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

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The orange sky of evening died away.

Not seldom from the uproar I retired
Into a silent bay, or sportively
Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng,
To cut across the reflex [12] of a star; 50
Image, that, flying still before me, gleamed
Upon the glassy plain: and oftentimes, [13]
When we had given our bodies to the wind,
And all the shadowy banks on either side
Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still 55
The rapid line of motion, then at once
Have I, reclining back upon my heels,
Stopped short; yet still the solitary cliffs
Wheeled by me--even as if the earth had rolled
With visible motion her diurnal round! 60
Behind me did they stretch in solemn train,
Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watched
Till all was tranquil as a summer sea. [14]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1809.

That givest ... 'The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 2:

1815.

Nor ... 1809.]

[Variant 3:

1809.

... valley ... The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 4:

1836.

... I homeward went 1809.]

[Variant 5:

1845.

'Twas mine among the fields ... 1809.]

[Variant 6:

1809.

... blazed through twilight gloom, 'The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 7:

1815.

... to me 1809.]

[Variant 8:

1827.

... car'd not for its home--... 1809.

... cares not ... 1815.]

[Variant 9:

1840.

... loud bellowing ... 1809.]

[Variant 10:

1836.

Meanwhile ... 1809.]

[Variant 11:

1845.

... while the distant hills 1809.]

[Variant 12:

1827.

To cut across the image ... 1809.

To cross the bright reflection ... 1820.]

[Variant 13:

1820.

That gleam'd upon the ice; and oftentimes 1809.

(This line occupied the place of lines 51-52 of the final text.)

That fled, and, flying still before me, gleamed
Upon the glassy plain; and oftentimes, 'The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 14:

1809.

... as a dreamless sleep. 'The Prelude', 1850.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The title of the fragment, as it appeared in 'The Friend',
No. 19, (Dec. 28, 1809,) was 'Growth of Genius from the Influences of
Natural Objects on the Imagination, in Boyhood and Early Youth'. It
first appeared in Wordsworth's Poems in the edition of 1815. It was
afterwards included in the first book of 'The Prelude', l. 401.

The lake referred to with its "silent bays" and "shadowy banks" is that
of Esthwaite; the village clock is that of Hawkshead (see the footnotes
to 'The Prelude'). The only physical accomplishment in which Wordsworth
thought he excelled was skating, an accomplishment in which his brother
poet and acquaintance, Klopstock, also excelled.--Ed.]

* * * * *

THE SIMPLON PASS [A]

Composed 1799.--Published 1845

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

--Brook and road
Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy Pass, [1]
And with them did we journey several hours
At a slow step. [2] The immeasurable height
Of woods decaying, never to be decayed, 5
The stationary blasts of waterfalls,
And in the narrow rent, at every turn,
Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn,
The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky,
The rocks that muttered close upon our ears, 10
Black drizzling crags that spake by the wayside
As if a voice were in them, the sick sight
And giddy prospect of the raving stream,
The unfettered clouds and region of the heavens,
Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light--15
Were all like workings of one mind, the features
Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree,
Characters of the great Apocalypse,
The types and symbols of Eternity,
Of first, and last, and midst, and without end. 20

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1845.

... gloomy strait, 'The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 2:

1845.

... pace ... 'The Prelude', 1850.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: This is an extract from the sixth book of 'The Prelude', l.
621. It refers to Wordsworth's first experience of Switzerland, when he
crossed the Alps by the Simplon route, in 1790, in company with his
friend Robert Jones.--Ed.]

* * * * *

NUTTING

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

[Written in Germany; intended as part of a poem on my own life, but
struck out as not being wanted there. Like most of my schoolfellows I
was an impassioned Nutter. For this pleasure, the Vale of Esthwaite,
abounding in coppice wood, furnished a very wide range. These verses
arose out of the remembrance of feelings I had often had when a boy, and
particularly in the extensive woods that still stretch from the side of
Esthwaite Lake towards Graythwaite, the seat of the ancient family of
Sandys.--I.F.]

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

--It seems a day
(I speak of one from many singled out)
One of those heavenly days that [1] cannot die;
When, in the eagerness of boyish hope, [2]
I left our cottage-threshold, [A] sallying forth [3] 5
With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung, [4]
A nutting-crook in hand; and turned [5] my steps
Tow'rd some far-distant wood, [6] a Figure quaint,
Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds
Which for that service had been husbanded, 10
By exhortation of my frugal Dame--[7]
Motley accoutrement, of power to smile
At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,--and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks,
Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets, 15
Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook [8]
Unvisited, where not a broken bough
Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation; but the hazels rose
Tall and erect, with tempting clusters [9] hung, 20
A virgin scene!--A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
The banquet;--or beneath the trees I sate 25
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blest
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves 30
The violets of five seasons re-appear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
And--with my cheek on one of those green stones 35
That, fleeced with moss, under [10] the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep--
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure, 40
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,
And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash
And merciless ravage: and the shady nook 45
Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past;
Ere from the mutilated bower I turned [11] 50
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky.--[12]
Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand 55
Touch--for there is a spirit in the woods.

The woods round Esthwaite Lake have undergone considerable change since
Wordsworth's school-days at Hawkshead; but hazel coppice is still
abundant to the south and west of the Lake.--Ed.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1836.

... which ... 1800.]

[Variant 2: This line was added in the edition of 1827.]

[Variant 3:

1827.

When forth I sallied from our cottage-door, 1800.]

[Variant 4:

1832.

And with a wallet o'er my shoulder slung, 1800.

With a huge wallet o'er my shoulder slung, 1815.]

[Variant 5:

1815.

... I turn'd ... 1800.]

[Variant 6:

1836.

Towards the distant woods, ... 1800.

Toward ... 1832.]

[Variant 7:

1815.

... of Beggar's weeds
Put on for the occasion, by advice
And exhortation ... 1800.]

[Variant 8:

1836.

... Among the woods,
And o'er the pathless rocks, I forc'd my way
Until, at length, I came ... 1800.]

[Variant 9:

1845.

... milk-white clusters ... 1800.]

[Variant 10:

1845.

... beneath ... 1800.]

[Variant 11:

1836.

Even then, when from the bower I turn'd away, 1800.]

[Variant 12:

1836.

... and the intruding sky.--1800.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The house at which I was boarded during the time I was at
School.--W. W. 1800.]

* * * * *

WRITTEN IN GERMANY, ON ONE OF THE COLDEST DAYS OF THE CENTURY

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

I must apprize the Reader that the stoves in North Germany generally
have the impression of a galloping Horse upon them, this being part of
the Brunswick Arms.--W. W. 1800.

[A bitter winter it was when these verses were composed by the side of
my sister, in our lodgings at a draper's house, in the romantic imperial
town of Goslar, on the edge of the Hartz Forest. In this town the German
emperors of the Franconian Line were accustomed to keep their court, and
it retains vestiges of ancient splendour. So severe was the cold of this
winter, that when we passed out of the parlour warmed by the stove, our
cheeks were struck by the air as by cold iron. I slept in a room over a
passage that was not ceiled. The people of the house used to say rather
unfeelingly, that they expected I should be frozen to death some night;
but with the protection of a pelisse lined with fur, and a dog's skin
bonnet, such as was worn by the peasants, I walked daily on the
ramparts, or on a sort of public ground or garden, in which was a pond.
Here I had no companion but a kingfisher, a beautiful creature that used
to glance by me. I consequently became much attached to it. During these
walks I composed the poem that follows, _A Poet's Epitaph_.--I.F.]

One of the "Poems of Sentiment and Reflection." Wordsworth originally
gave to this poem the title "The Fly," but erased it before
publication.--Ed.

A plague on [1] your languages, German and Norse!
Let me have the song of the kettle;
And the tongs and the poker, instead of that horse
That gallops away with such fury and force
On this [2] dreary dull plate of black metal. 5
[3]
See that Fly, [4]--a disconsolate creature! perhaps
A child of the field or the grove;
And, sorrow for him! the [5] dull treacherous heat
Has seduced the poor fool from his winter retreat,
And he creeps to the edge of my stove. 10

Alas! how he fumbles about the domains
Which this comfortless oven environ!
He cannot find out in what track he must crawl,
Now back to the tiles, then in search of the wall, [6]
And now on the brink of the iron. 15

Stock-still there he stands like a traveller bemazed:
The best of his skill he has tried;
His feelers, methinks, I can see him put forth
To the east and the west, to [7] the south and the north
But he finds neither guide-post nor guide. 20

His spindles [8] sink under him, foot, leg, and thigh!
His eyesight and hearing are lost;
Between life and death his blood freezes and thaws;
And his two pretty pinions of blue dusky gauze
Are glued to his sides by the frost. 25

No brother, no mate [9] has he near him--while I
Can draw warmth from the cheek of my Love;
As blest and as glad, in this desolate gloom,
As if green summer grass were the floor of my room,
And woodbines were hanging above. 30

Yet, God is my witness, thou small helpless Thing!
Thy life I would gladly sustain
Till summer come [10] up from the south, and with crowds
Of thy brethren a march thou should'st sound through the clouds.
And back to the forests again! 35

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1820.

A fig for ... 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1800.

On his ... 1827.

The text of 1837 returns to that of 1800.]

[Variant 3:

Our earth is no doubt made of excellent stuff,
But her pulses beat slower and slower,
The weather in Forty was cutting and rough,
And then, as Heaven knows, the glass stood low enough,
And _now_ it is four degrees lower.

This stanza occurs only in the editions of 1800 to 1815.]

[Variant 4:

1820.

Here's a Fly, ... 1800.]

[Variant 5:

1827.

... this ... 1800.]

[Variant 6:

1837.

... and not back to the wall, 1800.]

[Variant 7:

1827.

... and the South ... 1800.]

[Variant 8:

1845.

See! his spindles ... 1800.

How his spindles ... 1827.]

[Variant 9:

1827.

... no Friend ... 1800.

No brother has he, no companion, while I MS.]

[Variant 10:

1837.

... comes ... 1800.]

* * * * *

A POET'S EPITAPH

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

One of the "Poems of Sentiment and Reflection."--Ed.

Art thou a Statist [1] in the van
Of public conflicts [2] trained and bred?
--First learn to love one living man;
_Then_ may'st thou think upon the dead.

A Lawyer art thou?--draw not nigh! 5
Go, carry to some fitter place
The keenness of that practised eye,
The hardness of that sallow face. [3]

Art thou a Man of purple cheer?
A rosy Man, right plump to see? 10
Approach; yet, Doctor, [A] not too near,
This grave no cushion is for thee.

Or art thou one of gallant pride, [4]
A Soldier and no man of chaff?
Welcome!--but lay thy sword aside, 15
And lean upon a peasant's staff.

Physician art thou?--one, all eyes,
Philosopher!--a fingering slave,
One that would peep and botanize
Upon his mother's grave? 20

Wrapt closely in thy sensual fleece,
O turn aside,--and take, I pray,
That he below may rest in peace,
Thy ever-dwindling soul, away! [5]

A Moralist perchance appears; 25
Led, Heaven knows how! to this poor sod:
And he has neither eyes nor ears;
Himself his world, and his own God;

One to whose smooth-rubbed soul can cling
Nor form, nor feeling, great or [6] small; 30
A reasoning, self-sufficing [7] thing,
An intellectual All-in-all!

Shut close the door; press down the latch;
Sleep in thy intellectual crust;
Nor lose ten tickings of thy watch 35
Near this unprofitable dust.

But who is He, with modest looks,
And clad in homely russet brown? [B]
He murmurs near the running brooks
A music sweeter than their own. 40

He is retired as noontide dew,
Or fountain in a noon-day grove;
And you must love him, ere to you
He will seem worthy of your love.

The outward shows of sky and earth, 45
Of hill and valley, he has viewed;
And impulses of deeper birth
Have come to him in solitude.

In common things that round us lie
Some random truths he can impart,--50
The harvest of a quiet eye
That broods and sleeps on his own heart.

But he is weak; both Man and Boy,
Hath been an idler in the land;
Contented if he might enjoy 55
The things which others understand.

--Come hither in thy hour of strength;
Come, weak as is a breaking wave!
Here stretch thy body at full length;
Or build thy house upon this grave. 60

See the Fenwick note to the poem, 'Written in Germany, on one of the
coldest Days of the Century' (p. 73).

"The 'Poet's Epitaph' is disfigured to my taste by the common satire
upon parsons and lawyers in the beginning, and the coarse epithet of
'pin-point', in the sixth stanza. All the rest is eminently good, and
your own."

(Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth, January 1801.)--Ed.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

... Statesman, ... 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1837.

Of public business ... 1800.]

[Variant 3:

1820.

... to some other place
The hardness of thy coward eye,
The falsehood of thy sallow face. 1800.]

[Variant 4:

1820.

Art thou a man of gallant pride, 1800.]

[Variant 5:

1837.

Thy pin-point of a soul away! 1800.

That abject thing, thy soul, away! 1815.]

[Variant 6:

1837.

... nor ... 1800.]

[Variant 7:

1800.

... self-sufficient ... 1802.

The edition of 1815 returns to the text of 1800.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: D. D., not M. D. The physician is referred to in the fifth
stanza.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare Thomson's description of the Bard, in his 'Castle
of Indolence' (canto ii., stanza xxxiii.):

He came, the bard, a little Druid wight,
Of withered aspect; but his eye was keen,
With sweetness mixed. In russet brown bedight,
He crept along, etc.

Ed.]

* * * * *

"STRANGE FITS OF PASSION HAVE I KNOWN"

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

[Written in Germany, 1799.--I.F.]

One of the "Poems founded on the Affections." In MS. Wordsworth gave, as
the title, "A Reverie," but erased it.--Ed.

Strange fits of passion have I known: [1]
And I will dare to tell,
But in the Lover's ear alone,
What once to me befel.

When she I loved looked every day 5
Fresh as a rose in June, [2]
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath an [3] evening moon.

Upon the moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea; 10
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh [4]
Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot;
And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot 15
Came near, and nearer still. [5]

In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
Kind Nature's gentlest boon!
And all the while my eyes I kept
On the descending moon. 20

My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
He raised, and never stopped:
When down behind the cottage roof,
At once, the bright moon dropped. [6]

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide 25
Into a Lover's head!
"O mercy!" to myself I cried,
"If Lucy should be dead!"

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1832.

... I have known, 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1836.

When she I lov'd, was strong and gay
And like a rose in June, 1800.]

[Variant 3:

1836.

... the ... 1800.]

[Variant 4:

1836.

My horse trudg'd on, and we drew nigh 1800.]

[Variant 5:

1836.

Towards the roof of Lucy's cot
The moon descended still. [a] 1800.]

[Variant 6:

1815.

... the planet dropp'd. 1800.]

* * * * *

SUB-FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Sub-Footnote a: Compare the lines in Arthur Hugh Clough's poem, 'The
Stream of Life':

And houses stand on either hand
And thou descendest still.

Ed.]

* * * * *

"SHE DWELT AMONG THE UNTRODDEN WAYS"

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

One of the "Poems founded on the Affections." In the edition of 1800 it
is entitled 'Song'.--Ed.

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love: [1]

A violet by a mossy stone 5
Half hidden from the eye!
--Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived [2] unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be; 10
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1800.

A very few ... 1802.

The text of the edition of 1805 returns to that of 1800.]

[Variant 2: The word "lived" was italicised in the edition of 1800
only.]

* * * * *

"I TRAVELLED AMONG UNKNOWN MEN"

Composed 1799.-Published 1807

One of the "Poems founded on the Affections."--Ed.

I travelled among unknown men,
In lands beyond the sea;
Nor, England! did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.

'Tis past, that melancholy dream! 5
Nor will I quit thy shore
A second time; for still I seem
To love thee more and more.

Among thy mountains did I feel
The joy of my desire; [1] 10
And she I cherished turned her wheel
Beside an English fire.

Thy mornings showed, thy nights concealed
The bowers where Lucy played;
And thine too is the last green field 15
That Lucy's eyes surveyed. [2] [A]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

The gladness of desire; MS.]

[Variant 2:

1836.

And thine is, too, the last green field
Which ... 1807.

That ... 1815.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Compare Sara Coleridge's comment on this poem in the
'Biographia Literaria' (1847), vol. ii. chap. ix. p. 173. Also Mrs.
Oliphant's remarks in her 'Literary History of the Nineteenth Century',
vol. i. pp. 306-9.--Ed.]

* * * * *

"THREE YEARS SHE GREW IN SUN AND SHOWER"

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

[1799. Composed in the Hartz Forest.--I.F.]

One of the "Poems of the Imagination." It has no title in any edition,
but from 1820 to 1836 the second page occupied by the poem is headed
"Lucy." In the editions of 1836 to 1843 it is called "Lucy" in the list
of contents.--Ed.

Three years she grew in sun and shower,
Then Nature said, "A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;
This Child I to myself will take;
She shall be mine, and I will make 5
A Lady of my own.

"Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse: [1] and with me
The Girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower, 10
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.

"She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs; 15
And her's shall be the breathing balm,
And her's the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.

"The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend; 20
Nor shall she fail to see
Even in the motions of the Storm
Grace that shall mould the Maiden's form [2]
By silent sympathy.

"The stars of midnight shall be dear 25
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound [A]
Shall pass into her face. 30

"And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give
While she and I together live 35
Here in this happy dell."

Thus Nature spake--The work was done--
How soon my Lucy's race was run!
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm, and quiet scene; 40
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be. [B]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1800.

Her Teacher I myself will be,
She is my darling;--...

MS. 1801, and the edition of 1802.
The edition of 1805 returns to the text of 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1800.

A reading--printed in the edition of 1800, but replaced in its list of
'errata' by that given in the text--may be quoted here,

A beauty that shall mould her form ... 1800.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Compare Dryden's 'Indian Emperor', iv. 3.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: On Oct 9, 1800, S. T. Coleridge, in writing to Sir Humphry
Davy of his own 'Christabel', said,

"I would rather have written 'Ruth', and 'Nature's Lady,' than a
million such poems."

This poem was printed in 'The Morning Post', March 2nd, 1801.--Ed.]

* * * * *

"A SLUMBER DID MY SPIRIT SEAL"

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

[Written in Germany.--I.F.]

Included among the "Poems of the Imagination." [A]--Ed.

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force; 5
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees. [B]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: It was one of the "Lucy" Poems. In his instructions to the
printer in 1807, Wordsworth told him to insert "I travelled among
unknown men" after "A slumber did my spirit seal."--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare Suckling's 'Fragmenta Aurea' (The Tragedy of
Brennoralt), p. 170, edition 1658.

Heavens! shall this fresh ornament of the world,
These precious love-lines, pass with other common things,
Amongst the wastes of time? What pity 'twere.

Ed.]

* * * * *

ADDRESS TO THE SCHOLARS OF THE VILLAGE SCHOOL OF--

Composed 1798 or 1799.--Published 1842

[Composed at Goslar, in Germany.--I.F.]

First published in "Poems, chiefly of Early and Late Years," and
included, in 1845, among the "Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces."--Ed.

I come, ye little noisy Crew,
Not long your pastime to prevent;
I heard the blessing which to you
Our common Friend and Father sent.
I kissed his cheek before he died; 5
And when his breath was fled,
I raised, while kneeling by his side,
His hand:--it dropped like lead.
Your hands, dear Little-ones, do all
That can be done, will never fall 10
Like his till they are dead.
By night or day blow foul or fair,
Ne'er will the best of all your train
Play with the locks of his white hair,
Or stand between his knees again. 15

Here did he sit confined for hours;
But he could see the woods and plains,
Could hear the wind and mark the showers
Come streaming down the streaming panes.
Now stretched beneath his grass-green mound 20
He rests a prisoner of the ground.
He loved the breathing air,
He loved the sun, but if it rise
Or set, to him where now he lies,
Brings not a moment's care. 25

Alas! what idle words; but take
The Dirge which for our Master's sake
And yours, love prompted me to make.
The rhymes so homely in attire
With learned ears may ill agree, 30
But chanted by your Orphan Quire
Will make a touching melody.

DIRGE

Mourn, Shepherd, near thy old grey stone;
Thou Angler, by the silent flood;
And mourn when thou art all alone, 35
Thou Woodman, in the distant wood!

Thou one blind Sailor, rich in joy
Though blind, thy tunes in sadness hum;
And mourn, thou poor half-witted Boy!
Born deaf, and living deaf and dumb. 40

Thou drooping sick Man, bless the Guide
Who checked or turned thy headstrong youth,
As he before had sanctified
Thy infancy with heavenly truth.

Ye Striplings, light of heart and gay, 45
Bold settlers on some foreign shore,
Give, when your thoughts are turned this way,
A sigh to him whom we deplore.

For us who here in funeral strain
With one accord our voices raise, 50
Let sorrow overcharged with pain
Be lost in thankfulness and praise.

And when our hearts shall feel a sting
From ill we meet or good we miss,
May touches of his memory bring 55
Fond healing, like a mother's kiss.

BY THE SIDE OF THE GRAVE SOME YEARS AFTER

Long time his pulse hath ceased to beat;
But benefits, his gift, we trace--
Expressed in every eye we meet
Round this dear Vale, his native place. 60

To stately Hall and Cottage rude
Flowed from his life what still they hold,
Light pleasures, every day, renewed;
And blessings half a century old.

Oh true of heart, of spirit gay, 65
Thy faults, where not already gone
From memory, prolong their stay
For charity's sweet sake alone.

Such solace find we for our loss;
And what beyond this thought we crave 70
Comes in the promise from the Cross,
Shining upon thy happy grave.

To this poem, when first published in the "Poems of Early and Late
Years" (1842), Wordsworth appended the note, "See, upon the subject of
the three foregoing pieces, 'The Fountain' [p. 91], etc. etc. in the
fifth volume of the Author's Poems." He thus connects it with the poems
referring to Matthew in such a way that it may be said to belong to that
series; and, while he assigned it to the year 1798, both in the edition
of 1845, and in that of 1849-50, it is quite possible that it was
written in 1799. "The village school" was the Grammar School of
Hawkshead, where Wordsworth spent his boyhood; and the schoolmaster was
the Rev. William Taylor, M. A., Emmanuel College, Cambridge, who was the
third of the four masters who taught in it during Wordsworth's residence
there. He was master from 1782 to 1786. Just before his death he sent
for the upper boys of the school (amongst whom was Wordsworth), and
calling them into his room, took leave of them with a solemn blessing.
This farewell doubtless suggested the lines:

'the blessing which to you
Our common Friend and Father sent.'

Mr. Taylor was buried in Cartmell Churchyard. In 'The Prelude',
Wordsworth writes of him as "an honoured teacher of my youth;" and there
describes, with some minuteness, a visit to his grave. (See book x. l.
532.) It will be seen, however, from the Fenwick note to 'Matthew', that
the Hawkshead Schoolmaster, like the Wanderer in 'The Excursion', was
"made up of several both of his class and men of other occupations;" but
of the four masters who taught Wordsworth at Hawkshead--Peake,
Christian, Taylor, and Bowman--Taylor was far the ablest, the most
interesting, and the most beloved by the boys, and it was doubtless the
memory of this man that gave rise to the above poem, and the four which
follow it. He was but thirty-two years old when he died, 12th June,
1786. This fact, taken in connection with line 14 of the 'Address', may
illustrate the composite character of 'Matthew'.--Ed.

* * * * *

MATTHEW

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

In the School of--is a tablet on which are inscribed, in gilt letters,
the names of the several persons who have been Schoolmasters there since
the foundation of the School, with the time at which they entered upon
and quitted their office. Opposite one of those names the Author wrote
the following lines.--W. W. 1800.

[Such a tablet as is here spoken of continued to be preserved in
Hawkshead School, though the inscriptions were not brought down to our
time. This, and other poems connected with Matthew, would not gain by a
literal detail of facts. Like the Wanderer in 'The Excursion' this
Schoolmaster was made up of several, both of his class and men of other
occupations. I do not ask pardon for what there is of untruth in such
verses, considered strictly as matters of fact. It is enough, if, being
true and consistent in spirit, they move and teach in a manner not
unworthy of a Poet's calling.--I.F.] [A]

In the editions of 1800 to 1820 this poem had no title except the note
prefixed to it above, although in the Table of Contents it was called
'Lines written on a Tablet in a School'. From 1820-32 "Matthew" is the
page heading, though there is no title. In the editions of 1827 and 1832
it was named, in the Table of Contents, by its first line, "If Nature,
for a favourite child." In 1837 it was entitled 'Matthew'. It was
included among the "Poems of Sentiment and Reflection." The Tablet, with
the names of the Masters inscribed on it, still exists in Hawkshead
School.--Ed.

If Nature, for a favourite child,
In thee hath tempered so her clay,
That every hour thy heart runs wild,
Yet never once doth go astray,

Read o'er these lines; and then review 5
This tablet, that thus humbly rears
In such diversity of hue
Its history of two hundred years.

--When through this little wreck of fame,
Cipher and syllable! thine eye 10
Has travelled down to Matthew's name,
Pause with no common sympathy.

And; if a sleeping tear should wake,
Then be it neither checked nor stayed:
For Matthew a request I make 15
Which for himself he had not made.

Poor Matthew, all his frolics o'er,
Is silent as a standing pool;
Far from the chimney's merry roar,
And murmur of the village school. 20

The sighs which Matthew heaved were sighs
Of one tired out with fun and madness;
The tears which came to Matthew's eyes
Were tears of light, the dew [1] of gladness.

Yet, sometimes, when the secret cup 25
Of still and serious thought went round,
It seemed as if he drank it up--
He felt with spirit so profound.

--Thou soul of God's best earthly mould!
Thou happy Soul! and can it be 30
That these two words of glittering gold
Are all that must remain of thee? [2]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1815.

... the oil ... 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1800.

... to thee? 1805, and MS.

The text of 1815 returns to that of 1800.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: On the 27th March 1843, Wordsworth wrote to Professor Henry
Reed of Philadelphia:

"The character of the schoolmaster, had like the Wanderer in 'The
Excursion' a solid foundation in fact and reality, but like him it was
also in some degree a composition: I will not, and need not, call it
an invention--it was no such thing."

Ed.]

* * * * *

THE TWO APRIL MORNINGS

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

One of the "Poems of Sentiment and Reflection."--Ed.

We walked along, while bright and red
Uprose the morning sun;
And Matthew stopped, he looked, and said,
"The will of God be done!"

A village schoolmaster was he, 5
With hair of glittering grey;
As blithe a man as you could see
On a spring holiday.

And on that morning, through the grass,
And by the steaming rills, 10
We travelled merrily, to pass
A day among the hills.

"Our work," said I, "was well begun,
Then, from thy breast what thought,
Beneath so beautiful a sun, 15
So sad a sigh has brought?"

A second time did Matthew stop;
And fixing still his eye
Upon the eastern mountain-top,
To me he made reply: 20

"Yon cloud with that long purple cleft
Brings fresh into my mind
A day like this which I have left
Full thirty years behind.

"And just above yon slope of corn 25
Such colours, and no other,
Were in the sky, that April morn,
Of this the very brother. [1]

"With rod and line I sued the sport
Which that sweet season gave, [2] 30
And, to the church-yard come, [3] stopped short
Beside my daughter's grave.

"Nine summers had she scarcely seen,
The pride of all the vale;
And then she sang [4];--she would have been 35
A very nightingale.

"Six feet in earth my Emma lay;
And yet I loved her more,
For so it seemed, than till that day
I e'er had loved before. 40

"And, turning from her grave, I met,
Beside the church-yard yew,
A blooming Girl, whose hair was wet
With points of morning dew.

"A basket on her head she bare; 45
Her brow was smooth and white:
To see a child so very fair,
It was a pure delight!

"No fountain from its rocky cave
E'er tripped with foot so free; 50
She seemed as happy as a wave
That dances on the sea. [A]

"There came from me a sigh of pain
Which I could ill confine;
I looked at her, and looked again: 55
And did not wish her mine!"

Matthew is in his grave, yet now,
Methinks, I see him stand,
As at that moment, with a bough [5]
Of wilding in his hand. 60

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1802.

And on that slope of springing corn
The self-same crimson hue
Fell from the sky that April morn,
The same which now I view! 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1815.

With rod and line my silent sport
I plied by Derwent's wave, 1800.]

[Variant 3:

1837.

And, coming to the church, ... 1800.]

[Variant 4:

1800.

... sung;--... 1802.

The text of 1815 returns to that of 1800.]

[Variant 5:

1820.

... his bough 1800.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Compare the 'Winters Tale', act IV. scene iii. ll. 140-2:

'when you do dance, I wish you
A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that, etc.'

Ed.]

* * * * *

THE FOUNTAIN

A CONVERSATION

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

One of the "Poems of Sentiment and Reflection."--Ed.

We talked with open heart, and tongue
Affectionate and true,
A pair of friends, though I was young,
And Matthew seventy-two.

We lay beneath a spreading oak, 5
Beside a mossy seat;
And from the turf a fountain broke,
And gurgled at our feet.

"Now, Matthew!" said I, "let us match [1]
This water's pleasant tune 10
With some old border-song, or catch
That suits a summer's noon;

"Or of the church-clock and the chimes
Sing here beneath the shade,
That half-mad thing of witty rhymes 15
Which you last April made!"

In silence Matthew lay, and eyed
The spring beneath the tree;
And thus the dear old Man replied,
The grey-haired man of glee: 20

"No check, no stay, this Streamlet fears; [2]
How merrily it goes!
'Twill murmur on a thousand years,
And flow as now it flows.

"And here, on this delightful day, 25
I cannot choose but think
How oft, a vigorous man, I lay
Beside this fountain's brink.

"My eyes are dim with childish tears,
My heart is idly stirred, 30
For the same sound is in my ears
Which in those days I heard.

"Thus fares it still in our decay:
And yet the wiser mind
Mourns less for what age takes away 35
Than what it leaves behind. [A]

"The blackbird amid leafy trees,
The lark above the hill, [3]
Let loose their carols when they please,
Are quiet when they will. 40

"With Nature never do _they_ wage
A foolish strife; they see
A happy youth, and their old age
Is beautiful and free:

"But we are pressed by heavy laws; 45
And often, glad no more,
We wear a face of joy, because
We have been glad of yore.

"If there be [4] one who need bemoan
His kindred laid in earth, 50
The household hearts that were his own;
It is the man of mirth.

"My days, my Friend, are almost gone,
My life has been approved,
And many love me; but by none 55
Am I enough beloved."

"Now both himself and me he wrongs,
The man who thus complains!
I live and sing my idle songs
Upon these happy plains; 60

"And, Matthew, for thy children dead
I'll be a son to thee!"
At this he grasped my hand, [5] and said,
"Alas! that cannot be."

We rose up from the fountain-side; 65
And down the smooth descent
Of the green sheep-track did we glide;
And through the wood we went;

And, ere we came to Leonard's rock,
He sang those witty rhymes 70
About the crazy old church-clock,
And the bewildered chimes.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1820.

Now, Matthew, let us try to match 1800.]

[Variant 2:

1837.

Down to the vale this water steers, 1800.

Down to the vale with eager speed
Behold this streamlet run,
From subterranean bondage freed,
And glittering in the sun. C.

From subterranean darkness freed,
A pleasant course to run. C.

Down to the vale this streamlet hies,
Look, how it seems to run,
As if 't were pleased with summer skies,
And glad to meet the sun. C.

And glad to greet the sun. MS.

No guide it needs, no check it fears,
How merrily it goes!
'Twill murmur on a thousand years,
And flow as now it flows. C.

Down towards the vale with eager speed,
Behold this streamlet run
As if 'twere pleased with summer skies
And glad to meet the sun. C.]

[Variant 3:

1837.

The blackbird in the summer trees,
The lark upon the hill, 1800.]

[Variant 4:

1832.

... is .... 1800 and MS.]

[Variant 5:

1815.

... his hands, ... 1800.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A:

"Pour me plaindre a moy, regarde noti tant ce qu'on moste, que ce qui
me reste de sauvre, et dedans et dehors."

Montaigne, 'Essais', iii. 12.

Compare also:

"Themistocles quidem, cum ei Simonides, an quis alius artem memoriae
polliceretur, _Oblivionis_, inquit, _mallem_; _nam memini etiam quae
nolo, oblivisci non possum quae volo_."

Cicero, 'De Finibus', II. 32.--Ed.]

* * * * *

TO A SEXTON

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

[Written in Germany, 1799.--I.F.]

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

Let thy wheel-barrow alone--
Wherefore, Sexton, piling still
In thy bone-house bone on bone?
'Tis already like a hill
In a field of battle made, 5
Where three thousand skulls are laid;
These died in peace each with the other,--
Father, sister, friend, and brother.

Mark the spot to which I point!
From this platform, eight feet square, 10
Take not even a finger-joint:
Andrew's whole fire-side is there.
Here, alone, before thine eyes,
Simon's sickly daughter lies,
From weakness now, and pain defended, 15
Whom he twenty winters tended.

Look but at the gardener's pride--
How he glories, when he sees
Roses, lilies, side by side,
Violets in families! 20
By the heart of Man, his tears,
By his hopes and by his fears,
Thou, too heedless, [1] art the Warden
Of a far superior garden.

Thus then, each to other dear, 25
Let them all in quiet lie,
Andrew there, and Susan here,
Neighbours in mortality.
And, should I live through sun and rain
Seven widowed years without my Jane, 30
O Sexton, do not then remove her,
Let one grave hold the Loved and Lover!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1845.

Thou, old Grey-beard! ... 1800.]

* * * * *

THE DANISH BOY

A FRAGMENT

Composed 1799.--Published 1800

[Written in Germany, 1799. It was entirely a fancy; but intended as a
prelude to a ballad-poem never written.--I.F.]

In the editions of 1800-1832 this poem was called 'A Fragment'. From
1836 onwards it was named 'The Danish Boy. A Fragment'. It was one of
the "Poems of the Fancy."--Ed.

I Between two sister moorland rills
There is a spot that seems to lie
Sacred to flowerets of the hills,
And sacred to the sky.
And in this smooth and open dell 5
There is a tempest-stricken tree;
A corner-stone by lightning cut,
The last stone of a lonely hut; [1]
And in this dell you see
A thing no storm can e'er destroy, 10
The shadow of a Danish Boy. [A]

II In clouds above, the lark is heard,
But drops not here to earth for rest; [2]
Within [3] this lonesome nook the bird
Did never build her [4] nest. 15
No beast, no bird hath here his home;
Bees, wafted on [5] the breezy air,
Pass high above those fragrant bells
To other flowers:--to other dells
Their burthens do they bear; [6] 20
The Danish Boy walks here alone:
The lovely dell is all his own.

III A Spirit of noon-day is he;
Yet seems [7] a form of flesh and blood;
Nor piping shepherd shall he be, 25
Nor herd-boy of the wood. [8]
A regal vest of fur he wears,
In colour like a raven's wing;
It fears not [9] rain, nor wind, nor dew;
But in the storm 'tis fresh and blue 30
As budding pines in spring;
His helmet has a vernal grace,
Fresh as the bloom upon his face.

IV A harp is from his shoulder slung;
Resting the harp upon his knee; 35
To words of a forgotten tongue,
He suits its melody. [10]
Of flocks upon the neighbouring hill [11]
He is the darling and the joy;
And often, when no cause appears, 40
The mountain-ponies prick their ears,
--They hear the Danish Boy,
While in the dell he sings [12] alone
Beside the tree and corner-stone.
[13]

V There sits he; in his face you spy 45
No trace of a ferocious air,
Nor ever was a cloudless sky
So steady or so fair.
The lovely Danish Boy is blest

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