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Composed, almost extempore, in a short walk on the western side of Rydal Lake. (Wordsworth.)
That smooths foregone distress, the
lines Of lingering care subdues, Long-vanished happiness refines, And clothes in brighter hues ; Yet, like a tool of Fancy, works Those Spectres to dilate That startle Conscience, as she lurks Within her lonely seat. Oh! that our lives, which flee so fast, In purity were such, That not an image of the past Should fear that pencil's touch! Retirement then might hourly look Upon a soothing scene, Age steal to his allotted nook Contented and serene; With heart as calm as lakes that sleep, In frosty moonlight glistening ; Or mountain rivers, where they creep Along a channel smooth and deep, To their own far-off murmurs listening.
SCORx 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!
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-worm rock from the number of glow-worms we have often seen hanging on it as described. The tuft of primrose bas, I fear, beeu 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,
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 lose
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.
YARROW REVISITED 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 Revisited 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 Tl:ee,
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 em bolden ; 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 Morn 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 mountain-heights
cheered, The sunny vale looked gay; And to the Primrose of the Rock
I 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 Our 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 Did no responsive harp, no pen, far,
Memorial tribute offer By cordial love invited.
Yea, what were mighty Nature's self?
Her features, could they win us, And if, as Yarrow, through the woods
Unhelped by the poetic voice
That hourly speaks within us?
Plays false with our affections ;
For fanciful dejections :
Sustain the heart in feeling
Life as she is--our changeful Life, Eternal blessings on the Muse,
With friends and kindred dealing. And her divine employment! The blameless Muse, who trains her Sons Bear witness, Ye, whose thoughts that For hope and calm enjoyment;
day Albeit sickness, lingering yet,
In Yarrow's groves were centred ; Has o'er their pillow brooded ;
Who through the silent portal arch And Care waylays their steps--a Sprite Of mouldering Newark entered ; Not easily eluded.
And clomb the winding stair that once For thee, O SCOTT! compelled to change
Too timidly was mounted
By the " last Minstrel," (not the last !) Green Eildon-hill and Cheviot For warm Vesuvio's vine-clad slopes ;
Ere he his Tale recounted. And leave thy Tweed and Tiviot
Flow on for ever, Yarrow Stream ! For mild Sorrento's breezy waves;
Fulfil thy pensive duty, May classic Fancy, linking
Well pleased that future Bards should With native Fancy her fresh aid,
chant Preserve thy heart from sinking!
For simple hearts thy beauty ; Oh! while they minister to thee,
To dream-light dear while yet unseen,
Dear to the common sunshine,
And dearer still, as now I feel,
To memory's shadowy moonshine!
1831. 1835. And Tiber, and each brook and rill Renowned in song and story,
As recorded in my sister's Journal, I had first
seen the Trosachs in her and Coleridge's com. For Thou, upon a hundred streams, pany. The sentiment that runs through this By tales of love and sorrow
Sonnet was natural to the season in which I Of faithful love, undaunted truth,
again saw this beautiful spot ; but this and soine
other sonnets that follow were colored by the Hast shed the power of Yarrow ;
remembrance of my recent visit to Sir Walter And streams unknown, hills yet unseen, Scott, and the melancholy errand on which he Wherever they invite Thee,
was going. (Wordsworth.) At parent Nature's grateful call,
THERE's not a nook within this solemn With gladness must requite Thee.
Pass, A gracious welcome shall be thine,
But were an apt confessional for One Such looks of love and honor
Taught by his summer spent, his autumn As thy own Yarrow gave to me
gone, When first I gazed upon her ;
That Life is but a tale of morning grass Belield what I had feared to see,
Withered at ere. From scenes of art Unwilling to surrender
which chase Dreams treasured up from early days,
That thought away, turn, and with
watchful eyes The holy and the tender.
Feed it ’mid Nature's old felicities, And what, for this frail world, were all Rocks, rivers, and smooth lakes more That mortals do or suffer,
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!
IF THOU INDEED DERIVE THY
LIGHT FROM HEAVEN
** Is Mosgiel Farm; and that's the very
field Where Burns ploughed up the Daisy."
Far and wide A plain below stretched seaward, wbile,
descried Above sea-clouds, the Peaks of Arran
rose ; And, by that simple notice, the repose Of earth, sky, sea and air, was vivified. Beneath “the random bield of clod or Myriads of daisies have shone 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
to prove The tender charm of poetry and love.
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 bang, 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.
MOST SWEET IT IS WITH UN.
UPLIFTED EYES Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes To pace the ground, if path be there or While a fair region round 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 HOGG1 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
1 Walter Scott
died Sept. 21, 1892
July 25, 1834
3, 1832 " May 10, 1834
Along a bare and open valley,
A POET !--HE HATH PUT HIS
HEART TO SCHOOL
When last along its banks I wandered Through groves that had begun to shed Their golden leaves upon the pathways, My steps the Border-minstrel led.
The mighty Minstrel breathes no longer,
A Poet !-He bath 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.
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 !
SO FAIR, SO SWEET, WITHAL SO
Yet I, whose lids from infant slumber
So fair, so sweet, withal so sensitive, Would that the little Flowers were born
to live, Conscious of half the pleasure which
Our haughty life is crowned with dark
ness, Like London with its own black wreath, On which with thee, O Crabbe! forth
looking I gazed from Hampstead's breezy heath. As if but yesterday departed, Thou too art gone before ; but why, O'er ripe fruit, seasonably gathered, Should frail survivors heave a sigh?
That to this mountain-daisy's self were
known The beauty of its star-shaped shadow,
thrown On the smooth surface of this naked
Mourn rather for that holy Spirit, Sweet as the spring, as ocean deep; For Her who, ere her summer faded, Hlas sunk into a breathless sleep.
And what if bence a bold desire should
mount High as the Sun, that he could take
account Of all that issues from his glorious
No more of old romantic sorrows,
dead. Nov. 1835. Dec. 1835.
So might he ken how by his sovereign
aid These delicate companionships
made; And how he rules the pomp of light