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That smooths foregone distress, the
Yet, like a tool of Fancy, works
Oh! that our lives, which flee so fast,
SCORN not the Sonnet; Critic, you have
frowned, Mindless of its just honors; with this
key Shakspeare unlocked his heart; the
melody Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's
wound; A thousand times this pipe did Tasso
sound : With it Camöens soothed an exile's
grief ; The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf Amid the cypress with which Dante
crowned His visionary brow: a glow-worm lamp, It cheered mild Spenser, called from
Faeryland To struggle through dark ways; and,
when a damp Fell round the path of Milton, in his
hand The Thing became a trumpet; whence
he blew Soul-animating strains-alas, too few !
Retirement then might hourly look
With heart as calm as lakes that sleep,
Sin-blighted though we are, we too,
The reasoning Sons of Men, From one oblivious winter called
Shall rise, and breathe again : And in eternal summer Jose
Our threescore years and ten. To humbleness of heart descends
This prescience from on high, The faith that elevates the just,
Before and when they die ; And makes each soul a separate heaven A court for Deity. 1831 1835.
THE PRIMROSE OF THE ROCK Written at Rydal Mount. The Rock stands on the right hand a little way leading up the middle road from Rydal to Grasmere. We have been in the habit of calling it the glow-worin rock from the number of glow-worms we have often seen hanging on it as described. The tuft of primrose has, I fear, been washed away by the heavy rains. (Wordsworth)
See Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal, April 24th, 180.. A ROCK there is whose homely front
The passing traveller slights; Yet there the glow-worms hang their
lamps, Like stars, at various heights ; And one coy Primrose to that Rock
The vernal breeze invites.
What kingdoms overthrown,
And marked it for my own;
From highest heaven let down!
Their fellowship renew ;.
That worketh out of view;
In every fibre true.
Though threatening still to fall;
And God upholds them all : So blooms this lonely Plant, nor dreads
Her annual funeral.
The following Stanzas are a memorial of a day passed with Sir Walter Scott and other Friends visiting the Banks of the Yarrow under his guidance, immediately before his departure from Abbotsford, for Naples.
The title Yarrow Rerisited will stand in no need of explanation for Readers acquainted with the Author's previous poems suggested by that celebrated Stream. (Wordsworth.) THE gallant Youth, who may have
gained, Or seeks, a " winsome Marrow," Was but an Infant in the lap
When first I looked on Yarrow ; Once more, by Newark's Castle-gate
Long left without a warder, I stood, looked, listened, and with Thee,
Great Minstrel of the Border ! Grave thoughts ruled wide on that
sweet day, Their dignity installing In gentle bosoms, while sere leaves
Were on the bough, or falling ; But breezes played, and sunshine
gleamedThe forest to embolden ; Reddened the fiery hues, and shot
Transparence through the golden.
In foamy agitation ;
For quiet contemplation :
The freeborn mind enthralling, We made a day of happy hours,
Our happy days recalling. Brisk Youth appeared, the diorn of
youth, With freaks of graceful folly,Life's temperate Noon, her sober Eve,
Her Night not melancholy ; Past, present, future, all appeared
In harmony united,
Here closed the meditative strain ;
But air breathed soft that day, The hoary
cheered, The sunny vale looked gay ; And to the Primrose of the Rock
1 gave this after-lay. I sang-Let myriads of bright flowers,
Like Thee, in field and grove Revive unenvied ;-mightier far,
Than tremblings that reprove Qur vernal tendencies to hope,
Is God's redeeming love ; That love which changed-for wan dis
Their moral element,
To types beneficent.
Like guests that meet, and some from
far, By cordial love invited. And if, as Yarrow, through the woods
And down the meadow ranging, Did meet us with unaltered face, Though we were changed and chang
Our inward prospect orer,
Its brightness to recover,
And her divine employment ! The blameless Muse, who trains lier Sons
For hope and calm enjoyment; Albeit sickness, lingering yet,
Has o'er their pillow brooded ; And Care waylays their steps--a Sprite
Not easily eluded.
Green Eildon-hill and Cheviot
And leave thy Tweed and Tiviot
May classic Fancy, linking With native Fancy her fresh aid,
Preserve thy heart froni sinking!
Each vying with the other,
With Strength, her venturous brother; And Tiber, and each brook and rill
Renowned in song and story,
Nor lose one ray of glory!
By tales of love and sorrow
Hast shed the power of Yarrow;
Wherever they invite Thee,
With gladness must requite Thee.
Such looks of love and honor As thy own Yarrow gave to me
When first I gazed upon her ; Beleid what I had feared to see,
Unwilling to surrender Dreams treasured up from early days,
The holy and the tender. And what, for this frail world, were all
That mortals do or suffer,
Did no responsive harp, no pen,
Memorial tribute offer? Yea, what were mighty Nature's self?
Her features, could they win us, Unhelped by the poetic voice
That hourly speaks within us ? Nor deem that localized Romance
Plays false with our affections ;
For fanciful dejections :
Sustain the heart in feeling
With friends and kindred dealing. Bear witness, Ye, whose thoughts that
day In Yarrow's groves were centred ; Who through the silent portal arch
Of mouldering Newark entered ; And clomb the winding stair that once
Too timidly was mounted
Ere he his Tale recounted.
Fulfil thy pensive duty,
chant For simple hearts thy beauty ; To dream-light clear while yet unseen,
Dear to the common sunshine,
As recorded in my sister's Journal, I had first seen the Trosachs in her and Coleridge's com: pany. The sentiment that runs through this Sonnet was natural to the season in which I again saw this beautiful spot ; but this and some other sonnets that follow were colored by the remembrance of my recent visit to Sir Walter Scott, and the melancholy errand on which he was going. (Wordsworth.) THERE's not a nook within this solemn
Pass, But were an apt confessional for Oue Taught by his summer spent, his autumn
gone, That Life is but a tale of morning grass Withered at ere. From scenes of art
which chase That thought away, turn, and with
watchful eyes Feed it ’mid Nature's old felicities, Rocks, rivers, and smooth lakes more
clear than glass
Untouched, unbreathed upon, Thrice
happy quest, If from a golden perch of aspen spray (October's workmanship to rival May) The pensive warbler of the ruddy breast That moral sweeten by a heaven-taught
lay, Lulling the year, with all its cares, to rest!
1831. 1835. IF THOU INDEED DERIVE THY
LIGHT FROM HEAVEN IF thou indeed derive thy light from
Heaven, Then, to the measure of that heaven
born light, Shine, Poet ! in thy place, and be content: The stars pre-eminent in magnitude, And they that from the zenith dart their
beams, (Visible though they be to half the earth, Though half a sphere be conscious of
their brightness) Are yet of no diviner origin, No purer essence, than the one that
burns, Like an untended watch-fire on the ridge Of some dark mountain ; or than those
which seem Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter
lamps, Among the branches of the leafless trees. All are the undying offspring of one Sire: Then, to the measure of the light vouch
safed, Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content.
• Is Mosgiel Farm; and that's the very
field Where Burns ploughed up the Daisy."
Far and wide A plain below stretched seaward, while,
descried Above sea-clouds, the Peaks of Arran
rose ; And, by that simple notice, the repose Of earth, sky, sea and air, was vivilied. Beneath “the random bield of clod or
stone Myriads of daisies have slione forth in
flower Near the lark's nest, and in their natural
hour Have passed away ; less happy than the
One That, by the unwilling ploughshare, died
The tender charm of poetry and love.
MOST SWEET IT IS WITH UN
UPLIFTED EYES Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes To pace the ground, if path be there or
none, While a fair region the traveller
lies Which he forbears again to look upon ; Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene, The work of Fancy, or some happy tone Of meditation, slipping in between The beauty coming and the beauty gone. If Thought and Love desert us, from that
day Let us break off all commerce with the
Muse : With Thought and Love companions of
our way, Whate'er the senses take or may refuse, The Mind's internal heaven shall shed her
dews Of inspiration on the humblest lay.
1833. 1835. EXTEMPORE EFFUSION UPON THE
DEATH OF JAMES IIOGG 1 WHEN first, descending from the moor.
lands, I saw the Stream of Yarrow glide
IF THIS GREAT WORLD OF JOY
Revolve in one sure track ;
And virtue, flown, come back :
The heart with each day's care ; Nor gain, from past or future, skill To bear, and to forbear!
“THERE!” SAID A STRIPLING,
POINTING WITH MEET PRIDE “ THERE ?” said a Stripling, pointing
with meet pride Towards a low roof with green trees
died Sept. 21, 1832
July 25, 1831
3, 1832 May 19, 1831
A POETI-HE HATH PUT HIS
HEART TO SCHOOL
Along a bare and open valley,
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 is free Down to its root, and, in that freedom,
bold ; And so the grandeur of the Forest-tree Comes not by casting in a formal mould, But from its own divine vitality.
The rapt One, of the godlike forehead, The heaven-eyed creature sleeps in
earth : And Lamh, the frolic and the gentle, Has vanished from his lonely hearth.
Like clouds that rake the mountain
summits, Or waves that own no curbing hand, How fast has brother followed brother From sunshine to the sunless land !