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The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. II. by William Wordsworth

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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, 25
Retired in that sunshiny shade he lay; [B]
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 35
Come to him thus, and drove the weary Wight along.[C]

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: 45

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.
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: 55
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, [2] 60
A mailed angel on a battle-day;
The mysteries that cups of flowers enfold, [3]
And all the gorgeous sights which fairies do behold.

He would entice that other Man to hear
His music, and to view his imagery: 65
And, sooth, these two were each to the other dear:
No livelier love in such a place could be: [4]
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.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1836.

... did ... 1815.]

[Variant 2:

1827.

The beetle with his radiance manifold, 1815.]

[Variant 3:

1827.

And cups of flowers, and herbage green and gold; 1815.]

[Variant 4:

1836.

And, sooth, these two did love each other dear,
As far as love in such a place could be; 1815.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Compare

'And oft he traced the uplands to survey,
When o'er the sky advanced the kindling dawn,
The crimson cloud.'

Beattie's 'Minstrel', book I, st. 20.

'And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb
When all in mist the world below was lost.'

Book I. st. 21.

'And of each gentle, and each dreadful scene
In darkness, and in storm, he found delight.'

Book I. st. 22. Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare the stanza in 'A Poet's Epitaph' (p. 77), beginning

'He is retired as noontide dew.'

Ed.]

[Footnote C: Many years ago Canon Ainger pointed out to me a parallel
between Beattie's description of 'The Minstrel' and Wordsworth's account
of himself in this poem. It is somewhat curious that Dorothy Wordsworth,
writing to Miss Pollard from Forncett in 1793, quotes the line from 'The
Minstrel', book I. stanza 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."

Mr. T. Hutchinson called the attention of Professor Dowden to the same
resemblance between the two pictures. With lines 35, 36, compare in
Shelley's 'Adonais', stanza xxxi.:

'And his own thoughts, along that rugged way,
Pursued, like raging hounds, their father and their prey.'

Ed.]

There can now be no doubt that, in the first four of these 'Stanzas',
Wordsworth refers to himself; and that, in the last four, he refers to
Coleridge. For a time it was uncertain whether in the earlier stanzas he
had Coleridge, or himself, in view; and whether, in the later ones, some
one else was, or was not, described. De Quincey, quoting (as he often
did) in random fashion, mixes up extracts from each set of the stanzas,
and applies them both to Coleridge; and Dorothy Wordsworth, in her
Journal, gives apparent (though only apparent) sanction to a reverse
order of allusion, by writing of "the stanzas about C. and himself" (her
brother). The following are her references to the poem in that Journal:

"9th May (1802).-After tea he (W.) wrote two stanzas in the manner of
Thomson's 'Castle of Indolence', and was tired out.

"10th May.--William still at work, though it is past ten o'clock ...
William did not sleep till three o'clock."

"11th May.--William finished the stanzas about C. and himself. He did
not go out to-day. ... He completely finished his poem. He went to bed
at twelve o'clock."

From these extracts two things are evident,

(1) who the persons are described in the stanzas, and

(2) the immense labour bestowed upon the poem.

In the 'Memoirs of Wordsworth', by the late Bishop of Lincoln, there is
a passage (vol. ii. chap. li. p. 309) amongst the "Personal
Reminiscences, 1836," in which the Hon. Mr. Justice Coleridge virtually
decides the question of the identity of the two persons referred to, in
his record of a conversation with the poet. It is as follows:

"October 10th.--I have passed a great many hours to-day with
Wordsworth in his home. I stumbled on him with proof sheets before
him. He read me nearly all the sweet stanzas written in his copy of
the 'Castle of Indolence', describing himself and my uncle; and he and
Mrs. W. both assured me the description of the latter at that time was
perfectly accurate; and he was almost as a great boy in feelings, and
had all the tricks and fancies there described. Mrs. W. seemed to look
back on him, and those times, with the fondest affection."

I think "the neighbouring height" referred to is the height of White
Moss Common, behind the Fir-Grove, where Wordsworth was often heard
murmuring out his verses," booing" as the country folks said: and the

'driving full in view
At midday when the sun was shining bright,'

aptly describes his habits as recorded in his sister's Journal, and
elsewhere. The "withered flower," the "creature pale and wan," are
significant of those terrible reactions of spirit, which followed his
joyous hours of insight and inspiration. Stanzas IV. to VII. of
'Resolution and Independence' (p. 314), in which Wordsworth undoubtedly
described himself, may be compared with stanza III. of this poem. The
lines

'Down would he sit; and without strength or power
Look at the common grass from hour to hour,'

are aptly illustrated by such passages in his sister's Journal, as the
following, of 29th April 1802:

"We went to John's Grove, sate a while at first; afterwards William
lay, and I lay in the trench, under the fence--he with his eyes
closed, and listening to the waterfalls and the birds. There was no
one waterfall above another--it was a kind of water in the air--the
voice of the air. We were unseen by one another."

Again, April 23rd,

"Coleridge and I pushed on before. We left William sitting on the
stones, feasting with silence."

And this recalls the first verse of 'Expostulation and Reply', written
at Alfoxden in 1798;

'Why, William, on that old grey stone,
Thus for the length of half a day,
Why, William, sit you thus alone,
And dream your time away?'

The retreat where "apple-trees in blossom made a bower," and where he so
often "slept himself away," was evidently the same as that described in
the poem 'The Green Linnet':

'Beneath these fruit-tree boughs that shed
Their snow white blossoms on my head.'

On the other hand, the "low-hung lip" and "profound" forehead of the
other, the "noticeable Man with large grey eyes," mark him out as S. T.
C.; "the rapt One, of the god-like forehead," described in the
'Extempore Effusion upon the Death of James Hogg'. The description
"Noisy he was, and gamesome as a boy," is verified by what the poet and
his wife said to Mr. Justice Coleridge in 1836. In addition, Mr.
Hutchinson of Kimbolton tells me he "often heard his father say that
Coleridge was uproarious in his mirth."

Matthew Arnold wrote me an interesting letter some years ago about these
stanzas, from which I make the following extract:

"When one looks uneasily at a poem it is easy to fidget oneself
further, and neither the Wordsworth nor the Coleridge of our common
notions seem to be exactly hit off in the 'Stanzas'; still, I believe
that the first described is Wordsworth and that the second described
is Coleridge. I have myself heard Wordsworth speak of his prolonged
exhausting wanderings among the hills. Then Miss Fenwick's notes show
that Coleridge is certainly one of the two personages of the poem, and
there are points in the description of the second man which suit him
very well. The 'profound forehead' is a touch akin to the 'god-like
forehead' in the mention of Coleridge in a later poem.

"I have a sort of recollection of having heard something about the
'inventions rare,' and Coleridge is certain to have dabbled, at one
time or other, in natural philosophy."

In 1796 Coleridge wrote to his friend Cottle from Nether Stowey:

" ... I should not think of devoting less than 20 years to an Epic
Poem: ten to collect materials and warm my mind with universal
science. I would be a tolerable Mathematician, I would thoroughly know
Mechanics, Hydrostatics, Optics, and Astronomy, Botany, Metallurgy,
Fossilism, Chemistry, Geology, Anatomy, Medicine--then the 'mind of
man'--then the 'minds of men'--in all Travels, Voyages, and Histories.
So I would spend ten years--the next five to the composition of the
poem--and the last five to the correction of it. So would I write,
haply not unhearing of the divine and rightly whispering Voice," etc.

Mr. T. Hutchinson (Dublin) writes in 'The Athenaeum', Dec. 15, 1894:

"I take it for granted these lines were written, not only on the
fly-leaf of Wordsworth's copy of the 'Castle of Indolence', but also
by way of Supplement to that poem; i. e. as an 'addendum' to the
descriptive list of the denizens of the Castle given in stanzas
LVII-LXIX of Canto I.; that, in short, they are meant to be read as
though they were an after-thought of James Thomson's. Their 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; and thus the Poet and the Philosopher-Friend of Wordsworth's
stanzas, like Thomson's companion sketches of the splenetic Solitary,
the 'bard more fat than bard beseems,' and the 'little, round, fat,
oily Man of God,' are neither more nor less than gentle caricatures."

It has been suggested by Coleridge's grandson that Wordsworth was
describing S. T. C. in all the stanzas of this poem; that he drew two
separate pictures of him; in the first four stanzas a realistic
"character portrait," and in the last four a "companion picture,
figuring the outward semblance of Coleridge, but embodying
characteristics drawn from a third person"; so that we have a "fancy
sketch" mixed up with a real one. I cannot agree with this. The
evidence against it is

(1) Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal;
(2) the poet's and his wife's remarks to Mr. Justice Coleridge;
(3) the fact that Wordsworth was not in the habit of "passing from
realism into artistic composition," except where he distinctly
indicated it, as in the case of the Hawkshead Schoolmaster, in the
"Matthew" poems. Such composite or conglomerate work was quite
foreign to Wordsworth's genius.

Ed.

* * * * *

RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE

Begun May 3, finished July 4, 1802.--Published 1807

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. This old man I met a few hundred yards
from my cottage; and the account of him is taken from his own mouth. I
was in the state of feeling described in the beginning of the poem,
while crossing over Barton Fell from Mr. Clarkson's, at the foot of
Ullswater, towards Askham. The image of the hare I then observed on the
ridge of the Fell.--I.F.]

This poem was known in the Wordsworth household as "The Leech-Gatherer,"
although it never received that name in print. An entry in Dorothy
Wordsworth's Journal of Friday, 3rd October 1800, may preface what she
wrote in 1802 about the composition of the poem.

"When William and I returned from accompanying Jones, we met an old
man almost double. He had on a coat thrown over his shoulders above
his waistcoat and coat. Under this he carried a bundle, and had an
apron on, and a night-cap. His face was interesting. He had dark eyes,
and a long nose. John, who afterwards met him at Wytheburn, took him
for a Jew. He was of Scotch parents, but had been born in the army. He
had had a wife, 'and a good woman, and it pleased God to bless him
with ten children.' All these were dead but one, of whom he had not
heard for many years, a sailor. His trade was to gather leeches; but
now leeches were scarce, and he had not strength for it. He lived by
begging, and was making his way to Carlisle where he would buy a few
books to sell. He said leeches were very scarce, partly owing to this
dry season; but many years they had been scarce. He supposed it was
owing to their being much sought after; that they did not breed fast;
and were of slow growth. Leeches were formerly 2s. 6d. the 100; now
they were 30s. He had been hurt in driving a cart, his leg broken, his
body driven over, his skull fractured. He felt no pain till he
recovered from his first insensibility. It was late in the evening,
when the light was just going away."

It is most likely that this walk of William and Dorothy Wordsworth
"accompanying Jones," was on the day of Jones's departure from Dove
Cottage, viz. 26th September.

The Journal continues:

"Tuesday, 4th May, 1802.--Though William went to bed nervous and jaded
in the extreme, he rose refreshed. I wrote out 'The Leech-Gatherer'
for him, which he had begun the night before, and of which he wrote
several stanzas in bed this morning...."

(They started to walk up the Raise to Wytheburn.)

"It was very hot; we rested several times by the way, read, and
repeated 'The Leech-Gatherer.'"

"Friday, 7th May.--William had slept uncommonly well, so, feeling
himself strong, he fell to work at 'The Leech-Gatherer'; he wrote hard
at it till dinner time, then he gave over, tired to death--he had
finished the poem."

"Sunday morning, 9th May.--William worked at 'The Leech-Gatherer'
almost incessantly from morning till tea-time. I copied 'The
Leech-Gatherer' and other poems for Coleridge. I was oppressed and
sick at heart, for he wearied himself to death."

"Sunday, 4th July.--... William finished 'The Leech-Gatherer' to-day."

"Monday, 5th July.--I copied out 'The Leech-Gatherer' for Coleridge,
and for us."

From these extracts it is clear that Dorothy Wordsworth considered the
poem as "finished" on the 7th of May, and on the 9th she sent a copy to
Coleridge; but that it was not till the 4th of July that it was really
finished, and then a second copy was forwarded to Coleridge. It is
impossible to say from which of the two MSS. sent to him Coleridge
transcribed the copy which he forwarded to Sir George Beaumont. From
that copy of a copy (which is now amongst the Beaumont MSS. at
Coleorton) the various readings given, on Coleridge's authority, in the
notes to the poem, were obtained some years ago.

The Fenwick note to the poem illustrates Wordsworth's habit of blending
in one description details which were originally separate, both as to
time and place. The scenery and the incidents of the poem are alike
composite. As he tells us that he met the leech-gatherer a few hundred
yards from Dove Cottage, the "lonely place" with its "pool, bare to the
eye of heaven," at once suggests White Moss Common and its small tarn;
but he adds that, in the opening stanzas of the poem, he is describing a
state of feeling he was in, when crossing the fells at the foot of
Ullswater to Askam, and that the image of the hare "running races in her
mirth," with the glittering mist accompanying her, was observed by him,
not on White Moss Common, but in one of the ridges of Moor Divock. To H.
C. Robinson he said of the "Leech-Gatherer" (Sept. 10, 1816), that "he
gave to his poetic character powers of mind which his original did not
possess." (Robinson's 'Diary', etc., vol. ii. p. 24.)

One of the "Poems of the Imagination."--Ed.

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; 5
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.

II 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 10
The hare is running races in her mirth;
And with her feet she from the plashy earth
Raises a mist; that, [1] glittering in the sun,
Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.

III I was a Traveller then upon the moor; 15
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; 25
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 [2] 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 [3] creatures do I fare;
Far from the world I walk, and from all care;
But there may come another day to me--
Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty. 35

VI 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; [4]
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? [A]

VII I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,
The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride; [5]
Of Him who walked in glory and in joy 45
Following his plough, along the mountain-side: [6]
By our own spirits are we deified:
We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;
But thereof come [7] in the end despondency and madness.

VIII Now, whether it were [8] by peculiar grace, 50
A leading from above, a something given,
Yet it befel, that, in this [9] lonely place,
When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,
Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven [10]
I saw [11] a Man before me unawares: 55
The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.
[12]

IX As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie
Couched on the bald top of an eminence;
Wonder to all who [13] 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 [14] on a shelf
Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself;

X Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead,
Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age: 65
His body was bent double, feet and head
Coming together in life's pilgrimage; [15]
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 [16] had cast. 70

XI Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face, [17]
Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood:
And, still as I drew near with gentle pace,
Upon the margin of that moorish flood [18]
Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood, 75
That heareth not the loud winds when they call;
And moveth all together, if it move [19] at all.
[20]

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; [21]
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, 85
In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew:
And him with further words I thus bespake,
"What occupation do you there pursue? [22
This is a lonesome place for one like [23] you."
Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise 90
Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes. [24] [B]

XIV His words came feebly, from a feeble chest,
But [25] each in solemn order followed each,
With something of a lofty [26] utterance drest--
Choice word [27] and measured phrase, above [27] the reach 95
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 [28]
To gather leeches, being old and poor: 100
Employment hazardous and wearisome!
And he had many hardships to endure: [29]
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. 105

XVI The old Man still stood talking by my side;
But now [30] 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; 110
Or like a man from some far region sent,
To give me human strength, by apt admonishment. [31]

XVII My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills;
And [32] hope that is unwilling to be fed;
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills; 115
And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
--Perplexed, and longing to be comforted, [33]
My question eagerly did I renew,
"How is it that you live, and what is it you do?" [34]

XVIII He with a smile did then his words repeat; 120
And said, that, gathering leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the pools where they abide. [35]
"Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay; 125
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may." [36]

XIX 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 [37] with this he other matter blended,
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind, 135
But stately in the main; and when he ended, [38]
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'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!" 140

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1827.

... which, ... 1807.

And in MS. letter from Coleridge to Sir George Beaumont, 1802.[i]]

[Variant 2:

1820.

... singing ... 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 3:

1807.

... happy ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 4:

1807.

And they who lived in genial faith found nought
that grew more willingly than genial good; MS. 1802.]

[Variant 5:

1815.

... who perished in his pride; MS. 1802.

... that perished in its pride; 1807.]

[Variant 6:

1820.

Behind his plough, upon the mountain-side: 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 7:

1836.

... comes ... 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 8:

1807.

... was ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 9:

1807.

... that ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 10:

1820.

When up and down my fancy thus was driven,
And I with these untoward thoughts had striven, 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 11:

1807.

I spied ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 12:

My course I stopped as soon as I espied
The Old Man in that naked wilderness:
Close by a Pond, upon the further side, [i]
He stood alone: a minute's space I guess
I watch'd him, he continuing motionless:
To the Pool's further margin then I drew;
He being all the while before me full in view. [ii] 1807.

This stanza, which appeared in the editions of 1807 and 1815, was, on
Coleridge's advice, omitted from subsequent ones.]

[Variant 13:

1807.

... that ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 14:

1820.

... which ... 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 15:

1820.

... in their pilgrimage 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 16:

1807.

... his age ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 17:

1836.

Himself he propp'd, both body, limbs, and face, MS. 1802.

... his body, ... 1807.]

[Variant 18:

1820.

Beside the little pond or moorish flood 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 19.

1807.

... moves . . MS. 1802.]

[Variant 20.

He wore a Cloak the same as women wear
As one whose blood did needful comfort lack;
His face look'd pale as if it had grown fair;
And, furthermore he had upon his back,
Beneath his cloak, a round and bulky Pack;
A load of wool or raiment as might seem.
That on his shoulders lay as if it clave to him.

This stanza appeared only in MS. 1802.]

[Variant 21.

1820.

And now such freedom as I could I took; 1807.

And Ms. 1802.]

[Variant 22.

1820.

"What kind of work is that which you pursue? 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 23.

1807.

... for such as ... MS.]

[Variant 24.

1836.

He answer'd me with pleasure and surprize;
And there was, while he spake, a fire about his eyes. 1807.

And MS. 1802.

He answered, while a flash of mild surprise
Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes. 1820.]

[Variant 25.

1820.

Yet ... 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 26.

1807.

... pompous ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 27.

1807.

...words ... MS.

...beyond ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 28.

1827.

He told me that he to the pond had come ... MS. 1802.

....this pond ... 1807.]

[Variant 29.

1807.

This was his calling, better far than some,
Though he had ...... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 30:

1807.

But soon ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 31:

1827.

... and strong admonishment. 1807.

... by strong admonishment. 1820.]

[Variant 32:

1815.

The ... 1807.

And MS. 1802.]

[Variant 33:

1820.

And now, not knowing what the Old Man had said, 1807.

And MS. 1802.

But now, perplex'd by what the Old Man had said, 1815.]

[Variant 34.

1807.

... live? what is it that you do?" MS. 1802.]

[Variant 35:

1827.

And said, that wheresoe'er they might be spied
He gather'd Leeches, stirring at his feet
The waters in the Ponds ... MS. 1802.

And said, that, gathering Leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the Ponds ... 1807.]

[Variant 36:

1807.

Once he could meet with them on every side;
But fewer they became from day to day,
And so his means of life before him died away. MS. 1802.]

[Variant 37:

1807.

And now ... MS. 1802.]

[Variant 38:

1807.

Which he delivered with demeanour kind,
Yet stately ... MS. 1802.]

* * * * *

SUB-VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Sub-Variant i:

... hither side, MS. 1802.]

[Sub-Variant ii:

He all the while before me being full in view. MS. 1802.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Some have thought that Wordsworth had S.T.C. in his mind,
in writing this stanza. I cannot agree with this. The value and interest
of the poem would be lessened by our imagining that Wordsworth's heart
never failed him; and that, when he appears to moralise at his own
expense, he was doing so at Coleridge's. Besides, the date of this poem,
taken in connection with entries in the Grasmere Journal of Dorothy
Wordsworth, makes it all but certain that Coleridge was not referred
to.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare in 'The Matron of Jedborough and her Husband', p.
417, ll. 66-69:

'Some inward trouble suddenly
Broke from the Matron's strong black eye--
A remnant of uneasy light,
A flash of something over-bright!'

Ed.]

* * * * *

SUB-FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Sub-Footnote i: Additional variants obtained from this source are
inserted as "MS. 1802."--Ed.]

The late Bishop of Lincoln, in the 'Memoirs' of his uncle (vol. i. pp.
172, 173), quotes from a letter, written by Wordsworth "to some friends,
which has much interest as bearing on this poem. [C] The following are
extracts from it:

"It is not a matter of indifference whether you are pleased with his
figure and employment, it may be comparatively whether you are pleased
with _this Poem_; but it is of the utmost importance that you should
have had pleasure in contemplating the fortitude, independence,
persevering spirit, and the general moral dignity of this old man's
character." Again, "I will explain to you, in prose, my feelings in
writing _that_ poem.... I describe myself as having been exalted to
the highest pitch of delight by the joyousness and beauty of nature;
and then as depressed, even in the midst of those beautiful objects,
to the lowest dejection and despair. A young poet in the midst of the
happiness of nature is described as overwhelmed by the thoughts of the
miserable reverses which have befallen the happiest of all men, viz.
poets. I think of this till I am so deeply impressed with it, that I
consider the manner in which I was rescued from my dejection and
despair almost as an interposition of Providence. A person reading the
poem with feelings like mine will have been awed and controlled,
expecting something spiritual or supernatural. What is brought
forward? A lonely place, 'a pond, by which an old man _was_, far from
all house or home:' not _stood_, nor _sat_, but _was_--the figure
presented in the most naked simplicity possible. This feeling of
spirituality or supernaturalness is again referred to as being strong
in my mind in this passage. How came he here? thought I, or what can
he be doing? I then describe him, whether ill or well is not for me to
judge with perfect confidence; but this I _can_ confidently affirm,
that though I believe God has given me a strong imagination, I cannot
conceive a figure more impressive than that of an old man like this,
the survivor of a wife and ten children, travelling alone among the
mountains and all lonely places, carrying with him his own fortitude
and the necessities which an unjust state of society has laid upon
him. You speak of his speech as tedious. Every thing is tedious when
one does not read with the feelings of the author. 'The Thorn' is
tedious to hundreds; and so is 'The Idiot Boy' to hundreds. It is in
the character of the old man to tell his story, which an impatient
reader must feel tedious. But, good heavens! such a figure, in such a
place; a pious, self-respecting, miserably infirm and pleased old man
telling such a tale!"

Ed.

[Footnote A: It is unfortunate that in this, as in many other similar
occasions in these delightful volumes by the poet's nephew, the
reticence as to names--warrantable perhaps in 1851, so soon after the
poet's death--has now deprived the world of every means of knowing to
whom many of Wordsworth's letters were addressed. Professor Dowden asks
about it--and very naturally:

"Was it the letter to Mary and Sara" (Hutchinson) "about 'The
Leech-Gatherer,' mentioned in Dorothy's Journal of 14th June
1802?"

Ed.]

* * * * *

"I GRIEVED FOR BUONAPARTE"

Composed May 21, 1802.--Published 1807 [A]

[In the cottage of Town-end, one afternoon in 1801, my sister read to me
the sonnets of Milton. I had long been well acquainted with them, but I
was particularly struck on that occasion with the dignified simplicity
and majestic harmony that runs through most of them--in character so
totally different from the Italian, and still more so from Shakespeare's
fine sonnets. I took fire, if I may be allowed to say so, and produced
three sonnets the same afternoon, the first I ever wrote, except an
irregular one at school. Of these three the only one I distinctly
remember is 'I grieved for Buonaparte, etc.'; one of the others was
never written down; the third, which was I believe preserved, I cannot
particularise.--I.F.]

One of the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty," afterwards called "Poems
dedicated to National Independence and Liberty." From the edition of
1815 onwards, it bore the title '1801'.--Ed.

I grieved for Buonaparte, with a vain
And an unthinking grief! The tenderest mood [1]
Of that Man's mind--what can it be? what food
Fed his first hopes? what knowledge could _he_ gain?
'Tis not in battles that from youth we train 5
The Governor who must be wise and good,
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood.
Wisdom doth live with children round her knees:
Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and the talk 10
Man holds with week-day man in the hourly walk
Of the mind's business: these are the degrees
By which true Sway doth mount; this is the stalk
True Power doth grow on; and her rights are these.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

... grief! the vital blood
Of that man's mind, what can it be? What food
Fed his first hopes? what knowledge could he gain? 1802.

... grief! for, who aspires
To genuine greatness but from just desires,
And knowledge such as _He_ could never gain? 1815.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: It had twice seen the light previously in 'The Morning
Post', first on September 16, 1802, unsigned, and again on January 29,
1803, when it was signed W. L. D.--Ed.]

Wordsworth's date 1801, in the Fenwick note, should have been 1802. His
sister writes, in her Journal of 1802:

"May 21.--W. wrote two sonnets on Buonaparte, after I had read
Milton's sonnets to him."

The "irregular" sonnet, written "at school," to which Wordsworth refers,
is probably the one published in the 'European Magazine' in 1787, vol.
xi. p. 202, and signed Axiologus.--Ed.

* * * * *

A FAREWELL

Composed May 29, 1802.--Published 1815

[Composed just before my Sister and I went to fetch Mrs. Wordsworth from
Gallow-hill, near Scarborough.--I.F.]

This was one of the "Poems founded on the Affections." It was published
in 1815 and in 1820 without a title, but with the sub-title 'Composed in
the Year 1802'. In 1827 and 1832 it was called 'A Farewell', to which
the sub-title was added. The sub-title was omitted in 1836, and
afterwards.--Ed.

Farewell, 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, 5
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 [1] when we are gone; 10
The flowering shrubs that deck our humble door [2]
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; 15
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; 25
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 [3] to you; to you herself will wed;
And love the blessed life that [4] 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, 35
Which thou hast taken to thee as thy own.
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 [5] thy face;
Who, being loved, in love no bounds dost know,
And say'st, when we forsake thee, "Let them go!" 45
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, 55
Of which I sang [6] one song that will not die. [A]

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.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1836.

And safely she will ride ... 1815.

... will she ... 1832.]

[Variant 2:

1836.

... that decorate our door 1815.]

[Variant 3:

1820.

She'll come ... 1815.]

[Variant 4:

1827.

... which ... 1815]

[Variant 5:

1827.

... in ... 1815.]

[Variant 6:

1832.

... sung ... 1815.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: See 'The Sparrow's Nest', p. 236.--Ed.]

"May 29.--William finished his poem on going for Mary. I wrote it out.
A sweet day. We nailed up the honeysuckle and hoed the scarlet beans."

She added on the 31st,

"I wrote out the poem on our departure, which he seemed to have
finished;"

and on June 13th,

"William has been altering the poem to Mary this morning."

The "little Nook of mountain-ground" is in much the same condition now,
as it was in 1802. The "flowering shrubs" and the "rocky well" still
exist, and "the steep rock's breast" is "thronged with primroses" in
spring. The "bower" is gone; but, where it used to be, a seat is now
erected.

The Dove Cottage orchard is excellently characterised in Mr. Stopford
Brooke's pamphlet describing it (1890). See also 'The Green Linnet', p.
367, with the note appended to it, and Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere
Journal, _passim_.--Ed.

* * * * *

"THE SUN HAS LONG BEEN SET"

Composed June 8, 1802.--Published 1807

[This _Impromptu_ appeared, many years ago, among the Author's poems,
from which, in subsequent editions, it was excluded. [A] It is
reprinted, at the request of the Friend in whose presence the lines were
thrown off.--I.F.]

One of the "Evening Voluntaries."--Ed.

The sun has long been set,
The stars are out by twos and threes,
The little birds are piping yet
Among the bushes and trees; [1]
There's a cuckoo, and one or two thrushes, 5
And a far-off wind that rushes,
And a sound of water that gushes, [2]
And the cuckoo's sovereign cry
Fills all the hollow of the sky.

Who would go "parading" 10
In London, "and masquerading," [B]
On such a night of June
With that beautiful soft half-moon,
And all these innocent blisses?
On such a night as this is! 15

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

... and the trees; 1836.

The edition of 1837 returns to the text of 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1835.

And a noise of wind that rushes,
With a noise of water that gushes; 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: It appeared in 1807 as No. II. of "Moods of my own Mind,"
and not again till the publication of "Yarrow Revisited" in 1835.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare:

'At operas and plays parading,
Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading.'

Burns, 'The Two Dogs, a Tale', II. 124-5.--Ed.]

"June 8th (1802).--After tea William came out and walked, and wrote
that poem, 'The sun has long been set,' etc. He walked on our own
path, and wrote the lines; he called me into the orchard and there
repeated them to me."

(Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal.) The "Friend in whose presence the lines
were thrown off," was his sister.--Ed.

* * * * *

COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPTEMBER 3, 1802

Composed July 31, 1802.--Published 1807

[Written on the roof of a coach, on my way to France.--I.F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."--Ed.

Earth has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul [1] 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, 5
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; 10
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!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

... heart ... MS.]

The date which Wordsworth gave to this sonnet on its first publication
in 1807, viz. September 3, 1803,--and which he retained in all
subsequent editions of his works till 1836,--is inaccurate. He left
London for Dover, on his way to Calais, on the 31st of July 1802. The
sonnet was written that morning as he travelled towards Dover. The
following record of the journey is preserved in his sister's Journal:

"July 30. [A]--Left London between five and six o'clock of the morning
outside the Dover coach. A beautiful morning. The city, St. Paul's,
with the river--a multitude of little boats, made a beautiful sight as
we crossed _Westminster Bridge_; the houses not overhung by their
clouds of smoke, and were hung out endlessly; yet the sun shone so
brightly, with such a pure light, that there was something like the
purity of one of Nature's own grand spectacles."

This sonnet underwent no change in successive editions.

In illustration of it, an anecdote of the late Bishop of St. David's may
be given, as reported by Lord Coleridge.

"In the great debate on the abolition of the Irish Establishment in
1869, the Bishop of St. David's, Dr. Thirlwall, had made a very
remarkable speech, and had been kept till past daybreak in the House
of Lords, before the division was over, and he was able to walk home.
He was then an old man, and in failing health. Some time after, he was
asked whether he had not run some risk to his health, and whether he
did not feel much exhausted. 'Yes,' he said, 'perhaps so; but I was
more than repaid by walking out upon Westminster Bridge after the
division, seeing London in the morning light as Wordsworth saw it, and
repeating to myself his noble sonnet as I walked home.'"

This anecdote was told to the Wordsworth Society, at its meeting on the
3rd of May 1882, after a letter had been read by the Secretary, from Mr.
Robert Spence Watson, recording the following similar experience:

"... As confirming the perfect truth of Wordsworth's description of
the external aspects of a scene, and the way in which he reached its
inmost soul, I may tell you what happened to me, and may have happened
to many others. Many years ago, I think it was in 1859, I chanced to
be passing (in a pained and depressed state of mind, occasioned by the
death of a friend) over Waterloo Bridge at half-past three on a lovely
June morning. It was broad daylight, and I was alone. Never when alone
in the remotest recesses of the Alps, with nothing around me but the
mountains, or upon the plains of Africa, alone with the wonderful
glory of the southern night, have I seen anything to approach the
solemnity--the soothing solemnity--of the city, sleeping under the
early sun:

'Earth has not any thing to show more fair.'

"How simply, yet how perfectly, Wordsworth has interpreted it! It was
a happy thing for us that the Dover coach left at so untimely an hour.
It was this sonnet, I think, that first opened my eyes to Wordsworth's
greatness as a poet. Perhaps nothing that he has written shows more
strikingly the vast sympathy which is his peculiar dower."

Ed.

[Footnote A: This is an error of date. Saturday, the day of their
departure from London, was the 31st of July.--Ed.]

* * * * *

COMPOSED BY THE SEA-SIDE, NEAR CALAIS, AUGUST, 1802

Composed August, 1802.--Published 1807

One of the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty"; re-named in 1845, "Poems
dedicated to National Independence and Liberty."--Ed.

Fair Star of evening, Splendour of the west,
Star of my Country!--on the horizon's brink
Thou hangest, stooping, as might seem, to sink
On England's bosom; yet well pleased to rest,
Meanwhile, and be to her a glorious crest 5
Conspicuous to the Nations. Thou, I think,
Should'st be my Country's emblem; and should'st wink,
Bright Star! with laughter on her banners, drest
In thy fresh beauty. There! that dusky spot
Beneath thee, that is England; there she lies. [1] 10
Blessings be on you both! one hope, one lot,
One life, one glory!--I, with many a fear
For my dear Country, many heartfelt sighs,
Among men who do not love her, linger here.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

... it is England; there it lies. 1807.]

This sonnet, and the seven that follow it, were written during
Wordsworth's residence at Calais, in the month of August, 1802. The
following extract from his sister's Journal illustrates it:

"We arrived at _Calais_ at four o'clock on Sunday morning the 31st of
July. We had delightful walks after the heat of the day was
passed--seeing far off in the west the coast of England, like a cloud,
crested with Dover Castle, the evening Star, and the glory of the sky;
the reflections in the water were more beautiful than the sky itself;
purple waves brighter than precious stones, for ever melting away upon
the sands."

Ed.

* * * * *

CALAIS, AUGUST, 1802

Composed August 7, 1802--Published 1807 [A]

One of the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty"; re-named in 1845, "Poems
dedicated to National Independence and Liberty."--Ed.

Is it a reed that's shaken by the wind,
Or what is it that ye go forth to see?
Lords, lawyers, statesmen, squires of low degree,
Men known, and men unknown, sick, lame, and blind,
Post forward all, like creatures of one kind, 5
With first-fruit offerings crowd to bend the knee
In France, before the new-born Majesty.
'Tis ever thus. Ye men of prostrate mind, [1]
A seemly reverence may be paid to power;
But that's a loyal virtue, never sown 10
In haste, nor springing with a transient shower:
When truth, when sense, when liberty were flown,
What hardship had it been to wait an hour?
Shame on you, feeble Heads, to slavery prone!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

Thus fares it ever. Men of prostrate mind! 1803.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: This sonnet was first published in 'The Morning Post', Jan.
29, 1803, under the signature W. L. D., along with the one beginning, "I
grieved for Buonaparte, with a vain," and was afterwards printed in the
1807 edition of the Poems. Mr. T. Hutchinson (Dublin) suggests that the
W. L. D. stood either for _Wordsworthius Libertatis Defensor_, or (more
likely) _Wordsworthii Libertati Dedicatunt_ (carmen).--Ed.]

* * * * *

COMPOSED NEAR CALAIS, ON THE ROAD LEADING TO ARDRES, AUGUST 7, 1802 [A]

Composed August, 1802.--Published 1807

One of the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty"; re-named in 1845, "Poems
dedicated to National Independence and Liberty."--Ed.

Jones! as [1] from Calais southward you and I
Went pacing side by side, this public Way
Streamed with the pomp of a too-credulous day, [B]
When faith was pledged to new-born Liberty: [2]
A homeless sound of joy was in the sky: 5
From hour to hour the antiquated Earth, [3]
Beat like the heart of Man: songs, garlands, mirth, [4]
Banners, and happy faces, far and nigh!
And now, sole register that these things were,
Two solitary greetings have I heard, 10
"_Good morrow, Citizen!_" a hollow word,
As if a dead man spake it! Yet despair
Touches me not, though pensive as a bird
Whose vernal coverts winter hath laid bare. [5]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

... when ... 1807.

... while ... 1820.]

[Variant 2:

1837.

Travell'd on foot together; then this Way,
Which I am pacing now, was like the May
With festivals of new-born Liberty: 1807.

Where I am walking now ... MS.

Urged our accordant steps, this public Way
Streamed with the pomp of a too-credulous day,
When faith was pledged to new-born Liberty: 1820.]

[Variant 3:

1845.

The antiquated Earth, as one might say, 1807.

The antiquated Earth, hopeful and gay, 1837.]

[Variant 4:

1845.

... garlands, play, 1807.]

[Variant 5:

1827.

I feel not: happy am I as a Bird:
Fair seasons yet will come, and hopes as fair. 1807.

I feel not: jocund as a warbling Bird; 1820.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In the editions of 1807 to 1837 this is a sub-title, the
chief title being 'To a Friend'. In the editions of 1840-1843, the chief
title is retained in the Table of Contents, but is erased in the
text.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: 14th July 1790.--W. W. 1820.]

This sonnet, originally entitled 'To a Friend, composed near Calais, on
the Road leading to Ardres, August 7th, 1802', was addressed to Robert
Jones, of Plas-yn-llan, near Ruthin, Denbighshire, a brother collegian
at Cambridge, and afterwards a fellow of St. John's College, and
incumbent of Soulderne, near Deddington, in Oxfordshire. It was to him
that Wordsworth dedicated his 'Descriptive Sketches', which record their
wanderings together in Switzerland; and it is to the pedestrian tour,
undertaken by the two friends in the long vacation of 1790, that he
refers in the above sonnet. The character of Jones is sketched in the
poem written in 1800, beginning:

'I marvel how Nature could ever find space,' [A]

and his parsonage in Oxfordshire is described in the sonnet--

'Where holy ground begins, unhallowed ends,
Is marked by no distinguishable line.'

The following note on Jones was appended to the edition of
1837:

"This excellent Person, one of my earliest and dearest friends, died
in the year 1835. We were under-graduates together of the same year,
at the same college; and companions in many a delightful ramble
through his own romantic Country of North Wales. Much of the latter
part of his life he passed in comparative solitude; which I know was
often cheered by remembrance of our youthful adventures, and of the
beautiful regions which, at home and abroad, we had visited together.
Our long friendship was never subject to a moment's
interruption,--and, while revising these volumes for the last time, I
have been so often reminded of my loss, with a not unpleasing sadness,
that I trust the Reader will excuse this passing mention of a Man who
well deserves from me something more than so brief a notice. Let me
only add, that during the middle part of his life he resided many
years (as Incumbent of the Living) at a Parsonage in Oxfordshire,
which is the subject of one of the 'Miscellaneous Sonnets.'"

Ed.

[Footnote A: See p. 208 ['A Character'].--Ed.]

* * * * *

CALAIS, AUGUST 15, 1802

Composed August 15, 1802.--Published 1807 [A]

One of the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty"; re-named in 1845, "Poems
dedicated to National Independence and Liberty."--Ed.

Festivals have I seen that were not names:
This is young Buonaparte's natal day,
And his is henceforth an established sway--
Consul for life. With worship France proclaims
Her approbation, and with pomps and games. 5
Heaven grant that other Cities may be gay!
Calais is not: and I have bent my way
To the [1] sea-coast, noting that each man frames
His business as he likes. Far other show
My youth here witnessed, in a prouder time; [2] 10
The senselessness of joy was then sublime!
Happy is he, who, caring not for Pope,
Consul, or King, can sound himself to know
The destiny of Man, and live in hope.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

... this ... 1803.]

[Variant 2:

1827.

... Another time
That was, when I was here twelve years ago. 1803.

... long years ago: 1807.

... Far different time
That was, which here I witnessed, long ago; 1820.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: It had appeared in 'The Morning Post', February 26, 1803,
under the initials W. L. D.--Ed.]

* * * * *

"IT IS A BEAUTEOUS EVENING, CALM AND FREE"

Composed August, 1802.--Published 1807

[This was composed on the beach near Calais, in the autumn of 1802.--I.
F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets." In 1807 it was No. 19 of that
series.--Ed.

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free, [1]
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea: [2] 5
Listen! [3] 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, [A]
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought, [4] 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. [B]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

Air sleeps,--from strife or stir the clouds are free; 1837.

A fairer face of evening cannot be; 1840.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1837.

... is on the Sea: 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1807.

But list! ... 1837.

The text of 1840 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 4:

1845.

Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear'st untouch'd by solemn thought, 1807.

Dear Child! dear happy Girl! if thou appear
Heedless--untouched with awe or serious thought, 1837.

Heedless-unawed, untouched with serious thought, 1838.

The text of 1840 returns to that of 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: I thought, for some time, that the "girl" referred to was
Dorothy Wordsworth. Her brother used to speak, and to write, of her
under many names, "Emily," "Louisa," etc.; and to call her a "child" in
1802--a "child of Nature" she was to the end of her days--or a "girl,"
seemed quite natural. However, a more probable suggestion was made by
Mr. T. Hutchinson to Professor Dowden, that it refers to the girl
Caroline mentioned in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal.

"We arrived at Calais at four o'clock on Sunday morning, the 3rd of
July.... We found out Annette and C., chez Madame Avril dans la rue de
la Tete d'or. The weather was very hot. We walked by the shore almost
every evening with Annette and Caroline, or William and I alone.... It
was beautiful on the calm hot night to see the little boats row out of
harbour with wings of fire, and the sail-boats with the fiery track
which they cut as they went along, and which closed up after them with
a hundred thousand sparkles and streams of glowworm light. Caroline
was delighted."

I have been unable to discover who Annette and Caroline were. Dorothy
Wordsworth frequently records in her Grasmere Journal that either
William, or she, "wrote to Annette," but who she was is unknown to
either the Wordsworth or the Hutchinson family.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare:

'The Child is father of the Man, etc.'

p. 292.

Also S. T. C. in 'The Friend', iii. p. 46:

'The sacred light of childhood,'

and 'The Prelude', book v. l. 507. Ed.]

* * * * *

ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC

Composed August, 1802.--Published 1807

This and the following ten sonnets were included among the "Sonnets
dedicated to Liberty"; re-named in 1845, "Poems dedicated to National
Independence and Liberty."--Ed.

Once did She hold the gorgeous east in fee;
And was the safeguard of the west: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
She was a maiden City, bright and free; 5
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea. [A]
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay; 10
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade

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