Изображения страниц



YES, it was the mountain Echo, Solitary, clear, profound, Answering to the shouting Cuckoo, Giving to her sound for sound !

Unsolicited reply
To a babbling wanderer sent;
Like her ordinary cry,
Like-but oh, how different!

Hears not also mortal Life?
Hear not we, unthinking Creatures!
Slaves of folly, love, or strife-
Voices of two different natures ?

Have not we too ?-yes, we have
Answers, and we know not whence ;
Echoes from beyond the grave,
Recognized intelligence !
Such rebounds our inward ear
Catches sometimes from afar-
Listen, ponder, hold them dear;
For of God,-of God they are.

1806. 1807.

A constant influence, a peculiar grace; But who, if he be called upon to face Some awful moment to which Heaven

has joined Great issues, good or bad for human

kind, Is happy as a Lover; and attired With sudden brightness, like a Man in

spired ; 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 homefelt pleasures and to gentle

scenes ; 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

notPlays, in the many games of life, that Where what he most doth value must

be won : Whom neither shape of danger can dis

may, 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 deels give birth, Or he must fall, to sleep without his

fame, And leave a dead unprofitable nameFinds comfort in himself and in his

cause ; And, while the moral mist is gathering,

draws His breath in confidence of Heaven's

applause : This is the happy Warrior ; this is He That every Man in arms should wish to be

1806. 1807.




In the cottage, Town-end, Grasmere, one after. noon in 1801, my sister read to me the Soppets of Milton. I had long been well acquainted with them, but I was particularly struck on that occasion with the dignified simplicity and majestio harmony that runs through most of them,-in character so totally different from the Italian, and still more so from Shakspeare's fine Sonnets. I took fire, if I may be allowed to say so, and procluced three Sonnets the same afternoon, the first I ever wrote except an irregular one at school. Of these three, the only one I distinctly remember is-" Igrieved for Buonaparte." One was never written down: the third, which was, I believe, preserved, I cannot particularize. (Wordsworth.)

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 In truth the prison, unto which we doom Ourselves, no prison is : and hence for

bloom, High as the highest peak of Furness-fells, Will murmur by the hour in foxglove

bells :

me, In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be

bound Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of

ground; Pleased if some Souls (for such there

needs must be) Who have felt the weight of too much

liberty, Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

1806 1807.

[blocks in formation]




1 I AM not One who much or oft delight To season my fireside with personal

talkOf friends, who live within an easy walk, Or neighbors, daily, weekly, in my sight: And, for my chance-acquaintance, ladies

bright, Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the These all wear out of me, like Forms,

with chalk Fainted on rich men's floors, for one

feast-night. Better than such discourse doth silence

long, Long, barren silence, square with my

desire; To sit without emotion, hope, or aim, In the loved presence of my cottage-fire, And listen to the flapping of the flame, Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.

Wings have we,--and as far as we can

go, We may find pleasure: wilderness and Blank ocean and mere sky, support that

mood Which with the lofty sanctifies the low. Dreams, books are each a world ; and

books, we know, Are a substantial world, both pure and

good : Round these, with tendrils strong as

flesh and blood), Our pastime and our happiness will

grow. There find I personal themes, a plente

ous store, Matter wherein right volubie I am, To which I listen with a ready ear; Two shall be named, pre-eminently

dear, - : The gentle Lady married to the Moor ; And heavenly Una with her milk-white Lamb.

IV Nor can I not beliere but that hereby Great gains are mine; for thus I live reFrom evil-speaking ; rancor,

sought, Comes to me not; malignant truth, or

lie. Hence bave I genial seasons, hence have

I Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and

joyous thought: And thus from day to day my little boat Rocks in its barbor, lodging peaceably. Blessings be with them-and eternal

praise, Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler

caresThe Poets, who on earth have made us

heirs Of truth and pure delight by heavenly

lays ! Oh! might my name be numbered

among theirs, Then gladly would I end my mortal days,

1806 7 1807.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“Yet life," you say, “is life; we have

seen and see, And with a living pleasure we describe ; And fits of sprightly malice do but bribe The languid mind into activity. Sound sense, and love itself, and mirth

and glee Are fostered by the comment and the

gibe.” Even be it so; yet still among your

tribe, Our daily world's true Worlulings, rank

not me! Children are blest, and powerful; their

world lies More justly balanced; partly at their

feet, And part far from them: sweetest mel





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 sor:

did boon ! The 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 everything, 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 rising from the

sea ; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathéd horn,

1806 ? 1807.

ANOTHER year!-another deadly blow ! Another mighty Empire overthrown ! And We are left, or shall be left, alone; The last that dare 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 unpropped, or be

laid low, O dastard wliom such foretaste doth not

cheer! We shall exult, if they who rule the

land Be men who hold its many blessings

dear, Wise, upright, valiant; not a servile

band, Who are to judge of danger which they

fear, And honor which they do not understand.

1806. 1807.



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 have thought of all by turns, and yet

do lie Sleepless! and soon the small birds'

melodies Must hear, first uttered from my orchard

trees ; And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry. Even thus last night, and two nights

more, I lav, 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 between day and

day, Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health !

1806 | 1807.

Two Voices are there ; one is of the

seil, One of the mountains ; each a mighty

Voice: In both from age to age thou didst re.

joice, They were thy chosen music, Liberty ! There came à Tyrant, and with Joly

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, ( cleave to that which still

is left; For, high-souleci 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?

1807, 1807.


AT LEAST THIS PRAISE HERE pause : the poet claims at least this

praise, That virtuous Liberty hath been the

scope Of his pure song, which did not shrink

from hope In the worst moment of these evil days; From hope, the paramount duty that

Heaven lays, For its own honor, on man's suffering

heart. Never may from our souls one truth

departThat an accursed thing it is to gaze On prosperous tyrants with a dazzled

eye ; Nor-touched with due abhorrence of

their guilt For whose dire ends tears flow, and

blood is spilt, And justice labors in extremity-Forget thy weakness, upon which is built O wretched man, the throne of tyranny !

1811. 1815.

Her countenance brightens--and her

eye expands ; Her bosom heaves and spreads, her stat

ure grows; And she expects the issue in repose. O terror! what hath she perceived ?-0

joy! What doth she look on ?-whom doth she

behold ? Her Hero slain upon the beach of Troy ? His vital presence ? his corporeal mould ! It is--if sense deceive her not-'tis He? And a God leads him, wingéd Mercury !



Mild Hermes spake--and touched her

with his wand That calms all fear;

“ Such

hath crowned thy prayer, Laodamia! that at Jove's command Thy Husband walks the paths of upper

air: He comes to tarry with thee three hours'

space ; Accept the gift, behold him face to face ! Forth sprang the impassioned Queen

her Lord to clasp; Again that consummation she essayed ; But unsubstantial Form eludes her grasp As often as that eager grasp was made, The Phantom parts--but parts to re-unite, And re-assume his place before her sight. “ Protesiláus, lo ! thy guide is gone ! Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy

voice : This is our palace, -yonder is thy throne; Speak, and the floor thou tread'st on

will rejoice. Not to appal me have the gods bestowed This precious boon; and blest a sad


Written at Rydal Mount. The incident of the trees growing and withering put the subject into my thoughts, and I wrote with the hope of giving it a loftier tone than, so far as I know, has been given to it by any of the Ancients who have treated of it. It cost me more trouble than almost anything of equal length I have ever written. (Wordscorth.)

“Laodamia is a very original poem; I mean original with reference to your own manner, You have nothing like it. I should have seen it in a strange place, and greatly admired it, but not suspected its derivation...". (Lamb to Wordsworth. Talfourd, Final Memories of Charles Lamb, p. 151.) * With sacrifice before the rising morn Vows have I made by fruitless hope in

spired ; And from the infernal Gods, 'mid shades

forlorn Of night, my slaughtered Lord have I

required: Celestial pity I again implore :Restore him to my sight-great Jove,

restore !" So speaking, and by fervent love en

dowed With faith, the Suppliant heavenward

lifts her hands; While, like the sun emerging from a


“Great Jove, Laodamia ! doth not leave His gifts imperfect :--Spectre though I

be, I am not sent to scare thee or deceive; But in reward of thy fidelity. And something also did my wozth obtain ; For fearless virtue bringeth boundless

gain. “ Thou knowest, the Delphic oracle fore.

told That the first Greek who touched the

Trojan strand Should clie; but me the threat could not


A generous cause a victim did demand ; And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain ; A self-devoted chief--by Hector slain."

"Supreme of Heroes-bravest, noblest,

best! Thy matchless courage I bewail no more, Which then, when tens of thousands

were deprest By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal

shore ; Thou found'st--and I forgive thee--here

thou artA nobler counsellor than my poor heart.

" Ah, wherefore ?-Did not Hercules by

force Wrest from the guardian Monster of the

tomb Alcestis, a reanimated corse, Given back to dwell on earth in vernal

bloom ? Medea's spells dispersed the weight of

years, And Åson stood a youth ’niid youthful

peers. · The Gods to us are merciful-and they Yet further may relent: for mightier

far Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the

sway Of magic potent over sun and star, Is love, though oft to agony distrest, And though his favorite seat be feeble

woman's breast. “But if thou goest, I follow_"“Peace!”

" But thou, though capable of sternest

deed, Wert kind as resolute, and good as

brave : And he, whose power restores thee, hath

decreed Thou should'st elude the malice of the

grave: Redundant are thy locks, thy lips as fair As when their breath enrichied Thessa

lian air.

he said ;

No Spectre greets me,--no vain Shadow

this ; Come, blooming Hero, place thee by my

side ! Give, on this well-known couch, one

nuptial kiss To me, this day, a second time thy

bride!” Jove frowned in heaven: the conscious

Parcæ threw Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue. “This visage tells thee that my doom is

past : Norshould the change be mourned, even

if the joys Of sense were able to return as fast And surely as they vanish. Earth de

stroy's Those raptures duly-Erebus disdains; (alm pleasures there abide-majestic


She looked upon bim and was calmed

and cheered ; The ghastly color from his lips had fed ; In his deportment, shape, and mien, ap

peared Elysian beauty, melancholy grace, Brought from a pensive though a happy

place. He spake of love, such love as Spirits

feel In worlds whose course is equable and

pure ; No fears to beat away-no strife to

healThe past unsighed for, and the future


Spake of heroic arts in graver mood Revived, with finer harmony pursued ; Of all that is most beauteous-imaged

there In happier beauty ; more pellucid

streams, An ampler ether, a diviner air, And fields invested with purpureal

gleams; Climes which the sun, who sheds the

brightest day Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey. Yet there the Soul shall enter which

hath earned That privilege by virtue. “Ill," said he • The end of man's existence I discerned, Who from ignoble games and revelry

“ Be taught, O faithful Consort, to con

trol Rebellious passion : for the Gods approve The depth, and not the tumult, of the

soul ; A fervent, not ungovernable, lov Thy transports moderate; and meekly When I depart, for brief is my sojourn."


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »