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In youth, or to be changed in after years. By outward gestures and by visible looks: As if awakened, summoned, roused, con- | Some called it madness — so indeed it was, strained,

If child-like fruitfulness in passing joy, I looked for universal things ; perused If steady moods of thoughtfulness matured The common countenance of earth and sky: To inspiration, sort with such a name; Earth, nowhere unembellished by some If prophecy be madness; if things trace


150 Of that first Paradise whence man was By poets in old time, and higher up driven ;

By the first men, earth's first inhabitants, And sky, whose beauty and bounty are ex May in these tutored days no more be seen pressed

With undisordered sight. But leaving By the proud name she bears — the name this, of Heaven.

It was no madness, for the bodily eye I called on both to teach me what they Amid my strongest workings evermore might;

Was searching out the lines of difference Or, turning the mind in upon herself, As they lie hid in all external forms, Pored, watched, expected, listened, spread Near or remote, minute or vast; an eye my thoughts

Which, from a tree, a stone, a withered And spread them with a wider creeping;


160 felt

To the broad ocean and the azure heavens Incumbencies more awful, visitings

Spangled with kindred multitudes of stars, Of the Upholder of the tranquil soul, Could find no surface where its power That tolerates the indignities of Time,

might sleep; And, from the centre of Eternity

Which spake perpetual logic to my soul, All finite motions overruling, lives 120 And by an unrelenting agency In glory immutable. But peace ! enough Did bind my feelings even as in a chain. Here to record that I was mounting now To such community with highest truth — A track pursuing, not untrod before, From strict analogies by thought supplied

[Lines 275-321.] Or consciousnesses not to be subdued. To every natural form, rock, fruits, or Beside the pleasant Mill of Trompington flower,

I laughed with Chaucer in the hawthorn Even the loose stones that cover the high

shade; way,

Heard him, while birds were warbling, tell I gave a moral life: I saw them feel,

his tales Or linked them to some feeling : the great Of amorous passion. And that gentle Bard, mass


Chosen by the Muses for their Page of Lay imbedded in a quickening soul, and all

State That I beheld respired with inward mean Sweet Spenser, moving through his clouded ing.


280 Add that whate'er of Terror or of Love With the moon's beauty and the moon's soft Or Beauty, Nature's daily face put on

pace, From transitory passion, unto this

I called him Brother, Englishman, and I was as sensitive as waters are

Friend! To the sky's influence in a kindred mood Yea, our blind Poet, who in his later day, Of passion; was obedient as a lute

Stood almost single; uttering odious truth That waits upon the touches of the wind. Darkness before, and danger's voice behind, Unknown, unthought of, yet I was most Soul awful — if the earth has ever lodged rich

An awfnl soul - I seemed to see him here I had a world about me --'t was my own; Familiarly, and in his scholar's dress I made it, for it only lived to me,

Bounding before me, yet a stripling youth And to the God who sees into the heart. A boy, no better, with his rosy cheeks 290 Such sympathies, though rarely, were be- | Angelical, keen eye, courageous look, trayed

| And conscious step of purity and pride.




Among the band of my compeers was one Mountains and clouds, reflected in the depth Whom chance had stationed in the very Of the clear flood, from things which there room

abide Honoured by Milton's name. O temperate | In their true dwelling; now is crossed by Bard!

gleam Be it confest that, for the first time, seated Of his own image, by a sunbeam now, Within thy innocent lodge and oratory, And wavering motions sent he knows not One of a festive circle, I poured out

whence, Libations, to thy memory drank, till pride Impediments that make his task more And gratitude grew dizzy in a brain 300


270 Never excited by the fumes of wine

Such pleasant office have we long pursued Before that hour, or since. Then, forth I Incumbent o'er the surface of past time ran

With like success, nor often have appeared From the assembly; through a length of Shapes fairer or less doubtfully discerned streets,

Than these to which the Tale, indulgent Ran, ostrich-like, to reach our chapel door

Friend! In not a desperate or opprobrious time, Would now direct thy notice. Yet in spite Albeit long after the importunate bell Of pleasure won, and knowledge not withHad stopped, with wearisome Cassandra voice

There was an inner falling off - I loved, No longer haunting the dark winter night. Loved deeply all that had been loved beCall back, O Friend!1 a moment to thy mind,

fore, The place itself and fashion of the rites. 310 More deeply even than ever: but a swarm With careless ostentation shouldering up Of heady schemes jostling each other, My surplice, through the inferior throng I


281 clove

And feast and dance, and public revelry, Of the plain Burghers, who in audience stood And sports and games (too grateful in On the last skirts of their permitted ground, themselves, Under the pealing organ. Empty thoughts ! Yet in themselves less grateful, I believe, I am ashamed of them: and that great Bard, Than as they were a badge glossy and fresh And thou, O Friend ! who in thy ample Of manliness and freedom) all conspired mind

To lure my mind froin firm habitual quest Hast placed me high above my best deserts, Of feeding pleasures, to depress the zeal Ye will forgive the weakness of that hour, And damp those yearnings which had once In some of its unworthy vanities, 320

been mine — Brother to many more.

A wild, unworldly-minded youth, given


To his own eager thoughts. It would de

mand [Lines 256–338]

Some skill, and longer time than may be

spared As one who hangs down-bending from To paint these vanities, and how they the side

wrought Of a slow-moving boat, upon the breast In haunts where they, till now, had been Of a still water, solacing himself

unknown. With such discoveries as his eye can make It seemed the very garments that I wore Beneath him in the bottom of the deep, 260 Preyed on my strength, and stopped the Sees many beauteous sights — weeds, fishes,

quiet stream flowers,

Of self-forgetfulness. Grots, pebbles, roots of trees, and fancies

Yes, that heartless chase more,

Of trivial pleasures was a poor exchange Yet often is perplexed, and cannot part For books and nature at that early age. The shadow from the substance, rocks and 'Tis true, some casual knowledge might be sky,

Le gained Coleridge, to whom The Prelude was addressed. I Of character or life; but at that time,

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Of manners put to school I took small

BOOK VI note,

[Lines 42–65] And all my deeper passions lay elsewhere. Far better had it been to exalt the mind The Poet's soul was with me at that time; By solitary study, to uphold

Sweet meditations, the still overflow Intense desire through meditative peace; Of present happiness, while future years Aud yet, for chastisement of these re Lacked not anticipations, tender dreams, grets,

No few of which have since been realised; The memory of one particular hour

And some remain, hopes for my future life. Doth here rise up against me. 'Mid a Four years and thirty, told this very week, • throng

Have I been now a sojourner on earth, Of maids and youths, old men, and matrons | By sorrow not unsmitten; yet for me 50 staid,

Life's morning radiance hath not left the A medley of all tempers, I had passed

hills, The niglit in dancing, gaiety, and mirth, Her dew is on the flowers. Those were With din of instruments and shuffling feet,

the days And glancing forms, and tapers glittering, Which also first emboldened me to trust And unaimed prattle flying up and down; | With firmness, hitherto but slightly touched Spirits upon the stretch, and here and there By such a daring thought, that I might Slight shocks of young love-liking inter

leave spersed,

Some monument behind me which pure Whose transient pleasure mounted to the

hearts head,

Should reverence. The instinctive humbleAnd tingled through the veins. Ere we

ness, retired,

Maintained even by the very name and The cock had crowed, and now the eastern

thought sky

320 Of printed books and authorship, began Was kindling, not unseen, from humble To melt away; and further, the dread awe copse

Of mighty names was softened down and And open field, through which the pathway


61 wound,

Approachable, admitting fellowship And homeward led my steps. Magnificent Of modest sympathy. Such aspect now, The morning rose, in memorable pomp, Though not familiarly, my mind put on, Glorious as e'er I had beheld - in front, Content to observe, to achieve, and to enjoy. The sea lay laughing at a distance; near, The solid ‘mountains shone, bright as the

BOOK VI clouds, Grain-tinctured, drenched in empyrean

(Lines 557-640] light; And in the meadows and the lower grounds Yet still in me with those soft luxuries Was all the sweetness of a common Mixed something of stern mood, an underdawn —

thirst Dews, vapours, and the melody of birds, Of vigour seldom utterly allayed: And labourers going forth to till the fields. And from that source how different a sadAh! need I say, dear Friend! that to the

ness brim

Would issue, let one incident make known. My heart was full; I made no vows, but when from the Vallais we had turned, and vows

· clomb Were then made for me; bond unknown to Along the Simplon's steep and rugged road, me

Following a band of muleteers, we reached Was given, that I should be, else sinning A halting-place, where all together took greatly,

| Their noon-tide meal. Hastily rose our A dedicated Spirit. On I walked

guide, In thankful blessedness, which yet sur- | Leaving us at the board; awhile we linvives.






Then paced the beaten downward way that There harbours; whether we be young or led

old, Right to a rough stream's edge, and there Our destiny, our being's heart and home, broke off;

Is with infinitude, and only there; The only track now visible was one 570 With hope it is, hope that can never die, That from the torrent's further brink held Effort, and expectation, and desire, forth

And something evermore about to be. Conspicuous invitation to ascend

Under such banners militant, the soul A lofty mountain. After brief delay Seeks for no trophies, struggles for no Crossing the unbridged stream, that road

610 we took,

That may attest her prowess, blest in And clomb with eagerness, till anxious

thoughts fears

That are their own perfection and reward, Intruded, for we failed to overtake

Strong in herself and in beatitude Our comrades gone before. By fortunate That hides her, like the mighty flood of chance,

Nile While every moment added doubt to doubt, | Poured from his fount of Abyssinian clouds A peasant met us, from whose mouth we To fertilise the whole Egyptian plain.

learned That to the spot which had perplexed us The melancholy slackening that ensued first

| Upon those tidings by the peasant given We must descend, and there should find the | Was soon dislodged. Downwards we hurroad,

ried fast, Which in the stony channel of the stream And, with the half-shaped road which we Lay a few steps, and then along its banks;

had missed,

620 And, that our future course, all plain to | Entered a narrow chasm. The brook and sight,

road Was downwards, with the current of that Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy strait, stream.

And with them did we journey several Loth to believe what we so grieved to hours hear,

At a slow pace. The immeasurable heights, For still we had hopes that pointed to the | Of woods decaying, never to be decayed, clouds,

The stationary blasts of waterfalls, We questioned him again, and yet again; And in the narrow rent at every turn But every word that from the peasant's Winds thwarting winds, bewildered and forlips

lorn, Came in reply, translated by our feelings, The torrents shooting from the clear blue Ended in this, that we had crossed the

sky, Alps.

The rocks that muttered close upon our

ears, Imagination - here the Power so called | Black drizzling crags that spake by the Through sad incompetence of human speech,

way-side That awful Power rose from the mind's As if a voice were in them, the sick sight abyss

And giddy prospect of the raving stream, Like an unfathered vapour that enwraps, The unfettered clouds and region of the At once, some lonely traveller. I was

Heavens, lost;

Tumult and peace, the darkness and the Halted without an effort to break through;

lightBut to my conscious soul I now can say — Were ali like workings of one mind, the “I recognise thy glory: " in such strength

features Of usurpation, when the light of sense 600 Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree; Goes out, but with a flash that has re Characters of the great Apocalypse, vealed

The types and symbols of Eternity, The invisible world, doth greatness make Of first, and last, and midst, and without abode,









The adventurous stranger's steps, a trusty

guide; [Lines 340–364]

Then, cheered by short refreshment, sallied Yet deem not, Friend ! that human kind

forth. with me Thus early took a place pre-eminent;

It was a close, warm, breezeless summer Nature herself was, at this unripe time,

night, But secondary to my own pursuits

Wan, dull, and glaring, with a dripping fog And animal activities, and all

Low-hung and thick that covered all the Their trivial pleasures; and when these had

sky; drooped

But, undiscouraged, we began to climb And gradually expired, and Nature, prized The mountain-side. The mist soon girt us For her own sake, became my joy, even

round, then —

And, after ordinary travellers' talk And upwards through late youth, until not With our conductor, pensively we sank less

Each into commerce with his private Than two-and-twenty summers bad been

thoughts : told

Thus did we breast the ascent, and by myWas Man in my affections and regards 350

self Subordinate to her, her visible forms Was nothing either seen or heard that And viewless agencies: a passion, she,

checked A rapture often, and immediate love

Those musings or diverted, save that once Ever at hand; he, only a delight

The shepherd's lurcher, who, among the Occasional, an accidental grace,

crags, His hour being not yet come. Far less had Had to his joy unearthed a bedgehog, then

teased The inferior creatures, beast or bird, at His coiled-up prey with barkings turbulent. tuned

This small adventure, for even such it My spirit to that gentleness of love,

seemed (Though they had long been carefully ob In that wild place and at the dead of night, served),

Being over and forgotten, on we wound Won from me those minute obeisances 360 In silence as before. With forehead bent Of tenderness, which I may number now Earthward, as if in opposition set With my first blessings. Nevertheless, on Against an enemy, I panted up

30 these

With eager pace, and no less eager thoughts. The light of beauty did not fall in vain, Thus might we wear a midnight hour away, Or grandeur circumfuse them to no end. Ascending at loose distance each from each,

And I, as chanced, the foremost of the BOOK XIV .


When at my feet the ground appeared to [Lines 1-129]

brighten, CONCLUSION

And with a step or two seemed brighter

still; In one of those excursions (may they ne'er | Nor was time given to ask or learn the Fade from remembrance !) through the

cause, Northern tracts

For instantly a light upon the turf Of Cambria ranging with a youthful friend, Fell like a flash, and lo! as I looked up I left Bethgelert's huts at couching-time, The Moon hung naked in a firmament 40 And westward took my way, to see the Of azure without cloud, and at my feet

Rested a silent sea of hoary mist. Rise, from the top of Snowdon. To the A hundred hills their dusky backs upheaved door

All over this still ocean; and beyond, Of a rude cottage at the mountain's base Far, far beyond, the solid vapours stretched, We came, and roused the shepherd who | In headlands, tongues, and promontory attends



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