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STEPPING WESTWARD

While my Fellow-traveller and I were walk. ing by the side of Loch Ketterine, one fine even. ing after sunset, in our road to a Hut where, in the course of our Tour, we had been hospitably entertained some weeks before, we met, in one of the loneliest parts of that solitary region, two well-dressed Women, one of whom said to us by way of greeting, "What, you are stepping west. ward !" (Wordsworth.)

With earnest feeling I shall pray For thee when I am far away : For never saw I mien, or face, In which more plainly I could trace Benignity and home-bred sense Ripening in perfect innocence. Here scattered, like a random seed, Remote from men, Thou dost not need The embarrassed look of shy distress, And maidenly shamefacedness : Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear The freedom of a Mountaineer : A face with gladness overspread ! Soft smiles, by human kindness bred! And seemliness complete, that sways Thy courtesies, about thee plays ; With no restraint, but such as springs From quick and eager visitings of thoughts that lie beyond the reach of thy few words of English speech: A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife That gives thy gestures grace and life ! So have I, not unmoved in mind, Seen birds of tempest-loving kindThus beating up against the wind.

What hand but would a garland cull For thee who art so beautiful ? O happy pleasure! here to dwell Beside thee in some heathy dell; Adopt your homely ways, and dress, A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess ! But I could frame a wish for thee More like a grave reality : Thou art to me but as a wave Of the wild sea ; and I would have Some claim upon thee, if I could, Though but of common neighborhood. What joy to hear thee, and to see! Thy elder Brother I would be, Thy Father--anything to thee! Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its

grace Hath led me to this lonely place. Joy have I had ; and going hence I bear away my recompense. In spots like these it is we prize Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes: Then, wlıy should I be loth to stir ? I feel this place was made for her; To give new pleasure like the past, Continued long as life shall last. Nor am I loth, thoughi pleased at heart, Sweet Highland Girl! from thee to part: For I, methinks, till I grow old, As fair before me shall behold, As I do now, the cabin small, The lake, the bay, the waterfall; And Thee, the spirit of them all!

1803. 1807.

What, you are stepping westward p*

Yea.- "Twould be a wildish destiny, If we, who thus together roam In a strange Land, and far from home, Were in this place the guests of Chance: Yet who would stop, or fear to advance Though home or shelter he had none, With such a sky to lead him on? The dewy ground was dark and cold ; Behind, all gloomy to behold ; And stepping westward seemed to be A kind of heavenly destiny: I liked the greeting ; 't was a sound Of something without place or bound; And seemed to give me spiritual right To travel through that region bright. The voice was soft, and she who spake Was walking by her native lake: The salutation had to me The very sound of courtesy : Its power was felt; and while my eye Was fixed upon the glowing Sky, The echo of the voice enwrought A human sweetness with the thought Of travelling through the world that lay Before me in my endless way.

1803, 1807.

THE SOLITARY REAPER BEHOLD her, single in the field, Yon solitary Highland Lass ! Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here, or gently pass ! Alone she cuts and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain ; O listen ! for the Vale profound Is overflowing with the sound. No Nightingale did ever chant More welcome notes to weary bands Of travellers in some shady haunt, Among Arabian sands: A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard In spring-time from the Cuckvo-bird, Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides.

39

Will no one tell me what she sings ?-
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again ?
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending
I listened, motionless and still ;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

1803. 1807.

YARROW UNVISITED

See the various Poems the scene of which is laid upon the banks of the Yarrow ; in particu. lar, the exquisite Ballad of Hamilton beginning “ Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny, bonny Bride,-

Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome Marrow -" (Wordsworth). FROM Stirling castle we had seen The mazy Forth unravelled ; Had trod the banks of Clyde, and Tay, And with the Tweed had travelled ; And when we came to Clovenford, Then said my “ winsome Marrow," “ Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside, And see the Braes of Yarrow."

-Strange words they seemed of slight

and scorn My True-love sighed for sorrow; And looked me in the face, to think I thus could speak of Yarrow ! “Oh! green,” said I, "are Yarrow's

holms,
And sweet is Yarrow flowing!
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
But we will leave it growing.
O'er hilly path, and open Strath,
We'll wander Scotland thorough ;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the dale of Yarrow.
“Let beeves and home-bred kine partake
The sweets of Burn-mill meadow ;
The swan on still St. Mary's Lake
Float double, swan and shadow !
We will not see them; will not go,
To-day, nor yet to-morrow,
Enough if in our hearts we know
There's such a place as Yarrow.
“ Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown !
It must, or we shall rue it:
We have a vision of our own;
Ah! why should we undo it?
The treasured dreams of times long past,
We'll keep them, winsome Marrow I
For when we're there, although 'tis fair.
"Twill be another Yarrow !
“If Care with freezing years should

come,
And wandering seem but folly,
Should we be loth to stir from home,
And yet be melancholy ;
Should life be dull, and spirits low,
"Twill soothe us in our sorrow,
That earth has something yet to show,
The bonny holms of Yarrow !”

1803. 1807.
ODE

“Let Yarrow folk, frae Selkirk town,
Who have been buying, selling,
Go back to Yarrow, 'tis their own;
Each maiden to her dwelling!
On Yarrow's banks let herons feed,
Hares couch, and rabbits burrow !
But we will downward with the Tweed,
Nor turn aside to Yarrow,
“There's Galla Water, Leader Haughs,
Both lying right before us;
And Dryborough, where with chiming

Tweed
The lintwhites sing in chorus ;
There's pleasant Tiviot-dale, a land
Made blithe with plough and harrow :
Why throw away a needful day
To go in search of Yarrow ?
“ What's Yarrow but a river bare,
That glides the dark hills under ?
There are a thousand such elsewhere
As worthy of your wonder."

INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM REC

OLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD “In my Ode on the Intimations of Immor. tality in Childhood, I do not profess to give a literal representation of the state of the affec. tions and of the moral being in childhood. I re. cord my own feelings at that time--my absolute spirituality, my all-soulness,' if I may so speak At that time I could not believe that I should lie down quietly in the grave, and that my body would moulder into dust." (Knight's Words. worth, II, 326. See also, in the Encyclopædia Britannica, the article " Poetry.")

I THERE was a time when meadow, grove,

and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,

E f
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,

b The glory and the freshness of a dream It is not now as it hatlı been of yore; 2

Turn whereso'er I may,

By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

II
The Rainbow comes and

be And lovely is the Rose,

The Moon doth with delight c Look round her when the heavens are bare

d
Waters on a starry night

Are beautiful and fair ;
The sunshine is a glorious birth

But yet I know, where'er I gó,
That there hath past away a glory from

the earth.

Oh evil day ! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,

This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are culling

On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines

warm, And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's

arm :
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear !

-But there's a Tree, of many, one, A single Field which I have looked

upon, Both of them speak of something that is

gone :
The Pansy at iny feet

Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam ?
Where is it now, the glory and the

dream ?

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III

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous

song, And while the young lambs bound

As to the tabor's sound, To me alone there came a thought of

grief; A timely utterance gave that thought

relief,

And I again am strong: The cataracts blow their trumpets from

the steep ; No more shall grief of mine the season

wrong ; I hear the Echoes through the moun

tains throng, The Winds come to me from the fields

of sleep
And all the earth is gay ;

Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,

And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday ;-

Thou Child of Joy, Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy!

IV Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the

call

Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your

jubilee ;
My heart is at your festival,

My head bath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel I feel

it all.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forget.

ting : The Soul that rises with us, our life's

Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar :
Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy! Shades of the prison-house begin to

close

Upon the growing Boy, But he beholds tlie light, and whence it

flows,

He sees it in his joy ; The Youth, who daily farther from the

east Must travel, still is Nature's Priest, And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended ; At length the Man perceives it die

away, And fade into the light of common day.

VI

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her

own ; Yearnings she hath in her own natural

kind, And, even with something of a Mother's

mind,
And no unworthy aim,

The homely Nurse doth all she can To make her Foster-child, her Inmate

Man,

Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he

came.

VII

Thou little Child, yet glorious in the

might Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's

height, Why with such earnest pains dost thou

provoke The years to bring the inevitable yoke, Thus blindly with thy blessedness at

strife? Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly

freight, And custom lie upon thee with a

weight, Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

eyes !

IX

Behold the Child among his new-born

blisses, A six years' Darling of a pigmy size ! See, where 'mid work of his own hand

he lies, Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses, With light upon him from his father's See, at his feet, some little plan or

chart, Some fragment from his dream of hu

man life, Shaped by himself with newly-learned

art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral ;

And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:

Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;

But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,

And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part ;
Filling from time to time his humor-

ous stage With all the Persons, down to palsied

Age,
That Life brings with her in her equip-

age;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation,

VIII
Thou, whose exterior sembiance doth

belie

Thy Soul's immensity; Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost

keep Thy heritage, thou Eye among the

blind, That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal

deep, Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,

Mighty Prophet! Seer blest! On whom those truths do rest, Which we are toiling all our lives to

find, in darkness lost, the darkness of the

grave; Thou, over whom thy Immortality Broods like the Day, a Master o'er a

Slave, A Presence which is not to be put by ;

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers

What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me

doth breed Perpetual benediction : not indeed For that which is most worthy to be

blest-
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering

in his breast :
Not for these I raise

The song of thanks and praise;.
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings ;

Blank misgivings of a Creature Moving about in worlds not realized, High instincts before which our mortal

Nature
Did tremble like a guilty Thing sur-

prised :
But for those first affections.

Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing ;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power

to make Our noisy years seem moments in the

being Of the eternal Silence: truths that

wake,

To perish never ; Which neither listlessness, nor mad en.

deavor,

Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!

Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,

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Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous

song!
And let the young Lambs bound

As to the tabor's sound !
Ne in thought will join your throng,

Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day

Feel the gladness of the May !
What though the radiance which was

once so bright Be now forever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can bring back the

hour Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the

flower ;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind ;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be ;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering ;
In the faith that looks through

death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.

XI And ( ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills,

and Groves, Forebode not any severing of our loves ! Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your

might ; I only have relinquished one delight To live beneath your more habitual

sway. I love the Brooks which down their

channels fret, Even more than when I tripped lightly

;

Thanks to the human heart by which

we live, Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and

fears, To me the meanest flower that blows

can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

1803-6. 1807. TO THE CUCKOO O BLITHE New-comer! I have heard, I hear thee and rejoice. O Cuckoo ! shall I call thee Bird, Or but a wandering Voice ? While I am lying on the grass Thy twofold shout I hear, From hill to bill it seems to pass, At once far off, and near. Though babbling only to the Vale, Of sunshine and of flowers, Thou bringest unto me a tale Of visionary hours. Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring! Even yet thou art to me No bird, but an invisible thing, A voice, a mystery ; The same whom in my school-boy days I listened to; that Cry Which made me look a thousand ways In bush, and tree, and sky. To seek thee did I often rove Through woods and on the green; And thou wert still a hope, a love; Still longed for, never seen. And I can listen to thee yet ; Can lie upon the plain And listen, till I do beget That golden time again. O blessed Bird ! the earth we pace Again appears to be An unsubstantial, faery place; That is fit home for Thee!

1802. 1807. SHE WAS A PHANTOM OF

DELIGHT

The innocent brightness of a new-born

Day

Is lovely yet ; The Clouds that gather round the set

ting sun Do take a sober coloring from an eye That hath kept watch o'er man's mor

tality; Another race hath been, and other

palms are won.

Written at Town-end, Grasmere. The germ of this poem was four lines composed as a part of the verses on the Highland Girl. Though beginning in this way, it was written from my heart. as is sufficiently obvious. (Wordsworth.) SHE was a Phantom of delight When first she gleamed upon my sight;

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