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

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Wordsworth wrote the 'Ode to Duty', 'To a Sky-Lark', 'Fidelity', the
fourth poem 'To the Daisy', the 'Elegiac Stanzas suggested by a Picture
of Peele Castle in a Storm', the 'Elegiac Verses' in memory of his
brother John, 'The Waggoner', and a few other poems.--Ed.

* * * * *

FRENCH REVOLUTION,

AS IT APPEARED TO ENTHUSIASTS AT ITS COMMENCEMENT

REPRINTED FROM 'THE FRIEND'

Composed 1805.--Published 1809

[An extract from the long poem on my own poetical education. It was
first published by Coleridge in his 'Friend', which is the reason of its
having had a place in every edition of my poems since.--I. F.]

These lines appeared first in 'The Friend', No. 11, October 26, 1809, p.
163. They afterwards found a place amongst the "Poems of the
Imagination," in all the collective editions from 1815 onwards. They are
part of the eleventh book of 'The Prelude', entitled "France--
(concluded)," ll. 105-144. Wordsworth gives the date 1805, but these
lines possibly belong to the year 1804.--Ed.

Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were [1] the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we [2] who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times, 5
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself 10
A prime Enchantress [3]--to assist the work,
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt [4] 15
Among the bowers of paradise itself)
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away! 20
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirred [5]
Among the grandest objects of the sense, 25
And dealt [6] with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild, 30
And in the region of their peaceful selves;--
Now was it that both [7] found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Were called upon to exercise their skill, 35
Not in Utopia, subterranean [8] fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,--the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all! 40

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1: "were" omitted from the 1820 edition only.]

[Variant 2:

1809.

... us ... 'The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 3:

1815.

... Enchanter ... 1809.]

[Variant 4:

1832.

(To take an image which was felt no doubt 1809.

(As at some moments might not be unfelt 'The Prelude', 1850.]

[Variant 5:

1815.

Their ministers--used to stir in lordly wise 1809.]

[Variant 6:

1815.

And deal ... 1809.]

[Variant 7: "both" 'italicised' from 1815 to 1832, and also in 'The
Prelude'.]

[Variant 8:

1832

... subterraneous ... 1809.]

Compare Coleridge's remarks in 'The Friend', vol. ii. p. 38, before
quoting this poem,

"My feelings and imagination did not remain unkindled in this general
conflagration; and I confess I should be more inclined to be ashamed
than proud of myself if they had! I was a sharer in the general
vortex, though my little world described the path of its revolution in
an orbit of its own," etc.

Ed.

* * * * *

ODE TO DUTY

Composed 1805.--Published 1807

"Jam non consilio bonus, sed more eo perductus, ut non tantum recte
facere possim, sed nisi recte facere non possim." [A]

[This Ode is on the model of Gray's 'Ode to Adversity', which
is copied from Horace's Ode to Fortune. Many and many a
time have I been twitted by my wife and sister for having
forgotten this dedication of myself to the stern law-giver.
Transgressor indeed I have been from hour to hour, from day
to day: I would fain hope, however, not more flagrantly, or
in a worse way than most of my tuneful brethren. But these
last words are in a wrong strain. We should be rigorous to
ourselves, and forbearing, if not indulgent, to others; and, if
we make comparison at all, it ought to be with those who have
morally excelled us.--I. F.]

In pencil on the MS.,

"But is not the first stanza of Gray's from a chorus of AEschylus? And
is not Horace's Ode also modelled on the Greek?"

This poem was placed by Wordsworth among his "Poems of Sentiment and
Reflection."--Ed.

Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou, who art victory and law 5
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity! [1]

There are who ask not if thine eye
Be on them; who, in love and truth, 10
Where no misgiving is, rely
Upon the genial sense of youth: [B]
Glad Hearts! without reproach or blot;
Who do thy work, [2] and know it not:
Oh, if through confidence misplaced 15
They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power! around them cast. [3]

Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security. 20
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold, [4]
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet seek thy firm support, [5] according to their need.

I, loving freedom, and untried; 25
No sport of every random gust,
Yet being to myself a guide,
Too blindly have reposed my trust:
And oft, when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferred 30
The task, in smoother walks to stray; [6]
But thee I now [7] would serve more strictly, if I may.

Through no disturbance of my soul,
Or strong compunction in me wrought,
I supplicate for thy control; 35
But in the quietness of thought:
Me this unchartered freedom tires; [C]
I feel the weight of chance-desires:
My hopes no more must change their name,
I long for a repose that [8] ever is the same. 40
[9]
Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
The Godhead's most benignant grace;
Nor know we any thing so [10] fair
As is the smile upon thy face: [D]
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds 45
And fragrance in thy footing treads; [E]
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;
And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, are fresh and strong.

To humbler functions, awful Power!
I call thee: I myself commend 50
Unto thy guidance from this hour;
Oh, let my weakness have an end!
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;
The confidence of reason give; 55
And in the light of truth thy Bondman let me live! [F]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1815

From strife and from despair; a glorious ministry. 1807.]

[Variant 2:

... the right ... MS.

... thy will ... MS.]

[Variant 3:

1837.

May joy be theirs while life shall last!
And Thou, if they should totter, teach them to stand fast! 1807.

Long may the kindly impulse last!
But Thou, ... 1827.

And may that genial sense remain, when youth is past. MS.]

[Variant 4:

1827.

And bless'd are they who in the main
This faith, even now, do entertain: 1807.

Even now this creed do entertain MS.

This holy creed do entertain MS.]

[Variant 5:

1845.

Yet find that other strength, ... 1807.

Yet find thy firm support, ... 1837.]

[Variant 6:

1827.

Resolved that nothing e'er should press
Upon my present happiness,
I shoved unwelcome tasks away; 1807.

Full oft, when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferred
The task imposed, from day to day; 1815.]

[Variant 7:

But henceforth I would ... MS.]

[Variant 8:

1827.

... which ... 1807.]

[Variant 9:

Yet not the less would I throughout
Still act according to the voice
Of my own wish; and feel past doubt
That my submissiveness was choice:
Not seeking in the school of pride
For "precepts over dignified,"
Denial and restraint I prize
No farther than they breed a second Will more wise.

Only in the edition of 1807.]

[Variant 10:

... more ... MS.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: This motto was added in the edition of 1837.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare S. T. C. in 'The Friend' (edition 1818, vol. iii.
p. 62),

"Its instinct, its safety, its benefit, its glory is to love, to
admire, to feel, and to labour."

Ed.]

[Footnote C: Compare Churchill's 'Gotham', i. 49:

'An Englishman in chartered freedom born.'

Ed.]

[Footnote D: Compare in 'Sartor Resartus',

"Happy he for whom a kind of heavenly sun brightens it [Necessity]
into a ring of Duty, and plays round it with beautiful prismatic
refractions."

Ed.]

[Footnote E: Compare Persius, 'Satura', ii. l. 38:

'Quidquic calcaverit hic, rosa fiat.'

And Ben Jonson, in 'The Sad Shepherd', act I. scene i. ll. 8, 9:

'And where she went, the flowers took thickest root,
As she had sow'd them with her odorous foot.'

Also, a similar reference to Aphrodite in Hesiod, 'Theogony', vv. 192
'seq.'--Ed.]

[Footnote F: Compare S. T. C. in 'The Friend' (edition 1818), vol. iii.
p. 64.--Ed.]

Mr. J. R. Tutin has supplied me with the text of a proof copy of the
sheets of the edition of 1807, which was cancelled by Wordsworth, in
which the following stanzas take the place of the first four of that
edition:

'There are who tread a blameless way
In purity, and love, and truth,
Though resting on no better stay
Than on the genial sense of youth:
Glad Hearts! without reproach or blot;
Who do the right, and know it not:
May joy be theirs while life shall last
And may a genial sense remain, when youth is past.

Serene would be our days and bright;
And happy would our nature be;
If Love were an unerring light;
And Joy its own security.
And bless'd are they who in the main,
This creed, even now, do entertain,
Do in this spirit live; yet know
That Man hath other hopes; strength which elsewhere must grow.

I, loving freedom, and untried;
No sport of every random gust,
Yet being to myself a guide,
Too blindly have reposed my trust;
Resolv'd that nothing e'er should press
Upon my present happiness,
I shov'd unwelcome tasks away:
But henceforth I would serve; and strictly if I may.

O Power of DUTY! sent from God
To enforce on earth his high behest,
And keep us faithful to the road
Which conscience hath pronounc'd the best:
Thou, who art Victory and Law
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free,
From Strife, and from Despair, a glorious Ministry! [G]'

Ed.

[Footnote G: In the original MS. sent to the printer, I find that this
stanza was transcribed by Coleridge.--Ed.]

* * * * *

TO A SKY-LARK

Composed 1805.--Published 1807

[Rydal Mount, 1825. [A]--I. F.]

In pencil opposite,

"Where there are no skylarks; but the poet is everywhere."

In the edition of 1807 this is No. 2 of the "Poems, composed during a
Tour, chiefly on foot." [B] In 1815 it became one of the "Poems of the
Fancy."--Ed.

Up with me! up with me into the clouds!
For thy song, Lark, is strong;
Up with me, up with me into the clouds!
Singing, singing,
With clouds and sky [1] about thee ringing, 5
Lift me, guide me till I find
That spot which seems so to thy mind!

I have walked through wildernesses dreary,
And [2] to-day my heart is weary;
Had I now the wings [3] of a Faery, 10
Up to thee would I fly.
There is madness about thee, and joy divine
In that song of thine;
Lift me, guide me high and high [4]
To thy banqueting-place in the sky. 15

Joyous as morning, [5]
Thou art laughing and scorning;
Thou hast a nest for thy love and thy rest,
And, though little troubled with sloth,
Drunken Lark! thou would'st be loth 20
To be such a traveller as I.
Happy, happy Liver,
With a soul as strong as a mountain river
Pouring out praise to the almighty Giver,
Joy and jollity be with us both! 25

Alas! my journey, rugged and uneven,
Through prickly moors or dusty ways must wind;
But hearing thee, or others of thy kind,
As full of gladness and as free of heaven,
I, with my fate contented, will plod on, 30
And hope for higher raptures, when life's day is done. [6]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1827.

With all the heav'ns ... 1807]

[Variant 2:

But ... MS.]

[Variant 3:

1815.

the soul ... 1807.]

[Variant 4:

1832.

Up with me, up with me, high and high, ... 1807.]

[Variant 5: This and the previous stanza were omitted in the edition of
1827, but restored in that of 1832.]

[Variant 6:

1827.

Joy and jollity be with us both!
Hearing thee, or else some other,
As merry a Brother,
I on the earth will go plodding on,
By myself, chearfully, till the day is done. 1807.

What though my course be rugged and uneven,
To prickly moors and dusty ways confined,
Yet, hearing thee, or others of thy kind,
As full of gladness and as free of heaven,
I on the earth will go plodding on,
By myself, cheerfully, till the day is done. 1820.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: So it is printed in the 'Prose Works of Wordsworth' (1876);
but the date was 1805.--Ed.]

[Footnote B: In a MS. copy this series is called "Poems composed 'for
amusement' during a Tour, chiefly on foot."--Ed.]

Compare this poem with Shelley's 'Skylark', and with Wordsworth's poem,
on the same subject, written in the year 1825, and the last five stanzas
of his 'Morning Exercise' written in 1827; also with William Watson's
'First Skylark of Spring', 1895.--Ed.

* * * * *

FIDELITY

Composed 1805.--Published 1807

[The young man whose death gave occasion to this poem was named Charles
Gough, and had come early in the spring to Patterdale for the sake of
angling. While attempting to cross over Helvellyn to Grasmere he slipped
from a steep part of the rock where the ice was not thawed, and
perished. His body was discovered as described in this poem. Walter
Scott heard of the accident, and both he and I, without either of us
knowing that the other had taken up the subject, each wrote a poem in
admiration of the dog's fidelity. His contains a most beautiful stanza:

"How long did'st thou think that his silence was slumber!
When the wind waved his garment how oft did'st thou start!"

I will add that the sentiment in the last four lines of the last stanza
of my verses was uttered by a shepherd with such exactness, that a
traveller, who afterwards reported his account in print, was induced to
question the man whether he had read them, which he had not.--I. F.]

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

A barking sound the Shepherd hears,
A cry as of a dog or fox;
He halts--and searches with his eyes
Among the scattered rocks:
And now at distance can discern 5
A stirring in a brake of fern;
And instantly a dog is seen,
Glancing through that covert green. [1]

The Dog is not of mountain breed;
Its motions, too, are wild and shy; 10
With something, as the Shepherd thinks,
Unusual in its cry:
Nor is there any one in sight
All round, in hollow or on height;
Nor shout, nor whistle strikes his ear; 15
What is the creature doing here?

It was a cove, a huge recess,
That keeps, till June, December's snow;
A lofty precipice in front,
A silent tarn [A] below! [B] 20
Far in the bosom of Helvellyn,
Remote from public road or dwelling,
Pathway, or cultivated land;
From trace of human foot or hand.

There sometimes doth [2] a leaping fish 25
Send through the tarn a lonely cheer;
The crags repeat the raven's croak, [C]
In symphony austere;
Thither the rainbow comes--the cloud--
And mists that spread the flying shroud; 30
And sunbeams; and the sounding blast,
That, if it could, would hurry past;
But that enormous barrier holds [3] it fast.

Not free from boding thoughts, [4] a while
The Shepherd stood; then makes his way 35
O'er rocks and stones, following the Dog [5]
As quickly as he may;
Nor far had gone before he found
A human skeleton on the ground;
The appalled Discoverer with a sigh [6] 40
Looks round, to learn the history.

From those abrupt and perilous rocks
The Man had fallen, that place of fear!
At length upon the Shepherd's mind
It breaks, and all is clear: 45
He instantly recalled the name, [7]
And who he was, and whence he came;
Remembered, too, the very day
On which the Traveller passed this way.

But hear a wonder, for whose sake 50
This lamentable tale I tell! [8]
A lasting monument of words
This wonder merits well.
The Dog, which still was hovering nigh,
Repeating the same timid cry, 55
This Dog, had been through three months' space
A dweller in that savage place.

Yes, proof was plain that, since the day
When this ill-fated Traveller died, [9]
The Dog had watched about the spot, 60
Or by his master's side:
How nourished here through such long time
He knows, who gave that love sublime;
And gave that strength of feeling, great
Above all human estimate! 65

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1820.

From which immediately leaps out
A Dog, and yelping runs about. 1807.

And instantly a Dog is seen,
Glancing from that covert green. 1815.]

[Variant 2:

1820.

... does ... 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1837.

binds 1807.]

[Variant 4:

1815.

Not knowing what to think 1807.]

[Variant 5:

1837.

Towards the Dog, o'er rocks and stones, 1807.]

[Variant 6:

1815.

Sad sight! the Shepherd with a sigh 1807.]

[Variant 7:

And signs and circumstances dawned
Till everything was clear;
He made discovery of his name. MS.]

[Variant 8:

1815.

But hear a wonder now, for sake
Of which this mournful Tale I tell! 1807.]

[Variant 9:

1827.

On which the Traveller thus had died 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Tarn is a _small_ Mere or Lake mostly high up in the
mountains,--W. W.]

[Footnote B: Compare the reference to Helvellyn, and its "deep coves,
shaped by skeleton arms," in the 'Musings near Aquapendente' (1837).
Wordsworth here describes Red Tarn, under Helvellyn, to the east; but
Charles Gough was killed on the Kepplecove side of Swirell Edge, and not
at Red Tarn. Bishop Watson of Llandaff, writing to Hayley (see
'Anecdotes of the Life of Bishop Watson', p. 440), writes about Charles
Gouche (evidently Gough). He had been lodging at "the Cherry Inn," near
Wytheburn, sometime before his death.--Ed.]

[Footnote C: Compare 'The Excursion', book iv. ll. 1185-94.--Ed.]

Thomas Wilkinson--referred to in the notes to 'The Solitary Reaper',
vol. ii. pp. 399, 400, and the verses 'To the Spade of a Friend', in
vol. iv.--alludes to this incident at some length in his poem, 'Emont
Vale'. Wilkinson attended the funeral of young Gough, and writes of the
incident with feeling, but without inspiration. Gough perished early in
April, and his body was not found till July 22nd, 1805. A reference to
his fate will be found in Lockhart's 'Life of Scott' (vol. ii. p. 274);
also in a letter of Mr. Luff of Patterdale, to his wife, July 23rd,
1805. Henry Crabb Robinson records (see his 'Diary, Reminiscences',
etc., vol. ii. p. 25) a conversation with Wordsworth, in which he said
of this poem, that "he purposely made the narrative as prosaic as
possible, in order that no discredit might be thrown on the truth of the
incident."--Ed.

* * * * *

INCIDENT CHARACTERISTIC OF A FAVOURITE DOG [A]

Composed 1805.--Published 1807

[This dog I knew well. It belonged to Mrs. Wordsworth's brother, Mr.
Thomas Hutchinson, who then lived at Sockburn-on-the-Tees, a beautiful
retired situation, where I used to visit him and his sisters before my
marriage. My sister and I spent many months there after my return from
Germany in 1799--I. F.]

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

On his morning rounds the Master
Goes to learn how all things fare;
Searches pasture after pasture,
Sheep and cattle eyes with care;
And, for silence or for talk, 5
He hath comrades in his walk;
Four dogs, each pair of different breed,
Distinguished two for scent, and two for speed.

See a hare before him started!
--Off they fly in earnest chase; 10
Every dog is eager-hearted,
All the four are in the race:
And the hare whom they pursue,
Knows from instinct [1] what to do;
Her hope is near: no turn she makes; 15
But, like an arrow, to the river takes.

Deep the river was, and crusted
Thinly by a one night's frost;
But the nimble Hare hath trusted
To the ice, and safely crost; so 20
She hath crost, and without heed
All are following at full speed,
When, lo! the ice, so thinly spread,
Breaks--and the greyhound, DART, is over-head!

Better fate have PRINCE and SWALLOW--25
See them cleaving to the sport!
MUSIC has no heart to follow,
Little MUSIC, she stops short.
She hath neither wish nor heart,
Hers is now another part: 30
A loving creature she, and brave!
And fondly strives [2] her struggling friend to save.

From the brink her paws she stretches,
Very hands as you would say!
And afflicting moans she fetches, 35
As he breaks the ice away.
For herself she hath no fears,--
Him alone she sees and hears,--
Makes efforts with complainings; nor gives o'er
Until her fellow sinks to re-appear no more. [3] 40

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

Hath an instinct ... 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1815.

And doth her best ... 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1837.

Makes efforts and complainings; nor gives o'er
Until her Fellow sunk, and reappear'd no more. 1807.

... sank, ... 1820.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In 1807 and 1815 the title was 'Incident, Characteristic of
a favourite Dog, which belonged to a Friend of the Author'.--Ed.]

* * * * *

TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF THE SAME DOG

Composed 1805.--Published 1807

[Was written at the same time, 1805. The Dog Music died, aged and blind,
by falling into a draw-well at Gallow] Hill, to the great grief of the
family of the Hutchinsons, who, as has been before mentioned, had
removed to that place from Sockburn.--I. F.]

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

Lie [1] here, without a record of thy worth,
Beneath a [2] covering of the common earth!
It is not from unwillingness to praise,
Or want of love, that here no Stone we raise;
More thou deserv'st; but _this_ man gives to man, 5
Brother to brother, _this_ is all we can.
Yet [3] they to whom thy virtues made thee dear
Shall find thee through all changes of the year:
This Oak points out thy grave; the silent tree
Will gladly stand a monument of thee. 10

We grieved for thee, and wished thy end were past; [4]
And willingly have laid thee here at last:
For thou hadst lived till every thing that cheers
In thee had yielded to the weight of years;
Extreme old age had wasted thee away, 15
And left thee but a glimmering of the day;
Thy ears were deaf, and feeble were thy knees,--
I saw thee stagger in the summer breeze,
Too weak to stand against its sportive breath,
And ready for the gentlest stroke of death. 20
It came, and we were glad; yet tears were shed;
Both man and woman wept when thou wert dead;
Not only for a thousand thoughts that were,
Old household thoughts, in which thou hadst thy share;
But for some precious boons vouchsafed to thee, 25
Found scarcely any where in like degree!
For love, that comes wherever life and sense
Are given by God, in thee was most intense; [5]
A chain of heart, a feeling of the mind,
A tender sympathy, which did thee bind 30
Not only to us Men, but to thy Kind:
Yea, for thy fellow-brutes in thee we saw
A soul [6] of love, love's intellectual law:--
Hence, if we wept, it was not done in shame;
Our tears from passion and from reason came, 35
And, therefore, shalt thou be an honoured name!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1: In the editions of 1807 to 1820 the following lines began
the poem. They were withdrawn in 1827.

Lie here sequester'd:--be this little mound
For ever thine, and be it holy ground!]

[Variant 2:

1827.

Beneath the ... 1807.]

[Variant 3:

But ... MS.]

[Variant 4:

1837.

I pray'd for thee, and that thy end were past; 1807.

I grieved for thee, and wished thy end were past; 1820.]

[Variant 5:

1837.

For love, that comes to all; the holy sense,
Best gift of God, in thee was most intense; 1807.]

[Variant 6:

1837.

The soul ... 1807.]

* * * * *

TO THE DAISY (#4)

Composed 1805.--Published 1815

Placed by Wordsworth among his "Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces."--Ed.

Sweet Flower! belike one day to have
A place upon thy Poet's grave,
I welcome thee once more:
But He, who was on land, at sea,
My Brother, too, in loving thee, 5
Although he loved more silently,
Sleeps by his native shore.

Ah! hopeful, hopeful was the day
When to that Ship he bent his way,
To govern and to guide: 10
His wish was gained: a little time
Would bring him back in manhood's prime
And free for life, these hills to climb;
With all his wants supplied.

And full of hope day followed day 15
While that stout Ship at anchor lay
Beside the shores of Wight;
The May had then made all things green;
And, floating there, in pomp serene,
That Ship was goodly to be seen, 20
His pride and his delight!

Yet then, when called ashore, he sought
The tender peace of rural thought:
In more than happy mood
To your abodes, bright daisy Flowers! 25
He then would steal at leisure hours,
And loved you glittering in your bowers,
A starry multitude.

But hark the word!--the ship is gone;--
Returns from her long course: [1]--anon 30
Sets sail:--in season due,
Once more on English earth they stand:
But, when a third time from the land
They parted, sorrow was at hand
For Him and for his crew. 35

Ill-fated Vessel!--ghastly shock!
--At length delivered from the rock,
The deep she hath regained;
And through the stormy night they steer;
Labouring for life, in hope and fear, 40
To reach a safer shore [2]--how near,
Yet not to be attained!

"Silence!" the brave Commander cried;
To that calm word a shriek replied,
It was the last death-shriek. 45
--A few (my soul oft sees that sight)
Survive upon the tall mast's height; [3]
But one dear remnant of the night--
For Him in vain I seek.

Six weeks beneath the moving sea 50
He lay in slumber quietly;
Unforced by wind or wave
To quit the Ship for which he died,
(All claims of duty satisfied;)
And there they found him at her side; 55
And bore him to the grave.

Vain service! yet not vainly done
For this, if other end were none,
That He, who had been cast
Upon a way of life unmeet 60
For such a gentle Soul and sweet,
Should find an undisturbed retreat
Near what he loved, at last--

That neighbourhood of grove and field
To Him a resting-place should yield, 65
A meek man and a brave!
The birds shall sing and ocean make
A mournful murmur for _his_ sake;
And Thou, sweet Flower, shalt sleep and wake
Upon his senseless grave. [4] 70

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

From her long course returns:--... 1815.]

[Variant 2:

1837.

Towards a safer shore--... 1815.]

[Variant 3:

1837

--A few appear by morning light,
Preserved upon the tall mast's height:
Oft in my Soul I see that sight; 1815.]

[Variant 4: In the edition of 1827 and subsequent ones, Wordsworth here
inserted a footnote, asking the reader to refer to No. VI. of the "Poems
on the Naming of Places," beginning "When, to the attractions of the
busy world," p. 66. His note of 1837 refers also to the poem which there
precedes the present one, viz. the 'Elegiac Stanzas.'--Ed.]

* * * * *

ELEGIAC STANZAS [A]

SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF PEELE CASTLE, IN A STORM,
PAINTED BY SIR GEORGE BEAUMONT

Composed 1805.--Published 1807

[Sir George Beaumont painted two pictures of this subject, one of which
he gave to Mrs. Wordsworth, saying she ought to have it; but Lady
Beaumont interfered, and after Sir George's death she gave it to Sir
Uvedale Price, at whose house at Foxley I have seen it.--I. F.]

Placed by Wordsworth among his "Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces."--Ed.

I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile!
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee:
I saw thee every day; and all the while
Thy Form was sleeping on a glassy sea.

So pure the sky, so quiet was the air! 5
So like, so very like, was day to day!
Whene'er I looked, thy Image still was there;
It trembled, but it never passed away.

How perfect was the calm! it seemed no sleep;
No mood, which season takes away, or brings: 10
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle Things.

Ah! THEN, if mine had been the Painter's hand,
To express what then I saw; and add the gleam,
The light that never was, on sea or land, 15
The consecration, and the Poet's dream; [1]

I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile
Amid a world how different from this!
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss. 20

Thou shouldst have seemed a treasure-house divine [2]
Of peaceful years; a chronicle of heaven;--
Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine
The very sweetest had to thee been given.

A Picture had it been of lasting ease, 25
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife;
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.

Such, in the fond illusion [3] of my heart,
Such Picture would I at that time have made: 30
And seen the soul of truth in every part,
A stedfast peace that might not be betrayed. [4]

So once it would have been,--'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control:
A power is gone, which nothing can restore; 35
A deep distress hath humanised my Soul.

Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea, and be what I have been:
The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene. 40

Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have been the Friend,
If he had lived, of Him whom I deplore,
This work of thine I blame not, but commend;
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.

O 'tis a passionate Work!--yet wise and well, 45
Well chosen is the spirit that is here;
That Hulk which labours in the deadly swell,
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear!

And this huge Castle, standing here sublime,
1 love to see the look with which it braves, 50
Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time,
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.

Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone,
Housed in a dream, at distance from the Kind!
Such happiness, wherever it be known, 55
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind.

But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here.--
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn. 60

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

and add a gleam,
The lustre, known to neither sea nor land,
But borrowed from the youthful Poet's dream; 1820.

... the gleam, 1827.

The edition of 1832 returns to the text of 1807. [a]]

[Variant 2:

1845.

... a treasure-house, a mine 1807.

The whole of this stanza was omitted in the editions of 1820-1843.]

[Variant 3:

1815.

... delusion ... 1807.]

[Variant 4:

1837.

A faith, a trust, that could not be betray'd. 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The original title, in MS, was 'Verses suggested',
etc,--Ed.]

* * * * *

SUB-FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Sub-Footnote a: Many years ago Principal Shairp wrote to me,

"Have you noted how the two lines, 'The light that never was,' etc.,
stood in the edition of 1827? I know no other such instance of a
change from commonplace to perfection of ideality."

The Principal had not remembered at the time that the "perfection of
ideality" was in the original edition of 1807. The curious thing is that
the prosaic version of 1820 and 1827 ever took its place. Wordsworth's
return to his original reading was one of the wisest changes he
introduced into the text of 1832.--Ed.]

There is a Peele Castle, on a small rocky island, close to the town of
Peele, in the Isle of Man; yet separated from it, much as St. Michael's
Mount in Cornwall is separated from the mainland. This castle was
believed by many to be the one which Sir George painted, and which gave
rise to the foregoing lines. I visited it in 1879, being then ignorant
that any other Peele Castle existed; and although, the day being calm,
and the season summer, I thought Sir George had idealized his subject
much--(as I had just left Coleorton, where the picture still exists)--I
accepted the customary opinion. But I am now convinced, both from the
testimony of the Arnold family, [B] and as the result of a visit to Piel
Castle, near Barrow in Furness, that Wordsworth refers to it. The late
Bishop of Lincoln, in his uncle's 'Memoirs' (vol. i. p. 299), quotes the
line

"I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged pile,"

and adds,

"He had spent four weeks there of a college summer vacation at the
house of his cousin, Mr. Barker."

This house was at Rampside, the village opposite Piel, on the coast of
Lancashire. The "rugged pile," too, now "cased in the unfeeling armour
of old time," painted by Beaumont, is obviously this Piel Castle near
Barrow. I took the engraving of his picture with me, when visiting it:
and although Sir George--after the manner of landscape artists of his
day--took many liberties with his subjects, it is apparent that it was
this, and not Peele Castle in Mona, that he painted. The "four summer
weeks" referred to in the first stanza, were those spent at Piel during
the year 1794.

With the last verse of these 'Elegiac Stanzas' compare stanzas ten and
eleven of the 'Ode, Intimations of Immortality', vol. viii.

One of the two pictures of "Peele Castle in a Storm"--engraved by S. W.
Reynolds, and published in the editions of Wordsworth's poems of 1815
and 1820--is still in the Beaumont Gallery at Coleorton Hall.

The poem is so memorable that I have arranged to make this picture of
"Peele Castle in a Storm," the vignette to vol. xv. of this edition. It
deserves to be noted that it was to the pleading of Barron Field that we
owe the restoration of the original line of 1807,

'The light that never was, on sea or land.'

An interesting account of Piel Castle will be found in Hearne and
Byrne's 'Antiquities'. It was built by the Abbot of Furness in the first
year of the reign of Edward III.--Ed.

[Footnote B: Miss Arnold wrote to me, in December 1893:

"I have never doubted that the Peele Castle of Wordsworth is the Piel
off Walney Island. I know that my brother Matthew so believed, and I
went with him some years ago from Furness Abbey over to Piel, visiting
it as the subject of the picture and the poem."

Ed.]

* * * * *

ELEGIAC VERSES,

IN MEMORY OF MY BROTHER, JOHN WORDSWORTH, COMMANDER OF THE E. I.
COMPANY'S SHIP, 'THE EARL OF ABERGAVENNY', IN WHICH HE PERISHED BY
CALAMITOUS SHIPWRECK, FEB. 6TH, 1805.

Composed near the Mountain track, that leads from Grasmere through
Grisdale Hawes, where it descends towards Patterdale.

Composed 1805.--Published 1842

[ "Here did we stop; and here looked round,
While each into himself descends."

The point is two or three yards below the outlet of Grisedale Tarn, on a
foot-road by which a horse may pass to Patterdale--a ridge of Helvellyn
on the left, and the summit of Fairfield on the right.--I. F.]

This poem was included among the "Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces."--Ed.

I The Sheep-boy whistled loud, and lo!
That instant, startled by the shock,
The Buzzard mounted from the rock
Deliberate and slow:
Lord of the air, he took his flight; 5
Oh! could he on that woeful night
Have lent his wing, my Brother dear,
For one poor moment's space to Thee,
And all who struggled with the Sea,
When safety was so near. 10

II Thus in the weakness of my heart
I spoke (but let that pang be still)
When rising from the rock at will,
I saw the Bird depart.
And let me calmly bless the Power 15
That meets me in this unknown Flower,
Affecting type of him I mourn!
With calmness suffer and believe,
And grieve, and know that I must grieve,
Not cheerless, though forlorn. 20

III Here did we stop; and here looked round
While each into himself descends,
For that last thought of parting Friends
That is not to be found.
Hidden was Grasmere Vale from sight, 25
Our home and his, his heart's delight,
His quiet heart's selected home.
But time before him melts away,
And he hath feeling of a day
Of blessedness to come. 30

IV Full soon in sorrow did I weep,
Taught that the mutual hope was dust,
In sorrow, but for higher trust,
How miserably deep!
All vanished in a single word, 35
A breath, a sound, and scarcely heard.
Sea--Ship--drowned--Shipwreck--so it came,
The meek, the brave, the good, was gone;
He who had been our living John
Was nothing but a name. 40

V That was indeed a parting! oh,
Glad am I, glad that it is past;
For there were some on whom it cast
Unutterable woe.
But they as well as I have gains;--45
From many a humble source, to pains
Like these, there comes a mild release;
Even here I feel it, even this Plant
Is in its beauty ministrant
To comfort and to peace. 50

VI He would have loved thy modest grace,
Meek Flower! To Him I would have said,
"It grows upon its native bed
Beside our Parting-place;
There, cleaving to the ground, it lies 55
With multitude of purple eyes,
Spangling a cushion green like moss;
But we will see it, joyful tide!
Some day, to see it in its pride,
The mountain will we cross." 60

VII--Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental Stone
Stand--sacred as a Shrine;
And to the few who pass this way, 65
Traveller or Shepherd, let it say,
Long as these mighty rocks endure,--
Oh do not Thou too fondly brood,
Although deserving of all good,
On any earthly hope, however pure! [A] 70

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: See 2nd vol. of the Author's Poems, page 298, and 5th vol.,
pages 311 and 314, among Elegiac Pieces.--W. W. 1842.

These poems are those respectively beginning:

"When, to the attractions of the busy world ..."

"I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile! ..."

"Sweet Flower! belike one day to have ..."

Ed.

The plant alluded to is the Moss Campion (Silene acaulis, of Linnaeus).
See note at the end of the volume.--W. W. 1842.

See among the "Poems on the Naming of Places," No. VI.--W. W. 1845.

The note is as follows:

"Moss Campion ('Silene acaulis'). This most beautiful plant is scarce
in England, though it is found in great abundance upon the mountains
of Scotland. The first specimen I ever saw of it in its native bed was
singularly fine, the tuft or cushion being at least eight inches
diameter, and the root proportionably thick. I have only met with it
in two places among our mountains, in both of which I have since
sought for it in vain.

Botanists will not, I hope, take it ill, if I caution them against
carrying off inconsiderately rare and beautiful plants. This has often
been done, particularly from Ingleborough and other mountains in
Yorkshire, till the species have totally disappeared, to the great
regret of lovers of nature living near the places where they
grew."--W. W. 1842.

See also 'The Prelude', book xiv. 1. 419, p. 379.--Ed.]

This poem underwent no change in successive editions.

At a meeting of "The Wordsworth Society" held at Grasmere, in July 1881,
it was proposed by one of the members, the Rev. H. D. Rawnsley, then
Vicar of Wray, to erect some memorial at the parting-place of the
brothers. The brothers John and William Wordsworth parted at Grisedale
Tarn, on the 29th September 1800. The originator of the idea wrote thus
of it in June 1882:

"A proposition, made by one of its members to the Wordsworth Society
when it met in Grasmere in 1881, to mark the spot in the Grisedale
Pass of Wordsworth's parting from his brother John--and to carry out a
wish the poet seems to have hinted at in the last of his elegiac
verses in memory of that parting--is now being put into effect. It has
been determined, after correspondence with Lord Coleridge, Dr.
Cradock, Professor Knight, and Mr. Hills, to have inscribed--(on the
native rock, if possible)--the first four lines of Stanzas III. and
VII. of these verses:

'Here did we stop; and here looked round
While each into himself descends,
For that last thought of parting Friends
That is not to be found.
...
Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental Stone
Stand--sacred as a Shrine.'

The rock selected is a fine mass, facing the east, on the left of the
track as one descends from Grisedale Tarn towards Patterdale, and is
about 100 yards from the tarn. No more suitable one can be found, and
we have the testimony of Mr. David Richardson of Newcastle, who has
practical knowledge of engineering, that it is the fittest, both from
shape and from slight incline of plane.

It has been proposed to sink a panel in the face of the rock, that so
the inscription may be slightly protected, and to engrave the letters
upon the face of the panel thus obtained. But it is not quite certain
yet that the grain of the rock--volcanic ash--will admit of the
lettering. If this cannot be carried out, it has been determined to
have the letters engraved upon a slab of Langdale slate, and imbed it
in the Grisedale Rock.

It is believed that the simplicity of the design, the lonely isolation
of this mountain memorial, will appeal at once

' ... to the few who pass this way,
Traveller or Shepherd.'

And we in our turn appeal to English tourists who may chance to see
it, to forego the wish of adding to it, or taking anything from it, by
engraving their own names; and to let the Monumental Stone stand, as
the poet wished it might

' ... stand, SACRED as a Shrine.'

We owe great thanks to Mrs. Sturge for first surveying the place, to
ascertain the possibility of finding a mountain rock sufficiently
striking in position; to Mr. Richardson, jun., for his etching of the
rock, upon which the inscription is to be made; to his father for the
kind trouble he took in the measurement of the said rock; and
particularly to the seconder of the original proposal, and my
coadjutor in the task of final selection and superintending the work,
Mr. W. H. Hills.

H. D. RAWNSLEY.

_P. S._--When we came to examine the rock, we found the area for the
panel less than we had hoped for, owing to certain rock fissures,
which, by acting as drains for the rainwater on the surface, would
have much interfered with the durability of the inscription. The
available space for the panel remains 3 feet 7 in length by 1 foot 9
inches in depth. Owing to the fineness of the grain of the stone, it
may be quite possible to letter the native rock; but it has been
difficult to fix on a style of lettering for the inscription that
shall be at once in good taste, forcible, and plain. It was proposed
that the Script type of letter which was made use of in the
inscription cut on the rock, in the late Mr. Ball's garden grounds
below the Mount at Rydal, should be adopted; but a final decision has
been given in favour of a style of lettering which Mrs. Rawnsley has
designed. The panel is, from its position, certain to attract the eye
of the wanderer from Patterdale up to the Grisedale Pass.

H. D. R."

See the note to 'The Waggoner', p. 112, referring to the Rock of Names,
on the shore of Thirlmere.

The following extract from 'Recollections from 1803 to 1837, with a
Conclusion in 1868, by the Hon. Amelia Murray' (London: Longmans, Green,
and Co. 1868)--refers to the loss of the 'Abergavenny':

"One morning, coming down early, I saw what I thought was a great big
ship without any hull. This was the 'Abergavenny', East Indiaman,
which had sunk with all sails set, hardly three miles from the shore,
and all on board perished.

Had any of the crew taken refuge in the main-top, they might have been
saved; but the bowsprit, which was crowded with human beings, gave a
lurch into the sea as the ship settled down, and thus all were washed
off--though the timber appeared again above water when the
'Abergavenny' touched the ground. The ship had sprung a leak off St.
Alban's Head; and in spite of pumps, she went to the bottom just
within reach of safety." Pp. 12, 13.

A 'Narrative of the loss of the "Earl of Abergavenny" East Indiaman, off
Portland, Feb. 5, 1805', was published in pamphlet form (8vo, 1805), by
Hamilton and Bird, 21 High Street, Islington.

For much in reference to John Wordsworth, which illustrates both these
'Elegiac Verses', and the poem "On the Naming of Places" which follows
them, I must refer to his 'Life' to be published in another volume of
this series; but there is one letter of Dorothy Wordsworth's, written to
her friend Miss Jane Pollard (afterwards Mrs. Marshall), in reference to
her brother's death, which may find a place here. For the use of it I am
indebted to the kindness of Mrs. Marshall's daughter, the Dowager Lady
Monteagle:

"March 16th, 1805. Grasmere.

"... It does me good to weep for him, and it does me good to find that
others weep, and I bless them for it. ... It is with me, when I write,
as when I am walking out in this vale, once so full of joy. I can turn
to no object that does not remind me of our loss. I see nothing that
he would not have loved, and enjoyed.... My consolations rather come
to me in gusts of feeling, than are the quiet growth of my mind. I
know it will not always be so. The time will come when the light of
the setting sun upon these mountain tops will be as heretofore a pure
joy; not the same _gladness_, that can never be--but yet a joy even
more tender. It will soothe me to know how happy he would have been,
could he have seen the same beautiful spectacle.... He was taken away
in the freshness of his manhood; pure he was, and innocent as a child.
Never human being was more thoroughly modest, and his courage I need
not speak of. He was 'seen speaking with apparent cheerfulness to the
first mate a few minutes before the ship went down;' and when nothing
more could be done, He said, 'the will of God be done.' I have no
doubt when he felt that it was out of his power to save his life he
was as calm as before, if some thought of what we should endure did
not awaken a pang.... He loved solitude, and he rejoiced in society.
He would wander alone amongst these hills with his fishing-rod, or led
on by the mere pleasure of walking, for many hours; or he would walk
with W. or me, or both of us, and was continually pointing out--with a
gladness which is seldom seen but in very young people--something
which perhaps would have escaped our observation; for he had so fine
an eye that no distinction was unnoticed by him, and so tender a
feeling that he never noticed anything in vain. Many a time has he
called out to me at evening to look at the moon or stars, or a cloudy
sky, or this vale in the quiet moonlight; but the stars and moon were
his chief delight. He made of them his companions when he was at sea,
and was never tired of those thoughts which the silence of the night
fed in him. Then he was so happy by the fireside. Any little business
of the house interested him. He loved our cottage. He helped us to
furnish it, and to make the garden. Trees are growing now which he
planted.... He staid with us till the 29th of September, having come
to us about the end of January. During that time Mary Hutchinson--now
Mary Wordsworth--staid with us six weeks. John used to walk with her
everywhere, and they were exceedingly attached to each other; so my
poor sister mourns with us, not merely because we have lost one who
was so dear to William and me, but from tender love to John and an
intimate knowledge of him. Her hopes as well as ours were fixed on
John.... I can think of nothing but of our departed Brother, yet I am
very tranquil to-day. I honour him, and love him, and glory in his
memory...."

Southey, writing to his friend, C. W. W. Wynn, on the 3rd of April 1805,
says:

"DEAR WYNN,

I have been grievously shocked this evening by the loss of the
'Abergavenny', of which Wordsworth's brother was captain. Of course
the news came flying up to us from all quarters, and it has disordered
me from head to foot. At such circumstances I believe we feel as much
for others as for ourselves; just as a violent blow occasions the same
pain as a wound, and he who breaks his shin feels as acutely at the
moment as the man whose leg is shot off. In fact, I am writing to you
merely because this dreadful shipwreck has left me utterly unable to
do anything else. It is the heaviest calamity Wordsworth has ever
experienced, and in all probability I shall have to communicate it to
him, as he will very likely be here before the tidings can reach him.
What renders any near loss of this kind so peculiarly distressing is,
that the recollection is perpetually freshened when any like event
occurs, by the mere mention of shipwreck, or the sound of the wind. Of
all deaths it is the most dreadful, from the circumstances of terror
which accompany it...."

(See 'The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey', vol. ii. p. 321.)

The following is part of a letter from Mary Lamb to Dorothy Wordsworth
on the same subject. It is undated:

"MY DEAR MISS WORDSWORTH,--

I wished to tell you that you would one day feel the kind of peaceful
state of mind and sweet memory of the dead, which you so happily
describe, as now almost begun; but I felt that it was improper, and
most grating to the feelings of the afflicted, to say to them that the
memory of their affliction would in time become a constant part, not
only of their dreams, but of their most wakeful sense of happiness.
That you would see every object with and through your lost brother,
and that that would at last become a real and everlasting source of
comfort to you, I felt, and well knew, from my own experience in
sorrow; but till you yourself began to feel this, I did not dare to
tell you so; but I send you some poor lines, which I wrote under this
conviction of mind, and before I heard Coleridge was returning home.

...

"Why is he wandering on the sea?--
Coleridge should now with Wordsworth be.
By slow degrees he'd steal away
Their woes, and gently bring a ray
(So happily he'd time relief,)
Of comfort from their very grief.
He'd tell them that their brother dead,
When years have passed o'er their head,
Will be remembered with such holy,
True and tender melancholy,
That ever this lost brother John
Will be their heart's companion.
His voice they'll always hear,
His face they'll always see;
There's naught in life so sweet
As such a memory."

(See 'Final Memorials of Charles Lamb', by Thomas Noon Talfourd, vol.
ii. pp. 233, 234.)--Ed.

* * * * *

"WHEN, TO THE ATTRACTIONS OF THE BUSY WORLD"

Composed 1800 to 1805.--Published 1815

[The grove still exists; but the plantation has been walled in, and is
not so accessible as when my brother John wore the path in the manner
here described. The grove was a favourite haunt with us all while we
lived at Town-end.--I. F.]

This was No. VI. of the "Poems on the Naming of Places." For several
suggested changes in MS. see Appendix I. p. 385.--Ed.

When, to the attractions of the busy world,
Preferring studious leisure, I had chosen
A habitation in this peaceful Vale,
Sharp season followed of continual storm
In deepest winter; and, from week to week, 5
Pathway, and lane, and public road, were clogged
With frequent showers of snow. Upon a hill
At a short distance from my cottage, stands
A stately Fir-grove, whither I was wont
To hasten, for I found, beneath the roof 10
Of that perennial shade, a cloistral place
Of refuge, with an unincumbered floor.
Here, in safe covert, on the shallow snow,
And, sometimes, on a speck of visible earth,
The redbreast near me hopped; nor was I loth 15
To sympathise with vulgar coppice birds
That, for protection from the nipping blast,
Hither repaired.--A single beech-tree grew
Within this grove of firs! and, on the fork
Of that one beech, appeared a thrush's nest; 20
A last year's nest, conspicuously built
At such small elevation from the ground
As gave sure sign that they, who in that house
Of nature and of love had made their home
Amid the fir-trees, all the summer long 25
Dwelt in a tranquil spot. And oftentimes,
A few sheep, stragglers from some mountain-flock,
Would watch my motions with suspicious stare,
From the remotest outskirts of the grove,--
Some nook where they had made their final stand, 30
Huddling together from two fears--the fear
Of me and of the storm. Full many an hour
Here did I lose. But in this grove the trees
Had been so thickly planted, and had thriven
In such perplexed and intricate array; 35
That vainly did I seek, beneath [1] their stems
A length of open space, where to and fro
My feet might move without concern or care;
And, baffled thus, though earth from day to day
Was fettered, and the air by storm disturbed, 40
I ceased the shelter to frequent, [2]--and prized,
Less than I wished to prize, that calm recess.

The snows dissolved, and genial Spring returned
To clothe the fields with verdure. Other haunts
Meanwhile were mine; till, one bright April day, 45
By chance retiring from the glare of noon
To this forsaken covert, there I found
A hoary pathway traced between the trees,
And winding on with such an easy line
Along a natural opening, that I stood 50
Much wondering how I could have sought in vain [3]
For what was now so obvious. [4] To abide,
For an allotted interval of ease,
Under my cottage-roof, had gladly come
From the wild sea a cherished Visitant; [5] 55
And with the sight of this same path--begun,
Begun and ended, in the shady grove, [6]
Pleasant conviction flashed upon my mind [7]
That, to this opportune recess allured,
He had surveyed it with a finer eye, 60
A heart more wakeful; and had worn the track [8]
By pacing here, unwearied and alone, [A]
In that habitual restlessness of foot
That haunts the Sailor measuring [9] o'er and o'er
His short domain upon the vessel's deck, 65
While she pursues her course [10] through the dreary sea.

When thou hadst quitted Esthwaite's pleasant shore,
And taken thy first leave of those green hills
And rocks that were the play-ground of thy youth,
Year followed year, my Brother! and we two, 70
Conversing not, knew little in what mould
Each other's mind was fashioned; [11] and at length
When once again we met in Grasmere Vale,
Between us there was little other bond
Than common feelings of fraternal love. 75
But thou, a School-boy, to the sea hadst carried
Undying recollections; Nature there
Was with thee; she, who loved us both, she still
Was with thee; and even so didst thou become
A _silent_ Poet; from the solitude 80
Of the vast sea didst bring a watchful heart
Still couchant, an inevitable ear,
And an eye practised like a blind man's touch.
--Back to the joyless Ocean thou art gone;
Nor from this vestige of thy musing hours 85
Could I withhold thy honoured name,--and now
I love the fir-grove [12] with a perfect love.
Thither do I withdraw when cloudless suns
Shine hot, or wind blows troublesome and strong;
And there I sit at evening, when the steep 90
Of Silver-how, and Grasmere's peaceful [13] lake,
And one green island, gleam between the stems
Of the dark firs, a visionary scene!
And, while I gaze upon the spectacle
Of clouded splendour, on this dream-like sight 95
Of solemn loveliness, I think on thee,
My Brother, and on all which thou hast lost.
Nor seldom, if I rightly guess, while Thou,
Muttering the verses which I muttered first
Among the mountains, through the midnight watch 100
Art pacing thoughtfully [14] the vessel's deck
In some far region, here, while o'er my head,
At every impulse of the moving breeze,
The fir-grove murmurs with a sea-like sound, [B]
Alone I tread this path;--for aught I know, 105
Timing my steps to thine; and, with a store
Of undistinguishable sympathies,
Mingling most earnest wishes for the day
When we, and others whom we love, shall meet
A second time, in Grasmere's happy Vale. 110

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1836.

... between ... 1815.]

[Variant 2:

1836.

And, baffled thus, before the storm relaxed,
I ceased that Shelter to frequent,--1815.

... the shelter ... 1827.]

[Variant 3:

1827.

Much wondering at my own simplicity
How I could e'er have made a fruitless search 1815.]

[Variant 4:

... At the sight
Conviction also flashed upon my mind
That this same path (within the shady grove
Begun and ended) by my Brother's steps
Had been impressed.--...

These additional lines appeared only in 1815 and 1820.]

[Variant 5:

1845.

... To sojourn a short while
Beneath my roof He from the barren seas
Had newly come--a cherished Visitant! 1815.

... To abide,
For an allotted interval of ease,
Beneath my cottage roof, had newly come
From the wild sea a cherished Visitant; 1827.

Beneath my cottage roof, had gladly come 1840.

... had meanwhile come C. [a]]

[Variant 6: This and the previous line were added in 1827.]

[Variant 7:

1827.

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