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written down, till he reached Bristol. This is the choice passage from the poem ; where he tells us, that to this practice he owed
Few poems of Wordsworth have been more often cited than his grand Ode on Immortality, here is a passage from it :
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight, to me did seem Apparelled in celestial light—the glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now, as it hath been of yore;
Turn wheresoe’er I may, by night or day,
The things which I have seen, I now can see no more. The rainbow comes and goes, and lovely is the rose ; The moon doth with delight look round her when the heavens are
bare ; Waters on a stormy night are beautiful and fair ; The sunshine is a glorious birth ; but yet I know, where'er I go, That there hath passed away a glory from the earth.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting ;
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
Heaven lies about us in our infancy ! Shades of the prison-house begin to close upon the growing boy, But he beholds the light, and whence it Aows; he sees it in his joy.
The youth, who daily farther from the East
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
At length the man perceives it die away,
Another of the admired poems of Wordsworth is that addressed to the Daffodils :
I wandered lonely as a cloud, that Aoats on high o’er vales and hills,
Beside a lake, beneath the trees,
Continuous as the stars that shine and twinkle on the Milky-way,
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
The waves beside them danced; but they outdid the sparkling waves
I gazed, and gazed, but little thought
For oft when on my couch I lie, in vacant or in pensive mood,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
'The well-known tale of Peter Bell was founded upon an anecdote the poet read in a newspaper, of an ass being found hanging his head over a canal in a wretched posture. Upon examination, a dead body was found in the water, which proved to be that of its master.
His poem of The Brothers arose out of the fact related to him, at Ennerdale, that a shepherd had fallen asleep upon the top of the rock called “the Pillar,” and perished, as here described, his staff being left midway on the rock. It was of this poem that Southey, writing to Coleridge, said, “God bless Wordsworth for that poem !” And Coleridge also confessed that he “never read that model of English pastoral with an unclouded eye.”
In glancing over the illuminated pages of this great poet, we can scarcely fail to be charmed with the roseate tints and aromatic odours with which he delights to deck his themes. Professor Wilson said, he would rather have been the author of that sweet pastoral lyric To Lucy, than of an innumerable swarm of what the vulgar taste has called clever songs :She dwelt among the untrodden ways beside the springs of Dove, A maid whom there were none to praise, and very few to love: A violet by a mossy stone half hidden from the eye! Fair as a star, when only one is shining in the sky. She lived unknown, and few could know when Lucy ceased to be ; But she is in her grave,—and oh! the difference to me!
We cull two or three more little brilliants ;-here they are :
Sympathy with Nature :
My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began, so is it now I am a man, So be it when I shall grow old—so let me die !
The child is father of the man : And I would wish my days to be bound each to each by natural piety.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears ;
Thoughts that too often lie too deep for tears.
More sweet than odours caught by him who sails
Near spicy shores of Araby the blest,-
In thoughtful moments, wafted by the gales
One of Wordsworth’s finest sonnets is that he composed upon Westminster Bridge, in the autumn of 1803; here it is :
Earth has not any thing to show more fair :
This city now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning ; silent, bare,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill:
The river glideth at its own sweet will :
And all that mighty heart is lying still !
In Shelley's Queen Mab, we have this beautiful apostrophe to Night:
How beautiful this Night! the balmiest sigh
That wraps this moveless scene. Heaven's ebon arch,
Among the most admired productions of Shelley are the lines to The Cloud, and the Ode to the Skylark. Judge of the rich quality of these compositions by the following extracts :