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

Part 2 out of 14

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1836.

The Squire said, "Sure as paradise
Was lost to man by Adam's sinning,
This leap is for us all too bold; 1819.

Like winds that lash the waves, or smite
The woods, the autumnal foliage thinning--
"Hold!" said the Squire, "I pray you, hold! 1820.

The woods, autumnal foliage thinning--1827.]

[Variant 23:

1845.

... its ponderous knell,
Its far-renowned alarum! 1819.

... his ponderous knell,
A far-renowned alarum! 1836.

... that ponderous knell--
His far-renowned alarum! 1840.]

[Variant 24:

1820.

With Peter Bell, I need not tell
That this had never been the case;--1819.]

[Variant 25:

1819.

... placid ... 1820.

The text of 1827 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 26:

1836.
... cheerfully ... 1819.]

[Variant 27:

1827.

Till he is brought to an old quarry, 1819.]

[Variant 28: In the two editions of 1819 only.

"What! would'st thou daunt me grisly den?
Back must I, having come so far?
Stretch as thou wilt thy gloomy jaws,
I'll on, nor would I give two straws
For lantern or for star!"]

[Variant 29:

1820.

And so, where on the huge rough stones
The black and massy shadows lay,
And through the dark, ... 1819.]

[Variant 30:

1827.

... made ... 1819.]

[Variant 31: In the two editions of 1819 only.

Now you'll suppose that Peter Bell
Felt small temptation here to tarry,
And so it was,--but I must add,
His heart was not a little glad
When he was out of the old quarry.]

[Variant 32:

1827.

Across that ... 1819.]

[Variant 33:

1836.

And now he is among the trees; 1819.]

[Variant 34:

"No doubt I'm founder'd in these woods--
For once," quoth he, "I will be wise,
With better speed I'll back again--
And, lest the journey should prove vain,
Will take yon Ass, my lawful prize!"

Off Peter hied,--"A comely beast!
Though not so plump as he might be;
My honest friend, with such a platter,
You should have been a little fatter,
But come, Sir, come with me!" 1819.

(The first of these stanzas was omitted in 1827 and afterwards;
the second was withdrawn in 1820.)]

[Variant 35:

1836.

But first doth Peter deem it fit
To spy about him far and near; 1819.

"A prize," cried Peter, stepping back
To spy ... 1827.]

[Variant 36:

1827.

... Ass's back, ... 1819.]

[Variant 37:

1836.

With ready heel the creature's side; 1819.

With ready heel his shaggy side; 1827.]

[Variant 38: In the editions of 1819 to 1832 only.

"What's this!" cried Peter, brandishing
A new-peel'd sapling white as cream;
The Ass knew well what Peter said,
But, as before, hung down his head
Over the silent stream. 1819.

A new-peeled sapling;--though, I deem,
The Ass knew well what Peter said,
He, as before, ... 1820.

...--though I deem,
This threat was understood full well,
Firm, as before, the Sentinel
Stood by the silent stream. 1827.]

[Variant 39:

1827.

"I'll cure you of these desperate tricks"--
And, with deliberate action slow,
His staff high-raising, in the pride
Of skill, upon the Ass's hide C. and 1819.]

[Variant 40:

1836.

What followed?--yielding to the shock
The Ass, as if ... 1819.]

[Variant 41:

1836.

And then upon ... 1819.]

[Variant 42:

1840.

... as ... 1819.]

[Variant 43:

1819.

The Beast on his tormentor turned
A shining hazel eye. 1827.

His shining ... 1832.

The edition of 1836 returns to the text of 1819.]

[Variant 44:

1836.

Towards the river ... 1819.]

[Variant 45:

1832.

Heav'd his lank sides, ... 1819.]

[Variant 46: 1836. In the two editions of 1819 this stanza formed two
stanzas, thus:

All by the moonlight river side
He gave three miserable groans,
"'Tis come then to a pretty pass,"
Said Peter to the groaning ass,
"But I will _bang_ your bones!"

And Peter halts to gather breath,
And now full clearly was it shown
(What he before in part had seen)
How gaunt was the poor Ass and lean,
Yea wasted to a skeleton! 1819.

In the editions of 1820-1832, only the second of these stanzas is
retained, with the following change of text in 1827:

And, while he halts, was clearly shown
(What he before in part had seen)
How gaunt the Creature was, and lean, 1827.

In the final text of 1836 the two stanzas of 1819 are compressed into
one (ll. 446-50).]

[Variant 47:

1836.

But, while upon the ground he lay, 1819.

That instant, while outstretched he lay, 1827.]

[Variant 48:

1836.

A loud and piteous bray! 1819.]

[Variant 49:

1820.

Joy on ... 1819.]

[Variant 50:

1836.

... an endless shout,
The long dry see-saw ... 1819.]

[Variant 51:

1836.

And Peter now uplifts his eyes;
Steady the moon doth look and clear,
And like themselves the rocks appear,
And tranquil are the skies, 1819.

And quiet are the skies. 1820.]

[Variant 52:

1836.

Whereat, in resolute mood, once more
He stoops the Ass's neck to seize--
Foul purpose, quickly put to flight!
For in the pool a startling sight
Meets him, beneath the shadowy trees. 1819.]

[Variant 53:

1819.

... the gallows ... 1832.

The text of 1836 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 54:

1836.

Or a gay ring of shining fairies,
Such as pursue their brisk vagaries 1819.]

[Variant 55: In the two editions of 1819 only.

Is it a party in a parlour?
Cramm'd just as they on earth were cramm'd--
Some sipping punch, some sipping tea,
But, as you by their faces see,
All silent and all damn'd! [a]]

[Variant 56:

1827.

A throbbing pulse the Gazer hath--
Puzzled he was, and now is daunted; 1819.]

[Variant 57:

1836.

Like one intent upon a book--1819.]

[Variant 58:

1836.

And drops, a senseless weight, ... 1819.]

[Variant 59:

1827.

A happy respite!--but he wakes;--
And feels the glimmering of the moon--
And to stretch forth his hands is trying;--
Sure, when he knows where he is lying,
He'll sink into a second swoon. 1819.]

[Variant 60:

1827.

... placid ... 1819.]

[Variant 61:

1827.

So, faltering not in _this_ intent,
He makes his staff an instrument
The river's depth to sound--1819.

So toward the stream his head he bent,
And downward thrust his staff, intent
To reach the Man who there lay drowned.--1820.]

[Variant 62:

1836.

The meagre Shadow all this while--
What aim is his? ... 1819.]

[Variant 63:

1836.

That Peter on his back should mount
He shows a wish, well as he can,
"I'll go, I'll go, whate'er betide--
He to his home my way will guide,
The cottage of the drowned man." 1819.]

But no--his purpose and his wish
The Suppliant shews, well as he can;
Thought Peter whatsoe'er betide
I'll go, and he my way will guide
To the cottage of the drowned man. 1820.]

[Variant 64:

1836.

This utter'd, Peter mounts forthwith 1819.

This hoping, 1820.

Encouraged by this hope, he mounts 1827.

This hoping, Peter boldly mounts 1832.]

[Variant 65:

1827.

The 1819.]

[Variant 66:

1836.

And takes his way ... 1819.]

[Variant 67:

1840.

Holding ... 1819.]

[Variant 68:

1840 and c.

What seeks the boy?--the silent dead! 1819.

Seeking for whom?--... 1836.]

[Variant 69:

1836.

Whom he hath sought ... 1819.]

[Variant 70:

1820.

... doth rightly spell; 1819.]

[Variant 71:

1836.

... noise ... 1819.]

[Variant 72:

1820.

... to gain his end 1819.]

[Variant 73:

1845.

... footstep ... 1819.]

[Variant 74:

1836.

... along a ... 1819.]

[Variant 75: In the editions of 1819 and 1820 the following stanza
occurs:

The verdant pathway, in and out,
Winds upwards like a straggling chain;
And, when two toilsome miles are past,
Up through the rocks it leads at last
Into a high and open plain.]

[Variant 76:

1827.

The ... 1819.]

[Variant 77:

1836.

How blank!--but whence this rustling sound
Which, all too long, the pair hath chased!
--A dancing leaf is close behind, 1819.

But whence that faintly-rustling sound 1820.

But whence this faintly rustling sound
By which the pair have long been chased? c.]

[Variant 78:

1836.

When Peter spies the withered leaf,
It yields no cure to his distress--1819.]

[Variant 79:

1836.

Ha! why this comfortless despair? 1819.]

[Variant 80:

1819.

... the Creature's head; 1827.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 81:

1836.

... those darting pains,
As meteors shoot through heaven's wide plains,
Pass through his bosom--and repass! 1819.]

[Variant 82:

1827.

Reading, as you or I might read
At night in any pious book, 1819.]

[Variant 83:

1836.

... the good man's taper, 1819.]

[Variant 84:

1836.

The ghostly word, which thus was fram'd, 1819.

... full plainly seen, 1827.]

[Variant 85:

1836.

... to torment the good 1819.]

[Variant 86:

1836.

I know you, potent Spirits! well,
How with the feeling and the sense
Playing, ye govern foes or friends.
Yok'd to your will, for fearful ends--1819.]

[Variant 87:

1836.

... I have often ... 1819.]

[Variant 88:

1836.

And well I know ... 1819.]

[Variant 89:

1836.

... and danc'd ... 1819.]

[Variant 90:

1836.

... clearly ... 1819.]

[Variant 91:

1836.

... hath ... 1819.]

[Variant 92:

1836.

... to confound ... 1819.]

[Variant 93:

1836.

But now the pair have reach'd a spot
Where, shelter'd by a rocky cove, 1819.

Meanwhile the pair 1820.]

[Variant 94:

1836.

The building seems, wall, roof, and tower, 1819.]

[Variant 95:

1836.

Deep sighing as he pass'd along,
Quoth Peter, "In the shire of Fife,
'Mid such a ruin, following still
From land to land a lawless will, 1819.]

[Variant 96:

1827.

Making, ... 1819.]

[Variant 97:

1836.

As if confusing darkness came 1819.

And a confusing 1832.

While clouds of swimming darkness came
Over his eyesight with the sound. C.]

[Variant 98: _Italics_ were first used in the edition of 1820.]

[Variant 99:

1836.

A lonely house her dwelling was, 1819.]

[Variant 100:

1819.

... her name ... 1820.

The edition of 1827 returns to the text of 1819.]

[Variant 101:

1820.

Distraction reigns in soul and sense,
And reason drops in impotence
From her deserted pinnacle! 1819.]

[Variant 102:

1820.

... ears ... 1819.]

[Variant 103:

1836.

Though clamorous as a hunter's horn
Re-echoed from a naked rock,
'Tis from that tabernacle--List! 1819.

The voice, though clamorous as a horn
Re-echoed by a naked rock,
Is from .... 1832.]

[Variant 104:

1819.

... pious ... c.]

[Variant 105:

1836.

'Tis said, that through prevailing grace 1819.]

[Variant 106:

1836.

... shoulders scored
Meek beast! in memory of the Lord 1819.

Faithful memorial of the Lord c.]

[Variant 107:

1836.

In memory of that solemn day 1819.]

[Variant 108:

1836.

Towards a gate in open view
Turns up a narrow lane; ... 1819.]

[Variant 109:

1836.

Had gone two hundred yards, not more;
When to a lonely house he came;
He turn'd aside towards the same
And stopp'd before the door. 1819.]

[Variant 110:

1836.

In hope ... 1819.]

[Variant 111:

1827.

Close at ... 1819.]

[Variant 112:

1832.

What could he do?--The Woman lay 1819.]

[Variant 113:

1836.

... the sufferer ... 1819.]

[Variant 114:

1819.

... stair ... 1820.

The edition of 1827 returns to the text of 1819.]

[Variant 115:

1836.

And to the pillow gives ... 1819.]

[Variant 116:

1827.

And resting on ... 1819.]

[Variant 117:

1827.

He turns ... 1819.]

[Variant 118:

1836.

... his inward grief and fear--1819.

... his sorrow and his fear--C.]

[Variant 119:

1827.

... had ... 1819.]

[Variant 120:

1836.

Towards ... 1819.]

[Variant 121:

1832.

... repressed ... 1819.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The title in the two editions of 1819 was 'Peter Bell: A
Tale in Verse.'--Ed.]

[Footnote B: In Dorothy Wordsworth's Alfoxden Journal the following
occurs, under date April 20, 1798: "The moon crescent. 'Peter Bell'
begun."--Ed.]

[Footnote C: 'Romeo and Juliet', act II. scene ii. l. 44. This motto
first appeared on the half-title of 'Peter Bell', second edition, 1819,
under the advertisement of 'Benjamin the Waggoner', its first line being
"What's a Name?" When 'The Waggoner' appeared, a few days afterwards,
the motto stood on its title-page. In the collective edition of the
Poems (1820), it disappeared; but reappeared, in its final position, in
the edition of 1827.--Ed.]

[Footnote D: 'Julius Caesar', act I. scene ii. l. 147.--Ed.]

[Footnote E: Compare 'The Prelude', book iv. l. 47:

'the sunny seat
Round the stone table under the dark pine.'

Ed.]

[Footnote F: In the dialect of the North, a hawker of earthen-ware is
thus designated.--W. W. 1819 (second edition).]

[Footnote G: Compare 'The Prelude', book v. l. 448:

'At last, the dead man, 'mid that beauteous scene
Of trees and hills and water, bolt upright
Rose, with his ghastly face, a spectre shape
Of terror.'

Ed.]

[Footnote H: This and the next stanza were omitted from the edition of
1827, but restored in 1832.--Ed.]

[Footnote I: The notion is very general, that the Cross on the back and
shoulders of this Animal has the origin here alluded to.--W. W. 1819.]

[Footnote J: I cannot suffer this line to pass, without noticing that it
was suggested by Mr. Haydon's noble Picture of Christ's Entry into
Jerusalem.--W. W. 1820. Into the same picture Haydon "introduced
Wordsworth bowing in reverence and awe." See the essay on "The Portraits
of Wordsworth" in a later volume, and the portrait itself, which will be
reproduced in the volume containing the 'Life' of the poet.--Ed.]

[Footnote K: The first and second editions of 'Peter Bell' (1819)
contained, as frontispiece, an engraving by J.C. Bromley, after a
picture by Sir George Beaumont. In 1807, Wordsworth wrote to Sir George:

"I am quite delighted to hear of your picture for 'Peter Bell' ....
But remember that no poem of mine will ever be popular, and I am
afraid that the sale of 'Peter' would not carry the expense of
engraving .... The people would love the poem of 'Peter Bell', but the
_public_ (a very different thing) will never love it."

Some days before Wordsworth's 'Peter Bell' was issued in 1819, another
'Peter Bell' was published by Messrs. Taylor and Hessey. It was a parody
written by J. Hamilton Reynolds, and issued as 'Peter Bell, a Lyrical
Ballad', with the sentence on its title page, "I do affirm that I am the
_real_ Simon Pure." The preface, which follows, is too paltry to quote;
and the stanzas which make up the poem contain allusions to the more
trivial of the early "Lyrical Ballads" (Betty Foy, Harry Gill, etc.).
Wordsworth's 'Peter Bell' was published about a week later; and Shelley
afterwards published his 'Peter Bell the Third'. Charles Lamb wrote to
Wordsworth, in May 1819:

"Dear Wordsworth--I received a copy of 'Peter Bell' a week ago, and I
hope the author will not be offended if I say I do not much relish it.
The humour, if it is meant for humour, is forced; and then the
price!--sixpence would have been dear for it. Mind, I do not mean
_your_ 'Peter Bell', but _a Peter Bell_, which preceded it about a
week, and is in every bookseller's shop window in London, the type and
paper nothing differing from the true one, the preface signed W. W.,
and the supplementary preface quoting, as the author's words, an
extract from the supplementary preface to the 'Lyrical Ballads.' Is
there no law against these rascals? I would have this Lambert Simnel
whipt at the cart's tail." ('The Letters of Charles Lamb', edited by
A. Ainger, vol. ii. p. 20.)

Barron Field wrote on the title-page of his copy of the edition of
'Peter Bell', 1819,

"And his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it."

1 Kings xiii. 24.--Ed.]

* * * * *

SUB-FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Sub-Footnote a: This stanza, which was deleted from every edition of
'Peter Bell' after the two of 1819, was prefixed by Shelley to his poem
of 'Peter Bell the Third', and many of his contemporaries thought that
it was an invention of Shelley's. See the note which follows this poem,
p. 50. Crabb Robinson wrote in his 'Diary', June 6, 1812:

"Mrs. Basil Montagu told me she had no doubt she had suggested this
image to Wordsworth by relating to him an anecdote. A person, walking
in a friend's garden, looking in at a window, saw a company of ladies
at a table near the window, with countenances _fixed_. In an instant
he was aware of their condition, and broke the window. He saved them
from incipient suffocation."

Wordsworth subsequently said that he had omitted the stanza only in
deference to the "unco guid." Crabb Robinson remonstrated with him
against its exclusion.--Ed.]

* * * * *

LINES,[A] COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING THE
BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR, JULY 13, 1798 [B]

Composed July 1798.--Published 1798

[July 1798. No poem of mine was composed under circumstances more
pleasant for me to remember than this. I began it upon leaving Tintern,
after crossing the Wye, and concluded it just as I was entering Bristol
in the evening, after a ramble of four or five days, with my sister. Not
a line of it was altered, and not any part of it written down till I
reached Bristol. It was published almost immediately after in the little
volume of which so much has been said in these Notes, the "Lyrical
Ballads," as first published at Bristol by Cottle.--I.F.]

Included among the "Poems of the Imagination."--Ed.

Five years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters![C] and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft [1] inland murmur. [D]--Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, 5
That [2] 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
'Mid groves and copses. [3] Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines 15
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! [E]
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 [4]
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye: 25
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, [5] 30
With tranquil restoration:--feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence [6]
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts 35
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 40
Of all this unintelligible world,
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 45
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. 50
If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft--
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, 55
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, [7]
How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought, 60
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts 65
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 70
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days, 75
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, 80
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor [8] any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is past, 85
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. [F] Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence. For I have learned 90
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor [9] harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt 95
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, 100
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
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, 105
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create, [G]
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense, 110
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more 115
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 120
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes, [H] Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray 125
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 130
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb 135
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, 140
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then, 145
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 150
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence [B]--wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came 155
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, 160
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1845.

... sweet ... 1798.]

[Variant 2:

1827.

Which ... 1798.]

[Variant 3:

1845.

... with their unripe fruits,
Among the woods and copses lose themselves,
Nor, with their green and simple hue, disturb
The wild green landscape ... 1798.

Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
Among the woods and copses, nor disturb 1802.]

[Variant 4:

1827.

... Though absent long,
These forms of beauty have not been to me, 1798.]

[Variant 5:

1798.

... inmost mind, MS.]

[Variant 6:

1820.

As may have had no trivial influence 1798.]

[Variant 7:

1798.

... wood, 1798 (some copies).]

[Variant 8:

1836.

... or ... 1798.]

[Variant 9:

1800.

Not ... 1798.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: I have not ventured to call this Poem an Ode; but it was
written with a hope that in the transitions, and the impassioned music
of the versification would be found the principal requisites of that
species of composition.--W. W. 1800.]

[Footnote B: The title in 1798 was 'Lines, written a few miles', etc. In
1815 it assumed its final form.--Ed.]

[Footnote C: Compare the Fenwick note to the poem 'Guilt and Sorrow'
(vol. i. p.78) This visit, five years before, was on his way from "Sarum
plain," on foot and alone--after parting with his friend William
Calvert--to visit another friend, Robert Jones, in Wales.--Ed.]

[Footnote D: The river is not affected by the tides a few miles above
Tintern.--W. W. 1798.]

[Footnote E: In the edition of 1798, an additional line is here
introduced, but it is deleted in the 'errata'. It is

'And the low copses--coming from the trees.'

Ed.]

[Footnote F: Compare 'The Prelude', book xi. l. 108:

'Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven.'

Ed.]

[Footnote G: This line has a close resemblance to an admirable line of
Young, the exact expression of which I cannot recollect.--W. W. 1798.

It is the line:

'And half-create the wondrous world they see.'

'Night Thoughts', (Night vi. l. 427).--Ed.]

[Footnote H: Compare, in _The Recluse_, canto "Home at Grasmere," l. 91:

Her voice was like a hidden Bird that sang,
The thought of her was like a flash of light,
Or an _unseen_ companionship.

Ed.]

* * * * *

THERE WAS A BOY

Composed 1798.--Published 1800

[Written in Germany, 1799. This is an extract from the Poem on my own
poetical education. This practice of making an instrument of their own
fingers is known to most boys, though some are more skilful at it than
others. William Raincock of Rayrigg, a fine spirited lad, took the lead
of all my schoolfellows in this art.--I. F.]

This "extract" will be found in the fifth book of 'The Prelude', ll.
364-397. It was included among the "Poems of the Imagination." In the
editions of 1800 to 1832 it had no title, except in the table of
contents. In 1836, the finally adopted title of the poem was given in
the text, as well as in the table of contents.--Ed.

There was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs
And islands of Winander!--many a time,
At evening, when the earliest stars began [1]
To move along the edges of the hills,
Rising or setting, would he stand alone, 5
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 15
Of jocund din! [2] And, when there came a pause
Of silence such as baffled his best skill: [3]
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. 25

This boy was taken from his mates, and died [4]
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old. [5]
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale
Where he was born and bred: the church-yard hangs [6]
Upon a slope above the village-school; 30
And, through that church-yard when my way has led
On summer-evenings, I believe, that there [7]
A long half-hour together I have stood
Mute--looking at the grave in which he lies![A] [8]

Wordsworth sent this fragment in MS. to Coleridge, who was then living
at Ratzeburg, and Coleridge wrote in reply on the 10th Dec. 1798:

"The blank lines gave me as much direct pleasure as was possible in
the general bustle of pleasure with which I received and read your
letter. I observed, I remember, that the 'fingers woven,' etc., only
puzzled me; and though I liked the twelve or fourteen first lines very
well, yet I liked the remainder much better. Well, now I have read
them again, they are very beautiful, and leave an affecting
impression. That

'uncertain heaven received
Into the bosom of the steady lake,'

I should have recognised anywhere; and had I met these lines, running
wild in the deserts of Arabia, I should have instantly screamed out
'Wordsworth'!"

The MS. copy of this poem sent to Coleridge probably lacked
the explanatory line,

'Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth,'

as another MS., in the possession of the poet's grandson, lacks it; and
the line was possibly added--as the late Mr. Dykes Campbell
suggested--"in deference to S. T. C.'s expression of puzzlement."

Fletcher Raincock--an elder brother of the William Raincock referred to
in the Fenwick note to this poem, as Wordsworth's schoolfellow at
Hawkshead--was with him also at Cambridge. He attended Pembroke College,
and was second wrangler in 1790. [B] John Fleming of Rayrigg, his
half-brother--the boy with whom Wordsworth used to walk round the lake
of Esthwaite, in the morning before school-time, ("five miles of
pleasant wandering")--was also at St. John's College, Cambridge, at this
time, and had been fifth Wrangler in the preceding year, 1789. He is
referred to both in the second and the fifth books of 'The Prelude'
(see notes to that poem). It is perhaps not unworthy of note that
Wrangham, whose French stanzas on "The Birth of Love" Wordsworth
translated into English, was in the same year--1789--third Wrangler,
second Smith's prizeman, and first Chancellor's medallist; while Robert
Greenwood, "the Minstrel of the Troop," who "blew his flute, alone upon
the rock" in Windermere,--also one of the characters referred to in the
second book of 'The Prelude',--was sixteenth Wrangler in
Wordsworth's year, viz. 1791. William Raincock was at St. John's
College, Cambridge.--Ed.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1815.

... when the stars had just begun 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1836.

... a wild scene
Of mirth and jocund din! ... 1800.

... concourse wild 1805.]

[Variant 3:

1836.

... And, when it chanced
That pauses of deep silence mock'd his skill, 1800.

... and, when a lengthened pause
Of silence came and baffled his best skill,
'The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 4: This and the following line were added in 1805.]

[Variant 5:

1815.

... ere he was ten years old. 1805.]

[Variant 6:

1845.

Fair are the woods, and beauteous is the spot,
The vale where he was born: the Church-yard hangs 1800.

Fair is the spot, most beautiful the Vale
Where he was born: the grassy Church-yard hangs 1827.

The text of 1840 returns to that of 1800.]

[Variant 7:

1836.

And there along that bank when I have pass'd
At evening, I believe, that near his grave 1800.

... I believe, that oftentimes 1805.

And through that Church-yard when my way has led 1827.]

[Variant 8:

1815.

A full half-hour together I have stood,
Mute--for he died when he was ten years old. 1800.

Mute--looking at the grave in which he lies. 1805.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In 'The Prelude' the version of 1827 is adopted for the
most part.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: See 'Graduati Cantabrigienses' (1850), by Joseph Romily,
the Registrar to the University 1832-1862.--Ed.]

* * * * *

THE TWO THIEVES; OR, THE LAST STAGE OF AVARICE

Composed 1798.--Published 1800

[This is described from the life, as I was in the habit of observing
when a boy at Hawkshead School. Daniel was more than eighty years older
than myself when he was daily, thus occupied, under my notice. No books
have so early taught me to think of the changes to which human life is
subject, and while looking at him I could not but say to myself--we may,
one of us, I or the happiest of my playmates, live to become still more
the object of pity, than this old man, this half-doating
pilferer.--I.F.]

Included among the "Poems referring to the Period of Old Age."--Ed.

O now that the genius of Bewick [A] were mine,
And the skill which he learned on the banks of the Tyne,
Then the Muses might deal with me just as they chose,
For I'd take my last leave both of verse and of prose. [1]

What feats would I work with my magical hand! 5
Book-learning and books should be banished the land: [2]
And, for hunger and thirst and such troublesome calls,
Every ale-house should then have a feast on its walls.

The traveller would hang his wet clothes on a chair;
Let them smoke, let them burn, not a straw. Would he care! 10
For the Prodigal Son, Joseph's Dream and his sheaves,
Oh, what would they be to my tale of two Thieves?

The One, yet unbreeched, is not three birthdays old,[3]
His Grandsire that age more than thirty times told;
There are ninety good seasons of fair and foul weather 15
Between them, and both go a-pilfering [4] together.

With chips is the carpenter strewing his floor?
Is a cart-load of turf [5] at an old woman's door?
Old Daniel his hand to the treasure will slide!
And his Grandson's as busy at work by his side. 20

Old Daniel begins; he stops short--and his eye,
Through the lost look of dotage, is cunning and sly:
'Tis a look which at this time is hardly his own,
But tells a plain tale of the days that are flown.

He once [6] had a heart which was moved by the wires 25
Of manifold pleasures and many desires:
And what if he cherished his purse? 'Twas no more
Than treading a path trod by thousands before.

'Twas a path trod by thousands; but Daniel is one
Who went something farther than others have gone, [7] 30
And now with old Daniel you see how it fares;
You see to what end he has brought his grey hairs.

The pair sally forth hand in hand: ere the sun
Has peered o'er the beeches, their work is begun:
And yet, into whatever sin they may fall, 35
This child but half knows it, and that not at all.

They hunt through the streets [8] with deliberate tread,
And each, in his turn, becomes leader or led; [9]
And, wherever they carry their plots and their wiles,
Every face in the village is dimpled with smiles. 40

Neither checked by the rich nor the needy they roam;
For the grey-headed Sire [10] has a daughter at home,
Who will gladly repair all the damage that's done;
And three, were it asked, would be rendered for one.

Old Man! whom so oft I with pity have eyed, 45
I love thee, and love the sweet Boy at thy side:
Long yet may'st thou live! for a teacher we see
That lifts up the veil of our nature in thee. [B]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1800.

Oh! now that the boxwood and graver were mine,
Of the Poet who lives on the banks of the Tyne,
Who has plied his rude tools with more fortunate toil
Than Reynolds e'er brought to his canvas and oil.
MS. 1798.]

[Variant 2:

1800.

Then Books, and Book-learning, I'd ring out your knell,
The Vicar should scarce know an A from an L. MS. 1798.]

[Variant 3:

1820.

Little Dan is unbreech'd, he is three birth-days old, 1800.]

[Variant 4:

1837.

... a-stealing ... 1800.]

[Variant 5:

1827.

... of peats ... 1800.]

[Variant 6:

1820.

Dan once ... 1800.]

[Variant 7:

1800.

'Twas a smooth pleasant pathway, a gentle descent,
And leisurely down it, and down it, he went. MS. 1798.]

[Variant 8:

1802.

... street ... 1800.]

[Variant 9:

1837.

... is both leader and led; 1800.]

[Variant 10:

1837.

For grey-headed Dan ... 1800.

The grey-headed Sire ... 1820.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Thomas Bewick, the wood engraver, born at Cherryburn, near
Newcastle-on-Tyne, in 1753, died 1828. He revived the art of wood
engraving in England. His illustrations--drawn for the 'General History
of British Quadrupeds' (1790), and for his own 'History of British
Birds' (1797 and 1804)--were unrivalled in their way.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Charles Lamb, writing to Wordsworth in 1815, spoke of

"that delicacy towards aberrations from the strict path, which is so
fine in the 'Old Thief and the Boy by his side,' which always brings
water into my eyes."

(See 'Letters of Charles Lamb', edited by Alfred Ainger, vol. i. p.
287.)--Ed.]

* * * * *

WRITTEN WITH A SLATE PENCIL UPON A STONE, THE LARGEST OF A HEAP LYING
NEAR A DESERTED QUARRY, UPON ONE OF THE ISLANDS [A] AT RYDAL

Composed 1798.--Published 1800

Included among the "Inscriptions."--Ed.

Stranger! this hillock of mis-shapen stones
Is not a Ruin spared or made by time, [1]
Nor, as perchance thou rashly deem'st, the Cairn
Of some old British Chief: 'tis nothing more
Than the rude embryo of a little Dome 5
Or Pleasure-house, once destined to be built [2]
Among the birch-trees of this rocky isle. [3]
But, as it chanced, Sir William having learned
That from the shore a full-grown man might wade,
And make himself a freeman of this spot 10
At any hour he chose, the prudent Knight [4]
Desisted, and the quarry and the mound
Are monuments of his unfinished task.
The block on which these lines are traced, perhaps,
Was once selected as the corner-stone 15
Of that [5] intended Pile, which would have been
Some quaint odd plaything of elaborate skill,
So that, I guess, the linnet and the thrush,
And other little builders who dwell here,
Had wondered at the work. But blame him not, 20
For old Sir William was a gentle Knight,
Bred in this vale, to which he appertained [6]
With all his ancestry. Then peace to him,
And for the outrage which he had devised
Entire forgiveness!--But if thou art one 25
On fire with thy impatience to become
An inmate of these mountains,--if, disturbed
By beautiful conceptions, thou hast hewn
Out of the quiet rock the elements
Of thy trim Mansion destined soon to blaze 30
In snow white splendour, [B] [7]--think again; and, taught
By old Sir William and his quarry, leave
Thy fragments to the bramble and the rose;
There let the vernal slow warm sun himself,
And let the redbreast hop from stone to stone. 35

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

Is not a ruin of the ancient time, 1800.

... antique ... MS.]

[Variant 2:

1802.

... which was to have been built 1800.]

[Variant 3:

1800.

Of some old British warrior: so, to speak
The honest truth, 'tis neither more nor less
Than the rude germ of what was to have been
A pleasure-house, and built upon this isle. MS.]

[Variant 4:

1837.

... the Knight forthwith 1800.]

[Variant 5:

1837.

Of the ... 1800.]

[Variant 6:

1800.

Bred here, and to this valley appertained MS. 1798.]

[Variant 7:

1800.

... glory, ... 1802.

The text of 1815 returns to that of 1800.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In a MS. copy this is given as "the lesser Island."--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare Wordsworth's

"objections to white, as a colour, in large spots or masses in
landscape,"

in his 'Guide through the district of the Lakes' (section third).--Ed.]

* * * * *

1799

The poems belonging to the year 1799 were chiefly, if not wholly,
composed at Goslar, in Germany; and all, with three exceptions, appeared
in the second edition of "Lyrical Ballads" (1800). The exceptions were
the following: The lyric beginning, "I travelled among unknown men,"
which was first published in the "Poems" of 1807; and two fragments from
'The Prelude', viz. 'The Influence of Natural Objects' (which appeared
in 'The Friend' in 1809), and 'The Simplon Pass' (first published in the
8vo edition of the Poems in 1845).

Wordsworth reached Goslar on the 6th of October 1798, and left it on the
10th of February 1799. It is impossible to determine the precise order
in which the nineteen or twenty poems associated with that city were
composed. But it is certain that the fragment on the immortal boy of
Windermere--whom its cliffs and islands knew so well--was written in
1798, and not in 1799 (as Wordsworth himself states); because Coleridge
sent a letter to his friend, thanking him for a MS. copy of these lines,
and commenting on them, of which the date is "Ratzeburg, Dec. 10, 1798."
For obvious reasons, however, I place the fragments originally meant to
be parts of 'The Recluse' together; and, since Wordsworth gave the date
1799 to the others, it would be gratuitous to suppose that he erred in
reference to them all, because we know that his memory failed him in
reference to one of the series. Therefore, although he spent more than
twice as many days in 1798 as in 1799 at Goslar, I set down this group
of poems as belonging to 1799, rather than to the previous year. It will
be seen that, after placing all the poems of this Goslar period in the
year to which they belong, it is possible also to group them according
to their subject matter, without violating chronological order. I
therefore put the fragments, afterwards incorporated in 'The Prelude',
together. These are naturally followed by 'Nutting'--a poem intended for
'The Prelude', but afterwards excluded, as inappropriate. The five poems
referring to "Lucy" are placed in sequence, and the same is done with
the four "Matthew" poems. A small group of four poems follows
appropriately, viz. 'To a Sexton', 'The Danish Boy', 'Lucy Gray', and
'Ruth'; while the Fenwick note almost necessitates our placing the
'Poet's Epitaph' immediately after the Lines 'Written in Germany'; and,
with Wordsworth's life at Goslar, we naturally associate five
things--the cold winter, 'The Prelude', the "Lucy" and the "Matthew"
poems, and the 'Poet's Epitaph'.--Ed.

* * * * *

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."[A]]

Composed 1799.--Published 1809

It was included by Wordsworth among the "Poems referring to the Period
of Childhood."--Ed.

Wisdom and Spirit of the universe!
Thou Soul, that art the Eternity of thought!
And giv'st [1] to forms and images a breath
And everlasting motion! not in vain,
By day or star-light, thus from my first dawn 5
Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me
The passions that build up our human soul;
Not [2] 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 15
With stinted kindness. In November days,
When vapours rolling down the valleys [3] 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 [4]
In solitude, such intercourse was mine:
Mine was it in the fields [5] both day and night,
And by the waters, all the summer long.
And in the frosty season, when the sun 25
Was set, and, visible for many a mile,
The cottage-windows through the twilight blazed, [6]
I heeded not the summons: happy time
It was indeed for all of us; for me [7]
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. [8]--All shod with steel
We hissed along the polished ice, in games
Confederate, imitative of the chase 35
And woodland pleasures,--the resounding horn,
The pack loud-chiming, [9] and the hunted hare.
So through the darkness and the cold we flew,
And not a voice was idle: with the din
Smitten, [10] the precipices rang aloud; 40
The leafless trees and every icy crag
Tinkled like iron; while far-distant hills [11]
Into the tumult sent an alien sound
Of melancholy, not unnoticed while the stars,
Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west 45

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