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

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Clytie Siddall and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team! THE POETICAL WORKS OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH EDITED BY WILLIAM KNIGHT VOL. III 1896 CONTENTS 1804 “She was a Phantom of delight” “I wandered lonely as a cloud” The Affliction of Margaret– The Forsaken Repentance Address to my Infant Daughter, Dora The Kitten and
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
Language:
Form:
Genre:
Published:
  • 1896
Tags:
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Clytie Siddall and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team!

THE POETICAL WORKS

OF

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

EDITED BY
WILLIAM KNIGHT

VOL. III

1896

CONTENTS

1804

“She was a Phantom of delight”

“I wandered lonely as a cloud”

The Affliction of Margaret–

The Forsaken

Repentance

Address to my Infant Daughter, Dora

The Kitten and Falling Leaves

The Small Celandine

At Applethwaite, near Keswick

Vaudracour and Julia

1805

French Revolution

Ode to Duty

To a Sky-Lark

Fidelity

Incident characteristic of a Favourite Dog

Tribute to the Memory of the same Dog

To the Daisy (#4)

Elegiac Stanzas

Elegiac Verses

“When, to the attractions of the busy world”

The Cottager to her Infant

The Waggoner

The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet’s Mind

From the Italian of Michael Angelo

From the Same

From the Same. To the Supreme Being

APPENDICES

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

WORDSWORTH’S POETICAL WORKS

1804

The poems written in 1804 were not numerous; and, with the exception of ‘The Small Celandine’, the stanzas beginning “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” and “She was a Phantom of delight,” they were less remarkable than those of the two preceding, and the three following years. Wordsworth’s poetical activity in 1804 is not recorded, however, in Lyrical Ballads or Sonnets, but in ‘The Prelude’, much of which was thought out, and afterwards dictated to Dorothy or Mary Wordsworth, on the terrace walk of Lancrigg during that year; while the ‘Ode, Intimations of Immortality’ was altered and added to, although it did not receive its final form till 1806. In the sixth book of ‘The Prelude’, p. 222, the lines occur:

‘Four years and thirty, told this very week, Have I been now a sojourner on earth.’

That part of the great autobiographical poem must therefore have been composed in April, 1804.–Ed.

* * * * *

“SHE WAS A PHANTOM OF DELIGHT”

Composed 1804.–Published 1807

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. The germ of this poem was four lines composed as a part of the verses on the ‘Highland Girl’. Though beginning in this way, it was written from my heart, as is sufficiently obvious.–I. F.]

One of the “Poems of the Imagination.”–Ed.

She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight; [A] A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment’s ornament;
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair; 5 Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the cheerful Dawn; [1] A dancing Shape, an Image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay. 10

I saw her upon nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
Her household motions light and free, And steps of virgin-liberty;
A countenance in which did meet 15 Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A Creature not too bright or good
For human nature’s daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles, Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles. 20

And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A Being breathing thoughtful breath, A Traveller between [2] life and death; The reason firm, the temperate will, 25 Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; A perfect Woman, [3] nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright With something of angelic light. [4] 30

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1807.

From May-time’s brightest, liveliest dawn; 1836

The text of 1840 returns to that of 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1832.

… betwixt … 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1815.

A perfect Woman; … 1807.]

[Variant 4:

1845.

… of an angel light. 1807.

… angel-light. 1836.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Compare two references to Mary Wordsworth in ‘The Prelude’:

‘Another maid there was, who also shed A gladness o’er that season, then to me, By her exulting outside look of youth
And placid under-countenance, first endeared;’

(Book vi. l. 224).

‘She came, no more a phantom to adorn A moment, but an inmate of the heart,
And yet a spirit, there for me enshrined To penetrate the lofty and the low;’

(Book xiv, l. 268).–Ed.]

It is not easy to say what were the “four lines composed as a part of the verses on the ‘Highland Girl'” which the Fenwick note tells us was “the germ of this poem.” They may be lines now incorporated in those ‘To a Highland Girl’, vol. ii. p. 389, or they may be lines in the present poem, which Wordsworth wrote at first for the ‘Highland Girl’, but afterwards transferred to this one. They _may_ have been the first four lines of the later poem. The two should be read consecutively, and compared.

After Wordsworth’s death, a writer in the ‘Daily News’, January 1859–then understood to be Miss Harriet Martineau–wrote thus:

“In the ‘Memoirs’, by the nephew of the poet, it is said that these verses refer to Mrs. Wordsworth; but for half of Wordsworth’s life it was always understood that they referred to some other phantom which ‘gleamed upon his sight’ before Mary Hutchinson.”

This statement is much more than improbable; it is, I think, disproved by the Fenwick note. They cannot refer to the “Lucy” of the Goslar poems; and Wordsworth indicates, as plainly as he chose, to whom they actually do refer. Compare the Hon. Justice Coleridge’s account of a conversation with Wordsworth (‘Memoirs’, vol. ii. p. 306), in which the poet expressly said that the lines were written on his wife. The question was, however, set at rest in a conversation of Wordsworth with Henry Crabb Robinson, who wrote in his ‘Diary’ on

“May 12 (1842).–Wordsworth said that the poems ‘Our walk was far among the ancient trees’ [vol. ii. p. 167], then ‘She was a Phantom of delight,’ [B] and finally the two sonnets ‘To a Painter’, should be read in succession as exhibiting the different phases of his affection to his wife.”

(‘Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence of Henry Crabb Robinson’, vol. iii. p. 197.)

The use of the word “machine,” in the third stanza of the poem, has been much criticised, but for a similar use of the term, see the sequel to ‘The Waggoner’ (p. 107):

‘Forgive me, then; for I had been
On friendly terms with this Machine.’

See also ‘Hamlet’ (act II. scene ii. l. 124):

‘Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him.’

The progress of mechanical industry in Britain since the beginning of the present century has given a more limited, and purely technical, meaning to the word, than it bore when Wordsworth used it in these two instances.–Ed.

[Footnote B: The poet expressly told me that these verses were on his wife.–H. C. R.]

* * * * *

“I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD”

Composed 1804.–Published 1807

[Town-end, 1804. The two best lines in it are by Mary. The daffodils grew, and still grow, on the margin of Ullswater, and probably may be seen to this day as beautiful in the month of March, nodding their golden heads beside the dancing and foaming waves.–I. F.]

This was No. VII. in the series of Poems, entitled, in the edition of 1807, “Moods of my own Mind.” In 1815, and afterwards, it was classed by Wordsworth among his “Poems of the Imagination.”–Ed.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden [1] daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 5 Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. [2]

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: 10 Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. [3]

The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay, [4] 15 In such a jocund [5] company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood, 20 They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1815.

… dancing … 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1815.

Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze. 1807]

[Variant 3: This stanza was added in the edition of 1815.]

[Variant 4:

1807

… be but gay, 1836.

The 1840 edition returns to the text of 1807.]

[Variant 5:

1815.

… laughing … 1807.]

The following is from Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal, under date, Thursday, April 15, 1802:

“When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park, we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the sea had floated the seeds ashore, and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more, and yet more; and, at last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones, about and above them; some rested their heads upon these stones, as on a pillow for weariness; and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake. They looked so gay, ever glancing, ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot, and a few stragglers higher up; but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity, unity, and life of that one busy highway. We rested again and again. The bays were stormy, and we heard the waves at different distances, and in the middle of the water, like the sea….”

In the edition of 1815 there is a footnote to the lines

‘They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude’

to the following effect:

“The subject of these Stanzas is rather an elementary feeling and simple impression (approaching to the nature of an ocular spectrum) upon the imaginative faculty, than an exertion of it. The one which follows [A] is strictly a Reverie; and neither that, nor the next after it in succession, ‘Power of Music’, would have been placed here except for the reason given in the foregoing note.”

The being “placed here” refers to its being included among the “Poems of the Imagination.” The “foregoing note” is the note appended to ‘The Horn of Egremont Castle’; and the “reason given” in it is “to avoid a needless multiplication of the Classes” into which Wordsworth divided his poems. This note of 181? [B], is reprinted mainly to show the difficulties to which Wordsworth was reduced by the artificial method of arrangement referred to. The following letter to Mr. Wrangham is a more appropriate illustration of the poem of “The Daffodils.” It was written, the late Bishop of Lincoln says, “sometime afterwards.” (See ‘Memoirs of Wordsworth’, vol. i. pp. 183, 184); and, for the whole of the letter, see a subsequent volume of this edition.

“GRASMERE, Nov. 4.

“MY DEAR WRANGHAM,–I am indeed much pleased that Mrs. Wrangham and yourself have been gratified by these breathings of simple nature. You mention Butler, Montagu’s friend; not Tom Butler, but the conveyancer: when I was in town in spring, he happened to see the volumes lying on Montagu’s mantelpiece, and to glance his eye upon the very poem of ‘The Daffodils.’ ‘Aye,’ says he, ‘a fine morsel this for the Reviewers.’ When this was told me (for I was not present) I observed that there were ‘two lines’ in that little poem which, if thoroughly felt, would annihilate nine-tenths of the reviews of the kingdom, as they would find no readers. The lines I alluded to were these:

‘They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude.'”

These two lines were composed by Mrs. Wordsworth. In 1877 the daffodils were still growing in abundance on the shore of Ullswater, below Gowbarrow Park.

Compare the last four lines of James Montgomery’s poem, ‘The Little Cloud’:

‘Bliss in possession will not last:
Remembered joys are never past:
At once the fountain, stream, and sea, They were–they are–they yet shall be.’

Ed.

[Footnote A: It was ‘The Reverie of Poor Susan’.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: This is an error in the original printed text. Evidently a year before the above-mentioned publication in 1815: one of 1810-1815. text Ed.]

* * * * *

THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET–[A]

Composed 1804.–Published 1807

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. This was taken from the case of a poor widow who lived in the town of Penrith. Her sorrow was well known to Mrs. Wordsworth, to my sister, and, I believe, to the whole town. She kept a shop, and when she saw a stranger passing by, she was in the habit of going out into the street to enquire of him after her son.–I. F.]

Included by Wordsworth among his “Poems founded on the Affections.”–Ed.

I Where art thou, my beloved Son, Where art thou, worse to me than dead? Oh find me, prosperous or undone!
Or, if the grave be now thy bed, Why am I ignorant of the same 5 That I may rest; and neither blame Nor sorrow may attend thy name?

II Seven years, alas! to have received No tidings of an only child;
To have despaired, have hoped, believed, 10 And been for evermore beguiled; [1] Sometimes with thoughts of very bliss! I catch at them, and then I miss;
Was ever darkness like to this?

III He was among the prime in worth, 15 An object beauteous to behold;
Well born, well bred; I sent him forth Ingenuous, innocent, and bold:
If things ensued that wanted grace, As hath been said, they were not base; 20 And never blush was on my face.

IV Ah! little doth the young-one dream, When full of play and childish cares, What power is in [2] his wildest scream, Heard by his mother unawares! 25 He knows it not, he cannot guess:
Years to a mother bring distress; But do not make her love the less.

V Neglect me! no, I suffered long From that ill thought; and, being blind, 30 Said, “Pride shall help me in my wrong: Kind mother have I been, as kind
As ever breathed:” and that is true; I’ve wet my path with tears like dew, Weeping for him when no one knew. 35

VI My Son, if thou be humbled, poor, Hopeless of honour and of gain,
Oh! do not dread thy mother’s door; Think not of me with grief and pain: I now can see with better eyes; 40 And worldly grandeur I despise,
And fortune with her gifts and lies.

VII Alas! the fowls of heaven have wings, And blasts of heaven will aid their flight; They mount–how short a voyage brings 45 The wanderers back to their delight! Chains tie us down by land and sea; And wishes, vain as mine, may be
All that is left to comfort thee.

VIII Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan, 50 Maimed, mangled by inhuman men;
Or thou upon a desert thrown
Inheritest the lion’s den;
Or hast been summoned to the deep, Thou, thou and all thy mates, to keep 55 An incommunicable sleep.

IX I look for ghosts; but none will force Their way to me: ’tis falsely said That there was ever intercourse
Between [3] the living and the dead; 60 For, surely, then I should have sight Of him I wait for day and night,
With love and longings infinite.

X My apprehensions come in crowds; I dread the rustling of the grass; 65 The very shadows of the clouds
Have power to shake me as they pass: I question things and do not find
One that will answer to my mind; And all the world appears unkind. 70

XI Beyond participation lie
My troubles, and beyond relief: If any chance to heave a sigh,
They pity me, and not my grief. Then come to me, my Son, or send 75 Some tidings that my woes may end; I have no other earthly friend!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1836.

To have despair’d, and have believ’d, And be for evermore beguil’d; 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1832.

What power hath even … 1807.]

[Variant 3:

1832.

Betwixt … 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In the edition of 1807, the title was ‘The Affliction of Margaret–of–‘; in 1820, it was ‘The Affliction of Margaret’; and in 1845, it was as above. In an early MS. it was ‘The Affliction of Mary–of–‘. For an as yet unpublished Preface to it, see volume viii. of this edition.–Ed.]

* * * * *

THE FORSAKEN

Composed 1804.–Published 1842

[This was an overflow from ‘The Affliction of Margaret’, and was excluded as superfluous there, but preserved in the faint hope that it may turn to account by restoring a shy lover to some forsaken damsel. My poetry has been complained of as deficient in interests of this sort,–a charge which the piece beginning, “Lyre! though such power do in thy magic live,” will scarcely tend to obviate. The natural imagery of these verses was supplied by frequent, I might say intense, observation of the Rydal torrent. What an animating contrast is the ever-changing aspect of that, and indeed of every one of our mountain brooks, to the monotonous tone and unmitigated fury of such streams among the Alps as are fed all the summer long by glaciers and melting snows. A traveller observing the exquisite purity of the great rivers, such as the Rhone at Geneva, and the Reuss at Lucerne, when they issue out of their respective lakes, might fancy for a moment that some power in nature produced this beautiful change, with a view to make amends for those Alpine sullyings which the waters exhibit near their fountain heads; but, alas! how soon does that purity depart before the influx of tributary waters that have flowed through cultivated plains and the crowded abodes of men.–I. F.]

Included by Wordsworth among his “Poems founded on the Affections.”–Ed.

The peace which others seek they find; The heaviest storms not longest last;
Heaven grants even to the guiltiest mind An amnesty for what is past;
When will my sentence be reversed? 5 I only pray to know the worst;
And wish as if my heart would burst.

O weary struggle! silent years
Tell seemingly no doubtful tale;
And yet they leave it short, and fears 10 And hopes are strong and will prevail.
My calmest faith escapes not pain; And, feeling that the hope is vain,
I think that he will come again.

* * * * *

REPENTANCE

A PASTORAL BALLAD

Composed 1804.–Published 1820

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. Suggested by the conversation of our next neighbour, Margaret Ashburner.–I. F.]

This “next neighbour” is constantly referred to in Dorothy Wordsworth’s Grasmere Journal.

Included in 1820 among the “Poems of Sentiment and Reflection”; in 1827, and afterwards, it was classed with those “founded on the Affections.”–Ed.

The fields which with covetous spirit we sold, Those beautiful fields, the delight of the day, Would have brought us more good than a burthen of gold, [1] Could we but have been as contented as they.

When the troublesome Tempter beset us, said I, 5 “Let him come, with his purse proudly grasped in his hand; But, Allan, be true to me, Allan,–we’ll die [2] Before he shall go with an inch of the land!”

There dwelt we, as happy as birds in their bowers; Unfettered as bees that in gardens abide; 10 We could do what we liked [3] with the land, it was ours; And for us the brook murmured that ran by its side.

But now we are strangers, go early or late; And often, like one overburthened with sin, With my hand on the latch of the half-opened gate, [4] 15 I look at the fields, but [5] I cannot go in!

When I walk by the hedge on a bright summer’s day, Or sit in the shade of my grandfather’s tree, A stern face it puts on, as if ready to say, “What ails you, that you must come creeping to me!” 20

With our pastures about us, we could not be sad; Our comfort was near if we ever were crost; But the comfort, the blessings, and wealth that we had, We slighted them all,–and our birth-right was lost. [6]

Oh, ill-judging sire of an innocent son 25 Who must now be a wanderer! but peace to that strain! Think of evening’s repose when our labour was done, The sabbath’s return; and its leisure’s soft chain!

And in sickness, if night had been sparing of sleep, How cheerful, at sunrise, the hill where I stood, [7] 30 Looking down on the kine, and our treasure of sheep That besprinkled the field; ’twas like youth in my blood!

Now I cleave to the house, and am dull as a snail; And, oftentimes, hear the church-bell with a sigh, That follows the thought–We’ve no land in the vale, 35 Save six feet of earth where our forefathers lie!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1820.

the delight of our day, MS.

O fools that we were–we had land which we sold MS.

O fools that we were without virtue to hold MS.

The fields that together contentedly lay Would have done us more good than another man’s gold MS.]

[Variant 2:

1820.

When the bribe of the Tempter beset us, said I, Let him come with his bags proudly grasped in his hand. But, Thomas, be true to me, Thomas, we’ll die MS.]

[Variant 3:

1836.

… chose … 1820 and MS.]

[Variant 4:

1820.

When my hand has half-lifted the latch of the gate, MS.]

[Variant 5:

1820.

… and … MS.]

[Variant 6:

1827.

But the blessings, and comfort, and wealth that we had, We slighted them all,–and our birth-right was lost. 1820 and MS.

But we traitorously gave the best friend that we had For spiritless pelf–as we felt to our cost! MS.]

[Variant 7:

1820.

When my sick crazy body had lain without sleep, How cheering the sunshiny vale where I stood, MS.]

* * * * *

ADDRESS TO MY INFANT DAUGHTER, DORA, [A]

ON BEING REMINDED THAT SHE WAS A MONTH OLD THAT DAY, SEPTEMBER 16

Composed September 16, 1804.–Published 1815

Included by Wordsworth among his “Poems of the Fancy.”–Ed.

–Hast thou then survived–
Mild Offspring of infirm humanity, Meek Infant! among all forlornest things The most forlorn–one life of that bright star, The second glory of the Heavens?–Thou hast; 5 Already hast survived that great decay, That transformation through the wide earth felt, And by all nations. In that Being’s sight From whom the Race of human kind proceed, A thousand years are but as yesterday; 10 And one day’s narrow circuit is to Him
Not less capacious than a thousand years. But what is time? What outward glory? neither A measure is of Thee, whose claims extend Through “heaven’s eternal year.” [B]–Yet hail to Thee, 15 Frail, feeble, Monthling!–by that name, methinks, Thy scanty breathing-time is portioned out Not idly.–Hadst thou been of Indian birth, Couched on a casual bed of moss and leaves, And rudely canopied by leafy boughs, 20 Or to the churlish elements exposed
On the blank plains,–the coldness of the night, Or the night’s darkness, or its cheerful face Of beauty, by the changing moon adorned, Would, with imperious admonition, then 25 Have scored thine age, and punctually timed Thine infant history, on the minds of those Who might have wandered with thee.–Mother’s love, Nor less than mother’s love in other breasts, Will, among us warm-clad and warmly housed, 30 Do for thee what the finger of the heavens Doth all too often harshly execute
For thy unblest coevals, amid wilds Where fancy hath small liberty to grace The affections, to exalt them or refine; 35 And the maternal sympathy itself,
Though strong, is, in the main, a joyless tie Of naked instinct, wound about the heart. Happier, far happier is thy lot and ours! Even now–to solemnise thy helpless state, 40 And to enliven in the mind’s regard
Thy passive beauty–parallels have risen, Resemblances, or contrasts, that connect, Within the region of a father’s thoughts, Thee and thy mate and sister of the sky. 45 And first;–thy sinless progress, through a world By sorrow darkened and by care disturbed, Apt likeness bears to hers, through gathered clouds, Moving untouched in silver purity,
And cheering oft-times their reluctant gloom. 50 Fair are ye both, and both are free from stain: But thou, how leisurely thou fill’st thy horn With brightness! leaving her to post along, And range about, disquieted in change,
And still impatient of the shape she wears. 55 Once up, once down the hill, one journey, Babe That will suffice thee; and it seems that now Thou hast fore-knowledge that such task is thine; Thou travellest so contentedly, and sleep’st In such a heedless peace. Alas! full soon 60 Hath this conception, grateful to behold, Changed countenance, like an object sullied o’er By breathing mist; and thine appears to be A mournful labour, while to her is given Hope, and a renovation without end. 65 –That smile forbids the thought; for on thy face Smiles are beginning, like the beams of dawn, To shoot and circulate; smiles have there been seen; Tranquil assurances that Heaven supports The feeble motions of thy life, and cheers 70 Thy loneliness: or shall those smiles be called Feelers of love, put forth as if to explore This untried world, and to prepare thy way Through a strait passage intricate and dim? Such are they; and the same are tokens, signs, 75 Which, when the appointed season hath arrived, Joy, as her holiest language, shall adopt; And Reason’s godlike Power be proud to own.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The title from 1815 to 1845 was ‘Address to my Infant Daughter, on being reminded that she was a Month old, on that Day’. After her death in 1847, her name was added to the title.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: See Dryden’s poem, ‘To the pious memory of the accomplished young lady, Mrs. Anne Killigrew’, I. l. 15.–Ed.]

The text of this poem was never altered.–Ed.

* * * * *

THE KITTEN AND FALLING LEAVES [A]

Composed 1804.–Published 1807

[Seen at Town-end, Grasmere. The elder-bush has long since disappeared; it hung over the wall near the cottage: and the kitten continued to leap up, catching the leaves as here described. The Infant was Dora.–J. F.]

One of the “Poems of the Fancy.” In Henry Crabb Robinson’s ‘Diary, etc.’, under date Sept. 10, 1816, we find,

“He” (Wordsworth) “quoted from ‘The Kitten and the Falling Leaves’ to show he had connected even the kitten with the great, awful, and mysterious powers of Nature.”

Ed.

That way look, my Infant, [1] lo!
What a pretty baby-show!
See the Kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall, Withered leaves–one–two–and three–5 From the lofty elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty [2] air Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly: one might think, 10 From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or Faery hither tending,–
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute, 15 In his wavering parachute.
—-But the Kitten, how she starts, Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts! [3] First at one, and then its fellow
Just as light and just as yellow; 20 There are many now–now one–
Now they stop and there are none:
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap half-way 25 Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjurer; 30 Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics played in the eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare, 35 What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure! 40

‘Tis a pretty baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet; [4]
Here, for neither Babe nor [5] me, Other play-mate can I see.
Of the countless living things, 45 That with stir of feet and wings
(In the sun or under shade,
Upon bough or grassy blade)
And with busy revellings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings, 50 Made this orchard’s narrow space,
And this vale so blithe a place;
Multitudes are swept away
Never more to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping; some in bands 55 Travelled into distant lands;
Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighbourhood;
And, among the Kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship, 60 With us openly abide,
All have laid their mirth aside.

Where is he that giddy [6] Sprite,
Blue-cap, with his colours bright, Who was blest as bird could be, 65 Feeding in the apple-tree;
Made such wanton spoil and rout,
Turning blossoms inside out;
Hung–head pointing towards the ground–[7] Fluttered, perched, into a round 70 Bound himself, and then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin!
Prettiest tumbler ever seen!
Light of heart and light of limb;
What is now become of Him? 75 Lambs, that through the mountains went
Frisking, bleating merriment,
When the year was in its prime,
They are sobered by this time.
If you look to vale or [8] hill, 80 If you listen, all is still,
Save a little neighbouring rill,
That from out the rocky ground
Strikes a solitary sound.
Vainly glitter [9] hill and plain, 85 And the air is calm in vain;
Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure;
Creature none can she decoy
Into open sign of joy: 90 Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter even than gaiety?

Yet, whate’er enjoyments dwell 95 In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every creature;
Whatsoe’er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show, 100 Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks,–
Spreads with such a living grace
O’er my little Dora’s [10] face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms 105 Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms,
That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine, That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless pair! [11] 110 And I will have my careless season
Spite of melancholy reason, [12]
Will walk through life in such a way That, when time brings on decay,
Now and then I may possess 115 Hours of perfect gladsomeness. [13]
–Pleased by any random toy;
By a kitten’s busy joy,
Or an infant’s laughing eye
Sharing in the ecstasy; 120 I would fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss;
Keep the sprightly soul awake,
And have faculties to take,
Even from things [14] by sorrow wrought, 125 Matter for a jocund thought,
Spite of care, and spite of grief, To gambol with Life’s falling Leaf.

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

… Darling, … MS.]

[Variant 2:

… silent … MS.]

[Variant 3:

Knows not what she would be at,
Now on this side, now on that. MS.]

[Variant 4:

One for me, too, as is meet. MS.]

[Variant 5:

1815.

… or … 1807.]

[Variant 6:

… busy … MS.]

[Variant 7:

1836,

Hung with head towards the ground, 1807.]

[Variant 8:

… and … MS.]

[Variant 9:

1836.

… glitters … 1807.]

[Variant 10:

1849.

Laura’s [a] 1807]

[Variant 11: Additional lines:

But I’ll take a hint from you,
And to pleasure will be true, MS.]

[Variant 12:

Be it songs of endless Spring
Which the frolic Muses sing,
Jest, and Mirth’s unruly brood
Dancing to the Phrygian mood;
Be it love, or be it wine,
Myrtle wreath, or ivy twine,
Or a garland made of both;
Whether then Philosophy
That would fill us full of glee
Seeing that our breath we draw
Under an unbending law,
That our years are halting never;
Quickly gone, and gone for ever,
And would teach us thence to brave The conclusion in the grave;
Whether it be these that give
Strength and spirit so to live,
Or the conquest best be made,
By a sober course and staid,
I would walk in such a way, MS.]

[Variant 13:

… joyousness. MS.]

[Variant 14:

From the things by … MS.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In the editions of 1807-1832 the title was ‘The Kitten and the Falling Leaves’.–Ed.]

* * * * *

SUB-FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Sub-Footnote a: Dora Wordsworth died in July 1847. Probably the change of text in 1849–one of the latest which the poet made–was due to the wish to connect this poem with memories of his dead daughter’s childhood, and her “laughing eye.”–Ed.]

* * * * *

THE SMALL CELANDINE [A]

Composed 1804.–Published 1807

[Grasmere, Town-end. It is remarkable that this flower coming out so early in the spring as it does, and so bright and beautiful, and in such profusion, should not have been noticed earlier in English verse. What adds much to the interest that attends it, is its habit of shutting itself up and opening out according to the degree of light and temperature of the air.–I. F.]

In pencil on opposite page “Has not Chaucer noticed it?”–W. W.

This was classed by Wordsworth among his “Poems referring to the Period of Old Age.”-Ed.

There is a Flower, the lesser Celandine, That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain; And, the first moment that the sun may shine, Bright as the sun himself, [1] ’tis out again!

When hailstones have been falling, swarm on swarm, 5 Or blasts the green field and the trees distrest, Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm, In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.

But lately, one rough day, this Flower I passed And recognised it, though an altered form, 10 Now standing forth an offering to the blast, And buffeted at will by rain and storm.

I stopped, and said with inly-muttered voice, “It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold: This neither is its courage nor its choice, 15 But its necessity in being old.

“The sunshine may not cheer [2] it, nor the dew; It cannot help itself in its decay;
Stiff in its members, withered, changed of hue.” And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was grey. 20

To be a Prodigal’s Favourite–then, worse truth, A Miser’s Pensioner–behold our lot!
O Man, that from thy fair and shining youth Age might but take the things Youth needed not!

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1837.

… itself, … 1807.]

[Variant 2:

1827

… bless … 1807.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: Common Pilewort.–W. W. 1807.]

With the last stanza compare one from ‘The Fountain’, vol. ii. p. 93:

‘Thus fares it still in our decay:
And yet the wiser mind
Mourns less for what age takes away Than what it leaves behind.’

Compare also the other two poems on the Celandine, vol. ii. pp. 300, 303, written in a previous year.–Ed.

* * * * *

AT APPLETHWAITE, NEAR KESWICK

1804

Composed 1804.–Published 1842

[This was presented to me by Sir George Beaumont, with a view to the erection of a house upon it, for the sake of being near to Coleridge, then living, and likely to remain, at Greta Hall, near Keswick. The severe necessities that prevented this arose from his domestic situation. This little property, with a considerable addition that still leaves it very small, lies beautifully upon the banks of a rill that gurgles down the side of Skiddaw; and the orchard and other parts of the grounds command a magnificent prospect of Derwent Water, the mountains of Borrowdale and Newlands. Not many years ago I gave the place to my daughter.–I. F.]

In pencil on the opposite page in Dora Wordsworth’s (Mrs. Quillinan’s) handwriting–“Many years ago, Sir; for it was given when she was a frail feeble monthling.”

One of the “Miscellaneous Sonnets.”–Ed.

BEAUMONT! it was thy wish that I should rear A seemly Cottage in this sunny Dell,
On favoured ground, thy gift, where I might dwell In neighbourhood with One to me most dear, That undivided we from year to year 5 Might work in our high Calling–a bright hope To which our fancies, mingling, gave free scope Till checked by some necessities severe. And should these slacken, honoured BEAUMONT! still Even then we may perhaps in vain implore 10 Leave of our fate thy wishes [1] to fulfil. Whether this boon be granted us or not, Old Skiddaw will look down upon the Spot With pride, the Muses love it evermore. [2] [A]

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

… pleasure … MS.]

[Variant 2:

… will be proud, and that same spot Be dear unto the Muses evermore. MS.]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: In the edition of 1842 the following footnote is given by Wordsworth,

“This biographical Sonnet, if so it may be called, together with the Epistle that follows, have been long suppressed from feelings of personal delicacy.”

The “Epistle” was that addressed to Sir George Beaumont in 1811.–Ed.]

This little property at Applethwaite now belongs to Mr. Gordon Wordsworth, the grandson of the poet. It is a “sunny dell” only in its upper reaches, above the spot where the cottage–which still bears Wordsworth’s name–is built. This sonnet, and Sir George Beaumont’s wish that Wordsworth and Coleridge should live so near each other, as to be able to carry on joint literary labour, recall the somewhat similar wish and proposal on the part of W. Calvert, unfolded in a letter from Coleridge to Sir Humphry Davy.–Ed.

* * * * *

VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA

Composed 1804.–Published 1820

The following Tale was written as an Episode, in a work from which its length may perhaps exclude it. [A] The facts are true; no invention as to these has been exercised, as none was needed.–W. W. 1820.

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. Faithfully narrated, though with the omission of many pathetic circumstances, from the mouth of a French lady, [B] who had been an eye-and-ear witness of all that was done and said. Many long years after, I was told that Dupligne was then a monk in the Convent of La Trappe.–I. F.]

This was included among the “Poems founded on the Affections.”–Ed.

O happy time of youthful lovers (thus My story may begin) O balmy time,
In which a love-knot on a lady’s brow Is fairer than the fairest star in heaven! To such inheritance of blessed fancy 5 (Fancy that sports more desperately with minds Than ever fortune hath been known to do) The high-born Vaudracour was brought, by years Whose progress had a little overstepped His stripling prime. A town of small repute, 10 Among the vine-clad mountains of Auvergne, Was the Youth’s birth-place. There he wooed a Maid Who heard the heart-felt music of his suit With answering vows. Plebeian was the stock, Plebeian, though ingenuous, the stock, 15 From which her graces and her honours sprung: And hence the father of the enamoured Youth, With haughty indignation, spurned the thought Of such alliance.–From their cradles up, With but a step between their several homes, 20 Twins had they been in pleasure; after strife And petty quarrels, had grown fond again; Each other’s advocate, each other’s stay; And, in their happiest moments, not content, If more divided than a sportive pair [1] 25 Of sea-fowl, conscious both that they are hovering Within the eddy of a common blast,
Or hidden only by the concave depth Of neighbouring billows from each other’s sight.

Thus, not without concurrence of an age 30 Unknown to memory, was an earnest given By ready nature for a life of love,
For endless constancy, and placid truth; But whatsoe’er of such rare treasure lay Reserved, had fate permitted, for support 35 Of their maturer years, his present mind Was under fascination;–he beheld
A vision, and adored the thing he saw. Arabian fiction never filled the world
With half the wonders that were wrought for him. 40 Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring; Life turned the meanest of her implements, Before his eyes, to price above all gold; The house she dwelt in was a sainted shrine; Her chamber-window did surpass in glory 45 The portals of the dawn; all paradise
Could, by the simple opening of a door, Let itself in upon him:–pathways, walks, Swarmed with enchantment, till his spirit sank, Surcharged, within him, overblest to move 50 Beneath a sun that wakes a weary world
To its dull round of ordinary cares; A man too happy for mortality!

So passed the time, till whether through effect Of some unguarded moment that dissolved 55 Virtuous restraint–ah, speak it, think it, not! Deem rather that the fervent Youth, who saw So many bars between his present state
And the dear haven where he wished to be In honourable wedlock with his Love, 60 Was in his judgment tempted to decline
To perilous weakness, [2] and entrust his cause To nature for a happy end of all;
Deem that by such fond hope the Youth was swayed, And bear with their transgression, when I add 65 That Julia, wanting yet the name of wife, Carried about her for a secret grief
The promise of a mother.
To conceal
The threatened shame, the parents of the Maid 70 Found means to hurry her away by night, And unforewarned, that in some distant spot She might remain shrouded in privacy,
Until the babe was born. When morning came, The Lover, thus bereft, stung with his loss, 75 And all uncertain whither he should turn, Chafed like a wild beast in the toils; but soon Discovering traces of the fugitives,
Their steps he followed to the Maid’s retreat. Easily may the sequel be divined–[3] 80 Walks to and fro–watchings at every hour; And the fair Captive, who, whene’er she may, Is busy at her casement as the swallow
Fluttering its pinions, almost within reach, About the pendent nest, did thus espy 85 Her Lover!–thence a stolen interview,
Accomplished under friendly shade of night.

I pass the raptures of the pair;–such theme Is, by innumerable poets, touched
In more delightful verse than skill of mine 90 Could fashion; chiefly by that darling bard Who told of Juliet and her Romeo,
And of the lark’s note heard before its time, And of the streaks that laced the severing clouds In the unrelenting east.–Through all her courts 95 The vacant city slept; the busy winds,
That keep no certain intervals of rest, Moved not; meanwhile the galaxy displayed Her fires, that like mysterious pulses beat Aloft;–momentous but uneasy bliss! 100 To their full hearts the universe seemed hung On that brief meeting’s slender filament!

They parted; and the generous Vaudracour Reached speedily the native threshold, bent On making (so the Lovers had agreed) 105 A sacrifice of birthright to attain
A final portion from his father’s hand; Which granted, Bride and Bridegroom then would flee To some remote and solitary place,
Shady as night, and beautiful as heaven, 110 Where they may live, with no one to behold Their happiness, or to disturb their love. But _now_ of this no whisper; not the less, If ever an obtrusive word were dropped
Touching the matter of his passion, still, 115 In his stern father’s hearing, Vaudracour Persisted openly that death alone
Should abrogate his human privilege Divine, of swearing everlasting truth,
Upon the altar, to the Maid he loved. 120

“You shall be baffled in your mad intent If there be justice in the court of France,” Muttered the Father.–From these words the Youth [4] Conceived a terror; and, by night or day, Stirred nowhere without weapons, that full soon 125 Found dreadful provocation: for at night [5] When to his chamber he retired, attempt Was made to seize him by three armed men, Acting, in furtherance of the father’s will, Under a private signet of the State. 130 One the rash Youth’s ungovernable hand
Slew, and as quickly to a second gave [6] A perilous wound–he shuddered to behold The breathless corse; then peacefully resigned His person to the law, was lodged in prison, 135 And wore the fetters of a criminal.

Have you observed [7] a tuft of winged seed That, from the dandelion’s naked stalk, Mounted aloft, is suffered not to use
Its natural gifts for purposes of rest, 140 Driven by the autumnal whirlwind to and fro Through the wide element? or have you marked The heavier substance of a leaf-clad bough, Within the vortex of a foaming flood,
Tormented? by such aid you may conceive 145 The perturbation that ensued; [8]–ah, no! Desperate the Maid–the Youth is stained with blood; Unmatchable on earth is their disquiet! [9] Yet [10] as the troubled seed and tortured bough Is Man, subjected to despotic sway. 150

For him, by private influence with the Court, Was pardon gained, and liberty procured; But not without exaction of a pledge,
Which liberty and love dispersed in air. He flew to her from whom they would divide him–155 He clove to her who could not give him peace– Yea, his first word of greeting was,–“All right Is gone from me; my lately-towering hopes, To the least fibre of their lowest root, Are withered; thou no longer canst be mine, 160 I thine–the conscience-stricken must not woo The unruffled Innocent,–I see thy face, Behold thee, and my misery is complete!”

“One, are we not?” exclaimed the Maiden–“One, For innocence and youth, for weal and woe?” 165 Then with the father’s name she coupled words Of vehement indignation; but the Youth
Checked her with filial meekness; for no thought Uncharitable crossed his mind, no sense Of hasty anger rising in the eclipse [11] 170 Of true domestic loyalty, did e’er
Find place within his bosom.–Once again The persevering wedge of tyranny
Achieved their separation: and once more Were they united,–to be yet again 175 Disparted, pitiable lot! But here
A portion of the tale may well be left In silence, though my memory could add
Much how the Youth, in scanty space of time, Was traversed from without; much, too, of thoughts 180 That occupied his days in solitude
Under privation and restraint; and what, Through dark and shapeless fear of things to come, And what, through strong compunction for the past, He suffered–breaking down in heart and mind! 185

Doomed to a third and last captivity, His freedom he recovered on the eve
Of Julia’s travail. When the babe was born, Its presence tempted him to cherish schemes Of future happiness. “You shall return, 190 Julia,” said he, “and to your father’s house Go with the child.–You have been wretched; yet The silver shower, whose reckless burthen weighs Too heavily upon the lily’s head,
Oft leaves a saving moisture at its root. 195 Malice, beholding you, will melt away.
Go!–’tis a town where both of us were born; None will reproach you, for our truth is known; And if, amid those once-bright bowers, our fate Remain unpitied, pity is not in man. 200 With ornaments–the prettiest, nature yields Or art can fashion, shall you deck our [12] boy, And feed his countenance with your own sweet looks Till no one can resist him.–Now, even now, I see him sporting on the sunny lawn; 205 My father from the window sees him too; Startled, as if some new-created thing
Enriched the earth, or Faery of the woods Bounded before him;–but the unweeting Child Shall by his beauty win his grandsire’s heart 210 So that it shall be softened, and our loves End happily, as they began!”

These gleams
Appeared but seldom; oftener was he seen Propping a pale and melancholy face 215 Upon the Mother’s bosom; resting thus
His head upon one breast, while from the other The Babe was drawing in its quiet food. –That pillow is no longer to be thine,
Fond Youth! that mournful solace now must pass 220 Into the list of things that cannot be! Unwedded Julia, terror-smitten, hears
The sentence, by her mother’s lip pronounced, That dooms her to a convent.–Who shall tell, Who dares report, the tidings to the lord 225 Of her affections? so they blindly asked Who knew not to what quiet depths a weight Of agony had pressed the Sufferer down: The word, by others dreaded, he can hear Composed and silent, without visible sign 230 Of even the least emotion. Noting this, When the impatient object of his love
Upbraided him with slackness, he returned No answer, only took the mother’s hand
And kissed it; seemingly devoid of pain, 235 Or care, that what so tenderly he pressed Was a dependant on [13] the obdurate heart Of one who came to disunite their lives For ever–sad alternative! preferred,
By the unbending Parents of the Maid, 240 To secret ‘spousals meanly disavowed.
–So be it!

In the city he remained
A season after Julia had withdrawn To those religious walls. He, too, departs–245 Who with him?–even the senseless Little-one. With that sole charge he passed the city-gates, For the last time, attendant by the side Of a close chair, a litter, or sedan,
In which the Babe was carried. To a hill, 250 That rose a brief league distant from the town, The dwellers in that house where he had lodged Accompanied his steps, by anxious love
Impelled;–they parted from him there, and stood Watching below till he had disappeared 255 On the hill top. His eyes he scarcely took, Throughout that journey, from the vehicle (Slow-moving ark of all his hopes!) that veiled The tender infant: and at every inn,
And under every hospitable tree 260 At which the bearers halted or reposed, Laid him with timid care upon his knees, And looked, as mothers ne’er were known to look, Upon the nursling which his arms embraced.

This was the manner in which Vaudracour 265 Departed with his infant; and thus reached His father’s house, where to the innocent child Admittance was denied. The young man spake No word [14] of indignation or reproof, But of his father begged, a last request, 270 That a retreat might be assigned to him Where in forgotten quiet he might dwell, With such allowance as his wants required; For wishes he had none. To a lodge that stood Deep in a forest, with leave given, at the age 275 Of four-and-twenty summers he withdrew; And thither took with him his motherless Babe, [15] And one domestic for their common needs, An aged woman. It consoled him here
To attend upon the orphan, and perform 280 Obsequious service to the precious child, Which, after a short time, by some mistake Or indiscretion of the Father, died.–
The Tale I follow to its last recess Of suffering or of peace, I know not which: 285 Theirs be the blame who caused the woe, not mine!

From this time forth he never shared a smile With mortal creature. An Inhabitant
Of that same town, in which the pair had left So lively a remembrance of their griefs, 290 By chance of business, coming within reach Of his retirement, to the forest lodge
Repaired, but only found the matron there, [16] Who told him that his pains were thrown away, For that her Master never uttered word 295 To living thing–not even to her.–Behold! While they were speaking, Vaudracour approached; But, seeing some one near, as on the latch Of the garden-gate his hand was laid, he shrunk–[17] And, like a shadow, glided out of view. 300 Shocked at his savage aspect, from the place The visitor retired.

Thus lived the Youth
Cut off from all intelligence with man, And shunning even the light of common day; 305 Nor could the voice of Freedom, which through France Full speedily resounded, public hope,
Or personal memory of his own deep wrongs, Rouse him: but in those solitary shades His days he wasted, an imbecile mind! 310

* * * * *

VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1:

1836.

And strangers to content if long apart, Or more divided … 1820.]

[Variant 2:

1827.

Was inwardly prepared to turn aside
From law and custom, … 1820.]

[Variant 3:

1836.

The sequel may be easily divined,–1820.]

[Variant 4:

1827.

… From this time the Youth 1820.]

[Variant 5:

1827.

Stirred no where without arms. To their rural seat, Meanwhile, his Parents artfully withdrew, Upon some feigned occasion, and the Son Remained with one attendant. At midnight 1820.]

[Variant 6:

1836.

One, did the Youth’s ungovernable hand Assault and slay;–and to a second gave 1820.]

[Variant 7:

1836.

… beheld … 1820.]

[Variant 8:

1836.

The perturbation of each mind;–… 1820.]

[Variant 9: This line was added in 1836.]

[Variant 10:

1836.

But … 1820.]

[Variant 11:

1845.

… for no thought
Uncharitable, no presumptuous rising Of hasty censure, modelled in the eclipse 1820.

… for no thought
Undutifully harsh dwelt in his mind, No proud resentment cherished in the eclipse C.]

[Variant 12:

1840.

… your … 1820.]

[Variant 13:

1827.

… upon … 1820.]

[Variant 14:

1836.

No words … 1820.]

[Variant 15:

1836.

… infant Babe, 1820.]

[Variant 16:

1827.

… to the spot repaired
With an intent to visit him. He reached The house, and only found the Matron there, 1820]

[Variant 17:

1836.

But, seeing some one near, even as his hand Was stretched towards the garden gate, he shrunk–1820]

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A: The work was ‘The Prelude’. See book ix., p. 310 of this volume.–Ed.]

[Footnote B: Compare ‘The Prelude’, book ix. l. 548, p. 310, where Wordsworth says it was told him “by my Patriot friend.”–Ed.]

In the preface to his volume, “‘Poems of Wordsworth’ chosen and edited by Matthew Arnold,” that distinguished poet and critic has said (p. xxv.), “I can read with pleasure and edification … everything of Wordsworth, I think, except ‘Vaudracour and Julia’.”–Ed.

* * * * *

1805

During 1805, the autobiographical poem, which was afterwards named by Mrs. Wordsworth ‘The Prelude’, was finished. In that year also