
Probably 1832 

18^2 A 18^7 



PUBLISHED 



1832 Upon the late General Fast. 

Ig32 Sponsors (Ecclesiastical Sonnets, Part ra., No. xxi.). 

1835 ' Calm is the fragrant air, and loth to lose.' 
1835 Devotional Incitements. 
1835 Loving and Liking. By my Sister. 
1835 Rural Illusions. 
1835 To the Author's Portrait. 

18S7-f Afterthought (Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 
(. 1820). 



1832 or 1833 
March 1833 

1833 
7 April 1833 

1833 



1833 



1833 
1833 

(?) 1833-1842 
(?) 1833-1842 



1835 
1835 
1835 
1835 
1835 



1845 

iQiK.f 

1835 \ 

1835 

1835 

1842 

1842 



1833 

' Why art thou silent ? Is thy love a plant ? ' 

To - , on the birth of her Firstborn Child. 

The Warning. A Sequel to the foregoing. 

On a high part of the coast of Cumberland. 

A Wren's Nest. 

By the Seaside ('The Sun is couched, the sea-fowl 

gone to rest'). 

Composed by the Seashore ( ' What mischief '). 
Foems composed or suggested during a Tour in the 

Summer of 1833. 

' If this great world of joy and pain.' 
To the Utilitarians. 
Love Lies Bleeding. 
Companion to the foregoing. 



1834 



1834 
1834 
1834 
1834 
1834 



5 Nov 1834 
1834 



1835 By the side of Rydal Mere. 

1835 ' Not in the lucid intervals of life.' 

1835 ' Soft as a cloud is yon blue Ridge the Mere.' 

1835 'The leaves that rustled on this oak-crowned hill.' 

1835 The Labourer's Noon-day Hymn. 

iflQK/The Redbreast. (Suggested in a Westmoreland 

50 \ Cottage.) 
1835 [ ^ nea wr it*en in the Album of the Countess of 

\ Lonsdale. 

1835 To a Child. Written in her Album. 
ism/^ 1168 suggested by a Portrait from the Pencil of F. 

50 1 Stone. 



1834 1835 The foregoing Subject resumed. 



Prob. before 1833 
Prob. before 1835 



1835 
1835 



1835 

1835 The Somnambulist. 
1835 A Cento. 

IQOT/TO the Moon. (Composed by the Seaside, on the 
1JW7 I Coast of Cumberland. ) 
1837 To the Moon (Rydal). 

1837 /Upon seeing a coloured drawing of the Bird of 
I Paradise. 



Ixviii 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



COMPOSED 

Nov. 1835 1 

Nov. 1835 
Prob. before 1835 
Prob. before 1835 
Prob. bef ore 1835 
Prob. before 1835 

Prob. bef ore 1835 
Prob. bef ore 1835 
Prob. bef ore 1835 



PUBLISHED 

T835I Extem P re Effusion upon the Death of James Hogg. 
1837 Written after the Death of Charles Lamb. 
1835 ' By a blest Husband guided, Mary came.' 
1835 ' Desponding Father ! mark this altered bough. ' 
1835 Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Part n., Nos. iv., xii., xiii.). 
1835 ' Four fiery steeds impatient of the rein.' 
., Q n K ( Roman Antiquities discovered at Bishopstone, Here- 
11WB \ f ordshire. 



1835 
1835 



St. Catherine of Ledbury. 

fTo (' "Wait, prithee, wait !" this answer Lesbia 

[ threw '). 



1836 

March 1836 1889 Squib. 

1836 1889 Epigram. 

Nov. 1836 1837 November 1836. 

i->\ -i QOC -i QQQ ( Translations of a Quatrain by Michelangelo, and from 

(?)1836 1883 | the Latin of T. Warton. 



1887 



1832 and 1837 

1837 
1837 

Probably 1837 
(?) 1837 

Prob. after 1834 



-. Q o 7 / After-thought (Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 

XOO| " 1 Qon\ 

\_ lozUJ. 

1838 ' Oh what a wreck ! how changed in mien and speech.' 
1842 The Cuckoo at Laverna. 

18*19 /At Bologna, in remembrance of the late Insurrections, 
if>v *\ 1837. (Three Sonnets.) 
1842 The Widow of Windermere Side. 
1837 A Night Thought. 
1837 Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Part i., No. xxxii.). 

'O flower of all that springs from gentle blood.' 



1837 



[ (Epitaphs translated from Chiabrera, vii. ). 

( ' True is it that Ambrosio Salinero ' (Ep. 

\ Chiabrera, v.). 
1837 / ' Weep not, beloved Friends ! nor let the air 

I from Chiabrera, i. ). 

1837 ' Six months to six years added he remained.' 
1837 ' What if our numbers barely could defy.' 



from 
(Ep. 



1838 



Jan. 1838 1838 To the Planet Venus. 

1 May 1838 1838 Composed at Rydal on May Morning, 1838. 

1838 1838 Composed on a May Morning, 1838. 

1838 ' Hark ! 'tis the Thrush, undaunted, undeprest.' 

1838 1838 "Tis He whose yester-evening's high disdain.' 

May 1838 1838 A Plea for Authors, May 1838. 

23 May 1838 1838 A Poet to his Grandchild. (Sequel to the foregoing.) 

1838 1838 At Dover. 

1838 1838 ' Blest Statesman He, whose Mind's unselfish will.' 

1838 1838 Protest against the Ballot. 

1838 1838 ' Said Secrecy to Cowardice and Fraud.' 

1838 1838 Valedictory Sonnet. 

1838 1851 Inscription on a Rock at Rydal Mount. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 



Ixix 



1839 

COMPOSED PUBLISHED 

("Thoughts suggested the Day following, on the Banks 
Finished 1839 1842 -{ of Nith, near the Poet's Residence (See 'At the 

t Grave of Burns, 1803 '). 
1839 1842 ' Men of the Western World ! in Fate's dark book.' 



1840 

1839-1840 Dec. 1841 Sonnets upon the Punishment of Death. 

1851/^ onnet on a ^ >ortra ' t f ! ^-> painted by Margaret 

\ Gillies. 

1851 Sonnet to I. F. 
Poor Robin. 

On a Portrait of the Duke of Wellington upon the 
Field of Waterlo0) by Haydon. 

To a Painter (Two Sonnets). 



1 T 1840 

Feb. 1840 
March 1840 

QI A ~ 1 QAn 
61 Aug. IS 

1840 



1842 

i QAO 
12 

1842 



1841 
1841 



1841 

Memorials of a Tour in Italy. (See dates in text.) 
1842 Epitaph in the Chapel-yard at Langdale. 

, / Upon perusing the foregoing Epistle (See ' Epistle to 
\ Sir G. H. Beaumont, 1811 '). 



1842 

23 Jan. 1842 1842 'When Severn's sweeping flood had overthrown.' 
14 Feb. 1842 1842 To Henry Crabb Robinson. 

8 March 1842 1842 'Intent on gathering wool from hedge and brake.' 

or *r. ;, ICMO IOAO /Prelude, prefixed to the Volume entitled 'Poems 

21) March 1842 Io42 -{ u-ar-ui JTJ.-VT > 

t chiefly of Early and Late Years. 

24 Dec. 1842 1845 ' Wansfell ! this Household has a favoured lot.' 
Probably 1842 1842 The Eagle and the Dove. 

f Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Part u., Nos. ix., x. Part 
1842 1842 -j in., Nos. xiii., xiv., xv., xxvi., xxxi., and probably 

I. xxvii., xxviii., xxix., xxx. ). 
? 1842 Airey-Force Valley. 

1842 The Norman Boy. 
? 1842 The Poet's Dream. Sequel to 'The Norman Boy.' 



1 January 1843 
Before 27 Mar. ) 
1843 f 

11 Dec. 1843 
1843 



1843 

1845 ' While beams of orient light shoot wide and high.' 
1845 Grace Darling. 

1845 To the Rev. Christopher Wordsworth, D.D. 

1845 Inscription for a monument in Crosthwaite Church. 



1844 

July 1844 1845 'So fair, so sweet, withal so sensitive.' 

12 Oct. 1844 1844 On the projected Kendal and Windermere Railway. 

1844 1844 'Proud were ye, Mountains, when, in times of old.' 



Ixx 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



COMPOSED 

Prob. Jan. or \ 

Feb. 1845 / 

Prob. Jan. or\ 

Feb. 1845 / 

6 June 1845 

21 June 1845 

Probably 1845 

1845 
(?) 1845 

(?) 1845 



1845 

PUBLISHED 

1845 To the Pennsylvanians. 



1845 'Young England what is then become of Old.' 

1845 The Westmoreland Girl. 

1845 



( ' Well have yon Railway Labourers 
to THIS ground *). 
1845 / ^ Furness Abbey ( ' Here, where, of havoc tired and 

\ rash undoing'). 

1845 ' Forth from a jutting ridge, around whose base.' 
1845 ' Glad sight wherever new with old.' 

/To a Lady, in answer to a request that I should write 

t her a Poem, etc. 
1845 'Yes ! thou art fair, yet be not moved.' 
1845 ' What heavenly smiles ! O Lady mine.' 
1845 Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Part n. , Nos. i. , ii. Part in. , xvi. ). 



1846 

9 T 1846 1889-f^ nes i nscr iked m a Copy of his Poems sent to the 

1846 1850 ' I know an aged Man constrained to dwell.' 

1846 1850 Illustrated Books and Newspapers. 

1846 1850 Sonnet. To an Octogenarian. 

1846 1850 Sonnet ('Why should we weep or mourn, Angelic boy'). 

1846 1850 ' The unremitting voice of mighty streams.' 

1846 1850 To Lucca Giordano. 

1846 1850 ' Where lies the truth ? Has Man, in wisdom's creed.' 

1846 1850 ' Who but is pleased to watch the moon on high.' 



1847 



1847 { 



1847 

Ode on the Installation of H.R.H. Prince Albert as 
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, July, 1847. 



Prob. not before"! 

1846 / 
Prob. not before) 

1846 / 



1850 

1850 ' How beautiful the Queen of Night, on high.' 
1850 On the Banks of a Rocky Stream. 



NOTE 

THE first draft of the poem on the other side of this page 
was written, as Wordsworth tells us in the Fenwick note, 
some time after he settled at Rydal Mount (1813). It was 
first published, in 1827, among the Poems of Sentiment and 
Reflection, and consisted of eleven lines. In ed. 1836-7 
1. 2 and 11. 14-16 were added ; 11. 4, 5 were expanded from 
the original ' The Star that from the zenith darts its 
beams,' and the consequent changes from singular to 
plural were made in the following lines, The poem was 
moved to the front of the Poems of Sentiment and Reflection, 
on the verso of the title-page of that section. It was trans- 
ferred to its present position in the one-volume ed. of 
1845, Wordsworth writing to Moxon, ' 1 mean it to serve 
as a sort of Preface' (Knight's Life of Wordsworth, iii. 
(vol. ix. of Edinburgh ed.), p. 414). 



IF thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven, 

Then, to the measure of that Heaven-born light, 

Shine, Poet ! in thy place, and be content : 

The stars pre-eminent in magnitude, 

And they that from the Zenith dart their beams 

(Visible though they be to half the earth, 

Though half a sphere be conscious of their brightness), 

Are yet of no diviner origin, 

No purer essence, than the one that burns, 

Like an untended watch-fire, on the ridge 

Of some dark mountain ; or than those which seem 

Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter lamps, 

Among the branches of the leafless trees ; 

All are the undying offspring of one Sire ; 

Then, to the measure of the light vouchsafed, 

Shine, Poet ! in thy place, and be content. 



POEMS BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH 

OF the Poems in this class, 'THE EVENING WALK' and ' DESCBIPTIVE 
SKETCHES' were first published in 1793. They are reprinted with some 
alterations that were chiefly made very soon after their publication. 

This notice, which was written some time ago, scarcely applies to the 
Poem, 'Descriptive Sketches,' as it now stands. The corrections, though 
numerous, are not, however, such as to prevent its retaining with propriety 
a place in the class of Juvenile Pieces. 
1836 

I 

EXTRACT 

FROM THE CONCLUSION OF A POEM, COMPOSED IN ANTICIPATION 
OF LEAVING SCHOOL 

EAR native regions, I foretell, 

From what I feel at this farewell, 

That wheresoe'er my steps may tend, 
And whensoe'er my course shall end, 
If in that hour a single tie 
Survive of local sympathy, 
My soul will cast the backward view, 
The longing look alone on you. 

Thus, while the Sun sinks down to rest 
Far in the regions of the west, 10 

Though to the vale no parting beam 
Be given, not one memorial gleam, 
A lingering light he fondly throws 
On the dear hills where first he rose. 

1786 

II 

WRITTEN IN VERY EARLY YOUTH 

CALM is all nature as a resting wheel. 
The kine are couched upon the dewy grass ; 
The horse alone, seen dimly as I pass. 
Is cropping audibly his later meal : 
1-A 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Dark is the ground; a slumber seems to steal 
O'er vale, and mountain, and the starless sky. 
Now, in this blank of things, a harmony, 
Home-felt, and home-created, comes to heal 
That grief for which the senses still supply 
Fresh food ; for only then, when memory 
Is hushed, am I at rest. My Friends ! restrain 
Those busy cares that would allay my pain ; 
Oh ! leave me to myself, nor let me feel 
The officious touch that makes me droop again. 

Published 1802 



III 

AN EVENING WALK 

ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY 

General Sketch of the Lakes Author's regret of his Youth which was 
passed amongst them Short description of Noon Cascade Noontide 
Retreat Precipice and sloping Lights Face of Nature as the Sun 
declines Mountain-farm, and the Cock Slate-quarry Sunset Super- 
stition of the Country connected with that moment Swans Female 
Beggar Twilight - sounds "Western Lights Spirits Night Moon- 
light Hope Night-sounds Conclusion. 



F 



AR from my dearest Friend, 'tis mine to rove 

Through bare grey dell, high wood, and pastoral 



Where Derwent rests, and listens to the roar 

That stuns the tremulous cliffs of high Lodore ; 

Where peace to Grasmere's lonely island leads, 

To willowy hedge-rows, and to emerald meads ; 

Leads to her bridge, rude church, and cottaged grounds, 

Her rocky sheepwalks, and her woodland bounds ; 

Where, undisturbed by winds, Winander l sleeps ; 

'Mid clustering isles, and holly-sprinkled steeps ; 

Where twilight glens endear my Esthwaite's shore, 

And memory of departed pleasures, more. 

Fair scenes, erewhile, I taught, a happy child, 
The echoes of your rocks my carols wild : 
The spirit sought not then, in cherished sadness, 
A cloudy substitute for failing gladness. 
In youth's keen eye the livelong day was bright, 
The sun at morning, and the stars at night, 

1 These lines are only applicable to the middle part of that lake. 



AN EVENING WALK 3 

Alike, when first the bittern's hollow bill 

Was heard, or woodcocks l roamed the moonlight hill. 20 

In thoughtless gaiety I coursed the plain, 
And hope itself was all I knew of pain ; 
For then the inexperienced heart would beat 
At times, while young Content forsook her seat, 
And wild Impatience, pointing upward, showed, 
Through passes yet unreached, a brighter road. 
Alas ! the idle tale of man is found 
Depicted in the dial's moral round ; 
Hope with reflection blends her social rays 
To gild the total tablet of his days ; 30 

Yet still, the sport of some malignant power, 
He knows but from its shade the present hour. 

But why, ungrateful, dwell on idle pain ? 
To show what pleasures yet to me remain, 
Say, will my Friend, with unreluctant ear, 
The history of a poet's evening hear ? 

When, in the south, the wan noon, brooding still 
Breathed a pale steam around the glaring hill, 
And shades of deep-embattled clouds were seen, 
Spotting the northern cliffs with lights between ; 40 

When crowding cattle, checked by rails that make 
A fence far stretched into the shallow lake, 
Lashed the cool water with their restless tails, 
Or from high points of rock looked out for fanning gales ; 
When school-boys stretched their length upon the green ; 
And round the broad-spread oak, a glimmering scene, 
In the rough fern-clad park, the herded deer 
Shook the still-twinkling tail and glancing ear ; 
When horses in the sunburnt intake 2 stood, 
And vainly eyed below the tempting flood, 50 

Or tracked the passenger, in mute distress, 
With forward neck the closing gate to press 
Then, while I wandered where the huddling rill 
Brightens with water-breaks the hollow ghyll, 3 
As by enchantment, an obscure retreat 
Opened at once, and stayed my devious feet. 
While thick above the rill the branches close, 
In rocky basin its wild waves repose, 

1 In the beginning of winter, these mountains are frequented by wood- 
cocks, which in dark nights retire into the woods. 

2 The word intake is local, and signifies a mountain-inclosure. 

3 Ghyll is also, I believe, a term confined to this country : ghyll, and dinjrle, 
have the same meaning. 



4 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Inverted shrubs, and moss of gloomy green, 

Cling from the rocks, with pale wood-weeds between ; 60 

And its own twilight softens the whole scene, 

Save where aloft the subtle sunbeams shine 

On withered briars that o'er the crags recline ; 

Save where, with sparkling foam, a small cascade 

Illumines, from within, the leafy shade ; 

Beyond, along the vista of the brook, 

Where antique roots its bustling course o'erlook, 

The eye reposes on a secret bridge, 1 

Half grey, half shagged with ivy to its ridge ; 

There, bending o'er the stream, the listless swain 70 

Lingers behind his disappearing wain. 

Did Sabine grace adorn my living line, 

Blandusia's praise, wild stream, should yield to thine ! 

Never shall ruthless minister of death 

'Mid thy soft glooms the glittering steel unsheath ; 

No goblets shall, for thee, be crowned with flowers, 

No kid with piteous outcry thrill thy bowers ; 

The mystic shapes that by thy margin rove 

A more benignant sacrifice approve 

A mind that, in a calm angelic mood 80 

Of happy wisdom, meditating good, 

Beholds, of all from her high powers required, 

Much done, and much designed, and more desired, 

Harmonious thoughts, a soul by truth refined, 

Entire affection for all human kind. 

Dear Brook, farewell ! To-morrow's noon again 
Shall hide me, wooing long thy wildwood strain ; 
But now the sun has gained his western road, 
And eve's mild hour invites my steps abroad. 

While, near the midway cliff, the silvered kite 90 

In many a whistling circle wheels her flight ; 
Slant watery lights, from parting clouds, apace 
Travel along the precipice's base ; 
Cheering its naked waste of scattered stone, 
By lichens grey, and scanty moss, o'ergrown ; 
Where scarce the foxglove peeps, or thistle's beard ; 
And restless stone-chat, all day long, is heard. 

How pleasant, as the sun declines, to view 
The spacious landscape change in form and hue ! 

1 The reader, who has made the tour of this country, will recognise in 
this description the features which characterise the lower waterfall in the 
grounds of Rydal. 



AN EVENING WALK 5 

Here, vanish, as in mist, before a flood 100 

Of bright obscurity, hill, lawn, and wood ; 

There, objects, by the searching beams betrayed, 

Come forth, and here retire in purple shade ; 

Even the white stems of birch, the cottage white, 

Soften their glare before the mellow light ; 

The skiffs, at anchor where with umbrage wide 

Yon chestnuts half the latticed boat-house hide, 

Shed from their sides, that face the sun's slant beam, 

Strong flakes of radiance on the tremulous stream : 

Raised by yon travelling flock, a dusty cloud no 

Mounts from the road, and spreads its moving shroud ; 

The shepherd, all involved in wreaths of fire, 

Now shows a shadowy speck, and now is lost entire. 

Into a gradual calm the breezes sink, 
A blue rim borders all the lake's still brink ; 
There doth the twinkling aspen's foliage sleep, 
And insects clothe, like dust, the glassy deep : 
And now, on every side, the surface breaks 
Into blue spots, and slowly lengthening streaks ; 
Here, plots of sparkling water tremble bright 120 

With thousand thousand twinkling points of light ; 
There, waves that, hardly weltering, die away, 
Tip their smooth ridges with a softer ray ; 
And now the whole wide lake in deep repose 
Is hushed, and like a burnished mirror glows, 
Save where, along the shady western marge, 
Coasts, with industrious oar, the charcoal barge. 

Their panniered train a group of potters goad, 
Winding from side to side up the steep road ; 
The peasant, from yon cliff of fearful edge 130 

Shot, down the headlong path darts with his sledge ; 
Bright beams the lonely mountain-horse illume 
Feeding 'mid purple heath, ' green rings,' 1 and broom ; 
While the sharp slope the slackened team confounds, 
Downward the ponderous timber- wain resounds; 
In foamy breaks the rill, with merry song, 
Dashed o'er the rough rock, lightly leaps along ; 
From lonesome chapel at the mountain's feet 
Three humble bells their rustic chime repeat ; 
Sounds from the water-side the hammered boat ; 140 

And blasted quarry thunders, heard remote ! 

Even here, amid the sweep of endless woods, 
Blue pomp of lakes, high cliffs, and falling floods, 

1 'Vivid rings of green.' Greenwood's Poem on Shooting. 



6 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Not undelightful are the simplest charms, 
Found by the grassy door of mountain-farms. 

Sweetly ferocious, 1 round his native walks, 
Pride of his sister-wives, the monarch stalks ; 
Spur-clad his nervous feet, and firm his tread ; 
A crest of purple tops the warrior's head. 
Bright sparks his black and rolling eyeball hurls 150 

Afar, his tail he closes and unfurls ; 
On tiptoe reared, he strains his clarion throat, 
Threatened by faintly-answering farms remote : 
Again with his shrill voice the mountain rings, 
While, flapped with conscious pride, resound his wings ! 

Where, mixed with graceful birch, the sombrous pine 
And yew-tree o'er the silver rocks recline, 
I love to mark the quarry's moving trains, 
Dwarf panniered steeds, and men, and numerous wains : 
How busy all the enormous hive within, 160 

While Echo dallies with its various din ! 
Some (hear you not their chisels' clinking sound ?) 
Toil, small as pigmies in the gulf profound ; 
Some, dim between the lofty cliffs descried, 
O'erwalk the slender plank from side to side ; 
These, by the pale-blue rocks that ceaseless ring, 
In airy baskets hanging, work and sing. 

Just where a cloud above the mountain rears 
An edge all flame, the broadening sun appears ; 
A long blue bar its aegis orb divides, 170 

And breaks the spreading of its golden tides ; 
And now that orb has touched the purple steep, 
Whose softened image penetrates the deep. 
'Cross the calm lake's blue shades the cliffs aspire, 
With towers and woods, a ' prospect all on fire ' ; 
While coves and secret hollows, through a ray 
Of fainter gold, a purple gleam betray. 
Each slip of lawn the broken rocks between 
Shines in the light with more than earthly green : 
Deep yellow beams the scattered stems illume, 180 

Far in the level forest's central gloom : 
Waving his hat, the shepherd, from the vale, 
Directs his winding dog the cliffs to scale, 
The dog, loud barking, 'mid the glittering rocks, 
Hunts, where his master points, the intercepted flocks. 

1 'Dolcemente feroce." TASSO. In this description of the cock, I remem- 
bered a spirited one of the same animal in L' Agriculture, ou Let Gtorgiques 
Franfoiset, of M. Roasuet. 



AN EVENING WALK 7 

Where oaks o'erhang the road the radiance shoots 

On tawny earth, wild weeds, and twisted roots ; 

The druid-stones a brightened ring unfold ; 

And all the babbling brooks are liquid gold ; 

Sunk to a curve, the day-star lessens still, 190 

Gives one bright glance, and drops behind the hill. 1 

In these secluded vales, if village fame, 
Confirmed by hoary hairs, belief may claim ; 
When up the hills, as now, retired the light, 
Strange apparitions mocked the shepherd's sight. 

The form appears of one that spurs his steed 
Midway along the hill with desperate speed ; 
Unhurt pursues his lengthened flight, while all 
Attend, at every stretch, his headlong fall. 
Anon, appears a brave, a gorgeous show 200 

Of horsemen-shadows moving to and fro ; 
At intervals imperial banners stream, 
And now the van reflects the solar beam ; 
The rear through iron brown betrays a sullen gleam. 
While silent stands the admiring crowd below, 
Silent the visionary warriors go, 
Winding in ordered pomp their upward way, 2 
Till the last banner of their long array 
Has disappeared, and every trace has fled 
Of splendour save the beacon's spiry head 210 

Tipt with eve's latest gleam of burning red. 

Now, while the solemn evening shadows sail, 
On slowly- waving pinions, down the vale ; 
And, fronting the bright west, yon oak entwines 
Its darkening boughs and leaves in stronger lines ; 
'Tis pleasant near the tranquil lake to stray 
Where, winding on along some secret bay, 
The swan uplifts his chest, and backward flings 
His neck, a varying arch, between his towering wings : 
The eye that marks the gliding creature sees 220 

How graceful, pride can be, and how majestic, ease. 
While tender cares and mild domestic loves 
With furtive watch pursue her as she moves, 
The female with a meeker charm succeeds, 
And her brown little-ones around her leads, 
Nibbling the water lilies as they pass, 
Or playing wanton with the floating grass. 

1 From Thomson. 

2 See a description of an appearance of this kind in Clark's Survey of the 
Lakes, accompanied by vouchers of its veracity, that may amuse the reader. 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

She, in a mother's care, her beauty's pride 

Forgetting, calls the wearied to her side ; 

Alternately they mount her back, and rest 230 

Close by her mantling wings' embraces prest. 

Long may they float upon this flood serene ; 
Theirs be these holms untrodden, still, and green, 
Where leafy shades fence off the blustering gale, 
And breathes in peace the lily of the vale ! 
Yon isle, which feels not even the milkmaid's feet, 
Yet hears her song, ' by distance made more sweet/ 
Yon isle conceals their home, their hut-like bower; 
Green water-rushes overspread the floor ; 
Long grass and willows form the woven wall, 240 

And swings above the roof the poplar tall. 
Thence issuing often with unwieldy stalk, 
They crush with broad black feet their flowery walk ; 
Or, from the neighbouring water, hear at morn 
The hound, the horse's tread, and mellow horn ; 
Involve their serpent-necks in changeful rings, 
Rolled wantonly between their slippery wings, 
Or, starting up with noise and rude delight, 
Force half upon the wave their cumbrous flight. 

Fair Swan ! by all a mother's joys caressed, 250 

Haply some wretch has eyed, and called thee blessed ; 
When with her infants, from some shady seat 
By the lake's edge, she rose to face the noontide heat ; 
Or taught their limbs along the dusty road 
A few short steps to totter with their load. 

I see her now, denied to lay her head, 
On cold blue nights, in hut or straw-built shed, 
Turn to a silent smile their sleepy cry, 
By pointing to the gliding moon on high. 
When low-hung clouds each star of summer hide, 260 
And fireless are the valleys far and wide, 
Where the brook brawls along the public road 
Dark with bat-haunted ashes stretching broad, 
Oft has she taught them on her lap to lay 
The shining glow-worm ; or, in heedless play, 
Toss it from hand to hand, disquieted ; 
While others, not unseen, are free to shed 
Green unmolested light upon their mossy bed. 

Oh ! when the sleety showers her path assail, 
And like a torrent roars the headstrong gale ; 270 



AN EVENING WALK 9 

No more her breath can thaw their fingers cold, 
Their frozen arms her neck no more can fold ; 
Weak roof a cowering form two babes to shield, 
And faint the fire a dying heart can yield ! 
Press the sad kiss, fond mother ! vainly fears 
Thy flooded cheek to wet them with its tears ; 
No tears can chill them, and no bosom warms, 
Thy breast their death-bed, coffined in thine arms! 

Sweet are the sounds that mingle from afar, 
Heard by calm lakes, as peeps the folding star, 280 

Where the duck dabbles 'mid the rustling sedge, 
And feeding pike starts from the water's edge, 
Or the swan stirs the reeds, his neck and bill 
Wetting, that drip upon the water still ; 
And heron, as resounds the trodden shore, 
Shoots upward, darting his long neck before. 

Now, with religious awe, the farewell light 
Blends with the solemn colouring of night; 
'Mid groves of clouds that crest the mountain's brow, 
And round the west's proud lodge their shadows throw, 
Like Una shining on her gloomy way, 291 

The half-seen form of Twilight roams astray ; 
Shedding, through paly loop-holes mild and small, 
Gleams that upon the lake's still bosom fall ; 
Soft o'er the surface creep those lustres pale 
Tracking the motions of the fitful gale. 
With restless interchange at once the bright 
Wins on the shade, the shade upon the light. 
No favoured eye was e'er allowed to gaze 
On lovelier spectacle in faery days ; 300 

When gentle Spirits urged a sportive chase, 
Brushing with lucid wands the water's face ; 
While music, stealing round the glimmering deeps, 
Charmed the tall circle of the enchanted steeps. 
The lights are vanished from the watery plains : 
No wreck of all the pageantry remains. 
Unheeded night has overcome the vales : 
On the dark earth the wearied vision fails ; 
The latest lingerer of the forest train, 

The lone black fir, forsakes the faded plain ; 310 

Last evening sight, the cottage smoke, no more, 
Lost in the thickened darkness, glimmers hoar ; 
And, towering from the sullen dark-brown mere, 
Like a black wall, the mountain-steeps appear. 
Now o'er the soothed accordant heart we feel 
A sympathetic twilight slowly steal, 



10 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And ever, as we fondly muse, we find 

The soft gloom deepening on the tranquil mind. 

Stay ! pensive, sadly-pleasing visions, stay ! 

Ah no ! as fades the vale, they fade away : 320 

Yet still the tender, vacant gloom remains ; 

Still the cold cheek its shuddering tear retains. 

The bird, who ceased, with fading light, to thread 
Silent the hedge or steamy rivulet's bed, 
From his grey re-appearing tower shall soon 
Salute with gladsome note the rising moon, 
While with a hoary light she frosts the ground, 
And pours a deeper blue to ^Ether's bound ; 
Pleased, as she moves, her pomp of clouds to fold 
In robes of azure, fleecy-white, and gold. 330 

Above yon eastern hill, where darkness broods 
O'er all its vanished dells, and lawns, and woods; 
Where but a mass of shade the sight can trace, 
Even now she shows, half-veiled, her lovely face : 
Across the gloomy valley flings her light, 
Far to the western slopes with hamlets white ; 
And gives, where woods the chequered upland strew, 
To the green corn of summer, autumn's hue. 

Thus Hope, first pouring from her blessed horn 
Her dawn, far lovelier than the moon's own morn, 340 

'Till higher mounted, strives in vain to cheer 
The weary hills, impervious, blackening near ; 
Yet does she still, undaunted, throw the while 
On darling spots remote her tempting smile. 

Even now she decks for me a distant scene, 
(For dark and broad the gulf of time between) 
Gilding that cottage with her fondest ray, 
(Sole bourn, sole wish, sole object of my way ; 
How fair its lawns and sheltering woods appear ! 
How sweet its streamlet murmurs in mine ear !) 350 

Where we, my Friend, to happy days shall rise, 
'Till our small share of hardly-paining sighs 
(For sighs will ever trouble human breath) 
Creep hushed into the tranquil breast of death. 

But now the clear bright Moon her zenith gains, 
And, rimy without speck, extend the plains : 
The deepest cleft the mountain's front displays 
Scarce hides a shadow from her searching rays ; 



LINES 11 

From the dark-blue faint silvery threads divide 

The hills, while gleams below the azure tide ; 360 

Time softly treads ; throughout the landscape breathes 

A peace enlivened, not disturbed, by wreaths 

Of charcoal-smoke, that, o'er the fallen wood, 

Steal down the hill, and spread along the flood. 

The song of mountain-streams, unheard by day, 
Now hardly heard, beguiles my homeward way. 
Air listens, like the sleeping water, still, 
To catch the spiritual music of the hill, 
Broke only by the slow clock tolling deep, 
Or shout that wakes the ferryman from sleep, 370 

The echoed hoof nearing the distant shore, 
The boat's first motion made with dashing oar; 
Sound of closed gate, across the water borne, 
Hurrying the timid hare through rustling corn ; 
The sportive outcry of the mocking owl ; 
And at long intervals the mill-dog's howl ; 
The distant forge's swinging thump profound ; 
Or yell, in the deep woods, of lonely hound. 

1787-1789 



IV 

LINES 

WRITTEN WHILE SAILING IN A BOAT AT EVENING 

HOW richly glows the water's breast 
Before us, tinged with evening hues, 
While, facing thus the crimson west, 
The boat her silent course pursues ! 
And see how dark the backward stream ! 
A little moment past so smiling ! 
And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam, 
Some other loiterers beguiling. 

Such views the youthful Bard allure; 
But, heedless of the following gloom, 
He deems their colours shall endure 
Till peace go with him to the tomb. 
And let him nurse his fond deceit, 
And what if he must die in sorrow ! 
Who would not cherish dreams so sweet, 
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow ? 

1789 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

V 

REMEMBRANCE OF COLLINS 

COMPOSED UPON THE THAMES NEAR RICHMOND 



LIDE gently, thus for ever glide, 

O Thames ! that other bards may see 
As lovely visions by thy side 
As now, fair river ! come to me. 
O glide, fair stream ! for ever so, 
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing, 
Till all our minds for ever flow 
As thy deep waters now are flowing. 

Vain thought ! Yet be as now thou art, 

That in thy waters may be seen 10 

The image of a poet's heart, 

How bright, how solemn, how serene ! 

Such as did once the Poet bless, 

Who, murmuring here a later l ditty, 

Could find no refuge from distress 

But in the milder grief of pity. 

Now let us, as we float along, 

For him suspend the dashing oar ; 

And pray that never child of song 

May know that Poet's sorrows more. 20 

How calm ! how still ! the only sound, 

The dripping of the oar suspended ! 

The evening darkness gathers round 

By virtue's holiest Powers attended. 

1789 

VI 
DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 

TAKEN DURING A PEDESTRIAN TOUR AMONG THE ALPS 

TO THE REV. ROBERT JONES 

FELLOW OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE 

DEAR SIR, However desirous I might have been of giving you 
proofs of the high place you hold in my esteem, I should have 
been cautious of wounding your delicacy by thus publicly address- 
ing you, had not the circumstance of our having been companions 

1 Collins's Ode on the death of Thomson, the last written, I believe, of the 
poems which were published during his life-time. This Ode is also alluded 
to in the next stanza. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 13 

among the Alps seemed to give this dedication a propriety sufficient 
to do away any scruples which your modesty might otherwise have 
suggested. 

In inscribing this little work to you, I consult my heart. You 
know well how great is the difference between two companions 
lolling in a post-chaise and two travellers plodding slowly along 
the road, side by side, each with his little knapsack of necessaries 
upon his shoulders. How much more of heart between the two 
latter ! 

I am happy in being conscious that I shall have one reader who 
will approach the conclusion of these few pages with regret. You 
they must certainly interest, in reminding you of moments to 
which you can hardly look back without a pleasure not the less 
dear from a shade of melancholy. You will meet with few images 
without recollecting the spot where we observed them together ; 
consequently, whatever is feeble in my design, or spiritless in my 
colouring, will be amply supplied by your own memory. 

With still greater propriety I might have inscribed to you a 
description of some of the features of your native mountains, 
through which we have wandered together, in the same manner, 
with so much pleasure. But the sea-sunsets, which give such 
splendour to the vale of Clwyd, Snowdon, the chair of Idris, the 
quiet village of Bethgelert, Menai and her Druids, the Alpine 
steeps of the Conway, and the still more interesting windings of the 
wizard stream of the Dee, remain yet untouched. Apprehensive 
that my pencil may never be exercised on these subjects, I cannot 
let slip this opportunity of thus publicly assuring you with how 
much affection and esteem I am, dear Sir, 

Most sincerely yours, 

London, 1793 W. WORDSWORTH 



Happiness (if she had been to be found on earth) among the charms of 
Nature Pleasures of the pedestrian traveller Author crosses France to 
the Alps Present state of the Grande Chartreuse Lake of Como Time, 
Sunset Same Scene, Twilight Same Scene, Morning ; its voluptuous 
Character ; Old man and forest- cottage music River Tusa Via Mala 
and Orison Gipsy Sckellenen-thal Lake of Uri Stormy sunset 
Chapel of William Tell Force of local emotion Chamois-chaser 
View of the higher Alps Manner of life of a Swiss mountaineer, inter- 
spersed with views of the higher Alps Golden age of the Alps Life 
and views continued Ranz des Vaches, famous Swiss Air Abbey of 
Einsiedlen and its pilgrims Valley of Chamouny Mont Blanc 
Slavery of Savoy Influence of liberty on cottage -happiness France 
Wish for the Extirpation of Slavery Conclusion. 

WERE there, below, a spot of holy ground 
Where from distress a refuge might be found, 
And solitude prepare the soul for heaven ; 
Sure, nature's God that spot to man had given 
Where falls the purple morning far and wide 
In flakes of light upon the mountain-side ; 
Where with loud voice the power of water shakes 
The leafy wood, or sleeps in quiet lakes. 



H WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Yet not unrecompensed the man shall roam, 
Who at the call of summer quits his home, 10 

And plods through some wide realm o'er vale and height, 
Though seeking only holiday delight ; 
At least, not owning to himself an aim 
To which the sage would give a prouder name. 
No gains too cheaply earned his fancy cloy, 
Though every passing zephyr whispers joy ; 
Brisk toil, alternating with ready ease, 
Feeds the clear current of his sympathies. 
For him sod-seats the cottage-door adorn ; 
And peeps the far-off spire, his evening bourn ! 20 

Dear is the forest frowning o'er his head, 
And dear the velvet green-sward to his tread : 
Moves there a cloud o'er mid-day's flaming eye ? 
Upward he looks 'and calls it luxury ' : 
Kind Nature's charities his steps attend ; 
In every babbling brook he finds a friend ; 
While chastening thoughts of sweetest use, bestowed 
By wisdom, moralise his pensive road. 
Host of his welcome inn, the noon-tide bower, 
To his spare meal he calls the passing poor ; 30 

He views the sun uplift his golden fire, 
Or sink, with heart alive like Memnon's lyre ; 1 
Blesses the moon that comes with kindly ray, 
To light him shaken by his rugged way. 
Back from his sight no bashful children steal ; 
He sits a brother at the cottage-meal ; 
His humble looks no shy restraint impart ; 
Around him plays at will the virgin heart. 
While unsuspended wheels the village dance, 
The maidens eye him with inquiring glance, 40 

Much wondering by what fit of crazing care, 
Or desperate love, bewildered, he came there. 

A hope, that prudence could not then approve, 
That clung to Nature with a truant's love, 
O'er Gallia's wastes of corn my footsteps led ; 
Her files of road-elms, high above my head 
In long-drawn vista, rustling in the breeze ; 
Or where her pathways straggle as they please 
By lonely farms and secret villages. 

But lo ! the Alps, ascending white in air, 50 

Toy with the sun and glitter from afar. 

1 The lyre of Memnon ia reported to have emitted melancholy or cheerful 
tones, as it was touched by the sun's evening or morning rays. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 15 

And now, emerging from the forest's gloom, 
I greet thee, Chartreuse, while I mourn thy doom. 
Whither is fled that Power whose frown severe 
Awed sober Reason till she crouched in fear ? 
That Silence, once in deathlike fetters bound, 
Chains that were loosened only by the sound 
Of holy rites chanted in measured round ? 
The voice of blasphemy the fane alarms, 
The cloister startles at the gleam of arms. 60 

The thundering tube the aged angler hears, 
Bent o'er the groaning flood that sweeps away his tears. 
Cloud-piercing pine-trees nod their troubled heads, 
Spires, rocks, and lawns a browner night o'erspreads ; 
Strong terror checks the female peasant's sighs, 
And start the astonished shades at female eyes. 
From Bruno's forest screams the affrighted jay, 
And slow the insulted eagle wheels away. 
A viewless flight of laughing Demons mock 
The Cross, by Angels planted 1 on the aerial rock. 70 

The ' parting Genius ' sighs with hollow breath 
Along the mystic streams of Life and Death. 2 
Swelling the outcry dull, that long resounds 
Portentous through her old woods' trackless bounds, 
Vallombre, 3 'mid her falling fanes, deplores, 
For ever broke, the sabbath of her bowers. 

More pleased, my foot the hidden margin roves 
Of Como, bosomed deep in chestnut groves. 
No meadows thrown between, the giddy steeps 
Tower, bare or sylvan, from the narrow deeps. 80 

To towns, whose shades of no rude noise complain, 
From ringing team apart and grating wain 
To flat-roofed towns, that touch the water's bound, 
Or lurk in woody sunless glens profound, 
Or, from the bending rocks, obtrusive cling, 
And o'er the whitened wave their shadows fling 
The pathway leads, as round the steeps it twines ; 
And Silence loves its purple roof of vines. 
The loitering traveller hence, at evening, sees 
From rock-hewn steps the sail between the trees ; 90 

Or marks, 'mid opening cliffs, fair dark-eyed maids 
Tend the small harvest of their garden glades ; 
Or stops the solemn mountain-shades to view 
Stretch o'er the pictured mirror broad and blue, 

1 Alluding to crosses seen on the tops of the spiry rocks of Chartreuse, 
which have every appearance of being inaccessible. 
3 Names of rivers at the Chartreuse. 
3 Name of one of the valleys of the Chartreuse. 



16 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And track the yellow lights from steep to steep, 

As up the opposing hills they slowly creep. 

Aloft, here, half a village shines, arrayed 

In golden light; half hides itself in shade : 

While, from amid the darkened roofs, the spire, 

Restlessly flashing, seems to mount like fire : 100 

There, all unshaded, blazing forests throw 

Rich golden verdure on the lake below. 

Slow glides the sail along the illumined shore, 

And steals into the shade the lazy oar ; 

Soft bosoms breathe around contagious sighs, 

And amorous music on the water dies. 

How blest, delicious scene ! the eye that greets 
Thy open beauties, or thy lone retreats ; 
Beholds the unwearied sweep of wood that scales 
Thy cliffs ; the endless waters of thy vales ; no 

Thy lowly cots that sprinkle all the shore, 
Each with its household boat beside the door ; 
Thy torrents shooting from the clear-blue sky ; 
Thy towns that cleave, like swallows' nests, on high ; 
That glimmer hoar in eve's last light, descried 
Dim from the twilight water's shaggy side, 
Whence lutes and voices down the enchanted woods 
Steal, and compose the oar- forgotten floods ; 
Thy lake that, streaked or dappled, blue or grey, 
'Mid smoking woods gleams hid from morning's ray 120 
Slow-travelling down the western hills, to enfold 
Its green-tinged margin in a blaze of gold ; 
Thy glittering steeples, whence the matin bell 
Calls forth the woodman from his desert cell, 
And quickens the blithe sound of oars that pass 
Along the steaming lake, to early mass. 
But now farewell to each and all adieu 
To every charm, and last and chief to you, 
Ye lovely maidens that in noontide shade 
Rest near your little plots of wheaten glade ; 130 

To all that binds the soul in powerless trance, 
Lip-dewing song, and ringlet-tossing dance ; 
Where sparkling eyes and breaking smiles illume 
The sylvan cabin's lute-enlivened gloom. 
Alas ! the very murmur of the streams 
Breathes o'er the failing soul voluptuous dreams, 
While Slavery, forcing the sunk mind to dwell 
On joys that might disgrace the captive's cell, 
Her shameless timbrel shakes on Como's marge, 
And lures from bay to bay the vocal barge. 140 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 17 

Yet are thy softer arts with power indued 
To soothe and cheer the poor man's solitude. 
By silent cottage doors, the peasant's home 
Left vacant for the day, I love to roam. 
But once I pierced the mazes of a wood 
In which a cabin undeserted stood ; 
There an old man an olden measure scanned 
On a rude viol touched with withered hand. 
As lambs or fawns in April clustering lie 
Under a hoary oak's thin canopy, 150 

Stretched at his feet, with steadfast upward eye, 
His children's children listened to the sound ; 
A Hermit with his family around ! 

But let us hence ; for fair Locarno smiles 
Embowered in walnut slopes and citron isles : 
Or seek at eve the banks of Tusa's stream, 1 
Where, 'mid dim towers and woods,, her waters gleam. 
From the bright wave, in solemn gloom, retire 
The dull-red steeps, and, darkening still, aspire 
To where afar rich orange lustres glow 160 

Round undistinguished clouds, and rocks, and snow : 
Or, led where Via Mala's chasms confine 
The indignant waters of the infant Rhine, 
Hang o'er the abyss, whose else impervious gloom 
His burning eyes with fearful light illume. 

The mind condemned, without reprieve, to go 
O'er life's long deserts with its charge of woe, 
With sad congratulation joins the train 
Where beasts and men together o'er the plain 
Move on a mighty caravan of pain : 170 

Hope, strength, and courage, social suffering brings, 
Freshening the wilderness with shades and springs. 
There be whose lot far otherwise is cast : 
Sole human tenant of the piny waste, 
By choice or doom a gipsy wanders here, 
A nursling babe her only comforter ; 
Lo, where she sits beneath yon shaggy rock, 
A cowering shape half hid in curling smoke ! 

When lightning among clouds and mountain-snows 
Predominates, and darkness comes and goes, 180 

And the fierce torrent at the flashes bi-oad 
Starts, like a horse, beside the glaring road 
She seeks a covert from the battering shower 

1 The river along whose banks you descend in crossing the Alps by the 
Simplon Pass. 
1-B 



18 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

In the roofed bridge ; l the bridge, in that dread hour, 
Itself all trembling at the torrent's power. 

Nor is she more at ease on some still night, 
When not a star supplies the comfort of its light ; 
Only the waning moon hangs dull and red 
Above a melancholy mountain's head, 

Then sets. In total gloom the Vagrant sighs, 190 

Stoops her sick head, and shuts her weary eyes; 
Or on her fingers counts the distant clock, 
Or to the drowsy crow of midnight cock 
Listens, or quakes while from the forest's gulf 
Howls near and nearer yet the famished wolf. 

From the green vale of Urseren smooth and wide 
Descend we now, the maddened Reuss our guide; 
By rocks that, shutting out the blessed day, 
Cling tremblingly to rocks as loose as they ; 
By cells 2 upon whose image, while he prays, 200 

The kneeling peasant scarcely dares to gaze ; 
By many a votive death-cross 3 planted near, 
And watered duly with the pious tear, 
That faded silent from the upward eye 
Unmoved with each rude form of peril nigh ; 
Fixed on the anchor left by Him who saves 
Alike in whelming snows and roaring waves. 

But soon a peopled region on the sight 
Opens a little world of calm delight ; 
Where mists, suspended on the expiring gale, 210 

Spread rooflike o'er the deep secluded vale, 
And beams of evening, slipping in between, 
Gently illuminate a sober scene : 
Here, on the brown wood-cottages 4 they sleep, 
There, over rock or sloping pasture creep. 
On as we journey, in clear view displayed, 
The still vale lengthens underneath its shade 
Of low-hung vapour : on the freshened mead 
The green light sparkles ; the dim bowers recede. 
While pastoral pipes and streams the landscape lull, 220 
And bells of passing mules that tinkle dull, 

1 Moat of the bridges among the Alps are of wood, and covered : these 
bridges have a heavy appearance, and rather injure the effect of the scenery 
in some places. 

2 The Catholic religion prevails here : these cells are, as is well known, 
very common in the Catholic countries, planted, like the Roman tombs, along 
the road side. 

3 Crosses, commemorative of the deaths of travellers by the fall of snow, 
and other accidents, are very common along this dreadful road. 

4 The houses in the more retired Swiss valleys are all built of wood. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 19 

In solemn shapes before the admiring eye 
Dilated hang the misty pines on high, 
Huge convent domes with pinnacles and towers, 
And antique castles seen through gleamy showers. 

From such romantic dreams, my soul, awake ! 
To sterner pleasure, where, by Uri's lake 
In Nature's pristine majesty outspread, 
Winds neither road nor path for foot to tread : 
The rocks rise naked as a wall, or stretch 230 

Far o'er the water, hung with groves of beech ; 
Aerial pines from loftier steeps ascend, 
Nor stop but where creation seems to end. 
Yet here and there, if 'mid the savage scene 
Appears a scanty plot of smiling green, 
Up from the lake a zigzag path will creep 
To reach a small wood-hut hung boldly on the steep. 
Before those thresholds (never can they know 
The face of traveller passing to and fro,) 
No peasant leans upon his pole, to tell 240 

For whom at morning tolled the funeral bell ; 
Their watch-dog ne'er his angry bark forgoes, 
Touched by the beggar's moan of human woes ; 
The shady porch ne'er offered a cool seat 
To pilgrims overcome by summer's heat. 
Yet thither the world's business finds its way 
At times, and tales unsought beguile the day, 
And there are those fond thoughts which Solitude, 
However stern, is powerless to exclude. 
There doth the maiden watch her lover's sail 250 

Approaching, and upbraid the tardy gale ; 
At midnight listens till his parting oar, 
And its last echo, can be heard no more. 

And what if ospreys, cormorants, herons cry, 
Amid tempestuous vapours driving by, 
Or hovering over wastes too bleak to rear 
That common growth of earth, the foodful ear ; 
Where the green apple shrivels on the spray, 
And pines the unripened pear in summer's kindliest ray j 
Contentment shares the desolate domain 260 

With Independence, child of high Disdain. 
Exulting 'mid the winter of the skies, 
Shy as the jealous chamois, Freedom flies, 
And grasps by fits her sword, and often eyes ; 
And sometimes, as from rock to rock she bounds, 
The Patriot nymph starts at imagined sounds, 



20 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And, wildly pausing, oft she hangs aghast, 
Whether some old Swiss air hath checked her haste, 
Or thrill of Spartan fife is caught between the blast. 

Swoln with incessant rains from hour to hour, 270 

All day the floods a deepening murmur pour : 
The sky is veiled, and every cheerful sight : 
Dark is the region as with coming night ; 
But what a sudden burst of overpowering light ! 
Triumphant on the bosom of the storm, 
Glances the wheeling eagle's glorious form ! 
Eastward, in long perspective glittering, shine 
The wood-crowned cliffs that o'er the lakes recline ; 
Those lofty cliffs a hundred streams unfold, 
At once to pillars turned that flame with gold : 280 

Behind his sail the peasant shrinks, to shun 
The west, that burns like one dilated sun, 
A crucible of mighty compass, felt 
By mountains, glowing till they seem to melt. 

But, lo ! the boatman, overawed, before 
The pictured fane of Tell suspends his oar ; 
Confused the Marathonian tale appears, 
While his eyes sparkle with heroic tears. 
And who, that walks where men of ancient days 
Have wrought with godlike arm the deeds of praise, 290 
Feels not the spirit of the place control, 
Or rouse and agitate his labouring soul ? 
Say, who, by thinking on Canadian hills, 
Or wild Aosta lulled by Alpine rills, 
On Zutphen's plain, or on that highland dell, 
Through which rough Garry cleaves his way, can tell 
What high resolves exalt the tenderest thought 
Of him whom passion rivets to the spot, 
Where breathed the gale that caught Wolfe's happiest sigh, 
And the last sunbeam fell on Bayard's eye ; 300 

Where bleeding Sidney from the cup retired, 
And glad Dundee in ' faint huzzas ' expired ? 

But now with other mind I stand alone 
Upon the summit of this naked cone, 
And watch the fearless chamois-hunter chase 
His prey, througli tracts abrupt of desolate space, 
1 Through vacant worlds where Nature never gave 
A brook to murmur or a bough to wave, 

1 For most of the images in the next sixteen verses, I am indebted to 
M. Raymond's interesting observations annexed to his translation of Coxe's 
in Switzerland. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 21 

Which unsubstantial Phantoms sacred keep ; 

Thro' worlds where Life, and Voice, and Motion sleep ; 310 

Where silent Hours their death-like sway extend, 

Save when the avalanche breaks loose, to rend 

Its way with uproar, till the ruin, drowned 

In some dense wood or gulf of snow profound, 

Mocks the dull ear of Time with deaf abortive sound. 

'Tis his, while wandering on from height to height, 

To see a planet's pomp and steady light 

In the least star of scarce-appearing night ; 

While the pale moon moves near him, on the bound 

Of ether, shining with diminished round, 320 

And far and wide the icy summits blaze, 

Rejoicing in the glory of her rays : 

To him the day-star glitters small and bright, 

Shorn of its beams, insufferably white, 

And he can look beyond the sun, and view 

Those fast-receding depths of sable blue 

Flying till vision can no more pursue ! 

At once bewildering mists around him close, 

And cold and hunger are his least of woes ; 

The Demon of the snow, with angry roar 330 

Descending, shuts for aye his prison door. 

Soon with despair's whole weight his spirits sink ; 

Bread has he none, the snow must be his drink ; 

And, ere his eyes can close upon the day, 

The eagle of the Alps o'ershades her prey. 

Now couch thyself where, heard with fear afar, 
Thunders through echoing pines the headlong Aar ; 
Or rather stay to taste the mild delights 
Of pensive Underwalden's l pastoral heights. 
Is there who 'mid these awful wilds has seen 340 

The native Genii walk the mountain green ? 
Or heard, while other worlds their charms reveal, 
Soft music o'er the aerial summit steal ? 
While o'er the desert, answering every close, 
Rich steam of sweetest perfume comes and goes. 
And sure there is a secret Power that reigns 
Here, where no trace of man the spot profanes, 
Nought but the chalets, 2 flat and bare, on high 
Suspended 'mid the quiet of the sky ; 

1 The people of this Canton are supposed to be of a more melancholy dis- 
position than the other inhabitants of the Alps ; this, if true, may proceed 
from their living more secluded. 

2 This picture is from the middle region of the Alps. Chalets are summer 
huts for the Swiss herdsmen. 



22 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Or distant herds that pasturing upward creep, 350 

And, not untended, climb the dangerous steep. 

How still ! no irreligious sound or sight 

Rouses the soul from her severe delight. 

An idle voice the sabbath region fills 

Of Deep that calls to Deep across the hills, 

And with that voice accords the soothing sound 

Of drowsy bells, for ever tinkling round ; 

Faint wail of eagle melting into blue 

Beneath the cliffs, and pine- wood's steady sugh ; 1 

The solitary heifer's deepened low; 360 

Or rumbling, heard remote, of falling snow. 

All motions, sounds, and voices, far and nigh, 

Blend in a .music of tranquillity ; 

Save when, a stranger seen below, the boy 

Shouts from the echoing hills with savage joy. 

When, from the sunny breast of open seas, 
And bays with myrtle fringed, the southern breeze 
Comes on to gladden April with the sight 
Of green isles widening on each snow-clad height ; 
When shouts and lowing herds the valley fill, 370 

And louder torrents stun the noon-tide hill, 
The pastoral Swiss begin the cliffs to scale, 
Leaving to silence the deserted vale ; 
And, like the Patriarchs in their simple age, 
Move, as the verdure leads, from stage to stage ; 
High and more high in summer's heat they go, 
And hear the rattling thunder far below ; 
Or steal beneath the mountains, half-deterred, 
Where huge rocks tremble to the bellowing herd. 

One I behold who, 'cross the foaming flood, 380 

Leaps with a bound of graceful hardihood ; 
Another high on that green ledge ; he gained 
The tempting spot with every sinew strained ; 
And downward thence a knot of grass he throws, 
Food for his beasts in time of winter snows. 
Far different life from what Tradition hoar 
Transmits of happier lot in times of yore ! 
Then Summer lingered long ; and honey flowed 
From out the rocks, the wild bees' safe abode ; 
Continual waters welling cheered the waste, 390 

And plants were wholesome, now of deadly taste: 

1 Sugh, & Scotch word expressive of the sound of the wind through 
the trees. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 23 

Nor Winter yet his frozen stores had piled, 

Usurping where the fairest herbage smiled : 

Nor Hunger driven the herds from pastures bare, 

To climb the treacherous cliffs for scanty fare. 

Then the milk-thistle flourished through the land, 

And forced the full-swoln udder to demand, 

Thrice every day, the pail and welcome hand. 

Thus does the father to his children tell 

Of banished bliss, by fancy loved too well. 400 

Alas ! that human guilt provoked the rod 

Of angry Nature to avenge her God. 

Still, Nature, ever just, to him imparts 

Joys only given to uncorrupted hearts. 

'Tis morn : with gold the verdant mountain glows ; 
More high, the snowy peaks with hues of rose. 
Far stretched beneath the many-tinted hills, 
A mighty waste of mist the valley fills, 
A solemn sea ! whose billows wide around 
Stand motionless, to awful silence bound : 410 

Pines, on the coast, through mist their tops uprear, 
That like to leaning masts of stranded ships appear. 
A single chasm, a gulf of gloomy blue, 
Gapes in the centre of the sea and, through 
That dark mysterious gulf ascending, sound 
Innumerable streams with roar profound. 
Mount through the nearer vapours notes of birds, 
And merry flageolet ; the low of herds, 
The bark of dogs, the heifer's tinkling bell, 
Talk, laughter, and perchance a church-tower knell : 420 
Think not the peasant from aloft has gazed 
And heard with heart unmoved, with soul unraised : 
Nor is his spirit less enrapt, nor less 
Alive to independent happiness, 
Then, when he lies, outstretched, at even-tide 
Upon the fragrant mountain's purple side : 
For as the pleasures of his simple day 
Beyond his native valley seldom stray, 
Nought round its darling precincts can he find 
But brings some past enjoyment to his mind; 430 

While Hope, reclining upon Pleasure's urn, 
Binds her wild wreaths, and whispers his return. 

Once, Man entirely free, alone and wild, 
Was blest as free for he was Nature's child. 
He, all superior but his God disdained, 
Walked none restraining, and by none restrained : 



24 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Confessed no law but what his reason taught, 

Did all he wished, and wished but what he ought. 

As man in his primeval dower arrayed 

The image of his glorious Sire displayed, 440 

Even so, by faithful Nature guarded, here 

The traces of primeval Man appear ; 

The simple dignity no forms debase ; 

The eye sublime, and surly lion-grace : 

The slave of none, of beasts alone the lord, 

His book he prizes, nor neglects his sword ; 

Well taught by that to feel his rights, prepared 

With this 'the blessings he enjoys to guard.' 

And, as his native hills encircle ground 
For many a marvellous victory renowned, 450 

The work of Freedom daring to oppose, 
With few in arms, 1 innumerable foes, 
When to those famous fields his steps are led, 
An unknown power connects him with the dead : 
For images of other worlds are there ; 
Awful the light, and holy is the air. 
Fitfully, and in flashes, through his soul, 
Like sun-lit tempests, troubled transports roll ; 
His bosom heaves, his Spirit towers amain, 
Beyond the senses and their little reign. 460 

And oft, when that dread vision hath past by, 
He holds with God himself communion high, 
There where the peal of swelling torrents fills 
The sky-roofed temple of the eternal hills; 
Or, when upon the mountain's silent brow 
Reclined, he sees, above him and below, 
Bright stars of ice and azure fields of snow; 
While needle peaks of granite shooting bare 
Tremble in ever- vary ing tints of air. 

And when a gathering weight of shadows brown 470 

Falls on the valleys as the sun goes down ; 
And Pikes, of darkness named and fear and storms, 2 
Uplift in quiet their illumined forms, 

1 Alluding to several battles which the Swiss in very small numbers have 
gained over their oppressors, the house of Austria ; and, in particular, to 
one fought at Naeffels near Glarus, where three hundred and thirty men are 
said to have defeated an army of between fifteen and twenty thousand 
Austrians. Scattered over the valley are to be found eleven stones, with 
this inscription, 1388, the year the battle was fought, marking out, as I was 
told upon the spot, the several places where the Austrians, attempting to 
make a stand, were repulsed anew. 

2 As Schreck-Horn, the pike of terror ; Wetter-Horn, the pike of storms, 
etc. etc. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 25 

In sea-like reach of prospect round him spread, 
Tinged like an angel's smile all rosy red 
Awe in his breast with holiest love unites, 
And the near heavens impart their own delights. 

When downward to his winter hut he goes, 
Dear and more dear the lessening circle grows ; 
That hut which on the hills so oft employs 480 

His thoughts, the central point of all his joys. 
And as a swallow, at the hour of rest, 
Peeps often ere she darts into her nest, 
So to the homestead, where the grandsire tends 
A little prattling child, he oft descends, 
To glance a look upon the well-matched pair; 
Till storm and driving ice blockade him there. 
There, safely guarded by the woods behind, 
He hears the chiding of the baffled wind, 
Hears Winter calling all his terrors round, 490 

And, blest within himself, he shrinks not from the sound. 

Through Nature's vale his homely pleasures glide, 
Unstained by envy, discontent, and pride ; 
The bound of all his vanity, to deck, 
With one bright bell a favourite heifer's neck ; 
Well pleased upon some simple annual feast, 
Remembered half the year and hoped the rest, 
If dairy -produce, from his inner hoard, 
Of thrice ten summers dignify the board. 
Alas ! in every clime a flying ray 500 

Is all we have to cheer our wintry way ; 
And here the unwilling mind may more than trace 
The general sorrows of the human race : 
The churlish gales of penury, that blow 
Cold as the north-wind o'er a waste of snow, 
To them the gentle groups of bliss deny 
That on the noon-day bank of leisure lie. 
Yet more ; compelled by Powers which only deign 
That solitary man disturb their reign, 

Powers that support an unremitting strife 510 

With all the tender charities of life, 
Full oft the father, when his sons have grown 
To manhood, seems their title to disown ; 
And from his nest amid the storms of heaven 
Drives, eagle-like, those sons as he was driven ; 
With stern composure watches to the plain 
And never, eagle-like, beholds again ! 



26 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

When long familiar joys are all resigned, 
Why does their sad remembrance haunt the mind ? 
Lo ! where through flat Batavia's willowy groves, 520 

Or by the lazy Seine, the exile roves ; 
O'er the curled waters Alpine measures swell, 
And search the affections to their inmost cell ; 
Sweet poison spreads along the listener's veins, 
Turning past pleasures into mortal pains ; 
Poison, which not a frame of steel can brave, 
Bows his young head with sorrow to the grave. 1 

Gay lark of hope, thy silent song resume ! 
Ye flattering eastern lights, once more the hills illume ! 
Fresh gales and dews of life's delicious morn, 530 

And thou, lost fragrance of the heart, return ! 
Alas ! the little joy to man allowed 
Fades like the lustre of an evening cloud ; 
Or like the beauty in a flower installed, 
Whose season was, and cannot be recalled. 
Yet when opprest by sickness, grief, or care, 
And taught that pain is pleasure's natural heir, 
We still confide in more than we can know ; 
Death would be else the favourite friend of woe. 

'Mid savage rocks, and seas of snow that shine, 540 

Between interminable tracts of pine, 
Within a temple stands an awful shrine, 
By an uncertain light revealed, that falls 
On the mute Image and the troubled walls. 
Oh ! give not me that eye of hard disdain 
That views, undimmed, Einsiedlen's 2 wretched fane. 
While ghastly faces through the gloom appear, 
Abortive joy, and hope that works in fear ; 
While prayer contends with silenced agony, 
Surely in other thoughts contempt may die. 550 

If the sad grave of human ignorance bear 
One flower of hope oh, pass and leave it there ! 

The tall sun, pausing on an Alpine spire, 
Flings o'er the wilderness a stream of fire : 
Now meet we other pilgrims ere the day 
Close on the remnant of their weary way ; 
While they are drawing toward the sacred floor 
Where, so they fondly think, the worm shall gnaw no more. 

1 The well-known effect of the famous air, called in French Ranz des 
Vaehes, upon the Swiss troops. 

2 This shrine is resorted to, from a hope of relief, by multitudes, from 
every corner of the Catholic world, labouring under mental or bodily 
afflictions. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES 27 

How gaily murmur and how sweetly taste 

The fountains l reared for them amid the waste ! 560 

Their thirst they slake : they wash their toil-worn feet, 

And some with tears of joy each other greet. 

Yes, I must see you when ye first behold 

Those holy turrets tipped with evening gold, 

In that glad moment will for you a sigh 

Be heaved, of charitable sympathy; 

In that glad moment when your hands are prest 

In mute devotion on the thankful breast ! 

Last, let us turn to Chamouny that shields 
With rocks and gloomy woods her fertile fields : 570 

Five streams of ice amid her cots descend, 
And with wild flowers and blooming orchards blend ;- 
A scene more fair than what the Grecian feigns 
Of purple lights and ever-vernal plains ; 
Here all the seasons revel hand in hand : 
'Mid lawns and shades by breezy rivulets fanned, 
They sport beneath that mountain's matchless height 
That holds no commerce with the summer night. 
From age to age, throughout his lonely bounds 
The crash of ruin fitfully resounds ; 580 

Appalling havoc ! but serene his brow, 
Where daylight lingers on perpetual snow ; 
Glitter the stars above, and all is black below. 

What marvel then if many a Wanderer sigh, 
While roars the sullen Arve in anger by, 
That not for thy reward, unrivall'd Vale ! 
Waves the ripe harvest in the autumnal gale ; 
That thou, the slave of slaves, art doomed to pine 
And droop, while no Italian arts are thine, 
To soothe or cheer, to soften or refine. 590 

Hail Freedom ! whether it was mine to stray, 
With shrill winds whistling round my lonely way, 
On the bleak sides of Cumbria's heath-clad moors, 
Or where dank sea-weed lashes Scotland's shores ; 
To scent the sweets of Piedmont's breathing rose, 
And orange gale that o'er Lugano blows ; 
Still have I found, where Tyranny prevails, 
That virtue languishes and pleasure fails, 
While the remotest hamlets blessings share 
In thy loved presence known, and only there ; 600 

1 Rude fountains built and covered with sheds for the accommodation of 
the Pilgrims, in their ascent of the mountain. 



28 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Heart-blessings outward treasures too which the eye 

Of the sun peeping through the clouds can spy, 

And every passing breeze will testify. 

There, to the porch, belike with jasmine bound 

Or woodbine wreaths, a smoother path is wound ; 

The housewife there a brighter garden sees, 

Where hum on busier wing her happy bees ; 

On infant cheeks there fresher roses blow ; 

And grey-haired men look up with livelier brow, 

To greet the traveller needing food and rest ; 610 

Housed for the night, or but a half-hour's guest. 

And oh, fair France ! though now the traveller sees 
Thy three-striped banner fluctuate on the breeze ; 
Though martial songs have banished songs of love, 
And nightingales desert the village grove, 
Scared by the fife and rumbling drum's alarms, 
And the short thunder, and the flash of arms ; 
That cease not till night falls, when far and nigh, 
Sole sound, the Sourd l prolongs his mournful cry ; 
Yet hast thou found that Freedom spreads her power 
Beyond the cottage-hearth, the cottage-door : 621 

All nature smiles, and owns beneath her eyes 
Her fields peculiar, and peculiar skies. 
Yes, as I roamed where Loiret's waters glide 
Through rustling aspens heard from side to side, 
When from October clouds a milder light 
Fell where the blue flood rippled into white ; 
Methought from every cot the watchful bird 
Crowed with ear-piercing power till then unheard ; 
Each clacking mill, that broke the murmuring streams, 630 
Rocked the charmed thought in more delightful dreams; 
Chasing those pleasant dreams, the falling leaf 
Awoke a fainter sense of moral grief; 
The measured echo of the distant flail 
Wound in more welcome cadence down the vale ; 
With more majestic course 2 the water rolled, 
And ripening foliage shone with richer gold. 
But foes are gathering Liberty must raise 
Red on the hills her Beacon's far-seen blaze ; 
Must bid the tocsin ring from tower to tower ! 640 

Nearer and nearer comes the trying hour ! 

1 An insect so called, which emits a short, melancholy cry, heard at the 
close of the summer evenings, on the banks of the Loire. 

2 The duties upon many parts of the French rivers were so exorbitant, that 
the poorer people, deprived of the benefit of water-carriage, were obliged to 
transport their goods by land. 



LINES 29 

Rejoice, brave Land, though pride's perverted ire 

Rouse hell's own aid, and wrap thy fields in fire : 

Lo, from the flames a great and glorious birth ; 

As if a new-made heaven were hailing a new earth ! 

All cannot be : the promise is too fair 

For creatures doomed to breathe terrestrial air : 

Yet not for this will sober reason frown 

Upon that promise, nor the hope disown ; 

She knows that only from high aims ensue 650 

Rich guerdons, and to them alone are due. 

Great God ! by whom the strifes of men are weighed 
In an impartial balance, give thine aid 
To the just cause ; and, oh ! do thou preside 
Over the mighty stream now spreading wide : 
So shall its waters, from the heavens supplied 
In copious showers, from earth by wholesome springs, 
Brood o'er the long-parched lands with Nile-like wings ! 
And grant that every sceptred child of clay 
Who cries presumptuous, ' Here the flood shall stay,' 660 
May in its progress see thy guiding hand, 
And cease the acknowledged purpose to withstand ; 
Or, swept in anger from the insulted shore, 
Sink with his servile bands, to rise no more ! 

To-night, my Friend, within this humble cot 
Be scorn and fear and hope alike forgot 
In timely sleep ; and when, at break of day, 
On the tall peaks the glistening sunbeams play, 
With a light heart our course we may renew, 
The first whose footsteps print the mountain dew. 670 

1791-1792 



VII 
LINES 

Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near the lake of Esthwaite, on 
a desolate part of the shore, commanding a beautiful prospect. 

NAY, Traveller ! rest. This lonely Yew-tree stands 
Far from all human dwelling : what if here 
No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb ? 
What if the bee love not these barren boughs ? 
Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves, 
That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind 
By one soft impulse saved from vacancy. 



30 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Who he was 



That piled these stones and with the mossy sod 

First covered, and here taught this aged Tree 10 

With its dark arms to form a circling bower, 

I well remember. He was one who owned 

No common soul. In youth by science nursed, 

And led by nature into a wild scene 

Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth 

A favoured Being, knowing no desire 

Which genius did not hallow ; 'gainst the taint 

Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate, 

And scorn, against all enemies prepared, 

All but neglect. The world, for so it thought, 20 

Owed him no service ; wherefore he at once 

With indignation turned himself away, 

And with the food of pride sustained his soul 

In solitude. Stranger ! these gloomy boughs 

Had charms for him ; and here he loved to sit, 

His only visitants a straggling sheep, 

The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper : 

And on these barren rocks, with fern and heath, 

And juniper and thistle, sprinkled o'er, 

Fixing his downcast eye, he many an hour 30 

A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here 

An emblem of his own unfruitful life : 

And, lifting up his head, he then would gaze 

On the more distant scene, how lovely 'tis 

Thou seest, and he would gaze till it became 

Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain 

The beauty, still more beauteous ! Nor, that time, 

When nature had subdued him to herself, 

Would he forget those Beings to whose minds 

Warm from the labours of benevolence 40 

The world, and human life, appeared a scene 

Of kindred loveliness : then he would sigh, 

Inly disturbed, to think that others felt 

What he must never feel : and so, lost Man ! 

On visionary views would fancy feed, 

Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale 

He died, this seat his only monument. 

If Thou be one whose heart the holy forms 
Of young imagination have kept pure, 

Stranger ! henceforth be warned ; and know that pride, 50 
Howe'er disguised in its own majesty, 
Is littleness ; that he who feels contempt 
For any living thing, hath faculties 



GUILT AND SORROW 31 

Which he has never used ; that thought with him 

Is in its infancy. The man whose eye 

Is ever on himself doth look on one, 

The least of Nature's works, one who might move 

The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds 

Unlawful, ever. O be wiser, Thou ! 

Instructed that true knowledge leads to love ; 60 

True dignity abides with him alone 

Who, in the silent hour of inward thought, 

Can still suspect, and still revere himself, 

In lowliness of heart. 

Begun before Oct. 1787, finished 1795 



VIII 
GUILT AND SORROW 

OR, INCIDENTS UPON SALISBURY PLAIN 
ADVERTISEMENT 

PREFIXED TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS POEM, PUBLISHED IN 1842 

NOT less than one-third of the following poem, though it has 
from time to time been altered in the expression, was published so 
far back as the year 1798, under the title of 'The Female Vagrant.' 
The extract is of such length that an apology seems to be required 
for reprinting it here : but it was necessary to restore it to its 
original position, or the rest would have been unintelligible. The 
whole was written before the close of tbe year 1794, and I will de- 
tail, rather as matter of literary biography than for any other reason, 
the circumstances under which it was produced. 

During the latter part of the summer of 1793, having passed a 
month in the Isle of Wight, in view of the fleet which was then pre- 
paring for sea off Portsmouth at the commencement of the war, 1 
left the place with melancholy forebodings. The American war was 
still fresh in memory. Tbe struggle which was beginning, and 
which many thought would be brought to a speedy close by the 
irresistible arms of Great Britain being added to those of the Allies, 
I was assured in my own mind would be of long continuance, and 
productive of distress and misery beyond all possible calculation. 
This conviction was pressed upon me by having been a witness, 
during a long residence in revolutionary France, of the spirit which 
prevailed in that country. After leaving the Isle of Wight, I spent 
two days in wandering on foot over Salisbury Plain, which, though 
cultivation was then widely spread through parts of it, had upon 
the whole a still more impressive appearance than it now retains. 

The monuments and traces of antiquity, scattered in abundance 
over that region, led me unavoidably to compare what we know or 
guess of those remote times with certain aspects of modern society, 
and with calamities, principally those consequent upon war, to 



32 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

which, more than other classes of men, the poor are subject. In 
those reflections, joined with particular facts that had come to my 
knowledge, the following stanzas originated. 

In conclusion, to obviate some distraction in the minds of those 
who are well acquainted with Salisbury Plain, it may be proper to 
say that, of the features described as belonging to it, one or two are 
taken from other desolate parts of England. 



A TRAVELLER on the skirt of Sarum's Plain 
Pursued his vagrant way, with feet half bare ; 
Stooping his gait, but not as if to gain 
Help from the staff he bore ; for mien and air 
Were hardy, though his cheek seemed worn with care 
Both of the time to come, and time long fled : 
Down fell in straggling locks his thin grey hair ; 
A coat he wore of military red 
But faded, and stuck o'er with many a patch and shred. 



While thus he journeyed, step by step led on, i 

He saw and passed a stately inn, full sure 

That welcome in such house for him was none. 

No board inscribed the needy to allure 

Hung there, no bush proclaimed to old and poor 

And desolate, ' Here you will find a friend !' 

The pendent grapes glittered above the door ; 

On he must pace, perchance till night descend, 

Where'er the dreary roads their bare white lines extend. 

in 

The gathering clouds grew red with stormy fire, 

In streaks diverging wide and mounting high ; a 

That inn he long had passed ; the distant spire, 

Which oft as he looked back had fixed his eye, 

Was lost, though still he looked, in the blank sky. 

Perplexed and comfortless he gazed around, 

And scarce could any trace of man descry, 

Save cornfields stretched and stretching without bound ; 

But where the sower dwelt was nowhere to be found. 

IV 

No tree was there, no meadow's pleasant green, 
No brook to wet his lip or soothe his ear ; 



GUILT AND SORROW 33 

Long files of corn-stacks here and there were seen, 30 

But not one dwelling-place his heart to cheer. 

Some labourer, thought he, may perchance be near ; 

And so he sent a feeble shout in vain ; 

No voice made answer, he could only hear 

Winds rustling over plots of unripe grain, 

Or whistling thro' thin grass along the unfurrowed plain. 



Long had he fancied each successive slope 

Concealed some cottage, whither he might turn 

And rest ; but now along heaven's darkening cope 

The crows rushed by in eddies, homeward borne. 40 

Thus warned he sought some shepherd's spreading thorn 

Or hovel from the storm to shield his head, 

But sought in vain ; for now, all wild, forlorn, 

And vacant, a huge waste around him spread ; 

The wet cold ground, he feared, must be his only bed. 



And be it so for to the chill night shower 

And the sharp wind his head he oft hath bared ; 

A Sailor he, who many a wretched hour 

Hath told ; for, landing after labour hard, 

Full long endured in hope of just reward, 50 

He to an armed fleet was forced away 

By seamen, who perhaps themselves had shared 

Like fate ; was hurried off, a helpless prey, 

'Gainst all that in his heart, or theirs perhaps, said nay. 



For years the work of carnage did not cease, 

And death's dire aspect daily he surveyed, 

Death's minister ; then came his glad release, 

And hope returned, and pleasure fondly made 

Her dwelling in his dreams. By Fancy's aid 

The happy husband flies, his arms to throw 60 

Round his wife's neck ; the prize of victory laid 

In her full lap, he sees such sweet tears flow 

As if thenceforth nor pain nor trouble she could know. 

VIII 

Vain hope ! for fraud took all that he had earned. 
The lion roars and gluts his tawny brood 
Even in the desert's heart ; but he, returned, 
Bears not to those he loves their needful food. 
His home approaching, but in such a mood 
l-C 



34 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

That from his sight his children might have run, 

He met a traveller, robbed him, shed his blood ; 70 

And when the miserable work was done 

He fled, a vagrant since, the murderer's fate to shun. 

IX 

From that day forth no place to him could be 

So lonely, but that thence might come a pang 

Brought from without to inward misery. 

Now, as he plodded on, with sullen clang 

A sound of chains along the desert rang ; 

He looked, and saw upon a gibbet high 

A human body that in irons swang, 

Uplifted by the tempest whirling by ; 80 

And, hovering, round it often did a raven fly. 



It was a spectacle which none might view, 

In spot so savage, but with shuddering pain ; 

Nor only did for him at once renew 

All he had feared from man, but roused a train 

Of the mind's phantoms, horrible as vain. 

The stones, as if to cover him from day, 

Rolled at his back along the living plain ; 

He fell, and without sense or motion lay ; 

But, when the trance was gone, feebly pursued his way. 90 



As one whose brain habitual frenzy fires 

Owes to the fit in which his soul hath tossed 

Profounder quiet, when the fit retires, 

Even so the dire phantasma which had crossed 

His sense, in sudden vacancy quite lost, 

Left his mind still as a deep evening stream. 

Nor, if accosted now, in thought engrossed, 

Moody, or inly troubled, would he seem 

To traveller who might talk of any casual theme. 



Hurtle the clouds in deeper darkness piled, 

Gone is the raven timely rest to seek ; 

He seemed the only creature in the wild 

On whom the elements their rage might wreak ; 

Save that the bustard, of those regions bleak 

Shy tenant, seeing by the uncertain light 

A man there wandering, gave a mournful shriek, 



GUILT AND SORROW 35 

And half upon the ground, with strange affright, 
Forced hard against the wind a thick unwieldy flight. 



All, all was cheerless to the horizon's bound ; 

The weary eye which, wheresoe'er it strays, no 

Marks nothing but the red sun's setting round, 

Or on the earth strange lines, in former days 

Left by gigantic arms at length surveys 

What seems an antique castle spreading wide ; 

Hoary and naked are its walls, and raise 

Their brow sublime : in shelter there to bide 

He turned, while rain poured down smoking on every side. 



Pile of Stone-henge ! so proud to hint yet keep 
Thy secrets, thou that lov'st to stand and hear 
The Plain resounding to the whirlwind's sweep, 120 

Inmate of lonesome Nature's endless year ; 
Even if thou saw'st the giant wicker rear 
For sacrifice its throngs of living men, 
Before thy face did ever wretch appear, 
Who in his heart had groaned with deadlier pain 
Than he who, tempest-driven, thy shelter now would 
gain ? 

xv 

Within that fabric of mysterious form 

Winds met in conflict, each by turns supreme ; 

And, from the perilous ground dislodged, through storm 

And rain he wildered on, no moon to stream 130 

From gulf of parting clouds one friendly beam, 

Nor any friendly sound his footsteps led ; 

Once did the lightning's faint disastrous gleam 

Disclose a naked guide-post's double head, 

Sight which, tho' lost at once, a gleam of pleasure shed. 



No swinging sign-board creaked from cottage elm 

To stay his steps with faintness overcome ; 

'Twas dark and void as ocean's watery realm 

Roaring with storms beneath night's starless gloom ; 

No gipsy cowered o'er fire of furze or broom ; 140 

No labourer watched his red kiln glaring bright, 

Nor taper glimmered dim from sick man's room ; 

Along the waste no line of mournful light 

From lamp of lonely toll-gate streamed athwart the night. 



5 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XVII 

At length, though hid in clouds, the moon arose ; 
The downs were visible and now revealed 
A structure stands, which two bare slopes enclose. 
It was a spot where, ancient vows fulfilled, 
Kind pious hands did to the Virgin build 
A lonely Spital, the belated swain 150 

From the night terrors of that waste to shield : 
But there no human being could remain, 
And now the walls are named the ' Dead House ' of the 
plain. 

XVIII 

Though he had little cause to love the abode 

Of man, or covet sight of mortal face, 

Yet when faint beams of light that ruin showed, 

How glad he was at length to find some trace 

Of human shelter in that dreary place. 

Till to his flock the early shepherd goes, 

Here shall much-needed sleep his frame embrace. 160 

In a dry nook where fern the floor bestrews 

He lays his stiffened limbs, his eyes begin to close; 



XIX 

When hearing a deep sigh, that seemed to come 
From one who mourned in sleep, he raised his head, 
And saw a woman in the naked room 
Outstretched, and turning on a restless bed : 
The moon a wan dead light around her shed. 
He waked her spake in tone that would not fail, 
He hoped, to calm her mind; but ill he sped, 
For of that ruin she had heard a tale 170 

Which now with freezing thoughts did all her powers 
assail ; 

xx 

Had heard of one who, forced from storms to shroud, 
Felt the loose walls of this decayed Retreat 
Rock to incessant neighings shrill and loud, 
While his horse pawed the floor with furious heat ; 
Till on a stone, that sparkled to his feet, 
Struck, and still struck again, the troubled horse : 
The man half raised the stone with pain and sweat, 
Half raised, for well his arm might lose its force 
Disclosing the grim head of a late murdered corse. 180 



GUILT AND SORROW 37 

XXI 

Such tale of this lone mansion she had learned, 
And when that shape, with eyes in sleep half drowned, 
By the moon's sullen lamp she first discerned, 
Cold stony horror all her senses bound. 
Her he addressed in words of cheering sound ; 
Recovering heart, like answer did she make ; 
And well it was that of the corse there found 
In converse that ensued she nothing spake ; 
She knew not what dire pangs in him such tale could 
wake. 



But soon his voice and words of kind intent 190 

Banished that dismal thought ; and now the wind 

In fainter howlings told its rage was spent : 

Meanwhile discourse ensued of various kind, 

Which by degrees a confidence of mind 

And mutual intei'est failed not to create. 

And, to a natural sympathy resigned, 

In that forsaken building where they sate 

The Woman thus retraced her own untoward fate. 



' By Derwent's side my father dwelt a man 

Of virtuous life, by pious parents bred ; 200 

And I believe that, soon as I began 

To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed, 

And in his hearing there my prayers I said : 

And afterwards, by my good father taught, 

I read, and loved the books in which I read ; 

For books in every neighbouring house I sought, 

And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought. 

XXIV 

' A little croft we owned a plot of corn, 

A garden stored with peas, and mint, and thyme, 

And flowers for posies, oft on Sunday morn 210 

Plucked while the church bells rang their earliest 

chime. 

Can I forget our freaks at shearing time ! 
My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied ; 
The cowslip-gathering in June's dewy prime ; 
The swans that with white chests upreared in pride 
Rushing and racing came to meet me at the water-side ! 



38 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXV 

' The staff I well remember which upbore 
The bending body of my active sire ; 
His seat beneath the honied sycamore 
Where the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire ; 220 
When market-morning came, the neat attire 
With which, though bent on haste, myself I decked ; 
Our watchful house-dog, that would tease and tire 
The stranger till its barking-fit I checked ; 
The red-breast, known for years, which at my casement 
pecked. 

XXVI 

' The suns of twenty summers danced along, 

Too little marked how fast they rolled away : 

But, through severe mischance and cruel wrong, 

My father's substance fell into decay : 

We toiled and struggled, hoping for a day 230 

When Fortune might put on a kinder look ; 

But vain were wishes, efforts vain as they ; 

He from his old hereditary nook 

Must part ; the summons came ; our final leave we took. 



xxvn 

' It was indeed a miserable hour 

When, from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed, 

Peering above the trees, the steeple tower 

That on his marriage day sweet music made ! 

Till then he hoped his bones might there be laid 

Close by my mother in their native bowers : 240 

Bidding me trust in God, he stood and prayed ; 

I could not pray : through tears that fell in showers 

Glimmered our dear-loved home, alas ! no longer ours ! 

XXVIII 

'There was a Youth whom I had loved so long, 

That when I loved him not I cannot say : 

'Mid the green mountains many a thoughtless song 

We two had sung, like gladsome birds in May ; 

When we began to tire of childish play, 

We seemed still more and more to prize each other ; 

We talked of marriage and our marriage day ; 250 

And I in truth did love him like a brother, 

For never could I hope to meet with such another. 



GUILT AND SORROW 39 

XXIX 

' Two years were passed since to a distant town 

He had repaired to ply a gainful trade : 

What tears of bitter grief, till then unknown, 

What tender vows our last sad kiss delayed ! 

To him we turned : we had no other aid : 

Like one revived, upon his neck I wept ; 

And her whom he had loved in joy, he said, 

He well could love in grief ; his faith he kept ; 260 

And in a quiet home once more my father slept. 

xxx 

' We lived in peace and comfort ; and were blest 
With daily bread, by constant toil supplied. 
Three lovely babes had lain upon my breast ; 
And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed, 
And knew not why. My happy father died, 
When threatened war reduced the children's meal : 
Thrice happy ! that for him the grave could hide 
The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel, 
And tears which flowed for ills which patience might not 
heal. 270 

XXXI 

' 'Twas a hard change ; an evil time was come ; 

We had no hope, and no relief could gain : 

But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum 

Beat round to clear the streets of want and pain. 

My husband's arms now only serve to strain 

Me and his children hungering in his view ; 

In such dismay my prayers and tears were vain : 

To join those miserable men he flew, 

And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we drew. 



' There were we long neglected, and we bore 280 

Much sorrow ere the fleet its anchor weighed ; 

Green fields before us, and our native shore, 

We breathed a pestilential air, that made 

Ravage for which no knell was heard. W T e prayed 

For our departure ; wished and wished nor knew, 

'Mid that long sickness and those hopes delayed, 

That happier days we never more must view. 

The parting signal streamed at last the land withdrew. 



40 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



' But the calm summer season now was past. 

On as we drove, the equinoctial deep 290 

Ran mountains high before the howling blast, 

And many perished in the whirlwind's sweep. 

We gazed with terror on their gloomy sleep, 

Untaught that soon such anguish must ensue, 

Our hopes such harvest of affliction reap, 

That we the mercy of the waves should rue : 

We reached the western world, a poor devoted crew. 

xxxiv 

' The pains and plagues that on our heads came down, 

Disease and famine, agony and fear, 

In wood or wilderness, in camp or town, 300 

It would unman the firmest heart to hear. 

All perished all in one remorseless year, 

Husband and children ! one by one, by sword 

And ravenous plague, all perished : every tear 

Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board 

A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored.' 



XXXV 

Here paused she of all present thought forlorn, 

Nor voice, nor sound, that moment's pain expressed, 

Yet Nature, with excess of grief o'erborne, 

From her full eyes their watery load released. 310 

He too was mute : and, ere her weeping ceased, 

He rose, and to the ruin's portal went, 

And saw the dawn opening the silvery east 

W T ith rays of promise north and southward sent ; 

And soon with crimson fire kindled the firmament. 



xxxvi 

S O come,' he cried, 'come, after weary night 

Of such rough storm, this happy change to view.' 

So forth she came, and eastward looked ; the sight 

Over her brow like dawn of gladness threw ; 

Upon her cheek, to which its youthful hue 320 

Seemed to return, dried the last lingering tear, 

And from her grateful heart a fresh one drew : 

The whilst her comrade to her pensive cheer 

Tempered fit words of hope ; and the lark warbled near. 



GUILT AND SORROW 41 



They looked and saw a lengthening road, and wain 

That rang down a bare slope not far remote : 

The barrows glistered bright with drops of rain, 

Whistled the waggoner with merry note, 

The cock far off sounded his clarion throat ; 

But town, or farm, or hamlet, none they viewed, 330 

Only were told there stood a lonely cot 

A long mile thence. While thither they pursued 

Their way, the Woman thus her mournful tale renewed. 

XXXVIII 

' Peaceful as this immeasurable plain 

Is now, by beams of dawning light imprest, 

In the calm sunshine slept the glittering main ; 

The very ocean hath its hour of rest. 

I too forgot the heavings of my breast. 

How quiet 'round me ship and ocean were ! 

As quiet all within me. 1 was blest, 340 

And looked, and fed upon the silent air 

Until it seemed to bring a joy to my despair. 

xxxix 

' Ah ! how unlike those late terrific sleeps, 

And groans that rage of racking famine spoke ; 

The unburied dead that lay in festering heaps, 

The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke, 

The shriek that from the distant battle broke, 

The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host 

Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke 

To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish tossed, 350 

Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost ! 



' Some mighty gulf of separation passed, 
I seemed transported to another world ; 
A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast 
The impatient mariner the sail unfurled, 
And, whistling, called the wind that hardly curled 
The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home 
And from all hope I was for ever hurled. 
For me farthest from earthly port to roam 
W T as best, could I but shun the spot where man might 
come. 360 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



' And oft I thought (my fancy was so strong) 
That I, at last, a resting-place had found ; 
" Here will I dwell," said I, " my whole life long, 
Roaming the illimitable waters round ; 
Here will I live, of all but heaven disowned, 
And end my days upon the peaceful flood." 
To break my dream the vessel reached its bound ; 
And homeless near a thousand homes I stood, 
And near a thousand tables pined and wanted food. 

XLII 

' No help I sought ; in sorrow turned adrift, 370 

Was hopeless, as if cast on some bare rock ; 

Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift, 

Nor raised my hand to any door to knock. 

I lay where, with his drowsy mates, the cock 

From the cross-timber of an outhouse hung : 

Dismally tolled, that night, the city clock ! 

At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung, 

Nor to the beggar's language could I fit my tongue. 

XLIII 

' So passed a second day ; and, when the third 

Was come, I tried in vain the crowd's resort. 380 

In deep despair, by frightful wishes stirred, 

Near the sea-side I reached a ruined fort; 

There, pains which nature could no more support, 

With blindness linked, did on my vitals fall ; 

And, after many interruptions short 

Of hideous sense, I sank, nor step could crawl : 

Unsought for was the help that did my life recall. 



XLIV 

' Borne to a hospital, I lay with brain 
Drowsy and weak, and shattered memory ; 
I heard my neighbours in their beds complain 390 

Of many things which never troubled me 
Of feet still bustling round with busy glee, 
Of looks where common kindness had no part, 
Of service done with cold formality, 
Fretting the fever round the languid heart, 
And groans which, as they said, might make a dead man 
start. 



GUILT AND SORROW 43 



XLV 

' These things just served to stir the slumbering sense, 
Nor pain nor pity in my bosom raised. 
With strength did memory return; and, thence 
Dismissed, again on open day I gazed, 400 

At houses, men, and common light, amazed. 
The lanes I sought, and, as the sun retired, 
Came where beneath the trees a faggot blazed ; 
The travellers saw me weep, my fate inquired, 
And gave me food and rest, more welcomed, more 
desired. 

XLVI 

' Rough potters seemed they, trading soberly 

With panniered asses driven from door to door ; 

But life of happier sort set forth to me, 

And other joys my fancy to allure 

The bag-pipe dinning on the midnight moor 410 

In barn uplighted ; and companions boon, 

Well met from far with revelry secure 

Among the forest glades, while jocund June 

Rolled fast along the sky his warm and genial moon. 



XLVII 

' But ill they suited me those journeys dark 

O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch ! 

To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark, 

Or hang on tip-toe at the lifted latch. 

The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match, 

The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill, 420 

And ear still busy on its nightly watch, 

Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill : 

Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were brooding still. 

XLVIIl 

' What could I do, unaided and unblest ? 

My father ! gone was every friend of thine : 

And kindred of dead husband are at best 

Small help ; and, after marriage such as mine, 

With little kindness would to me incline. 

Nor was I then for toil or service fit ; 

My deep-drawn sighs no effort could confine ; 430 

In open air forgetful would I sit 

Whole hours, with idle arms in moping sorrow knit. 



44 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XLIX 

' The roads I paced, I loitered through the fields ; 

Contentedly, yet sometimes self-accused, 

Trusted my life to what chance bounty yields, 

Now coldly given, now utterly refused. 

The ground I for my bed have often used : 

But what afflicts my peace with keenest ruth, 

Is that I have my inner self abused, 

Forgone the home delight of constant truth, 440 

And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless youth. 



' Through tears the rising sun I oft have viewed, 

Through tears have seen him towards that world descend 

Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude : 

Three years a wanderer now my course I bend 

Oh ! tell me whither for no earthly friend 

Have I.' She ceased, and weeping turned away ; 

As if because her tale was at an end, 

She wept ; because she had no more to say 

Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay. 450 

LI 

True sympathy the Sailor's looks expressed, 

His looks for pondering he was mute the while. 

Of social Order's care for wretchedness, 

Of Time's sure help to calm and reconcile, 

Joy's second spring and Hope's long-treasured smile, 

'Twas not for him to speak a man so tried. 

Yet, to relieve her heart, in friendly style 

Proverbial words of comfort he applied, 

And not in vain, while they went pacing side by side. 

LIT 

Ere long, from heaps of turf, before their sight, 460 

Together smoking in the sun's slant beam, 

Rise various wreaths that into one unite 

Which high and higher mounts with silver gleam : 

Fair spectacle, but instantly a scream 

Thence bursting shrill did all remark prevent ; 

They paused, and heard a hoarser voice blaspheme, 

And female cries. Their course they thither bent, 

And met a man who foamed with anger vehement. 



A woman stood with quivering lips and pale, 

And, pointing to a little child that lay 470 



GUILT AND SORROW 45 

Stretched on the ground, began a piteous tale ; 

How in a simple freak of thoughtless play 

He had provoked his father, who straightway, 

As if each blow were deadlier than the last, 

Struck the poor innocent. Pallid with dismay 

The Soldier's Widow heard and stood aghast ; 

And stern looks on the man her grey-haired Comrade cast. 

LIV 

His voice with indignation rising high 

Such further deed in manhood's name forbade ; 

The peasant, wild in passion, made reply 480 

With bitter insult and revilings sad ; 

Asked him in scorn what business there he had ; 

What kind of plunder he was hunting now ; 

The gallows would one day of him be glad ; 

Though inward anguish damped the Sailor's brow, 

Yet calm he seemed as thoughts so poignant would allow. 

LV 

Softly he stroked the child, who lay outstretched 

With face to earth ; and, as the boy turned round 

His battered head, a groan the Sailor fetched 

As if he saw there and upon that ground 490 

Strange repetition of the deadly wound 

He had himself inflicted. Through his brain 

At once the griding iron passage found ; 

Deluge of tender thoughts then rushed amain, 

Nor could his sunken eyes the starting tear restrain. 

LVI 

Within himself he said What hearts have we ! 

The blessing this a father gives his child ! 

Yet happy thou, poor boy ! compared with me, 

Suffering not doing ill fate far more mild. 

The stranger's looks and tears of wrath beguiled 500 

The father, and relenting thoughts awoke ; 

He kissed his son so all was reconciled. 

Then, with a voice which inward trouble broke 

Ere to his lips it came, the Sailor them bespoke. 



' Bad is the world, and hard is the world's law 
Even for the man who wears the warmest fleece ; 
Much need have ye that time more closely draw 
The bond of nature, all unkindness cease, 



46 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And that among so few there still be peace : 

Else can ye hope but with such numerous foes 510 

Your pains shall ever with your years increase ? ' 

While from his heart the appropriate lesson flows, 

A correspondent calm stole gently o'er his woes. 



Forthwith the pair passed on ; and down they look 
Into a narrow valley's pleasant scene 
Where wreaths of vapour tracked a winding brook, 
That babbled on through groves and meadows green ; 
A low-roofed house peeped out the trees between ; 
The dripping groves resound with cheerful lays, 
And melancholy lowings intervene 520 

Of scattered herds, that in the meadow graze, 
Some amid lingering shade, some touched by the sun's 
rays. 

LIX 

They saw and heard, and, winding with the road 

Down a thick wood, they dropt into the vale ; 

Comfort by prouder mansions unbestowed 

Their wearied frames, she hoped, would soon regale. 

Ere long they reached that cottage in the dale : 

It was a rustic inn ; the board was spread, 

The milk-maid followed with her brimming pail, 

And lustily the master carved the bread, 530 

Kindly the housewife pressed, and they in comfort fed. 

LX 

Their breakfast done, the pair, though loth, must part ; 

Wanderers whose course no longer now agrees. 

She rose and bade farewell ! and, while her heart 

Struggled with tears nor could its sorrow ease, 

She left him there ; for, clustering round his knees, 

With his oak-staff the cottage children played ; 

And soon she reached a spot o'erhung with trees 

And banks of ragged earth ; beneath the shade 

Across the pebbly road a little runnel strayed. 540 

LXI 

A cart and horse beside the rivulet stood ; 
Chequering the canvas roof the sunbeams shone. 
She saw the carman bend to scoop the flood 
As the wain fronted her, wherein lay one, 
A pale-faced Woman, in disease far gone. 



GUILT AND SORROW 47 

The carman wet her lips as well behoved ; 

Bed under her lean body there was none, 

Though even to die near one she most had loved 

She could not of herself those wasted limbs have moved. 



The Soldier's Widow learned with honest pain 550 

And homefelt force of sympathy sincere, 

Why thus that worn-out wretch must there sustain 

The jolting road and morning air severe. 

The wain pursued its way ; and following near 

In pure compassion she her steps retraced 

Far as the cottage. ' A sad sight is here/ 

She cried aloud ; and forth ran out in haste 

The friends whom she had left but a few minutes past. 



While to the door with eager speed they ran, 

From her bare straw the Woman half upraised 560 

Her bony visage gaunt and deadly wan ; 

No pity asking, on the group she gazed 

With a dim eye, distracted and amazed ; 

Then sank upon her straw with feeble moan. 

Fervently cried the housewife ' God be praised, 

I have a house that I can call my own ; 

Nor shall she perish there, untended and alone !' 

LXIV 

So in they bear her to the chimney seat, 

And busily, though yet with fear, untie 

Her garments, and, to warm her icy feet 570 

And chafe her temples, careful hands apply. 

Nature reviving, with a deep-drawn sigh 

She strove, and not in vain, her head to rear ; 

Then said ' I thank you all ; if I must die, 

The God in heaven my prayers for you will hear ; 

Till now I did not think my end had been so near. 



' Barred every comfort labour could procure, 

Suffering what no endurance could assuage, 

I was compelled to seek my father's door, 

Though loth to be a burthen on his age. 580 

But sickness stopped me in an early stage 



48 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Of my sad journey; and within the wain 
They placed me there to end life's pilgrimage, 
Unless beneath your roof I may remain : 
For I shall never see my father's door again. 



LXVI 

' My life, Heaven knows, hath long been burthensome ; 
But, if I have not meekly suffered, meek 
May my end be ! Soon will this voice be dumb : 
Should child of mine e'er wander hither, speak 
Of me, say that the Avorm is on my cheek. 590 

Torn from our hut, that stood beside the sea 
Near Portland lighthouse in a lonesome creek, 
My husband served in sad captivity 

On shipboard, bound till peace or death should set him 
free. 

LXVII 

' A sailor's wife I knew a widow's cares, 

Yet two sweet little ones partook my bed ; 

Hope cheered my dreams, and to my daily prayers 

Our heavenly Father granted each day's bread ; 

Till one was found by stroke of violence dead, 

Whose body near our cottage chanced to lie ; 600 

A dire suspicion drove us from our shed ; 

In vain to find a friendly face we try, 

Nor could we live together those poor boys and I ; 

LXVIII 

' For evil tongues made oath how on that day 

My husband lurked about the neighbourhood ; 

Now he had fled, and whither none could say, 

And he had done the deed in the dark wood 

Near his own home ! but he was mild and good ; 

Never on earth was gentler creature seen ; 

He 'd not have robbed the raven of its food. 610 

My husband's loving kindness stood between 

Me and all worldly harms and wi-ongs however keen.' 

LXIX 

Alas ! the thing she told with labouring breath 

The Sailor knew too well. That wickedness 

His hand had wrought ; and when, in the hour of death, 

He saw his Wife's lips move his name to bless 

With her last words, unable to suppress 



GUILT AND SORROW 49 

His anguish, with his heart he ceased to strive ; 

And, weeping loud in this extreme distress, 

He cried ' Do pity me ! That thou shouldst live 620 

1 neither ask nor wish forgive me, but forgive ! ' 



To tell the change that Voice within her wrought 

Nature by sign or sound made no essay ; 

A sudden joy surprised expiring thought, 

And every mortal pang dissolved away. 

Borne gently to a bed, in death she lay ; 

Yet still, while over her the husband bent, 

A look was in her face which seemed to say, 

' Be blest : by sight of thee from heaven was sent 

Peace to my parting soul, the fulness of content.' 630 



She slept in peace, his pulses throbbed and stopped, 

Breathless he gazed upon her face, then took 

Her hand in his, and raised it, but both di'opped, 

When on his own he cast a rueful look. 

His ears were never silent ; sleep forsook 

His burning eyelids stretched and stiff as lead ; 

All night from time to time under him shook 

The floor as he lay shuddering on his bed ; 

And oft he groaned aloud, ' O God, that I were dead ! ' 

LXXII 

The Soldier's Widow lingered in the cot; 640 

And, when he rose, he thanked her pious care 

Through which his Wife, to that kind shelter brought, 

Died in his arms ; and with those thanks a prayer 

He breathed for her, and for that merciful pair. 

The corse interred, not one hour he remained 

Beneath their roof, but to the open air 

A burthen, now with fortitude sustained, 

He bore within a breast where dreadful quiet reigned. 

LXXIII 

Confirmed of purpose, fearlessly prepared 
For act and suffering, to the city straight 650 

He journeyed, and forthwith his crime declared : 
' And from your doom/ he added, ' now I wait, 
Nor let it linger long, the murderer's fate.' 
1-D 



50 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Not ineffectual was that piteous claim : 

' O welcome sentence which will end though late,' 

He said, ( the pangs that to my conscience came 

Out of that deed. My trust, Saviour ! is in thy name ! 



LXXIV 



His fate was pitied. Him in iron case 

(Reader, forgive the intolerable thought) 

They hung not : no one on his form or face 660 

Could gaze, as on a show by idlers sought ; 

No kindred sufferer, to his death-place brought 

By lawless curiosity or chance, 

When into storm the evening sky is wrought, 

Upon his swinging corse an eye can glance, 

And drop, as he once dropped, in miserable trance. 

1791-1794 



THE BORDERERS 51 



MARMADCKR 
OSWALD 



THE BORDERERS 

A TRAGEDY 
(Composed 1795-1796) 

DRAMATIS PERSONS 

Host 
Of the Band of ^ a Peasanl 



Peasant, Pilgrims, etc. 
LENNOX 



HERBERT 

WILFRED, Servant to MARMA- 



DUKE 



IDONEA 

Female Beggar 
ELEANOR, Wife to ELDRED 



SCENE Borders of England and Scotland 
TIME The Reign of Henry III 

READERS already acquainted with my Poems will recognise, in the 
following composition, some eight or ten lines, which I have not 
scrupled to retain in the places where they originally stood. It is 
proper however to add that they would not have been used else- 
where, if I had foreseen the time when I might be induced to 
publish this Tragedy. 
February 28, 1842 

ACT I 

SCENE Poad in a Wood 
WALLACE and LACY 

LACY. The Troop will be impatient ; let us hie 
Back to our post, and strip the Scottish Foray 
Of their rich Spoil, ere they recross the Border 
Pity that our young Chief will have no part 
In this good service. 

WAL. Rather let us grieve 

That, in the undertaking which has caused 
His absence, he hath sought, whate'er his aim, 
Companionship with One of crooked ways, 



52 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT i 

From whose perverted soul can come no good 

To our confiding, open-hearted, Leader. to 

LACY. True ; and, remembering how the Band have proved 
That Oswald finds small favour in our sight, 
Well may we wonder he has gained such power 
Over our much-loved Captain. 

WAL. I have heard 

Of some dark deed to which in early life 
His passion drove him then a Voyager 
Upon the midland Sea. You knew his bearing 
In Palestine ? 

LACY. Where he despised alike 

Mohammedan and Christian. But enough ; 19 

Let us begone the Band may else be foiled. [Exeunt. 

Enter MARMADUKE and WILFRED 

WIL. Be cautious, my dear Master ! 

MAR. I perceive 

That fear is like a cloak which old men huddle 

About their love, as if to keep it warm. 
WIL. Nay, but I grieve that we should part. This Stranger, 

For such he is 

MAR. Your busy fancies, Wilfred, 

Might tempt me to a smile ; but what of him ? 
WIL. You know that you have saved his life. 
MAR. I know it. 

WIL. And that he hates you ! Pardon me, perhaps 

That word was hasty. 

MAR. Fy ! no more of it. 

WIL. Dear Master ! gratitude 's a heavy burden 30 

To a proud Soul. Nobody loves this Oswald 

Yourself, you do not love him. 
MAR. I do more, 

I honour him. Strong feelings to his heart 

Are natural ; and from no one can be learnt 

More of man's thoughts and ways than his experience 

Has given him power to teach : and then for courage 

And enterprise what perils hath he shunned ? 

What obstacles hath he failed to overcome ? 

Answer these questions, from our common knowledge, 

And be at rest. 
WIL. Oh, Sir ! 

MAR. Peace, my good Wilfred ; 40 

Repair to Liddesdale, and tell the Band 

I shall be with them in two days, at farthest. 
WIL. May He whose eye is over all protect you ! [Exit. 



ACT i] THE BORDERERS 53 

Enter OSWALD (a bunch of plants in his hand) 

Osw. This wood is rich in plants and curious simples. 
MAR. (looking at theni). The wild rose, and the poppy, and 
the nightshade : 

Which is your favorite, Oswald ? 
Osw. That which, while it is 

Strong to destroy, is also strong to heal [Looking forward. 

Not yet in sight ! We '11 saunter here awhile ; 

They cannot mount the hill, by us unseen. 
MAR. (a letter in his hand). It is no common thing when one 
like you 50 

Performs these delicate services, and therefore 

I feel myself much bounden to you, Oswald ; 

'Tis a strange letter this ! You saw her write it ? 
Osw. And saw the tears with which she blotted it. 
MAR. And nothing less would satisfy him ? 
Osw. No less ; 

For that another in his Child's affection 

Should hold a place, as if 'twere robbery, 

He seemed to quarrel with the very thought. 

Besides, I know not what strange prejudice 

Is rooted in his mind ; this Band of ours, 60 

Which you 've collected for the noblest ends, 

Along the confines of the Esk and Tweed 

To guard the Innocent he calls us ' Outlaws '; 

And, for yourself, in plain terms he asserts 

This garb was taken up that indolence 

Might want no cover, and rapacity 

Be better fed. 
MAR. Ne'er may I own the heart 

That cannot feel for one, helpless as he is. 
Osw. Thou know'st me for a Man not easily moved, 

Yet was I grievously provoked to think 70 

Of what I witnessed. 
MAR. This day will suffice 

To end her wrongs. 
Osw. But if the blind Man's tale 

Should yet be true ? 
MAR. Would it were possible ! 

Did not the Soldier tell thee that himself, 

And others who survived the wreck, beheld 

The Baron Herbert perish in the waves 

Upon the coast of Cyprus ? 
Osw. Yes, even so, 

And I had heard the like before : in sooth 

The tale of this his quondam Barony 



54 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT i 

Is cunningly devised; and, on the back 80 

Of his forlorn appearance, could not fail 

To make the proud and vain his tributaries, 

And stir the pulse of lazy charity. 

The seignories of Herbert are in Devon ; 

We, neighbours of the Esk and Tweed: 'tis much 

The Arch-impostor 

MAR. Treat him gently, Oswald ; 

Though I have never seen his face, methinks, 

There cannot come a day when I shall cease 

To love him. I remember, when a Boy 

Of scarcely seven years' growth, beneath the Elm 90 

That casts its shade over our village school, 

'Twas my delight to sit and hear Idonea 

Repeat her Father's terrible adventures, 

Till all the band of playmates wept together ; 

And that was the beginning of my love. 

And, through all converse of our later years, 

An image of this old Man still was present, 

When I had been most happy. Pardon me 

If this be idly spoken. 
Osw. See, they come, 

Two Travellers ! 

MAR. (points). The woman is Idonea. 100 

Osw. And leading Herbert. 
MAR. We must let them pass 

This thicket will conceal us. [They step aside. 

Enter IDONEA, leading HERBERT blind 

IDON. Dear Father, you sigh deeply ; ever since 
We left the willow shade by the brook-side, 
Your natural breathing has been troubled. 

HER. Nay, 

You are too fearful ; yet must I confess, 
Our march of yesterday had better suited 
A firmer step than mine. 

IDON. That dismal Moor - 

In spite of all the larks that cheered our path, 
I never can forgive it : but how steadily no 

You paced along, when the bewildering moonlight 
Mocked me with many a strange fantastic shape ! 
I thought the Convent never would appear ; 
It seemed to move away from us : and yet, 
That you are thus the fault is mine ; for the air 
Was soft and warm, no dew lay on the grass, 
And midway on the waste ere night had fallen 



ACT i] THE BORDERERS 55 

I spied a Covert walled and roofed with sods 

A miniature ; belike some Shepherd-boy, 

Who might have found a nothing-doing hour i ao 

Heavier than work, raised it : within that hut 

We might have made a kindly bed of heath, 

And thankfully there rested side by side 

Wrapped in our cloaks, and, with recruited strength, 

Have hailed the morning sun. But cheerily, Father, 

That staff of yours, I could almost have heart 

To fling 't away from you : you make no use 

Of me, or of my strength ; come, let me feel 

That you do press upon me. There indeed 

You are quite exhausted. Let us rest awhile 130 

On this green bank. [He sits down. 

HER. (after some time). Idonea, you are silent, 
And I divine the cause. 

I DON. Do not reproach me : 

I pondered patiently your wish and will 
When I gave way to your request ; and now, 
When I behold the ruins of that face, 
Those eyeballs dark dark beyond hope of light, 
And think that they were blasted for my sake, 
The name of Marmaduke is blown away : 
Father, I would not change that sacred feeling 
For all this world can give. 

HER. Nay, be composed : 140 

Few minutes gone a faintness overspread 
My frame, and I bethought me of two things 
I ne'er had heart to separate my grave, 
And thee, my child ! 

IDON. Believe me, honoured Sire ! 
'Tis weariness that breeds these gloomy fancies, 
And you mistake the cause : you hear the woods 
Resound with music, could you see the sun, 
And look upon the pleasant face of Nature 

HER. I comprehend thee I should be as cheerful 

As if we two were twins ; two songsters bred 150 

In the same nest, my spring-time one with thine, r 

My fancies, fancies if they be, are such 

As come, dear Child ! from a far deeper source 

Than bodily weariness. While here we sit 

I feel my strength returning. The bequest 

Of thy kind Patroness, which to receive 

We have thus far adventured, will suffice 

To save thee from the extreme of penury ; 

But when thy Father must lie down and die, 

How wilt thou stand alone ? 



56 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT i 

IDON. Is he not strong ? 160 

Is he not valiant ? 

HER. Am I then so soon 

Forgotten ? have my warnings passed so quickly 
Out of thy mind ? My dear, my only, Child ; 
Thou wouldst be leaning on a broken reed 
This Marmaduke 

IDON. O could you hear his voice : 

Alas ! you do not know him. He is one 
(I wot not what ill tongue has wronged him with you) 
All gentleness and love. His face bespeaks 
A deep and simple meekness : and that Soul, 
Which with the motion of a virtuous act 170 

Flashes a look of terror upon guilt, 
Is, after conflict, quiet as the ocean, 
By a miraculous finger stilled at once. 

HER. Unhappy Woman ! 

IDON. Nay, it was my duty 

Thus much to speak ; but think not I forget 
Dear Father ! how could I forget and live ? 
You and the story of that doleful night 
When, Antioch blazing to her topmost towers, 
You rushed into the murderous flames, returned 
Blind as the grave, but, as you oft have told me, 180 

Clasping your infant Daughter to your heart. 

HER. Thy Mother too ! scarce had I gained the door, 
I caught her voice ; she threw herself upon me, 
I felt thy infant brother in her arms ; 
She saw my blasted face a tide of soldiers 
That instant rushed between us, and I heard 
Her last death-shriek, distinct among a thousand. 

IDON. Nay, Father, stop not; let me hear it all. 

HER. Dear Daughter ! precious relic of that time 

For my old age, it doth remain with thee 190 

To make it what thou wilt. Thou hast been told, 

That when, on our return from Palestine, 

I found how my domains had been usurped, 

I took thee in my arms, and we began 

Our wanderings together. Providence 

At length conducted us to Rossland, there, 

Our melancholy story moved a Stranger 

To take thee to her home and for myself, 

Soon after, the good Abbot of St. Cuthbert's 

Supplied my helplessness with food and raiment, 200 

And, as thou know'st, gave me that humble Cot 

Where now we dwell. For many years I bore 

Thy absence, till old age and fresh infirmities 



ACT i] THE BORDERERS 57 

Exacted thy return, and our reunion. 
I did not think that, during that long absence, 
My Child, forgetful of the name of Herbert, 
Had given her love to a wild Freebooter, 
Who here, upon the borders of the Tweed, 
Doth prey alike on two distracted Countries, 
Traitor to both. 

IDON. Oh, could you hear his voice ! 210 

I will not call on Heaven to vouch for me, 
But let this kiss speak what is in my heart. 

Enter a Peasant 

PEA. Good morrow, Strangers ! If you want a Guide, 

Let me have leave to serve you ! 
IDON. My Companion 

Hath need of rest ; the sight of Hut or Hostel 

Would be most welcome. 
PEA. Yon white hawthorn gained, 

You will look down into a dell, and there 

Will see an ash from which a sign-board hangs ; 

The house is hidden by the shade. Old Man, 

You seem worn out with travel shall I support you ? 220 
HER. I thank you ; but, a resting-place so near, 

'Twere wrong to trouble you. 
PEA. God speed you both. 

[Exit Peasant. 
HER. Idonea, we must part. Be not alarmed 

'Tis but for a few days a thought has struck me. 
IDON. That I should leave you at this house, and thence 

Proceed alone. It shall be so ; for strength 

Would fail you ere our journey's end be reached. 

[Exit HERBERT supported by IDONEA. 

Re-enter MARMADUKE and OSWALD 

MAR. This instant will we stop him 

Osw. Be not hasty, 

For sometimes, in despite of my conviction, 

He tempted me to think the Story true ; 230 

'Tis plain he loves the Maid, and what he said 

That savoured of aversion to thy name 

Appeared the genuine colour of his soul 

Anxiety lest mischief should befall her 

After his death. 

MAR. I have been much deceived. 

Osw. But sure he loves the Maiden, and never love 

Could find delight to nurse itself so strangely, 



58 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT i 

Thus to torment her with inventions ! death 

There must be truth in this. 
MAR. Truth in his story ! 

He must have felt it then, known what it was, 240 

And in such wise to rack her gentle heart 

Had been a tenfold cruelty. 
Osw. Strange pleasures 

Do we poor mortals cater for ourselves ! 

To see him thus provoke her tenderness 

With tales of weakness and infirmity ! 

I 'd wager on his life for twenty years. 
MAR. We will not waste an hour in such a cause. 
Osw. Why, this is noble ! shake her off at once. 
MAR. Her virtues are his instruments. A Man 

Who has so practised on the world's cold sense, 250 

May well deceive his Child What ! leave her thus, 

A prey to a deceiver ? no no no 

'Tis but a word and then 

Osw. Something is here 

More than we see, or whence this strong aversion ? 

Marmaduke ! I suspect unworthy tales 

Have reached his ear you have had enemies. 
MAR. Enemies ! of his own coinage. 
Osw. That may be, 

But wherefore slight protection such as you 

Have power to yield ? perhaps he looks elsewhere. 

I am perplexed. 

MAR. What hast thou heard or seen ? 260 

Osw. No no the thing stands clear of mystery ; 

(As you have said) he coins himself the slander 

With which he taints her ear ; for a plain reason ; 

He dreads the presence of a virtuous man 

Like you ; he knows your eye would search his heart, 

Your justice stamp upon his evil deeds 

The punishment they merit. All is plain : 

It cannot be 

MAR. What cannot be ? 

Osw. Yet that a Father 

Should in his love admit no rivalship, 

And torture thus the heart of his own Child 270 

MAR. Nay, you abuse my friendship ! 

Osw. Heaven forbid ! 

There was a circumstance, trifling indeed 

It struck me at the time yet I believe 

I never should have thought of it again 

But for the scene which we by chance have witnessed. 
MAR. What is your meaning ? 



ACT i] THE BORDERERS 59 

Osw. Two days gone I saw, 

Though at a distance and he was disguised, 

Hovering round Herbert's door, a man whose figure 

Resembled much that cold voluptuary, 

The villain, Clifford. He hates you, and he knows 280 

Where he can stab you deepest. 
MAR. Clifford never 

Would stoop to skulk about a Cottage door 

It could not be. 
Osw. And yet I now remember 

That, when your praise was warm upon my tongue, 

And the blind Man was told how you had rescued 

A maiden from the ruffian violence 

Of this same Clifford, he became impatient 

And would not hear me. 
MAR. No it cannot be 

I dare not trust myself with such a thought 

Yet whence this strange aversion ? You are a man 290 

Not used to rash conjectures 

Osw. If you deem it 

A thing worth further notice, we must act 

With caution, sift the matter artfully. 

[Exeunt MARMADUKE and OSWALD. 



SCENE The door of the Hostel 
HERBERT, IDONEA, and Host 

HER. (seated). As I am dear to you, remember, Child ! 
This last request. 

IDON. You know me, Sire; farewell ! 

HER. And are you going then ? Come, come, Idonea, 
We must not part, I have measured many a league 
When these old limbs had need of rest, and now 
I will not play the sluggard. 

IDON. Nay, sit down. 

[Turning to Host. 

Good Host, such tendance as you would expect 300 

From your own Children, if yourself were sick, 
Let this old Man find at your hands ; poor Leader, 

[Looking at the dog. 

We soon shall meet again. If thou neglect 
This charge of thine, then ill befall thee ! Look, 
The little fool is loth to stay behind. 
Sir Host ! by all the love you bear to courtesy, 
Take care of him, and feed the truant well. 

HOST. Fear not, I will obey you ; but One so young, 



60 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT i 

And One so fair, it goes against my heart 

That you should travel unattended, Lady ! 310 

I have a palfrey and a groom : the lad 

Shall squire you, (would it not be better, Sir ?) 

And for less fee than I would let him run 

For any lady I have seen this twelvemonth. 
I DON. You know, Sir, I have been too long your guard 

Not to have learnt to laugh at little fears. 

Why, if a wolf should leap from out a thicket, 

A look of mine would send him scouring back, 

Unless I differ from the thing I am 

When you are by my side. 
HER. Idonea, wolves 320 

Are not the enemies that move my fears. 
I DON. No more, I pray, of this. Three days at farthest 

Will bring me back protect him, Saints farewell ! 

[Exit IDONEA. 

HOST. 'Tis never drought with us St. Cuthbert and his 
Pilgrims, 

Thanks to them, are to us a stream of comfort : 

Pity the Maiden did not wait a while ; 

She could not, Sir, have failed of company. 
HER. Now she is gone, I fain would call her back. 
HOST, (calling). Holla ! 
HER. No, no, the business must be done. 

What means this riotous noise ? 
HOST. The villagers 330 

Are flocking in a wedding festival 

That 's all God save you, Sir. 

Enter OSWALD 
Osw. Ha ! as I live, 

The Baron Herbert. 

HOST. Mercy, the Baron Herbert ! 

Osw. So far into your journey ! on my life, 

You are a lusty Traveller. But how fare you ? 
HER. Well as the wreck I am permits. And you, Sir ? 
Osw. I do not see Idonea. 
HER. Dutiful Girl, 

She is gone before, to spare my weariness. 

But what has brought you hither? 
Osw. A slight affair, 

That will be soon despatched. 
HER. Did Marmaduke 340 

Receive that letter ? 
Osw. Be at peace. The tie 

Is broken, you will hear no more of him. 



ACT i] THE BORDERERS 61 

HER. This is true comfort, thanks a thousand times ! 
That noise ! would I had gone with her as far 
As the Lord Clifford's Castle : I have heard 
That, in his milder moods, he has expressed 
Compassion for me. His influence is great 
With Henry, our good King; the Baron might 
Have heard my suit, and urged my plea at Court. 
No matter he 's a dangerous Man. That noise ! 350 
'Tis too disorderly for sleep or rest. 
Idonea would have fears for me, the Convent 
Will give me quiet lodging. You have a boy, good Host, 
And he must lead me back. 

Osw. You are most lucky ; 

I have been waiting in the wood hard by 
For a companion here he comes ; our journey 

Enter MARMADUKE 

Lies on your way ; accept us as your Guides. 
HER. Alas ! I creep so slowly. 
Osw. Never fear ; 

We '11 not complain of that. 
HER. My limbs are stiff 

And need repose. Could you but wait an hour ? 360 

Osw. Most willingly ! Come, let me lead you in, 

And, while you take your rest, think not of us ; 

We '11 stroll into the wood ; lean on my arm. 

[Conducts HERBERT into the house. Exit 
MARMADUKE. 

Enter Villagers 

Osw. (to himself coming out of the hostel). I have prepared a 

most apt Instrument 

The Vagrant must, no doubt, be loitering somewhere 
About this ground ; she hath a tongue well skilled, 
By mingling natural matter of her own 
With all the daring fictions I have taught her, 
To win belief, such as my plot requires. [Exit OSWALD. 

Enter more Villagers, a Musician among them 

HOST (to them). Into the court, my Friend, and perch your- 
self 370 
Aloft upon the elm tree. Pretty Maids, 
Garlands and flowers, and cakes and merry thoughts, 
Are here, to send the sun into the west 
More speedily than you belike would wish. 



62 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT i 

SCENE changes to the Wood adjoining the Hostel MARMADUKE 
and OSWALD entering 

MAR. I would fain hope that we deceive ourselves : 
When first I saw him sitting there, alone, 
It struck upon my heart I know not how. 

Osw. To-day will clear up all. You marked a Cottage, 
That ragged Dwelling, close beneath a rock 
By the brook-side : it is the abode of One, 380 

A Maiden innocent till ensnared by Clifford, 
Who soon grew weary of her ; but, alas ! 
What she had seen and suffered turned her brain. 
Cast off by her Betrayer, she dwells alone, 
Nor moves her hands to any needful work : 
She eats her food which every day the peasants 
Bring to her hut ; and so the Wretch has lived 
Ten years ; and no one ever heard her voice ; 
But every night at the first stroke of twelve 
She quits her house, and, in the neighbouring Church- 
yard 390 
Upon the self-same spot, in rain or storm, 
She paces out the hour 'twixt twelve and one 
She paces round and round an Infant's grave, 
And in the Churchyard sod her feet have worn 

A hollow ring ; they say it is knee-deep 

Ah ! what is here ? 

[A female Beggar rises up, rubbing her 
eyes as if in sleep a Child in her arms. 

BEG. Oh ! Gentlemen, I thank you ; 

I 've had the saddest dream that ever troubled 
The heart of living creature. My poor Babe 
Was crying, as I thought, crying for bread 
When I had none to give him ; whereupon 400 

I put a slip of foxglove in his hand, 
Which pleased him so, that he was hushed at once : 
When into one of those same spotted bells 
A bee came darting, which the Child with joy 
Imprisoned there, and held it to his ear, 
And suddenly grew black, as he would die. 

MAR. We have no time for this, my babbling Gossip ; 

Here's what will comfort you. [Gives her money. 

BEG. The saints reward you 

For this good deed ! Well, Sirs, this passed away; 
And afterwards I fancied, a strange dog, 410 

Trotting alone along the beaten road, 
Came to my child as by my side he slept, 
And, fondling, licked his face, then on a sudden 



ACT i ] THE BORDERERS 63 

Snapped fierce to make a morsel of his head : 

But here he is [kissing the Child], it must have been a dream. 

Osw. When next inclined to sleep, take my advice 
And put your head, good Woman, under cover. 

BEG. Oh, Sir, you would not talk thus, if you knew 
What life is this of ours, how sleep will master 
The weary-worn. You gentlefolk have got 420 

Warm chambers to your wish. I 'd rather be 
A stone than what I am. But two nights gone, 
The darkness overtook me wind and rain 
Beat hard upon my head and yet I saw 
A glow-worm, through the covert of the furze, 
Shine calmly as if nothing ailed the sky : 
At which I half accused the God in Heaven. 
You must forgive me. 

Osw. Ay, and if you think 

The Fairies are to blame, and you should chide 
Your favourite saint no matter this good day 430 

Has made amends. 

BEG. Thanks to you both ; but, Oh Sir ! 

How would you like to travel on whole hours 
As I have done, my eyes upon the ground, 
Expecting still, I know not how, to find 
A piece of money glittering through the dust ? 

MAR. This woman is a prater. Pray, good Lady ! 
Do you tell fortunes ? 

BEG. Oh Sir, you are like the rest. 

This Little-one it cuts me to the heart 
Well ! they might turn a beggar from their doors, 
But there are Mothers who can see the Babe 440 

Here at my breast, and ask me where I bought it : 
This they can do, and look upon my face 
But you, Sir, should be kinder. 

MAR. Come hither, Fathers, 

And learn what nature is from this poor Wretch ! 

BEG. Ay, Sir, there 's nobody that feels for us. 
Why now but yesterday I overtook 
A blind old Greybeard and accosted him, 
I' th' name of all the Saints, and by the Mass 
He should have used me better ! Charity ! 
If you can melt a rock, he is your man ; 450 

But I '11 be even with him here again 
Have I been waiting for him. 

Osw. Well, but softly, 

Who is it that hath wronged you ? 

BEG. Mark you me ; 

I '11 point him out ; a Maiden is his guide, 



64 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT i 

Lovely as Spring's first rose ; a little dog, 

Tied by a woollen cord, moves on before 

With look as sad as he were dumb ; the cur, 

I owe him no ill will, but in good sooth 

He does his Master credit. 
MAR. As I live, 

Tis Herbert and no other ! 
BEG. 'Tis a feast to see him, 460 

Lank as a ghost and tall, his shoulders bent, 

And long beard white with age yet evermore, 

As if he were the only Saint on earth, 

He turns his face to heaven. 
Osw. But why so violent 

Against this venerable Man ? 
BEG. I '11 tell you : 

He has the very hardest heart on earth ; 

I had as lief turn to the Friar's school 

And knock for entrance, in mid holiday. 
MAR. But to your story. 
BEG. I was saying, Sir 

Well ! he has often spurned me like a toad, 470 

But yesterday was worse than all ; at last 

I overtook him, Sirs, my Babe and I, 

And begged a little aid for charity : 

But he was snappish as a cottage cur. 

Well then, says I I '11 out with it ; at which 

I cast a look upon the Girl, and felt 

As if my heart would burst ; and so I left him. 
Osw. I think, good Woman, you are the very person 

Whom, but some few days past, I saw in Eskdale, 

At Herbert's door. 
BEG. Ay ; and if truth were known 480 

I have good business there. 
Osw. I met you at the threshold, 

And he seemed angry. 
BEG. Angry ! well he might ; 

And long as I can stir I '11 dog him. Yesterday, 

To serve me so, and knowing that he owes 

The best of all he has to me and mine. 

But 'tis all over now. That good old Lady 

Has left a power of riches ; and I say it, 

If there 's a lawyer in the land, the knave 

Shall give me half. 
Osw. What 's this ? I fear, good Woman, 

You have been insolent. 
BEG. And there 's the Baron, 490 

I spied him skulking in his peasant's dress. 



ACT i] THE BORDERERS 65 

Osw. How say you ? in disguise ? 

MAR. But what 's your business 

With Herbert or his Daughter ? 
BEG. Daughter! truly 

But how 's the day ? I fear, my little Boy, 

We 've overslept ourselves. Sirs, have you seen him ? 

[Offers to go. 
MAR. I must have more of this ; you shall not stir 

An inch, till I am answered. Know you aught 

That doth concern this Herbert ? 
BEG. You are provoked, 

And will misuse me, Sir ! 

MAR. No trifling, Woman ! 

Osw. You are as safe as in a sanctuary ; 500 

Speak. 

MAR. Speak ! 

BEG. He is a most hard-hearted Man. 

MAR. Your life is at my mercy. 
BEG. Do not harm me, 

And I will tell you all ! You know not, Sir, 

What strong temptations press upon the Poor. 
Osw. Speak out. 

BEG. Oh, Sir, I 've been a wicked Woman. 

Osw. Nay, but speak out ! 
BEG. He flattered me, and said 

What harvest it would bring us both ; .and so, 

I parted with the Child. 

MAR. Parted with whom ? 

BEG. Idonea, as he calls her ; but the Girl 

Is mine. 

MAR. Yours, Woman ! are you Herbert's wife ? 510 

BEG. Wife, Sir ! his wife not I ; my husband, Sir, 

Was of Kirkoswald many a snowy winter 

We 've weathered out together. My poor Gilfred ! 

He has been two years in his grave. 
MAR. Enough. 

Osw. We 've solved the riddle Miscreant ! 
MAR. Do you, 

Good Dame, repair to Liddesdale and wait 

For my return ; be sure you shall have justice. 
Osw. A lucky woman ! go, you have done good service. 

[Aside. 
MAR. (to himself"). Eternal praises on the power that saved 

her! 

Osw. (gives her money). Here 's for your little boy and 
when you christen him 520 

I '11 be his Godfather. 

l-E 



66 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT n 

BEG. Oh, Sir, you are merry with me. 

In grange or farm this Hundred scarcely owns 
A dog that does not know me. These good Folks, 
For love of God, I must not pass their doors ; 
But I '11 be back with my best speed : for you 
God bless and thank you both, my gentle Masters. 

[Exit Beggar. 

MAR. (to himself]. The cruel Viper ! Poor devoted Maid, 
Now I do love thee. 

Osw. I am thunderstruck. 

MAR. Where is she holla ! 

[Calling to the Beggar, who returns; he 
looks at her stedfostly. 

You are Idonea's Mother? 

Nay, be not terrified it does me good 530 

To look upon you. 

Osw. (interrupting). In a peasant's dress 
You saw, who was it ? 

BEG. Nay, I dare not speak ; 

He is a man, if it should come to his ears 
I never shall be heard of more. 

Osw. Lord Clifford ? 

BEG. What can I do ? believe me, gentle Sirs, 
I love her, though I dare not call her daughter. 

Osw. Lord Clifford did you see him talk with Herbert ? 

BEG. Yes, to my sorrow under the great oak 
At Herbert's door and when he stood beside 
The blind Man at the silent Girl he looked 540 

With such a look it makes me tremble, Sir, 
To think of it. 

Osw. Enough ! you may depart. 

MAR. (to himself]. Father ! to God himself we cannot give 
A holier name ; and, under such a mask, 
To lead a Spirit, spotless as the blessed, 
To that abhorred den of brutish' vice ! 
Oswald, the firm foundation of my life 
Is going from under me ; these strange discoveries 
Looked at from every point of fear or hope, 
Duty, or love involve, I feel, my ruin. 550 

ACT II 

SCENE A Chamber in the Hostel OSWALD alone, rising from a 
Table on which he had been writing 

Osw. They chose him for their Chief ! what covert part 
He, in the preference, modest Youth, might take, 



ACT n] THE BORDERERS 67 

I neither know nor care. The insult bred 

More of contempt than hatred ; both are flown ; 

That either e'er existed is my shame : 

'Twas a dull spark a most unnatural fire 

That died the moment the air breathed upon it. 

These fools of feeling are mere birds of winter 

That haunt some barren island of the north, 

Where, if a famishing man stretch forth his hand, 560 

They think it is to feed them. I have left him 

To solitary meditation ; now 

For a few swelling phrases, and a flash 

Of truth, enough to dazzle and to blind, 

And he is mine for ever here he comes. 

Enter MARMADUKE 

MAR. These ten years she has moved her lips all day 
And never speaks ! 

Osw. Who is it ? 

MAR. I have seen her. 

Osw. Oh ! the poor tenant of that ragged homestead, 
Her whom the Monster, Clifford, drove to madness. 

MAR. I met a peasant near the spot ; he told me, 570 

These ten years she had sate all day alone 
Within those empty walls. 

Osw. I too have seen her ; 

Chancing to pass this way some six months gone, 
At midnight, I betook me to the Churchyard : 
The moon shone clear, the air was still, so still 
The trees were silent as the graves beneath them. 
Long did I watch, and saw her pacing round 
Upon the self-same spot, still round and round, 
Her lips for ever moving. 

MAR. At her door 

Rooted I stood ; for, looking at the woman, 580 

I thought I saw the skeleton of Idonea. 

Osw. But the pretended Father 

MAR. Earthly law 

Measures not crimes like his. 

Osw. We rank not, happily, 

With those who take the spirit of their rule 
From that soft class of devotees who feel 
Reverence for life so deeply, that they spare 
The verminous brood, and cherish what they spare 
While feeding on their bodies. Would that Idonea 
Were present, to the end that we might hear 
What she can urge in his defence ; she loves him. 590 



68 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT n 

MAR. Yes, loves him ; 'tis a truth that multiplies 
His guilt a thousand-fold. 

Osw. "Tis most perplexing : 

What must be done ? 

MAR. We will conduct her hither ; 

These walls shall witness it from first to last 
He shall reveal himself. 

Osw. Happy are we, 

Who live in these disputed tracts, that own 
No law but what each man makes for himself; 
Here justice has indeed a field of triumph. 

MAR. Let us begone and bring her hither ; here 

The truth shall be laid open, his guilt proved 600 

Before her face. The rest be left to me. 

Osw. You will be firm : but though we well may trust 
The issue to the justice of the cause, 
Caution must not be flung aside ; remember, 
Yours is no common life. Self-stationed here, 
Upon these savage confines, we have seen you 
Stand like an isthmus 'twixt two stormy seas 
That oft have checked their fury at your bidclin 
' Mid the deep holds of Sol way 's mossy waste, 
Your single virtue has transformed a Band 610 

Of fierce barbarians into Ministers 
Of peace and order. Aged men with tears 
Have blessed their steps, the fatherless retire 
For shelter to their banners. But it is, 
As you must needs have deeply felt, it is 
In darkness and in tempest that we seek 
The majesty of Him who rules the world. 
Benevolence, that has not heart to use 
The wholesome ministry of pain and evil, 
Becomes at last weak and contemptible. fco 

Your generous qualities have won due praise, 
But vigorous Spirits look for something more 
Than Youth's spontaneous products ; and to-day 
You will not disappoint them ; and hereafter 

MAR. You are wasting words ; hear me then, once for all : 
You are a Man and therefore, if compassion, 
Which to our kind is natural as life, 
Be known unto you, you will love this Woman, 
Even as I do ; but I should loathe the light, 
If I could think one weak or partial feeling 630 

Osw. You will forgive me 

MAR. If I ever knew 

My heart, could penetrate its inmost core, 
'Tis at this moment. Oswald, I have loved 



ACT n] THE BORDERERS 69 

To be the friend and father of the oppressed, 

A comforter of sorrow ; there is something 

Which looks like a transition in my soul. 

And yet it is not. Let us lead him hither. 
Osw. Stoop for a moment ; 'tis an act of justice ; 

And where 's the triumph if the delegate 

Must fall in the execution of his office ? 640 

The deed is done if you will have it so 

Here where we stand that tribe of vulgar wretches 

(You saw them gathering for the festival) 

Rush in the villains seize us 

MAR. Seize ! 

Osw. Yes, they 

Men who are little given to sift and weigh 

Would wreak on us the passion of the moment. 
MAR. The cloud will soon disperse farewell but stay, 

Thou wilt relate the story. 
Osw. Am I neither 

To bear a part in this Man's punishment, 

Nor be its witness ? 
MAR. I had many hopes 650 

That were most dear to me, and some will bear 

To be transferred to thee. 

Osw. When I 'm dishonoured ! 

MAR. I would preserve thee. How may this be done ? 
Osw. By showing that you look beyond the instant. 

A few leagues hence we shall have open ground, 

And nowhere upon earth is place so fit 

To look upon the deed. Before we enter 

The barren Moor, hangs from a beetling rock 

The shattered Castle in which Clifford oft 

Has held infernal orgies with the gloom, 660 

The very superstition of the place, 

Seasoning his wickedness. The Debauchee 

Would there perhaps have gathered the first fruits 

Of this mock Father's guilt. 

Enter Host conducting HERBERT 

HOST. The Baron Herbert 

Attends your pleasure. 
Osw. (to Host). W T e are ready 4 

(to HERBERT) Sir ! 

I hope you are refreshed. I have just written 
A notice for your Daughter, that she may know 
What is become of you. You '11 sit down and sign it ; 
'Twill glad her heart to see her father's signature. 

[Gives the letter he had written. 



70 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT n 

HER. Thanks for your care. [Sits down and writes. Exit Host. 
Osw. (aside to MARMADUKE). Perhaps it would be useful 670 
That you too should subscribe your name. 

[MARMADUKE overlooks HERBERT then writes 

examines the letter eagerly. 

MAR. I cannot leave this paper. [He puts it up, agitated. 

Osw. (aside). Dastard ! Come. 

[MARMADUKE goes towards HERBERT and supports 
him MARMADUKE tremblingly beckons OSWALD 
to take his place. 

MAR. (as he quits HERBERT). There is a palsy in his limbs 
he shakes. 

[Exeunt OSWALD and HERBERT MARMADUKE following. 



SCENE changes to a Wood a Group of Pilgrims and 
IDONEA with them 

FIRST PIL. A grove of darker and more lofty shade 
I never saw. 

SEC. PIL. The music of the birds 

Drops deadened from a roof so thick with leaves. 

OLD PIL. This news ! it made my heart leap up with joy. 

IDON. I scarcely can believe it. 

OLD PIL. Myself, I heard 

The Sheriff read, in open Court, a letter 
Which purported it was the royal pleasure 680 

The Baron Herbert, who, as was supposed, 
Had taken refuge in this neighbourhood, 
Should be forthwith restored. The hearing, Lady, 
Filled my dim eyes with tears. When I returned 
From Palestine, and brought with me a heart, 
Though rich in heavenly, poor in earthly, comfort, 
I met your Father, then a wandering Outcast : 
He had a Guide, a Shepherd's boy ; but grieved 
He was that One so young should pass his youth 
In such sad service ; and he parted with him. 690 

We joined our tales of wretchedness together, 
And begged our daily bread from door to door. 
I talk familiarly to you, sweet Lady ! 
For once you loved me. 

IDON. You shall back with me 

And see your Friend again. The good old Man 
Will be rejoiced to greet you. 

OLD PIL. It seems but yesterday 

That a fierce storm o'ertook us, worn with travel, 
In a deep wood remote from any town. 



ACT H] THE BORDERERS 71 

A cave that opened to the road presented 

A friendly shelter, and we entered in. 700 

I DON. And I was with you ? 
OLD PIL. If indeed 'twas you 

But you were then a tottering Little-one 

We sate us down. The sky grew dark and darker : 

I struck my flint, and built up a small fire 

With rotten boughs and leaves, such as the winds 

Of many autumns in the cave had piled. 

Meanwhile the storm fell heavy on the woods ; 

Our little fire sent forth a cheering warmth 

And we were comforted, and talked of comfort ; 

But 'twas an angry night, and o'er our heads 710 

The thunder rolled in peals that would have made 

A sleeping man uneasy in his bed. 

Lady, you have need to love your Father. 
His voice methinks I hear it now, his voice 
When, after a broad flash that filled the cave, 
He said to me, that he had seen his Child, 

A face (no cherub's face more beautiful) 
Revealed by lustre brought with it from Heaven ; 
And it was you, dear Lady ! 
I DON. God be praised, 

That I have been his comforter till now ! 720 

And will be so through every change of fortune 
And every sacrifice his peace requires. 
Let us be gone with speed, that he may hear 
These joyful tidings from no lips but mine. 

[Exeunt IDONEA and Pilgrims. 

SCENE The Area of a half-ruined Castle on one side the 
entrance to a dungeon OSWALD and MARMADUKE pacing 
backwards and forwards 

MAR. 'Tis a wild night. 

Osw. I 'd give my cloak and bonnet 

For sight of a warm fire. 
MAR. The wind blows keen ; 

My hands are numb. 
Osw. Ha ! ha ! 'tis nipping cold. 

[Blowing hisjivgers. 

1 long for news of our brave Comrades ; Lacy 
Would drive those Scottish Rovers to their dens 

If once they blew a horn this side the Tweed. 730 

MAR. I think I see a second range of Towers ; 
This castle has another Area come, 
Let us examine it. 



72 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT 11 

Osw. 'Tis a bitter night ; 

I hope Idonea is well housed. That horseman, 

Who at full speed swept by us where the wood 

Roared in the tempest, was within an ace 

Of sending to his grave our precious Charge : 

That would have been a vile mischance. 
MAR. It would. 

Osw. Justice had been most cruelly defrauded. 
MAR. Most cruelly. 
Osw. As up the steep we clomb, 740 

I saw a distant fire in the north-east ; 

I took it for the blaze of Cheviot Beacon : 

With proper speed our quarters may be gained 

To-morrow evening. 

[Looks restlessly towards the mouth of the 

dungeon. 
MAR. When, upon the plank, 

I had led him 'cross the torrent, his voice blessed me : 

You could not hear, for the foam beat the rocks 

With deafening noise, the benediction fell 

Back on himself; but changed into a curse. 
Osw. As well indeed it might. 
MAR. And this you deem 

The fittest place ? 

Osw. (aside). He is growing pitiful. 750 

MAR. (listening). What an odd moaning that is ! 
Osw. Mighty odd 

The wind should pipe a little, while we stand 

Cooling our heels in this way ! I '11 begin 

And count the stars. 
MAR. (still listening). That dog of his, you are sure, 

Could not come after us he must have perished ; 

The torrent would have dashed an oak to splinters. 

You said you did not like his looks that he 

Would trouble us ; if he were here again, 

I swear the sight of him would quail me more 

Than twenty armies. 
Osw. How ? 

MAR. The old blind Man, 760 

When you had told him the mischance, was troubled 

Even to the shedding of some natural tears 

Into the torrent over which he hung, 

Listening in vain. 
Osw. He has a tender heart ! 

[OSWALD offers to go down into the dungeon. 
MAR. How now, what mean you ? 
Osw. Truly, I was going 



ACT nj THE BORDERERS 73 

To waken our stray Baron. Were there not 
A farm or dwelling-house within five leagues, 
We should deserve to wear a cap and bells, 
Three good round years, for playing the fool here 
In such a night as this. 

MAR. Stop, stop. 

Osw. Perhaps, 770 

You 'd better like we should descend together, 
And lie down by his side what say you to it ? 
Three of us we should keep each other warm : 
I '11 answer for it that our four-legged friend 
Shall not disturb us ; further I '11 not engage ; 
Come, come, for manhood's sake ! 

MAR. These drowsy shiverings, 

This mortal stupor which is creeping over me, 
What do they mean ? were this my single body 
Opposed to armies, not a nerve would tremble : 
Why do I tremble now ? Is not the depth 780 

Of this Man's crimes beyond the reach of thought ? 
And yet, in plumbing the abyss for judgment, 
Something I strike upon which turns my mind 
Back on herself, I think, again my breast 
Concentres all the terrors of the Universe : 
I look at him and tremble like a child. 

Osw. Is it possible ? 

MAR. One thing you noticed not : 

Just as we left the glen a clap of thunder 
Burst on the mountains with hell-rousing force. 
This is a time, said he, when guilt may shudder ; 790 

But there 's a Providence for them who walk 
In helplessness, when innocence is with them. 
At this audacious blasphemy, I thought 
The spirit of vengeance seemed to ride the air. 

Osw. Why are you not the man you were that moment ? 

[He draws MARMADUKE to the dungeon. 

MAR. You say he was asleep, look at this arm, 
And tell me if 'tis fit for such a work. 
Oswald, Oswald ! [Leans upon OSWALD. 

Osw. This is some sudden seizure ! 

MAR. A most strange faintness, will you hunt me out 
A draught of water ? 

Osw. Nay, to see you thus 800 

Moves me beyond my bearing. I will try 
To gain the torrent's brink. 

[Exit OSWALD. 

MAR. (after a pause). It seems an age 

Since that Man left me. No, I am not lost. 



74 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT it 

HER. (at the mouth of the dungeon). Give me your hand ; 
where are you, Friends ? and tell me 

How goes the night. 
MAR. 'Tis hard to measure time, 

In such a weary night, and such a place. 
HER. I do not hear the voice of my friend Oswald. 
MAR. A minute past, he went to fetch a draught 

Of water from the torrent. 'Tis, you '11 say, 

A cheerless beverage. 
HER. How good it was in you 810 

To stay behind ! Hearing at first no answer, 

I was alarmed. 
MAR. No wonder ; this is a place 

That well may put some fears into your heart. 
HER. Why so ? a. roofless rock had been a comfort, 

Storm-beaten and bewildered as we were ; 

And in a night like this to lend your cloaks 

To make a bed for me ! My Girl will weep 

When she is told of it. 
MAR. This Daughter of yours 

Is very dear to you. 
HER. Oh ! but you are young ; 

Over your head twice twenty years must roll, 820 

With all their natural weight of sorrow and pain, 

Ere can be known to you how much a Father 

May love his Child. 
MAR. Thank you, old Man, for this ! 

[Aside. 
HER. Fallen am I, and worn out, a useless Man ; 

Kindly have you protected me to-night, 

And no return have I to make but prayers ; 

May you in age be blest with such a daughter ! 

When from the Holy Land I had returned 

Sightless, and from my heritage was driven, 

A wretched Outcast but this strain of thought 830 

Would lead me to talk fondly. 
MAR. Do not fear ; 

Your words are precious to my ears ; go on. 
HER. You will forgive me, but my heart runs over. 

When my old Leader slipped into the flood 

And perished, what a piercing outcry you 

Sent after him. I have loved you ever since. 

You start where are we ? 
MAR. Oh, there is no danger ; 

The cold blast struck me. 

HER. 'Twas a foolish question. 

MAR. But when you were an Outcast? Heaven is just; 



ACT 11] THE BORDERERS 75 

Your piety would not miss its due reward ; 840 

The little Orphan then would be your succour, 

And do good service, though she knew it not. 
HER. I turned me from the dwellings of my Fathers, 

Where none but those who trampled on my rights 

Seemed to remember me. To the wide world 

I bore her, in my arms ; her looks won pity ; 

She was my Raven in the wilderness, 

And brought me food. Have I not cause to love her ? 
MAR. Yes. 

HER. More than ever Parent loved a Child? 

MAR. Yes, yes. 
HER. I will not murmur, merciful God ! 850 

I will not murmur ; blasted as I have been, 

Thou hast left me ears to hear my Daughter's voice, 

And arms to fold her to my heart. Submissively 

Thee I adore, and find my rest in faith. 

Enter OSWALD 

Osw. Herbert ! confusion ! (aside). Here it is, my Friend, 

[Presents the Horn. 

A charming beverage for you to carouse, 

This bitter night. 
HER. Ha ! Oswald ! ten bright crosses 

I would have given, not many minutes gone, 

To have heard your voice. 
Osw. Your couch, I fear, good Baron, 

Has been but comfortless ; and yet that place, 860 

When the tempestuous wind first drove us hither, 

Felt warm as a wren's nest. You 'd better turn 

And under covert rest till break of day, 

Or till the storm abate. 

(To MARMADUKE aside). He has restored you. 

No doubt you have been nobly entertained ? 

But soft ! how came he forth ? The Night-mare Con- 
science 

Has driven him out of harbour ? 
MAR. I believe 

You have guessed right. 
HER. The trees renew their murmur : 

Come, let us house together. 

[OSWALD conducts him to the dungeon. 
Osw. (returns}. Had I not 

Esteemed you worthy to conduct the affair 870 

To its most fit conclusion, do you think 

I would so long have struggled with my Nature, 

And smothered all that 's man in me ? away ! 

[Looking towards the dungeon 



76 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT n 

This man 's the property of him who best 

Can feel his crimes. I have resigned a privilege ; 

It now becomes my duty to resume it. 

MAR. Touch not a finger 

Osw. What then must be done ? 

MAR. Which way soe'er I turn, I am perplexed. 

Osw. Now, on my life, I grieve for you. The misery 

Of doubt is insupportable. Pity, the facts 880 

Did not admit of stronger evidence ; 
Twelve honest men, plain men, would set us right ; 
Their verdict would abolish these weak scruples. 

MAR. Weak ! I am weak there does my torment lie, 
Feeding itself. 

Osw. Verily, when he said 

How his old heart would leap to hear her steps, 
You thought his voice the echo of Idonea's. 

MAR. And never heard a sound so terrible. 

Osw. Perchance you think so now ? 

MAR. I cannot do it : 

Twice did I spring to grasp his withered throat, 890 

When such a sudden weakness fell upon me, 
I could have dropped asleep upon his breast. 

Osw. Justice is there not thunder in the word ? 
Shall it be law to stab the petty robber 
Who aims but at our purse ; and shall this Parricide 
Worse is he far, far worse (if foul dishonour 
Be worse than death) to that confiding Creature 
Whom he to more than filial love and duty 
Hath falsely trained shall he fulfil his purpose ? 
But you are fallen. 

MAR. Fallen should I be indeed 900 

Murder perhaps asleep, blind, old, alone, 
Betrayed, in darkness! Here to strike the blow 
Away ! away ! [Flings away his stvord. 

Osw. Nay, I have done with you : 

We '11 lead him to the Convent. He shall live, 
And she shall love him. With unquestioned title 
He shall be seated in his Barony, 
And we too chant the praise of his good deeds. 
I now perceive we do mistake our masters, 
And most despise the men who best can teach us : 
Henceforth it shall be said that bad men only 910 

Are brave : Clifford is brave ; and that old Man 
Is brave. [Taking MARMADUKE'S srvord and giving it to him. 

To Clifford's arms he would have led 
His Victim haply to this desolate house. 

MAR. (advancing to the dungeon). It must be ended ! 



ACT n] THE BORDERERS 77 

Osw. Softly ; do not rouse him ; 

He will deny it to the last. He lies 
Within the Vault, a spear's length to the left. 

[MARMADUKE descends to the dungeon. 
(Alone). The Villains rose in mutiny to destroy me ; 
I could have quelled the Cowards, but this Stripling 
Must needs step in, and save my life. The look 
With which he gave the boon I see it now ! 920 

The same that tempted me to loathe the gift. 
For this old venerable Grey-beard faith 
'Tis his own fault if he hath got a face 
Which doth play tricks with them that look on it : 
'Twas this that put it in my thoughts that countenance 
His staff his figure Murder ! what, of whom ? 
We kill a worn-out horse, and who but women 
Sigh at the deed ? Hew down a withered tree, 
And none look grave but dotards. He may live 
To thank me for this service. Rainbow arches, 930 

Highways of dreaming passion, have too long, 
Young as he is, diverted wish and hope 
From the unpretending ground we mortals tread ; 
Then shatter the delusion, break it up 
And set him free. What follows ? I have learned 
That things will work to ends the slaves o' the world 
Do never dream of. I have been what he 
This Boy when he comes forth with bloody hands 
Might envy, and am now, but he shall know 
What I am now [Goes and listens at the dungeon. 

Praying or parleying ? tut ! 940 

Is he not eyeless ? He has been half-dead 
These fifteen years 

Enter female Beggar with two or three of her Companions 

(Turning abruptly). Ha ! speak what Thing art thou ? 

(Recognises her). Heavens ! my good Friend ! [To her. 

BEG. Forgive me, gracious Sir ! 

Osw. (to her companions). Begone, ye slaves, or I will raise 

a whirlwind 
And send ye dancing to the clouds, like leaves. 

[They retire affrighted. 

BEG. Indeed we meant no harm ; we lodge sometimes 
In this deserted Castle / repent me. 

[OSWALD goes to the dungeon listens 

returns to the Beggar. 

Osw. Woman, thou hast a helpless Infant keep 
Thy secret for its sake, or verily 
That wretched life of thine shall be the forfeit. 95 



78 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT IT 

BEG. I do repent me, Sir ; I fear the curse 

Of that blind Man. 'Twas not your money, Sir, 

Osw. Begone ! 

BEG. (going). There is some wicked deed in hand : [Aside. 
Would I could find the old Man and his Daughter. 

[Exit Beggar. 

MARMADUKE re-enters from the dungeon 
Osw. It is all over then ; your foolish fears 

Are hushed to sleep, by your own act and deed, 

Made quiet as he is. 
MAR. Why came you down ? 

And when I felt your hand upon my arm 

And spake to you, why did you give no answer ? 

Feared you to waken him ? he must have been 960 

In a deep sleep. I whispered to him thrice. 

There are the strangest echoes in that place ! 
Osw. Tut ! let them gabble till the day of doom. 
MAR. Scarcely, by groping, had I reached the Spot, 

When round my wrist I felt a cord drawn tight, 

As if the blind Man's dog were pulling at it. 
Osw. But after that ? 
MAR. The features of Idonea 

Lurked in his face 

Osw. Psha ! Never to these eyes 

Will retribution show itself again 

With aspect so inviting. Why forbid me 970 

To share your triumph ? 
MAR. Yes, her very look, 

Smiling in sleep 

Osw. A pretty feat of Fancy ! 

MAR. Though but a glimpse, it sent me to my prayers. 
Osw. Is he alive ? 

MAR. What mean you ? who alive ? 

Osw. Herbert ! since you will have it, Baron Herbert ; 

He who will gain his Seignory when Idonea 

Hath become Clifford's harlot is he living? 
MAR. The old Man in that dungeon is alive. 
Osw. Henceforth, then, will I never in camp or field 

Obey you more. Your weakness, to the Band, 980 

Shall be proclaimed : brave Men, they all shall hear it. 

You a protector of humanity ! 

Avenger you of outraged innocence ! 
MAR. 'Twas dark dark as the grave ; yet did I see, 

Saw him his face turned toward me ; and I tell thee 

Idonea's filial countenance was there 

To baffle me it put me to my prayers. 



ACT n] THE BORDERERS 79 

Upwards I cast my eyes, and, through a crevice, 

Beheld a star twinkling above my head, 

And, by the living God, I could not do it. 990 

[Sinks exhausted. 
Osw. (to himself). Now may I perish if this turn do more 

Than make me change my course. 

(To MARMADUKE). Dear Marmaduke, 

My words were rashly spoken ; I recall them : 

I feel my error; shedding human blood 

Is a most serious thing. 
MAR. Not I alone, 

Thou too art deep in guilt. 
Osw. We have indeed 

Been most presumptuous. There is guilt in this, 

Else could so strong a mind have ever known 

These trepidations ? Plain it is that Heaven 

Has marked out this foul Wretch as one whose crimes 

Must never come before a mortal judgment-seat, 1001 

Or be chastised by mortal instruments. 
MAR. A thought that 's worth a thousand worlds ! 

[Goes towards the dungeon. 
Osw. I grieve 

That, in my zeal, I have caused you so much pain. 
MAR. Think not of that ! 'tis over we are safe. 
Osw. (as if to himself, yet speaking aloud}. The truth is hideous, 
but how stifle it? [Turning to MARMADUKE. 

Give me your sword nay, here are stones and fragments, 

The least of which would beat out a man's brains ; 

Or you might drive your head against that wall. 

No ! this is not the place to hear the tale : 1010 

It should be told you pinioned in your bed, 

Or on some vast and solitary plain 

Blown to you from a trumpet. 
MAR. Why talk thus ? 

Whate'er the monster brooding in your breast 

I care not : fear I have none, and cannot fear 

\The sound of a horn is heard. 

That horn again 'Tis some one of our Troop ; 

What do they here ? Listen ! 
Osw. What ! dogged like thieves ! 

Enter WALLACE and LACY, etc. 

LACY. You are found at last, thanks to the vagrant Troop 

For not misleading us. 
Osw. (looking at WALLACE). That subtle Grey-beard 

I 'd rather see my father's ghost. 



80 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT n 

LACY (to MARMADUKE). My Captain, 1020 

We come by order of the Band. Belike 
You have not heard that Henry has at last 
Dissolved the Barons' League, and sent abroad 
His Sheriffs with fit force to reinstate 
The genuine owners of such Lands and Baronies 
As, in these long commotions, have been seized. 
His Power is this way tending. It befits us 
To stand upon our guard, and with our swords 
Defend the innocent. 

MAR. Lacy ! we look 

But at the surfaces of things ; we hear 1030 

Of towns in flames, fields ravaged, young and old 

Driven out in troops to want and nakedness ; 

Then grasp our swords and rush upon a cure 

That flatters us, because it asks not thought : 

The deeper malady is better hid ; 

The world is poisoned at the heart. 

LACY. What mean you ? 

WAL. (whose eye has been fixed suspiciously upon OSWALD). Ay, 
what is it you mean ? 

MAR. Harkee, my Friends; 

[Appearing gay. 

Were there a Man who, being weak and helpless 
And most forlorn, should bribe a Mother, pressed 
By penury, to yield him up her Daughter, 1040 

A little Infant, and instruct the Babe, 
Prattling upon his knee, to call him Father 

LACY. Why, if his heart be tender, that offence 
I could forgive him. 

MAR. (going on). And should he make the Child 
An instrument of falsehood, should he teach her 
To stretch her arms, and dim the gladsome light 
Of infant playfulness with piteous looks 
Of misery that was not 

LACY. Troth, 'tis hard 

But in a world like ours 

MAR. (changing his tone). This self-same Man 

Even while he printed kisses on the cheek 1050 

Of this poor Babe, and taught its innocent tongue 
To lisp the name of Father could he look 
To the unnatural harvest of that time 
When he should give her up, a Woman grown, 
To him who bid the highest in the market 
Of foul pollution 

LACY. The whole visible world 

Contains not such a Monster ! 



ACT n] THE BORDERERS 81 

MAR. For this purpose 

Should he resolve to taint her Soul by means 

Which bathe the limbs in sweat to think of them ; 

Should he, by tales which would draw tears from iron, 

Work on her nature, and so turn compassion 1061 

And gratitude to ministers of vice, 

And make the spotless spirit of filial love 

Prime mover in a plot to damn his Victim 

Both soul and body 

WAL. 'Tis too horrible ; 

Oswald, what say you to it ? 
LACY. Hew him down, 

And fling him to the ravens. 
MAR. But his aspect, 

It is so meek, his countenance so venerable. 
WAL. (with an appearance of mistrust). But how, what say you, 

Oswald ? 
LACY (at the same moment). Stab him, were it 

Before the Altar. 
MAR. What, if he were sick, 1070 

Tottering upon the very verge of life, 

And old, and blind 

LACY. Blind, say you ? 

Osw. (coming forward). Are we Men, 

Or own we baby Spirits ? Genuine courage 

Is not an accidental quality, 

A thing dependent for its casual birth 

On opposition and impediment. 

Wisdom, if Justice speak the word, beats down 

The giant's strength ; and, at the voice of Justice, 

Spares not the worm. The giant and the worm 

She weighs them in one scale. The wiles of woman, 1080 

And craft of age, seducing reason, first 

Made weakness a protection, and obscured 

The moral shapes of things. His tender cries 

And helpless innocence do they protect 

The infant lamb ? and shall the infirmities, 

Which have enabled this enormous Culprit 

To perpetrate his crimes, serve as a Sanctuary 

To cover him from punishment ? Shame ! Justice, 

Admitting no resistance, bends alike 

The feeble and the strong. She needs not here 1090 

Her bonds and chains, which make the mighty 
feeble. 

We recognise in this old Man a victim 

Prepared already for the sacrifice. 
LACY. By heaven, his words are reason ! 
1 F 



82 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT n 

Osw. Yes, my Friends, 

His countenance is meek and venerable ; 

And, by the Mass, to see him at his prayers ! 

I am of flesh and blood, and may I perish 

When my heart does not ache to think of it ! 

Poor Victim ! not a virtue under heaven 

But what was made an engine to ensnare thee ; noo 

But yet I trust, Idonea, thou art safe. 
LACY. Idonea! 
WAL. How ! what ? your Idonea ? 

[To MARMADUKE. 
MAR. Mine ; 

But now no longer mine. You know Lord Clifford ; 

He is the Man to whom the Maiden pure 

As beautiful, and gentle and benign, 

And in her ample heart loving even me 

Was to be yielded up. 
LACY. Now, by the head 

Of my own child, this Man must die ; my hand, 

A worthier wanting, shall itself entwine 

In his grey hairs ! 
MAR. (to LACY). I love the Father in thee. mo 

You know me, Friends ; I have a heart to feel, 

And I have felt, more than perhaps becomes me 

Or duty sanctions. 
LACY. We will have ample justice. 

Who are we, Friends ? Do we not live on ground 

Where Souls are self-defended, free to grow 

Like mountain oaks rocked by the stormy wind. 

Mark the Almighty Wisdom, which decreed 

This monstrous crime to be laid open here, 

Where Reason has an eye that she can use, 

And Men alone are Umpires. To the Camp nao 

He shall be led, and there, the Country round 

All gathered to the spot, in open day 

Shall Nature be avenged. 
Osw. 'Tis nobly thought; 

His death will be a monument for ages. 

MAR. (to LACY). I thank you for that hint. He shall be 
brought 

Before the Camp, and would that best and wisest 

Of every country might be present. There 

His crime shall be proclaimed ; and for the rest 

It shall be done as Wisdom shall decide : 

Meanwhile, do you two hasten back and see 

That all is well prepared. 



ACT in] THE BORDERERS 83 

WAL. We will obey you. 

(Aside). But softly ! we must look a little nearer. 
MAR. Tell where you found us. At some future time 

I will explain the cause. [Exeunt. 



ACT III 

SCENE The door of the Hostel, a group of Pilgrims as before ; 
IDONEA and the Host among them 

HOST. Lady, you '11 find your Father at the Convent 
As I have told you : He left us yesterday 
With two Companions; one of them, as seemed, 
His most familiar Friend. (Going.) There was a letter 
Of which I heard them speak, but that I fancy 
Has been forgotten. 

I DON. (to Host). Farewell ! 

HOST. Gentle pilgrims, 1140 

St. Cuthbert speed you on your holy errand. 

[Exeunt IDONEA and Pilgrims. 

SCENE A desolate Moor 
OSWALD (alone) 

Osw. Carry him to the Camp ! Yes, to the Camp. 
Oh, Wisdom ! a most wise resolve ! and then, 
That half a word should blow it to the winds ! 
This last device must end my work. Methinks 
It were a pleasant pastime to construct 
A scale and table of belief as thus 
Two columns, one for passion, one for proof; 
Each rises as the other falls : and first, 
Passion a unit and against us proof 1150 

Nay, we must travel in another path, 
Or we 're stuck fast for ever ; passion, then, 
Shall be a unit for us; proof no, passion ! 
We '11 not insult thy majesty by time, 
Person, and place the where, the when, the how, 
And all particulars that dull brains require 
To constitute the spiritless shape of Fact, 
They bow to, calling the idol, Demonstration. 
A whipping to the Moralists who preach 
That misery is a sacred thing : for me, 1160 

I know no cheaper engine to degrade a man, 
Nor any half so sure. This Stripling's mind 



84 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT in 

Is shaken till the dregs float on the surface ; 

And, in the storm and anguish of the heart, 

He talks of a transition in his Soul, 

And dreams that he is happy. We dissect 

The senseless body, and why not the mind ? 

These are strange sights the mind of man, upturned, 

Is in all natures a strange spectacle ; 

In some a hideous one hem ! shall I stop ? 1170 

No. Thoughts and feelings will sink deep, but then 

They have no substance. Pass but a few minutes, 

And something shall be done which Memory 

May touch, whene'er her Vassals are at work. 

Enter MARMADUKE, from behind 

Osw. (turning to meet him). But listen, for my peace 

MAR. Why, I believe you. 

Osw. But hear the proofs 

MAR. Ay, prove that when two peas 

Lie snugly in a pod, the pod must then 

Be larger than the peas prove this 'twere matter 

Worthy the hearing. Fool was I to dream 

It ever could be otherwise ! 
Osw. Last night, 1180 

When I returned with water from the brook, 

I overheard the Villains every word 

Like red-hot iron burnt into my heart. 

Said one, ' It is agreed on. The blind Man 

Shall feign a sudden illness, and the Girl, 

Who on her journey must proceed alone, 

Under pretence of violence, be seized. 

She is,' continued the detested Slave, 

' She is right willing strange if she were not ! 

They say, Lord Clifford is a savage man ; 1190 

But, faith, to see him in his silken tunic, 

Fitting his low voice to the minstrel's harp, 

There 's witchery in 't. I never knew a maid 

That could withstand it. True,' continued he, 

' When we arranged the affair, she wept a little 

(Not the less welcome to my Lord for that) 

And said, " My Father he will have it so." ' 
MAR. I am your hearer. 
Osw. This I caught, and more 

That may not be retold to any ear. 

The obstinate bolt of a small iron door 1200 

Detained them near the gateway of the Castle. 

By a dim lantern's light I saw that wreaths 



ACT m] THE BORDERERS 85 

Of flowers were in their hands, as if designed 

For festive decoration ; and they said, 

With brutal laughter and most foul allusion, 

That they should share the banquet with their Lord 

And his new Favorite. 
MAR. Misery ! 

Osw. I knew 

How you would be disturbed by this dire news, 

And therefore chose this solitary Moor, 

Here to impart the tale, of which, last night, 1210 

I strove to ease my mind, when our two Comrades, 

Commissioned by the Band, burst in upon us. 
MAR. Last night, when moved to lift the avenging steel, 

I did believe all things were shadows yea, 

Living or dead all things were bodiless, 

Or but the mutual mockeries of body, 

Till that same star summoned me back again. 

Now I could laugh till my ribs ached. Oh Fool ! 

To let a creed, built in the heart of things, 

Dissolve before a twinkling atom ! Oswald, 1220 

I could fetch lessons out of wiser schools 

Than you have entered, were it worth the pains. 

Young as I am, I might go forth a teacher, 

And you should see how deeply I could reason 

Of love in all its shapes, beginnings, ends ; 

Of moral qualities in their diverse aspects ; 

Of actions, and their laws and tendencies. 

Osw. You take it as it merits 

MAR. One a King, 

General or Cham, Sultan or Emperor, 

Strews twenty acres of good meadow-ground 1230 

With carcases, in lineament and shape 

And substance, nothing differing from his own, 

But that they cannot stand up of themselves ; 

Another sits i' th' sun, and by the hour 

Floats kingcups in the brook a Hero one 

We call, and scorn the other as Time's spendthrift 

But have they not a world of common ground 

To occupy both fools, or wise alike, 

Each in his way ? 

Osw. Troth, I begin to think so. 

MAR. Now for the corner-stone of my philosophy : 1240 

I would not give a denier for the man 

Who, on such provocation as this earth 

Yields, could not chuck his babe beneath the chin, 

And send it with a fillip to its grave. 
Osw. Nay, you leave me behind. 



86 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT m 

MAR. That such a One, 

So pious in demeanour ! in his look 

So saintly and so pure ! Hark'ee, my Friend, 

I '11 plant myself before Lord Clifford's Castle, 

A surly mastiff kennels at the gate, 

And he shall howl and I will laugh, a medley 1250 

Most tunable. 

Osw. In faith, a pleasant scheme ; 

But take your sword along with you, for that 
Might in such neighbourhood find seemly use. 
But first, how wash our hands of this old Man ? 

MAR. Oh yes, that mole, that viper in the path ; 
Plague on my memory, him I had forgotten. 

Osw. You know we left him sitting see him yonder. 

MAR. Ha ! ha ! 

Osw. As 'twill be but a moment's work, 

I will stroll on ; you follow when 'tis done. \Exeunt. 



SCENE cJianges to another part of the Moor at a short distance 
HERBERT is discovered seated on a stone 

HER. A sound of laughter, too ! 'tis well I feared, 1260 
The Stranger had some pitiable sorrow 
Pressing upon his solitary heart. 
Hush ! 'tis the feeble and earth-loving wind 
That creeps along the bells of the crisp heather. 
Alas ! 'tis cold I shiver in the sunshine 
What can this mean ? There is a psalm that speaks 
Of God's parental mercies with Idonea 
I used to sing it. Listen ! what foot is there ? 

Enter MARMADUKE 

MAR. (aside looking at HERBERT). And I have loved this 
Man ! and she hath loved him ! 

And I loved her, and she loves the Lord Clifford ! 1270 

And there it ends ; if this be not enough 

To make mankind merry for evermore, 

Then plain it is as day, that eyes were made 

For a wise purpose verily to weep with I [Looking round. 

A pretty prospect this, a masterpiece 

Of Nature, finished with most curious skill ! 

(To HERBERT). Good Baron, have you ever practised 
tillage ? 

Pray tell me what this land is worth by the acre. 
HER. How glad I am to hear your voice ! I know not 

Wherein I have offended you ; last night , 1280 



ACT in] THE BORDERERS 87 

I found in you the kindest of Protectors ; 
This morning, when I spoke of weariness, 
You from my shoulder took my scrip and threw it 
About your own ; but for these two hours past 
Once only have you spoken, when the lark 
Whirred from among the fern beneath our feet, 
And I, no coward in my better days, 
Was almost terrified. 

MAR. That 's excellent ! 

So, you bethought you of the many ways 
In which a man may come to his end, whose crimes 1290 
Have roused all Nature up against him pshaw ! 

HER. For mercy's sake, is nobody in sight ? 
No traveller, peasant, herdsman ? 

MAR. Not a soul : 

Here is a tree, ragged, and bent, and bare, 
That turns its goat's-beard flakes of pea-green moss 
From the stern breathing of the rough sea-wind; 
This have we, but no other company : 
Commend me to the place. If a man should die 
And leave his body here, it were all one 
As he were twenty fathoms underground. 1300 

HER. Where is our common Friend ? 

MAR. A ghost, methinks 

The Spirit of a murdered man, for instance 
Might have fine room to ramble about here, 
A grand domain to squeak and gibber in. 

HER. Lost Man ! if thou have any close-pent guilt 
Pressing upon thy heart, and this the hour 
Of visitation 

MAR. A bold word from you I 

HER. Restore him, Heaven ! 

MAR. The desperate Wretch ! A Flower, 
Fairest of all flowers, was she once, but now 
They have snapped her from the stem Poh ! let her lie 
Besoiled with mire, and let the houseless snail 1311 

Feed on her leaves. You knew her well ay, there, 
Old Man ! you were a very Lynx, you knew 
The worm was in her 

HER. Mercy ! Sir, what mean you ? 

MAR. You have a Daughter ! 

HER. Oh that she were here ! 

She hath an eye that sinks into all hearts, 
And if I have in aught offended you, 
Soon would her gentle voice make peace between us. 

MAR. (aside). I do believe he weeps I could weep 
too 



88 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT m 

There is a vein of her voice that runs through his : 1320 

Even such a Man my fancy bodied forth 

From the first moment that I loved the Maid ; 

And for his sake I loved her more : these tears 

I did not think that aught was left in me 

Of what I have been yes, I thank thee, Heaven ! 

One happy thought has passed across my mind. 

It may not be I am cut off from man ; 

No more shall I be man no more shall I 

Have human feelings ! (To HERBERT) Now, for a little 

more 
About your Daughter ! 

HER. Troops of armed men, 1330 

Met in the roads, would bless us ; little children, 
Rushing along in the full tide of play, 
Stood silent as we passed them ! I have heard 
The boisterous carman, in the miry road, 
Check his loud whip and hail us with mild voice, 
And speak with milder voice to his poor beasts. 

MAR. And whither were you going ? 

HER. Learn, young Man, 

To fear the virtuous, and reverence misery, 
Whether too much for patience, or, like mine, 
Softened till it becomes a gift of mercy. 1340 

MAR. Now, this is as it should be ! 

HER. I am weak ! 
My Daughter does not know how weak I am ; 
And, as thou see'st, under the arch of heaven 
Here do I stand, alone, to helplessness, 
By the good God, our common Father, doomed ! 
But I had once a spirit and an arm 

MAR. Now, for a word about your Barony : 
I fancy when you left the Holy Land, 
And came to what's your title eh ? your claims 
Were undisputed ! 

HER. Like a mendicant, 1350 

Whom no one comes to meet, I stood alone ; 
I murmured but, remembering Him who feeds 
The pelican and ostrich of the desert, 
From my own threshold I looked up to Heaven 
And did not want glimmerings of quiet hope. 
So, from the court I passed, and down the brook, 
Led by its murmur, to the ancient oak 
I came ; and when I felt its cooling shade, 
I sate me down, and cannot but believe 
While in my lap I held my little Babe 1360 

And clasped her to my heart, my heart that ached 



ACT in] THE BORDERERS 89 

More with delight than grief I heard a voice 

Such as by Cherith on Elijah called ; 

It said, ' I will be with thee.' A little boy, 

A shepherd-lad, ere yet my trance was gone, 

Hailed us as if he had been sent from heaven, 

And said, with tears, that he would be our guide : 

I had a better guide that innocent Babe 

Her, who hath saved me, to this hour, from harm, 

From cold, from hunger, penury, and death ; 1370 

To whom I owe the best of all the good 

I have, or wish for, upon earth and more 

And higher far than lies within earth's bounds : 

Therefore I bless her : when I think of Man, 

I bless her with sad spirit, when of God, 

I bless her in the fulness of my joy ! 

MAR. The name of daughter in his mouth, he prays ! 
With nerves so steady, that the very flies 
Sit unmolested on his staff. Innocent ! 
If he were innocent then he would tremble 1380 

And be disturbed, as I am. (Turning aside). I have 

read 

In Story, what men now alive have witnessed, 
How. when the People's mind was racked with doubt, 
Appeal was made to the great Judge : the Accused 
With naked feet walked over burning ploughshares. 
Here is a Man by Nature's hand prepared 
For a like trial, but more merciful. 
Why else have I been led to this bleak Waste ? 
Bare is it, without house or track, and destitute 
Of obvious shelter, as a shipless sea. 1390 

Here will I leave him here All-seeing God ! 
Such as he is, and sore perplexed as I am, 
I will commit him to this final Ordeal ! 
He heard a voice a shepherd-lad came to him 
And was his guide ; if once, why not again, 
And in this desert ? If never then the whole 
Of what he says, and looks, and does, and is, 
Makes up one damning falsehood. Leave him here 
To cold and hunger ! Pain is of the heart, 
And what are a few throes of bodily suffering 1400 

If they can waken one pang of remorse ? 

[Goes up to HERBERT. 

Old Man ! my wrath is as a flame burnt out, 
It cannot be rekindled. Thou art here 
Led by my hand to save thee from perdition ; 
Thou wilt have time to breathe and think 

HER. Oh, Mercy! 



90 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT m 

MAR. I know the need that all men have of mercy, 
And therefore leave thee to a righteous judgment. 

HER. My Child, my blessed Child ! 

MAR. No more of that ; 

Thou wilt have many guides if thou art innocent ; 
Yea, from the utmost corners of the earth, 1410 

That Woman will come o'er this Waste to save thee. 

[He pauses and looks at HERBERT'S staff. 
Ha ! what is here ? and carved by her own hand ! 

[Reads upon the staff. 
' I am eyes to the blind, saith the Lord. 
He that puts his trust in me shall not fail ! ' 
Yes, be it so ; repent and be forgiven 
God and that staff are now thy only guides. 

[He leaves HERBERT on the Moor 



SCENE An eminence, a Beacon on the summit 
LACY, WALLACE, LENNOX, etc. etc. 

SEVERAL op THE BAND (confusedly). But patience ! 

ONE OF THE BAND. Curses on that Traitor, Oswald ! 

Our Captain made a prey to foul device ! 
LEN. (to WALLACE). His tool, the wandering Beggar, 

made last night 

A plain confession, such as leaves no doubt, 1420 

Knowing what otherwise we know too well, 
That she revealed the truth. Stand by me now ; 
For rather would I have a nest of vipers 
Between my breast-plate and my skin, than make 
Oswald my special enemy, if you 
Deny me your support. 

LACY. We have been fooled 

But for the motive ? 

WAL. Natures such as his 

Spin motives out of their own bowels, Lacy ! 
I learn'd this when I was a Confessor. 
I know him well ; there needs no other motive 1430 

Than that most strange incontinence in crime 
Which haunts this Oswald. Power is life to him 
And breath and being ; where he cannot govern, 
He will destroy. 

LACY. To have been trapped like moles ! 

Yes, you are right, we need not hunt for motives : 
There is no crime from which this man would shrink ; 
He recks not human law ; and I have noticed 



ACT m] THE BORDERERS 91 

That often, when the name of God is uttered, 

A sudden blankness overspreads his face. 
LEN. Yet, reasoner as he is, his pride has built 1440 

Some uncouth superstition of its own. 
WAL. I have seen traces of it. 
LEN. Once he headed 

A band of Pirates in the Norway seas ; 

And when the King of Denmark summoned him 

To the oath of fealty, I well remember, 

'Twas a strange answer that he made ; he said, 

' I hold of Spirits, and the Sun in heaven.' 
LACY. He is no madman. 
WAL. A most subtle doctor 

Were that man, who could draw the line that parts 

Pride and her daughter, Cruelty, from Madness, 1450 

That should be scourged, not pitied. Restless Minds, 

Such Minds as find amid their fellow-men 

No heart that loves them, none that they can love, 

Will turn perforce and seek for sympathy 

In dim relation to imagined Beings. 
ONE OF THE BAND. What if he mean to offer up our Captain 

An expiation and a sacrifice 

To those infernal fiends ! 
WAL. Now, if the event 

Should be as Lennox has foretold, then swear, 

My Friends, his heart shall have as many wounds 1460 

As there are daggers here. 

LACY. What need of swearing ! 

ONE OF THE BAND. Let us away ! 
ANOTHER. Away ! 

A THIRD. Hark ! how the horns 

Of those Scotch Rovers echo through the vale. 
LACY. Stay you behind ; and when the sun is down, 

Light up this beacon. 
ONE OF THE BAND. You shall be obeyed. 

[They go out together. 

SCENE The Wood on the edge of the Moor 
MARMADUKE (alone) 

MAR. Deep, deep and vast, vast beyond human thought, 
Yet calm. I could believe, that there was here 
The only quiet heart on earth. In terror, 
Remembered terror, there is peace and rest. 

Enter OSWALD 
Osw. Ha ! my dear Captain. 



92 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT m 

MAR. A later meeting, Oswald, 

Would have been better timed. 
Osw. Alone, I see ; 1471 

You have done your duty. I had hopes, which now 

I feel that you will justify. 
MAR. I had fears, 

From which I have freed myself but 'tis my wish 

To be alone, and therefore we must part. 
Osw. Nay, then I am mistaken. There 's a weakness 

About you still ; you talk of solitude 

I am your friend. 
MAR. What need of this assurance 

At any time ? and why given now ? 
Osw. Because 

You are now in truth my Master ; you have taught me 

What there is not another living man 1481 

Had strength to teach ; and therefore gratitude 

Is bold, and would relieve itself by praise. 
MAR. Wherefore press this on me ? 
Osw. Because I feel 

That you have shown, and by a signal instance, 

How they who would be just must seek the rule 

By diving for it into their own bosoms. 

To-day you have thrown off a tyranny 

That lives but in the torpid acquiescence 

Of our emasculated souls, the tyranny 1490 

Of the world's masters, with the musty rules 

By which they uphold their craft from age to age : 

You have obeyed the only law that sense 

Submits to recognise ; the immediate law, 

From the clear light of circumstances, flashed 

Upon an independent Intellect. 

Henceforth new prospects open on your path ; 

Your faculties should grow with the demand ; 

I still will be your friend, will cleave to you 

Through good and evil, obloquy and scorn, 1500 

Oft as they dare to follow on your steps. 
MAR. I would be left alone. 
Osw. (exultingly). I know your motives ! 

I am not of the world's presumptuous judges, 

Who damn where they can neither see nor feel, 

With a hard-hearted ignorance ; your struggles 

I witness'd, and now hail your victory. 
MAR. Spare me awhile that greeting. 
Osw. It may be, 

That some there are, squeamish half-thinking cowards, 

Who will turn pale upon you, call you murderer, 



ACT m] THE BORDERERS 93 

And you will walk in solitude among them. 1510 

A mighty evil for a strong-built mind ! 

Join twenty tapers of unequal height 

And light them joined, and you will see the less 

How 'twill burn down the taller ; and they all 

Shall prey upon the tallest. Solitude ! 

The Eagle lives in Solitude ! 
MAR. Even so, 

The Sparrow so on the house-top, and I, 

The weakest of God's creatures, stand resolved 

To abide the issue of my act, alone. 
Osw. Now would you ? and for ever ? My young Friend, 

As time advances either we become 1521 

The prey or masters of our own past deeds. 

Fellowship we must have, willing or no ; 

And if good Angels fail, slack in their duty, 

Substitutes, turn our faces where we may, 

Are still forthcoming; some which, though they bear 

111 names, can render no ill services, 

In recompense for what themselves required. 

So meet extremes in this mysterious world, 

And opposites thus melt into each other. 1530 

MAR. Time, since Man first drew breath, has never moved 

With such a weight upon his wings as now ; 

But they will soon be lightened. 
Osw. Ay, look up 

Cast round you your mind's eye, and you will learn 

Fortitude is the child of Enterprise : 

Great actions move our admiration, chiefly 

Because they carry in themselves an earnest 

That we can suffer greatly. 
MAR. Very true. 

Osw. Action is transitory a step, a blow, 

The motion of a muscle this way or that 1540 

'Tis done, and in the after-vacancy 

We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed : 

Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark, 

And shares the nature of infinity. 
MAR. Truth and I feel it. 
Osw. What ! if you had bid 

Eternal farewell to unmingled joy 

And the light dancing of the thoughtless heart ; 

It is the toy of fools, and little fit 

For such a world as this. The wise abjure 

All thoughts whose idle composition lives 155 

In the entire forgetfulness of pain. 

I see I have disturbed you. 



94 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT in 

MAR. By no means. 

Osw. Compassion ! pity ! pride can do without them ; 

And what if you should never know them more ! 

He is a puny soul who, feeling pain, 

Finds ease because another feels it too. 

If e'er I open out this heart of mine 

It shall be for a nobler end to teach 

And not to purchase puling sympathy. 

Nay, you are pale. 
MAR. It may be so. 

Osw. Remorse 1560 

It cannot live with thought ; think on, think on, 

And it will die. What ! in this universe, 

Where the least things control the greatest, where 

The faintest breath that breathes can move a world ; 

What ! feel remorse, where, if a cat had sneezed, 

A leaf had fallen, the thing had never been 

Whose very shadow gnaws us to the vitals. 
MAR. Now, whither are you wandering ? That a man, 

So used to suit his language to the time, 

Should thus so widely differ from himself 1570 

It is most strange. 
Osw. Murder! what 's in the word ! 

I have no cases by me ready made 

To fit all deeds. Carry him to the Camp ! 

A shallow project; you of late have seen 

More deeply, taught us that the institutes 

Of Nature, by a cunning usurpation 

Banished from human intercourse, exist 

Only in our relations to the brutes 

That make the fields their dwelling. If a snake 

Crawl from beneath our feet we do not ask 1580 

A license to destroy him : our good governors 

Hedge in the life of every pest and plague 

That bears the shape of man ; and for what purpose, 

But to protect themselves from extirpation ? 

This flimsy barrier you have overleaped. 
MAR. My Office is fulfilled the Man is now 

Delivered to the Judge of all things. 
Osw. Dead ! 

MAR. I have borne my burthen to its destined end. 
Osw. This instant we '11 return to our Companions 

Oh how I long to see their faces again ! 159 

Enter IDONEA, with Pilgrims who continue their journey 

I DON. (after some time). What, Marmaduke ! now thou art 
mine for ever. 



ACT in] THE BORDERERS 95 

And Oswald, too ! (To MARMADUKE). On will we to my 
Father 

With the glad tidings which this day hath brought ; 

We'll go together, and, such proof received 

Of his own rights restored, his gratitude 

To God above will make him feel for ours. 
Osw. I interrupt you ? 
IDON. Think not so. 

MAR. Idonea, 

That I should ever live to see this moment ! 
IDON. Forgive me. Oswald knows it all he knows, 

Each word of that unhappy letter fell 1600 

As a blood-drop from my heart. 
Osw. 'Twas even so. 

MAR. I have much to say, but for whose ear ? not thine. 
IDON. Ill can I bear that look Plead for me, Oswald ! 

You are my Father's Friend. (To MARMADUKE). Alas, you 
know not, 

And never can you know, how much he loved me. 

Twice had he been to me a father, twice 

Had given me breath, and was I not to be 

His daughter, once his daughter? could I withstand 

His pleading face, and feel his clasping arms, 

And hear his prayer that I would not forsake him 1610 

In his old age [Hides her face. 

MAR. Patience Heaven grant me patience ! 

She weeps, she weeps my brain shall burn for hours 

Ere / can shed a tear. 
IDON. I was a woman; 

And, balancing the hopes that are the dearest 

To womankind with duty to my Father, 

I yielded up those precious hopes, which nought 

On earth could else have wrested from me ; if erring, 

Oh let me be forgiven ! 

MAR. I do forgive thee. 

IDON. But take me to your arms this breast, alas ! 

It throbs, and you have a heart that does not feel it. 1620 
MAR. (exultingly). She is innocent. [He embraces her. 

Osw. (aside). Were I a Moralist, 

I should make wondrous revolution here ; 

It were a quaint experiment to show 

The beauty of truth [Addressing them. 

I see I interrupt you ; 

I shall have business with you, Marmaduke ; 

Follow me to the Hostel. [Exit OSWALD. 

IDON. Marmaduke, 

This is a happy day. My Father soon 



96 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT iv 

Shall sun himself before his native doors ; 

The lame, the hungry, will be welcome there. 

No more shall he complain of wasted strength, 1630 

Of thoughts that fail, and a decaying heart; 

His good works will be balm and life to him. 
MAR. This is most strange ! I know not what it was, 

But there was something which most plainly said, 

That thou wert innocent. 
IDON. How innocent ! 

Oh heavens ! you Ve been deceived. 
MAR. Thou art a Woman, 

To bring perdition on the universe. 
IDON. Already I 've been punished to the height 

Of my offence. [Smiling affectionately. 

I see you love me still, 

The labours of my hand are still your joy ; 1640 

Bethink you of the hour when on your shoulder 

I hung this belt. 

[Pointing to the belt on which was suspended 

HERBERT'S scrip. 

MAR. Mercy of Heaven ! [Sinks. 

IDON. What ails you ! 

[Distractedly. 
MAR. The scrip that held his food, and I forgot 

To give it back again ! 

IDON. What mean your words ? 

MAR. I know not what I said all may be well. 
IDON. That smile hath life in it ! 
MAR. This road is perilous ; 

I will attend you to a Hut that stands 

Near the wood's edge rest there to-night, I pray you : 

For me, I have business, as you heard, with Oswald, 

But will return to you by break of day. 1650 

[Exeunt. 

ACT IV 

SCENE A desolate prospect a ridge of rocks a Chapel on the 
summit of one Moon behind the rocks night stormy 
irregular sound of a bell HERBERT enters exhausted 

HER. That Chapel-bell in mercy seemed to guide me, 
But now it mocks my steps ; its fitful stroke 
Can scarcely be the work of human hands. 
Hear me, ye Men upon the cliffs, if such 
There be who pray nightly before the Altar. 
Oh that I had but strength to reach the place ! 



ACTIV] THE BORDERERS 97 

My Child my Child dark dark I faint this wind 
These stifling blasts God help me ! 

Enter ELDRED 

ELD. Better this bare rock, 

Though it were tottering over a man's head, 
Than a tight case of dungeon walls for shelter 1660 

From such rough dealing. \A moaning voice is heard. 

Ha ! what sound is that ? 

Trees creaking in the wind (but none are here) 
Send forth such noises and that weary bell ! 
Surely some evil Spirit abroad to-night 
Is ringing it 'twould stop a Saint in prayer, 
And that what is it ? never was sound so like 
A human groan. Ha ! what is here ? Poor Man 
Murdered ! alas ! speak speak, I am your friend : 
No answer hush lost wretch, he lifts his hand 
And lays it to his heart (Kneels to him.) I pray you 
speak ! 1670 

What has befallen you ? 

HER. (feebly}. A stranger has done this, 

And in the arms of a stranger I must die. 

ELD. Nay, think not so : come, let me raise you up : 

[Raises him. 

This is a dismal place well that is well 
I was too fearful take me for your guide 
And your support my hut is not far off. 

[Draws him gently off the stage. 

SCENE A room in the Hostel MARMADUKE and OSWALD 

MAR. But for Idonea ! I have cause to think 
That she is innocent. 

Osw. Leave that thought awhile, 

As one of those beliefs which in their hearts 
Lovers lock up as pearls, though oft no better 1680 

Than feathers clinging to their points of passion. 
This day's event has laid on me the duty 
Of opening out my story ; you must hear it, 
And without further preface. In my youth, 
Except for that abatement which is paid 
By envy as a tribute to desert, 
I was the pleasure of all hearts, the darling 
Of every tongue as you are now. You 've heard 
That I embarked for Syria. On our voyage 
Was hatched among the crew a foul Conspiracy 1690 

Against my honour, in the which our Captain 
1 G 



98 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT iv 

Was, I believed, prime Agent. The wind fell ; 

We lay becalmed week after week, until 

The water of the vessel was exhausted ; 

I felt a double fever in my veins, 

Yet rage suppressed itself ; to a deep stillness 

Did my pride tame my pride ; for many days, 

On a dead sea under a burning sky, 

I brooded o'er my injuries, deserted 

By man and nature ; if a breeze had olown, 1700 

It might have found its way into my heart, 

And I had been no matter do you mark me ? 

MAR. Quick to the point if any untold crime 
Doth haunt your memory. 

Osw. Patience, hear me further ! 

One day in silence did we drift at noon 
By a bare rock, narrow, and white, and bare ; 
No food was there, no drink, no grass, no shade, 
No tree, no jutting eminence, nor form 
Inanimate large as the body of man, 

Nor any living thing whose lot of life 1710 

Might stretch beyond the measure of one moon. 
To dig for water on the spot, the Captain 
Landed with a small troop, myself being one : 
There I reproached him with his treachery. 
Imperious at all times, his temper rose ; 
He struck me ; and that instant had I killed him, 
And put an end to his insolence, but my Comrades 
Rushed in between us : then did I insist 
(All hated him, and I was stung to madness) 
That we should leave him there, alive ! we did so. 1720 

MAR. And he was famished ? 

Osw. Naked was the spot ; 

Methinks I see it now how in the sun 
Its stony surface glittered like a shield ; 
And in that miserable place we left him, 
Alone but for a swarm of minute creatures 
Not one of which could help him while alive, 
Or mourn him dead. 

MAR. A man by men cast off, 

Left without burial ! nay, not dead nor dying, 
But standing, walking, stretching forth his arms, 
In all things like ourselves, but in the agony 1730 

With which he called for mercy ; and even so 
He was forsaken ? 

Osw. There is a power in sounds : 
The cries he uttered might have stopped the boat 
That bore us through the water 



ACTIV] THE BORDERERS 99 

MAR. You returned 

Upon that dismal hearing did you not ? 
Osw. Some scoffed at him with hellish mockery, 
And laughed so loud it seemed that the smooth sea 
Did from some distant region echo us. 
MAR. We all are of one blood, our veins are filled 

At the same poisonous fountain ! 

Osw. 'Twas an island 1740 

Only by sufferance of the winds and waves, 
Which with their foam could cover it at will. 
I know not how he perished ; but the calm, 
The same dead calm, continued many days. 
MAR. But his own crime had brought on him this doom. 
His wickedness prepared it ; these expedients 
Are terrible, yet ours is not the fault. 
Osw. The man was famished, and was innocent ! 
MAR. Impossible ! 

Osw. The man had never wronged me. 

MAR. Banish the thought, crush it, and be at peace. 1750 
His guilt was marked these things could never be 
Were there not eyes that see, and for good ends, 
Where ours are baffled. 

Osw. I had been deceived. 

MAR. And from that hour the miserable man 

No more was heard of? 

Osw. I had been betrayed. 

MAR. And he found no deliverance ! 
Osw. The Crew 

Gave me a hearty welcome ; they had laid 
The plot to rid themselves, at any cost, 
Of a tyrannic Master whom they loathed. 
So we pursued our voyage : when we landed, 1760 

The tale was spread abroad ; my power at once 
Shrunk from me ; plans and schemes, and lofty hopes 
All vanished. I gave way do you attend ? 
MAR. The Crew deceived you ? 

Osw. Nay, command yourself. 

MAR. It is a dismal night how the wind howls ! 
Osw. I hid my head within a Convent, there 
Lay passive as a dormouse in mid winter. 
That was no life for me I was o'erthrown, 
But not destroyed. 

MAR. The proofs you ought to have seen 

The guilt have touched it felt it at your heart 177 
As I have done. 

Osw. A fresh tide of Crusaders 

Drove by the place of my retreat : three nights 



100 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT iv 

Did constant meditation dry my blood ; 

Three sleepless nights I passed in sounding on, 

Through words and things, a dim and perilous way ; 

And, wheresoe'er I turned me, I beheld 

A slavery compared to which the dungeon 

And clanking chains are perfect liberty. 

You understand me I was comforted ; 

I saw that every possible shape of action 1780 

Might lead to good I saw it and burst forth, 

Thirsting for some of those exploits that fill 

The earth for sure redemption of lost peace. 

[Marking MARMADUKE'S countenance. 
Nay, you have had the worst. Ferocity 
Subsided in a moment, like a wind 
That drops down dead out of a sky it vexed. 
And yet I had within me evermore 
A salient spring of energy ; I mounted 
From action up to action with a mind 
That never rested without meat or drink 1790 

Have I lived many days my sleep was bound 
To purposes of reason not a dream 
But had a continuity and substance 
That waking life had never power to give. 

MAR. O wretched Human-kind ! Until the mystery 
Of all this world is solved, well may we envy 
The worm, that, underneath a stone whose weight 
Would crush the lion's paw with mortal anguish, 
Doth lodge, and feed, and coil, and sleep, in safety. 
Fell not the wrath of Heaven upon those traitors ? 1800 

Osw. Give not to them a thought. From Palestine 
We marched to Syria : oft I left the Camp, 
When all that multitude of hearts was still, 
And followed on, through woods of gloomy cedar, 
Into deep chasms troubled by roaring streams ; 
Or from the top of Lebanon surveyed 
The moonlight desert, and the moonlight sea : 
In these my lonely wanderings I perceived 
What mighty objects do impress their forms 
To elevate our intellectual being ; 1810 

And felt, if ought on earth deserves a curse, 
'Tis that worst principle of ill which dooms 
A thing so great to perish self-consumed. 
So much for my remorse ' 

MAR. Unhappy man ! 

Osw. When from these forms I turned to contemplate 
The world's opinions and her usages, 
I seemed a Being who had passed alone 



ACTIV] THE BORDERERS 101 

Into a region of futurity, 

Whose natural element was freedom 

MAR. Stop 

I may not, cannot, follow thee. 
Osw. You must. 1820 

I had been nourished by the sickly food 

Of popular applause. I now perceived 

That we are praised, only as men in us 

Do recognise some image of themselves, 

An abject counterpart of what they are, 

Or the empty thing that they would wish to be. 

I felt that merit has no surer test 

Than obloquy ; that, if we wish to serve 

The world in substance, not deceive by show. 

We must become obnoxious to its hate, 1830 

Or fear disguised in simulated scorn. 
MAR. I pity, can forgive, you ; but those wretches 

That monstrous perfidy ! 
Osw. Keep down your wrath. 

False Shame discarded, spurious Fame despised, 

Twin sisters both of Ignorance, I found 

Life stretched before me smooth as some broad way 

Cleared for a monarch's progress. Priests might spin 

Their veil, but not for me 'twas in fit place 

Among its kindred cobwebs. I had been, 

And in that dream had left my native land, 1840 

One of Love's simple bondsmen the soft chain 

Was off for ever ; and the men, from whom 

This liberation came, you would destroy : 

Join me in thanks for their blind services. 
MAR. 'Tis a strange aching that, when we would curse 

And cannot. You have betrayed me I have done 

I am content I know that he is guiltless 

That both are guiltless, without spot or stain, 

Mutually consecrated. Poor old Man ! 

And I had heart for this, because thou lovedst 1850 

Her who from very infancy had been 

Light to thy path, warmth to thy blood ! Together 

[Turning to OSWALD. 

We propped his steps, he leaned upon us both. 
Osw. Ay, we are coupled by a chain of adamant; 

Let us be fellow-labourers, then, to enlarge 

Man's intellectual empire. We subsist 

In slavery ; all is slavery ; we receive 

Laws, but we ask not whence those laws have come ; 

We need an inward sting to goad us on. 
MAR. Have you betrayed me ? Speak to that. 



102 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT iv 

Osw. The mask, 

Which for a season I have stooped to wear, 1861 

Must be cast off. Know then that I was urged, 
(For other impulse let it pass) was driven, 
To seek for sympathy, because I saw 
In you a mirror of my youthful self ; 
I would have made us equal once again, 
But that was a vain hope. You have struck home, 
With a few drops of blood cut short the business ; 
Therein for ever you must yield to me. 
But what is done will save you from the blank 1870 

Of living without knowledge that you live : 
Now you are suffering for the future day, 
'Tis his who will command it. Think of my story 
Herbert is innocent. 

MAR. (in a faint voice, and doubtinglyj. You do but echo 
My own wild words ? 

Osw. Young Man, the seed must lie 

Hid in the earth, or there can be no harvest ; 
'Tis Nature's law. What I have done in darkness 
I will avow before the face of day. 
Herbert is innocent. 

MAR. What fiend could prompt 

This action ? Innocent ! oh, breaking heart ! 1880 

Alive or dead, I '11 find him. \Exit. 

Osw. Alive perdition ! [Exit. 



SCENE The inside of a poor Cottage 
ELEANOR and IDONEA seated 

I DON. The storm beats hard Mercy for poor or rich, 

Whose heads are shelterless in such a night ! 
A VOICE WITHOUT. Holla ! to bed, good Folks, within ! 
ELEA. O save us ! 

I DON. What can this mean ? 
ELEA. Alas, for my poor husband ! 

We '11 have a counting of our flocks to-morrow ; 

The wolf keeps festival these stormy nights : 

Be calm, sweet Lady, they are wassailers 

[The voices die away in the distance. 

Returning from their Feast my heart beats so 

A noise at midnight does so frighten me. 
IDON. Hush ! [Listening. 

ELEA. They are gone. On such a night, my husband, 

Dragged from his bed, was cast into a dungeon, 1892 

Where, hid from me, he counted many years, 



ACT iv] THE BORDERERS 103 

A criminal in no one's eyes but theirs 

Not even in theirs whose brutal violence 

So dealt with him. 
IDON. I have a noble Friend 

First among youths of knightly breeding, One 

Who lives but to protect the weak or injured. 

There again ! [Listening. 

ELBA. 'Tis my husband's foot. Good Eldred 

Has a kind heart ; but his imprisonment 1900 

Has made him fearful, and he '11 never be 

The man he was. 
IDON. I will retire ; good night ! 

[She goes within. 

Enter ELDRED (hides a bundle] 

ELD. Not yet in bed, Eleanor ! there are stains in that 
frock which must be washed out. 

ELBA. What has befallen you ? 

ELD. I am belated, and you must know the cause (speaking 
low) that is the blood of an unhappy Man. 

ELEA. Oh ! we are undone for ever. 

ELD. Heaven forbid that I should lift my hand against any 
man. Eleanor, I have shed tears to-night, and it comforts 
me to think of it. 1911 

ELBA. Where, where is he ? 

ELD. I have done him no harm, but it will be forgiven me ; 
it would not have been so once. 

ELBA. You have not buried anything ? You are no richer 
than when you left me ? 

ELD. Be at peace ; I am innocent. 

ELBA. Then God be thanked 

[A short pause ; she falls upon his neck. 

ELD. To-night I met with an old Man lying stretched upon 
the ground a sad spectacle : I raised him up with the 
hope that we might shelter and restore him. 1921 

ELBA, (as if ready to ruji). Where is he ? You were not able 
to bring him all the way with you ; let us return, I can 
help you. [ELDRED shakes his head. 

ELD. He did not seem to wish for life : as I was struggling 
on, by the light of the moon I saw the stains of blood 
upon my clothes he waved his hand, as if it were all use- 
less; and I let him sink again to the ground. 

ELBA. Oh that I had been by your side ! 1929 

ELD. I tell you his hands and his body were cold how 
could I disturb his last moments ? he strove to turn from 
me as if he wished to settle into sleep. 

ELBA. But, for the stains of blood 



104 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT iv 

ELD. He must have fallen, I fancy, for his head was cut; 

but I think his malady was cold and hunger. 
ELBA. Oh, Eldred, I shall never be able to look up at this 

roof in storm or fair but I shall tremble. 
ELD. Is it not enough that my ill stars have kept me abroad 

to-night till this hour? I come home, and this is my 

comfort ! 1940 

ELBA. But did he say nothing which might have set you at 

ease ? 
ELD. I thought he grasped my hand while he was muttering 

something about his Child his Daughter (starting as if 

he heard a noise). What is that ? 
ELEA. Eldred, you are a father. 
ELD. God knows what was in my heart, and will not curse 

my son for my sake. 
ELEA. But you prayed by him ? you waited the hour of his 

release ? 1950 

ELD. The night was wasting fast ; I have no friend ; I am 

spited by the world his wound terrified me if I had 

brought him along with me, and he had died in my arms ! 

I am sure I heard something breathing and this chair ! 
ELEA. Oh, Eldred, you will die alone. You will have no- 
body to close your eyes no hand to grasp your dying 

hand I shall be in my grave. A curse will attend us all. 
ELD. Have you forgot your own troubles when I was in the 

dungeon ? 

ELEA. And you left him alive ? 1960 

ELD. Alive ! the damps of death were upon him he could 

not have survived an hour. 
ELEA. In the cold, cold night. 
ELD. (in a savage tone). Ay, and his head was bare ; I suppose 

you would have had me lend my bonnet to cover it. You 

will never rest till I am brought to a felon's end. 
ELEA. Is there nothing to be done ? cannot we go to the 

Convent ? 

ELD. Ay, and say at once that I murdered him ! 1669 

ELEA. Eldred, I know that ours is the only house upon the 

Waste; let us take heart ; this Man may be rich ; and could 

he be saved by our means, his gratitude may reward us. 
ELD. 'Tis all in vain. 
ELEA. But let us make the attempt. This old Man may 

have a wife, and he may have children let us return to 

the spot ; we may restore him, and his eyes may yet open 

upon those that love him. 
ELD. He will never open them more ; even when he spoke 

to me, he kept them firmly sealed, as if he had been blind. 
I DON. (rushing out). It is, it is, my Father 1980 



ACT v] THE BORDERERS 105 

ELD. We are betrayed ! [Looking at IDONEA. 

ELBA. His Daughter ! God have mercy ! 

[Turning to IDONEA. 
I DON. (sinking down}. Oh ! lift me up and carry me to the 

place. 

You are safe ; the whole world shall not harm you. 
ELBA. This Lady is his Daughter. 
ELD. (moved). I '11 lead you to the spot. 
I DON. (springing up). Alive ! you heard him breathe ? quick, 

quick [Exeunt. 



ACT V 

SCENE A Wood on the edge oj the Waste 
Enter OSWALD and a Forester 

FOR. He leaned upon the bridge that spans the glen, 1990 
And down into the bottom cast his eye, 
That fastened there, as it would check the current. 

Osw. He listened too ; did you not say he listened ? 

FOR. As if there came such moaning from the flood 
As is heard often after stormy nights. 

Osw. But did he utter nothing ? 

FOR. See him there ! 

MARMADUKE appearing 

MAR. Buzz, buzz, ye black and winged freebooters ; 

That is no substance which ye settle on ! 
FOR. His senses play him false ; and see, his arms 

Outspread, as if to save himself from falling ! 2000 

Some terrible phantom I believe is now 

Passing before him, such as God will not 

Permit to visit any but a man 

Who has been guilty of some horrid crime. 

[MARMADUKE disappears. 
Osw. The game is up ! 
FOR. If it be needful, Sir, 

I will assist you to lay hands upon him. 
Osw. No, no, my Friend, you may pursue your business 

'Tis a poor wretch of an unsettled mind, 

Who has a trick of straying from his keepers ; 

We must be gentle. Leave him to my care. 2010 

[Exit Forester. 

If his own eyes play false with him, these freaks 

Of fancy shall be quickly tamed by mine ; 

The goal is reached. My Master shall become 

A shadow of myself made by myself. 



106 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT v 

SCENE The edge of the Moor 
MARMADUKE and ELDRED enter from opposite sides 

MAR. (raising his eyes and perceiving ELDRED). In any corner 
of this savage Waste, 

Have you, good Peasant, seen a blind old Man ? 

ELD. I heard 

MAR. You heard him, where ? when heard him ? 

ELD. As you know, 

The first hours of last night were rough with storm : 

I had been out in search of a stray heifer ; 

Returning late, I heard a moaning sound ; 2020 

Then, thinking that my fancy had deceived me, 

I hurried on, when straight a second moan, 

A human voice distinct, struck on my ear. 

So guided, distant a few steps, I found 

An aged Man, and such as you describe. 
MAR. You heard ! he called you to him ? Of all men 

The best and kindest ! but where is he ? guide me, 

That I may see him. 
ELD. On a ridge of rocks 

A lonesome Chapel stands, deserted now : 

The bell is left, which no one dares remove ; 2030 

And, when the stormy wind blows o'er the peak, 

It rings, as if a human hand were there 

To pull the cord. I guess he must have heard it ; 

And it had led him towards the precipice, 

To climb up to the spot whence the sound came ; 

But he had failed through weakness. From his hand 

His staff had dropped, and close upon the brink 

Of a small pool of water he was laid, 

As if he had stooped to drink, and so remained 

Without the strength to rise. 
MAR. Well, well, he lives, 2040 

And all is safe : what said he ? 
ELD. But few words : 

He only spake to me of a dear Daughter, 

Who, so he feared, would never see him more ; 

And of a Stranger to him, One by whom 

He had been sore misused ; but he forgave 

The wrong and the wrong-doer. You are troubled 

Perhaps you are his son ? 
MAR. The All-seeing knows, 

I did not think he had a living Child. 

But whither did you carry him ? 
ELD. He was torn, 

His head was bruised, and there was blood about him 



ACT v] THE BORDERERS 107 

MAR. That was no work of mine. 

ELD. Nor was it mine. 2051 

MAR. But had he strength to walk ? I could have borne him 
A thousand miles. 

ELD. I am in poverty, 

And know how busy are the tongues of men ; 
My heart was willing, Sir, but I am one 
Whose good deeds will not stand by their own light ; 
And, though it smote me more than words can tell, 
I left him. 

MAR. I believe that there are phantoms, 
That in the shape of man do cross our path 
On evil instigation, to make sport 2060 

Of our distress and thou art one of them ! 
But things substantial have so pressed on me 

ELD. My wife and children came into my mind. 

MAR. Oh Monster ! Monster ! there are three of us, 
And we shall howl together. 

[After a pause and in a feeble voice. 

I am deserted 

At my worst need, my crimes have in a net 
(Pointing to ELDRED) Entangled this poor man. Where 
was it ? where ? [Dragging him along. 

ELD. 'Tis needless; spare your violence. His Daughter 

MAR. Ay, in the word a thousand scorpions lodge : 
This old man had a Daughter. 

ELD. To the spot 2070 

I hurried back with her. Oh save me, Sir, 

From such a journey ! there was a black tree, 

A single tree ; she thought it was her Father. 

Oh Sir, I would not see that hour again 

For twenty lives. The daylight dawned, and now 

Nay ; hear my tale, 'tis fit that you should hear it 

As we approached, a solitary crow 

Rose from the spot ; the Daughter clapped her hands, 

And then I heard a shriek so terrible 

[MARMADUKE shrinks back. 
The startled bird quivered upon the wing. 2080 

MAR. Dead, dead! 

ELD. (after a pause). A dismal matter, Sir, for me, 
And seems the like for you ; if 'tis your wish, 
I '11 lead you to his Daughter ; but 'twere best 
That she should be prepared ; I '11 go before. 

MAR. There will be need of preparation. [ELDRED goes off. 

ELEA. (enters). Master ! 

Your limbs sink under you, shall I support you ? 

MAR. (taking her arm). Woman, I've lent my body to the service 



108 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT v 

Which now thou tak'st upon thee. God forbid 
That thou shouldst ever meet a like occasion 
With such a purpose in thine heart as mine was. 2090 

ELBA. Oh, why have I to do with things like these ? [Exeunt. 

SCENE changes to the door O/ELD RED'S cottage IDONEA seated 
enter ELDRED 

ELD. Your Father, Lady, from a wilful hand 

Has met unkindness ; so indeed he told me, 

And you remember such was my report : 

From what has just befallen me I have cause 

To fear the very worst. 
I DON. My Father is dead ; 

Why dost thou come to me with words like these ? 
ELD. A wicked Man should answer for his crimes 
IDON. Thou seest me what I am. 
ELD. It was most heinous, 

And doth call out for vengeance. 
IDON. Do not add, 2100 

I prithee, to the harm thou 'st done already. 
ELD. Hereafter you will thank me for this service. 

Hard by, a Man I met, who, from plain proofs 

Of interfering Heaven, I have no doubt, 

Laid hands upon your Father. Fit it were 

You should prepare to meet him. 
IDON. I have nothing 

To do with others ; help me to my Father 

[She turns and sees MARMADUKE leaning on ELEANOR 
throws herself upon his neck, and after some time, 

In joy I met thee, but a few hours past ; 

And thus we meet again ; one human stay 

Is left me still in thee. Nay, shake not so. ano 

MAR. In such a wilderness to see no thing, 

No, not the pitying moon ! 
IDON. And perish so. 

MAR. Without a dog to moan for him. 
IDON. Think not of it, 

But enter there and see him how he sleeps, 

Tranquil as he had died in his own bed. 
MAR. Tranquil why not ? 
IDON. Oh, peace ! 

MAR. He is at peace ; 

His body is at rest : there was a plot, 

A hideous plot, against the soul of man : 

It took effect and yet I baffled it, 

In some degree. 



ACTV] THE BORDERERS 109 

I DON. Between us stood, I thought, 2120 

A cup of consolation, filled from Heaven 
For both our needs ; must I, and in thy presence, 
Alone partake of it ? Beloved Marmaduke ! 

MAR. Give me a reason why the wisest thing 
That the earth owns shall never choose to die, 
But some one must be near to count his groans. 
The wounded deer retires to solitude, 
And dies in solitude : all things but man, 
All die in solitude. [Moving towards the cottage door. 

Mysterious God, 
If she had never lived I had not done it ! 2130 

IDON. Alas, the thought of such a cruel death 
Has overwhelmed him. I must follow. 

ELD. Lady ! 

You will do well ; (she goes) unjust suspicion may 
Cleave to this Stranger : if, upon his entering, 
The dead Man heave a groan, or from his side 
Uplift his hand that would be evidence. 

ELBA. Shame ! Eldred, shame ! 

MAR. (both returning). The dead have but one face. 

(To himself^). And such a Man so meek and un- 
offending 

Helpless and harmless as a babe : a Man 
By obvious signal to the world's protection 2140 

Solemnly dedicated to decoy him ! 

IDON. Oh, had you seen him living ! 

MAR. I (so filled 

With horror is this world) am unto thee 
The thing most precious that it now contains : 
Therefore through me alone must be revealed 
By whom thy Parent was destroyed, Idonea ! 
I have the proofs ! 

IDON. O miserable Father ! 

Thou didst command me to bless all mankind ; 
Nor to this moment have I ever wished 
Evil to any living thing ; but hear me, 2150 

Hear me, ye Heavens ! (kneeling) may vengeance haunt 

the fiend 

For this most cruel murder : let him live 
And move in terror of the elements ; 
The thunder send him on his knees to prayer 
In the open streets, and let him think he sees, 
If e'er he entei-eth the house of God, 
The roof, self-moved, unsettling o'er his head ; 
And let him, when he would lie down at night, 
Point to his wife the blood-drops on his pillow! 



110 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT v 

MAR. My voice was silent, but my heart hath joined thee. 
IDON. (leaning on MAKMADUKE). Left to the mercy of that 
savage Man ' 2161 

How could he call upon his Child ! O Friend ! 

[Turns to MARMADUKE. 
My faithful true and only Comforter. 
MAR. Ay, come to me and weep. (He kisses her.) 

(To ELDRED). Yes, Varlet, look, 

The devils at such sights do clap their hands. 

[ELDRED retires alarmed. 
IDON. Thy vest is torn, thy cheek is deadly pale ; 

Hast thou pursued the monster ? 
MAR. I have found him. 

Oh ! would that thou hadst perished in the flames ! 
IDON. Here art thou, then can I be desolate ? 
MAR. There was a time, when this protecting hand aiyo 

Availed against the mighty ; never more 
Shall blessings wait upon a deed of mine. 
IDON. Wild words for me to hear, for me, an orphan, 
Committed to thy guardianship by Heaven ; 
And, if thou hast forgiven me, let me hope, 
In this deep sorrow, trust, that I am thine 
For closer care ; here, is no malady. [ Taking his arm. 

MAR. There, is a malady 

(Striking his heart and forehead.) And here, and here, 
A mortal malady. I am accurst : 

All nature curses me, and in my heart 2180 

Thy curse is fixed ; the truth must be laid bare. 
It must be told, and borne. I am the man, 
(Abused, betrayed, but how it matters not) 
Presumptuous above all that ever breathed, 
Who, casting as I thought a guilty Person 
Upon Heaven's righteous judgment, did become 
An instrument of Fiends. Through me, through me, 
Thy Father perished. 

IDON. Perished by what mischance ? 

MAR. Beloved ! if I dared, so would I call thee 

Conflict must cease, and, in thy frozen heart, 2190 

The extremes of suffering meet in absolute peace. 

[He gives her a letter. 

IDON. (reads) 'Be not surprised if you hear that some signal 
judgment has befallen the man who calls himself your 
father ; he is now with me, as his signature will shew : 
abstain from conjecture till you see me. 

' HERBERT. 
' MARMADUKE. ' 
The writing Oswald's ; the signature my Father's : 



ACT v] THE BORDERERS 111 

(Looks steadily at the paper) And here is yours, or do my 
eyes deceive me ? 

You have then seen my Father ? 
MAR. He has leaned 

Upon this arm. 

IDON. You led him towards the Convent ? 2200 

MAR. That Convent was Stone-Arthur Castle. Thither 

We were his guides. I on that night resolved 

That he should wait thy coming till the day 

Of resurrection. 
IDON. Miserable Woman, 

Too quickly moved, too easily giving way, 

I put denial on thy suit, and hence, 

With the disastrous issue of last night, 

Thy pei'turbation, and these frantic words. 

Be calm, I pray thee ! 

MAR. Oswald 

IDON. Name him not. 

Enter female Beggar. 

BEG. And he is dead ! that Moor how shall I cross it ? 

By night, by day, never shall I be able 2211 

To travel half a mile alone. Good Lady ! 

Forgive me ! Saints forgive me. Had I thought 

It would have come to this ! 

IDON. What brings you hither ? speak ! 

BEG. (pointing to MARMADUKE). This innocent Gentleman. 
Sweet heavens ! I told him 

Such tales of your dead Father ! God is my judge, 

I thought there was no harm : but that bad Man, 

He bribed me with his gold, and looked so fierce. 

Mercy ! I said I know not what oh pity me 

I said, sweet Lady, you were not his Daughter 2220 

Pity me, I am haunted ; thrice this day 

My conscience made me wish to be struck blind ; 

And then I would have prayed, and had no voice. 
IDON. (to MARMADUKE). Was it my Father ? no, no, no, for he 

Was meek and patient, feeble, old and blind, 

Helpless, and loved me dearer than his life. 

But hear me. For one question, I have a heart 

That will sustain me. Did you murder him ? 
MAR. No, not by stroke of arm. But learn the process : 

Proof after proof was pressed upon me ; guilt 2230 

Made evident, as seemed, by blacker guilt, 

Whose impious folds enwrapped even thee ; and truth 

And innocence, embodied in his looks, 



112 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT v 

His words and tones and gestures, did but serve 
With me to aggravate his crimes, and heaped 
Ruin upon the cause for which they pleaded. 
Then pity crossed the path of my resolve : 
Confounded, I looked up to Heaven, and cast, 
Idonea ! thy blind Father on the Ordeal 
Of the bleak Waste left him and so he died ! 2240 
[IDONEA sinks senseless; Beggar, ELEANOR, etc., 

crowd round, and bear her off. 

Why may we speak these things, and do no more ; 
Why should a thrust of the arm have such a power, 
And words that tell these things be heard in vain ? 
She is not dead. Why ! if I loved this Woman, 
I would take care she never woke again ; 
But she WILL wake, and she will weep for me, 
And say, no blame was mine and so, poor fool, 
Will waste her curses on another name. 

[He walks about distractedly. 

Enter OSWALD 

OSWALD (to himself). Strong to o'erturn, strong also to 
build up. [To MARMADUKE. 

The starts and sallies of our last encounter 2250 

Were natural enough ; but that, I trust, 

Is all gone by. You have cast off the chains 

That fettered your nobility of mind 

Delivered heart and head ! 

Let us to Palestine j 

This is a paltry field for enterprise. 
MAR. Ay, what shall we encounter next ? This issue 

'Twas nothing more than darkness deepening darkness, 

And weakness crowned with the impotence of death ! 

Your pupil is, you see, an apt proficient (ironically). 

Start not ! Here is another face hard by ; 2260 

Come, let us take a peep at both together, 

And, with a voice at which the dead will quake, 

Resound the praise of your morality 

Of this too much. 

[Drawing OSWALD towards the Cottage 

stops short at the door. 
Men are there, millions, Oswald, 

Who with bare hands would have plucked out thy heart 

And flung it to the dogs : but I am raised 

Above, or sunk below, all further sense 

Of provocation. Leave me, with the weight 

Of that old Man's forgiveness on thy heart, 

Pressing as heavily as it doth on mine. 227 



ACTV] THE BORDERERS 113 

Coward I have been ; know, there lies not now 

Within the compass of a mortal thought, 

A deed that I would shrink from ; but to endure, 

That is my destiny. May it be thine : 

Thy office, thy ambition, be henceforth 

To feed remorse, to welcome every sting 

Of penitential anguish, yea with tears. 

When seas and continents shall lie between us 

The wider space the better we may find 

In such a course fit links of sympathy, 2280 

An incommunicable rivalship 

Maintained, for peaceful ends beyond our view. 

[Confused voices several of the band enter 
rush upon OSWALD and seise him. 

ONE OF THEM. I would have dogged him to the jaws of 
hell 

Osw. Ha ! is it so ! That vagrant Hag ! this comes 

Of having left a thing like her alive ! [Aside. 

SEVERAL VOICES. Despatch him ! 

Osw. If I pass beneath a rock 

And shout, and, with the echo of my voice, 
Bring down a heap of rubbish, and it crush me, 
I die without dishonour. Famished, starved, 
A Fool and Coward blended to my wish ! 2290 

[Smiles scornfully and exultingly at MARMADUKE. 

WAL. 'Tis done ! (stabs him). 

ANOTHER OF THE BAND. The ruthless traitor ! 

MAR. A rash deed ! 

With that reproof I do resign a station 
Of which I have been proud. 

WIL. (approaching MARMADUKE). O my poor Master ! 

MAR. Discerning Monitor, my faithful Wilfred, 

Why art thou here ? [Turning to WALLACE. 

Wallace, upon these Borders, 
Many there be whose eyes will not want cause 
To weep that I am gone. Brothers in arms ! 
Raise on that dreary Waste a monument 
That may record my story : nor let words 
Few must they be, and delicate in their touch 2300 

As light itself be there withheld from Her 
Who, through most wicked arts, was made an orphan 
By One who would have died a thousand times, 
To shield her from a moment's harm. To you, 
Wallace and Wilfred, I commend the Lady, 
By lowly nature reared, as if to make her 
In all things worthier of that noble birth, 
Whose long-suspended rights are now on the eve 
i H 



114 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH [ACT v 

Of restoration : with your tenderest care 
Watch over her, I pray sustain her 

SEVERAL OF THE BAND (eagerly). Captain ! 

MAR. No more of that ; in silence hear my doom : 2311 

A hermitage has furnished fit relief 
To some offenders ; other penitents, 
Less patient in their wretchedness, have fallen, 
Like the old Roman, on their own sword's point. 
They had their choice : a wanderer must I go, 
The Spectre of that innocent Man, my guide. 
No human ear shall ever hear me speak ; 
No human dwelling ever give me food, 
Or sleep, or rest : but, over waste and wild, 2320 

In search of nothing, that this earth can give, 
But expiation, will I wander on 
A Man by pain and thought compelled to live, 
Yet loathing life till anger is appeased 
In Heaven, and Mercy gives me leave to die. 

1795-6. 



TO A BUTTERFLY 115 



POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD 
OF CHILDHOOD 

I 

MY heart leaps up when I behold 
A rainbow in the sky : 
So was it when my life began ; 
So is it now I am a man ; 
So be it when I shall grow old, 

Or let me die ! 

The Child is father of the Man ; 
And I could wish my days to be 
Bound each to each by natural piety. 

March 26, 1802 



II 

TO A BUTTERFLY 

STAY near me do not take thy flight! 
A little longer stay in sight ! 
Much converse do I find in thee, 
Historian of my infancy ! 
Float near me ; do not yet depart ! 
Dead times revive in thee : 
Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art ! 
A solemn image to my heart, 
My father's family ! 

Oh ! pleasant, pleasant were the days, to 

The time, when, in our childish plays, 

My sister Emmeline and I 

Together chased the butterfly ' 

A very hunter did I rush 

Upon the prey : with leaps and springs 

I followed on from brake to bush ; 

But she, God love her ! feared to brush 

The dust from off its wings. 

March 14, 1802 



116 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

III 
THE SPARROW'S NEST 

TfJ EHOLD, within the leafy shade, 
L) Those bright blue eggs together laid ! 
On me the chance-discovered sight 
Gleamed like a vision of delight. 
I started seeming to espy 
The home and sheltered bed, 
The Sparrow's dwelling, which, hard by 
My Father's house, in wet or dry 
My sister Emmeline and I 
Together visited. 

She looked at it and seemed to fear it ; 
Dreading, tho' wishing, to be near it : 
Such heart was in her, being then 
A little Prattler among men. 
The Blessing of my later years 
Was with me when a boy : 
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears ; 
And. humble cares, and delicate fears ; 
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears ; 
And love, and thought, and joy. 

1801 



IV 
FORESIGHT 

THAT is work of waste and ruin 
Do as Charles and I are doing ! 
Strawberry-blossoms, one and all, 
We must spare them here are many : 
Look at it the flower is small, 
Small and low, though fair as any . 
Do not touch it ! summers two 
I am older, Anne, than you. 

Pull the primrose, sister Anne 

Pull as many as you can. 

Here are daisies, take your fill , 

Pansies, and the cuckoo-flower : 

Of the lofty daffodil 

Make your bed, or make your bower ; 



CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHILD 117 

Fill your lap, and fill your bosom ; 
Only spare the strawberry-blossom ! 

Primroses, the Spring may love them 

Summer knows but little of them : 

Violets, a barren kind, 

Withered on the ground must lie ; 20 

Daisies leave no fruit behind 

When the pretty flowerets die ; 

Pluck them, and another year 

As many will be blowing here. 

God has given a kindlier power 

To the favoured strawberry-flower. 

Hither soon as spring is fled 

You and Charles and I will walk ; 

Lurking berries, ripe and red, 

Then will hang on every stalk, 30 

Each within its leafy bower; 

And for that promise spare the flower ! 

April 28, 1802 



CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHILD THREE 
YEARS OLD 

E~ VING she is, and tractable, though wild ; 
And Innocence hath privilege in her 
To dignify arch looks and laughing eyes ; 
And feats of cunning ; and the pretty round 
Of trespasses, affected to provoke 
Mock-chastisement and partnership in play. 
And, as a faggot sparkles on the hearth, 
Not less if unattended and alone 
Than when both young and old sit gathered round 
And take delight in its activity ; i< 

Even so this happy Creature of herself 
Is all-sufficient ; solitude to her 
Is blithe society, who fills the air 
With gladness and involuntary songs. 
Light are her sallies as the tripping fawn's 
Forth-startled from the fern where she lay couched ; 
Unthought-of, unexpected, as the stir 
Of the soft breeze ruffling the meadow-flowers, 
Or from before it chasing wantonly 
The many-coloured images imprest 21 

Upon the bosom of a placid lake. 

1811 



118 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

VI 
ADDRESS TO A CHILD 

DURING A BOISTEROUS WINTER EVENING 
BY MY SISTER 

WHAT way does the Wind come ? What way does 
he go? 

He rides over the water, and over the snow, 
Through wood, and through vale ; and o'er rocky height, 
Which the goat cannot climb, takes his sounding flight ; 
He tosses about in every bare tree, 
As, if you look up, you plainly may see ; 
But how he will come, and whither he goes, 
There 's never a scholar in England knows. 

He will suddenly stop in a cunning nook, 

And ring a sharp 'larum ; but, if you should look, 10 

There 's nothing to see but a cushion of snow, 

Round as a pillow, and whiter than milk, 

And softer than if it were covered with silk. 

Sometimes he '11 hide in the cave of a rock, 

Then whistle as shrill as the buzzard cock ; 

Yet seek him, and what shall you find in the place ? 

Nothing but silence and empty space ; 

Save, in a corner, a heap of dry leaves, 

That he 's left, for a bed, to beggars or thieves ! 

As soon as 'tis daylight to-morrow, with me 20 

You shall go to the orchard, and then you will see 
That he has been there, and made a great rout, 
And cracked the branches, and strewn them about ; 
Heaven grant that he spare but that one upright twig 
That looked up at the sky so proud and big 
All last summer, as well you know, 
Studded with apples, a beautiful show ' 

Hark ! over the roof he makes a pause, 

And growls as if he would fix his claws 

Right in the slates, and with a huge rattle 30 

Drive them down, like men in a battle : 

But let him range round ; he does us no harm, 

We build up the fire, we 're snug and warm ; 

Untouched by his breath see the candle shines bright, 

And burns with a clear and steady light ; 

Books have we to read, but that half-stifled knell, 

Alas ! 'tis the sound of the eight o'clock bell. 



THE MOTHER'S RETURN 119 

Come now we '11 to bed ! and when we are there 
He may work his own will, and what shall we care ? 
He may knock at the door, we '11 not let him in ; 40 
May drive at the windows, we'll laugh at his din; 
Let him seek his own home wherever it be ; 
Here 's a cozie warm house for Edward and me. 

1806 



VII 
THE MOTHER'S RETURN 

BY THE SAME 

A MONTH, sweet Little-ones, is past 
Since your dear Mother went away,- 
And she to-morrow will return ; 
To-morrow is the happy day. 

blessed tidings ! thought of joy ! 
The eldest heard with steady glee ; 
Silent he stood ; then laughed amain, 
And shouted, ' Mother, come to me ! ' 

Louder and louder did he shout, 
With witless hope to bring her near ; 
' Nay, patience ! patience, little boy ! 
Your tender mother cannot hear.' 

1 told of hills, and far-off towns, 

And long, long vales to travel through ; 
He listens, puzzled, sore perplexed, 
But he submits ; what can he do ? 

No strife disturbs his sister's breast ; 
She wars not with the mystery 
Of time and distance, night and day ; 
The bonds of our humanity. 

Her joy is like an instinct, joy 
Of kitten, bird, or summer fly ; 
She dances, runs without an aim, 
She chatters in her ecstasy. 

Her brother now takes up the note, 
And echoes back his sister's glee ; 
They hug the infant in my arms, 
As if to force his sympathy. 



120 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Then, settling into fond discourse, 

We rested in the garden bower ; 30 

While sweetly shone the evening sun 

In his departing hour. 

We told o'er all that we had done, 
Our rambles by the swift brook's side 
Far as the willow-skirted pool, 
Where two fair swans together glide. 

We talked of change, of winter gone, 

Of green leaves on the hawthorn spray, 

Of birds that build their nests and sing, 

And all ' since Mother went away ! ' 40 

To her these tales they will repeat, 
To her our new-born tribes will show, 
The goslings green, the ass's colt, 
The lambs that in the meadow go. 

But, see, the evening star comes forth ! 
To bed the children must depart; 
A moment's heaviness they feel, 
A sadness at the heart : 

'Tis gone and in a merry fit 

They run up stairs in gamesome race j 50 

I, too, infected by their mood, 

I could have joined the wanton chase. 

Five minutes past and, O the change ! 
Asleep upon their beds they lie ; 
Their busy limbs in perfect rest, 
And closed the sparkling eye. 

1807 

VIII 
ALICE FELL; OR, POVERTY 

/ "T" S HE post-boy drove with fierce career, 

For threatening clouds the moon had 

drowned ; 

When, as we hurried on, my ear 
Was smitten with a startling sound. 

As if the wind blew many ways, 
I heard the sound, and more and more ; 
It seemed to follow with the chaise, 
And still I heard it as before. 



ALICE FELL 121 

At length I to the boy called out; 

He stopped his horses at the word, 10 

But neither cry, nor voice, nor shout, 

Nor aught else like it, could be heard. 

The boy then smacked his whip, and fast 
The horses scampered through the rain ; 
But, hearing soon upon the blast 
The cry, I bade him halt again. 

Forthwith alighting on the ground, 

' Whence comes,' said I, ' this piteous moan ? ' 

And there a little Girl I found, 

Sitting behind the chaise, alone. 20 

' My cloak ! ' no other word she spake, 
But loud and bitterly she wept, 
As if her innocent heart would break ; 
And down from off her seat she leapt. 

' What ails you, child ? ' she sobbed, ' Look here ! ' 

I saw it in the wheel entangled, 

A weather-beaten rag as e'er 

From any garden scare-crow dangled. 

There, twisted between nave and spoke, 

It hung, nor could at once be freed ; 30 

But our joint pains unloosed the cloak, 

A miserable rag indeed ! 

' And whither are you going, child, 
To-night along these lonesome ways ? ' 
' To Durham,' answered she, half wild 
' Then come with me into the chaise.' 

Insensible to all relief 

Sat the poor girl, and forth did send 

Sob after sob, as if her grief 

Could never, never have an end. 40 

' My child, in Durham do you dwell ? ' 
She checked herself in her distress, 
And said, ' My name is Alice Fell ; 
I 'm fatherless and motherless. 

* And I to Durham, Sir, belong.' 
Again, as if the thought would choke 
Her very heart, her grief grew strong ; 
And all was for her tattered cloak ! 



122 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

The chaise drove on ; our journey's end 

Was nigh ; and, sitting by my side, 50 

As if she had lost her only friend 

She wept, nor would be pacified. 

Up to the tavern-door we post ; 
Of" Alice and her grief I told ; 
And I gave money to the host, 
To buy a new cloak for the old. 

' And let it be of duffil grey, 
As warm a cloak as man can sell 1 ' 
Proud creature was she the next day, 
The little orphan. Alice Fell ! 60 

March 12, 13, 1802 



IX 

LUCY GRAY; OR, SOLITUDE 

OFT I had heard of Lucy Gray : 
And, when I crossed the wild, 
I chanced to see at break of day 
The solitary child. 

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew ; 
She dwelt on a wide moor, 
The sweetest thing that ever grew 
Beside a human door ! 

You yet may spy the fawn at play, 
The hare upon the green ; 
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray 
Will never more be seen. 

' To-night will be a stormy night 
You to the town must go ; 
And take a lantern, Child, to light 
Your mother through the snow.' 

'That, Father ! will I gladly do: 
'Tis scarcely afternoon 
The minster-clock has just struck two, 
And yonder is the moon ! ' 



LUCY GRAY 123 

At this the Father raised his hook, 
And snapped a faggot-band ; 
He plied his work ; and Lucy took 
The lantern in her hand. 

Not blither is the mountain roe : 
With many a wanton stroke 
Her feet disperse the powdery snow, 
That rises up like smoke. 

The storm came on before its time : 

She wandered up and down ; 30 

And many a hill did Lucy climb : 

But never reached the town. 

The wretched parents all that night 
Went shouting far and wide ; 
But there was neither sound nor sight 
To serve them for a guide. 

At day-break on a hill they stood 

That overlooked the moor ; 

And thence they saw the bridge of wood, 

A furlong from their door. 40 

They wept and, turning homeward, cried, 
' In heaven we all shall meet ' ; 
When in the snow the mother spied 
The print of Lucy's feet. 

Then downwards from the steep hill's edge 
They tracked the footmarks small ; 
And through the broken hawthorn hedge, 
And by the long stone-wall ; 

And then an open field they crossed : 

The marks were still the same ; 50 

They tracked them on, nor ever lost ; 

And to the bridge they came. 

They followed from the snowy bank 
Those footmarks, one by one, 
Into the middle of the plank ; 
And further there were none ! 

Yet some maintain that to this day 

She is a living child ; 

That you may see sweet Lucy Gray 

Upon the lonesome wild. 60 



124 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

O'er rough and smooth she trips along, 
And never looks behind ; 
And sings a solitary song 
That whistles in the wind. 

1799 



X 

WE ARE SEVEN 

A simple Child, 

That lightly draws its breath, 
And feels its life in every limb, 
What should it know of death ? 

I met a little cottage girl ; 
She was eight years old, she said ; 
Her hair was thick with many a curl 
That clustered round her head. 

She had a rustic, woodland air, 
And she was wildly clad : 
Her eyes were fair, and very fair ; 
Her beauty made me glad. 

' Sisters and brothers, little Maid, 
How many may you be ? ' 
' How many ? Seven in all,' she said, 
And wondering looked at me. 

'And where are they? I pray you tell.' 
She answered, ' Seven are we ; 
And two of us at Conway dwell, 
And two are gone to sea. 

' Two of us in the church-yard lie, 
My sister and my brother ; 
And, in the church-yard cottage, I 
Dwell near them with my mother.' 

' You say that two at Conway dwell, 
And two are gone to sea, 
Yet ye are seven ! I pray you tell, 
Sweet Maid, how this may be.' 

Then did the little Maid reply, 
' Seven boys and girls are we ; 



WE ARE SEVEN 125 

Two of us in the church-yard lie, 
Beneath the church-yard tree.' 

' You run about, my little Maid, 
Your limbs they are alive ; 
If two are in the church-yard laid, 
Then ye are only five.' 

' Their graves are green, they may be seen/ 
The little Maid replied, 

' Twelve steps or more from my mother's door, 
And they are side by side. 40 

' My stockings there I often knit, 
My kerchief there I hem ; 
And there upon the ground I sit, 
And sing a song to them. 

' And often after sun-set, Sir, 
When it is light and fair, 
I take my little porringer, 
And eat my supper there. 

' The first that died was sister Jane ; 

In bed she moaning lay, 50 

Till God released her of her pain ; 

And then she went away. 

' So in the church-yard she was laid ; 
And, when the grass was dry, 
Together round her grave we played, 
My brother John and I. 

' And when the ground was white with snow, 

And I could run and slide, 

My brother John was forced to go, 

And he lies by her side.' 60 

' How many are you, then,' said I, 
' If they two are in heaven ? ' 
Quick was the little Maid's reply, 
' O Master ! we are seven.' 

' But they are dead ; those two are dead ! 
Their spirits are in heaven ! ' 
'Twas throwing words away ; for still 
The little Maid would have her will, 
And said, ' Nay, we are seven ! ' 

1798 



126 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XI 

THE IDLE SHEPHERD-BOYS 
OR, DUNGEON-GHYLL FORCE 

A PASTORAL 

r I ^HE valley rings with mirth and joy ; 

Among the hills the echoes play 
A never never ending song, 
To welcome in the May. 
The magpie chatters with delight ; 
The mountain raven's youngling brood 
Have left the mother and the nest ; 
And they go rambling east and west 
In search of their own food ; 

Or through the glittering vapours dart to 

In very wantonness of heart. 

Beneath a rock, upon the grass, 

Two boys are sitting in the sun ; 

Their work, if any work they have, 

Is out of mind or done. 

On pipes of sycamore they play 

The fragments of a Christmas hymn ; 

Or with that plant which in our dale 

We call stag-horn, or fox's tail, 

Their rusty hats they trim : ao 

And thus, as happy as the day, 

Those Shepherds wear the time away. 

Along the river's stony marge 

The sand-lark chants a joyous song ; 

The thrush is busy in the wood, 

And carols loud and strong. 

A thousand lambs are on the rocks, 

All newly born ! both earth and sky 

Keep jubilee, and, more than all, 

Those boys with their green coronal ; 30 

They never hear the cry, 

That plaintive cry ! which up the hill 

Comes from the depth of Dungeon-Ghyll. 

1 Ghytt, in the dialect of Cumberland and Westmoreland, is a short and, 
for the most part, a steep narrow valley, with a stream running through it. 
Force is the word universally employed in these dialects for waterfall. 



THE IDLE SHEPHERD-BOYS 127 

Said Walter, leaping from the ground, 
* Down to the stump of yon old yew 
We '11 for our whistles run a race.' 

Away the shepherds flew ; 

They leapt they ran and when they came 

Right opposite to Dungeon-Ghyll, 

Seeing that he should lose the prize, 40 

' Stop ! ' to his comrade Walter cries 

James stopped with no good will : 

Said Walter then, exulting ; ' Here 

You '11 find a task for half a year. 

' Cross, if you dare, where I shall cross 

Come on, and tread where I shall tread.' 

The other took him at his word, 

And followed as he led. 

It was a spot which you may see 

If ever you to Langdale go ; 50 

Into a chasm a mighty block 

Hath fallen, and made a bridge of rock : 

The gulf is deep below ; 

And, in a basin black and small, 

Receives a lofty waterfall. 

With staff in hand across the cleft 

The challenger pursued his march ; 

And now, all eyes and feet, hath gained 

The middle of the arch. 

When list ! he hears a piteous moan 60 

Again ! his heart within him dies 

His pulse is stopped, his breath is lost, 

He totters, pallid as a ghost, 

And, looking down, espies 

A lamb, that in the pool is pent 

Within that black and frightful rent. 

The lamb had slipped into the stream, 

And safe without a bruise or wound 

The cataract had borne him down 

Into the gulf profound. 70 

His dam had seen him when he fell, 

She saw him down the torrent borne ; 

And, while with all a mother's love 

She from the lofty rocks above 

Sent forth a cry forlorn, 

The lamb, still swimming round and round, 

Made answer to that plaintive sound. 



128 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

When he had learnt what thing it was, 

That sent this rueful cry, I ween 

The Boy recovered heart, and told 80 

The sight which he had seen. 

Both gladly now deferred their task ; 

Nor was there wanting other aid 

A Poet, one who loves the brooks 

Far better than the sages' books, 

By chance had thither strayed ; 

And there the helpless lamb he found 

By those huge rocks encompassed round. 

He drew it from the troubled pool, 

And brought it forth into the light : 90 

The Shepherds met him with his charge, 

An unexpected sight ! 

Into their arms the lamb they took, 

Whose life and limbs the flood had spared ; 

Then up the steep ascent they hied, 

And placed him at his mother's side ; 

And gently did the Bard 

Those idle Shepherd-boys upbraid, 

And bade them better mind their trade. 

1800 

XII 
ANECDOTE FOR FATHERS 

4 Eetine vim istam, falsa cnim dicam, si coges.' EUSEBIUB 

I HAVE a boy of five years old ; 
His face is fair and fresh to see ; 
His limbs are cast in beauty's mould, 
And dearly he loves me. 

One morn we strolled on our dry walk, 
Our quiet home all full in view, 
And held such intermitted talk 
As we are wont to do. 

My thoughts on former pleasures ran ; 

I thought of Kilve's delightful shore, 10 

Our pleasant home when spring began, 

A long, long year before. 

A day it was when I could bear 
Some fond regrets to entertain ; 
With so much happiness to spare, 
I could not feel a pain, 



ANECDOTE FOR FATHERS 129 

The green earth echoed to the feet 

Of lambs that bounded through the glade, 

From shade to sunshine, and as fleet 

From sunshine back to shade. 20 

Birds warbled round me and each trace 
Of inward sadness had its charm ; 
Kilve, thought I, was a favoured place, 
And so is Liswyn farm. 

My boy beside me tripped, so slim 
And graceful in his rustic dress ! 
And, as we talked, I questioned him, 
In very idleness. 

' Now tell me, had you rather be,' 

I said, and took him by the arm, 30 

' On Kilve's smooth shore, by the green sea, 

Or here at Liswyn farm ? ' 

In careless mood he looked at me, 
While still I held him by the arm, 
And said, ' At Kilve I 'd rather be 
Than here at Liswyn farm.' 

' Now, little Edward, say why so : 

My little Edward, tell me why.' 

' I cannot tell, I do not know.' 

' Why, this is strange,' said I ; 40 

' For, here are woods, hills smooth and warm : 
There surely must some reason be 
Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm 
For Kilve by the green sea.' 

At this, my boy hung down his head, 
He blushed with shame, nor made reply ; 
And three times to the child I said, 
' Why, Edward, tell me why ? ' 

His head he raised there was in sight, 

It caught his eye, he saw it plain 50 

Upon the house-top, glittering bright, 

A broad and gilded vane. 

Then did the boy his tongue unlock, 
And eased his mind with this reply : 
1-1 



130 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' At Kilve there was no weather-cock ; 
And that 's the reason why.' 

O dearest, dearest boy ! my heart 
For better lore would seldom yearn, 
Could I but teach the hundredth part 
Of what from thee I learn. 60 

1798 



XIII 
RURAL ARCHITECTURE 



'S George Fisher, Charles Fleming, and 
Reginald Shore, 
Three rosy-cheeked school-boys, the highest not more 
Than the height of a counsellor's bag ; 
To the top of GREAT How l did it please them to climb : 
And there they built up, without mortar or lime, 
A Man on the peak of the crag. 

They built him of stones gathered up as they lay : 
They built him and christened him all in one day, 
An urchin both vigorous and hale ; 

And so without scruple they called him Ralph Jones. 10 
Now Ralph is renowned for the length of his bones ; 
The Magog of Legberthwaite dale. 

Just half a week after, the wind sallied forth, 

And, in anger or merriment, out of the north, 

Coming on with a terrible pother, 

From the peak of the crag blew the giant away. 

And what did these school-boys ? The very next day 

They went and they built up another. 

Some little I've seen of blind boisterous works 

By Christian disturbers more savage than Turks, 20 

Spirits busy to do and undo : 

At remembrance whereof my blood sometimes will flag ; 

Then, light-hearted Boys, to the top of the crag; 

And I '11 build up a giant with you. 

1800 

1 GREAT How is a single and conspicuous hill, which rises towards the 
foot of Thirlmere, on the western side of the beautiful dale of Legberthwaite, 
along the high road between Keswick and Ambleside. 



THE PET-LAMB 131 

XIV 
THE PET-LAMB 

A PASTORAL 

r f "HE dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink ; 

I heard a voice ; it said, ' Drink, pretty creature, 

drink ! ' 

And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied 
A snow-white mountain-lamb with a Maiden at its side. 

Nor sheep nor kine were near ; the lamb was all alone, 
And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone ; 
With one knee on the grass did the little Maiden kneel, 
While to that mountain-lamb she gave its evening meal. 

The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took, 
Seemed to feast with head and ears ; and his tail with 
pleasure shook. 10 

' Drink, pretty creature, drink/ she said in such a tone 
That I almost received her heart into my own. 

'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare ! 
I watched them with delight, they were a lovely pair. 
Now with her empty can the Maiden turned away : 
But ere ten yards were gone her footsteps did she stay. 

Right towards the lamb she looked; and from a shady 

place 

I unobserved could see the workings of her face : 
If Nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring, 
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little Maid might sing : 

' What ails thee, young One ? what ? Why pull so at thy 
cord ? 21 

Is it not well with thee ? well both for bed and board ? 
Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ; 
Rest, little young One, rest ; what is 't that aileth thee ? 

' What is it thou wouldst seek ? What is wanting to thy 

heart ? 

Thy limbs, are they not strong ? And beautiful thou art : 
This grass is tender grass ; these flowers they have no 

peers ; 
And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears ! 



132 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen 

chain, 

This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain ; 30 
For rain and mountain-storms ! the like thou need'st not 

fear, 
The rain and storm are things that scarcely can come 

here. 

' Rest, little young One, rest ; thou hast forgot the day 
When my father found thee first in places far away ; 
Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned by 

none, 
And thy mother from thy side for evermore was gone. 

' He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee 

home: 

A blessed day for thee ! then whither wouldst thou roam ? 
A faithful nurse thou hast ; the dam that did thee yean 
Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been. 40 

' Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in 

this can 

Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran ; 
And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with dew, 
I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is and new. 

'Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now, 
Then I '11 yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the plough ; 
My playmate thou shalt be ; and when the wind is cold 
Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold. 

' It will not, will not rest ! Poor creature, can it be 
That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in thee ? 
Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear, 51 

And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor 
hear. 

' Alas, the mountain-tops that look so green and fair ! 
I 've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there ; 
The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play, 
When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey. 

' Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky ; 
Night and day thou art safe, our cottage is hard by. 
Why bleat so after me ? Why pull so at thy chain ? 
Sleep and at break of day I will come to thee again !' 60 



TO H. C. 133 

As homeward through the lane I went with lazy feet, 
This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat ; 
And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line, 
That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was mine. 

Again, and once again, did I repeat the song ; 

' Nay/ said I, ' more than half to the damsel must belong, 

For she looked with such a look, and she spake with such 

a tone, 
That I almost received her heart into my own.' 

1800 



XV 
TO H. C. 

SIX YEARS OLD 

OTHOU ! whose fancies from afar are brought; 
Who of thy words dost make a mock apparel, 
And fittest to unutterable thought 
The breeze-like motion and the self-born carol ; 
Thou faery voyager ! that dost float 
In such clear water, that thy boat 
May rather seem 

To brood on air than on an earthly stream ; 
Suspended in a stream as clear as sky, 
Where earth and heaven do make one imagery ; 10 

blessed vision ! happy child ! 
Thou art so exquisitely wild, 

1 think of thee with many fears 

For what may be thy lot in future years. 

I thought of times when Pain might be thy guest, 
Lord of thy house and hospitality ; 
And Grief, uneasy lover ! never rest 
But when she sate within the touch of thee. 
O too industrious folly ! 

O vain and causeless melancholy ! 20 

Nature will either end thee quite ; 
Or, lengthening out thy season of delight, 
Preserve for thee, by individual right, 
A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks. 
What hast thou to do with sorrow, 
Or the injuries of to-morrow ? 

Thou art a dew-drop, which the morn brings forth, 
111 fitted to sustain unkindly shocks, 
Or to be trailed along the soiling earth ; 



134 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A gem that glitters while it lives, 30 

And no forewarning gives ; 
But, at the touch of wrong, without a strife 
Slips in a moment out of life. 

1802 



XVI 

INFLUENCE OF NATURAL OBJECTS 

IN CALLING FORTH AND STRENGTHENING THE IMAGINATION 
IN BOYHOOD AND EARLY YOUTH 

FROM AN UNPUBLISHED POEM 
[This extract is reprinted from The Friend. ] 

WISDOM and Spirit of the universe ! 
Thou Soul, that art the Eternity of 

thought ! 

And giv'st to forms and images a breath 
And everlasting motion ! not in vain, 
By day or star-light, thus from my first dawn 
Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me 
The passions that build up our human soul ; 
Not with the mean and vulgar works of Man ; 
But with high objects, with enduring things, 
With life and nature ; purifying thus 10 

The elements of feeling and of thought, 
And sanctifying by such discipline 
Both pain and fear, until we recognise 
A grandeur in the beatings of the heart. 

Nor was this fellowship vouchsafed to me 
With stinted kindness. In November days, 
When vapours rolling down the valleys made 
A lonely scene more lonesome ; among woods 
At noon ; and 'mid the calm of summer nights, 
When, by the margin of the trembling lake, 20 

Beneath the gloomy hills, homeward I went 
In solitude, such intercourse was mine : 
Mine was it in the fields both day and night, 
And by the waters, all the summer long. 
And in the frosty season, when the sun 
Was set, and, visible for many a mile, 
The cottage-windows through the twilight blazed, 
I heeded not the summons : happy time 
It was indeed for all of us ; for me 



THE LONGEST DAY 135 

It was a time of rapture ! Clear and loud 30 

The village-clock tolled six I wheeled about, 

Proud and exulting like an untired horse 

That cares not for his home. All shod with steel 

We hissed along the polished ice, in games 

Confederate, imitative of the chase 

And woodland pleasures, the resounding horn, 

The pack loud-chiming, and the hunted hare. 

So through the darkness and the cold we flew, 

And not a voice was idle ; with the din 

Smitten, the precipices rang aloud ; 40 

The leafless trees and every icy crag 

Tinkled like iron ; while far-distant hills 

Into the tumult sent an alien sound 

Of melancholy , not unnoticed while the stars, 

Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west 

The orange sky of evening died away. 

Not seldom from the uproar I retired 
Into a silent bay, or sportively 
Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng, 
To cut across the reflex of a star ; 50 

Image, that, flying still before me, gleamed 
Upon the glassy plain : and oftentimes, 
When we had given our bodies to the wind, 
And all the shadowy banks on either side 
Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still 
The rapid line of motion, then at once 
Have I, reclining back upon my heels, 
Stopped short ; yet still the solitary cliffs 
Wheeled by me even as if the earth had rolled 
With visible motion her diurnal round ! 60 

Behind me did they stretch in solemn train, 
Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watched 
Till all was tranquil as a summer sea. 

1799 



XVII 
THE LONGEST DAY 

ADDRESSED TO MY DAUGHTER, DORA 

ET us quit the leafy arbour, 
And the torrent murmuring by ; 
For the sun is in his harbour, 
Weary of the open sky. 



136 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Evening now unbinds the fetters 
Fashioned by the glowing light ; 
All that breathe are thankful debtors 
To the harbinger of night. 

Yet by some grave thoughts attended 

Eve renews her calm career ; 10 

For the day, that now is ended, 

Is the longest of the year. 

Dora ! sport, as now thou sportest, 
On this platform, light and free ; 
Take thy bliss, while longest, shortest, 
Are indifferent to thee ! 

Who would check the happy feeling 

That inspires the linnet's song ? 

Who would stop the swallow, wheeling 

On her pinions swift and strong ? ao 

Yet, at this impressive season, 
Words which tenderness can speak 
From the truths of homely reason 
Might exalt the loveliest cheek ; 

And, while shades to shades succeeding 
Steal the landscape from the sight, 
I would urge this moral pleading, 
Last forerunner of ' Good night ! ' 

SUMMER ebbs ; each day that follows 

Is a reflux from on high, 30 

Tending to the darksome hollows 

Where the frosts of winter lie. 

He who governs the creation, 
In his providence, assigned 
Such a gradual declination 
To the life of human kind. 

Yet we mark it not ; fruits redden, 

Fresh flowers blow, as flowers have blown, 

And the heart is loth to deaden 

Hopes that she so long hath known. 40 

Be thou wiser, youthful Maiden ! 
And when thy decline shall come, 
Let not flowers, or boughs fruit-laden, 
Hide the knowledge of thy doom. 



THE NORMAN BOY 137 

Now, even now, ere wrapped in slumber, 
Fix thine eyes upon the sea 
That absorbs time, space, and number ; 
Look thou to Eternity ! 

Follow thou the flowing river 

On whose breast are thither borne jjo 

All deceived, and each deceiver, 

Through the gates of night and morn ; 

Through the year's successive portals ; 
Through the bounds which many a star 
Marks, not mindless of frail mortals, 
When his light returns from far. 

Thus when thou with Time hast travelled 

Toward the mighty gulf of things, 

And the mazy stream unravelled 

With thy best imaginings ; 60 

Think, if thou on beauty leanest, 
Think how pitiful that stay, 
Did not virtue give the meanest 
Charms superior to decay. 

Duty, like a strict preceptor, 
Sometimes frowns, or seems to frown ; 
Choose her thistle for thy sceptre, 
While youth's roses are thy crown. 

Grasp it, if thou shrink and tremble, 
Fairest damsel of the green, 70 

Thou wilt lack the only symbol 
That proclaims a genuine queen ; 

And ensures those palms of honour 
Which selected spirits wear, 
Bending low before the Donor, 
Lord of heaven's unchanging year ! 

1817 

XVIII 
THE NORMAN BOY 

HIGH on a broad unfertile tract of forest-skirted Down, 
Nor kept by Nature for herself, nor made by man 

his own, 

From home and company remote and every playful joy, 
Served, tending a few sheep and goats, a ragged Norman 
Boy. 



138 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Him never saw I, nor the spot ; but from an English Dame, 
Stranger to me and yet my friend, a simple notice came, 
With suit that I would speak in verse of that sequestered 

child 
Whom, one bleak winter's day, she met upon the dreary Wild. 

His flock, along the woodland's edge with relics sprinkled 

o'er 
Of last night's snow, beneath a sky threatening the fall of 

more, 10 

Where tufts of herbage tempted each, were busy at their 

feed, 
And the poor Boy was busier still, with work of anxious heed. 

There was he, where of branches rent and withered and 

decayed, 
For covert from the keen north wind, his hands a hut had 

made. 

A tiny tenement, forsooth, and frail, as needs must be 
A thing of such materials framed, by a builder such as he. 

The hut stood finished by his pains, nor seemingly lacked 

aught 
That skill or means of his could add, but the architect had 

wrought 

Some limber twigs into a Cross, well-shaped with fingers nice, 
To be engrafted on the top of his small edifice. 20 

That Cross he now was fastening there, as the surest power 

and best 

For supplying all deficiencies, all wants of the rude nest 
In which, from burning heat, or tempest driving far and wide, 
The innocent Boy, else shelterless, his lonely head must hide. 

That Cross belike he also raised as a standard for the true 
And faithful service of his heart in the worst that might 

ensue 

Of hardship and distressful fear, amid the houseless waste 
Where he, in his poor self so weak, by Providence was placed. 

Here, Lady ! might I cease ; but nay, let us before we 

part 
With this dear holy shepherd-boy breathe a prayer of earnest 

heart, 30 

That unto him, where'er shall lie his life's appointed way, 
The Cross, fixed in his soul, may prove an all-sufficing stay. 

Published 1842. 



THE POETS DREAM 139 

XIX 
THE POET'S DREAM 

SEQUEL TO THE NORMAN BOY 

JUST as those final words were penned, the sun broke out 
in power, 
And gladdened all things; but, as chanced, within that 

very hour, 
Air blackened, thunder growled, fire flashed from clouds that 

hid the sky, 
And, for the Subject of my Verse, I heaved a pensive sigh. 

Nor could my heart by second thoughts from heaviness be 

cleared, 
For bodied forth before my eyes the cross-crowned hut 

appeared ; 
And, while around it storm as fierce seemed troubling earth 

and air, 
I saw, within, the Norman Boy kneeling alone in prayer. 

The Child, as if the thunder's voice spake with articulate 

call, 

Bowed meekly in submissive fear, before the Lord of All ; 10 
His lips were moving; and his eyes, upraised to sue for 

grace, 
With soft illumination cheered the dimness of that place. 

How beautiful is holiness ! what wonder if the sight, 

Almost as vivid as a dream, produced a dream at night ? 

It came with sleep and showed the Boy, no cherub, not 

transformed, 
But the poor ragged Thing whose ways my human heart had 

warmed. 

Me had the dream equipped with wings, so I took him in 

my arms, 

And lifted from the grassy floor, stilling his faint alarms, 
And bore him high through yielding air my debt of love to 



By giving him, for both our sakes, an hour of holiday. 20 

I whispered, ' Yet a little while, dear Child ! thou art my 

own, 
To show thee some delightful thing, in country or in town. 



140 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

What shall it be ? a mirthful throng ? or that holy place and 

calm 
St. Denis, filled with royal tombs, or the Church of Notre 

Dame ? 

r St. Ouen's golden Shrine? Or choose what else would 

please thee most 

Of any wonder Normandy, or all proud France, can boast ! ' 
' My Mother/ said the Boy, ' was born near to a blessed 

Tree, 
The Chapel Oak of Allonville ; good Angel, show it me ! ' 

On wings, from broad and steadfast poise let loose by this 

reply, 

For Allonville, o'er down and dale, away then did we fly ; 30 
O'er town and tower we flew, and fields in May's fresh 

verdure drest ; 
The wings they did not flag ; the Child, though grave, was 

not deprest. 

But who shall show, to waking sense, the gleam of light 

that broke 
Forth from his eyes, when first the Boy looked down on 

that huge oak, 
For length of days so much revered, so famous where it 

stands 
For twofold hallowing Nature's care, and work of human 

hands ? 

Strong as an Eagle with my charge I glided round and 

round 
The wide-spread boughs, for view of door, window, and stair 

that wound 

Gracefully up the gnarled trunk ; nor left we unsurveyed 
The pointed steeple peering forth from the centre of the 

shade. 40 

I lighted opened with soft touch the chapel's iron door, 
Past softly, leading in the Boy ; and, while from roof to floor, 
From floor to roof, all round his eyes the Child with wonder 

cast, 
Pleasure on pleasure crowded in, each livelier than the last. 

For, deftly framed within the trunk, the sanctuary showed, 
By light of lamp and precious stones, that glimmered here, 

there glowed, 

Shrine, Altar, Image, Offerings hung in sign of gratitude ; 
Sight that inspired accordant thoughts ; and speech I thus 

renewed : 



THE POETS DREAM 

H ither the Afflicted come, as thou hast heard thy Mother 

say, 

And, kneeling, supplication make to our Lady de la Paix ; 50 
What mournful sighs have here been heard, and, when the 

voice was stopt 
By sudden pangs, what bitter tears have on this pavement 

dropt ! 

' Poor Shepherd of the naked Down, a favoured lot is thine, 
Far happier lot, dear Boy, than brings full many to this 

shrine ; 

From body pains and pains of soul thou needest no release, 
Thy hours as they flow on are spent, if not in joy, in peace. 

' Then offer up thy heart to God in thankfulness and praise, 
Give to him prayers, and many thoughts, in thy most busy 

days ; 

And in His sight the fragile Cross, on thy small hut, will be 
Holy as that which long hath crowned the Chapel of this 

Tree ; 60 

' Holy as that far seen which crowns the sumptuous Church 

in Rome 
Where thousands meet to worship God under a mighty 

Dome; 

He sees the bending multitude, He hears the choral rites, 
Yet, not the less, in children's hymns and lonely prayer 

delights. 

' God for His service needeth not proud work of human skill ; 
They please Him best who labour most to do in peace His 

will : 

So let us strive to live, and to our Spirits will be given 
Such wings as, when our Saviour calls, shall bear us up to 

heaven.' 

The Boy no answer made by words, but, so earnest was his 

look, 
Sleep fled, and with it fled the dream recorded in this 

book, 70 

Lest all that passed should melt away in silence from my 

mind, 
As visions still more bright have done, and left no trace 

behind. 

But oh ! that Country-man of thine, whose eye, loved Child, 

can see 
A pledge of endless bliss in acts of early piety, 



142 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

In verse, which to thy ear might come, would treat this 

simple theme, 
Nor leave untold our happy flight in that adventurous dream. 

Alas the dream, to thee, poor Boy ! to thee from whom it 

flowed, 
Was nothing, scarcely can be aught, yet 'twas bounteously 

bestowed, 

If I may dare to cherish hope that gentle eyes will read 
Not loth, and listening Little-ones, heart-touched, their 

fancies feed. 80 

Published 1842 

XX 

THE WESTMORELAND GIRL 

TO MY GRANDCHILDREN 
PART I 

SEEK who will delight in fable, 
I shall tell you truth. A Lamb 
Leapt from this steep bank to follow 
'Cross the brook its thoughtless dam. 

Far and wide on hill and valley 
Rain had fallen, unceasing rain, 
And the bleating mother's Young-one 
Struggled with the flood in vain : 

But, as chanced, a Cottage-maiden 

(Ten years scarcely had she told) 10 

Seeing, plunged into the torrent, 

Clasped the Lamb and kept her hold. 

Whirled adown the rocky channel, 
Sinking, rising, on they go, 
Peace and rest, as seems, before them 
Only in the lake below. 

Oh ! it was a frightful current 

Whose fierce wrath the Girl had braved ; 

Clap your hands with joy, my Hearers, 

Shout in triumph, both are saved ; 20 

Saved by courage that with danger 
Grew, by strength the gift of love, 
And belike a guardian angel 
Came with succour from above. 



THE WESTMORELAND GIRL 143 



PART II 

Now, to a maturer Audience, 
Let me speak of this brave Child 
Left among her native mountains 
With wild Nature to run wild. 

So, unwatched by love maternal, 

Mother's care no more her guide, 30 

Fared this little bright-eyed Orphan 

Even while at her father's side. 

Spare your blame, remembrance makes him 
Loth to rule by strict command ; 
Still upon his cheek are living 
Touches of her infant hand, 

Dear caresses given in pity, 

Sympathy that soothed his grief, 

As the dying mother witnessed 

To her thankful mind's relief. 40 

Time passed on ; the Child was happy, 
Like a Spirit of air she moved, 
Wayward, yet by all who knew her 
For her tender heart beloved. 

Scarcely less than sacred passions, 
Bred in house, in grove, and field, 
Link her with the inferior creatures, 
Urge her powers their rights to shield. 

Anglers, bent on reckless pastime, 

Learn how she can feel alike 50 

Both for tiny harmless minnow 

And the fierce and sharp-toothed pike. 

Merciful protectress, kindling 
Into anger or disdain ; 
Many a captive hath she rescued, 
Others saved from lingering pain. 

Listen yet awhile ; with patience 

Hear the homely truths I tell, 

She in Grasmere's old church-steeple 

Tolled this day the passing-bell. 60 



144 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Yes, the wild Girl of the mountains 
To their echoes gave the sound, 
Notice punctual as the minute, 
Warning solemn and profound. 

She, fulfilling her sire's office, 
Rang alone the far-heard knell, 
Tribute, by her hand, in sorrow, 
Paid to One who loved her well 

When his spirit was departed, 

On that service she went forth ; 70 

Nor will fail the like to render 

When his corse is laid in earth. 

What then wants the Child to temper, 
In her breast, unruly fire, 
To control the froward impulse 
And restrain the vague desire ? 

Easily a pious training 

And a steadfast outward power 

Would supplant the weeds and cherish, 

In their stead, each opening flower. 80 

Thus the fearless Lamb-deli v'rer, 
Woman grown, meek-hearted, sage, 
May become a blest example 
For her sex, of every age. 

Watchful as a wheeling eagle, 
Constant as a soaring lark, 
Should the country need a heroine, 
She might prove our Maid of Arc. 

Leave that thought ; and here be uttered 
Prayer that Grace divine may raise 90 

Her humane courageous spirit 
Up to heaven, thro' peaceful ways. 

June 6, 1845 



THE BROTHERS 145 



POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS 

I 
THE BROTHERS 

'T~"*HESE Tourists, heaven preserve us ! needs must 

live 

A profitable life : some glance along, 
Rapid and gay, as if the earth were air, 
And they were butterflies to wheel about 
Long as the summer lasted : some, as wise, 
Perched on the forehead of a jutting crag, 
Pencil in hand and book upon the knee, 
Will look and scribble, scribble on and look, 
Until a man might travel twelve stout miles, 
Or reap an acre of his neighbour's corn. 10 

But, for that moping Son of Idleness, 
Why can he tarry yonder ? In our church-yard 
Is neither epitaph nor monument, 
Tombstone nor name only the turf we tread 
And a few natural graves.' 

To Jane, his wife, 

Thus spake the homely Priest of Ennerdale. 
It was a July evening ; and he sate 
Upon the long stone-seat beneath the eaves 
Of his old cottage, as it chanced, that day, 
Employed in winter's work. Upon the stone ao 

His wife sate near him, teasing matted wool, 
While, from the twin cards toothed with glittering wire, 
He fed the spindle of his youngest child, 
Who, in the open air, with due accord 
Of busy hands and back-and-forward steps, 
Her large round wheel was turning. Towards the field 
In which the Parish Chapel stood alone, 
Girt round with a bare ring of mossy wall, 
While half an hour went by, the Priest had sent 
Many a long look of wonder : and at last, 30 

Risen from his seat, beside the snow-white ridge 
Of carded wool which the old man had piled 
He laid his implements with gentle care, 
Each in the other locked ; and, down the path 
1-K 



146 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

That from his cottage to the church-yard led, 

He took his way, impatient to accost 

The Stranger, whom he saw still lingering there. 

'Twas one well known to him in former days, 

A Shepherd-lad ; who ere his sixteenth year 

Had left that calling, tempted to entrust 40 

His expectations to the fickle winds 

And perilous waters ; with the mariners 

A fellow-mariner ; and so had fared 

Through twenty seasons ; but he had been reared 

Among the mountains, and he in his heart 

Was half a shepherd on the stormy seas. 

Oft in the piping shrouds had Leonard heard 

The tones of waterfalls, and inland sounds 

Of caves and trees : and, when the regular wind 

Between the tropics filled the steady sail, 50 

And blew with the same breath through days and weeks, 

Lengthening invisibly its weary line 

Along the cloudless Main, he, in those hours 

Of tiresome indolence, would often hang 

Over the vessel's side, and gaze and gaze ; 

And, while the broad blue wave and sparkling foam 

Flashed round him images and hues that wrought 

In union with the employment of his heart, 

He, thus by feverish passion overcome, 

Even with the organs of his bodily eye, 60 

Below him, in the bosom of the deep, 

Saw mountains ; saw the forms of sheep that grazed 

On verdant hills with dwellings among trees, 

And shepherds clad in the same country grey 

Which he himself had worn. 1 

And now, at last, 

From perils manifold, with some small wealth, 
Acquired by traffic 'mid the Indian Isles, 
To his paternal home he is returned, 
With a determined purpose to resume 
The life he had lived there ; both for the sake 70 

Of many darling pleasures, and the love 
Which to an only brother he has borne 
In all his hardships, since that happy time 
When, whether it blew foul or fair, they two 
Were brother-shepherds on their native hills. 
They were the last of all their race : and now, 

1 This description of the Calenture is sketched from an imperfect recollec- 
tion of an admirable one in prose, by Mr. Gilbert, author of The Hurricane. 



THE BROTHERS 147 

When Leonard had approached his home, his heart 

Failed in him ; and, not venturing to enquire 

Tidings of one so long and dearly loved, 

He to the solitary church-yard turned ; 80 

That, as he knew in what particular spot 

His family were laid, he thence might learn 

If still his Brother lived, or to the file 

Another grave was added. He had found 

Another grave, near which a full half-hour 

He had remained ; but, as he gazed, there grew 

Such a confusion in his memory, 

That he began to doubt ; and even to hope 

That he had seen this heap of turf before, 

That it was not another grave ; but one 90 

He had forgotten. He had lost his path, 

As up the vale, that afternoon, he walked 

Through fields which once had been well known to 

him : 

And oh what joy this recollection now 
Sent to his heart ! he lifted up his eyes, 
And, looking round, imagined that he saw 
Strange alteration wrought on every side 
Among the woods and fields, and that the rocks, 
And everlasting hills themselves were changed. 

By this the Priest, who down the field had come, 100 
Unseen by Leonard, at the church-yard gate 
Stopped short, and thence, at leisure, limb by limb 
Perused him with a gay complacency. 
Ay, thought the Vicar, smiling to himself, 
'Tis one of those who needs must leave the path 
Of the world's business to go wild alone : 
His arms have a perpetual holiday ; 
The happy man will creep about the fields, 
Following his fancies by the hour, to bring 
Tears down his cheek, or solitary smiles no 

Into his face, until the setting sun 
Write fool upon his forehead. Planted thus 
Beneath a shed that over-arched the gate 
Of this rude church-yard, till the stars appeared 
The good Man might have communed with himself, 
But that the Stranger, who had left the grave, 
Approached ; he recognised the Priest at once, 
And, after greetings interchanged, and given 
By Leonard to the Vicar as to one 
Unknown to him, this dialogue ensued. 12 

LEONARD. You live, Sir, in these dales, a quiet life : 



148 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Your years make up one peaceful family ; 
And who would grieve and fret, if, welcome come 
And welcome gone, they are so like each other, 
They cannot be remembered ? Scarce a funeral 
Comes to this church-yard once in eighteen months ; 
And yet, some changes must take place among you : 
And you, who dwell here, even among these rocks, 
Can trace the finger of mortality, 

And see, that with our threescore years and ten 130 
We are not all that perish. I remember, 
(For many years ago I passed this road) 
There was a foot-way all along the fields 
By the brook-side 'tis gone and that dark cleft! 
To me it does not seem to wear the face 
Which then it had ! 
PRIEST. Nay, Sir, for aught I know, 

That chasm is much the same 

LEONARD. But, surely, yonder 

PRIEST. Ay, there, indeed, your memory is a friend 
That does not play you false. On that tall pike 
(It is the loneliest place of all these hills) 140 

There were two springs which bubbled side by side, 
As if they had been made that they might be 
Companions for each other : the huge crag 
Was rent with lightning one hath disappeared ; 
The other, left behind, is flowing still. 
For accidents and changes such as these, 
We want not store of them ; a water-spout 
Will bring down half a mountain ; what a feast 
For folks that wander up and down like you, 
To see an acre's breadth of that wide cliff 150 

One roaring cataract ! a sharp May-storm 
Will come with loads of January snow, 
And in one night send twenty score of sheep 
To feed the ravens ; or a shepherd dies 
By some untoward death among the rocks : 
The ice breaks up and sweeps away a bridge ; 
A wood is felled : and then for our own homes ! 
A child is born or christened, a field ploughed, 
A daughter sent to service, a web spun, 
The old house-clock is decked with a new face ; 160 
And hence, so far from wanting facts or dates 
To chronicle the time, we all have here 
A pair of diaries, one serving, Sir, 
For the whole dale, and one for each fire-side. 
Yours was a stranger's judgment : for historians, 
Commend me to these valleys ! 



THE BROTHERS 149 

LEONARD. Yet your church-yard 

Seems, if such freedom may be used with you, 
To say that you are heedless of the past : 
An orphan could not find his mother's grave : 
Here 's neither head nor foot-stone, plate of brass, 170 
Cross-bones nor skull, type of our earthly state 
Nor emblem of our hopes : the dead man's home 
Is but a fellow to that pasture-field. 

PRIEST. Why, there, Sir, is a thought that 's new to me ! 
The stone-cutters, 'tis true, might beg their bread 
If every English church-yard were like ours ; 
Yet your conclusion wanders from the truth : 
We have no need of names and epitaphs ; 
We talk about the dead by our fire-sides. 
And then, for our immortal part ! rve want 180 

No symbols, Sir, to tell us that plain tale : 
The thought of death sits easy on the man 
Who has been born and dies among the mountains. 

LEONARD. Your Dalesmen, then, do in each other's thoughts 
Possess a kind of second life : no doubt 
You, Sir, could help me to the history 
Of half these graves ? 

PRIEST. For eight-score winters past, 

With what I 've witnessed, and with what I 've heard, 
Perhaps I might ; and, on a winter-evening, 
If you were seated at my chimney's nook, 190 

By turning o'er these hillocks one by one, 
We two could travel, Sir, through a strange round ; 
Yet all in the broad highway of the world. 
Now there 's a grave your foot is half upon it, 
It looks just like the rest; and yet that man 
Died broken-hearted. 

LEONARD. 'Tis a common case. 

We '11 take another : who is he that lies 
Beneath yon ridge, the last of those three graves ? 
It touches on that piece of native rock 
Left in the church-yard wall. 

PRIEST. That's Walter Ewbank. 

He had as white a head and fresh a cheek 201 

As ever were produced by youth and age 
Engendering in the blood of hale fourscore. 
Through five long generations had the heart 
Of Walter's forefathers o'erflowed the bounds 
Of their inheritance, that single cottage 
You see it yonder ! and those few green fields. 
They toiled and wrought, and still, from sire to son, 
Each struggled, and each yielded as before 



150 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A little yet a little, and old Walter, 210 

They left to him the family heart, and land 

With other burthens than the crop it bore. 

Year after year the old man still kept up 

A cheerful mind, and buffeted with bond, 

Interest, and mortgages ; at last he sank, 

And went into his grave before his time. 

Poor Walter ! whether it was care that spurred him 

God only knows, but to the very last 

He had the lightest foot in Ennerdale : 

His pace was never that of an old man : 220 

I almost see him tripping down the path 

With his two grandsons after him : but you, 

Unless our Landlord be your host to-night, 

Have far to travel, and on these rough paths 

Even in the longest day of midsummer 

LEONARD. But those two Orphans ! 

PRIEST. Orphans ! Such they were 

Yet not while Walter lived : for, though their parents 
Lay buried side by side as now they lie, 
The old man was a father to the boys, 
Two fathers in one father : and if tears, 230 

Shed when he talked of them where they were not, 
And hauntings from the infirmity of love, 
Are aught of what makes up a mother's heart, 
This old Man, in the day of his old age, 
Was half a mother to them. If you weep, Sir, 
To hear a stranger talking about strangers, 
Heaven bless you when you are among your kindred ! 
Ay you may turn that way it is a grave 
Which will bear looking at. 

LEONARD. These boys I hope 

They loved this good old Man ? 

PRIEST. They did and truly : 240 

But that was what we almost overlooked, 
They were such darlings of each other. Yes, 
Though from the cradle they had lived with Walter, 
The only kinsman near them, and though he 
Inclined to both by reason of his age, 
With a more fond, familiar, tenderness ; 
They, notwithstanding, had much love to spare, 
And it all went into each other's hearts. 
Leonard, the elder by just eighteen months, 
Was two years taller : 'twas a joy to see, 250 

To hear, to meet them ! From their house the school 
Is distant three short miles, and in the time 
Of storm and thaw, when every water-course 



THE BROTHERS 151 

And unbridged stream, such as you may have noticed 
Crossing our roads at every hundred steps, 
Was swoln into a noisy rivulet, 
Would Leonard then, when elder boys remained 
At home, go staggering through the slippery fords, 
Bearing his brother on his back. I have seen him, 
On windy days, in one of those stray brooks, 260 

Ay, more than once I have seen him, mid-leg deep, 
Their two books lying both on a dry stone, 
Upon the hither side : and once I said, 
As I remember, looking round these rocks 
And hills on which we all of us were born, 
That God who made the great book of the world 
Would bless such piety 

LEONARD. It may be then 

PRIEST. Never did worthier lads break English bread ; 
The very brightest Sunday Autumn saw, 
With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts, 270 

Could never keep those boys away from church, 
Or tempt them to an hour of sabbath breach. 
Leonard and James ! I warrant, every corner 
Among these rocks, and every hollow place 
That venturous foot could reach, to one or both 
Was known as well as to the flowers that grow there. 
Like roe-bucks they went bounding o'er the hills ; 
They played like two young ravens on the crags : 
Then they could write, ay, and speak too, as well 
As many of their betters and for Leonard ! 280 

The very night before he went away, 
In my own house I put into his hand 
A Bible, and I 'd wager house and field 
That, if he be alive, he has it yet. 
LEONARD. It seems, these Brothers have not lived to be 

A comfort to each other 

PRIEST. That they might 

Live to such end is what both old and young 
In this our valley all of us have wished, 
And what, for my part, I have often prayed : 
But Leonard 

LEONARD. Then James still is left among you ! 290 

PRIEST. 'Tis of the elder brother I am speaking : 
They had an uncle ; he was at that time 
A thriving man, and trafficked on the seas : 
And, but for that same uncle, to this hour 
Leonard had never handled rope or shroud : 
For the boy loved the life which we lead here; 
And though of unripe years, a stripling only, 



152 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

His soul was knit to this his native soil. 

But, as I said, old Walter was too weak 

To strive with such a torrent ; when he died, 300 

The estate and house were sold ; and all their sheep, 

A pretty flock, and which, for aught I know, 

Had clothed the Ewbanks for a thousand years : 

Well all was gone, and they were destitute, 

And Leonard, chiefly for his Brother's sake, 

Resolved to try his fortune on the seas. 

Twelve years are past since we had tidings from him. 

If there were one among us who had heard 

That Leonard Ewbank was come home again, 

From the Great Gavel, 1 down by Leeza's banks, 310 

And down the Enna, far as Egremont, 

The day would be a joyous festival; 

And those two bells of ours, which there you see 

Hanging in the open air but, O good Sir ! 

This is sad talk they '11 never sound for him 

Living or dead. When last we heard of him, 

He was in slavery among the Moors 

Upon the Barbary coast. 'Twas not a little 

That would bring down his spirit ; and no doubt, 

Before it ended in his death, the Youth 320 

Was sadly crossed. Poor Leonard ! when we parted 

He took me by the hand, and said to me, 

If e'er he should grow rich, he would return, 

To live in peace upon his father's land, 

And lay his bones among us. 

LEONARD. If that day 

Should come, 'twould needs be a glad day for him ; 
He would himself, no doubt, be happy then 
As any that should meet him 

PRIEST. Happy ! Sir 

LEONARD. You said his kindred all were in their graves, 
And that he had one Brother 

PRIEST. That is but 330 

A fellow-tale of sorrow. From his youth 
James, though not sickly, yet was delicate ; 
And Leonard being always by his side 
Had done so many offices about him, 
That, though he was not of a timid nature, 
Yet still the spirit of a mountain-boy 

1 The Great Gavel, so called, I imagine, from its resemblance to the gable 
end of a house, is one of the highest of the Cumberland mountains. It stands 
at the head of the several vales of Ennerdale, Wastdale, and Borrowdale. 

The Leeza is a river which flows into the Lake of Ennerdale : on issuing 
from the Lake, it changes its name, and is called the End, Eyne, or Enna. It 
falls into the sea a little below Egremont. 



THE BROTHERS 153 

In him was somewhat checked ; and, when his Brother 
Was gone to sea, and he was left alone, 
The little colour that he had was soon 
Stolen from his cheek ; he drooped, and pined, and 
pined 340 

LEONARD. But these are all the graves of full-grown men ! 

PRIEST. Ay, Sir, that passed away : we took him to us ; 
He was the child of all the dale he lived 
Three months with one, and six months with another ; 
And wanted neither food, nor clothes, nor love : 
And many, many, happy days were his. 
But, whether blithe or sad, 'tis my belief 
His absent Brother still was at his heart. 
And, when he dwelt beneath our roof, we found 
(A practice till this time unknown to him) 350 

That often, rising from his bed at night, 
He in his sleep would walk about, and sleeping 
He sought his brother Leonard. You are moved ! 
Forgive me, Sir : before I spoke to you, 
I judged you most unkindly. 

LEONARD. But this Youth, 

How did he die at last ? 

PRIEST. One sweet May-morning, 

(It will be twelve years since when Spring returns) 
He had gone forth among the new-dropped lambs, 
With two or three companions, whom their course 
Of occupation led from height to height 360 

Under a cloudless sun till he, at length, 
Through weariness, or, haply, to indulge 
The humour of the moment, lagged behind. 
You see yon precipice ; it wears the shape 
Of a vast building made of many crags ; 
And in the midst is one particular rock 
That rises like a column from the vale, 
Whence by our shepherds it is called THE PILLAR. 
Upon its aery summit crowned with heath, 
The loiterer, not unnoticed by his comrades, 370 

Lay stretched at ease ; but, passing by the place 
On their return, they found that he was gone. 
No ill was feared ; till one of them by chance 
Entering, when evening was far spent, the house 
Which at that time was James's home, there learned 
That nobody had seen him all that day : 
The morning came, and still he was unheard of: 
The neighbours were alarmed, and to the brook 
Some hastened ; some ran to the lake : ere noon 
They found him at the foot of that same rock 380 



154 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Dead, and with mangled limbs. The third day after 
I buried him, poor Youth, and there he lies ! 

LEONARD. And that then is his grave ! Before his death 
You say that he saw many happy years ? 

PRIEST. Ay, that he did 

LEONARD. And all went well wiCh him ? 

PRIEST. If he had one, the Youth had twenty homes. 

LEONARD. And you believe, then, that his mind was easy ? 

PRIEST. Yes, long before he died, he found that time 
Is a true friend to sorrow ; and unless 390 

His thoughts were turned on Leonard's luckless fortune, 
He talked about him with a cheerful love. 

LEONARD. He could not come to an unhallowed end ! 

PRIEST. Nay, God forbid ! You recollect I mentioned 
A habit which disquietude and grief 
Had brought upon him ; and we all conjectured 
That, as the day was warm, he had lain down 
On the soft heath, and, waiting for his comrades, 
He there had fallen asleep ; that in his sleep 
He to the margin of the precipice 400 

Had walked, and from the summit had fallen headlong. 
And so no doubt he perished. When the Youth 
Fell, in his hand he must have grasp'd, we think, 
His shepherd's staff; for on that Pillar of rock 
It had been caught mid-way ; and there for years 
It hung ; and mouldered there. 

The Priest here ended 

The Stranger would have thanked him, but he felt 
A gushing from his heart, that took away 
The power of speech. Both left the spot in silence ; 
And Leonard, when they reached the church-yard gate, 
As the Priest lifted up the latch, turned round, 411 
And, looking at the grave, he said, ' My Brother ! ' 
The Vicar did not hear the words : and now 
He pointed towards his dwelling-place, entreating 
That Leonard would partake his homely fare : 
The other thanked him with an earnest voice ; 
But added, that, the evening being calm, 
He would pursue his journey. So they parted. 

It was not long ere Leonard reached a grove 

That overhung the road : he there stopped short, 420 

And, sitting down beneath the trees, reviewed 

All that the Priest had said : his early years 

Were with him : his long absence, cherished hopes, 

And thoughts which had been his an hour before, 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE 155 

All pressed on him with such a weight, that now, 

This vale, where he had been so happy, seemed 

A place in which he could not bear to live : 

So he relinquished all his purposes. 

He travelled back to Egremont : and thence, 

That night, he wrote a letter to the Priest, 430 

Reminding him of what had passed between them ; 

And adding, with a hope to be forgiven, 

That it was from the weakness of his heart 

He had not dared to tell him who he was. 

This done, he went on shipboard, and is now 

A Seaman, a grey-headed Mariner. 

1800 

II 
ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE 

(SEE THE CHRONICLE OF GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH, AND 
MILTON'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND) 

WHERE be the temples which, in Britain's Isle, 
For his paternal Gods, the Trojan raised ? 
Gone like a morning dream, or like a pile 
Of clouds that in cerulean ether blazed ! 
Ere Julius landed on her white-cliffed shore, 

They sank, delivered o'er 
To fatal dissolution ; and, I ween, 
No vestige then was left that such had ever been. 

Nathless, a British record (long concealed 

In old Armorica, whose secret springs 10 

No Gothic conqueror ever drank) revealed 

The marvellous current of forgotten things ; 

How Brutus came, by oracles impelled, 

And Albion's giants quelled, 
A brood whom no civility could melt, 
'Who never tasted grace, and goodness ne'er had felt.' 

By brave Corineus aided, he subdued, 

Aiid rooted out the intolerable kind ; 

And this too-long-polluted land imbued 

With goodly arts and usages refined ; 20 

Whence golden harvests, cities, warlike towers, 

And pleasure's sumptuous bowers; 
Whence all the fixed delights of house and home, 
Friendships that will not break, and love that cannot 

roam. 



156 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

O, happy Britain ! region all too fair 
For self-delighting fancy to endure 
That silence only should inhabit there, 
Wild beasts, or uncouth savages impure ! 
But, intermingled with the generous seed, 

Grew many a poisonous weed ; 30 

Thus fares it still with all that takes its birth 
From human care, or grows upon the breast of earth. 

Hence, and how soon ! that war of vengeance waged 

By Guendolen against her faithless lord ; 

Till she, in jealous fury unassuaged, 

Had slain his paramour with ruthless sword : 

Then, into Severn hideously defiled, 

She flung her blameless child, 
Sabrina, vowing that the stream should bear 
That name through every age, her hatred to declare. 40 

So speaks the Chronicle, and tells of Lear 

By his ungrateful daughters turned adrift. 

Ye lightnings, hear his voice ! they cannot hoar, 

Nor can the winds restore his simple gift. 

But One there is, a Child of nature meek, 

Who comes her Sire to seek ; 
And he, recovering sense, upon her breast 
Leans smilingly, and sinks into a perfect rest. 

There too we read of Spenser's fairy themes, 

And those that Milton loved in youthful years ; 50 

The sage enchanter Merlin's subtle schemes ; 

The feats of Arthur and his knightly peers ; 

Of Arthur, who, to upper light restored, 

With that terrific sword 
Which yet he brandishes for future war, 
Shall lift his country's fame above the polar star ! 

What wonder, then, if in such ample field 

Of old tradition, one particular flower 

Doth seemingly in vain its fragrance yield, 

And bloom unnoticed even to this late hour ? 60 

Now, gentle Muses, your assistance grant, 

While I this flower transplant 
Into a garden stored with Poesy ; 
Where flowers and herbs unite, and haply some weeds 

be, 
That, wanting not wild grace, are from all mischief 

free ! 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE 157 

A KING more worthy of respect and love 
Than wise Gorbonian ruled not in his day ; 
And grateful Britain prospered far above 
All neighbouring countries through his righteous sway ; 
He poured rewards and honours on the good ; 70 

The oppressor he withstood ; 

And while he served the Gods with reverence due, 
Fields smiled, and temples rose, and towns and cities 

grew. 

He died, whom Artegal succeeds his son ; 

But how unworthy of that sire was he ! 

A hopeful reign, auspiciously begun, 

Was darkened soon by foul iniquity. 

From crime to crime he mounted, till at length 

The nobles leagued their strength 

With a vexed people, and the tyrant chased ; 80 

And on the vacant throne his worthier Brother placed. 

From realm to realm the humbled Exile went, 
Suppliant for aid his kingdom to regain ; 
In many a court, and many a warrior's tent, 
He urged his persevering suit in vain. 
Him, in whose wretched heart ambition failed, 

Dire poverty assailed ; 

And, tired with slights his pride no more could brook, 
He towards his native country cast a longing look. 

Fair blew the wished-for wind the voyage sped ; 90 

He landed ; and, by many dangers scared, 

' Poorly provided, poorly followed,' 

To Calaterium's forest he repaired. 

How changed from him who, born to highest place, 

Had swayed the royal mace, 
Flattered and feared, despised yet deified, 
In Troynovant, his seat by silver Thames's side ! 

From that wild region where the crownless king 
Lay in concealment with his scanty train, 
Supporting life by water from the spring, 100 

And such chance food as outlaws can obtain, 
Unto the few whom he esteems his friends 

A messenger he sends ; 
And from their secret loyalty requires 
Shelter and daily bread, the sum of his desires. 



158 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

While he the issue waits, at early morn 

Wandering by stealth abroad, he chanced to hear 

A startling outcry made by hound and horn, 

From which the tusky wild boar flies in fear ; 

And, scouring toward him o'er the grassy plain, no 

Behold the hunter train ! 
He bids his little company advance 
With seeming unconcern and steady countenance. 

The royal Elidure, who leads the chase, 
Hath checked his foaming courser : can it be ! 
Methinks that I should recognise that face, 
Though much disguised by long adversity ! 
He gazed rejoicing, and again he gazed, 

Confounded and amazed 

' It is the king, my brother ! ' and, by sound 120 

Of his own voice confirmed, he leaps upon the ground. 

Long, strict, and tender was the embrace he gave, 
Feebly returned by daunted Artegal; 
Whose natural affection doubts enslave, 
And apprehensions dark and criminal. 
Loth to restrain the moving interview, 

The attendant lords withdrew ; 
And, while they stood upon the plain apart, 
Thus Elidure, by words, relieved his struggling heart. 

' By heavenly Powers conducted, we have met ; 130 
O Brother ! to my knowledge lost so long, 
But neither lost to love, nor to regret, 
Nor to my wishes lost ; forgive the wrong, 
(Such it may seem) if I thy crown have borne, 

Thy royal mantle worn : 
I was their natural guardian ; and 'tis just 
That now I should restore what hath been held in 

trust.' 



A while the astonished Artegal stood mute, 

Then thus exclaimed : ' To me, of titles shorn, 

And stripped of power ! me, feeble, destitute, 140 

To me a kingdom ! spare the bitter scorn : 

If justice ruled the breast of foreign kings, 

Then, on the wide-spread wings 
Of war, had I returned to claim my right ; 
This will I here avow, not dreading thy despite.' 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE 159 

' I do not blame thee/ Elidure replied ; 

' But, if my looks did with my words agree, 

I should at once be trusted, not defied, 

And thou from all disquietude be free. 

May the unsullied Goddess of the chase, 150 

Who to this blessed place 
At this blest moment led me, if I speak 
With insincere intent, on me her vengeance wreak ! 

' Were this same spear, which in my hand I grasp, 
The British sceptre, here would I to thee 
The symbol yield ; and would undo this clasp, 
If it confined the robe of sovereignty. 
Odious to me the pomp of regal court, 

And joyless sylvan sport, 

While thou art roving, wretched and forlorn, 160 

Thy couch the dewy earth, thy roof the forest thorn ! ' 

Then Artegal thus spake : * I only sought 
Within this realm a place of safe retreat ; 
Beware of rousing an ambitious thought ; 
Beware of kindling hopes for me unmeet ! 
Thou art reputed wise, but in my mind 

Art pitiably blind : 

Full soon this generous purpose thou may'st rue, 
When that which has been done no wishes can undo. 



* Who, when a crown is fixed upon his head, 170 

Would balance claim with claim, and right with right ? 
But thou I know not how inspired, how led 
Wouldst change the course of things in all men's sight! 
And this for one who cannot imitate 

Thy virtue, who may hate : 
For, if, by such strange sacrifice restored, 
He reign, thou still must be his king, and sovereign 

lord; 

' Lifted in magnanimity above 

Aught that my feeble nature could perform, 

Or even conceive ; surpassing me in love 180 

Far as in power the eagle doth the worm : 

I, Brother ! only should be king in name, 

And govern to my shame ; 
A shadow in a hated land, while all 
Of glad or willing service to thy share would fall.' 



160 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' Believe it not,' said Elidure ; ' respect 

Awaits on virtuous life, and ever most 

Attends on goodness with dominion decked, 

Which stands the universal empire's boast ; 

This can thy own experience testify : 190 

Nor shall thy foes deny 
That, in the gracious opening of thy reign, 
Our father's spirit seemed in thee to breathe again. 



' And what if o'er that bright unbosoming 
Clouds of disgrace and envious fortune past ! 
Have we not seen the glories of the spring 
By veil of noontide darkness overcast ? 
The frith that glittered like a warrior's shield, 

The sky, the gay green field, 

Are vanished ; gladness ceases in the groves, 200 

And trepidation strikes the blackened mountain-coves. 

1 But is that gloom dissolved ? how passing clear 
Seems the wide world, far brighter than before ! 
Even so thy latent worth will re-appear, 
Gladdening the people's heart from shore to shore ; 
For youthful faults ripe virtues shall atone ; 

Re-seated on thy throne, 

Proof shalt thou furnish that misfortune, pain, 
And sorrow, have confirmed thy native right to reign. 

' But, not to overlook what thou may'st know, 210 

Thy enemies are neither weak nor few ; 

And circumspect must be our course, and slow, 

Or from my purpose ruin may ensue. 

Dismiss thy followers ; let them calmly wait 

Such change in thy estate 
As I already have in thought devised ; 
And which, with caution due, may soon be realized.' 

The Story tells what courses were pursued, 

Until king Elidure, with full consent 

Of all his peers, before the multitude, 220 

Rose, and, to consummate this just intent, 

Did place upon his brother's head the crown, 

Relinquished by his own ; 
Then to his people cried, ' Receive your lord, 
Gorbonian's first-born son, your rightful king restored !' 



TO A BUTTERFLY 161 

The people answered with a loud acclaim : 

Yet more ; heart-smitten by the heroic deed, 

The reinstated Artegal became 

Earth's noblest penitent ; from bondage freed 

Of vice thenceforth unable to subvert 230 

Or shake his high desert. 

Long did he reign ; and, when he died, the tear 
Of universal grief bedewed his honoured bier. 

Thus was a Brother by a Brother saved ; 
With whom a crown (temptation that hath set 
Discord in hearts of men till they have braved 
Their nearest kin with deadly purpose met) 
'Gainst duty weighed, and faithful love, did seem 

A thing of no esteem ; 

And, from this triumph of affection pure, 240 

He bore the lasting name of ' pious Elidure ! ' 

1815 



III 
TO A BUTTERFLY 

I'VE watched you now a full half-hour, 
Self-poised upon that yellow flower ; 
And, little Butterfly ! indeed 
I know not if you sleep or feed. 
How motionless ! not frozen seas 
More motionless ! and then 
What joy awaits you, when the breeze 
Hath found you out among the trees, 
And calls you forth again ! 

This plot of orchard-ground is ours ; 

My trees they are, my Sister's flowers ; 

Here rest your wings when they are weary 

Here lodge as in a sanctuary ! 

Come often to us, fear no wrong ; 

Sit near us on the bough ! 

We '11 talk of sunshine and of song, 

And summer days, when we were young ; 

Sweet childish days, that were as long 

As twenty days are now. 

April 20, 1802 



1-L 



162 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

IV 
A FAREWELL 

T^AREWELL, thou little Nook of mountain-ground, 

Thou rocky corner in the lowest stair 
Of that magnificent temple which doth bound 
One side of our whole vale with grandeur rare ; 
Sweet garden-orchard, eminently fair, 
The loveliest spot that man hath ever found, 
Farewell ! we leave thee to Heaven's peaceful care, 
Thee, and the Cottage which thou dost surround. 

Our boat is safely anchored by the shore, 
And there will safely ride when we are gone ; 10 

The flowering shrubs that deck our humble door 
Will prosper, though untended and alone : 
Fields, goods, and far-off chattels we have none : 
These narrow bounds contain our private store 
Of things earth makes, and sun doth shine upon ; 
Here are they in our sight we have no more. 

Sunshine and shower be with you, bud and bell ! 
For two months now in vain we shall be sought ; 
We leave you here in solitude to dwell 
With these our latest gifts of tender thought ; 20 

Thou, like the morning, in thy saffron coat, 
Bright gowan, and marsh-marigold, farewell ! 
Whom from the borders of the Lake we brought, 
And placed together near our rocky Well. 

We go for One to whom ye will be dear ; 

And she will prize this Bower, this Indian shed, 

Our own contrivance, Building without peer ! 

A gentle Maid, whose heart is lowly bred, 

Whose pleasures are in wild fields gathered, 

With joyousness, and with a thoughtful cheer, 30 

Will come to you ; to you herself will wed ; 

And love the blessed life that we lead here. 

Dear Spot ! which we have watched with tender heed, 
Bringing thee chosen plants and blossoms blown 
Among the distant mountains, flower and weed, 
Which thou hast taken to thee as thy own, 



STANZAS 163 

Making all kindness registered and known ; 

Thou for our sakes, though Nature's child indeed, 

Fair in thyself and beautiful alone, 

Hast taken gifts which thou dost little need. 40 

And O most constant, yet most fickle Place, 
That hast thy wayward moods, as thou dost show 
To them who look not daily on thy face ; 
Who, being loved, in love no bounds dost know, 
And say'st, when we forsake thee, ' Let them go ! ' 
Thou easy-hearted Thing, with thy wild race 
Of weeds and flowers, till we return be slow, 
And travel with the year at a soft pace. 

Help us to tell Her tales of years gone by, 

And this sweet spring, the best beloved and best ; 50 

Joy will be flown in its mortality ; 

Something must stay to tell us of the rest. 

Here, thronged with primroses, the steep rock's breast 

Glittered at evening like a starry sky ; 

And in this bush our sparrow built her nest, 

Of which I sang one song that will not die. 

O happy Garden ! whose seclusion deep 

Hath been so friendly to industrious hours ; 

And to soft slumbers, that did gently steep 

Our spirits, carrying with them dreams of flowers, 60 

And wild notes warbled among leafy bowers; 

Two burning months let summer overleap, 

And, coming back with Her who will be ours, 

Into thy bosom we again shall creep. 

1802 

V 

STANZAS 

WRITTEN IN MY POCKET-COPY OF THOMSON'S CASTLE 
OF INDOLENCE 

WITHIN our happy Castle there dwelt One 
Whom without blame I may not overlook ; 
For never sun on living creature shone 
Who more devout enjoyment with us took : 
Here on his hours he hung as on a book, 
On his own time here would he float away, 
As doth a fly upon a summer brook ; 
But go to-morrow, or belike to-day, 
Seek for him, he is fled ; and whither none can say. 



164 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Thus often would he leave our peaceful home, 

And find elsewhere his business or delight ; 

Out of our Valley's limits did he roam : 

Full many a time, upon a stormy night, 

His voice came to us from the neighbouring height : 

Oft could we see him driving full in view 

At mid-day when the sun was shining bright ; 

What ill was on him, what he had to do, 

A mighty wonder bred among our quiet crew. 



Ah ! piteous sight it was to see this Man 

When he came back to us, a withered flower, 20 

Or like a sinful creature, pale and wan. 

Down would he sit ; and without strength or power 

Look at the common grass from hour to hour : 

And oftentimes, how long I fear to say, 

Where apple-trees in blossom made a bower, 

Retired in that sunshiny shade he lay ; 

And, like a naked Indian, slept himself away. 

Great wonder to our gentle tribe it was 

Whenever from our Valley he withdrew ; 

For happier soul no living creature has 30 

Than he had, being here the long day through. 

Some thought he was a lover, and did woo : 

Some thought far worse of him, and judged him wrong ; 

But verse was what he had been wedded to ; 

And his own mind did like a tempest strong 

Come to him thus, and drove the weary Wight along. 

With him there often walked in friendly guise, 

Or lay upon the moss by brook or tree, 

A noticeable Man with large grey eyes, 

And a pale face that seemed undoubtedly 40 

As if a blooming face it ought to be ; 

Heavy his low-hung lip did oft appear, 

Deprest by weight of musing Phantasy ; 

Profound his forehead was, though not severe ; 

Yet some did think that he had little business here : 



Sweet heaven forefend ! his was a lawful right ; 
Noisy he was, and gamesome as a boy ; 
His limbs would toss about him with delight, 
Like branches when strong winds the trees annoy 



LOUISA 165 

Nor lacked his calmer hours device or toy 50 

To banish listlessness and irksome care ; 

He would have taught you how you might employ 

Yourself; and many did to him repair, 

And certes not in vain ; he had inventions rare. 

Expedients, too, of simplest sort he tried : 

Long blades of grass, plucked round him as he lay, 

Made, to his ear attentively applied, 

A pipe on which the wind would deftly play ; 

Glasses he had, that little things display, 

The beetle panoplied in gems and gold, 60 

A mailed angel on a battle-day ; 

The mysteries that cups of flowers enfold, 

And all the gorgeous sights which fairies do behold. 

He would entice that other Man to hear 

His music, and to view his imagery : 

And, sooth, these two were each to the other dear : 

No livelier love in such a place could be : 

There did they dwell from earthly labour free, 

As happy spirits as were ever seen ; 

If but a bird, to keep them company, 70 

Or butterfly sate down, they were, I ween, 

As pleased as if the same had been a Maiden-queen. 

May 9-11, 1802 



VI 
LOUISA 

AFTER ACCOMPANYING HER ON A MOUNTAIN EXCURSION 

I MET Louisa in the shade, 
And, having seen that lovely Maid, 
Why should I fear to say 
That, nymph-like, she is fleet and strong, 
And down the rocks can leap along 
Like rivulets in May ? 

And she hath smiles to earth unknown ; 

Smiles, that with motion of their own 

Do spread, and sink, and rise; 

That come and go with endless play, 

And ever, as they pass away, 

Are hidden in her eyes. 



166 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

She loves her fire, her cottage-home; 
Yet o'er the moorland will she roam 
In weather rough and bleak ; 
And, when against the wind she strains, 
Oh ! might I kiss the mountain rains 
That sparkle on her cheek. 

Take all that's mine 'beneath the moon,' 

If I with her but half a noon 

May sit beneath the walls 

Of some old cave, or mossy nook, 

When up she winds along the brook 

To hunt the waterfalls. 

Probably 1801 

VII 

* TRANGE fits of passion have I known : 
v^ And I will dare to tell, 
But in the Lover's ear alone, 
What once to me befell. 

When she I loved looked every day 
Fresh as a rose in June, 
I to her cottage bent my way, 
Beneath an evening-moon. 

Upon the moon I fixed my eye, 

All over the wide lea ; 

With quickening pace my horse drew nigh 

Those paths so dear to me. 

And now we reached the orchard-plot ; 
And, as we climbed the hill, 
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot 
Came near, and nearer still. 

In one of those sweet dreams I slept, 
Kind Nature's gentlest boon ! 
And all the while my eyes I kept 
On the descending moon. 

My horse moved on ; hoof after hoof 
He raised, and never stopped : 
When down behind the cottage roof, 
At once, the bright moon dropped. 



SHE DWELT AMONG UNTRODDEN WAYS 167 

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide 

Into a Lover's head ! 

' O mercy ! ' to myself I cried, 

* If Lucy should be dead ! ' 

1799 



VIII 

SHE dwelt among the untrodden ways 
Beside the springs of Dove, 
A Maid whom there were none to praise 
And very few to love : 

A violet by a mossy stone 

Half hidden from the eye ! 
Fair as a star, when only one 

Is shining in the sky. 

She lived unknown, and few could know 

When Lucy ceased to be ; 
But she is in her grave, and, oh, 

The difference to me ! 

1799 



IX 

I TRAVELLED among unknown men, 
In lands beyond the sea ; 
Nor, England ! did I know till then 
What love I bore to thee. 

'Tis past, that melancholy dream ! 

Nor will I quit thy shore 
A second time ; for still I seem 
To love thee more and more. 

Among thy mountains did I feel 

The joy of my desire ; 
And she I cherished turned her wheel 

Beside an English fire. 

Thy mornings showed, thy nights concealed, 
The bowers where Lucy played ; 

And thine too is the last green field 
That Lucy's eyes surveyed. 

1799? 



168 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



ERE with cold beads of midnight dew 
Had mingled tears of thine, 
sved, fond Youth ! that thou shouldst sue 
To haughty Geraldine. 

Immovable by generous sighs, 

She glories in a train 
Who drag, beneath our native skies, 

An Oriental chain. 

Pine not like them with arms across, 

Forgetting in thy care 
How the fast-rooted trees can toss 

Their branches in mid air. 

The humblest rivulet will take 

Its own wild liberties ; 
And, every day, the imprisoned lake 

Is flowing in the breeze. 

Then crouch no more on suppliant knee, 

But scorn with scorn outbrave ; 
A Briton, even in love, should be 

A subject, not a slave ! 

1826 



XI 
TO 



EOK at the fate of summer flowers, 
Which blow at daybreak, droop ere even-song ; 
And, grieved for their brief date, confess that ours, 
Measured by what we are and ought to be, 
Measured by all that, trembling, we foresee, 
Is not so long ! 

If human Life do pass away, 
Perishing yet more swiftly than the flower, 
If we are creatures of a winter's day, 
What space hath Virgin's beauty to disclose 10 

Her sweets, and triumph o'er the breathing rose ? 
Not even an hour ! 



THE FORSAKEN 169 

The deepest grove whose foliage hid 
The happiest lovers Arcady might boast, 
Could not the entrance of this thought forbid : 
O be thou wise as they, soul-gifted Maid ! 
Nor rate too high what must so quickly fade, 
So soon be lost. 

Then shall love teach some virtuous Youth 
' To draw, out of the object of his eyes/ 20 

The while on thee they gaze in simple truth, 
Hues more exalted, ' a refined Form,' 
That dreads not age, nor suffers from the worm, 
And never dies. 

1824 

XII 
THE FORSAKEN 

THE peace which others seek they find ; 
The heaviest storms not longest last ; 
Heaven grants even to the guiltiest mind 
An amnesty for what is past ; 
When will my sentence be reversed ? 
I only pray to know the worst ; 
And wish, as if my heart would burst. 

weary struggle ! silent years 
Tell seemingly no doubtful tale ; 

And yet they leave it short, and fears 10 

And hopes are strong and will prevail. 
My calmest faith escapes not pain ; 
And, feeling that the hope is vain, 

1 think that he will come again. 

Published 1842 

XIII 

' r I "*IS said, that some have died for love : 

And here and there a churchyard grave is found 
In the cold north's unhallowed ground, 
Because the wretched man himself had slain, 
His love was such a grievous pain. 
And there is one whom I five years have known ; 
He dwells alone 
Upon Helvellyn's side : 
He loved the pretty Barbara died ; 
And thus he makes his moan : 10 

Three years had Barbara in her grave been laid 
When thus his moan he made : 



170 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' Oh, move, thou Cottage, from behind that oak ! 

Or let the aged tree uprooted lie, 

That in some other way yon smoke 

May mount into the sky ! 

The clouds pass on ; they from the heavens depart : 

I look the sky is empty space ; 

I know not what I trace ; 

But when I cease to look, my hand is on my heart. 20 

( O ! what a weight is in these shades ! Ye leaves, 

That murmur once so dear, when will it cease ? 

Your sound my heart of rest bereaves, 

It robs my heart of peace. 

Thou Thrush, that singest loud and loud and free, 

Into yon row of willows flit, 

Upon that alder sit ; 

Or sing another song, or choose another tree. 

' Roll back, sweet Rill ! back to thy mountain-bounds, 

And there for ever be thy waters chained ! 30 

For thou dost haunt the air with sounds 

That cannot be sustained ; 

If still beneath that pine-tree's ragged bough 

Headlong yon waterfall must come, 

Oh let it then be dumb ! 

Be anything, sweet Rill, but that which thou art now. 

' Thou Eglantine, so bright with sunny showers, 

Proud as a rainbow spanning half the vale, 

Thou one fair shrub, oh ! shed thy flowers, 

And stir not in the gale. 40 

For thus to see thee nodding in the air, 

To see thy arch thus stretch and bend, 

Thus rise and thus descend, 

Disturbs me till the sight is more than I can bear.' 

The Man who makes this feverish complaint 

Is one of giant stature, who could dance 

Equipped from head to foot in iron mail. 

Ah, gentle Love ! if ever thought was thine 

To store up kindred hours for me, thy face 

Turn from me, gentle Love ! nor let me walk 50 

Within the sound of Emma's voice, nor know 

Such happiness as I have known to-day. 

1800 



A COMPLAINT 171 

XIV 
A COMPLAINT 

THERE is a change and I am poor ; 
Your love hath been, nor long ago, 
A fountain at my fond heart's door, 
Whose only business was to flow ; 
And flow it did ; not taking heed 
Of its own bounty, or my need. 

What happy moments did I count ! 

Blest was I then all bliss above ! 

Now, for that consecrated fount 

Of murmuring, sparkling, living love, 10 

What have I ? shall I dare to tell ? 

A comfortless and hidden well. 

A well of love it may be deep 

I trust it is, and never dry : 

What matter ? if the waters sleep 

In silence and obscurity. 

Such change, and at the very door 

Of my fond heart, hath made me poor. 

1806 

XV 
TO 



ET other bards of angels sing, 
Bright suns without a spot ; 
But thou art no such perfect thing : 
Rejoice that thou art not ! 

Heed not tho' none should call thee fair 

So, Mary, let it be 
If nought in loveliness compare 

With what thou art to me. 

True beauty dwells in deep retreats, 

Whose veil is unremoved 
Till heart with heart in concord beats, 

And the lover is beloved. 

1824 



172 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

/ 

XVI 

YES ! thou art fair, yet be not moved 
To scorn the declaration, 
That sometimes I in thee have loved 
My fancy's own creation. 

Imagination needs must stir ; 

Dear Maid, this truth believe, 
Minds that have nothing to confer 

Find little to perceive. 

Be pleased that nature made thee fit 
To feed my heart's devotion, 

By laws to which all Forms submit 
In sky, air, earth, and ocean. 

Published 1845 



OW rich that forehead's calm expanse ! 



XVII 

How bright that heaven-directed glance ! 
Waft her to glory, winged Powers, 
Ere sorrow be renewed, 
And intercourse with mortal hours 
Bring back a humbler mood ! 
So looked Cecilia when she drew 
An Angel from his station ; 
So looked ; not ceasing to pursue 
Her tuneful adoration ! i< 

But hand and voice alike are still ; 

No sound here sweeps away the will 

That gave it birth : in service meek 

One upright arm sustains the cheek, 

And one across the bosom lies 

That rose, and now forgets to rise, 

Subdued by breathless harmonies 

Of meditative feeling ; 

Mute strains from worlds beyond the skies, 

Through the pure light of female eyes 

Their sanctity revealing ! 

1824 

XVIII 

WHAT heavenly smiles ! O Lady mine, 
Through my very heart they shine ; 
And, if my brow gives back their light, 
Do thou look gladly on the sight ; 



TO 173 



As the clear Moon with modest pride 
Beholds her own bright beams 

Reflected from the mountain's side 
And from the headlong streams. 

Published 1845 



XIX 
TO 



O DEARER far than light and life are dear, 
Full oft our human foresight I deplore ; 
Trembling, through my unworthiness, with fear 
That friends, by death disjoined, may meet no more ! 

Misgivings, hard to vanquish or control, 
Mix with the day, and cross the hour of rest ; 
While all the future, for thy purer soul, 
With ' sober certainties ' of love is blest. 

That sigh of thine, not meant for human ear, 

Tells that these words thy humbleness offend ; 10 

Yet bear me up else faltering in the rear 

Of a steep march : support me to the end. 

Peace settles where the intellect is meek, 
And Love is dutiful in thought and deed ; 
Through Thee communion with that Love I seek : 
The faith Heaven strengthens where he moulds the 
Creed. 

1824 



XX 
LAMENT OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS 

ON THE EVE OF A NEW YEAR 



SMILE of the Moon ! for so I name 
That silent greeting from above ; 
A gentle flash of light that came 
From her whom drooping captives love ; 
Or art thou of still higher birth ? 
Thou that didst part the clouds of earth, 
My torpor to reprove ! 



174 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



ii 

Bright boon of pitying Heaven ! alas, 
I may not trust thy placid cheer ! 
Pondering that Time to-night will pass 
The threshold of another year ; 
For years to me are sad and dull ; 
My very moments are too full 
Of hopelessness and fear. 

in 

And yet the soul-awakening gleam, 
That struck perchance the farthest cone 
Of Scotland's rocky wilds, did seem 
To visit me, and me alone ; 
Me, unapproached by any friend, 
Save those who to my sorrows lend 
Tears due unto their own. 



IV 

To-night the church-tower bells will ring 
Through these wide realms a festive peal ; 
To the new year a welcoming ; 
A tuneful offering for the weal 
Of happy millions lulled in sleep ; 
While I am forced to watch and weep, 
By wounds that may not heal. 



Born all too high, by wedlock raised 

Still higher to be cast thus low ! 30 

Would that mine eyes had never gazed 

On aught of more ambitious show 

Than the sweet flowerets of the fields ! 

It is my royal state that yields 

This bitterness of woe. 



Yet how ? for I, if there be truth 

In the world's voice, was passing fair ; 

And beauty, for confiding youth, 

Those shocks of passion can prepare 

That kill the bloom before its time ; 40 

And blanch, without the owner's crime, 

The most resplendent hair. 



THE COMPLAINT 175 

VII 

Unblest distinction ! showered on me 
To bind a lingering life in chains : 
All that could quit my grasp, or flee, 
Is gone ; but not the subtle stains 
Fixed in the spirit ; for even here 
Can I be proud that jealous fear 
Of what I was remains. 



A Woman rules my prison's key ; 50 

A sister Queen, against the bent 

Of law and holiest sympathy, 

Detains me, doubtful of the event ; 

Great God, who feel'st for my distress, 

My thoughts are all that I possess, 

O keep them innocent ! 

IX 

Farewell desire of human aid, 

Which abject mortals vainly court ! 

By friends deceived, by foes betrayed, 

Of fears the prey, of hopes the sport ; 60 

Nought but the world-redeeming Cross 

Is able to supply my loss, 

My burthen to support. 



Hark ! the death-note of the year 
Sounded by the castle-clock ! 
From her sunk eyes a stagnant tear 
Stole forth, unsettled by the shock ; 
But oft the woods renewed their green, 
Ere the tired head of Scotland's Queen 
Reposed upon the block ! 70 

1817 

XXI 
THE COMPLAINT 

OF A FORSAKEN INDIAN WOMAN 

[WHEN a Northern Indian, from sickness, is unable to continue his journey 
with his companions, he is left behind, covered over with deerskins, and 
is supplied with water, food, and fuel, if the situation of the place will 



176 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

afford it. He is informed of the track which his companions intend to 
pursue, and if he be unable to follow, or overtake them, he perishes alone in 
the desert, unless he should have the good fortune to fall in with some 
other tribes of Indians. The females are equally, or still more, exposed 
to the same fate. See that very interesting work, Heame's Journey 
from Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean. In the high northern latitudes, 
as the same writer informs us, when the northern lights vary their position 
in the air, they make a rustling and a crackling noise, as alluded to in 
the following poem.] 



BEFORE I see another day, 
Oh let my body die away ! 
In sleep I heard the northern gleams ; 
The stars, they were among my dreams ; 
In rustling conflict through the skies, 
I heard, I saw the flashes drive, 
And yet they are upon my eyes, 
And yet I am alive ; 
Before I see another day, 
Oh let my body die away ! 



II 

My fire is dead: it knew no pain ; 

Yet is it dead, and I remain : 

All stiff with ice the ashes lie ; 

And they are dead, and I will die. 

When I was well, I wished to live, 

For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire ; 

But they to me no joy can give, 

No pleasure now, and no desire. 

Then here contented will I lie ! 

Alone, I cannot fear to die. 



HI 

Alas ! ye might have dragged me on 

Another day, a single one ! 

Too soon I yielded to despair ; 

Why did ye listen to my prayer ? 

When ye were gone my limbs were stronger 

And oh, how grievously I rue, 

That, afterwards, a little longer, 

My friends, I did not follow you ! 

For strong and without pain I lay, 

Dear friends, when ye were gone away. 30 



THE COMPLAINT 177 

IV 

My Child ! they gave thee to another, 

A woman who was not thy mother. 

When from my arms my Babe they took, 

On me how strangely did he look ! 

Through his whole body something ran, 

A most strange working did I see ; 

As if he strove to be a man, 

That he might pull the sledge for me : 

And then he stretched his arms, how wild ! 

Oh mercy ! like a helpless child. 40 

v 

My little joy ! my little pride : 
In two days more I must have died. 
Then do not weep and grieve for me ; 
I feel I must have died with thee. 

wind, that o'er my head art flying 

The way my friends their course did bend, 

1 should not feel the pain of dying, 
Could I with thee a message send ; 
Too soon, my friends, -ye went away ; 

For I had many things to say. 50 

VI 

I '11 follow you across the snow ; 

Ye travel heavily and slow ; 

In spite of all my weary pain 

I '11 look upon your tents again. 

My fire is dead, and snowy white 

The water which beside it stood : 

The wolf has come to me to-night, 

And he has stolen away my food. 

For ever left alone am I ; 

Then wherefore should I fear to die ? 60 

VII 

Young as I am, my course is run, 

I shall not see another sun ; 

I cannot lift my limbs to know 

If they have any life or no. 

My poor forsaken Child, if I 

For once could have thee close to me, 

With happy heart I then would die, 

And my last thought would happy be ; 

But thou, dear Babe, art far away, 

Nor shall I see another day. 70 

1798 
1-M 



178 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 




IN distant countries have I been, 
And yet I have not often seen 
A healthy man, a man full grown, 
Weep in the public roads, alone. 
But such a one, on English ground, 
And in the broad highway, I met ; 
Along the broad highway he came, 
His cheeks with tears were wet : 
Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad ; 
And in his arms a Lamb he had. 



He saw me, and he turned aside, 

As if he wished himself to hide ; 

And with his coat did then essay 

To wipe those briny tears away. 

I followed him, and said, ' My friend, 

What ails you ? wherefore weep you so ? 

' Shame on me, Sir ! this lusty Lamb, 

He makes my tears to flow. 

To-day I fetched him from the rock ; 

He is the last of all my flock. 20 

in 

( When I was young, a single man, 

And after youthful follies ran, 

Though little given to care and thought, 

Yet, so it was, an ewe I bought ; 

And other sheep from her I raised, 

As healthy sheep as you might see ; 

And then I married, and was rich 

As I could wish to be ; 

Of sheep I numbered a full score, 

And every year increased my store. 30 

IV 

' Year after year my stock it grew ; 
And from this one, this single ewe, 
Full fifty comely sheep I raised, 
As fine a flock as ever grazed ! 
Upon the Quantock hills they fed ; 



THE LAST OF THE FLOCK 179 

They throve, and we at home did thrive : 

This lusty Lamb of all my store 

Is all that is alive ; 

And now I care not if we die, 

And perish all of poverty. 40 



1 Six Children, Sir ! had I to feed ; 

Hard labour in a time of need ! 

My pride was tamed, and in our grief 

I of the Parish asked relief. 

They said, I was a wealthy man : 

My sheep upon the uplands fed, 

And it was fit that thence I took 

Whereof to buy us bread. 

" Do this : how can we give to you," 

They cried, " what to the poor is due ? " 50 

VI 

' I sold a sheep, as they had said, 

And bought my little children bread, 

And they were healthy with their food ; 

For me it never did me good. 

A woeful time it was for me, 

To see the end of all my gains, 

The pretty flock which I had reared 

With all my care and pains, 

To see it melt like snow away 

For me it was a woeful day. 60 

VII 

* Another still ! and still another . 

A little lamb, and then its mother ! 

It was a vein that never stopped 

Like blood-drops from my heart they dropped. 

Till thirty were not left alive 

They dwindled, dwindled, one by one ; 

And I may say, that many a time 

I wished they all were gone 

Reckless of what might come at last 

Were but the bitter struggle past. 70 

VIII 

' To wicked deeds I was inclined, 
And wicked fancies crossed my mind ; 
And every man I chanced to see, 
I thought he knew some ill of me : 
No peace, no comfort could I find, 



180 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

No ease, within doors or without ; 

And crazily and wearily 

I went my work about ; 

And oft was moved to flee from home, 

And hide my head where wild beasts roam. 80 



' Sir ! 'twas a precious flock to me, 

As dear as my own children be ; 

For daily with my growing store 

I loved my children more and more. 

Alas ! it was an evil time ; 

God cursed me in my sore distress; 

I prayed, yet every day I thought 

I loved my children less ; 

And every week, and every day, 

My flock it seemed to melt away. 90 



' They dwindled, Sir, sad sight to see 
From ten to five, from five to three, 
A lamb, a wether, and a ewe ; 
And then at last from three to two ; 
And, of my fifty, yesterday 
I had but only one : 
And here it lies upon my arm, 
Alas ! and I have none : 
To-day I fetched it from the rock ; 
It is the last of all my flock.' 

1798 



XXIII 
REPENTANCE 

A PASTORAL BALLAD 

THE fields which with covetous spirit we sold, 
Those beautiful fields, the delight of the day, 
Would have brought us more good than a burthen of gold, 
Could we but have been as contented as they. 

When the troublesome Tempter beset us, said I, 

* Let him come, with his purse proudly grasped in his 

hand ; 

But, Allan, be true to me, Allan, we '11 die 
Before he shall go with an inch of the land ! ' 



THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET 181 

There dwelt we, as happy as birds in their bowers ; 
Unfettered as bees that in gardens abide ; 10 

We could do what we liked with the land, it was ours ; 
And for us the brook murmured that ran by its side. 

But now we are strangers, go early or late ; 
And often, like one overburthened with sin, 
With my hand on the latch of the half-opened gate, 
I look at the fields, but I cannot go in ! 

When I walk by the hedge on a bright summer's day, 

Or sit in the shade of my grandfather's tree, 

A stern face it puts on, as if ready to say, 

' What ails you, that you must come creeping to me ! ' 20 

With our pastures about us, we could not be sad ; 
Our comfort was near if we ever were crost ; 
But the comfort, the blessings, and wealth that we had, 
We slighted them all, and our birthright was lost. 

Oh, ill-judging sire of an innocent son 
Who must now be a wanderer ! but peace to that strain ! 
Think of evening's repose when our labour was done, 
The Sabbath's return ; and its leisure's soft chain ! 

And in sickness, if night had been sparing of sleep, 
How cheerful, at sunrise, the hill where I stood, 30 

Looking down on the kine, and our treasure of sheep 
That besprinkled the field ; 'twas like youth in my blood ! 

Now I cleave to the house, and am dull as a snail ; 
And, oftentimes, hear the church-bell with a sigh, 
That follows the thought We've no land in the vale, 
Save six feet of earth where our forefathers lie ! 

1804 

XXIV 
THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET 



WHERE art thou, my beloved Son, 
Where art thou, worse to me than dead ? 
Oh find me, prosperous or undone ! 
Or, if the grave be now thy bed, 
Why am I ignorant of the same 
That I may rest ; and neither blame 
Nor sorrow may attend thy name ? 



182 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



Seven years, alas ! to have received 
No tidings of an only child ; 
To have despaired, have hoped, believed, 
And been for evermore beguiled ; 
Sometimes with thoughts of very bliss ! 
I catch at them, and then I miss ; 
Was ever darkness like to this ? 



He was among the prime in worth, 

An object beauteous to behold ; 

Well born, well bred ; I sent him forth 

Ingenuous, innocent, and bold : 

If things ensued that wanted grace, 

As hath been said, they were not base ; 

And never blush was on my face. 

IV 

Ah ! little doth the young-one dream, 
When full of play and childish cares, 
What power is in his wildest scream, 
Heard by his mother unawares ! 
He knows it not, he cannot guess : 
Years to a mother bring distress ; 
But do not make her love the less. 



Neglect me ! no, I suffered long 

From that ill thought ; and, being blind, 30 

Said, ' Pride shall help me in my wrong : 

Kind mother have I been, as kind 

As ever breathed ' : and that is true ; 

I 've wet my path with tears like dew, 

Weeping for him when no one knew. 

VI 

My Son, if thou be humbled, poor, 

Hopeless of honour and of gain, 

Oh ! do not dread thy mother's door** 

Think not of me with grief and pain : 

I now can see with better eyes ; 40 

And worldly grandeur I despise, 

And fortune with her gifts and lies. 



THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET 183 

VII 

Alas ! the fowls of heaven have wings, 
And blasts of heaven will aid their flight ; 
They mount how short a voyage brings 
The wanderers back to their delight ! 
Chains tie us down by land and sea ; 
And wishes, vain as mine, may be 
All that is left to comfort thee. 

VIII 

Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan, 50 

Maimed, mangled by inhuman men ; 

Or thou upon a desert thrown 

Inheritest the lion's den ; 

Or hast been summoned to the deep, 

Thou, thou and all thy mates, to keep 

An incommunicable sleep. 

IX 

I look for ghosts ; but none will force 

Their way to me : 'tis falsely said 

That there was ever intercourse 

Between the living and the dead ; 60 

For, surely, then I should have sight 

Of him I wait for day and night, 

With love and longings infinite. 



My apprehensions come in crowds , 

I dread the rustling of the grass ; 

The very shadows of the clouds 

Have power to shake me as they pass : 

I question things and do not find 

One that will answer to my mind ; 

And all the world appears unkind. 70 

XI 

Beyond participation lie 
My troubles, and beyond relief: 
If any chance to heave a sigh, 
They pity me, and not my grief. 
Then come to me, my Son, or send 
Some tidings that my woes may end ; 
I have no other earthly friend ! 

Published 1807 



184 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXV 

THE COTTAGER TO HER INFANT 

BY MY SISTER 

THE days are cold, the nights are long, 
The north- wind sings a doleful song ; 
Then hush again upon my breast ; 
All merry things are now at rest, 
Save thee, my pretty Love ! 

The kitten sleeps upon the hearth, 
The crickets long have ceased their mirth ; 
There 's nothing stirring in the house 
Save one wee, hungry, nibbling mouse, 

Then why so busy thou ? i< 

Nay ! start not at that sparkling light ; 
'Tis but the moon that shines so bright 
On the window pane bedropped with rain : 
Then, little Darling ! sleep again, 
And wake when it is day. 

1805 

XXVI 
MATERNAL GRIEF 

DEPARTED Child ! I could forget thee once 
Though at my bosom nursed ; this woeful gain 
Thy dissolution brings, that in my soul 
Is present and perpetually abides 
A shadow, never, never to be displaced 
By the returning substance, seen or touched, 
Seen by mine eyes, or clasped in my embrace. 
Absence and death how differ they ! and how 
Shall I admit that nothing can restore 
What one short sigh so easily removed ? x< 

Death, life, and sleep, reality and thought, 
Assist me, God, their boundaries to know, 
O teach me calm submission to thy Will ! 

The Child she mourned had overstepped the pale 

Of Infancy, but still did breathe the air 

That sanctifies its confines, and partook 

Reflected beams of that celestial light 

To all the Little-ones on sinful earth 

Not unvouchsafed a light that warmed and cheered 

Those several qualities of heart and mind a 



MATERNAL GRIEF 185 

Which, in her own blest nature, rooted deep, 
Daily before the Mother's watchful eye, 
And not hers only, their peculiar charms 
Unfolded, beauty, for its present self, 
And for its promises to future years, 
With not unfrequent rapture fondly hailed. 

Have you espied upon a dewy lawn 

A pair of Leverets each provoking each 

To a continuance of their fearless sport, 

Two separate Creatures in their several gifts 30 

Abounding, but so fashioned that, in all 

That Nature prompts them to display, their looks, 

Their starts of motion and their fits of rest, 

An undistinguishable style appears 

And character of gladness, as if Spring 

Lodged in their innocent bosoms, and the spirit 

Of the rejoicing morning were their own ? 

Such union, in the lovely Girl maintained 

And her twin Brother, had the parent seen, 

Ere, pouncing like a ravenous bird of prey, 40 

Death in a moment parted them, and left 

The Mother, in her turns of anguish, worse 

Than desolate ; for oft-times from the sound 

Of the survivor's sweetest voice (dear child, 

He knew it not) and from his happiest looks, 

Did she extract the food of self-reproach, 

As one that lived ungrateful for the stay 

By Heaven afforded to uphold her maimed 

And tottering spirit. And full oft the Boy, 

Now first acquainted with distress and grief, 50 

Shrunk from his Mother's presence, shunned with fear 

Her sad approach, and stole away to find, 

In his known haunts of joy where'er he might, 

A more congenial object. But, as time 

Softened her pangs and reconciled the child 

To what he saw, he gradually returned, 

Like a scared Bird encouraged to renew 

A broken intercourse; and, while his eyes 

Were yet with pensive fear and gentle awe 

Turned upon her who bore him, she would stoop 60 

To imprint a kiss that lacked not power to spread 

Faint colour over both their pallid cheeks, 

And stilled his tremulous lip. Thus they were calmed 

And cheered : and now together breathe fresh air 

In open fields ; and when the glare of day 



186 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Is gone, and twilight to the Mother's wish 

Befriends the observance, readily they join 

In walks whose boundary is the lost One's grave, 

Which he with flowers hath planted, finding there 

Amusement, where the Mother does not miss 70 

Dear consolation, kneeling on the turf 

In prayer, yet blending with that solemn rite 

Of pious faith the vanities of grief; 

For such, by pitying Angels and by Spirits 

Transferred to regions upon which the clouds 

Of our weak nature rest not, must be deemed 

Those willing tears, and unforbidden sighs, 

And all those tokens of a cherished sorrow, 

Which, soothed and sweetened by the grace of Heaven 

As now it is, seems to her own fond heart 80 

Immortal as the love that gave it being. 

Published 1842 

XXVII 

THE SAILOR'S MOTHER 

ONE morning (raw it was and wet 
A foggy day in winter time) 
A Woman on the road I met, 
Not old, though something past her prime : 
Majestic in her person, tall and straight ; 
And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait. 

The ancient spirit is not dead ; 
Old times, thought I, are breathing there ; 
Proud was I that my country bred 
Such strength, a dignity so fair : 10 

She begged an alms, like one in poor estate ; 
I looked at her again, nor did my pride abate. 

When from these lofty thoughts I woke, 
' What is it,' said I, ' that you bear, 
Beneath the covert of your Cloak, 
Protected from this cold damp air ? ' 
She answered, soon as she the question heard, 
' A simple burthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird.' 

And, thus continuing, she said, 

' I had a Son, who many a day 20 

Sailed on the seas, but he is dead ; 
In Denmark he was cast away : 
And I have travelled weary miles to see 
If aught which he had owned might still remain for me. 



THE CHILDLESS FATHER 187 

' The bird and cage they both were his : 
'Twas my Son's bird ; and neat and trim 
He kept it ; many voyages 
The singing-bird had gone with him ; 
When last he sailed, he left the bird behind ; 29 

From bodings, as might be, that hung upon his mind. 

' He to a fellow-lodger's care 
Had left it, to be watched and fed, 
And pipe its song in safety ; there 
I found it when my Son was dead ; 
And now, God help me for my little wit ! 
I bear it with me, Sir ; he took so much delight in it.' 

March 11, 12, 1802 



XXVIII 
THE CHILDLESS FATHER 

' T TP, Timothy, up with your staff and away ! 

^_J Not a soul in the village this morning will stay ; 
The hare has just started from Hamilton's grounds, 
And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds.' 

Of coats and of jackets grey, scarlet, and green, 
On the slopes of the pastures all colours were seen ; 
With their comely blue aprons, and caps white as snow, 
The girls on the hills made a holiday show. 

Fresh sprigs of green box-wood, not six months before, 
Filled the funeral basin l at Timothy's door ; 10 

A coffin through Timothy's threshold had past ; 
One Child did it bear, and that Child was his last. 

Now fast up the dell came the noise and the fray, 
The horse, and the horn, and the hark ! hark away! 
Old Timothy took up his staff, and he shut 
With a leisurely motion the door of his hut. 

Perhaps to himself at that moment he said ; 

' The key I must take, for my Ellen is dead.' 

But of this in my ears not a word did he speak ; 

And he went to the chase with a tear on his cheek. 20 

1800 

1 In several parts of the North of England, when a funeral takes place, a 
basin full of Sprigs of Box-wood is placed at the door of the house from 
which the coffin is taken up, and each person who attends the funeral 
ordinarily takes a Sprig of this Box-wood, and throws it into the grave of 
the deceased. 



188 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXIX 

THE EMIGRANT MOTHER 

ONCE in a lonely hamlet I sojourned 
In which a Lady driven from France did dwell; 
The big and lesser griefs with which she mourned 
In friendship she to me would often tell. 

This Lady, dwelling upon British ground, 
Where she was childless, daily would repair 
To a poor neighbouring cottage ; as I found, 
For sake of a young Child whose home was there. 

Once having seen her clasp with fond embrace 

This Child, I chanted to myself a lay, 10 

Endeavouring, in our English tongue, to trace 

Such things as she unto the Babe might say : 

And thus, from what I heard and knew, or guessed, 

My song the workings of her heart expressed. 



' Dear Babe thou daughter of another, 

One moment let me be thy mother ! 

An infant's face and looks are thine 

And sure a mother's heart is mine : 

Thy own dear mother's far away, 

At labour in the harvest field : 20 

Thy little sister is at play ; 

What warmth, what comfort would it yield 

To my poor heart, if thou wouldst be 

One little hour a child to me ! 

ii 

' Across the waters I am come, 

And I have left a babe at home : 

A long, long way of land and sea ! 

Come to me I 'm no enemy: 

I am the same who at thy side 

Sate yesterday, and made a nest 30 

For thee, sweet Baby ! thou hast tried, 

Thou know'st the pillow of my breast ; 

Good, good art thou : alas ! to me 

Far more than I can be to thee. 



THE EMIGRANT MOTHER 189 

HI 

' Here, little Darling, dost thou lie ; 

An infant thou, a mother I ! 

Mine wilt thou be, thou hast no fears ; 

Mine art thou spite of these my tears. 

Alas ! before I left the spot, 

My baby and its dwelling-place, 40 

The nurse said to me, " Tears should not 

Be shed upon an infant's face, 

It was unlucky " no, no, no ; 

No truth is in them who say so ! 

IV 

' My own dear Little-one will sigh, 

Sweet Babe ! and they will let him die. 

"He pines," they'll say, "it is his doom, 

And you may see his hour is come." 

Oh ! had he but thy cheerful smiles, 

Limbs stout as thine, and lips as gay, 50 

Thy looks, thy cunning, and thy wiles, 

And countenance like a summer's day, 

They would have hopes of him ; and then 

I should behold his face again ! 

v 

''Tis gone like dreams that we forget ; 

There was a smile or two yet yet 

I can remember them, I see 

The smiles, worth all the world to me. 

Dear Baby ! I must lay thee down ; 

Thou troublest me with strange alarms ; 60 

Smiles hast thou, bright ones of thy own ; 

I cannot keep thee in my arms ; 

For they confound me ; where where is 

That last, that sweetest smile of his ? 

VI 

' Oh ! how I love thee ! we will stay 

Together here this one half day. 

My sister's child, who bears my name, 

From France to sheltering England came ; 

She with her mother crossed the sea ; 

The babe and mother near me dwell : 70 

Yet does my yearning heart to thee 

Turn rather, though I love her well : 

Rest, little Stranger, rest thee here ! 

Never was any child more dear ! 



190 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



VII 

' I cannot help it ; ill intent 
I "ve none, my pretty Innocent ! 
I weep I know they do thee wrong, 
These tears and my poor idle tongue. 
Oh, what a kiss was that ! my cheek 
How cold it is ! but thou art good ; 80 

Thine eyes are on me they would speak, 
I think, to help me if they could. 
Blessings upon that soft, warm face, 
My heart again is in its place ! 

VII 

' While thou art mine, my little Love, 

This cannot be a sorrowful grove ; 

Contentment, hope, and mother's glee, 

I seem to find them all in thee : 

Here 's grass to play with, here are flowers ; 

I '11 call thee by my darling's name ; 90 

Thou hast, I think, a look of ours, 

Thy features seem to me the same ; 

His little sister thou shalt be ; 

And, when once more my home I see, 

I '11 tell him many tales of Thee.' 

March 16, 17, 1802 

XXX 
VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA 

[THE following tale was written as an Episode, in a work from which its 
length may perhaps exclude it. The facts are true ; no invention as to 
these has been exercised, as none was needed.] 

O HAPPY time of youthful lovers (thus 
My story may begin) O balmy time, 
In which a love-knot on a lady's brow 
Is fairer than the fairest star in heaven ! 
To such inheritance of blessed fancy 
(Fancy that sports more desperately with minds 
Than ever fortune hath been known to do) 
The high-born Vaudracour was brought, by years 
Whose progress had a little overstepped 
His stripling prime. A town of small repute, 10 

Among the vine-clad mountains of Auvergne, 
Was the Youth's birth-place. There he wooed a Maid 
Who heard the heart-felt music of his suit 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA 191 

With answering vows. Plebeian was the stock, 

Plebeian, though ingenuous, the stock, 

From which her graces and her honours sprung : 

And hence the father of the enamoured Youth, 

With haughty indignation, spurned the thought 

Of such alliance. From their cradles up, 

With but a step between their several homes, ao 

Twins had they been in pleasure ; after strife 

And petty quarrels, had grown fond again ; 

Each other's advocate, each other's stay ; 

And, in their happiest moments, not content, 

If more divided than a sportive pair 

Of sea-fowl, conscious both that they are hovering 

Within the eddy of a common blast, 

Or hidden only by the concave depth 

Of neighbouring billows from each other's sight. 

Thus, not without concurrence of an age 30 

Unknown to memory, was an earnest given 
By ready nature for a life of love, 
For endless constancy, and placid truth ; 
But whatsoe'er of such rare treasure lay 
Reserved, had fate permitted, for support 
Of their maturer years, his present mind 
Was under fascination ; he beheld 
A vision, and adored the thing he saw. 
Arabian fiction never filled the world 
With half the wonders that were wrought for him. 40 
Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring ; 
Life turned the meanest of her implements, 
Before his eyes, to price above all gold ; 
The house she dwelt in was a sainted shrine ; 
Her chamber-window did surpass in glory 
The portals of the dawn ; all Paradise 
Could, by the simple opening of a door, 
Let itself in upon him : pathways, walks, 
Swarmed with enchantment, till his spirit sank, 
Surcharged, within him, overblest to move 50 

Beneath a sun that wakes a weary world 
To its dull round of ordinary cares ; 
A man too happy for mortality ! 

So passed the time, till, whether through effect 
Of some unguarded moment that dissolved 
Virtuous restraint ah, speak it, think it, not ! 
Deem rather that the fervent Youth, who saw 
So many bars between his present state 



192 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And the dear haven where he wished to be 

In honourable wedlock with his Love, 60 

Was in his judgment tempted to decline 

To perilous weakness, and entrust his cause 

To nature for a happy end of all ; 

Deem that by such fond hope the Youth was swayed, 

And bear with their transgression, when I add 

That Julia, wanting yet the name of wife, 

Carried about her for a secret grief 

The promise of a mother. 

To conceal 

The threatened shame, the parents of the Maid 
Found means to hurry her away by night, 70 

And unforewarned, that in some distant spot 
She might remain shrouded in privacy, 
Until the babe was born. When morning came, 
The Lover, thus bereft, stung with his loss, 
And all uncertain whither he should turn, 
Chafed like a wild beast in the toils ; but soon 
Discovering traces of the fugitives, 
Their steps he followed to the Maid's retreat. 
Easily may the sequel be divined 

Walks to and fro watchings at every hour ; 80 

And the fair Captive, who, whene'er she may, 
Is busy at her casement as the swallow 
Fluttering its pinions, almost within reach, 
About the pendant nest, did thus espy 
Her Lover ! thence a stolen interview, 
Accomplished under friendly shade of night. 

I pass the raptures of the pair ; such theme 
Is, by innumerable poets, touched 
In more delightful verse than skill of mine 
Could fashion ; chiefly by that darling bard 90 

Who told of Juliet and her Romeo, 
And of the lark's note heard before its time, 
And of the streaks that laced the severing clouds 
In the unrelenting east. Through all her courts 
The vacant city slept; the busy winds, 
That keep no certain intervals of rest, 
Moved not ; meanwhile the galaxy displayed 
Her fires, that like mysterious pulses beat 
Aloft ; momentous but uneasy bliss ! 
To their full hearts the universe seemed hung 100 

On that brief meeting's slender filament ! 

They parted ; and the generous Vaudracour 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA 193 

Reached speedily the native threshold, bent 

On making (so the Lovers had agreed) 

A sacrifice of birthright to attain 

A final portion from his father's hand ; 

Which granted, Bride and Bridegroom then would flee 

To some remote and solitary place, 

Shady as night, and beautiful as heaven, 

Where they may live, with no one to behold no 

Their happiness, or to disturb their love. 

But now of this no whisper ; not the less, 

If ever an obtrusive word were dropped 

Touching the matter of his passion, still, 

In his stern father's hearing, Vaudracour 

Persisted openly that death alone 

Should abrogate his human privilege 

Divine, of swearing everlasting truth, 

Upon the altar, to the Maid he loved. 

' You shall be baffled in your mad intent 120 

If there be justice in the court of France,' 
Muttered the Father. From these words the Youth 
Conceived a terror ; and, by night or day, 
Stirred nowhere without weapons, that full soon 
Found dreadful provocation : for at night, 
When to his chamber he retired, attempt 
Was made to seize him by three armed men, 
Acting, in furtherance of the father's will, 
Under a private signet of the State. 
One the rash Youth's ungovernable hand 130 

Slew, and as quickly to a second gave 
A perilous wound he shuddered to behold 
The breathless corse ; then peacefully resigned 
His person to the law, was lodged in prison, 
And wore the fetters of a criminal. 

Have you observed a tuft of winged seed 
That, from the dandelion's naked stalk, 
Mounted aloft, is suffered not to use 
Its natural gifts for purposes of rest, 
Driven by the autumnal whirlwind to and fro 140 

Through the wide element ? or have you marked 
The heavier substance of a leaf-clad bough, 
Within the vortex of a foaming flood, 
Tormented ? by such aid you may conceive 
The perturbation that ensued ; ah, no ! 
Desperate the Maid the Youth is stained with blood ; 
Unmatchable on earth is their disquiet ! 
1-N 



194 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Yet as the troubled seed and tortured bough 
Is Man, subjected to despotic sway. 

For him, by private influence with the Court, 150 
Was pardon gained, and liberty procured ; 
But not without exaction of a pledge, 
Which liberty and love dispersed in air. 
He flew to her from whom they would divide him 
He clove to her who could not give him peace 
Yea, his first word of greeting was, ' All right 
Is gone from me ; my lately-towering hopes, 
To the least fibre of their lowest root, 
Are withered ; thou no longer canst be mine, 
I thine the conscience-stricken must not woo 160 

The unruffled Innocent, I see thy face, 
Behold thee, and my misery is complete ! ' 

' One, are we not ? ' exclaimed the Maiden ' One, 
For innocence and youth, for weal and woe ? ' 
Then with the father's name she coupled words 
Of vehement indignation ; but the Youth 
Checked her with filial meekness ; for no thought 
Uncharitable crossed his mind, no sense 
Of hasty anger, rising in the eclipse 
Of true domestic loyalty, did e'er 170 

Find place within his bosom. Once again 
The persevering wedge of tyranny 
Achieved their separation : and once more 
Were they united, to be yet again 
Disparted, pitiable lot ! But here 
A portion of the tale may well be left 
In silence, though my memory could add 
Much how the Youth, in scanty space of time, 
Was traversed from without ; much, too, of thoughts 
That occupied his days in solitude 180 

Under privation and restraint ; and what, 
Through dark and shapeless fear of things to come, 
And what, through strong compunction for the past. 
He suffered breaking down in heart and mind ! 

Doomed to a third and last captivity, 
His freedom he recovered on the eve 
Of Julia's travail. When the babe was born, 
Its presence tempted him to cherish schemes 
Of future happiness. ' You shall return, 
Julia,' said he, ' and to your father's house 190 

Go with the child. You have been wretched ; yet 
The silver shower, whose reckless burthen weighs 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA 195 

Too heavily upon the lily's head, 

Oft leaves a saving moisture at its root. 

Malice, beholding you, will melt away. 

Go ! 'tis a town where both of us were born ; 

None will reproach you, for our truth is known ; 

And if, amid those once-bright bowers, our fate 

Remain unpitied, pity is not in man. 

With ornaments the prettiest, nature yields 200 

Or art can fashion, shall you deck our boy, 

And feed his countenance with your own sweet looks, 

Till no one can resist him. Now, even now, 

I see him sporting on the sunny lawn ; 

My father from the window sees him too ; 

Startled, as if some new-created thing 

Enriched the earth, or Faery of the woods 

Bounded before him ; but the unweeting Child 

Shall by his beauty win his grandsire's heart, 

So that it shall be softened, and our loves 210 

End happily, as they began ! ' 

These gleams 

Appeared but seldom ; oftener was he seen 
Propping a pale and melancholy face 
Upon the Mother's bosom ; resting thus 
His head upon one breast, while from the other 
The Babe was drawing in its quiet food. 
That pillow is no longer to be thine, 
Fond Youth ! that mournful solace now must pass 
Into the list of things that cannot be ! 
Unwedded Julia, terror-smitten, hears 220 

The sentence, by her mother's lip pronounced, 
That dooms her to a convent. Who shall tell, 
Who dares report, the tidings to the lord 
Of her affections ? so they blindly asked 
Who knew not to what quiet depths a weight 
Of agony had pressed the Sufferer down : 
The word, by others dreaded, he can hear 
Composed and silent, without visible sign 
Of even the least emotion. Noting this, 
When the impatient object of his love 730 

Upbraided him with slackness, he returned 
No answer, only took the mother's hand 
And kissed it ; seemingly devoid of pain, 
Or care, that what so tenderly he pressed 
Was a dependant on the obdurate heart 
Of one who came to disunite their lives 
For ever sad alternative ! preferred, 
By the unbending Parents of the Maid, 



196 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

To secret 'spousals meanly disavowed. 
So be it ! 

In the city he remained 240 

A season after Julia had withdrawn 
To those religious walls. He, too, departs 
Who with him ? even the senseless Little-one. 
With that sole charge he passed the city-gates, 
For the last time, attendant by the side 
Of a close chair, a litter, or sedan, 
In which the Babe was carried. To a hill, 
That rose a brief league distant from the town, 
The dwellers in that house where he had lodged 
Accompanied his steps, by anxious love 250 

Impelled ; they parted from him there, and stood 
Watching below till he had disappeared 
On the hill top. His eyes he scarcely took, 
Throughout that journey, from the vehicle 
(Slow-moving ark of all his hopes !) that veiled 
The tender infant : and at every inn, 
And under every hospitable tree 
At which the bearers halted or reposed, 
Laid him with timid care upon his knees, 
And looked, as mothers ne'er were known to look, 260 
Upon the nursling which his arms embraced. 

This was the manner in which Vaudracour 
Departed with his infant ; and thus reached 
His father's house, where to the innocent child 
Admittance was denied. The young man spake 
No word of indignation or reproof, 
But of his father begged, a last request, 
That a retreat might be assigned to him, 
Where in forgotten quiet he might dwell, 
With such allowance as his wants required ; 270 

For wishes he had none. To a lodge that stood 
Deep in a forest, with leave given, at the age 
Of four-and-twenty summers he withdrew ; 
And thither took with him his motherless Babe, 
And one domestic for their common needs, 
An aged woman. It consoled him here 
To attend upon the orphan, and perform 
Obsequious service to the precious child, 
Which, after a short time, by some mistake 
Or indiscretion of the Father, died. 280 

The Tale I follow to its last recess 
Of suffering or of peace, I know not which : 
Theirs be the blame who caused the woe, not mine ! 



THE IDIOT BOY 197 

From this time forth he never shared a smile 
With mortal creature. An Inhabitant 
Of that same town, in which the pair had left 
So lively a remembrance of their griefs, 
By chance of business coming within reach 
Of his retirement, to the forest lodge 
Repaired, but only found the matron there, 290 

Who told him that his pains were thrown away, 
For that her Master never uttered word 
To living thing not even to her. Behold ! 
While they were speaking, Vaudracour approached ; 
But, seeing some one near, as on the latch 
Of the garden-gate his hand was laid, he shrunk 
And, like a shadow, glided out of view. 
Shocked at his savage aspect, from the place 
The visitor retired. 

Thus lived the Youth 

Cut off from all intelligence with man, 30x3 

And shunning even the light of common day; 
Nor could the voice of Freedom, which through France 
Full speedily resounded, public hope, 
Or personal memory of his own deep wrongs, 
Rouse him : but in those solitary shades 
His days he wasted, an imbecile mind ! 

1804 

XXXI 
THE IDIOT BOY 

''"T'MS eight o'clock, a clear March night, 

The moon is up, the sky is blue, 
The owlet, in the moonlight air, 
Shouts from nobody knows where ; 
He lengthens out his lonely shout, 
Halloo ! halloo ! a long halloo ! 

Why bustle thus about your door, 

What means this bustle, Betty Foy ? 

Why are you in this mighty fret ? 

And why on horseback have you set 10 

Him whom you love, your Idiot Boy ? 

Scarcely a soul is out of bed ; 
Good Betty, put him down again ; 
His lips with joy they burr at you ; 
But, Betty ! what has he to do 
With stirrup, saddle, or with rein ? 



198 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

But Betty 's bent on her intent ; 

For her good neighbour, Susan Gale, 

Old Susan, she who dwells alone, 

Is sick, and makes a piteous moan, 2 o 

As if her very life would fail. 

There's not a house within a mile, 
No hand to help them in distress ; 
Old Susan lies a-bed in pain, 
And sorely puzzled are the twain, 
For what she ails they cannot guess. 

And Betty's husband 's at the wood, 

Where by the week he doth abide, 

A woodman in the distant vale ; 

There 's none to help poor Susan Gale ; 30 

What must be done ? what will betide ? 

And Betty from the lane has fetched 
Her Pony, that is mild and good ; 
Whether he be in joy or pain, 
Feeding at will along the lane, 
Or bringing faggots from the wood. 

And he is all in travelling trim, 

And, by the moonlight, Betty Foy 

Has on the well-girt saddle set 

(The like was never heard of yet) 40 

Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy. 

And he must post without delay 
Across the bridge and through the dale, 
And by the church, and o'er the down, 
To bring a Doctor from the town, 
Or she will die, old Susan Gale. 

There is no need of boot or spur, 

There is no need of whip or wand ; 

For Johnny has his holly-bough, 

And with a hurly-burly now 50 

He shakes the green bough in his hand. 

And Betty o'er and o'er has told 
The Boy, who is her best delight, 
Both what to follow, what to shun, 
What do, and what to leave undone, 
How turn to left, and how to right. 



THE IDIOT BOY 199 

And Betty's most especial charge, 

Was, ' Johnny ! Johnny ! mind that you 

Come home again, nor stop at all, 

Come home again, whate'er befall, 60 

My Johnny, do, I pray you, do.' 

To this did Johnny answer make, 
Both with his head and with his hand, 
And proudly shook the bridle too ; 
And then ! his words were not a few, 
Which Betty well could understand. 

And now that Johnny is just going, 

Though Betty 's in a mighty flurry, 

She gently pats the Pony's side, 

On which her Idiot Boy must ride, 70 

And seems no longer in a hurry. 

But when the Pony moved his legs, 
Oh ! then for the poor Idiot Boy ! 
For joy he cannot hold the bridle, 
For joy his head and heels are idle, 
He 's idle all for very joy. 

And, while the Pony moves his legs, 

In Johnny's left hand you may see 

The green bough motionless and dead : 

The Moon that shines above his head 80 

Is not more still and mute than he. 

His heart it was so full of glee, 
That, till full fifty yards were gone, 
He quite forgot his holly whip, 
And all his skill in horsemanship : 
Oh ! happy, happy, happy John. 

And while the Mother, at the door, 

Stands fixed, her face with joy o'erflows, 

Proud of herself, and proud of him, 

She sees him in his travelling trim, 90 

How quietly her Johnny goes. 

The silence of her Idiot Boy, 
What hopes it sends to Betty's heart ! 
He 's at the guide-post he turns right ; 
She watches till he ' s out of sight, 
And Betty will not then depart. 



200 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Burr, burr now Johnny's lips they burr, 

As loud as any mill, or near it ; 

Meek as a lamb the Pony moves, 

And Johnny makes the noise he loves, 100 

And Betty listens, glad to hear it. 

Away she hies to Susan Gale : 
Her Messenger 's in merry tune ; 
The owlets hoot, the owlets curr, 
And Johnny's lips they burr, burr, burr, 
As on he goes beneath the moon. 

His steed and he right well agree ; 

For of this Pony there 's a rumour, 

That, should he lose his eyes and ears, 

And should he live a thousand years, no 

He never will be out of humour. 

But then he is a horse that thinks ! 
And, when he thinks, his pace is slack ; 
Now, though he knows poor Johnny well, 
Yet, for his life, he cannot tell 
What he has got upon his back. 

So through the moonlight lanes they go, 

And far into the moonlight dale, 

And by the church, and o'er the down, 

To bring a Doctor from the town, 120 

To comfort poor old Susan Gale. 

And Betty, now at Susan's side, 
Is in the middle of her story, 
What speedy help her Boy will bring, 
With many a most diverting thing, 
Of Johnny's wit, and Johnny's glory. 

And Betty, still at Susan's side, 

By this time is not quite so flurried : 

Demure with porringer and plate 

She sits, as if in Susan's fate 130 

Her life and soul were buried. 

But Betty, poor good woman ! she, 
You plainly in her face may read it, 
Could lend out of that moment's store 
Five years of happiness or more 
To any that might need it. 



THE IDIOT BOY 201 

But yet I guess that now and then 

With Betty all was not so well ; 

And to the road she turns her ears, 

And thence full many a sound she hears, 140 

Which she to Susan will not tell. 

Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans; 
* As sure as there 's a moon in heaven,' 
Cries Betty, ' he '11 be back again ; 
They '11 both be here 'tis almost ten 
Both will be here before eleven.' 

Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans ; 

The clock gives warning for eleven ; 

'Tis on the stroke ' He must be near,' 

Quoth Betty, ' and will soon be here, 150 

As sure as there 's a moon in heaven.' 

The clock is on the stroke of twelve, 

And Johnny is not yet in sight : 

The Moon 's in heaven, as Betty sees, 

But Betty is not quite at ease ; 

And Susan has a dreadful night. 

And Betty, half an hour ago, 

On Johnny vile reflections cast : 

' A little, idle, sauntering Thing ! ' 

With other names, an endless string ; 160 

But now that time is gone and past. 

And Betty 's drooping at the heart, 
That happy time all past and gone, 
1 How can it be he is so late ? 
The Doctor, he has made him wait ; 
Susan ! they '11 both be here anon.' 

And Susan 's growing worse and worse, 

And Betty 's in a sad quandary ; 

And then there 's nobody to say 

If she must go, or she must stay ! 170 

She 's in a sad quandary. 

The clock is on the stroke of one; 
But neither Doctor nor his Guide 
Appears along the moonlight road ; 
There 's neither horse nor man abroad, 
And Betty's still at Susan's side. 



202 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And Susan now begins to fear 

Of sad mischances not a few, 

That Johnny may perhaps be drowned ; 

Or lost, perhaps, and never found ; 180 

Which they must both for ever rue. 

She prefaced half a hint of this 
With, < God forbid it should be true ! ' 
At the first word that Susan said 
Cried Betty, rising from the bed, 
* Susan, I 'd gladly stay with you. 

' I must be gone, I must away : 

Consider, Johnny !s but half-wise ; 

Susan, we must take care of him, 

If he is hurt in life or limb ' 190 

' Oh God forbid ! ' poor Susan cries. 

' What can I do ? ' says Betty, going, 
' What can I do to ease your pain ? 
Good Susan tell me, and I '11 stay ; 
I fear you 're in a dreadful way, 
But I shall soon be back again.' 

' Nay, Betty, go ! good Betty, go ! 

There 's nothing that can ease my pain/ 

Then off she hies ; but with a prayer, 

That God poor Susan's life would spare, 200 

Till she comes back again. 

So, through the moonlight lane she goes, 
And far into the moonlight dale ; 
And how she ran, and how she walked, 
And all that to herself she talked, 
Would surely be a tedious tale. 

In high and low, above, below, 

In great and small, in round and square, 

In tree and tower was Johnny seen, 

In bush and brake, in black and green ; 210 

'Twas Johnny, Johnny, everywhere. 

And while she crossed the bridge, there came 
A thought with which her heart is sore 
Johnny perhaps his horse forsook, 
To hunt the moon within the brook, 
And never will be heard of more. 



THE IDIOT BOY 203 

Now is she high upon the down, 

Alone amid a prospect wide ; 

There 's neither Johnny nor his Horse 

Among the fern or in the gorse ; 220 

There 's neither Doctor nor his Guide. 

' Oh saints ! what is become of him ? 
Perhaps he 's climbed into an oak, 
Where he will stay till he is dead ; 
Or sadly he has been misled, 
And joined the wandering gipsy-folk. 

'Or him that wicked Pony's carried 

To the dark cave, the goblin's hall ; 

Or in the castle he 's pursuing 

Among the ghosts his own undoing ; 230 

Or playing with the waterfall.' 

At poor old Susan then she railed, 
While to the town she posts away ; 
' If Susan had not been so ill, 
Alas ! I should have had him still, 
My Johnny, till my dying day.' 

Poor Betty, in this sad distemper, 

The Doctor's self could hardly spare : 

Unworthy things she talked, and wild ; 

Even he, of cattle the most mild, 240 

The Pony had his share. 

But now she 's fairly in the town, 
And to the Doctor's door she hies; 
'Tis silence all on every side ; 
The town so long, the town so wide, 
Is silent as the skies. 

And now she 's at the Doctor's door, 

She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap ; 

The Doctor at the casement shows 

His glimmering eyes that peep and doze ! 250 

And one hand rubs his old night-cap. 

' Oh Doctor ! Doctor ! where 's my Johnny ? ' 
' I 'm here, what is 't you want with me ? ' 
' Oh Sir ! you know I 'm Betty Foy, 
And I have lost my poor dear Boy, 
You know him him you often see ; 



204 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' He 's not so wise as some folks be ' : 

' The devil take his wisdom ! ' said 

The Doctor, looking somewhat grim, 

' What, Woman ! should I know of him ? ' 260 

And, grumbling, he went back to bed ! 

' O woe is me ! O woe is me ! 
Here will I die; here will I die; 
I thought to find my lost one here, 
But he is neither far nor near, 
Oh ! what a wretched Mother I ! ' 

She stops, she stands, she looks about ; 

Which way to turn she cannot tell. 

Poor Betty ! it would ease her pain 

If she had heart to knock again ; 270 

The clock strikes three a dismal knell ! 

Then up along the town she hies, 

No wonder if her senses fail ; 

This piteous news so much it shocked her, 

She quite forgot to send the Doctor, 

To comfort poor old Susan Gale. 

And now she 's high upon the down, 

And she can see a mile of road : 

' O cruel ! I 'm almost threescore ; 

Such night as this was ne'er before, 280 

There 's not a single soul abroad.' 

She listens, but she cannot hear 
The foot of horse, the voice of man ; 
The streams with softest sound are flowing, 
The grass you almost hear it growing, 
You hear it now, if e'er you can. 

The owlets through the long blue night 

Are shouting to each other still : 

Fond lovers ! yet not quite hob nob, 

They lengthen out the tremulous sob, 290 

That echoes far from hill to hill. 

Poor Betty now has lost all hope, 
Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin, 
A green-grown pond she just has past, 
And from the brink she hurries fast, 
Lest she should drown herself therein. 



THE IDIOT BOY 205 

And now she sits her down and weeps ; 

Such tears she never shed before ; 

' Oh dear, dear Pony ! my sweet joy ! 

Oh carry back my Idiot Boy ! 30 

And we will ne'er o'erload thee more.' 

A thought is come into her head : 
The Pony he is mild and good, 
And we have always used him well ; 
Perhaps he's gone along the dell, 
And carried Johnny to the wood. 

Then up she springs as if on wings ; 

She thinks no more of deadly sin ; 

If Betty fifty ponds should see, 

The last of all her thoughts would be 31 

To drown herself therein. 

Oh Reader ! now that I might tell 
What Johnny and his Horse are doing ! 
What they 've been doing all this time, 
Oh could I put it into rhyme, 
A most delightful tale pursuing ! 

Perhaps, and no unlikely thought ! 

He with his Pony now doth roam 

The cliffs and peaks so high that are, 

To lay his hands upon a star, 3 20 

And in his pocket bring it home. 

Perhaps he's turned himself about, 
His face unto his horse's tail, 
And, still and mute, in wonder lost, 
All silent as a horseman-ghost, 
He travels slowly down the vale. 

And now, perhaps, is hunting sheep, 

A fierce and dreadful hunter he ; 

Yon valley, now so trim and green, 

In five months' time, should he be seen, 33 

A desert wilderness will be ! 

Perhaps, with head and heels on fire, 

And like the very soul of evil, 

He 's galloping away, away, 

And so will gallop on for aye, 

The bane of all that dread the devil ! 



206 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

I to the Muses have been bound 

These fourteen years, by strong indentures : 

O gentle Muses ! let me tell 

But half of what to him befell ; 340 

He surely met with strange adventures. 

O gentle Muses ! is this kind ? 
Why will ye thus my suit repel ? 
Why of your further aid bereave me ? 
And can ye thus unfriended leave me, 
Ye Muses ! whom I love so well ? 

Who 's yon, that, near the waterfall, 

Which thunders down with headlong force, 

Beneath the moon, yet shining fair, 

As careless as if nothing were, 350 

Sits upright on a feeding horse ? 

Unto his horse there feeding free, 
He seems, I think, the rein to give ; 
Of moon or stars he takes no heed ; 
Of such we in romances read : 
'Tis Johnny ! Johnny ! as I live. 

And that 's the very Pony, too ! 

Where is she, where is Betty Foy ? 

She hardly can sustain her fears ; 

The roaring waterfall she hears, 360 

And cannot find her Idiot Boy. 

Your Pony 's worth his weight in gold : 
Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy ! 
She 's coming from among the trees, 
And now all full in view she sees 
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy. 

And Betty sees the Pony too : 

Why stand you thus, good Betty Foy ? 

It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost, 

'Tis he whom you so long have lost, 370 

He whom you love, your Idiot Boy. 

She looks again her arms are up 
She screams she cannot move for joy ; 
She darts, as with a torrent's force, 
, She almost has o'erturned the Horse, 
And fast she holds her Idiot Boy. 



THE IDIOT BOY 207 

And Johnny burrs, and laughs aloud ; 

Whether in cunning or in joy 

I cannot tell ; but, while he laughs, 

Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs 380 

To hear again her Idiot Boy. 

And now she 's at the Pony's tail, 
And now is at the Pony's head, 
On that side now, and now on this ; 
And, almost stifled with her bliss, 
A few sad tears does Betty shed. 

She kisses o'er and o'er again 

Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy ; 

She 's happy here, is happy there, 

She is uneasy everywhere ; 39 

Her limbs are all alive with joy. 

She pats the Pony, where or when 
She knows not, happy Betty Foy ! 
The little Pony glad may be, 
But he is milder far than she, 
You hardly can perceive his joy. 

* Oh ! Johnny, never mind the Doctor ; 

You've done your best, and that is all': 

She took the reins, when this was said, 

And gently turned the Pony's head 400 

From the loud waterfall. 

By this the stars were almost gone, 
The moon was setting on the hill, 
So pale you scarcely looked at her : 
The little birds began to stir, 
Though yet their tongues were still. 

The Pony, Betty, and her Boy, 

Wind slowly through the woody dale ; 

And who is she, betimes abroad, 

That hobbles up the steep, rough road ? 410 

Who is it, but old Susan Gale ? 

Long time lay Susan lost in thought ; 
And many dreadful fears beset her, 
Both for her Messenger and Nurse ; 
And, as her mind grew worse and worse, 
Her body it grew better. 



208 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

She turned, she tossed herself in bed, 

On all sides doubts and terrors met her; 

Point after point did she discuss ; 

And, while her mind was fighting thus, 420 

Her body still grew better. 

' Alas ! what is become of them ? 
These fears can never be endured ; 
I'll to the wood.' The word scarce said, 
Did Susan rise up from her bed, 
As if by magic cured. 

Away she goes up hill and down, 

And to the wood at length is come ; 

She spies her Friends, she shouts a greeting ; 

Oh me ! it is a merry meeting 430 

As ever was in Christendom. 

The owls have hardly sung their last, 
While our four travellers homeward wend ; 
The owls have hooted all night long, 
And with the owls began my song, 
And with the owls must end. 

For, while they all were travelling home, 

Cried Betty, ' Tell us, Johnny, do, 

Where all this long night you have been, 

What you have heard, what you have seen : 440 

And, Johnny, mind you tell us true.' 

Now Johnny all night long had heard 
The owls in tuneful concert strive ; 
No doubt too he the moon had seen ; 
For in the moonlight he had been 
From eight o'clock till five. 

And thus, to Betty's question, he 

Made answer, like a traveller bold 

(His very words I give to you), 

' The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo, 450 

And the sun did shine so cold ! ' 

Thus answered Johnny in his glory, 

And that was all his travel's story. 

1798 



MICHAEL 209 



XXXII 
MICHAEL 

A PASTORAL POEM 

IF from the public way you turn your steps 
Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll, 
You will suppose that with an upright path 
Your feet must struggle ; in such bold ascent 
The pastoral mountains front you, face to face. 
But, courage ! for around that boisterous brook 
The mountains have all opened out themselves, 
And made a hidden valley of their own. 
No habitation can be seen ; but they 
Who journey thither find themselves alone 10 

With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites 
That overhead are sailing in the sky. 
It is in truth an utter solitude ; 
Nor should I have made mention of this Dell 
But for one object which you might pass by, 
Might see and notice not. Beside the brook 
Appears a straggling heap of unhewn stones ! 
And to that simple object appertains 
A story unenriched with strange events, 
Yet not unfit, I deem, for the fireside, 20 

Or for the summer shade. It was the first 
Of those domestic tales that spake to me 
Of Shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men 
Whom I already loved ; not verily 
For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills 
Where was their occupation and abode. 
And hence this Tale, while I was yet a Boy 
Careless of books, yet having felt the power 
Of Nature, by the gentle agency 

Of natural objects, led me on to feel 30 

For passions that were not my own, and think 
(At random and imperfectly indeed) 
On man, the heart of man, and human life. 
Therefore, although it be a history 
Homely and rude, I will relate the same 
For the delight of a few natural hearts ; 
And, with yet fonder feeling, for the sake 
Of youthful Poets, who among these hills 
Will be my second self when I am gone. 
l-O 



210 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Upon the forest-side in Grasmere Vale 40 

There dwelt a Shepherd, Michael was his name ; 
An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb. 
His bodily frame had been from youth to age 
Of an unusual strength : his mind was keen, 
Intense, and frugal, apt for all affairs, 
And in his shepherd's calling he was prompt 
And watchful more than ordinary men. 
Hence had he learned the meaning of all winds, 
Of blasts of every tone ; and oftentimes, 
When others heeded not, He heard the South 50 

Make subterraneous music, like the noise 
Of bagpipers on distant Highland hills. 
The Shepherd, at such warning, of his flock 
Bethought him, and he to himself would say, 
' The winds are now devising work for me ! ' 
And, truly, at all times, the storm, that drives 
The traveller to a shelter, summoned him 
Up to the mountains : he had been alone 
Amid the heart of many thousand mists, 
That came to him, and left him, on the heights. 60 

So lived he till his eightieth year was past. 
And grossly that man errs, who should suppose 
That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks, 
Were things indifferent to the Shepherd's thoughts. 
Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had breathed 
The common air ; hills, which with vigorous step 
He had so often climbed ; which had impressed 
So many incidents upon his mind 
Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear ; 
Which, like a book, preserved the memory 70 

Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved, 
Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts 
The certainty of honourable gain ; 

Those fields, those hills what could they less ? had laid 
Strong hold on his affections, were to him 
A pleasurable feeling of blind love, 
The pleasure which there is in life itself. 

His days had not been passed in singleness. 
His Helpmate was a comely matron, old 
Though younger than himself full twenty years. 80 

She was a woman of a stirring life, 
Whose heart was in her house : two wheels she had 
Of antique form ; this large, for spinning wool ; 
That small, for flax ; and, if one wheel had rest, 
It was because the other was at work. 



MICHAEL 211 

The Pair had but one inmate in their house, 

An only Child, who had been born to them 

When Michael, telling o'er his years, began 

To deem that he was old, in shepherd's phrase, 

With one foot in the grave. This only Son, 90 

With two brave sheep-dogs tried in many a storm, 

The one of an inestimable worth, 

Made all their household. I may truly say, 

That they were as a proverb in the vale 

For endless industry. When day was gone, 

And from their occupations out of doors 

The Son and Father were come home, even then, 

Their labour did not cease ; unless when all 

Turned to the cleanly supper-board, and there, 

Each with a mess of pottage and skimmed milk, 100 

Sat round the basket piled with oaten cakes, 

And their plain home-made cheese. Yet when the meal 

Was ended, Luke (for so the Son was named) 

And his old Father both betook themselves 

To such convenient work as might employ 

Their hands by the fireside ; perhaps to card 

Wool for the Housewife's spindle, or repair 

Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe, 

Or other implement of house or field. 

Down from the ceiling, by the chimney's edge, no 
That in our ancient uncouth country style 
With huge and black projection overbrowed 
Large space beneath, as duly as the light 
Of day grew dim the Housewife hung a lamp ; 
An aged utensil, which had performed 
Service beyond all others of its kind. 
Early at evening did it burn and late, 
Surviving comrade of uncounted hours, 
Which, going by from year to year, had found, 
And left the couple neither gay perhaps 120 

Nor cheerful, yet with objects and with hopes, 
Living a life of eager industry. 

And now, when Luke had reached his eighteenth year, 
There by the light of this old lamp they sate, 
Father and Son, while far into the night 
The Housewife plied her own peculiar work, 
Making the cottage through the silent hours 
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies. ' 
This light was famous in its neighbourhood, 
And was a public symbol of the life 130 

That thrifty Pair had lived. For, as it chanced, 



212 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Their cottage on a plot of rising ground 

Stood single, with large prospect, north and south, 

High into Easedale, up to Dunmail-Raise, 

And westward to the village near the lake ; 

And from this constant light, so regular 

And so far seen, the House itself, by all 

Who dwelt within the limits of the vale, 

Both old and young, was named THE EVENING STAR. 

Thus living on through such a length of years, 140 
The Shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs 
Have loved his Helpmate ; but to Michael's heart 
This son of his old age was yet more dear 
Less from instinctive tenderness, the same 
Fond spirit that blindly works in the blood of all 
Than that a child, more than all other gifts 
That earth can offer to declining man, 
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts, 
And stirrings of inquietude, when they 
By tendency of nature needs must fail. 150 

Exceeding was the love he bare to him, 
His heart and his heart's joy ! For oftentimes 
Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms, 
Had done him female service, not alone 
For pastime and delight, as is the use 
Of fathers, but with patient mind enforced 
To acts of tenderness ; and he had rocked 
His cradle, as with a woman's gentle hand. 

And, in a later time, ere yet the Boy 
Had put on boy's attire, did Michael love, 160 

Albeit of a stern unbending mind, 
To have the Young-one in his sight, when he 
Wrought in the field, or on his shepherd's stool 
Sate with a fettered sheep before him stretched 
Under the large old oak, that near his door 
Stood single, and, from matchless depth of shade. 
Chosen for the Shearer's covert from the sun, 
Thence in our rustic dialect was called 
The CLIPPING TREE, 1 a name which yet it bears. 
There, while they two were sitting in the shade, 170 
With others round them, earnest all and blithe, 
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks 
Of fond correction and reproof bestowed 
Upon the Child, if he disturbed the sheep 
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts 
Scared them, while they lay still beneath the shears. 
1 Clipping is the word used in the North of England for shearing. 



MICHAEL 213 

And when by Heaven's good grace the boy grew up 
A healthy Lad, and carried in his cheek 
Two steady roses that were five years old ; 
Then Michael from a winter coppice cut 180 

With his own hand a sapling, which he hooped 
With iron, making it throughout in all 
Due requisites a perfect shepherd's staff, 
And gave it to the Boy ; wherewith equipt 
He as a watchman oftentimes was placed 
At gate or gap, to stem or turn the flock ; 
And, to his office prematurely called, 
There stood the urchin, as you will divine. 
Something between a hindrance and a help ; 
And for this cause not always, I believe, 190 

Receiving from his Father hire of praise ; 
Though nought was left undone which staff, or voice, 
Or looks, or threatening gestures, could perform. 

But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand 
Against the mountain blasts ; and to the heights, 
Not fearing toil, nor length of weary ways, 
He with his Father daily went, and they 
Were as companions, why should I relate 
That objects which the Shepherd loved before 
Were dearer now ? that from the Boy there came 200 
Feelings and emanations things which were 
Light to the sun and music to the wind ; 
And that the old Man's heart seemed born again ? 

Thus in his Father's sight the Boy grew up : 
And now, when he had reached his eighteenth year, 
He was his comfort and his daily hope. 

While in this sort the simple household lived 
From day to day, to Michael's ear there came 
Distressful tidings. Long before the time 
Of which I speak, the Shepherd had been bound 210 
In surety for his brother's son, a man 
Of an industrious life, and ample means ; 
But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly 
Had prest upon him ; and old Michael now 
Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture, 
A grievous penalty, but little less 
Than half his substance. This unlooked-for claim, 
At the first hearing, for a moment took 
More hope out of his life than he supposed 
That any old man ever could have lost. 220 



214 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

As soon as he had armed himself with strength 

To look his trouble in the face, it seemed 

The Shepherd's sole resource to sell at once 

A portion of his patrimonial fields. 

Such was his first resolve ; he thought again, 

And his heart failed him. ' Isabel,' said he, 

Two evenings after he had heard the news, 

' I have been toiling more than seventy years, 

And in the open sunshine of God's love 

Have we all lived ; yet, if these fields of ours 230 

Should pass into a stranger's hand, I think 

That I could not lie quiet in my grave. 

Our lot is a hard lot ; the sun himself 

Has scarcely been more diligent than I ; 

And I have lived to be a fool at last 

To my own family. An evil man 

That was, and made an evil choice, if he 

Were false to us ; and, if he were not false, 

There are ten thousand to whom loss like this 

Had been no sorrow. I forgive him ; but 240 

'Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus. 

' When I began, my purpose was to speak 
Of remedies and of a cheerful hope. 
Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel ; the land 
Shall not go from us, and it shall be free ; 
He shall possess it, free as is the wind 
That passes over it. We have, thou know'st, 
Another kinsman he will be our friend 
In this distress. He is a prosperous man, 
Thriving in trade and Luke to him shall go, 250 
And with his kinsman's help and his own thrift 
He quickly will repair this loss, and then 
He may return to us. If here he stay, 
What can be done ? Where every one is poor, 
What can be gained ? ' 

At this the old Man paused, 
And Isabel sat silent, for her mind 
Was busy, looking back into past times. 
There 's Richard Bateman, thought she to herself. 
He was a parish-boy at the church-door 
They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence, 260 
And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbours bought 
A basket, which they filled with pedlar's wares ; 
And, with this basket on his arm, the lad 
Went up to London, found a master there, 
Who, out of many, chose the trusty boy 



MICHAEL 215 

To go and overlook his merchandise 

Beyond the seas ; where he grew wondrous rich, 

And left estates and monies to the poor, 

And, at his birth-place, built a chapel floored 

With marble, which he sent from foreign lands. 270 

These thoughts, and many others of like sort, 

Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel, 

And her face brightened. The old Man was glad, 

And thus resumed : ' Well, Isabel ! this scheme 

These two days has been meat and drink to me. 

Far more than we have lost is left us yet. 

We have enough I wish indeed that I 

Were younger ; but this hope is a good hope. 

Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best 

Buy for him more, and let us send him forth 280 

To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night : 

If he could go, the Boy should go to-night.' 

Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went forth 
With a light heart. The Housewife for five days 
Was restless morn and night, and all day long 
Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare 
Things needful for the journey of her Son. 
But Isabel was glad when Sunday came 
To stop her in her work : for, when she lay 
By Michael's side, she through the last two nights 
Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep : 291 
And when they rose at morning she could see 
That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon 
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves 
Were sitting at the door, ' Thou must not go : 
We have no other Child but thee to lose, 
None to remember do not go away, 
For if thou leave thy Father he will die.' 
The Youth made answer with a jocund voice ; 
And Isabel, when she had told her fears, 300 

Recovered heart. That evening her best fare 
Did she bring forth, and all together sat 
Like happy people round a Christmas fire. 

With daylight Isabel resumed her work ; 
And all the ensuing week the house appeared 
As cheerful as a grove in Spring : at length 
The expected letter from their kinsman came, 
With kind assurances that he would do 
His utmost for the welfare of the Boy ; 
To which requests were added, that forthwith 310 



216 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

He might be sent to him. Ten times or more 

The letter was read over ; Isabel 

Went forth to show it to the neighbours round ; 

Nor was there at that time on English land 

A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel 

Had to her house returned, the old Man said, 

f He shall depart to-morrow.' To this word 

The Housewife answered, talking much of things 

Which, if at such short notice he should go, 

Would surely be forgotten. But at length 320 

She gave consent, and Michael was at ease. 

Near the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll, 
In that deep valley, Michael had designed 
To build a Sheep-fold ; and, before he heard 
The tidings of his melancholy loss, 
For this same purpose he had gathered up 
A heap of stones, which by the streamlet's edge 
Lay thrown together, ready for the work. 
With Luke that evening thitherward he walked : 
And soon as they had reached the place he stopped, 
And thus the old Man spake to him : ' My Son, 331 
To-morrow thou wilt leave me : with full heart 
I look upon thee, for thou art the same 
That wert a promise to me ere thy birth, 
And all thy life hast been my daily joy. 
I will relate to thee some little part 
Of our two histories ; 'twill do thee good 
When thou art from me, even if I should touch 

On things thou canst not know of. After thou 

First cam'st into the world as oft befalls 340 

To new-born infants thou didst sleep away 
Two days, and blessings from thy Father's tongue 
Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed on, 
And still I loved thee with increasing love. 
Never to living ear came sweeter sounds 
Than when I heard thee by our own fireside 
First uttering, without words, a natural tune ; 
While thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy 
Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month followed month, 
And in the open fields my life was passed 350 

And on the mountains ; else I think that thou 
Hadst been brought up upon thy Father's knees. 
But we were playmates, Luke : among these hills, 
As well thou knowest, in us the old and young 
Have played together, nor with me didst thou 
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know.' 



MICHAEL 217 

Luke had a manly heart ; but at these words 

He sobbed aloud. The old Man grasped his hand, 

And said, ' Nay, do not take it so I see 

That these are things of which I need not speak. 360 

Even to the utmost I have been to thee 

A kind and a good Father : and herein 

I but repay a gift which I myself 

Received at others' hands ; for, though now old 

Beyond the common life of man, I still 

Remember them who loved me in my youth. 

Both of them sleep together : here they lived, 

As all their Forefathers had done ; and, when 

At length their time was come, they were not loth 

To give their bodies to the family mould. 370 

I wished that thou should'st live the life they lived : 

But, 'tis a long time to look back, my Son, 

And see so little gain from threescore years. 

These fields were burthened when they came to me ; 

Till I was forty years of age, not more 

Than half of my inheritance was mine. 

I toiled and toiled ; God blessed me in my work, 

And till these three weeks past the land was free. 

It looks as if it never could endure 

Another Master. Heaven forgive me, Luke, 380 

If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good 

That thou should'st go.' 

At this the old Man paused ; 

Then, pointing to the stones near which they stood, 
Thus, after a short silence, he resumed : 
' This was a work for us ; and now, my Son, 
It is a work for me. But, lay one stone 
Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own hands. 
Nay, Boy, be of good hope ; we both may live 
To see a better day. At eighty-four 
I still am strong and hale ; do thou thy part ; 390 
I will do mine. I will begin again 
With many tasks that were resigned to thee : 
Up to the heights, and in among the storms, 
Will I without thee go again, and do 
All works which I was wont to do alone, 
Before I knew thy face. Heaven bless thee, Boy ! 
Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast 
With many hopes ; it should be so yes yes 
I knew that thou could'st never have a wish 
To leave me, Luke : thou hast been bound to me 400 
Only by links of love : when thou art gone, 
What will be left to us ! But, I forget 



218 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone, 

As 1 requested ; and hereafter, Luke, 

When thou art gone away, should evil men 

Be thy companions, think of me, my Son, 

And of this moment ; hither turn thy thoughts, 

And God will strengthen thee : amid all fear 

And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou 

May'st bear in mind the life thy Fathers lived, 410 

Who, being innocent, did for that cause 

Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee well 

When thou return'st, thou in this place wilt see 

A work which is not here : a covenant 

'Twill be between us ; but, whatever fate 

Befall thee, I shall love thee to the last, 

And bear thy memory with me to the grave.' 

The Shepherd ended here ; and Luke stooped down, 
And, as his Father had requested, laid 
The first stone of the Sheep-fold. At the sight 420 
The old Man's grief broke from him ; to his heart 
He pressed his Son, he kissed him and wept ; 
And to the house together they returned. 
Hushed was that House in peace, or seeming peace, 
Ere the night fell : with morrow's dawn the Boy 
Began his journey, and, when he had reached 
The public way, he put on a bold face ; 
And all the neighbours, as he passed their doors, 
Came forth witli wishes and with farewell prayers, 
That followed him till he was out of sight. 430 

A good report did from their Kinsman come, 

Of Luke and his well-doing : and the Boy 

Wrote loving letters, full of wondrous news, 

Which, as the Housewife phrased it, were throughout 

' The prettiest letters that were ever seen.' 

Both parents read them with rejoicing hearts. 

So, many months passed on : and once again 

The Shepherd went about his daily work 

With confident and cheerful thoughts ; and now 

Sometimes when he could find a leisure hour 440 

He to that valley took his way, and there 

Wrought at the Sheep-fold. Meantime Luke began 

To slacken in his duty ; and, at length, 

He in the dissolute city gave himself 

To evil courses : ignominy and shame 

Fell on him, so that he was driven at last 

To seek a hiding-place beyond the seas. 



MICHAEL 219 

There is a comfort in the strength of love ; 
'Twill make a thing endurable, which else 
Would overset the brain, or break the heart : 450 

I have conversed with more than one who well 
Remember the old Man, and what he was 
Years after he had heard this heavy news. 
His bodily frame had been from youth to age 
Of an unusual strength. Among the rocks 
He went, and still looked up to sun and cloud, 
And listened to the wind ; and, as before, 
Performed all kinds of labour for his sheep, 
And for the land, his small inheritance. 
And to that hollow dell from time to time 460 

Did he repair, to build the Fold of which 
His flock had need. 'Tis not forgotten yet 
The pity which was then in every heart 
For the old Man and 'tis believed by all 
That many and many a day he thither went, 
And never lifted up a single stone. 

There, by the Sheep-fold, sometimes was he seen 
Sitting alone, or with his faithful Dog, 
Then old, beside him, lying at his feet. 
The length of full seven years, from time to time, 470 
He at the building of this Sheep-fold wrought, 
And left the work unfinished when he died. 
Three years, or little more, did Isabel 
Survive her Husband : at her death the estate 
Was sold, and went into a stranger's hand. 
The Cottage which was named THE EVENING STAR 
Is gone the ploughshare has been through the 

ground 

On which it stood ; great changes have been wrought 
In all the neighbourhood : yet the oak is left 
That grew beside their door; and the remains 480 
Of the unfinished Sheep-fold may be seen 
Beside the boisterous brook of Green-head Ghyll. 

Oct. 11 Dec. 9, 1800. 

XXXIII 
THE WIDOW ON WINDERMERE SIDE 



HOW beautiful when up a lofty height 
Honour ascends among the humblest poor, 
And feeling sinks as deep ! See there the door 



220 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Of One, a Widow, left beneath a weight 

Of blameless debt. On evil Fortune's spite 

She wasted no complaint, but strove to make 

A just repayment, both for conscience-sake 

And that herself and hers should stand upright 

In the world's eye. Her work when daylight failed 

Paused not, and through the depth of night she kept 10 

Such earnest vigils, that belief prevailed 

With some, the noble Creature never slept ; 

But, one by one, the hand of death assailed 

Her children, from her inmost heart bewept. 



The Mother mourned, nor ceased her tears to flow, 

Till a winter's noon-day placed her buried Son 

Before her eyes, last child of many gone 

His raiment of angelic white, and lo ! 

His very feet bright as the dazzling snow 

Which they are touching ; yea far brighter, even t 

As that which comes, or seems to come, from heaven, 

Surpasses aught these elements can show. 

Much she rejoiced, trusting that from that hour 

Whate'er befell she could not grieve or pine ; 

But the Transfigured, in and out of season, 

Appeared, and spiritual presence gained a power 

Over material forms that mastered reason. 

Oh, gracious Heaven, in pity make her thine ! 



in 

But why that prayer ? as if to her could come 

No good but by the way that leads to bliss 30 

Through Death, so judging we should judge amiss. 

Since reason failed want is her threatened doom, 

Yet frequent transports mitigate the gloom : 

Nor of those maniacs is she one that kiss 

The air or laugh upon a precipice ; 

No, passing through strange sufferings toward the tomb, 

She smiles as if a martyr's crown were won : 

Oft, when light breaks through clouds or waving trees, 

With outspread arms and fallen upon her knees 

The Mother hails in her descending Son 40 

An Angel, and in earthly ecstasies 

Her own angelic glory seems begun. 

1837 



THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE 

XXXIV 
THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE 

[THE subject of the following poem is from the Orlandus of the author's 
friend, Kenelm Henry Digby : and the liberty is taken of inscribing it to him 
as an acknowledgment, however unworthy, of pleasure and instruction 
derived from his numerous and valuable writings, illustrative of the piety 
and chivalry of the olden time.] 



Y ( 



'OU have heard ' a Spanish Lady 

How she wooed an English man '; l 
Hear now of a fair Armenian, 

Daughter of the proud Soldan ; 
How she loved a Christian Slave, and told her pain 
By word, look, deed, with hope that he might love again. 



' Pluck that rose, it moves my liking/ 

Said she, lifting up her veil ; 
' Pluck it for me, gentle gardener, 

Ere it wither and grow pale.' 10 

' Princess fair, I till the ground, but may not take 
From twig or bed an humbler flower, even for your sake ! ' 



' Grieved am 1, submissive Christian ! 

To behold thy captive state ; 
Women, in your land, may pity 

(May they not?) the unfortunate.' 
' Yes, kind Lady ! otherwise man could not bear 
Life, which to every one that breathes is full of care.' 

IV 

' Worse than idle is compassion 

If it end in tears and sighs ; 20 

Thee from bondage would I rescue 

And from vile indignities ; 

Nurtured, as thy mien bespeaks, in high degree, 
Look up and help a hand that longs to set thee free.' 

1 See in Percy's Eeliques that fine old Ballad, 'The Spanish Lady'i 
Love ' ; from which Poem the form of stanza, as suitable to dialogue, is 
adopted. 



222 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



r Lady ! dread the wish, nor venture 

In such peril to engage ; 
Think how it would stir against you 

Your most loving father's rage : 

Sad deliverance would it be, and yoked with shame, 
Should troubles overflow on her from whom it came.' 30 

VI 

' Generous Frank ! the just in effort 

Are of inward peace secure : 
Hardships for the brave encountered 

Even the feeblest may endure : 
If almighty grace through me thy chains unbind, 
My father for slave's work may seek a slave in mind.' 

VII 

' Princess, at this burst of goodness, 

My long-frozen heart grows warm ! ' 
' Yet you make all courage fruitless, 

Me to save from chance of harm : 40 

Leading such companion I that gilded dome, 
Yon minarets, would gladly leave for his worst home.' 

VIII 

' Feeling tunes your voice, fair Princess ! 

And your brow is free from scorn, 
Else these words would come like mockery, 

Sharper than the pointed thorn.' 
' Whence the undeserved mistrust ? Too wide apart 
Our faith hath been, O would that eyes could see the 
heart ! ' 

IX 

' Tempt me not, I pray ; my doom is 

These base implements to wield ; 50 

Rusty lance, I ne'er shall grasp thee, 
Ne'er assoil my cobwebb'd shield ! 
Never see my native land, nor castle towers, 
Nor Her who thinking of me there counts widowed hours.' 



' Prisoner ! pardon youthful fancies ; 

Wedded ? If you can, say no ! 
Blessed is and be your consort ; 

Hopes I cherished let them go ! 
Handmaid's privilege would leave my purpose free, 
Without another link to my felicity.' 60 



THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE 



' Wedded love with loyal Christians, 

Lady, is a mystery rare ; 
Body, heart, and soul in union, 

Make one being of a pair.' 
' Humble love in me would look for no return, 
Soft as a guiding star that cheers, but cannot burn.' 

XII 

' Gracious Allah ! by such title 
Do I dare to thank the God, 
Him who thus exalts thy spirit, 

Flower of an unchristian sod ! 70 

Or hast thou put off wings which thou in heaven dost 

wear ? 

What have I seen, and heard, or dreamt ? where am I ? 
where ? ' 

XIII 

Here broke off the dangerous converse : 

Less impassioned words might tell 
How the pair escaped together, 

Tears not wanting, nor a knell 

Of sorrow in her heart while through her father's door, 
And from her narrow world, she passed for evermore. 



But affections higher, holier, 

Urged her steps ; she shrunk from trust 80 
In a sensual creed that trampled 
Woman's birthright into dust. 
Little be the wonder then, the blame be none, 
If she, a timid Maid, hath put such boldness on. 

xv 

Judge both Fugitives with knowledge : 

In those old romantic days 
Mighty were the soul's commandments 

To support, restrain, or raise. 

Foes might hang upon their path, snakes rustle near, 89 
But nothing from their inward selves had they to fear. 

XVI 

Thought infirm ne'er came between them, 

Whether printing desert sands 
With accordant steps, or gathering 

Forest-fruit with social hands ; 



224 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Or whispering like two reeds that in the cold moonbeam 
Bend with the breeze their heads beside a crystal stream. 



On a friendly deck reposing 

They at length for Venice steer ; 
There, when they had closed their voyage, 

One, who daily on the pier 100 

Watched for tidings from the East, beheld his Lord, 
Fell down and clasped his knees for joy, not uttering word. 

XVIII 

Mutual was the sudden transport ; 

Breathless questions followed fast, 
Years contracting to a moment, 

Each word greedier than the last ; 
' Hie thee to the Countess, friend ! return with speed, 
And of this Stranger speak by whom her lord was freed. 

XIX 

' Say that I, who might have languished, 

Drooped and pined till life was spent, no 
Now before the gates of Stolberg 

My Deliverer would present 
For a crowning recompense, the precious grace 
Of her who in my heart still holds her ancient place. 

xx 

' Make it known that my Companion 

Is of royal eastern blood, 
Thirsting after all perfection, 

Innocent, and meek, and good, 

Though with misbelievers bred ; but that dark night 
Will holy Church disperse by beams of gospel-light/ 120 

XXI 

Swiftly went that grey-haired Servant, 

Soon returned a trusty Page 
Charged with greetings, benedictions, 

Thanks and praises, each a ga^e 
For a sunny thought to cheer the Stranger's way, 
Her virtuous scruples to remove, her fears allay. 

XXII 

And how blest the Reunited, 
While beneath their castle-walls 

Runs a deafening noise of welcome ! 

Blest, though every tear that falls 130 



LOVING AND LIKING 225 

Doth in its silence of past sorrow tell, 

And makes a meeting seem most like a dear farewell. 

XXIII 

Through a haze of human nature, 

Glorified by heavenly light, 
Looked the beautiful Deliverer 
On that overpowering sight, 

While across her virgin cheek pure blushes strayed, 
For every tender sacrifice her heart had made. 



On the ground the weeping Countess 

Knelt, and kissed the Stranger's hand ; 140 
Act of soul-devoted homage, 
Pledge of an eternal band : 
Nor did aught of future days that kiss belie, 
Which, with a generous shout, the crowd did ratify. 

xxv 

Constant to the fair Armenian, 

Gentle pleasures round her moved, 
Like a tutelary spirit 

Reverenced, like a sister loved. 

Christian meekness smoothed for all the path of life, 
Who, loving most, should wiseliest love, their only strife. 

XXVI 

Mute memento of that union 151 

In a Saxon church survives, 
Where a cross-legged Knight lies sculptured 

As between two wedded Wives 

Figures with armorial signs of race and birth, 
And the vain rank the pilgrims bore while yet on earth. 

1830 

XXXV 

LOVING AND LIKING 

IRREGULAR VERSES ADDRESSED TO A CHILD 

(BY MY SISTER) 

THERE 'S more in words than I can teach : 
Yet listen, Child ! I would not preach ; 
But only give some plain directions 
To guide your speech and your affections. 
Say not you love a roasted fowl, 

l-P 



226 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

But you may love a screaming owl, 

And, if you can, the unwieldy toad 

That crawls from his secure abode 

Within the mossy garden wall 

When evening dews begin to fall. 10 

Oh ! mark the beauty of his eye : 

What wonders in that circle lie ! 

So clear, so bright, our fathers said 

He wears a jewel in his head ! 

And when, upon some showery day, 

Into a path or public way 

A frog leaps out from bordering grass, 

Startling the timid as they pass, 

Do you observe him, and endeavour 

To take the intruder into favour ; 20 

Learning from him to find a reason 

For a light heart in a dull season. 

And you may love him in the pool, 

That is for him a happy school, 

In which he swims as taught by nature, 

Fit pattern for a human creature, 

Glancing amid the water bright, 

And sending upward sparkling light. 

Nor blush if o'er your heart be stealing 
A love for things that have no feeling : 30 

The spring's first rose by you espied, 
May fill your breast with joyful pride ; 
And you may love the strawberry-flower, 
And love the strawberry in its bower ; 
But when the fruit, so often praised 
For beauty, to your lip is raised, 
Say not you love the delicate treat, 
But like it, enjoy it, and thankfully eat. 

Long may you love your pensioner mouse, 
Though one of a tribe that torment the house : 40 
Nor dislike for her cruel sport the cat, 
Deadly foe both of mouse and rat ; 
Remember she follows the law of her kind, 
And Instinct is neither wayward nor blind. 
Then think of her beautiful gliding form, 
Her tread that would scarcely crush a worm. 
And her soothing song by the winter fire, 
Soft as the dying throb of the lyre. 

I would not circumscribe your love : 
It may soar with the eagle and brood with the dove, 



FAREWELL LINES 227 

May pierce the earth with the patient mole, 51 

Or track the hedgehog to his hole. 

Loving and liking are the solace of life, 

Rock the cradle of joy, smooth the death-bed of 

strife. 

You love your father and your mother, 
Your grown-up and your baby brother ; 
You love your sister and your friends, 
And countless blessings which God sends : 
And while these right affections play, 
You live each moment of your day ; 60 

They lead you on to full content, 
And likings fresh and innocent, 
That store the Ynind, the memoi'y feed, 
And prompt to many a gentle deed : 
But likings come, and pass away ; 
'Tis love that remains till our latest day : 
Our heavenward guide is holy love, 
And will be our bliss with saints above. 

1832 

XXXVI 
FAREWELL LINES 

' T T IGH bliss is only for a higher state/ 

But, surely, if severe afflictions borne 
With patience merit the reward of peace, 
Peace ye deserve ; and may the solid good, 
Sought by a wise though late exchange, and here 
With bounteous hand beneath a cottage-roof 
To you accorded, never be withdrawn, 
Nor for the world's best promises renounced. 
Most soothing was it for a welcome Friend, 
Fresh from the crowded city, to behold 10 

That lonely union, privacy so deep, 
Such calm employments, such entire content. 
So when the rain is over, the storm laid, 
A pair of herons oft-times have I seen, 
Upon a rocky islet, side by side, 
Drying their feathers in the sun, at ease ; 
And so, when night with grateful gloom had fallen, 
Two glow-worms in such nearness that they shared. 
As seemed, their soft self-satisfying light, 
Each with the other, on the dewy ground, 20 

Where He that made them blesses their repose. 
When wandering among lakes and hills I note, 
Once more, those creatures thus by nature paired, 



228 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And guarded in their tranquil state of life, 
Even, as your happy presence to my mind 
Their union brought, will they repay the debt, 
And send a thankful spirit back to you, 
With hope that we, dear Friends ! shall meet again. 

Published 1842 

XXXVII 

THE REDBREAST 
(SUGGESTED IN A WESTMORELAND COTTAGE) 

DRIVEN in by Autumn's sharpening air 
From half-stripped woods and pastures bare, 
Brisk Robin seeks a kindlier home : 
Not like a beggar is he come, 
But enters as a looked-for guest, 
Confiding in his ruddy breast, 
As if it were a natural shield 
Charged with a blazon on the field, 
Due to that good and pious deed 
Of which we in the Ballad read. 10 

But pensive fancies putting by, 
And wild-wood sorrows, speedily 
He plays the expert ventriloquist ; 
And, caught by glimpses now now missed, 
Puzzles the listener with a doubt 
If the soft voice he throws about 
Comes from within doors or without ! 
Was ever such a sweet confusion, 
Sustained by delicate illusion ? 

He 's at your elbow to your feeling 20 

The notes are from the floor or ceiling ; 
And there's a riddle to be guessed, 
Till you have marked his heaving chest 
And busy throat, whose sink and swell 
Betray the Elf that loves to dwell 
In Robin's bosom as a chosen cell. 

Heart-pleased we smile upon the Bird 
If seen, and with like pleasure stirred 
Commend him, when he 's only heard. 
But small and fugitive our gain 30 

Compared with hers who long hath lain, 
With languid limbs and patient head 
Reposing on a lone sick-bed ; 
Where now she daily hears a strain 
That cheats her of too busy cares; 



THE REDBREAST 229 

Eases her pain, and helps her prayers. 

And who but this dear Bird beguiled 

The fever of that pale-faced Child ; 

Now cooling, with his passing wing, 

Her forehead, like a breeze of Spring : 40 

Recalling now, with descant soft 

Shed round her pillow from aloft, 

Sweet thoughts of angels hovering nigh, 

And the invisible sympathy 

Of ' Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John, 

Blessing the bed she lies upon ? ' l 

And sometimes, just as listening ends 

In slumber, with the cadence blends 

A dream of that low-warbled hymn 

Which old folk, fondly pleased to trim 50 

Lamps of faith, now burning dim, 

Say that the Cherubs, carved in stone, 

When clouds gave way at dead of night 

And the ancient church was filled with light, 

Used to sing in heavenly tone, 

Above and round the sacred places 

They guard with winged baby-faces. 

Thrice happy Creature ! in all lands 
Nurtured by hospitable hands : 

Free entrance to this cot has he, 60 

Entrance and exit both yet free ; 
And when the keen unruffled weather, 
That thus brings man and bird together, 
Shall with its pleasantness be past, 
And casement closed and door made fast, 
To keep at bay the howling blast, 
He needs not fear the season's rage, 
For the whole house is Robin's cage. 
Whether the bird flit here or there, 
O'er table lilt, or perch on chair, r> 

Though some may frown and make a stir, 
To scare him as a trespasser, 
And he belike will flinch or start, 
Good friends he has to take his part ; 
One chiefly, who with voice and look 
Pleads for him from the chimney-nook, 
Where sits the Dame, and wears away 

1 The words 

' Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John, 

Bless the bed that I lie on,' 
are part of a child's prayer, still in general use through the northern counties. 



230 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Her long and vacant holiday ; 

With images about her heart, 

Reflected from the years gone by 80 

On human nature's second infancy. 

1834 




HER eyes are wild, her head is bare, 
The sun has burnt her coal-black hair ; 
Her eyebrows have a rusty stain, 
And she came far from over the main. 
She has a baby on her arm, 
Or else she were alone : 
And underneath the hay-stack warm, 
And on the greenwood stone, 
She talked and sung the woods among, 
And it was in the English tongue. 10 



'Sweet babe ! they say that I am mad, 

But nay, my heart is far too glad ; 

And I am happy when I sing 

Full many a sad and doleful thing : 

Then, lovely baby, do not fear ! 

I pray thee have no fear of me ; 

But safe as in a cradle here 

My lovely baby ! thou shalt be : 

To thee I know too much I owe ; 

I cannot work thee any woe. ao 

HI 

' A fire was once within my brain ; 

And in my head a dull, dull pain ; 

And fiendish faces, one, two, three, 

Hung at my breast, and pulled at me ; 

But then there came a sight of joy ; 

It came at once to do me good ; 

I waked, and saw my little boy, 

My little boy of flesh and blood ; 

Oh joy for me that sight to see ! 

For he was here, and only he. 30 



HER EYES ARE WILD 231 



* Suck, little babe, oh suck again ! 

It cools my blood ; it cools my brain ; 

Thy lips I feel them, baby ! they 

Draw from my heart the pain away. 

Oh ! press me with thy little hand ; 

It loosens something at my chest ; 

About that tight and deadly band 

I feel thy little fingers prest. 

The breeze I see is in the tree : 

It comes to cool my babe and me. 40 



' Oh ! love me, love me, little boy ! 

Thou art thy mother's only joy ; 

And do not dread the waves below, 

When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go ; 

The high crag cannot work me harm, 

Nor leaping torrents when they howl ; 

The babe I carry on my arm, 

He saves for me my precious soul; 

Then happy lie ; for blest am I ; 

Without me my sweet babe would die. 50 

VI 

'Then do not fear, my boy ! for thee 

Bold as a lion will I be ; 

And I will always be thy guide, 

Through hollow snows and rivers wide. 

I '11 build an Indian bower ; I know 

The leaves that make the softest bed : 

And, if from me thou wilt not go, 

But still be true till I am dead, 

My pretty thing ! then thou shalt sing 

As merry as the birds in spring. 60 

VII 

' Thy father cares not for my breast, 
'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest ; 
'Tis all thine own ! and, if its hue 
Be changed, that was so fair to view, 
'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove ! 
My beauty, little child, is flown, 
But thou wilt live with me in love ; 
And what if my poor cheek be brown ? 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

"Tis well for me thou canst not see 

How pale and wan it else would be. 70 

VIII 

' Dread not their taunts, my little Life ; 

I am thy father's wedded wife ; 

And underneath the spreading tree 

We two will live in honesty. 

If his sweet boy he could forsake, 

With me he never would have stayed : 

From him no harm my babe can take ; 

But he, poor man ! is wretched made ; 

And every day we two will pray 

For him that 's gone and far away. 80 

IX 

' I '11 teach my boy the sweetest things : 

I '11 teach him how the owlet sings. 

My little babe ! thy lips are still, 

And thou hast almost sucked thy fill. 

Where art thou gone, my own dear child ? 

What wicked looks are those I see ? 

Alas ! Alas ! that look so wild, 

It never, never came from me : 

If thou art mad, my pretty lad, 

Then I must be for ever sad. 90 



' Oh ! smile on me, my little lamb ! 

For I thy own dear mother am : 

My love for thee has well been tried : 

I 've sought thy father far and wide. 

I know the poisons of the shade ; 

I know the earth-nuts fit for food : 

Then, pretty dear, be not afraid : 

We '11 find thy father in the wood. 

Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away ! 

And there, my babe, we'll live for aye.' 

1798 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 233 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 



ADVERTISEMENT 

BY persons resident in the country and attached to rural objects, many 
places will be found unnamed or of unknown names, where little Incidents 
must have occurred, or feelings been experienced, which will have given to 
such places a private and peculiar interest. From a wish to give some sort 
of record to such Incidents, and renew the gratification of such feelings, 
Names have been given to Places by the Author and some of his Friends, 
and the following Poems written in consequence. 



IT was an April morning : fresh and clear 
The Rivulet, delighting in its strength, 
Ran with a young man's speed ; and yet the voice 
Of waters which the winter had supplied 
Was softened down into a vernal tone. 
The spirit of enjoyment and desire, 
And hopes and wishes, from all living things 
Went circling, like a multitude of sounds. 
The budding groves seemed eager to urge on 
The steps of June ; as if their various hues 10 

Were only hindrances that stood between 
Them and their object : but, meanwhile, prevailed 
Such an entire contentment in the air 
That every naked ash, and tardy tree 
Yet leafless, showed as if the countenance 
With which it looked on this delightful day 
Were native to the summer. Up the brook 
I roamed in the confusion of my heart, 
Alive to all things and forgetting all. 
At length I to a sudden turning came 20 

In this continuous glen, where down a rock 
The Stream, so ardent in its course before, 
Sent forth such sallies of glad sound, that all, 
Which I till then had heard, appeared the voice 
Of common pleasure : beast and bird, the lamb, 
The shepherd's dog, the linnet and the thrush, 
Vied with this waterfall, and made a song, 
Which, while I listened, seemed like the wild growth 



234 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Or like some natural produce of the air, 

That could not cease to be. Green leaves were here ; 

But 'twas the foliage of the rocks the birch, 31 

The yew, the holly, and the bright green thorn, 

With hanging islands of resplendent furze : 

And, on a summit, distant a short space, 

By any who should look beyond the dell, 

A single mountain-cottage might be seen. 

I gazed and gazed, and to myself I said, 

' Our thoughts at least are ours ; and this wild nook, 

My EMMA, I will dedicate to thee.' 

Soon did the spot become my other home, 40 

My dwelling, and my out-of-doors abode. 

And, of the Shepherds who have seen me there, 

To whom I sometimes in our idle talk 

Have told this fancy, two or three, perhaps, 

Years after we are gone and in our graves, 

When they have cause to speak of this wild place, 

May call it by the name of EMMA'S DELL. 

1800 

II 
TO JOANNA 

AMID the smoke of cities did you pass 
jf-\_ The time of early youth; and there you 

learned, 

From years of quiet industry, to love 
The living Beings by your own fireside, 
With such a strong devotion, that your heart 
Is slow to meet the sympathies of them 
Who look upon the hills with tenderness, 
And make dear friendships with the streams and 

groves. 

Yet we, who are transgressors in this kind, 
Dwelling retired in our simplicity 10 

Among the woods and fields, we love you well, 
Joanna ! and I guess, since you have been 
So distant from us now for two long years, 
That you will gladly listen to discourse, 
However trivial, if you thence be taught 
That they, with whom you once were happy, talk 
, Familiarly of you and of old times. 

While I was seated, now some ten days past, 
Beneath those lofty firs, that overtop 
Their ancient neighbour, the old steeple-tower. 20 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 235 

The Vicar from his gloomy house hard by 

Came forth to greet me ; and, when he had asked, 

' How fares Joanna, that wild-hearted Maid ! 

And when will she return to us ? ' he paused ; 

And, after short exchange of village news, 

He with grave looks demanded, for what cause, 

Reviving obsolete idolatry, 

I, like a Runic Priest, in characters 

Of formidable size had chiselled out 

Some uncouth name upon the native rock, 30 

Above the Rotha, by the forest-side. 

Now, by those dear immunities of heart 

Engendered between malice and true love, 

I was not loth to be so catechised, 

And this was my reply : ' As it befell, 

One summer morning we had walked abroad 

At break of day, Joanna and myself. 

'Twas that delightful season when the broom, 

Full-flowered, and visible on every steep, 

Along the copses runs in veins of gold. 40 

Our pathway led us on to Rotha's banks ; 

And when we came in front of that tall rock 

That eastward looks, I there stopped short and stood 

Tracing the lofty barrier with my eye 

From base to summit; such delight I found 

To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower, 

That intermixture of delicious hues, 

Along so vast a surface, all at once, 

In one impression, by connecting force 

Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart. 50 

When I had gazed perhaps two minutes' space, 

Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld 

That ravishment of mine, and laughed aloud. 

The Rock, like something starting from a sleep, 

Took up the Lady's voice, and laughed again; 

That ancient Woman seated on Helm-crag 

Was ready with her cavern ; Hammar-scar, 

And the tall Steep of Silver-how, sent forth 

A noise of laughter; southern Loughrigg heard, 

And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone ; 60 

Helvellyn far into the clear blue sky 

Carried the Lady's voice, old Skiddaw blew 

His speaking-trumpet ; back out of the clouds 

Of Glaramara southward came the voice ; 

And Kirkstone tossed it from his misty head. 

Now whether,' said I to our cordial Friend, 

Who in the hey-day of astonishment 



236 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Smiled in my face, ' this were in simple truth 

A work accomplished by the brotherhood 

Of ancient mountains, or my ear was touched 70 

With dreams and visionary impulses 

To me alone imparted, sure I am 

That there was a loud uproar in the hills. 

And, while we both were listening, to my side 

The fair Joanna drew, as if she wished 

To shelter from some object of her fear. 

And hence, long afterwards, when eighteen moons 

Were wasted, as I chanced to walk alone 

Beneath this rock, at sunrise, on a calm 

And silent morning, I sat down, and there, 80 

In memory of affections old and true, 

I chiselled out in those rude characters 

Joanna's name deep in the living stone : 

And I, and all who dwell by my fireside, 

Have called the lovely rock, JOANNA'S ROCK.' 

1800 

NOTE. In Cumberland and Westmoreland are several Inscriptions, upon 
the native rock, which, from the wasting of time, and the rudeness of the 
workmanship, have been mistaken for Runic. They are, without doubt, 
Roman. 

The Rotha, mentioned in this poem, is the River which, flowing through 
the lakes of Grasmere and Rydale, falls into Wynandermere. On Helm-crag, 
that impressive single mountain at the head of the Vale of Grasmere, is a 
rock which from most points of view bears a striking resemblance to an old 
Woman cowering. Close by this rock is one of those fissures or caverns, 
which in the language of the country are called dungeons. Most of the 
mountains here mentioned immediately surround the Vale of Grasmere ; of 
the others, some are at a considerable distance, but they belong to the same 
cluster. 



Ill 

XHERE is an Eminence, of these our hills 
The last that parleys with the setting sun ; 
:an behold it from our orchard-seat ; 
And, when at evening we pursue our walk 
Along the public way, this Peak, so high 
Above us, and so distant in its height, 
Is visible ; and often seems to send 
Its own deep quiet to restore our hearts. 
The meteors make of it a favourite haunt : 
The star of Jove, so beautiful and large 
In the mid heavens, is never half so fair 
As when he shines above it. 'Tis in truth 
The loneliest place we have among the clouds. 
And She who dwells with me, whom I have loved 
With such communion, that no place on earth 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 237 

Can ever be a solitude to me, 

Hath to this lonely Summit given my Name. 

1800 

IV 

A NARROW girdle of rough stones and crags, 
A rude and natural causeway, interposed 
Between the water and a winding slope 
Of copse and thicket, leaves the eastern shore 
Of Grasmere safe in its own privacy : 
And there myself and two beloved Friends, 
One calm September morning, ere the mist 
Had altogether yielded to the sun, 
Sauntered on this retired and difficult way. 

Ill suits the road with one in haste ; but we 10 

Played with our time ; and, as we strolled along, 

It was our occupation to observe 

Such objects as the waves had tossed ashore 

Feather, or leaf, or weed, or withered bough, 

Each on the other heaped, along the line 

Of the dry wreck. And, in our vacant mood, 

Not seldom did we stop to watch some tuft 

Of dandelion seed or thistle's beard, 

That skimmed the surface of the dead calm lake, 

Suddenly halting now a lifeless stand ! 20 

And starting off again with freak as sudden ; 

In all its sportive wanderings, all the while, 

Making report of an invisible breeze 

That was its wings, its chariot, and its horse, 

Its playmate, rather say, its moving soul. 

And often, trifling with a privilege 

Alike indulged to all, we paused, one now, 

And now the other, to point out, perchance 

To pluck, some flower or water-weed, too fair 

Either to be divided from the place 30 

On which it grew, or to be left alone 

To its own beauty. Many such there are, 

Fair ferns and flowers, and chiefly that tall fern, 

So stately, of the Queen Osmunda named ; 

Plant lovelier, in its own retired abode 

On Grasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side 

Of Grecian brook, or Lady of the Mere, 

Sole-sitting by the shores of old romance. 

So fared we that bright morning : from the fields, 

Meanwhile, a noise was heard, the busy mirth 40 

Of reapers, men and women, boys and girls. 

Delighted much to listen to those sounds, 



238 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And feeding thus our fancies, we advanced 
Along the indented shore ; when suddenly, 
Through a thin veil of glittering haze was seen 
Before us, on a point of jutting land, 
The tall and upright figure of a Man 
Attired in peasant's garb, who stood alone, 
Angling beside the margin of the lake. 
' Improvident and reckless,' we exclaimed, 50 

' The Man must be, who thus can lose a day 
Of the mid harvest, when the labourer's hire 
Is ample, and some little might be stored 
Wherewith to cheer him in the winter time.' 
Thus talking of that Peasant, we approached 
Close to the spot where with his rod and line 
He stood alone ; whereat he turned his head 
To greet us and we saw a Man worn down 
By sickness, gaunt and lean, with sunken cheeks 
And wasted limbs, his legs so long and lean 60 

That for my single self I looked at them, 
Forgetful of the body they sustained. 
Too weak to labour in the harvest field, 
The Man was using his best skill to gain 
A pittance from the dead unfeeling lake 
That knew not of his wants. I will not say 
What thoughts immediately were ours, nor how 
The happy idleness of that sweet morn, 
With all its lovely images, was changed 
To serious musing and to self-reproach. 70 

Nor did we fail to see within ourselves 
What need there is to be reserved in speech, 
And temper all our thoughts with charity. 
Therefore, unwilling to forget that day, 
My Friend, Myself, and She who then received 
The same admonishment, have called the place 
By a memorial name, uncouth indeed 
As e'er by mariner was given to bay 
Or foreland, on a new-discovered coast ; 
And POINT RASH-JUDGMENT is the Name it bears. 80 

1800 

V 
TO M. H. 

OUR walk was far among the ancient trees: 
There was no road, nor any woodman's path ; 
But a thick umbrage checking the wild growth 
Of weed and sapling, along soft green turf 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 239 

Beneath the branches of itself had made 
A track, that brought us to a slip of lawn, 
And a small bed of water in the woods. 
All round this pool both flocks and herds might drink 
On its firm margin, even as from a well, 
Or some stone-basin which the herdsman's hand 10 
Had shaped for their refreshment ; nor did sun, 
Or wind from any quarter, ever come, 
But as a blessing to this calm recess, 
This glade of water and this one green field. 
The spot was made by Nature for herself; 
The travellers know it not, and 'twill remain 
Unknown to them ; but it is beautiful ; 
And if a man should plant his cottage near, 
Should sleep beneath the shelter of its trees, 
And blend its waters with his daily meal, 20 

He would so love it, that in his death-hour 
Its image would survive among his thoughts : 
And therefore, my sweet MARY, this still Nook, 
With all its beeches, we have named from You ! 

Dec. 1799 

VI 

WHEN, to the attractions of the busy world 
Preferring studious leisure, I had chosen 
A habitation in this peaceful Vale, 
Sharp season followed of continual storm 
In deepest winter ; and, from week to week, 
Pathway, and lane, and public road, were clogged 
With frequent showers of snow. Upon a hill, 
At a short distance from my cottage, stands 
A stately Fir-grove, whither I was wont 
To hasten, for I found, beneath the roof 10 

Of that perennial shade, a cloistral place 
Of refuge, with an unincumbered floor. 
Here, in safe covert, on the shallow snow, 
And sometimes on a speck of visible earth, 
The redbreast near me hopped ; nor was I loth 
To sympathise with vulgar coppice birds 
That, for protection from the nipping blast, 
Hither repaired. A single beech-tree grew 
W T ithin this grove of firs ! and, on the fork 
Of that one beech, appeared a thrush's nest; 20 

A last year's nest, conspicuously built 
At such small elevation from the ground 
As gave sure sign that they, who in that house 
Of nature and of love had made their home 



240 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Amid the fir-trees, all the summer long 

Dwelt in a tranquil spot. And oftentimes 

A few sheep, stragglers from some mountain-flock, 

Would watch my motions with suspicious stare, 

From the remotest outskirts of the grove, 

Some nook where they had made their final stand, 30 

Huddling together from two fears the fear 

Of me and of the storm. Full many an hour 

Here did I lose. But in this grove the trees 

Had been so thickly planted, and had thriven 

In such perplexed and intricate array, 

That vainly did I seek beneath their stems 

A length of open space, where to and fro 

My feet might move without concern or care ; 

And, baffled thus, though earth from day to day 

Was fettered, and the air by storm disturbed, 40 

I ceased the shelter to frequent, and prized, 

Less than I wished to prize, that calm recess. 

The snows dissolved, and genial Spring returned 
To clothe the fields with verdure. Other haunts 
Meanwhile were mine ; till, one bright April day, 
By chance retiring from the glare of noon 
To this forsaken covert, there I found 
A hoary pathway traced between the trees, 
And winding on with such an easy line 
Along a natural opening, that I stood 50 

Much wondering how I could have sought in vain 
For what was now so obvious. To abide, 
For an allotted interval of ease, 
Under my cottage-roof, had gladly come 
From the wild sea a cherished Visitant ; 
And with the sight of this same path begun, 
Begun and ended, in the shady grove, 
Pleasant conviction flashed upon my mind 
That, to this opportune recess allured, 
He had surveyed it with a finer eye, 60 

A heart more wakeful ; and had worn the track 
By pacing here, unwearied and alone, 
In that habitual restlessness of foot 
That haunts the Sailor measuring o'er and o'er 
His short domain upon the vessel's deck, 
While she pursues her course through the dreary sea. 

When thou hadst quitted Esthwaite's pleasant 

shore, 
And taken thy first leave of those green hills 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 241 

And rocks that were the play-ground of thy youth, 
Year followed year, my Brother ! and we two, 70 

Conversing not, knew little in what mould 
Each other's mind was fashioned ; and at length, 
When once again we met in Grasmere Vale, 
Between us there was little other bond 
Than common feelings of fraternal love. 
But thou, a School-boy, to the sea hadst carried 
Undying recollections ; Nature there 
Was with thee ; she, who loved us both, she still 
Was with thee ; and even so didst thou become 
A silent Poet ; from the solitude 80 

Of the vast sea didst bring a watchful heart 
Still couchant, an inevitable ear, 
And an eye practised like a blind man's touch. 
Back to the joyless Ocean thou art gone ; 
Nor from this vestige of thy musing hours 
Could I withhold thy honoured name, and now 
I love the fir-grove with a perfect love. 
Thither do I withdraw when cloudless suns 
Shine hot, or wind blows troublesome and strong ; 
And there I sit at evening, when the steep go 

Of Silver-how, and Grasmere's peaceful lake, 
And one green island, gleam between the stems 
Of the dark firs, a visionary scene ! 
And, while I gaze upon the spectacle 
Of clouded splendour, on this dream-like sight 
Of solemn loveliness, I think on thee, 
My Brother, and on all which thou hast lost. 
Nor seldom, if I rightly guess, while Thou, 
Muttering the verses which I muttered first 
Among the mountains, through the midnight watch 
Art pacing thoughtfully the vessel's deck 101 

In some far region, here, while o'er my head, 
At every impulse of the moving breeze, 
The fir-grove murmurs with a sea-like sound, 
Alone I tread this path ; for aught I know, 
Timing my steps to thine; and, with a store 
Of undistinguishable sympathies, 
Mingling most earnest wishes for the day 
When we, and others whom we love, shall meet 
A second time, in Grasmere's happy Vale no 

1802 

NOTE. This wish was not granted ; the lamented Person not long after 
perished by shipwreck, in discharge of his duty as Commander of the 
Honourable East India Company's Vessel, the Ewrl of Abergavenny. 



i-Q 



242 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

VII 

T ^ORTH from a jutting ridge, around whose base 
Winds our deep Vale, two heath-clad Rocks 

ascend 

In fellowship, the loftiest of the pair 
Rising to no ambitious height ; yet both, 
O'er lake and stream, mountain and flowery mead, 
Unfolding prospects fair as human eyes 
Ever beheld. Up-led with mutual help, 
To one or other brow of those twin Peaks 
Were two adventurous Sisters wont to climb, 
And took no note of the hour while thence they 
gazed, . 10 

The blooming heath their couch, gazed, side by side. 
In speechless admiration. I, a witness 
And frequent sharer of their calm delight 
With thankful heart, to either Eminence 
Gave the baptismal name each Sister bore. 
Now are they parted, far as Death's cold hand 
Hath power to part the Spirits of those who love 
As they did love. Ye kindred Pinnacles 
That, while the generations of mankind 
Follow each other to their hiding-place 20 

In time's abyss, are privileged to endure 
Beautiful in yourselves, and richly graced 
With like command of beauty grant your aid 
For MARY'S humble, SARAH'S silent, claim, 
That their pure joy in nature may survive 
From age to age in blended memory. 



A MORNING EXERCISE 243 



POEMS OF THE FANCY 

I 
A MORNING EXERCISE 

FANCY, who leads the pastimes of the glad, 
Full oft is pleased a wayward dart to throw ; 
Sending sad shadows after things not sad, 
Peopling the harmless fields with signs of woe : 
Beneath her sway, a simple forest cry 
Becomes an echo of man's misery. 

Blithe ravens croak of death ; and when the owl 
Tries his two voices for a favourite strain 
Tu-whit To-whoo ! the unsuspecting fowl 
Forebodes mishap or seems but to complain ; 10 

Fancy, intent to harass and annoy, 
Can thus pervert the evidence of joy. 

Through border wilds where naked Indians stray, 
Myriads of notes attest her subtle skill ; 
A feathered task-master cries, ' WORK AWAY !' 
And in thy iteration, ' WHIP POOR WILL ! ' 1 
Is heard the spirit of a toil-worn slave, 
Lashed out of life, not quiet in the grave. 

What wonder ? at her bidding, ancient lays 
Stepped in dire grief the voice of Philomel ; ao 

And that fleet messenger of summer days, 
The Swallow, twittered subject to like spell ; 
But ne'er could Fancy bend the buoyant Lark 
To melancholy service hark ! O hark ! 

The daisy sleeps upon the dewy lawn, 
Not lifting yet the head that evening bowed ; 
But He is risen, a later star of dawn, 
Glittering and twinkling near yon rosy cloud ; 
Bright gem instinct with music, vocal spark ; 
The happiest bird that sprang out of the Ark ! 30 

1 See Waterton'a Wanderings in South America. 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Hail, blest above all kinds ! Supremely skilled 
Restless with fixed to balance, high with low, 
Thou leav'st the halcyon free her hopes to build 
On such forbearance as the deep may show ; 
Perpetual flight, unchecked by earthly ties, 
Leav'st to the wandering bird of paradise. 

Faithful, though swift as lightning, the meek dove; 
Yet more hath Nature reconciled in thee ; 
So constant with thy downward eye of love, 
Yet, in aerial singleness, so free ; 40 

So humble, yet so ready to rejoice 
In power of wing and never-wearied voice. 

To the last point of vision, and beyond, 
Mount, daring warbler ! that love-prompted strain 
('Twixt thee and thine a never-failing bond) 
Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain : 
Yet might' st thou seem, proud privilege ! to sing 
All independent of the leafy spring. 

How would it please old Ocean to partake, 
With sailors longing for a breeze in vain, 50 

The harmony thy notes most gladly make 
Where earth resembles most his own domain ! 
Urania's self might welcome with pleased ear 
These matins mounting towards her native sphere. 

Chanter by heaven attracted, whom no bars 
To daylight known deter from that pursuit, 
'Tis well that some sage instinct, when the stars 
Come forth at evening, keeps Thee still and mute ; 
For not an eyelid could to sleep incline 
Wert thou among them, singing as they shine ! 60 

1828 



II 

A FLOWER GARDEN 

AT COLEORTON HALL, LEICESTERSHIRE 

TELL me, ye Zephyrs ! that unfold, 
While fluttering o'er this gay Recess, 
Pinions that fanned the teeming mould 
Of Eden's blissful wilderness, 
Did only softly-stealing hours 
There close the peaceful lives of flowers ? 



A FLOWER GARDEN 245 

Say, when the moving creatures saw 

All kinds commingled without fear, 

Prevailed a like indulgent law 

For the still growths that prosper here ? 10 

Did wanton fawn and kid forbear 

The half-blown rose, the lily spare ? 

Or peeped they often from their beds, 
And prematurely disappeared, 
Devoured like pleasure ere it spreads 
A bosom to the sun endeared ? 
If such their harsh untimely doom, 
It falls not here on bud or bloom. 

All summer-long the happy Eve 

Of this fair Spot her flowers may bind, 20 

Nor e'er, with ruffled fancy, grieve, 

From the next glance she casts, to find 

That love for little things by Fate 

Is rendered vain as love for great. 

Yet, where the guardian fence is wound, 

So subtly are our eyes beguiled, 

We see not nor suspect a bound, 

No more than in some forest wild ; 

The sight is free as air or crost 

Only by art in nature lost. 30 

And, though the jealous turf refuse 
By random footsteps to be prest, 
And feed on never-sullied dews, 
Ye, gentle breezes from the west, 
With all the ministers of hope 
Are tempted to this sunny slope ! 

And hither throngs of birds resort ; 

Some, inmates lodged in shady nests, 

Some, perched on stems of stately port 

That nod to welcome transient guests ; 40 

While hare and leveret, seen at play, 

Appear not more shut out than they. 

Apt emblem (for reproof of pride) 
This delicate Enclosure shows 
Of modest kindness, that would hide 
The firm protection she bestows ; 
Of manners, like its viewless fence, 
Ensuring peace to innocence. 



246 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Thus spake the moral Muse her wing 

Abruptly spreading to depart, 50 

She left that farewell offering, 

Memento for some docile heart ; 

That may respect the good old age 

When Fancy was Truth's willing Page ; 

And Truth would skim the flowery glade, 

Though entering but as Fancy's Shade. 

1824 



III 

A WHIRL-BLAST from behind the hill 
j[-\_ Rushed o'er the wood with startling sound ; 
Then all at once the air was still, 
And showers of hailstones pattered round. 
Where leafless oaks towered high above, 
I sat within an undergrove 
Of tallest hollies, tall and green ; 
A fairer bower was never seen. 
From year to year the spacious floor 
With withered leaves is covered o'er, 10 

And all the year the bower is green. 
But see ! where'er the hailstones drop 
The withered leaves all skip and hop ; 
There 's not a breeze no breath of air 
Yet here, and there, and everywhere 
Along the floor, beneath the shade 
By those embowering hollies made, 
The leaves in myriads jump and spring, 
As if with pipes and music rare 
Some Robin Good-fellow were there, ao 

And all those leaves, in festive glee, 
Were dancing to the minstrelsy. 

1798 

IV 
THE WATERFALL AND THE EGLANTINE 



EGONE, thou fond presumptuous Elf,' 

Exclaimed an angry Voice, 
or dare to thrust thy foolish self 
Between me and my choice ! ' 
A small Cascade fresh swoln with snows 
Thus threatened a poor Briar-rose, 



THE WATERFALL AND THE EGLANTINE 247 

That, all bespattered with his foam, 

And dancing high and dancing low, 

Was living, as a child might know, 

In an unhappy home. 10 



' Dost thou presume my course to block ? 

Off, off! or, puny Thing! 

I '11 hurl thee headlong with the rock 

To which thy fibres cling.' 

The Flood was tyrannous and strong; 

The patient Briar suffered long, 

Nor did he utter groan or sigh, 

Hoping the danger would be past ; 

But, seeing no relief, at last 

He ventured to reply. 20 

HI 

' Ah ! ' said the Briar, ' blame me not ; 

Why should we dwell in strife ? 

We who in this sequestered spot 

Once lived a happy life ! 

You stirred me on my rocky bed 

What pleasure through my veins you spread 

The summer long, from day to day, 

My leaves you freshened and bedewed ; 

Nor was it common gratitude 

That did your cares repay. 30 

IV 

' When spring came on with bud and bell, 

Among these rocks did I 

Before you hang my wreaths to tell 

That gentle days were nigh ! 

And in the sultry summer hours 

I sheltered you with leaves and flowers ; 

And in my leaves now shed and gone, 

The linnet lodged, and for us two 

Chanted his pretty songs, when you 

Had little voice or none. 40 



' But now proud thoughts are in your breast 
What grief is mine you see, 
Ah ! would you think, even yet how blest 
Together we might be ! 



248 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Though of both leaf and flower bereft, 

Some ornaments to me are left 

Rich store of scarlet hips is mine, 

With which I, in my humble way, 

Would deck you many a winter day, 

A happy Eglantine ! ' 50 

VI 

What more he said I cannot tell, 
The Torrent down the rocky dell 
Came thundering loud and fast ; 
I listened, nor aught else could hear ; 
The Briar quaked and much I fear 
Those accents were his last. 

1800 



V 

THE OAK AND THE BROOM 

A PASTORAL 



HIS simple truths did Andrew glean 
Beside the babbling rills , 
A careful student he had been 
Among the woods and hills. 
One winter's night, when through the trees 
The wind was roaring, on his knees 
His youngest born did Andrew hold : 
And while the rest, a ruddy quire, 
Were seated round their blazing fire, 
This Tale the Shepherd told. 



' I saw a crag, a lofty stone 

As ever tempest beat ! 

Out of its head an Oak had grown, 

A Broom out of its feet. 

The time was March, a cheerful noon 

The thaw- wind, with the breath of June, 

Breathed gently from the warm south-west: 

When, in a voice sedate with age, 

This Oak, a giant and a sage, 

His neighbour thus addressed : 



THE OAK AND THE BROOM 249 

in 

' " Eight weary weeks, through rock and clay, 

Along this mountain's edge, 

The Frost hath wrought both night and day, 

Wedge driving after wedge. 

Look up ! and think, above your head 

What trouble, surely, will be bred ; 

Last night I heard a crash 'tis true, 

The splinters took another road 

I see them yonder what a load 

For such a Thing as you ! 30 



' " You are preparing as before, 

To deck your slender shape ; 

And yet, just three years back no more 

You had a strange escape : 

Down from yon cliff a fragment broke ; 

It thundered down, with fire and smoke, 

And hitherward pursued its way ; 

This ponderous block was caught by me, 

And o'er your head as you may see, 

'Tis hanging to this day ! 40 

v 

' " If breeze or bird to this rough steep 

Your kind's first seed did bear ; 

The breeze had better been asleep, 

The bird caught in a snare : 

For you and your green twigs decoy 

The little witless shepherd-boy 

To come and slumber in your bower ; 

And, trust me, on some sultry noon, 

Both you and he, Heaven knows how soon ! 

Will perish in one hour. 50 

VI 

' " From me this friendly warning take " 

The Broom began to doze, 

And thus, to keep herself awake, 

Did gently interpose : 

" My thanks for your discourse are due ; 

That more than what you say is true 

I know, and I have known it long ; 

Frail is the bond by which we hold 

Our being, whether young or old, 

Wise, foolish, weak, or strong. 60 



250 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

VII 

( " Disasters, do the best we can, 

Will reach both great and small ; 

And he is oft the wisest man, 

Who is not wise at all. 

For me, why should I wish to roam ? 

This spot is my paternal home, 

It is my pleasant heritage ; 

My father many a happy year 

Spread here his careless blossoms, here 

Attained a good old age. 70 

VIII 

' " Even such as his may be my lot. 

What cause have I to haunt 

My heart with terrors ? Am I not 

In truth a favoured plant ! 

On me such bounty Summer pours, 

That I am covered o'er with flowers ; 

And, when the Frost is in the sky,' 

My branches are so fresh and gay 

That you might look at me and say, 

This Plant can never die. 80 

IX 

' " The butterfly, all green and gold, 

To me hath often flown, 

Here in my blossoms to behold 

Wings lovely as his own. 

When grass is chill with rain or dew, 

Beneath my shade the mother-ewe 

Lies with her infant lamb ; I see 

The love they to each other make, 

And the sweet joy which they partake, 

It is a joy to me." 90 



' Her voice was blithe, her heart was light ; 
The Broom might have pursued 
Her speech, until the stars of night 
Their journey had renewed ; 
But in the branches of the oak 
Two ravens now began to croak 
Their nuptial song, a gladsome air; 
And to her own green bower the breeze 
That instant brought two stripling bees 
To rest, or murmur there. 



TO A SEXTON 251 

XI 

* One night, my Children ! from the north 
There came a furious blast ; 
At break of day I ventured forth, 
And near the cliff I passed. 
The storm had fallen upon the Oak, 
And struck him with a mighty stroke, 
And whirled, and whirled him far away ; 
And, in one hospitable cleft, 
The little careless Broom was left 
To live for many a day/ no 

1800 

VI 

TO A SEXTON 

T ET thy wheel-barrow alone 

__j Wherefore, Sexton, piling still 
In thy bone-house bone on bone ? 
'Tis already like a hill 
In a field of battle made, 
Where three thousand skulls are laid ; 
These died in peace each with the other, 
Father, sister, friend, and brother. 

Mark the spot to which I point ! 

From this platform, eight feet square, 10 

Take not even a finger-joint : 

Andrew's whole fireside is there. 

Here, alone, before thine eyes, 

Simon's sickly daughter lies, 

From weakness now and pain defended, 

Whom he twenty winters tended. 

Look but at the gardener's pride 

How he glories, when he sees 

Roses, lilies, side by side, 

Violets in families ! ac 

By the heart of Man, his tears, 

By his hopes and by his fears, 

Thou, too heedless, art the Warden 

Of a far superior garden. 

Thus then, each to other dear, 
Let them all in quiet lie, 
Andrew there, and Susan here, 
Neighbours in mortality. 



252 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And, should I live through sun and rain 

Seven widowed years without my Jane, 30 

O Sexton, do not then remove her, 

Let one grave hold the Loved and Lover ! 

1799 

VII 
TO THE DAISY 

' Her J divine skill taught me this, 
That from every thing I saw 
I could some invention draw, 
And raise pleasure to her height 
Through the meanest object's sight. 
By the murmur of a spring, 
Or the least bough's rustelling ; 
By a Daisy whose leaves spread 
Shut when Titan goes to bed ; 
Or a shady bush or tree ; 
She could more infuse in me 
Than all Nature's beauties can 
In some other wiser man.' 

G. WITHER. 

IN youth from rock to rock I went, 
From hill to hill in discontent 
Of pleasure high and turbulent , 

Most pleased when most uneasy ; 
But now my own delights I make, 
My thirst at every rill can slake, 
And gladly Nature's love partake 
Of Thee, sweet Daisy ! 

Thee Winter in the garland wears 

That thinly decks his few grey hairs ; 10 

Spring parts the clouds with softest airs, 

That she may sun thee ; 
Whole Summer-fields are thine by right; 
And Autumn, melancholy Wight ! 
Doth in thy crimson head delight 

When rains are on thee. 

In shoals and bands, a morrice train, 
Thou greet'st the traveller in the lane ; 
Pleased at his greeting thee again ; 

Yet nothing daunted, 20 

Nor grieved if thou be set at nought : 
And oft alone in nooks remote 
We meet thee, like a pleasant thought, 

When such are wanted. 

1 His Muse. 



TO THE DAISY 253 

Be violets in their secret mews 

The flowers the wanton Zephyrs choose ; 

Proud be the rose, with rains and dews 

Her head impearling, 
Thou liv'st with less ambitious aim, 
Yet hast not gone without thy fame ; 30 

Thou art indeed by many a claim 

The Poet's darling. 



If to a rock from rains he fly, 
Or, some bright day of April sky, 
Imprisoned by hot sunshine lie 

Near the green holly, 
And wearily at length should fare ; 
He needs but look about, and there 
Thou art ! a friend at hand, to scare 

His melancholy. 40 

A hundred times, by rock or bower, 
Ere thus I have lain couched an hour, 
Have I derived from thy sweet power 

Some apprehension ; 
Some steady love ; some brief delight ; 
Some memory that had taken flight; 
Some chime of fancy wrong or right ; 

Or stray invention. 

If stately passions in me burn, 

And one chance look to Thee should turn, 50 

I drink out of an humbler urn 

A lowlier pleasure ; 
The homely sympathy that heeds 
The common life our nature breeds ; 
A wisdom fitted to the needs 

Of hearts at leisure. 



Fresh-smitten by the morning ray, 
When thou art up, alert and gay, 
Then, cheerful Flower ! my spirits play 

With kindred gladness : . 60 

And when, at dusk, by dews opprest 
Thou sink'st, the image of thy rest 
Hath often eased my pensive breast 

Of careful sadness. 



254 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And all day long I number yet, 
All seasons through, another debt, 
Which I, wherever thou art met, 

To thee am owing ; 
An instinct call it, a blind sense ; 
A happy, genial influence, 70 

Coming one knows not how, nor whence, 

Nor whither going. 

Child of the Year ! that round dost run 
Thy pleasant course, when day 's begun 
As ready to salute the sun 

As lark or leveret, 

Thy long-lost praise thou shalt regain ; 
Nor be less dear to future men 
Than in old time ; thou not in vain 

Art Nature's favourite. 1 80 

1802 

VIII 
TO THE SAME FLOWER 

WITH little here to do or see 
Of things that in the great world be, 
Daisy ! again I talk to thee, 

For thou art worthy, 
Thou unassuming Common-place 
Of Nature, with that homely face, 
And yet with something of a grace 
Which Love makes for thee ! 

Oft on the dappled turf at ease 

I sit, and play with similes, 10 

Loose types of things through all degrees, 

Thoughts of thy raising : 
And many a fond and idle name 
I give to thee, for praise or blame, 
As is the humour of the game, 

While I am gazing. 

A nun demure of lowly port ; 

Or sprightly maiden, of Love's court, 

In thy simplicity the sport 

Of all temptations ; 20 

1 See, in Chaucer and the elder Poets, the honours formerly paid to this 
flower. 



THE GREEN LINNET 255 

A queen in crown of rubies drest ; 
A starveling in a scanty vest ; 
Are all, as seems to suit thee best, 
Thy appellations. 

A little Cyclops with one eye 
Staring to threaten and defy, 
That thought comes next and instantly 

The freak is over, 
The shape will vanish and behold 
A silver shield with boss of gold, 30 

That spreads itself, some faery bold 

In fight to cover ! 

I see thee glittering from afar 
And then thou art a pretty star ; 
Not quite so fair as many are 
. In heaven above thee ! 
Yet like a star, with glittering crest, 
Self-poised in air thou seem'st to rest ; 
May peace come never to his nest, 

Who shall reprove thee ! 40 

Bright Flower ! for by that name at last, 

When all my reveries are past, 

I call thee, and to that cleave fast, 

Sweet silent creature ! 
That breath' st with me in sun and air, 
Do thou, as thou art wont, repair 
My heart with gladness, and a share 

Of thy meek nature ! 

1802 

IX 
THE GREEN LINNET 

"Q ENEATH these fruit-tree boughs lihat shed 
LJ Their snow-white blossoms on my head, 
With brightest sunshine round me spread 

Of spring's unclouded weather, 
In this sequestered nook how sweet 
To sit upon my orchard-seat ! 
And birds and flowers once more to greet, 

My last year's friends together. 

One have I marked, the happiest guest 
In all this covert of the blest : 10 

Hail to Thee, far above the rest 
In joy of voice and pinion ! 



256 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Thou, Linnet ! in thy green array, 
Presiding Spirit here to-day, 
Dost lead the revels of the May ; 
And this is thy dominion. 

While birds, and butterflies, and flowers, 
Make all one band of paramours, 
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers, 

Art sole in thy employment : 20 

A Life, a Presence like the Air, 
Scattering thy gladness without care, 
Too blest with any one to pair ; 

Thyself thy own enjoyment. 

Amid yon tuft of hazel trees, 
That twinkle to the gusty breeze, 
Behold him perched in ecstasies, 

Yet seeming still to hover ; 
There ! where the flutter of his wings 
Upon his back and body flings 30 

Shadows and sunny glimmerings, 

That cover him all over. 

My dazzled sight he oft deceives, 
A Brother of the dancing leaves ; 
Then flits, and from the cottage-eaves 

Pours forth his song in gushes ; 
As if by that exulting strain 
He mocked and treated with disdain 
The voiceless Form he chose to feign, 

While fluttering in the bushes. 40 

1803 



TO A SKY-LARK 

UP with me ! up with me into the clouds ! 
For thy song, Lark, is strong ; 
Up with me, up with me into the clouds ! 

Singing, singing, 
With clouds and sky about thee ringing, 

Lift me, guide me till I find 
That spot which seems so to thy mind ! 

I have walked through wildernesses dreary, 
And to-day my heart is weary ; 
Had I now the wings of a Faery, 
Up to thee would I fly. 



TO THE SMALL CELANDINE 257 

There is madness about thee, and joy divine 

In that song of thine ; 

Lift me, guide me high and high 

To thy banqueting-place in the sky. 

Joyous as morning, 
Thou art laughing and scorning ; 
Thou hast a nest for thy love and thy rest, 
And, though little troubled with sloth, 
Drunken Lark ! thou wouldst be loth 20 

To be such a traveller as I. 
Happy, happy Liver, 

With a soul as strong as a mountain river 

Pouring out praise to the almighty Giver, 

Joy and jollity be with us both ! 

Alas ! my journey, rugged and uneven, 
Through prickly moors or dusty ways must wind ; 
But hearing thee, or others of thy kind, 
As full of gladness and as free of heaven, 
I, with my fate contented, will plod on, 30 

And hope for higher raptures, when life's day is 
done. 

1805 




PANSIES, lilies, kingcups, daisies, 
Let them live upon their praises ; 
Long as there 's a sun that sets, 
Primroses will have their glory ; 
Long as there are violets, 
They will have a place in story : 
There's a flower that shall be mine, 
'Tis the little Celandine. 

Eyes of some men travel far 
For the finding of a star ; 
Up and down the heavens they go, 
Men that keep a mighty rout ! 
I 'm as great as they, I trow, 
Since the day I found thee out, 
Little Flower ! I '11 make a stir, 
Like a sage astronomer. 

1 Common Pilewort. 
1-R 



258 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Modest, yet withal an Elf 

Bold, and lavish of thyself; 

Since we needs must first have met 

I have seen thee, high and low, / 

Thirty years or more, and yet 

'Twas a face I did not know ; 

Thou hast now, go where I may. 

Fifty greetings in a day. 

Ere a leaf is on a bush, 

In the time before the thrush 

Has a thought about her nest, 

Thou wilt come with half a call, 

Spreading out thy glossy breast 

Like a careless Prodigal ; 30 

Telling tales about the sun, 

When we 've little warmth, or none. 



Poets, vain men in their mood ! 
Travel with the multitude : 
Never heed them ; I aver 
That they all are wanton wooers ; 
But the thrifty cottager, 
Who stirs little out of doors, 
Joys to spy thee near her home ; 
Spring is coming, Thou art come ! 

Comfort have thou of thy merit, 
Kindly, unassuming Spirit ! 
Careless of thy neighbourhood, 
Thou dost show thy pleasant face 
On the moor, and in the wood, 
In the lane ; there 's not a place, 
Howsoever mean it be, 
But 'tis good enough for thee. 

Ill befall the yellow flowers, 
Children of the flaring hours ! 
Buttercups, that will be seen, 
Whether we will see or no ; 
Others, too, of lofty mien ; 
They have done as worldlings do, 
Taken praise that should be thine, 
Little, humble Celandine. 



TO THE SAME FLOWER 259 

Prophet of delight and mirth, 

Ill-requited upon earth; 

Herald of a mighty band, 

Of a joyous train ensuing, 60 

Serving at my heart's command, 

Tasks that are no tasks renewing, 

I will sing, as doth behove, 

Hymns in praise of what I love ! 

1802 

XII 
TO THE SAME FLOWER 

T)LEASURES newly found are sweet 

When they lie about our feet : 
February last, my heart 
First at sight of thee was glad ; 
All unheard of as thou art, 
Thou must needs, I think, have had, 
Celandine ! and long ago, 
Praise of which I nothing know. 

I have not a doubt but he, 

Whosoe'er the man might be, 10 

Who the first with pointed rays 

(Workman worthy to be sainted) 

Set the sign-board in a blaze, 

When the rising sun he painted, 

Took the fancy from a glance 

At thy glittering countenance. 

Soon as gentle breezes bring 

News of winter's vanishing, 

And the children build their bowers, 

Sticking 'kerchief-plots of mould 20 

All about with full-blown flowers, 

Thick as sheep in shepherd's fold ! 

With the proudest thou art there, 

Mantling in the tiny square. 

Often have I sighed to measure 

By myself a lonely pleasure, 

Sighed to think I read a book 

Only read, perhaps, by me ; 

Yet I long could overlook 

Thy bright coronet and Thee, 30 

And thy arch and wily ways, 

And thy store of other praise. 



260 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Blithe of heart, from week to week 

Thou dost play at hide-and-seek ; 

While the patient primrose sits 

Like a beggar in the cold, 

Thou, a flower of wiser wits, 

Slip'st into thy sheltering hold ; 

Liveliest of the vernal train 

When ye all are out again. 40 

Drawn by what peculiar spell, 
By what charm of sight or smell, 
Does the dim-eyed curious Bee, 
Labouring for her waxen cells, 
Fondly settle upon Thee 
Prized above all buds and bells 
Opening daily at thy side, 
By the season multiplied ? 

Thou art not beyond the moon, 

But a thing ' beneath our shoon ' : 50 

Led the bold Discoverer thrid 

In his bark the polar sea ; 

Rear who will a pyramid ; 

Praise it is enough for me, 

If there be but three or four 

Who will love my little Flower. 



1802 



XIII 

THE SEVEN SISTERS 
OR, THE SOLITUDE OF BINNORIE 



SEVEN Daughters had Lord Archibald, 
All children of one mother : 
You could not say in one short day 
What love they bore each other. 
A garland of seven lilies wrought ! 
Seven Sisters that together dwell; 
But he, bold Knight as ever fought, 
Their Father, took of them no thought, 
He loved the wars so well. 
Sing, mournfully, oh ! mournfully, 
The solitude of Binnorie ! 



THE SEVEN SISTERS 261 



Fresh blows the wind, a western wind, 

And from the shores of Erin, 

Across the wave, a Rover brave 

To Binnorie is steering : 

Right onward to the Scottish strand 

The gallant ship is borne ; 

The warriors leap upon the land, 

And hark ! the Leader of the band 

Hath blown his bugle horn. 

Sing, mournfully, oh ! mournfully, 

The solitude of Binnorie. 



in 

Beside a grotto of their own, 

With boughs above them closing, 

The Seven are laid, and in the shade 

They lie like fawns reposing. 

But now, upstarting with affright 

At noise of man and steed, 

Away they fly to left, to right 

Of your fair household, Father-knight, 30 

Methinks you take small heed ! 

Sing, mournfully, oh ! mournfully, 

The solitude of Binnorie. 



IV 

Away the seven fair Campbells fly, 

And, over hill and hollow, 

With menace proud, and insult loud, 

The youthful Rovers follow. 

Cried they, ' Your Father loves to roam : 

Enough for him to find 

The empty house when he comes home ; 40 

For us your yellow ringlets comb, 

For us be fair and kind ! ' 

Sing, mournfully, oh ! mournfully, 

The solitude of Binnorie. 



Some close behind, some side by side, 
lake clouds in stormy weather ; 
They run, and cry, ' Nay, let us die, 
And let us die together.' 



262 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A lake was near ; the shore was steep ; 

There never foot had been ; 50 

They ran, and with a desperate leap 

Together plunged into the deep, 

Nor ever more were seen. 

Sing, mournfully, oh ! mournfully, 

The solitude of Binnorie. 



VI 

The stream that flows out of the lake, 

As through the glen it rambles, 

Repeats a moan o'er moss and stone, 

For those seven lovely Campbells. 

Seven little Islands, green and bare, 60 

Have risen from out the deep : 

The fishers say, those sisters fair 

By faeries all are buried there, 

And there together sleep. 

Sing, mournfully, oh ! mournfully, 

The solitude of Binnorie. 

1800 



XIV 

WHO fancied what a pretty sight 
This Rock would be if edged around 
With living snow-drops ? circlet bright ! 
How glorious to this orchard-ground ! 
Who loved the little Rock, and set 
Upon its head this coronet ? 

Was it the humour of a child ? 

Or rather of some gentle maid, 

Whose brows, the day that she was styled 

The shepherd-queen, were thus arrayed ? 

Of man mature, or matron sage ? 

Or old man toying with his age ? 

I asked 'twas whispered ; The device 
To each and all might well belong : 
It is the Spirit of Paradise 
That prompts such work, a Spirit strong, 
That gives to all the self-same bent 
Where life is wise and innocent. 

1803 



REDBREAST CHASING THE BUTTERFLY 263 

XV 
THE REDBREAST CHASING THE BUTTERFLY 

A IT thou the bird whom Man loves best, 
The pious bird with the scarlet breast, 

Our little English Robin ; 
The bird that comes about our doors 
When Autumn-winds are sobbing ? 
Art thou the Peter of Norway Boors ? 

Their Thomas in Finland, 

And Russia far inland ? 
The bird that by some name or other 
All men who know thee call their brother, 10 

The darling of children and men ? 
Could Father Adam 1 open his eyes 
And see this sight beneath the skies, 
He 'd wish to close them again. 
If the Butterfly knew but his friend, 
Hither his flight he would bend; 
And find his way to me, 
Under the branches of the tree : 
In and out, he darts about ; 

Can this be the bird, to man so good, 20 

That, after their bewildering, 
Covered with leaves the little children, 

So painfully in the wood ? 

What ailed thee, Robin, that thou couldst pursue 

A beautiful creature, 
That is gentle by nature ? 
Beneath the summer sky 
From flower to flower let him fly ; 
'Tis all that he wishes to do. 

The cheerer Thou of our in-door sadness, 30 

He is the friend of our summer gladness : 
What hinders, then, that ye should be 
Playmates in the sunny weather, 
And fly about in the air together ! 
His beautiful wings in crimson are drest, 
A crimson as bright as thine own : 
Wouldst thou be happy in thy nest, 
O pious Bird ! whom man loves best, 
Love him, or leave him alone ! 

1802 

1 See Paradise Lost, Book XL, where Adam points out to Eve the 
ominous sign of the Eagle chasing 'two Birds of gayest plume," and the 
gentle Hart and Hind pursued by their enemy. 



264 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XVI 
SONG FOR THE SPINNING WHEEL 

FOUNDED UPON A BELIEF PREVALENT AMONG THE 
PASTORAL VALES OF WESTMORELAND 

SWIFTLY turn the murmuring wheel ! 
Night has brought the welcome hour, 
en the weary fingers feel 
Help, as if from faery power ; 
Dewy night o'ershades the ground ; 
Turn the swift wheel round and round ! 

Now, beneath the starry sky, 

Couch the widely-scattered sheep ; 

Ply the pleasant labour, ply ! 

For the spindle, while they sleep, 

Runs with speed more smooth and fine, 

Gathering up a trustier line. 

Short-lived likings may be bred 
By a glance from fickle eyes ; 
But true love is like the thread 
Which the kindly wool supplies, 
When the flocks are all at rest 
Sleeping on the mountain's breast. 

1812 

XVII 
HINT FROM THE MOUNTAINS 

FOR CERTAIN POLITICAL PRETENDERS 

' T T 7" HO but hails the sight with pleasure 

\\ When the wings of genius rise, 
Their ability to measure 

With great enterprise ; 
But in man was ne'er such daring 
As yon Hawk exhibits, pairing 
His brave spirit with the war in 

The stormy skies ! 

' Mark him, how his power he uses, 
Lays it by, at will resumes ! 
Mark, ere for his haunt he chooses 
Clouds and utter glooms ! 



ON SEEING A NEEDLECASE 265 

There, he wheels in downward mazes ; 
Sunward now his flight he raises, 
Catches fire, as seems, and blazes 
With uninjured plumes!' 

ANSWER 

' Stranger, 'tis no act of courage 
Which aloft thou dost discern ; 
No bold bird gone forth to forage 

'Mid the tempest stern ; 20 

But such mockery as the nations 
See, when public perturbations 
Lift men from their native stations, 

Like yon TUFT OF FERN ; 

' Such it is ; the aspiring creature 
Soaring on undaunted wing, 
(So you fancied) is by nature 

A dull helpless thing, 
Dry and withered, light and yellow ; 
That to be the tempest's fellow ! 30 

Wait and you shall see how hollow 

Its endeavouring ! ' 

1817 

XVIII 

ON SEEING A NEEDLECASE IN THE 
FORM OF A HARP 

THE WORK OF E. M. S. 

FROWNS are on every Muse's face, 
Reproaches from their lips are sent, 
That mimicry should thus disgrace 
The noble Instrument. 

A very Harp in all but size ! 

Needles for strings in apt gradation ! 
Minerva's self would stigmatize 

The unclassic profanation. 

Even her own needle that subdued 

Arachne's rival spirit, 10 

Though wrought in Vulcan's happiest mood, 

Such honour could not merit. 



266 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And this, too, from the Laureate's Child, 

A living lord of melody ! 
How will her Sire be reconciled 

To the refined indignity ? 

I spake, when whispered a low voice, 

f Bard ! moderate your ire ; 
Spirits of all degrees rejoice 

In presence of the lyre. so 

' The Minstrels of Pygmean bands, 
Dwarf Genii, moonlight-loving Fays, 

Have shells to fit their tiny hands 
And suit their slender lays. 

' Some, still more delicate of ear, 

Have lutes (believe my words) 
Whose framework is of gossamer, 

While sunbeams are the chords. 

' Gay Sylphs this miniature will court, 

Made vocal by their brushing wings, 30 

And sullen Gnomes will learn to sport 
Around its polished strings ; 

' Whence strains to love-sick maiden dear, 
While in her lonely bower she tries 

To cheat the thought she cannot cheer, 
By fanciful embroideries. 

' Trust, angry Bard ! a knowing Sprite, 
Nor think the Harp her lot deplores ; 

Though 'mid the stars the Lyre shine bright, 
Love sloops as fondly as he soars.' 40 

1827 



XIX 
TO A LADY 

IN ANSWER TO A REQUEST THAT I WOULD WRITE HER A POEM 
UPON SOME DRAWINGS THAT SHE HAD MADE OF FLOWERS IN 
THE ISLAND OF MADEIRA 

FAIR Lady ! can I sing of flowers 
That in Madeira bloom and fade, 
I who ne'er sate within their bowers, 

Nor through their sunny lawns have strayed ? 



TO A LADY 267 

How they in sprightly dance are worn 
By Shepherd-groom or May-day queen, 

Or holy festal pomps adorn, 
These eyes have never seen. 

Yet tho' to me the pencil's art 

No like remembrances can give, 10 

Your portraits still may reach the heart 

And there for gentle pleasure live ; 
While Fancy ranging with free scope 

Shall on some lovely Alien set 
A name with us endeared to hope, 

To peace, or fond regret. 

Still as we look with nicer care, 

Some new resemblance we may trace : 
A Heart' s-ease will perhaps be there, 

A Speedwell may not want its place. ao 

And so may we, with charmed mind 

Beholding what your skill has wrought, 
Another Star-of-Bethlehem find, 

A new Forget-me-not. 

From earth to heaven with motion fleet 

From heaven to earth our thoughts will pass, 
A Holy-thistle here we meet 

And there a Shepherd's weather-glass', 
And haply some familiar name 

Shall grace the fairest, sweetest, plant 30 

Whose presence cheers the drooping frame 

Of English Emigrant. 

Gazing she feels its power beguile 

Sad thoughts, and breathes with easier breath ; 
Alas ! that meek, that tender smile 

Is but a harbinger of death : 
And pointing with a feeble hand 

She says, in faint words by sighs broken, 
Bear for me to my native land 

This precious Flower, true love's last token. 40 

Published 1845 

XX 

GLAD sight wherever new with old 
Is joined through some dear homeborn tie ; 
The life of all that we behold 
Depends upon that mystery. 



268 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Vain is the glory of the sky, 
The beauty vain of field and grove, 
Unless, while with admiring eye 
We gaze, we also learn to love. 

1842 



XXI 
THE CONTRAST 

THE PARROT AND THE WREN 



WITHIN her gilded cage confined 
I saw a dazzling Belle, 
A Parrot of that famous kind 
Whose name is NON-PAREIL. 

Like beads of glossy jet her eyes ; 
And, smoothed by Nature's skill, 
With pearl or gleaming agate vies 
Her finely-curved bill. 

Her plumy mantle's living hues, 
In mass opposed to mass, 
Outshine the splendour that imbues 
The robes of pictured glass. 

And, sooth to say, an apter Mate 
Did never tempt the choice 
Of feathered Thing most delicate 
In figure and in voice. 

But, exiled from Australian bowers, 
And singleness her lot, 
She trills her song with tutored powers, 
Or mocks each casual note. 

No more of pity for regrets 
With which she may have striven ! 
Now but in wantonness she frets, 
Or spite, if cause be given ; 

Arch, volatile, a sportive bird 
By social glee inspired ; 
Ambitious to be seen or heard, 
And pleased to be admired ! 



THE DANISH BOY 



THIS moss-lined shed, green, soft, and dry, 
Harbours a self-contented Wren, 30 

Not shunning man's abode, though shy, 
Almost as thought itself, of human ken. 

Strange places, coverts unendeared, 

She never tried ; the very nest, 

In which this Child of Spring was reared, 

Is warmed, thro' winter, by her feathery breast. 

To the bleak winds she sometimes gives 

A slender unexpected strain ; 

Proof that the hermitess still lives, 

Though she appear not, and be sought in vain. 40 

Say, Dora ! tell me, by yon placid moon, 
If called to choose between the favoured pair, 
Which would you be, the bird of the saloon, 
By lady-fingers tended with nice care, 
Caressed, applauded, upon dainties fed, 
Or Nature's DARKLING of this mossy shed? 

1825 

XXII 
THE DANISH BOY 

A FRAGMENT 



T) ETWEEN two sister moorland rills 
LJ There is a spot that seems to lie 
Sacred to flowerets of the hills, 
And sacred to the sky. 
And in this smooth and open dell 
There is a tempest-stricken tree ; 
A corner-stone by lightning cut, 
The last stone of a lonely hut ; 
And in this dell you see 
A thing no storm can e'er destroy, 
The shadow of a Danish Boy. 



In clouds above the lark is heard, 
But drops not here to earth for rest ; 
Within this lonesome nook the bird 
Did never build her nest. 



270 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

No beast, no bird, hath here his home ; 

Bees, wafted on the breezy air, 

Pass high above those fragrant bells 

To other flowers : to other dells 

Their burthens do they bear ; 20 

The Danish Boy walks here alone : 

The lovely dell is all his own. 

in 

A Spirit of noon-day is he ; 

Yet seems a form of flesh and blood ; 

Nor piping shepherd shall he be, 

Nor herd-boy of the wood. 

A regal vest of fur he wears, 

In colour like a raven's wing ; 

It fears not rain, nor wind, nor dew ; 

But in the storm 'tis fresh and blue 30 

As budding pines in spring ; 

His helmet has a vernal grace, 

Fresh as the bloom upon his face. 

IV 

A harp is from his shoulder slung ; 

Resting the harp upon his knee, 

To words of a forgotten tongue 

He suits its melody. 

Of flocks upon the neighbouring hill 

He is the darling and the joy ; 

And often, when no cause appears, 40 

The mountain-ponies prick their ears, 

They hear the Danish Boy, 

While in the dell he sings alone 

Beside the tree and corner-stone. 



There sits he ; in his face you spy 

No trace of a ferocious air, 

Nor ever was a cloudless sky 

So steady or so fair. 

The lovely Danish Boy is blest 

And happy in his flowery cove : 50 

From bloody deeds his thoughts are far ; 

And yet he warbles songs of war, 

That seem like songs of love, 

For calm and gentle is his mien ; 

Like a dead Boy he is serene. 

1799 



T 



STRAY PLEASURES 271 

XXIII 
SONG 

FOR THE WANDERING JEW 

HOUGH the torrents from their fountains 
Roar down many a craggy steep, 



Yet they find among the mountains 
Resting-places calm and deep. 

Clouds that love through air to hasten, 
Ere the storm its fury stills, 
Helmet-like themselves will fasten 
On the heads of towering hills. 

What, if through the frozen centre 
Of the Alps the Chamois bound, 
Yet he has a home to enter 
In some nook of chosen ground : 

And the Sea-horse, though the ocean 
Yield him no domestic cave, 
Slumbers without sense of motion, 
Couched upon the rocking wave. 

If on windy days the Raven 
Gambol like a dancing skiff, 
Not the less she loves her haven 
In the bosom of the cliff. 

The fleet Ostrich, till day closes, 
Vagrant over desert sands, 
Brooding on her eggs reposes 
When chill night that care demands. 

Day and night my toils redouble, 
Never nearer to the goal ; 
Night and day, I feel the trouble 
Of the Wanderer in my soul. 

1800 

XXIV 
STRAY PLEASURES 

' Pleasure is spread through the earth 

In stray gifts to lie claimed by whoever shall find.' 



B 



_Y their floating mill, 
That lies dead and still, 
Behold yon Prisoners three, 
The Miller with two Dames, on the breast of the Thames ! 
The platform is small, but gives room for them all ; 
And they're dancing merrily. 



272 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

From the shore come the notes 

To their mill where it floats, 
To their house and their mill tethered fast : 
To the small wooden isle where, their work to beguile, 
They from morning to even take whatever is given ; 
And many a blithe day they have past. u 

In sight of the spires, 

All alive with the fires 
Of the sun going down to his rest, 
In the broad open eye of the solitary sky, 
They dance, there are three, as jocund as free, 
While they dance on the calm river's breast. 

Man and Maidens wheel, 

They themselves make the reel, 

And their music 's a prey which they seize ; 
It plays not for them, what matter ? 'tis theirs ; 
And if they had care, it has scattered their cares 
While they dance, crying, ' Long as ye please ! ' 

They dance not for me, 

Yet mine is their glee ! 
Thus pleasure is spread through the earth 
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find ; 
Thus a rich loving-kindness, redundantly kind, 
Moves all nature to gladness and mirth. 3( 

The showers of the spring 

Rouse the birds, and they sing ; 
If the wind do but stir for his proper delight, 
Each leaf, that and this, his neighbour will kiss ; 
Each wave, one and t' other, speeds after his brother; 
They are happy, for that is their right ! 

1806 

XXV 

THE PILGRIM'S DREAM 
OR, THE STAR AND THE GLOW-WORM 

A PILGRIM, when the summer-day 
_^\_ Had closed upon his weary way, 
A lodging begged beneath a castle's roof; 
But him the haughty Warder spurned ; 
And from the gate the Pilgrim turned, 
To seek such covert as the field 
Or heath-besprinkled copse might yield, 
Or lofty wood, shower-proof. 



THE PILGRIM'S DREAM 273 

He paced along ; and, pensively, 

Halting beneath a shady tree, 10 

Whose moss-grown root might serve for couch 

or seat, 

Fixed on a Star his upward eye ; 
Then from the tenant of the sky 
He turned, and watched with kindred look 
A Glow-worm, in a dusky nook, 
Apparent at his feet. 

The murmur of a neighbouring stream 

Induced a soft and slumbrous dream, 

A pregnant dream, within whose shadowy bounds 

He recognised the earth-born Star, 20 

And That which glittered from afar; 

And (strange to witness !) from the frame 

Of the ethereal Orb there came 

Intelligible sounds. 

Much did it taunt the humble Light 

That now, when day was fled, and night 

Hushed the dark earth, fast closing weary eyes, 

A very reptile could presume 

To show her taper in the gloom, 

As if in rivalship with One 30 

Who sate a ruler on his throne 

Erected in the skies. 



' Exalted Star ! ' the Worm replied, 

' Abate this unbecoming pride, 

Or with a less uneasy lustre shine ; 

Thou shrink' st as momently thy rays 

Are mastered by the breathing haze ; 

While neither mist, nor thickest cloud 

That shapes in heaven its murky shroud, 

Hath power to injure mine. 40 

' But not for this do I aspire 
To match the spark of local fire, 
That at my will burns on the dewy lawn, 
With thy acknowledged glories ; No ! 
Yet, thus upbraided, I may show 
What favours do attend me here, 
Till, like thyself, I disappear 
Before the purple dawn.' 
l-S 



274 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

When this in modest guise was said, 

Across the welkin seemed to spread 50 

A boding sound for aught but sleep unfit ! 

Hills quaked, the rivers backward ran ; 

That Star, so proud of late, looked wan ; 

And reeled with visionary stir 

In the blue depth, like Lucifer 

Cast headlong to the pit ! 

Fire raged : and, when the spangled floor 

Of ancient ether was no more, 

New heavens succeeded, by the dream brought 

forth : 

And all the happy Souls that rode 60 

Transfigured through that fresh abode 
Had heretofore, in humble trust, 
Shone meekly 'mid their native dust, 
The Glow-worms of the earth ! 

This knowledge, from an Angel's voice 

Proceeding, made the heart rejoice 

Of Him who slept upon the open lea : 

Waking at morn he murmured not ; 

And, till life's journey closed, the spot 

Was to the Pilgrim's soul endeared, 70 

Where by that dream he had been cheered 

Beneath the shady tree. 

1818 



XXVI 
THE POET AND THE CAGED TURTLEDOVE 

AS often as I murmur here 
jr-y_ My half-formed melodies, 
Straight from her osier mansion near 

The Turtledove replies : 
Though silent as a leaf before, 

The captive promptly coos ; 
Is it to teach her own soft lore, 

Or second my weak Muse ? 

I rather think the gentle Dove 

Is murmuring a reproof, so 

Displeased that I from lays of love 

Have dared to keep aloof; 



A WREN'S NEST 275 

That I, a Bard of hill and dale, 

Have carolled, fancy free, 
As if nor dove nor nightingale 

Had heart or voice for me. 

If such thy meaning, O forbear, 

Sweet Bird ! to do me wrong ; 
Love, blessed Love, is everywhere 

The spirit of my song : 20 

'Mid grove, and by the calm fireside, 

Love animates my lyre 
That coo again ! 'tis not to chide, 

I feel, but to inspire. 

1830 

XXVII 
A WREN'S NEST 

A1ONG the dwellings framed by birds 
In field or forest with nice care, 
Is none that with the little Wren's 
In snugness may compare. 

No door the tenement requires, 

And seldom needs a laboured roof; 
Yet is it to the fiercest sun 

Impervious, and storm-proof: 

So warm, so beautiful withal, 

In perfect fitness for its aim, 10 

That to the Kind by special grace 

Their instinct surely came. 

And when for their abodes they seek 

An opportune recess, 
The hermit has no finer eye 

For shadowy quietness. 

These find, 'mid ivied abbey-walls, 

A canopy in some still nook ; 
Others are pent-housed by a brae 

That overhangs a brook. ao 

There to the brooding bird her mate 

Warbles by fits his low clear song ; 
And by the busy streamlet both 

Are sung to all day long. 



276 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Or in sequestered lanes they build, 
Where, till the flitting bird's return, 

Her eggs within the nest repose, 
Like relics in an urn. 

But still, where general choice is good, 

There is a better and a best ; 30 

And, among fairest objects, some 
Are fairer than the rest ; 

This, one of those small builders proved 
In a green covert, where, from out 

The forehead of a pollard oak, 
The leafy antlers sprout ; 

For She who planned the mossy lodge, 

Mistrusting her evasive skill, 
Had to a Primrose looked for aid 

Her wishes to fulfil. 40 

High on the trunk's projecting brow, 

And fixed an infant's span above 
The budding flowers, peeped forth the nest 

The prettiest of the grove ! 

The treasure proudly did I show 

To some whose minds without disdain 

Can turn to little things ; but once 
Looked up for it in vain : 

'Tis gone a ruthless spoiler's prey, 

Who heeds not beauty, love, or song, 50 

'Tis gone ! (so seemed it) and we grieved 

Indignant at the wrong. 

Just three days after, passing by 
In clearer light the moss-built cell 

I saw, espied its shaded mouth ; 
And felt that all was well. 

The Primrose for a veil had spread 
The largest of her upright leaves ; 

And thus, for purposes benign, 

A simple flower deceives. 60 



LOVE LIES BLEEDING 277 

Concealed from friends who might disturb 

Thy quiet with no ill intent, 
Secure from evil eyes and hands 

On barbarous plunder bent, 

Rest, Mother-bird ! and when thy young 
Take flight, and thou art free to roam, 

When withered is the guardian Flower, 
And empty thy late home, 

Think how ye prospered, thou and thine, 

Amid the unviolated grove 70 

Housed near the growing Primrose-tuft 
In foresight, or in love. 

1833 

XXVIII 
LOVE LIES BLEEDING 

YOU call it, ' Love lies bleeding,' so you may, 
Though the red Flower, not prostrate, only 

droops, 

As we have seen it here from day to day, 
From month to month, life passing not awSy : 
A flower how rich in sadness ! Even thus stoops, 
(Sentient by Grecian sculpture's marvellous power), 
Thus leans, with hanging brow and body bent 
Earthward in uncomplaining languishment, 
The dying Gladiator. So, sad Flower ! 
('Tis Fancy guides me willing to be led, 10 

Though by a slender thread), 
So drooped Adonis, bathed in sanguine dew 
Of his death-wound, when he from innocent air 
The gentlest breath of resignation drew ; 
While Venus in a passion of despair 
Rent, weeping over him, her golden hair 
Spangled with drops of that celestial shower. 
She suffered, as Immortals sometimes do ; 
But pangs more lasting far that Lover knew 
Who first, weighed down by scorn, in some lone 

bower 20 

Did press this semblance of unpitied smart 
Into the service of his constant heart, 
His own dejection, downcast Flower ! could share 
With thine, and gave the mournful name which thou 

wilt ever bear. 

Published 1842 



278 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXIX 

COMPANION TO THE FOREGOING 

TV T EVER enlivened with the liveliest ray 
]^^ That fosters growth or checks or cheers decay, 
Nor by the heaviest rain-drops more deprest, 
This Flower, that first appeared as summer's guest, 
Preserves her beauty 'mid autumnal leaves, 
And to her mournful habits fondly cleaves. 
When files of stateliest plants have ceased to bloom, 
One after one submitting to their doom, 
When her coevals each and all are fled, 
What keeps her thus reclined upon her lonesome bed ? 10 

The old mythologists, more impressed than we 
Of this late day by character in tree 
Or herb that claimed peculiar sympathy, 
Or by the silent lapse of fountain clear, 
Or with the language of the viewless air 
By bird or beast made vocal, sought a cause 
To solve the mystery, not in Nature's laws 
But in Man's fortunes. Hence a thousand tales 
Sung to the plaintive lyre in Grecian vales. 
Nor doubt that something of their spirit swayed 20 

The fancy-stricken Youth or heart-sick Maid, 
Who, while each stood companionless and eyed 
This undeparting Flower in crimson dyed, 
Thought of a wound which death is slow to cure, 
A fate that has endured and will endure, 
And, patience coveting yet passion feeding, 
Called the dejected Lingerer, Love lies Bleeding. 

Published 1842 

XXX 

RURAL ILLUSIONS 

SYLPH was it ? or a Bird more bright 
Than those of fabulous stock ? 
A second darted by ; and lo ! 

Another of the flock, 
Through sunshine flitting from the bough 

To nestle in the rock. 
Transient deception ! a gay freak 

Of April's mimicries! 
Those brilliant strangers, hailed with joy 

Among the budding trees, 10 

Proved last year's leaves, pushed from the spray 

To frolic on the breeze. 



THE KITTEN AND FALLING LEAVES 279 

Maternal Flora ! show thy face, 

And let thy hand be seen, 
Thy hand here sprinkling tiny flowers, 

That, as they touch the green, 
Take root (so seems it) and look up 

In honour of their Queen. 
Yet, sooth, those little starry specks, 

That not in vain aspired 20 

To be confounded with live growths, 

Most dainty, most admired, 
Were only blossoms dropped from twigs 

Of their own offspring tired. 

Not such the World's illusive shows ; 

Her wingless flutterings, 
Her blossoms which, though shed, outbrave 

The floweret as it springs, 
For the undeceived, smile as they may, 

Are melancholy things : 30 

But gentle Nature plays her part 

With ever-varying wiles, 
And transient feignings with plain truth 

So well she reconciles, 
That those fond Idlers most are pleased 

Whom oftenest she beguiles. 

1832 



XXXI 
THE KITTEN AND FALLING LEAVES 

THAT way look, my Infant, lo ! 
What a pretty baby-show ! 
See the Kitten on the wall, 
Sporting with the leaves that fall, 
Withered leaves one two and three 
From the lofty elder-tree ! 
Through the calm and frosty air 
Of this morning bright and fair, 
Eddying round and round they sink 
Softly, slowly : one might think, 
From the motions that are made, 
Every little leaf conveyed 
Sylph or Faery hither tending, 
To this lower world descending, 
Each invisible and mute, 
In his wavering parachute. 



280 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

But the Kitten, how she starts, 



Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts ! 

First at one, and then its fellow, 

Just as light and just as yellow ; 30 

There are many now now one 

Now they stop and there are none : 

What intenseness of desire 

In her upward eye of fire ! 

With a tiger-leap half-way 

Now she meets the coming prey, 

Lets it go as fast, and then 

Has it in her power again : 

Now she works with three or four, 

Like an Indian conjurer; 30 

Quick as he in feats of art, 

Far beyond in joy of heart. 

Were her antics played in the eye 

Of a thousand standers-by, 

Clapping hands with shout and stare, 

What would little Tabby care 

For the plaudits of the crowd ? 

Over happy to be proud, 

Over wealthy in the treasure 

Of her own exceeding pleasure ! 40 

'Tis a pretty baby-treat ; 
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet ; 
Here, for neither Babe nor me, 
Other playmate can I see. 
Of the countless living things, 
That with stir of feet and wings 
(In the sun or under shade, 
Upon bough or grassy blade) 
And with busy revellings, 

Chirp and song, and murmurings, 50 

Made this orchard's narrow space, 
And this vale, so blithe a place ; 
Multitudes are swept away 
Never more to breathe the day : 
Some are sleeping ; some in bands 
Travelled into distant lands ; 
Others slunk to moor and wood, 
Far from human neighbourhood ; 
And among the Kinds that keep 
With us closer fellowship, 60 

With us openly abide, 
All have laid their mirth aside. 



THE KITTEN AND FALLING LEAVES 281 

Where is he that giddy Sprite, 
Blue-cap, with his colours bright, 
Who was blest as bird could be, 
Feeding in the apple-tree ; 
Made such wanton spoil and rout, 
Turning blossoms inside out ; 
Hung head pointing towards the ground 
Fluttered, perched, into a round 70 

Bound himself, and then unbound ; 
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin ! , 

Prettiest tumbler ever seen ! 
Light of heart and light of limb ; 
What is now become of Him ? 
Lambs, that through the mountains went 
Frisking, bleating merriment, 
When the year was in its prime, 
They are sobered by this time. 
If you look to vale or hill, 80 

If you listen, all is still, 
Save a little neighbouring rill, 
That from out the rocky ground 
Strikes a solitary sound. 
Vainly glitter hill and plain, 
And the air is calm in vain ; 
Vainly Morning spreads the lure 
Of a sky serene and pure ; 
Creature none can she decoy 
Into open sign of joy : 90 

Is it that they have a fear 
Of the dreary season near ? 
Or that other pleasures be 
Sweeter even than gaiety ? 

Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell 
In the impenetrable cell 
Of the silent heart which Nature 
Furnishes to every creature ; 
Whatsoe'er we feel and know 
Too sedate for outward show, 100 

Such a light of gladness breaks, 
Pretty Kitten ! from thy freaks, 
Spreads with such a living grace 
O'er my little Dora's face ; 
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms 
Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms, 
That almost I could repine 
That your transports are not mine, 



282 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

That I do not wholly fare 

Even as ye do, thoughtless pair ! j 

And I will have my careless season 

Spite of melancholy reason, 

Will walk through life in such a way 

That, when time brings on decay, 

Now and then I may possess 

Hours of perfect gladsomeness. 

Pleased by any random toy ; 

By a kitten's busy joy, 

Or an infant's laughing eye 

Sharing in the ecstasy ; i 

I would fare like that or this, 

Find my wisdom in my bliss ; 

Keep the sprightly soul awake, 

And have faculties to take, 

Even from things by sorrow wrought, 

Matter for a jocund thought, 

Spite of care, and spite of grief, 

To gambol with Life's falling Leaf. 

1804 

XXXII 
ADDRESS TO MY INFANT DAUGHTER, DORA 

ON BEING REMINDED THAT SHE WAS A MONTH OLD 
THAT DAY, SEPTEMBER 16 



HAST thou then survived 



Mild Offspring of infirm humanity, 

Meek Infant ! among all forlornest things 

The most forlorn one life of that bright star, 

The second glory of the Heavens? Thou hast; 

Already hast survived that great decay, 

That transformation through the wide earth felt, 

And by all nations. In that Being's sight 

From whom the Race of human kind proceed, 

A thousand years are but as yesterday ; 10 

And one day's narrow circuit is to Him 

Not less capacious than a thousand years. 

But what is time ? What outward glory ? neither 

A measure is of Thee, whose claims extend 

Through ' heaven's eternal year.' Yet hail to Thee, 

Frail, feeble, Monthling ! by that name, methinks, 

Thy scanty breathing-time is portioned out 

Not idly. Hadst thou been of Indian birth, 

Couched on a casual bed of moss and leaves, 



ADDRESS TO MY INFANT DAUGHTER 283 

And rudely canopied by leafy boughs, 20 

Or to the churlish elements exposed 

On the blank plains, the coldness of the night, 

Or the night's darkness, or its cheerful face 

Of beauty, by the changing moon adorned, 

Would, with imperious admonition, then 

Have scored thine age, and punctually timed 

Thine infant history, on the minds of those 

Who might have wandered with thee. Mother's love, 

Nor less than mother's love in other breasts, 

Will, among us warm-clad and warmly housed, 30 

Do for thee what the finger of the heavens 

Doth all too often harshly execute 

For thy unblest coevals, amid wilds 

Where fancy hath small liberty to grace 

The affections, to exalt them or refine ; 

And the maternal sympathy itself, 

Though strong, is, in the main, a joyless tie 

Of naked instinct, wound about the heart. 

Happier, far happier is thy lot and ours ! 

Even now to solemnise thy helpless state, 40 

And to enliven in the mind's regard 

Thy passive beauty parallels have risen, 

Resemblances, or contrasts, that connect, 

Within the region of a father's thoughts, 

Thee and thy mate and sister of the sky. 

And first ; thy sinless progress, through a world 

By sorrow darkened and by care disturbed, 

Apt likeness bears to hers, through gathered clouds 

Moving untouched in silver purity, 

And cheering oft-times their reluctant gloom. 50 

Fair are ye both, and both are free from stain : 

But thou, how leisurely thou fill'st thy horn 

With brightness ! leaving her to post along, 

And range about, disquieted in change, 

And still impatient of the shape she wears. 

Once up, once down the hill, one journey, Babe, 

That will suffice thee ; and it seems that now 

Thou hast foreknowledge that such task is thine ; 

Thou travellest so contentedly, and sleep' st 

In such a heedless peace. Alas ! full soon 60 

Hath this conception, grateful to behold, 

Changed countenance, like an object sullied o'er 

By breathing mist ; and thine appears to be 

A mournful labour, while to her is given 

Hope, and a renovation without end. 

That smile forbids the thought ; for on thy face 



284 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Smiles are beginning, like the beams of dawn, 

To shoot and circulate ; smiles have there been seen ; 

Tranquil assurances that Heaven supports 

The feeble motions of thy life, and cheers 70 

Thy loneliness : or shall those smiles be called 

Feelers of love, put forth as if to explore 

This untried world, and to prepare thy way 

Through a strait passage intricate and dim ? 

Such are they ; and the same are tokens, signs, 

Which, when the appointed season hath arrived, 

Joy, as her holiest language, shall adopt ; 

And Reason's godlike Power be proud to own. 

1804 

XXXIII 
THE WAGGONER 

' In Cairo's crowded streets 

The impatient Merchant, wondering, waits in vain, 
And Mecca saddens at the long delay.' 

THOMSON. 

TO CHARLES LAMB, ESQ. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, When I sent you, a few weeks ago, the Tale of Peter 
Bell, you asked ' why THE WAGGONER was not added ? ' To say the truth, 
from the higher tone of imagination, and the deeper touches of passion aimed 
at in the former, I apprehended this little Piece could not accompany it 
without disadvantage. In the year 1806, if I am not mistaken, THE 
WAGGONER was read to you in manuscript, and, as you have remembered it 
for so long a time, I am the more encouraged to hope, that, since the locali- 
ties on which the Poem partly depends did not prevent its being interesting 
to you, it may prove acceptable to others. Being therefore in some measure 
the cause of its present appearance, you must allow me the gratification of 
inscribing it to you ; in acknowledgment of the pleasure I have derived 
from your Writings, and of the high esteem with which 

I am very truly yours, 

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. 
RYDAL MOUNT, May 20, 1819. 

CANTO FIRST 

'* I MS spent this burning day of June ! 

Soft darkness o'er its latest gleams is 

stealing ; 
The buzzing dor-hawk, round and round, is 

wheeling, 
That solitary bird 
Is all that can be heard 
In silence deeper far than that of deepest noon ! 

Confiding Glow-worms, 'tis a night 
Propitious to your earth-born light! 
But where the scattered stars are seen 
In hazy straits the clouds between, 10 



THE WAGGONER 285 

Each, in his station twinkling not, 

Seems changed into a pallid spot. 

The mountains against heaven's grave weight 

Rise up, and grow to wondrous height. 

The air, as in a lion's den, 

Is close and hot; and now and then 

Comes a tired and sultry breeze 

With a haunting and a panting, 

Like the stifling of disease ; 

But the dews allay the heat, 20 

And the silence makes it sweet. 

Hush, there is some one on the stir ! 
'Tis Benjamin the Waggoner ; 
Who long hath trod this toilsome way, 
Companion of the night and day. 
That far-off tinkling' s drowsy cheer, 
Mixed with a faint yet grating sound 
In a moment lost and found, 
The Wain announces by whose side 
Along the banks of Rydal Mere 30 

He paces on, a trusty Guide, 
Listen ! you can scarcely hear ! 
Hither he his course is bending ; 
Now he leaves the lower ground, 
And up the craggy hill ascending 
Many a stop and stay he makes, 
Many a breathing-fit he takes ; 
Steep the way and wearisome, 
Yet all the while his whip is dumb ! 

The Horses have worked with right good-will, 40 

And so have gained the top of the hill ; 

He was patient, they were strong, 

And now they smoothly glide along, 

Recovering breath, and pleased to win 

The praises of mild Benjamin. 

Heaven shield him from mishap and snare ! 

But why so early with this prayer ? 

Is it for threatenings in the sky ? 

Or for some other danger nigh ? 

No ; none is near him yet, though he s 

Be one of much infirmity ; 

For at the bottom of the brow, 

Where once the DOVE and OLIVE-BOUGH 

Offered a greeting of good ale 

To all who entered Grasmere Vale ; 



286 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And called on him who must depart 

To leave it with a jovial heart ; 

There, where the DOVE and OLIVE-BOUGH 

Once hung, a Poet harbours now, 

A simple water-drinking Bard ; 60 

Why need our Hero then (though frail 

His best resolves) be on his guard ? 

He marches by, secure and bold ; 

Yet, while he thinks on times of old, 

It seems that all looks wondrous cold ; 

He shrugs his shoulders, shakes his head, 

And, for the honest folk within, 

It is a doubt with Benjamin 

Whether they be alive or dead ! 

Here is no danger, none at all ! 70 

Beyond his wish he walks secure ; 
But pass a mile and then for trial, 
Then for the pride of self-denial ; 
If he resist that tempting door, 
Which with such friendly voice will call ; 
If he resist those casement panes, 
And that bright gleam which thence will fall 
Upon his Leaders' bells and manes, 
Inviting him with cheerful lure : 
For still, though all be dark elsewhere, 80 

Some shining notice will be there, 
Of open house and ready fare. 

The place to Benjamin right well 
Is known, and by as strong a spell 
As used to be that sign of love 
And hope the OLIVE-BOUGH and DOVE ; 
He knows it to his cost, good Man ! 
Who does not know the famous SWAN ? 
Object uncouth ! and yet our boast, 
For it was painted by the Host ; 90 

His own conceit the figure planned, 
'Twas coloured all by his own hand ; 
And that frail Child of thirsty clay, 
Of whom I sing this rustic lay, 
Could tell with self-dissatisfaction 
Quaint stories of the bird's attraction ! l 

Well ! that is past and in despite 
Of open door and shining light. 

1 This rude piece of self-taught art (such is the progress of refinement) hM 
been supplanted by a professional production. 



THE WAGGONER 287 

And now the conqueror essays 

The long ascent of Dunmail-raise ; 100 

And with his team is gentle here 

As when he clomb from Rydal Mere ; 

His whip they do not dread his voice 

They only hear it to rejoice. 

To stand or go is at their pleasure ; 

Their efforts and their time they measure 

By generous pride within the breast ; 

And while they strain, and while they rest, 

He thus pursues his thoughts at leisure. 



Now am I fairly safe to-night no 

And with proud cause my heart is light : 
I trespassed lately worse than ever 
But Heaven has blest a good endeavour ; 
And, to my soul's content, I find 
The evil One is left behind. 
Yes, let my master fume and fret, 
Here am I with my horses yet ! 
My jolly team, he finds that ye 
Will work for nobody but me ! 

Full proof of this the Country gained ; 120 

It knows how ye were vexed and strained, 
And forced unworthy stripes to bear, 
When trusted to another's care. 
Here was it on this rugged slope, 
Which now ye climb with heart and hope, 
I saw you, between rage and fear, 
Plunge, and fling back a spiteful ear, 
And ever more and more confused, 
As ye were more and more abused : 
As chance would have it, passing by 130 

I saw you in that jeopardy : 
A word from me was like a charm ; 
Ye pulled together with one mind ; 
And your huge burthen, safe from harm. 
Moved like a vessel in the wind ! 
Yes, without me, up hills so high 
'Tis vain to strive for mastery. 
Then grieve not, jolly team ! though tough 
The road we travel, steep, and rough ; 
Though Rydal-heights and Dunmail-raise, 140 

And all their fellow banks and braes, 
Full often make you stretch and strain, 
And halt for breath and halt again, 



288 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Yet to their sturdiness 'tis owing 
That side by side we still are going ! 

While Benjamin in earnest mood 
His meditations thus pursued, 
A storm, which had been smothered long, 
Was growing inwardly more strong; 
And, in its struggles to get free, 150 

Was busily employed as he. 
The thunder had begun to growl 
He heard not, too intent of soul ; 
The air was now without a breath 
He marked not that 'twas still as death. 
But soon large rain-drops on his head 
Fell with the weight of drops of lead ; 
He starts and takes, at the admonition, 
A sage survey of his condition. 
The road is black before his eyes, 160 

Glimmering faintly where it lies ; 
Black is the sky and every hill, 
Up to the sky, is blacker still 
Sky, hill, and dale, one dismal room, 
Hung round and overhung with gloom ; 
Save that above a single height 
Is to be seen a lurid light, 
Above Helm-crag l a streak half dead, 
A burning of portentous red ; 

And near that lurid light, full well 170 

The ASTROLOGER, sage Sidrophel, 
Where at his desk and book he sits, 
Puzzling aloft his curious wits ; 
He whose domain is held in common 
With no one but the ANCIENT WOMAN, 
Cowering beside her rifted cell, 
As if intent on magic spell ; 
Dread pair, that, spite of wind and weather 3 
Still sit upon Helm-crag together ! 

The ASTROLOGER was not unseen 180 

By solitary Benjamin ; 
But total darkness came anon, 
And he and every thing was gone : 
And suddenly a ruffling breeze, 
(That would have rocked the sounding trees 

1 A mountain of Grasmere, the broken summit of which presents two 
figures, full as distinctly shaped as that of the famous Cobbler near 
Arroquhar in Scotland. 



THE WAGGONER 289 

Had aught of sylvan growth been there) 

Swept through the Hollow long and bare : 

The rain rushed down the road was battered, 

As with the force of billows shattered ; 

The horses are dismayed, nor know 190 

Whether they should stand or go ; 

And Benjamin is groping near them, 

Sees nothing, and can scarcely hear them. 

He is astounded, wonder not, 

With such a charge in such a spot ; 

Astounded in the mountain gap 

With thunder-peals, clap after clap, 

Close-treading on the silent flashes 

And somewhere, as he thinks, by crashes 

Among the rocks ; with weight of rain, 200 

And sullen motions long and slow, 

That to a dreary distance go 

Till, breaking in upon the dying strain, 

A rending o'er his head begins the fray again. 

Meanwhile, uncertain what to do, 
And oftentimes compelled to halt, 
The horses cautiously pursue 
Their way, without mishap or fault ; 
And now have reached that pile of stones, 
Heaped over brave King Dunmail's bones, 210 

He who had once supreme command, 
Last king of rocky Cumberland ; 
His bones, and those of all his Power, 
Slain here in a disastrous hour ! 

When, passing through this narrow strait, 
Stony, and dark, and desolate, 
Benjamin can faintly hear 
A voice that comes from some one near, 
A female voice : ' Whoe'er you be, 
Stop,' it exclaimed, ' and pity me ! ' 220 

And, less in pity than in wonder, 
Amid the darkness and the thunder, 
The Waggoner, with prompt command, 
Summons his horses to a stand. 

While, with increasing agitation, 
The Woman urged her supplication, 
In rueful words, with sobs between 
The voice of tears that fell unseen ; 



l-T 



290 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

There came a flash a startling glare, 

And all Seat-Sandal was laid bare ! 230 

"Tis not a time for nice suggestion, 

And Benjamin, without a question, 

Taking her for some way-worn rover, 

Said, ' Mount, and get you under cover !' 

Another voice, in tone as hoarse 
As a swoln brook with rugged course, 
Cried out, ' Good brother, why so fast ? 
I 've had a glimpse of you avast ! 
Or, since it suits you to be civil, 
Take her at once for good and evil ! ' 240 

' It is my Husband,' softly said 
The Woman, as if half afraid : 
By this time she was snug within, 
Through help of honest Benjamin; 
She and her Babe, which to her breast 
With thankfulness the Mother pressed ; 
And now the same strong voice more near 
Said cordially, ' My Friend, what cheer ? 
Rough doings these ! as God 's my judge, 
The sky owes somebody a grudge ! 250 

We 've had in half an hour or less 
A twelvemonth's terror and distress !' 

Then Benjamin entreats the Man 
Would mount, too, quickly as he can : 
The Sailor Sailor now no more, 
But such he had been heretofore 
To courteous Benjamin replied, 
' Go you your way, and mind not me ; 
For I must have, whate'er betide, 
My Ass and fifty things beside, 260 

Go, and I '11 follow speedily ! ' 

The Waggon moves and with its load 
Descends along the sloping road ; 
And the rough Sailor instantly 
Turns to a little tent hard by : 
For when, at closing-in of day, 
The family had come that way, 
Green pasture and the soft warm air 
Tempted them to settle there. 
Green is the grass for beast to graze, 270 

Around the stones of Dunmail-raise ! 



THE WAGGONER 291 

The Sailor gathers up his bed, 
Takes down the canvas overhead ; 
And after farewell to the place, 
A parting word though not of grace, 
Pursues, with Ass and all his store, 
The way the Waggon went before. 

CANTO SECOND 

IF Wytheburn's modest House of prayer, 

As lowly as the lowliest dwelling, 

Had, with its belfry's humble stock, 

A little pair that hang in air, 

Been mistress also of a clock, 

(And one, too, not in crazy plight), 

Twelve strokes that clock would have been telling 

Under the brow of old Helvellyn 

Its bead-roll of midnight, 

Then, when the Hero of my tale 10 

Was passing by, and, down the vale 

(The vale now silent, hushed, I ween, 

As if a storm had never been) 

Proceeding with a mind at ease ; 

While the old Familiar of the seas, 

Intent to use his utmost haste, 

Gained ground upon the Waggon fast, 

And gives another lusty cheer ; 

Foi-, spite of rumbling of the wheels, 

A welcome greeting he can hear ; 20 

It is a fiddle in its glee 

Dinning from the CHERRY TREE ! 

Thence the sound the light is there 
As Benjamin is now aware, 
Who, to his inward thoughts confined, 
Had almost reached the festive door, 
When, startled by the Sailor's roar, 
He hears a sound and sees the light, 
And in a moment calls to mind 
That 'tis the village MERRY-NIGHT ! x 30 

Although before in no dejection, 
At this insidious recollection 
His heart with sudden joy is filled, 
His ears are by the music thrilled, 

1 A term well known in the North of England, and applied to rural 
Festivals where young persons meet in the evening for the purpose of 
dancing. 



292 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

His eyes take pleasure in the road 

Glittering before him bright and broad ; 

And Benjamin is wet and cold, 

And there are reasons manifold 

That make the good, tow'rds which he 's yearning, 

Look fairly like a lawful earning. 40 

Nor has thought time to come and go, 
To vibrate between yes and no ; 
For, cries the Sailor, ' Glorious chance 
That blew us hither ! let him dance, 
Who can or will ! my honest soul, 
Our treat shall be a friendly bowl ! ' 
He draws him to the door 'Come in, 
Come, come,' cries he to Benjamin ! 
And Benjamin ah, woe is me ! 
Gave the word the horses heard 50 

And halted, though reluctantly. 

' Blithe souls and lightsome hearts have we, 
Feasting at the CHERRY TREE ! ' 
This was the outside proclamation, 
This was the inside salutation ; 
What bustling jostling high and low ! 
A universal overflow ! 
What tankards foaming from the tap ! 
What store of cakes in every lap ! 
What thumping stumping overhead ! 60 

The thunder had not been more busy : 
With such a stir you would have said, 
This little place may well be dizzy ! 
'Tis who can dance with greatest vigour 
'Tis what can be most prompt and eager; 
As if it heard the fiddle's call, 
The pewter clatters on the wall ; 
The very bacon shows its feeling, 
Swinging from the smoky ceiling ! 

A steaming bowl, a blazing fire, 70 

What greater good can heart desire ? 
'Twere worth a wise man's while to try 
The utmost anger of the sky : 
To seek for thoughts of a gloomy cast, 
If such the bright amends at last. 
Now should you say I judge amiss, 
The CHERRY TREE shows proof of this ; 



THE WAGGONER 293 

For soon, of all the happy there, 

Our Travellers are the happiest pair ; 

All care with Benjamin is gone 80 

A Caesar past the Rubicon ! 

He thinks not of his long, long, strife; 

The Sailor, Man by nature gay, 

Hath no resolves to throw away ; 

And he hath now forgot his Wife, 

Hath quite forgotten her or may be 

Thinks her the luckiest soul on earth, 

Within that warm and peaceful berth, 

Under cover, 

Terror over, 90 

Sleeping by her sleeping Baby. 

With bowl that sped from hand to hand, 
The gladdest of the gladsome band, 
Amid their own delight and fun, 
They hear when every dance is done, 
When every whirling bout is o'er 
The fiddle's squeak l that call to bliss, 
Ever followed by a kiss ; 
They envy not the happy lot, 
But enjoy their own the more ! 100 

While thus our jocund Travellers fare, 
Up springs the Sailor from his chair 
Limps (for I might have told before 
That he was lame) across the floor 
Is gone returns and with a prize ; 
With what ? a Ship of lusty size ; 
A gallant stately Man-of-war, 
Fixed on a smoothly-sliding car. 
Surprise to all, but most surprise 
To Benjamin, who rubs his eyes, no 

Not knowing that he had befriended 
A Man so gloriously attended ! 

' This/ cries the Sailor, ' a Third-rate is 
Stand back, and you shall see her gratis ! 
This was the Flag-ship at the Nile, 
The VANGUARD you may smirk and smile, 
But, pretty Maid, if you look near, 
You'll find you've much in little here! 

1 At the close of each strathspey, or jig, a particular note from the 
fidille summons the Rustic to the agreeable duty of saluting his partner. 



294 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A nobler ship did never swim, 

And you shall see her in full trim : 120 

I '11 set, my friends, to do you honour, 

Set every inch of sail upon her.' 

So said, so done ; and masts, sails, yards, 

He names them all ; and interlards 

His speech with uncouth terms of art, 

Accomplished in the showman's part; 

And then, as from a sudden check, 

Cries out f 'Tis there, the quarter-deck 

On which brave Admiral Nelson stood 

A sight that would have roused your blood ! 130 

One eye he had, which, bright as ten, 

Burned like a fire among his men ; 

Let this be land, and that be sea, 

Here lay the French and thus came we !' 

Hushed was by this the fiddle's sound, 
The dancers all were gathered round, 
And such the stillness of the house, 
You might have heard a nibbling mouse ; 
While, borrowing helps where'er he may, 
The Sailor through the story runs 140 

Of ships to ships and guns to guns ; 
And does his utmost to display 
The dismal conflict, and the might 
And terror of that marvellous night ! 
' A bowl, a bowl of double measure,' 
Cries Benjamin, ' a draught of length, 
To Nelson, England's pride and treasure, 
Her bulwark and her tower of strength ! ' 
When Benjamin had seized the bowl, 
The mastiff, from beneath the waggon, 150 

Where he lay, watchful as a dragon, 
Rattled his chain ; 'twas all in vain, 
For Benjamin, triumphant soul ! 
He heard the monitory growl ; 
Heard and in opposition quaffed 
A deep, determined, desperate draught ! 
Nor did the battered Tar forget, 
Or flinch from what he deemed his debt : 
Then, like a hero crowned with laurel, 
Back to her place the ship he led; 160 

Wheeled her back in full apparel ; 
And so, flag flying at mast-head, 
Re-yoked her to the Ass : anon 
Cries Benjamin, ' We must be gone.' 



THE WAGGONER 295 

Thus, after two hours' hearty stay, 
Again behold them on their way ! 

CANTO THIRD 

RIGHT gladly had the horses stirred, 

When they the wished-for greeting heard, 

The whip's loud notice from the door, 

That they were free to move once more. 

You think, those doings must have bred 

In them disheartening doubts and dread ; 

No, not a horse of all the eight, 

Although it be a moonless night, 

Fears either for himself or freight; 

For this they know (and let it hide, 10 

In part, the offences of their guide) 

That Benjamin, with clouded brains, 

Is worth the best with all their pains ; 

And, if they had a prayer to make, 

The prayer would be that they may take 

With him whatever comes in course, 

The better fortune or the worse ; 

That no one else may have business near them, 

And, drunk or sober, he may steer them. 

So forth in dauntless mood they fare, 20 

And with them goes the guardian pair. 

Now, heroes, for the true commotion, 
The triumph of your late devotion ! 
Can aught on earth impede delight, 
Still mounting to a higher height; 
And higher still a greedy flight ! 
Can any low-born care pursue her, 
Can any mortal clog come to her ? 
No notion have they not a thought, 
That is from joyless regions brought ! 30 

And, while they coast the silent lake, 
Their inspiration I partake ; 
Share their empyreal spirits yea, 
With their enraptured vision see 
O fancy what a jubilee ! 
What shifting pictures clad in gleams 
Of colour bright as feverish dreams ! 
Earth, spangled sky, and lake serene, 
Involved and restless all a scene 
Pregnant with mutual exaltation, 40 

Rich change, and multiplied creation ! 



296 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

This sight to me the Muse imparts ; 

And then, what kindness in their hearts ! 

What tears of rapture, what vow-making, 

Profound entreaties, and hand-shaking ! 

What solemn, vacant, interlacing, 

As if they 'd fall asleep embracing ! 

Then, in the turbulence of glee, 

And in the excess of amity, 

Says Benjamin, ' That Ass of thine, 50 

He spoils thy sport, and hinders mine : 

If he were tethered to the waggon, 

He 'd drag as well what he is dragging ; 

And we, as brother should with brother, 

Might trudge it alongside each other ! ' 

Forthwith, obedient to command, 
The horses made a quiet stand ; 
And to the waggon's skirts was tied 
The Creature, by the Mastiff's side, 
The Mastiff wondering, and perplext 60 

With dread of what will happen next ; 
And thinking it but sorry cheer 
To have such company so near ! 

This new arrangement made, the Wain 
Through the still night proceeds again ; 
No Moon hath risen her light to lend ; 
But indistinctly may be kenned 
The VANGUARD, following close behind, 
Sails spread, as if to catch the wind ! 

' Thy wife and child are snug and warm, 70 

Thy ship will travel without harm ; 
I like,' said Benjamin, ' her shape and stature : 
And this of mine this bulky creature 
Of which I have the steering this, 
Seen fairly, is not much amiss ! 
We want your streamers, friend, you know ; 
But, altogether as we go, 
We make a kind of handsome show ! 
Among these hills, from first to last, 
We 've weathered many a furious blast ; 80 

Hard passage forcing on, with head 
Against the storm, and canvas spread. 
I hate a boaster ; but to thee 
Will say't, who know'st both land and sea, 
The unluckiest hulk that stems the brine 
Is hardly worse beset than mine, 



THE WAGGONER 297 

When cross-winds on her quarter beat; 

And, fairly lifted from my feet, 

I stagger onward heaven knows how ; 

But not so pleasantly as now : 90 

Poor pilot I, by snows confounded, 

And many a foundrous pit surrounded ! 

Yet here we are, by night and day 

Grinding through rough and smooth our way ; 

Through foul and fair our task fulfilling ; 

And long shall be so yet God willing ! ' 

'Ay/ said the Tar, 'through fair and foul 
But save us from yon screeching owl ! ' 
That instant was begun a fray 

Which called their thoughts another way : 100 

The Mastiff, ill-conditioned carl ! 
What must he do but growl and snarl, 
Still more and more dissatisfied 
With the meek comrade at his side ! 
Till, not incensed though put to proof, 
The Ass, uplifting a hind hoof, 
Salutes the Mastiff on the head ; 
And so were better manners bred, 
And all was calmed and quieted. 

' Yon screech-owl,' says the Sailor, turning no 
Back to his former cause of mourning, 
' Yon owl ! pray God that all be well ! 
'Tis worse than any funeral bell ; 
As sure as I 've the gift of sight, 
We shall be meeting ghosts to-night ! ' 
Said Benjamin, 'This whip shall lay 
A thousand, if they cross our way. 
I know that Wanton's noisy station, 
I know him and his occupation ; 
The jolly bird hath learned his cheer 120 

Upon the banks of Windermere ; 
Where a tribe of them make merry, 
Mocking the Man that keeps the ferry ; 
Hallooing from an open throat, 
Like travellers shouting for a boat. 
The tricks he learned at Windermere 
This vagrant owl is playing here 
That is the worst of his employment : 
He 's at the top of his enjoyment ! ' 

This explanation stilled the alarm, 130 

Cured the foreboder like a charm ; 



298 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

This, and the manner, and the voice, 

Summoned the Sailor to rejoice ; 

His heart is up he fears no evil 

From life or death, from man or devil ; 

He wheels and, making many stops, 

Brandished his crutch against the mountain tops ; 

And, while he talked of blows and scars, 

Benjamin, among the stars, 

Beheld a dancing and a glancing 140 

Such retreating and advancing 

As, I ween, was never seen 

In bloodiest battle since the days of Mars ! 

CANTO FOURTH 

THUS they, with freaks of proud delight, 
Beguile the remnant of the night ; 
And many a snatch of jovial song 
Regales them as they wind along ; 
While to the music, from on high, 
The echoes make a glad reply. 
But the sage Muse the revel heeds 
No farther than her story needs ; 
Nor will she servilely attend 

The loitering journey to its end. 10 

Blithe spirits of her own impel 
The Muse, who scents the morning air, 
To take of this transported pair 
A brief and unreproved farewell ; 
To quit the slow-paced waggon's side, 
And wander down yon hawthorn dell, 
With murmuring Greta for her guide. 
There doth she ken the awful form 
Of Raven-crag black as a storm 
Glimmering through the twilight pale ; 20 

And Ghimmer-crag, 1 his tall twin brother, 
Each peering forth to meet the other : 
And, while she roves through St. John's Vale, 
Along the smooth unpathwayed plain, 
By sheep-track or through cottage lane, 
Where no disturbance comes to intrude 
Upon the pensive solitude, 
Her unsuspecting eye, perchance, 
With the rude shepherd's favoured glance, 
Beholds the faeries in array, 30 

Whose party-coloured garments gay 
The silent company betray : 

1 The crag of the ewe lamb. 



THE WAGGONER 299 

Red, green, and blue ; a moment's sight ! 

For Skiddaw-top with rosy light 

Is touched and all the band take flight. 

Fly also, Muse ! and from the dell 

Mount to the ridge of Nathdale Fell ; 

Thence look thou forth o'er wood and lawn 

Hoar with the frost-like dews of dawn ; 

Across yon meadowy bottom look, 40 

Where close fogs hide their parent brook ; 

And see, beyond that hamlet small, 

The ruined towers of Threlkeld-hall, 

Lurking in a double shade, 

By trees and lingering twilight made ! 

There, at Blencathara's rugged feet, 

Sir Lancelot gave a safe retreat 

To noble Clifford ; from annoy 

Concealed the persecuted boy, 

Well pleased in rustic garb to feed 50 

His flock, and pipe on shepherd's reed 

Among this multitude of hills, 

Crags, woodlands, waterfalls, and rills ; 

Which soon the morning shall enfold, 

From east to west, in ample vest 

Of massy gloom and radiance bold. 

The mists, that o'er the streamlet's bed 
Hung low, begin to rise and spread ; 
Even while I speak, their skirts of grey 
Are smitten by a silver ray ; 60 

And lo ! up Castrigg's naked steep 
(Where, smoothly urged, the vapours sweep 
Along and scatter and divide, 
Like fleecy clouds self-multiplied) 
The stately waggon is ascending, 
With faithful Benjamin attending, 
Apparent now beside his team 
Now lost amid a glittering steam : 
And with him goes his Sailor-friend, 
By this time near their journey's end ; 70 

And, after their high-minded riot, 
Sickening into thoughtful quiet ; 
As if the morning's pleasant hour 
Had for their joys a killing power. 
And, sooth, for Benjamin a vein 
Is opened of still deeper pain, 
As if his heart by notes were stung 
From out the lowly hedge-rows flung ; 



300 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

As if the warbler lost in light 

Reproved his soarings of the night, 80 

In strains of rapture pure and holy 

Upbraided his distempered folly. 



Drooping is he, his step is dull ; 
But the horses stretch and pull ; 
With increasing vigour climb, 
Eager to repair lost time ; 
Whether, by their own desert, 
Knowing what cause there is for shame, 
They are labouring to avert 

As much as may be of the blame, 90 

Which, they foresee, must soon alight 
Upon his head, whom, in despite 
Of all his failings, they love best ; 
Whether for him they are distrest ; 
Or, by length of fasting roused, 
Are impatient to be housed : 
Up against the hill they strain 
Tugging at the iron chain, 
Tugging all with might and main, 
Last and foremost, every horse 100 

To the utmost of his force ! 
And the smoke and respiration, 
Rising like an exhalation, 
Blend with the mist a moving shroud 
To form, an undissolving cloud ; 
Which, with slant ray, the merry sun 
Takes delight to play upon. 
Never golden-haired Apollo, 
Pleased some favourite chief to follow 
Through accidents of peace or war, no 

In a perilous moment threw 
Around the object of his care 
Veil of such celestial hue ; \ 

Interposed so bright a screen 
Him and his enemies between ! 



Alas ! what boots it ? who can hide, 
When the malicious Fates are bent 
On working out an ill intent ? 
Can destiny be turned aside ? 
No sad progress of my story ! 
Benjamin, this outward glory 



THE WAGGONER 301 

Cannot shield thee from thy Master, 

Who from Keswick has pricked forth, 

Sour and surly as the north ; 

And, in fear of some disaster, 

Comes to give what help he may, 

And to hear what thou canst say ; 

If, as needs he must forbode, 

Thou hast been loitering on the road ! 

His fears, his doubts, may now take flight 130 

The wished-for object is in sight ; 

Yet, trust the Muse, it rather hath 

Stirred him up to livelier wrath ; 

Which he stifles, moody man ! 

With all the patience that he can ; 

To the end that, at your meeting, 

He may give thee decent greeting. 



There he is resolved to stop, 
Till the waggon gains the top ; 
But stop he cannot must advance : 140 

Him Benjamin, with lucky glance, 
Espies and instantly is ready, 
Self-collected, poised, and steady : 
And, to be the better seen, 
Issues from his radiant shroud, 
From his close-attending cloud, 
With careless air and open mien. 
Erect his port, and firm his going ; 
So struts yon cock that now is crowing ; 
And the morning light in grace 150 

Strikes upon his lifted face, 
Hurrying the pallid hue away 
That might his trespasses betray. 
But what can all avail to clear him, 
Or what need of explanation, 
Parley or interrogation ? 
For the Master sees, alas ! 
That unhappy Figure near him, 
Limping o'er the dewy grass, 

Where the road it fringes, sweet, 160 

Soft and cool to way-worn feet ; 
And, O indignity ! an Ass, 
By his noble Mastiffs side, 
Tethered to the waggon's tail : 
And the ship, in all her pride, 
Following after in full sail ! 



302 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Not to speak of babe and mother ; 

Who, contented with each other, 

And snug as birds in leafy arbour, 

Find, within, a blessed harbour ! 170 

With eager eyes the Master pries ; 
Looks in and out, and through and through ; 
Says nothing till at last he spies 
A wound upon the Mastiff's head, 
A wound where plainly might be read 
What feats an Ass's hoof can do ! 
But drop the rest : this aggravation, 
This complicated provocation, 
A hoard of grievances unsealed ; 
All past forgiveness it repealed; 180 

And thus, and through distempered blood 
On both sides, Benjamin the good, 
The patient, and the tender-hearted, 
Was from his team and waggon parted ; 
When duty of that day was o'er, 
Laid down his whip and served no more. 
Nor could the waggon long survive, 
Which Benjamin had ceased to drive : 
It lingered on ; guide after guide 
Ambitiously the office tried ; 190 

But each unmanageable hill 
Called for his patience and his skill ; 
And sure it is, that through this night, 
And what the morning brought to light, 
Two losses had we to sustain, 
We lost both WAGGONER and WAIN! 



Accept, O Friend, for praise or blame, 
The gift of this adventurous song ; 
A record which I dared to frame, 
Though timid scruples checked me long; 
They checked me and I left the theme 
Untouched ; in spite of many a gleam 
Of fancy which thereon was shed, 
Like pleasant sunbeams shifting still 
Upon the side of a distant hill : 
But Nature might not be gainsaid ; 
For what I have and what I miss 
I sing of these ; it makes my bliss ! 



THE WAGGONER 303 

Nor is it I who play the part, 

But a shy spirit in my heart, 210 

That comes and goes will sometimes leap 

From hiding-places ten years deep ; 

Or haunts me with familiar face, 

Returning, like a ghost unlaid, 

Until the debt I owe be paid. 

Forgive me, then ; for I had been 

On friendly terms with this Machine : 

In him, while he was wont to trace 

Our roads, through many a long year's space, 

A living almanack had we; 220 

We had a speaking diary, 

That in this uneventful place, 

Gave to the days a mark and name 

By which we knew them when they came. 

Yes, I, and all about me here, 

Through all the changes of the year, 

Had seen him through the mountains go, 

In pomp of mist or pomp of snow, 

Majestically huge and slow : 

Or with a milder grace adorning 230 

The landscape of a summer's morning ; 

While Grasmere smoothed her liquid plain 

The moving image to detain ; 

And mighty Fairfield, with a chime 

Of echoes, to his march kept time ; 

When little other business stirred, 

And little other sound was heard ; 

In that delicious hour of balm, 

Stillness, solitude, and calm, 

While yet the valley is arrayed, 240 

On this side with a sober shade; 

On that is prodigally bright 

Crag, lawn, and wood with rosy light. 

But most of all, thou lordly Wain ! 

I wish to have thee here again, 

When windows flap and chimney roars, 

And all is dismal out of doors ; 

And, sitting by my fire, I see 

Eight sorry carts, no less a train ! 

Unworthy successors of thee, 250 

Come straggling through the wind and rain : 

And oft, as they pass slowly on, 

Beneath my windows, one by one, 

See, perched upon the naked height 

The summit of a cumbrous freight, 



304 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A single traveller and there 

Another ; then perhaps a pair 

The lame, the sickly, and the old ; 

Men, women, heartless with the cold ; 

And babes in wet and starveling plight ; 260 

Which once, be weather as it might, 

Had still a nest within a nest, 

Thy shelter and their mother's breast ! 

Then most of all, then far the most, 

Do I regret what we have lost ; 

Am grieved for that unhappy sin 

Which robbed us of good Benjamin ; 

And of his stately Charge, which none 

Could keep alive when He was gone ! 

1805 



THERE WAS A BOY 305 



POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION 

I 
THERE WAS A BOY 

THERE was a Boy ; ye knew him well, ye cliffs 
And islands of Winander ! many a time, 
At evening, when the earliest stars began 
To move along the edges of the hills, 
Rising or setting, would he stand alone, 
Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake ; 
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands 
Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth 
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument, 
Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls, 10 

That they might answer him. And they would shout 
Across the watery vale, and shout again, 
Responsive to his call, with quivering peals, 
And long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud 
Redoubled and redoubled ; concourse wild 
Of jocund din ! And, when there came a pause 
Of silence such as baffled his best skill : 
Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung 
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise 
Has carried far into his heart the voice 20 

Of mountain-torrents ; or the visible scene 
Would enter unawares into his mind 
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks, 
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven received 
Into the bosom of the steady lake. 

This boy was taken from his mates, and died 
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old. 
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale 
Where he was born and bred : the churchyard hangs 
Upon a slope above the village-school ; 30 

And through that churchyard when my way has led 
On summer-evenings, I believe that there 
A long half-hour together I have stood 
Mute looking at the grave in which he lies ! 

1798 
1-U 



306 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

II 
TO THE CUCKOO 

O BLITHE New-comer ! I have heard, 
I hear thee and rejoice. 

Cuckoo ! shall I call thee Bird, 
Or but a wandering Voice ? 

While I am lying on the grass 
Thy twofold shout I hear; 
From hill to hill it seems to pass, 
At once far off, and near. 

Though babbling only to the Vale 

Of sunshine and of flowers, 10 

Thou bringest unto me a tale 

Of visionary hours. 

Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring ! 

Even yet thou art to me 

No bird, but an invisible thing, 

A voice, a mystery ; 

The same whom in my school-boy days 

1 listened to ; that Cry 

Which made me look a thousand ways 

In bush, and tree, and sky. ao 

To seek thee did I often rove 
Through woods and on the green ; 
And thou wert still a hope, a love ; 
Still longed for, never seen. 

And I can listen to thee yet ; 
Can lie upon the plain 
And listen, till I do beget 
That golden time again. 

O blessed Bird ! the earth we pace 

Again appears to be 30 

An unsubstantial, faery place ; 

That is fit home for Thee ! 

1802 



AIREY-FORCE VALLEY 307 

HI 
A NIGHT-PIECE 

THE sky is overcast 

With a continuous cloud of texture close, 

Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon, 

Which through that veil is indistinctly seen, 

A dull, contracted circle, yielding light 

So feebly spread that not a shadow falls, 

Chequering the ground from rock, plant, tree, or tower. 

At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam 

Startles the pensive traveller while he treads 

His lonesome path, with unobserving eye 10 

Bent earthwards ; he looks up the clouds are split 

Asunder, and above his head he sees 

The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens. 

There in a black-blue vault she sails along, 

Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small 

And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss 

Drive as she drives : how fast they wheel away, 

Yet vanish not ! the wind is in the tree, 

But they are silent ; still they roll along 

Immeasurably distant ; and the vault, 20 

Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds, 

Still deepens its unfathomable depth. 

At length the Vision closes ; and the mind, 

Not undisturbed by the delight it feels, 

Which slowly settles into peaceful calm, 

Is left to muse upon the solemn scene. 

1798 

IV 
AIREY-FORCE VALLEY 

NOT a breath of air 

Ruffles the bosom of this leafy glen. 

From the brook's margin, wide around, the trees 

Are steadfast as the rocks ; the brook itself, 

Old as the hills that feed it from afar, 

Doth rather deepen than disturb the calm 

Where all things else are still and motionless. 

And yet, even now, a little breeze, perchance 

Escaped from boisterous winds that rage without. 

Has entered, by the sturdy oaks unfelt, 10 

But to its gentle touch how sensitive 

Is the light ash ! that, pendent from the brow 



308 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Of yon dim cave, in seeming silence makes 

A soft eye-music of slow-waving boughs, 

Powerful almost as vocal harmony 

To stay the wanderer's steps and soothe his thoughts. 

Published 1842 



YEW-TREES 

THERE is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale, 
Which to this day stands single, in the midst 
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore : 
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands 
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched 
To Scotland's heaths ; or those that crossed the sea 
And drew their sounding bows at A/incour, 
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers. 
Of vast circumference and gloom profound 
This solitary Tree ! a living thing 10 

Produced too slowly ever to decay ; 
Of form and aspect too magnificent 
To be destroyed. But worthier still of note 
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale, 
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove ; 
Huge trunks ! and each particular trunk a growth 
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine 
Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved ; 
Nor uninformed with Phantasy, and looks 
That threaten the profane ; a pillared shade, 20 

Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue, 
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged 
Perennially beneath whose sable roof 
Of boughs, as if for festal purpose decked 
With unrejoicing berries ghostly Shapes 
May meet at noontide ; Fear and trembling Hope, 
Silence and Foresight ; Death the Skeleton 
And Time the Shadow ; there to celebrate, 
As in a natural temple scattered o'er 
With altars undistui'bed of mossy stone, 30 

United worship ; or in mute repose 
To lie, and listen to the mountain flood 
Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves. 

1803 

VI 
NUTTING 

-Ix seems a day 



(I speak of one from many singled out) 



NUTTING 309 

One of those heavenly days that cannot die ; 

When, in the eagerness of boyish hope, 

I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth 

With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung, 

A nutting-crook in hand ; and turned my steps 

Tow'rd some far-distant wood, a Figure quaint, 

Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds 

Which for that service had been husbanded, 10 

By exhortation of my frugal Dame 

Motley accoutrement, of power to smile 

At thorns, and brakes, and brambles, and, in truth, 

More ragged than need was ! O'er pathless rocks, 

Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets, 

Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook 

Unvisited, where not a broken bough 

Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign 

Of devastation ; but the hazels rose 

Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung, 20 

A virgin scene ! A little while I stood, 

Breathing with such suppression of the heart 

As joy delights in ; and, with wise restraint 

Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed 

The banquet ; or beneath the trees I sate 

Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played ; 

A temper known to those, who, after long 

And weary expectation, have been blest 

With sudden happiness beyond all hope. 

Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves 30 

The violets of five seasons re-appear 

And fade, unseen by any human eye ; 

Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on 

For ever ; and I saw the sparkling foam, 

And with my cheek on one of those green stones 

That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees, 

Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep 

I heard the murmur, and the murmuring sound, 

In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay 

Tribute to ease ; and, of its joy secure, <o 

The heart luxuriates with indifferent things, 

Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones, 

And on the vacant air. Then up I rose, 

And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash 

And merciless ravage : and the shady nook 

Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower, 

Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up 

Their quiet being : and, unless I now 

Confound my present feelings with the past : 



310 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Ere from the mutilated bower I turned 50 

Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings, 

I felt a sense of pain when I beheld 

The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky. 

Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades 

In gentleness of heart ; with gentle hand 

Touch for there is a spirit in the woods. 

1799 

VII 

THE SIMPLON PASS 
BROOK and road 



Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy Pass, 

And with them did we journey several hours 

At a slow step. The immeasurable height 

Of woods decaying, never to be decayed, 

The stationary blasts of waterfalls, 

And in the narrow rent, at every turn, 

Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn, 

The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky, 

The rocks that muttered close upon our ears, 

Black drizzling crags that spake by the wayside 

As if a voice were in them, the sick sight 

And giddy prospect of the raving stream, 

The unfettered clouds and region of the heavens, 

Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light 

Were all like workings of one mind, the features 

Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree, 

Characters of the great Apocalypse, 

The types and symbols of Eternity, 

Of first and last, and midst, and without end. 

Published 1845 

VIII 

SHE was a Phantom of delight 
When first she gleamed upon my sight ; 
A lovely Apparition, sent 
To be a moment's ornament ; 
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair ; 
Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair; 
But all things else about her drawn 
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn ; 
A dancing Shape, an Image gay, 
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay. 

I saw her upon nearer view, 
A Spirit, yet a Woman too ! 



POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION 311 

Her household motions light and free, 

And steps of virgin-liberty ; 

A countenance in which did meet 

Sweet records, promises as sweet ; 

A Creature not too bright or good 

For human nature's daily food ; 

For transient sorrows, simple wiles, 

Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles. 20 

And now I see with eye serene - 
The very pulse of the machine ; 
A Being breathing thoughtful breath, 
A Traveller between life and death ; 
The reason firm, the temperate will, 
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill ; 
A perfect Woman, nobly planned, 
To warn, to comfort, and command ; 
And yet a Spirit still, and bright 
With something of angelic light. 30 

1804 



IX 

O NIGHTINGALE! thou surely art 
A creature of a ' fiery heart ' : 
These notes of thine they pierce and pierce ; 
Tumultuous harmony and fierce ! 
Thou sing'st as if the God of wine 
Had helped thee to a Valentine ; 
A song in mockery and despite 
Of shades, and dews, and silent night ; 
And steady bliss, and all the loves 
Now sleeping in these peaceful groves. 



I heard a Stock-dove sing or say 

His homely tale, this very day ; 

His voice was buried among trees, 

Yet to be come-at by the breeze : 

He did not cease ; but cooed and cooed ; 

And somewhat pensively he wooed : 

He sang of love, with quiet blending, 

Slow to begin, and never ending ; 

Of serious faith, and inward glee ; 

That was the song the song for me ! 

1807 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



X 

r I A HREE years she grew in sun and shower, 

Then Nature said, ' A lovelier flower 
On earth was never sown ; 
This Child I to myself will take ; 
She shall be mine, and I will make 
A Lady of my own. 

' Myself will to my darling be 

Both law and impulse : and with me 

The Girl, in rock and plain, 

In earth and heaven, in glade and bower, 10 

Shall feel an overseeing power 

To kindle or restrain. 

' She shall be sportive as the fawn 
That wild with glee across the lawn 
Or up the mountain springs ; 
And hers shall be the breathing balm, 
And hers the silence and the calm 
Of mute insensate things 

'The floating clouds their state shall lend 

To her ; for her the willow bend ; 20 

Nor shall she fail to see 

Even in the motions of the Storm 

Grace that shall mould the Maiden's form 

By silent sympathy. 

'The stars of midnight shall be dear 

To her ; and she shall lean her ear 

In many a secret place 

Where rivulets dance their wayward round, 

And beauty born of murmuring sound 

Shall pass into her face. 30 

' And vital feelings of delight 

Shall rear her form to stately height, 

Her virgin bosom swell ; 

Such thoughts to Lucy I will give 

While she and I together live 

Here in this happy dell.' 

Thus Nature spake The work was done 
How soon my Lucy's race was run ! 



POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION 313 

She died, and left to me 

This heath, this calm and quiet scene ; 40 

The memory of what has been, 

And never more will be. 

1799 

XI 

A SLUMBER did my spirit seal ; 
^\_ I had no human fears : 
She seemed a thing that could not feel 
The touch of earthly years. 

No motion has she now, no force ; 

She neither hears nor sees ; 
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course, 

With rocks, and stones, and trees. 

1799 

XII 

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud 
That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils ; 
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

Continuous as the stars that shine 

And twinkle on the milky way, 

They stretched in never-ending line 

Along the margin of a bay : 10 

Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 

The waves beside them danced ; but they 

Out- did the sparkling waves in glee : 

A poet could not but be gay, 

In such a jocund company : 

I gazed and gazed but little thought 

What wealth the show to me had brought : 

For oft, when on my couch I lie 

In vacant or in pensive mood, 20 

They flash upon that inward eye 

Which is the bliss of solitude ; 

And then my heart with pleasure fills, 

And dances with the daffodils. 

1804 



314 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XIII 
THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN 

A^ 1 the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears, 
Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for 

three years : 

Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard 
In the silence of morning the song of the Bird. 

'Tis a note of enchantment ; what ails her ? She sees 
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees ; 
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide, 
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside. 

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale, 
Down which she so often has tripped with her pail ; 10 
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's, 
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves. 

She looks, and her heart is in heaven : but they fade, 
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade : 
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise, 
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes ! 

1797 

XIV 
POWER OF MUSIC 

A*J Orpheus ! an Orpheus ! yes, Faith may grow bold, 
And take to herself all the wonders of old ; 
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same 
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name. 

His station is there ; and he works on the crowd, 
He sways them with harmony merry and loud ; 
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim 
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him ? 

What an eager assembly ! what an empire is this ! 
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss; 10 

The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest ; 
And the guilt-burthened soul is 110 longer opprest. 

As the Moon brightens round her the clouds of the 

night, 

So He, where he stands, is a centre of light ; 
It gleams on the face, there, of dusky-browed Jack, 
And the pale-visaged Baker's, with basket on back. 



STAR-GAZERS 315 

That errand-bound 'Prentice was passing in haste 
What matter ! he 's caught and his time runs to waste ; 
The Newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret ; 
And the half-breathless Lamplighter he's in the net ! 

The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore ; 21 
The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store ; 
If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease ; 
She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees ! 

He stands, backed by the wall ; he abates not his din ; 
His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in, 
From the old and the young, from the poorest ; and 

there ! 
The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare. 

blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand 

Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band ; 

1 am glad for him, blind as he is ! all the while 31 
If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a smile. 

That tall Man, a giant in bulk and in height, 
Not an inch of his body is free from delight ; 
Can he keep himself still, if he would ? oh, not he ! 
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree. 

Mark that Cripple who leans on his crutch ; like a tower 
That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour ! 
That Mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound, 39 

While she dandles the Babe in her arms to the sound. 

Now, coaches and chariots ! roar on like a stream ; 
Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream : 
They are deaf to your murmurs they care not for you 
Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue ! 

1806 

XV 
STAR-GAZERS 

WHAT crowd is this ? what have we here ! we must 
not pass it by ; 

A Telescope upon its frame, and pointed to the sky : 
Long is it as a barber's pole, or mast of little boat, 
Some little pleasure-skiff, that doth on Thames's waters float. 



316 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

The Showman chooses well his place, 'tis Leicester's busy 

Square ; 
And is as happy in his night, for the heavens are blue and 

fair; 
Calm, though impatient, is the crowd ; each stands ready 

with the fee, 
And envies him that 's looking ; what an insight must it be ! 

Yet, Showman, where can lie the cause ? Shall thy Imple- 
ment have blame, 

A boaster that, when he is tried, fails, and is put to shame ? 
Or is it good as others are, and be their eyes in fault ? n 
Their eyes, or minds ? or, finally, is yon resplendent vault ? 

Is nothing of that radiant pomp so good as we have here ? 
Or gives a thing but small delight that never can be dear ? 
The silver moon with all her vales, and hills of mightiest 

fame, 
Doth she betray us when they 're seen ? or are they but a 

name? 

Or is it rather that Conceit rapacious is and strong, 

And bounty never yields so much but it seems to do her 

wrong ? 

Or is it that, when human Souls a journey long have had 
And are returned into themselves, they cannot but be sad ? 20 

Or must we be constrained to think that these Spectators 
rude, 

Poor in estate, of manners base, men of the multitude, 

Have souls which never yet have risen, and therefore pros- 
trate lie ? 

No, no, this cannot be ; men thirst for power and majesty ! 

Does, then, a deep and earnest thought the blissful mind 

employ 

Of him Avho gazes, or has gazed ? a grave and steady joy, 
That doth reject all show of pride, admits no outward sign, 
Because not of this noisy world, but silent and divine ! 28 

Whatever be the cause, 'tis sure that they who pry and pore 
Seem to meet with little gain, seem less happy than before : 
One after One they take their turn, nor have I one espied 
That doth not slackly go away, as if dissatisfied. 

1806 



WRITTEN IN MARCH 317 

XVI 
WRITTEN IN MARCH 

WHILE RESTING ON THE BRIDGE AT THE FOOT OF 
BROTHER'S WATER 

THE Cock is crowing, 
The stream is flowing, 

The small birds twitter, 

The lake doth glitter, 
The green field sleeps in the sun ; 

The oldest and youngest 

Are at work with the strongest ; 

The cattle are grazing, 

Their heads never raising; 
There are forty feeding like one ! 10 

Like an army defeated 

The snow hath retreated, 

And now doth fare ill 

On the top of the bare hill ; 
The Ploughboy is whooping anon anon : 

There 's joy in the mountains ; 

There's life in the fountains; 

Small clouds are sailing, 

Blue sky prevailing ; 

The rain is over and gone ! 20 

1802 

XVII 

ERE ! though such power do in thy magic live 
As might from India's farthest plain 
Recall the not unwilling Maid, 

Assist me to detain 

The lovely Fugitive : 

Check with thy notes the impulse which, betrayed 
By her sweet farewell looks, I longed to aid. 
Here let me gaze enrapt upon that eye, 
The impregnable and awe-inspiring fort 
Of contemplation, the calm port 10 

By reason fenced from winds that sigh 
Among the restless sails of vanity. 
But if no wish be hers that we should part, 
A humbler bliss would satisfy my heart. 

Where all things are so fair, 
Enough by her dear side to breathe the air 

Of this Elysian weather ; 



318 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And on, or in, or near, the brook, espy 
Shade upon the sunshine lying 

Faint and somewhat pensively ; 
And downward Image gaily vying 

With its upright living tree 
'Mid silver clouds, and openings of blue sky 
As soft almost and deep as her cerulean eye. 

Nor less the joy with many a glance 
Cast up the Stream or down at her beseeching, 
To mark its eddying foam-balls prettily distrest 
By ever-changing shape and want of rest ; 

Or watch, with mutual teaching, 

The current as it plays 

In flashing leaps and stealthy creeps 

Adown a rocky maze ; 

Or note (translucent summer's happiest chance !) 
In the slope-channel floored with pebbles bright, 
Stones of all hues, gem emulous of gem, 
So vivid that they take from keenest sight 
The liquid veil that seeks not to hide them. 

Published 1842 

XVIII 
BEGGARS 

SHE had a tall man's height or more ; 
Her face from summer's noontide heat 
No bonnet shaded, but she wore 
A mantle, to her very feet 
Descending with a graceful flow, 
And on her head a cap as white as new-fallen snow. 

Her skin was of Egyptian brown : 

Haughty, as if her eye had seen 

Its own light to a distance thrown, 

She towered, fit person for a Queen 

To lead those ancient Amazonian files ; 

Or ruling Bandit's wife among the Grecian isles. 

Advancing, forth she stretched her hand 

And begged an alms with doleful plea 

That ceased not ; on our English land 

Such woes, I knew, could never be ; 

And yet a boon I gave her, for the creature 

Was beautiful to see ' a weed of glorious feature.' 



SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING 319 

I left her, and pursued my way ; 

And soon before me did espy 20 

A pair of little Boys at play, 
Chasing a crimson butterfly ; 
The taller followed with his hat in hand, 
Wreathed round with yellow flowers the gayest of the 
land. 

The other wore a rimless crown 

With leaves of laurel stuck about ; 

And while both followed up and down, 

Each whooping with a merry shout, 

In their fraternal features I could trace 

Unquestionable lines of that wild Suppliant's face. 30 

Yet they, so blithe of heart, seemed fit 

For finest tasks of earth or air : 

Wings let them have, and they might flit 

Precursors to Aurora's car, 

Scattering fresh flowers ; though happier far, I ween, 

To hunt their fluttering game o'er rock and level green. 

They dart across my path but lo, 

Each ready with a plaintive whine ! 

Said I, ' not half an hour ago 

Your Mother has had alms of mine.' 40 

' That cannot be,' one answered ' she is dead ' : 

I looked reproof they saw but neither hung his head. 

' She has been dead. Sir, many a day.' 
' Hush, boys ! you 're telling me a lie ; 
It was your Mother, as I say ! ' 
And, in the twinkling of an eye, 
' Come ! come ! ' cried one, and without more ado 
Off to some other play the joyous Vagrants flew ! 

1802 

XIX 
SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING 

COMPOSED MANY YEARS AFTER 

WHERE are they now, those wanton Boys? 
For whose free range the daedal earth 
Was filled with animated toys, 
And implements of frolic mirth ; 



320 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

With tools for ready wit to guide ; 

And ornaments of seemlier pride, 

More fresh, more bright, than princes wear; 

For what one moment flung aside, 

Another could repair ; 

What good or evil have they seen 10 

Since I their pastime witnessed here, 

Their daring wiles, their sportive cheer ? 

I ask but all is dark between ! 

They met me in a genial hour, 
When universal nature breathed 
As with the breath of one sweet flower, 
A time to overrule the power 
Of discontent, and check the birth 
Of thoughts with better thoughts at strife, 
The most familiar bane of life 20 

Since parting Innocence bequeathed 
Mortality to Earth ! 
Soft clouds, the whitest of the year, 
Sailed through the sky the brooks ran clear ; 
The lambs from rock to rock were bounding; 
With songs the budded groves resounding; 
And to my heart are still endeared 
The thoughts with which it then was cheered ; 
The faith which saw that gladsome pair 
Walk through the fire with unsinged hair. 30 

Or, if such faith must needs deceive 
Then, Spirits of beauty and of grace, 
Associates in that eager chase ; 
Ye, who within the blameless mind 
Your favourite seat of empire find 
Kind Spirits ! may we not believe 
That they, so happy and so fair 
Through your sweet influence, and the care 
Of pitying Heaven, at least were free 
From touch of deadly inj ury ? 40 

Destined, whate'er their earthly doom, 
For mercy and immortal bloom ? 

1817 

XX 

GIPSIES 

YET are they here, the same unbroken knot 
Of human Beings, in the self-same spot ! 
Men, women, children, yea the frame 
Of the whole spectacle the same ! 



RUTH 321 

Only their fire seems bolder, yielding light, 
Now deep and red, the colouring of night ; 
That on their Gipsy-faces falls, 
Their bed of straw and blanket- walls. 
Twelve hours, twelve bounteous hours are gone, 

while I 

Have been a traveller under open sky, 10 

Much witnessing of change and cheer, 
Yet as I left I find them here ! 
The weary Sun betook himself to rest ; 
Then issued Vesper from the fulgent west, 
Outshining like a visible God 
The glorious path in which he trod. 
And now, ascending, after one dark hour 
And one night's diminution of her power, 
Behold the mighty Moon ! this way 
She looks as if at them but they 20 

Regard not her : oh, better wrong and strife 
(By nature transient) than this torpid life ; 
Life which the very stars reprove 
As on their silent tasks they move ! 
Yet, witness all that stirs in heaven or earth ! 
In scorn I speak not ; they are what their birth 
And breeding suffer them to be ; 
Wild outcasts of society ! 

1807 

XXI 
RUTH 

WHEN Ruth was left half desolate, 
Her Father took another Mate ; 
And Ruth, not seven years old, 
A slighted child, at her own will 
Went wandering over dale and hill, 
In thoughtless freedom, bold. 

And she had made a pipe of straw, 

And music from that pipe could draw 

Like sounds of winds and floods ; 

Had built a bower upon the green, 10 

As if she from her birth had been 

An infant of the woods. 

Beneath her father's roof, alone 
She seemed to live ; her thoughts her own ; 
1 x 



322 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Herself her own delight ; 
Pleased with herself, nor sad, nor gay ; 
And, passing thus the live-long day, 
She grew to woman's height. 

There came a Youth from Georgia's shore 

A military casque he wore, 20 

With splendid feathers drest; 

He brought them from the Cherokees ; 

The feathers nodded in the breeze, 

And made a gallant crest. 

From Indian blood you deem him sprung : 

But no ! he spake the English tongue, 

And bore a soldier's name ; 

And, when America was free 

From battle and from jeopardy, 

He 'cross the ocean came. 30 

With hues of genius on his cheek 

In finest tones the Youth could speak : 

While he was yet a boy, 

The moon, the glory of the sun, 

And streams that murmur as they run, 

Had been his dearest joy. 

He was a lovely Youth ! I guess 

The panther in the wilderness 

Was not so fair as he ; 

And, when he chose to sport and play, 40 

No dolphin ever was so gay 

Upon the tropic sea. 

Among the Indians he had fought, 

And with him many tales he brought 

Of pleasure and of fear ; 

Such tales as told to any maid 

By such a Youth, in the green shade, 

Were perilous to hear. 

He told of girls a happy rout ! 

Who quit their fold with dance and shout, 50 

Their pleasant Indian town, 

To gather strawberries all day long ; 

Returning with a choral song 

When daylight is gone down. 



RUTH 323 

He spake of plants that hourly change 

Their blossoms, through a boundless range 

Of intermingling hues ; 

With budding, fading, faded flowers 

They stand the wonder of the bowers 

From morn to evening dews. 60 

He told of the magnolia, spread 
High as a cloud, high over head ! 
The cypress and her spire ; 
Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam 
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem 
To set the hills on fire. 

The Youth of green savannahs spake, 

And many an endless, endless lake, 

With all its fairy crowds 

Of islands, that together lie 70 

As quietly as spots of sky 

Among the evening clouds. 

f How pleasant,' then he said, ' it were 

A fisher or a hunter there, 

In sunshine or in shade 

To wander with an easy mind ; 

And build a household fire, and find 

A home in every glade ! 

' What days and what bright years ! Ah me ! 

Our life were life indeed, with thee 80 

So passed in quiet bliss ; 

And all the while/ said he, ' to know 

That we were in a world of woe, 

On such an earth as this ! ' 

And then he sometimes interwove 

Fond thoughts about a father's love : 

( For there,' said he, ' are spun 

Around the heart such tender ties, 

That our own children to our eyes 

Are dearer than the sun. 90 

' Sweet Ruth ! and could you go with me 

My helpmate in the woods to be, 

Our shed at night to rear; 

Or run, my own adopted bride, 

A sylvan huntress at my side, 

And drive the flying deer ! 



324 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' Beloved Ruth ! ' No more he said. 

The wakeful Ruth at midnight shed 

A solitary tear : 

She thought again and did agree 100 

With him to sail across the sea, 

And drive the flying deer. 

' And now, as fitting is and right, 
We in the church our faith will plight, 
A husband and a wife.' 
Even so they did ; and I may say 
That to sweet Ruth that happy day 
Was more than human life. 

Through dream and vision did she sink, 

Delighted all the while to think no 

That on those lonesome floods, 

And green savannahs, she should share 

His board with lawful joy, and bear 

His name in the wild woods. 

But, as you have before been told, 

This Stripling, sportive, gay, and bold, 

And, with his dancing crest, 

So beautiful, through savage lands 

Had roamed about, with vagrant bands 

Of Indians in the West. xao 

The wind, the tempest roaring high, 

The tumult of a tropic sky, 

Might well be dangerous food 

For him, a Youth to whom was given 

So much of earth so much of heaven, 

And such impetuous blood. 

Whatever in those climes he found 

Irregular in sight or sound 

Did to his mind impart 

A kindred impulse, seemed allied 130 

To his own powers, and justified 

The workings of his heart. 

Nor less, to feed voluptuous thought, 
The beauteous forms of nature wrought, 
Fair trees and gorgeous flowers ; 
The breezes their own languor lent ; 
The stars had feelings, which they sent 
Into those favoured bowers. 



RUTH 325 

Yet, in his worst pursuits, I ween 

That sometimes there did intervene 140 

Pure hopes of high intent : 

For passions, linked to forms so fair 

And stately, needs must have their share 

Of noble sentiment. 

But ill he lived, much evil saw, 

With men to whom no better law 

Nor better life was known ; 

Deliberately, and undeceived, 

Those wild men's vices he received, 

And gave them back his own. 150 

His genius and his moral frame 
Were thus impaired, and he became 
The slave of low desires : 
A Man who without self-control 
Would seek what the degraded soul 
Unworthily admires. 

And yet he with no feigned delight 

Had wooed the Maiden, day and night 

Had loved her, night and morn : 

What could he less than love a Maid 160 

Whose heart with so much nature played ? 

So kind and so forlorn ! 

Sometimes, most earnestly, he said, 
' O Ruth ! I have been worse than dead ; 
False thoughts, thoughts bold and vain, 
Encompassed me on every side 
When I, in confidence and pride, 
Had crossed the Atlantic main. 

' Before me shone a glorious world 

Fresh as a banner bright, unfurled 170 

To music suddenly : 

I looked upon those hills and plains, 

And seemed as if let loose from chains, 

To live at liberty. 

' No more of this ; for now, by thee 

Dear Ruth ! more happily set free 

With nobler zeal I burn ; 

My soul from darkness is released, 

Like the whole sky when to the east 

The morning doth return.' 180 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Full soon that better mind was gone ; 
No hope, no wish remained, not one, 
They stirred him now no more ; 
New objects did new pleasure give, 
And once again he wished to live 
As lawless as before. 

Meanwhile, as thus with him it fared, 

They for the voyage were prepared, 

And went to the sea-shore, 

But, when they thither came, the Youth 190 

Deserted his poor Bride, and Ruth 

Could never find him more. 

God help thee, Ruth ! Such pains she had, 

That she in half a year was mad, 

And in a prison housed ; 

And there, with many a doleful song 

Made of wild words, her cup of wrong 

She fearfully caroused. 

Yet sometimes milder hours she knew, 

Nor wanted sun, nor rain, nor dew, 200 

Nor pastimes of the May ; 

They all were with her in her cell ; 

And a clear brook with cheerful knell 

Did o'er the pebbles play. 

When Ruth three seasons thus had lain, 

There came a respite to her pain ; 

She from her prison fled ; 

But of the Vagrant none took thought ; 

And where it liked her best she sought 

Her shelter and her bread. 210 

Among the fields she breathed again : 
The master-current of her brain 
Ran permanent and free ; 
And, coming to the Banks of Tone, 
There did she rest ; and dwell alone 
Under the greenwood tree. 

The engines of her pain, the tools 

That shaped her sorrow, rocks and pools, 

And airs that gently stir 

The vernal leaves she loved them still ; 220 

Nor ever taxed them with the ill 

Which had been done to her. 



RUTH 327 

A Barn her winter bed supplies ; 

But, till the warmth of summer skies 

And summer days is gone, 

(And all do in this tale agree) 

She sleeps beneath the greenwood tree, 

And other home hath none. 

An innocent life, yet far astray ! 

And Ruth will, long before her day, 230 

Be broken down and old : 

Sore aches she needs must have ! but less 

Of mind than body's wretchedness, 

From damp, and rain, and cold. 

If she is prest by want of food, 

She from her dwelling in the wood 

Repairs to a road-side ; 

And there she begs at one steep place 

Where up and down with easy pace 

The horsemen-travellers ride. 340 

That oaten pipe of hers is mute, 
Or thrown away ; but with a flute 
Her loneliness she cheers : 
This flute, made of a hemlock stalk, 
At evening in his homeward walk 
The Quantock woodman hears. 

I, too, have passed her on the hills 

Setting her little water-mills 

By spouts and fountains wild 

Such small machinery as she turned 250 

Ere she had wept, ere she had mourned, 

A young and happy Child ! 

Farewell ! and when thy days are told, 

Ill-fated Ruth, in hallowed mould 

Thy corpse shall buried be, 

For thee a funeral bell shall ring, 

And all the congregation sing 

A Christian psalm for thee. 

1799 



328 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXII 

RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE 
i 

THERE was a roaring in the wind all night ; 
The rain came heavily and fell in floods ; 
But now the sun is rising calm and bright ; 
The birds are singing in the distant woods ; 
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods ; 
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; 
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters. 



All things that love the sun are out of doors ; 

The sky rejoices in the morning's birth ; 

The grass is bright with rain-drops ; on the moors 

The hare is running races in her mirth ; 

And with her feet she from the plashy earth 

Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun, 

Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run. 



I was a Traveller then upon the moor ; 

I saw the hare that raced about with joy ; 

I heard the woods and distant waters roar ; 

Or heard them not, as happy as a boy : 

The pleasant season did my heart employ : 

My old remembrances went from me wholly ; 20 

And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy. 

IV 

But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might 
Of joy in minds that can no further go, 
As high as we have mounted in delight 
In our dejection do we sink as low ; 
To me that morning did it happen so ; 
And fears and fancies thick upon me came ; 
Dim sadness and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor 
could name. 

v 

I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky ; 

And I bethought me of the playful hare : 30 

Even such a happy Child of earth am I ; 

Even as these blissful creatures do I fare ; 

Far from the world I walk, and from all care ; 



RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE 329 



But there may come another day to me 
Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty. 



My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought, 

As if life's business were a summer mood ; 

As if all needful things would come unsought 

To genial faith, still rich in genial good ; 

But how can He expect that others should 40 

Build for him, sow for him, and at his call 

Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all ? 

VII 

I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, 

The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride ; 

Of Him who walked in glory and in joy 

Following his plough, along the mountain-side : 

By our own spirits are we deified : 

We Poets in our youth begin in gladness ; 

But thereof come in the end despondency and madness. 



Now, whether it were by peculiar grace, 50 

A leading from above, a something given, 

Yet it befell that, in this lonely place, 

When I with these untoward thoughts had striven, 

Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven 

I saw a Man before me unawares : 

The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs. 

IX 

As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie 

Couched on the bald top of an eminence ; 

Wonder to all who do the same espy, 

By what means it could thither come, and whence ; 60 

So that it seems a thing endued with sense : 

Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf 

Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself; 



Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead, 

Nor all asleep in his extreme old age : 

His body was bent double, feet and head 

Coming together in life's pilgrimage ; 

As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage 

Of sickness felt by him in times long past, 

A more than human weight upon his frame had cast. 70 



330 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



XI 

Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face, 
Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood : 
And, still as I drew near with gentle pace, 
Upon the margin of that moorish flood 
Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood, 
That heareth not the loud winds when they call. 
And moveth all together, if it move at all. 

XII 

At length, himself unsettling, he the pond 

Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look 

Upon the muddy water, which he conned, 80 

As if he had been reading in a book : 

And now a stranger's privilege I took ; 

And, drawing to his side, to him did say, 

' This morning gives us promise of a glorious day.' 

XIII 

A gentle answer did the old Man make, 

In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew : 

And him with further words I thus bespake, 

' What occupation do you there pursue ? 

This is a lonesome place for one like you.' 

Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise 90 

Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes. 

XIV 

His words came feebly, from a feeble chest, 

But each in solemn order followed each, 

With something of a lofty utterance drest 

Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach 

Of ordinary men ; a stately speech ; 

Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use, 

Religious men, who give to God and man their dues. 

xv 

He told, that to these waters he had come 

To gather leeches, being old and poor : 100 

Employment hazardous and wearisome ! 

And he had many hardships to endure : 

From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor ; 

Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance ; 

And in this way he gained an honest maintenance. 



RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE 331 



XVI 

The old Man still stood talking by my side; 

But now his voice to me was like a stream 

Scarce heard ; nor word from word could I divide ; 

And the whole body of the Man did seem 

Like one whom I had met with in a dream ; 

Or like a man from some far region sent, 

To give me human strength, by apt admonishment. 

XVII 

My former thoughts returned : the fear that kills ; 

And hope that is unwilling to be fed ; 

Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills ; 

And mighty Poets in their misery dead. 

Perplexed, and longing to be comforted, 

My question eagerly did I renew, 

' How is it that you live, and what is it you do ? ' 

XVIII 

He with a smile did then his words repeat ; 

And said that, gathering leeches, far and wide 

He travelled ; stirring thus about his feet 

The waters of the pools where they abide. 

' Once I could meet with them on every side ; 

But they have dwindled long by slow decay ; 

Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may.' 



While he was talking thus, the lonely place, 

The old Man's shape, and speech all troubled me : 

In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace 

About the weary moors continually, 130 

Wandering about alone and silently. 

While I these thoughts within myself pursued, 

He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed. 

xx 

And soon with this he other matter blended, 
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind, 
But stately in the main; and, when he ended, 
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find 
In that decrepit Man so firm a mind. 
' God/ said I, ' be my help and stay secure ; 
I '11 think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor ! ' 140 

1802 



332 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXIII 
THE THORN 



"TnHERE is a Thorn it looks so old, 

In truth, you 'd find it hard to say 
How it could ever have been young, 
It looks so old and grey. 
Not higher than a two years' child 
It stands erect, this aged Thorn ; 
No leaves it has, no prickly points ; 
It is a mass of knotted joints, 
A wretched thing forlorn. 

It stands erect, and like a stone 10 

With lichens is it overgrown. 

ii 

' Like rock or stone, it is o'ergrown, 

With lichens to the very top, 

And hung with heavy tufts of moss, 

A melancholy crop : 

Up from the earth these mosses creep, 

And this poor Thorn they clasp it round 

So close, you 'd say that they are bent 

With plain and manifest intent 

To drag it to the ground ; 20 

And all have joined in one endeavour 

To bury this poor Thorn for ever. 

HI 

' High on a mountain's highest ridge, 

Where oft the stormy winter gale 

Cuts like a scythe, while through the clouds 

It sweeps from vale to vale ; 

Not five yards from the mountain path, 

This Thorn you on your left espy ; 

And to the left, three yards beyond, 

You see a little muddy pond 30 

Of water never dry, 

Though but of compass small, and bare 

To thirsty suns and parching air. 



' And, close beside this aged Thorn, 
There is a fresh and lovely sight, 
A beauteous heap, a hill of moss, 
Just half a foot in height. 



THE THORN 333 

All lovely colours there you see, 

All colours that were ever seen ; 

And mossy network too is there, 40 

As if by hand of lady fair 

The work had woven been ; 

And cups, the darlings of the eye, 

So deep is their vermilion dye. 



' Ah me ! what lovely tints are there 

Of olive green and scarlet bright, 

In spikes, in branches, and in stars, 

Green, red, and pearly white ! 

This heap of earth o'ergrown with moss, 

Which close beside the Thorn you see, 50 

So fresh in all its beauteous dyes, 

Is like an infant's grave in size, 

As like as like can be : 

But never, never any where, 

An infant's grave was half so fair. 

<< vi 

'Now would you see this aged Thorn, 

This pond, and beauteous hill of moss, 

You must take care and choose your time 

The mountain when to cross. 

For oft there sits between the heap, 60 

So like an infant's grave in size, 

And that same pond of which I spoke, 

A Woman in a scarlet cloak, 

And to herself she cries, 

" Oh misery ! oh misery ! 

Oh woe is me ! oh misery ! " 

VII 

' At all times of the day and night 

This wretched Woman thither goes ; 

And she is known to every star, 

And every wind that blows ; 70 

And there, beside the Thorn, she sits 

When the blue daylight 's in the skies, 

And when the whirlwind 's on the hill, 

Or frosty air is keen and still, 

And to herself she cries, 

" Oh misery ! oh misery ! 

Oh woe is me ! oh misery ! " 



334 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

VIII 

' Now wherefore, thus, by day and night, 

In rain, in tempest, and in snow, 

Thus to the dreary mountain-top 80 

Does this poor Woman go ? 

And why sits she beside the Thorn 

When the blue daylight 's in the sky 

Or when the whirlwind 's on the hill, 

Or frosty air is keen and still, 

And wherefore does she cry ? 

wherefore ? wherefore ? tell me why 
Does she repeat that doleful cry ? ' 

IX 

' I cannot tell ; I wish I could ; 

For the true reason no one knows : 90 

But would you gladly view the spot, 

The spot to which she goes ; 

The hillock like an infant's grave, 

The pond and Thorn, so old and grey ; 

Pass by her door 'tis seldom shut 

And, if you see her in her hut 

Then to the spot away ! 

1 never heard of such as dare 
Approach the spot when she is there.' 



' But wherefore to the mountain-top 

Can this unhappy Woman go, 

Whatever star is in the skies, 

Whatever wind may blow ? ' 

' Full twenty years are past and gone 

Since she (her name is Martha Ray) 

Gave with a maiden's true good-will 

Her company to Stephen Hill ; 

And she was blithe and gay, 

While friends and kindred all approved 

Of him whom tenderly she loved. 

XI 

' And they had fixed the wedding day, 

The morning that must wed them both ; 

But Stephen to another Maid 

Had sworn another oath ; 

And, with this other Maid, to church 



THE THORN 335 

Unthinking Stephen went 

Poor Martha ! on that woeful day 

A pang of pitiless dismay 

Into her soul was sent ; 

A fire was kindled in her breast, 120 

Which might not burn itself to rest. 

XII 

' They say, full six months after this, 

While yet the summer leaves were green, 

She to the mountain-top would go, 

And there was often seen. 

What could she seek ? or wish to hide ? 

Her state to any eye was plain ; 

She was with child, and she was mad ; 

Yet often was she sober sad 

From her exceeding pain. 130 

O guilty Father would that death 

Had saved him from that breach of faith ! 

XIII 

' Sad case for such a brain to hold 

Communion with a stirring child ! 

Sad case, as you may think, for one 

Who had a brain so wild ! 

Last Christmas-eve we talked of this, 

And grey-haired Wilfred of the glen 

Held that the unborn infant wrought 

About its mother's heart, and brought 140 

Her senses back again : 

And, when at last her time drew near, 

Her looks were calm, her senses clear. 

xrv 

' More know I not, I wish I did, 

And it should all be told to you ; 

For what became of this poor child 

No mortal ever knew ; 

Nay if a child to her was born 

No earthly tongue could ever tell ; 

And if 'twas born alive or dead, 150 

Far less could this with proof be said ; 

But some remember well, 

That Martha Ray about this time 

Would up the mountain often climb. 



336 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XV 

' And all that winter, when at night 

The wind blew from the mountain-peak, 

'Twas worth your while, though in the dark, 

The churchyard path to seek : 

For many a time and oft were heard 

Cries coming from the mountain head : 160 

Some plainly living voices were ; 

And others, I 've heard many swear, 

Were voices of the dead : 

I cannot think, whate'er they say, 

They had to do with Martha Ray. 

XVI 

' But that she goes to this old Thorn, 

The Thorn which I described to you, 

And there sits in a scarlet cloak, 

I will be sworn is true. 

For one day with my telescope, 170 

To view the ocean wide and bright, 

When to this country first I came, 

Ere I had heard of Martha's name, 

I climbed the mountain's height : 

A storm came on, and I could see 

No object higher than my knee. 



' 'Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain : 

No screen, no fence could I discover; 

And then the wind ! in sooth, it was 

A wind full ten times over. 180 

I looked around, I thought I saw 

A jutting crag, and off I ran, 

Head-foremost, through the driving rain, 

The shelter of the crag to gain ; 

And, as I am a man, 

Instead of jutting crag I found 

A Woman seated on the ground. 



' I did not speak I saw her face ; 

Her face ! it was enough for me ; 

I turned about and heard her cry, 190 

"Oh misery! oh misery!" 

And there she sits, until the moon 



THE THORN 337 

Through half the clear blue sky will go ; 

And, when the little breezes make 

The waters of the pond to shake, 

As all the country know, 

She shudders, and you hear her cry, 

" Oh misery ! oh misery ! " 

XIX 

' But what 's the Thorn ? and what the pond r 

And what the hill of moss to her ? 200 

And what the creeping breeze that comes 

The little pond to stir ? ' 

' I cannot tell ; but some will say 

She hanged her baby on the tree ; 

Some say she drowned it in the pond, 

Which is a little step beyond : 

But all and each agree, 

The little Babe was buried there, 

Beneath that hill of moss so fair. 



xx 

' I 've heard, the moss is spotted red 210 

With drops of that poor infant's blood ; 

But kill a new-born infant thus, 

I do not think she could ! 

Some say, if to the pond you go, 

And fix on it a steady view, 

The shadow of a babe you trace, 

A baby and a baby's face, 

And that it looks at you ; 

Whene'er you look on it, 'tis plain 

The baby looks at you again. 220 

XXI 

' And some had sworn an oath that she 
Should be to public justice brought ; 
And for the little infant's bones 
With spades they would have sought. 
But instantly the hill of moss 
Before their eyes began to stir ! 
And, for full fifty yards around, 
The grass it shook upon the ground ! 
Yet all do still aver 

The little Babe lies buried there, 330 

Beneath that hill of moss so fair. 
1-Y 



338 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



XXII 

' I cannot tell how this may be, 
But plain it is the Thorn is bound 
With heavy tufts of moss that strive 
To drag it to the ground ; 
And this I know, full many a time, 
/ When she was on the mountain high, 
By day, and in the silent night, 
When all the stars shone clear and bright, 
That I have heard her cry, 240 

" Oh misery ! oh misery ! 
Oh woe is me ! oh misery 1 " 

1798 

XXIV 
HART-LEAP WELL 

HART-LKAP WELL is a small spring of water, about five miles from Rich- 
mond in Yorkshire, and near the side of the road that leads from Richmond 
to Askrigg. Its name is derived from a remarkable Chase, the memory of 
which is preserved by the monuments spoken of in the second Part of the 
following Poem, which monuments do now exist as I have there described 
them. 

THE Knight had ridden down from Wensley Moor 
With the slow motion of a summer's cloud, 
And now, as he approached a vassal's door, 
' Bring forth another horse ! ' he cried aloud. 

'Another horse !' That shout the vassal heard 
And saddled his best Steed, a comely grey ; 
Sir Walter mounted him ; he was the third 
Which he had mounted on that glorious day. 

Joy sparkled in the prancing courser's eyes ; 

The horse and horseman are a happy pair ; 10 

But, though Sir Walter like a falcon flies, 

There is a doleful silence in the air. 

A rout this morning left Sir Walter's Hall, 
That as they galloped made the echoes roar ; 
But horse and man are vanished, one and all ; 
Such race, I think, was never seen before. 

Sir Walter, restless as a veering wind, 
Calls to the few tired dogs that yet remain : 
Blanch, Swift, and Music, noblest of their kind, 
Follow, and up the weary mountain strain. ao 



HART-LEAP WELL 

The Knight hallooed, he cheered and chid them on 
With suppliant gestures and upbraidings stern ; 
But breath and eyesight fail ; and, one by one, 
The dogs are stretched among the mountain fern. 

Where is the throng, the tumult of the race ? 
The bugles that so joyfully were blown ? 
This chase it looks not like an earthly chase ; 
Sir Walter and the Hart are left alone. 



The poor Hart toils along the mountain-side ; 

I will not stop to tell how far he fled, 30 

Nor will I mention by what death he died ; 

But now the Knight beholds him lying dead. 

Dismounting, then, he leaned against a thorn ; 
He had no follower, dog, nor man, nor boy : 
He neither cracked his whip, nor blew his horn, 
But gazed upon the spoil with silent joy. 

Close to the thorn, on which Sir Walter leaned, 

Stood his dumb partner in this glorious feat ; 

Weak as a lamb the hour that it is yeaned ; 

And white with foam as if with cleaving sleet. 40 

Upon his side the Hart was lying stretched : 

His nostril touched a spring beneath a hill, 

And with the last deep groan his breath had fetched 

The waters of the spring were trembling still. 

And now, too happy for repose or rest, 

(Never had living man such joyful lot !) 

Sir Walter walked all round, north, south, and west, 

And gazed and gazed upon that darling spot. 

And climbing up the hill (it was at least 
Four roods of sheer ascent) Sir Walter found 50 

Three several hoof-marks which the hunted Beast 
Had left imprinted on the grassy ground. 

Sir Walter wiped his face, and cried, ' Till now 
Such sight was never seen by human eyes : 
Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow 
Down to the very fountain where he lies. 



340 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' I '11 build a pleasure-house upon this spot, 

And a small arbour, made for rural joy ; 

'Twill be the traveller's shed, the pilgrim's cot, 

A place of love for damsels that are coy. 60 

' A cunning artist will I have to frame 

A basin for that fountain in the dell ! 

And they who do make mention of the same, 

From this day forth, shall call it HART-LEAP WELL. 

' And, gallant Stag ! to make thy praises known, 
Another monument shall here be raised ; 
Three several pillars, each a rough-hewn stone, 
And planted where thy hoofs the turf have grazed. 

' And in the summer-time, when days are long, 

I will come hither with my Paramour ; 70 

And with the dancers and the minstrel's song 

We will make merry in that pleasant bower. 

' Till the foundations of the mountains fail 
My mansion with its arbour shall endure ; 
The joy of them who till the fields of Swale, 
And them who dwell among the woods of Ure ! ' 

Then home he went, and left the Hart, stone-dead, 
With breathless nostrils stretched above the spring. 
Soon did the Knight perform what he had said ; 
And far and wide the fame thereof did ring. 80 

Ere thrice the Moon into her port had steered, 
A cup of stone received the living well ; 
Three pillars of rude stone Sir Walter reared, 
And built a house of pleasure in the dell. 

And, near the fountain, flowers of stature tall 
With trailing plants and trees were intertwined, 
Which soon composed a little sylvan hall, 
A leafy shelter from the sun and wind. 

And thither, when the summer days were long, 

Sir Walter led his wondering Paramour ; 90 

And with the dancers and the minstrel's song 

Made merriment within that pleasant bower. 



HART-LEAP WELL 341 

The Knight, Sir Walter, died in course of time, 
And his bones lie in his paternal vale. 
But there is matter for a second rhyme, 
And I to this would add another tale. 



PART SECOND 

The moving accident is not my trade ; 
To freeze the blood I have no ready arts : 
'Tis my delight, alone in summer shade, 
To pipe a simple song for thinking hearts. 

As I from Hawes to Richmond did repair, 
It chanced that I saw standing in a dell 
Three aspens at three corners of a square ; 
And one, not four yards distant, near a well. 

What this imported I could ill divine : 
And, pulling now the rein my horse to stop, 
I saw three pillars standing in a line, 
The last stone-pillar on a dark hill-top. 

The trees were grey, with neither arms nor head ; 
Half wasted the square mound of tawny green ; 
So that you just might say, as then I said, 
' Here in old time the hand of man hath been.' 

I looked upon the hill both far and near, 
More doleful place did never eye survey ; 
It seemed as if the spring-time came not here, 
And Nature here were willing to decay. 

I stood in various thoughts and fancies lost, 
When one, who was in shepherd's garb attired, 
Came up the hollow : him did I accost, 
And what this place might be I then inquired. 

The Shepherd stopped, and that same story told 
Which in my former rhyme I have rehearsed. 
' A jolly place,' said he, ' in times of old ! 
But something ails it now : the spot is curst. 

'You see these lifeless stumps of aspen wood 
Some say that they are beeches, others elms 
These were the bower ; and here a mansion stood, 
The finest palace of a hundred realms ! 



342 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' The arbour does its own condition tell ; 

You see the stones, the fountain, and the stream ; 130 

But as to the great Lodge ! you might as well 

Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream. 

' There 's neither dog nor heifer, horse nor sheep, 
Will wet his lips within that cup of stone ; 
And oftentimes, when all are fast asleep, 
This water doth send forth a dolorous groan. 

' Some say that here a murder has been done, 

And blood cries out for blood : but, for my part, 

I 've guessed, when I 've been sitting in the sun, 

That it was all for that unhappy Hart. 140 

' What thoughts must through the creature's brain have 

past ! 

Even from the topmost stone, upon the steep, 
Are but three bounds and look, Sir, at this last 
O Master ! it has been a cruel leap. 

( For thirteen hours he ran a desperate race ; 
And in my simple mind we cannot tell 
What cause the Hart might have to love this place, 
And come and make his death-bed near the well. 

' Here on the grass perhaps asleep he sank, 

Lulled by the fountain in the summer-tide ; 150 

This water was perhaps the first he drank 

When he had wandered from his mother's side. 

' In April here beneath the flowering thorn 
He heard the birds their morning carols sing ; 
And he, perhaps, for aught we know, was born 
Not half a furlong from that self-same spring. 

' Now, here is neither grass nor pleasant shade ; 

The sun on drearier hollow never shone ; 

So will it be, as I have often said, 

Till trees, and stones, and fountain, all are gone.' 160 

' Grey-headed Shepherd, thou hast spoken well ; 
Small difference lies between thy creed and mine ; 
This Beast not unobserved by Nature fell ; 
His death was mourned by sympathy divine. 



FEAST OF BROUGHAM CASTLE 343 

'The Being, that is in the clouds and air, 
That is in the green leaves among the groves, 
Maintains a deep and reverential care 
For the unoffending creatures whom he loves. 

' The pleasure-house is dust : behind, before, 

This is no common waste, no common gloom ; 170 

But Nature, in due course of time, once more 

Shall here put on her beauty and her bloom. 

'She leaves these objects to a slow decay, 
That what we are, and have been, may be known ; 
But at the coming of the milder day 
These monuments shall all be overgrown. 

'One lesson, Shepherd, let us two divide, 

Taught both by what she shows, and what conceals ; 

Never to blend our pleasure or our pride 

With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels.' 180 

1800 

XXV 
SONG AT THE FEAST OF BROUGHAM CASTLE 

UPON THE RESTORATION OF LORD CLIFFORD, THE SHEPHERD, TO 
THE ESTATES AND HONOURS OF HIS ANCESTORS 

HIGH in the breathless Hall the Minstrel sate, 
And Emont's murmur mingled with the 

Song. 

The words of ancient time I thus translate, 
A festal strain that hath been silent long : 

' From town to town, from tower to tower, 

The red rose is a gladsome flower. 

Her thirty years of winter past, 

The red rose is revived at last ; 

She lifts her head for endless spring, 

For everlasting blossoming : 10 

Both roses flourish, red and white : 

In love and sisterly delight 

The two that were at strife are blended, 

And all old troubles now are ended. 

Joy ! joy to both ! but most to her 

Who is the flower of Lancaster ! 

Behold her how She smiles to-day 

On this great throng, this bright array ! 



344 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Fair greeting doth she send to all 

From every corner of the hall ; 20 

But chiefly from above the board 

Where sits in state our rightful Lord, 

A Clifford to his own restored ! 

' They came with banner, spear, and shield ; 
And it was proved in Bosworth-field. 
Not long the Avenger was withstood 
Earth helped him with the cry of blood : 
St. George was for us, and the might 
Of blessed Angels crowned the right. 
Loud voice the Land has uttered forth, 30 

We loudest in the faithful north : 
Our fields rejoice, our mountains ring, 
Our streams proclaim a welcoming ; 
Our strong-abodes and castles see 
The glory of their loyalty. 

' How glad is Skipton at this hour 
Though lonely, a deserted Tower ; 
Knight, squire, and yeoman, page and groom, 
We have them at the feast of Brough'm. 
How glad Pendragon though the sleep 40 

Of years be on her ! She shall reap 
A taste of this great pleasure, viewing 
As in a dream her own renewing. 
Rejoiced is Brough, right glad, I deem, 
Beside her little humble stream ; 
And she that keepeth watch and ward 
Her statelier Eden's course to guard ; 
They both are happy at this hour, 
Though each is but a lonely Tower : 
But here is perfect joy and pride 50 

For one fair House by Emont's side, 
This day, distinguished without peer, 
To see her Master and to cheer 
Him, and his Lady-mother dear ! 

' Oh ! it was a time forlorn 
When the fatherless was born 
Give her wings that she may fly, 
Or she sees her infant die ! 
Swords that are with slaughter wild 
Hunt the Mother and the Child. 60 

Who will take them from the light ? 
Yonder is a man in sight 



FEAST OF BROUGHAM CASTLE 345 

Yonder is a house but where ? 

No, they must not enter there. 

To the caves, and to the brooks, 

To the clouds of heaven she looks ; 

She is speechless, but her eyes 

Pray in ghostly agonies. 

Blissful Mary, Mother mild, 

Maid and Mother undefiled, 70 

Save a Mother and her Child ! 

' Now Who is he that bounds with joy 
On Carrock's side, a Shepherd-boy ? 
No thoughts hath he but thoughts that pass 
Light as the wind along the grass. 
Can this be He who hither came 
In secret, like a smothered flame ? 
O'er whom such thankful tears were shed 
For shelter, and a poor man's bread ! 
God loves the Child ; and God hath willed 80 

That those dear words should be fulfilled, 
The Lady's words, when forced away 
The last she to her Babe did say : 
" My own, my own, thy Fellow-guest 
I may not be ; but rest thee, rest, 
For lowly shepherd's life is best ! " 

* Alas ! when evil men are strong 
No life is good, no pleasure long. 
The Boy must part from Mosedale's groves, 
And leave Blencathara's rugged coves, 90 

And quit the flowers that summer brings 
To Glenderamakin's lofty springs ; 
Must vanish, and his careless cheer 
Be turned to heaviness and fear. 
Give Sir Lancelot Threlkeld praise ! 
Hear it, good man, old in days ! 
Thou tree of covert and of rest 
For this young Bird that is distrest ; 
Among thy branches safe he lay, 
And he was free to sport and play, 100 

When falcons were abroad for prey. 

'A recreant harp, that sings of fear 
And heaviness in Clifford's ear ! 
I said, when evil men are strong, 
No life is good, no pleasure long, 



346 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A weak and cowardly untruth ! 

Our Clifford was a happy Youth, 

And thankful through a weary time, 

That brought him up to manhood's prime. 

Again he wanders forth at will, no 

And tends a flock from hill to hill : 

His garb is humble ; ne'er was seen 

Such garb with such a noble mien ; 

Among the shepherd-grooms no mate 

Hath he, a Child of strength and state ! 

Yet lacks not friends for simple glee, 

Nor yet for higher sympathy. 

To his side the fallow-deer 

Came, and rested without fear ; 

The eagle, lord of land and sea, 120 

Stooped down to pay him fealty; 

And both the undying fish that swim 

Through Bowscale-tarn did wait on him ; 

The pair were servants of his eye 

In their immortality ; 

And glancing, gleaming, dark or bright, 

Moved to and fro, for his delight. 

He knew the rocks which Angels haunt 

Upon the mountains visitant ; 

He hath kenned them taking wing: 130 

And into caves where Faeries sing 

He hath entered ; and been told 

By Voices how men lived of old. 

Among the heavens his eye can see 

The face of thing that is to be ; 

And, if that men report him right, 

His tongue could whisper words of 

might. 

Now another day is come, 
Fitter hope, and nobler doom ; 

He hath thrown aside his crook, 140 

And hath buried deep his book ; 
Armour rusting in his halls 
On the blood of Clifford calls ; 
" Quell the Scot," exclaims the Lance 
Bear me to the heart of France, 
Is the longing of the Shield 
Tell thy name, thou trembling Field ; 
Field of death, where'er thou be, 
Groan thou with our victory ! 

Happy day, and mighty hour, 150 

When our Shepherd, in his power, 



LINES 347 

Mailed and horsed, with lance and sword, 

To his ancestors restored 

Like a re-appearing Star, 

Like a glory from afar 

First shall head the flock of war ! ' 

Alas ! the impassioned minstrel did not know 
How, by Heaven's grace, this Clifford's heart was 

framed : 

How he, long forced in humble walks to go, 
Was softened into feeling, soothed, and tamed. 160 

Love had he found in huts where poor men lie ; 
His daily teachers had been woods and rills, 
The silence that is in the starry sky, 
The sleep that is among the lonely hills. 

In him the savage virtue of the Race, 
Revenge, and all ferocious thoughts were dead : 
Nor did he change ; but kept in lofty place 
The wisdom which adversity had bred. 

Glad were the vales, and every cottage-hearth ; 
The Shepherd-lord was honoured more and more ; 
And, ages after he was laid in earth, 171 

' The good Lord Clifford ' was the name he bore. 

1807 

XXVI 
LINES 

COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING 
THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR. JULY 13, 1798 

FIVE years have past; five summers, with the 
length 

Of five long winters ! and again I hear 
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs 
With a soft inland murmur. 1 Once again 
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, 
That on a wild secluded scene impress 
Thoughts of more deep seclusion ; and connect 
The landscape with the quiet of the sky. 
The day is come when I again repose 
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view 10 

These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts, 
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits, 
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves 

1 The river is not affected by the tides a few miles above Tintern. 



348 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see 

These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines 

Of sportive wood run wild : these pastoral farms, 

Green to the very door ; and wreaths of smoke 

Sent up, in silence, from among the trees ! 

With some uncertain notice, as might seem 

Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, 20 

Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire 

The Hermit sits alone. 

These beauteous forms, 

Through a long absence, have not been to me 
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye : 
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din 
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them, 
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, 
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart ; 
And passing even into my purer mind, 
With tranquil restoration : feelings too 30 

Of unremembered pleasure : such, perhaps, 
As have no slight or trivial influence 
On that best portion of a good man's life, 
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts 
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust, 
To them I may have owed another gift, 
Of aspect more sublime ; that blessed mood, 
In which the burthen of the mystery, 
In which the heavy and the weary weight 
Of all this unintelligible world, 40 

Is lightened : that serene and blessed mood, 
In which the affections gently lead us on, 
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame 
And even the motion of our human blood 
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep 
In body, and become a living soul : 
While with an eye made quiet by the power 
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, 
We see into the life of things. 

If this 

Be but a vain belief, yet, oh ! how oft 50 

In darkness and amid the many shapes 
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir 
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, 
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart 
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, 
O sylvan Wye ! thou wanderer thro' the woods, 
How often has my spirit turned to thee ! 



LINES 349 

And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought, 
With many recognitions dim and faint, 
And somewhat of a sad perplexity, 60 

The picture of the mind revives again : 
While here I stand, not only with the sense 
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts 
That in this moment there is life and food 
For future years. And so I dare to hope, 
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first 
I came among these hills ; when like a roe 
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides 
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams, 
Wherever nature led : more like a man 70 

Flying from something that he dreads, than one 
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then 
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days 
And their glad animal movements all gone by) 
To me was all in all. I cannot paint 
What then I was. The sounding cataract 
Haunted me like a passion : the tall rock, 
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, 
Their colours and their forms, were then to me 
An appetite ; a feeling and a love, 80 

That had no need of a remoter charm, 
By thought supplied, nor any interest 
Unborrowed from the eye. That time is past, 
And all its aching joys are now no more, 
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this 
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur ; other gifts 
Have followed ; for such loss, I would believe, 
Abundant recompense. For I have learned 
To look on nature, not as in the hour 
Of thoughtless youth ; but hearing oftentimes 90 

The still, sad music of humanity, 
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power 
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt 
A presence that disturbs me with the joy 
Of elevated thoughts ; a sense sublime 
Of something far more deeply interfused, 
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, 
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man : 
A motion and a spirit, that impels 100 

All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still 
A lover of the meadows and the woods 
And mountains ; and of all that we behold 



350 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

From this green earth ; of all the mighty world 

Of eye, and ear, both what they half create, 1 

And what perceive ; well pleased to recognise 

In nature and the language of the sense 

The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, 

The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul no 

Of all my moral being. 

Nor perchance, 

If I were not thus taught, should I the more 
Suffer my genial spirits to decay : 
For thou art with me here upon the banks 
Of this fair river ; thou my dearest Friend, 
My dear, dear Friend ; and in thy voice I catch 
The language of my former heart, and read 
My former pleasures in the shooting lights 
Of thy wild eyes. Oh ! yet a little while 
May I behold in thee what I was once, 120 

My dear, dear Sister ! and this prayer I make, 
Knowing that Nature never did betray 
The heart that loved her ; 'tis her privilege, 
Through all the years of this our life, to lead 
From joy to joy : for she can so inform 
The mind that is within us, so impress 
With quietness and beauty, and so feed 
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, 
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, 
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all 130 

The dreary intercourse of daily life, 
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb 
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold 
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon 
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk ; 
And let the misty mountain-winds be free 
To blow against thee : and, in after years, 
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured 
Into a sober pleasure ; when thy mind 
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, 140 

Thy memory be as a dwelling-place 
For all sweet sounds and harmonies ; oh ! then, 
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, 
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts 
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, 
And these my exhortations ! Nor, perchance 
If I should be where I no more can hear 
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams 

1 This line has & close resemblance to an admirable line of Young's, the 
exact expression of which I do not recollect. 



FRENCH REVOLUTION 351 

Of past existence wilt thou then forget 

That on the banks of this delightful stream 150 

We stood together ; and that I, so long 

A worshipper of Nature, hither came 

Unwearied in that service : rather say 

With warmer love oh ! with far deeper zeal 

Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget, 

That after many wanderings, many years 

Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, 

And this green pastoral landscape, were to me 

More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake ! 

1798 

XXVII 

IT is no Spirit who from heaven hath flown, 
And is descending on his embassy ; 
Nor Traveller gone from earth the heavens to espy ! 
'Tis Hesperus there he stands with glittering crown, 
First admonition that the sun is down ! 
For yet it is broad day-light : clouds pass by ; 
A few are near him still and now the sky, 
He hath it to himself 'tis all his own. 
O most ambitious Star ! an inquest wrought 
Within me when I recognised thy light ; 10 

A moment I was startled at the sight : 
And, while I gazed, there came to me a thought 
That I might step beyond my natural race 
As thou seem'st now to do ; might one day trace 
Some ground not mine ; and, strong her strength above, 
My Soul, an Apparition in the place, 
Tread there with steps that no one shall reprove ! 

1803 

XXVIII 
FRENCH REVOLUTION 

AS IT APPEARED TO ENTHUSIASTS AT ITS COMMENCEMENT. 1 
REPRINTED FROM ' THE FRIEND ' 

OH ! pleasant exercise of hope and joy ! 
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood 
Upon our side, we who were strong in love ! 
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, 
But to be young was veiy heaven ! Oh ! times, 
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways 

1 This and the Extract, page 134, and the first Piece of this Class, are from 
the unpublished Poem of which some account is given in the Preface to THE 
EXCURSION. 



352 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Of custom, law, and statute, took at once 
The attraction of a country in romance ! 
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights, 
When most intent on making of herself 10 

A prime Enchantress to assist the work 
Which then was going forward in her name ! 
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth, 
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets 
(As at some moment might not be unfelt 
Among the bowers of paradise itself) 
The budding rose above the rose full blown. 
What temper at the prospect did not wake 
To happiness unthought of? The inert 
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away ! 20 

They who had fed their childhood upon dreams, 
The playfellows of fancy, who had made 
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength 
Their ministers, who in lordly wise had stirred 
Among the grandest objects of the sense, 
, And dealt with whatsoever they found there 
As if they had within some lurking right 
To wield it ; they, too, who, of gentle mood, 
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these 
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild, 30 
And in the region of their peaceful selves ; 
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty 
Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire, 
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish ; 
Were called upon to exercise their skill, 
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields, 
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where ! 
But in the very world, which is the world 
Of all of us, the place where in the end 
We find our happiness, or not at all ! 40 

1804 

XXIX 

YES, it was the mountain Echo, 
Solitary, clear, profound, 
Answering to the shouting Cuckoo, 
Giving to her sound for sound ! 

Unsolicited reply 

To a babbling wanderer sent ; 

Like her ordinary cry, 

Like but oh, how different ! 



TO A SKYLARK 

Hears not also mortal Life ? 
Hear not we, unthinking Creatures ! 
Slaves of folly, love, or strife 
Voices of two different natures ? 

Have not we too ? yes, we have 
Answers, and we know not whence ; 
Echoes from beyond the grave, 
Recognised intelligence ! 

Such rebounds our inward ear 
Catches sometimes from afar 
Listen, ponder, hold them dear ; 
For of God, of God they are. 

1806 



XXX 

TO A SKYLARK 

[7 THEREAL minstrel ! pilgrim of the sky ! 

j Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound ? 

Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye 
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground ? 
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will, 
Those quivering wings composed, that music still ! 

Leave to the nightingale her shady wood ; 
A privacy of glorious light is thine ; 
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood 
Of harmony, with instinct more divine ; 10 

Type of the wise who soar, but never roam ; 
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home ! 

1825 



XXXI 
LAODAMIA 

' T T T ITH sacrifice before the rising morn 
VV Vows have I made by fruitless hope 

spired ; 

And from the infernal Gods, 'mid shades forlorn 
Of night, my slaughtered Lord have I required : 
Celestial pity I again implore ; 
Restore him to my sight great Jove, restore ! ' 
1 Z 



354. WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

So speaking, and by fervent love endowed 

With faith, the Suppliant heavenward lifts her hands; 

While, like the sun emerging from a cloud, 

Her countenance brightens and her eye expands ; 

Her bosom heaves and spreads, her stature grows ; n 

And she expects the issue in repose. 

terror ! what hath she perceived ? O joy ! 
What doth she look on ? whom doth she behold r 
Her Hero slain upon the beach of Troy ? 

His vital presence ? his corporeal mould ? 
It is if sense deceive her not 'tis He ! 
And a God leads him, winged Mercury ! 

Mild Hermes spake and touched her with his wand 
That calms all fear ; ' Such grace hath crowned thy 
prayer, 20 

Laodamia ! that at Jove's command 
Thy Husband walks the paths of upper air : 
He comes to tarry with thee three hours' space ; 
Accept the gift, behold him face to face ! ' 

Forth sprang the impassioned Queen her Lord to 

clasp ; 

Again that consummation she essayed ; 
But unsubstantial Form eludes her grasp 
As often as that eager grasp was made. 
The Phantom parts but parts to re-unite, 
And re-assume his place before her sight. 30 

' Protesilaus, lo ! thy guide is gone ! 
Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice : 
This is our palace, yonder is thy throne ; 
Speak, and the floor thou tread'st on will rejoice. 
Not to appal me have the gods bestowed 
This precious boon ; and blest a sad abode.' 

' Great Jove, Laodamia ! doth not leave 
His gifts imperfect : Spectre though I be, 

1 am not sent to scare thee or deceive ; 

But in reward of thy fidelity. 40 

And something also did my worth obtain ; 
For fearless virtue bringeth boundless gain. 

' Thou knowest, the Delphic oracle foretold 
That the first Greek who touched the Trojan strand 
Should die ; but me the threat could not withhold : 
A generous cause a victim did demand ; 



LAODAMIA 355 

And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain ; 
A self-devoted chief by Hector slain.' 

' Supreme of Heroes bravest, noblest, best ! 

Thy matchless courage I bewail no more, 50 

Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest 

By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal shore ; 

Thou found'st and I forgive thee here thou art 

A nobler counsellor than my poor heart. 

' But thou, though capable of sternest deed, 

Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave ; 

And he, whose power restores thee, hath decreed 

Thou should' st elude the malice of the grave : 

Redundant are thy locks, thy lips as fair 

As when their breath enriched Thessalian air. 60 

' No Spectre greets me, no vain Shadow this ; 
Come, blooming Hero, place thee by my side ! 
Give, on this well-known couch, one nuptial kiss 
To me, this day a second time thy bride ! ' 
Jove frowned in heaven : the conscious Parcae threw 
Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue. 

' This visage tells thee that my doom is past : 

Nor should the change be mourned, even if the joys 

Of sense were able to return as fast 

And surely as they vanish. Earth destroys 70 

Those raptures duly Erebus disdains : 

Calm pleasures there abide majestic pains. 

' Be taught, O faithful Consort, to control 
Rebellious passion : for the Gods approve 
The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul ; 
A fervent, not ungovernable, love. 
Thy transports moderate ; and meekly mourn 
When I depart, for brief is my sojourn ' 

' Ah wherefore ? Did not Hercules by force 

Wrest from the guardian Monster of the tomb 80 

Alcestis, a reanimated corse, 

Given back to dwell on earth in vernal bloom ? 

Medea's spells dispersed the weight of years, 

And JEson stood a youth 'mid youthful peers. 



356 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

f The Gods to us are merciful and they 
Yet further may relent : for mightier far 
Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway 
Of magic potent over sun and star, 
Is love, though oft to agony distrest, 
And though his favourite seat be feeble woman's 
breast. 90 

' But if thou goest, I follow ' ' Peace ! ' he said, 

She looked upon him and was calmed and cheered ; 

The ghastly colour from his lips had fled ; 

In his deportment, shape, and mien, appeared 

Elysian beauty, melancholy grace, 

Brought from a pensive though a happy place. 

He spake of love, such love as Spirits feel 

In worlds whose course is equable and pure ; 

No fears to beat away no strife to heal 

The past unsighed for, and the future sure ; 100 

Spake of heroic arts in graver mood 

Revived, with finer harmony pursued ; 

Of all that is most beauteous imaged there 

In happier beauty ; more pellucid streams, 

An ampler ether, a diviner air, 

And fields invested with purpureal gleams; 

Climes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day 

Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey. 

Yet there the Soul shall enter which hath earned 

That privilege by virtue. ' 111,' said he, no 

' The end of man's existence I discerned, 

Who from ignoble games and revelry 

Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight, 

While tears were thy best pastime, day and night ; 

' And while my youthful peers before my eyes 
(Each hero following his peculiar bent) 
Prepared themselves for glorious enterprise 
By martial sports, or, seated in the tent, 
Chieftains and kings in council were detained ; 
What time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained. 120 

' The wished-for wind was given : I then revolved 

The oracle, upon the silent sea ; 

And, if no worthier led the way, resolved 

That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be 



LAODAMIA 357 

The foremost prow in pressing to the strand, 
Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand 

' Yet bitter, oft-times bitter, was the pang 

When of thy loss I thought, beloved Wife ! 

On thee too fondly did my memory hang, 

And on the joys we shared in mortal life, 130 

The paths which we had trod these fountains, 

flowers ; 
My new-planned cities, and unfinished towers. 

' But should suspense permit the Foe to cry, 
" Behold they tremble ! haughty their array, 
Yet of their number no one dares to die ? " 
In soul I swept the indignity away : 
Old frailties then recurred : but lofty thought, 
In act embodied, my deliverance wrought. 

' And Thou, though strong in love, art all too weak 

In reason, in self-government too slow; 140 

I counsel thee by fortitude to seek 

Our blest re-union in the shades below. 

The invisible world with thee hath sympathised ; 

Be thy affections raised and solemnised. 

* Learn, by a mortal yearning, to ascend 
Seeking a higher object. Love was given, 
Encouraged, sanctioned, chiefly for that end ; 
For this the passion to excess was driven 
That self might be annulled : her bondage prove 
The fetters of a dream opposed to love/ 150 

Aloud she shrieked ! for Hermes re-appears ! 
Round the dear Shade she would have clung 'tis 

vain : 

The hours are past too brief had they been years ; 
And him no mortal effort can detain : 
Swift, toward the realms that know not earthly day, 
He through the portal takes his silent way, 
And on the palace-floor a lifeless corse She lay. 

Thus, all in vain exhorted and reproved, 

She perished ; and, as for a wilful crime, 

By the just Gods whom no weak pity moved, 160 

Was doomed to wear out her appointed time, 

Apart from happy Ghosts, that gather flowers 

Of blissful quiet 'mid unfading bowers. 



358 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Yet tears to human suffering are due ; 
And mortal hopes defeated and o'erthrown 
Are mourned by man, and not by man alone, 
As fondly he believes. Upon the side 
Of Hellespont (such faith was entertained) 
A knot of spiry trees for ages grew 
From out the tomb of him for whom she died ; 170 
And ever, when such stature they had gained 
That Ilium's walls were subject to their view, 
The trees' tall summits withered at the sight ; 
A constant interchange of growth and blight ! 1 

1814 

XXXII 
DION 

(SEE PLUTARCH) 
i 

ERENE, and fitted to embrace, 

Where'er he turned, a swan-like grace 

Of haughtiness without pretence, 

And to unfold a still magnificence, 

Was princely Dion, in the power 

And beauty of his happier hour. 

And what pure homage then did wait 

On Dion's virtues, while the lunar beam 

Of Plato's genius, from its lofty sphere, 

Fell round him in the grove of Academe, 10 

Softening their inbred dignity austere 

That he, not too elate 

With self-sufficing solitude, 
But with majestic lowliness endued, 
Might in the universal bosom reign, 
And from affectionate observance gain 
Help, under every change of adverse fate. 



Five thousand warriors O the rapturous day ! 

Each crowned with flowers, and armed with spear and 

shield, 

Or ruder weapon which their course might yield, 20 
To Syracuse advance in bright array. 

1 For the account of these long-lived trees, see Pliny's Natural History, 
lib. xvi. cap. 44 ; and for the features in the character of Protesilaus, see 
the Iphigenia in Aulis of Euripides. Virgil places the Shade of Laodamia 
in a mournful region, among unhappy Lovers, 

His Laodamia w 

It cornea. 



DION 359 

Who leads them on ? The anxious people see 

Long-exiled Dion marching at their head, 

He also crowned with flowers of Sicily, 

And in a white, far-beaming, corslet clad ! 

Pure transport undisturbed by doubt or fear 

The gazers feel ; and, rushing to the plain, 

Salute those strangers as a holy train 

Or blest procession (to the Immortals dear) 

That brought their precious liberty again. 30 

Lo ! when the gates are entered, on each hand, 

Down the long street, rich goblets filled with wine 

In seemly order stand, 
On tables set, as if for rites divine ; 
And, as the great Deliverer marches by, 
He looks on festal ground with fruits bestrown ; 
And flowers are on his person thrown 

In boundless prodigality ; 

Nor doth the general voice abstain from prayer, 
Invoking Dion's tutelary care, 40 

As if a very Deity he were ! 



HI 

Mourn, hills and groves of Attica ! and mourn, 

Ilissus, bending o'er thy classic urn ! 

Mourn, and lament for him whose spirit dreads 

Your once sweet memory, studious walks and shades ! 

For him who to divinity aspired, 

Not on the breath of popular applause, 

But through dependence on the sacred laws 

Framed in the schools where Wisdom dwelt retired, 

Intent to trace the ideal path of right 5* 

(More fair than heaven's broad causeway paved with 

stars) 
Which Dion learned to measure with sublime 

delight ; 

But He hath overleaped the eternal bars ; 
And, following guides whose craft holds no consent 
With aught that breathes the ethereal element, 
Hath stained the robes of civil power with blood, 
Unjustly shed, though for the public good. 
Whence doubts that came too late, and wishes vain, 
Hollow excuses, and triumphant pain ; 
And oft his cogitations sink as low 60 

As, through the abysses of a joyless heart, 
The heaviest plummet of despair can go 
But whence that sudden check ? that fearful start ! 



360 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

He hears an uncouth sound 
Anon his lifted eyes 

Saw, at a long-drawn gallery's dusky bound, 

A Shape of more than mortal size 

And hideous aspect, stalking round and round ! 
A woman's garb the Phantom wore, 
And fiercely swept the marble floor, 70 

Like Auster whirling to and fro, 
His force on Caspian foam to try ; 

Or Boreas when he scours the snow 

That skins the plains of Thessaly, 

Or when aloft on Maenalus he stops 

His flight, 'mid eddying pine-tree tops ! 

IV 

So, but from toil less sign of profit reaping, 
The sullen Spectre to her purpose bowed, 
Sweeping vehemently sweeping 
No pause admitted, no design avowed ! 80 

s Avaunt, inexplicable Guest ! avaunt/ 
Exclaimed the Chieftain ' let me rather see 
The coronal that coiling vipers make ; 
The torch that flames with many a lurid flake, 
And the long train of doleful pageantry 
Which they behold, whom vengeful Furies haunt ; 
Who, while they struggle from the scourge to flee, 
Move where the blasted soil is not unworn, 
And, in their anguish, bear what other minds have 

borne ! ' 

v 

But Shapes, that come not at an earthly call, 90 

Will not depart when mortal voices bid ; 
Lords of the visionary eye whose lid, 
Once raised, remains aghast, and will not fall ! 
Ye Gods, thought He, that servile Implement 

Obeys a mystical intent ! 
Your Minister would brush away 
The spots that to my soul adhere ; 
But should she labour night and day, 
They will not, cannot disappear ; 

Whence angry perturbations, and that look 100 

Which no philosophy can brook ! 

VI 

Ill-fated Chief! there are whose hopes are built 
Upon the ruins of thy glorious name ; 
Who, through the portal of one moment's guilt, 
Pursue thee with their deadly aim ! 



THE PASS OF KIRKSTONE 361 

O matchless perfidy ! portentous lust 

Of monstrous crime ! that horror-striking blade, 

Drawn in defiance of the Gods, hath laid 

The noble Syracusan low in dust ! 

Shudder'd the walls the marble city wept no 

And sylvan places heaved a pensive sigh ; 

But in calm peace the appointed Victim slept, 

As he had fallen in magnanimity ; 

Of spirit too capacious to require 

That Destiny her course should change ; too 
just 

To his own native greatness to desire 

That wretched boon, days lengthened by mis- 
trust. 

So were the hopeless troubles, that involved 

The soul of Dion, instantly dissolved. 

Released from life and cares of princely state, 120 

He left this moral grafted on his Fate ; 

' Him only pleasure leads, and peace attends, 

Him, only him, the shield of Jove defends, 

Whose means are fair and spotless as his ends.' 

1816 



XXXIII 
THE PASS OF KIRKSTONE 



WITHIN the mind strong fancies work, 
A deep delight the bosom thrills, 
Oft as I pass along the fork 
Of these fraternal hills : 
Where, save the rugged road, we find 
No appanage of human kind, 
Nor hint of man ; if stone or rock 
Seem not his handy-work to mock 
By something cognizably shaped ; 
Mockery or model roughly hewn, 
And left as if by earthquake strewn, 
Or from the Flood escaped : 
Altars for Druid service fit, 
(But where no fire was ever lit, 
Unless the glow-worm to the skies 
Thence offer nightly sacrifice) ; 
Wrinkled Egyptian monument ; 
Green moss-grown tower ; or hoary tent ; 



362 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Tents of a camp that never shall be raised 
On which four thousand years have gazed ! 



Ye plough-shares sparkling on the slopes ! 

Ye snow-white lambs that trip 

Imprisoned 'mid the formal props 

Of restless ownership ! 

Ye trees, that may to-morrow fall 

To feed the insatiate Prodigal ! 

Lawns, houses, chattels, groves, and fields, 

All that the fertile valley shields ; 

Wages of folly baits of crime, 

Of life's uneasy game the stake, 30 

Playthings that keep the eyes awake 

Of drowsy, dotard Time ; 

O care ! O guilt ! O vales and plains, 

Here, 'mid his own unvexed domains, 

A Genius dwells, that can subdue 

At once all memory of You, 

Most potent when mists veil the sky, 

Mists that distort and magnify, 

While the coarse rushes, to the sweeping breeze, 

Sigh forth their ancient melodies ! 40 



List to those shriller notes ! that march 

Perchance was on the blast, 

When, through this Height's inverted arch, 

Rome's earliest legion passed ! 

They saw, adventurously impelled, 

And older eyes than theirs beheld, 

This block and yon, whose church-like frame 

Gives to this savage Pass its name. 

Aspiring Road! that lov'st to hide 

Thy daring in a vapoury bourn, 50 

Not seldom may the hour return 

When thou shalt be my guide : 

And I (as all men may find cause, 

When life is at a weary pause, 

And they have panted up the hill 

Of duty with reluctant will) 

Be thankful, even though tired and faint, 

For the rich bounties of constraint ; 

Whence oft invigorating transports flow 

That choice lacked courage to bestow ! 60 



TO ENTERPRISE 363 



My Soul was grateful for delight 

That wore a threatening brow ; 

A veil is lifted can she slight 

The scene that opens now ? 

Though habitation none appear, 

The greenness tells, man must be there; 

The shelter that the perspective 

Is of the clime in which we live ; 

Where Toil pursues his daily round ; 

Where Pity sheds sweet tears and Love, 70 

In woodbine bower or birchen grove, 

Inflicts his tender wound. 

Who comes not hither ne'er shall know 

How beautiful the world below ; 

Nor can he guess how lightly leaps 

The brook adown the rocky steeps. 

Farewell, thou desolate Domain ! 

Hope, pointing to the cultured plain, 

Carols like a shepherd-boy ; 

And who is she ? Can that be Joy ! 8c 

Who, with a sunbeam for her guide, 

Smoothly skims the meadows wide ; 

While Faith, from yonder opening cloud, 

To hill and vale proclaims aloud, 

'Whate'er the weak may dread, the wicked dare, 

Thy lot, O Man, is good, thy portion fair ! ' 

1817 

XXXIV 
TO ENTERPRISE 

KEEP for the Young the impassioned smile 
Shed from thy countenance, as I see thee 

stand 

High on that chalky cliff of Britain's Isle, 
A slender volume grasping in thy hand 
(Perchance the pages that relate 
The various turns of Crusoe's fate) 
Ah, spare the exulting smile, 
And drop thy pointing finger bright 
As the first flash of beacon light ; 
But neither veil thy head in shadows dim, 10 

Nor turn thy face away 
From One who, in the evening of his day, 
To thee would offer no presumptuous hymn ! 



364 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



Bold Spirit ! who art free to rove 

Among the starry courts of Jove, 

And oft in splendour dost appear 

Embodied to poetic eyes, 

While traversing this nether sphere, 

Where Mortals call thee ENTERPRISE. 

Daughter of Hope ! her favourite Child, 20 

Whom she to young Ambition bore, 

When hunter's arrow first defiled 

The grove, and stained the turf with gore ; 

Thee winged Fancy took, and nursed 

On broad Euphrates' palmy shore, 

And where the mightier Waters burst 

From caves of Indian mountains hoar ! 

She wrapped thee in a panther's skin ; 

And Thou, thy favourite food to win, 

The flame-eyed eagle oft wouldst scare 30 

From her rock-fortress in mid air, 

With infant shout ; and often sweep, 

Paired with the ostrich, o'er the plain; 

Or, tired with sport, wouldst sink asleep 

Upon the couchant lion's mane ! 

With rolling years thy strength increased ; 

And, far beyond thy native East, 

To thee, by varying titles known 

As variously thy power was shown, 

Did incense-bearing altars rise, 40 

Which caught the blaze of sacrifice, 

From suppliants panting for the skies ! 



What though this ancient Earth be trod 

No more by step of Demi-god 

Mounting from glorious deed to deed 

As thou from clime to clime didst lead ; 

Yet still the bosom beating high, 

And the hushed farewell of an eye 

Where no procrastinating gaze 

A last infirmity betrays, 50 

Prove that thy heaven-descended sway 

Shall ne'er submit to cold decay. 

By thy divinity impelled, 

The Stripling seeks the tented field ; 

The aspiring Virgin kneels ; and, pale 

With awe, receives the hallowed veil, 



TO ENTERPRISE 865 

A soft and tender Heroine 

Vowed to severer discipline ; 

Inflamed by thee, the blooming Boy 

Makes of the whistling shrouds a toy, 60 

And of the ocean's dismal breast 

A play-ground, or a couch of rest ; 

'Mid the blank world of snow and ice, 

Thou to his dangers dost enchain 

The Chamois-chaser awed in vain 

By chasm or dizzy precipice ; 

And hast Thou not with triumph seen 

How soaring Mortals glide between 

Or through the clouds, and brave the light 

With bolder than Icarian flight ? 70 

How they, in bells of crystal, dive 

Where winds and waters cease to strive 

For no unholy visitings, 

Among the monsters of the Deep, 

And all the sad and precious things 

Which there in ghastly silence sleep ? 

Or, adverse tides and currents headed, 

And breathless calms no longer dreaded, 

In never-slackening voyage go 

Straight as an arrow from the bow ; 80 

And, slighting sails and scorning oars, 

Keep faith with Time on distant shores ? 

Within our fearless reach are placed 

The secrets of the burning Waste ; 

Egyptian tombs unlock their dead, 

Nile trembles at his fountain head ; 

Thou speak' st and lo ! the polar Seas 

Unbosom their last mysteries. 

But oh ! what transports, what sublime reward, 

Won from the world of mind, dost thou prepare 90 

For philosophic Sage ; or high-souled Bard 

Who, for thy service trained in lonely woods, 

Hath fed on pageants floating through the air, 

Or calentured in depth of limpid floods ; 

Nor grieves tho' doomed thro' silent night to bear 

The domination of his glorious themes, 

Or struggle in the net-work of thy dreams ! 



If there be movements in the Patriot's soul, 
From source still deeper, and of higher worth, 
'Tis thine the quickening impulse to control, 
And in due season send the mandate forth ; 



366 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Thy call a prostrate Nation can restore, 

When but a single Mind resolves to crouch no more. 

IV 

Dread Minister of wrath ! 

Who to their destined punishment dost urge 

The Pharaohs of the earth, the men of hardened 

heart ! 

Not unassisted by the nattering stars, 
Thou strew' st temptation o'er the path 
When they in pomp depart 

With trampling horses and refulgent cars u 

Soon to be swallowed by the briny surge ; 
Or cast, for lingering death, on unknown strands ; 
Or caught amid a whirl of desert sands 
An Army now, and now a living hill 
That a brief while heaves with convulsive throes 
Then all is still; 

Or, to forget their madness and their woes, 
Wrapt in a winding-sheet of spotless snows ! 



Back flows the willing current of my Song : 

If to provoke such doom the Impious dare, 120 

Why should it daunt a blameless prayer ? 

Bold Goddess ! range our Youth among ; 

Nor let thy genuine impulse fail to beat 

In hearts no longer young ; 

Still may a veteran Few have pride 

In thoughts whose sternness makes them sweet ; 

In fixed resolves by Reason justified ; 

That to their object cleave like sleet 

Whitening a pine tree's northern side, 

When fields are naked far and wide, 130 

And withered leaves, from earth's cold breast 

Up-caught in whirlwinds, nowhere can find rest. 



But if such homage thou disdain 
As doth with mellowing years agree, 
One rarely absent from thy train 
More humble favours may obtain 
For thy contented Votary. 
She, who incites the frolic lambs 
In presence of their heedless dams, 



TO 367 

And to the solitary fawn 140 

Vouchsafes her lessons, bounteous Nymph 

That wakes the breeze, the sparkling lymph 

Doth hurry to the lawn ; 

She, who inspires that strain of joyance holy 

Which the sweet Bird, misnamed the melancholy, 

Pours forth in shady groves, shall plead for me ; 

And vernal mornings opening bright 

With views of undefined delight, 

And cheerful songs, and suns that shine 

On busy days, with thankful nights, be mine. 150 



But thou, O Goddess ! in thy favourite Isle 

(Freedom's impregnable redoubt, 

The wide earth's store-house fenced about 

With breakers roaring to the gales 

That stretch a thousand thousand sails) 

Quicken the slothful, and exalt the vile ! 

Thy impulse is the life of Fame ; 

Glad Hope would almost cease to be 

If torn from thy society ; 

And Love, when worthiest of his name, 160 

Is proud to walk the earth with Thee ! 

Between 1820 and 1822 



XXXV 
TO 



ON HER FIRST ASCENT TO THE SUMMIT OF HELVELLYN 

T NMATE of a mountain-dwelling, 

Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed 
From the watch-towers of Helvellyn ; 
Awed, delighted, and amazed ! 

Potent was the spell that bound thee 
Not unwilling to obey ; 
For blue Ether's arms, flung round thee, 
Stilled the pan tings of dismay. 

Lo ! the dwindled woods and meadows; 
What a vast abyss is there ! 
Lo ! the clouds, the solemn shadows, 
And the glistenings heavenly fair ! 



368 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And a record of commotion 
Which a thousand ridges yield ; 
Ridge, and gulf, and distant ocean 
Gleaming like a silver shield ! 

Maiden ! now take flight ; inherit 

Alps or Andes they are thine ! 

With the morning's roseate Spirit 

Sweep their length of snowy line ; 20 

Or survey their bright dominions 
In the gorgeous colours drest 
Flung from off the purple pinions, 
Evening spreads throughout the west ! 

Thine are all the choral fountains 
Warbling in each sparry vault 
Of the untrodden lunar mountains ; 
Listen to their songs ! or halt, 

To Niphates' top invited, 

Whither spiteful Satan steered ; 30 

Or descend where the ark alighted, 

When the green earth re-appeared ; 

For the power of hills is on thee, 
As was witnessed through thine eye 
Then, when old Helvellyn won thee 
To confess their majesty ! 

1816 

XXXVI 
TO A YOUNG LADY 

WHO HAD BEEN REPROACHED FOR TAKING LONG WALKS 
IN THE COUNTRY 

DEAR Child of Nature, let them rail ! 
There is a nest in a green dale, 
A harbour and a hold ; 
Where thou, a Wife and Friend, shalt see 
Thy own heart-stirring days, and be 
A light to young and old. 

There, healthy as a shepherd boy, 
And treading among flowers of joy 



WATER FOWL 869 

Which at no season fade, 

Thou, while thy babes around thee cling, 10 

Shalt show us how divine a thing 

A Woman may be made. 

Thy thoughts and feelings shall not die, 

Nor leave thee, when grey hairs are nigh, 

A melancholy slave ; 

But an old age serene and bright, 

And lovely as a Lapland night, 

Shall lead thee to thy grave. 

Published 1802 

XXXVII 
WATER FOWL 

' LET me be allowed the aid of verse to describe the evolutions which these 
visitants sometimes perform, on a fine day towards the close of winter.' 
Extract from the Author's Book on the Lakes. 

MARK how the feathered tenants of the flood, 
With grace of motion that might scarcely seem 
Inferior to angelical, prolong 
Their curious pastime ! shaping in mid air 
(And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars 
High as the level of the mountain-tops) 
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath 
Their own domain ; but ever, while intent 
On tracing and retracing that large round, 
Their jubilant activity evolves 10 

Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro, 
Upward and downward, progress intricate 
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed 
Their indefatigable flight. 'Tis done 
Ten times, or more, I fancied it had ceased ; 
But lo ! the vanished company again 
Ascending ; they approach I hear their wings, 
Faint, faint at first ; and then an eager sound, 
Past in a moment and as faint again ! 
They tempt the sun to sport amid their plumes ; 20 
They tempt the water, or the gleaming ice, 
To show them a fair image ; 'tis themselves, 
Their own fair forms, upon the glimmering plain, 
Painted more soft and fair as they descend 
Almost to touch ; then up again aloft, 
Up with a sally and a flash of speed, 
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest ! 

1812 
1 AA 



370 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXXVIII 
VIEW FROM THE TOP OF BLACK COMB 1 

r I "'HIS Height a ministering Angel might select : 

For from the summit of BLACK COMB (dread name 
Derived from clouds and storms !) the amplest range 
Of unobstructed prospect may be seen 
That British ground commands : low dusky tracts, 
Where Trent is nursed, far southward ! Cambrian hills 
To the south-west, a multitudinous show ; 
And, in a line of eye-sight linked with these, 
The hoary peaks of Scotland that give birth 
To Tiviot's stream, to Annan, Tweed, and Clyde : 10 
Crowding the quarter whence the sun comes forth 
Gigantic mountains rough with crags; beneath, 
Right at the imperial station's western base, 
Main ocean, breaking audibly, and stretched 
Far into silent regions blue and pale ; 
And visibly engirding Mona's Isle 
That, as we left the plain, before our sight 
Stood like a lofty mount, uplifting slowly 
(Above the convex of the watery globe) 
Into clear view the cultured fields that streak ao 

Her habitable shores but now appears 
A dwindled object, and submits to lie 
At the spectator's feet. Yon azure ridge, 
Is it a perishable cloud ? Or there 
Do we behold the line of Erin's coast ? 
Land sometimes by the roving shepherd-swain 
(Like the bright confines of another world) 
Not doubtfully perceived. Look homeward now ! 
In depth, in height, in circuit, how serene 
The spectacle, how pure ! Of Nature's works, 30 

In earth, and air, and earth-embracing sea, 
A revelation infinite it seems ; 
Display august of man's inheritance, 
Of Britain's calm felicity and power ! 

1813 

1 Black Comb stands at the southern extremity of Cumberland : its base 
covers a much greater extent of ground than any other mountain in those 
parts ; and, from its situation, the summit commands a more extensive view 
than any other point in Britain. 



THE HAUNTED TREE 371 

XXXIX 
THE HAUNTED TREE 

TO 

* I "'HOSE silver clouds collected round the sun 

His mid-day warmth abate not, seeming less 
To overshade than multiply his beams 
By soft reflection grateful to the sky, 
To rocks, fields, woods. Nor doth our human sense 
Ask, for its pleasure, screen or canopy 
More ample than the time-dismantled Oak 
Spreads o'er this tuft of heath, which now, attired 
In the whole fulness of its bloom, affords 
Couch beautiful as e'er for earthly use 10 

Was fashioned ; whether by the hand of Art, 
That eastern Sultan, amid flowers enwrought 
On silken tissue, might diffuse his limbs 
In languor ; or by Nature, for repose 
Of panting Wood-nymph, wearied with the chase. 
O Lady ! fairer in thy Poet's sight 
Than fairest spiritual creature of the groves, 
Approach; and, thus invited, crown with rest 
The noon-tide hour : though truly some there are 
Whose footsteps superstitiously avoid 20 

This venerable Tree ; for, when the wind 
Blows keenly, it sends forth a creaking sound 
(Above the general roar of woods and crags) 
Distinctly heard from far a doleful note ! 
As if (so Grecian shepherds would have deemed) 
The Hamadryad, pent within, bewailed 
Some bitter wrong. Nor is it unbelieved, 
By ruder fancy, that a troubled ghost 
Haunts the old trunk ; lamenting deeds of which 
The flowery ground is conscious. But no wind 30 

Sweeps now along this elevated ridge ; 
Not even a zephyr stirs ; the obnoxious Tree 
Is mute ; and, in his silence, would look down, 
O lovely Wanderer of the trackless hills, 
On thy reclining form with more delight 
Than his coevals in the sheltered vale 
Seem to participate, the while they view 
Their own far- stretching arms and leafy heads 
Vividly pictured in some glassy pool, 
That, for a brief space, checks the hurrying stream ! 40 

1819 



372 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XL 
THE TRIAD 

SHOW me the noblest Youth of present time, 
Whose trembling fancy would to love give birth ; 
Some God or Hero, from the Olympian clime 
Returned, to seek a Consort upon earth ; 
Or, in no doubtful prospect, let me see 
The brightest star of ages yet to be, 
And I will mate and match him blissfully. 

I will not fetch a Naiad from a flood 

Pure as herself (song lacks not mightier power) 

Nor leaf-crowned Dryad from a pathless wood, 10 

Nor Sea-nymph glistening from her coral bower ; 

Mere Mortals, bodied forth in vision still, 

Shall with Mount Ida's triple lustre fill 

The chaster coverts of a British hill. 

' Appear ! obey my lyre's command ! 
Come, like the Graces, hand in hand ! 
For ye, though not by birth allied, 
Are Sisters in the bond of love ; 
Nor shall the tongue of envious pride 
Presume those interweavings to reprove 90 

In you, which that fair progeny of Jove 
Learned from the tuneful spheres that glide 
In endless union, earth and sea above.' 
I sing in vain ;- the pines have hushed their waving: 
A peerless Youth expectant at my side, 
Breathless as they, with imabated craving 
Looks to the earth, and to the vacant air; 
And, with a wandering eye that seems to chide, 
Asks of the clouds what occupants they hide : 
But why solicit more than sight could bear, 30 

By casting on a moment all we dare ? 
Invoke we those bright Beings one by one ; 
And what was boldly promised, truly shall be done. 

' Fear not a constraining measure ! 
Yielding to this gentle spell, 
Lucida ! from domes of pleasure, 
Or from cottage-sprinkled dell, 
Come to regions solitary, 
Where the eagle builds her aery, 
Above the hermit's long-forsaken cell ! ' 40 

She comes ! behold 



THE TRIAD 373 

That Figure, like a ship with snow-white sail ; 

Nearer she draws ; a breeze uplifts her veil ; 

Upon her coming wait 

As pure a sunshine and as soft a gale 

As e'er, on herbage covering earthly mould, 

Tempted the bird of Juno to unfold 

His richest splendour when his veering gait 

And every motion of his starry train 

Seem governed by a strain 50 

Of music, audible to him alone. 

' O Lady, worthy of earth's proudest throne ! 
Nor less, by excellence of nature, fit 
Beside an unambitious hearth to sit 
Domestic queen, where grandeur is unknown ; 
What living man could fear 
The worst of Fortune's malice, wert Thou near, 
Humbling that lily-stem, thy sceptre meek, 
That its fair flowers may from his cheek 
Brush the too happy tear ? 60 

Queen, and handmaid lowly ! 

Whose skill can speed the day with lively cares, 

And banish melancholy 

By all that mind invents or hand prepares ; 

O Thou, against whose lip, without its smile 

And in its silence even, no heart is proof; 

Whose goodness, sinking deep, would reconcile 

The softest Nursling of a gorgeous palace 

To the bare life beneath the hawthorn-roof 

Of Sherwood's Archer, or in caves of Wallace 70 

Who that hath seen thy beauty could content 

His soul with but a glimpse of heavenly day ? 

Who that hath loved thee, but would lay 

His strong hand on the wind, if it were bent 

To take thee in thy majesty away ? 

Pass onward (even the glancing deer 

Till we depart intrude not here ;) 

That mossy slope, o'er which the woodbine throws 

A canopy, is smoothed for thy repose ! ' 

Glad moment is it when the throng 80 

Of warblers in full concert strong 

Strive, and not vainly strive, to rout 

The lagging shower, and force coy Phcebus out, 

Met by the rainbow's form divine, 

Issuing from her cloudy shrine ; 



374 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

So may the thrillings of the lyre 

Prevail to further our desire, 

While to these shades a sister Nymph I call. 

' Come, if the notes thine ear may pierce, 
Come, youngest of the lovely Three, 90 

Submissive to the might of verse 
And the dear voice of harmony, 
By none more deeply felt than Thee ! ' 
I sang ; and lo ! from pastimes virginal 
She hastens to the tents 
Of nature, and the lonely elements. 
Air sparkles round her with a dazzling sheen ; 
But mark her glowing cheek, her vesture green ! 
And, as if wishful to disarm 

Or to repay the potent Charm, 100 

She bears the stringed lute of old romance, 
That cheered the trellised arbour's privacy, 
And soothed war-wearied knights in raftered hall. 
How vivid, yet how delicate, her glee ! 
So tripped the Muse, inventress of the dance ; 
So, truant in waste woods, the blithe Euphrosyne ! 

But the ringlets of that head 

Why are they ungarlanded ? 

Why bedeck her temples less 

Than the simplest shepherdess ? no 

Is it not a brow inviting 

Choicest flowers that ever breathed, 

Which the myrtle would delight in 

With Idalian rose enwreathed ? 

But her humility is well content 

With one wild floweret (call it not forlorn) 

FLOWER OF THE WINDS, beneath her bosom worn 

Yet more for love than ornament. 

Open, ye thickets ! let her fly, 

Swift as a Thracian Nymph o'er field and height ! 120 

For She, to all but those who love her, shy, 

Would gladly vanish from a Stranger's sight ; 

Though, where she is beloved and loves, 

Light as the wheeling butterfly she moves ; 

Her happy spirit as a bird is free, 

That rifles blossoms on a tree, 

Turning them inside out with arch audacity. 

Alas ! how little can a moment show 



THE TRIAD 375 

Of an eye where feeling plays 

In ten thousand dewy rays ; 130 

A face o'er which a thousand shadows go ! 

She stops is fastened to that rivulet's side; 

And there (while, with sedater mien, 

O'er timid waters that have scarcely left 

Their birth-place in the rocky cleft 

She bends) at leisure may be seen 

Features to old ideal grace allied, 

Amid their smiles and dimples dignified 

Fit countenance for the soul of primal truth ; 

The bland composure of eternal youth ! 140 

What more changeful than the sea ? 

But over his great tides 

Fidelity presides ; 

And this light-hearted Maiden constant is as he. 

High is her aim as heaven above, 

And wide as ether her good-will ; 

And, like the lowly reed, her love 

Can drink its nurture from the scantiest rill : 

Insight as keen as frosty star 

Is to her charity no bar, 150 

Nor interrupts her frolic graces 

When she is, far from these wild places, 

Encircled by familiar faces. 

O the charm that manners draw, 

Nature, from thy genuine law ! 

If from what her hand would do, 

Her voice would utter, aught ensue 

Untoward or unfit ; 

She, in benign affections pure, 

In self-forgetfulness secure, 160 

Sheds round the transient harm or vague mischance 

A light unknown to tutored elegance : 

Hers is not a cheek shame-stricken, 

But her blushes are joy-flushes ; 

And the fault (if fault it be) 

Only ministers to quicken 

Laughter-loving gaiety, 

And kindle sportive wit 

Leaving this Daughter of the mountains free, 

As if she knew that Oberon king of Faery 170 

Had crossed her purpose with some quaint vagary, 

And heard his viewless bands 

Over their mirthful triumph clapping hands. 



376 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

1 Last of the Three, though eldest born, 
Reveal thyself, like pensive Morn 
Touched by the skylark's earliest note, 
Ere humbler gladness be afloat. 
But whether in the semblance drest 
Of Dawn or Eve, fair vision of the west, 
Come with each anxious hope subdued 180 

By woman's gentle fortitude, 
Each grief, through meekness, settling into rest. 
Or I would hail thee when some high-wrought page 
Of a closed volume lingering in thy hand 
Has raised thy spirit to a peaceful stand 
Among the glories of a happier age.' 

Her brow hath opened on me see it there, 
Brightening the umbrage of her hair ; 
So gleams the crescent moon, that loves 
To be descried through shady groves. 190 

Tenderest bloom is on her cheek ; 
Wish not for a richer streak ; 
Nor dread the depth of meditative eye ; 
But let thy love, upon that azure field 
Of thoughtfulness and beauty, yield 
Its homage offered up in purity. 
What wouldst thou more ? In sunny glade, 
Or under leaves of thickest shade, 
Was such a stillness e'er diffused 
Since earth grew calm while angels mused ? 200 

Softly she treads, as if her foot were loth 
To crush the mountain dew-drops soon to melt 
On the flower's breast; as if she felt 
That flowers themselves, whate'er their hue, 
With all their fragrance, all their glistening, 
Call to the heart for inward listening- 
And though for bridal wreaths and tokens true 
Welcomed wisely ; though a growth 
Which the careless shepherd sleeps on, 
As fitly spring from turf the mourner weeps on 210 
And without wrong are cropped the marble tomb 

strew. 

The Charm is over ; the mute Phantoms gone, 
Nor will return but droop not, favoured Youth ; 
The apparition that before thee shone 
Obeyed a summons covetous of truth. 
From these wild rocks thy footsteps I will guide 
To bowers in which thy fortune may be tried, 
And one of the bright Three become thy happy Bride. 

1828 



THE WISHING-GATE 877 

XLI 
THE WISHING-GATE 

IN the vale of Grasmere, by the side of the old highway leading to Amble- 
side, is a gate, which, time out of mind, has been called the Wishing-gate, 
from a belief that wishes formed or indulged there have a favourable issue. 

HOPE rules a land for ever green : 
All powers that serve the bright-eyed Queen 
Are confident and gay ; 
Clouds at her bidding disappear ; 
Points she to aught ? the bliss draws near, 
And Fancy smooths the way. 

Not such the land of Wishes there 
Dwell fruitless day-dreams, lawless prayer, 

And thoughts with things at strife ; 
Yet how forlorn, should ye depart, 10 

Ye superstitions of the heart, 

How poor, were human life ! 

When magic lore abjured its might, 
Ye did not forfeit one dear right, 

One tender claim abate ; 
Witness this symbol of your sway, 
Surviving near the public way, 

The rustic Wishing-gate ! 

Inquire not if the faery race 

Shed kindly influence on the place, 20 

Ere northward they retired ; 
If here a warrior left a spell, 
Panting for glory as he fell ; 

Or here a saint expired. 

Enough that all around is fair, 
Composed with Nature's finest care, 

And in her fondest love 
Peace to embosom and content 
To overawe the turbulent, 

The selfish to reprove. 30 

Yea ! even the Stranger from afar, 
Reclining on this moss-grown bar, 

Unknowing, and unknown, 
The infection of the ground partakes, 
Longing for his Belov'd who makes 

All happiness her own. 



378 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Then why should conscious Spirits fear 
The mystic stirrings that are here, 

The ancient faith disclaim ? 

The local Genius ne'er befriends 40 

Desires whose course in folly ends, 

Whose just reward is shame. 

Smile if thou wilt, but not in scorn, 
If some, by ceaseless pains outworn, 

Here crave an easier lot ; 
If some have thirsted to renew 
A broken vow, or bind a true, 

With firmer, holier knot. 



And not in vain, when thoughts are cast 

Upon the irrevocable past, 50 

Some Penitent sincere 
May for a worthier future sigh, 
While trickles from his downcast eye 

No unavailing tear. 

The Worldling, pining to be freed 
From turmoil, who would turn or speed 

The current of his fate, 
Might stop before this favoured scene, 
At Nature's call, nor blush to lean 

Upon the Wishing-gate. 60 

The Sage, who feels how blind, how weak 
Is man, though loth such help to seek, 

Yet, passing, here might pause, 
And thirst for insight to allay 
Misgiving, while the crimson day 

In quietness withdraws ; 

Or when the church-clock's knell profound 
To Time's first step across the bound 

Of midnight makes reply ; 

Time pressing on with starry crest 70 

To filial sleep upon the breast 

Of dread eternity. 

1828 



THE WISHING-GATE DESTROYED 379 

XLII 
THE WISHING-GATE DESTROYED 

>r \ ^IS gone with old belief and dream 

That round it clung, and tempting scheme 

Released from fear and doubt ; 
And the bright landscape too must lie, 
By this blank wall, from every eye, 

Relentlessly shut out. 

Bear witness ye who seldom passed 
That opening but a look ye cast 

Upon the lake below, 

What spirit-stirring power it gained 10 

From faith which here was entertained, 

Though reason might say no. 

Blest is that ground, where, o'er the springs 
Of history, Glory claps her wings, 

Fame sheds the exulting tear ; 
Yet earth is wide, and many a nook 
Unheard of is, like this, a book 

For modest meanings dear. 

It was in sooth a happy thought 

That grafted, on so fair a spot, 20 

So confident a token 
Of coming good ; the charm is fled ; 
Indulgent centuries spun a thread, 

Which one harsh day has broken. 

Alas ! for him who gave the word ; 
Could he no sympathy afford, 

Derived from earth or heaven, 
To hearts so oft by hope betrayed, 
Their very wishes wanted aid 

Which here was freely given ? 30 

Where, for the love-lorn maiden's wound, 
Will now so readily be found 

A balm of expectation ? 
Anxious for far-off children, where 
Shall mothers breathe a like sweet air 

Of home-felt consolation ? 

And not unfelt will prove the loss 
'Mid trivial care and petty cross 



380 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And each day's shallow grief; 
Though the most easily beguiled 40 

Were oft among the first that smiled 

At their own fond belief. 

If still the reckless change we mourn, 
A reconciling thought may turn 

To harm that might lurk here, 
Ere judgment prompted from within 
Fit aims, with courage to begin, 

And strength to persevere. 

Not Fortune's slave is Man : our state 

Enjoins, while firm resolves await 50 

On wishes just and wise, 
That strenuous action follow both, 
And life be one perpetual growth 

Of heaven-ward enterprise. 

So taught, so trained, we boldly face 
All accidents of time and place ; 

Whatever props may fail, 
Trust in that sovereign law can spread 
New glory o'er the mountain's head, 

Fresh beauty through the vale. 60 

That truth informing mind and heart, 
The simplest cottager may part, 

Ungrieved, with charm and spell ; 
And yet, lost Wishing-gate, to thee 
The voice of grateful memory 

Shall bid a kind farewell ! 

Published 184 

XLIII 
THE PRIMROSE OF THE ROCK 

A ROCK there is whose homely front 
_/-\_ The passing traveller slights ; 
Yet there the glow-worms hang their lamps, 

Like stars, at various heights ; 
And one coy Primrose to that Rock 

The vernal breeze invites. 

What hideous warfare hath been waged, 

What kingdoms overthrown, 
Since first I spied that Primrose-tuft 

And marked it for my own ; 10 

A lasting link in Nature's chain 

From highest heaven let down ! 



381 

The flowers, still faithful to the stems, 

Their fellowship renew ; 
The stems are faithful to the root, 

That worketh out of view ; 
And to the rock the root adheres 

In every fibre true. 

Close clings to earth the living rock, 

Though threatening still to fall ; 20 

The earth is constant to her sphere ; 
And God upholds them all : 

So blooms this lonely Plant, nor dreads 
Her annual funeral. 

* 

Here closed the meditative strain ; 

But air breathed soft that day, 
The hoary mountain-heights were cheered, 

The sunny vale looked gay ; 
And to the Primrose of the Rock 

I gave this after-lay. 30 

I sang Let myriads of bright flowers, 

Like Thee, in field and grove 
Revive unenvied; mightier far, 

Than tremblings that reprove 
Our vernal tendencies to hope, 

Is God's redeeming love ; 

That love which changed for wan disease, 

For sorrow that had bent 
O'er hopeless dust, for withered age 

Their moral element, 40 

And turned the thistles of a curse 

To types beneficent. 

Sin-blighted though we are, we too, 

The reasoning Sons of Men, 
From one oblivious winter called 

Shall rise, and breathe again ; 
And in eternal summer lose 

Our threescore years and ten. 

To humbleness of heart descends 

This prescience from on high, 50 

The faith that elevates the just, 

Before and when they die ; 
And makes each soul a separate heaven, 

A court for Deity. 

1831 



382 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XLIV 
PRESENTIMENTS 

T)RESENTIMENTS! they judge not right 
Who deem that ye from open light 

Retire in fear of shame ; 
All heaven-born Instincts shun the touch 
Of vulgar sense, and, being such, 

Such privilege ye claim. 

The tear whose source I could not guess, 
The deep sigh that seemed fatherless, 

Were mine in early days; 

And now, unforced by time to part 10 

With fancy, I obey my heart, 

And venture on your praise. 

What though some busy foes to good, 
Too potent over nerve and blood, 

Lurk near you and combine 
To taint the health which ye infuse ; 
This hides not from the moral Muse 

Your origin divine. 

How oft from you, derided Powers ! 

Comes Faith that in auspicious hours 20 

Builds castles, not of air : 
Bodings unsanctioned by the will 
Flow from your visionary skill, 

And teach us to beware. 

The bosom-weight, your stubborn gift, 
That no philosophy can lift, 

Shall vanish, if ye please, 
Like morning mist : and, where it lay, 
The spirits at your bidding play 

In gaiety and ease. 30 

Star guided contemplations move 

Through space, though calm, not raised above 

Prognostics that ye rule ; 
The naked Indian of the wild, 
And haply too the cradled Child, 

Are pupils of your school. 

But who can fathom your intents, 
Number their signs or instruments ? 



PRESENTIMENTS 383 

A rainbow, a sunbeam, 

A subtle smell that Spring unbinds, 40 

Dead pause abrupt of midnight winds, 

An echo, or a dream. 

The laughter of the Christmas hearth 
With sighs of self-exhausted mirth 

Ye feelingly reprove ; 
And daily, in the conscious breast, 
Your visitations are a test 

And exercise of love. 

When some great change gives boundless scope 
To an exulting Nation's hope, 50 

Oft, startled and made wise 
By your low-breathed interpretings, 
The simply-meek foretaste the springs 

Of bitter contraries. 

Ye daunt the proud array of war, 
Pervade the lonely ocean far 

As sail hath been unfurled; 
For dancers in the festive hall 
What ghastly partners hath your call 

Fetched from the shadowy world. 60 

'Tis said that warnings ye dispense, 
Emboldened by a keener sense; 

That men have lived for whom, 
With dread precision, ye made clear 
The hour that in a distant year 

Should knell them to the tomb. 

Unwelcome insight ! Yet there are 
Blest times when mystery is laid bare, 

Truth shows a glorious face, 

While on that isthmus which commands 70 

The councils of both worlds she stands, 

Sage Spirits ! by your grace. 

God, who instructs the brutes to scent 
All changes of the element, 

Whose wisdom fixed the scale 
Of natures, for our wants provides 
By higher, sometimes humbler, guides. 

When lights of reason fail. 

1830 



384 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XLV 
VERNAL ODE 

' Berum Natura tota est nusquam magis quam in minimis.' 

PLIN. Nat. Hist. xi. i. 2, 4. 
I 

T) ENEATH the concave of an April sky, 
[) When all the fields with freshest green were 

dight, 

Appeared, in presence of the spiritual eye 
That aids or supersedes our grosser sight, 
The form and rich habiliments of One 
Whose countenance bore resemblance to the sun, 
When it reveals, in evening majesty, 
Features half lost amid their own pure light. 
Poised like a weary cloud, in middle air 
He hung, then floated with angelic ease 10 

(Softening that bright effulgence by degrees) 
Till he had reached a summit sharp and bare, 
Where oft the venturous heifer drinks the noontide 

breeze. 

Upon the apex of that lofty cone 
Alighted, there the Stranger stood alone ; 
Fair as a gorgeous Fabric of the east 
Suddenly raised by some enchanter's power, 
Where nothing was ; and firm as some old Tower 
Of Britain's realm, whose leafy crest 
Waves high, embellished by a gleaming shower ! 20 



Beneath the shadow of his purple wings 
Rested a golden harp ; he touched the strings; 
And, after prelude of unearthly sound 
Poured through the echoing hills around, 
He sang 

' No wintry desolations, 
Scorching blight or noxious dew. 
Affect my native habitations ; 
Buried in glory, far beyond the scope 
Of man's inquiring gaze, but to his hope 
Imaged, though faintly, in the hue 30 

Profound of night's ethereal blue ; 
And in the aspect of each radiant orb ; 
Some fixed, some wandering with no timid curb ; 
But wandering star and fixed, to mortal eye, 
Blended in absolute serenity, 



VERNAL ODE 385 

And free from semblance of decline ; 
Fresh as if Evening brought their natal hour, 
Her darkness splendour gave, her silence power, 
To testify of Love and Grace divine. 

in 

' What if those bright fires 40 

Shine subject to decay, 
Sons haply of extinguished sires, 
Themselves to lose their light, or pass away 
Like clouds before the wind, 

Be thanks poured out to Him whose hand bestows, 
Nightly, on human kind 
That vision of endurance and repose. 
And though to every draught of vital breath, 
Renewed throughout the bounds of earth or ocean, 
The melancholy gates of Death 50 

Respond with sympathetic motion ; 
Though all that feeds on nether air, 
Howe'er magnificent or fair, 
Grows but to perish, and entrust 
Its ruins to their kindred dust ; 
Yet, by the Almighty's ever-during care, 
Her procreant vigils Nature keeps 
Amid the unfathomable deeps ; 
And saves the peopled fields of earth 
From dread of emptiness or dearth. 60 

Thus, in their stations, lifting tow'rd the sky 
The foliaged head in cloud-like majesty, 
The shadow-casting race of trees survive : 
Thus, in the train of Spring, arrive 
Sweet flowers ; what living eye hath viewed 
Their myriads ? endlessly renewed, 
Wherever strikes the sun's glad ray ; 
Where'er the subtle waters stray ; 
Wherever sportive breezes bend 

Their course, or genial showers descend ! 70 

Mortals, rejoice ! the very Angels quit 
Their mansions unsusceptible of change, 
Amid your pleasant bowers to sit, 
And through your sweet vicissitudes to range ! 

IV 

O, nursed at happy distance from the cares 
Of a too-anxious world, mild pastoral Muse ! 
That to the sparkling crown Urania wears, 
And to her sister Clio's laurel wreath, 
Prefer' st a garland culled from purple heath, 
l BB 



386 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Or blooming thicket moist with morning dews ; 80 

Was such bright Spectacle vouchsafed to me ? 

And was it granted to the simple ear 

Of thy contented Votary 

Such melody to hear ! 

Him rather suits it, side by side with thee, 

Wrapped in a fit of pleasing indolence, 

While thy tired lute hangs on the hawthorn-tree, 

To lie and listen till o'er-drowsed sense 

Sinks, hardly conscious of the influence 

To the soft murmur of the vagrant Bee. 9 

A slender sound ! yet hoary Time 

Doth to the Soul exalt it with the chime 

Of all his years ; a company 

Of ages coming, ages gone ; 

(Nations from before them sweeping, 

Regions in destruction steeping,) 

But every awful note in unison 

With that faint utterance, which tells 

Of treasure sucked from buds and bells, 

For the pure keeping of those waxen cells ; too 

Where She a statist prudent to confer 

Upon the common weal ; a warrior bold, 

Radiant all over with unburnished gold, 

And armed with living spear for mortal fight ; 

A cunning forager 

That spreads no waste ; a social builder ; one 
In whom all busy offices unite 
With all fine functions that afford delight 
Safe through the winter storm in quiet dwells ! 



And is She brought within the power 

Of vision ? o'er this tempting flower 

Hovering until the petals stay 

Her flight, and take its voice away ! 

Observe each wing ! a tiny van ! 

The structure of her laden thigh, 

How fragile ! yet of ancestry 

Mysteriously remote and high ; 

High as the imperial front of man ; 

The roseate bloom on woman's cheek; 

The soaring eagle's curved beak ; 

The white plumes of the floating swan ; 

Old as the tiger's paw, the lion's mane 

Ere shaken by that mood of stern disdain 



DEVOTIONAL INCITEMENTS 387 

At which the desert trembles. Humming Bee ! 
Thy sting was needless then, perchance unknown, 
The seeds of malice were not sown ; 
All creatures met in peace, from fierceness free, 
And no pride blended with their dignity. 
Tears had not broken from their source ; 
Nor Anguish strayed from her Tartarean den ; 130 
The golden years maintained a course 
Not undiversified though smooth and even ; 
We were not mocked with glimpse and shadow then, 
Bright Seraphs mixed familiarly with men ; 
And earth and stars composed a universal heaven ! 

1817 



XLVI 
DEVOTIONAL INCITEMENTS 

' Not to the earth confined, 
Ascend to heaven.' 

WHERE will they stop, those breathing 
Powers, 

The Spirits of the new-born flowers ? 
They wander with the breeze, they wind 
Where'er the streams a passage find ; 
Up from their native ground they rise 
In mute aerial harmonies ; 
From humble violet modest thyme 
Exhaled, the essential odours climb, 
As if no space below the sky 
Their subtle flight could satisfy : 
Heaven will not tax our thoughts with pride 
If like ambition be their guide. 

Roused by this kindliest of May-showers, 
The spirit-quickener of the flowers, 
That with moist virtue softly cleaves 
The buds, and freshens the young leaves, 
The birds pour forth their souls in notes 
Of rapture from a thousand throats 
Here checked by too impetuous haste, 
While there the music runs to waste, 
With bounty more and more enlarged, 
Till the whole air is overcharged ; 
Give ear, O Man ! to their appeal, 
And thirst for no inferior zeal, 
Thou, who canst think, as well as feel. 



388 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Mount from the earth ; aspire ! aspire ! 
So pleads the town's cathedral quire, 
In strains that from their solemn height 
Sink, to attain a loftier flight ; 
While incense from the altar breathes 30 

Rich fragrance in embodied wreaths ; 
Or, flung from swinging censer, shrouds 
The taper-lights, and curls in clouds 
Around angelic Forms, the still 
Creation of the painter's skill, 
That on the service wait concealed 
One moment, and the next revealed. 
Cast off your bonds, awake, arise, 
And for no transient ecstasies ! 
What else can mean the visual plea 40 

Of still or moving imagery 
The iterated summons loud, 
Not wasted on the attendant crowd, 
Nor wholly lost upon the throng 
Hurrying the busy streets along ? 

Alas ! the sanctities combined 
By art to unsensualise the mind 
Decay and languish ; or, as creeds 
And humours change, are spurned like weeds : 
The priests are from their altars thrust ; 50 

Temples are levelled with the dust ; 
And solemn rites and awful forms 
Founder amid fanatic storms. 
Yet evermore, through years renewed 
In undisturbed vicissitude 
Of seasons balancing their flight 
On the swift wings of day and night, 
Kind Nature keeps a heavenly door 
Wide open for the scattered Poor. 
Where flower-breathed incense to the skies 60 

Is wafted in mute harmonies ; 
And ground fresh-cloven by the plough 
Is fragrant with a humbler vow ; 
Where birds and brooks from leafy dells 
Chime forth unwearied canticles, 
And vapours magnify and spread 
The glory of the sun's bright head 
Still constant in her worship, still 
Conforming to the eternal Will, 
Whether men sow or reap the fields, 70 

Divine monition Nature yields, 



THE CUCKOO-CLOCK 389 

That not by bread alone we live, 
Or what a hand of flesh can give ; 
That every day should leave some part 
Free for a sabbath of the heart : 
So shall the seventh be truly blest, 
From morn to eve, with hallowed rest. 

1832 

XLVII 
THE CUCKOO-CLOCK 

WOULDST thou be taught, when sleep has 
taken flight, 

By a sure voice that can most sweetly tell, 
How far-off yet a glimpse of morning light, 
And if to lure the truant back be well, 
Forbear to covet a Repeater's stroke, 
That, answering to thy touch, will sound the hour ; 
Better provide thee with a Cuckoo-clock 
For service hung behind thy chamber-door ; 
And in due time the soft spontaneous shock, 
The double note, as if with living power, 10 

Will to composure lead or make thee blithe as bird 
in bower. 

List, Cuckoo Cuckoo ! oft tho' tempests howl, 
Or nipping frost remind thee trees are bare, 
How cattle pine, and droop the shivering fowl, 
Thy spirits will seem to feed on balmy air : 
I speak with knowledge, by that Voice beguiled, 
Thou wilt salute old memories as they throng 
Into thy heart ; and fancies, running wild 
Through fresh green fields, and budding groves among, 
Will make thee happy, happy as a child ; 20 

Of sunshine wilt thou think, and flowers, and song, 
And breathe as in a world where nothing can go 
wrong. 

And know that, even for him who shuns the day 

And nightly tosses on a bed of pain ; 

Whose joys, from all but memory swept away, 

Must come unhoped for, if they come again ; 

Know that, for'him whose waking thoughts, severe 

As his distress is sharp, would scorn my theme, 

The mimic notes, striking upon his ear 

In sleep, and intermingling with his dream, 30 

Could from sad regions send him to a dear 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Delightful land of verdure, shower and gleam, 
To mock the wandering Voice beside some haunted 
stream. 

O bounty without measure ! while the grace 
Of Heaven doth in such wise, from humblest springs, 
Pour pleasure forth, and solaces that trace 
A mazy course along familiar things, 
Well may our hearts have faith that blessings come, 
Streaming from founts above the starry sky, 
With angels when their own untroubled home 40 
They leave, and speed on nightly embassy 
To visit earthly chambers, and for whom ? 
Yea, both for souls who God's forbearance try, 
And those that seek his help, and for his mercy sigh. 

Published 1842 

XLVIII 
TO THE CLOUDS 

A~I,MY of Clouds ! ye winged Host in troops 
Ascending from behind the motionless brow 
Of that tall rock, as from a hidden world, 
O whither with such eagerness of speed ? 
What seek ye, or what shun ye ? of the gale 
Companions, fear ye to be left behind, 
Or racing o'er your blue ethereal field 
Contend ye with each other ? of the sea 
Children, thus post ye over vale and height 
To sink upon your mother's lap and rest ? 10 

Or were ye rightlier hailed, when first mine eyes 
Beheld in your impetuous march the likeness 
Of a wide army pressing on to meet 
Or overtake some unknown enemy ? 
But your smooth motions suit a peaceful aim ; 
And Fancy, not less aptly pleased, compares 
Your squadrons to an endless flight of birds 
Aerial, upon due migration bound 
To milder climes ; or rather do ye urge 
In caravan your hasty pilgrimage 20 

To pause at last on more aspiring heights 
Than these, and utter your devotion there 
With thunderous voice ? Or are ye jubilant, 
And would ye, tracking your proud lord the Sun, 
Be present at his setting ; or the pomp 
Of Persian mornings would ye fill, and stand 
Poising your splendours high above the heads 



TO THE CLOUDS 391 

Of worshippers kneeling to their up-risen God ? 

Whence, whence, ye Clouds ! this eagerness of speed ? 

Speak, silent creatures. They are gone, are fled, 30 

Buried together in yon gloomy mass 

That loads the middle heaven ; and clear and bright 

And vacant doth the region which they thronged 

Appear ; a calm descent of sky conducting 

Down to the unapproachable abyss, 

Down to that hidden gulf from which they rose 

To vanish fleet as days and months and years, 

Fleet as the generations of mankind, 

Power, glory, empire, as the world itself, 

The lingering world, when time hath ceased to be. 40 

But the winds roar, shaking the rooted trees, 

And see ! a bright precursor to a train 

Perchance as numerous, overpeers the rock 

That sullenly refuses to partake 

Of the wild impulse. From a fount of life 

Invisible, the long procession moves 

Luminous or gloomy, welcome to the vale 

Which they are entering, welcome to mine eye 

That sees them, to my soul that owns in them, 

And in the bosom of the firmament 50 

O'er which they move, wherein they are contained, 

A type of her capacious self and all 

Her restless progeny. 

A humble walk 

Here is my body doomed to tread, this path, 
A little hoary line and faintly traced, 
Work, shall we call it, of the shepherd's foot 
Or of his flock ? joint vestige of them both. 
I pace it unrepining, for my thoughts 
Admit no bondage and my words have wings. 
Where is the Orphean lyre, or Druid harp, 60 

To accompany the verse ? The mountain blast 
Shall be our hand of music ; he shall sweep 
The rocks, and quivering trees, and billowy lake, 
And search the fibres of the caves, and they 
Shall answer, for our song is of the Clouds, 
And the wind loves them ; and the gentle gales 
Which by their aid re-clothe the naked lawn 
With annual verdure, and revive the woods, 
And moisten the parched lips of thirsty flowers 
Love them ; and every idle breeze of air 70 

Bends to the favourite burthen. Moon and stars 
Keep their most solemn vigils when the Clouds 
Watch also, shifting peaceably their place 



Like bands of ministering Spirits, or when they lie, 

As if some Protean art the change had wrought, 

In listless quiet o'er the ethereal deep 

Scattered, a Cyclades of various shapes 

And all degrees of beauty. O ye Lightnings ! 

Ye are their perilous offspring; and the Sun 

Source inexhaustible of life and joy, 80 

And type of man's far-darting reason, therefore 

In old time worshipped as the god of verse, 

A blazing intellectual deity 

Loves his own glory in their looks, and showers 

Upon that unsubstantial brotherhood 

Visions with all but beatific light 

Enriched too transient, were they not renewed 

From age to age, and did not, while we gaze 

In silent rapture, credulous desire 

Nourish the hope that memory lacks not power 90 

To keep the treasure unimpaired. Vain thought ! 

Yet why repine, created as we are 

For joy and rest, albeit to find them only 

Lodged in the bosom of eternal things ? 

Published 1842 

XLIX 

SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF THE BIRD 
OF PARADISE 

r I "'HE gentlest Poet, with free thoughts endowed, 

And a true master of the glowing strain, 
Might scan the narrow province with disdain 
That to the Painter's skill is here allowed. 
This, this the Bird of Paradise ! disclaim 
The daring thought, forget the name ; 
This the Sun's Bird, whom Glendoveers might own 
As no unworthy Partner in their flight 
Through seas of ether, where the ruffling sway 
Of nether air's rude billows is unknown ; 10 

Whom Sylphs, if e'er for casual pastime they 
Through India's spicy regions wing their way, 
Might bow to as their Lord. What character, 
O sovereign Nature ! I appeal to thee, 
Of all thy feathered progeny 
Is so unearthly, and what shape so fair? 
So richly decked in variegated down, 
Green, sable, shining yellow, shadowy brown, 
Tints softly with each other blended, 
Hues doubtfully begun and ended ; 20 



A JEWISH FAMILY 393 

Or intershooting, and to sight 

Lost and recovered, as the rays of light 

Glance on the conscious plumes touched here and 

there ? 

Full surely, when with such proud gifts of life 
Began the pencil's strife, 
O'erweening Art was caught as in a snare. 

A sense of seemingly presumptuous wrong 
Gave the first impulse to the Poet's song ; 
But, of his scorn repenting soon, he drew 
A juster judgment from a calmer view ; 30 

And, with a spirit freed from discontent, 
Thankfully took an effort that was meant 
Not with God's bounty, Nature's love, to vie, 
Or made with hope to please that inward eye 
Which ever strives in vain itself to satisfy, 
But to recall the truth by some faint trace 
Of power ethereal and celestial grace, 
That in the living Creature find on earth a place. 

Published 1842 



A JEWISH FAMILY 

(IN A SMALL VALLEY OPPOSITE ST. GOAR, UPON THE RHINE) 

ENIUS of Raphael ! if thy wings 

Might bear thee to this glen, 
With faithful memory left of things 

To pencil dear and pen, 
Thou wouldst forego the neighbouring Rhine, 

And all his majesty 
A studious forehead to incline 
O'er this poor family. 

The Mother her thou must have seen, 

In spirit, ere she came 
To dwell these rifted rocks between, 

Or found on earth a name ; 
An image, too, of that sweet Boy, 

Thy inspirations give 
Of playfulness, and love, and joy, 

Predestined here to live. 

Downcast, or shooting glances far, 

How beautiful his eyes, 
That blend the nature of the star 

With that of summer skies ! 



394 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

I speak as if of sense beguiled ; 

Uncounted months are gone, 
Yet am I with the Jewish Child, 

That exquisite Saint John. 

I see the dark-brown curls, the brow, 

The smooth transparent skin, 
Refined, as with intent to show 

The holiness within; 
The grace of parting Infancy 

By blushes yet untamed ; 30 

Age faithful to the mother's knee, 

Nor of her arms ashamed. 

Two lovely Sisters, still and sweet 

As flowers, stand side by side ; 
Their soul-subduing looks might cheat 

The Christian of his pride : 
Such beauty hath the Eternal poured 

Upon them not forlorn, 
Though of a lineage once abhorred, 

Nor yet redeemed from scorn. 40 

Mysterious safeguard, that, in spite 

Of poverty and wrong, 
Doth here preserve a living light, 

From Hebrew fountains sprung; 
That gives this ragged group to cast 

Around the dell a gleam 
Of Palestine, of glory past, 

And proud Jerusalem ! 

1828 

LI 
ON THE POWER OF SOUND 

ARGUMENT 

THE Ear addressed, as occupied by a spiritual functionary, in communion 
with sounds, individual, or combined in studied harmony. Sources and 
effects of those sounds (to the close of 6th Stanza). The power of music, 
whence proceeding, exemplified in the idiot. Origin of music, and its effect 
in early ages how produced (to the middle of 10th Stanza). The mind re- 
called to sounds acting casually and severally. Wish uttered (llth Stanza) 
that these could be united into a scheme or system for moral interests and 
intellectual contemplation. (Stanza 12th) the Pythagorean theor}' of 
numbers and music, with their supposed power over the motions of the uni- 
verseimaginations consonant with such a theory. Wish expressed (in llth 
Stanza) realised, in some degree, by the representation of all sounds under 
the form of thanksgiving to the Creator. (Last Stanza) the destruction of 
earth and the planetary system the survival of audible harmony, and its 
support in the Divine Nature, as revealed in Holy Writ 



ON THE POWER OF SOUND 395 



r ~~"*HY functions are ethereal, 

As if within thee dwelt a glancing mind, 
Organ of vision ! And a Spirit aerial 
Informs the cell of Hearing, dark and blind ; 
Intricate labyrinth, more dread for thought 
To enter than oracular cave ; 
Strict passage, through which sighs are brought, 
And whispers for the heart, their slave ; 
And shrieks, that revel in abuse 
Of shivering flesh ; and warbled air, 
Whose piercing sweetness can unloose 
The chains of frenzy, or entice a smile 
Into the ambush of despair ; 
Hosannas pealing down the long-drawn aisle, 
And requiems answered by the pulse that beats 
Devoutly, in life's last retreats ! 



The headlong streams and fountains 

Serve Thee, invisible Spirit, with untired powers ; 

Cheering the wakeful tent on Syrian mountains, 

They lull perchance ten thousand thousand flowers. 20 

That roar, the prowling lion's Here I am, 

How fearful to the desert wide ! 

That bleat, how tender ! of the dam 

Calling a straggler to her side. 

Shout, cuckoo ! let the vernal soul 

Go with thee to the frozen zone ; 

Toll from thy loftiest perch, lone bell-bird, toll 

At the still hour to Mercy dear, 

Mercy from her twilight throne 

Listening to nun's faint throb of holy fear, 30 

To sailor's prayer breathed from a darkening sea, 

Or widow's cottage-lullaby. 

in 

Ye Voices, and ye Shadows 

And Images of voice to hound and horn 

From rocky steep and rock-bestudded meadows 

Flung back, and, in the sky's blue caves, reborn 

On with your pastime ! till the church-tower bells 

A greeting give of measured glee ; 

And milder echoes from their cells 

Repeat the bridal symphony. 40 



396 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Then, or far earlier, let us rove 
Where mists are breaking up or gone, 
And from aloft look down into a cove 
Besprinkled with a careless quire, 
Happy milk-maids, one by one 
Scattering a ditty each to her desire, 
A liquid concert matchless by nice Art, 
A stream as if from one full heart. 



iv 

Blest be the song that brightens 

The blind man's gloom, exalts the veteran's mirth ; 50 

Unscorned the peasant's whistling breath, that lightens 

His duteous toil of furrowing the green earth. 

For the tired slave, Song lifts the languid oar, 

And bids it aptly fall, with chime 

That beautifies the fairest shore, 

And mitigates the harshest clime. 

Yon pilgrims see in lagging file 

They move ; but soon the appointed way 

A choral Ave Marie shall beguile, 

And to their hope the distant shrine 60 

Glisten with a livelier ray : 

Nor friendless he, the prisoner of the mine, 

Who from the well-spring of his own clear breast 

Can draw, and sing his griefs to rest. 



When civic renovation 

Dawns on a kingdom, and for needful haste 

Best eloquence avails not, Inspiration 

Mounts with a tune, that travels like a blast 

Piping through cave and battlemented tower ; 

Then starts the sluggard, pleased to meet 70 

That voice of Freedom, in its power 

Of promises, shrill, wild, and sweet ! 

Who, from a martial pageant, spreads 

Incitements of a battle-day, 

Thrilling the unweaponed crowd with plumeless 

heads ? 

Even She whose Lydian airs inspire 
Peaceful striving, gentle play 
Of timid hope and innocent desire 
Shot from the dancing Graces, as they move 
Fanned by the plausive wings of Love. 80 



ON THE POWER OF SOUND 397 



How oft along thy mazes, 

Regent of sound, have dangerous Passions trod ! 

O Thou, through whom the temple rings with praises, 

And blackening clouds in thunder speak of God, 

Betray not by the cozenage of sense 

Thy votaries, wooingly resigned 

To a voluptuous influence 

That taints the purer, better, mind ; 

But lead sick Fancy to a harp 

That hath in noble tasks been tried ; 90 

And, if the virtuous feel a pang too sharp, 

Soothe it into patience, stay 

The uplifted arm of Suicide ; 

And let some mood of thine in firm array 

Knit every thought the impending issue needs, 

Ere martyr burns, or patriot bleeds ! 

VII 

As Conscience, to the centre 

Of being, smites with irresistible pain, 

So shall a solemn cadence, if it enter 

The mouldy vaults of the dull idiot's brain, 100 

Transmute him to a wretch from quiet hurled 

Convulsed as by a jarring din ; 

And then aghast, as at the world 

Of reason partially let in 

By concords winding with a sway 

Terrible for sense and soul ! 

Or awed he weeps, struggling to quell dismay. 

Point not these mysteries to an Art 

Lodged above the starry pole ; 

Pure modulations flowing from the heart no 

Of divine Love, where Wisdom, Beauty, Truth 

With Order dwell, in endless youth ? 



Oblivion may not cover 

All treasures hoarded by the miser, Time. 

Orphean Insight ! truth's undaunted lover, 

To the first leagues of tutored passion climb, 

When Music deigned within this grosser sphere 

Her subtle essence to enfold, 

And voice and shell drew forth a tear 

Softer than Nature's self could mould. 



398 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Yet strenuous was the infant Age : 
Art, daring because souls could feel, 
Stirred nowhere but an urgent equipage 
Of rapt imagination sped her march 
Through the realms of woe and weal : 
Hell to the lyre bowed low ; the upper arch 
Rejoiced that clamorous spell and magic verse 
Her wan disasters could disperse. 



ix 

The GIFT to king Amphion 

That walled a city with its melody 130 

Was for belief no dream : thy skill, Arion ! 

Could humanise the creatures of the sea, 

Where men were monsters. A last grace he craves, 

Leave for one chant ; the dulcet sound 

Steals from the deck o'er willing waves, 

And listening dolphins gather round. 

Self-cast, as with a desperate course, 

'Mid that strange audience, he bestrides 

A proud One docile as a managed horse ; 

And singing, while the accordant hand 140 

Sweeps his harp, the Master rides ; 

So shall he touch at length a friendly strand, 

And he, with his preserver, shine star-bright 

In memory, through silent night. 



The pipe of Pan, to shepherds 

Couched in the shadow of Maenalian pines, 

Was passing sweet ; the eyeballs of the leopards, 

That in high triumph drew the Lord of vines, 

How did they sparkle to the cymbal's clang ! 

While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground 15 

In cadence, and Silenus swang 

This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned. 

To life, to life give back thine ear : 

Ye who are longing to be rid 

Of fable, though to truth subservient, hear 

The little sprinkling of cold earth that fell 

Echoed from the coffin-lid ; 

The convict's summons in the steeple's knell ; 

'The vain distress-gun,' from a leeward shore, 

Repeated heard, and heard no more ! *6o 



ON THE POWER OF SOUND 399 



XI 

For terror, joy, or pity, 

Vast is the compass and the swell of notes : 

From the babe's first cry to voice of regal city, 

Rolling a solemn sea-like bass, that floats 

Far as the woodlands with the trill to blend 

Of that shy songstress, whose love-tale 

Might tempt an angel to descend, 

While hovering o'er the moonlight vale. 

Ye wandering Utterances, has earth no scheme, 

No scale of moral music to unite 170 

Powers that survive but in the faintest dream 

Of memory ? O that ye might stoop to bear 

Chains, such precious chains of sight 

As laboured minstrelsies through ages wear ! 

O for a balance fit the truth to tell 

Of the Unsubstantial, pondered well ! 

XII 

By one pervading spirit 

Of tones and numbers all things are controlled, 

As sages taught, where faith was found to merit 

Initiation in that mystery old. 180 

The heavens, whose aspect makes our minds as still 

As they themselves appear to be, 

Innumerable voices fill 

With everlasting harmony ; 

The towering headlands, crowned with mist, 

Their feet among the billows, know 

That Ocean is a mighty harmonist ; 

Thy pinions, universal Air, 

Ever waving to and fro, 

Are delegates of harmony, and bear 190 

Strains that support the Seasons in their round ; 

Stern Winter loves a dirge-like sound. 

XIII 

Break forth into thanksgiving, 

Ye banded instruments of wind and chords ; 

Unite, to magnify the Ever-living, 

Your inarticulate notes with the voice of words ! 

Nor hushed be service from the lowing mead, 

Nor mute the forest hum of noon ; 

Thou too be heard, lone eagle ! freed 

From snowy peak and cloud, attune * 



400 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Thy hungry barkings to the hymn 

Of joy, that from her utmost walls 

The six-days' Work by flaming Seraphim 

Transmits to Heaven ! As Deep to Deep 

Shouting through one valley calls, 

All worlds, all natures, mood and measure keep 

For praise and ceaseless gratulation, poured 

Into the ear of God, their Lord ! 

XIV 

A Voice to Light gave Being ; 

To Time, and Man his earth-born chronicler ; 21 

A Voice shall finish doubt and dim foreseeing, 

And sweep away life's visionary stir ; 

The trumpet (we, intoxicate with pride, 

Arm at its blast for deadly wars) 

To archangelic lips applied, 

The grave shall open, quench the stars. 

O Silence ! are Man's noisy years 

No more than moments of thy life ? 

Is Harmony, blest queen of smiles and tears, 

With her smooth tones and discords just, 22 

Tempered into rapturous strife, 

Thy destined bond-slave ? No ! though earth be dust 

And vanish, though the heavens dissolve, her stay 

Is in the WORD, that shall not pass away. 

1828-9 



PETER BELL 401 



PETER BELL 

A TALE 

'What 'sin a Namet 

***** 

Brutus will start a Spirit as soon as Caesar ! ' 

TO ROBERT SOUTHEY, ESQ., P.L., ETC. ETC. 

MY DEAR FKIEND, The Tale of Peter Bell, which I now introduce to your 
notice, and to that of the Public, has, in its Manuscript state, nearly survived 
its minority : for it first saw the light in the summer of 1798. During this 
long interval, pains have been taken at different times to make the produc- 
tion less unworthy of a favourable reception ; or, rather, to fit it for filling 
permanently a station, however humble, in the Literature of our Country. 
This has, indeed, been the aim of all my endeavours in Poetry, which, you 
know, have been sufficiently laborious to prove that I deem the Art not 
lightly to be approached ; and that the attainment of excellence in it may 
laudably be made the principal object of intellectual pursuit by any man, 
who, with reasonable consideration of circumstances, has faith in his own 
impulses. 

The Poem of Peter Bell, as the Prologue will show, was composed under a 
belief that the Imagination not only does not require for its exercise the 
intervention of supernatural agency, but that, though such agency be 
excluded, the faculty may be called forth as imperiously and for kindred 
results of pleasure, by incidents within the compass of poetic probability, in 
the humblest departments of daily life. Since that Prologue was written, 
you have exhibited most splendid effects of judicious daring, in the opposite 
and usual course. Let this acknowledgment make my peace with the lovers 
of the supernatural ; and I am persuaded it will be admitted that to you, as 
a Master in that province of the art, the following Tale, whether from con- 
trast or congruity, is not an unappropriate offering. Accept it, then, as a 
public testimony of affectionate admiration from one with whose name yours 
has been often coupled (to use your own words) for evil and for good ; and 
believe me to be, with earnest wishes that life and health may be granted 
you to complete the many important works in which you are engaged, and 
with high respect, 

Most faithfully yours, 

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

RYDAL MOUWT, April 7, 1819 



T 



PROLOGUE 

'HERE 'S something in a flying horse, 
_ There's something in a huge balloon; 
But through the clouds I '11 never float 
Until I have a little Boat, 
Shaped like the crescent-moon, 
l-cc 



402 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And now I have a little Boat, 

In shape a very crescent-moon : 

Fast through the clouds my Boat can sail ; 

But if perchance your faith should fail, 

Look up and you shall see me soon ! 10 

The woods, my Friends, are round you roaring, 
Rocking and roaring like a sea ; 
The noise of danger 's in your ears, 
And ye have all a thousand fears 
Both for my little Boat and me ! 

Meanwhile untroubled I admire 

The pointed horns of my canoe ; 

And, did not pity touch my breast 

To see how ye are all distrest, 

Till my ribs ached I'd laugh at you ! so 

Away we go, my Boat and I 
Frail man ne'er sate in such another ; 
Whether among the winds we strive, 
Or deep into the clouds we dive, 
Each is contented with the other. 

Away we go and what care we 

For treasons, tumults, and for wars ? 

We are as calm in our delight 

As is the crescent-moon so bright 

Among the scattered stars. 30 

Up goes my Boat among the stars 
Through many a breathless field of light, 
Through many a long blue field of ether, 
Leaving ten thousand stars beneath her : 
Up goes my little Boat so bright ! 

The Crab, the Scorpion, and the Bull 

We pry among them all ; have shot 

High o'er the red-haired race of Mars, 

Covered from top to toe with scars ; 

Such company I like it not ! 40 

The towns in Saturn are decayed, 

And melancholy Spectres throng them ; 

The Pleiads, that appear to kiss 

Each other in the vast abyss. 

With joy I sail among them. 



PETER BELL 403 

Swift Mercury resounds with mirth, 

Great Jove is full of stately bowers ; 

But these, and all that they contain, 

What are they to that tiny grain, 

That little Earth of ours ? 50 

Then back to Earth, the dear green Earth : 
Whole ages if I here should roam, 
The world for my remarks and me 
Would not a whit the better be ; 
I 've left my heart at home. 

See ! there she is, the matchless Earth ! 
There spreads the famed Pacific Ocean ! 
Old Andes thrusts yon craggy spear 
Through the grey clouds ; the Alps are here, 
Like waters in commotion ! 60 

Yon tawny slip is Libya's sands ; 

That silver thread the river Dnieper ; 

And look, where clothed in brightest green 

Is a sweet Isle, of isles the Queen ; 

Ye fairies, from all evil keep her ! 

And see the town where I was born ! 

Around those happy fields we span 

In boyish gambols ; I was lost 

Where I have been, but on this coast 

I feel I am a man. 70 

Never did fifty things at once 
Appear so lovely, never, never ; 
How tunefully the forests ring ! 
To hear the earth's soft murmuring 
Thus could I hang for ever ! 

' Shame on you ! ' cried my little Boat, 

' Was ever such a homesick Loon, 

Within a living Boat to sit, 

And make no better use of it ; 

A Boat twin-sister of the crescent-moon ! 80 

1 Ne'er in the breast of full-grown Poet 
Fluttered so faint a heart before ; 
Was it the music of the spheres 
That overpowered your mortal ears ? 
Such din shall trouble them no more. 



404 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' These nether precincts do not lack 

Charms of their own ; then come with me 

I want a comrade, and for you 

There's nothing that I would not do; 

Nought is there that you shall not see. 90 

' Haste ! and above Siberian snows 
We '11 sport amid the boreal morning ; 
Will mingle with her lustres gliding 
Among the stars, the stars now hiding, 
And now the stars adorning. 

' I know the secrets of a land 

Where human foot did never stray ; 

Fair is that land as evening skies, 

And cool, though in the depth it lies 

Of burning Africa. 100 

' Or we '11 into the realm of Faery, 
Among the lovely shades of things ; 
The shadowy forms of mountains bare, 
And streams, and bowers, and ladies fair, 
The shades of palaces and kings ! 

' Or, if you thirst with hardy zeal 

Less quiet regions to explore, 

Prompt voyage shall to you reveal 

How earth and heaven are taught to feel 

The might of magic lore ! ' no 

' My little vagrant Form of light, 

My gay and beautiful Canoe, 

Well have you played your friendly part ; 

As kindly take what from my heart 

Experience forces then adieu ! 

' Temptation lurks among your words ; 

But, while these pleasures you 're pursuing 

Without impediment or let, 

No wonder if you quite forget 

What on the earth is doing. 120 

' There was a time when all mankind 
Did listen with a faith sincere 
To tuneful tongues in mystery versed ; 
Then Poets fearlessly rehearsed 
The wonders of a wild career. 



PETER BELL 405 

' Go (but the world 's a sleepy world, 

And 'tis, I fear, an age too late) 

Take with you some ambitious Youth ! 

For, restless Wanderer ! I, in truth, 

Am all unfit to be your mate. 130 

' Long have I loved what I behold, 

The night that calms, the day that cheers ; 

The common growth of mother-earth 

Suffices me her tears, her mirth, 

Her humblest mirth and tears. 

' The dragon's wing, the magic ring, 

I shall not covet for my dower, 

If I along that lowly way 

With sympathetic heart may stray, 

And with a soul of power. 140 

' These given, what more need I desire 
To stir, to soothe, or elevate ? 
What nobler marvels than the mind 
May in life's daily prospect find, 
May find or there create ? 

' A potent wand doth Sorrow wield ; 

What spell so strong as guilty Fear ! 

Repentance is a tender Sprite ; 

If aught on earth have heavenly might, 

'Tis lodged within her silent tear. 150 

' But grant my wishes, let us now 
Descend from this ethereal height ; 
Then take thy way, adventurous Skiff, 
More daring far than Hippogriff, 
And be thy own delight ! 

' To the stone-table in my garden, 

Loved haunt of many a summer hour, 

The Squire is come : his daughter Bess 

Beside him in the cool recess 

Sits blooming like a flower. 160 

' With these are many more convened ; 
They know not 1 have been so far ; 
I see them there, in number nine, 
Beneath the spreading Weymouth-pine ! 
I see them there they are ! 



406 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' There sits the Vicar and his Dame ; 

And there my good friend, Stephen Otter ; 

And, ere the light of evening fail, 

To them I must relate the Tale 

Of Peter Bell the Potter.' 170 

Off flew the Boat away she flees, 
Spurning her freight with indignation ! 
And I, as well as I was able, 
On two poor legs, toward my stone-table 
Limped on with sore vexation. 

1 0, here he is ! ' cried little Bess 

She saw me at the garden-door ; 

'We've waited anxiously and long,' 

They cried, and all around me throng, 

Full nine of them or more ! 180 

' Reproach me not your fears be still 
Be thankful we again have met ; 
Resume, my Friends ! within the shade 
Your seats, and quickly shall be paid 
The well-remembered debt.' 

I spake with faltering voice, like one 

Not wholly rescued from the pale 

Of a wild dream, or worse illusion ; 

But straight, to cover my confusion, 

Began the promised Tale. 190 

PART FIRST 

ALL by the moonlight river-side 
Groaned the poor Beast alas ! in vain ; 
The staff was raised to loftier height, 
And the blows fell with heavier weight 
As Peter struck and struck again. 

' Hold ! ' cried the Squire, 'against the rules 

Of common sense you 're surely sinning ; 

This leap is for us all too bold ; 

Who Peter was, let that be told, 

And start from the beginning.' 200 

' A Potter, 1 Sir, he was by trade,' 

Said I, becoming quite collected ; 
' And wheresoever he appeared, 
Full twenty times was Peter feared 
For once that Peter was respected. 

1 In the dialect of the North, a hawker of earthenware is thus designated. 



PETER BELL 407 

He, two-and-thirty years or more, 

Had been a wild and woodland rover ; 

Had heard the Atlantic surges roar 

On farthest Cornwall's rocky shore, 

And trod the cliffs of Dover. 210 

And he had seen Caernarvon's towers, 
And well he knew the spire of Sarum ; 
And he had been where Lincoln bell 
Flings o'er the fen that ponderous knell 
A far-renowned alarum ! 

At Doncaster, at York, and Leeds, 

And merry Carlisle had he been ; 

And all along the Lowlands fair, 

All through the bonny shire of Ayr ; 

And far as Aberdeen. 220 

And he had been at Inverness ; 

And Peter, by the mountain-rills, 

Had danced his round with Highland lasses ; 

And he had lain beside his asses 

On lofty Cheviot Hills : 

And he had trudged through Yorkshire dales, 

Among the rocks and winding scars ; 

Where deep and low the hamlets lie 

Beneath their little patch of sky 

And little lot of stars : 230 

And all along the indented coast, 
Bespattered with the salt-sea foam ; 
Where'er a knot of houses lay 
On headland, or in hollow bay ; 
Sure never man like him did roam ! 

As well might Peter in the Fleet 

Have been fast bound, a begging debtor; 

He travelled here, he travelled there ; 

But not the value of a hair 

Was heart or head the better. 240 

He roved among the vales and streams, 
In the green wood and hollow dell ; 
They were his dwellings night and day, 
But nature ne'er could find the way 
Into the heart of Peter Bell. 



408 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

In vain, through every changeful year, 

Did Nature lead him as before ; 

A primrose by a river's brim 

A yellow primrose was to him, 

And it was nothing more. 250 

Small change it made in Peter's heart 
To see his gentle panniered train 
With more than vernal pleasure feeding, 
Where'er the tender grass was leading 
Its earliest green along the lane. 

In vain, through water, earth, and air, 

The soul of happy sound was spread, 

When Peter on some April morn, 

Beneath the broom or budding thorn, 

Made the warm earth his lazy bed. 260 

At noon, when, by the forest's edge 
He lay beneath the branches high, 
The soft blue sky did never melt 
Into his heart ; he never felt 
The witchery of the soft blue sky ! 

On a fair prospect some have looked 

And felt, as I have heard them say, 

As if the moving time had been 

A thing as steadfast as the scene 

On which they gazed themselves away. 270 

Within the breast of Peter Bell 
These silent raptures found no place ; 
He was a Carl as wild and rude 
As ever hue-and-cry pursued, 
As ever ran a felon's race. 

Of all that lead a lawless life, 

Of all that love their lawless lives, 

In city or in village small, 

He was the wildest far of all ; 

He had a dozen wedded wives. 280 

Nay, start not ! wedded wives and twelve ! 
But how one wife could e'er come near him, 
In simple truth I cannot tell ; 
For, be it said of Peter Bell, 
To see him was to fear him. 



PETER BELL 409 

Though Nature could not touch his heart 

By lovely forms, and silent weather, 

And tender sounds, yet you might see 

At once that Peter Bell and she 

Had often been together. 290 

A savage wildness round him hung 
As of a dweller out of doors ; 
In his whole figure and his mien 
A savage character was seen 
Of mountains and of dreary moors. 

To all the unshaped half-human thoughts 

Which solitai-y Nature feeds 

'Mid summer storms or winter's ice, 

Had Peter joined whatever vice 

The cruel city breeds. 300 

His face was keen as is the wind 
That cuts along the hawthorn-fence ; 
Of courage you saw little there, 
But, in its stead, a medley air 
Of cunning and of impudence. 

He had a dark and sidelong walk ; 

And long and slouching was his gait ; 

Beneath his looks so bare and bold, 

You might perceive, his spirit cold 

Was playing with some inward bait. 310 

His forehead wrinkled was and furred ; 
A work, one half of which was done 
By thinking of his " rvhens " and " hows " ; 
And half, by knitting of his brows 
Beneath the glaring sun. 

There was a hardness in his cheek, 

There was a hardness in his eye, 

As if the man had fixed his face, 

In many a solitary place, 

Against the wind and open sky !' 320 



ONE night, (and now, my little Bess ! 

We 've reached at last the promised Tale ;) 

One beautiful November night, 

When the full moon was shining bright 

Upon the rapid river Swale, 



410 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Along the river's winding banks 

Peter was travelling all alone ; 

Whether to buy or sell, or led 

By pleasure running in his head, 

To me was never known. 330 

He trudged along through copse and brake, 
He trudged along o'er hill and dale ; 
Nor for the moon cared he a tittle, 
And for the stars he cared as little, 
And for the murmuring river Swale. 

But, chancing to espy a path 

That promised to cut short the way ; 

As many a wiser man hath done, 

He left a trusty guide for one 

That might his steps betray. 340 

To a thick wood he soon is brought 
Where cheerily his course he weaves, 
And whistling loud may yet be heard, 
Though often buried, like a bird 
Darkling, among the boughs and leaves. 

But quickly Peter's mood is changed, 

And on he drives with cheeks that burn 

In downright fury and in wrath ; 

There's little sign the treacherous path 

Will to the road return ! 350 

The path grows dim, and dimmer still ; 
Now up, now down, the Rover wends, 
With all the sail that he can carry, 
Till brought to a deserted quarry 
And there the pathway ends. 

He paused for shadows of strange shape, 

Massy and black, before him lay ; 

But through the dark, and through the cold, 

And through the yawning fissures old, 

Did Peter boldly press his way 360 

Right through the quarry ; and behold 
A scene of soft and lovely hue ! 
Where blue and grey, and tender green, 
Together make as sweet a scene 
As ever human eye did view. 



PETER BELL 411 

Beneath the clear blue sky he saw 

A little field of meadow ground ; 

But field or meadow name it not ; 

Call it of earth a small green plot, 

With rocks encompassed round. 370 

The Swale flowed under the grey rocks, 
But he flowed quiet and unseen : 
You need a strong and stormy gale 
To bring the noises of the Swale 
To that green spot, so calm and green ! 

And is there no one dwelling here, 

No hermit with his beads and glass ? 

And does no little cottage look 

Upon this soft and fertile nook ? 

Does no one live near this green grass? 380 

Across the deep and quiet spot 
Is Peter driving through the grass 
And now has reached the skirting trees ; 
When, turning round his head, he sees 
A solitary Ass. 

' A prize ! ' cries Peter but he first 

Must spy about him far and near : 

There 's not a single house in sight, 

No woodman's hut, nor cottage light 

Peter, you need not fear! 390 

There 's nothing to be seen but woods, 
And rocks that spread a hoary gleam, 
And this one Beast, that from the bed 
Of the green meadow hangs his head 
Over the silent stream. 

His head is with a halter bound ; 

The halter seizing, Peter leapt 

Upon the Creature's back, and plied 

With ready heels his shaggy side ; 

But still the Ass his station kept. 400 

Then Peter gave a sudden jerk, 
A jerk that from a dungeon-floor 
Would have pulled up an iron ring ; 
But still the heavy-headed Thing 
Stood just as he had stood before ! 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Quoth Peter, leaping from his seat, 

' There is some plot against me laid ' ; 

Once more the little meadow-ground 

And all the hoary cliffs around 

He cautiously surveyed. 410 

All, all is silent rocks and woods, 
All still and silent far and near ! 
Only the Ass, with motion dull, 
Upon the pivot of his skull 
Turns round his long left ear. 

Thought Peter, What can mean all this ? 

Some ugly witchcraft must be here ! 

Once more the Ass, with motion dull, 

Upon the pivot of his skull 

Turned round his long left ear. 420 

Suspicion ripened into dread ; 
Yet, with deliberate action slow, 
His staff high-raising, in the pride 
Of skill, upon the sounding hide 
He dealt a sturdy blow. 

The poor Ass staggered with the shock ; 

And then, as if to take his ease, 

In quiet uncomplaining mood, 

Upon the spot where he had stood, 

Dropped gently down upon his knees ; 430 

As gently on his side he fell ; 
And by the river's brink did lie ; 
And, while he lay like one that mourned, 
The patient Beast on Peter turned 
His shining hazel eye. 

'Twas but one mild, reproachful look, 

A look more tender than severe ; 

And straight in sorrow, not in dread, 

He turned the eye-ball in his head 

Towards the smooth river deep and clear. 440 

Upon the Beast the sapling rings ; 

His lank sides heaved, his limbs they stirred ; 

He gave a groan, and then another, 

Of that which went before the brother, 

And then he gave a third. 



PETER BELL 413 

All by the moonlight river side 

He gave three miserable groans ; 

And not till now hath Peter seen 

How gaunt the Creature is, how lean 

And sharp his staring bones ! 450 

With legs stretched out and stiff he lay : 
No word of kind commiseration 
Fell at the sight from Peter's tongue ; 
With hard contempt his heart was wrung, 
With hatred and vexation. 

The meagre beast lay still as death ; 

And Peter's lips with fury quiver ; 

Quoth he, ' You little mulish dog, 

I '11 fling your carcass like a log 

Head-foremost down the river ! ' 460 

An impious oath confirmed the threat 
Whereat from the earth on which he lay 
To all the echoes, south and north, 
And east and west, the Ass sent forth 
A long and clamorous bray ! 

This outcry, on the heart of Peter, 

Seems like a note of joy to strike, 

Joy at the heart of Peter knocks ; 

But in the echo of the rocks 

Was something Peter did not like. 470 

W T hether to cheer his coward breast, 
Or that he could not break the chain, 
In this serene and solemn hour, 
Twined round him by demoniac power, 
To the blind work he turned again. 

Among the rocks and winding crags ; 

Among the mountains far away ; 

Once more the Ass did lengthen out 

More ruefully a deep-drawn shout, 

The hard dry see-saw of his horrible bray ! 480 

What is there now in Peter's heart ? 

Or whence the might of this strange sound ? 

The moon uneasy looked and dimmer, 

The broad blue heavens appeared to glimmer, 

And the rocks staggered all around 



414 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

From Peter's hand the sapling dropped ! 

Threat has he none to execute ; 

' If any one should come and see 

That I am here, they '11 think/ quoth he, 

' I 'm helping this poor dying brute.' 490 

He scans the Ass from limb to limb, 
And ventures now to uplift his eyes ; 
More steady looks the moon, and clear, 
More like themselves the rocks appear 
And touch more quiet skies. 

His scorn returns his hate revives ; 

He stoops the Ass's neck to seize 

With malice that again takes flight ; 

For in the pool a startling sight 

Meets him, among the inverted trees. 500 

Is it the moon's distorted face ? 
The ghost-like image of a cloud ? 
Is it a gallows there portrayed ? 
Is Peter of himself afraid ? 
Is it a coffin, or a shroud ? 

A grisly idol hewn in stone ? 

Or imp from witch's lap let fall ? 

Perhaps a ring of shining fairies ? 

Such as pursue their feared vagaries 

In sylvan bower, or haunted hall ? 510 

Is it a fiend that to a stake 

Of fire his desperate self is tethering ? 

Or stubborn spirit doomed to yell 

In solitary ward or cell, 

Ten thousand miles from all his brethren ? 

Never did pulse so quickly throb, 

And never heart so loudly panted ; 

He looks, he cannot choose but look ; 

Like some one reading in a book 

A book that is enchanted. 520 

Ah, well-a-day for Peter Bell ! 
He will be turned to iron soon, 
Meet Statue for the court of Fear ! 
His hat is up and every hair 
Bristles, and whitens in the moon ! 



PETER BELL 415 

He looks, he ponders, looks again ; 

He sees a motion hears a groan ; 

His eyes will burst his heart will break 

He gives a loud and frightful shriek, 

And back he falls, as if his life were flown ! 530 

PART SECOND 

WE left our Hero in a trance, 
Beneath the alders, near the river ; 
The Ass is by the river-side, 
And, where the feeble breezes glide, 
Upon the stream the moonbeams quiver. 

A happy respite ! but at length 

He feels the glimmering of the moon ; 

Wakes with glazed eye, and feebly sighing 

To sink, perhaps, where he is lying, 

Into a second swoon ! 540 

He lifts his head, he sees his staff'; 

He touches 'tis to him a treasure ! 

Faint recollection seems to tell 

That he is yet where mortals dwell 

A thought received with languid pleasure ! 

His head upon his elbow propped, 

Becoming less and less perplexed, 

Sky-ward he looks to rock and wood 

And then upon the glassy flood 

His wandering eye is fixed. 550 

Thought he, that is the face of one 
In his last sleep securely bound ! 
So toward the stream his head he bent, 
And downward thrust his staff, intent 
The river's depth to sound. 

Now like a tempest-shattered bark, 

That overwhelmed and prostrate lies, 

And in a moment to the verge 

Is lifted of a foaming surge 

Full suddenly the Ass doth rise ! 560 

His staring bones all shake with joy, 
And close by Peter's side he stands : 
While Peter o'er the river bends, 
The little Ass his neck extends, 
And fondly licks his hands. 



416 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Such life is in the Ass's eyes, 

Such life is in his limbs and ears ; 

That Peter Bell, if he had been 

The veriest coward ever seen, 

Must now have thrown aside his fears. $7 

The Ass looks on and to his work 
Is Peter quietly resigned ; 
He touches here he touches there 
And now among the dead man's hair 
His sapling Peter has entwined. 

He pulls and looks and pulls again ; 

And he whom the poor Ass had lost, 

The man who had been four days dead, 

Head-foremost from the river's bed 

Uprises like a ghost ! 580 

And Peter draws him to dry land ; 
And through the brain of Peter pass 
Some poignant twitches, fast and faster ; 
'No doubt,' quoth he, 'he is the Master 
Of this poor miserable Ass ! ' 

The meagre shadow that looks on 

What would he now ? what is he doing ? 

His sudden fit of joy is flown, 

He on his knees hath laid him down, 

As if he were his grief renewing ; 590 

But no that Peter on his back 
Must mount, he shows well as he can : 
Thought Peter then, come weal or woe, 
I '11 do what he would have me do, 
In pity to this poor drowned man. 

With that resolve he boldly mounts 

Upon the pleased and thankful Ass ; 

And then, without a moment's stay, 

That earnest Creature turned away, 

Leaving the body on the grass. 600 

Intent upon his faithful watch, 
The Beast four days and nights had past ; 
A sweeter meadow ne'er was seen, 
And there the Ass four days had been, 
Nor ever once did break his fast : 



PETER BELL 417 

Yet firm his step, and stout his heart ; 

The mead is crossed the quarry's mouth 

Is reached ; but there the trusty guide 

Into a thicket turns aside, 

And deftly ambles towards the south. 610 

When hark a burst of doleful sound ! 
And Peter honestly might say, 
The like came never to his ears, 
Though he has been, full thirty years, 
A rover night and day ! 

'Tis not a plover of the moors, 

'Tis not a bittern of the fen ; 

Nor can it be a barking fox, 

Nor night-bird chambered in the rocks, 

Nor wild-cat in a woody glen ! 620 

The Ass is startled and stops short 
Right in the middle of the thicket ; 
And Peter, wont to whistle loud 
Whether alone or in a crowd, 
Is silent as a silent cricket. 

What ails you now, my little Bess ? 

Well may you tremble and look grave ! 

This cry that rings along the wood, 

This cry that floats adown the flood, 

Comes from the entrance of a cave : 630 

I see a blooming Wood-boy there, 
And if I had the power to say 
How sorrowful the wanderer is, 
Your heart would be as sad as his 
Till you had kissed his tears away ! 

Grasping a hawthorn branch in hand, 

All bright with berries ripe and red, 

Into the cavern's mouth he peeps ; 

Thence back into the moonlight creeps ; 

Whom seeks he whom ? the silent dead : 640 

His father ! Him doth he require 
Him hath he sought with fruitless pains, 
Among the rocks, behind the trees ; 
Now creeping on his hands and knees, 
Now running o'er the open plains. 

l DD 



418 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And hither is he come at last, 

When he through such a day has gone, 

By this dark cave to be distrest 

Like a poor bird her plundered nest 

Hovering around with dolorous moan ! 650 

Of that intense and piercing cry 
The listening Ass conjectures well; 
Wild as it is, he there can read 
Some intermingled notes that plead 
With touches irresistible. 

But Peter when he saw the Ass 

Not only stop but turn, and change 

The cherished tenor of his pace 

That lamentable cry to chase 

It wrought in him conviction strange ; 660 

A faith that, for the dead man's sake 
And this poor slave who loved him well, 
Vengeance upon his head will fall, 
Some visitation worse than all 
Which ever till this night befell. 

Meanwhile the Ass to reach his home 

Is striving stoutly as he may ; 

But, while he climbs the woody hill, 

The cry grows weak and weaker still ; 

And now at last it dies away. 670 

So with his freight the Creature turns 
Into a gloomy grove of beech, 
Along the shade with footsteps true 
Descending slowly, till the two 
The open moonlight reach. 

And there, along the narrow dell, 

A fair smooth pathway you discern, 

A length of green and open road 

As if it from a fountain flowed 

Winding away between the fern. 680 

The rocks that tower on either side 
Build up a wild fantastic scene ; 
Temples like those among the Hindoos, 
And mosques, and spires, and abbey-windows, 
And castles all with ivy green ! 



PETER BELL 419 

And while the Ass pursues his way 

Along this solitary dell, 

As pensively his steps advance, 

The mosques and spires change countenance, 

And look at Peter Bell ! 690 

That unintelligible cry 
Hath left him high in preparation, 
Convinced that he, or soon or late, 
This very night will meet his fate 
And so he sits in expectation ! 

The strenuous Animal hath clomb 

With the green path ; and now he wends 

Where, shining like the smoothest sea, 

In undisturbed immensity 

A level plain extends. 700 

But whence this faintly-rustling sound 
By which the journeying pair are chased? 
A withered leaf is close behind, 
Light plaything for the sportive wind 
Upon that solitary waste. 

When Peter spied the moving thing, 

It only doubled his distress ; 

' Where there is not a bush or tree, 

The very leaves they follow me 

So huge hath been my wickedness ! ' 710 

To a close lane they now are come, 
Where, as before, the enduring Ass 
Moves on without a moment's stop, 
Nor once turns round his head to crop 
A bramble-leaf or blade of grass. 

Between the hedges as they go, 

The white dust sleeps upon the lane ; 

And Peter, ever and anon 

Back-looking, sees, upon a stone, 

Or in the dust, a crimson stain. 720 

A stain as of a drop of blood 

By moonlight made more faint and wan ; 

Ha ! why these sinkings of despair ? 

He knows not how the blood comes there 

And Peter is a wicked man. 



420 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

At length he spies a bleeding wound, 

Where he had struck the Ass's head; 

He sees the blood, knows what it is, 

A glimpse of sudden joy was his, 

But then it quickly fled ; 730 

Of him whom sudden death had seized 
He thought, of thee, O faithful Ass ! 
And once again those ghastly pains 
Shoot to and fro through heart and reins, 
And through his brain like lightning pass. 

PART THIRD 

I 'VE heard of one, a gentle Soul, 

Though given to sadness and to gloom, 

And for the fact will vouch, one night 

It chanced that by a taper's light 

This man was reading in his room ; 740 

Bending, as you or I might bend 
At night o'er any pious book, 
When sudden blackness overspread 
The snow-white page on which he read, 
And made the good man round him look. 

The chamber walls were dark all round, 

And to his book he turned again; 

The light had left the lonely taper, 

And formed itself upon the paper 

Into large letters bright and plain ! 750 

The godly book was in his hand 
And on the page, more black than coal, 
Appeared, set forth in strange array, 
A word which to his dying day 
Perplexed the good man's gentle soul. 

The ghostly word, thus plainly seen, 

Did never from his lips depart ; 

But he hath said, poor gentle Avight ! 

It brought full many a sin to light 

Out of the bottom of his heart. 760 

Dread Spirits ! to confound the meek 
Why wander from your course so far, 
Disordering colour, form, and stature ! 
Let good men feel the soul of nature, 
And see things as they are. 



PETER BELL 421 

Yet, potent Spirits ! well I know, 

How ye, that play with soul and sense, 

Are not unused to trouble friends 

Of goodness, for most gracious ends 

And this I speak in reverence ! 770 

But might I give advice to you, 
Whom in my fear I love so well ; 
From men of pensive virtue go, 
Dread Beings ! and your empire show 
On hearts like that of Peter Bell. 

Your presence often have I felt 

In darkness and the stormy night ; 

And with like force, if need there be, 

Ye can put forth your agency 

When earth is calm, and heaven is bright. 780 

Then, coming from the wayward world, 
That powerful world in which ye dwell, 
Come, Spirits of the Mind ! and try, 
To-night, beneath the moonlight sky, 
What may be done with Peter Bell ! 

O, would that some more skilful voice 

My further labour might prevent ! 

Kind Listeners, that around me sit, 

I feel that I am all unfit 

For such high argument. 790 

I 've played, I 've danced, with my narration ; 

I loitered long ere I began : 

Ye waited then on my good pleasure ; 

Pour out indulgence still, in measure 

As liberal as ye can ! 

Our Travellers, ye remember well, 

Are thridding a sequestered lane ; 

And Peter many tricks is trying, 

And many anodynes applying, 

To ease his conscience of its pain. 800 

By this his heart is lighter far ; 
And, finding that he can account 
So snugly for that crimson stain, 
His evil spirit up again 
Does like an empty bucket mount. 



422 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And Peter is a deep logician 

Who hath no lack of wit mercurial ; 

'Blood drops leaves rustle yet/ quoth he, 

' This poor man never but for me 

Could have had Christian burial. 810 

' And, say the best you can, 'tis plain, 
That here has been some wicked dealing ; 
No doubt the devil in me wrought ; 
I 'm not the man who could have thought 
An Ass like this was worth the stealing ! ' 

So from his pocket Peter takes 

His shining horn tobacco-box ; 

And in a light and careless way, 

As men who with their purpose play, 

Upon the lid he knocks. 820 

Let them whose voice can stop the clouds, 

Whose cunning eye can see the wind, 

Tell to a curious world the cause 

Why, making here a sudden pause, 

The Ass turned round his head, and grinned. 

Appalling process ! I have marked 

The like on heath, in lonely wood ; 

And, verily, have seldom met 

A spectacle more hideous yet 

It suited Peter's present mood. 830 

And, grinning in his turn, his teeth 
He in jocose defiance showed 
When, to upset his spiteful mirth, 
A murmur, pent within the earth, 
In the dead earth beneath the road, 

Rolled audibly ! it swept along, 

A muffled noise a rumbling sound ! 

'Twas by a troop of miners made, 

Plying with gunpowder their trade, 

Some twenty fathoms under ground. 840 

Small cause of dire effect ! for, surely, 
If ever mortal, King or Cotter, 
Believed that earth was charged to quake 
And yawn for his unworthy sake, 
'Twas Peter Bell the Potter. 



PETER BELL 423 

But as an oak in breathless air 

Will stand though to the centre hewn ; 

Or as the weakest things, if frost 

Have stiffened them, maintain their post ; 

So he, beneath the gazing moon ! 8.50 

The Beast bestriding thus, he reached 
A spot where, in a sheltering cove, 
A little chapel stands alone, 
With greenest ivy overgrown, 
And tufted with an ivy grove ; 

Dying insensibly away 

From human thoughts and purposes, 

It seemed wall, window, roof and tower 

To bow to some transforming power, 

And blend with the surrounding trees. 860 

As ruinous a place it was, 
Thought Peter, in the shire of Fife 
That served my turn, when following still 
From land to land a reckless will 
I married my sixth wife ! 

The unheeding Ass moves slowly on, 

And now is passing by an inn 

Brim-full of a carousing crew, 

That make, with curses not a few. 

An uproar and a drunken din. 870 

I cannot well express the thoughts 
Which Peter in those noises found ; 
A stifling power compressed his frame, 
While-as a swimming darkness came 
Over that dull and dreary sound. 

For well did Peter know the sound ; 

The language of those drunken joys 

To him, a jovial soul, I ween, 

But a few hours ago, had been 

A gladsome and a welcome noise. 880 

Now, turned adrift into the past, 
He finds no solace in his course ; 
Like planet-stricken men of yore, 
He trembles, smitten to the core 
By strong compunction and remorse. 



424 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

But, more than all, his heart is stung 

To think of one, almost a child ; 

A sweet and playful Highland girl, 

As light and beauteous as a squirrel, 

As beauteous and as wild ! 890 

Her dwelling was a lonely house, 
A cottage in a heathy dell ; 
And she put on her gown of green, 
And left her mother at sixteen, 
And followed Peter Bell. 

But many good and pious thoughts 

Had she ; and, in the kirk to pray, 

Two long Scotch miles, through rain or snow, 

To kirk she had been used to go, 

Twice every Sabbath-day. 900 

And, when she followed Peter Bell, 
It was to lead an honest life ; 
For he, with tongue not used to falter, 
Had pledged his troth before the altar 
To love her as his wedded wife. 

A mother's hope is hers ; but soon 

She drooped and pined like one forlorn ; 

From Scripture she a name did borrow ; 

Benoni, or the child of sorrow, 

She called her babe unborn. 910 

For she had learned how Peter lived, 
And took it in most grievous part ; 
She to the very bone was worn, 
And, ere that little child was born, 
Died of a broken heart. 

And now the Spirits of the Mind 

Are busy with poor Peter Bell ; 

Upon the rights of visual sense 

Usurping, with a prevalence 

More terrible than magic spell. 920 

Close by a brake of flowering furze 
(Above it shivering aspens play) 
He sees an unsubstantial creature, 
His very self in form and feature, 
Not four yards from the broad highway: 



PETER BELL 425 

And stretched beneath the furze he sees 

The Highland girl it is no other; 

And hears her crying as she cried, 

The very moment that she died, 

' My mother ! oh my mother ! ' 930 

The sweat pours down from Peter's face, 
So grievous is his heart's contrition ; 
With agony his eye-balls ache 
While he beholds by the furze-brake 
This miserable vision ! 

Calm is the well-deserving brute, 

His peace hath no offence betrayed ; 

But now, while down that slope he wends, 

A voice to Peter's ear ascends, 

Resounding from the woody glade : 940 

The voice, though clamorous as a horn 

Re-echoed by a naked rock, 

Comes from that tabernacle List ! 

Within, a fervent Methodist 

Is preaching to no heedless flock ! 

' Repent ! repent ! ' he cries aloud, 

' While yet ye may find mercy ; strive 

To love the Lord with all your might ; 

Turn to him, seek him day and night, 

And save your souls alive ! 950 

' Repent ! repent ! though ye have gone, 
Through paths of wickedness and woe, 
After the Babylonian harlot ; 
And though your sins be red as scarlet, 
They shall be white as snow ! ' 

Even as he passed the door, these words 

Did plainly come to Peter's ears ; 

And they such joyful tidings were, 

The joy was more than he could bear! 

He melted into tears. 960 

Sweet tears of hope and tenderness ! 
And fast they fell, a plenteous shower ! 
His nerves, his sinews seemed to melt ; 
Through all his iron frame was felt 
A gentle, a relaxing, power ! 



426 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Each fibre of his frame was weak ; 

Weak all the animal within ; 

But, in its helplessness, grew mild 

And gentle as an infant child, 

An infant that has known no sin. 970 

Tis said, meek Beast ! that, through Heaven's 

grace, 

He not unmoved did notice now 
The cross upon thy shoulder scored, 
For lasting impress, by the Lord 
To whom all human-kind shall bow ; 

Memorial of his touch that day 

When Jesus humbly deigned to ride, 

Entering the proud Jerusalem, 

By an immeasurable stream 

Of shouting people deified ! 980 

\ 

Meanwhile the persevering Ass 
Turned towards a gate that hung in view 
Across a shady lane ; his chest 
Against the yielding gate he pressed 
And quietly passed through. 

And up the stony lane he goes ; 

No ghost more softly ever trod ; 

Among the stones and pebbles he 

Sets down his hoofs inaudibly, 

As if with felt his hoofs were shod. 990 

Along the lane the trusty Ass 

Went twice two hundred yards or more, 

And no one could have guessed his aim, 

Till to a lonely house he came, 

And stopped beside the door. 

Thought Peter, 'tis the poor man's home ! 

He listens not a sound is heard 

Save from the trickling household rill; 

But, stepping o'er the cottage-sill, 

Forthwith a little Girl appeared. 1000 

She to the Meeting-house was bound 
In hopes some tidings there to gather: 
No glimpse it is, no doubtful gleam ; 
She saw and uttered with a scream, 
' My father ! here 's my father ! ' 



PETER BELL 427 

The very word was plainly heard, 

Heard plainly by the wretched Mother 

Her joy was like a deep affright : 

And forth she rushed into the light, 

And saw it was another ! 1010 

And instantly upon the earth, 
Beneath the full moon shining bright, 
Close to the Ass's feet she fell ; 
At the same moment Peter Bell 
Dismounts in most unhappy plight. 

As he beheld the Woman lie 

Breathless and motionless, the mind 

Of Peter sadly was confused ; 

But, though to such demands unused, 

And helpless almost as the blind, ioao 

He raised her up ; and while he held 
Her body propped against his knee, 
The Woman waked and when she spied 
The poor Ass standing by her side, 
She moaned most bitterly. 

' Oh ! God be praised my heart 's at ease 

For he is dead I know it well ! ' 

At this she wept a bitter flood ; 

And, in the best way that he could, 

His tale did Peter tell. 1030 

He trembles he is pale as death ; 
His voice is weak with perturbation ; 
He turns aside his head, he pauses ; 
Poor Peter from a thousand causes 
Is crippled sore in his narration. 

At length she learned how he espied 

The Ass in that small meadow-ground ; 

And that her Husband now lay dead, 

Beside that luckless river's bed 

In which he had been drowned. 1040 

A piercing look the Widow cast 
Upon the Beast that near her stands ; 
She sees 'tis he, that 'tis the same ; 
She calls the poor Ass by his name , 
And wrings, and wrings her hands- 



428 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' O wretched loss untimely stroke ! 

If he had died upon his bed ! 

He knew not one forewarning pain ; 

He never will come home again 

Is dead, for ever dead ! ' 1050 

Beside the Woman Peter stands ; 
His heart is opening more and more ; 
A holy sense pervades his mind ; 
He feels what he for human-kind 
Has never felt before. 

At length, by Peter's arm sustained, 

The Woman rises from the ground 

' Oh, mercy ! something must be done, 

My little Rachel, you must run, 

Some willing neighbour must be found. 1060 

' Make haste my little Rachel do, 
The first you meet with bid him come, 
Ask him to lend his horse to-night, 
And this good Man, whom Heaven requite, 
Will help to bring the body home.' 

Away goes Rachel weeping loud ; 

An Infant, waked by her distress, 

Makes in the house a piteous cry ; 

And Peter hears the Mother sigh, 

1 Seven are they, and all fatherless ! ' 1070 

And now is Peter taught to feel 
That man's heart is a holy thing ; 
And Nature, through a world of death, 
Breathes into him a second breath, 
More searching than the breath of spring. 

Upon a stone the Woman sits 

In agony of silent grief 

From his own thoughts did Peter start; 

He longs to press her to his heart, 

From love that cannot find relief. 1080 

But roused, as if through every limb 
Had past a sudden shock of dread, 
The Mother o'er the threshold flies, 
And up the cottage stairs she hies, 
And on the pillow lays her burning head. 



PETER BELL 429 

And Peter turns his steps aside 

Into a shade of darksome trees, 

Where he sits down, he knows not how, 

With his hands pressed against his brow, 

His elbows on his tremulous knees. 1090 

There, self-involved, does Peter sit 
Until no sign of life he makes, 
As if his mind were sinking deep 
Through years that have been long asleep ! 
The trance is passed away he wakes ; 

He lifts his head and sees the Ass 

Yet standing in the clear moonshine ; 

' When shall I be as good as thou ? 

Oh ! would, poor beast, that I had now 

A heart but half as good as thine ! ' noo 

But He who deviously hath sought 

His Father through the lonesome woods, 

Hath sought, proclaiming to the ear 

Of night his grief and sorrowful fear 

He comes, escaped from fields and floods ; 

With weary pace is drawing nigh ; 

He sees the Ass and nothing living 

Had ever such a fit of joy 

As hath this little orphan Boy, 

For he has no misgiving ! mo 

Forth to the gentle Ass he springs, 
And up about his neck he climbs ; 
In loving words he talks to him, 
He kisses, kisses face and limb, 
He kisses him a thousand times ! 

This Peter sees, while in the shade 

He stood beside the cottage-door ; 

And Peter Bell, the ruffian wild, 

Sobs loud, he sobs even like a child, 

' Oh ! God, I can endure no more ! ' 1120 

Here ends my Tale : for in a trice 
Arrived a neighbour with his horse ; 
Peter went forth with him straightway ; 
And, with due care, ere break of day, 
Together they brought back the Corse. 



430 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And many years did this poor Ass, 

Whom once it was my luck to see 

Cropping the shrubs of Leming-Lane, 

Help by his labour to maintain 

The Widow and her family. 1130 

And Peter Bell, who, till that night, 
Had been the wildest of his clan, 
Forsook his crimes, renounced his folly, 
And, after ten months' melancholy, 
Became a good and honest man. 

1798 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 431 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 
DEDICATION 



HAPPY the feeling from the bosom thrown 

In perfect shape (whose beauty Time shall spare 

Though a breath made it) like a bubble blown 

For summer pastime into wanton air ; 

Happy the thought best likened to a stone 

Of the sea-beach, when, polished with nice care, 

Veins it discovers exquisite and rare, 

Which for the loss of that moist gleam atone 

That tempted first to gather it. That here, 

O chief of Friends ! such feelings I present, 

To thy regard, with thoughts so fortunate, 

"Were a vain notion ; but the hope is dear, 

That thou, if not with partial joy elate, 

Wilt smile upon this gift with more than mild content ! 

Published 1827 



PART I 



NUNS fret not at their convent's narrow room ; 
And hermits are contented with their cells ; 
And students with their pensive citadels ; 
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom, 
Sit blithe and happy ; bees that soar for bloom, 
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells, 
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells: 
In truth the prison, unto which we doom 
Ourselves, no prison is : and hence for me, 
In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound i 

Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground ; 
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be) 
W T ho have felt the weight of too much liberty, 
Should find brief solace there, as I have found. 

Published 1807 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



II 



ADMONITION 

INTENDED more particularly for the perusal of those who may have happened 
to be enamoured of some beautiful place of Retreat, in the Country of the 
Lakes. 

WELL may'st thou halt and gaze with brighten- 
ing eye ! 

The lovely Cottage in the guardian nook 
Hath stirred thee deeply ; with its own dear brook, 
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky ! 
But covet not the Abode ; forbear to sigh, 
As many do, repining while they look ; 
Intruders who would tear from Nature's book 
This precious leaf, with harsh impiety. 
Think what the Home must be if it were thine, 
Even thine, though few thy wants ! Roof, window, 
door, 10 

The very flowers are sacred to the Poor, 
The roses to the porch which they entwine : 
Yea, all, that now enchants thee, from the day 
On which it should be touched, would melt away. 

Published 1807 



III 



' T3 ELOVED Vale ! ' I said, when I shall con 
LJ Those many records of my childish years, 
Remembrance of myself and of my peers 
Will press me down : to think of what is gone 
Will be an awful thought, if life have one.' 
But, when into the Vale I came, no fears 
Distressed me ; from mine eyes escaped no tears ; 
Deep thought, or dread remembrance, had I none. 
By doubts and thousand petty fancies crost 
I stood, of simple shame the blushing Thrall ; 
So narrow seemed the brooks, the fields so small ! 
A Juggler's balls old Time about him tossed ; 
I looked, I stared, I smiled, I laughed ; and all 
The weight of sadness was in wonder lost. 

Published 1807 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 433 

IV 

AT APPLETHWA1TE, NEAR KESWICK 

T) EAUMONT ! it was thy wish that I should rear 
Q) A seemly Cottage in this sunny Dell, 
On favoured ground, thy gift, where I might dwell 
In neighbourhood with One to me most dear, 
That undivided we from year to year 
Might work in our high Calling a bright hope 
To which our fancies, mingling, gave free scope 
Till checked by some necessities severe. 
And should these slacken, honoured BEAUMONT ! still 
Even then we may perhaps in vain implore 10 

Leave of our fate thy wishes to fulfil. 
Whether this boon be granted us or not, 
Old Skiddaw will look down upon the Spot 
With pride, the Muses love it evermore. 

1804 



PELION and Ossa flourish side by side, 
Together in immortal books enrolled : 
His ancient dower Olympus hath not sold ; 
And that inspiring Hill, which ' did divide 
Into two ample horns his forehead wide/ 
Shines with poetic radiance as of old ; 
While not an English Mountain we behold 
By the celestial Muses glorified. 
Yet round our sea-girt shore they rise in crowds : 
What was the great Parnassus' self to Thee, 
Mount Skiddaw ? In his natural sovereignty 
Our British Hill is nobler far ; he shrouds 
His double front among Atlantic clouds, 
And pours forth streams more sweet than Castaly. 

1801 

VI 

THERE is a little unpretending Rill 
Of limpid water, humbler far than aught 
That ever among Men or Naiads sought 
Notice or name ! It quivers down the hill, 
Furrowing its shallow way with dubious will ; 
Yet to my mind this scanty Stream is brought 
Oftener than Ganges or the Nile ; a thought 
Of private recollection sweet and still ! 

1 EE 



434 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Months perish with their moons ; year treads on 

year; 

But, faithful Emma ! thou with me canst say 
That, while ten thousand pleasures disappear, 
And flies their memory fast almost as they ; 
The immortal Spirit of one happy day 
Lingers beside that Rill, in vision clear. 

Published 1820 



VII 

T T ER only pilot the soft breeze, the boat 
Lingers, but Fancy is well satisfied ; 
With keen-eyed Hope, with Memory, at her side, 
And the glad Muse at liberty to note 
All that to each is precious, as we float 
Gently along ; regardless who shall chide 
If the heavens smile, and leave us free to glide, 
Happy Associates breathing air remote 
From trivial cares. But, Fancy and the Muse, 
Why have I crowded this small bark with you 
And others of your kind, ideal crew ! 
While here sits One whose brightness owes its hues 
To flesh and blood ; no Goddess from above, 
No fleeting Spirit, but my own true Love ? 

Published 1827 



VIII 

^ I ^HE fairest, brightest, hues of ether fade ; 

The sweetest notes must terminate and die ; 
O Friend ! thy flute has breathed a harmony 
Softly resounded through this rocky glade ; 
Such strains of rapture as l the Genius played 
In his still haunt on Bagdad's summit high ; 
He who stood visible to Mirza's eye, 
Never before to human sight betrayed. 
Lo, in the vale, the mists of evening spread ! 
The visionary Arches are not there, 
Nor the green Islands, nor the shining Seas ; 
Yet sacred is to me this Mountain's head, 
Whence I have risen, uplifted on the breeze 
Of harmony, above all earthly care. 

Published 1815 

1 See the ' Vision of Mirza ' in the Spectator. 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 435 

IX 

UPON THE SIGHT OK A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE, 
Painted by Sir G. H. Beaumont, Bart. 

PRAISED be the Art whose subtle power could stay 
Yon cloud, and fix it in that glorious shape ; 
Nor would permit the thin smoke to escape, 
Nor those bright sunbeams to forsake the day ; 
Which stopped that band of travellers on their way, 
Ere they were lost within the shady wood ; 
And showed the Bark upon the glassy flood 
For ever anchored in her sheltering bay. 
Soul-soothing Art ! whom Morning, Noon-tide, Even, 
Do serve with all their changeful pageantry ; 10 

Thou, with ambition modest yet sublime, 
Here, for the sight of mortal man, hast given 
To one brief moment caught from fleeting time 
The appropriate calm of blest eternity. 

August 1811 



' T T 7 HY, Minstrel, these untuneful murmurings 

\ \ Dull, flagging notes that with each other jar ? ' 
' Think, gentle Lady, of a Harp so far 
From its own country, and forgive the strings.' 
A simple answer ! but even so forth springs, 
From the Castalian fountain of the heart, 
The Poetry of Life, and all that Art 
Divine of words quickening insensate things. 
From the submissive necks of guiltless men 
Stretched on the block the glittering axe recoils ; 10 
Sun, moon, and stars, all struggle in the toils 
Of mortal sympathy ; what wonder then 
That the poor Harp distempered music yields 
To its sad Lord, far from his native fields ? 

Published 1827 

XI 

AERIAL Rock whose solitary brow 
From this low threshold daily meets my sight ; 
When I step forth to hail the morning light ; 
Or quit the stars with a lingering farewell how 
Shall Fancy pay to thee a grateful vow ? 
How, with the Muse's aid, her love attest ? 
By planting on thy naked head the crest 
Of an imperial Castle, which the plough 



436 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Of ruin shall not touch. Innocent scheme ! 
That doth presume no more than to supply 
A grace the sinuous vale and roaring stream 
Want, through neglect of hoar Antiquity. 
Rise, then, ye votive Towers ! and catch a gleam 
Of golden sunset, ere it fade and die. 

Published 1819 



XII 

TO SLEEP 

O GENTLE Sleep ! do they belong to thee, 
These twinklings of oblivion ? Thou dost love 
To sit in meekness, like the brooding Dove, 
A captive never wishing to be free. 
This tiresome night, O Sleep ! thou art to me 
A Fly, that up and down himself doth shove 
Upon a fretful rivulet, now above, 
Now on the water vexed with mockery. 
I have no pain that calls for patience, no ; 
Hence am I cross and peevish as a child : 10 

Am pleased by fits to have thee for my foe, 
Yet ever willing to be reconciled : 
O gentle Creature ! do not use me so, 
But once and deeply let me be beguiled. 

Published 1807 

XIII 

TO SLEEP 

T~^OND words have oft been spoken to thee, Sleep ! 
And thou hast had thy store of tenderest 

names; 

The very sweetest, Fancy culls or frames, 
When thankfulness of heart is strong and deep ! 
Dear Bosom-child we call thee, that dost steep 
In rich reward all suffering ; Balm that tames 
All anguish ; Saint that evil thoughts and aims 
Takest away, and into souls dost creep, 
Like to a breeze from heaven. Shall I alone, 
I surely not a man ungently made, 10 

Call thee worst Tyrant by which Flesh is crost ? 
Perverse, self-willed to own and to disown, 
Mere slave of them who never for thee prayed, 
Still last to come where thou art wanted most ! 

Published 1807 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 437 

XIV 

TO SLEEP 

A FLOCK of sheep that leisurely pass by, 
^\_ One after one ; the sound of rain, and bees 
Murmuring ; the fall of rivers, winds and seas, 
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky ; 
I have thought of all by turns, and yet do lie 
Sleepless ! and soon the small birds' melodies 
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees ; 
And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry. 
Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay, 
And could not win thee, Sleep ! by any stealth : 10 

So do not let me wear to-night away : 
Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth ? 
Come, blessed barrier between day and day, 
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health ! 

Published 1807 

XV 

THE WILD DUCK'S NEST 

THE imperial Consort of the Fairy-king 
Owns not a sylvan bower ; or gorgeous cell 
With emerald floored, and with purpureal shell 
Ceilinged and roofed ; that is so fair a thing 
As this low structure, for the tasks of Spring 
Prepared by one who loves the buoyant swell 
Of the brisk waves, yet here consents to dwell ; 
And spreads in steadfast peace her brooding wing. 
Words cannot paint the o'ershadowing yew-tree 

bough, 

And dimly-gleaming Nest, a hollow crown 10 

Of golden leaves inlaid with silver down, 
Fine as the mother's softest plumes allow : 
I gazed and, self-accused while gazing, sighed 
For human-kind, weak slaves of cumbrous pride ! 

Published 1819 

XVI 
WRITTEN UPON A BLANK LEAF IN ' THE COMPLETE ANGLER ' 

WHILE flowing rivers yield a blameless sport, 
Shall live the name of Walton : Sage benign ! 
Whose pen, the mysteries of the rod and line 
Unfolding, did not fruitlessly exhort 



438 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

To reverend watching of each still report 

That Nature utters from her rural shrine. 

Meek, nobly versed in simple discipline, 

He found the longest summer day too short, 

To his loved pastime given by sedgy Lee, 

Or down the tempting maze of Shawford brook ; 10 

Fairer than life itself, in this sweet Book, 

The cowslip-bank and shady willow-tree, 

And the fresh meads where flowed, from every 

nook 
Of his full bosom, gladsome Piety ! 

Published 1819 

XVII 

TO THE POET, JOHN DYER 

BARD of the Fleece, whose skilful genius made 
That work a living landscape fair and bright ; 
Nor hallowed less with musical delight 
Than those soft scenes through which thy childhood 

strayed, 

Those southern tracts of Cambria, ' deep embayed, 
With green hills fenced, with ocean's murmur lulled ' ; 
Though hasty Fame hath many a chaplet culled 
For worthless brows, while in the pensive shade 
Of cold neglect she leaves thy head ungraced, 
Yet pure and powerful minds, hearts meek and still, 10 
A grateful few, shall love thy modest Lay, 
Long as the shepherd's bleating flock shall stray 
O'er naked Snowdon's wide aerial waste ; 
Long as the thrush shall pipe on Grongar Hill ! 

1811 

XVIII 

ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED THE PUBLICATION 
OF A CERTAIN POEM 

See Milton's Sonnet, beginning, ' A Book was writ of late called 
"Tetrachordon."' 

A BOOK came forth of late, called PETER BELL ; 
Not negligent the style ; the matter ? good 
As aught that song records of Robin Hood ; 
Or Roy, renowned through many a Scottish dell ; 
But some (who brook those hackneyed themes full well, 
Nor heat, at Tarn o' Shanter's name, their blood) 
Waxed wroth, and with foul claws, a harpy brood, 
On Bard and Hero clamorously fell. 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 439 

Heed not, wild Rover once through heath and glen, 
Who mad'st at length the better life thy choice, 10 

Heed not such onset ! nay, if praise of men 
To thee appear not an unmeaning voice, 
Lift up that grey-haired forehead, and rejoice 
In the just tribute of thy Poet's pen ! 

1820 



XIX 

RIEF, thou hast lost an ever-ready friend 

Now that the cottage Spinning-wheel is mute ; 
And Care a comforter that best could suit 
Her froward mood, and softliest reprehend ; 
And Love a charmer's voice, that used to lend, 
More efficaciously than aught that flows 
From harp or lute, kind influence to compose 
The throbbing pulse else troubled without end : 
Even Joy could tell, Joy craving truce and rest 
From her own overflow, what power sedate 10 

On those revolving motions did await 
Assiduously to soothe her aching breast ; 
And, to a point of just relief, abate 
The mantling triumphs of a day too blest. 

Published 1819 



XX 

TO S. H. 

XCUSE is needless when with love sincere 

Of occupation, not by fashion led, 
lou turn'st the Wheel that slept with dust o'erspread ; 
My nerves from no such murmur shrink, tho' near, 
Soft as the Dorhawk's to a distant ear, 
When twilight shades darken the mountain's head. 
Even She who toils to spin our vital thread 
Might smile on work, O Lady, once so dear 
To household virtues. Venerable Art, 
Torn from the Poor ! yet shall kind Heaven protect 10 
Its own ; though Rulers, with undue respect, 
Trusting to crowded factory and mart 
And proud discoveries of the intellect, 
Heed not the pillage of man's ancient heart. 

Published 1827 



440 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXI 

COMPOSED IN ONE OF THE VALLEYS OF WESTMORELAND, 
ON EASTER SUNDAY 

WITH each recurrence of this glorious morn 
That saw the Saviour in his human frame 
Rise from the dead, erewhile the Cottage-dame 
Put on fresh raiment till that hour unworn : 
Domestic hands the home-bred wool had shorn, 
And she who span it culled the daintiest fleece, 
In thoughtful reverence to the Prince of Peace, 
Whose temples bled beneath the platted thorn. 
A blest estate when piety sublime 9 

These humble props disdained not ! O green dales ! 
Sad may / be who heard your Sabbath chime 
When Art's abused inventions were unknown ; 
Kind Nature's various wealth was all your own ; 
And benefits were weighed in Reason's scales ! 

Published 1819 

XXII 

DECAY OF PIETY 

OFT have I seen, ere Time had ploughed my 
cheek, 

Matrons and Sires who, punctual to the call 
Of their loved Church, on fast or festival 
Through the long year the House of Prayer would 

seek : 

By Christmas snows, by visitation bleak 
Of Easter winds, unscared, from hut or hall 
They came to lowly bench or sculptured stall, 
But with one fervour of devotion meek. 
I see the places where they once were known, 
And ask, surrounded even by kneeling crowds, 10 
Is ancient Piety for ever flown ? 
Alas ! even then they seemed like fleecy clouds 
That, struggling through the western sky, have won 
Their pensive light from a departed sun ! 

Published 1827 

XXIII 

COMPOSED ON THE EVE OF THE MARRIAGE OF A FRIEND 
IN THE VALE OF GRASMERE, 1812 

WHAT need of clamorous bells, or ribands gay, 
These humble nuptials to proclaim or grace ? 
Angels of love, look down upon the place ; 
Shed on the chosen vale a sun-bright day ! 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 441 

Yet no proud gladness would the Bride display 
Even for such promise : serious is her face, 
Modest her mien ; and she, whose thoughts keep 

pace 

With gentleness, in that becoming way 
Will thank you. Faultless does the Maid appear ; 
No disproportion in her soul, no strife : 10 

But, when the closer view of wedded life 
Hath shown that nothing human can be clear 
From frailty, for that insight may the Wife 
To her indulgent Lord become more dear. 

Oct. 31, 1812 

XXIV 

FROM THE ITALIAN OF MICHAEL ANGELO 



YES ! hope may with my strong desire keep pace, 
And I be undeluded, unbetrayed; 
For if of our affections none finds grace 
In sight of Heaven, then, wherefore hath God made 
The world which we inhabit ? Better plea 
Love cannot have than that in loving thee 
Glory to that eternal Peace is paid, 
Who such divinity to thee imparts 
As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts. 
His hope is treacherous only whose love dies 10 

With beauty, which is varying every hour ; 
But in chaste hearts, uninfluenced by the power 
Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower, 
That breathes on earth the air of paradise. 

1805 

XXV 

FROM THE SAME 
II 

NO mortal object did these eyes behold 
When first they met the placid light of thine, 
And my Soul felt her destiny divine, 
And hope of endless peace in me grew bold : 
Heaven-born, the Soul a heavenward course must 

hold; 

Beyond the visible world she soars to seek 
(For what delights the sense is false and weak) 
Ideal Form, the universal mould. 



442 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

The wise man, I affirm, can find no rest 
In that which perishes : nor will he lend 
His heart to aught which doth on time depend. 
'Tis sense, unbridled will, and not true love, 
That kills the soul : love betters what is best, 
Even here below, but more in heaven above. 

Probably 1805 



XXVI 
FROM THE SAME. TO THE SUPREME BEING 



THE prayers I make will then be sweet indeed 
If Thou the spirit give by which I pray : 
My unassisted heart is barren clay, 
That of its native self can nothing feed : 
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed, 
That quickens only where Thou say'st it may : 
Unless Thou show to us thine own true way 
No man can find it : Father ! Thou must lead. 
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind 
By which such virtue may in me be bred 10 

That in thy holy footsteps I may tread ; 
The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind, 
That I may have the power to sing of Thee, 
And sound thy praises everlastingly. 

1805 



C* URPRISED by joy impatient as the Wind 
^^ I turned to share the transport Oh ! with 

whom 

But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb, 
That spot which no vicissitude can find ? 
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind 
But how could I forget thee ? Through what power, 
Even for the least division of an hour, 
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind 
To my most grievous loss ! That thought's return 
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore, 10 

Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn, 
Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more ; 
That neither present time, nor years unborn 
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore. 

Published 1815 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 443 

XXVIII 



METHOUGHT I saw the footsteps of a throne 
Which mists and vapours from mine eyes did 

shroud 

Nor view of who might sit thereon allowed ; 
But all the steps and ground about were strown 
With sights the ruefullest that flesh and bone 
Ever put on ; a miserable crowd, 
Sick, hale, old, young, who cried before that cloud, 
' Thou art our king, O Death ! to thee we groan.' 
Those steps I clomb ; the mists before me gave 
Smooth way ; and I beheld the face of one i< 

Sleeping alone within a mossy cave, 
With her face up to heaven ; that seemed to have 
Pleasing remembrance of a thought foregone ; 
A lovely Beauty in a summer grave ! 

Published 180? 

XXIX 

NOVEMBER, 1836 



EVEN so for me a Vision sanctified 
The sway of Death; long ere mine eyes had 

seen 

Thy countenance the still rapture of thy mien 
When thou, dear Sister ! wert become Death's Bride : 
No trace of pain or languor could abide 
That change : age on thy brow was smoothed thy 

cold 

Wan cheek at once was privileged to unfold 
A loveliness to living youth denied. 
Oh ! if within me hope should e'er decline, 
The lamp of faith, lost Friend ! too faintly burn ; 10 
Then may that heaven-revealing smile of thine, 
The bright assurance, visibly return : 
And let my spirit in that power divine 
Rejoice, as, through that power, it ceased to mourn. 

XXX 

IT is a beauteous evening, calm and free, 
The holy time is quiet as a Nun 
Breathless with adoration ; the broad sun 
Is sinking down in its tranquillity ; 



444 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea : 

Listen ! the mighty Being is awake, 

And doth with his eternal motion make 

A sound like thunder everlastingly. 

Dear Child ! dear Girl ! that walkest with me here, 

If thou appear untouched by solemn thought, 10 

Thy nature is not therefore less divine : 

Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year; 

And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine, 

God being with thee when we know it not. 

1802 

XXXI 

WHERE lies the Land to which yon Ship must 
go? 

Fresh as a lark mounting at break of day, 
Festively she puts forth in trim array ; 
Is she for tropic suns, or polar snow ? 
What boots the inquiry ? Neither friend nor foe 
She cares for; let her travel where she may, 
She finds familiar names, a beaten way 
Ever before her, and a wind to blow. 
Yet still I ask, what haven is her mark ? 
And, almost as it was when ships were rare, 10 

(From time to time, like Pilgrims, here and there 
Crossing the waters) doubt, and something dark, 
Of the old Sea some reverential fear, 
Is with me at thy farewell, joyous Bark ! 

Published 1807 

XXXII 

WITH Ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh, 
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed ; 
Some lying fast at anchor in the road, 
Some veering up and down, one knew not why. 
A goodly Vessel did I then espy 
Come like a giant from a haven broad ; 
And lustily along the bay she strode, 
Her tackling rich, and of apparel high. 
This Ship was nought to me, nor I to her, 
Yet I pursued her with a Lover's look ; 10 

This Ship to all the rest did I prefer : 
When will she turn, and whither ? She will brook 
No tarrying ; where She comes the winds must stir : 
On went She, and due north her journey took. 

Published 1807 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 445 

XXXIII 

*" I ^HE world is too much with us; late and soon, 

Getting and spending, we lay waste our 

powers : 

Little we see in Nature that is ours ; 
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon ! 
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon ; 
The winds that will be howling at all hours, 
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers ; 
For this, for everything, we are out of tune ; 
It moves us not. Great God ! I 'd rather be 
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn ; 10 

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, 
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ; 
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea ; 
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. 

Published 1807 

XXXIV 

A VOLANT Tribe of Bards on earth are found, 
Who, while the flattering Zephyrs round them 

P la y> 

On ' coignes of vantage' hang their nests of clay ; 

How quickly from that aery hold unbound, 

Dust for oblivion ! To the solid ground 

Of nature trusts the Mind that builds for aye ; 

Convinced that there, there only, she can lay 

Secure foundations. As the year runs round, 

Apart she toils within the chosen ring ; 

While the stars shine, or while day's purple eye 10 

Is gently closing with the flowers of spring ; 

Where even the motion of an Angel's wing 

Would interrupt the intense tranquillity 

Of silent hills, and more than silent sky. 

Published 1823 

XXXV 

' "\ T 7EAK is the will of Man, his judgment blind ; 

\ V Remembrance persecutes, and Hope betrays ; 
Heavy is woe ; and joy, for human-kind, 
A mournful thing, so transient is the blaze ! ' 
Thus might he paint our lot of mortal days 
Who wants the glorious faculty assigned 
To elevate the more-than-reasoning Mind, 
And colour life's dark cloud with orient rays. 



446 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Imagination is that sacred power, 

Imagination lofty and refined : 

'Tis hers to pluck the amaranthine flower 

Of Faith, and round the sufferer's temples bind 

Wreaths that endure affliction's heaviest shower, 

And do not shrink from sorrow's keenest wind. 

Published 1815 

XXXVI 

TO THE MEMORY OF RAISLEY CALVERT 

ALVERT ! it must not be unheard by them 
Who may respect my name that I to thee 
Owed many years of early liberty. 
This care was thine when sickness did condemn 
Thy youth to hopeless wasting, root and stem 
That I, if frugal and severe, might stray 
Where'er I liked ; and finally array 
My temples with the Muse's diadem. 
Hence, if in freedom I have loved the truth ; 
If there be aught of pure, or good, or great, 
In my past verse ; or shall be, in the lays 
Of higher mood, which now I meditate ; 
It gladdens me, O worthy, short-lived, Youth ! 
To think how much of this will be thy praise. 

Published 1807 



PART II 
I 

SCORN not the Sonnet ; Critic, you have frowned, 
Mindless of its just honours ; with this key 
Shakespeare unlocked his heart ; the melody 
Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound; 
A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound ; 
With it Camoens soothed an exile's grief; 
The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf 
Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned 
His visionary brow : a glow-worm lamp, 
It cheered mild Spenser, called from Faery-land 10 
To struggle through dark ways; and, when a damp 
Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand 
The Thing became a trumpet ; whence he blew 
Soul-animating strains alas, too few ! 

Published 1827 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 44-7 

II 

TT OW sweet it is, when mother Fancy rocks 

The wayward brain, to saunter through a wood ! 
An old place, full of many a lovely brood, 
Tall trees, green arbours, and ground-flowers in flocks ; 
And wild rose tip- toe upon hawthorn stocks, 
Like a bold Girl, who plays her agile pranks 
At Wakes and Fairs with wandering Mountebanks, 
When she stands cresting the Clown's head, and mocks 
The crowd beneath her. Verily I think, 
Such place to me is sometimes like a dream 10 

Or map of the whole world : thoughts, link by link, 
Enter through ears and eyesight, with such gleam 
Of all things, that at last in fear I shrink, 
And leap at once from the delicious stream. 

Dec. 180G 

III 

TO B. R. HAYDON 

IGH is our calling, Friend ! Creative Art 

(Whether the instrument of words she use, 
)r pencil pregnant with ethereal hues,) 
Demands the service of a mind and heart, 
Though sensitive, yet, in their weakest part, 
Heroically fashioned to infuse 
Faith in the whispers of the lonely Muse, 
While the whole world seems adverse to desert. 
And, oh ! when Nature sinks, as oft she may, 
Through long-lived pressure of obscure distress, 10 

Still to be strenuous for the bright reward, 
And in the soul admit of no decay, 
Brook no continuance of weak-mindedness 
Great is the glory, for the strife is hard ! 

Dec. 1815 

IV 

FROM the dark chambers of dejection freed, 
Spurning the unprofitable yoke of care, 
Rise, GILLIES, rise : the gales of youth shall bear 
Thy genius forward like a winged steed. 
Though bold Bellerophon (so Jove decreed 
In wrath) fell headlong from the fields of air, 
Yet a rich guerdon waits on minds that dare, 
If aught be in them of immortal seed, 



448 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And reason govern that audacious flight 

Which heavenward they direct. Then droop not 

thou, 

Erroneously renewing a sad vow 
In the low dell 'mid Roslin's faded grove : 
A cheerful life is what the Muses love, 
A soaring spirit is their prime delight. 

1814 



FAIR Prime of life ! were it enough to gild 
With ready sunbeams every straggling shower ; 
And, if an unexpected cloud should lower, 
Swiftly thereon a rainbow arch to build 
For Fancy's errands, then, from fields half-tilled 
Gathering green weeds to mix with poppy flower, 
Thee might thy Minions crown, and chant thy power, 
Unpitied by the wise, all censure stilled. 
Ah ! show that worthier honours are thy due ; 
Fair Prime of life ! arouse the deeper heart ; 10 

Confirm the Spirit glorying to pursue 
Some path of steep ascent and lofty aim ; 
And, if there be a joy that slights the claim 
Of grateful memory, bid that joy depart. 

Published 1827 

VI 

I WATCH, and long have watched, with calm regret 
Yon slowly-sinking star immortal Sire 
3 might he seem) of all the glittering quire ! 
Blue ether still surrounds him yet and yet ; 
But now the horizon's rocky parapet 
Is reached, where, forfeiting his bright attire, 
He burns transmuted to a dusky fire 
Then pays submissively the appointed debt 
To the flying moments, and is seen no more. 
Angels and gods ! We struggle with our fate, 10 

While health, power, glory, from their height decline, 
Depressed ; and then extinguished : and our state, 
In this, how different, lost Star, from thine, 
That no to-morrow shall our beams restore ! 

Published 1819 

VII 

I HEARD (alas ! 'twas only in a dream) 
Strains which, as sage Antiquity believed, 
By waking ears have sometimes been received 
Wafted adown the wind from lake or stream : 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 449 

A most melodious requiem, a supreme 
And perfect harmony of notes, achieved 
By a fair Swan on drowsy billows heaved, 
O'er which her pinions shed a silver gleam. 
For is she not the votary of Apollo ? 
And knows she not, singing as he inspires, 10 

That bliss awaits her which the ungenial Hollow x 
Of the dull earth partakes not, nor desires ? 
Mount, tuneful Bird, and join the immortal quires ! 
She soared and I awoke, struggling in vain to follow. 

Published 1819 

VIII 

RETIREMENT 

T F the whole weight of what we think and feel, 

Save only far as thought and feeling blend 
With action, were as nothing, patriot Friend ! 
From thy remonstrance would be no appeal ; 
But to promote and fortify the weal 
Of her own Being is her paramount end ; 
A truth which they alone shall comprehend 
Who shun the mischief which they cannot heal. 
Peace in these feverish times is sovereign bliss : 9 
Here, with no thirst but what the stream can slake, 
And startled only by the rustling brake, 
Cool air I breathe ; while the unincumbered Mind, 
By some weak aims at services assigned 
To gentle Natures, thanks not Heaven amiss. 

Published 1827 

IX 

NOT Love, not War, nor the tumultuous swell 
Of civil conflict, nor the wrecks of change, 
Nor Duty struggling with afflictions strange 
Not these alone inspire the tuneful shell ; 
But where untroubled peace and concord dwell, 
There also is the Muse not loth to range, 
Watching the twilight smoke of cot or grange, 
Skyward ascending from a woody dell. 
Meek aspirations please her, lone endeavour, 
And sage content, and placid melancholy ; 10 

She loves to gaze upon a crystal river 
Diaphanous because it travels slowly ; 
Soft is the music that would charm for ever ; 
The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly. 

Published 1823 

1 See the Phcedon of Plato, by which this Sonnet was suggested. 
1 FF 



450 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



MARK the concentred hazels that enclose 
Yon old grey Stone, protected from the ray 
antide suns : and even the beams that play 
And glance, while wantonly the rough wind blows, 
Are seldom free to touch the moss that grows 
Upon that roof, amid embowering gloom, 
The very image framing of a Tomb, 
In which some ancient Chieftain, finds repose 
Among the lonely mountains. Live, ye trees ! 
And thou, grey Stone, the pensive likeness keep 10 
Of a dark chamber where the Mighty sleep : 
For more than Fancy to the influence bends 
When solitary Nature condescends 
To mimic Time's forlorn humanities. 

Published 1815 

XI 

COMPOSED AFTER A JOURNEY ACROSS THE HAMBLETON HILLS, 
YORKSHIRE 

DARK and more dark the shades of evening fell ; 
The wished-for point was reached but at an 

hour 

When little could be gained from that rich dower 
Of prospect, whereof many thousands tell. 
Yet did the glowing west with marvellous power 
Salute us ; there stood Indian citadel, 
Temple of Greece, and minster with its tower 
Substantially expressed a place for bell 
Or clock to toll from ! Many a tempting isle, 
With groves that never were imagined, lay 10 

'Mid seas how steadfast ! objects all for the eye 
Of silent rapture ; but we felt the while 
We should forget them ; they are of the sky, 
And from our earthly memory fade away. 

Oct. 4, 1802 



XII 

-'they are of the sky, 
And from our earthly memory fade away.' 

r I "^HOSE words were uttered as in pensive mood 
We turned, departing from that solemn sight 
A contrast and reproach to gross delight, 
And life's unspiritual pleasures daily wooed ! 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 451 

But now upon this thought I cannot brood ; 

It is unstable as a dream of night ; 

Nor will I praise a cloud, however bright, 

Disparaging Man's gifts, and proper food. 

Grove, isle, with every shape of sky-built dome, 

Though clad in colours beautiful and pure, 10 

Find in the heart of man no natural home : 

The immortal Mind craves objects that endure : 

These cleave to it ; from these it cannot roam, 

Nor they from it : their fellowship is secure. 

Published 1807 

XIII 

SEPTEMBER, 1815 

WHILE not a leaf seems faded ; while the fields, 
With ripening harvest prodigally fair, 
In brightest sunshine bask ; this nipping air, 
Sent from some distant clime where Winter wields 
His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields 
Of bitter change, and bids the flowers beware ; 
And whispers to the silent birds, ' Prepare 
Against the threatening foe your trustiest shields.' 
For me, who under kindlier laws belong 
To Nature's tuneful quire, this rustling dry 10 

Through leaves yet green, and yon crystalline sky, 
Announce a season potent to renew, 
'Mid frost and snow, the instinctive joys of song, 
And nobler cares than listless summer knew. 

Dec. 1815 

XIV 

NOVEMBER 1 

OW clear, how keen, how marvellously bright 

The effluence from yon distant mountain's head, 
/hich, strewn with snow smooth as the sky can shed, 
Shines like another sun on mortal sight 
Uprisen, as if to check approaching Night, 
And all her twinkling stars. Who now would tread, 
If so he might, yon mountain's glittering head 
Terrestrial, but a surface by the flight 
Of sad mortality's earth-sullying wing 
Unswept, unstained ? Nor shall the aerial Powers 10 
Dissolve that beauty, destined to endure, 
White, radiant, spotless, exquisitely pure, 
Through all vicissitudes, till genial Spring 
Has filled the laughing vales with welcome flowers. 

Dec. 1815 



452 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XV 

COMPOSED DURING A STORM 

2NE who was suffering tumult in his soul 
Yet failed to seek the sure relief of prayer, 
_ t forth his course surrendering to the care 
Of the fierce wind, while mid-day lightnings prowl 
Insidiously, untimely thunders growl ; 
While trees, dim-seen, in frenzied numbers, tear 
The lingering remnant of their yellow hair, 
And shivering wolves, surprised with darkness, howl 
As if the sun were not. He raised his eye 
Soul-smitten ; for, that instant, did appear 10 

Large space ('mid dreadful clouds) of purest sky, 
An azure disc shield of Tranquillity ; 
Invisible, unlooked-for, minister 
Of providential goodness ever nigh ! 

1819 

XVI 

TO A SNOWDROP 

1ONE Flower, hemmed in with snows, and white as 
_> they, 

But hardier far, once more I see thee bend 
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend, 
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day 
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, way-lay 
The rising sun, and on the plains descend ; 
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend 
Whose zeal outruns his promise ! Blue-eyed May 
Shall soon behold this border thickly set 
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing 10 

On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers ; 
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget, 
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring, 
And pensive monitor of fleeting years ! 

Published 1819 

XVII 

TO THE LADY MARY LOWTHER 

WITH a selection from the Poems of Anne, Countess of Winchilsea ; and 
extracts of similar character from other Writers ; transcribed by a female 
friend. 

T ADY ! I rifled a Parnassian Cave 

j (But seldom trod) of mildly-gleaming ore ; 

And culled, from sundry beds, a lucid store 
Of genuine crystals, pure as those that pave 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 453 

The azure brooks, where Dian joys to lave 

Her spotless limbs ; and ventured to explore 

Dim shades for reliques, upon Lethe's shore, 

Cast up at random by the sullen wave. 

To female hands the treasures were resigned ; 

And lo this Work ! a grotto bright and clear 10 

From stain or taint ; in which thy blameless mind 

May feed on thoughts though pensive not austere ; 

Or, if thy deeper spirit be inclined 

To holy musing, it may enter here. 

1819 

XVIII 

TO LADY BEAUMONT 

LVDY ! the songs of Spring were in the grove 
While I was shaping beds for winter flowers ; 
While I was planting green unfading bowers, 
And shrubs to hang upon the warm alcove 
And sheltering wall ; and still, as Fancy wove 
The dream, to time and nature's blended powers 
I gave this paradise for winter hours, 
A labyrinth, Lady ! which your feet shall rove. 
Yes ! when the sun of life more feebly shines, 
Becoming thoughts, I trust, of solemn gloom 10 

Or of high gladness you shall hither bring ; 
And these perennial bowers and murmuring pines 
Be gracious as the music and the bloom 
And all the mighty ravishment of spring. 

1807 

XIX 

THERE is a pleasure in poetic pains 

Which only Poets know ; 'twas rightly said ; 

Whom could the Muses else allure to tread 

Their smoothest paths, to wear their lightest chains? 

When happiest Fancy has inspired the strains, 

How oft the malice of one luckless word 

Pursues the Enthusiast to the social board, 

Haunts him belated on the silent plains ! 

Yet he repines not, if his thought stand clear, 

At last, of hindrance and obscurity, 10 

Fresh as the star that crowns the brow of morn ; 

Bright, speckless, as a softly-moulded tear 

The moment it has left the virgin's eye, 

Or rain-drop lingering on the pointed thorn. 

Published 1827 



454 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 



XX 

THE Shepherd, looking eastward, softly said, 
' Bright is thy veil, O Moon, as thou art bright ! ' 
Forthwith that little cloud, in ether spread 
And penetrated all with tender light, 
She cast away, and showed her fulgent head 
Uncovered ; dazzling the Beholder's sight 
As if to vindicate her beauty's right, 
Her beauty thoughtlessly disparaged. 
Meanwhile that veil, removed or thrown aside, 
Went floating from her, darkening as it went ; 10 

And a huge mass, to bury or to hide, 
ypproached this glory of the firmament ; 
Who meekly yields, and is obscured content 
With one calm triumph of a modest pride. 

Published 1815 



XXI 

WHEN haughty expectations prostrate lie, 
And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing, 
Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring 
Mature release, in fair society 
Survive, and Fortune's utmost anger try; 
Like these frail snowdrops that together cling, 
And nod their helmets, smitten by the wing 
Of many a furious whirl-blast sweeping by. 
Observe the faithful flowers ! if small to great 
May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand 10 
The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate ; 
And so the bright immortal Theban band, 
Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove's command, 
Might overwhelm, but could not separate ! 

Published 1820 



XXII 

HAIL, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour ! 
Not dull art Thou as undiscerning Night ; 
But studious only to remove from sight 
Day's mutable distinctions. Ancient Power ! 
Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower, 
To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest 
Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest 
On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 455 

Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen 
The self-same Vision which we now behold, 10 

At thy meek bidding, shadowy Power ! brought forth ; 
These mighty barriers, and the gulf between ; 
The flood, the stars, a spectacle as old 
As the beginning of the heavens and earth ! 

Published 1815 

XXIII 
' T T 7ITH how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb' st the 

VV sk y. 

How silently, and with how wan a face ! ' 

Where art thou ? Thou so often seen on high 

Running among the clouds a Wood-nymph's race ! 

Unhappy Nuns, whose common breath 's a sigh 

Which they would stifle, move at such a pace ! 

The northern Wind, to call thee to the chase, 

Must blow to-night his bugle horn. Had I 

The power of Merlin, Goddess ! this should be : 

And all the stars, fast as the clouds were riven, 10 

Should sally forth, to keep thee company, 

Hurrying and sparkling through the clear blue heaven ; 

But, Cynthia ! should to thee the palm be given, 

Queen both for beauty and for majesty. 

Perhaps 1802 

XXIV 

EVEN as a dragon's eye that feels the stress 
Of a bedimming sleep, or as a lamp 
Sullenly glaring through sepulchral damp, 
So burns yon Taper 'mid a black recess 
Of mountains, silent, dreary, motionless : 
The lake below reflects it not ; the sky 
Muffled in clouds, affords no company 
To mitigate and cheer its loneliness. 
Yet, round the body of that joyless Thing 
Which sends so far its melancholy light, 10 

Perhaps are seated in domestic ring 
A gay society with faces bright, 
Conversing, reading, laughing ; or they sing, 
While hearts and voices in the song unite. 

Published 1815 

XXV 

THE stars are mansions built by Nature's hand, 
And, haply, there the spirits of the blest 
Dwell, clothed in radiance, their immortal vest ; 
Huge Ocean shows, within his yellow strand, 



456 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A habitation marvellously planned, 

For life to occupy in love and rest ; 

All that we see is dome, or vault, or nest, 

Or fortress, reared at Nature's sage command. 

Glad thought for every season ! but the Spring 

Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart, i 

'Mid song of birds, and insects murmuring ; 

And while the youthful year's prolific art 

Of bud, leaf, blade, and flower was fashioning 

Abodes where self-disturbance hath no part. 

Published 1820 

XXVI 

"TAESPONDING Father ! mark this altered bough, 
[_^/ So beautiful of late, with sunshine warmed, 
Or moist with dews ; what more unsightly now, 
Its blossoms shrivelled, and its fruit, if formed, 
Invisible ? yet Spring her genial brow 
Knits not o'er that discolouring and decay 
As false to expectation. Nor fret thou 
At like unlovely process in the May 
Of human life : a Stripling's graces blow, 
Fade and are shed, that from their timely fall i 

(Misdeem it not a cankerous change) may grow 
Rich mellow bearings, that for thanks shall call : 
In all men, sinful is it to be slow 
To hope in Parents, sinful above all. 

Published 1835 

XXVII 

CAPTIVITY. MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS 

the cold aspect of a sunless way 
Strikes through the Traveller's frame with 

deadlier chill, 

Oft as appears a grove, or obvious hill, 
Glistening with unparticipated ray, 
Or shining slope where he must never stray ; 
So joys, remembered without wish or will, 
Sharpen the keenest edge of present ill, 
On the crushed heart a heavier burthen lay. 
Just Heaven, contract the compass of my mind 
To fit proportion with my altered state ! i 

Quench those felicities whose light I find 
Reflected in my bosom all too late ! 
O be my spirit, like my thraldom, strait ; 
And, like mine eyes that stream with sorrow, blind ! ' 

Published 1819 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 457 

XXVIII 

ST. CATHERINE OF LEDBURY 

WHEN human touch (as monkish books attest) 
Nor was applied nor could be, Ledbury bells 
Broke forth in concert flung adown the dells, 
And upward, high as Malvern's cloudy crest; 
Sweet tones, and caught by a noble Lady blest 
To rapture ! Mabel listened at the side 
Of her loved mistress : soon the music died, 
And Catherine said, J^W $ SCt tip tttg tWt 
Warned in a dream, the Wanderer long had sought 
A home that by such miracle of sound 10 

Must be revealed : she heard it now, or felt 
The deep, deep joy of a confiding thought ; 
And there, a saintly Anchoress, she dwelt 
Till she exchanged for heaven that happy ground. 

Published 1835 

XXIX 

'gives to airy nothing 

A local habitation and a name.' 

THOUGH narrow be that old Man's cares, and near, 
The poor old Man is greater than he seems : 
For he hath waking empire, wide as dreams ; 
An ample sovereignty of eye and ear. 
Rich are his walks with supernatural cheer; 
The region of his inner spirit teems 
With vital sounds and monitory gleams 
Of high astonishment and pleasing fear. 
He the seven birds hath seen, that never part, 
Seen the SEVEN WHISTLERS in their nightly rounds, 10 
And counted them : and oftentimes will start 
For overhead are sweeping GABRIEL'S HOUNDS 
Doomed, with their impious Lord, the flying Hart 
To chase for ever, on aerial grounds ! 

Published 1807 

XXX 

FOUR fiery steeds impatient of the rein 
Whirled us o'er sunless ground beneath a sky 
As void of sunshine, when, from that wide plain, 
Clear tops of far-off mountains we descry, 



458 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Like a Sierra of cerulean Spain, 

All light and lustre. Did no heart reply ? 

Yes, there was One ; for One, asunder fly 

The thousand links of that ethereal chain ; 

And green vales open out, with grove and field, 

And the fair front of many a happy Home ; i 

Such tempting spots as into vision come 

While Soldiers, weary of the arms they wield, 

And sick at heart of strifeful Christendom, 

Gaze on the moon by parting clouds revealed. 

1835 

XXXI 

BROOK ! whose society the Poet seeks, 
Intent his wasted spirits to renew ; 
And whom the curious Painter doth pursue 
Through rocky passes, among flowery creeks, 
And tracks thee dancing down thy water-breaks ; 
If wish were mine some type of thee to view, 
Thee, and not thee thyself, I would not do 
Like Grecian Artists, give thee human cheeks, 
Channels for tears ; no Naiad shouldst thou be, 
Have neither limbs, feet, feathers, joints, nor hairs : i 
It seems the Eternal Soul is clothed in thee 
With purer robes than those of flesh and blood, 
And hath bestowed on thee a safer good j 
Unwearied joy, and life without its cares. 

Published 1815 

XXXII 

COMPOSED ON THE BANKS OF A ROCKY STREAM 

DOGMATIC Teachers, of the snow-white fur! 
Ye wrangling Schoolmen, of the scarlet hood ! 
j with a keenness not to be withstood, 
Press the point home, or falter and demur, 
Checked in your course by many a teasing burr ; 
These natural council-seats your acrid blood 
Might cool ; and, as the Genius of the flood 
Stoops willingly to animate and spur 
Each lighter function slumbering in the brain, 
Yon eddying balls of foam, these arrowy gleams x 

That o'er the pavement of the surging streams 
Welter and flash, a synod might detain 
With subtle speculations, haply vain, 
But surely less so than your far-fetched themes ! 

Published 1820 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 459 

XXXIII 

THIS AND THE TWO FOLLOWING WERE SUGGESTED BY MR. W. 
WESTALL'S VIEWS OF THE CAVES, ETC., IN YORKSHIRE 

PURE element of waters ! wheresoe'er 
Thou dost forsake thy subterranean haunts, 
Green herbs, bright flowers, and berry-bearing plants, 
Rise into life and in thy train appear : 
And, through the sunny portion of the year, 
Swift insects shine, thy hovering pursuivants : 
And, if thy bounty fail, the forest pants ; 
And hart and hind and hunter with his spear 
Languish and droop together. Nor unfelt 
In man's perturbed soul thy sway benign ; 10 

And, haply, far within the marble belt 
Of central earth, where tortured Spirits pine 
For grace and goodness lost, thy murmurs melt 
Their anguish, and they blend sweet songs with thine. 1 

1818 

XXXIV 

MALHAM COVE 

WAS the aim frustrated by force or guile, 
When giants scooped from out the rocky ground, 
Tier under tier, this semicirque profound ? 
(Giants the same who built in Erin's isle 
That Causeway with incomparable toil !) 
Oh, had this vast theatric structure wound 
With finished sweep into a perfect round, 
No mightier work had gained the plausive smile 
Of all-beholding Phoebus ! But, alas, 
Vain earth ! false world ! Foundations must be laid 10 
In Heaven ; for, 'mid the wreck of is and WAS, 
Things incomplete and purposes betrayed 
Make sadder transits o'er thought's optic glass 
Than noblest objects utterly decayed. 

1818 

XXXV 

GORDALE 

T early dawn, or rather when the air 



__ Glimmers with fading light, and shadowy Eve 
Is busiest to confer and to bereave ; 
Then, pensive Votary ! let thy feet repair 

1 "Waters (as Mr. Westall informs us in the letterpress prefixed to his 
admirable views) are invariably found to flow through these caverns. 



460 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

To Gordale-chasm, terrific as the lair 

Where the young lions couch ; for so, by leave 

Of the propitious hour, thou may'st perceive 

The local Deity, with oozy hair 

And mineral crown, beside his jagged urn, 

Recumbent : Him thou may'st behold, who hides 

His lineaments by day, yet there presides, 

Teaching the docile waters how to turn, 

Or (if need be) impediment to spurn, 

And force their passage to the salt-sea tides ! 

1818 

XXXVI 

COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPTEMBER 3, 1802 

EARTH has not anything to show more fair: 
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by 
A sight so touching in its majesty : 
This City now doth, like a garment, wear 
The beauty of the morning ; silent, bare, 
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie 
Open unto the fields, and to the sky ; 
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. 
Never did sun more beautifully steep 
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill ; 
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep ! 
The river glideth at his own sweet will : 
Dear God ! the very houses seem asleep ; 
And all that mighty heart is lying still ! 

XXXVII 
CONCLUSION 

TO 

IF these brief Records, by the Muses' art 
Produced as lonely Nature or the strife 
That animates the scenes of public life l 
Inspired, may in thy leisure claim a part ; 
And if these Transcripts of the private heart 
Have gained a sanction from thy falling tears; 
Then I repent not. But my soul hath fears 
Breathed from eternity ; for, as a dart 
Cleaves the blank air, Life flies : now every day 
Is but a glimmering spoke in the swift wheel 

1 This line alludes to Sonnets which will be found in another Class. 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 461 

Of the revolving week. Away, away, 

All fitful cares, all transitory zeal ! 

So timely Grace the immortal wing may heal, 

And honour rest upon the senseless clay. 

Published 1827 



PART III 



THOUGH the bold wings of Poesy affect 
The clouds, and wheel around the mountain tops 
Rejoicing, from her loftiest height she drops 
Well pleased to skim the plain with wild flowers deckt, 
Or muse in solemn grove whose shades protect 
The lingering dew there steals along, or stops 
Watching the least small bird that round her hops, 
Or creeping worm, with sensitive respect. 
Her functions are they therefore less divine, 
Her thoughts less deep, or void of grave intent 10 

Her simplest fancies ? Should that fear be thine, 
Aspiring Votary, ere thy hand present 
One offering, kneel before her modest shrine, 
With brow in penitential sorrow bent ! 

Published 1842 



II 
OXFORD, MAY 30, 1820 

YE sacred Nurseries of blooming Youth ! 
In whose collegiate shelter England's Flowers 
Expand, enjoying through their vernal hours 
The air of liberty, the light of truth ; 
Much have ye suffered from Time's gnawing tooth : 
Yet, O ye spires of Oxford ! domes and towers ! 
Gardens and groves ! your presence overpowers 
The soberness of reason ; till, in sooth, 
Transformed, and rushing on a bold exchange 
I slight my own beloved Cam, to range 
Where silver Isis leads my stripling feet ; 
Pace the long avenue, or glide adown 
The stream-like windings of that glorious street 
An eager Novice robed in fluttering gown ! 



462 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

III 

OXFORD, MAY 30, 1820 

SHAME on this faithless heart ! that could allow 
Such transport, though but for a moment's space ; 
Not while to aid the spirit of the place 
The crescent moon clove with its glittering prow 
The clouds, or night-bird sang from shady bough ; 
But in plain daylight : - She, too, at my side, 
Who, with her heart's experience satisfied, 
Maintains inviolate its slightest vow ! 
Sweet Fancy ! other gifts must I receive ; 
Proofs of a higher sovereignty I claim ; 10 

Take from her brow the withering flowers of eve, 
And to that brow life's morning wreath restore ; 
Let her be comprehended in the frame 
Of these illusions, or they please no more. 

IV 

RECOLLECTION OF THE PORTRAIT OF KING HENRY THE EIGHTH, 
TRINITY LODGE CAMBRIDGE 



imperial Stature, the colossal stride, 
Are yet before me ; yet do I behold 
The broad full visage, chest of amplest mould, 
The vestments 'broidered with barbaric pride : 
And lo ! a poniard, at the Monarch's side, 
Hangs ready to be grasped in sympathy 
With the keen threatenings of that fulgent eye, 
Below the white-rimmed bonnet, far-descried. 
Who trembles now at thy capricious mood ? 
'Mid those surrounding Worthies, haughty King, 
We rather think, with grateful mind sedate, 
How Providence educeth, from the spring 
Of lawless will, unlooked-for streams of good, 
Which neither force shall check nor time abate ! 

Published 1827 



ON THE DEATH OF HIS MAJESTY (GEORGE THE THIRD) 

WARD of the Law ! dread Shadow of a King! 
Whose realm had dwindled to one stately room ; 
Whose universe was gloom immersed in gloom, 
Darkness as thick as life o'er life could fling, 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 463 

Save haply for some feeble glimmering 

Of Faith and Hope if thou, by nature's doom. 

Gently hast sunk into the quiet tomb. 

Why should we bend in grief, to sorrow cling, 

When thankfulness were best ? Fresh-flowing tears, 

Or, where teal's flow not, sigh succeeding sigh, 10 

Yield to such after-thought the sole reply 

Which justly it can claim. The Nation hears 

In this deep knell, silent for threescore years, 

An unexampled voice of awful memory ! 

1820 



VI 

JUNE, 1820 

FAME tells of groves from England far away 
Groves l that inspire the Nightingale to trill 
And modulate, with subtle reach of skill 
Elsewhere unmatched, her ever-varying lay ; 
Such bold report I venture to gainsay : 
For I have heard the quire of Richmond hill 
Chanting, with indefatigable bill, 
Strains that recalled to mind a distant day ; 
When, haply under shade of that same wood, 
And scarcely conscious of the dashing oars 
Plied steadily between those \villowy shores, 
The sweet-souled Poet of the Seasons stood 
Listening, and listening long, in rapturous mood, 
Ye heavenly Birds ! to your Progenitors. 



VII 

A PARSONAGE IN OXFORDSHIRE 

WHERE holy ground begins, unhallowed ends, 
Is marked by no distinguishable line ; 
The turf unites, the pathways intertwine ; 
And, wheresoe'er the stealing footstep tends, 
Garden, and that Domain where kindred, friends, 
And neighbours rest together, here confound 
Their several features, mingled like the sound 
Of many waters, or as evening blends 

1 Wallachia is the country alluded to. 



464 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

With shady night. Soft airs, from shrub and flower, 

Waft fragrant greetings to each silent grave ; ic 

And while those lofty poplars gently wave 

Their tops, between them comes and goes a sky 

Bright as the glimpses of eternity, 

To saints accorded in their mortal hour. 

1820 

VIII 

COMPOSED AMONG THE RUINS OF A CASTLE IN NORTH WALES 

THROUGH shattered galleries, 'mid roofless halls, 
Wandering with timid footsteps oft betrayed, 
The Stranger sighs, nor scruples to upbraid 
Old Time, though he, gentlest among the Thralls 
Of Destiny, upon these wounds hath laid 
His lenient touches, soft as light that falls, 
From the wan Moon, upon the towers and walls, 
Light deepening the profoundest sleep of shade. 
Relic of Kings ! Wreck of forgotten wars, 
To winds abandoned and the prying stars, i< 

Time laves Thee ! at his call the Seasons twine 
Luxuriant wreaths around thy forehead hoar ; 
And, though past pomp no changes can restore, 
A soothing recompense, his gift, is thine ! 

Probably 1824 

IX 

TO THE LADY E. B. AND THE HON. MISS P. 
Composed in the Grounds of Plass Newidd, near Llangollen, 1824 

A STREAM, to mingle with your favourite Dee, 
j\_ Along the VALE OF MEDITATION * flows ; 
So styled by those fierce Britons, pleased to see 
In Nature's face the expression of repose; 
Or haply there some pious hermit chose 
To live and die, the peace of heaven his aim ; 
To whom the wild sequestered region owes, 
At this late day, its sanctifying name. 
GLYN CAFAILLGAROCH, in the Cambrian tongue, 
In ours, the VALE OF FRIENDSHIP, let this spot K 

Be named ; where, faithful to a low-roofed Cot, 
On Deva's banks, ye have abode so long ; 
Sisters in love, a love allowed to climb, 
Even on this earth, above the reach of Time ! 

1 Glyn Myrvr. 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 465 

X 

TO THE TORRENT AT THE DEVII/S BRIDGE, NORTH WALES, 1824 

HOW art thou named ? In search of what strange 
land, 

From what huge height, descending ? Can such force 
Of waters issue from a British source, 
Or hath not Pindus fed thee, where the band 
Of Patriots scoop their freedom out, with hand 
Desperate as thine ? Or come the incessant shocks 
From that young Stream, that smites the throbbing 

rocks, 

Of Viamala ? There I seem to stand, 
As in life's morn ; permitted to behold, 
From the dread chasm, woods climbing above woods, 10 
In pomp that fades not ; everlasting snows ; 
And skies that ne'er relinquish their repose ; 
Such power possess the family of floods 
Over the minds of Poets, young or old ! 

XI 

IN THE WOODS OF RYDAL 

WILD Redbreast ! hadst thou at Jemima's lip 
Pecked, as at mine, thus boldly, Love might 

say, 

A half-blown rose had tempted thee to sip 
Its glistening dews ; but hallowed is the clay 
Which the Muse warms ; and I, whose head is grey, 
Am not unworthy of thy fellowship ; 
Nor could I let one thought one motion slip 
That might thy sylvan confidence betray. 
For are we not all His without whose care 
Vouchsafed no sparrow falleth to the ground ? 10 

Who gives his Angels wings to speed through air, 
And rolls the planets through the blue profound ; 
Then peck or perch, fond Flutterer ! nor forbear 
To trust a Poet in still musings bound. 

Published 182? 

XII 

WHEN Philoctetes in the Lemnian isle 
Like a Form sculptured on a monument 
Lay couched ; on him or his dread bow unbent 
Some wild Bird oft might settle and beguile 

l-GG 



466 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

The rigid features of a transient smile, 
Disperse the tear, or to the sigh give vent, 
Slackening the pains of ruthless banishment 
From his lov'd home, and from heroic toil. 
And trust that spiritual Creatures round us move, 
Griefs to allay which Reason cannot heal ; 
Yea, veriest reptiles have sufficed to prove 
To fettered wretchedness that no Bastille 
Is deep enough to exclude the light of love, 
Though man for brother man has ceased to feel. 

Published 1827 



XIII 

WHILE Anna's peers and early playmates tread, 
In freedom, mountain-turf and river's marge ; 
Or float with music in the festal barge ; 
Rein the proud steed, or through the dance are led ; 
Her doom it is to press a weary bed 
Till oft her guardian Angel, to some charge 
More urgent called, will stretch his wings at large, 
And friends too rarely prop the languid head. 
Yet, helped by Genius untired comforter, 
The presence even of a stuffed Owl for her * 

Can cheat the time ; sending her fancy out 
To ivied castles and to moonlight skies, 
Though he can neither stir a plume, nor shout ; 
Nor veil, with restless film, his staring eyes. 

Published 1827 



XIV 

TO THE CUCKOO 

NOT the whole warbling grove in concert heard 
When sunshine follows shower, the breast can 

thrill 

Like the first summons, Cuckoo ! of thy bill, 
With its twin notes inseparably paired. 
The captive 'mid damp vaults unsunned, unaired, 
Measuring the periods of his lonely doom, 
That cry can reach ; and to the sick man's room 
Sends gladness, by no languid smile declared. 
The lordly eagle-race through hostile search 
May perish ; time may come when never more i 

The wilderness shall hear the lion roar ; 
But, long as cock shall crow from household perch 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 467 

To rouse the dawn, soft gales shall speed thy wing, 
And thy erratic voice be faithful to the Spring ! 

Published 1827 



XV 

TO 



' Miss not the occasion : by the forelock take 
That subtle Power, the never-halting Time, 
Lest a mere moment's putting-off should make 
Mischance almost as heavy as a crime. ' 

T T 7 AIT, prithee, wait ! ' this answer Lesbia threw 
V V Forth to her Dove, and took no further heed. 
Her eye was busy, while her fingers flew 
Across the harp, with soul-engrossing speed ; 
But from that bondage when her thoughts were freed 
She rose, and toward the close-shut casement drew, 
Whence the poor unregarded Favourite, true 
To old affections, had been heard to plead 
With flapping wing for entrance. What a shriek 
Forced from that voice so lately tuned to a strain K 
Of harmony ! a shriek of terror, pain, 
And self-reproach ! for, from aloft, a Kite 
Pounced, and the Dove, which from its ruthless beak 
She could not rescue, perished in her sight ! 

Published 1835 



XVI 

THE INFANT M 



T TNQUIET Childhood here by special grace 
^^_J Forgets her nature, opening like a flower 
That neither feeds nor wastes its vital power 
In painful struggles. Months each other chase, 
And nought untunes that Infant's voice ; no trace 
Of fretful temper sullies her pure cheek ; 
Prompt, lively, self-sufficing, yet so meek 
That one enrapt with gazing on her face 
(Which even the placid innocence of death i 

Could scarcely make more placid, heaven more bright) 
Might learn to picture, for the eye of faith, 
The Virgin, as she shone with kindred light ; 
A nursling couched upon her mother's knee, 
Beneath some shady palm of Galilee. 

Published 1827 



468 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XVII 

TO , IN HER SEVENTIETH YEAR 

SUCH age how beautiful ! O Lady bright, 
Whose mortal lineaments seem all refined 
By favouring Nature and a saintly Mind 
To something purer and more exquisite 
Than flesh and blood ; whene'er thou meet'st my sight, 
When I behold thy blanched umvithered cheek, 
Thy temples fringed with locks of gleaming white, 
And head that droops fcecause the soul is meek, 
Thee with the welcome Snowdrop I compare ; 
That child of winter, prompting thoughts that climb 10 
From desolation toward the genial prime ; 
Or with the Moon conquering earth's misty air, 
And filling more and more with crystal light 
As pensive Evening deepens into night. 

1824 

XVIII 

TO ROTHA Q 



ROTH A, my Spiritual Child ! this head was grey 
When at the sacred font for thee I stood ; 
Pledged till thou reach the verge of womanhood, 
And shalt become thy own sufficient stay : 
Too late, I feel, sweet Orphan ! was the day 
For steadfast hope the contract to fulfil ; 
Yet shall my blessing hover o'er thee still, 
Embodied in the music of this Lay, 
Breathed forth beside the peaceful mountain Stream ] 
Whose murmur soothed thy languid Mother's ear 10 
After her throes, this Stream of name more dear 
Since thou dost bear it, a memorial theme 
For others ; for thy future self, a spell 
To summon fancies out of Time's dark cell. 

Published 1827 

XIX 

A GRAVESTONE UPON THE FLOOR IN THE CLOISTERS OF 
WORCESTER CATHEDRAL 

' MiSERRIMUS ! ' and neither name nor date, 
Prayer, text, or symbol, graven upon the stone ; 
Nought but that word assigned to the unknown, 
That solitary word to separate 

1 The river Rotha, that flows into Windermere from the Lakes of Gras- 
mere and Rydal. 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 469 

From all, and cast a cloud around the fate 

Of him who lies beneath. Most wretched one, 

Who chose his epitaph? Himself alone 

Could thus have dared the grave to agitate, 

And claim, among the dead, this awful crown ; 

Nor doubt that He marked also for his own 10 

Close to these cloistral steps a burial-place, 

That every foot might fall with heavier tread, 

Trampling upon his vileness. Stranger, pass 

Softly ! To save the contrite, Jesus bled. 

Published 1829 

XX 

ROMAN ANTIQUITIES DISCOVERED AT BISHOPSTONE, 
HEREFORDSHIRE 

WHILE poring Antiquarians search the ground 
Upturned with curious pains, the Bard, a Seer, 
Takes fire : The men that have been reappear; 
Romans for travel girt, for business gowned ; 
And some recline on couches, myrtle-crowned, 
In festal glee : why not ? For fresh and clear, 
As if its hues were of the passing year, 
Dawns this time-buried pavement. From that mound 
Hoards may come forth of Trajans, Maxim ins, 
Shrunk into coins with all their warlike toil : 10 

Or a fierce impress issues with its foil 
Of tenderness the Wolf, whose suckling Twins 
The unlettered ploughboy pities when he wins 
The casual treasure from the furrowed soil. 

Published 1835 

XXI 

1830 

^HATSWORTH! thy stately mansion, and the 
\_s pride 

Of thy domain, strange contrast do present 
To house and home in many a craggy rent 
Of the wild Peak ; where new-born waters glide 
Through fields whose thrifty occupants abide 
As in a dear and chosen banishment, 
With every semblance of entire content ; 
So kind is simple Nature, fairly tried ! 
Yet He whose heart in childhood gave her troth 
To pastoral dales, thin-set with modest farms, 10 

May learn, if judgment strengthen with his growth, 
That, not for Fancy only, pomp hath charms ; 
And, strenuous to protect from lawless harms 
The extremes of favoured life, may honour both. 



470 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXII 

A TRADITION OF OKER HILL IN DARLEY DALE, DERBYSHIRE 

' / nn % IS said that to the brow of yon fair hill 

Two Brothers clomb, and, turning face from face, 
Nor one look more exchanging, grief to still 
Or feed, each planted on that lofty place 
A chosen Tree ; then, eager to fulfil 
Their courses, like two new-born rivers, they 
In opposite directions urged their way 
Down from the far-seen mount. No blast might kill 
Or blight that fond memorial ; the trees grew, 
And now entwine their arms ; but ne'er again 10 

Embraced those Brothers upon earth's wide plain ; 
Nor aught of mutual joy or sorrow knew 
Until their spirits mingled in the sea 
That to itself takes all, Eternity. 

Published 1829 

XXIII 

FILIAL PIETY 

(On the Wayside between Preston and Liverpool) 
T T NTOUCHED through all severity of cold ; 
\^J Inviolate, whate'er the cottage hearth 
Might need for comfort, or for festal mirth ; 
That Pile of Turf is half a century old : 
Yes, Traveller ! fifty winters have been told 
Since suddenly the dart of death went forth 
'Gainst him who raised it, his last work on earth : 
Thence has it, with the Son, so strong a hold 
Upon his Father's memory, that his hands, 
Through reverence, touch it only to repair 10 

Its waste. Though crumbling with each breath of air, 
In annual renovation thus it stands 
Rude Mausoleum ! but wrens nestle there, 
And red-breasts warble when sweet sounds are rare. 

1828 

XXIV 

TO THE AUTHOR'S PORTRAIT 

Tainted at Rydal Mount, by W. Pickersgill, Esq., for St. John's College, 
Cambridge.] 

GO, faithful Portrait ! and where long hath knelt 
Margaret, the saintly Foundress, take thy place ; 
And, if Time spare the colours for the grace 
Which to the work surpassing skill hath dealt, 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 471 

Thou, on thy rock reclined, though kingdoms melt 

And states be torn up by the roots, wilt seem 

To breathe in rural peace, to hear the stream, 

And think and feel as once the Poet felt. 

Whate'er thy fate, those features have not grown 

Unrecognised through many a household tear 10 

More prompt, more glad, to fall than drops of dew 

By morning shed around a flower half-blown ; 

Tears of delight, that testified how true 

To life thou art, and, in thy truth, how dear ! 

Probably 1832 

XXV 

WHY art thou silent ! Is thy love a plant 
Of such weak fibre that the treacherous air 
Of absence withers what was once so fair ? 
Is there no debt to pay, no boon to grant ? 
Yet have my thoughts for thee been vigilant 
Bound to thy service with unceasing care, 
The mind's least generous wish a mendicant 
For nought but what thy happiness could spare. 
Speak though this soft warm heart, once free to hold 
A thousand tender pleasures, thine and mine, 10 

Be left more desolate, more dreary cold 
Than a forsaken bird's-nest filled with snow 
'Mid its own bush of leafless eglantine 
Speak, that my torturing doubts their end may know ! 

Published 1835 

XXVI 

TO B. R. HAYDON, ON SEEING HIS PICTURE OF NAPOLEON 
BUONAPARTE ON THE ISLAND OF ST. HELENA 

HAYDON ! let worthier judges praise the skill 
Here by thy pencil shown in truth of lines 
And charm of colours ; / applaud those signs 
Of thought, that give the true poetic thrill ; 
That unencumbered whole of blank and still, 
Sky without cloud ocean without a wave ; 
And the one Man that laboured to enslave 
The World, sole-standing high on the bare hill 
Back turned, arms folded, the unapparent face 
Tinged, we may fancy, in this dreary place 10 

With light reflected from the invisible sun 
Set, like his fortunes ; but not set for aye 
Like them. The unguilty Power pursues his way, 
And before him doth dawn perpetual run. 

June 11, 1831 



472 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXVII 

A POET ! He hath put his heart to school, 

Nor dares to move unpropped upon the staff 

Which Art hath lodged within his hand must laugh 

By precept only, and shed tears by rule. 

Thy Art be Nature ; the live current quaff, 

And let the groveller sip his stagnant pool, 

In fear that else, when Critics grave and cool 

Have killed him, Scorn should write his epitaph. 

How does the Meadow-flower its bloom unfold ? 

Because the lovely little flower is free 10 

Down to its root, and, in that freedom, bold ; 

And so the grandeur of the Forest-tree 

Comes not by casting in a formal mould, 

But from its own divine vitality. 

Published 1842 

XXVIII 

THE most alluring clouds that mount the sky 
Owe to a troubled element their forms, 
Their hues to sunset. If with raptured eye 
We watch their splendour, shall we covet storms, 
And wish the Lord of day his slow decline 
Would hasten, that such pomp may float on high ? 
Behold, already they forget to shine, 
Dissolve and leave to him who gazed a sigh. 
Not loth to thank each moment for its boon 
Of pure delight, come whensoe'er it may, 10 

Peace let us seek, to steadfast things attune 
Calm expectations, leaving to the gay 
And volatile their love of transient bowers, 
The house that cannot pass away be ours. 

Published 1842 

XXIX 

ON A PORTRAIT OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON UPON 
THE FIELD OF WATERLOO, BY HAYDON 

Y Art's bold privilege Warrior and War-horse stand 
On ground yet strewn with their last battle's wreck; 

the Steed glory while his Master's hand 
Lies fixed for ages on his conscious neck ; 
But by the Chieftain's look, though at his side 
Hangs that day's treasured sword, how firm a check 
Is given to triumph and all human pride ! 
Yon trophied Mound shrinks to a shadowy speck 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 473 

In his calm presence ! Him the mighty deed 
Elates not, brought far nearer the grave's rest, 10 

As shows that time-worn face, for he such seed 
Has sown as yields, we trust, the fruit of fame 
In Heaven ; hence no one blushes for thy name, 
Conqueror, 'mid some sad thoughts, divinely blest ! 

Aug. 31, 1840 



XXX 

COMPOSED ON A MAY MORNING, 1838 

T IFE with yon Lambs, like day, is just begun, 

_^ Yet Nature seems to them a heavenly guide. 
Does joy approach ? they meet the coming tide ; 
And sullenness avoid, as now they shun 
Pale twilight's lingering glooms, and in the sun 
Couch near their dams, with quiet satisfied ; 
Or gambol each with his shadow at his side, 
Varying its shape wherever he may run. 
As they from turf yet hoar with sleepy dew 
All turn, and court the shining and the green, 
Where herbs look up, and opening flowers are seen 
Why to God's goodness cannot We be true, 
And so, His gifts and promises between, 
Feed to the last on pleasures ever new ? 



XXXI 

T O ! where she stands fixed in a saint-like trance, 

_^ One upward hand, as if she needed rest 
From rapture, lying softly on her breast ! 
Nor wants her eyeball an ethereal glance ; 
But not the less nay more that countenance, 
While thus illumined, tells of painful strife 
For a sick heart made weary of this life 
By love, long crossed with adverse circumstance. 
Would She were now as when she hoped to pass 
At God's appointed hour to them who tread 10 

Heaven's sapphire pavement, yet breathed well content, 
Well pleased, her foot should print earth's common grass, 
Lived thankful for day's light, for daily bread, 
For health, and time in obvious duty spent. 

Published 1842 



474 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XXXII 

TO A PAINTER 

A~,L praise the Likeness by thy skill portrayed ; 
But 'tis a fruitless task to paint for me, 
Who, yielding not to changes Time has made, 
By the habitual light of memory see 
Eyes unbedimmed, see bloom that cannot fade, 
And smiles that from their birthplace ne'er shall flee 
Into the land where ghosts and phantoms be ; 
And, seeing this, own nothing in its stead. 
Couldst thou go back into far-distant years, 
Or share with me, fond thought ! that inward eye, n 
Then, and then only, Painter ! could thy Art 
The visual powers of Nature satisfy, 
Which hold, whate'er to common sight appears, 
Their sovereign empire in a faithful heart. 

1840 
XXXIII 

ON THE SAME SUBJECT 

THOUGH I beheld at first with blank surprise 
This Work, I now have gazed on it so long 
I see its truth with unreluctant eyes ; 
O, my Beloved ! I have done thee wrong, 
Conscious of blessedness, but, whence it sprung, 
Ever too heedless, as I now perceive : 
Morn into noon did pass, noon into eve, 
And the old day was welcome as the young, 
As welcome, and as beautiful in sooth 
More beautiful, as being a thing more holy : u 

Thanks to thy virtues, to the eternal youth 
Of all thy goodness, never melancholy ; 
To thy large heart and humble mind, that cast 
Into one vision, future, present, past. 

1840 

XXXIV 

HARK ! 'tis the Thrush, undaunted, undeprest, 
By twilight premature of cloud and rain ; 
does that roaring wind deaden his strain 
Who carols thinking of his Love and nest, 
And seems, as more incited, still more blest. 
Thanks ; thou hast snapped a fireside Prisoner's chain, 
Exulting Warbler ! eased a fretted brain, 
And in a moment charmed my cares to rest. 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 475 

Yes, I will forth, bold Bird ! and front the blast, 
That we may sing together, if thou wilt, 10 

So loud, so clear, my Partner through life's day, 
Mute in her nest love-chosen, if not love-built 
Like thine, shall gladden, as in seasons past, 
Thrilled by loose snatches of the social Lay. 

Hydal Mount, 1838 

XXXV 

TIS He whose yester-evening's high disdain 
Beat back the roaring storm but how subdued 
His day-break note, a sad vicissitude ! 
Does the hour's drowsy weight his glee restrain ? 
Or, like the nightingale, her joyous vein 
Pleased to renounce, does this dear Thrush attune 
His voice to suit the temper of yon Moon 
Doubly depressed, setting, and in her wane ? 
Rise, tardy Sun ! and let the Songster prove 
(The balance trembling between night and morn 10 
No longer) with Avhat ecstasy upborne 
He can pour forth his spirit. In heaven above, 
And earth below, they best can serve true gladness 
Who meet most feelingly the calls of sadness. 

1838 

XXXVI 

OH what a Wreck ! how changed in mien and 
speech ! 

Yet though dread Powers, that work in mystery, spin 
Entanglings of the brain ; though shadows stretch 
O'er the chilled heart reflect ; far, far within 
Hers is a holy Being, freed from Sin. 
She is not what she seems, a forlorn wretch, 
But delegated Spirits comfort fetch 
To Her from heights that Reason may not win. 
Like Children, She is privileged to hold 
Divine communion ; both to live and move, 10 

Whate'er to shallow Faith their ways unfold, 
Inly illumined by Heaven's pitying love ; 
Love pitying innocence, not long to last, 
In them in Her our sins and sorrows past. 

1837 

XXXVII 

T NTENT on gathering wool from hedge and brake 

Yon busy Little-ones rejoice that soon 
A poor old Dame will bless them for the boon : 
Great is their glee while flake they add to flake 



476 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

With rival earnestness ; far other strife 

Than will hereafter move them, if they make 

Pastime their idol, give their day of life 

To pleasure snatched for reckless pleasure's sake. 

Can pomp and show allay one heart-born grief? 

Pains which the World inflicts can she requite ? 10 

Not for an interval however brief; 

The silent thoughts that search for steadfast light, 

Love from her depths, and Duty in her might, 

And Faith these only yield secure relief. 

March 8, 1842 

XXXVIII 

A PLEA FOR AUTHORS, MAY, 1838 

FAILING impartial measure to dispense 
To every suitor, Equity is lame ; 
And social Justice, stript of reverence 
For natural rights, a mockery and a shame ; 
Law but a servile dupe of false pretence, 
If, guarding grossest things from common claim 
Now and for ever, She, to works that came 
From mind and spirit, grudge a short-lived fence. 
' What ! lengthened privilege, a lineal tie, 
For Books ! ' Yes, heartless Ones, or be it proved 10 
That 'tis a fault in Us to have lived and loved 
Like others, with like temporal hopes to die ; 
No public harm that Genius from her course 
Be turned ; and streams of truth dried up, even at 
their source ! 

XXXIX 

VALEDICTORY SONNET 
Closing the Volume of Sonnets published in 1838 

SERVING no haughty Muse, my hands have here 
Disposed some cultured Flowerets (drawn from spots 
Where they bloomed singly, or in scattered knots,) 
Each kind in several beds of one parterre ; 
Both to allure the casual Loiterer, 
And that, so placed, my Nurslings may requite 
Studious regard with opportune delight, 
Nor be unthanked, unless I fondly err. 
But metaphor dismissed, and thanks apart, 
Reader, farewell ! My last words let them be 10 
If in this book Fancy and Truth agree ; 
If simple Nature trained by careful Art 
Through It have won a passage to thy heart ; 
Grant me thy love, I crave no other fee ! 

1838 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 477 



XL 

TO THE REV. CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, D.D., MASTER OF 

HARROW SCHOOL, 
After the perusal of his Theophilus Anglicanus, recently published 

NLIGHTENED Teacher, gladly from thy hand 

Have I received this proof of pains bestowed 
y Thee to guide thy Pupils on the road 
That, in our native isle, and every land, 
The Church, when trusting in divine command 
And in her Catholic attributes, hath trod : 
O may these lessons be with profit scanned 
To thy heart's wish, thy labour blest by God ! 
So the bright faces of the young and gay 
Shall look more bright the happy, happier still, 10 
Catch, in the pauses of their keenest play, 
Motions of thought which elevate the will 
And, like the Spire that from your classic Hill 
Points heavenward, indicate the end and way. 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 11, 1843 

XLI 

TO THE PLANET VENUS, 

Upon its approximation (as an Evening Star) to the Earth, January, 1838 
T T 7 HAT strong allurement draws, what spirit guides, 
VV Thee, Vesper! brightening still, as if the nearer 
Thou com'st to man's abode the spot grew dearer 
Night after night ? True is it Nature hides 
Her treasures less and less. Man now presides 
In power, where once he trembled in his weakness ; 
Science advances with gigantic strides ; 
But are we aught enriched in love and meekness ? 
Aught dost thou see, bright Star ! of pure and wise 
More than in humbler times graced human story ; 10 
That makes our hearts more apt to sympathise 
With heaven, our souls more fit for future glory, 
When earth shall vanish from our closing eyes, 
Ere we lie down in our last dormitory ? 

XLII 

WANSFELL ! this Household has a favoured lot, 
Living with liberty on thee to gaze, 
To watch while Morn first crowns thee with her rays, 
Or when along thy breast serenely float 

1 The Hill that rises to the south-east, above Ambleside. 



478 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Evening's angelic clouds. Yet ne'er a note 
Hath sounded (shame upon the Bard !) thy praise 
For all that thou, as if from heaven, hast brought 
Of glory lavished on our quiet days. 
Bountiful Son of Earth ! when we are gone 
From every object dear to mortal sight, 10 

As soon we shall be, may these words attest 
How oft, to elevate our spirits, shone 
Thy visionary majesties of light, 
How in thy pensive glooms our hearts found rest. 

Dec. 24, 1842 

XLIII 

WHILE beams of orient light shoot wide and high, 
Deep in the vale a little rural Town l 
Breathes forth a cloud-like creature of its own, 
That mounts not toward the radiant morning sky, 
But, with a less ambitious sympathy, 
Hangs o'er its Parent waking to the cares 
Troubles and toils that every day prepares. 
So Fancy, to the musing Poet's eye, 
Endears the Lingerer. And how blest her sway 
(Like influence never may my soul reject !) 10 

If the calm Heaven, now to its zenith decked 
With glorious forms in numberless array, 
To the lone shepherd on the hills disclose 
Gleams from a world in which the saints repose. 

Jan. 1, 1843 

XLIV 

IN my mind's eye a Temple, like a cloud 
Slowly surmounting some invidious hill, 
Rose out of darkness : the bright Work stood still ; 
And might of its own beauty have been proud, 
But it was fashioned and to God was vowed 
By Virtues that diffused, in every part, 
Spirit divine through forms of human art : 
Faith had her arch her arch, when winds blow loud, 
Into the consciousness of safety thrilled ; 
And Love her towers of dread foundation laid 10 

Under the grave of things ; Hope had her spire 
Star-high, and pointing still to something higher ; 
Trembling I gazed, but heard a voice it said, 
' Hell-gates are powerless Phantoms when tve build.' 

Published 1827 

1 Ambleside. 



MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS 479 

XLV 

ON THE PROJECTED KENDAL AND WINDERMERE RAILWAY 

IS then no nook of English ground secure 
From rash assault ? l Schemes of retirement sown 
In youth, and 'mid the busy world kept pure 
As when their earliest flowers of hope were blown, 
Must perish ; how can they this blight endure ? 
And must he too the ruthless change bemoan 
Who scorns a false utilitarian lure 
'Mid his paternal fields at random thrown ? 
Baffle the threat, bright Scene, from Orrest-head 
Given to the pausing traveller's rapturous glance : 10 
Plead for thy peace, thou beautiful romance 
Of nature ; and, if human hearts be dead, 
Speak, passing winds ; ye torrents, with your strong 
And constant voice, protest against the wrong. 

Oct. 12, 1844 

XLVI 

PROUD were ye, Mountains, when, in times of old, 
Your patriot sons, to stem invasive war, 
Intrenched your brows ; ye gloried in each scar : 
Now, for your shame, a Power, the Thirst of Gold, 
That rules o'er Britain like a baneful star, 
Wills that your peace, your beauty, shall be sold, 
And clear way made for her triumphal car 
Through the beloved retreats your arms enfold ! 
Hear YE that Whistle ? As her long-linked Train 
Swept onwards, did the vision cross your view ? 10 

Yes, ye were startled ; and, in balance true, 
Weighing the mischief with the promised gain, 
Mountains, and Vales, and Floods, I call on you 
To share the passion of a j ust disdain. 

1844 

1 The degree and kind of attachment which many of the yeomanry feel to 
their small inheritances can scarcely be overrated. Near the house of one 
of them stands a magnificent tree, which a neighbour of the owner advised 
him to fell for profit's sake. ' Fell it ! ' exclaimed the yeoman, ' I had 
rather fall on my knees and worship it.' It happens, I believe, that the 
intended railway would pass through this little property, and I hope that an 
apology for the answer will not be thought necessary by one who enters 
into the strength of the feeling. 



480 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

XLVII 

AT FURNESS ABBEY 

HERE, where, of havoc tired and rash undoing, 
Man left this Structure to become Time's prey, 
A soothing spirit follows in the way 
That Nature takes, her counter-work pursuing. 
See how her Ivy clasps the sacred Ruin, 
Fall to prevent or beautify decay; 
And, on the mouldered walls, how bright, how gay, 
The flowers in pearly dews their bloom renewing ! 
Thanks to the place, blessings upon the hour ; 
Even as I speak the rising Sun's first smile 10 

Gleams on the grass-crowne,d top of yon tall Tower, 
Whose cawing occupants with joy proclaim 
Prescriptive title to the shattered pile, 
Where, Cavendish, thine seems nothing but a name ! 

Probably 1845 

XLVIII 

AT FURNESS ABBEY 

WELL have yon Railway Labourers to THIS ground 
Withdrawn for noontide rest. They sit, they 

walk 

Among the Ruins, but no idle talk 
Is heard ; to grave demeanour all are bound ; 
And from one voice a Hymn with tuneful sound 
Hallows once more the long-deserted Quire 
And thrills the old sepulchral earth around. 
Others look up, and with fixed eyes admire 
That wide-spanned arch, wondering how it was raised, 
To keep, so high in air, its strength and grace : 10 

All seem to feel the spirit of the place, 
And by the general reverence God is praised : 
Profane Despoilers, stand ye not reproved, 
While thus these simple-hearted men are moved? 

June 21, 1845 



NOTES 

POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH 

P.I. I. EXTRACT. From the Conclusion of a Poem composed in anticipation 
of leaving School: 'I wrote, while yet a schoolboy, a long poem running 
upon my own adventures and the scenery of the county in which I was 
brought up. The only part of that poem which has been preserved is the 
conclusion of it, which stands at the beginning of my collected poems.' 
Autobiographical Memoranda in the Memoirs of W. W., by Christopher 
Wordsworth, vol. i. p. 12. 'The poem of which it [the Extract] was 
the conclusion, was of many hundred lines, and contained thoughts and 
images, most of which have been dispersed through my other writings.' 

I. F. Cp. The Prelude, viii., 468 foil. 

P. 2. II. WRITTEN IN VERY EARLY YOUTH : Dated 1786 by W. in ed. 
1837. Published originally in The Morning Post, Feb. 13, 1802. From 
1807 to 1843 included among Miscellaneous Sonnets. 

P. 2. III. AN EVENING WALK. Addressed to a Young Lady : The poet's 
sister Dorothy. For the original form of this poem cp. vol. iii. p. 450. 
L. 9. In ed. 1793, 1. 9 ran : 

Where, bosom'd deep, the shy Winander peeps. 

In 1827, partly for euphony, partly no doubt to avoid the strained use 
of 'bosom'd ': 

Where, deep embosom'd, shy Winander peeps. 

The final text (1836) follows the severer style characteristic of 
Wordsworth. 

P. 3, 1. 32. The following lines, which appeared only in ed. 1793, are a 
good illustration of the faults which Wordsworth grew out of, and at the 
same time of his characteristic realism : 

While, Memory at my side, I wander here, 
Starts at the simplest sight th' unbidden tear, 
A form discover'd at the well-known seat, 
A spot, that angles at the riv'let's feet, 
The ray the cot of morning trav'ling nigh, 
And sail that glides the well-known alders by. 

L. 48. Still-twinkling: i.e. twinkling continually. Cp. the use of 
' still ' in The Prelude, i. 455. 
L. 54. I have added a comma after 'ghyll,' because I believe that 

II. 55, 56, which were added to the poem in ed. 1820, refer entirely to 
l HH 



482 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

what follows. It is the suddenness of the appearance of the ' obscure 
retreat' which seems like the effect of ' enchantment.' 

P. 4, 1. 73. Alluding to Horace's well-known lyric fans Bandusiae 
(Od. in. 13.). Wordsworth wrote Blandusia, a reading of the name with 
some slight authority, and found in a few printed edd. of Horace. 
L. 85. LI. 70-85 were added in ed. 1820. 

P. 5, 1. 127. LI. 98-127 represent only twelve lines (97-108) in the 
original ed. ; the passage was entirely rewritten for ed. 1820. 

L. 133. The poem referred to is : A poem written during a shooting 
excursion on the moors: by the Rev. William Greenwood, Fellow of 
St. John's College, Cambridge, and Rector of Bignor , in Sussex, MDCCLXXXVII. 
p. 18: 

. . . the broom 

In scattered plots by vivid rings of green 
Encircled . . . 
L. 135. ' Down the rough slope the pondrous waggon rings.' 

Beattie. W. 1793. The Minstrel, Bk. i. stanza 39. 
L. 141. Blasted: Wordsworth italicised this word presumably because 
it was not in his day familiarly used in this sense. The earliest occurrence 
of it noted in N. E. D. is in 1758, Borlase's Nat. Hist. Cornwall, xv. 
i. 161. 

P. 6, 1. 170. I.e. A bar divides the sun's orb as a bar might divide an 
aegis, like the shield of aegis-bearing Zeus. 

L. 175. Prospect all on fire: This phrase, hitherto untraced, is from a 
forgotten poem called Sunday Thoughts, by Moses Browne. Wordsworth 
took it no doubt from Scott's Critical Essays (pp. 349 and 351, where 
Scott highly praises the phrase itself). The passage quoted by Scott 
runs : 

Look how the rapid journeyer seems to bait 
His slackening steeds, and loos'd to evening sports 
Shoots down obliquely his diverging beams, 
That kindle on opposing hills the blaze 
Of glittering turrets and illumined domes, 
A prospect all on fire. . . . 
For Scott, see next note. 

P. 7, 1. 191. The Seasons :' Summer,' 11. 1627-29 (Aldine edition, 
1862) : 

... he dips his orb ; 

Now half-immers'd ; and now a golden curve 
Gives one bright glance, then total disappears. 

In the note of 1793, Wordsworth added, f See Scott's Critical Essays.' 
The reference is to the Critical Essays (pp. 346-48) of John Scott of 
Amwell, the Quaker poet (1730-1783). As the book is very rare, and so 
little known, that Prof. Knight apparently mistook Wordsworth's refer- 
ence for one to Sir Walter Scott (his only note is, ' It is difficult to know 
to what Wordsworth here alludes '), I append the passage in question, 



NOTES 483 

which is very characteristic of the volume in which it occurs. The 
volume contains nine essays, on nine poetical works, viz. Denham's 
Cooper s Hill, Milton's Lycidas, Pope's Windsor Forest, Dyer's Grongar 
Hill and Ruins of Rome, Collins' Oriental Eclogues, Gray's Churchyard 
Elegy, Goldsmith's Deserted Village, Thomson's Seasons. The author's 
whole conception of poetry is as tame as anything in the eighteenth 
century. What attracted Wordsworth was no doubt his sensible, if 
somewhat pedantic, objection to meaningless 'poetic diction.' Here is 
the passage. ' Our author's [Thomson's] description of the sun setting is 
another remarkable instance of his peculiar manner : 

Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees, 

Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds 

Assembled gay, a richly-gorgeous train, 

In all their pomp attend his setting throne. 

Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And now, 

As if his weary chariot sought the bowers 

Of Amphitrite, and her tending nymphs, 

(So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orb ; 

Now half-immers'd ; and now a golden curve 

Gives one bright glance, then total disappears. 

The passage is truly poetical, but very incorrect. The painting is strong, 
but careless ; it is a group of beautiful, but inconsistent imagery. The 
' ' sun's walking " is an act that infers the supposition of an imaginary 
person; its "broadening" is an act that can relate only to the real 
visible globe of fire ; the mention of the " setting throne " again indicates 
a prosopopoeia, and the ' ' dipping " of " the orb" again implies a reference 
to the natural object. This would have been a most masterly piece of 
composition if the verb " walks " had been exchanged for some other not 
incongruous to the verb " broaden " ; if the " setting throne," the un- 
meaning phrase, "just o'er the verge of day," and the bombastick 
"immense smile of air," etc., had been all omitted; the gradual 
descent and enlargement of the sun, its immersion within the horizon, 
reduction to a curve and total disappearance (all fine, natural and pictur- 
esque circumstances), been regularly connected ; and the romantick 
idea of "Phoebus's" chariot seeking the bowers of Amphitrite, been 
kept intirely (sic) distinct, and introduced last as an illustrative 
illusion.' 

L. 206. This and the next six lines took the place, in 1836, of the 
following four lines an interesting instance of an improvement effected 
after many years : 

Lost gradual o'er the heights in pomp they go, 
While silent stands th' admiring vale below 
Till, but the lonely beacon, all is fled, 
That tips with eve's last gleam his spiry head. 

The expression ' visionary horsemen ' is used in the passage in Clarke's 
Survey referred to in Wordsworth's note. 



484 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

L. 207. James Clarke (not Clark), Survey, etc., p. 56. Part of the 
passage is quoted with other illustrative matter by Prof. Knight (Eversley 
Wordsworth, vol. i. p. 19). 
L. 215. This couplet, which originally ran : 

And, fronting the bright west in stronger lines, 
The oak its dark'ning boughs and foliage twines, 

was omitted in ed. 1815, but restored in its final form in 1820. In the 
Fenwick note Wordsworth says of it : ' This is feebly and imperfectly 
expressed, but I recollect distinctly the very spot where this first struck 
me. It was on the way between Hawkshead and Ambleside, and gave 
me extreme pleasure. The moment was important in my poetical 
history ; for I date from it my consciousness of the infinite variety of 
natural appearances which had been unnoticed by the poets of any age 
or country, so far as I was acquainted with them ; and I made a resolu- 
tion to supply in some degree the deficiency. I could not have been at 
that time above fourteen years of age. ' 

LI. 216-221. A comparison of these lines, reached in 1836, with the 
text of 1793 (vol. iii. p. 455), well illustrates the importance of the 1836 
revision and the progress in severity of Wordsworth's style. 

P. 8, 1. 231. This is a fact of which I have been an eye-witness. 
W. (1793). Mantling here probably means ' covering ' ; but cp. Paradise 
Lost, vii. 439, and note below, p. 537. 

L. 235. The lily of the valley is found in great abundance in the 
smaller islands of Winandermere. W. (1793). 
L. 237. Collins, Ode to the Passions, 1. 60. 

L. 249. The following lines occur only in ed. 1793 : the inappropriate 
sentiment of the last two, and the typically ' poetic diction ' of the ex- 
pression ' rocking shades ' when used for trees in connection with the 
' sound ' made by their rocking branches, sufficiently explain the 
excision : 

No ruder sound your desart haunts invades, 
Than waters dashing wild, or rocking shades. 
Ye ne'er, like hapless human wanderers, throw 
Your young on winter's winding sheet of snow. 

LI. 252-278 should be compared with the longer passage of ed. 1793 
with its accumulation of horrors, inartistic perhaps, and often expressed 
in strained language, but very impressive in its vivid realism. The 
description was gradually pruned, in edd. 1820, 1827, 1836, 1845. 

L. 286. A passage of twenty lines followed here in ed. 1793 and was 
omitted in ed. 1820. After 1. 294 six lines stood in 1793, the last four 
of which were cancelled in 1815, the first two in 1827. 
P. 9, 1. 291. Alluding to this passage of Spenser 

Her angel face 

As the great eye of Heaven shined bright, 
And made a sunshine in that shady place. 

W. (1793). 



NOTES 485 

The Faerie Queene, bk. i. canto iii. stanza 4. Spenser wrote ( the shady 
place.' 

L. 304. After this line a passage of eight lines (ed. 1793) was omitted 
in ed. 1815 ; similarly ed. 1815 omitted a couplet after 1. 306, another 
after 1. 308, and eight lines after 1. 314. 
L. 305. Shakespeare, The Tempest, iv., i. 

And like this insubstantial pageant faded 
Leave not a rack behind. 
P. 10, 1. 330. In ed. 1793 follows this couplet : 

While rose and poppy, as the glow-worm fades, 
Checquer with paler red the thicket shades. 

The attempt to describe too much, and the inappropriate juxtaposition of 
the two colour-pictures, no doubt determined Wordsworth to make the 
excision. 

L. 334. This line was unfortunately substituted in ed. 1836 for the 
original : 

She lifts in silence up her lovely face : 

no doubt because of the position of ( up.' For a similar, but much less 
happy, position cp. the original text of this poem, 1. 28 : 

When Life rear'd laughing up her morning sun. 

L. 347. This poem was finished and dedicated to his sister after the 
Long Vacation in 1789. That and the previous Long Vacation had been 
spent chiefly in the lake district, partly in the company of Dorothy 
Wordsworth and Mary Hutchinson. In a letter of Dorothy Wordsworth 
to a friend written soon after the publication of An Evening Walk, she 
quotes from a letter of her brother speaking of ' that sympathy which 
will almost identify us, when we have stolen to our little cottage' 
(Knight's Life, i. (ix.) p. 83). These are some of the earliest mentions of 
the project which was evidently for many years in their hearts, and was 
finally realised in Dove Cottage. 

P. 11, 1. 366. Prof. Knight refers to lines of the Rev. Dr. John Brown 
(1715-1766) quoted by Wordsworth in his Guide through the District of the 
Lakes, 1 : 

But the soft murmur of swift-gushing rills, 
Forth issuing from the mountain's distant steep 
(Unheard till now, and now scarce heard), proclaimed 
All things at rest. 

' Dr. John Brown was one of the first, as Wordsworth pointed out, to 
lead the way to a true estimate of the English lakes' (Prof. Knight). 
He was a talented, eccentric man, whose best known work was An 
Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times, but who also wrote 
tragedies : Barbarossa and Athelstane, and a Dissertation on the Rise, 
Union, and Power, the Progressions, Separations, and Corruptions, of 
Poetry and Music, and other works. See Diet, of Nat. Biog. 

L. 368. This line was substituted in ed. 1832 for that of ed. 1793 : 
List'ning th' aereal music of the hill. 



486 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

The dissyllabic scansion of ' spiritual' is characteristic of Wordsworth, 
and was imitated by Tennyson. It was also employed by Milton, e.g. 
Par. Reg., 1. 10. 

L. 378. Of this poem and the Descriptive Sketches, published in the 
same year, 1793, Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in a letter to her friend 
Miss Pollard, Feb. 16th, 1793 (Knight's Life, i. (ix) p. 81) : ' . . . The 
scenes which he describes have been viewed with a poet's eye, and are 
pourtrayed with a poet's pencil, and the poems contain many passages 
exquisitely beautiful ; but they also contain many faults, the chief of 
which is obscurity, and a too frequent use of some particular expressions 
and uncommon words, for instance " moveless." . . . The word " view- 
less " also is introduced far too often. ... I regret exceedingly that he 
did not submit these works to the inspection of some friend before their 
publication, and he also joins with me in this regret. . . .' No criticism 
could be more just. 

P. 11. IV. LINES. Written while sailing in a boat at Evening. These 
Lines and the following poem were originally one piece, and were so 
published in 1798. The separation was made ' on the recommendation of 
Coleridge.' I. F. Both poems were transferred in ed. 1845 from Poems 
of Sentiment and Reflection. 

P. 12. V. REMEMBRANCE OF COLLINS. Composed upon the Thames near 
Richmond, 1. 18 : ' Him ' is in italics, because the oar is suspended not 
for Thomson but for Collins (Prof. Dowden). Cp. Collins, Ode on the 
Death of Thomson : 

Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore 

Where Thames in summer wreaths is drest, 
And oft suspend the dashing oar 
To bid his gentle spirit rest. 

P. 12. VI. DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES. Taken during a Pedestrian Tour 
among the Alps. The original form of this poem, written in the years 
1791-1792, was published in 1793. The changes introduced in sub- 
sequent editions were so numerous and important that, in order not to 
burden these notes, I follow the example of the best modern editors in 
printing the original text in an Appendix, vol. iii. p. 462. It suffices here 
to say that the main effect of the alterations and omissions was to tone 
down both the artificial ( poetic diction,' and the equally conventional 
poetic melancholy with which these first fruits of Wordsworth's muse 
were, not unnaturally, infected. Cp. Introduction, p. xli. 

For this tour cp. Introduction, p. xxx : 'Much the greatest part of 
this poem was composed during my walks upon the banks of the Loire, 
in the years 1791, 1792.' I. F. 

P. 13, 1. 3. This line was inserted in ed. 1827 : previously, 
Sure, nature's God that spot to man had giv'n, 
Where murmuring rivers join the song of ev'n. 
After 1. 6, there were four lines in ed. 1793 not subsequently reprinted. 



NOTES 487 

P. 14, 1. 9. The treatment of this passage (11. 9-18) illustrates the 
growth of Wordsworth's robustness of sentiment. Cp. the original, 
vol. iii. p. 463. The principal changes were made in ed. 1827, when the 
' way forlorn ' gave way to the ' holiday delight,' the ' sad vacuities ' to 
'gains too cheaply earned,' and the 'lost flowers,' etc., to 'brisk toil,' 
etc. ' Velvet ' was transferred from ' tread ' to ' green-sward ' in ed. 
1820. 

L. 24. And calls it luxury: Addison's Cato, i. i. 171. ( Blesses his 
stars, and thinks it luxury.' 

L. 34. Rugged was substituted for ' viewless ' in ed. 1820. Cp. 
Dorothy Wordsworth's letter quoted above, note on 1. 378 of An 
Evening Walk. 

L. 43. Originally : 

Me, lur'd by hope her sorrows to remove, 
A heart, that could not much itself approve. 
Recast in ed. 1836. 

P. 15, 1. 65. Sober Reason is between inverted commas in the original 
edition, and in edd. 1815 and 1820. 

L. 61. Professor Knight cps. Pope, Windsor Forest, 11. 129, 130: 
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye : 
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky. 

L. 71. Parting genius: Milton, On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, 
1. 186. 

L. 89. The word ' viewless ' was expelled here in ed. 1836 by the sub- 
stitution of 'loitering traveller' for 'viewless lingerer.' Cp. note on 
An Evening Walk, 1. 378 above. 

L. 92. After this line the original edition had a passage (11. 96-101) 
somewhat overburdened with epithets, which was transferred, with 
alterations, in all later editions to a later place. Cp. below, note on 
1. 131. 

P. 16, 1. 106. Here follow, in original ed. only, four lines which 
Wordsworth no doubt felt to be frigid and false in sentiment : 
Heedless how Pliny, musing here, survey'd 
Old Roman boats and figures thro' the shade, 
Pale Passion, overpower'd, retires and woos 
The thicket, where th' unlisten'd stock-dove coos. 
There is a touch of the real Wordsworth, however, in the last words. 
L. 118, till ed. 1827, followed the couplet : 

While evening's solemn bird melodious weeps, 
Heard, by star-spotted bays, beneath the steeps. 

The realism of ' star-spotted,' though not felicitous, is noticeable, 
especially in connection with the frigid 'poetic diction' of the previous 
line. It is the constant juxtaposition of these two things which make 
these early poems of Wordsworth so interesting to the student of 
literary history. 

L. 126. Till ed. 1836 e spotting the steaming deeps' the word 



488 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

' spotting ' being evidently suggested by ' star-spotted ' a few lines 
before. 

LI. 131-134 were transferred in all editions after the first from their 
original place (see orig. ed., 11. 96 foil.) to this, where they supplanted a 
somewhat obscure and over-phrased description. In 1. 134 'sylvan' 
replaced ' bosom'd ' ; cp. note on An Evening Walk, 1. 9. An additional 
objection to the use of ' bosom'd ' in this line, when it stood in its original 
place, was the occurrence of the word a few lines before, in a more legiti- 
mate expression : 

Como, bosom'd deep in chestnut groves. 

P. 17, 1. 146. Originally this couplet ran : 

Once did I pierce to where a cabin stood, 
The redbreast peace had bury'd it in wood. 
In ed. 1827 was substituted : 

And once I pierced the mazes of a wood, 
Where, far from public haunt, a cabin stood. 
The final text was reached in ed. 1836. 

L. 150. This couplet (ed. 1836) replaced the single line : 
Beneath an old-grey oak as violets lie. 

L. 166. The whole of the following passage about the gipsy was much 
rehandled and gradually reduced from its original superabundance of 
detail and of somewhat melodramatic language. Cp. the similar treat- 
ment of the similar episode in An Evening Walk, above, p. 484, note on 
11. 252-278. 

P. 18, 1. 192. Or on her fingers: Originally 'on viewless fingers'; 
altered ed. 1836. 

LI. 196-207. This passage was very much chastened and rewritten in 
ed. 1836. 

P. 19, 1. 225. Gleamy was substituted for 'drizzling' in ed. 1836, 
while the expression ' black, drizzling crags ' was removed from the 
passage about the Reuss a few lines before. The expression ' drizzling 
shower ' occurs in Paradise Lost, vi. 646. 

L. 238. Originally, 'Before those hermit doors, that never know.' 
In ed. 1836 'lonesome' was substituted for 'hermit,' in accordance with 
Wordsworth's objection to substantives used adjectivally. The text as it 
stands is that of 1845. Cp. the alteration of ' hamlet fame,' An Evening 
Walk, 176, to 'village fame,' An Evening Walk, 192; 'hermit waves,' 
219, to ' flood serene,' 232 ; ' cottage bow'r,' 227, to ' hut-like bower,' 
238. L. 328, ' Tune in the mountain dells their water lyres,' is part of 
a passage cancelled in all subsequent editions. In Descriptive Sketches, 
224, 'insect buzz,' 234, 'Banditti voices,' occur in verses cancelled in 
1827 and 1845 respectively; 305, 'casement shade' became 'shady porch' 
(244) in ed. 1836 ; 576, ' brother pair' became 'well-matched pair' (486) 
in ed. 1836; 581, 'whirlwind sound ' disappeared from ed. 1836(491); 
720, 'pilgrim feet' disappeared in ed. 1820 ; 721, ' despot courts ' became 
' proud courts' in ed. 1820, 'despotic courts,' ed. 1827. 



, NOTES 489 

LI. 246-249 were substituted in ed. 1845 for the somewhat obscure 
couplet : 

There, did the iron genius not disdain 
The gentle power that haunts the myrtle plain, 
There might the love-sick maiden, etc. 

P. 20, 11. 272-274 took the place in ed. 1845 of the following : 
And mournful sounds, as of a spirit lost, 
Pipe wild along the hollow-blustering coast, 
'Till the sun walking on his western field 
Shakes from behind the clouds his flashing shield. 

The former of these couplets one does not regret, as a not very felicitous 
rendering of a trite image ; but one would like to know why Words- 
worth rejected the second. 

L. 282. West was first italicised in ed. 1836, apparently merely to 
point the contrast with ' eastward ' above. 

L. 302. 'Faint huzzas': Prof. W. P. Ker has very kindly pointed 
out to me that Wordsworth obviously borrowed this quotation, together 
with its application to Dundee (which is not made by Burns), from a 
contemporary treatise on the picturesque, by William Gilpin, the 
original, as Prof. Ker says, of Dr. Syntax : Observations relative chiefly 
to Picturesque Beauty, made in the year 1776, on several Parts of Great 
Britain ; particularly the High-Lands of Scotland. By William Gilpin, 
A. M. ; Prebendary of Salisbury ; and Vicar of Boldre in New-Forest, 
near Lymington. London. 1789. Vol. i. p. 137. ' In the article of 
victory Dundee was mortally wounded. An old highlauder shewed us 
a few trees, under the shade of which he was led out of the battle ; and 
where he breathed his last with that intrepidity, which is so nobly 
described by a modern Scotch poet, in an interview between death and 
a victorious hero : 

' Nae cauld, faint-hearted doubtings tease him ; 
Death comes wi' fearless eye he sees him ; 
Wi' bluidy ban' a welcome gies him : 

An' when he fa's, 

His latest draught o' breathin' lea'es him 
In faint huzzas ! ' 

Burns, The Author's Earnest Cry and 

Prayer, stanza xxx. 

P. 21, 1. 327. There followed at this point, in the original edition only 
(11. 390-397), a passage of somewhat gruesome description ; another, in 
which the attempted realism certainly oversteps the boundary of the 
ludicrous, was also omitted after the original edition (11. 408-413). 
P. 22, 1. 35(J. Before ed. 1836 : 

Broke only by the melancholy sound. 
LI. 362-3 were added in ed. 1836. 

LI. 366-379. This passage was considerably chastened after the 
original edition, especially in edd. 1815 and 1836. 



490 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

P. 24, 1. 448. f The blessings he enjoys to guard': Smollett, Ode to 
Leven Water, last two lines : 

And hearts resolved and hands prepared 
The blessings they enjoy to guard. 

LI. 449-452 represent 11. 536-541 of original edition, one of the very 
immature passages which only appear in that edition. 

P. 25, 11. 500-517. This fine passage was the result of considerable re- 
handling, especially in ed. 1836, when some lines somewhat spoiled by 
frigid diction were omitted. Cp. orig. ed., 11. 590 foil. 

P. 26, 1. 520. In the original edition only there is a curiously infelici- 
tous line here, following the line about the Seine : 

Or where thick sails illume Batavia's groves. 
L. 532. In the original edition this passage began : 

Soon flies the little joy, etc. 

Wordsworth appended the note Optima quaeque dies, etc., referring to 
the line of Virgil (Georgic iii. 66) : 

Optima quaeque dies miseris mortalibus aevi 
Primafugit. 

LI. 532-539. This passage should be compared with the orig. ed., 
11. 631 foil., as a specimen of Wordsworth's development both in literary 
taste and in his spiritual outlook. The first four lines grew in ed. 1836 
out of this couplet : 

Soon flies the little joy to man allow'd, 
And tears before him travel like a cloud. 

(in ed. 1815, 'And grief before him travels like a cloud'). In the follow- 
ing lines a series of personifications ending with : 

Conscience dogging close his bleeding way 
Cries out, and leads his spectres to their prey, 

were toned down in ed. 1836, while the last couplet of the text was 
substituted for : 

'Till Hope-deserted, long in vain his breath 
Implores the dreadful untried sleep of Death. 

There is in this last line an imaginative power which betrays the great 
poet, and one cannot but regret its excision, happily though the mild 
thought of the substituted couplet is expressed. 

LI. 540-544. This passage, and in fact the rest of the poem to the end, 
was much rehandled both in ed. 1815 and in ed. 1836. In 1. 544 the 
epithet ' viewless' was ejected in ed. 1815 (orig. ed., 1. 648). With the 
sentiment of 1. 550 and the following lines cp. the verses Composed in 
one of the Catholic Cantons (vol. ii. p. 91 ), in which Wordsworth is evidently 
reminiscent of this passage. In 1820 Wordsworth, with his wife, his 
sister, and friend, revisited many of the scenes of this earlier tour. 

LI. 553-568. Some of the changes in this passage are noteworthy. In 
1. 553 (662 orig.) ' tiptoe' gave way to 'pausing,' in ed. 1836. 'Blood- 
red streams' only occurs in orig. ed. (663). In 557 (668) 'happy 
shore' became 'sacred floor' in ed. 1820. L. 669 orig. ed., ' Where the 
charm'd worm of pain shall gnaw no more ' was altered to its present 



NOTES 491 

form in ed. 1836. LI. 561-2 represent 11. 666-667 of the original, altered 
both in expression and in position. L. 564 was, in original edition only 
(673), t Those turrets tipp'd by hope with morning gold ' ; after which, in 
that edition only, came the couplet : 

And watch, while on your brows the cross ye make, 
Round your pale eyes a wintry lustre wake : 
for it was substituted in ed. 1820 : 

In that glad moment when the hands are prest 
In mute devotion on the thoughtful breast ! 

while in ed. 1836 11. 565-566 were inserted. In original edition the whole 
passage ended with lines characteristic of that period of Wordsworth's 
life; cp. orig. ed., 11. 676-679. 

P. 27, 1. 570. Ed. 1827. Previously ' Bosom'd in gloomy woods.' In 
1. 569 Wordsworth wrote in original edition (680), ' to where Chamouny 
shields,' explaining that though ( this word is pronounced upon the spot 
Chamouny, I have taken the liberty of reading it long, thinking it more 
musical.' 

LI. 575-578 replaced orig. ed. 686-691 in ed. 1836 : 
That mountain's matchless height 
That holds no commerce with the summer night 
is a great improvement on 

That mountain nam'd of white 
That dallies with the Sun the summer night. 

Cp. Coleridge's exclamation, l O struggling with the darkness all the 
night ' : Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni, a poem, written in 
1802, which obviously recalls this passage. 

Cp. 11. 579-583 with original edition, in which, among other realistic 
details, the age of the mountain is stated in accordance with Archbishop 
Ussher's Era of Creation. This passage was practically rewritten for 
ed. 1820. 

LI. 589-590. It is scarce necessary to observe that these lines were 
written before the emancipation of Savoy. W. (1793). LI. 589-90 were 
originally : 

While no Italian arts their charms combine 
To teach the skirt of thy dark cloud to shine. 

This awkward reminiscence of the 'silver lining' gave place in ed. 
1820 to : 

Hard lot ! for no Italian arts are thine 
To cheat, or chear, to soften, or refine. 

'Soothe' was substituted for ' cheat' in ed. 1827. After this passage 
came another of the ' pathetic ' passages in original edition only (709- 
712). 

L. 591. The following passage was considerably altered in ed. 1820 
and compressed in ed. 1836. See original edition. In 719 original 
edition Wordsworth wrote : 

In the wide range of many a weary round 
Still have my pilgrim feet unfailing found. 



492 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

In ed. 1820 e weary' became 'varied,' and ' Fleet as my passage was I 
still have found' got rid of the 'pilgrim feet.' LI. 721-723 orig. ed. gave 
way to the present text (597-598) in ed. 1836, in which ed. 11. 601-003 
were added. The latter part of the passage (604-611) was considerably 
compressed in ed. 1836, such expressions as ' table wealth ' and ' tempting 
hoard' on the one hand, and the homely, but not very well expressed 
' housewife, led To cull her dinner from its garden bed ' being removed. 

P. 28, 1. 612. In original edition this passage begins with one of the 
more sentimental moods, and with more imitative 'poetic diction.' See 
orig. ed. 740-743. 

LI. 612-613. This couplet was reached after much trouble in ed. 1845. 
' War's discordant habits' in orig. ed. 746 evidently displeased ; ed. 1820 
has 'discordant garments,' ed. 1827 'discordant vestments,' ed. 1836 
' discordant garb.' The ' sullen breeze ' became the ' froward breeze ' in 
ed. 1820. The 'red banner' was altered at the dictates of history to 
'three-striped banner' in ed. 1836. The following couplet was a com- 
pression, in ed. 1827, of four lines, with the substitution of ' nightingales ' 
for the poetic diction 'solemn songstress.' 

L. 632. Pleasant was substituted for ' long long ' in ed. 1836. 

P. 29, 11. 644-651 date from ed. 1836. Cp. orig. ed. 782-791. The 
change of political outlook is obvious. 

LI. 652-658 is the text of ed. 1836, still further softening that of ed. 
1820, which itself was a complete rewriting of the turgid diction of 
orig. ed. 792-805. 

L. 670. Cp. the close of original edition. The more cheerful note was 
first sounded in ed. 1827. 

P. 29. VII. LINES. Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near 
the lake of Esthwaite, on a desolate part of the shore, commanding a beautiful 
prospect : The tree has disappeared, and the slip of common on which 
it stood, that ran parallel to the lake, and lay open to it, has long been 
enclosed ; so that the road has lost much of its attraction. I. F. The 
tree stood ' about three quarters of a mile from Hawkshead, on the 
eastern shore of the lake, a little to the left, above the present highway, 
as one goes towards Sawrey. ' Prof. Knight, who also remarks that 
there is a tree near the spot which is now called, erroneously, ' Words- 
worth's Yew.' 

P. 30, 1. 27. This was the original reading, restored in ed. 1820, for 
the inferior version of ed. 1815 : 

The stone-chat, or the sand-lark, restless Bird, 
Piping along the margin of the lake : 

no doubt owing to the expostulation of Charles Lamb (Letters, April 7, 
1815). 'One admirable line gone (or something come instead of it), 
" the stone-chat, and the glancing sand-piper," which was a line 
quite alive.' 

L. 38. This line was added by Coleridge in ed. 1800 Prof. Knight, 



NOTES 493 

who says also that in 1. 30 above ' downcast ' (ed. 1800) for ' downward ' 
(ed. 1798) was an emendation by Coleridge. 

P. 31. Lines, etc. Begun before October 1787, finished not before 
1795: Composed in part at school at Hawkshead. I. F. I.e. before 
October 1787. First published in the Lyrical Ballads of 1798. In 
edd. 1815-1843 placed among Poems of Sentiment and Reflection. The 
close of the poem, as Mr. Hutchinson remarks (Lyrical Ballads, ed. 1898, 
p. 219), ' cannot have been written earlier than 1795, for here Words- 
worth sounds a counterblast to the teacher at whose feet he had sat 
during the years 1793-1794,' i.e. Godwin. 

P. 34. VIII. GUILT AND SORROW ; or, Incidents upon Salisbury Plain, 
1. 81 : From a short MS. poem read to me when an undergraduate, by 
my schoolfellow and friend, Charles Parish, long since deceased. The 
verses were by a brother of his, a man of promising genius, who died 
young. W. 

P. 35, 11. 107-108. This couplet is an echo of one in An Evening 
Walk, 11. 248-249, of swans : 

Or, starting up with noise and rude delight, 
Force half upon the wave their cumbrous flight. 
L. 122. Cp. The Prelude, xiii. 331-335 : 
It is the sacrificial altar, fed 

With living men how deep the groans ! the voice 
Of those that crowd the giant wicker thrills 
The monumental hillocks, and the pomp 
Is for both worlds, the living and the dead. 

P. 37, 1. 214. June was substituted for May in this line in ed. 1820. 
P. 38, 11. 226-234. In the place of this stanza originally stood the 
two following : 

The suns of twenty summers (lanced along, 

Ah ! little marked, how fast they rolled away : 

Then rose a mansion proud our woods among, 

And cottage after cottage owned its sway. 

No joy to see a neighbouring house or stray 

Through pastures not his own, the master took ; 

My father dared his greedy wish gainsay ; 

He loved his old hereditary nook, 

And ill could I the thought of such sad parting brook. 

But, when he had refused the proffered gold, 

To cruel injuries he became a prey, 

Sore traversed in whate'er he bought and sold ; 

His troubles grew upon him day by day, 

Till all his substance fell into decay. 

His little range of water was denied ; l 

1 Several of the lakes in the north of England are let out to different fishermen, 
in parcels marked out by imaginary lines drawn from rock to rock. W. (1798). 



494 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

All but the bed where his old body lay, 
All, all was seized, and weeping, side by side, 
We sought a home where we uninjured might abide. 
The substantial alteration of the text, by which this attack upon the 
evils of ' landlordism ' was omitted, was made in ed. 1820. 

P. 40, 1. 297- After this stanza followed only in edd. 1798 and 1800 
the following : 

Oh ! dreadful price of being to resign 
All that is dear in being ! better far 
In Want's most lonely cave till death to pine, 
Unseen, unheard, un watched by any star ; 
Or in the streets and walks where proud men are, 
Better our dying bodies to obtrude, 
Than dog-like, wading at the heels of war, 
Protract a cursed existence, with the brood 
That lap (their very nourishment !) their brother's blood. 
P. 41, 1. 326. Cp. above, An Evening Walk, 1. 135. 
P. 43, 1. 405. After this stanza stood in edd. 1798-1805 the follow- 
ing (the motive of its removal was doubtless Wordsworth's increased 
conviction of the value of order and industry. Cp. Gipsies (written 
1807), above, p. 320) : 

My heart is touched to think that men like these, 
The rude earth's tenants, were my first relief : 
How kindly did they paint their vagrant ease ! 
And their long holiday that feared not grief, 
For all belonged to all, and each was chief. 
No plough their sinews strained ; on grating road 
No wain they drove, and yet, the yellow sheaf 
In every vale for their delight was stowed : 
For them, in nature's meads, the milky udder flowed. 
P. 45, 1. 493. Griding: Wordsworth no doubt borrowed this word 
from Milton (cp. Paradise Lost, vi. 329), as Milton from Spenser, and 
Spenser from Lydgate. Cp. New Eng. Diet. 

P. 50. 1791-1794: Stanzas xxiii. -xxxiv. and xxxviii.-l. of this poem 
were first published under the title The Female Vagrant, in Lyrical Ballads 
(1798). The Female Vagrant underwent considerable changes and excisions 
in subsequent editions. . The whole poem, Guilt and Sorrow, first appeared 
in Poems, chiefly of Early and Late Years (1842). The stanzas not 
previously published had been considerably altered since their first com- 
position, as the following extract from Wordsworth's note dictated to 
Miss Fenwick testifies. 'Mr. Coleridge, when I first became acquainted 
with him, was so much impressed with this poem, that it would have 
encouraged me to publish the whole as it then stood ; but the mariner's 
fate appeared to me so tragical as to require a treatment more subdued 
and yet more strictly applicable in expression than I had at first given 
to it. This fault was corrected nearly fifty years afterwards, when I 



NOTES 495 

determined to publish the whole.' Cp. Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, 
ch. iv. , where the effect of the poem upon Coleridge, then in his twenty- 
fourth year, is recorded amid some of his best criticism. Coleridge 
especially notices that in this poem Wordsworth has freed himself from 
the conventional, ' arbitrary and illogical phrases,' which to some extent 
hung about such early work as the Descriptive Sketches. It is noteworthy, 
in this connection, that in the first stanza of The Female Vagrant the line 
' High o'er the cliffs I led my fleecy store' exemplifies in its synonym for 
' sheep ' the poetic diction against which the poet waged war ; and that 
in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800) the stanza is altered so 
that the expression ' fleecy store ' may be left out. With regard to the 
subject and motive of the poem, Wordsworth wrote to his friend 
Wrangham in Dec. 1795 (Hutchinsou, Lyrical Ballads, 1898, p. 226) that 
it was composed ( to expose the vices of the penal law, and the calamities 
of war as they affect individuals.' It develops the sentiment of the 
gloomier parts of the Descriptive Sketches, and shows Wordsworth at the 
climax of his Godwinian and ' Republican ' period. Cp. his Letter to the 
Bishop of Landaff: by a Republican (1793). 

P. 51. THE BORDEKERS. A TRAGEDY. This dramatic piece, as noticed 
in its title-page, was composed in 1795-1796. It lay from that time till 
within the last two or three months unregarded among my papers, 
without being mentioned even to my most intimate friends. Having, 
however, impressions upon my mind which made me unwilling to 
destroy the MS., I determined to undertake the responsibility of publish- 
ing it during my own life, rather than impose upon my successors the 
task of deciding its fate. Accordingly, it has been revised with some 
care ; but, as it was at first written, and is now published, without any 
view to its exhibition upon the stage, not the slightest alteration has 
been made in the conduct of the story, or the composition of the 
characters ; above all, in respect to the two leading persons of the 
drama, I felt no inducement to make any change. The study of human 
nature suggests this awful truth, that, as in the trials to which life 
subjects us, sin and crime are apt to start from their very opposite 
qualities, so are there no limits to the hardening of the heart, and the 
perversion of the understanding to which they may carry their slaves. 
During my long residence in France, while the revolution was rapidly 
advancing to its extreme of wickedness, I had frequent opportunities of 
being an eye-witness of this process, and it was while that knowledge 
was fresh upon my memory, that the Tragedy of The Borderers was 
composed. W. (1842). 

The Borderers shows Wordsworth at the gloomiest period of his spiritual 
experience, but just emerging from it. Whereas in The Female Vagrant 
and Descriptive Sketches his criticism of the social order implies hope of 
its regeneration through the application of Godwinian and French- 
revolutionary principles, in The Borderers his view of man and society 



496 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

is more pessimistic. As Mr. Hutchinson well puts it, ' looking back 
upon his former self the sanguine enthusiast of 1793 he exclaimed in 
the bitterness of his soul : 

We look 

But at the surfaces of things : we hear 
Of towns in flames, fields ravaged, young and old 
Driven out in troops to want and nakedness ; 
Then grasp our swords, and rush upon a cure 
That flatters us, because it asks not thought: 
The deeper malady is better hid ; 
The world is poisoned at the heart. (11. 1039-1046.)' 

Cp. The Prelude, xi. , especially 11. 30G-320. The Borderers was offered to 
the manager of Covent Garden Theatre, on the suggestion of Thomas 
Knight, the actor (d. 1820, Diet. Nat. Biog.). ' I had no hope, nor even a 
wish (though a successful play would in the then state of my finances have 
been a most welcome piece of good fortune), that he should accept my 
performance; so that I incurred no disappointment when the piece was 
judiciously returned as not calculated for the stage. In this judgement 
I entirely concurred : and had it been otherwise, it was so natural for 
me to shrink from public notice, that any hope I might have had of 
success would not have reconciled me altogether to such an exhibition.' 
I. F. 

Coleridge wrote to Cottle, ' Wordsworth has written a tragedy him- 
self. I speak with heartfelt sincerity, and, I think, unblinded judge- 
ment, when I tell you that I feel myself a little man by his side, and yet 
I do not think myself a less man than I formerly thought myself. His 
drama is absolutely wonderful. You know I do not commonly speak in 
such abrupt and unmingled phrases, and therefore will the more readily 
believe me. There are in the piece those profound touches of the human 
heart which I find three or four times in the Robbers of Schiller, and 
often in Shakespeare; but in Wordsworth there are no inequalities.' 
This enthusiasm reads strangely now that the play itself is almost un- 
read ; but it is not more disproportionate to the value of the play than 
the enthusiasm of a contemporary generally is, when once it is aroused ; 
and to the poem considered as a poem and a study, rather than an 
embodiment, of certain human passions, it is far less disproportionate. 
Wordsworth himself passes indirectly the soundest criticism upon the 
play. ' Had it been the work of a later period of life, it would have 
been different in some respects from what it is now. The plot would 
have been something more complex, and a greater variety of characters 
introduced to relieve the mind from the pressure of incidents so mournful. 
The manners also would have been more attended to. My care was 
almost exclusively given to the passions and the character, and the 
position in which the persons in the drama stood relatively to each other, 
that the reader (for I had then no thought of the stage) might be moved, 
and to a degree instructed, by lights penetrating somewhat into the 



NOTES 497 

depths of our nature. In this endeavour, I cannot think, upon a very 
late review, that I have failed.' I. F. One cannot help recalling the 
anecdote related and very likely invented by Lamb, that Wordsworth 
' says he does not see much difficulty in writing like Shakspeare, if he 
had a mind to try it. It is clear then nothing is wanting but the mind.'/ 
(Letter to Manning, February 26, 1808.) At any rate, Wordsworth, 
great poet as he was, never did produce another drama. 

INTRODUCTORY NOTE. Some eight or ten lines: Cp. 11. 1539 foil., which 
followed the dedication of The White Doe of Rylstone in ed. 1836. 



POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD 

P. 115. I. March 26, 1802 : Professor Dowden notices that e on the 
same day Wordsworth worked at The Cuckoo (above, p. 306), which in 
idea may be said to be a companion-piece to this little poem, both being 
occupied with the carrying on of the feelings of boyhood into mature 
years. ' 

P. 115. II. To A BUTTERFLY, 1. 12. Emmeline pseudonym for 
Dorothy, the poet's sister. 

March 14, 1802 : This poem is dated 1801 in ed. 1849, and the previous 
poem 1804 ; but the date of composition of both is fixed by Dorothy Words- 
worth's Journal. Cp. the other To a Butterfly (above, p. 161). 

P. 117. IV. FORESIGHT. April 28, 1802 : The last stanza was added in 
ed. 1815, and the third considerably altered. 

P. 117- V. CHARACTERISTICS OP A CHILD THREE YEARS OLD : The 
poet's second daughter and fourth child, Catharine, born Sept. 6, 1808, 
died June 4, 1812. Cp. above, p. 442, Surprised by Joy. 

P. 119. VI. ADDRESS TO A CHILD, DURING A BOISTEROUS WINTER 
EVENING, BY MY SISTER, 1. 43. Edward: pseudonym for 'Johnnie, 
the household name of Wordsworth's first-born.' Mr. Hutchinson. 

P. 122. VIII. ALICE FELL; OR, POVERTY. L. 57. Duffil: woollen cloth 
of a thick nap, named from the town Duffel in Brabant. 

1802 : Dated 1801 in ed. 1849 ; the true date is taken from Dorothy 
Wordsworth's Journal. Wordsworth excluded the piece from edd. 
1820, 1827, 1832, ' in policy,' because ' the humbleness, meanness if you 
like, of the subject, together with the homely mode of treating it, 
brought upon me a world of ridicule by the small critics.' I. F. The 
incident happened to a Mr. Grahame, brother of James Grahame (1765- 
1811),, the author of The Sabbath (1804), and the poem was written at 
Mr. Grahame's request. 
i-II 



498 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Of this ballad, and The Sailor's Mother (above, p. 186), and Beggars 
(above, p. 318), which were all written during March 11-14, 1802, Mr. 
Hutchinson remarks in the course of an interesting note (Poems in Two 
Volumes, ed. 1897, vol. i. p. 189): 'We learn from Dorothy's Journal that 
on March 5 and 7, brother and sister were engaged on the revisal of the 
Lyrical Ballads of 1800, of which a new edition with revised text and 
expanded Preface appeared in the early summer of 1802. Now the three 
ballads of March 11-14 read almost like specimen verses, composed 
expressly to illustrate the working of the author's principles of poetic 
style.' 

P. 122. IX. Lucv GRAY ; OB, SOLITUDE : Of th.is poem, founded on 
fact, Wordsworth says : 'The way in which the incident was treated, and 
the spiritualising of the character, might furnish hints for contrasting 
the imaginative influences, which I have endeavoured to throw over 
common life, with Crabbe's matter-of-fact style of handling subjects of 
the same kind. This is not spoken to his disparagement, far from it ; 
but to direct the attention of thoughtful readers into whose hands these 
notes may fall, to a comparison that may enlarge the circle of their 
sensibilities, and tend to produce in them a catholic judgement.' I. F. 

P. 124. X. WE ABE SEVEN, 1. 4. This first stanza, with 'A little child, 
dear brother Jim,' or rather l Jem,' in allusion to a friend James Tobin, 
who was so-called, for its first line, was thrown off by Coleridge on 
the afternoon during which Wordsworth had composed the rest of the 
poem. Wordsworth had recited his poem to his sister and Coleridge, 
saying that a prefatory stanza must be added, and mentioning in sub- 
stance what he wished to be expressed. From I. F. The first line stood, 
'A simple child, dear brother Jim,' until 1815. The Fenwick note to 
this poem contains an interesting account of the genesis of Coleridge's 
Ancient Mariner, which was planned in common during a short walking 
tour made by the two poets and Dorothy Wordsworth in the spring of 
1798. 

P. 126. XI. THE IDLE SHEPHEBD-BOYS ; OB, DUNGEON-GHYLL FOBCE, 
1. 20. Rusty Hats is a perfectly intelligible expression, but it is 
curious that in the Fenwick note we read, ( . . . My shepherd-boys 
trimmed their rustic hats as described in the poem.' The whole Fen- 
wick note is valuable as literary criticism. ' When Coleridge and 
Southey were walking together upon the Fells, Southey observed that, 
if I wished to be considered a faithful painter of rural manners, I ought 
not to have said that my shepherd-boys trimmed their rustic hats as 
described in the poem. Just as the words had passed his lips two boys 
appeared with the very plant entwined round their hats. I have often 
wondered that Southey, who rambled so much about the mountains, 
should have fallen into this mistake, and I record it as a warning for 
others who with far less opportunity than my dear friend had of know- 



NOTES 499 

ing what things are, and far less sagacity, give way to presumptuous 
criticism, from which he was free, though in this matter mistaken. In 
describing a tarn under Helvellyn, I say : 

There sometimes doth a leaping fish 

Send through the tarn a lonely cheer. 

This was branded by a critic of these days, in a review ascribed to 
Mrs. Barbauld, as unnatural and absurd. I admire the genius of Mrs. 
Barbauld, and am certain that, had her education been favourable to 
imaginative influences, no female of her day would have been more 
likely to sympathise with that image, and to acknowledge the truth of 
the sentiment.' I. F. 

P. 128. XII. ANECDOTE FOR FATHERS. ' Ret ine vim istam, falsa enim 
dicam, si coges ' : This is a translation of an oracle quoted by Eusebius in 
his Preparatio Enangelica, bk. vi. ch. v., icAete f$ir)v Kupros Te Xoyw 
*l/fv8ijy6pa Xe'. In editions from 1800 to 1843 the title was Anecdote for 
Fathers, showing how the Practice of Lying may be taught. The motto was 
substituted for the explanation in ed. 1845. 

L. 1. ' The boy was a son of my friend Basil Montagu, who had been two 
or three years under our care.' I. F. 

L. 10. Kilve: A village on the Bristol Channel about a mile from 
Alfoxden. 

P. 129, 1. 24. Liswynfarm: 'A beautiful spot on the Wye, where 
Mr. Coleridge, my sister, and I had been visiting the famous John Thel- 
wall, who had taken refuge from politics, after a trial for high treason, 
with a view to bring up his family by the profits of agriculture, which 
proved as unfortunate a speculation as that he had fled from.' L F. 

P. 130. XIII. RURAL ARCHITECTURE, 1. 3. The height of a counsellor's 
bag is not at the present day an illuminating expression ; but in Words- 
worth's day (as we may gather from this passage), and even as lately as 
thirty or forty years ago, it would have been intelligible enough to any 
one who had visited a court of law. Barristers used to carry their blue 
or red brief-bags slung over their shoulders and hanging down their 
backs a practice which has almost, if not entirely, died out. I owe 
this statement to a retired barrister who remembers the custom. 

1800 : Dated by Wordsworth 1801, but first published in the Lyrical 
Ballads of 1800. 

P. 133. XV. To H. C. : Hartley Coleridge, first-born child of the 
poet Coleridge, born 1796, himself the author of exquisite sonnets, 
died 1849. 

P. 134. XVI. INFLUENCE OF NATURAL OBJECTS, in calling forth and 
strengthening the Imagination in Boyhood and Early Youth. From an un- 
published poem : From The Prelude, i. 401. 



500 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

P. 134. This extract is reprinted from ' The Friend ' : No. 19 (Dec. 28, 
1809) of Coleridge's famous periodical. 

L. 20. The trembling lake : Esthwaite, the lake close to Hawkshead, 
where Wordsworth spent his school-days. 

P. 135, 1. 56. The picture presented by these lines as a whole is as 
vivid as possible, but the exact meaning of the expression ' spinning still 
the rapid line of motion ' is not very clear. ' Still ' must mean ( con- 
tinuously,' and the idea seems to be that the continuous streaming past 
of the banks resembles the continuous flow of thread from the spinning- 
wheel. Cp. note on An Evening Walk, 1. 48, above, p. 481. 

L. 63. In The Prelude the line runs : ' Till all was tranquil as a 
dreamless sleep.' The change is for the worse in point of sound, but 
Wordsworth probably felt that the substituted comparison was the more 
appropriate ; or he may have made the alteration under the influence of 
his well-known dislike of the adjectival use of substantives. Cp. note 
on Descriptive Sketches, 1. 238, above, p. 488. 

P. 137. XVIII. THE NORMAN BOY : The subject of this poem was 
sent to me by Mrs. Ogle, to whom I was pei'sonally unknown, with a 
hope on her part that I might be induced to relate the incident in 
verse ; and I do not regret that I took the trouble ; for not improbably 
the fact is illustrative of the boy's early piety, and may concur with my 
other little pieces on children, to produce profitable reflection among my 
youthful readers. This is said, however, with an absolute conviction 
that children will derive most benefit from books which are not un- 
worthy the perusal of persons of any age. I protest with my whole 
heart against those productions, so abundant in the present day, in 
which the doings of children are dwelt upon as if they were incapable 
of being interested in anything else. On this subject I have dwelt at 
length in the poem on the growth of my own mind. I. F. 

P. 140. XIX. THE POET'S DREAM, 1. 28. A hollow dale in the burial- 
ground of Allonville in the Pays de Caux, which was transformed into 
a chapel to ( our Lady of Peace ' by the Abbe du Detroit in 1696 (from 
Wordsworth's note). 

P. 141, 1. 73. The allusion is probably to Hippolyte de la Morvonnais, 
a French poet, who was a great admirer of Wordsworth. In an interest- 
ing contribution to Prof. Knight's Eversley edition (vol. vin. p. 429), 
Prof. Legouis quotes the passage of de la Morvonnais to which Words- 
worth probably alludes : 

Enfant, il (Dieu) te promet le domaine de 1'ange 

Si tu gardes 1'amour et la foi des aieux, 
Et sa Mere, aujourd'hui loin de 1'humaine fange, 
Que tu n'as pas conuue et qui t'attend aux cieux. 



NOTES 501 

P. 142. XX. THK WESTMORELAND GIRL. This Westmoreland girl 
was Sarah Mackereth of Wyke Cottage, Grasmere. Prof. Knight, who 
also quotes from a letter of Wordsworth that the poem ' is truth to the 
letter. ' 



POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS 

P. 146. I. THE BROTHERS, 1. 65, Footnote. I have not been able to trace 
the prose description here referred to. The only published work of Gil- 
bert's which is extant in the British Museum and the Bodleian, and is 
mentioned in his life in the Diet. Nat. Biog. (Supplement, vol. n.), is 
that containing the two curious poems The Hurricane : a Theosophical and 
Western Eclogue, and A Solitary Effusion in a Summer's Evening (Bristol, 
1796). There is no description of the calenture either in the verse or in 
the prose of this volume. Gilbert was acquainted with Cottle, the Bristol 
publisher, and Southey and Coleridge. Southey wrote of him in a private 
letter, after he had disappeared and was supposed to be dead : ' He was 
the most insane person I have ever known at large, and his insanity 
smothered his genius.' Gilbert's biographer in the Diet. Nat. Biog., Dr. 
Garnett, somewhat understates the case when he says that he 'gives few 
tokens of insanity as long as he keeps to description ' ; but it is certain 
that he gives many tokens of real, though disordered, genius. The notes 
which form the greater part of his volume are one of the strangest medleys 
of wild nonsense, curious knowledge, and occasional penetration that 
have ever been published : they owe their remembrance, however, to 
the fact that Wordsworth quoted from them a passage, which he called 
' one of the finest passages of modern English prose,' in his notes to The 
Excursion (cp. vol. in. p. 554), and which ' thus conspicuously brought 
forward,' says Dr. Garnett, 'seems to have inspired Keats with the 
Darien simile in his sonnet On opening Chapman's Homer.' 

P. 148, 1. 145. The impressive circumstance here described actually 
took place some years ago in this country, upon an eminence called 
Kidstow Pike, one of the highest of the mountains that surround Hawes- 
water. The summit of the pike was stricken by lightning ; and every 
trace of one of the fountains disappeared, while the other continued to 
flow as before. W. (1800). 

P. 149, 1. 183. There is not anything more worthy of remark in the 
manners of the inhabitants of these mountains, than the tranquillity, I 
might say indifference, with which they think and talk upon the subject 
of death. Some of the country churchyards, as here described, do not 
contain a single tombstone, and most of them have a very small number. 
W. (1800.) 

P. 153, 1. 369. This line and the following differ to a considerable 
extent from the passage as it stood in the original. The recasting was 
no doubt partly due to Coleridge, who, in criticising Wordsworth's 



502 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

theory of the identity of the language of prose and that of verse, wrote 
(Biog. Lit., ch. xviii. note, p. 186, Bohn) : ' In those parts of Mr. Words- 
worth's works which I have thoroughly studied, I find fewer instances in 
which this [viz., rendering a passage unrecognisable as verse by simply 
transcribing it as prose] would be practicable, than I have met in many 
poems, where an approximation of prose has been sedulously and on 
system guarded against. Indeed, excepting the stanzas already quoted 
from The Sailor's Mother, I can recollect but one instance, viz. , a short 
passage of four or five lines in The Brothers, that model of English 
pastoral, which I never yet read with unclouded eye : " James, pointing 
to its summit, over which they had all purposed to return together, 
informed them that he would wait for them there. They parted, and 
his comrades passed that way some two hours after, but they did not 
find him at the appointed place, a circumstance of which they took no 
heed : but one of them going by chance [at night] into the house, which 
at this time was James's house, learnt there that nobody had seen him 
all that day." The only change which has been made is in the position 
of the little word " there" in two instances, the position in the original 
being clearly such as is not adopted in ordinary conversation. The 
other words printed in italics were so marked because, though good and 
genuine English, they are not the phraseology of common conversation 
either in the word put in apposition, or in the connection by the genitive 
pronoun. Men in general would have said, " but that was a circumstance 
they paid no attention to" or "took no notice of," and the language is, 
on the theory of the Preface, j ustified only by the narrator's being the 
Vicar. Yet if any ear could suspect that these sentences were ever 
printed as metre, on those very words alone could the suspicion have 
been grounded.' 

P. 155. II. AHTBGAL AND ELIDURB (see the Chronicle of Geoffrey of 
Monmouth, and Milton's History of England) : This was written at Rydal 
Mount, as a token of affectionate respect for the memory of Milton. ' I 
have determined,' says he in his Preface to his History of England, 'to 
bestow the telling over even of these reputed tales, be it for nothing 
else but in favour of our English poets and rhetoricians, who by their 
wit well know how to use them judiciously.' I. F. The reference to 
Milton should be book i. par. 2, and for 'wit' should be read ' art.' 

L. 16. ' Who never tasted grace, and goodness ne'er had felt' : I have 
not been able to trace this quotation. It does not appear to be a para- 
phrase of anything in Milton's History ; nor, so far as I can find, is it an 
Alexandrine from Spenser's Faerie Queene or Thompson's Castle of 
Indolence. 

P. 157, 1. 92. Poorly provided, poorly followed. Milton's History, bk. i. 
p. 34 (ed. 1695) has ( in a poor Habit, with only ten followers.' Words- 
worth, however, appears to be making an actual quotation from some 
source to me unknown. 



NOTES 503 

P. 161. III. To A BUTTERFLY. April 20, 1802 : The Fenwick note 
gives 1801 as the date of this poem ; but we know from Dorothy Words- 
worth's Journal that it was written on April 20, 1802. Dorothy 
Wordsworth speaks of it, apparently, as a ' conclusion ' to the poem 
To a Butterfly, beginning, ' Stay near me,' etc. Cp. above, p. 115. 

P. 162. IV. A FAREWELL : For Dove Cottage, the 'little Nook of 
mountain-ground,' and for Wordsworth's marriage with Mary Hutchin- 
son, to which reference is made in this poem, cp. Introd. p. xliv. 

L. 22. Gowan: Usually, as e.g. in Auld Lang Syne ( f and pu'd the 
gowans fine '), translated ' daisy,' but obviously not to be so translated 
here. Wordsworth almost certainly means the Globe-flower (Trollius 
Europceus), known in Scotland as the Lucken-gowan. "See Jamieson's 
Scottish Dictionary, sub voc. Gowan, where any obstinate persuasion that 
gowan must mean daisy will be dispelled. Of Globe-flowers Robinson 
(English Flower-Garden) says : ( They may be grown in beds or borders, 
or naturalised by ponds, streams, or in any wet place.' The corn-mari- 
gold, which might equally well or even more appropriately have been called 
' gowan' by Wordsworth (see Jamieson, loc. cit.), cannot here be meant, 
because it is too dark to be called ' saffron,' it does not grow in such a 
locality as Wordsworth describes, and it does not flower at the same time 
of year as the marsh-marigold. In writing this note, for Selected Poems 
of William Wordsworth, I was much indebted to my friend Mr. A. P. P. 
Keep, of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-law. 

P. 163, 1. 56. Of which I sang one song that will not die : The Sparrow's 
Nest, see above, p. 116. 

P. 163. V. STANZAS. Written in my Pocket-copy of Thomson's Castle of 
Indolence : The subject of the first four stanzas is Wordsworth himself, 
that of the next three, Coleridge. Matthew Arnold, misled, probably, by 
some careless quotations of De Quincey, as well as by a certain super- 
ficial appropriateness of some of the phrases in the earlier stanzas to the 
much-suffering Coleridge, has helped to popularise the error of supposing 
that Coleridge is the subject of the first four, Wordsworth of the next 
three stanzas. In a letter to Prof. Knight, however, he avows the 
correct belief. Cp. Knight's Wordsworth (Eversley Series), vol. ii. 
p. 310 ; Dowden's Wordsworth (Aldine), vol. i. p. 383. This poem, apart 
from its intrinsic beauty, is of importance as correcting a widespread 
illusion, that Wordsworth was of a somewhat dispassionate or phleg- 
matic temperament. Cp. the early part of Resolution and Independence, 
above, p. 328, and Dorothy Wordsworth's frequent references in her 
Journal to the poet's excitability in, and nervous prostration after, com- 
position. The poem should be read in connection with The Castle of 
Indolence. Mr. Hutchinson well remarks (Athenwum, Dec. 15, 1894, 
quoted by Knight, loc. cit.) that the stanzas 'are meant to be read 
as though they were an afterthought of James Thomson's. Their 



504 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

author, therefore, has rightly imparted to them the curiously-blended 
flavour of " romantic melancholy and slippered mirth/' of dreamlike 
vagueness and smiling hyperbole, which forms the distinctive mark of 
Thomson's poem.' Mr. Hutchinson and the late Canon Ainger have 
also pointed out the resemblance between Wordsworth's description of 
himself and Beattie's Minstrel. Prof. Knight adds : ' It is somewhat 
curious that Dorothy Wordsworth, writing to Miss Pollard from Forn- 
cett in 1793, quotes the line from The Minstrel, bk. i. st. 22: "In truth 
he was a strange and wayward wight," and adds, " That verse of Beattie's 
Minstrel always reminds me of him, and indeed the whole character of 
Edwin resembles much what William was when I first knew him after 
leaving Halifax."' 

P. 165, 1. 58. Mr. Hutchinson has called my attention to the fact that 
the word ' deftly' is glossed in north-country dialect dictionaries as 
' softly, gently.' The word ' lightly ' would form a bridge between this 
and the more universal use of the word. 

P. 165. VI. LOUISA. After accompanying her on a Mountain Excursion: 
There is room for doubt with regard to both the date of this poem and 
the identity of the person named. It was dated by Wordsworth 1805, 
but he told Miss Fenwick that the poem To a Young Lady (above, 
p. 368), which was published in Feb. 1802, was written f at the 
same time ' as this one. It seems probable that the two were written 
between Dec. 1800 and Oct. 1801, during which time we have no 
Journal of Dorothy Wordsworth. The date, however, is not likely 
to be fixed, unless we can fix the identity of the person named Louisa. 
The most plausible conjecture on the latter point is that of Mr. Hutchin- 
son (in his reprint (181)7) of the Poems in Two Volumes of 1807 ; cp., too, 
Mr. W. Hale White, Wordsworth and Coleridge MSS., p. 46), based on 
Wordsworth's practice of choosing pseudonyms metrically equivalent to 
the real name thus veiled. He thinks that Louisa stands for Joanna 
Hutchinson, who in 1801 was twenty-one years of age. Prof. Knight 
thinks that Dorothy Wordsworth is meant, Mr. Ernest Coleridge, Mary 
Hutchinson, afterwards the poet's wife. 

L. 12. I follow Mr. Hutchinson's example in printing this stanza in the 
text, though for some strange and unexplained reason, it was omitted in 
ed. 1845 and subsequent editions. 

P. 167. IX. 1799: So dated by Wordsworth, but perhaps not written 
till after the publication, in 1800, of the other Lucy poems. The first 
notice that we have of this poem is in the printer's copy of the 1802 ed. 
of Lyrical Ballads, from which edition, however, it was omitted, appar- 
ently by accident. It was first published in 1807. Cp. A description of 
the Wordsworth and Coleridge MSS. in the possession of Mr. T. Norton 
Longman, by W. Hale White, p. 45. 

P. 168. XI. To : Prompted by the undue importance attached to 



NOTES 505 

personal beauty by some dear friends of mine. (I. F.) 'No doubt 
addressed to the poet's daughter Dora. See The. Longest Day, stanza xvi. ' 
Mr. Hutchinson. Cp. above, p. 137. 

P. 169, 1. 20. e To draw, out of the object of his eyes ' : Prof. Knight 
refers to Lyly's Endymion, v. 3 : 

To have him in the object of mine eyes. 

But Wordsworth is probably quoting here and two lines below from some 
source at present unknown. The common juxtaposition of ' object ' and 
'eye' might be illustrated by many quotations from Shakespeare: cp. 
e.g. Midsummer's Niyht's Dream, iv. i. 175 : 

The object and the pleasure of mine eye 

Is only Helena. 

P. 169. XII. THE FORSAKEN. Published 1842 : This was an overflow, 
as Wordsworth tells us in the Fenwick note, from The Affliction of 
Margaret . For the date see note to that poem below, p. 506. 

P. 171. XIV. A COMPLAINT: Written at Town-End, Grasmere. Sug- 
gested by a change in the manner of a friend. I. F. The friend was 
doubtless Coleridge, who returned from Malta in 1806. This was the 
period when the old complete union between Coleridge and Wordsworth 
became subjected to many slight and some grave shocks, and passed into 
a friendship, always deep and sincere, as the friendship of two men of 
such high ideals could not fail to remain, but shadowed by much trouble 
and anxiety. The best account of the relations between Wordsworth 
and Coleridge is given in the Life of Coleridge by the late Mr. Dykes 
Campbell. Coleridge's MS. notebooks (cp. the extracts printed by Mr. 
E. H. Coleridge under the title Anima Poetce, pp. 131, 169, quoted by 
Mr. Hutchinson in Poems in Two Volumes, n. 217), Dorothy Words- 
worth's Journals, and the recently published letters of D. W. to Mrs. 
Clarkson (Athenceum, 1904, Jan. etc.) are the principal sources of our 
information on the subject. 

P. 171. XV. To : Mrs. Wordsworth. I. F. 

P. 172. XVI. Published 1845 : The date of composition is unknown ; 
but it seems probable that the poem was suggested by the preceding one, 
and in particular by the second stanza, excised in the ed. of 1845, which 
ran as follows : 

Such if thou wert in all men's view, 

A universal show, 
What would my Fancy have to do, 

My Feelings to bestow ? 

P. 172. XVII., 1. 1. How rich that forehead's calm expanse: Sug- 
gested by a print at Coleorton Hall. I. F. 

L. 8. An Angel from his station : Wordsworth obviously alludes to 
Drydeu's line in Alexander's Feast : 

She drew an angel down. 



506 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

P. 173. XIX. To : To Mrs. Wordsworth. I. F. 

L. 8. 'Sober certainties ' : Cp. Comus, 1. 263, ' Such sober certainty 
of waking bliss.' 

P. 175. XX. LAMENT OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS on the Eve of a New 
Year, 1. 66. ' From her sunk eyes a stagnant tear ' is taken, with some 
loss, from a discarded poem, The Convict, in which occurred, when he 
was discovered lying in the cell, these lines : 

But now he upraises the deep-sunken eye, 

The motion unsettles a tear ; 
The silence of sorrow it seems to supply 

And asks of me why I am here. I. F. 
The Convict is given below, vol. iii. p. 419. 

P. 175. XXI. THE COMPLAINT of a Forsaken Indian Woman. Hazlitt, 
in My First Acquaintance with Poets, says : ' . . . Coleridge read aloud, 
with a sonorous and musical voice, the ballad of Betty Foy. I was 
not critically or sceptically inclined. I saw touches of truth, and nature, 
and took the rest for granted. But in The Thorn, The Mad Mother, and 
The Complaint of a poor Indian Woman, I felt that deeper passion and 
pathos, which have since been acknowledged as the characteristics of the 
author ; and the sense of a new style and a new spirit in poetry came 
over me. It had to me something of the effect that arises from the 
turning up of the fresh soil, or the first welcome breath of spring.' The 
Mad Mother was the earlier title of the poem Her Eyes are Wild, above, 
p. 230. For The Thorn, see above, p. 332. 

P. 181. XXIII. REPENTANCE. A Pastoral Ballad, 1. 28. Prof. Knight 
quotes from Wordsworth's MSS. several variations from the published 
text of this poem : among them the following, which avoids the some- 
what artificial phrase ' if night had been sparing of sleep ' : 

When my sick, crazy body had lain without sleep, 
How cheering the sunshiny vale where I stood. 

P. 181. XXIV. THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET : This was taken 

from the case of a poor widow who lived in the town of Penrith. I. F. 

P. 183. Published 1807 .'Dated by Wordsworth 1804: but in the 
MS. printer's copy for the ed. of 1807, after the title The Affliction of 

Mary (sic) of , is the note in brackets : ' Written for the Lyrical 

Ballads.' Then follow some prefatory verses, which were not published 
(cp. A Description of the Wordsworth and Coleridge MSS., etc., p. 63). 
From these facts Mr. Hutchinson seems to be justified in dating this 
poem ' some years earlier ' than 1804. The inference applies also to 
The Forsaken, above, p. 169. 

P. 186. MATERNAL GRIEF. Published 1842 : Written probably about 
1810, being, as the Fenwick note tells us, ' in part an overflow from the 



NOTES 507 

Solitary's description of his own and his wife's feelings upon the decease 
of their children.' Cp. The Excursion, bk. in. 

P. 186. XXVII. THE SAILOR'S MOTHER This poem, written about 
the same time as Alice Fell, The Emigrant Mother, and Beggars, represents 
Wordsworth at the extreme of his theory of poetic realism, as the 
Fenwick note indicates : ' I met this woman near the Wishing-gate, on 
the high road that then led from Grasmere to Ambleside. Her appear- 
ance was exactly as here described, and such was her account, nearly to 
the letter.' Mr. Hutchiuson (Poems in Two Volumes, i. 171) calls stanzas 
iii. and iv. ( a reductio ad absurdum of the fallacies propounded by Words- 
worth in the famous Preface to the Lyrical Ballads of 1800.' LI. 14-16 
originally stood : 

With the first word I had to spare 
I said to her, ' Beneath your cloak 
What 's that which on your arm you bear ? ' 

LI. 19-21 were restored in ed. 1832 to their present, and original, 
form at the instigation of Barron Field (who became Wordsworth's 
friend through having been in the India Office with Charles Lamb, and 
compiled memoirs of Wordsworth which were never published). In pro- 
mising the restoration, Wordsworth wrote : ' I suppose I had objected to 
the first line, which, it must be allowed, is rather flat.' Knight, Life, 
in. (xi.) 152. In ed. 1820 he had substituted : 

I had a Son the waves might roar, 
He feared them not, a Sailor gay ! 
But he will cross the waves [deep, ed 1827] no more. 
LI. 23-24 are the final form of the following original : 
And I have been as far as Hull, to see 
What clothes he might have left, or other property. 

P. 187. XXVIII. THE CHILDLESS FATHER, 1. 12. One Child: Prof. 
Knight notes that in the list of errata in ed. 1820 ( one ' is corrected to 
'&' ; ' but the text remained "one child" in all subsequent editions.' 
This was probably an oversight. 

P. 189. XXIX. THE EMIGRANT MOTHER, 11. 55-64. This stanza 
originally stood as follows : 

'Tis gone forgotten let me do 

My best there was a smile or two, 

I can remember them, I see 

The smiles, worth all the world to me. 

Dear Baby ! I must lay thee down ; 

Thou troublest me with strange alarms ; 

Smiles hast thou, sweet ones of thy own ; 

I cannot keep thee in my arms, 

For they confound me : as it is, 

I have forgot those smiles of his. 



508 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

Coleridge (Biog. Lit., ch. ix.) criticised the expressions ' let me do my 
best ' and ' as it is ' as samples of a ' characteristic, though only occa- 
sional, defect, which,' he says, ' I appear to myself to find in these poems,' 
viz., ' the inconstancy of the style' ; under which name he referred to 
' the sudden and unprepared transitions from lines or sentences of 
peculiar felicity (at all events striking and original) to a style, not only 
unimpassioned, but undistinguished.' The first two lines were altered 
to their final form in ed. 1820. The last two were several times re- 
handled : ' For they bewilder me even now His smiles are lost, I know 
not how!' (1820); ' By those bewildering glances crost In which the 
light of his is lost ' (1827) ; final text 1836. The change of ' sweet ' to 
' bright ' (ed. 1827) in 1. 61 is one of a large number of instances of 
Wordsworth's expulsion of that insinuating epithet. 

P. 197. XXX. VAUDBACOUB AND JULIA. 1804 : Dated by Words- 
worth 1805, but written, as he says, ' as an episode ' in the work after- 
wards called The Prelude. Book ix. of The Prelude, to which part it 
belonged (cp. Prelude, ix. 553, where the first four lines of Vaudracour 
and Julia are quoted), was apparently written in the winter of 1804. 
Cp. Prof. Knight's introductory note to The Prelude, Eversley Words- 
worth, vol. in. pp. 123-127. (In that note on p. 124, 1. 9, for 1805 read 
1804 : and correct p. 125, fourth paragraph, which wrongly contradicts 
par. 2.) 

P. 197. XXXI. THE IDIOT BOY : ' Alfoxden, 1798. The last stanza, 
"The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo, And the sun did shine so cold," 
was the foundation of the whole. The words were reported to me by my 
dear friend Thomas Poole ; but I have since heard the same repeated of 
other idiots. Let me add, that this long poem was composed in the groves 
of Alfoxden, almost extempore ; not a word, I believe, being corrected, 
though one stanza was omitted. I mention this in gratitude to those 
happy moments, for, in truth, I never wrote anything with so much glee.' 
I. F. No poem of Wordsworth excited so much scorn as this : the 
best known expression of such scorn being Byron's lines in his English 
Bards and Scotch Reviewers. In spite of many touches of imaginative 
genius, and in spite of its psychological insight and fidelity to nature, 
the poem is undoubtedly marred for many sympathetic readers by the 
garrulousness and the clumsy attempt at gaiety which pervades it. 
Coleridge (Biog. Lit., ch. xvii.) further points out acutely how the picture 
of the mother detracts from the interest of the situation a point seized 
by Byron when he wrote, ' The idiot mother of an idiot boy.' Coleridge 
says : ' The two following charges seem to me not wholly groundless ; at 
least, they are the only plausible objections which I have heard to that 
fine poem. The one is, that the author has not, in the poem itself, 
taken sufficient care to preclude from the reader's fancy the disgusting 
images of ordinary, morbid idiocy, which yet it was by no means his 



NOTES 509 

intention to represent. He has even by the " burr, burr, burr," un- 
counteracted by any preceding description of the boy's beauty, assisted 
in recalling them. The other is, that the idiocy of the boy is so evenly 
balanced by the folly of the mother, as to present to the general reader 
rather a laughable burlesque on the blindness of senile dotage, than an 
analytic display of maternal affection in its ordinary workings.' The 
former of these objections was urged in a letter to Wordsworth in 1802 
by John Wilson (Christopher North), then a lad of seventeen, and 
evoked a reply, containing an exposition of Wordsworth's point of view 
with regard to idiocy in a noble passage which is perhaps more effective 
than the poem itself. There is only space here for one paragraph, but 
the whole letter should be read in Wordsworth's Prose Works or in the 
Memoirs, edited by Chr. Wordsworth. 'I have often applied to idiots, 
in my own mind, that sublime expression of Scripture that ' their life is 
hidden with God.' They are worshipped, probably from a feeling of this 
sort, in several parts of the East. Among the Alps, where they are 
numerous, they are considered, I believe, as a blessing to the family 
to which they belong. I have, indeed, often looked upon the conduct of 
fathers and mothers of the lower classes of society towards idiots as a great 
triumph of the human heart. It is there that we see the strength, 
disinterestedness, and grandeur of love ; nor have I ever been able to 
contemplate an object that calls out so many excellent and virtuous 
sentiments without finding it hallowed thereby, and having something 
in me which bears down before it, like a deluge, every feeble sensation 
of disgust and aversion.' In the same letter Wordsworth says that a 
friend (probably Coleridge : see quot. above) had advised him ' to add a 
stanza describing the person of the Boy, entirely to separate him in the 
imagination of my readers from that class of idiots who are disgusting in 
their persons ; but the narration in the poem is so rapid and impas- 
sioned, that I could not find a place in which to insert the stanza without 
checking the progress of it, and [so leaving] a deadness upon the feeling.' 
Except the omission of two stanzas near the beginning, the alterations 
in The Idiot Boy are comparatively few and unimportant. 

P. 198. 1. 39. This line originally stood : ' Has up upon the saddle 
set.' In a letter to Barren Field in 1828 Wordsworth writes (whether re- 
ferring to a suggestion of Field or not, is uncertain): ' " Across the saddle" 
is much better. So "up towards," instead of "up upon" in Michael 
(1. 456).' Neither of these emendations, however, occur in the published 
texts. This line in The Idiot Boy was altered to its present form in ed. 
1836, and so was 1. 456 in Michael. 

P. 209. XXXII. MICHAEL : A PASTORAL POEM, 1. 2. Greenhead 
Ghyll is ' a steep, narrow valley, with a stream running through it ' (see 
note to The Idle Shepherd Boys), coming down from the Fairfield at the 
north-east of the vale of Grasmere. The ruins of a sheepfold, possibly 
that referred to in the poem, may still be seen, some considerable way 



510 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

up the valley. In the Fenwick note Wordsworth says : ' The sheepfold, 
on which so much of the poem turns, remains, or rather the ruins of it.' 

P. 212, 1. 139. 'The character and circumstances of Luke were taken 
from a family to whom had belonged many years before the house we 
lived in at Town-End (Dove Cottage). . . . The name of the Evening 
Star was not in fact given to this house, but to another on the same side 
of the valley, more to the north.' I. F. In a letter to his friend Tom 
Poole, Wordsworth said that in the character of Michael he had Poole's 
character often before his eyes. Thomas Poole and his Friends, by Mrs. 
Sandford, vol. ii. p. 56. 

P. 213, 1. 192. This and the following lines to ' daily hope ' (192-206) 
were, by an extraordinary error, omitted from the first ed. (1800), half 
a page being left blank. The omission was repaired by the issue of a list 
of errata early in 1801. 

P. 214, 1. 258. Richard Bateman : The story alluded to here is well 
known in the country. The chapel is called Ings Chapel ; and is on the 
right hand side of the road leading from Kendal to Ambleside. W. The 
chapel was an old one which Richard Bateman rebuilt in 1743. Cp. 
The Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, vol. u., 
referred to by Prof. Knight. 

P. 219. 1. 482. Some interesting fragments, partly used and partly 
discarded in the making of this poem, are given from Dorothy Words- 
worth's Grasmere Journals by Prof. Knight, Eversley Wordsworth, vol. 
vin. pp. 223 foil. 

P. 220. XXXIII. THE WIDOW ON WINDERMERE SIDE. 1837 : This 
date was given by the Rev. R. P. Graves, who, when curate at Bowness, 
supplied Wordsworth with the facts recorded in the poem. Prof. Knight. 

P. 222. XXXIV. THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE, 1. 52. Ne'er assoil my 
cobwebb'd shield : This use of the word ' assoil ' is, so far as I know, 
without parallel. It seems doubtful whether Wordsworth meant ' set 
free from the cobwebs ' or ' absolve from the excommunication, as it 
were, of disuse.' There is no similar use quoted in the New Eng. Diet. 

P. 227. XXXVI. FAREWELL LINES : ' These lines were designed as 
a farewell to Charles Lamb and his sister, who had retired from the 
throngs of London to comparative solitude in the village of Enfield.' 
I. F. Lamb retired to Enfield in 1825, and died in 1834. From a letter 
of his to the Rev. H. F. Gary and from Crabb Robinson's diary we 
gather that Wordsworth was in London in May and June 1828, in 
which latter month he also went for a short tour on the Continent. 

L. 1. High bliss is only for a higher state: Cp. Thomson, To the .Rev. 
Patrick Murdoch, 1. 10. Prof. Knight. 

P. 228. XXXVII. THE RKDBREAST. (Suggested in a Westmoreland 
Cottage), 1. 31. Hers: In the original edition (1835) Wordsworth 



NOTES 511 

printed ' his,' and similarly in the following lines. In his latest edition 
(1845) he replaced the masculine by the feminine. The invalid in his 
mind was not really a 'child,' as in 1. 38, hut his sister Dorothy, in 
whose sick-room one of the redbreasts, which frequented Wordsworth's 
house and garden, took up its abode, as the Fenwick note tells us. 

P. 229, 1. 70. Wordsworth italicised lilt as used, not in its ordinary 
meaning of ' sing with a merry swing,' but in its north-dialect use of 
' move with a merry swing.' Cp. New. Eng. Diet. 

P. 230. XXXVIII. HER EYES ARE WILD. The title of this poem, as 
it originally appeared in Lyrical Ballads, was The Mad Mother. Prof. 
Knight quotes Coleridge (letter to Godwin, Dec. 9, 1800) : ' For myself 
I would rather have written The Mad Mother than all the works of all the 
Bolingbrokes and Sheridans, those brilliant meteors, that have been 
exhaled from the morasses of human depravity since the loss of Paradise.' 
Mr. Hutchinson points out the strong influence of the beautiful ballad, 
Lady BothwelCs Lament ( f Balow, my babe, ly still and sleipe,' etc., 
Percy's Reliques, orig. ed., vol. n. p. 194, also in the Oxford Book of 
English Verse and other anthologies), upon Wordsworth, and refers to 
Wordsworth's remark in the Essay, supplementary to the Preface of 
1800 : ' I do not think that there is an able writer in verse of the present 
day who would not be proud to acknowledge his obligations to the 
Reliques ; I know that it is so with my friends ; and, for myself, 1 am 
happy in this occasion to make a public avowal of my own.' 

POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES 

P. 233. I. This poem was suggested on the banks of the brook that 
runs through Easdale, which is in some parts of its course as wild and 
beautiful as brook can be. I have composed thousands of verses by the 
side of it. I. F. 

P. 234, 1. 39. Emma: Pseudonym for Dora, i.e. Dorothy Words- 
worth, as Emmeline, in To a Butterfly, above, p. 115. 

P. 234. II. To JOANNA : Joanna Hutchinson, sister of the poet's 
wife. ' The effect of her laugh is an extravagance ' (I. F. ), and, accord- 
ing to Mr. Hutchinson, the opening lines too, if rightly understood, are 
' merry banter.' 

P. 236. III., 1. 1. Eminence: called Stone- Arthur. It could not 
be seen, as is stated in 1. 3 of this poem, from the orchard of Dove Cottage. 

P. 237. IV., 1. 5. Of Grasmere safe in its own privacy: The character 
of the eastern shore of Grasmere was altered, in Wordsworth's lifetime, 
by the high road being carried along it. 

P. 238. V. To M. H. : Mary Hutchinson, afterwards the poet's wife. 
P. 239, 1. 7. The pool alluded to is in Rydal Upper Park. I. F. 



512 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

P. 241. V. 1802 : Dated 1802 in edd. 1815, 1820 ; 1805 in ed. 1836 and 
later editions. The original draft probably dates from 1800, and is spoken 
of in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal. The poem was perhaps retouched 
in 1805, the year of John Wordsworth's death. It was published in 
1815. 

P. 242. VII., 1. 9. Two adventurous Sisters: Mrs. Wordsworth and 
Sarah Hutchinson. The ' two heath-clad Rocks ' are on the left of the 
lower road from Grasmere to Rydal, where it turns eastwards along the 
course of the Rotha. 

L. 18. Sarah Hutchinson died in 1835. 

POEMS OF THE FANCY 

P. 243. I. A MORNING EXERCISE, 1. 16, Footnote : This well-known 
book was published in 1825, reviewed by Sydney Smith in the Edinburgh 
Review, and reached a second edition in 1828. Cp. Diet. Nat. Biog. 

P. 244, 11. 43-48. This stanza was originally part of the poem To a 
Skylark (cp. above, p. 353), with which Wordsworth said he ' could wish 
the last five stanzas of this poem to be read.' I. F. 

L. 52. I.e. in open, bare country. That this is Wordsworth's mean- 
ing is clear from the reading of ed. 1832 : ' Where earth resembles 
most his blank domain ! ' 

L. 60. Prof. Knight compares Addison's Hymn ('The spacious 
firmament on high '), last couplet : 

For ever singing as they shine, 
' The Hand that made us is divine ! ' 

The collocation of words may have been present to Wordsworth's con- 
sciousness or sub-consciousness ; but it is scarcely necessary to point out 
that the use to which he puts them is quite different. 

P. 244. II. A FLOWER GARDEN. At Coleorton Hall, Leicestershire: 
Sir George Beaumont's place, where Wordsworth helped to lay out the 
garden. 

P. 246. III. 11. 21-22. These lines originally (till ed. 1815) stood : 
And all those leaves that jump and spring, 
Were each a joyous, living thing. 
And the poem closed with the following lines : 

' Oh ! grant me, Heaven, a heart at ease, 
That I may never cease to find, 
Even in appearances like these, 
Enough to nourish and to stir my mind !' 

P. 247. IV. THE WATERFALL AND THE EGLANTINE, 1. 15. Prof. Knight 
compares Coleridge's Ancient Mariner : 

And now the storm-blast came, and he 

Was tyrannous and strong : 
of which line Wordsworth's phrase was probably an unconscious echo. 



NOTES 513 

P. 248. V. THE OAK AND THE BROOM : a Pastoral: Both this poem 
and the preceding are connected with the mountain path that leads from 
Rydal to Grasmere under Nab Scar. They are well illustrated by 
Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal for Apr. 23, 1802, quoted by Prof. Knight 
(Eversley Wordsworth, vol. u. p. 172) the passage which contains the 
phrase, ' We left William sitting on the stones, feasting with silence.' 

P. 252. VII. To THE DAISY. G. Wither: The Shepherd's Hunting, 
Eclogue, iv. 366-378. In 1. 3 Wordsworth misquoted 'instruction' for 
'invention/ in 1. 4 'the' for 'her.' The extract was first prefixed to this 
poem in ed. 1815, being perhaps suggested by Charles Lamb, with whom 
The Shepherd's Hunting was ' prime favourite ' amongst Wither's poems. 
Prof. Knight, quoting Dykes Campbell. 

P. 254, 11. 73-80. In ed. 1815 this stanza stood as follows : 
Child of the year ! that round dost run 
Thy course, bold lover of the sun, 
And cheerful when the day 's begun 

As morning Leveret, 
Thy long-lost praise thou shalt regain ; 
Dear shalt thou be to future men 
As in old time ; thou not in vain 
Art Nature's Favourite. 

P. 256. IX. THE GREEN LINNET, 1. 40. The first and last stanzas of 
this poem, one of the most perfect of Wordsworth's shorter pieces ' an 
elegant poem, as this is generally allowed to be,' as he calls it in a letter 
to Barren Field in 1828 were, in their original forms, severely handled 
by Jeffrey (Edinburgh Review, vol. xi.), and by the author of The Simpli- 
ciad, an anonymous satire, possibly, according to Mr. Hutchinson's acute 
suggestion, to be attributed to a certain Mr. French referred to by 
Southey (Knight's Life, n. (x.) 98. Hutchinson's edition of Poems in Two 
Volumes, i. xviii.). The first stanza was originally : 

The May is come again : how sweet 

To sit upon my Orchard-seat ! 

And Birds and Flowers once more to greet, 
My last year's Friends together : 

My thoughts they all by turns employ ; 

A whispering Leaf is now my joy, 

And then a Bird will be the toy 

That doth my fancy tether. 

This was rewritten in 1815 in its final form, except that 'flowers' and 
' birds ' were transposed in ed. 1827. The last stanza stood originally : 

While thus before my eyes he gleams, 

A Brother of the Leaves he seems ; 

When in a moment forth he teems 
His little song in gushes : 

As if it pleas'd him to disdain 
l-KK 



514 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

And mock the Form which he did feign, 

While he was dancing with the train 
Of Leaves among the bushes. 
In ed. 1820 the last line but two became : 

The voiceless Form he chose to feign. 
In ed. 1827 the stanza was rewritten : 

My sight he dazzles, half deceives, 

A Bird, so like the dancing Leaves ; 

Then flits, and from the Cottage eaves 
Pours forth his song in gushes ; 

As if by that exulting strain 

He mocked and treated with disdain 

The voiceless Form he chose to feign, 
While fluttering in the bushes. 

In the letter referred to above (Knight's Life, in. (xi.), 153), Wordsworth 
writes : ' The stanza, as you have been accustomed to quote it, is very 
faulty. "Forth he teems" is a provincialism: Dr. Johnson says "a 
low word, when used in this sense." But my main motive for altering 
this stanza was the wholly unjustifiable use of the word "train," as 
applied to leaves "attached " to a tree. A train of " withered " leaves, 
driven in the wind along the gravel, as I have often seen them, sparkling 
in April sunshine, might be said. "Did feign" is also an awkward 
expletive for an elegant poem, as this is generally allowed to be.' 
Wordsworth's treatment of this poem is typical of his readiness to benefit 
by criticism ; on which subject Mr. Hutchinson has some excellent 
remarks in his Introduction to Poems in Two Volumes. 

P. 257. X. To A SKYLARK. 1805: 1805 was the date assigned by 
Wordsworth, and as there is no proof to the contrary I have thought it 
best to leave it. In the original edition (1807) the poem was the second 
of a