POEMS IN TWO VOLUMES,
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
AUTHOR OF THE LYRICAL BALLADS.
Posterius graviore sono tibi Musa loquetur Nostra: dabunt cum securos mihi tempora fructus.
To the Daisy
She was a Phantom of delight
The Redbreast and the Butterfly
The Sailor's Mother
To the Small Celandine
To the same Flower
Character of the Happy Warrior
The Horn of Egremont Castle
The Affliction of Margaret —— of ——
The Kitten and the falling Leaves
The Seven Sisters, or the Solitude of Binnorie
To H.C., six Years old
Among all lovely things my Love had been
I travell'd among unknown Men
Ode to Duty
POEMS, COMPOSED DURING A TOUR, CHIEFLY ON FOOT.
2. To a Sky-Lark
3. With how sad Steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the Sky
4. Alice Fell
5. Resolution and Independence
PART THE FIRST—MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS.
3. Composed after a Journey across the Hamilton Hills, Yorkshire
5. To Sleep
6. To Sleep
7. To Sleep
9. To the River Duddon
10. From the Italian of Michael Angelo
11. From the same
12. From the same. To the Supreme Being
13. Written in very early Youth
14. Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1803
17. To ——
20. To the Memory of Raisley Calvert
PART THE SECOND—SONNETS DEDICATED TO LIBERTY.
1. Composed by the Sea-side, near Calais, August, 1802
2. Is it a Reed
3. To a Friend, composed near Calais, on the Road leading to Ardres, August 7th, 1802
6. On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic
7. The King of Sweden
8. To Toussaint L'Ouverture
10. Composed in the Valley near Dover, on the Day of Landing
12. Thought of a Briton on the Subjugation of Switzerland
13. Written in London, September, 1802
23. To the Men of Kent. October, 1803
25. Anticipation. October, 1803
[Transcribers' Note: the Notes will be found at the End of the Volume]
TO THE DAISY.
In youth from rock to rock I went From hill to hill, in discontent Of pleasure high and turbulent, Most pleas'd when most uneasy; But now my own delights I make, My thirst at every rill can slake, And gladly Nature's love partake Of thee, sweet Daisy!
When soothed a while by milder airs, Thee Winter in the garland wears 10 That thinly shades his few grey hairs; Spring cannot shun thee; Whole summer fields are thine by right; And Autumn, melancholy Wight! Doth in thy crimson head delight When rains are on thee.
In shoals and bands, a morrice train, Thou greet'st the Traveller in the lane; If welcome once thou count'st it gain; Thou art not daunted, 20 Nor car'st if thou be set at naught; And oft alone in nooks remote We meet thee, like a pleasant thought, When such are wanted.
Be Violets in their secret mews The flowers the wanton Zephyrs chuse; 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, Imprison'd by hot sunshine lie Near the green holly, And wearily at length should fare; He need 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 couch'd an hour, Have I derived from thy sweet power Some apprehension; Some steady love; some brief delight; Some memory that had taken flight; Some chime of fancy wrong or right; Or stray invention.
If stately passions in me burn, And one 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 Of hearts at leisure.
When, smitten by the morning ray, I see thee rise alert and gay, Then, chearful Flower! my spirits play With kindred motion: 60 At dusk, I've seldom mark'd thee press The ground, as if in thankfulness, Without some feeling, more or less, Of true devotion.
And all day long I number yet, All seasons through, another debt, Which I wherever thou art met, To thee am owing; 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 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 Art Nature's Favorite. 80
* * * * *
I met Louisa in the shade; And, having seen that lovely Maid, Why should I fear to say That she is ruddy, fleet, and strong; And down the rocks can leap along, Like rivulets in May?
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, 10 And ever, as they pass away, Are hidden in her eyes.
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, Oh! might I kiss the mountain rains That sparkle on her cheek.
Take all that's mine 'beneath the moon', If I with her but half a noon 20 May sit beneath the walls Of some old cave, or mossy nook, When up she winds along the brook, To hunt the waterfalls.
* * * * *
A barking sound the Shepherd hears, A cry as of a Dog or Fox; He halts, and searches with his eyes Among the scatter'd rocks: And now at distance can discern A stirring in a brake of fern; From which immediately leaps out A Dog, and yelping runs about.
The Dog is not of mountain breed; It's motions, too, are wild and shy; 10 With something, as the Shepherd thinks, Unusual in its' cry: Nor is there any one in sight All round, in Hollow or on Height; Nor shout, nor whistle strikes his ear; What is the Creature doing here?
It was a Cove, a huge Recess, That keeps till June December's snow; A lofty Precipice in front, A silent Tarn  below! 20 Far in the bosom of Helvellyn, Remote from public Road or Dwelling, Pathway, or cultivated land; From trace of human foot or hand.
[Footnote 1: A Tarn is a small Mere or Lake mostly high up in the mountains.]
There, sometimes does a leaping Fish Send through the Tarn a lonely chear; The Crags repeat the Raven's croak, In symphony austere; Thither the Rainbow comes, the Cloud; And Mists that spread the flying shroud; 30 And Sun-beams; and the sounding blast, That, if it could, would hurry past, But that enormous Barrier binds it fast.
Not knowing what to think, a while The Shepherd stood: then makes his way Towards the Dog, o'er rocks and stones, As quickly as he may; Nor far had gone before he found A human skeleton on the ground, Sad sight! the Shepherd with a sigh 40 Looks round, to learn the history.
From those abrupt and perilous rocks, The Man had fallen, that place of fear! At length upon the Shepherd's mind It breaks, and all is clear: He instantly recall'd the Name, And who he was, and whence he came; Remember'd, too, the very day On which the Traveller pass'd this way.
But hear a wonder now, for sake 50 Of which this mournful Tale I tell! A lasting monument of words This wonder merits well. The Dog, which still was hovering nigh, Repeating the same timid cry, This Dog had been through three months' space A Dweller in that savage place.
Yes, proof was plain that since the day On which the Traveller thus had died The Dog had watch'd about the spot, 60 Or by his Master's side: How nourish'd here through such long time He knows, who gave that love sublime, And gave that strength of feeling, great Above all human estimate.
SHE WAS A PHANTOM OF DELIGHT
* * * * *
She was a Phantom of delight When first she gleam'd upon my sight; A lovely Apparition, sent To be a moment's ornament; Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair; Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair; But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the chearful Dawn; 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 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 betwixt life and death; The reason firm, the temperate will, Endurance, foresight, strength and skill; A perfect Woman; nobly plann'd, To warn, to comfort, and command; And yet a Spirit still, and bright With something of an angel light. 30
The REDBREAST and the BUTTERFLY.
Art thou the Bird whom Man loves best, The pious Bird with the scarlet breast, Our little English Robin; The Bird that comes about our doors When Autumn winds are sobbing? Art thou the Peter of Norway Boors? Their Thomas in Finland, And Russia far inland? The Bird, whom by some name or other All men who know thee call their Brother, 10 The Darling of Children and men? Could Father Adam open his eyes, And see this sight beneath the skies, He'd wish to close them again.
If the Butterfly knew but his friend Hither his flight he would bend, And find his way to me Under the branches of the tree: In and out, he darts about; His little heart is throbbing: 20 Can this be the Bird, to man so good, Our consecrated Robin! That, after their bewildering, Did cover with leaves the little children, So painfully in the wood?
What ail'd thee Robin that thou could'st pursue A beautiful Creature, That is gentle by nature? Beneath the summer sky From flower to flower let him fly; 30 'Tis all that he wishes to do.
The Chearer Thou of our in-door sadness, He is the Friend of our summer gladness: What hinders, then, that ye should be Playmates in the sunny weather, And fly about in the air together? Like the hues of thy breast His beautiful wings in crimson are drest, A brother he seems of thine own: If thou would'st be happy in thy nest, 40 O pious Bird! whom Man loves best, Love him, or leave him alone!
THE SAILOR'S MOTHER.
* * * * *
One morning (raw it was and wet, A foggy day in winter time) A Woman in the road I met, Not old, though something past her prime: Majestic in her person, tall and straight; And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait.
The ancient Spirit is not dead; Old times, thought I, are breathing there; Proud was I that my country bred Such strength, a dignity so fair: 10 She begg'd an alms, like one in poor estate; I look'd at her again, nor did my pride abate.
When from these lofty thoughts I woke, With the first word I had to spare I said to her, "Beneath your Cloak What's that which on your arm you bear?" She answer'd soon as she the question heard, "A simple burthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird."
And, thus continuing, she said, "I had a Son, who many a day 20 Sail'd on the seas; but he is dead; In Denmark he was cast away; And I have been as far as Hull, to see What clothes he might have left, or other property."
"The Bird and Cage they both were his; 'Twas my Son's Bird; and neat and trim He kept it: many voyages This Singing-bird hath gone with him; When last he sail'd he left the Bird behind; As it might be, perhaps, from bodings of his mind." 30
"He to a Fellow-lodger's care Had left it, to be watch'd and fed, Till he came back again; and there I found it when my Son was dead; And now, God help me for my little wit! I trail it with me, Sir! he took so much delight in it."
TO THE SMALL CELANDINE [Footnote: Common Pilewort.]
* * * * *
Pansies, Lilies, Kingcups, Daisies, Let them live upon their praises; Long as there's a sun that sets Primroses will have their glory; Long as there are Violets, They will have a place in story: There's a flower that shall be mine, 'Tis the little Celandine.
Eyes of some men travel far For the finding of a star; 10 Up and down the heavens they go, Men that keep a mighty rout! I'm as great as they, I trow, Since the day I found thee out, Little flower!—I'll make a stir Like a great Astronomer.
Modest, yet withal an Elf Bold, and lavish of thyself, Since we needs must first have met I have seen thee, high and low, 20 Thirty years or more, and yet 'Twas a face I did not know; Thou hast now, go where I may, Fifty greetings in a day.
Ere a leaf is on a bush, In the time before the Thrush Has a thought about it's nest, Thou wilt come with half a call, Spreading out thy glossy breast Like a careless Prodigal; 20 Telling tales about the sun, When we've little warmth, or none.
Poets, vain men in their mood! Travel with the multitude; Never heed them; I aver That they all are wanton Wooers; But the thrifty Cottager, Who stirs little out of doors, Joys to spy thee near her home, Spring is coming, Thou art come! 40
Comfort have thou of thy merit, Kindly, unassuming Spirit! Careless of thy neighbourhood, Thou dost shew thy pleasant face On the moor, and in the wood. In the lane—there's not a place, Howsoever mean it be, But 'tis good enough for thee.
Ill befal the yellow Flowers, Children of the flaring hours! 50 Buttercups, that will be seen, Whether we will see or no; Others, too, of lofty mien; They have done as worldlings do, Taken praise that should be thine, Little, humble Celandine!
Prophet of delight and mirth, Scorn'd and slighted upon earth! Herald of a mighty band, Of a joyous train ensuing, 60 Singing at my heart's command, In the lanes my thoughts pursuing, I will sing, as doth behove, Hymns in praise of what I love!
TO THE SAME FLOWER.
Pleasures newly found are sweet When they lie about our feet: February last my heart First at sight of thee was glad; All unheard of as thou art, Thou must needs, I think, have had, Celandine! and long ago, Praise of which I nothing know.
I have not a doubt but he, Whosoe'er the man might be, 10 Who the first with pointed rays, (Workman worthy to be sainted) Set the Sign-board in a blaze, When the risen sun he painted, Took the fancy from a glance At thy glittering countenance.
Soon as gentle breezes bring News of winter's vanishing, And the children build their bowers, Sticking 'kerchief-plots of mold 20 All about with full-blown flowers, Thick as sheep in shepherd's fold! With the proudest Thou art there, Mantling in the tiny square.
Often have I sigh'd to measure By myself a lonely pleasure; Sigh'd to think, I read a book Only read perhaps by me; Yet I long could overlook Thy bright coronet and Thee, 30 And thy arch and wily ways, And thy store of other praise.
Blithe of heart, from week to week Thou dost play at hide-and-seek; While the patient Primrose sits Like a Beggar in the cold, Thou, a Flower of wiser wits, Slipp'st into thy shelter'd hold: Bright as any of the train When ye all are out again. 40
Thou art not beyond the moon, But a thing "beneath our shoon;" Let, as old Magellen did, Others roam about the sea; Build who will a pyramid; Praise it is enough for me, If there be but three or four Who will love my little Flower.
CHARACTER of the HAPPY WARRIOR.
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he Whom every Man in arms should wish to be? —It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought Upon the plan that pleased his childish thought: Whose high endeavours are an inward light That make the path before him always bright: Who, with a natural instinct to discern What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn; Abides by this resolve, and stops not there, 10 But makes his moral being his prime care; Who, doom'd to go in company with Pain, And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train! Turns his necessity to glorious gain; In face of these doth exercise a power Which is our human-nature's highest dower; Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves Of their bad influence, and their good receives; By objects, which might force the soul to abate Her feeling, render'd more compassionate; 20 Is placable because occasions rise So often that demand such sacrifice; More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure, As tempted more; more able to endure, As more expos'd to suffering and distress; Thence, also, more alive to tenderness. Tis he whose law is reason; who depends Upon that law as on the best of friends; Whence, in a state where men are tempted still To evil for a guard against worse ill, 30 And what in quality or act is best Doth seldom on a right foundation rest, He fixes good on good alone, and owes To virtue every triumph that he knows: —Who, if he rise to station of command, Rises by open means; and there will stand On honourable terms, or else retire, And in himself possess his own desire; Who comprehends his trust, and to the same Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim; 40 And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait For wealth, or honors, or for worldly state; Whom they must follow; on whose head must fall, Like showers of manna, if they come at all: Whose powers shed round him in the common strife, Or mild concerns of ordinary life, A constant influence, a peculiar grace; But who, if he be called upon to face Some awful moment to which heaven has join'd Great issues, good or bad for human-kind, 50 Is happy as a Lover; and attired With sudden brightness like a Man inspired; And through the heat of conflict keeps the law In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw; Or if an unexpected call succeed, Come when it will, is equal to the need: —He who, though thus endued as with a sense And faculty for storm and turbulence, Is yet a Soul whose master bias leans To home-felt pleasures and to gentle scenes; 60 Sweet images! which, wheresoe'er he be, Are at his heart; and such fidelity It is his darling passion to approve; More brave for this, that he hath much to love: 'Tis, finally, the Man, who, lifted high, Conspicuous object in a Nation's eye, Or left unthought-of in obscurity, Who, with a toward or untoward lot, Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not, Plays, in the many games of life, that one 70 Where what he most doth value must be won; Whom neither shape of danger can dismay, Nor thought of tender happiness betray; Who, not content that former worth stand fast, Looks forward, persevering to the last, From well to better, daily self-surpast: Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth For ever, and to noble deeds give birth, Or He must go to dust without his fame, And leave a dead unprofitable name, 80 Finds comfort in himself and in his cause; And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause; This is the happy Warrior; this is He Whom every Man in arms should wish to be.
* * * * *
The above Verses mere written soon after tidings had been received of the Death of Lord Nelson, which event directed the Author's thoughts to the subject. His respect for the memory of his great fellow-countryman induces him to mention this; though he is well aware that the Verses must suffer from any connection in the Reader's mind with a Name so illustrious.
THE HORN OF EGREMONT CASTLE.
When the Brothers reach'd the gateway, Eustace pointed with his lance To the Horn which there was hanging; Horn of the inheritance. Horn it was which none could sound, No one upon living ground, Save He who came as rightful Heir To Egremont's Domains and Castle fair.
Heirs from ages without record Had the House of Lucie born, 10 Who of right had claim'd the Lordship By the proof upon the Horn: Each at the appointed hour Tried the Horn, it own'd his power; He was acknowledged: and the blast Which good Sir Eustace sounded was the last.
With his lance Sir Eustace pointed, And to Hubert thus said he, "What I speak this Horn shall witness For thy better memory. 20 Hear, then, and neglect me not! At this time, and on this spot, The words are utter'd from my heart, As my last earnest prayer ere we depart."
"On good service we are going Life to risk by sea and land; In which course if Christ our Saviour Do my sinful soul demand, Hither come thou back straightway, Hubert, if alive that day; 30 Return, and sound the Horn, that we May have a living House still left in thee!"
"Fear not," quickly answer'd Hubert; "As I am thy Father's son, What thou askest, noble Brother, With God's favour shall be done." So were both right well content: From the Castle forth they went. And at the head of their Array To Palestine the Brothers took their way. 40
Side by side they fought (the Lucies Were a line for valour fam'd) And where'er their strokes alighted There the Saracens were tam'd. Whence, then, could it come the thought, By what evil spirit brought? Oh! can a brave Man wish to take His Brother's life, for Land's and Castle's sake?
"Sir!" the Ruffians said to Hubert, "Deep he lies in Jordan flood."— 50 Stricken by this ill assurance, Pale and trembling Hubert stood. "Take your earnings."—Oh! that I Could have seen my Brother die! It was a pang that vex'd him then; And oft returned, again, and yet again.
Months pass'd on, and no Sir Eustace! Nor of him were tidings heard. Wherefore, bold as day, the Murderer Back again to England steer'd. 60 To his Castle Hubert sped; He has nothing now to dread. But silent and by stealth he came, And at an hour which nobody could name.
None could tell if it were night-time, Night or day, at even or morn; For the sound was heard by no one Of the proclamation-horn. But bold Hubert lives in glee: Months and years went smilingly; 70 With plenty was his table spread; And bright the Lady is who shares his bed.
Likewise he had Sons and Daughters; And, as good men do, he sate At his board by these surrounded, Flourishing in fair estate. And, while thus in open day Once he sate, as old books say, A blast was utter'd from the Horn, Where by the Castle-gate it hung forlorn. 80
'Tis the breath of good Sir Eustace! He is come to claim his right: Ancient Castle, Woods, and Mountains Hear the challenge with delight. Hubert! though the blast be blown He is helpless and alone: Thou hast a dungeon, speak the word! And there he may be lodg'd, and thou be Lord.
Speak! astounded Hubert cannot; And if power to speak he had, 90 All are daunted, all the household Smitten to the heart, and sad. 'Tis Sir Eustace; if it be Living Man, it must be he! Thus Hubert thought in his dismay, And by a Postern-gate he slunk away.
Long, and long was he unheard of: To his Brother then he came, Made confession, ask'd forgiveness, Ask'd it by a Brother's name, 100 And by all the saints in heaven; And of Eustace was forgiv'n: Then in a Convent went to hide His melancholy head, and there he died.
But Sir Eustace, whom good Angels Had preserv'd from Murderers' hands, And from Pagan chains had rescued, Liv'd with honour on his lands. Sons he had, saw Sons of theirs: And through ages, Heirs of Heirs, 110 A long posterity renown'd, Sounded the Horn which they alone could sound.
THE AFFLICTION of MARGARET —— OF ——
* * * * *
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 That I may rest; and neither blame, Nor sorrow may attend thy name?
Seven years, alas, to have received No tidings of an only child; To have despair'd, and have believ'd, 10 And be for evermore beguil'd; Sometimes with thoughts of very bliss! I catch at them, and then I miss; Was ever darkness like to this?
He was among the prime in worth, 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.
Ah! little doth the Young One dream, When full of play and childish cares, What power hath even his wildest scream, Heard by his Mother unawares! He knows it not, he cannot guess: Years to a Mother bring distress; But do not make her love the less.
Neglect me! no I suffer'd 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.
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
Alas! the fowls of Heaven have wings, And blasts of Heaven will aid their flight; They mount, how short a voyage brings 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.
Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan, 50 Maim'd, mangled by inhuman men; Or thou upon a Desart thrown Inheritest the Lion's Den; Or hast been summoned to the Deep, Thou, Thou and all thy mates, to keep An incommunicable sleep.
I look for Ghosts; but none will force Their way to me; 'tis falsely said That there was ever intercourse Betwixt 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.
My apprehensions come in crowds; I dread the rustling of the grass; 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
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 Some tidings that my woes may end; I have no other earthly friend.
THE KITTEN AND THE FALLING LEAVES.
* * * * *
That way look, my Infant, lo! What a pretty baby show! See the Kitten on the Wall, Sporting with the leaves that fall, Wither'd leaves, one, two, and three, From the lofty Elder-tree! Through the calm and frosty 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 convey'd Sylph or Faery hither tending, To this lower world descending, Each invisible and mute, In his wavering parachute. —But the Kitten, how she starts, Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts; First at one and then it's 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 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 Conjuror; 30 Quick as he in feats of art, Far beyond in joy of heart. Were her antics play'd in the eye Of a thousand Standers-by, Clapping hands with shout and stare, 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: Here, for neither Babe or me, Other Play-mate can I see. Of the countless living things, 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 Travell'd 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 Sprite, Blue-cap, with his colours bright, Who was blest as bird could be, Feeding in the apple-tree, Made such wanton spoil and rout, Turning blossoms inside out, Hung with head towards the ground, Flutter'd, perch'd; 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? Lambs, that through the mountains went Frisking, bleating merriment, When the year was in it's prime, They are sober'd by this time. If you look to vale or hill, 80 If you listen, all is still, Save a little neighbouring Rill; That from out the rocky ground Strikes a solitary sound. Vainly glitters hill and plain, 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 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 Laura's face; Yes, the sight so stirs and charms 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! 110 And I will have my careless season Spite of melancholy reason, Will walk through life in such a way That, when time brings on decay, Now and then I may possess Hours of perfect gladsomeness. —Pleas'd by any random toy; By a Kitten's busy joy, Or an infant's laughing eye Sharing in the extacy; 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 by sorrow wrought Matter for a jocund thought; Spite of care, and spite of grief, To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.
THE SEVEN SISTERS, OR THE SOLITUDE OF BINNORIE.
* * * * *
Seven Daughters had Lord Archibald, All Children of one Mother: I could not say in one short day What love they bore each other, A Garland of seven Lilies wrought! Seven Sisters that together dwell; But he, bold Knight as ever fought, Their Father, took of them no thought, He loved the Wars so well. Sing, mournfully, oh! mournfully, 10 The Solitude of Binnorie!
Fresh blows the wind, a western wind, And from the shores of Erin, Across the wave, a Rover brave To Binnorie is steering: Right onward to the Scottish strand The gallant ship is borne; The Warriors leap upon the land, And hark! the Leader of the Band Hath blown his bugle horn. 20 Sing, mournfully, oh! mournfully, The Solitude of Binnorie.
Beside a Grotto of their own, With boughs above them closing, The Seven are laid, and in the shade They lie like Fawns reposing. But now, upstarting with affright At noise of Man and Steed, Away they fly to left to right— Of your fair household, Father Knight, 30 Methinks you take small heed! Sing, mournfully, oh! mournfully, The Solitude of Binnorie.
Away the seven fair Campbells fly, And, over Hill and Hollow, With menace proud, and insult loud, The youthful Rovers follow. Cried they, "Your Father loves to roam: Enough for him to find The empty House when he comes home; 40 For us your yellow ringlets comb, For us be fair and kind!" Sing, mournfully, oh! mournfully, The Solitude of Binnorie.
Some close behind, some side by side, Like clouds in stormy weather, They run, and cry, "Nay let us die, And let us die together." A Lake was near; the shore was steep; There never Foot had been; 50 They ran, and with a desperate leap Together plung'd into the deep, Nor ever more were seen. Sing, mournfully, oh! mournfully, The Solitude of Binnorie.
The Stream that flows out of the Lake, As through the glen it rambles, Repeats a moan o'er moss and stone, For those seven lovely Campbells. Seven little Islands, green and bare, 60 Have risen from out the deep: The Fishers say, those Sisters fair By Faeries are all buried there, And there together sleep. Sing, mournfully, oh! mournfully The Solitude of Binnorie.
To H. C.,
SIX YEARS OLD.
* * * * *
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 In such clear water, that thy Boat May rather seem To brood on air 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! That 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, Lord of thy house and hospitality; And grief, uneasy Lover! never rest But when she sate within the touch of thee.
Oh! too industrious folly! Oh! 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, Or the injuries of tomorrow?
Thou art a Dew-drop, which, the morn brings forth, Not doom'd to jostle with unkindly shocks; Or to be trail'd 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.
Among all lovely things my Love had been
* * * * *
Among all lovely things my Love had been; Had noted well the stars, all flowers that grew About her home; but she had never seen A Glow-worm, never one, and this I knew.
While riding near her home one stormy night A single Glow-worm did I chance to espy; I gave a fervent welcome to the sight, And from my Horse I leapt; great joy had I.
Upon a leaf the Glow-worm did I lay, To bear it with me through the stormy night: 10 And, as before, it shone without dismay; Albeit putting forth a fainter light.
When to the Dwelling of my Love I came, I went into the Orchard quietly; And left the Glow-worm, blessing it by name, Laid safely by itself, beneath a Tree.
The whole next day, I hoped, and hoped with fear; At night the Glow-worm shone beneath the Tree: I led my Lucy to the spot, "Look here!" Oh! joy it was for her, and joy for me! 20
I travell'd among unknown Men
* * * * *
I travell'd among unknown Men, In Lands beyond the Sea; Nor England! did I know till then What love I bore to thee.
'Tis past, that melancholy dream! Nor will I quit thy shore A second time; for still I seem To love thee more and more.
Among thy mountains did I feel The joy of my desire; 10 And She I cherish'd turn'd her wheel Beside an English fire.
Thy mornings shew'd—thy nights conceal'd The bowers where Lucy play'd; And thine is, too, the last green field Which Lucy's eyes survey'd!
ODE TO DUTY.
* * * * *
Stern Daughter of the Voice of God! O Duty! if that name thou love Who art a Light to guide, a Rod To check the erring, and reprove; Thou who art victory and law When empty terrors overawe; From vain temptations dost set free; From strife and from despair; a glorious ministry.
There are who ask not if thine eye Be on them; who, in love and truth, 10 Where no misgiving is, rely Upon the genial sense of youth: Glad Hearts! without reproach or blot; Who do thy work, and know it not: May joy be theirs while life shall last! And Thou, if they should totter, teach them to stand fast!
Serene will be our days and bright, And happy will our nature be, When love is an unerring light, And joy its own security. 20 And bless'd are they who in the main This faith, even now, do entertain: Live in the spirit of this creed; Yet find that other strength, according to their need.
I, loving freedom, and untried; No sport of every random gust, Yet being to myself a guide, Too blindly have reposed my trust: Resolved that nothing e'er should press Upon my present happiness, 30 I shoved unwelcome tasks away; But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.
Through no disturbance of my soul, Or strong compunction in me wrought, I supplicate for thy controul; But in the quietness of thought: Me this uncharter'd freedom tires; I feel the weight of chance desires: My hopes no more must change their name, I long for a repose which ever is the same. 40
Yet not the less would I throughout Still act according to the voice Of my own wish; and feel past doubt That my submissiveness was choice: Not seeking in the school of pride For "precepts over dignified," Denial and restraint I prize No farther than they breed a second Will more wise.
Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear The Godhead's most benignant grace; 50 Nor know we any thing so fair As is the smile upon thy face; Flowers laugh before thee on their beds; And Fragrance in thy footing treads; Thou dost preserve the Stars from wrong; And the most ancient Heavens through Thee are fresh and strong.
To humbler functions, awful Power! I call thee: I myself commend Unto thy guidance from this hour; Oh! let my weakness have an end! 60 Give unto me, made lowly wise, The spirit of self-sacrifice; The confidence of reason give; And in the light of truth thy Bondman let me live!
POEMS COMPOSED DURING A TOUR, CHIEFLY ON FOOT.
She had a tall Man's height, or more; No bonnet screen'd her from the heat; A long drab-colour'd Cloak she wore, A Mantle reaching to her feet: What other dress she had I could not know; Only she wore a Cap that was as white as snow.
In all my walks, through field or town, Such Figure had I never seen: Her face was of Egyptian brown: Fit person was she for a Queen, 10 To head those ancient Amazonian files: Or ruling Bandit's Wife, among the Grecian Isles.
Before me begging did she stand, Pouring out sorrows like a sea; Grief after grief:—on English Land Such woes I knew could never be; And yet a boon I gave her; for the Creature Was beautiful to see; a Weed of glorious feature!
I left her, and pursued my way; And soon before me did espy 20 A pair of little Boys at play, Chasing a crimson butterfly; The Taller follow'd with his hat in hand, Wreath'd round with yellow flow'rs, the gayest of the land.
The Other wore a rimless crown, With leaves of laurel stuck about: And they both follow'd up and down, Each whooping with a merry shout; Two Brothers seem'd they, eight and ten years old; And like that Woman's face as gold is like to gold. 30
They bolted on me thus, and lo! Each ready with a plaintive whine; Said I, "Not half an hour ago Your Mother has had alms of mine." "That cannot be," one answer'd, "She is dead." "Nay but I gave her pence, and she will buy you bread."
"She has been dead, Sir, many a day." "Sweet Boys, you're telling me a lie"; "It was your Mother, as I say—" And in the twinkling of an eye, 40 "Come, come!" cried one; and, without more ado, Off to some other play they both together flew.
2. TO A SKY-LARK.
Up with me! up with me into the clouds! For thy song, Lark, is strong; Up with me, up with me into the clouds! Singing, singing, With all the heav'ns about thee ringing, Lift me, guide me, till I find That spot which seems so to thy mind!
I have walk'd through wildernesses dreary, And today my heart is weary; Had I now the soul of a Faery, 10 Up to thee would I fly. There is madness about thee, and joy divine In that song of thine; Up with me, up with me, high and high, To thy banqueting-place in the sky! 15 Joyous as Morning, Thou art laughing and scorning; Thou hast a nest, for thy love and thy rest: And, though little troubled with sloth, Drunken Lark! thou would'st be loth 20 To be such a Traveller as I. Happy, happy Liver! With a soul as strong as a mountain River, Pouring out praise to the Almighty Giver, Joy and jollity be with us both! Hearing thee, or else some other, As merry a Brother, I on the earth will go plodding on, By myself, chearfully, till the day is done.
3. With how sad Steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the Sky
"With how sad steps, O Moon thou climb'st the sky. How silently, and with how wan a face!"  Where art thou? Thou whom I have seen on high Running among the clouds a Wood-nymph's race? Unhappy Nuns, whose common breath's a sigh Which they would stifle, move at such a pace! The Northern Wind, to call thee to the chace, Must blow tonight his bugle horn. Had I The power of Merlin, Goddess! this should be And all the Stars, now shrouded up in heaven, Should sally forth to keep thee company. What strife would then be yours, fair Creatures, driv'n Now up, now down, and sparkling in your glee! But, Cynthia, should to Thee the palm be giv'n, Queen both for beauty and for majesty.
[Footnote 2: From a sonnet of Sir Philip Sydney.]
4. ALICE FELL.
The Post-boy drove with fierce career, For threat'ning clouds the moon had drown'd; When suddenly I seem'd to hear A moan, a lamentable sound.
As if the wind blew many ways I heard the sound, and more and more: It seem'd to follow with the Chaise, And still I heard it as before.
At length I to the Boy call'd out, He stopp'd his horses at the word; 10 But neither cry, nor voice, nor shout, Nor aught else like it could be heard.
The Boy then smack'd his whip, and fast The horses scamper'd through the rain; And soon I heard upon the blast The voice, and bade him halt again.
Said I, alighting on the ground, "What can it be, this piteous moan?" And there a little Girl I found, Sitting behind the Chaise, alone. 20
"My Cloak!" the word was last and first, And loud and bitterly she wept, As if her very heart would burst; And down from off the Chaise she leapt.
"What ails you, Child?" she sobb'd, "Look here!" I saw it in the wheel entangled, A weather beaten Rag as e'er From any garden scare-crow dangled.
'Twas twisted betwixt nave and spoke; Her help she lent, and with good heed 30 Together we released the Cloak; A wretched, wretched rag indeed!
"And whither are you going, Child, To night along these lonesome ways?" "To Durham" answer'd she half wild— "Then come with me into the chaise."
She sate like one past all relief; Sob after sob she forth did send In wretchedness, as if her grief Could never, never, have an end. 40
"My Child, in Durham do you dwell?" She check'd herself in her distress, And said, "My name is Alice Fell; I'm fatherless and motherless."
"And I to Durham, Sir, belong." And then, as if the thought would choke Her very heart, her grief grew strong; And all was for her tatter'd Cloak.
The chaise drove on; our journey's end Was nigh; and, sitting by my side, 50 As if she'd lost her only friend She wept, nor would be pacified.
Up to the Tavern-door we post; Of Alice and her grief I told; And I gave money to the Host, To buy a new Cloak for the old.
"And let it be of duffil grey, As warm a cloak as man can sell!" Proud Creature was she the next day, The little Orphan, Alice Fell! 60
5. RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE.
There was a roaring in the wind all night; The rain came heavily and fell in floods; But now the sun is rising calm and bright; The birds are singing in the distant woods; Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods; The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; And all the air is fill'd with pleasant noise of waters.
All things that love the sun are out of doors; The sky rejoices in the morning's birth; The grass is bright with rain-drops; on the moors 10 The Hare is running races in her mirth; And with her feet she from the plashy earth Raises a mist; which, glittering in the sun, Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.
I was a Traveller then upon the moor; I saw the Hare that rac'd about with joy; I heard the woods, and distant waters, roar; Or heard them not, as happy as a Boy: The pleasant season did my heart employ: My old remembrances went from me wholly; 20 And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy.
But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might Of joy in minds that can no farther go, As high as we have mounted in delight In our dejection do we sink as low, To me that morning did it happen so; And fears, and fancies, thick upon me came; Dim sadness, & blind thoughts I knew not nor could name.
I heard the Sky-lark singing in the sky; And I bethought me of the playful Hare: 30 Even such a happy Child of earth am I; Even as these blissful Creatures do I fare; Far from the world I walk, and from all care; But there may come another day to me, Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.
My whole life I have liv'd in pleasant thought, As if life's business were a summer mood; As if all needful things would come unsought To genial faith, still rich in genial good; But how can He expect that others should 40 Build for him, sow for him, and at his call Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all?
I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, The sleepless Soul that perish'd in its pride; Of Him who walk'd in glory and in joy Behind his plough, upon the mountain-side: By our own spirits are we deified; We Poets in our youth begin in gladness; But thereof comes in the end despondency and madness.
Now, whether it were by peculiar grace, 50 A leading from above, a something given, Yet it befel, that, in this lonely place, When up and down my fancy thus was driven, And I with these untoward thoughts had striven, I saw a Man before me unawares: The oldest Man he seem'd that ever wore grey hairs.
My course I stopped as soon as I espied The Old Man in that naked wilderness: Close by a Pond, upon the further side, He stood alone: a minute's space I guess 60 I watch'd him, he continuing motionless: To the Pool's further margin then I drew; He being all the while before me full in view.
As a huge Stone is sometimes seen to lie Couch'd on the bald top of an eminence; Wonder to all who do the same espy By what means it could thither come, and whence; So that it seems a thing endued with sense: Like a Sea-beast crawl'd forth, which on a shelf Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself. 70
Such seem'd this Man, not all alive nor dead, Nor all asleep; in his extreme old age: His body was bent double, feet and head Coming together in their pilgrimage; As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage Of sickness felt by him in times long past, A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.
Himself he propp'd, his body, limbs, and face, Upon a long grey Staff of shaven wood: And, still as I drew near with gentle pace, 80 Beside the little pond or moorish flood Motionless as a Cloud the Old Man stood; That heareth not the loud winds when they call; And moveth altogether, if it move at all.
At length, himself unsettling, he the Pond Stirred with his Staff, and fixedly did look Upon the muddy water, which he conn'd, As if he had been reading in a book: And now such freedom as I could I took; And, drawing to his side, to him did say, 90 "This morning gives us promise of a glorious day."
A gentle answer did the Old Man make, In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew: And him with further words I thus bespake, "What kind of work is that which you pursue? This is a lonesome place for one like you." He answer'd me with pleasure and surprize; And there was, while he spake, a fire about his eyes.
His words came feebly, from a feeble chest, Yet each in solemn order follow'd each, 100 With something of a lofty utterance drest; Choice word, and measured phrase; above the reach Of ordinary men; a stately speech! Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use, Religious men, who give to God and Man their dues.
He told me that he to this pond had come To gather Leeches, being old and poor: Employment hazardous and wearisome! And he had many hardships to endure: From Pond to Pond he roam'd, from moor to moor, 110 Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance: And in this way he gain'd an honest maintenance.
The Old Man still stood talking by my side; But now his voice to me was like a stream Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide; And the whole Body of the man did seem Like one whom I had met with in a dream; Or like a Man from some far region sent; To give me human strength, and strong admonishment.
My former thoughts return'd: the fear that kills; 120 The hope that is unwilling to be fed; Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills; And mighty Poets in their misery dead. And now, not knowing what the Old Man had said, My question eagerly did I renew, "How is it that you live, and what is it you do?"
He with a smile did then his words repeat; And said, that, gathering Leeches, far and wide He travelled; stirring thus about his feet The waters of the Ponds where they abide. 130 "Once I could meet with them on every side; But they have dwindled long by slow decay; Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may."
While he was talking thus, the lonely place, The Old Man's shape, and speech, all troubled me: In my mind's eye I seem'd to see him pace About the weary moors continually, Wandering about alone and silently. While I these thoughts within myself pursued, He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed. 140
And soon with this he other matter blended, Chearfully uttered, with demeanour kind, But stately in the main; and, when he ended, I could have laugh'd myself to scorn, to find In that decrepit Man so firm a mind. "God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor."
* * * * *
Nuns fret not at their Convent's narrow room; And Hermits are contented with their Cells; And Students with their pensive Citadels: Maids at the Wheel, the Weaver at his Loom, Sit blithe and happy; Bees that soar for bloom, High as the highest Peak of Furness Fells, Will murmur by the hour in Foxglove bells: In truth, the prison, unto which we doom Ourselves, no prison is: and hence to me, In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground: Pleas'd if some Souls (for such there needs must be) Who have felt the weight of too much liberty, Should find short solace there, as I have found.
PART THE FIRST.
* * * * *
* * * * *
How sweet it is, when mother Fancy rocks The wayward brain, to saunter through a wood! An old place, full of many a lovely brood, Tall trees, green arbours, and ground flowers in flocks; And Wild rose tip-toe upon hawthorn stocks, Like to a bonny Lass, who plays her pranks At Wakes and Fairs with wandering Mountebanks, When she stands cresting the Clown's head, and mocks The crowd beneath her. Verily I think, Such place to me is sometimes like a dream Or map of the whole world: thoughts, link by link Enter through ears and eyesight, with such gleam Of all things, that at last in fear I shrink, And leap at once from the delicious stream.
* * * * *
Where lies the Land to which yon Ship must go? Festively she puts forth in trim array; As vigorous as a Lark at break of day: Is she for tropic suns, or polar snow? What boots the enquiry? Neither friend nor foe She cares for; let her travel where she may, She finds familiar names, a beaten way Ever before her, and a wind to blow. Yet still I ask, what Haven is her mark? And, almost as it was when ships were rare, From time to time, like Pilgrims, here and there Crossing the waters; doubt, and something dark, Of the old Sea some reverential fear, Is with me at thy farewell, joyous Bark!
3. COMPOSED after a Journey across THE HAMILTON HILLS, YORKSHIRE.
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, whereof many thousands tell. 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, We should forget them: they are of the sky, And from our earthly memory fade away.
....they are of the sky, And from our earthly memory fade away.
These words were utter'd in a pensive mood, Even while mine eyes were on that solemn sight: A contrast and reproach to gross delight, And life's unspiritual pleasures daily woo'd! But now upon this thought I cannot brood: It is unstable, and deserts me quite; Nor will I praise a Cloud, however bright, Disparaging Man's gifts, and proper food. The Grove, the sky-built Temple, and the Dome, Though clad in colours beautiful and pure, Find in the heart of man no natural home: The immortal Mind craves objects that endure: These cleave to it; from these it cannot roam, Nor they from it: their fellowship is secure.
5. TO SLEEP.
O gentle Sleep! do they belong to thee, These twinklings of oblivion? Thou dost love To sit in meekness, like the brooding Dove, A Captive never wishing to be free. This tiresome night, O Sleep! thou art to me A Fly, that up and down himself doth shove Upon a fretful rivulet, now above, Now on the water vex'd with mockery. I have no pain that calls for patience, no; Hence am I cross and peevish as a child: Am pleas'd by fits to have thee for my foe, Yet ever willing to be reconciled: O gentle Creature! do not use me so, But once and deeply let me be beguiled.
6. TO SLEEP.
A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by, One after one; the sound of rain, and bees Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas, Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky; I've thought of all by turns; and still I lie Sleepless; and soon the small birds' melodies Must hear, first utter'd from my orchard trees; And the first Cuckoo's melancholy cry. Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay, And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth: So do not let me wear to night away: Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth? Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day, Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
7. TO SLEEP.
Fond words have oft been spoken to thee, Sleep! And thou hast had thy store of tenderest names; The very sweetest words that fancy frames When thankfulness of heart is strong and deep! Dear bosom Child we call thee, that dost steep In rich reward all suffering; Balm that tames All anguish; Saint that evil thoughts and aims Takest away, and into souls dost creep, Like to a breeze from heaven. Shall I alone; I surely not a man ungently made, Call thee worst Tyrant by which Flesh is crost? Perverse, self-will'd to own and to disown, Mere Slave of them who never for thee pray'd, Still last to come where thou art wanted most!
With Ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh, Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed; Some lying fast at anchor in the road, Some veering up and down, one knew not why. A goodly Vessel did I then espy Come like a Giant from a haven broad; And lustily along the Bay she strode, Her tackling rich, and of apparel high. This Ship was nought to me, nor I to her, Yet I pursued her with a Lover's look; This Ship to all the rest did I prefer: When will she turn, and whither? She will brook No tarrying; where she comes the winds must stir: On went She, and due north her journey took.
9. TO THE RIVER DUDDON.
O mountain Stream! the Shepherd and his Cot Are privileg'd Inmates of deep solitude: Nor would the nicest Anchorite exclude A Field or two of brighter green, or Plot Of tillage-ground, that seemeth like a spot Of stationary sunshine: thou hast view'd These only, Duddon! with their paths renew'd By fits and starts, yet this contents thee not. Thee hath some awful Spirit impell'd to leave, Utterly to desert, the haunts of men, Though simple thy Companions were and few; And through this wilderness a passage cleave Attended but by thy own Voice, save when The Clouds and Fowls of the air thy way pursue.
10. FROM THE ITALIAN OF MICHAEL ANGELO.
Yes! hope may with my strong desire keep pace, And I be undeluded, unbetray'd; For if of our affections none find grace In sight of Heaven, then, wherefore hath God made The world which we inhabit? Better plea Love cannot have, than that in loving thee Glory to that eternal Peace is paid, Who such Divinity to thee imparts As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts. His hope is treacherous only whose love dies With beauty, which is varying every hour; But, in chaste hearts uninfluenced by the power Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower, That breathes on earth the air of paradise.
11. FROM THE SAME.
No mortal object did these eyes behold When first they met the placid light of thine, And my Soul felt her destiny divine, And hope of endless peace in me grew bold: Heav'n-born, the Soul a heav'n-ward course must hold; Beyond the visible world She soars to seek, For what delights the sense is false and weak, Ideal Form, the universal mould. The wise man, I affirm, can find no rest In that which perishes: nor will he lend His heart to aught which doth on time depend. 'Tis sense, unbridled will, and not true love, Which kills the soul: Love betters what is best, Even here below, but more in heaven above.
12. FROM THE SAME.
TO THE SUPREME BEING.
The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed If Thou the spirit give by which I pray: My unassisted heart is barren clay, Which of its native self can nothing feed: Of good and pious works thou art the seed, Which quickens only where thou say'st it may: Unless thou shew to us thine own true way No man can find it: Father! thou must lead. Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind By which such virtue may in me be bred That in thy holy footsteps I may tread; The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind, That I may have the power to sing of thee, And sound thy praises everlastingly.
Written in very early Youth.
Calm is all nature as a resting wheel. The Kine are couch'd upon the dewy grass; The Horse alone, seen dimly as I pass, Is up, and cropping yet his later meal: Dark is the ground; a slumber seems to steal O'er vale, and mountain, and the starless sky. Now, in this blank of things, a harmony Home-felt, and home-created seems to heal That grief for which the senses still supply Fresh food; for only then, when memory Is hush'd, am I at rest. My Friends, restrain Those busy cares that would allay my pain: Oh! leave me to myself; nor let me feel The officious touch that makes me droop again.
14. COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, Sept. 3, 1803.
Earth has not any thing to shew more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in it's majesty: This City now doth like a garment wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendor valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!
"Beloved Vale!" I said, "when I shall con Those many records of my childish years, Remembrance of myself and of my peers Will press me down: to think of what is gone Will be an awful thought, if life have one." But, when into the Vale I came, no fears Distress'd me; I look'd round, I shed no tears; Deep thought, or awful vision, I had none. By thousand petty fancies I was cross'd, To see the Trees, which I had thought so tall, Mere dwarfs; the Brooks so narrow, Fields so small. A Juggler's Balls old Time about him toss'd; I looked, I stared, I smiled, I laughed; and all The weight of sadness was in wonder lost.
Methought I saw the footsteps of a throne Which mists and vapours from mine eyes did shroud, Nor view of him who sate thereon allow'd; But all the steps and ground about were strown With sights the ruefullest that flesh and bone Ever put on; a miserable crowd, Sick, hale, old, young, who cried before that cloud, "Thou art our king, O Death! to thee we groan." I seem'd to mount those steps; the vapours gave Smooth way; and I beheld the face of one Sleeping alone within a mossy cave, With her face up to heaven; that seem'd to have Pleasing remembrance of a thought foregone; A lovely Beauty in a summer grave!
17. To the ——.
Lady! the songs of Spring were in the grove While I was framing beds for winter flowers; While I was planting green unfading bowers, And shrubs to hang upon the warm alcove, And sheltering wall; and still, as fancy wove The dream, to time and nature's blended powers I gave this paradise for winter hours, A labyrinth Lady! which your feet shall rove. Yes! when the sun of life more feebly shines, Becoming thoughts, I trust, of solemn gloom Or of high gladness you shall hither bring; And these perennial bowers and murmuring pines Be gracious as the music and the bloom And all the mighty ravishment of Spring.
The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The Winds that will be howling at all hours And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for every thing, we are out of tune; It moves us not—Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
It is a beauteous Evening, calm and free; The holy time is quiet as a Nun Breathless with adoration; the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquillity; The gentleness of heaven is on the Sea: Listen! the mighty Being is awake And doth with his eternal motion make A sound like thunder—everlastingly. Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here, If thou appear'st untouch'd by solemn thought, Thy nature is not therefore less divine: Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year; And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine, God being with thee when we know it not.
20. TO THE MEMORY OF RAISLEY CALVERT.
Calvert! it must not be unheard by them Who may respect my name that I to thee Ow'd many years of early liberty. This care was thine when sickness did condemn Thy youth to hopeless wasting, root and stem: That I, if frugal and severe, might stray Where'er I liked; and finally array My temples with the Muse's diadem. Hence, if in freedom I have lov'd the truth, If there be aught of pure, or good, or great, In my past verse; or shall be, in the lays Of higher mood, which now I meditate, It gladdens me, O worthy, short-lived Youth! To think how much of this will be thy praise.
END OF THE FIRST PART.
PART THE SECOND.
DEDICATED TO LIBERTY.
1. COMPOSED BY THE SEA-SIDE, near CALAIS, August, 1802.
Fair Star of Evening, Splendor of the West, Star of my Country! on the horizon's brink Thou hangest, stooping, as might seem, to sink On England's bosom; yet well pleas'd to rest, Meanwhile, and be to her a glorious crest Conspicuous to the Nations. Thou, I think, Should'st be my Country's emblem; and should'st wink, Bright Star! with laughter on her banners, drest In thy fresh beauty. There! that dusky spot Beneath thee, it is England; there it lies. Blessings be on you both! one hope, one lot, One life, one glory! I, with many a fear For my dear Country, many heartfelt sighs, Among Men who do not love her linger here.
2. CALAIS, August, 1802.
Is it a Reed that's shaken by the wind, Or what is it that ye go forth to see? Lords, Lawyers, Statesmen, Squires of low degree, Men known, and men unknown, Sick, Lame, and Blind, Post forward all, like Creatures of one kind, With first-fruit offerings crowd to bend the knee In France, before the new-born Majesty. 'Tis ever thus. Ye Men of prostrate mind! A seemly reverence may be paid to power; But that's a loyal virtue, never sown In haste, nor springing with a transient shower: When truth, when sense, when liberty were flown What hardship had it been to wait an hour? Shame on you, feeble Heads, to slavery prone!
3. TO A FRIEND, COMPOSED NEAR CALAIS, On the Road leading to Ardres, August 7th, 1802.
Jones! when from Calais southward you and I Travell'd on foot together; then this Way, Which I am pacing now, was like the May With festivals of new-born Liberty: A homeless sound of joy was in the Sky; The antiquated Earth, as one might say, Beat like the heart of Man: songs, garlands, play, Banners, and happy faces, far and nigh! And now, sole register that these things were, Two solitary greetings have I heard, "Good morrow, Citizen!" a hollow word, As if a dead Man spake it! Yet despair I feel not: happy am I as a Bird: Fair seasons yet will come, and hopes as fair.
I griev'd for Buonaparte, with a vain And an unthinking grief! the vital blood Of that Man's mind what can it be? What food Fed his first hopes? What knowledge could He gain? 'Tis not in battles that from youth we train The Governor who must be wise and good, And temper with the sternness of the brain Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood. Wisdom doth live with children round her knees: Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and the talk Man holds with week-day man in the hourly walk Of the mind's business: these are the degrees By which true Sway doth mount; this is the stalk True Power doth grow on; and her rights are these.
5. CALAIS. August 15th, 1802.
Festivals have I seen that were not names: This is young Buonaparte's natal day; And his is henceforth an established sway, Consul for life. With worship France proclaims Her approbation, and with pomps and games. Heaven grant that other Cities may be gay! Calais is not: and I have bent my way To the Sea-coast, noting that each man frames His business as he likes. Another time That was, when I was here long years ago: The senselessness of joy was then sublime! Happy is he, who, caring not for Pope, Consul, or King, can sound himself to know The destiny of Man, and live in hope.
6. ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC.
Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee; And was the safeguard of the West: the worth Of Venice did not fall below her birth, Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty. She was a Maiden City, bright and free; No guile seduced, no force could violate; And when She took unto herself a Mate She must espouse the everlasting Sea. And what if she had seen those glories fade, Those titles vanish, and that strength decay, Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid When her long life hath reach'd its final day: Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade Of that which once was great is pass'd away.
7. THE KING OF SWEDEN.
The Voice of Song from distant lands shall call To that great 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, 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 chear him; for the illustrious Swede hath done The thing which ought to be: He stands above 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.
8. TO TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE.
Toussaint, the most unhappy Man of Men! Whether the rural Milk-maid by her Cow Sing in thy hearing, or thou liest now Alone in some deep dungeon's earless den, O miserable chieftain! where and when Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou Wear rather in thy bonds a chearful brow: Though fallen Thyself, never to rise again, Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies; 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.
September 1st, 1802.
We had a fellow-Passenger who came From Calais with us, gaudy in array, A Negro Woman like a Lady gay, Yet silent as a woman fearing blame; Dejected, meek, yea pitiably tame, She sate, from notice turning not away, But on our proffer'd kindness still did lay A weight of languid speech, or at the same Was silent, motionless in eyes and face. She was a Negro Woman 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.
10. COMPOSED IN THE VALLEY, near DOVER, On the Day of landing.
Dear fellow Traveller! here we are once more. The Cock that crows, the Smoke that curls, that sound Of Bells, those Boys that in yon meadow-ground In white sleev'd shirts are playing by the score, And even this little River's gentle roar, All, all are English. Oft have I look'd 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 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.
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 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! Even so doth God protect us if we be Virtuous and wise: Winds blow, and Waters roll, 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.
12. THOUGHT OF A BRITON ON THE SUBJUGATION OF SWITZERLAND.
Two Voices are there; one is of the Sea, One of the Mountains; each a mighty Voice: In both from age to age Thou didst rejoice, They were thy chosen Music, Liberty! There came a Tyrant, and with holy glee Thou fought'st against Him; but hast vainly striven; Thou from thy Alpine Holds at length art driven, Where not a torrent murmurs heard by thee. Of one deep bliss thine ear hath been bereft: Then cleave, O cleave to that which still is left! For, high-soul'd Maid, what sorrow would it be That mountain Floods should thunder as before, And Ocean bellow from his rocky shore, And neither awful Voice be heard by thee!
13. WRITTEN IN LONDON, September, 1802.
O Friend! I know not which way I must look For comfort, being, as I am, opprest, To think that now our Life is only drest For shew; mean handywork of craftsman, cook, Or groom! We must run glittering like a Brook 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, expence, This is idolatry; and these we adore: 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.
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 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; Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, So didst thou travel on life's common way, In chearful godliness; and yet thy heart The lowliest duties on itself did lay.
Great Men have been among us; hands that penn'd And tongues that utter'd wisdom, better none: The later Sydney, Marvel, Harrington, Young Vane, and others who call'd Milton Friend. These Moralists could act and comprehend: They knew how genuine glory was put on; Taught us how rightfully a nation shone In splendor: what strength was, that would not bend But in magnanimous meekness. France, 'tis strange, Hath brought forth no such souls as we had then. Perpetual emptiness! unceasing change! No single Volume paramount, no code, No master spirit, no determined road; But equally a want of Books and Men!
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," Road by which all might come and go that would, And bear out freights of worth to foreign lands; 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: We must be 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.
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? But, when I think of Thee, and what Thou art, Verily, in the bottom of my heart, Of those unfilial fears I am ashamed. But dearly must we prize thee; we who find In thee a bulwark of the cause of men; 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.
One might believe that natural miseries Had blasted France, and made of it a land Unfit for Men; and that in one great Band Her Sons were bursting forth, to dwell at ease. But 'tis a chosen soil, where sun and breeze Shed gentle favors; rural works are there; And ordinary business without care; Spot rich in all things that can soothe and please! How piteous then that there should be such dearth Of knowledge; that whole myriads should unite To work against themselves such fell despite: Should come in phrenzy and in drunken mirth, Impatient to put out the only light Of Liberty that yet remains on Earth!
There is a bondage which is worse to bear Than his who breathes, by roof, and floor, and wall, Pent in, a Tyrant's solitary Thrall: 'Tis his who walks about in the open air, One of a Nation who, henceforth, must wear Their fetters in their Souls. For who could be, Who, even the best, in such condition, free From self-reproach, reproach which he must share With Human Nature? Never be it ours To see the Sun how brightly it will shine, And know that noble Feelings, manly Powers, Instead of gathering strength must droop and pine, And Earth with all her pleasant fruits and flowers Fade, and participate in Man's decline.
These times touch money'd Worldlings with dismay: Even rich men, brave by nature, taint the air With words of apprehension and despair: While tens of thousands, thinking on the affray, Men unto whom sufficient for the day And minds not stinted or untill'd are given, Sound, healthy Children of the God of Heaven, Are cheerful as the rising Sun in May. What do we gather hence but firmer faith That every gift of noble origin Is breathed upon by Hope's perpetual breath; That virtue and the faculties within Are vital, and that riches are akin To fear, to change, to cowardice, and death!
England! the time is come when thou shouldst wean Thy heart from its emasculating food; The truth should now be better understood; Old things have been unsettled; we have seen Fair seed-time, better harvest might have been But for thy trespasses; and, at this day, If for Greece, Egypt, India, Africa, Aught good were destined, Thou wouldst step between. England! all nations in this charge agree: But worse, more ignorant in love and hate, Far, far more abject is thine Enemy: Therefore the wise pray for thee, though the freight Of thy offences be a heavy weight: Oh grief! that Earth's best hopes rest all with Thee!
When, looking on the present face of things, I see one Man, of Men the meanest too! Rais'd up to sway the World, to do, undo, With mighty Nations for his Underlings, The great events with which old story rings Seem vain and hollow; I find nothing great; Nothing is left which I can venerate; So that almost a doubt within me springs Of Providence, such emptiness at length Seems at the heart of all things. But, great God! I measure back the steps which I have trod, And tremble, seeing, as I do, the strength Of such poor Instruments, with thoughts sublime I tremble at the sorrow of the time.
23. TO THE MEN OF KENT.
Vanguard of Liberty, ye Men of Kent, Ye Children of a Soil that doth advance It's haughty brow against the coast of France, Now is the time to prove your hardiment! To France be words of invitation sent! They from their Fields can see the countenance Of your fierce war, may ken the glittering lance. And hear you shouting forth your brave intent. Left single, in bold parley, Ye, of yore, Did from the Norman win a gallant wreath; Confirm'd the charters that were yours before;— No parleying now! In Britain is one breath; We all are with you now from Shore to Shore:— Ye Men of Kent, 'tis Victory or Death!
Six thousand Veterans practis'd in War's game, Tried Men, at Killicranky were array'd Against an equal Host that wore the Plaid, Shepherds and Herdsmen.—Like a whirlwind came The Highlanders, the slaughter spread like flame; And Garry thundering down his mountain-road Was stopp'd, and could not breathe beneath the load Of the dead bodies. 'Twas a day of shame For them whom precept and the pedantry Of cold mechanic battle do enslave. Oh! for a single hour of that Dundee Who on that day the word of onset gave! Like conquest would the Men of England see; And her Foes find a like inglorious Grave.
Shout, for a mighty Victory is won! On British ground the Invaders are laid low; The breath of Heaven has drifted them like snow, And left them lying in the silent sun, Never to rise again!—the work is done. Come forth, ye Old Men, now in peaceful show And greet your Sons! drums beat, and trumpets blow! Make merry, Wives! ye little Children stun Your Grandame's ears with pleasure of your noise! Clap, Infants, clap your hands! Divine must be That triumph, when the very worst, the pain, And even the prospect of our Brethren slain, Hath something in it which the heart enjoys:— In glory will they sleep and endless sanctity.
Another year!—another deadly blow! Another mighty Empire overthrown! And we are left, or shall be left, alone; The last that dares to struggle with the Foe. 'Tis well! from this day forward we shall know That in ourselves our safety must be sought; That by our own right hands it must be wrought, That we must stand unpropp'd, or be laid low. O Dastard whom such foretaste doth not chear! We shall exult, if They who rule the land Be Men who hold its many blessings dear, Wise, upright, valiant; not a venal Band, Who are to judge of danger which they fear, And honour which they do not understand.
NOTES to the FIRST VOLUME
PAGE I (9).—To the Daisy. 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 song is 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.'
PAGE 35 (43); line 13.—
".... persevering to the last, From well to better."
'For Knightes ever should be persevering To seek honour without feintise or slouth Fro wele to better in all manner thing.' CHAUCER:—The Floure and the Leafe.
PAGE 37 (45).—The Horn of Egremont Castle. This Story is a Cumberland tradition; I have heard it also related of the Hall of Hutton John an ancient residence of the Huddlestones, in a sequestered Valley upon the River Dacor.
PAGE 58 (64).—The Seven Sisters. The Story of this Poem is from the German of FREDERICA BRUN.
Page 63 (71); line 6.—
".... that thy Boat May rather seem To brood on air," &c. &c.
See Carver's Description of his Situation upon one of the Lakes of America.
PAGE 112 (120); line 8.—"Her tackling rich, and of apparel high." From a passage in Skelton, which I cannot here insert, not having the Book at hand.
PAGE 150 (158); line 11.—"Oh! for a single hour of that Dundee." See an anecdote related in Mr. Scott's Border Minstrelsy.
PAGE 152 (160); lines 13 and 14.—
"Who are to judge of danger which they fear And honour which they do not understand."
These two lines from Lord Brooke's Life of Sir Philip Sydney.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.