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* This is one of the earliest and most definite expressions of Wordsworth's faith in the essential oneness of man and nature, and of "insorrow over man's apostasy from that alth.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to , ment
What man has made of man? 24

LINES COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR. JULY 13, 1798.f

Five years have past; five summers, with the
length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain.
springs
With a soft inland murmur.f—Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view 10
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-
tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
"Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral
farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit’s cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,

20

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# * * † Note by Wordsworth : “I have not ventured to call this poem an Ode ; but it was writi. ten with a hope that in the transitions, a the o music of the versification. would be found the principal requisites of that species of composition.” Professor Dowden remarks upon the four stages of the poet's growth to be found described in. the poem : First, animal enjoyment of nature in boyhood ; second, passion for beauty and sublimity; third, perception of..., nature's tranquillizing and elevating in-, fluence on the spirit: , and fourth, deep com-o: munion with a spiritual presence ; , stages which he further describes as the periods of ~ the blood, of the senses, of the imagination, and of the soul. # For the effect of the tides on the Wye nearer six mouth. see Tennyson's In Memoriam,

With tranquil restoration:—feelings too 30
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft—
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart—
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro’ the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished
thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was
when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man 70
Flying from something that he dreads, than
one
Who sought the thing he loved.
then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.—I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love, 80
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest

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For nature

Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity, 91
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels 100
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I
still

A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear, both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

Nor perchance, 111
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once, 120
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so informi
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all 130
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,

1 give form to, animate

When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing
thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance—
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these
gleams
Of past existence—wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream 150
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love—ohl with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy
sake!

140

STRANGE FITS OF PASSION HAVE - I KNOWN*

Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the Lover’s ear alone,
What once to me befell.

When she I loved looked every day
Fresh as a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way
Beneath an evening-moon. 8

Upon the moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea;
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh
Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot;
And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy’s cot

Came near, and nearer still. 16

In one of those sweet dreams I slept, Kind Nature's gentlest boon!

* This little group of five poems upon an unknown and perhaps imaginary Lucy were written in Germany in the year 1799. Without titles or notes, or any ornament beyond two or three of the simplest figures, they convey absolutely their contained emotion, illustrating that poetry which, in moments of deepest feeling, is the natural language of man. The fifth poem appears to sum up the preceding four; in its two brief stanzas it presents the two opposing and inscrutable mysteries . of life and death, and leaves them to the imagination, without further comment.

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And then an open field they crossed:
The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost;
And to the bridge they came.

They followed from the snowy bank
Those footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank;
And further there were none! 56
—Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living child;
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
Upon the lonesome wild.

O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song

That whistles in the wind. 64

THE PRELUDE; OR, GROWTH OF A POET'S MIND

FROM BOOK I. CHILDHOOD

Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up
Fostered alike by beauty and by fear:
Much favoured in my birth-place, and no less
In that beloved Vale1 to which erelong
We were transplanted;—there were we let loose
For sports of wider range. Ere I had told
Ten birth-days, when among the mountain
slopes
Frost, and the breath of frosty wind, had
snapped
The last autumnal crocus, 'twas my joy
With store of springes o'er my shoulder hung 310
To range the open heights where woodcocks run
Along the smooth green turf. Through half the
night,
Scudding away from snare to snare, I plied
That anxious visitation;–moon and stars
Were shining o'er my head. I was alone,
And seemed to be a trouble to the peace
That dwelt among them. Sometimes it befell
In these night wanderings, that a strong desire
O’rpowered my better reason, and the bird
Which was the captive of another's toil 320
Became my prey; and when the deed was done
I heard among the solitary hills
Low breathings coming after me, and sounds
Of undistinguishable motion, steps
Almost as silent as the turf they trod.

Nor less, when spring had warmed the cultured Vale,

1 Esthwaite. Iancashire, where, at the village of Hawkshead, Wordsworth attended school.

Moved we as plunderers where the mother-bird
Had in high places built her lodge; though
mean
Our object and inglorious, yet the end
Was not ignoble. Oh! when I have hung
Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass
And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock
But ill sustained, and almost (so it seemed)
Suspended by the blast that blew amain,
Shouldering the naked crag, oh, at that time
While on the perilous ridge I hung alone,
With what strange utterance did the loud dry
wind
Blow through my ear! the sky seemed not a sky
Of earth—and with what motion moved the
clouds! -

330

Dust as we are, the immortal spirit grows 340 Like harmony in music; there is a dark Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles Discordant elements, makes them cling together In one society. How strange, that all The terrors, pains, and early miseries, Regrets, vexations, lassitudes interfused Within my mind, should e'er have borne a part, And that a needful part, in making up The calm existence that is mine when I Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end 350 Thanks to the means which Nature deigned to employ; Whether her fearless visitings, or those That came with soft alarm, like hurtless light Opening the peaceful clouds; or she would use Severer interventions, ministry More palpable, as best might suit her aim.

One summer evening (led by her) I found A little boat tied to a willow tree Within a rocky cave, its usual home. 359 Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on; Leaving behind her still, on either side, Small circles glittering idly in the moon, Until they melted all into one track Of sparkling light. But now, like one who rows, Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen point With an unswerving line, I fixed my view Upon the summit of a craggy ridge, The horizon's utmost boundary; far above Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky. She was an elfin pinnace; lustily I dipped my oars into the silent lake, And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat Went heaving through the water like a swan; When, from behind that craggy steep till then

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