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  • 1896
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Of that which once was great, is passed away.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Compare ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’ (canto iv. II):

‘The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord.’

Ed.]

“Once did She hold the gorgeous east in fee.”

The special glory of Venice dates from the conquest of Constantinople by the Latins in 1202. The fourth Crusade–in which the French and Venetians alone took part–started from Venice, in October 1202, under the command of the Doge, Henry Dandolo. Its aim, however, was not the recovery of Palestine, but the conquest of Constantinople. At the close of the crusade, Venice received the Morea, part of Thessaly, the Cyclades, many of the Byzantine cities, and the coasts of the Hellespont, with three-eighths of the city of Constantinople itself, the Doge taking the curious title of Duke of three-eighths of the Roman Empire.

“And was the safeguard of the west.”

This may refer to the prominent part which Venice took in the Crusades, or to the development of her naval power, which made her mistress of the Mediterranean for many years, and an effective bulwark against invasions from the East.

“The eldest Child of Liberty.”

The origin of the Venetian State was the flight of many of the inhabitants of the mainland–on the invasion of Italy by Attila–to the chain of islands that lie at the head of the Adriatic.

“In the midst of the waters, free, indigent, laborious, and inaccessible, they gradually coalesced into a republic: the first foundations of Venice were laid in the island of Rialto…. On the verge of the two empires the Venetians exult in the belief of primitive and perpetual independence.”

Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’, chap. lx.

“And, when she took unto herself a Mate, She must espouse the everlasting Sea.”

In 1177, Pope Alexander III. appealed to the Venetian Republic for protection against the German Emperor. The Venetians were successful in a naval battle at Saboro, against Otho, the son of Frederick Barbarossa. In return, the Pope presented the Doge Liani with a ring, with which he told him to wed the Adriatic, that posterity might know that the sea was subject to Venice, “as a bride is to her husband.”

In September 1796, nearly six years before this sonnet was written, the fate of the old Venetian Republic was sealed by the treaty of Campo Formio. The French army under Napoleon had subdued Italy, and, having crossed the Alps, threatened Vienna. To avert impending disaster, the Emperor Francis arranged a treaty which extinguished the Venetian Republic. He divided its territory between himself and Napoleon, Austria retaining Istria, Dalmatia, and the left bank of the Adige in the Venetian State, with the “maiden city” itself; France receiving the rest of the territory and the Ionian Islands. Since the date of that treaty the city has twice been annexed to Italy.–Ed.

* * * * *

THE KING OF SWEDEN

Composed August, 1802.–Published 1807

The Voice of song from distant lands shall call To that great [1] King; shall hail the crowned Youth Who, taking counsel of unbending Truth, By one example hath set forth to all
How they with dignity may stand; or fall, 5 If fall they must. Now, whither doth it tend? And what to him and his shall be the end? That thought is one which neither can appal Nor cheer him; for the illustrious Swede hath done The thing which ought to be; is raised _above_ [2] 10 All consequences: work he hath begun
Of fortitude, and piety, and love, Which all his glorious ancestors approve: The heroes bless him, him their rightful son.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

… bold … In 1838 only.]

[Variant 2:

1845.

… He stands _above_ 1807.]

The following is Wordsworth’s note to this sonnet, added in 1837:

“In this and a succeeding Sonnet on the same subject, let me be understood as a Poet availing himself of the situation which the King of Sweden occupied, and of the principles AVOWED IN HIS MANIFESTOS; as laying hold of these advantages for the purpose of embodying moral truths. This remark might, perhaps, as well have been suppressed; for to those who may be in sympathy with the course of these Poems, it will be superfluous; and will, I fear, be thrown away upon that other class, whose besotted admiration of the intoxicated despot hereafter placed [A] in contrast with him, is the most melancholy evidence of degradation in British feeling and intellect which the times have furnished.”

The king referred to is Gustavus IV., who was born in 1778, proclaimed king in 1792, and died in 1837. His first public act after his accession was to join in the coalition against Napoleon, and dislike of Napoleon was the main-spring of his policy. It is to this that Wordsworth refers in the sonnet:

‘… the illustrious Swede hath done The thing which ought to be …’

It made him unpopular, however, and gave rise to a conspiracy against him, and to his consequent abdication in 1809. He “died forgotten and in poverty.”–Ed.

[Footnote A: See the sonnet beginning “Call not the royal Swede unfortunate,” vol. iv. p. 224.–Ed.]

* * * * *

TO TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE

Composed August, 1802.–Published 1807 [A]

Toussaint, the most unhappy man of men! [B] Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon’s earless den;–[1] O miserable Chieftain! where and when 5 Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow: Though fallen thyself, never to rise again, Live, and take comfort. [2] Thou hast left behind Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies; 10 There’s not a breathing of the common wind That will forget thee; thou hast great allies; Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man’s unconquerable mind. [C]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1827.

Whether the rural milk-maid by her cow Sing in thy hearing, or thou liest now
Alone in some deep dungeon’s earless den, 1803.

Whether the all-cheering sun be free to shed His beams around thee, or thou rest thy head Pillowed in some dark dungeon’s noisome den, 1815.

Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough Within thy hearing, or Thou liest now
Buried in some deep dungeon’s earless den;–1820.]

[Variant 2:

1807.

… Yet die not; be thou
Life to thyself in death; with chearful brow Live, loving death, nor let one thought in ten Be painful to thee … 1803.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: But previously printed in ‘The Morning Post’ of February 2, 1803, under the signature W. L. D.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare Massinger, ‘The Bondman’, act I. scene iii. l. 8:

‘Her man of men, Timoleon.’

Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare Rowe’s ‘Tamerlane’, iii. 2:

‘But to subdue the unconquerable mind.’

Also Gray’s poem ‘The Progress of Poesy’, ii. 2, l. 10:

‘Th’ unconquerable Mind, and Freedom’s holy flame.’

Ed.]

Francois Dominique Toussaint (who was surnamed L’Ouverture), the child of African slaves, was born at St. Domingo in 1743. He was a Royalist in political sympathy till 1794, when the decree of the French convention, giving liberty to the slaves, brought him over to the side of the Republic. He was made a general of division by Laveux, and succeeded in taking the whole of the north of the island from the English. In 1796 he was made chief of the French army of St. Domingo, and first the British commander, and next the Spanish, surrendered everything to him. He became governor of the island, which prospered under his rule. Napoleon, however, in 1801, issued an edict re-establishing slavery in St. Domingo. Toussaint professed obedience, but showed that he meant to resist the edict. A fleet of fifty-four vessels was sent from France to enforce it. Toussaint was proclaimed an outlaw. He surrendered, and was received with military honours, but was treacherously arrested and sent to Paris in June 1802, where he died, in April 1803, after ten months’ hardship in prison. He had been two months in prison when Wordsworth addressed this sonnet to him.–Ed.

* * * * *

COMPOSED IN THE VALLEY NEAR DOVER, ON THE DAY OF LANDING

Composed August 30, 1802.–Published 1807

Here, on our native soil, we breathe once more. [1] The cock that crows, the smoke that curls, that sound Of bells;–those boys who [2] in yon meadow-ground In white-sleeved shirts are playing; [A] and the roar Of the waves breaking on the chalky shore;–[3] 5 All, all are English. Oft have I looked round With joy in Kent’s green vales; but never found Myself so satisfied in heart before.
Europe is yet in bonds; but let that pass, Thought for another moment. Thou art free, 10 My Country! and ’tis joy enough and pride For one hour’s perfect bliss, to tread the grass Of England once again, and hear and see, With such a dear Companion at my side.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1827.

Dear fellow Traveller! here we are once more. 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1820.

… that … 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1815.

In white sleev’d shirts are playing by the score, And even this little River’s gentle roar, 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: At the beginning of Dorothy Wordsworth’s ‘Journal of a Tour on the Continent’ in 1820, she writes (July 10, 1820):

“When within a mile of Dover saw crowds of people at a cricket match, the numerous combatants dressed in ‘white-sleeved shirts;’ and it was in the very same field, where, when we ‘trod the grass of England once again,’ twenty years ago, we had seen an assemblage of youths, engaged in the same sport, so very like the present that all might have been the same. (See my brother’s sonnet.)”

Ed.]

Dorothy Wordsworth writes in her Journal,

“On Sunday, the 29th of August, we left Calais, at twelve o’clock in the morning, and landed at Dover at one on Monday the 30th. It was very pleasant to me, when we were in the harbour at Dover, to breathe the fresh air, and to look up and see the stars among the ropes of the vessel. The next day was very hot, we bathed, and sat upon the Dover Cliffs, and looked upon France with many a melancholy and tender thought. We could see the shores almost as plain as if it were but an English lake. We mounted the coach, and arrived in London at six, the 30th August.”

Ed.

* * * * *

SEPTEMBER 1, 1802

Composed September 1, 1802.–Published 1807 [A]

Among the capricious acts of Tyranny that disgraced these times, was the chasing of all Negroes from France by decree of the Government: we had a Fellow-passenger who was one of the expelled.–W. W. 1827.

We had a female Passenger who came [1] From Calais with us, spotless [2] in array, A white-robed Negro, [3] like a lady gay, Yet downcast [4] as a woman fearing blame; Meek, destitute, as seemed, of hope or aim [5] 5 She sate, from notice turning not away, But on all proffered intercourse did lay [6] A weight of languid speech, or to the same No sign of answer made by word or face: Yet still her eyes retained their tropic fire, 10 That, burning independent of the mind,
Joined with the lustre of her rich attire To mock the Outcast–O ye Heavens, be kind! And feel, thou Earth, for this afflicted Race![7]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1845.

We had a fellow-passenger that came 1803.

… who … 1807.

Driven from the soil of France, a Female came 1827.

The edition of 1838 returns to the text of 1807, but the edition of 1840 reverts to that of 1827.]

[Variant 2:

1845.

… gaudy … 1803.

… brilliant … 1827.]

[Variant 3:

1845.

A negro woman, … 1803.]

[Variant 4:

1827.

Yet silent … 1803.]

[Variant 5:

1827.

Dejected, downcast, meek, and more than tame: 1803.

Dejected, meek, yea pitiably tame, 1807.]

[Variant 6:

1827.

But on our proffer’d kindness still did lay 1803.]

[Variant 7:

1845.

… or at the same
Was silent, motionless in eyes and face. She was a negro woman, out of France,
Rejected, like all others of that race: Not one of whom may now find footing there. What is the meaning of this ordinance?
Dishonour’d Despots, tell us if ye dare. 1803.

… driv’n from France,
Rejected like all others of that race, Not one of whom may now find footing there; This the poor Out-cast did to us declare, Nor murmur’d at the unfeeling Ordinance. 1807.

Meanwhile those eyes retained their tropic fire, Which, burning independent of the mind, Joined with the lustre of her rich attire To mock the outcast–O ye Heavens, be kind! And feel, thou Earth, for this afflicted Race! 1827.

Yet still those eyes retained their tropic fire, 1837.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: First printed in ‘The Morning Post’, February 11, 1803, under the title of ‘The Banished Negroes’, and signed W. L. D.–Ed.]

It was a natural arrangement which led Wordsworth to place this sonnet, in his edition of 1807, immediately after the one addressed ‘To Toussaint L’Ouverture’.–Ed.

* * * * *

SEPTEMBER, 1802, NEAR DOVER [A]

Composed September, 1802.–Published 1807

Inland, within a hollow vale, I stood; And saw, while sea was calm and air was clear, The coast of France–the coast of France how near! Drawn almost into frightful neighbourhood. I shrunk; for verily the barrier flood 5 Was like a lake, or river bright and fair, A span of waters; yet what power is there! What mightiness for evil and for good! [B] Even so doth God protect us if we be
Virtuous and wise. Winds blow, and waters roll, 10 Strength to the brave, and Power, and Deity; Yet in themselves are nothing! One decree Spake laws to _them_, and said that by the soul Only, the Nations shall be great and free.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: From 1807 to 1843 the title was ‘September, 1802’; “near Dover” appeared in the “Sonnets” of 1838, but did not become a permanent part of the title until 1845.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare in S. T. ‘Coleridge’s Ode to the Departing Year’, stanza vii.:

‘And Ocean ‘mid his uproar wild
Speaks safety to his island-child.’

Ed.]

In ‘The Friend’ (ed. 1818, vol. i. p. 107), Coleridge writes:

“The narrow seas that form our boundaries, what were they in times of old? The convenient highway for Danish and Norman pirates. What are they now? Still, but a ‘Span of Waters.’ Yet they roll at the base of the Ararat, on which the Ark of the Hope of Europe and of Civilization rested!”

He then quotes this sonnet from the line “Even so doth God protect us if we be.”

The note appended to the sonnet, ‘Composed in the Valley near Dover, on the day of Landing’ (p. 341), shows that this one refers to the same occasion; and that while “Inland, within a hollow vale,” Wordsworth was, at the same time, on the Dover Cliffs; the “vale” being one of the hollow clefts in the headland, which front the Dover coast-line. The sonnet may, however, have been finished afterwards in London.–Ed.

* * * * *

WRITTEN IN LONDON, SEPTEMBER, 1802

Composed September, 1802.–Published 1807

[This was written immediately after my return from France to London, when I could not but be struck, as here described, with the vanity and parade of our own country, especially in great towns and cities, as contrasted with the quiet, and I may say the desolation, that the Revolution had produced in France. This must be borne in mind, or else the reader may think that in this and the succeeding Sonnets I have exaggerated the mischief engendered and fostered among us by undisturbed wealth. It would not be easy to conceive with what a depth of feeling I entered into the struggle carried on by the Spaniards for their deliverance from the usurped power of the French. Many times have I gone from Allan Bank in Grasmere Vale, where we were then residing, to the top of Raise-gap, as it is called, so late as two o’clock in the morning, to meet the carrier bringing the newspapers from Keswick. Imperfect traces of the state of mind in which I then was may be found in my tract on the Convention of Cintra, as well as in these Sonnets.–I. F.]

O FRIEND! [A] I know not which way I must look [1] For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
To think that now our life is only drest For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook, Or groom!–We must run glittering like a brook 5 In the open sunshine, or we are unblest: The wealthiest man among us is the best: No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense, This is idolatry; and these we adore: 10 Plain living and high thinking are no more: The homely beauty of the good old cause Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence, And pure religion breathing household laws. [B]

* * * * *

VARIANT ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

O thou proud City! which way shall I look 1838.

The text of 1840 returns to that of 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The “Friend” was Coleridge. In the original MS. it stands “Coleridge! I know not,” etc. Wordsworth changed it in the proof stage.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare–in Hartley Coleridge’s ‘Lives of Distinguished Northerners’–what is said of this sonnet, in his life of Anne Clifford, where the passing cynicism of Wordsworth’s poem is pointed out.–Ed.]

Wordsworth stayed in London from August 30th to September 22nd 1802.–Ed.

* * * * *

LONDON, 1802

Composed September, 1802.–Published 1807

Milton! thou should’st be living at this hour: England hath need of thee: she is a fen Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, Have forfeited their ancient English dower 5 Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart: Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: 10 Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, So didst thou travel on life’s common way, In cheerful godliness; and yet [A] thy heart The lowliest duties on herself [1] did lay.

* * * * *

VARIANT ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1820.

… itself … 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In old English “yet” means “continuously” or “always”; and it is still used in Cumberland with this signification.–Ed.]

* * * * *

“GREAT MEN HAVE BEEN AMONG US; HANDS THAT PENNED”

Composed September, 1802.–Published 1807

Great men have been among us; hands that penned And tongues that uttered wisdom–better none: The later Sidney, Marvel, Harrington,
Young Vane, [A] and others who called Milton friend. These moralists could act and comprehend: 5 They knew how genuine glory was put on; Taught us how rightfully a nation shone In splendour: what strength was, that would not bend But in [1] magnanimous meekness. France, ’tis strange, Hath brought forth no such souls as we had then. 10 Perpetual emptiness! unceasing change!
No single volume paramount, no code, No master spirit, no determined road;
But equally a want of books and men!

* * * * *

VARIANT ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

But to … MS.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: See Clarendon’s ‘History of the Rebellion’, book iii.–Ed.]

* * * * *

“IT IS NOT TO BE THOUGHT OF THAT THE FLOOD”

Composed September, 1802.–Published 1807 [A]

It is not to be thought of that the Flood Of British freedom, which, to the open sea Of the world’s praise, from dark antiquity Hath flowed, “with pomp of waters, unwithstood,”[B] Roused though it be full often to a mood 5 Which spurns the check of salutary bands, [1] That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung Armoury of the invincible Knights of old: 10 We must be [2] free or die, who speak the tongue That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold Which Milton held.–In every thing we are sprung Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1827.

… unwithstood,
Road by which all might come and go that would, And bear out freights of worth to foreign lands; 1803.]

[Variant 2:

1807.

… must live … 1803.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: It was first printed in ‘The Morning Post’, April 16. 1803, and signed W. L. D.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare Daniel’s ‘Civil War’, book ii. stanza 7.–Ed.]

* * * * *

“WHEN I HAVE BORNE IN MEMORY WHAT HAS TAMED”

Composed September, 1802.–Published 1807 [A]

When I have borne in memory what has tamed Great Nations, how ennobling thoughts depart When men change swords for ledgers, and desert The student’s bower for gold, some fears unnamed I had, my Country!–am I to be blamed? 5 Now, [1] when I think of thee, and what thou art, Verily, in the bottom of my heart,
Of those unfilial fears I am ashamed. [2] For dearly must we prize thee; we who find In thee a bulwark for the cause of men; [3] 10 And I by my affection was beguiled:
What wonder if a Poet now and then, Among the many movements of his mind,
Felt for thee as a lover or a child!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1.

1845.

But,… 1803.]

[Variant 2.

1807.

I of those fears of mine am much ashamed. 1803.]

[Variant 3.

1845.

But dearly do I prize thee for I find In thee a bulwark of the cause of men; 1803.

But dearly must we prize thee; we who find 1807.

… for the cause of men; 1827.

Most dearly 1838.

The text of 1840 returns to that of 1827.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: But printed previously in ‘The Morning Post’, September 17, 1803, under the title ‘England’, and signed W. L. D. Also, see Coleridge’s ‘Poems on Political Events’, 1828-9.–Ed.]

* * * * *

COMPOSED AFTER A JOURNEY ACROSS THE HAMBLETON HILLS, [A] YORKSHIRE

Composed October 4, 1802.–Published 1807

[Composed October 4th, 1802, after a journey over the Hambleton Hills, on a day memorable to me–the day of my marriage. The horizon commanded by those hills is most magnificent. The next day, while we were travelling in a post-chaise up Wensleydale, we were stopped by one of the horses proving restive, and were obliged to wait two hours in a severe storm before the post-boy could fetch from the inn another to supply its place. The spot was in front of Bolton Hall, where Mary Queen of Scots was kept prisoner, soon after her unfortunate landing at Workington. The place then belonged to the Scroops, and memorials of her are yet preserved there. To beguile the time I composed a Sonnet. The subject was our own confinement contrasted with hers; but it was not thought worthy of being preserved.–I. F.]

One of the “Miscellaneous Sonnets.”–Ed.

Dark and more dark the shades of evening fell; The wished-for point was reached–but at an hour When little could be gained from that rich dower [1] Of prospect, whereof many thousands tell. Yet did the glowing west with marvellous power 5 Salute us; there stood Indian citadel,
Temple of Greece, and minster with its tower Substantially expressed–a place for bell Or clock to toll from! Many a tempting isle, With groves that never were imagined, lay 10 ‘Mid seas how steadfast! objects all for the eye Of silent rapture; but we felt the while [2] We should forget them; they are of the sky, And from our earthly memory fade away.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

Ere we had reach’d the wish’d-for place, night fell: We were too late at least by one dark hour, And nothing could we see of all that power Of prospect, … 1807.

Dark, and more dark, the shades of Evening fell; The wish’d-for point was reach’d–but late the hour; And little could we see of all that power 1815.

And little could be gained from all that dower 1827.]

[Variant 2:

1837.

The western sky did recompence us well With Grecian Temple, Minaret, and Bower; And, in one part, a Minster with its Tower Substantially distinct, a place for Bell Or Clock to toll from. Many a glorious pile Did we behold, sights that might well repay All disappointment! and, as such, the eye Delighted in them; but we felt, the while, 1807.

Substantially expressed–… 1815.

Did we behold, fair sights that might repay 1815.

Yet did the glowing west in all its power 1827.

The text of 1827 is otherwise identical with that of 1837.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Called by Wordsworth, “The Hamilton Hills” in the editions from 1807 to 1827.–Ed.]

The following extract from Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal indicates, as fully as any other passage in it, the use which her brother occasionally made of it. We have the “Grecian Temple,” and the “Minster with its Tower”:

“Before we had crossed the Hambleton Hill and reached the point overlooking Yorkshire it was quite dark. We had not wanted, however, fair prospects before us, as we drove along the flat plain of the high hill; far, far off from us, in the western sky, we saw shapes of castles, ruins among groves–a great, spreading wood, rocks, and single trees–a Minster with its Tower unusually distinct, Minarets in another quarter, and a round Grecian Temple also; the colours of the sky of a bright grey, and the forms of a sober grey, with a dome. As we descended the hill there was no distinct view, but of a great space, only near us, we saw the wild (and as the people say) bottomless Tarn in the hollow at the side of the hill. It seemed to be made visible to us only by its own light, for all the hill about us was dark.”

Wordsworth and his sister crossed over the Hambleton (or Hamilton) Hills, on their way from Westmoreland to Gallow Hill, Yorkshire, to visit the Hutchinsons, before they went south to London and Calais, where they spent the month of August, 1802. But after his marriage to Mary Hutchinson, on the 4th of October, Wordsworth, his wife, and sister, recrossed these Hambleton Hills on their way to Grasmere, which they reached on the evening of the 6th October. The above sonnet was composed on the evening of the 4th October, as the Fenwick note indicates.–Ed.

* * * * *

TO H. C.

SIX YEARS OLD

Composed 1802.–Published 1807

One of the “Poems referring to the Period of Childhood.”–Ed.

O thou! whose fancies from afar are brought; Who of thy words dost make a mock apparel, And fittest to unutterable thought
The breeze-like motion and the self-born carol; Thou faery voyager! that dost float 5 In such clear water, that thy boat
May rather seem
To brood on air [A] than on an earthly stream; Suspended in a stream as clear as sky,
Where earth and heaven do make one imagery; 10 O blessed vision! happy child!
Thou [1] art so exquisitely wild,
I think of thee with many fears
For what may be thy lot in future years.

I thought of times when Pain might be thy guest, 15 Lord of thy house and hospitality;
And Grief, uneasy lover! never rest But when she sate within the touch of thee. O too industrious folly!
O vain and causeless melancholy! 20 Nature will either end thee quite;
Or, lengthening out thy season of delight, Preserve for thee, by individual right, A young lamb’s heart among the full-grown flocks. What hast thou to do with sorrow, 25 Or the injuries of to-morrow?
Thou art a dew-drop, which the morn brings forth, Ill fitted to sustain [2] unkindly shocks, Or to be trailed along the soiling earth; A gem that glitters while it lives, 30 And no forewarning gives;
But, at the touch of wrong, without a strife Slips in a moment out of life.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1845.

That … 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1827.

Not doom’d to jostle with … 1807.

Not framed to undergo … 1815.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: See Carver’s Description of his Situation upon one of the Lakes of America.–W. W. 1807.]

These stanzas were addressed to Hartley Coleridge. The lines,

‘I think of thee with many fears
For what may be thy lot in future years,’

taken in connection with his subsequent career, suggest the similarly sad “presentiment” with which the ‘Lines composed above Tintern Abbey’ conclude. The following is the postscript to a letter by his father, S. T. C., addressed to Sir Humphry Davy, Keswick, July 25, 1800:

“Hartley is a spirit that dances on an aspen leaf; the air that yonder sallow-faced and yawning tourist is breathing, is to my babe a perpetual nitrous oxide. Never was more joyous creature born. Pain with him is so wholly trans-substantiated by the joys that had rolled on before, and rushed on after, that oftentimes five minutes after his mother has whipt him he has gone up and asked her to whip him again.”

(‘Fragmentary Remains, Literary and Scientific’, of Sir Humphry Davy, Bart., pp. 78, 79.)–Ed.

* * * * *

TO THE DAISY

Composed 1802.–Published 1807

“Her [A] divine skill taught me this, That from every thing I saw
I could some instruction draw,
And raise pleasure to the height
Through the meanest object’s sight. By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough’s rustelling;
By a Daisy whose leaves spread
Shut when Titan goes to bed;
Or a shady bush or tree;
She could more infuse in me
Than all Nature’s beauties can
In some other wiser man.”

G. WITHER. [1]

[Composed in the orchard, Town-end, Grasmere.–I. F.]

One of the “Poems of the Fancy.”–Ed.

In youth from rock to rock I went,
From hill to hill in discontent
Of pleasure high and turbulent,
Most pleased when most uneasy;
But now my own delights I make,–5 My thirst at every rill can slake, [2]
And gladly Nature’s love partake,
Of Thee, sweet Daisy! [3]

Thee Winter in the garland wears
That thinly decks his few grey hairs; 10 Spring parts the clouds with softest airs, That she may sun thee; [4]
Whole Summer-fields are thine by right; And Autumn, melancholy Wight!
Doth in thy crimson head delight 15 When rains are on thee.

In shoals and bands, a morrice train, Thou greet’st the traveller in the lane; Pleased at his greeting thee again;
Yet nothing daunted, 20 Nor grieved if thou be set at nought: [5] And oft alone in nooks remote
We meet thee, like a pleasant thought, When such are wanted.

Be violets in their secret mews 25 The flowers the wanton Zephyrs choose;
Proud be the rose, with rains and dews Her head impearling,
Thou liv’st with less ambitious aim, Yet hast not gone without thy fame; 30 Thou art indeed by many a claim
The Poet’s darling.

If to a rock from rains he fly,
Or, some bright day of April sky,
Imprisoned by hot sunshine lie 35 Near the green holly,
And wearily at length should fare; He needs [6] but look about, and there
Thou art!–a friend at hand, to scare His melancholy. 40

A hundred times, by rock or bower,
Ere thus I have lain couched an hour, Have I derived from thy sweet power
Some apprehension;
Some steady love; some brief delight; [7] 45 Some memory that had taken flight;
Some chime [8] of fancy wrong or right; Or stray invention.

If stately passions in me burn,
And one [9] chance look to Thee should turn, 50 I drink out of an humbler urn
A lowlier pleasure;
The homely sympathy that heeds
The common life, our nature breeds; A wisdom fitted to the needs 55 Of hearts at leisure.

Fresh-smitten by the morning ray,
When thou art up, alert and gay,
Then, cheerful Flower! my spirits play With kindred gladness: [10] 60 And when, at dusk, by dews opprest
Thou sink’st, the image of thy rest Hath often eased my pensive breast
Of careful sadness. [11]

And all day long I number yet, 65 All seasons through, another debt,
Which I, wherever thou art met,
To thee am owing; [12]
An instinct call it, a blind sense; A happy, genial influence, 70 Coming one knows not how, nor whence,
Nor whither going.

Child of the Year! that round dost run Thy pleasant course,–when day’s begun
As ready to salute the sun 75 As lark or leveret,
Thy long-lost praise thou shalt regain; [B] Nor be less dear to future men
Than in old time;–thou not in vain [13] Art Nature’s favourite. [C] 80

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1: The extract from Wither was first prefixed to this poem in the edition of 1815. The late Mr. Dykes Campbell was of opinion that Charles Lamb had suggested this motto to Wordsworth, as ‘The Shepherd’s Hunting’ was Lamb’s “prime favourite” amongst Wither’s poems. It may be as well to note that his quotation was erroneous in two places. His “instruction” should be “invention” (l. 3), and his “the” (in l. 4) should be “her.”–Ed.]

[Variant 2:

1807.

To gentle sympathies awake, MS.]

[Variant 3:

1807.

And Nature’s love of Thee partake,
Her much-loved Daisy! 1836.

The text of 1840 returns to the reading of 1807.

Of her sweet Daisy. C.]

[Variant 4:

1836.

When soothed a while by milder airs, Thee Winter in the garland wears
That thinly shades his few grey hairs; Spring cannot shun thee; 1807.

When Winter decks his few grey hairs Thee in the scanty wreath he wears;
Spring parts the clouds with softest airs, That she may sun thee; 1827.]

[Variant 5:

1836.

… in the lane;
If welcome once thou count’st it gain; Thou art not daunted,
Nor car’st if thou be set at naught; 1807.

If welcom’d … 1815.

The text of 1827 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 6:

1820

He need….. 1807]

[Variant 7:

1807

….some chance delight; MS.]

[Variant 8:

1807

Some charm….. C.]

[Variant 9:

1807

And some….. MS.]

[Variant 10:

1836.

When, smitten by the morning ray,
I see thee rise alert and gay,
Then, chearful Flower! my spirits play With kindred motion: 1807.

With kindred gladness: 1815.

Then Daisy! do my spirits play,
With cheerful motion. MS.]

[Variant 11:

1815.

At dusk, I’ve seldom mark’d thee press The ground, as if in thankfulness
Without some feeling, more or less, Of true devotion. 1807.

The ground in modest thankfulness MS.]

[Variant 12:

1807.

But more than all I number yet
O bounteous Flower! another debt
Which I to thee wherever met
Am daily owing; MS.]

[Variant 13:

1836.

Child of the Year! that round dost run Thy course, bold lover of the sun,
And chearful when the day’s begun
As morning Leveret,
Thou long the Poet’s praise shalt gain; Thou wilt be more belov’d by men
In times to come; thou not in vain 1807.

Thy long-lost praise thou shalt regain; Dear shalt thou be to future men
As in old time;–1815.

Dear thou shalt be 1820.

The text of 1827 returns to that of 1815.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: His Muse.–W. W. 1815.

The extract is from ‘The Shepherds Hunting’, eclogue fourth, ll. 368-80.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: See, in Chaucer and the elder Poets, the honours formerly paid to this flower.–W. W. 1815.]

[Footnote C: This Poem, and two others to the same Flower, which the Reader will find in the second Volume, were written in the year 1802; which is mentioned, because in some of the ideas, though not in the manner in which those ideas are connected, and likewise even in some of the expressions, they bear a striking resemblance to a Poem (lately published) of Mr. Montgomery, entitled, ‘A Field Flower’. This being said, Mr. Montgomery will not think any apology due to him; I cannot however help addressing him in the words of the Father of English Poets:

‘Though it happe me to rehersin–
That ye han in your freshe songis saied, Forberith me, and beth not ill apaied,
Sith that ye se I doe it in the honour Of Love, and eke in service of the Flour.’

W. W. 1807.

In the edition of 1836, the following variation of the text of this note occurs: “There is a resemblance to passages in a Poem.”–Ed.]

For illustration of the last stanza, see Chaucer’s Prologue to ‘The Legend of Good Women’.

‘As I seyde erst, whanne comen is the May, That in my bed ther daweth me no day,
That I nam uppe and walkyng in the mede, To seen this floure agein the sonne sprede, Whan it up rysith erly by the morwe;
That blisful sight softneth al my sorwe, So glad am I, whan that I have presence Of it, to doon it alle reverence,
As she that is of alle floures flour.’ …
To seen this flour so yong, so fresshe of hewe, Constreynde me with so gredy desire,
That in myn herte I feele yet the fire, That made me to ryse er yt wer day,
And this was now the firste morwe of May, With dredful hert, and glad devocioun
For to ben at the resurreccion
Of this flour, whan that yt shulde unclose Agayne the sonne, that roos as rede as rose …
And doune on knes anoon ryght I me sette, And as I koude, this fresshe flour I grette, Knelying alwey, til it unclosed was,
Upon the smale, softe, swote gras.

Again, in The ‘Cuckoo and the Nightingale’, after a wakeful night, the Poet rises at dawn, and wandering forth, reaches a “laund of white and green.”

‘So feire oon had I nevere in bene,
The grounde was grene, y poudred with dayse, The floures and the gras ilike al hie,
Al grene and white, was nothing elles sene.’

Ed.

* * * * *

TO THE SAME FLOWER [A]

Composed 1802.–Published 1807

[Composed in the orchard, Town-end, Grasmere.-I. F.]

One of the “Poems of the Fancy.”–Ed.

With little here to do or see
Of things that in the great world be, Daisy! again I talk to thee, [1]
For thou art worthy,
Thou unassuming Common-place 5 Of Nature, with that homely face,
And yet with something of a grace, Which Love makes for thee!

Oft on the dappled turf at ease
I sit, and play with similes, [2] 10 Loose types of things through all degrees, Thoughts of thy raising:
And many a fond and idle name
I give to thee, for praise or blame, As is the humour of the game, 15 While I am gazing.

A nun demure of lowly port;
Or sprightly maiden, of Love’s court, In thy simplicity the sport
Of all temptations; 20 A queen in crown of rubies drest;
A starveling in a scanty vest;
Are all, as seems [3] to suit thee best, Thy appellations.

A little cyclops, with one eye 25 Staring to threaten and defy,
That thought comes next–and instantly The freak is over,
The shape will vanish–and behold
A silver shield with boss of gold, 30 That spreads itself, some faery bold
In fight to cover!

I see thee glittering from afar–
And then thou art a pretty star;
Not quite so fair as many are 35 In heaven above thee!
Yet like a star, with glittering crest, Self-poised in air thou seem’st to rest;– May peace come never to his nest,
Who shall reprove thee! 40

Bright _Flower!_ [4] for by that name at last, When all my reveries are past,
I call thee, and to that cleave fast, Sweet silent creature!
That breath’st with me in sun and air, 45 Do thou, as thou art wont, repair
My heart with gladness, and a share Of thy meek nature!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1845.

Sweet Daisy! oft I talk to thee, 1807.

Yet once again I talk . . 1836.]

[Variant 2:

1820.

Oft do I sit by thee at ease,
And weave a web of similies, 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1827.

… seem … 1807.]

[Variant 4:

1836.

Sweet Flower!…. 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The two following Poems were overflowings of the mind in composing the one which stands first in the first Volume (i.e. the previous Poem),–W. W. 1807.]

In his editions 1836-1849 Wordsworth gave 1805 as the year in which this poem was composed, but the Fenwick note prefixed to it renders this impossible. It evidently belongs to the same time, and “mood,” as the previous poem.–Ed.

* * * * *

TO THE DAISY (#2)

Composed 1802.–Published 1807

[This and the other Poems addressed to the same flower were composed at Town-end, Grasmere, during the earlier part of my residence there. I have been censured for the last line but one–“thy function apostolical”–as being little less than profane. How could it be thought so? The word is adopted with reference to its derivation, implying something sent on a mission; and assuredly this little flower, especially when the subject of verse, may be regarded, in its humble degree, as administering both to moral and to spiritual purposes.–I.F.]

This was included among the “Poems of the Fancy” from 1815 to 1832. In 1837 it was transferred to the “Poems of Sentiment and Reflection.”–Ed.

Bright Flower! whose home is everywhere, Bold in maternal Nature’s care,
And all the long year through the heir [1] Of joy and [2] sorrow.
Methinks that there abides in thee 5 Some concord [3] with humanity,
Given to no other flower I see
The forest thorough!

Is it that Man is soon deprest? [4]
A thoughtless Thing! who, once unblest, 10 Does little on his memory rest,
Or on his reason,
And [5] Thou would’st teach him how to find A shelter under every wind,
A hope for times that are unkind 15 And every season?

Thou wander’st the wide world about, Uncheck’d by pride or scrupulous doubt, With friends to greet thee, or without, Yet pleased and willing; 20 Meek, yielding to the occasion’s call,
And all things suffering from all, Thy function apostolical
In peace fulfilling. [6]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1840.

Bright Flower, whose home is every where! A Pilgrim bold in Nature’s care,
And all the long year through the heir 1807.

Bright flower, whose home is every where! A Pilgrim bold in Nature’s care,
And oft, the long year through, the heir 1827.

Confiding Flower, by Nature’s care
Made bold,–who, lodging here or there, Art all the long year through the heir 1837.]

[Variant 2:

1850.

… or … 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1807.

Communion … 1837.

The text of 1840 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 4:

1807.

And wherefore? Man is soon deprest; 1827.

The text of 1837 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 5:

1807.

But … 1827.

The text of 1837 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 6:

1807.

This stanza was omitted in the editions of 1827 and 1832, but replaced in 1837.]

The three preceding poems ‘To the Daisy’ evidently belong to the same time, and are, as Wordsworth expressly says, “overflowings of the mind in composing the one which stands first.” Nevertheless, in the revised edition of 1836-7, he gave the date 1802 to the first, 1803 to the third, and 1805 to the second of them. In the earlier editions 1815 to 1832, they are all classed among the “Poems of the Fancy,” but in the edition of 1837, and afterwards, the last, “Bright Flower! whose home is everywhere,” is ranked among the “Poems of Sentiment and Reflection.” They should manifestly be placed together. Wordsworth’s fourth poem ‘To the Daisy’, which is an elegy on his brother John, and belongs to a subsequent year–having no connection with the three preceding poems, will be found in its chronological place.–Ed.

* * * * *

LOUISA

AFTER ACCOMPANYING HER ON A MOUNTAIN EXCURSION

Composed 1802.–Published 1807

[Town-end 1805.–I. F.]

One of the “Poems founded on the Affections.” From 1807 to 1832 the title was simply ‘Louisa’.–Ed.

I met Louisa in the shade,
And, having seen that lovely Maid, Why should I fear to say [1]
That, nymph-like, she is fleet and strong, [2] And down the rocks can leap along 5 Like rivulets in May?
[3]
She loves her fire, her cottage-home; Yet o’er the moorland will she roam
In weather rough and bleak;
And, when against the wind she strains, 10 Oh! might I kiss the mountain rains
That sparkle on her cheek.

Take all that’s mine “beneath the moon,” [A] If I with her but half a noon
May sit beneath the walls 15 Of some old cave, or mossy nook,
When up she winds along the brook [4] To hunt the waterfalls.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

Though, by a sickly taste betrayed,
Some will dispraise the lovely Maid, With fearless pride I say 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1845.

That she is ruddy, fleet, and strong; 1807.

That she is healthful, … 1836.]

[Variant 3: In the editions of 1807 to 1843 occurs the following verse, which was omitted from subsequent editions:

And she hath smiles to earth unknown; Smiles, that with motion of their own
Do spread, and sink, and rise;
That come and go with endless play, And ever, as they pass away,
Are hidden in her eyes.]

[Variant 4:

1807.

When she goes barefoot up the brook MS.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Compare Young’s ‘Night Thoughts’, where the phrase occurs three times. See also ‘Lear’, act IV. scene vi. l. 26:

‘For all beneath the moon.’

Haywood, ‘The English Traveller’, v. 1:

‘All things that dwell beneath the moon.’

It was also used by William Drummond, in one of his sonnets,

‘I know that all beneath the moon decays.’

Ed.]

Wordsworth gave as the date of the composition of this poem the year 1805; but he said of the following one, ‘To a Young Lady, who had been Reproached for taking Long Walks in the Country’–“composed at the same time” and “designed to make one piece”–that it was written in 1803.

But it is certain that these following lines appeared in ‘The Morning Post’, on Feb. 12, 1802, where they are headed ‘To a beautiful Young Lady, who had been harshly spoken of on account of her fondness for taking long walks in the Country’. There is difficulty, both in ascertaining the exact date of composition, and in knowing who “Louisa” or the “Young Lady” was. Mrs. Millicent G. Fawcett wrote to me several years ago, suggesting, with some plausibility, a much earlier date, if Dorothy Wordsworth was the lady referred to. She referred me to Dorothy’s letter to her aunt, Mrs. Crackenthorpe, written from Windybrow, Keswick, in 1794, when staying there with her brother; and says

“What inclined me to think that the poem was written earlier than 1805 was that it anticipates Dorothy’s marriage, and this would more naturally be present as a probable event in W. W.’s mind in 1794 or thereabouts than in 1805, after Dorothy had dedicated her life to her brother, to the exclusion of all wish to make a home of her own by marriage. The expression ‘Healthy as a shepherd boy’ is also more applicable to a girl of twenty-two than to a woman of thirty-three. Do you think it possible that the poem may have been written in 1794, and not published till later, when its application would be less evident to the family circle?”

Dorothy Wordsworth’s letter will be quoted in full in a later volume, but the following extract from it may be given now:

“I cannot pass unnoticed that part of your letter in which you speak of my ‘rambling about the country on foot.’ So far from considering this as a matter for condemnation I rather thought it would have given my friends pleasure that I had courage to make use of the strength with which Nature has endowed me, when it not only procured me infinitely more pleasure than I should have received from sitting in a post-chaise, but was also the means of saving me at least thirty shillings.”

I do not think the date of composition can be so early as 1794. What may be called internal, or structural, evidence is against it. Wordsworth never could have written these two poems till after his settlement at Dove Cottage. Besides, in 1794, he could have no knowledge of a possible “nest in a green dale, a harbour and a hold”; while at that time his sister had certainly no “cottage home.” I believe they were written after he took up his residence at Town-end (the date being uncertain); and that they refer to his sister, and not to his wife. It has been suggested by Mr. Ernest Coleridge (see ‘The Athenaeum’, Oct. 21, 1893) that they refer to Mary Hutchinson: but there is no evidence of Wordsworth taking long country walks with her before their marriage, or that she was “nymph-like,” “fleet and strong,” that she loved to “roam the moorland,” “in weather rough and bleak,” or that she “hunted waterfalls.” The reference to his sister is confirmed by the omission of the delightful second stanza of the poem in the last edition revised by the poet, that of 1849, when she was a confirmed invalid at Rydal Mount. Those “smiles to earth unknown,” had then ceased for ever. The reason why Wordsworth erased so delightful and wonderful a stanza, is to me only explicable on the supposition, that it was his sister he referred to, she who had accompanied him in former days, in so many of his “long walks in the country.” His wife never did this; she had not the physical strength to do it; and, if she had been the person referred to, Wordsworth would hardly, in 1845, have erased such a description of her, as occurs in the stanza written in 1802, when she was still so vigorous. Besides, Mary Wordsworth was in no sense “a Child of Nature,” as Dorothy was: while the testimony of the Wordsworth household is explicit, that it was to his sister, and not to his wife, that the poet referred. I find no difficulty in the allusion made in the second poem to Dorothy being yet possibly a “Wife and Friend”; nor to the fact that it was originally addressed “To a beautiful Young Lady.” Neither Dorothy nor Mary Wordsworth were physically “beautiful,” according to our highest standards; although the poet addressed the latter as “a Phantom of delight,” and as “a lovely apparition.” It is quite true that it was Mary Wordsworth’s old age that was “serene and bright,” while Dorothy’s was the very reverse; but the poet’s anticipation of the future was written when his sister was young, and was by far the stronger of the two.–Ed.

* * * * *

TO A YOUNG LADY, WHO HAD BEEN REPROACHED FOR TAKING LONG WALKS IN THE COUNTRY [A]

Composed 1802.–Published 1807

[Composed at the same time and on the same view as “I met Louisa in the shade:” indeed they were designed to make one piece.–I.F.]

From 1815 to 1832 this was classed among the “Poems proceeding from Sentiment and Reflection.” In 1836 it was transferred to the group of “Poems of the Imagination.”–Ed.

Dear Child of Nature, let them rail! –There is a nest in a green dale,
A harbour and a hold;
Where thou, a Wife and Friend, shalt see Thy own heart-stirring days, [1] and be 5 A light to young and old.

There, healthy as a shepherd boy,
And treading among flowers of joy
Which at no season fade, [2]
Thou, while thy babes around thee cling, 10 Shalt show us how divine a thing
A Woman may be made.

Thy thoughts and feelings shall not die, Nor leave thee, when grey hairs are nigh A melancholy slave; 15 But an old age serene [3] and bright,
And lovely as a Lapland night,
Shall lead thee to thy grave.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1836.

Thy own delightful days, … 1802.]

[Variant 2:

1836.

As if thy heritage were joy,
And pleasure were thy trade. 1802.

And treading among flowers of joy,
That at no season fade, 1827.]

[Variant 3: