I marvel how Nature could ever find space
For so many strange contrasts in one human face:
There’s thought and no thought, and there’s paleness and bloom
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.
There’s weakness, and strength both redundant and vain;
Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain
Could pierce through a temper that’s soft to disease,
Would be rational peace, a philosopher’s ease.
There’s indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds,
And attention full ten
There is a change and I am poor;
Your love hath been, nor long ago,
A fountain at my fond heart’s door,
Whose only business was to flow;
And flow it did; not taking heed
Of its own bounty, or my need.
What happy moments did I count !
Blest was I then all bliss above!
Now, for that consecrated fount
Of murmuring, sparkling, living love,
What have I? shall I dare to tell ?
A comfortless and hidden well.
The Danish Conqueror, on his royal chair,
Mustering a face of haughty sovereignty,
To aid a covert purpose, cried “O ye
Approaching Waters of the deep, that share
With this green isle my fortunes, come not where
Your Master’s throne is set.” Deaf was the Sea;
Her waves rolled on, respecting his decree
Less than they heed a breath of wanton air.
Then Canute, rising from the invaded throne,
Said to his servile Courtiers, “Poor the reach,
Farewell, thou little Nook of mountain-ground,
Thou rocky corner in the lowest stair
Of that magnificent temple which doth bound
One side of our whole vale with grandeur rare;
Sweet garden-orchard, eminently fair,
The loveliest spot that man hath ever found,
Farewell! we leave thee to Heaven’s peaceful care,
Thee, and the Cottage which thou dost surround.
Our boat is safely anchored by the shore,
And there will safely ride when we are gone;
The flowering shrubs that
Tell me, ye Zephyrs! that unfold,
While fluttering o’er this gay Recess,
Pinions that fanned the teeming mould
Of Eden’s blissful wilderness,
Did only softly-stealing hours
There close the peaceful lives of flowers?
Say, when the ‘moving’ creatures saw
All kinds commingled without fear,
Prevailed a like indulgent law
For the still growths that prosper here?
Did wanton fawn and kid forbear
The half-blown rose, the lily spare?
Or peeped they often from their beds
And prematurely disappeared,
Devoured like pleasure ere it
“Miserrimus,” and neither name nor date,
Prayer, text, or symbol, graven upon the stone;
Nought but that word assigned to the unknown,
That solitary word, to separate
From all, and cast a cloud around the fate
Of him who lies beneath. Most wretched one,
‘Who’ chose his epitaph? Himself alone
Could thus have dared the grave to agitate,
And claim, among the dead, this awful crown;
Nor doubt that He marked also for his own
Close to these cloistral
Genius of Raphael! if thy wings
Might bear thee to this glen,
With faithful memory left of things
To pencil dear and pen,
Thou would’st forego the neighbouring Rhine,
And all his majesty
A studious forehead to incline
O’er this poor family.
The Mother, her thou must have seen,
In spirit, ere she came
To dwell these rifted rocks between,
Or found on earth a name;
An image, too, of that sweet Boy,
Thy inspirations give
Of playfulness, and love, and joy,
Fancy, who leads the pastimes of the glad,
Full oft is pleased a wayward dart to throw;
Sending sad shadows after things not sad,
Peopling the harmless fields with signs of woe:
Beneath her sway, a simple forest cry
Becomes an echo of man’s misery.
Blithe ravens croak of death; and when the owl
Tries his two voices for a favourite strain
‘Tu-whit, Tu-whoo!’ the unsuspecting fowl
Forebodes mishap or seems but to complain;
Fancy, intent to harass
A narrow girdle of rough stones and crags,
A rude and natural causeway, interposed
Between the water and a winding slope
Of copse and thicket, leaves the eastern shore
Of Grasmere safe in its own privacy:
And there myself and two beloved Friends,
One calm September morning, ere the mist
Had altogether yielded to the sun,
Sauntered on this retired and difficult way.
Ill suits the road with one in haste; but we
Played with our time; and,
The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up the clouds are split
Asunder, and above
Lo! where the Moon along the sky
Sails with her happy destiny;
Oft is she hid from mortal eye
Or dimly seen,
But when the clouds asunder fly
How bright her mien!
Far different we, a froward race,
Thousands though rich in Fortune’s grace
With cherished sullenness of pace
Their way pursue,
Ingrates who wear a smileless face
The whole year through.
If kindred humours e’er would make
My spirit droop for drooping’s sake,
From Fancy following in thy wake,
Bright ship of
Where holy ground begins, unhallowed ends,
Is marked by no distinguishable line;
The turf unites, the pathways intertwine;
And, wheresoe’er the stealing footstep tends,
Garden, and that domain where kindred, friends,
And neighbours rest together, here confound
Their several features, mingled like the sound
Of many waters, or as evening blends
With shady night. Soft airs, from shrub and flower,
Waft fragrant greetings to each silent grave;
And while those lofty poplars gently wave
Their tops, between them comes and
Part fenced by man, part by a rugged steep
That curbs a foaming brook, a Grave–yard lies;
The hare’s best couching-place for fearless sleep;
Which moonlit elves, far seen by credulous eyes,
Enter in dance. Of church, or sabbath ties,
No vestige now remains; yet thither creep
Bereft Ones, and in lowly anguish weep
Their prayers out to the wind and naked skies.
Proud tomb is none; but rudely-sculptured knights,
By humble choice of plain old times, are
Failing impartial measure to dispense
To every suitor, Equity is lame;
And social Justice, stript of reverence
For natural rights, a mockery and a shame;
Law but a servile dupe of false pretense,
If, guarding grossest things from common claim
Now and for ever, She, to works that came
From mind and spirit, grudge a short-lived fence.
“What! lengthened privilege, a lineal tie,
For ‘Books’!” Yes, heartless Ones, or be it proved
That ’tis a fault in Us to
A poet! He hath put his heart to school,
Nor dares to move unpropped upon the staff
Which art hath lodged within his hand-must laugh
By precept only, and shed tears by rule.
Thy Art be Nature; the live current quaff,
And let the groveller sip his stagnant pool,
In fear that else, when Critics grave and cool
Have killed him, Scorn should write his epitaph.
How does the Meadow-flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower
“Son of my buried Son, while thus thy hand”
“Is clasping mine, it saddens me to think”
“How Want may press thee down, and with thee sink”
“Thy children left unfit, through vain demand”
“Of culture, even to feel or understand”
“My simplest Lay that to their memory”
“May cling; hard fate! which haply need not be”
“Did Justice mould the statutes of the Land.”
“A Book time–cherished and an honoured name”
“Are high rewards; but bound they
Art thou a Statist in the van
Of public conflicts trained and bred?
First learn to love one living man;
‘Then’ may’st thou think upon the dead.
A Lawyer art thou? draw not nigh!
Go, carry to some fitter place
The keenness of that practised eye,
The hardness of that sallow face.
Art thou a Man of purple cheer?
A rosy Man, right plump to see?
Approach; yet, Doctor, not too near,
This grave no cushion is for thee.
High deeds, O Germans, are to come from you!
Thus in your books the record shall be found,
“A watchword was pronounced, a potent sound
ARMINIUS! all the people quaked like dew
Stirred by the breeze; they rose, a Nation, true,
True to herself the mighty Germany,
She of the Danube and the Northern Sea,
She rose, and off at once the yoke she threw.
All power was given her in the dreadful trance;
Those new-born Kings she
List, the winds of March are blowing;
Her ground–flowers shrink, afraid of showing
Their meek heads to the nipping air,
Which ye feel not, happy pair!
Sunk into a kindly sleep.
We, meanwhile, our hope will keep;
And if Time leagued with adverse Change
(Too busy fear!) shall cross its range,
Whatsoever check they bring,
Anxious duty hindering,
To like hope our prayers will cling.
Thus, while the ruminating spirit feeds
Upon the events of home as life proceeds,
Affections pure and
The little hedgerow birds,
That peck along the road, regard him not.
He travels on, and in his face, his step,
His gait, is one expression; every limb,
His look and bending figure, all bespeak
A man who does not move with pain, but moves
With thought. He is insensibly subdued
To settled quiet: he is one by whom
All effort seems forgotten; one to whom
Long patience hath such mild composure given
That patience now doth seem a
A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.
-A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal by William Wordsworth
‘Tis said that to the brow of yon fair hill
Two Brothers clomb, and, turning face from face,
Nor one look more exchanging, grief to still
Or feed, each planted on that lofty place
A chosen Tree; then, eager to fullfil
Their courses, like two new-born rivers, they
In opposite directions urged their way
Down from the far-seen mount. No blast might kill
Or blight that fond memorial; the trees grew,
And now entwine their arms; but ne’er
A volant Tribe of Bards on earth are found,
Who, while the flattering Zephyrs round them play,
On “coignes of vantage” hang their nests of clay;
How quickly from that aery hold unbound,
Dust for oblivion! To the solid ground
Of nature trusts the Mind that builds for aye;
Convinced that there, there only, she can lay
Secure foundations. As the year runs round,
Apart she toils within the chosen ring;
While the stars shine, or while day’s
A Whirl–Blast from behind the hill
Rushed o’er the wood with startling sound;
Then, all at once the air was still,
And showers of hailstones pattered round.
Where leafless oaks towered high above,
I sat within an undergrove
Of tallest hollies, tall and green;
A fairer bower was never seen.
From year to year the spacious floor
With withered leaves is covered o’er,
And all the year the bower is green.
But see! where’er the hailstones drop
The withered leaves all
“There!” said a Stripling, pointing with meet pride
Towards a low roof with green trees half concealed,
“Is Mosgiel Farm; and that’s the very field
Where Burns ploughAmong the dwellings framed by birds
In field or forest with nice care,
Is none that with the little Wren’s
In snugness may compare.
No door the tenement requires,
And seldom needs a laboured roof;
Yet is it to the fiercest sun
Impervious, and storm-proof.
So warm, so beautiful withal,
In perfect fitness for