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(Written 1798. Publ. 1815] Composed on the road between Nether Stowey and Alfoxden, extempore. I distinctly recollect the very moment when I was struck, as described, “He looks up - the clouds are split," etc.
The sky is overcast With a continuous cloud of texture close, Heavy and wan, all wbitened 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 10 Bent earthwards; he looks up — the clouds
are split Asunder, — and above his head he sees The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens. There, in a black-blue vault she sails along, Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss Drive as she drives : how fast they wheel
away, Yet vanish not !- the wind is in the tree, But they are silent;- still they roll along Immeasurably distant; and the vault, Built round by those white clouds, enor
mous clouds, Still deepens its unfathomable depth. At length the Vision closes ; and the mind, Not undisturbed by the delight it feels, Which slowly settles into peaceful calm, Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.
“ Sisters and brothers, little Maid, How many may you be?” “ How many ? Seven in all,” she said And wondering looked at me. “ And where are they? I pray you tell.” She answered, “ Seven are we; And two of us at Conway dwell, And two are gone to sea. “ Two of us in the church-yard lie, My sister and my brother; And, in the church-yard cottage, I Dwell near them with my mother.” “You say that two at Conway dwell, And two are gone to sea, Yet ye are seven!
pray you tell, Sweet Maid, how this may be.”
WE ARE SEVEN
“ You run about, my little Maid, Your limbs they are alive; If two are in the church-yard laid, Then ye are only five." “ Their graves are green, they may be
seen," The little Maid replied, “ Twelve steps or more from my mother's
door, And they are side by side.
- A SIMPLE Child, That lightly draws its breath, And feels its life in every limb, What should it know of death?
EXPOSTULATION AND REPLY
[Publ. 1798] “ Way, William, on that old grey stone, Thus for the length of half a day, Why, William, sit you thus alone, And dream your time away? “ Where are your
books? that light bequeathed To Beings else forlorn and blind ! Up! up! and drink the spirit breathed From dead men to their kind. “You look round on your Mother Earth, As if she for no purpose bore you ; As if you were her first-born birth, And none had lived before you !”
And hark ! how blythe the throstle sings!
COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN
THE WYE DURING A TOUR.
One impulse from a vernal wood
Green to the very door; and wreaths of May teach you more of man,
smoke Of moral evil and of good,
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees ! Than all the sages can.
With some uncertaiu notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
woods, Our meddling intellect
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:
fire We murder to dissect.
The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms, Enough of Science and of Art;
Through a long absence, have not been to Close up those barren leaves ; Come forth, and bring with you a heart As is a landscape to a blind man's eye: That watches and receives.
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
With tranquil restoration:— feelings too 30 ABBEY, ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps, JULY 13,
As have no slight or trivial influence 1798
On that best portion of a good man's life, No poem of mine was composed under cir- His little, nameless, unremembered, acts cumstances more pleasant for me to remember Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust, than this. I began it upon leaving Tintern, To them I may have owed another gift, after crossing the Wye, and concluded it just
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed as I was entering Bristol in the evening, after a ramble of four or five days, with my Sister.
mood, Not a line of it was altered, and not any part
In which the burthen of the mystery, of it written down till I reached Bristol. In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world, Five years have past; five summers, with Is lightened: - that serene and blessed the length
mood, Of five long winters ! and again I hear In which the affections gently lead us on, These waters, rolling from their mountain- Until, the breath of this corporeal frame springs
And even the motion of our human blood With a soft inland murmur. - Once again
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, In body, and become a living soul: That on a wild secluded scene impress While with an eye made quiet by the
power Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and con- Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, pect
We see into the life of things. The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
If this The day is come when I again repose Be but a vain belief, yet, oh ! how oft – Here, under this dark sycamore, and view 10 In darkness and amid the many shapes These plots of cottage-ground, these or- Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir chard-tufts,
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, Which at this season, with their unripe Have hung upon the beatings of my heart
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, Are clad in one green hue, and lose them- O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the selves
woods, 'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see How often has my spirit turned to thee ! These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little And now, with gleams of half-extinlines
guished thought, Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral With many recognitions dim and faint, farms,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again : A motion and a spirit, that impels
thought, Of present pleasure, but with pleasing And rolls through all things. Therefore thoughts
am I still That in this moment there is life and food A lover of the meadows and the woods, For future years. And so I dare to hope, And mountains; and of all that we be. Though changed, no doubt, from what I
hold was when first
From this green earth; of all the mighty I came among these hills; when like a
Of eye, and ear, - both what they half I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
create, Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams, And what perceive; well pleased to recogWherever nature led: more like a man
nise Flying from something that he dreads, In nature and the language of the sense, than one
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the Who sought the thing he loved. For na
nurse, ture then
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
soul And their glad animal movements all gone Of all my moral being. by)
Nor perchance, To me was all in all. — I cannot paint If I were not thus taught, should I the What then I was. The sounding cataract Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock, Suffer my genial spirits to decay: The mountain, and the deep and gloomy For thou art with me here upon the banks wood,
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend, Their colours and their forms, were then My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice Í to me
catch An appetite; a feeling and a love,
The language of my former heart, and That bad no need of a remoter charm,
read By thought supplied, nor any interest My former pleasures in the shooting lights Unborrowed from the eye. — That time is Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while past,
May I behold in thee what I was once, And all its aching joys are now no more, My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
make, Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other Knowing that Nature never did betray gifts
The heart that loved her; 't is her priviHave followed; for such loss, I would be- lege, lieve,
Through all the years of this our life, to Abundant recompense. For I have learned
lead To look on nature, not as in the hour From joy to joy: for she can so inform Of thoughtless youth; but hearing often- The mind that is within us, so impress times
With quietness and beauty, and so feed The still, sad music of humanity,
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil Nor barsh, nor grating, though of ample tongues, power
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
men, A presence that disturbs me with the joy Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
all Of something far more deeply interfused, The dreary intercourse of daily life, Whose dwelling is the light of setting Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb suns,
Our cheerful faith, that all which we beAnd the round ocean and the living air,
hold And the blue sky, and in the mind of Is full of blessings. Therefore let the
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk; And there, with fingers interwoven, both And let the misty mountain-winds be free
hands To blow against thee: and, in after years, Pressed closely palm to palm and to his When these wild ecstasies shall be ma
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument, Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls, 10 Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, 140 That they might answer him.
And they Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
would shout For all sweet sounds and harmonies ; oh! Across the watery vale, and shout again, then,
Responsive to his call, - with quivering If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
peals, Should be thy portion, with what healing And long halloos, and screams, and echoes thoughts
loud Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, Redoubled and redoubled; concourse wild And these my exhortations ! Nor, per- Of jocund din! And, when there came a chance
pause If I should be where I no more can hear Of silence such as baffled his best skill : Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he these gleams
hung Of past existence — wilt thou then forget Listening, a gentle shock of mild surThat on the banks of this delightful stream prise We stood together; and that I, so long 151 Has carried far into his heart the voice A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Of mountain-torrents ; or the visible scene Unwearied in that service: rather say
Would enter unawares into his mind With warmer love – oh! with far deeper With all its solemn imagery, its rocks, zeal
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven reOf holier love. Nor wilt thou then for
Into the bosom of the steady lake. That after many wanderings, many years
This boy was taken from his mates, and Of absence, these steep woods and lofty
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years And this green pastoral landscape, were to
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale More dear, both for themselves and for thy Where he was born and bred : the churchsake!
yard hangs Upon a slope above the village-school; 30
And, through that church-yard when my THERE WAS A BOY
On summer-evenings, I believe, that there (Publ. 1800]
A long half-hour together I have stood Written in Germany. This is an extract from
Mute — looking at the grave in which he the poem on my own poetical education. This
lies! practice of making an instrument of their own fingers is known to most boys, though some are more skilful at it than others. William Raincock of Rayrigg, a fine spirited lad, took the
NUTTING lead of all my schoolfellows in this art.
[Publ. 1800] THERE was a Boy ; ye knew him well, ye cliffs
It seems a day And islands of Winander ! — many a time, (I speak of one from many singled out) At evening, when the earliest stars began One of those heavenly days that cannot To move along the edges of the hills,
die; Rising or setting, would he stand alone, When, in the eagerness of boyish hope, Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth lake;
With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung,
way has led